Divertir Publishing is releasing its first ever middle grade fantasy, Guardian’s Nightmare.
Charlee Smelton is an average thirteen-year-old girl struggling to adapt after her family moves to San Francisco. She thinks her biggest obstacle is facing the bullies who brand her a nerd and a dweeb. She’s wrong. Her life is about to change—for the worse.
First, she receives a gift of the ugliest, most old fashioned bike she has ever seen. Try as she might to ditch it in the city, she just can’t seem to escape that very mysterious two-wheeler. Then come the visions of a world across a dimensional divide, a princess in fear for her life and a dark knight pursuing her. Are they just dreams or something more?
For Charlee, everything she ever thought she knew about herself soon crumbles as she starts down a path to discover her true self, and she will need that hunk-of-junk bike more than she could ever imagine. Without it, she might not be able to find the hero in herself—the hero she must become to save her friends, family, her city—the world—from an evil only she can defeat. An evil she allows into this world.
“As they whizzed past one block after the other, Charlee became accustomed to the momentum. Vision in focus, hands and feet relaxed, she could steer the bike now and decide its direction. It was as if the rest of the world moved in slow motion. Still, she let the bike set their course. If the bike had some grand plan, she would trust it—for now.”
“Sandra, stop! You didn’t save me. All you’ve done is make things worse. That witch is going to hurt a lot of people unless I can find a way to stop her.” Charlee, her leg sore, leaned against a tree. “And now she knows who you are. She knows you’re my friend. That means she’s going to come looking for you. You’re in danger.”
“As the tingling faded, Charlee stood and ran her fingers through her hair, which crackled from static cling. Something was very wrong. She had to get away from the bike as quickly as possible. She dashed into the garage, up the steps and into the house.”
“Charlee caught her image in the mirror on the closet door. ‘I can’t be a hero. What comic book hero is a bit chubby, has long stringy hair, a freckled face and green-framed glasses with thick, Coke-bottle lenses? None!’ She swallowed a lungful of air and blew away a strand of brown hair from her cheek. ‘I’m not even the slightest bit cool.’”
Want to sample Guardian’s Nightmare? Click Darren’s book to download a PDF for your viewing pleasure.
“You should never give up something as valuable as this bike of yours,” the old man whispered. “You may find that it is a truly wondrous gift.”
Darren Simon is a former longtime newspaper journalist who now works in government affairs on California water issues and teaches college English. In his spare time, he is a freelance magazine writer. Guardian’s Nightmare is his first novel. The second book in the series is also under contract with Divertir Publishing. He resides in California’s desert southwest with his wife, two sons and two crazy dogs.
You can learn more about Charlee and Darren by visiting his website.