#GuestPost from Angela Panayotopulos plus #Extract from her Dark #Fantasy Novel…The Wake Up #NewRelease

Today I’d like to welcome Angela Panayotopulos with a guest post and extract from her latest book, The Wake Up. Over to you, Angela…

It took me six years, but I did it: a novel on love, loss, deceit, and truth. It feels good and it feels right. Who knows? Perhaps the book I wrote may be as cathartic for you as it has been for me.

I was a peculiar child; for years, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you how to get from my school to my house because I spent every day in the school bus reading. From a young age, I realized that you could live a thousand more lives if you read a thousand more books, and I delved into stories like a man on fire dives into water. I quickly learned that love and lust are very different things, that there are many layers of emotion, that being smart and being clever are not the same, and that a genuine love is the rawest, most stripped-down, most vulnerable and heartbreaking and pure of all the loves. 

My theories, a patchwork of book pages that smelled of dust and dreams, were put to the test later in life. Every person I’ve met has ended up being a friend for life or a lesson of life. I’ve had my heart scratched and my body bruised. I once stumbled across a quote by Mary Oliver and it has haunted me since, whispering at me like Jiminy Cricket perched on my shoulder: Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to realize that this, too, was a gift.

I began this book with the revelation that a breakup can be a wakeup: the most powerful turning moment in the plot of your life. The word indicates that something has broken—and yes, it has. It’s up to you to determine what. A heart? A spirit? Or have you broken free, like a butterfly fleeing the cocoon or Lazarus torn from Death’s embrace? 

If a breakup is righteous—if it’s healthier than the withered skeleton of your once rosy-cheeked and red-lipped relationship—then the breakup is a “wake up” in disguise. Take it for all it’s worth: a lesson, an opportunity to grow, an injection of strength. It may be a breakup with a romantic interest, a friend, a political or cultural affiliation, or even a conviction. A relationship is like a car that runs on trust. You can sit in it all you want, but if there’s no trust, you’re not going anywhere. There are only so many hours you can sleep in a stranded vehicle and there are only so many times you can try to revive the dead. 

Move along. This chapter is called Resolution. Heart will bleed and eyes will weep; weigh the promises, examine the oaths, and reprioritize your desires. After Resolution, you’ll flip on over to the next chapter: Heartache. You’ll find long paragraphs to shed tears upon, blank pages to use as tissues, a few lines of bitter self-pity, mourning, frustration, fury, a sending-off of a beloved antagonist guised as a protagonist. The next chapter is Resurrection. I don’t know how many pages it will take you, but you will find it. The pain dims like the fading stars in the dawn sky; always there, half-forgotten. Joy dawns like the sun, re-illuminating such things as friendship and family and purpose and potential.

Do not be afraid of your past. Do not be ashamed or regretful of your mistakes. These are the exact things that have helped forge your armor and whet your mind. These have enabled you to become the person you are today. As oxymoronic as it may sound, your heart is fuller because of them; it has been stretched with pleasure and pain alike.  

Paulo Coelho once wrote: “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” 

That chapter is called Refresh.

About the Book

For years, Lexi has repressed her secret gift: a rare ability to glimpse the angelic or demonic manifestations of people’s personalities in their mirror image. With her family’s glass-blowing studio as her playground and her mirror-making grandfather as her mentor, Lexi comes of age when the nation’s president—an undisclosed Seer who demonizes his gift as fiercely as Lexi treasures hers—bans man-made reflective surfaces, plunging the nation into a dystopia where government agencies annihilate families like Lexi’s.

As her family breaks apart, Lexi falls for a man who comes to stand for everything she despises. Betrayal and deceit ignite a domino effect of dangerous consequences in a world of blurring boundaries between the worldly and otherworldly. Caught up in a battle as old as time itself, the last mirror-maker must revamp a breakup into the greatest wake up of her life, embracing her forbidden capabilities in an attempt to rouse her world out of darkness.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

Extract

“What big eyes you have,” she whispered.

“The better to see through your lies,” he said.

“What large hands you have…”

“The better to strangle you with, my dear…”

“What sharp teeth you have…”

“The better to drink your blood with,” he said with a laugh. “Is that what you expect me to say? I know this story better than you do. The wolf wins in my version.”

Lexi thought of a black wolf she once knew in another life, a black wolf that never willingly left her side. “The wolf wins in mine, too.” 

“Why do you bother writing these stories?” Dominic insisted. He glared back at her through the mirror. “They are stupid. They offer nothing. You never could see the fallacy of your passion. When you write it’s like you’re stealing pieces of the soul, taking them from others and airing them out and selling them.”

“That’s not true,” she said. “I take nothing but inspiration.”

“You’re nothing but a vulture, scavenging the minds of others. You chew through their thoughts and keep what you like, spewing it out as yours.” 

The vulture face that flitted over Dominic’s was meant to frighten her. It saddened her, instead. Playing with darkness stained one’s fingers. He allowed his demons to thrive in the shadows of his mind, secluded and neglected—and this, instead of killing them, made them love him all the more, and they thrived off his bottled-up fear like bats suckling on blood. 

 “I’m a mirror,” she murmured, speaking mostly to herself. The revelation slipped through her like cool water, dousing her anger and refreshing her wounds. “I reflect what I see and I share the truth of what I know, even if I do so clumsily. For what is a mirror, that you are so afraid of it anyway? The shadow cast by reality, the reflection of the reflecting lens in your own eye. Beyond that, beyond the glass of reflections, the veil of illusions, the story continues. And it’s a lucky thing that we cannot step into the fictive world of mirrors, for half of us would never know how to emerge and the other half of us would never want to.”

“Fictive? You mean lies. You write lies!”

“Do I?” She smiled. “Then they are good lies that speak of real truths, giving you a different perspective in the hope you will someday understand them.”

Dominic’s face snarled at her, no longer golden. “I built dreams on you,” he hissed. “I staked my hope on you. You weren’t enough. You couldn’t ever be enough.”

“I don’t care about your dreams and hopes anymore,” Lexi replied. “You never cared about mine.”

She reached forward and grasped at the air where the door knob should have been. Her hand wrapped around the cold metal and she turned it and pushed. The mirrored door opened. 

The room flooded with light.

About Angela

Angela Panayotopulos first tasted the magic of wordsmithing when she penned and illustrated her debut stories “The Horse and His Baby Horse” and “The Wolf and the Monkey” as a five-year-old. These did not become international bestsellers. However, Flint Hill Publishing Center stamped her books and contaminated her with the dangerous notion that she could write. She will be forever grateful. 

At 22, Angela earned her Creative Writing M.F.A. from George Mason University, emerging as a full-time freelancer and part-time novelist. Her passion for storytelling is rivaled only by her love of dancing, adventuring with her beloved partner-in-crime, and savoring steaming cups of coffee (preferably while reading something by Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, or Laini Taylor). Her prior publications include The Art of War: a Novel, inspired by her grandparents’ ordeals during WWII, and The Cardiology of Broken Things, coauthored with the wonderful Dr. Lars J. Østergaard.

You can find Angela on her WebsiteFacebook and Goodreads

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