"Readers will be easily swept along in this fast-paced thriller, unsure whether Ryan’s narration will reveal that she is supernaturally possessed or insane." - Booklist Review for MIRAGE
"...Clark's novel is a powerful, heart-wrenching adventure."- Kirkus Review for Scintillate
"Passion and power are the driving forces in this series that continues to deliver." - Kirkus Review for Deviate
"Clark creates adventures for her characters that will keep teens hooked and finally gives some answers to the questions that have been arising since the first book. VERDICT YA fans of urban fantasy and paranormal such as Twilight by Stephenie Meyer or Maggie Stiefvater's "The Raven Cycle" will enjoy this trilogy." - School Library Journal
#OneVoice Against Bullying
by Tracy Clark on 10/15/14
Fogging Up: A Mari and Dun Moment
by Tracy Clark on 10/29/14
In SCINTILLATE, book 1 of The Light Key Trilogy, Cora Sandoval discovers a pivotalclue in the California redwoods. Meanwhile, her best friends, Mari and Dun, are alone in the car as they wait for her. These precious moments alone might be the opportunity to act on feelings they’ve harbored for each other for too long. Enjoy this steamy bonus scene inspired by SCINTILLATE.
Fogging Up A Mari & Dun Moment
“I don’t know if I agree with what you said to Cora...” Dun said, as he opened the back door of the car and stepped out into the rain-drenched afternoon. Mari waited impatiently for the rest of his dissenting thought for the whole five seconds it took for him to open the shotgun door and slide back in the car. “...about love being like lightning that strikes sudden and hot. Not always, anyway.”
Mari flipped down the visor to see how badly the rain had smudged her kohl eyeliner. “Do tell,” she said in that open-mouthed way that girls did when they were messing with their makeup but that only made it hard for Dun not to think about the soft bit of tongue he could see against the pad of her bottom lip.
“It’s not a well thought-out theory,” he murmured, suddenly shy and taking the opportunity to stare out the window at the redwood forest, soaked in rain. Cora was out there, for a reason that perplexed both of them, but not enough to tramp out into the wet forest to find out what it was.
This was a golden opportunity to be alone.
Mari snapped the visor shut and fixed her dark eyes on Dun. “Tell me something scandalous.”
“When people ask questions like that, it means they want to tell something scandalous. It’s purely psychological,” he said, tapping his temple. When Mari raised her eyebrow in a very ‘I mean business’ way, he surrendered. He’d always surrender to Mari. Except when he wouldn’t.
A girl like Mari needed both.
“The first time I ever,” Dun suddenly made a show of tracing the trajectory of raindrops on the window. “The first time I—um—gave myself over to the decadent art that is self-pleasure,” he felt the heat rising up his neck. “I was thinking about you.”
She grinned and turned sideways in her seat. Her knee bent over Dun’s thigh, sealing heat against his skin. “Excellent,” she said. “And the second time?”
“To that Pixies, Surfer Rose album cover you showed me.”
“Right? It was totally hot. Did it for me, too.” She reveled in the surprise in Dun’s eyes. “Hey,” she shrugged. “Sexy is sexy.”
“Tell me something else,” she said. “Something PG.”
“I want to live on my grandma’s property someday, and fix up her old house, and I want to keep bees.”
Mari’s chin dipped and her eyes darkened with an emotion that was a blend of mischief and delight. “I’d like to have some of your honey,” she said in a voice that dripped with it.
Dun curled and uncurled his hands on his thighs, trying to think of a way to initiate the first of what he hoped would be thousands of kisses. Every kind. The soft, slow, exploratory ones. The quick pecks on the way to and from class. The kiss on the temple while watching a movie. The surprise kiss to shut her up when she was being mouthy. There would be lots of those. The kiss that lights a fuse burning to every part of your body—some parts more than others.
While he was busy thinking of the menu of kisses he’d like to have, Mari turned up the radio, blasting whatever was on, and reached into his hair. She was forever touching his hair. But this time, she wound it tightly in her fist and his fuse was lit before he knew what she’d do next.
She tugged on the clump in her hand and pulled his head forward.
Mari kissed like she lived—razor tipped feathers. Heart and blade.
She softened his bottom lip, taking it into her mouth with a gentle draw before biting it. Her hands held both sides of his face and he knew she was the wave he’d slip under if he didn’t come up for air and start kicking. He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her off balance, tipping her toward him. Not one to be outdone, she slung her leg over his, straddled his lap, and with a tug at something next to his right hip, his seat flew back and suddenly Mari Sandoval was looking down on him. Victory was raspberry lips, pressed together in a smile as she rolled her hips forward to press against his and bent over to kiss his mouth. Over and over again, she crashed on his shores.
“I think Cora’s coming back,” she said, swiping a bit of fog from the window and peering through. She scooted off Dun’s lap and smoothed her hair.
Dun couldn’t stop looking at her and wondering if nothing changed or, if everything had. “I’m yours. You know that, right?”
She answered with soft eyes and a soft voice he hadn’t often heard from her. “Yes. You’re my best friend and I love you and if I were going to be anybody’s, I’d be yours. I think the way it works is, I’ve gotta be mine first.”
The rear door opened swirling cool, wet air into the car as Cora got back in looking muddy, crazed, and furtive, like she was holding a secret as big as the towering redwoods surrounding them. A secret so powerful, that it seemed to them, it’d be better off kept because their best friend looked like she was already half swallowed up by it.
Anyway, they had their own secret.
Inspiration & Motivation - How To Make Friends With These Two Forces
by Tracy Clark on 03/26/14
At a recent author visit at a local high school, I found myself giving the students this answer after I was asked this question: At what age did I know that I wanted to be a writer? It was 8th grade when I knew, but unfortunately, I didn't begin following my dream until much later. I wasn't yet friends with motivation and inspiration. I explained:
"I wasn't a great student. Not because I wasn't intelligent but because I was waiting for the world, teachers, parents, someone "out there" to inspire me. I finally realized that I had to inspire me."
This seemed to resonate with the students, as it's likely some are waiting to feel that spark of creative fire before they act on whatever dreams they have. I'm hoping it resonates with my fellow writers because I think we often wait for the magic of feeling inspired before we're motivated to proceed in our creative endeavors.
I learned something in my psychology class last year that has really stuck with me. Not only has it helped me with motivating myself, but with parenting, and even with determining character motivations in my stories. Get a load of this: Psychologically, intrinsic (internal/self) motivation is much stronger than extrinsic (external) motivation.
Think about that; we are the captains of our own motivational and inspirational ships.
Duuuude. Once that whopper sunk in, I realized that I held all the power. -insert evil power laugh-
Oh, what a wily power it is, too. Makes excuses impossible. The lighting bolt of inspiration can and does sometimes strike out of the blue. It's exhilarating when it does. It sends signals of excitement and purpose through our mind and bodies. It moves us to action. But what do we do when the skies are clear, too clear, and there's no inspiration storm in sight?
We get to work.
Studies have shown that we can actually prime our brains for creativity. This is great news because it tells us that we don't have to be immobilized by a lack of inspiration. Our brains are designed to make connections. If you want creativity to be a part of your every day experience, you need to train your brain to believe that's what supposed to happen. Our brains must make the connection between intention and creative flow. How can we do this?
Work the pump every day. Establish a creative routine. I don't think it matters if it's 100 words or 5,000. If you have a daily routine of "creative time" your brain will eventually make the "Oh, THIS is what we're supposed to be doing now!" connection.
Put on your headlamp and go mining.Notice, I never said that you couldn't be inspired by outside sources, but they aren't always going to airmail themselves to your door with a big ribbon. You can control whether you're mining for inspiration or not. You have to be ever curious. Read new things. Watch something different. Listen to a different kind of music.
Have fun! Part of intrinsic motivation is that it's usually fueled by things that make us happy, that give us pleasure. Writing can be damned hard work. The business of publishing can make you want to go screaming into a bear den covered in marshmallow fluff. But if you're a creator at heart, then nothing gives you more pleasure and satisfaction than being creative. Find ways to make it pleasant. Even if it's lighting candles in your workspace. Even if it's a bowl of marshmallow fluff. Reward your own efforts in ways that are meaningful to you.
Motivation and inspiration don't have to be the writer's fair-weathered friends who only show up when times are good. We can fling open the door and invite them in no matter the weather. At least wave some marshmallow fluff under their noses.
Thank you to the lovely Martina Boone tagged me in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. You can read her awesome post here: http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2014/03/writing-factions-divergence-and.html