Title: THE YEAR OF LIGHTNING
Genre: Young Adult
Word Count: 92,000
The house has no doors. It’s been abandoned for decades. Yet one night, Malcolm Gilbert sees a face in the window.
Fifteen-year-old twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert moved to Nowhere-ville with their father to forget a painful past and start a new life. They never imagined an old house across the street could bring them so much trouble. A secret machine inside has woken up again, and its power is growing.
Meanwhile, unprecedented lightning storms are breaking out all over town. They’re destructive, getting worse every week, and seem to enjoy chasing freshmen who just want to pass Chemistry and mind their own business. Lightning, however, is rarely cooperative. When Malcolm and Valentine decide to investigate, they discover a connection between the house and the storms, and their situation goes from mysterious to crazy stupid dangerous. Someone is controlling the great machine, and their purpose is nearly complete.
In a race against time, the twins must uncover the chilling plan, the mastermind behind it, and the force that’s driving the deadly lightning storms. They’ll hunt a powerful enemy that threatens their town’s existence, and the only clues are written in the sky.
THE YEAR OF LIGHTNING is a Young Adult novel, complete at 92,000 words. While the story stands on its own, it is meant to be the first of a series.
My professional experience includes developing and writing the storyline for Exile Sun, a table-top strategy game, and freelance ad copywriting for a Scottsdale-based advertising firm. I’ve written articles for online news and comedy blogs, and currently maintain an author blog (www.ryandaltonwrites.com) and a Twitter account (@iRyanDalton). I am also an active member of SCBWI.
The machine’s roar faded into the distance. The tremors finally stopped.
Buster collapsed to the earth, breathing hard as jagged rocks cut into his hands and knees. His lungs ached, his body shook with exhaustion, and tears threatened to burn through his eyes. Choking them back, he turned to look behind.
“Everyone okay?” None of his three companions answered. He paused to steady his voice. “Whip? Are you okay?”
“I’ll live,” a dark-skinned boy replied. He cradled a broken left arm and leaned heavily against the tunnel wall. His good hand clung to their only remaining lantern. “But, I’m doubtin’ they can take anymore.”
Whip gestured at the two young girls in the dirt next to him. One hugged herself and rocked back and forth, staring at nothing, while the other lay sobbing. How long would they carry this day with them, Buster wondered. Would they ever leave it behind? Could they?
With a deep breath, he steeled himself and crept toward them. “Sweets, we gotta go. Can you get Blue to walk with you?”
“Why we still usin’ the fake names?” Whip asked. “It’s safe now, right?”
“We don’t know that yet. ’Til we know they’re gone, no real names.” Buster turned back to Sweets. She stared out with wide, haunted eyes. “Sweets, we can’t wait. Another one might be coming.” Getting no response, he crouched in front of their fourth companion. “Blue, please. We gotta keep running!”
“Too late!” Whip shouted. Hugging the wall, he shielded his face.