NANCY OSA EDITORIAL/
…Book Preparation from the Ground Up
© 2015 by Nancy Osa, all rights reserved.
Cuba 15 &
Delacorte Press Prize for a First Young Adult Novel
Booklist Top Ten First Novel for Youth
ALA Pura Belpré Author Honor Book
YALSA Best Book for Young Adults
Scholastic Book Club Selection
Américas Award Honor Book
Oregon Book Award Finalist
ALSC Notable Book
WHAT CAN be funny about having to stand up in front of everyone you know, in a ruffly dress the color of Pepto-Bismol, and proclaim your womanhood? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Not when you’re fifteen—too young to drive, win the lottery, or vote for a president who might lower the driving and gambling ages. Nothing funny at all. At least that’s what I thought in September…
I HEARD the click-clack-click of dominoes and smelled the cigar smoke before I found Dad and Abuelo relaxing on the screened-in back porch. Afternoon sun shone on them. Beads of sweat blossomed in neat rows across their brows, undisturbed by the overhead fan.
The domino board, atop an ancient folding card table, looked shiny new as usual. The ever-present cigar smoke has tinted the whole thing a mellow tobacco color, and every so often Dad gives it another coat of varnish. Dominoes littered the board, festive sandwiches of red and white, locked together with a gold pin at their centers. Black dots pocked their white faces, counting off in orderly patterns. These were no ordinary game pieces. Calling dominoes a game in our house is a joke.
AS SUNDAY dawned, I padded out to the porch in bare feet and pajamas, hoping to find a few forgotten dimes stuck in the edges of a domino board or under some chair cushions. I came across Abuelo asleep on the old couch, party shirt crumpled, snores escaping his lips like blasts of percussion. He was probably dreaming of the hammocks at Padrino’s farm in Cuba. I didn’t have the heart to wake him. And I refrained from going through his pockets.
I got up early because today was C-Day: comedy day. The threat of a deadline might help; hadn’t Mr. Soloman said that fear could be funny? I decided that something funny was going to happen today if it killed me.
My Fiction for Teens
Minecraft: Defenders of the Overworld Series
#1 The Battle of Zombie Hill
#2 Battalion Banished
#3 Spawn Point Zero
#4 Deep Ocean Six
The Battle of
THE MANY DAYS OF DRILLING and planning were about to pay off. The tiny battalion swept over the mesa in formation, leaving just enough ground behind them to entice the oncoming undead. They topped the low rise before their camp and thundered toward their secret target.
Turner needn’t have wasted his time adding the pit coordinates to his tattoo collection. They were seared into Rob’s brain. He’d have to give the others the command to jump at just the right time . . . or they would each die a prickly death.
The sound of horse hooves, jangling bones, unearthly groans, and gasping breaths filled the air. “Stormie!” called Rob. “Count down!”
She looked back to measure the shrinking buffer zone between the defenders and attackers. “Twelve blocks! Ten . . . nine . . . eight . . .”
The archers neared, but their aim grew worse.
“. . . seven . . . six . . . five . . .”
Now the agitated zombies in their wake wailed louder.
“. . . and . . . go!”
Rob prepared to give the order. “Jump, everyone! Jump!”
In near-perfect timing, the four pairs of horses and riders communicated, responded, and leapt for the sky. Before they had even landed, waves of sprinting skeletons had permeated the wool-disguised cactus trap, cartwheeling in and being impaled by enchanted spines. It happened so fast that the reinforcements had no time to stop before gravity sent them forward, too.
The slower zombies, unable to detect even the most obvious danger, did not try to avoid the now visible pit. In they fell. Their griefer commander, however, recognized the decoy for what it was and jammed to a stop.
Legs frantically peered into the half-dark. His reinforcements hadn’t arrived yet. Spying a chicken jockey that was none too spry, he swiped the baby zombie rider’s golden sword and knocked the green toddler into the pit. Then he jumped on the chicken’s back, wheeled it around, and took off for the hills.