Today I am extremely excited to Joining the Author, Sarah Porter, and Tor Teen for the
Never Contented Things Book Tour
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (March 19, 2019)
Praise for NEVER-CONTENTED THINGS
“Sarah Porter is a genius. Her language is lush and dangerous, and her books burn with the beautiful, ferocious intensity of a bonfire in the darkest night. Read Never-Contented Things with the lights on. Then read it again.” ―Brittany Cavallaro, New York Times bestselling author of A Study in Charlotte
“Sarah Porter’s Never-Contented Things creates a creepy new world like none I’ve seen before. Eerie, edgy, and filled with mystery, Porter takes us to the depths of the magical and psychological.” ―Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die
Praise for WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW
“You’ll never think of your nightmares the same way again. Darkly seductive. Sarah Porter’s writing glitters and her storytelling stuns in this twisted tale of siblings, love, and death.” —Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of CARAVAL
“Sarah Porter’s darkly imaginative WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW intrigues from the start. Tragic and engrossing, filled with nightmarish dreamscapes and menacing villains, it also treads the tender terrain of family, and the strange and sometimes dysfunctional ties between siblings. Highly recommended!” —Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of THREE DARK CROWNS
Seductive. Cruel. Bored.
Be wary of…
Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries ― until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.
First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price ― and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.
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Timescale for a closed universe
It wasn’t an afternoon that I like to remember, and not just because of my shrieking tantrum. Once I’d calmed down, Mum told me I’d been very silly, because it was all make-believe on a cinema screen. I reminded her that she’d cried when Bambi’s mum died, and that was a film and a cartoon. Mum said that it wasn’t the same thing at all. But I wasn’t being silly because I wasn’t old enough to know the difference between pretence and reality.
Dad had looked pretty dead on the screen. The blood on his chest had looked pretty real. If it had been a different dead person, I would have been OK. Children don’t really know where make-believe ends and the real world begins and, partly because of who I am, it’s remained pretty hazy ever since. I also don’t like to remember that film because it was the moment when I realised that our lives were about to change, and I didn’t know if that would be a good thing.
Sounds strange, yes? Here’s something stranger: I am a child of the sea, I sometimes think, and have done ever since we first moved to live beside it. I feel subject to its vagaries and tempers, with its foaming margins framed against a towering sky. I am familiar with its unchanging mood swings. That’s how I like things; I find the familiar comforting. I find change threatening.
I am the daughter of someone who, not long after that ghastly cinema outing, became one of the most famous actors of his generation and, importantly for me, the granddaughter of a rather brilliant but obscure physics professor. But despite their overachievements, I have inherited no aptitude for mathematics and my father positively hated the idea of his only offspring following in his thespian footsteps. He knew how cruel and badly paid the profession could be. But I still look up to my grandfather, and think of his ludicrous moustache with affection.
Gramps once told me that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth. Just think of all those sandpits, beaches and deserts! That’s an awful lot of stars. He then told me, his only grandchild, that I was his shining star, which was a nice thing to say and why I remember him talking about sand and stars. On clear nights, with stars twinkling, I often think about him.
I still believe in my grandfather, and admire his stoic acceptance in the face of professional disdain, because I believe in the unique power of ideas, right or wrong, and that it’s our thoughts that shape our existence. We are who we believe ourselves to be.
I gave up believing in my father long ago, because speaking other people’s words and ideas seemed like a lame excuse for a job, even if he was paid millions, and met the Queen on several occasions. She must have liked him because she awarded him an OBE for services to film, theatre and charity. Charity! Who the hell told the Queen that?
I stopped believing in him one Christmas Day, a long time ago, when he simply didn’t turn up. It wasn’t his presents that I missed, or even his presence, but the warm, fuzzy feeling of being important to him. During that day of absence and loss I concluded that his wife and daughter couldn’t much matter to him, otherwise he’d have made a bigger effort to get home. That Christmas Day, my father was simply somewhere else, probably in a bar, immaculately dressed, his hair slicked back, the object of male envy and the centre of every woman’s attention for miles around.
In that respect, Dad was more tomcat than father, except that by then his territory, his fame, stretched around the globe. I know this: by then he had a Golden Globe to prove it. He gushed pheromones from every pore, squirting attraction in every direction, and even women with a poor sense of smell could sniff him out.
I feel mostly Scottish, but am a little bit Italian. It explains my name, Emma Maria Rossini; my dark complexion, black hair, the slightly long nose, and thin and lanky body. Obese I am not, and will never be, however much pasta I eat, and I eat lots. It also explains my temper, according to some people, although I don’t agree with them, and my brown cow’s eyes, as an almost-boyfriend once described them, thinking he was paying me a compliment, before realising that he had just become an ex-almost-boyfriend.
But mostly I am a child of the sea. That’s what happens if you live for long enough by its margins: it becomes a part of you; its mood echoing your mood, until you know what it’s thinking, and it knows everything about you. That’s what it feels like when I contemplate its tensile strength and infinite capacity for change. On calm flat days in North Berwick, with small dinghies marooned on the glassy water, and loud children squealing in its shallows, it can make me anxious and cranky.
The sea, on those days, seems soulless and tired, bereft of spirit. But on wilder days, the beach deserted, or with only a hardy dog-walker venturing across the sand, with large waves thundering in, broaching and breaking, then greedily sucking back pebbles into the foam, I feel energised: this is what the sea enjoys, a roaring irresponsibility, and I share in its pleasure. We are all children of the sea, I sometimes think, orwe should be – even those who have never seen an ocean or tasted its saltiness; I can stand for hours and contemplate its far horizons, lost within myself, sharing its passion. In the Firth of Forth is the ebb and flow of my past and my existence, wrapped tight against the west wind. It is what I am, placid and calm, or loud and brash.
Mum is waiting for me outside the school gates and is surrounded by several other mothers who, like hyenas, all seem to want to devour her. How do they know who she is, I wonder? They’re all talking to her at once and Mum is gamely trying to smile and engage in several simultaneous conversations. Mum, as always, looks like a million dollars. The other mothers, dressed sensibly in beige, look like loose change collected from underneath the sofa. Mum sees me and waves, extricates herself from her tormentors, and ushers me quickly towards her car which is partly parked on the pavement and mostly on a pedestrian crossing.
‘From now on, Emma,’ she immediately says, once we’re safely inside and buckling up seatbelts, and before she’s even asked me how my first day has been, ‘I will either meet you further down the road or leave you to walk home. I do not want to go through that again.’ She looks in the rear-view mirror, just in case the hyenas are snarling and whooping and giving chase.
It turns out that she’s already been asked to join the Parent-Teacher Association and, being a parent, has felt obliged to accept. But, in the mêlée outside the school, she’s also been asked to be honorary chairperson of something else, and didn’t really hear what she was being asked to be chairperson of, or if she’s said ‘yes’. It happens to her sometimes. Her mind just goes blank, thoughts and words wafting around her head and then drifting from her ears.
Mum’s worried that she might inadvertently now be in charge of the North Berwick & District Paedophile Society, or something worse. It turned out that she hadn’t said ‘yes’, but hadn’t said ‘no’ either, so the Pottery Club assumed that she meant ‘yes’, which amounts to the same thing. She did attend a couple of their throw-downs, an expression that neither of us had heard of before, coming home with a well-turned if rather wonky bowl, with only a couple of small cracks, and decorated with painted flowers nicely arranged in a vase: Mum’s presidential way of neatly killing two birds with one stone.
From then on, I generally walked home after school.
SARAH PORTER is the author of the Lost Voices Trilogy (Lost Voices, Waking Storms, The Twice Lost) in addition to Vassa in the Night—all for the teen audience. For over ten years she has taught creative writing workshops in New York City public schools to students in grades K-10. Porter also works as a VJ, both solo and with the art collective Fort/Da; she has played venues including Roseland, Galapagos, Tonic, Joe’s Pub, The Hammerstein Ballroom, The Nokia Theater, and the Burning Man festival. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats.
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