It’s hard to get used to having good things in your life when you’ve only had negatives. That’s what Shanna Bailey is discovering in my new novel From the Ashes, book five in my Reality Shift series. Shanna has spent her life with an abusive mother, but now she’s living with a caring foster family, and she isn’t quite sure how to handle not having to be afraid.
To some people, it probably sounds strange to say that you have to get used to not being afraid. Shouldn’t someone who is taken out of a negative situation be happy? Shouldn’t they be able to just get over it and move on?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. When something bad happens, especially if it’s ongoing, it can be very hard to get over. Even if you consciously get past it and move on, you still remember the things that happened.
With help and support, though, you can change the way you think and get used to having a good life. In From the Ashes, Shanna has that help from her foster family, her therapist, and of course her best friend Jonah Leighton, who has been there for her through everything she’s dealt with in the past several months. She’s looking forward to living her life without fear; she just needs to work on it a little harder to get there.
Today is release day for From the Ashes. Readers who have read the previous books in the series know what Shanna’s been through, and I hope they’ll be glad to see how much things have changed for the better in her life. She still has work to do, and she still has a ways to go to make her life the way she wants it, but there’s definitely hope.
Shanna’s new life is taking some getting used to. So is the interest her friend Ken has begun to show in her. Shanna always thought Ken only liked her because they were neighbors, but now he’s taking her to the Harvest Dance and wants her to be his girlfriend. Shanna wants to trust him, but isn’t sure she can. What if he wants more from her than she’s willing to give?
Meanwhile, when a substitute teacher assaults one of Shanna’s classmates, Shanna becomes aware that the entity from another reality is once again seeking a portal into our universe. The potential portal turns out to be the substitute. But the woman hates Shanna and is hiding a secret about her own abilities. How can Shanna and Jonah persuade her to let them work with her in time to prevent the entity’s transmigration?
What the heck is wrong with this school? I thought. A few weeks earlier, they’d hired a substitute for the health teacher. The sub had turned out to be an energy vampire, feeding on people’s energy fields and
messing up their chakras. He’d been the reason my vibration dropped low enough to appeal to the entity. Now they had a sub who assaulted students. This was just great.
“Mr. Walker said for everyone to change up,” I announced, pitching my voice to be heard by everyone, including Mrs. Chadwick. “Everyone go into the locker rooms. Now.”
I didn’t expect anyone to pay any attention to me at all. Some of their mouths dropped open, because they weren’t used to hearing me speak up. Fortunately, they all
listened and practically ran into the locker rooms. All except Kaycee, who stood by the bleachers with her hand against her cheek, looking shocked, and
Zack and another girl who seemed stunned by what they’d seen. I started over to Kaycee, and Mrs. Chadwick blocked me. “Who do you think you are?” she demanded,
fury turning her eyes into lasers. “You don’t have the right to tell the class what to do. I’m the teacher here.”
“Mr. Walker teaches here too, and he’s the one who told me what to say.” I swallowed hard.
Her anger was so strong it hurt, and I wished I’d kept my mouth shut. I didn’t know what she might do to me. She reminded me way too much of my mother right
She was the one who’d done something wrong, not me. I refused to let her see my fear. Jonah always told me to stand up straight, so I did now, pulling my shoulders back as
much as I could. The change in posture made me feel a little more confident.
“This is a gym class, after all,” I said. “Doing a gym activity is hard in street clothes. And changing up is part of our grade.”
“Shanna, don’t,” Kaycee pleaded. “She… she doesn’t like when people talk back.”
“Yeah, so I see.” I dodged around Mrs. Chadwick and went to Kaycee. “Are you all right?”
She shook her head, tears coming to her eyes. “I didn’t do anything! What’s wrong with her?” Her voice rose to a near shriek. I understood her fear. Being hit was
pretty traumatic, especially if you weren’t used to it.
I put my hand on her shoulder. I almost never touched people voluntarily. Jonah had taught me that human touch could be comforting and healing, and I knew Kaycee
needed the contact to help her calm down. “Come on,” I urged. “You shouldn’t stay in here. I’ll take you to the office.”
Mrs. Chadwick grabbed my broken arm, tightening her grip around the cast until her knuckles went white. “You aren’t leaving this gym until class is over. I’ve had
it with the disrespect in this class!”
Whenever my mother had grabbed me, I’d frozen. When Mrs. Chadwick grabbed me, I became furious. Especially since she shook my arm, increasing the pain that never
really went away. I bit back a yelp, yanked free of her and whirled around to face her. She took a step back. “You do not ever put your hands on me,” I
snarled through gritted teeth. “You don’t ever put your hands on any students, for that matter. I know what you did to Kaycee, and I can guarantee the
administration isn’t going to be pleased when I tell them.”
To learn more about From the Ashes please visit Jo’s website!