06 November 2014

Excerpt Thursday: SONS OF THE SPHINX by Cheryl Carpinello

This week, we're pleased to again welcome author Cheryl Carpinello with her latest release, SONS OF THE SPHINX. Join us again on Sunday for an author interview, with more details about the story behind the story. One lucky visitor will get a free copy of Sons of the Sphinx. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's post or Sunday's author interview for a chance to win. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb.

Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3500 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.

** An Excerpt from Sons of the Sphinx**

Chapter 1

I don’t see dead people. I hear them. I talk to them. Boy, you should try that. Talk about people looking at you like you’ve got two heads. That will do it. I used to look in the mirror after talking to them to see what others saw. All I saw was me, Rosa, an ordinary fifteen-year-old girl. Well, not so ordinary. I do have my father’s emerald eyes, but no glowing auras, no ghosts on my shoulders, only my sun-streaked blond hair usually in need of a trim.
It would be one thing if I talked to famous dead people. You know, like that Elvis Presley guy my mother still drools over? I mean, really? The guy would be, like, ancient today! Anyway, if I talked to him, I could give my mom a personal message like, “Sorry we never got to hook up.” That would be worth a few extra bucks for allowance, don’t you think?
No, the dead people who talk to me are just dead nobodies. Nothing exciting to say. Nothing going down. They’re just hanging out, waiting for—I don’t know—to be more dead, I guess. Or to see how much trouble they can get me in.
Take today in math class. We’re taking this test, see. I’m concentrating real hard on this problem trying to figure height or something. Then I hear this:
“Hey you.”
I jerk up in my chair, searching for the guy doing the talking. I glance at the kids on either side of me. Nothing. I look up at the teacher. He’s glaring at me.
“Great,” I whisper. “He probably thinks I’m trying to cheat.” I bow my head and focus on the problem again.
“You, I’m talking to you.”
I shake my head in hopes of tossing out that voice. I know now. Some dumb dead guy wants to talk to me.
“Would you be quiet? I’m trying to take a math test.”
“Oh sure, that’s okay for you to say. I’ll never take another test again.” His voice breaks up like bad radio reception.
“Not my problem.”
“I died too soon, I really did.”
“Look, I haven’t talked to one yet who didn’t say that. Kind of goes with the dead part. Now leave me alone. You’re going to make me fail this test.”
I hear him snort like he has to blow his nose, if the dead can actually do that. Then comes the kicker.
“I just want another chance. I promise I’ll do better.”
“I’m going to say this one more time. Not my problem. Now leave me alone.” I form three exclamation points in my head so if he is reading my thoughts as well as listening, he will get the picture.
“But it isn’t fair,” he whines. “It just isn’t fair.”
Okay. I’m fed up with this guy. I can’t even remember the formula for the problem I’m trying to answer. I am definitely going to fail if he keeps on yapping. I try to ignore him and concentrate on remembering the stupid formula.
Not fair.”
My brain is fried, and I’ve had enough. I slam my pencil on my desk and stand up. “Bud, I don’t give a damn if it isn’t fair. Just shut the hell up so I can get this test done!”
Did you get the part where I “stand up and yell”? Yep, that earns me an F on the test AND a trip to the AP’s office. I can’t even defend myself. What am I going to say? “Excuse me, I’m sorry I blurted out loud in the middle of a test, and I’m sorry for cussing, but you see, this dead person wouldn’t shut up.” Yeah, that would go over well. Nope, I just sit with my head down, my face burning from embarrassment, and whisper, “It won’t happen again. Had to be the stress over the test.” You get the picture.
The rest of the day I endure the strange looks and whispers by shrugging and mumbling something like “Idiot dead people.” The kids will avoid me for the next few days. I think they’re afraid whatever I have will rub off on them, or that I’ve gone bananas or something. Understandable.
All this comes from my grandmother. When I was little, Nana lived with us, and it was like Halloween every night. She told the most amazing stories about spirits that visited her. Nana said I would inherit her gift, except it’s not a gift. It is definitely a curse. Because of it, I had the first and last sleepover at my house in the third grade when Nana decided to share one of her stories with my best friend Rachel and me. In the years since Nana passed away, I’ve been laughed at, shunned, and avoided, especially after an incident like today.
When my parents get home and hear what happened...Well I might be the one shouting “It’s not fair.”
So now I sit in my bedroom trying to work on a history project. You know, the kind where the teacher puts you in a group, and then no one in the group does anything? Yep, that’s my luck. This is due the day after tomorrow, and no one except me has done anything. I’ll probably fail if it’s not finished. My eyes wander around the room instead of focusing.
“Roosa.”
Without thinking, I blurt out, “It’s Rosa, not Roosa. And I told you to get lost. Now.” I jump to the door and slam it shut. Do the dead have no respect?
And just who is THIS guy? It’s not the same person who got me in trouble at school. That’s nice. Now I have an army of dead people invading my brain. Too bad they can’t do this project for me.
“Roosa.”
Who is this idiot?
“Listen. This is my room, my space. These are my things, and I refuse to share them with dead people!”

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5 comments:

ccarpinello said...

Lisa, thank you so much for letting Rosa visit today. Hope your visitors will enjoy this brief look at Sons of the Sphinx.

Mackenzie Nordal said...

Wow that sounds really interesting! Thanks for sharing :) #kidlitbloghop

ccarpinello said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mackenzie, and for joining the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Tiffiny said...

Wow! I just got sucked in! Thanks for joining us at the Kidlit Blog Hop.

Stacie Theis said...

I have this book on my list to be reviewed and after reading the excerpt I am even more excited to read it. Thanks for sharing this on the hop.