Monday, October 29, 2012

Play the Way Home #CoffinHop

I hope you're enjoying the storm of awesome Coffin Hop posts and staying safe from that Sandy tramp that's about to sit her fat, wet ass down on the east coast. If you're stuck inside today (which, with the forecast, you probably should be), take the time to peruse the amazing authors that have dedicated so much time to the 2012 Coffin Hop. Share their posts, leave comments, and win prizes!

Today's post is a selection from my middle grade book "Play the Way Home," the 2nd book in the "Blue Moon Crew of Sawmill Falls" series. Make sure to check out the 1st book "From the Deep Will Rise" by Ken Cain and look out for the next book "The Crying Carousel of Sawmill Falls" coming soon!

Leave a comment on this (or any of my Coffin Hop posts) to be entered into the contest for a super rad prize pack containing "Play the Way Home," my newest novel "PINS," and an ebook of the Coffin Hop Collector's EP "Death By Drive-In." 


The stairs creaked as if scolding Amy for disturbing their long slumber. The handrail was so thick with dust her hand became drier than paper when her fingers ran along it, but she wasn't about to risk the rickety stairs without holding on to something. She didn't know what to expect on the other side of the door, but when she pushed it open and faced a dusty lobby, she sighed in relief. That was the moment a spider decided to descend from her hair. A tickle on her forehead made her hand jump to the spot, but by then, it had already crawled down her nose and squatted on the tip. Amy shrieked as she pawed at her face and did a shuddery dance that knocked the spider to the ground. Because of her frequent friendships with guys, Amy was often called a tomboy or even a straight-up boy at times, but at that moment, no one could have accused her of being anything but a girl.

The music began again and startled Amy so completely she dropped to the floor and crawled into the concessions booth. The music was louder than ever before because it was coming from the auditorium, mere feet from where Amy was shaking in her shoes. The piano's tempo lagged behind the drum and flute, but the blowing of a brass instrument helped the piano find the beat. Unfortunately, when it found the beat, it lost the tune.

Amy pushed herself up from the floor, past the shelves of dust bunny concessions and to the counter littered with pamphlets for movies labeled as new releases, despite the fact that they were from the year Amy was born. The door to the theater fought her to open, but Amy knew from experience that those kind of doors needed opening most of all. She slipped inside, bombarded by music but not much else. The ragged seats were empty and the movie screen rolled away over the stage, upon which there sat a group of displayed instruments: a saxophone, a violin, a flute, a drum, and a piano. While the piano had an actual player, the rest of the music came from tape recorders set along the stage. The pianist was hard to see, so Amy crept closer to the stage. Her foot caused the aisle to creak, and the piano stopped. Amy dropped behind one of the seats as he walked to the tape players and hit “stop” on each, silencing the instruments one by one. She hadn't gotten a good look, but he appeared only a few years only than she. Amy peeked out to see his eyes move across the empty audience, but when he took a step toward the stage's edge, she ducked down completely and waited, whether for a tap on the shoulder or the music's continuation, she didn't know. Luckily, it was the latter. Amy looked over the seat to see the boy hit “play” on the last tape recorder and take his place on the piano bench again. The instruments joined in their own time, with the piano coming in last. His fingers moved clumsily across the keys, striking a few wrong notes, but he eventually found the song. The melody was complete and beautiful. Amy had never heard something so lovely—and up until then, with everything she'd seen in the past, she'd never beheld something so amazing as what happened next.

As the music swelled from the tape recorders and the piano, the instruments on the stage started to shake. The shaking led to breaking, and when pieces from each instrument snapped free, they began to float. Amy clapped her hand over her mouth to stop from yelping. It was a good thing she did, because floating wasn't all the pieces did. They flew to each other and combined—no, assembled. Like a tornado, the parts swirled and built what appeared to be a person. An incomplete person, but a person nonetheless. It had a definite female shape, too. Violin strings made the hair long and flowing, and the body was granted a certain curve from the violin's own. The snare drum made the skin ivory, and the chest visibly pounded with its rhythm. But the shape didn't hold. When the boy hit several wrong chords at once and lost the melody, the pieces began to spin apart. The composition broke down until the cyclone was just a cloud of chaos. The boy slammed his fist on the piano and the pieces fell to the ground, skidding back to the instruments from whence they came.

Amy was again at war, but it was so much tougher than a door or a padlock. Instead, she battled with the decision to step forward or back away. It was a decision she had wrestled with several times before, in places similar to the cinema, but this was the first decision of its kind in Sawmill Falls. She knew what she'd ultimately decide, but she also hoped it would be the first and last time in the new town. After she discovered what made those instruments create what looked like a woman, Amy Muldoon would devote herself to making new friends instead of following mysteries.

If you enjoyed this selection, make sure to leave a comment. You could win a signed copy!! And be sure to continue a-hopping. There are many cool coffins to visit!!


  1. Ooh. Consider my interest officially piqued. :)

  2. That is a very good excerpt. Though I find it interesting, my daughter would absolutely love it.

  3. Enjoyed the excerpt. No kids but I love children's books.

  4. Thanks for the chance!

  5. Nice excerpt.