Title: Out of the Blue: Black and Blues (Book One)
Author: Stephanie Rose Bird
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: One Odd Bird Press
Date of Publication: March 22, 2020
Cover Artist: Najla Qamber Designs and Qamber Kids
Out of the Blue is a young-adult, coming-of-age novel that seamlessly bridges elements of African American folklore and spirituality with Greek mythology.
When two worlds collide, only one girl can unravel the mythical threads and save her father’s life. . .
Mobile, Alabama, 1947
Bobby “The Shrimp Man” Daniels, a blues singer and shrimper from Mobile, lies unconscious in a hospital bed, suffering from a mysterious illness. His daughter Tina, a sheltered sixteen year old, torn between her love for her father, and her disappointment in his relationship with Kyane, his much younger mistress, is determined to heal her father, no matter the cost.
Kyane isn’t just a mistress, she’s a Siren, obsessed with her overwhelming desire to become human and merge her otherworldly singing voice with Bobby’s incredible music. She’ll do anything to get what she wants, annihilating anything, and anyone who stands in her way.
In order to save her father, Tina will have to travel to the Kyane’s world, a world of strange and magical creatures, and figure out how to wrestle his soul from the Siren’s control. As Tina’s magical journey twists and turns, she’ll learn what it means to be a woman and what it means to save not only her father, but herself.
Out of the Blue is a young-adult, coming-of-age novel that seamlessly bridges elements of African American folklore and spirituality and Greek mythology.
Watching her sister tether Finnegan to the post, a coldness creeps up Mavis’ spine, just as though someone has thrown a bucket of ice water inside the back of her white blouse.
Mabel has always been the dreamy sister, and Mavis sees that she’s lost in thought. She doesn’t even take notice at first. Soon enough, as is the way with the pair, Mabel feels her sister’s shock from the inexplicable chill, in her bones, in much the same way. With an otherworldly shudder, she nearly jumps out of her skin.
Even though they’re elders, the sisters have plenty of vim and vigor, and that spunk is accentuated by the Van Van oil. The magickal oil has seeped into their bodies through their pulse points during the half-hour ride. As usual, they ignore curious stares, because they know they cut quite the picture, what with the fact that they carry a black umbrella that matches their equally dark complexions. When anyone asked, they say it’s shielding them from getting darker, while this may be true, considering they carry it no matter what the sky condition it seems as though they just carry it because they feel like it. Then there is the floppy straw hats, complete with wide, colorful ribbons and pinned-on fresh flowers, the big, busy-patterned, aproned-skirts with old-fashioned petticoats underneath, finished off with laced-up mahogany-colored granny boots. They were an odd-ball pair who had mix-matched the most colorful parts of their homeland, Jamaica, with the staid manners of the Southern Negro.
They were two women who were used to walking between worlds.
A strange feeling overtook Mavis’ chill, as she clicks her stacked wood heels down the hardwood floors of the infirmary’s hallway. Instinctively, as she walks past the closed doors of all the patients, she reaches for her nation sack, the way a man or woman of the law, or not, might reach for a gun. Looking around to make sure no one was looking, she takes the bag of magickal herbs and special curios out from her bra, and squeezes it a few times, releasing a complex aroma in the otherwise sterile-smelling hall. Moving like electricity, the energy from her nation sack travels from her hands, up her arm and settles in her chest. Bolstered by its power, she quickens her step, after putting her powerful nation sack back in her bosom.
“What the hell?” Mabel said to no one in particular.
Mabel looked to the infirmary floor, where Tina laid. Dressed in her Sunday finest, with a dainty straw cloche to top it off, the reddish brown-skinned girl people call a Red Bone, was tiny and small, stuck somewhere between girl and woman. She likely doesn’t weigh much more than a couple of feed bags. She sure is a sad sight with a steady trickle of blood coming from her head. The poor girl is crumpled in a pool of water tinged pink with the blood flowing into it.
Tina was also surrounded by jagged shards from the shattered cobalt-blue glass.
As Mabel addresses Tina’s wound, Mavis goes straight over to Bobby’s bedside. She waves her hands over his eyes, which are still open.
Although her brass and copper bracelets clang loudly, Bobby doesn’t wince or blink. He takes no notice. His pupils seem to have rolled far back into his head.
Gently, she runs her fingers over his eyelids, closing them, and lays him back down, taking him out of the strange upright position he’s been stuck in. It’s difficult because he’s rigid, but she manages to do it, so at least if he awakens he won’t be greeted by the alarming sight of his daughter sprawled out on the wet floor, before him. Everyone knows how much he loves his sweet, oldest daughter, Earnestine.
“The devil is busy,” said Mavis. “Sho’ nuff,” her sister replied.
Even though, she’s perfectly capable of handling just about any situation, Mavis knows she needs to reserve her energy for doctoring, so she calls out for help.
“Nurse! Doctor! Orderly!” She uses the pointed end of her witching boot to hold open the heavy door and continues shouting, not caring a lick whether or not she upsets the other patients.
But before she has the time to go into a full rant, waking up sleeping patients, Bessie comes to see what all the commotion is about.
“What in the world?” Bessie calls back to Mavis.
Mabel should have known better. She’s usually so carefully in situations like this but seeing Tina on the floor stirs her sympathies something fierce. Mabel just jumps right in and acts before thinking things through. She’s about to give Tina mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Before Mabel can place her mouth over the girl’s, Tina reaches out and grabs the collar of Mabel’s blouse with all the strength she has in her ninety-five pound body. One hand latches on to the seer’s left hand. Quick as a wink, they’re connected. The girl’s touch acts like a lightning rod, pulling Mabel along an electrical current. Through this conduit, Mabel travels to a distant land– the land where Tina and Bobby are currently living.
Whether the father and daughter are captives or not, well now that’s still to be decided.
Stephanie Rose Bird is the author of the critically acclaimed and award-winning, “Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones: Hoodoo Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs.” Her other books include: “365 Days of Hoodoo,” and “Four Seasons of Mojo,” all three were published by Llewellyn Worldwide. Bird also contributes to Llewellyn Spell-a-Day,” “Llewellyn Herbal Almanac” and “Llewellyn Magical Almanac.” She is the author of: “Earth Mama Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss” (Green Magic Publishing), “A Healing Grove” (Lawrence Hill Books), “The Big Book of Soul,” (Red Wheel Weiser/Hampton Roads Publishers) and “Light, Bright and Damned Near White: Biracial and Triracial Culture in America and Beyond.” (ABC-Clio).
She is a novelist, published by One Odd Bird Press, in the Young Adult Fantasy and Magical Realism genres. “Out of the Blue” is her debut novel in the Black and Blues Series. One Odd Bird Press will also publish “Pine Barren Blues.” She writes and paints where she lives (Chicagoland) with her husband, near her children, and along with some very busy animal friends.