This is my post during the blog tour for The Twin Stars by Bridgette Dutta Portman. In The Twin Stars a teenage girl with OCD falls into a fantasy world, where she must face her deepest fears in order to become the hero of her own story.
This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours and the tour runs from 26 July till 8 August. You can see the tour schedule here.
The Twin Stars (The Coseema Saga #1)
By Bridgette Dutta Portman
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 6 July, 2021
A magical journal. A world savaged by its own suns. An evil prince. A princess in hiding. And a teenage girl who learns to be the hero of her own story.
Sixteen-year-old Olive Joshi has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can’t stop worrying about hurting the people she loves. She finds refuge in writing about Coseema, a magical princess on a distant planet. Coseema is fearless, confident, and perfect – everything Olive thinks she’ll never be. When she falls through a portal into her own unfinished story, Olive finds herself in a world in peril: double suns scorch the land, the brutal Prince Burnash seeks supreme power, and Coseema is nowhere to be found. Together with her friends – a bold poet, a cursed musician, a renegade soldier, and an adventurous girl from the desert – Olive will have to face her deepest fears to find the hero in herself.
The Twin Stars is an engrossing new portal fantasy in the spirit of the Wizard of Oz, the Neverending Story, and the Chronicles of Narnia.
***Top Ten Things I Need as a Writer***
- David Bowie songs. I can usually find one to fit the mood of whatever scene I’m writing. Cynical and dystopian? Five Years. Romantic? Wild is the Wind. Fun and lighthearted? Dance Magic. Bowie’s got me covered.
- A hot cup of coffee. The caffeine helps, but it’s probably more of an emotional addiction at this point. Coffee never judges, and it’s always there for me.
- A notebook or scratch paper. While I do write on a laptop (see #5), I like plotting and sketching by hand. There’s something liberating about it.
- Time. With two young kids, this can be a major challenge. My 7-year-old understands when Mommy’s writing, but my 2-year-old would prefer to be physically grafted onto Mommy 24/7. I do most of my writing late at night after they’ve gone to bed.
- My laptop. Okay, this one’s obvious. But I do need to get the words from my head to the page somehow. Take heed: I once spilled an entire cup of coffee on my laptop, so this one and #2 don’t always mix well.
- Deadlines. If there’s one thing that motivates me to write, it’s having a deadline. There’s nothing like procrastination followed by a panicked frenzy!
- Great novels and plays. I love being inspired by the brilliant work of other writers. That said…
- Terrible fanfiction. I love reading fanfiction; it’s my guilty pleasure. There are some gems. But sometimes I’ll intentionally read really awful fanfiction, just to give myself examples of what not to do. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I may have written some myself.)
- Courage. Being a writer is stressful. There’s a LOT of rejection involved. You put your work out there with no guarantee that anyone will like it. I’m not sure I could stick with it, were it not for…
- Community. I treasure my fellow writers and artists, and feeling their support is everything.
Olive kept her eyes shut the entire time she was in the air.
She sat behind Zeph, her arms wrapped around his waist and her face pressed into his back, but she was too terrified even to blush. She heard Bel, somewhere to her left, giggling and shrieking like a child on a roller coaster. She heard the flapping of leathery wings and the whistling of air as it whipped up her hair and pulled at her sleeves and pant legs. But she saw nothing. She feared that if she opened her eyes for even an instant, she would fall to the desert floor, or throw up, or both.
The Raiders’ pteroks may have been tame, but they looked as nightmarish as ever. They were more like dragons than bats: mouths brimming with fangs, a row of spikes along whiplike tails, talons as long as Olive’s hand. Only their jet-black fur offered a reassuring softness; everything else was barbs and thorns and razor edges, and their eyes, so big and endearing in the chicks, looked sunken and menacing in the faces of the adults.
Flying horses, thought Olive to herself. Why couldn’t I have invented flying horses?
She had almost been too frightened to climb onto the back of her ride. Zeph described Midnight, Gloamie’s mother, as the gentlest pterok in the colony. Olive, who had thought the creature looked as though it were considering which part of her body to bite first, had not found that description particularly encouraging. Zeph had assured her that they would fly slowly, that he would guide the pteroks with his music, and that all Olive would have to do was hold on.
“Has anyone ever fallen?” Olive had asked.
Zeph had chuckled lightly and had not actually replied.
“Olive!” Bel screamed from somewhere to the right, where she and her aunt were riding a second pterok. “Isn’t this the best?”
Olive made a muffled noise, her face still scrunched up against Zeph’s back. The ride was not smooth like the fluttercamel’s had been; it was bumpy and twitchy, and the pterok tilted its body to the side far too often.
After what must have been fifteen or twenty minutes, Zeph played a series of falling notes on his stringed instrument, and the pterok began to descend. Olive opened her eyes only when its feet touched down with a final jolt. Her arms felt stiff as she unclasped them from around Zeph’s waist. She slid off the pterok’s wing like a rag doll, and for a minute she sat crumpled on the sand, waiting to catch the breath she’d left far behind her.
Bel extended a hand to help her up. The girl wore a broad smile, her cheeks flushed and her braids loose. Olive raised a hand to her own hair and made a halfhearted effort to smooth it down, then stood on trembling legs, her stomach flopping about like a stranded fish. She tried to mask her discomfort with a smile of her own.
“Quite a rush, huh?” asked Reen.
“That was amazing!” Bel gave her pterok a pat on its hideous snout. “Wasn’t it, Olive?”
***About the Author***
Bridgette Dutta Portman is an author, playwright, and teaching artist. Dozens of her plays have been produced across the United States and overseas. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University, as well as a PhD in political science from the University of California, Irvine. She is past president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and is currently a member of Same Boat Theater Collective, the Pear Playwrights’ Guild, and the Dramatists’ Guild. She recently joined the board of the Pear Theatre in Mountain View, CA. The Twin Stars is her debut novel, and the first of a planned trilogy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Deepanshu and their two young children.
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