Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog Tour: Wonderland by David-Matthew Barnes


Nominated for the American Library Association’s 2014 Rainbow Books!

After her mother loses her battle to cancer, fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore moves from Chicago to Avalon Cove, a mysterious island in South Carolina. There, she starts a new life working part-time as a magician's assistant and living with her eccentric uncle Fred and his hottie husband, Clark.

Destiny is soon befriended by two outcasts, Tasha Gordon and Topher McGentry. She accepts their invitation to accompany them to a place called Wonderland, a former boarding house owned by the enigmatic Adrianna Marveaux.

It's there that Destiny meets and falls in love with Dominic, Tasha becomes enamored with Juliet, and Topher gives his heart to Pablo.

When Destiny uncovers the reason she and her friends have really been brought to Wonderland, she's faced with the most crucial choice of her life.


There was a clicking sound and the front door began slowly opening. I had no idea who-- or what-- was on the other side. My heart beat quickened with anticipation. I licked my lips and swallowed the lump of fear in my throat.
            “Here we go,” Tasha said. I could hear the smile in her voice. 
            We crossed the threshold, stepping into the house. We disappeared into a sea of pitch black darkness.
            I heard the door click closed behind us.
            I held my hand up in front of my face. Nothing.
            I knew I sounded scared,. “I can’t see anything,” I said. My voice reverberated around us.
Are we in a tunnel? What’s happening to me?
            “It takes a second,” Tasha assured me.
I reached for her hand and squeezed it.
            “We’re making the transition,” Topher explained. “You might feel a little strange.”
            Just as he said it, I felt a blast of warm air in my face. It smelled fragrant, like flowers. White carnations. I could taste them on my lips.
I closed my eyes. A rush of adrenaline started surging through me. It was like neon stars were sparkling beneath my skin. I trembled from a particularly intense crest of euphoria. Even though I could feel solid ground beneath my feet, I had the sensation I was falling – or spinning. Maybe I was doing both.
Is the floor moving?
My emotions began intensifying. It was as if layers of joy were wrapping around my soul. It was a beautiful sensation. The sweetness made me think of walking outside of our Chicago apartment on the first day of spring, when the snow had melted and the city was reemerging, having survived another winter. I could almost feel the warm sun on my skin. I inhaled deeply, intoxicated by the fresh blossoms that must be floating in the ink black air around me.
The wave of happiness reminded me of being a child again and falling asleep in the backseat of my parent’s car. I could hear them whispering in the front, their words still full of love for one another. I knew once we got home and pulled into our driveway, my father would scoop me up in his arms, and carry me upstairs to my bedroom.
Maybe it was Christmas Eve. In the morning, we would be together again. The three of us. Before

my brother was born. Before the divorce. The sickness. The funeral.
The world seemed so simple then.
All of the sadness I felt for my mother’s death disappeared, washed away. I was now engulfed with an overwhelming sense that everything was going to be all right, that life was normal again.
I tightened my grip on Tasha’s hand, certain she would cry out in pain at any second. 
Her voice cut through the dark. “We’re almost there,” she promised.
            I heard music then. It was soft at first, like a faraway lullaby and it grew closer. It was tiptoeing towards me from all directions. For a second, I felt like I’d crawled inside of a music box. I was pirouetting in ballet slippers and a pink tutu in my mind, moving in circles with my mother’s grace.
The haunting piano vibrated inside of me, stirring a bitter sweetness.  The music calmed and exhilarated me at the same time. I felt invincible and nostalgic. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to dance or cry.
I recognized the music at once. My mother used to dance to it in our living room. With my eyes shut tight, I could see the moment, only the colors were more vibrant. The textures of the memory begged to be touched: her soft rose-colored skirt, her smooth hands, the shiny wooden floors. I was much younger. It was before my mother had opened the dance studio on Belmont Avenue. It was before the cancer.
It was Beethoven.
The music made me smile. I allowed myself to linger in the memory, reaching out for my mother’s hand, wanting to touch het, to feel my fingertips against her palm. I knew she wasn’t there, but the moment felt so real.
She pulled away from me and continued to dance. I watched her feet, gliding across the floor of our living room. We were in the house on Armitage Avenue. My father hadn’t lost his job yet. My mother still had light in her eyes.
A stranger’s voice entered the memory, my thoughts. It came to me from the center of the darkness.
“Do you recognize the music?” a woman asked me. Her voice was soft and warm. It was inviting. I felt safe and secure. The gentleness in her tone made me feel loved. There was something very familiar about her voice, but I couldn’t place it.
“Yes,” I answered. “I do.”
The woman and I spoke in unison, saying Moonlight Sonata at the same time.
My muscles had relaxed. Any tension I’d been carrying in my body was gone. I felt lightheaded, but not dizzy.
“You may open your eyes now, Destiny,” she said.
I blinked and stared in awe.
Where am I?
I was standing in the foyer of a beautiful home, surrounded by an array of expensive-looking antiques. In front of me was a wooden staircase leading up to a second floor. My eyes focused in on the banister. It looked hand carved, with giant stars and loopy swirls etched into it.
I looked from one side to the other. No sign of Tasha or Topher. Just pools of golden sunlight pouring in from every window, washing the shiny wooden floors in a bath of pure, warm rays.
I turned around in a slow circle, trying to take it all in: a sparkling chandelier above me; vases of beautiful flowers sitting on every flat surface; gorgeous cherry and mahogany furniture and plush wingback chairs; stunning paintings in gilt frames hanging from the walls; a grandfather clock chiming behind me; a grand piano in the far corner of the front room, begging to be played.

It was picture perfect, inviting and comfortable. Already, I never wanted to leave.

Guest Post:

This Isn’t Alice’s Wonderland
A Guest Blog by David-Matthew Barnes
One of the important rules of writing I subscribe to is: if you do something that’s been done before, do it differently. This was certainly the case with my novel Wonderland. Treading into the sacred ground of the Lewis Carroll classic is risky to say the least. The images are iconic. The characters are unforgettable. The story is timeless. No matter what adaptation emerges, there’s no way to build upon greatness.
It was never my aim to retell a tale that’s already been told. Instead, I paid tribute. Growing up, I was an avid reader. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was certainly a part of my young life, encouraging me to dream and imagine. Like so many other children, I dreamed of a colorful place rich with adventures and fun – a wonderland to escape to. I brought all of this with me into the creative process while writing the novel.
Although I was constantly aware of Carroll’s classic, I was determined to stay true to my characters, stick to my original vision, tell my own story. The end result is a tale of a young girl who – through love and magic – discovers that despite the sadness she’s encountered along the way, life promises to improve greatly.
In Wonderland, you will certainly recognize certain familiar elements: a young blonde protagonist searching to discover whether or not she believes in magic, a somewhat mystical place she finds herself stumbling into that is filled with hope and possibilities, the sudden presence of love in a time and place it is least expected. Even a white rabbit makes an appearance. But, truly, that’s where the comparisons start and end.
The focus here is grief. Destiny Moore is a fifteen-year-old girl whose mother has died from cancer. Even though she’s lost someone she loved and everything she’s ever known has changed, life for Destiny must go on.
As a writer, I was fascinated by the transitions Destiny experiences as she walks through each stage of grief. To her experiences, I added many components: she has to leave her hometown of Chicago and live with her two gay uncles on an island in South Carolina, she’s befriended by two misfits who – through their struggles – teach her what it means to be different in a place where different is not cool, she meets a boy named Dominic with whom she falls in love with only to find out their relationship could be doomed before it even starts. Through all of this, Destiny is slowly coming to terms with the loss of her mother. By incorporating supernatural and paranormal elements into her story, I was able to heighten Destiny’s journey. Much like Alice, Destiny discovers the greatest source of strength is within. Along the way, she also discovers she believes in love and magic.
Here’s a song that inspired the novel: Wonderland by Natalia Kills.
Link: http://youtu.be/ayVuQLT00v0

Buy Links:

About the Author:

David-Matthew Barnes is a filmmaker, novelist, playwright, poet, and teacher.

He is the award-winning author of nine novels including the young adult novels Swimming to Chicago and
Wonderland, which were nominated by the American Library Association for their annual Rainbow Books, a list of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content for children and teens. His literary work has appeared in over one hundred publications including The Best Stage Scenes, The Comstock Review, and The Southeast Review. He was selected by Kent State University as the national winner of the Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Award. In addition, he's received the Carrie McCray Literary Award, the Slam Boston Award for Best Play, and earned double awards for poetry and playwriting in the World AIDS Day Writing Contest.

Barnes is also the author of over forty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in eight countries. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and International Thriller Writers.

Barnes' first film was Frozen Stars, which he wrote and directed while still an undergrad in college. The coming-of-age independent film stars Lana Parrilla of ABC's Once Upon a Time.

Barnes earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He has taught college courses in writing and the arts for the last decade.

He lives in the city of Denver where he serves as the CEO of Fairground CineFilms.

Tour Schedule:

October 28 Guest blog
Mom With A Kindle

October 29 review

October 30 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

October 31 Spotlight
Rockin' & Reviewing

November 1 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

November 4 Spotlight excerpt and review
Lipstick Lesbian Reviews

November 5 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.  

November 6 Spotlight
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog

November 7 Interview
Fantasy Book Addict

November 8 Guest blog
Roxanne’s Realm

November 12 Guest blog and review
Books to Get Lost In

November 13 Spotlight and review
Penny For Them...

November 13 Spotlight
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

November 14 Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!    

November 15 Spotlight and review
Darker Passions   

November 19 Spotlight
Book Suburbia

November 20 Spotlight
Book Reviews by Xunaira J.

November 21 Guest blog
Dalene’s Book Reviews

November 22 Guest blog
BookwormBridgette's World

Meagan's Review:

After reading this book I want to start walking up to everyone and asking, "Do you believe in magic?"

Now I will tell you I am a firm believer in all things magic and fairy tale. Always have been and I think I always will. Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favorite stories ever since I was a little girl. That alone pulled me into this book. With that aside this book was confusing and kept you guessing and wondering till the end. The story starts off with Destiny in a town called Avalon Cove, in which she very recently moved. Her mother passed away and she will now be taken in by her two uncles until she reaches 18. Her family is very interesting. First her grandfather was a magician during his time and that legacy carried on to her uncle and his partner. Eventually it would pass to Destiny.

After just 2 hours everyone that lives in this little city is weird. But it isn't until Destiny goes and experiences Wonderland with her 2 new friend, Topher and Tasha, that things really get interesting. Wonderland is a magical place and quizzical and testing. Supposedly all good things to those who wait. This is the beginning of the mystery that surrounds the book that keeps the reader interested until the very end. The love that plays a role in this book is interesting and as well as how that plays out for the reader. Is it real? Is it a dream? Why so many secret choices?

There were so many good things about this book. I don't want to give too much away with this review because this book is worth reading to feel out of whack (in a good way) and late for an important date. I really enjoyed reading about Destiny and her destiny. I loved learning about "him" and the significance of possibly finding your true love. This was such a great reminder (in a sense) of Alice in Wonderland and what it feels like to fall down the rabbit hole and I loved every moment of it!!! I really wish this book was a little longer, I wanted more information or details about Wonderland and everything. Get to know the characters even better. This had a twist as well adding another layer to it. This is a fairly quick read and one I recommend reading.  

Soul Fire


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