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Writing Wednesday: Summer School

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It’s finally time for the first excerpt from my current work-in-progress, The Salty Witch! This is the second novel in the Santa Cruz Witch Academy series where Brie is heading to summer school. She let herself get distracted during her first year at the school and didn’t pass all of her classes, so she has to make up a few over the summer.

In this scene, Brie is arriving back at the school and finding out how things will go for the summer.

Time to Concentrate on My Studies

I hoisted my heavy suitcase by the handle while I juggled my art portfolio under my other arm. The dirt path was too bumpy for the tiny wheels to roll. The Unicorn dorm loomed above me, but I didn’t bother to look up. Not much could have changed in only a week.

“Are you sure you brought everything?” Mama Rosa asked for at least the fifth time. Kitten, her bearded dragon familiar, was perched on top of the boxes she carried. “It seems like this is less stuff than we brought you last year.”

“I don’t need the same amount of stuff,” I said, shaking my head. “The summer only lasts ten weeks and then I’ll have to move it all out again. The less I bring, the less trouble it will be.”

Mama Rosa sighed. “But we’re helping you, so it won’t be too much trouble. You should still have the things that make you comfortable.”

I glanced back at my other mother, Mama Ashleigh, for support.

Mama Ashleigh smiled down at her wife over her armful of my belongings. Her faeriekin blood made her taller than both of us ordinary humans, but she never looked patronizing. In a melodic, calming voice, she said, “It’s Brie’s room, so it’s her choice. If she finds that she left something behind that she really needs, we can always bring it down for her on a weekend.”

Mama Rosa relaxed. “That’s true. Or sooner, if you have to have something. We have the summer off so we’ll have time off to come see you whenever you want.”

Mama Ashleigh cleared her throat.

“Oh, yeah, all that free time teachers have when school is closed,” I said with a wink. “You don’t have any developmental training, district meetings, cleaning your classroom or office, lesson planning for next year…”

My moms laughed at the old joke. Some people assumed that teachers had so much free time when school wasn’t in session, but I’d learned early in life that it just wasn’t true. Ashleigh was a school counselor at the public high school, while Rosa taught herbalism and Earth magic at the Calaveras Witch Academy. They were constantly working to help their students—after hours, weekends, and summer break. In a normal summer, I’d be at home helping them.

But when I’d turned sixteen and finally passed the test that allowed me to learn magic, I’d chosen to come to a different witch academy in Santa Cruz. My hope that was attending a school where no one knew my family would allow me to fade into the background. Instead, I’d gotten distracted by mermaids living illegally in the bay and struggled to pass my classes. To make up for my poor grades, I was now stuck in summer school for most of the break.

Secretly, I wasn’t too unhappy about being in summer school. Santa Cruz felt like my second home now. I knew all the best beaches for surfing, the best sushi restaurants for vegan rolls, and how to navigate the hiking trails for the fastest way to get between classrooms. I was getting the hang of my magic without my witch mom looming over me. Although I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick with witchcraft for college or my career, there was something about being here that felt right.

The only sad part was my best friend Damian was home for the summer, so I wouldn’t have him to keep me company. But my new friend, Erin, lived in the area so I could see her after classes. And with most of the other students gone, I could buckle down to concentrate on my studies.


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