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A Little Light Reading by Lisa



The first time he put his lunch down across from her Helena froze. Everything in her seemed to bristle. People usually left her well enough alone and she was perfectly fine with that. If he tried to talk to her she knew her practiced response and had it ready: death glare, on ice. Every nerve was on high alert, ready to put it into play.

But then, without a word, he pulled out a book and sank into it, absently taking bites of his food between turning pages. He seemed to barely notice she was there.

Helena was relieved. He was new, so he probably didn’t know that people didn’t talk to her. He would soon enough. But for now, maybe he’d just seen a mostly empty table, in the sea of human noise that was their cafeteria.

The next day, she was sure, he’d have heard all about who she was and why he shouldn’t sit with her at lunch and he’d join the rest of the busy, loud room in ignoring her. It was fine. She opened up her own book and shook off the nerves still jolting in her veins and went on with her lunch.

But the next day he was back. And the next. She was bold enough to glance at him once or twice. She thought maybe he was slow. Otherwise what was he still doing, sitting directly across from her so calmly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world? There had to be something wrong with him. Nothing else made sense.

It took until the fourth day to realize he was in her English class. She had the grace to sit tucked into the row against the wall in English. She answered questions if called upon, but she rarely was. Mrs. Callaghan seemed to empathize with her misanthropic ways, and mostly left her alone, or gave her quietly enthusiastic shoulder-squeezes as she handed back her papers.

Suddenly someone was answering a question about Lady Macbeth and her sleepwalking self-incrimination. And the answer was intelligent and thoughtful, and coming from the mouth of the boy who had made a habit of sitting across from her at lunch.

And that’s how she learned that his name was Travis.

And how, as he caught her staring at him after he’d given his answer, she first saw him smile.

At lunch the next day he when the bell rang he closed his book—he was at the end, she’d seen, from her furtive glances at him—and slid it a few inches across the table, then picked up his tray and started to walk away.

“You forgot this,” she said, speaking to him for the first time.

Her heart sputtered in her chest when he just grinned at her. “No I didn’t. I think you might like it.”

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, a book about memorization tricks and anecdotes. She did like it.

She was determined to return the favor and do it well. He had set the bar pretty high. She didn’t want to counter with another nonfiction, so what she slid in his direction the next day was high fantasy. He lifted an eyebrow at her, and let the book he had brought with him drop back into his bag.

The second time he slid a book over to her, it had a scrap of paper in it with his phone number and “Hi. :)”

You have to have heard how no one at school likes me by now, she texted him after she’d finally found the courage to send him a hi of her own.

I like you, what do I care what they think? he sent back. Do you care?

And it was so much harder to, knowing that he didn’t.

He asked her to go see a movie on a weekend in November, and he offered her his coat, but she didn’t need it, because Helena was the type of girl who dressed appropriately for the weather.

It took them both a little bit of time to get their words out, but walking the aisles in the bookstore or library seemed to help. They both had a lot of opinions on books.

People still called her freak sometimes, and even huffed at them when they walked down the halls. But then his hand would find hers, and graduation was in May. Austin wasn’t far, but it was a far sight better than here.

All they could afford was community college, but it was something. And she’d heard they had the biggest indie bookstore in the world. Helena thought it sounded just about perfect.

A Little Late

My apologies for the silence! I was on vacation until Sunday and got back to immediate domestic duties (note: unpacking sucks). Please forgive me! I will try and have a freebie up on Friday. I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. 🙂

Little Note from Lisa

My laptop charger is dead! I’ve renegaded my husband’s netbook for this post, but I won’t have it for long. Unfortunately because of all this ridiculousness, I completely forgot to write a story for this week. You probably noticed it missing yesterday. I’m so sorry! I’ll be back next week. Hopefully. Read good books!



Happy New Year!

Happy 2012 everybody! Hope this is a great year for all! We’re getting back into the swing of things, and we’ll have a fresh new story for you on Friday!

Holiday Hiatus!

Hi readers! Hope you have a great holiday! We’ll be back in January with fresh new stories for you!

Introducing Tales From the Hollow Tree: Volume One!

Hello lovely readers! We here at Tales From the Hollow Tree don’t have a new story for you today, but that’s only because we have a big surprise that we’re very excited about—we hope you’ll like it too!

Isabelle and I have loved this project so much that we wanted to see if we couldn’t package them up nicely for readers to have to read at their own leisure, so soon we will be releasing an ebook of ten collected stories from Tales From the Hollow Tree—eight you’ve read before and two that are all new and will only be available in this book! Stories of Enchantment and Desolation is just that—a collection of tales where the line between alluring and devastating is blurred or crossed altogether. These books will be published in a beautifully formatted .pdf and will be available through various sources by the end of November for 99¢. We’re so excited!

Isn’t our cover lovely, by the way? My awesome husband designed our new logo, and as you can see, we’ve got a new banner to match! What do you think of it?

Hey guys!

This week’s story is going to have to wait until Monday. Sorry! Isabelle’s on vacation and completely devoid of internet!

In the meanwhile, what kind of stories would you like to see on the Hollow Tree?

Operation Fresh Start 2011!

We have an exciting announcement!  The Hollow Tree has been a bit… hollow lately.  That’s mainly my (Lisa’s) fault.  I’m getting married in a week, and book reading, much less blogging have not been on the agenda very much…. but that doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten about you!  Or that we’ve lost enthusiasm for all things Young Adult and Fantasy.  We’ll be having a Grand Reopening in January, with a fresh new look and a couple of fresh new voices to go along with it!  Keep an eye out!

Important Notice: Hollow Tree Hiatus

Dear Hollow Tree Readers and Lovers of all things YA Fantasy,

Unfortunately real life has taken it’s toll here at the magical realm known as Hollow Tree.

Between Lisa’s upcoming nuptials and my endless stream of jobs and running after my very active toddler, I find myself burned out and in need of comfort. I plan to spend the next two weeks pulling every free minute, which aren’t many these days, reading and writing.

I have to replenish my creative well. The soul is dried out and miserable. Books in my TBR arsenal? Firelight and the Glass series by Maria v. Snyder. Four books in two weeks. Can I do it, on top of everything else I have spiraling out of control in my life? Only time will tell. And perhaps I’ll have more than half of my novel written by then as well. That would be sublime.

I will resume my half of the Tree magic on Sept 15. Until then, please play amongst yourselves and leave our happy place some love via comments.

See you all down the rabbit hole, my pretties.

Fun Friday: Trailer for Bree Despain’s The Dark Divine

I gave a fairly glowing review of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain in February. Now I have something fun to share with you! The official teaser trailer for The Dark Divine has been released on Despain’s blog, and we have it to share with you today!

Now, I have to admit this trailer is a bit mild, really, when compared to the book. The title doesn’t kid around when it uses the word “Dark.” Not that the book is R-rated or anything (far from it) but it’s much more high-stakes than the broody trailer makes it seem. It’s not just that Daniel disappeared—he disappeared the same night Grace’s brother comes stumbling home, covered in his own blood.

It is kind of insanely pretty though, isn’t it? Either way, this book comes highly recommended from me. 🙂

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