PortiaLily’s Upcoming Middle Grade & Teen Fiction

PortiaLily is working on the final preparations for publication of the following:

Sarah Finn

My English class got an assignment to write an essay about the moment when our lives changed forever. Some of my friends had real trouble coming up with something. Johnny Murphy said his life hadn’t changed a bit in all his fourteen years. Sherry Haney told him he was too young to even notice any changes, but since her fifteenth birthday last month she was able to look back at so many changes it was going to be tough for her to pick out just one for her essay.  As for me, it was pretty easy to remember the one moment my life changed forever. It is stored in my mind like a movie reel I can take out, wind up, and play whenever I want or need to. That moment came when I first saw Sarah Finn—or rather the vision I later knew was Sarah Finn. I was eleven. It was the afternoon of April 29, 1963. The Oklahoma summer was beginning to sneak across days the calendar still thought were caught up in spring.”

the opening words from Sarah Finn by PortiaLily Taylor

Sarah Finn is the story of Cathryn Henderson who knows the challenges of being a biracial girl in 1963 Oklahoma. She faces the scorn of school bullies and the rejection of a grandfather. But, Cathryn knows her struggles don’t compare to those faced by people like Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and so many others who are part of the civil rights protest and marches she sees on television.

Cathryn finds refuge at home and in church. But, when a tornado destroys both, she wonders where she will find the “peace in her heart” promised in the hymn sung during Dr. King’s marches. Cathryn and her family must turn to a mysterious, elderly woman named Sarah Finn for help. With that meeting comes the moment the girl’s life changes forever.

Who is Sarah Finn? How does Cathryn’s life change? Does “peace” finally find its way into Cathryn’s heart? The novel Sarah Finn will answer these questions…and so much more.!

Captain Con & the Red Jacket

The boy steadied himself and put out his hand. The tall man reached down and shook it. “My name is Nick Caswell-Grant,” he said solemnly. “Thank you for all you have done for me.”

“Pop! Pop! Pop!” A volley of shots came from the direction of the woods.

“To your stations, mates! Let us take th’ ship to sea!” shouted the tall man as the people on the deck scrambled to follow his command. He then turned back to the large man helping to hoist the rowboat to the back of the ship. “Andrew, ask LaPaz to ready our cannons in response to th’ Baron’s farewell salute!” Andrew nodded and began shouting his own orders.

“By th’ way, I be Captain Con Neapolis. An’ this fine ship, young Nick, be th’ Red Jacket.”

excerpt from Captain Con & the Red Jacket by PortiaLily Taylor

Captain Con & the Red Jacket is the story of Nick Grant-Caswell, a 12-year-old boy who finds himself mysteriously transported into a world of pirates and sea battles where the thick glasses and eye patch he wears to correct a vision impairment are the sources of heroism and salvation and not the bullying he is used to. 

Life for Nick in the “real world” is gray and gloomy. He longs for a different life filled with color and adventure. Instead, he’s bullied by schoolmates, teased by his sister, and ridiculed by a teacher. It doesn’t help that he must wear glasses to strengthen his weakened eye muscles. If that wasn’t bad enough, he must also push an eye patch over one lens as further therapy for his amblyopia (lazy eye).

Neighborhood bullies taunt Nick for wearing the eye patch. He runs into the woods to escape and hits his head on a tree in the process. When he wakes from the blow, the boy finds himself in a world as bright and colorful as his was drab and bleak. It is the world of Captain Con of the ship the Red Jacket and his pirate crew. They have been waiting for the fulfillment of a prophesy that a person called The Other will lead them to a land of freedom and away from the tyranny of the evil Baron von Mal. Much to Nick’s – and the pirates’ – surprise, he is The Other.

How will Nick go about leading his pirate friends to their “own true homeport”? How will they survive sea battles, treacherous storms, dungeon captivity, and other dangerous obstacles to their destination? Will this true homeport” ever be found? Will Nick discover the way back to his own home? Read Captain Con & the Red Jacket to find the answers!