At age sixteen, Mink Jollè still hasn’t discovered his Elemental affinity, which is an identity crisis unheard of on the planet Georra. He has endured constant bullying while being held back in school, and his parents have come to employ drastic measures to help him mature. Their current ruse is a camping trip on Rift Ridge, where they test Mink to the breaking point, to no avail.
Meanwhile, Mink and his parents run across a Machinist scout searching out a mother lode of ore, who finds more than he bargains for. An immense geode buried deep in the ground is fabled to be the Tear of God, and the first nation to claim it will hold power and protection unrivaled on Georra.
The race is on as Mink’s parents stand guard at the Tear of God, sending Mink back to his homeland for help. Defying the odds and surprising himself, Mink succeeds in delivering the news to his people, and is chosen to assist a Team in returning to the site to relieve his parents and acquire the Tear of God for Octernal. Along the way, Mink is forced to rely on his strengths without an Element in order to win respect and ultimately discover his true identity.
Raymond has enjoyed writing from an early age. He lives in Coastal North Carolina with his wife and two daughters. His character driven stories reflect the diversity of the places he has lived and the jobs he has had, focusing on animals and film.
This excerpt comes from a conversation between Mink and Gyov, his long-time crush. They're at the breakfast table with other members of their Cells, but everyone else seems to be too wrapped up in the debate between science and theology to pay them any mind.
Of course the apparent mutual feelings make Mink over-the-moon happy, but readers know that it only makes more complications for Mink. It was harder than I thought as a writer to make the confession/conversation age-appropriate for the characters and also something bearable for readers to get through. It wasn't even until around the tenth draft that I started putting in the dialog from the debate.
Tear of God – Elements
Mink’s split attention divorced from the debate to focus fully on Gyov. Committed to taking a risk, he admitted, “I miss having classes with you. When I couldn’t take any Elemental courses, I really felt like everyone went on without me, you know? I’ve just been filling up my schedule with all the elective classes I can. I don’t have more than one class with anyone.”
“Is that why you always look so sad?” Gyov’s eyes locked on to Mink’s.
“Excuse me?” Mink, suprised by her being so direct, leaned away from Gyov enough for Obyr to elbow him out of his space. “What makes you think I’m sad?”
“I notice. I have confession. Every day at school I walk by you, hoping you remember me and talk to me.”
It was almost too much to hear, coming straight out of Gyov’s mouth as if they were going over answers for a test. Mink’s face reddened, then tears backed up in his eyes. She was hoping he would talk to her? Daily?
Mink wiped his face with both hands in a hurry. “Whew. That sausage is hotter than it looks.” He looked back at Gyov, who now seemed so serious he had to smile big to snap her out of it. “I’m not sad. Maybe that’s just how I look.”
“Did my confession upset you? I don’t want you to think I stalk you or something.”
“No, no. Not upsetting. Don’t worry about it. Just a little surprised is all.”
“Oh dear. I have upset you. You think I’m weird now and won’t like me.” She gave Mink a playful pout and a huff, going back to eating and giving him sidelong looks.
“What?” For the first time, Mink was starting to think Gyov was a little weird. In a good and fun way, he had to admit to himself. “I do like you.”
There it was, hanging in the Air like a Fire user’s Flame Ghosted Candle, Mink’s professed undying love for Gyov, only not in quite so many words. He watched her pout turn to a giggle. She pretended to tuck her hair, already braided, behind her reddening ear. Her eyes met his and then traced down his face to his mouth, watching his lips as he continued.