Title The New Apprentice
Authors Danielle Morrone and Vincent Morrone
Genre YA Fantasy
Publisher The Wild Rose Press
For fourteen years, Z has wondered where she came from, why strange things occur around her, and what happened to her family. When she runs into an old bookstore to hide from a horde of school bullies, she starts to find the answers with the cantankerous owner, Barnabus Krane. Barnabus becomes her guardian, her magical instructor, and the family she's never had. He teaches her how to bring out the magic from within her 'Ka' and about the mystical world she never knew existed. But Barnabus also hides secrets. His connection to her past, his hunt for the warlock Blackwell, and the darkness that threatens to consume them all. The hardest lesson for Z to learn is to trust in her bond with Barnabus and believe that their relationship goes beyond family. For he's not just another magician. He is the Grand Master Sorcerer, and Z is the New Apprentice.
“I need to know what to call you,” I said.
“Call me Z.” She folded her arms and scowled. I had to admit, it was an impressive scowl. “It’s the only name I answer to.”
“What kind of name is Z?”
“What kind of name is Barnabus?” she responded.
“Do I get to call you Barney?” She smirked, clearly impressed with her new nickname for me. Kid had a smart mouth on her. I kinda liked that.
“Not if you want to live.” I pointed to a door in the far left. “Back there you’ll find dog food, cat food, iguana food, bird food, and whatever kind of food is needed to feed any of the animals. They can all manage to find their way in and out on their own. They’re not my pets and they’re free to come and go as they please. Well, most of them are. Not the fish.”
“You can also water the plants for me. Stuff is in there too. You getting all of this?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, water plants, feed animals, stack books. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.”
“Watch it,” I warned. “I can appreciate a smart mouth as I’ve got one myself, but don’t be annoying.”
She huffed and her eyes went to her feet.
I sighed. I had to be careful with this one. “Come on.”
We walked to the next corner where there was another door.
“Come back here.” I opened the door for her.
She hesitated, leaning to the left to see what awaited her.
“What’s the matter?”
The girl crossed her arms. “How do I know you’re not some kind of whacko?”
I arched an eyebrow at her. “Define whacko.”
She matched my arched eyebrow. “If you don’t know, then you probably are one. I’ve been told my entire life not to talk to strangers.”
That made me laugh. “Well now, that’s a problem because there’s probably nobody stranger than me.”
I could see the corner of her mouth twitch.
“Look kid,” I said. “I could give you my word that I’m not going to do anything to you, but the fact is if I were a whacko, I’d lie about it. So, it comes down to your instincts. Some people have really good instincts. Some people are idiots. There are two questions you have to answer. Are you someone who can trust their instincts? And if so, what do they say about me?”
I leaned on the door jam and waited as she considered. It was almost like she was waiting for a sign.
One of the birds, a brightly colored blue and red one that had arrived a few days ago, came flying down and landed on my shoulder.
“Well he seems to trust you,” she said. “I guess maybe I should too.”
“Good idea,” I said. “You think maybe you can trust me with your name? Your real one.”
Another eye roll as she brushed past me. She turned in a circle to look around at the small kitchenette, sofa, TV, and refrigerator that was back there before she plopped down on the sofa. “Parthenia Zogopoulos,” she said with a look on her face as if she’d just downed a gallon of castor oil.
I stepped inside and leaned against the counter. “Gesundheit.”
She laughed bitterly. “No really, that’s my name. When they found me, they had a system for names. They had to go alphabetical on the first name and reverse alphabetical order on the last. They didn’t want someone giving every boy and girl the same names, so they couldn’t reuse a name for a decade. And they didn’t want names that started with the same letter, so the system gave them what initials they’d use. In my case, P and Z. And the woman who picked names had run out of normal names. I think she might have been a bit drunk. Besides, they usually don’t expect anyone to keep those names.”
“Why’s that?” I asked. “Most people don’t realize how stupid their names sound until they’re nine or ten.”
“When did you realize Barnabus was stupid?”
I grinned. “The moment I hired you.”
She grinned back. “Are you kidding? That’s probably the smartest thing you’ve done in your life.”
I laughed. “We’ll see about that. I’ve made some pretty smart moves in my time. A few boneheaded ones. We’ll just see what pile you land in.”
The look on her face said to me two words.
Barnes and Noble
The Wild Rose Press
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs. Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks. As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say? Vincent would love to hear from you at Vincent@vincentmorrone.com You can check his website http://vincentmorrone.com / or connect with him on Twitter https://twitter.com/Vince524 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Morrrone
Danielle Morrone was born in Brooklyn but didn’t stay there for long, moving to upstate New York as a baby. She grew up with her twin sister- who is not, despite what she says, older- loving parents, and spoiled dogs. Later in life, their family was added to by several amazing foster siblings.
Always an avid reader, Danielle was rarely caught without a book in her hands. Her journey as a writer started in 5th grade as she watched her father, Vincent Morrone, work on his own books. Inspired, Danielle started writing, and fell in love with the art of it. It was the summer before her sophomore year of high school when her father approached her with an idea- they should write a book together. Thus, The Krane Chronicles were born.