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Queen to Ashes: Excerpt + Giveaway

QueentoAshes

Comgratulations to author Mallory McCartney on the exciting new release of Queen to Ashes, the next installment in the Black Dawn series!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win signed copies of Heir of Lies and Queen to Ashes!

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Queen to Ashes (Black Dawn #2)

Publication Date: April 21st, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

“You lived your entire life feeling like half of you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”

Emory Fae has abandoned everything she thought she knew about her previous life on Earth. Stepping up to her role as Queen of Kiero she makes a startling sacrifice- feigning her allegiances to Adair Stratton, the man who murdered her parents and casted Kiero into ruin. Emory’s memories slowly piece together, and she soon realizes the Mad King may not be all he seems— and the man who was once best friend, may be fighting beneath the surface.

With the King’s attention on her, can she buy Black Dawn Rebellion enough time to recuperate their forces? And when the times comes, will she be able to kill Adair, ending his tyranny and rising herself as the rightful Queen? Fighting to hide her secret, Emory navigates the brutal trials of the Mad King, trying not to lose herself in the process.

Sequel to Heir of Lies, now a bestselling series, the sparks are ignited, as Emory learns the cost of freedom, and her heritage. Will the rebels unite in time? A sinister force has spread across the land, stripping everyone bare- their betrayals, their secrets, their intentions. But above all, what will their decisions cost? By refusing to give in to the darkness, will Emory rise as Queen?

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Excerpt

The darkness kissed her, embraced her. Squinting, Emory tried to make sense of where she was but was met with a black, dense wall. Sweat pooled at the base of her neck, warmth flaring through her body. Fear choked her then as she gulped down stale air. She knew she wasn’t alone because she felt them before they said anything. “Emory, you need to wake up.” Memphis’s voice, just barely a whisper, caressed her. Right beside her left ear, another voice sounded. “Em, wake up.” Brokk’s rough voice was harsh and clear, but she felt her body still being pulled, pulled down into the black abyss. A third voice then sounded; one she could only recognize from her dreams. “Emory, darling, wake up.” Her mother. Her voice danced all around her, and she clawed blindly, trying to connect with her lost friends and family. Trying to find them. Silence landed heavy, and a putrid smell enveloped her senses. It smelled of rotting meat. Bile rose in her throat as a she felt a slimy, boney hand wrap hard around her wrists, pulling her toward it. She couldn’t scream; she couldn’t move. Sweat drenched every inch of her body as the creature she couldn’t make out leaned closer, whispering right in front of her, “Emory, I have found you.” Swivelling around, she was met with darkness until the monster pulled her closer, its breath tickling her ear. “And you belong to me.” The knife slid in between her ribs, pain blossoming, and cackles spun around her. Then, she was dragged down into the darkness.

Screams tore from her chest as she shot up. Drenched in a cold sweat, it took her several minutes to register where she was and the guard standing at the foot of her bed, arms crossed and eyebrows raised. She screamed again, pulling her blankets around her, her nightdress clinging to her curves. “Who gave you permission to be in here?” she demanded. Smirking arrogantly, he said, “I did.” Blinking, she recognized the man as the same one that guarded her down in the cells. Rubbing her eyes, she tried to shake the feeling of that damp death-like hold of the creature in her dream. She pointed to the door. “Get the hell out.” He scoffed, rolling his eyes. “It’s time to start your day. The king awaits.” Throwing a bundle at the bottom of her bed, he turned his back, briskly stating, “You have five minutes to get ready. I’ll wait outside.” Shutting the door, he left her in stark silence. It was time. Panic clutched her heart, squeezing it, threatening to break it. She couldn’t breathe. The walls seemed stretched too thin.

She could do this—she had to do this. Emory would grant the rebels the time they needed, the time she needed. Dying wasn’t an option. Besides, she was already dead to the people who had believed in her. Leaning forward with shaking hands, she opened the parcel. Several stacks of light black clothes spilled out, including shirts, pants, and undergarments. A blood red sash sat atop them all. Lovely. Sitting on top all of this, though, was a light, sheer, gold chest plate. Squinting, she leaned closer to inspect it. Markings she didn’t recognize adorned all the edges, and its sheerness was unearthly. She was so close, her breath was fogging it, her reflection lost. Strong leather buckles joined at the shoulders; its back plate just as impressive. She shimmied out of bed, quickly dropping the armor. Emory went through the motions of getting dressed numbly. Braiding her long ebony hair back, she looked in the mirror behind her. She didn’t recognize the woman standing before her, the stark cheekbones, emptiness in her eyes, bruised skin underneath them. Tying her sash tightly, she set her resolve. Emory Fae of Earth was dead. Everything had led up to this moment. Her parents shaped their world, defying the paths they were told to go down: A warrior from the Shattered Isles and a Prince of Kiero were never supposed to break away and build a refuge— The Academy—for peace. In her heart, Emory knew they had made mistakes, but their life’s dream was to fight and to ensure everyone, no matter their ability, would have a place to call home. Emory loosened a breath. She would not let her parents’ dream die. If Adair wanted a challenge, he would get one. She would make him pay. For her family. Her friends. For herself.

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About the Author

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Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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Exiled to Freedom: Author Interview + Excerpt + Giveaway

Exiled to Freedom
This is my stop during the blog tour for Exiled to Freedom by SGD Singh. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 August. See the tour schedule here.

Exiled to FreedomExiled to Freedom
By SGD Singh
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult

Blurb:
Seventeen year old Joti lives a peaceful life on her ancestral farm in Punjab, far from political turmoil, foreign wars, and the struggle for independence. Until the summer of 1947, when her country is suddenly partitioned to create two sovereign nations—Pakistan and India.

Punjab erupts into a shattered land of nightmares, torn apart by death and destruction. Before the violence subsides, millions of people will have lost their lives and Joti will find herself amongst the countless refugees fighting to survive one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era.

In the summer of 2018, seventeen year old Priya travels from her home in New York City to her great grandmother’s farm in Punjab. Searching for meaning in her materialistic and shallow existence, she becomes determined to uncover the mysteries of the past and heal her family’s wounds, left too long unattended.

Priya soon finds herself on an adventure of discovery, learning what it is to love and what it means to know true peace.

Exiled to Freedom backcover

You can find Exiled to Freedom on Goodreads

You can buy Exiled to Freedom here on Amazon

Excerpt:

Monsoon season should have begun by now.

Armies of clouds gather their forces on chariots of distant thunder, darkening the summer sky, growing more engorged each day. But still, not a single drop of water falls to the earth.

Do the clouds hear the prayers of the farmers, toiling beneath them in the dust?

Perhaps thunder is their laughter, a call to celebration. Maybe they wait for the moment when their audience is most attentive, most frantic with anxiety, before they decide to pour blessed relief onto the choking crops far below them.

Or perhaps the elements mock our faithlessness in their ability to remember the season.

I watch the clouds blend together in a happy dance of reunion and I wonder, as I have wondered countless times before: Did the sky cry for us all those years ago? Was it the earths tears that tried to wash away the rivers of our blood? Was it her grief that covered our world in mud, disguising the bodies of countless dead and smothering the cries of the dying?

I turn from the sky to look down at my wrinkled hands, and I am suddenly and for the first time filled with a certain and inescapable realization. Those of us who witnessed the flames of hate rise into a raging infernowe are vanishing.

And those who acted as embers hidden beneath the ashes, waiting to ignite horror within mens heartsthey are each and every one dead and gone.

Very soon to be forgotten.

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write Exiled to Freedom?

I always thought more people should be aware of the events of India’s Partition in 1947, but it wasn’t until I heard the stories of my friend Parnita’s grandmother’s experiences during that horrific time that I had the inspiration for Exiled to Freedom.

Who is your favorite character in Exiled to Freedom?

Rohit was my favorite character to write while working on this novel.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I think I’ve always been a writer, even as a little kid telling stories in boarding school in India, writing plays I forced my classmates to act out, or short stories even the senior girls would pass around. What makes us become writers? We are writers because we write—that’s it. Wether we’re published by big companies or not, we write because we love it. We write because we must.

What is your favorite book?

This is an impossible question. Impossible! I’ll try to answer with the first three favorites that pop into my brain for various genres:

CLASSIC: The Three Musketeers, Germinal, The Brothers Karamazov

MYSTERY: Everything Sherlock Holmes, Curtain, Everything Nero Wolfe—they could be one volume, right?

SCI-FI: The Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dune

ROMANCE: Pride & Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, Sense & Sensibility

FANTASY: The Princess Bride, The Chronicles of Narnia, Circe

HORROR: The Shining, Swan Song, Dracula

YOUNG ADULT: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Including Strange the Dreamer duology—it’s connected), The Scorpio Races, LIFEL1K3.

NON FICTION: Born A Crime, We Are Displaced, I Am Jackie Chan

CONTEMPORARY: I’ll Give You The Sun, Before I Fall, Call Me by Your Name

Okay, no. That didn’t work at all. What about Shakespeare? What about the rest of the COUNTLESS awesome books in the world?

What other books do you have planned?

I’m currently working on a zombie story—and trying not to think about my next trilogy!

What is your favorite color?

Blue. No, yel—aaaaaaaah!!

What is your favorite book you’ve written?

The Infernal Guard One: Emergence. The first will always hold a special place in my heart, even though the second was more fun to write.

SiriGuruDev SinghAbout the Author:
SiriGuruDev Singh lives in New Mexico and Punjab, India with her husband, two daughters, and various extended relatives and animals. She is the author of the YA urban fantasy trilogy The Infernal Guard and Exiled To Freedom, a YA historical fiction novel about India’s bloody Partition of 1947.

You can find and contact SGD Singh here:
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Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Exiled to Freedom. There will be 5 winners who all win a signed copy of Exiled to Freedom. Open International.

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The Onyx Crown: Excerpt + Giveaway

The OnyxCrownBlitz

To celebrate the release of Alan Hurst’s debut novel, The Onyx Crown, we are having a week-long book blitz! There will be an exclusive excerpt reveal, and a chance to win a digital copy of the book at the bottom!

Front CoverThe Onyx Crown #1

Publication Date: January 27th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?

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Excerpt

For the next few days, the three of them did virtually everything together, including games, horse riding, and spear training with the First Knight, who seemed to be getting sterner and tougher on them with every lesson. The First Knight, whose given name was Jorell Boro, was famed throughout the fourteen provinces as one of the best living warriors of all time. He’d made his name fighting for the upstart Regent Okon in his war of usurpation against the High King Toloron.

After Toloron was defeated, the regent rewarded Boro with the titles of First Knight of the Crown, Protector of the House of the First Prince, and the moniker “the Bloodless Death,” because supposedly his bladed spear could kill a person so quickly and with such precision that they would be dead before any blood was even visible.

Okon, along with the ruling conclave, also granted a treaty to Pala Jorell’s home kingdom of East Rhydor, including a guarantee that no Numerian troops would invade as long as the East Rhydor king or his son, the prince, were in power.

The First Prince had asked Pala Jorell to begin instructing Zadeemo in the ways of knighthood, and also Gesemni himself, most likely reasoning that Zadeemo would need a sparring partner when the First Prince was absent.

The First Knight had been reluctant to train a “commoner” in the higher arts of warfare but, at the insistence of both the First Prince and Zadeemo, had relented. Still, one could tell he took The Onyx Crown -26- great pains to make sure that Zadeemo understood some of the finer points of the moves he instructed, while not deigning to help Gesi.

Luckily for Gesi, he had tremendous aptitude and seemingly a womb-borne comprehension of instinctual combat. As such, he rarely needed the extra tutoring that Zadeemo couldn’t seem to do without. On this day, the two of them were instructed for quite some time on hand-spear counters, an ancient method of grappling that involved an unarmed warrior wresting the control of spears and other long objects away from their adversary. It was an extremely rough and unpolished method of fighting, and the First Knight took the better part of the morning explaining it to them.

Finally, the paladin suggested they work the puzzling elements out with a few rounds of sparring. Boro handed him a bladed spear and marked out a circle four en-yawo in diameter with his carving knife. Zadeemo was given a pair of lyocell gloves, which felt like silk but were made from the toughest fibers in existence. These were to be used to protect his hands from blade cuts.

Gesi shifted nervously. Always when they’d fought before they’d both been armed. Oddly, there’s a certain amount of safety involved when two weapons compete against each other. But with Zadeemo being unarmed, Gesi felt he’d have to be very careful. He was also very conscious of Zoe sitting on her tilbury, watching them both amusedly.

“Engage!” The First Knight’s voice rang out through the square as the boys stepped into the circle. Zadeemo immediately lowered his stance, thrusting the heel of his boot inside Gesi’s left calf to disrupt his balance, simultaneously snatching at the bladed spear handle.

Shuffle-stepping to counter, Gesi twisted the blade ninety degrees, forcing Zadeemo to withdraw his hands. He knew he was supposed to be nothing more than a punching target for Zadeemo, but in situations like this, his stubborn, competitive imoya always got in the way of things, and yes…he also wanted to show off a bit in front of Zoe.

Surprisingly, Zadeemo must’ve anticipated his counter because he nimbly moved to his left, crashing his knee into Gesi’s right thigh and causing him to grimace. Ducking underneath the spear, Zadeemo swung his right elbow fiercely into Gesi’s solar plexus. The few servants and townspeople who were looking on cheered loudly, including Zoe.

At that second, he felt like he was going to black out. Zadeemo may have been slower than a stuck rhino, but he had strength far beyond what most twelve-year-olds could muster.

Instinctively, he twisted his bladed spear to block the next grasping move he felt was coming, slid his left knee under Zadeemo’s right, and reverse-swung the spear in a sweeping arc toward Zadeemo’s chest. The cheering stopped, followed by a deathly silence as Zadeemo crashed down to the dirt awkwardly. Everyone was staring at Gesi. Some looked angry, some fearful, some puzzled. Even he didn’t know how he’d won.

*Available Now*

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About the Author

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Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!

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Ginger Snapped: Excerpt + Giveaway

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Today I’m happy to share an exciting thriller with you all called, Ginger Snapped by Chloe Sunstone! There’s an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway to enter, so be sure to check it out!

Ginger Snapped - eBook.jpgGinger Snapped: A Cybercrime Thriller with a Twist

Genre: Thriller/ Cybercrime

Publication Date: October 22nd, 2018

How does an amazing professional opportunity descend into a living nightmare?

Carefree Ginger’s motto of “Work Hard, Play Harder” shapes her life. So when her husband, Jake, gets a job offer on the other side of the country, she is up for the adventure.

But after Jake accepts the promotion, nothing is as expected. While Ginger remains in Cleveland to sell their house, she is plagued by strange prank calls, premonition-like nightmares, and the feeling that she is being watched. Is Jake’s new job putting her in danger?

Unfortunately, she ignores her intuition and soon finds herself face to face with a ruthless killer. Trapped in a deadly world of corporate corruption and murderous greed, she must overcome her own fears and rely on her wits if she plans to survive.

*Although the first in the Ginger Gibson series, this is a standalone book.

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Excerpt

Oh No! I’m back. I am surrounded by inky black nothingness. The air is musty…damp, my nostrils fill with the smell of dank basement. Like in a haunted house, filled with saws and chains and bloody hooks, this is the perfect place for any psycho to hide his tools of the crazy trade. I’m trembling, from the all-encompassing fear, eating at every cell in my body. Where am I? My fingers search out for clues. Beneath me is a thin mattress on a hard surface. My head rests on a concrete-like pillow. My breathing escalates as the panic rises in my chest. I open my mouth to scream, but only a muted croak escapes. Over the thunder of my pounding heart, I hear a booming crack, a gunshot. I recognize the sound from a trip to the range with Jake years earlier.

I swing my legs over the side of my perch, thinking in my blind panic to run even though I cannot see. I can’t ignore this intense urge to flee. But my impulse is thwarted by an unknown restraint trapping my left arm, a rope? Panic has me in its grip. I gasp for air to fill my lungs but produce only whimpers and muted pleas.

A loud screech reverberates through the darkness. Rats? Oh, please, no rats! Could this get any worse? Hysterical, I yank relentlessly on the rope tethering me. With each tug, the line cuts deeper into my skin. My arm warms as blood seeps from the gouges, coating my hand and fingers. Behind me, the pounding sound of footsteps startles me. Before I can turn to confront my visitor, I feel the rush of air preceding the impact to the back of my head. A blaze of bright stars then, a different blackness envelopes me.

About the Author

chloe_sunstone

After over twenty years in Human Resources, Chloe decided to make a change. She returned to her first love of writing. She combined her corporate experience with her love for the written word to create engaging cyber-crime thrillers.
On a personal note, Chloe lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her loving husband, Mike. They spend their free time boating, scuba diving, and of course, reading. Her latest cybercrime mystery, Ginger Snapped, is available on Amazon.

Chloe Sunstone| Twitter |Facebook|Goodreads

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Broken Glass: Excerpt + Giveaway

Title: Broken Glass
Author: J.M. Sullivan
Genre: A/ Dark Fantasy / Fairy Tale Retelling
Cover Designer: Westerfield Creative
Publication Date: January 15th, 2019
Publisher: Bleeding Ink Publishing
 
Blurb:
The scariest thing about Wanderland isn’t death–it’s the momerath.
And now Dinah is one of them.
***
Alice Carroll has spent the better part of her life avoiding Wanderland–and the momerath–at all costs. But now with her sister gone, Alice has only one place to go.
Back to Wanderland.
Armed with only her blade and a raging vendetta against the traitorous Red Queen, Alice storms the undead wasteland to find Dinah and atone for her mistakes. But with relentless momerath and a ruthless Queen encroaching, will Alice’s determination be enough? Or will she fall down a new rabbit hole searching for revenge?
Buy Link:
Teacher by day, award-winning author by night, J.M. Sullivan is a fairy tale fanatic who loves taking classic stories and turning them on their head. When she’s not buried in her laptop, you can find her watching scary movies with her husband, playing with her kids, or lost inside a good book. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. If you would like to connect with J.M., you can find her on social media at @jmsullivanbooks– she’d love to hear from you.
Author Links:
Buy Link:
She killed another Joker today.
Excuse me.  I mean, ‘Guardsman.’
Ha.
That’s the real joke. The Red Queen cares about the Marked as much as a cat does a dirty litter box. She’ll use them if she must, but otherwise they’re disposable.
Except for me.
She watches me.
I don’t think she knows what to do with me. Not that I blame her. I don’t know what to do with myself. Sometimes I feel like everything is normal, and other times, well—then, at least, the voices tell me that everything is fine.
I don’t quite believe them.
It would be easier if the memories stopped. Of life before. It’s muddled, but there are fragments of purpose and joy, all tied to a quiet, blonde girl. She is strong, stronger than she knows—I know this because I know her better than myself.  And yet, I don’t remember her.
I am empty.
The memories are not mine—they belong to someone else. I am a traitor in this body, an unwelcome host. And yet, the longer I stay grey, the more this body calls to me. Like the other Marked.
We understand each other.
They tell me things. Secrets the Queen will never know. I can read them in their eyes. I can feel them in my bones. Words unspoken, but always heard. Whispers, desperate songs, pleading for salvation. And all the while, they watch me. Waiting. Haunted stares as she kills our brothers and sisters. Their pain is palpable, heavy in the air and on my shoulders while they call to me on an undiscovered frequency.
I hear them laughing.
I hear them crying.
I hear them . . .
I hear . . .
Them.
 

 

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Who is your favorite Alice in Wonderland character?

Author Interview: Sydney Paige Richardson + Excerpt

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Twin Sisters: one destined to rule, one cursed to destroy.

Some say blood is thicker than water. But for twin sisters, Adie and Aura, their connection runs even deeper than blood.
After investigating a surprise attack carried out by dark souls controlled by the Wicked Willow, an evil  residing in a neighboring region, Aura uncovers a family secret: she is the fulfillment of a curse placed upon her family centuries ago.

While Aura is destined to destroy their planet, Thindoral, Adie is fated to follow in their mother’s footsteps and become Ruler, but even Adie’s path comes with revelations. Dangerous premonitions plague her dreams, all depicting Thindoral’s demise at the hand of her sister.

As darkness takes control of her mind, Aura must determine whether defying fate and time is the choice that will seal her destruction, or if self-sacrifice will save all she holds dear. Meanwhile, Adie is faced with an impossible decision: save her sister, or protect their world?

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Author Interview:

What gave you the idea for The Halves of Us?

Honestly, it came from my dreams. I have suffered from night terrors since I was a little girl. I was going through a super stressful time in my early twenties, which makes the night terrors worse and come more often. I started to write them down because it felt like I could have some sort of control over the situation. Slowly, on the advice of a dear friend of mine, I started to merge them together and build a story.

I know there’s twins in the story, do you have a favorite?

Oh my goodness! I don’t think I can choose. I relate to them each so much. Adie has night terrors and loves whole heartedly, and Aura is headstrong and fights for what she wants and those that she loves. There are pieces of me in each of them. I can relate to them both so much.

When you write, do you outline or just go with the flow?

I think it’s a mixture. With book 1, it really was about just merging all these dreams into a story. And then I realized this was going to be more than one book. With book 2 and book 3, I outlined some of my ideas. But when I started writing book 2 of the series it really took off in a direction I wasn’t expecting in some areas (including the death of a character I didn’t even know was coming – and resulted in my crying in my cubicle on my lunch break). So, I think I do both.

If you could describe The Halves of Us in three words what would they be?

Sisterhood, choice, and darkness.

When did you first start writing?

When I was a child. I wrote my first ‘book’ in second grade called Girls. My second grade teacher laminated it for me! It was when I knew I wanted to write stories. I kept a diary/journal and mostly did terrible poetry in those in my teenage years. I always knew I wanted to write – but I needed time to grow into my voice and aesthetic. I think I am still growing and learning every day from myself and the writing community– but I am so excited about sharing my stories with the world! I think that is my next step in continuing to mature as a writer.

Did you always know where the story would go for The Halves of Us?

With this book (part one of the trilogy), I definitely knew where most of it was going. Many of the scenes are based on my actual dreams/night terrors. But just like when you are dreaming, you start in one place and then go to another – and forget how you got there, I had to fill in the blanks and build the story. I felt that I always knew how it had to end, but it didn’t really hit me how the end would play out until I was in my car listening to Pandora. This song came on called In Reverence by David Tolk. It has no words to it, but the entire music just filled me and I began crying in my car because I knew exactly what I had to write.

What’s the hardest part about writing?

I think that changes from day to day. Some days it’s self-doubt. Some days it’s finding time. Some days your creativity leaves you and you feel stuck. Some days it’s forgetting where you saved that last file and having a panic attack. I think my main struggle now is really just self-doubt and worrying that no one will love it as much as I do.

If you could become any book character for a day, who would it be and why?

Any book character EVER? Oh man I am giving two answers. Maybe three…ahh crap. This is a tough question! Here is two, a new one I just met and an old one I have loved for a while:

NEW character I have just met: Well, I just finished reading Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury, and it was such as beautiful story – and I find myself still thinking about it. I would love to be Summer for a day. Mostly because Darce and Morpheus, but also because I love the story. ;]

OLD character I love so much: Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter because she’s weird and says random things, but she’s oddly smart and compassionate – and I think we have that in common, plus HOGWARTS.

What’s your favorite color?

I love black. It is a majority of my wardrobe. But I also love purple, various shades of blue, and emerald green [basically just all the jewel tones ever].

What other books do you have planned next?

Well book 2 and 3 of The Halves of Us trilogy come out next year through Parliament House! I hope everyone continues to follow Adie and Aura’s journey.

I am also working on another YA fantasy called The Chains that Bind about djinn that live in a parallel world to Earth and a girl that gets stuck there after a wish goes wrong. It has a few re-telling factors of old fairy tales, but has the story stands on its own.

I have a two other WIPs that are top secret! ;]

Do you have any advice for other writers?

To just keep at it. It’s tough. Some days suck. The best thing you can do is find like-minded writers who help build you up and also offer you constructive criticism. Take it all in, listen to their advice – it’s the only way you can grow.

 

Excerpt:

[Scene in Adie’s perspective] Twin sisters Adie and Aura, along with the other final year students, are being escorted down to the Room of Papers by their Uncle Gossamer. There, in the Room of Papers, they will each discover their Fates…

“We’re headed down to the former dungeon area. It hasn’t been used as a prison in hundreds of years. It’s more of an archive area now, deep inside the mountain connected to the Dome.”

Adie turned to speak to Aura, but she was no longer by her side. How does she always disappear like that? We were supposed to do this together. They reached a large door she’d never been through but had always made her curious. Or more, it had always made Aura curious.

Don’t tell Aura not to touch something, because then all she wants to do is touch it.

The Forbidden Door.

It remained locked at all times. Long, thick bars of brass bolted the silver door, crisscrossing at different angles, making the door impenetrable. Adie shuddered as she heard her mother’s voice in her head. Behind this door lies the Fates of our people, guarded by a creature most foul.

Years ago, when she and Aura would sneak through the Dome and find all the secret tunnels, no matter how hard they searched, they couldn’t find another way past this door. The only ones allowed to enter were those in their final year of Teachings. They’d always discussed going through this door together.

Gossamer shuffled with his keys, but Adie’s eyes caught a quick slide of his hand as he pulled a key from his pocket she’d never seen before. The pale key had a soft glow. Adie gazed around, wondering if anyone else had noticed.

As Gossamer turned the key, he took a step back, and they watched the brass bars shift around the door, clicking as they each moved to the side. The door shuddered as it eased open. Following Gossamer’s lead, the students shuffled in, forcing Adie forward without Aura. The dark tunnel had white vines trembling along the walls and creeping beside them as they walked through.

As they reached a spacious open room, Gossamer fumbled through his array of keys until he reached a wooden one with an elongated and bent torso. He inserted the key in the only door in the room and turned it with ease. The door creaked, and all the students watched with wide eyes.

A humpback creature unlike any Adie had seen on Thindoral, stood in the doorway, towering over Gossamer. Peachy rugged skin covered him except for the tousled hair on his large round head. A sharp beak protruded from his face, and a thin opening stretched across it, creating what Adie assumed was a smile. Sharp, silver teeth lined his grin in multiple rows, and a foul rotten smell filled the air around him as he panted breathlessly.

Gossamer faced the students. “This is Mister Dilip. He will escort you, one at a time, into the Room of Papers.”

Mister Dilip looked about the main room of the dungeon with his beady pink eyes. He clasped his hands in front of him, revealing three wrinkly fingers on each hand, and sighed with anticipation. Adie stepped forward to get a better look and listened to his gruff voice.

“You will each enter individually. It’ll seem but an instant to those who remain waiting out here, but remember, time doesn’t bind this room. There are rows. There are stacks. There are thousands of papers.” His eyes grew wider with excitement as he gazed at the students surrounding him. In a deep, raspy voice, he continued, “You’re searching for one sheet of paper. The one that’s not blank. That one will reveal your Fate. Your destiny. Welcome to the Room of Papers.”

The students peered behind him, but all they saw was darkness. “Who’s first?” he asked as one eye spun around in its socket, making his pink iris vanish. All the students stepped back in a hushed gasp, except one.

Aura.

Her distraction was obvious. Her eyes remained glued to the floor and her hands were in fists. Her gaze broke when Voke croaked loudly. An Ogre next to him grunted and hunched his shoulders, trying to disappear into the crowd.

Mister Dilip’s three fingers motioned her forward. Adie watched as Aura held her head high as she walked toward the dark room. She paused only momentarily and glanced over her shoulder. Adie forced a smile and prayed Aura would come back with a pleasing Fate. Gossamer motioned for Aura to continue, and she entered the room, disappearing into darkness as he shut the door behind her.

What seemed like only thirty seconds later, a pale-faced Aura walked out of the room. Within her trembling hands, she held a large, rectangular white sheet of paper. She walked toward Adie quickly and stood next to her sister.

“How long was I gone?”

“About thirty seconds or so,” Adie whispered.

“Seemed like an hour.” Aura said, showing Adie her paper.

“I don’t see anything.”

“And you won’t,” Mister Dilip interjected. His eye rotated again. “You alone will see the image on your own paper. You alone will see your Fate. You can’t see the Fate of others. You may only share your Fate with those it involves.” He looked around at the crowd, all the students hesitant to be next.

Adie stepped forward, nominating herself.

“Come. Come, Future Ruler.”

Adie took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. She walked forward and into the dark room, stealing a quick glance behind her to get reassurance from Aura, but the door had disappeared. Mister Dilip, Gossamer, Aura . . . everyone was gone.

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Author bio:

Even before I could hold a pencil in my hand, I was making up stories in my head. I wrote my first book in the second grade, Girls [sorry Lena Dunham], about me and my best friends in college [because college was super cool when you were 8] who went on treasure hunts and fought bad guys with our super powers. My second grade teacher was so impressed with me, she laminated a cover and bound it. That will forever be the moment I dreamed of holding a copy of my own book and placing it on a shelf.

Now all grown up, my head still stays in the fantasy world, fashioning worlds where the power of a star can be harnessed and used for time travel, flying is just as easy as walking here on earth – and my best friends are fairies. My characters are dark and lost individuals, but your love for them will grow when you realize not everything is black and white. I am represented by Rebecca Angus at Golden Wheat Literary.

Connect with Sydney:

Facebook: @sydneypaigeauthor

Instagram: @sydneypaigedecides

Twitter: @sydsayingthings

Website: sydneypaigerichardson.com

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Just: Excerpt + Giveaway

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just_ebook_web.jpgJust

Publication Date: June 14th, 2018

Genre: Romantic Thriller

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon

Excerpt

Scott Langbrook is in love with Fiyori Maziq, his team leader at Reach (a health organisation in the Mediterranean). In this abridged scene, he declares himself. – Jenny Morton Potts

Scott bought a bag of khubzit howsh and followed Fiyori along the streets as they become narrower and the buildings changed from concrete to mud. The doctor walked very fast, her loose clothing pulled tightly across her chest, till she reached a dark alley and stood before an exquisitely painted door.

Scott called softly to Fiyori and she turned, the key not yet in the lock.

He walked up to her. “What an incredibly beautiful door. The craftsmanship is stunn—”

“You think I don’t notice someone following me? You think I’d last more than five minutes?”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—”

“What do you want?”

“I want…”

“You see this door, Langbrook? All the details, the intricate carving, the hand-mixed paint colours, the care? The sheet art of it?”

“Like I said, it’s incredible.”

“My friend made it. They saw how different it was, oh yeah. And they killed him for it. They dragged him along the streets to the Ahmi Sayeed Memorial. You know it?”

“Yes, I, it’s the one with the seahorse.”

“They kissed him, by the Memorial. They hugged my friend. They put their hands on his genitals. They laughed and told him they loved him. Then they sawed his head off. In broad daylight, cars going by, children walking home from school.”

“Oh my God, Dr Maziq. I’m sorry. I… really, I’m so sorry I followed you. I only wanted—”

“You wanted, you wanted, you wanted. To what? To fuck me?”

Scott took a deep breath. “I’ve made my apologies. Now I’ll say goodnight.”

Fiyori wrenched open the door. “Get in here, Langbrook.”

Inside there was just a bed with a crumpled white sheet on top and a rudimentary fireplace with a cast iron tripod. Beside that there was a pot on a trivet with an airline magazine covering the contents. Electric cable was gaffer taped to palm beams in the low ceiling. In the corner, there were a couple of small suitcases at various levels of packing or unpacking and an enormous wooden sideboard whose surface accommodated ablutions and food preparation.

“I’ve got cognac. Well, cooking brandy.” Fiyori switched on a light.

“Ideal.”

Scott found himself holding his breath as he watched her move around this dark, perfect, little hovel. Fiyori pulled her shirt off and wore nothing beneath. Scott’s lips were sticking together. Fiyori shook her dark hair around her shoulders. She poured water from a terracotta jug into a bowl and began soaping her body and splashing. Scott watched her intently and she showed no signs of objecting. Within seconds, she’d done enough and walked over to a suitcase and pulled out a white t-shirt to put on.

Fiyori poured brandy into two china cups. “I keep thinking I’m about to die.”

“Me too. Be strange to think anything else, round here.” Scott sat down next to her and took his cup.

Fiyori threw back her brandy and took off her socks. “Should I wash these?” She nodded at her feet.

Scott leaned towards her feet, taking a sniff. “There’s much worse feet than these. For instance.” He took off his own shoes and socks and wiggled his toes. As he watched her move her legs languidly on the bed, he was concerned that his erection would pop the buttons of his cargo pants.

“Listen, Langbrook, I’m quite tired and there is just an outside chance that I’ll fall asleep. Don’t take it personally. Condoms in the zippy bit of the suitcase. Could you? No, not that zip, one on the front pouch.”

“What’s this?” Scott held up – as if his opposable thumb and index finger were tweezers – a semi-automatic pistol.

“It’s known in common parlance as a gun.”

“You never got this through airport security.”

“Correct.”

“So… you bought it here?”

“I’ve had it for a very long time, Langbrook. I have it posted to me, kind of. Shipped. Place to place. Not through a letterbox, you understand. What do you carry?”

“Me? I don’t carry anything. What sort is it?”

“It’s a point two two Beretta. Hopeless in a crowd, but ideal for something intimate, like a close range head shot. I should get something new, but we’ve been together for many years and it would be disloyal to replace her. You know?”

Scott knew nothing, nothing at all, he was well aware of that. He set the Beretta down in the case and backed away. Now then, where was he. Completely nude, he let her have a good, long look and said, “I will take it very personally, if you fall asleep.”

“God, but you are lovely, aren’t you. Can we do it really quickly please. I know that’s not something you’ll hear from women generally, but you and I know how short life is.”

“And what is expected of us tomorrow.”

He stood in front of her and she came to the edge of the bed, reaching out very slowly to caress him; so intricate, like she was blind, and doing the exact lingering opposite of what she’d just said.

“Do you think of me, Langbrook? Do you close your eyes in the shower? You don’t have to close them now. Look at me. Do you wait for the others to wash first, so that you can be alone? So that you can imagine this?” Fiyori ran her tongue along the ridge of vein on his hard cock, back and forth, her hands tenderly cupping his balls, until her mouth finally took him in. She looked up into his face and he gathered her hair in his fingers as she gripped his buttock in one hand. When he felt the mildest graze of her teeth, he came, and she held him gently then, finally returning his smile.

About the Author

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Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer, and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realized she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with the family. She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Jenny Morton Potts | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Jenny is giving away 5 digital copies of Just in your preferred format, so be sure to enter the giveaway!

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What’s your favorite thriller?

Blood Ties, Love Binds: Cover Reveal + Excerpt

Blood-Ties-Love-Blinds-Promo-Hardback

Blood Ties, Love Binds

A standalone romance suspense

First love never dies… And neither does revenge.

Cassandra

Of all the things that could go wrong, he had to come back! Ten years ago he leaves me with a broken heart, and now he’s acting like he cares. And let’s not forget how infuriatingly macho he’s become. Damon may think he can boss me around, but he’s got another thing coming. I’m no longer the starry-eyed girl he knew.

Damon

Leaving her was the worst decision I’ve ever made, but I thought it was for the best. I was listening to her father, after all. And now I’m back because of him – and his shady side-dealings. Cassandra thinks she’s got it all figured out, but she doesn’t even know the half of it. With my connections, I know I can keep her safe. If only she’d stop trying to kung fu my ass, maybe we’d get somewhere.

They say opposites attract, but these two will have sparks flying with every page. Hop on a thrilling tale of love, hate, and everything in between as Damon tries to save Cassandra from a heritage that could cost her life – and his.

LINK FOR BOOK:

http://mybook.to/LoveBinds

Free on KU and anyone can contact Alexa for a review copy until Sept 15th 🙂

Excerpt:

Damon watched in slight satisfaction as realization dawned on Cass. Playing the dashing stranger had its appeal, but nothing compared to the recognition drifting in her eyes, even as her lips parted in surprise.

His delight turned to growing frustration when it seemed like she would bolt any minute. He understood the knee-jerk reaction, especially considering their history, but before he could speak Cassandra drew her hand back and slapped him.

Damon stood still for a moment, processing the hit. Her hazel eyes sparked outrage, and a delightful flush stained her cheeks. He forced himself to look past that. “What was that for?”
It was the wrong question to ask, judging by the way she clenched her jaw. When she spoke, Cassandra’s voice was tight with reined-in emotion. “You dare ask me that, after ten years? Ten freaking years!”
“Cassie, I –” Damon tried to take a step closer, but Cassandra moved back, holding her palms up.
(…)
Viktor will pay for this, one way or another.
 
Damon met Cassandra’s gaze once more, and held it. Something in her expression shifted, but she wasn’t running away. Yet. He pounced on the chance while he still could. “That’s not the full story, actually it’s not even a story. I left, yes, but not for the reasons you think.”
“Sure you did.” Cassandra’s eyes shifted from his, avoiding the truth.
Before she could stop him, Damon reached for her chin and forced her to look him at him. “You used to be able to tell when I was lying. Tell me, am I now?”
Flashes of the girl he’d known crossed her expression, though Cassandra did a good job trying to hide it. He could still see the girl he’d helped out with homework, the tougher yet vulnerable side of her he’d fallen in love with…
How can she think I’d leave her? It stung to think that all she recalled of him was his ambitious streak.
It took Damon a second to realize Cassandra had frozen at his touch, and the look in her eyes had changed. When he tuned in to the change in her, he picked up on her quicker breathing, nostrils flaring as if inhaling his scent. Up close, he could now smell the vanilla perfume emanating from her skin, and he wanted nothing more than to sample her lips.
Cassandra’s eyes widened, the anger set aside by the pure chemical reaction they had to one another. The blazing glare, so eager to put him in his place, dimmed now to a sense of assessment.
Damon had been used to girls throwing themselves at him in the military, but he’d never been interested in more than a night. Only one woman had occupied his thoughts, and she was now so close every instinct in him screamed to make her his.
My little spitfire.

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Renegade: Release Day Blitz + Excerpt + Giveaway

I am so excited that RENEGADE by Mallory McCartney is available now and that I get to
share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful
book by Author Mallory McCartney, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a copy
of the eBook courtesy of Mallory and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a
chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Title: RENEGADE (Black
Dawn 0.5)

Author: Mallory McCartney
Pub. Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Formats: eBook
Pages: 250
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
“The time for Kiero’s reign in prosperity is
over.”
Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair
Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at
The Academy, a home for those who are gifted.  The pressure to uphold the
future of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most,
Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if
Emory tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep
him there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the
capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.
An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the
roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles,
and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and
wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their
proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death
over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of
their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters
most- finding out the truth.
In this gripping prequel to Black Dawn, their
world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made. War ravages through
Kiero and is torn apart by acclaimed Kings. Through the throes of betrayal,
lies, hidden magic and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision- to
fight or to bow to the darkness within him.

Title: BLACK DAWN (Black Dawn #1)

Author: Mallory McCartney
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Pages: 352
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Emory Fae enjoys
leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome
soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked
away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world
of Kiero, and bringing Emory back she will discover she is the long lost heir
to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic
role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.
With both men being
darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long
dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans,
love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
Some things are better
left in the shadows.
Exclusive Excerpt!

Exhaling, the prince took him off guard as he lifted his eyebrow. “What I
don’t understand is how the Faes have achieved such loyalty. What did they do?”

He chewed his bottom lip as he hopped over a fallen tree
trunk. He looked to Marquis. “They were the dreamers in a time when culture,
creativity, and equality were being butchered. The Academy was the foundation
of that dream, for desolates, for the people with weaker abilities. For
everyone. The people of Kiero followed Roque because they can’t fear him, they
can only admire him. How brave he was for standing up to his father, for
breaking free of his reign to start his own.”

Marquis chewed his lip. “It sounds like you have a different
opinion of him.”

He threw out his hands. “I was born at the Academy. Raised
in the Academy. Who am I to doubt the intentions of the Faes? They are
practically family.”

Shrugging, Marquis cooed, “Sometimes it is the ones closest
to us that betray us first.”

About Mallory:

 

Mallory
McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three
dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or
reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other
favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and
seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.






Giveaway Details:

One lucky winner will receive an eBook
of RENEGADE, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Have you started this series yet?

Star-Touched Stories: Author Q&A + Excerpt

Star Touched Stories_cover image

Excerpt:

  • » 1 «•

DEATH

I

I stood outside the home, watching as the light beaded and dripped down the length of the Tapestry thread. I waited. There was never any rush. Not for me at least.

The light dangled from the end of the string, clinging and re- luctant. A passing wind stirred the ends of the thread, teasing out strands of memory. The memories plumed into the air, releasing the scent of a life lived in love. One by one, the memories unraveled— a pillow shared by two heads bent close in secrecy, a frayed blanket kept inside an eternally empty cradle, a table that sagged from the weight of uncertain feasts. Happiness stolen from the edges of sorrow.

I stepped over the threshold.

The lights in the hut extinguished. Shadows slipped off the walls to gather around my feet. Inside the hut, someone had propped up a stingy fire. Cinnamon scented the air. Past the dusty vestibule, rows

upon rows of bay leaves hung from the ceiling. Strange runes scratched into small animal bones and ivory hairpins lay in carefully constructed patterns. I laughed. Someone had tried to ward me away. But there was no door that didn’t open to me.

At the far corner of the house huddled two people. A man in the arms of a woman. Old age had blessed him, yet for all his gnarled veins and silver-streaked hair, the woman cradled him as if he were a child. He murmured softly into the crook of her neck. I watched them. She wasn’t crying.

The woman looked up . . . and saw me. How refreshing.

“Greetings, Dharma Raja,” said the woman in a clear voice.

I took in the bay leaves and bone pins. “You were expecting me, I take it.”

“Yes,” she said, hanging her head. “I regret that I cannot serve you any food or drink or treat you as a guest in our home.”

“Don’t let it trouble you,” I said, waving my hand. “I am rarely a guest. Merely an inevitable occurrence.”

Her husband did not stir in her arms. His breath had grown soft. While the woman had kept her eyes trained on me, I had taken away his pain, siphoned it bit by bit. I was in a generous mood.

“You have come for him.”

“As I will for you, one day. I could tell you the hour, if you wish it.”

“No.”

I shrugged. “Very well.”

She clutched him tighter. Her hands trembled. I knew she could feel his life unspooling. She may have seen me, but she did not see his life pooling beneath him.

“May I ask something of you, Dharma Raja?” “You may.”

But I need not honor it.

“We always wished to leave this life together.”

“I cannot change your appointed time, even if I wished.”

She closed her eyes. “Then may I request, instead, that you not let him pass to the next life until I may join him there?”

Now this was interesting. I sank backward into the air, and an onyx throne swirled up to meet me. I tilted my head, watching her. “Why? I haven’t weighed your life yet. What if you were far more honorable than your husband in this life? I could pour your soul into the mold of a princess blessed with beauty and intellect, riches and wonders. I could add silver to your heart and fortify you from any

heartbreak. I could give you a life worthy of legends.” She shook her head. “I would rather have him.”

“You’d rather have him, and whatever life that entails?” I leaned forward, eyeing the dingy room.

Her eyes flashed. “Yes.”

“He may not even come back as a human. Believe me. I’ve remade emperors into cockroaches and cockroaches into kings. You seem like a reasonably intelligent woman. Would you truly like to keep house for a bug?”

She lifted her chin. “I would be his mate in any form.”

A curious emotion prickled my skin, nudging the back of my thoughts. My hands tightened on the shadow throne. Before I could stop myself, the question flew from me:

“Why? ”

“Because I love him,” said the woman. “I would prefer any life with him than any life without him. Even the deities know love to

the point that they will chase their counterpart through thousands of lifetimes. Surely you, oh Dharma Raja, understand how extraor- dinary love can be?”

I knew very well what could come of love. I had seen it. Been cursed by it. Even now, I thought of her. The way she ran away and left a shadow in her place. Love was extraordinary.

Extraordinarily spiteful. Extraordinarily blind. Extraordinarily misleading. “Bold words,” I said.

“They do not move you?”

I shrugged. “You may appeal and supplicate and wheedle as you wish, but I have heard every excuse and plea and sputter, and my heart has never been moved.”

The woman bowed her head. She gathered her husband to her chest. Her wedding bangles clanked together, breaking the silence. When I left, custom dictated that she must remove those wedding ornaments. Widows did not wear such bracelets. I had not consid- ered until now that the sound itself was a thing near death. And that chime—gold against gold—struck me far louder than any keening. In the echoes, I heard something hollow. And lonely.

I dropped the noose. It slid through the man’s skin, noiseless as silk. Life had left him. All that was left was his soul.

You never forget what it’s like to withdraw a soul. It is an un- clasping. Sometimes a soul is tough and hard, surrounded by sin- ews of memories gone brittle with age. Sometimes a soul is soft and bursting like wind-fallen fruit, all bruised tenderness and stale hope. And sometimes a soul is an ethereal shard of light. As if the force of its life is a scorching thing.

This soul belonged to light.

When the woman looked down, she knew that her husband was gone. The thing she cradled was nothing more than meat soon to spoil. Tears slid down her wrinkled cheeks.

“Come now,” I said, standing from the throne. “I have taken hus- bands when their wives still wore the henna from their wedding. I consider you lucky.”

“I beg of you,” she said. “Don’t let him move on without me. He would have asked the same.”

I swung the soul into a satchel and the light faded. I headed for the door, more out of formality than anything else. If I wanted, I could’ve disappeared right then and there.

“Please. What would you do for someone you loved?”

I stopped short. “I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of that provo- cation.”

“You love no one?” she asked, her eyebrows rising in disbelief. “I love myself. Does that count?”

And then I left.

Roshani Chokshi CREDIT Aman Sharma

Author Q&A

Out of all the characters in your novels, which one did you have the most fun writing about and who do you relate to the most personally? What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?

In the world of the Star – Touched Queen, I think the one who I related to the most was also the one that I had the most fun writing: Kamala! There’s just something about the demon horse that resonated a lot with me. I think it’s because she does everything that I would do in a fantasy story, which is frantically derail the plot and whine to her friends about how hungry she is all the time.

What inspired you to create this fictional world? Were there anyRomo mythologies that particularly inspired you?

I was really inspired by the childhood stories that my grandmother told me. To me, they were so rich with details and texture that it really shocked me how these worlds and mythologies were never explored in mainstream literature. I was particularly inspired by Greek and Hindu mythology.

Why did you feel it was important to add Star-Touched Stories to this world you’ve created?  What do you want readers to gain from the stories? Do you think there are any more stories to tell from the Star-Touched world, and if so, who you most like to write about next?

For me, this collection of stories is my farewell to the world that I created. It was extremely cathartic to write these three stories. I want readers to gain a sense of closure. I want readers to feel as much as I did when I with the stories. Who can say whether or not there are more stories left to tell in this world? 😉

Will you miss writing this world and characters?

Absolutely! They lived in my head for so long that I feel strangely weightless to be without them.

What was your favorite scene to write from Star-Touched Stories, and what was your favorite scene to write from the whole series?

Honestly, my favorite scene that I wrote was the last scene the last story. I think you’ll see why. As for my favorite scene that I wrote from the whole series, I think it would have to be the moment when Maya first enters the Night Bazaar.

Is there a scene or character from one of your stories that you’ve had to cut which you really wish you could share with readers?

There once was a speaking monkey character… But I had to let go of him. Maybe he’ll reappear some other time.

How is writing short stories different than writing a full-length book? How different is it to write YA and MG? How has your writing evolved?

Writing short stories is really different from writing a full-length book because you’re ultimately writing to a punchline in a shorter amount of space. There is less space to explore so the language must be very deliberate. I think my writing has evolved to become a lot more character focused than I once was. I still love gorgeous, decadent prose, but I believe that the best kind of language is that which is emotionally filtered through the feelings of a character.

What is the best advice you would give to inspiring writers?

Read often. I realize that sounds trite, but so many people retread the same path with stories out of comfort or nostalgia. I totally understand this and I’m one of those people who loves to reread my favorite books but I never found a sense of my own writing voice or writing style without reading a wide variety of works.

What sort of music do you listen to when you write?

I mostly listen to music to get me in the mood for writing rather than listening to music to get me through a scene. I think the only times I listen to music when I’m writing is if I’m in a third or fourth round of revisions. Otherwise I get distracted.

If any of your books were given an adaptation, would you rather it be a movie, TV show, web series, or stage musical?

For The Gilded Wolves, I would rather see that as a miniseries. For both books in the Star-Touched universe, I’d rather see those as movies.

Favorite myth and how has it inspired your writing? What was your inspiration for these stories?

I think my favorite myth is Hades and Persephone. I love the atmosphere, the goth undercurrent, the power dynamic. I love the movement of princess to Queen.

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Have you started this series yet?