Harperpages

The blog of author Harper Alexander


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Queen of Spades – Tentative Release Date

I was looking back at when I released the second Ace book, Ace of Hearts. and I must admit even I was a little horrified to see that it’s been TWO YEARS. Two years that fans (if there still are any out there) have been waiting for the next book in the series to come out. How did this happen? Partly, I know, time has gotten away for me simply because a lot has happened in the last two years. Changing jobs twice, launching a business, moving, releasing other promised sequels, etc. But even I have to admit I didn’t realize it had been THAT LONG.

Worse, the first book was released two years before THAT (I think. I’m too lazy to actually get out of this chair and check, or even look it up online, but I’m pretty sure). I have been working on this series for FOUR YEARS, and only have two books to show for it. And I realize I just can’t blame any of you who have started the series and given up on ever finishing, because I write the books at the pace of a snail on sedatives.

HOWEVER: if you do happen to still be with me, or are just starting the series now, or finishing book two now, I HAVE GOOD NEWS! Life is less crazy at this point, and due to having an actual writing schedule now, I am writing at a much more respectable pace. Queen of Spades (the third book in the series) is well under way, and I’m scribbling away at it like mad.

I also plan to move right onto the next book in the series after finishing this one, so there won’t be a noticeable (or by any means painful) wait.

As for this third book in the series, which is the most important right now, I’m setting a tentative release date of May 31st. I really, REALLY want to get it out before summer, just because it’s getting ridiculous at this point, so I’m hoping to either stick to this release date or get it out there even sooner.

That’s only a month to spew out almost 50,000 more words, though, and edit them, so in the interest of not failing even more miserably than I already have, I’d better cut this blog post short (ha), and get back to writing.


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Starless Excerpt: This is the North

Today’s excerpt from Starless:

***

They rounded the next hillock, and came face to face with an unforeseen impediment. A small party of men, scouting the area.
The Apocalytes drew up short, taking in the group’s display, the soldier-like formation, the insectile gazes of a dozen gas-masked faces.

Northerners.

It was an unexpected encounter, but not a trace of fear passed over either astronomers’ face. Destinies and fates were easy enough to predict, but the route taken, the bends in the road, could never all be known. Free will still existed, still played a part in how each being fulfilled his fate. The journey itself had always been and would always be prone to twists and turns along the way.

“Glacier wasps,” Techa observed coolly. “What brings you buzzing out of the North?”

With a heavy thunk, another figure dropped into the picture from a sequestering hillock, landing in a crouch before them. She stood, straightening to an impressive height made greater by the diamond headdress atop her raven head. “This is the North,” she announced darkly through her own mask. While she left her piercing blue eyes unobstructed, a snout-like chamber covered the bottom half of her face, distorting her voice.

Yet in spite of the masked face and warped voice, it was no mystery who she was.

Rivanya.

That was the last thought Simene harbored before a debilitating steel blow rendered the starry world black.


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Meet the Characters of ‘Starless’ – Biric

It’s time to start introducing the characters from Starless! (Upcoming dystopian YA novel). Today we’re going to meet Biric, the main character of the story.

beauty portrait of blonde girl in profile

This is Biric. She has awesome blue dreadlocks. But not just because they’re awesome and I wanted her to have them. She’s a slave in the dystopian future, a role in which it makes sense to have dreadlocks, and the blue comes from something known as ‘Stardust’, in the book – a type of matter strewn across the Earth when crystalline asteroids (or geode-like asteroids) struck and all but destroyed the world as we know it.

I can’t say much more about Biric without giving away some key plot elements, but I can say that the whippings she has received as a slave have resulted in a strangely artful pattern of scars across her back, creating a symbol that sparks with significance. What does it mean?

What relevance does she have in a world where the Apocalypse is written in the stars?


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In Bardam, it is Illegal for a Woman to Run

An excerpt from my short story, Chasing me Softly:

***

In Bardam, it is illegal for a woman to run. Some say it is because our bodies are fragile, that we snap bones like dry brush, and if we run we encourage a dangerous recklessness. Therefore endangering all women.

Endangering women eventually leads to the extinction of a species. A good thing to make illegal.

Some say it is because running musses our beauty. Our hair goes wild and sweat streaks the paint on our faces, running dark rivulets from our eyes. Crazed eyes.
Men want something pretty to look at. And since men run Bardam, they can decide such things – that anything that ruins a woman’s beauty should be made illegal. Apparently, we are that sacred to them.

There are other disruptions to beauty that come from running. The dry, cracked lips from sucking the wind like a drug you can’t get enough of. The blisters that pepper your feet. The contours of muscle that develop over time; the definition of taboo written all over your defiled body.

I know of these greater details because I have a secret. A dangerous, marvelous, rich dark secret.

I sneak away from my canopied luxury, my silken prison where I should be resting my head upon embroidered pillows, at night, and I do that thing that makes me a criminal.

I run.

***

Available on Amazon: Chasing me Softly


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Queen of Spades – Out of Hibernation

It’s happened. I’ve finally had a breakthrough on Queen of Spades! So for all of you who have been grumbling about the third sequel taking its precious time doing anything remotely along the lines of getting closer to its release, while I joyously plod away on other books, you can heave a sigh of exasperated relief.

I don’t know why I was so stuck on this book for so long, but I have finally brainstormed the necessary ideas and tied the right threads together, and wrapped my head around the whole thing, so it should be swift sailing from here. I’m scratching away in my notebook, and don’t plan to stop.

Thanks to all of my long-suffering fans for your patience, and I maintain what I said a few posts back – that after the Ace and Breathtaker sagas, I promise not to work on multiple series simultaneously.


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Starless Cover Reveal Teaser/Countdown

Starless Cover Reveal Teaser

I thought it would be fun this time around to stir some extra hype with a cover reveal teaser and countdown! I reached the halfway point on Starless last night, and since I’ve had the cover stashed away awaiting the perfect time for its big reveal, I thought it would be a good time to start thinking about that. I’m so excited about this book, and hope to get some of you excited too! So here it is, the maddening cover reveal teaser!

Starless Cover Reveal Teaser

Are you curious yet? 🙂


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‘Starless’ Excerpt: Escaping the Compound

Today’s excerpt from Starless is an exciting one, in which a couple of the main characters stage an escape from the mysterious slave Compound, where blood sacrifices and experiments with mystical crystals and the building of strange machines and devices takes place. Enjoy!

***

The fireworks had stopped, long enough that her eyes were beginning to readjust to the darkness. She could see the figure for what it was, now – a hulking beast of broad shoulders and meaty arms, looming over her and rearing a fist to slam down on her.

No weapons necessary.

But then there was a blur from the sidelines, a second dark mass launching itself from a jutting pedestal of rubble and tackling her assailant with toppling force.

He went down, his grip pulling Biric down too. She was released as he crumpled, but there was nothing she could do to stop her fall. Her head slammed against a chunk of rubble, and for a moment she thought another firework was going off over the Compound. But this one was white, and starrier than the rest, and sent a lancing pain down her neck.

Dizzily, she blinked it away. Something warm trickled down her temple. She raised her fingers to the matted hair there, finding a knot slick with blood.

In a far-off sort of way, she knew she needed to snap out of it, needed to leave her injuries to be inspected later. But a momentary daze gripped her, and she pushed herself away from the ground as if in a dream.

Delicate hands were seizing her, trying to help her up. Only when Darra’s voice managed to filter into her senseless skull did she find her way back to reality, turning back to the dueling silhouettes that tussled across the slope.

The interceptor was smaller than the aggressor, but it was clear he was no novice. He cut and jabbed with viper prowess and used the rubble to manipulate advantageous angles, hammering away at the burly sentry until he was pushing him back. Then, with savage precision, he swept up a chunk of concrete from the slope and bashed it down across the other man’s skull.

This time, when the silhouette crumpled, he didn’t get back up.

Panting, Dasher turned back to Biric and Darra, concrete still gripped in his fist. Did he realize he was still holding it?

“Get out,” he commanded in a tone that brooked no contradiction.

It did not get past Biric that he did not have his mother with him. But she heard the urgency in his voice, and didn’t hesitate long enough to inquire about what he had found in the fortress.

She still didn’t remember where the exact location of the portal was, but she set her feet in the right direction, sweeping Darra up in her current as she went. And now that Dasher was with them, he honed in on their escape route himself, all but shoving them to their knees and stuffing them through the gap.

Biric dropped to the heap of debris below the crack, twisting her ankle and cutting her palm as she caught herself. She received Darra’s weight simultaneously, trying to cushion the other girl’s landing.

“Biric, what is this?” the red-head was gasping. But there was no time, not now. Biric hauled her off the heap and guided her into the chasm as Dasher herded them from behind.

Darra cried out as she stumbled over an obstacle, but Biric’s arm around her waist kept her from going down.

Three currents of rasping breath echoed down the chasm, giving life to the dark. Like phantoms, they scuttled down the passage.

Then a faint light was poking its feelers down in at them, and Dasher was surpassing them, hoisting himself out of the chasm and helping to pull them out.

By the slightly superior light of the dust-hindered moon, the three of them made off across the junkyard, sprinting toward the slope that stood between them and the open wilderness.

An unexpected, delayed series of fireworks went off then, the sky exploding with color as they scaled the incline and leaped off the other side.