The new version of Paradise is free today! Get it while you can!
The new version of Paradise is free today! Get it while you can!
Paradise is live! I was supposed to promote it all day, but got tied up in some other obligations. Normally I’d insist on making a book release more of a priority, but since this IS the re-release, I was persuaded to let it slide a little. Not to say it doesn’t deserve a little noise, because I’m really excited for the makeover it’s had under new editorship, and am ready to scream from the rooftops THIS IS THE VERSION I WANT THE WORLD TO READ.
I almost feel like this is my writing debut, just because I took the time to make sure this one was done right. MANIACAL GIGGLES.
Okay, back to business (or in other words, back to working on the sequel!) For those of you interested in purchasing Paradise, you can do so here.
Today I was reading a bit more of The Night Circus, when I closed the cover and was delighted by the sight you see above. I hardly ever paint my nails, and while I wear rings now and then (they are my favorite piece of jewelry), I tend to get irritated with how much they get in the way of functioning and I don’t end up wearing them as often as I’d like to if style were the only factor. So I was quite tickled to find I’d randomly done my nails (while waiting on my silly ancient computer to snap out of its ‘Not Responding’ vacation) and put on a ring that matched the color scheme of the cover perfectly. I had to snap keepsake pic.
In other news, the re-release of Paradise is right around the corner on the 29th, and I still have two scenes to edit. Every single time I sit down to edit them, something else waltzes in and distracts me. And not just frivolous distractions, but actual events that prevent me from editing. I’m feeling a bit cursed, but am determined to get at least one of the remaining scenes edited tonight. Worst case scenario – I’m going to take Friday off work in order to finish, so I can format everything Saturday and get all the files submitted no later than Saturday night, which does still give me a day’s leeway.
Wish me luck!
It’s here! The cover reveal for Wonderland, which I almost forgot to post in spite of scheduling it for a day I had free and keenly anticipating this very moment for weeks! But my frazzled brain and I managed to collide in a moment of clarity, and, bing!…I give to you what I promised:
Here it comes……
The beautiful amazing wondrously wonderful cover for Wonderland:
One of the promo posters I just made for ‘Paradise’, and the accompanying excerpt to go with it:
The slash of a branch against the girl’s cheek as she ran. Petals falling silently from the trees like flakes of ash. The lurch of the world as she stumbled.
The rasp of breath in the tranquility.
The warm, wet thud of her heart in her throat.
The musky smell of her fear piercing the heady pollens and nectars that saturated the air.
Run. Faster. Don’t look back.
Ducking under bows draped with frilly moss. Jerking free of the lacy tangle that reached after her like tentacles.
Through a clearing of dusky wildflowers.
Into a maze of mossy tree-trunks, the canopy above a-twitter with birds of twilight.
Don’t look back.
The wet crash as she cut through a glade of floating cherry blossoms. Panting as she dragged herself up the opposite bank.
Through the dormant grove of gray-limbed mystery trees. Sparrows scattering like bats dispersing from the nooks and crannies of the world.
The flutter of wings swallowed into the sky, and the eerie silence of abandoned ruins that fell over the grove.
Silence was good. Silence was golden.
No feet close behind her.
Under the low-hanging barren branches. Try not to startle at the skeletal entities that flashed by. Trees more frightening than scarecrows.
If only crows were what chased her…
Don’t look back.
Billowy pockets of mist. Sweet-smelling and tinted with soft color. The faintest of lavenders.
Swallowed into the haze. Slower pace, hands outstretched to feel the way.
Leafy branches giving way to her probing. Ripe, heavy apples bobbing in her wake.
Mist parting like tattered curtains.
Ahead was the bridge. She just had to make it to the bridge.
Open ground. Tripping feet. Heartbeat spiking to a crescendo. The pit of her stomach tightening like a snake around its prey.
Just focus on the bridge. Don’t. Look. Back.
The sweet sting of mist still in her nostrils, drug-like, making her stumble.
Don’t look back.
Don’t look back…
I’m pleased to announce I’ve started the fourth and final book in the Breathtaker series. I also have plans to do a quick rewrite of the first two books and add a bit of excitement (and polish a few other things up), but I’m trying to maintain forward momentum where completing the series is concerned, in order to keep the fans happy.
So to celebrate the beginning of this final installment, I’d like to share with you the prologue that officially begins the end.
I give you…the prologue of Breathless:
If you knew a breath would be your last…would you hold it?
For centuries, those who have had a brush with death have been saved by the graces of instinct. The natural, compelling instinct to survive has long been poised to jump in, to intervene, to do what it can to preserve its host.
But it is an unconscious preservation. And a brush with death is an entirely different creature than a pact with fate.
So what if you knew? Knew and welcomed the moment.
Would you have it in you to go peacefully, without a fight? To shake Fate’s hand, and walk off into the unfathomable beyond without glancing back?
Or would a piece of you still resist, clinging to all that you know and love? And if you love nothing in this world, would you fall prey to that final disease that is the human capacity to hope, and cling to all that you could come to know and love, if you held on just a little longer…
If you knew your moment had come, would you lie beneath the stars aligned for your death, and hold your last breath?
An excerpt from Queen of Spades that I wrote while enjoying the beach yesterday.
I closed my eyes then, just for a moment to collect myself, and when I opened them I was running.
Through my vision landscape I blazed. Back over all the snatches I had seen Damien dragged through. I was hardly aware of myself, immersed instead in this driven current of mystical guidance. I didn’t feel my limbs; I just felt that thing inside me. Like an anchor, or compass, or perhaps just an axis that had found its equilibrium, causing other things to shift in accordance around it.
I was a wheel finally escaped from its dizzying groove, spinning headlong in a rebel direction. Faster and faster, cartwheels of adrenaline and shadow and starlight.
Red, black, white. Red, black, white.
I was a card being shuffled. A flurry, a whirlwind.
Red, black, white. The colors of magic, astir in my blood, aswirl all around me.
Red for blood. Red for anger. Red for pain.
Black for endless nights alone, on the road. Black for the darkness that hounded me, for my own shadow – darker than the average man’s.
White…for the light they always said was at the end of the tunnel, for the rebel angels that must have been watching out for me, all this time, because Damien had made a good point but I could never believe I was lucky.
White…for the white-hot fear that coursed through me as I approached a fortress of such pivotal significance. For the blank page, the unknown, that was a runner laid out before me.
That page always looks so pristine, laying out before a person.
Only in hindsight did it so easily become streaked with those other things – the red and black, the blood and ash, the crimson and ebony, the scarlet splashes and charred tears.
I could actually see it, in my driven daze – the white runner, the luminous silk of it, billowing out before me in the night. It was dreamlike. Beautiful.
I knew without looking that the other two counterparts, the red and black embellishments, were there too, behind me. I could feel their grime on my boots, sullying the path underfoot, making it slippery. I could feel the tatters of silk billowing like ghostly tendrils in my wake, snapping at my heels.
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.
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?
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.