Yesterday I finished Orpheum. Part one was published previously and ends on a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, even though people like it, I’ve been getting some negative reviews about how frustrating it is to wait for more.
I worked on this book through the winter, and we spent another month in Bulgaria doing research and visiting some of the geographical and historical locations in the book. I continued working on the book in Edinburgh over New Year’s… and was stuck on the last chapter for two weeks as we moved to Taipei.
But finally, I got to THE END and it’s pretty great. The full book also ends on a pretty big cliffhanger. I may leave it as it is, or I may add in an epilogue for at least a partial sense of completion, since it will probably be awhile until there’s another book in this series (I think it’s good – but I also have better projects mapped out and I want to be working on my best ideas, not the ideas I started years ago).
The original cover looked like this:
If you haven’t read part one yet, you can get the first several chapters for free in my starter library.
I like to update covers when I significantly change a book, so I’ve been working on a new cover, which will look something like this:
In a day or two, I’ll have a limited number of ARC copies to give out, so make sure you’re on my email list if you want one (these advanced copies are for fans who don’t mind helping me spot the inevitable handful of typos, and who can also post a review of the finished book on Amazon – if you’d prefer waiting for a clean copy, the full thing will be on Amazon next week).
Here’s an excerpt:
The world was my weapon, and I felt more powerful than I ever had before. Blood dripped from my fingertips, as the recent scabs reopened against the sharp strings of my violin. My eyes blackened as music filled my body, a rushing song, the voice of a god pumping in my veins. I hear his voice and I am destruction.
Here are a couple videos I made about the book… the second one is on-location in Bulgaria.
GIVEAWAY FOR MUSIC LOVERS!
I’m also running a giveaway where you can WIN a paperback version of the full book, and one of these cool miniature violin pendants with a working case.
Europe was great, but we’ve just flown back to Taiwan for Chinese New Year and will be in Asia for the next several months. Here’s a picture of our street. I’m working on TASTE next and I can’t wait to share the full book!
I’m working on TASTE for the rest of this month – my vampire dystopia – you can still get the free sample on Amazon for a limited time here:
If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’ve been giving away three books a week all summer! I’m setting up the last giveaway of young adult books for the summer – so sign up to win 6 new scifi and fantasy releases.
Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure. But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom. As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family. With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?
When a sudden storm slams Katy’s boat into the shore, she’s forced to enter the lawless wasteland she’d avoided since the world ended. The horror she discovers amongst the ruins is far worse than she could have imagined. The masked warriors of the Venganza clan chase Katy through the post-apocalyptic landscape, forcing her to decide between her past or the survivors’ future — a decision that could determine the fate of the human race.
When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day LA via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task.
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. She’s the sole heir of Pavan, and has been groomed since childhood to be the perfect queen. Aurora is intelligent, brave, and honorable – but she has yet to show any trace of magic she’ll need to protect her people. To keep her secret, her mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. It seems to be the perfect solution to all her problems – her spot as the next queen is guaranteed, and he will be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in storm magic, and the people who are selling it are storm hunters and not Stormlings. Now Aurora realizes that there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. She just has to be brave enough to steal it.
Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time they are total strangers thrust together under unusual circumstances. Each time their presence changes history for the better. And each time they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. Why does fate keep bringing them together to save the world, and what must they achieve before they can finally be left to love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different. . . .
Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. No matter how much he once yearned for it. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost. Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.
Across the Four Lands, peace has reigned for generations. But now, in the far north, an unknown enemy is massing. More troubling than the carnage is the strange and wondrous power wielded by the attackers—a breed of magic unfamiliar even to the Druid order. Fearing the worst, the High Druid dispatches a diplomatic party under the protection of the order’s sworn guardian, Dar Leah, to confront the mysterious, encroaching force and discover its purpose. But another crucial journey is being undertaken. Exiled onetime High Druid Drisker Arc has been living in quiet seclusion, far from the politics and power struggles of his former life, until two brutal attacks by would-be assassins force him to seek out an infamous murder-for-hire guild—and find the hidden enemy who has marked him for death. At his side is Tarsha Kaynin, a young woman gifted with the wishsong and eager to be schooled in its formidable power by a master. She, too, is pursuing a mission: to locate her wayward brother, whose own magic has driven him to deadly madness and kindled his rage for vengeance . . . against his sister.
Absolution: A system of law in which young men and women, “Runners,” are paid bounties, or blood money, to become suspects in crimes committed by the wealthy. The way they are proven innocent? Evade, escape, and survive their hunters. At nineteen, Marisol never thought she would be a tracker of humans. In this post-apocalyptic world where justice is determined by a system of Absolution, Marisol steps up to do her duty. She hates everything that Absolution stands for, but there’s nothing she can do about it. Nothing, that is, until one of her Runners turns out to be the key to uncovering a vast conspiracy that threatens to topple the dictator of New Chicago and change their lives forever.
Hope escaped the Underworld with her life, but her memories are as blank as the Book of the Fates she brought back. Still determined to break the curse, she and Xan take an offering to the Olympian temple to solicit the goddess Artemis for aid. But the petition has disastrous results, and now the gods are hunting her. Athan sacrificed everything for Hope, but she’s leaving him behind to travel with Xan to Mount Olympus. But the closer they get, the more Athan’s mortality becomes a liability. Forced to seek refuge in mists and darkness, Athan tangles with deities that weave the very threads of fate. But these goddesses also wield the immortal blades that lay ruin to destinies. With everyone she loves damaged or destroyed by the blood of Olympus, Hope must face the power of the past to change the fate of her future.
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her. What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him? As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
Mira is not like the other Glittering Court girls. She is a war refugee, cast out of her home country and thrust into another, where she has learned to fight against the many injustices around her. For some, the Glittering Court offers a chance at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. But for Mira, it’s simply a means to an end. In the new world, she plans to earn off her marriage contract price, and finally be free. Mira pitches herself as an asset to one of the passengers on board the ship: the sardonic and aloof Grant Elliot, whom she’s discovered is a spy for the prestigious McGraw Agency—and her ticket to buying her freedom. His cover blown, Grant has little choice but to take her on. Mira applies herself by day, learning the etiquette and customs that will help to earn her anonymity. By night, she dons a mask and slips into the city, fighting injustice and corruption on her own terms—and impressing Grant with her extraordinary abilities and insights into a brewing rebellion. But the rebellion isn’t all they’re fighting… Neither of them can ignore the attraction burning between them—an attraction so powerful, it threatens to unravel everything Mira’s worked so hard for. With freedom finally within her grasp, can Mira risk it all for love?
Sixteen-year-old alien Val Stone was born for one mission—to kill teenage Randolf “Rolf” Cartier before he fulfills an age-old prophecy, becomes the future American president, and murderers thousands of her kind. Val is ready to sacrifice herself for the good of her people. She knows every aspect of Rolf’s life and is prepared to strike. But what she doesn’t know is that Rolf’s been watching her, too. Waiting for her. Ready to defeat her and save himself. Only when the day arrives, doubt overcomes purpose, and they discover the prophecy was all a hoax. Oh, and they can’t seem to stop thinking about each other. Now they’re running against the clock, desperate to reveal who created the fake prophecy before tensions erupt and there’s nothing left but the memory of a species called human.
Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust — hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything — and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh. While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills — and quick-shooting accuracy — makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.
Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…. Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule. Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library….
Sometimes it’s not the kid you expect who falls through to magicland, sometimes it’s . . . Elliott. He’s grumpy, nerdy, and appalled by both the dearth of technology and the levels of fitness involved in swinging swords around. He’s a little enchanted by the elves and mermaids. Despite his aversion to war, work, and most people (human or otherwise) he finds that two unlikely ideas, friendship and world peace, may actually be possible.
In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives. Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future. But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She’s diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life. Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls—one for every villager. Fascinated, she can’t resist the urge to open the doll with her father’s face. But when her father begins acting strangely, she realizes Slava’s dolls are much more than they seem. When he learns what she’s done, Slava seizes the opportunity to give Matrona stewardship over the dolls—whether she wants it or not. Forced to open one of her own dolls every three days, she falls deeper into the grim power of Slava’s creations. But nothing can prepare her for the profound secret hiding inside the fifth doll.
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show. But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered. Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.
For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
Dion, now king of Xanthos, is finally in command of the naval fleet he’s always dreamed of. But his hopes for peace are jeopardized when King Palemon, in dire need of ships to rescue his starving people from the frozen wastelands of the north, invades the Salesian city of Malakai. Too weak to confront Dion directly, Palemon turns to magic: mysterious copper chains from the lost civilization of Aleuthea, which have the potential to control dragons…and Dion. With the people he loves in danger, and his own freedom at risk, Dion’s only hope is Chloe and the power she struggles to tame.
With 23 all-original Science Fiction and Epic Fantasy novels, Dominion Rising is the boxed set of the year! The collection features nearly 8,000 pages and over a million words in total – bringing you sharp, suspenseful, and thought-provoking novels of dark forces and light, of magic and adventure, of enchanted swords and galactic empires.
After surviving her otherworldly adventure, Lily wakes up on her nana’s farm having forgotten everything. Her sun prince, her travels to Egypt, and her journey to the Afterlife are all distant memories. But Lily is not the girl she once was. Her body is now part human, part lion, and part fairy. And if that isn’t bad enough, she must harness this power of three and become Wasret: a goddess destined to defeat the evil god Seth once and for all. With the help of her old friend Dr. Hassan, Lily departs on her final voyage through the cosmos and across the plains of Egypt. On the journey, she will transform into the being she is destined to become.
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie’s every waking thought. But when she discovers she’s a celestial spirit who’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of heaven with her fists, her perfectionist existence is shattered. Enter Quentin, a transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie to the brink of madness. Quentin nurtures Genie’s bodacious transformation—sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively—as her sleepy suburb in the Bay Area comes under siege from hell-spawn. This epic YA debut draws from Chinese folklore, features a larger-than-life heroine, and perfectly balances the realities of Genie’s grounded high school life with the absurd supernatural world she finds herself commanding.
Despite her resolve to cut ties with the rebellion, Sage Blackwell is forced to turn to her old allies…But when the ultimate betrayal puts her in an impossible position, she has to make a life changing decision: freedom or peace?
From the moment he meets Sage, Crown Prince Tehl Ramses finds himself confronted with one surprise after another- and he hates being the fool. Ensnared in the rebellion’s intricate web of trickery and blackmail, Tehl is forced to take desperate measures: war or compromise?Both Tehl and Sage will do whatever’s necessary to avoid the pending war, even if it means becoming reluctant allies. Tempers rise, myths are unveiled, and assassins abound. Can they put aside their prejudices to protect their people? Or will they tear Aermia and each other apart?
He has no voice or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind. Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall. His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting. Until a human kills her…Sixteen-year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her fellow campers can only stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless, but what choice does she have? Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend. Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…
The master has been unmasked. Rho’s world has been turned upside down. With her loved ones in peril and all the stars set against her, can the young Guardian from House Cancer muster the strength to keep fighting? Or has she finally found her match in a master whose ambition to rule knows no limits?
Release date: August 29th, 2017
Which of these have you read? What are you excited to read next?
I had one surprise twist saved for the end of book 2, but after much deliberation, I’ve decided it belongs at the front of book 3 instead. I’m adding it here, so you can read it now – the rest of the story continues in book 3 of the series… The Emerald Tablet.
I could feel the broken bones in my arm scrape together under my skin, like wooden blocks covered in sandpaper. Puriel lifted me up from the pile of rubble that used to be my childhood home and carried me to the black sports car. It was so quiet, I thought my ears must have been damaged, but then I could hear Puriel’s voice. He was asking me something, something about how to drive the car. I shrugged and rolled my head. I’d been in JDRI since I was nine, and driving lessons were never on the curriculum. I looked around for Sitri, why wasn’t he driving? Then I saw him, or at least the dark furry shape he’d become. The impossibly large, wolf-like creature. He was waiting for us in the middle of the road. Howling at us. Puriel finally figured out the mechanics and the car screeched out of the suburban coldesac. I could hear sirens getting louder, and we passed several police cars and an ambulance. I blinked against the harsh flashing lights. Puriel kept checking the skies. I looked up as well, expecting a helicopter, but instead I saw a flash of wings and a glimmer of silver shapes, illuminated by the early light. The sun hadn’t risen yet, so I only saw silhouettes against the dark sky, but I knew what they were. Hunters. Dozens of them.
“Why aren’t they attacking us?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Puriel said. “But Zeus isn’t going to want us to reach Nevah. Not with the shears.
The Golden Shears.
I looked down, and sure enough, my pale fingers were still clenched around the golden metal, almost like they’d melded with my fist. My arm looked like a spiked hammer. The shears radiated power, and I could feel a pulsing. A throbbing through my whole body. I didn’t know if it was my own heartbeat, or the shears.
My hands felt sticky, and I realized they were covered with bright blue goo, that shimmered when I moved them. Pure divinity. Zeus’s blood. I shuddered, resisting the urge to wipe it against my clothes.
“Do we have a towel or something?” I asked.
Puriel looked physically pained, and his eyes were coal black, with unusually wide pupils. He stared at my hands with more than just concern. It was hunger. This much energy, right here, it was taking all his strength to restrain himself.
“You… want this?” I asked.
Hunger took over his face, and for a moment I worried he was going to lose control and bite my hand off. Instead he reached for my hand and held it up to his mouth. He gently kissed my fingertips, and I felt his tongue flick over my skin. It should have been erotic, but it wasn’t. I knew this disgusted him as much as it disgusted me. But after what we’d been through, he needed strength. It must have taken a tremendous amount of willpower to resist Zeus, and Puriel had refused him. He’d given me the shears, and I’d stabbed Zeus in the thigh. Nobody could question his loyalty now. He’d had his shot at redemption, and he’d chosen us.
Tall fir trees tore past us. I looked behind us and saw Sitri keeping up, running impossibly fast. We were going nearly over 100 miles per hour. Puriel was hugging the curves tightly, his white knuckles gripping the wheel with singular focus. I couldn’t believe he’d never driven before.
The Olympic forest expanded before us, inviting us in—a hundred miles of virgin territory, as far as anyone else knew anyway. But up ahead, I could see the a small road that cut through the forest to Nevah; Able’s private sanctuary for heirs, roots and magical creatures.
But something looked different this time. Something was blocking the road, some kind of wall. Puriel slammed on the brakes when we got close enough to see clearly. The wall was actually a tight lattice of hunters, their golden armor glistening, swords glowing with divine power. There were at least thirty, and streaks of light overhead told me more were arriving every second. They spread their wings in uniform, and it was like drawing the drapes closed. Puriel slammed on the brakes and the car screeched to a stop. I heard a growl as Sitri launched himself into the wall of hunters, barreling through the middle. He tossed one hunter up in the air with a flick of his jaw, and pinned another to the ground, tearing at its neck with bloody jowls.
“Stay here!” Puriel shouted. He tore the door off and held it with one hand like a shield, then he grabbed his sword and darted towards the fray. His sword didn’t glow like the hunters, who were connected with Zeus’s energy, but after feeding straight from the source, he was much stronger. He cleaved hunters in half with raw strength, slicing through their metal armor. He cut through them like a lawnmower, tossing up bits and pieces.
Someone’s head bounced off the windshield. I hit the wipers, and watched them spread the glowing, silver blood across the glass. A tiny stream of soap shot out, and the wipers worked furiously until I could see again.
I gripped the door weakly and tried to push it open with my shoulder, but pain radiated down my arm. Hunters materialized by the door. One of them ripped the side door off and tossed it aside. He grabbed me by my clothes and threw me to the ground outside. I didn’t think they’d kill me. I was far too valuable, and too dangerous. Unless, now that I had the shears, Zeus didn’t want to take the risk.
The shears. I rolled to my knees and held them up, feeling their power. Zeus was afraid of me. I’d hurt him. The look of surprise on his face filled me with courage. I took a deep breath, and focused on the slender threads of the hunter’s lifespans. They shone like siler glowsticks in the early light. But when I tried to reach for them, a numbing, icy pain shot through my elbow. With my arm broken, I couldn’t lift my hand high enough, which meant I couldn’t grip the threads and also cut them with the shears, not with one hand anyway. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t do any damage. I tucked the shears into my pocket, then lashed out and flicked the thread with my bare fingertips, and watched the nearest hunter crumple and writhe on the ground. The other two froze and exchanged a look. I got to my feet and dusted off my jeans, then looked up at them with a smirk. I curled my fingers like talons, just before one of them swung a fist at me. I ducked and hooked his thread, winding it around my finger before pulling sharply. He dropped like a stone. Two others grabbed my arms and held them in a vice-like grip. A third grabbed the shears, attempting to rip them out of my pocket. An arrow appeared in his neck, and he slumped to the side. I looked up to see Mist flying towards us, loosing arrows nimbly. Dion and Tori were right behind her. Dion charged through the hunters like a bull, skewering them with his double scimitars.
The hunters kept coming, like flies to meat, swarming around us. But then the sky darkened. Able and Stephanie, holding hands, descended in dark splendor, with some kind of dark lattice of energy between them. They sucked out the light, causing temporary blindness, except for the small portal under their arms.
We passed through, with Stephanie chanting, and the gateway closed behind us. The sealed passage swallowed up the sounds of battle. We’d made it back to Nevah safely. My knees buckled and my face hit the dirt, for the third time this morning.
I’m going to be adding a final bonus chapter here soon – sorry it isn’t ready yet! If you want to sign up to my list, I’ll let you know when you can get it!
I’m so excited to announce that The Golden Shearsis done and will be available in a few days!
I really got to dig deep into the mythology in this one, and there are a LOT of twists and surprises.
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who preordered a copy. Please leave a review as soon as you can if you liked it!
The audiobook edition of Scarlet Thread is now available! If you’ve bought the book on Amazon previously, you should be able to get it for free. It’s my first ever audiobook, and I hope you like it – if so please leave a review of the audiobook here.
My wife found this awesome metal glove on Instagram and it’s similar to one Kaidance will get in book three – so I’m giving one away, along with an obnibus edition of the full series (when it’s ready).
A couple years ago I started plotting a vampire dystopian fantasy… kind of Hunger Games meets Van Helsing. This is the cover…
I put the first few chapters of Taste in the YA anthology I helped publish last year, That Moment When (it’s free, go download it!). But now I’m trying to finish the whole story. Hopefully it’ll be epic and you’ll love it… I’ve actually agreed to join a boxset of fantasy/scifi books called Dominion Rising, and I THINK the full novel will be exclusive to that boxset for the first three months, until I publish it on its own. There’s a chance I’ll include another project, I need to get busy writing to see what I can finish this spring.
I’m really excited about writing vampire book, but I think I may need to brand better… even though Taste is actually a dystopian/post apoc setting and the “elites” are not true, supernatural vampires (they have a scientific basis), I’d also like to have a more traditional urban fantasy/supernatural thriller with vampires, werewolves, fae, dragons and magic… something more stereotypically vampire.
I’m working on a plot for that too, and believe I’m going to call it Vampire Magic. Today I was playing around with some art. I’m not quite sure if I’ll use the above cover for Taste, or rebrand it with a better title and some fancy art like those below… or if I’ll save the art below for the new series I want to start.
I’ll probably ask for some cover feedback once I have the story finished and send out ARCs to see which cover you thinks fits the story (though, that doesn’t actually matter as much as which covers make you want to read the story).
Anyway, go download That Moment When (it’s free) – and let me know if you like the first few chapters of Taste… and if you want to read more, check out Dominion Rising (20+ full-length novels for 99cents).
I’d used up all my magic. As I sank deeper into the dark ocean, the sparkling lights around my body dimmed. I was done healing—but I was also out of air. My blue dress trailed behind me, the thin fabric billowing in the water, a rainbow colored sheen of scales that reminded me of a peacock. Wait, what? My eyes widened as I tried to kick my legs, and saw only the magnificent tail that wrapped around my lower body and sliced cleanly through the water. I gasped and felt the sea water rush into my lungs. The pain was unbearable as I filled up with ocean. After all these years, I was finally drowning for real. Rather than dying, however, I felt oxygen reenter my blood stream. It felt like a glowing flame, spreading through my body, making it stronger. A surge of energy hit me and I realized I’d finally changed.
I was a mermaid, a real one. But now I was chained to a massive chunk of stone that was sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I wondered if I’d end up like that seal, trapped and starving to death. A casualty of human greed. But then, I saw a pale white figure swimming towards me through the endless abyss. It had been so long since I’d seen him, I was sure I was just hallucinating after my traumatic experience. But when he smashed through the restraints and ripped open the metal cuff around my neck, I knew he was really there with me. Sebastian. Somehow he’d gotten my message. I started sobbing, from relief and exhaustion, as he carried me to the surface in his powerful arms.
I couldn’t stop admiring my tail. It was dark green and purple, with flecks of blue and gold that sparkled like glitter in the sun.
“If you keep smiling so much, your face might get stuck like that.” Sebastian said, pulling his upper body out of the water and splashing water at me. We were on the rocky island off the coast that I’d begun thinking of as our island. It was so small it didn’t have a name, and wasn’t on any maps.
It had been three days since I single-handedly destroyed one of Ireland’s most famous historical icons. Of course the media thought it was some kind of localized earthquake. The truth was much harder to believe, even for those of us that knew magic was real. After Sebastian brought me back to land, he let me dry out until my tail was eggshell-thin, then snapped it off in pieces like he was unwrapping a present. The salt water healed my wounds, but I was weak from blood loss and barely conscious. He and Aedan tucked me in and I slept for sixteen hours.
When I woke up, Sebastian was at my side.
“Where were you?” I demanded, a single tear dripping down my cheek.
He brushed it away with the back of his finger.
“I’m so sorry,” he said, squeezing my hands in his. “My father locked me up as soon as I got back. I thought, if he knew there was a surviving heir… but he already knew. He killed the royal family. Phyllis escaped somehow and he’s been looking for her ever since. He thanked me for tracking you down and then put me in a dry chamber.”
“Before I confronted him, however, I told some friends about you, to get the word out. The news spread, it was too big to contain. It was the excuse the merrow needed to challenge my father. There were protests, even riots. I got a message to a friend of mine, to find you and tell you what happened—he’d been waiting for his chance when he heard the whales and knew something was wrong. So he organized a team to break me out. We’re all on the run now. Outlaws, according to my father.”
“I can’t believe you’re really here,” I said, stroking his face with the palm of my hand. “I thought I’d lost you.”
On the second day, the coast guard recovered the body of Father Murphy. He’d washed up on shore missing his leg—it looked like a shark had taken more than just a test bite. Since he was fully clothed, they assumed he must have been in the castle when it collapsed, though nobody could guess why. I was glad he wasn’t a threat anymore, but I knew we hadn’t heard the last of the Worrem.
I spent all day swimming with Sebastian and filling him in on what he’d missed, which wasn’t actually that much. Then in the afternoon we met up with the others at the Runkerry house. Jackie made Ethan come look for me at Aedan’s when I didn’t show up at her place. After Sebastian brought me home, Aedan let the others know I was okay, but they were still anxious to see me.
“I’m sorry I ruined the debs ball,” I said after Jackie, Patricia and Derry had given me long hugs.
“There will be other dances,” Jackie said. “We’re just happy that you’re safe.”
“You should have seen me in my tux though,” Derry said, “I looked amazing.”
We cooked hotdogs on a grill over an outdoor fire and celebrated our victory. I told the others that Father Murphy had been the one after me from the beginning. Aedan looked crushed when I exposed Helena’s involvement, but he tried not to let it show. We all knew this wasn’t the end of our problems, but we were going to enjoy the win while we could. There was no telling how long it would be before we got another one.
“There’s one more thing,” Sebastian said at dusk. We were standing alone near the water, away from the others. He had his arms wrapped around me like he was afraid to let me go. “Before I knew that my father was the one responsible for the disappearance of the royal family, I told him about your grandmother’s necklace. I was trying to convince him of your claim, so that he’d have to listen to you. He wasn’t too concerned, he said the merrow would never follow anyone with legs. But now that you’ve turned, you’re a real threat to him. And he’ll stop at nothing to get the necklace—it’s the key he’s been waiting for to start his war against the humans.”
I nodded. So what if I had a target on my back? I was both Tuatha Dé and Merrow, and soon I’d be at the center of a conflict that just might consume civilization. But I wasn’t the same girl I’d been when I came to Ireland. And I wasn’t alone anymore. Looking around at my friends on the beach, their smiles illuminated by the campfire, and standing with Sebastian as the sky turned purple and the sparkling stars reflected on the dark waves, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Something I wasn’t sure I was ever going to feel again. Hope.
When my parents died, I tried to shut the world out so. I didn’t dare dream about a future where I could be happy again. But then I met Sebastian, and now I had friends and family who accepted me, even though I was different from them.
“I told you once you couldn’t lift the whole ocean,” Sebastian said with stars in his eyes, brushing my hair behind my ears. “I’ll never doubt you again. I have no idea what you’re capable of. I look forward to being continuously surprised by you.”
His kiss felt comfortable, like a favorite jacket you never wanted to take off. I knew exactly how the curves of his body fit against mine, and I had the shape of him memorized. Behind us, the warm glow of the Runkerry lights beckoned in the distance. Gazing out over the ocean, I saw a long shooting star burn across the sky. I watched its bright tail reflect off the dark blue water of the ocean. The future was still uncertain, now more than ever. But it was worth fighting for. And somehow I knew, whatever else was coming, no matter how powerful the forces against us, somehow we’d find a way through it.