Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep_cover image

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, god-decreed rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: train to fight and fight to survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Eelyn loses her focus and is captured. Now, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan settling in the valley, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend who tried to kill her the day she was captured. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and find a way to forgive her brother while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

 

Buy on Amazon

 

Excerpt

 

“I saw him. I saw Iri.”

He wrapped the torn cloth around my arm, tying it tight. “What are you talking about?”

I pushed his hands from me, crying. “Listen to me! Iri was here! I saw him!”

His hands finally stilled, confusion lighting in his eyes. “I was fighting a man. He was about to . . .” I shuddered, remembering how close to death I’d come—closer than I’d ever been. “Iri came out of the fog and saved me. He was with the Riki.” I stood, taking his hand and pulling him toward the tree line. “We have to find him!”

But my father stood like a stone tucked into the earth. His face turned up toward the sky, his eyes blinking against the sunlight.

“Do you hear me? Iri’s alive!” I shouted, holding my arm against my body to calm the violent throbbing around the gash.

His eyes landed on me again, tears gathered at the cor- ners like little white flames. “Sigr. He sent Iri’s soul to save you, Eelyn.”

“What? No.”

“Iri’s made it to Sólbjǫrg.” His words were frightening and delicate, betraying a tenderness my father never showed. He stepped forward, looking down into my eyes with a smile. “Sigr has favored you, Eelyn.”

Mýra stood behind him, her green eyes wide beneath her unraveling auburn braids.

“But—” I choked. “I saw him.”

“You did.” A single tear rolled down my father’s rough cheek and disappeared into his beard. He pulled me into him, wrapping his arms around me, and I closed my eyes, the pain in my arm so great now that I could hardly feel my hand.

I blinked, trying to understand. I had seen him. He was there.

“We will make a sacrifice tonight.” He let me go before he pressed his hands to my face again. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you scream for me like that. You scared me, sváss.” A laugh was buried deep in his chest.

“I’m sorry,” I murmured. “I just . . . I thought . . .”

He waited for me to meet his eyes again. “His soul is at peace. Your brother saved your life today. Be happy.” He clapped a hand against my good arm, nearly knocking me down.

I wiped at my wet cheeks with the palm of my hand, turning from the faces that were still watching me. There were very few times I’d cried in front of my clansmen. It made me feel small. Weak, like the early winter grass beneath our boots.

I sniffed back the tears, piecing my face back together as my father nodded in approval. It was what he had taught me—to be strong. To steel myself. He turned back to the field, getting to work, and I followed with Mýra, trying to smooth my ragged breath. To hush the waves crashing in my head. We walked toward our camp, collecting the weapons of fallen Aska warriors along the way. I watched my father from the corner of my eye, still unable to shake Iri’s face from my mind.

My feet stopped at the edge of a puddle and I looked at my reflection. Dirt spattered across my angled face and neck. Blood dried in long, golden braids. Eyes a frozen blue, like Iri’s. I sucked in a breath, looking up to the thin white clouds brushed across the sky to keep another tear from falling.

“Here,” Mýra called to me from where she was crouched over an Aska woman. She was lying on her side, eyes open and arms extended like she was reaching for us.

I carefully unbuckled her belt and scabbard, piling them with the others before I started on the armor vest. “Did you know her?”

“A little.” Mýra reached down to close the woman’s eyes with her fingertips. She gently brushed the hair back from her face before she began, the words coming softly. “Aska, you have reached your journey’s end.”

In the next breath, I joined with her, saying the ritual words we knew by heart. “We ask Sigr to accept your soul into Sólbjǫrg, where the long line of our people hold torches on the shadowed path.”

My voice faded, letting Mýra speak first. “Take my love to my father and my sister. Ask them to keep watch for me. Tell them my soul follows behind you.”

I closed my eyes as the prayer found a familiar place on my tongue. “Take my love to my mother and my brother. Ask them to keep watch for me. Tell them my soul follows behind you.”

I swallowed down the lump in my throat before I opened my eyes and looked down into the woman’s peaceful face one more time. I hadn’t been able to say the words over Iri’s body the way I had when my mother died, but Sigr had taken him anyway.

“Have you ever seen something like that before?” I whispered. “Something that wasn’t real?”

Mýra blinked. “It was real. Iri’s soul is real.”

“But he was older—a man. He spoke to me. He touched me, Mýra.”

She stood, shifting an armful of axes up onto her shoulder. “I was there that day, Eelyn. Iri died. I saw it with my own eyes. That was real.” It was the same battle that took Mýra’s sister. We’d been friends before that day, but we hadn’t really needed each other until then.

I remembered it so clearly—the picture of him like a reflection on ice. Iri’s lifeless body at the bottom of the trench. Lying across the perfect white snow, blood seeping out around him in a melted pool. I could still see his blond hair fanned out around his head, his empty eyes wide open and staring into nothing.

“I know.”

Mýra reached up, squeezing my shoulder. “Then you know it wasn’t Iri—not his flesh.”

I nodded, swallowing hard. I prayed for Iri’s soul every day. If Sigr had sent him to protect me, he really was in Sólbjǫrg—our people’s final sunset. “I knew he would make it.” I breathed through the tightness in my throat.

“We all did.” A small smile lifted on her lips.

I looked back down to the woman lying between us. We would leave her as she was—as she died—with honor. Like we did with all our fallen warriors.

Like we’d left Iri.

“Was he as handsome as he was before?” Mýra’s smile turned wry as her eyes flickered back up to meet mine.

“He was beautiful,” I whispered.

 

Q&A with Adrienne Young:

  1. What inspired SKY IN THE DEEP? How did the idea and Eelyn come to you? Do you have any favorite Viking stories?

The sibling betrayal was definitely the first inspiration for this story. I was driving in the pouring rain on this country road and that first scene just hit me – Eelyn, seeing her brother on the battlefield after thinking that he was dead for five years. I pulled over on the side of the road and scribbled a million notes on an old envelope. I was immediately hooked to the idea and I wanted to know what had happened. I started writing that first chapter and I just never stopped.

  1. What type of research did you do for your characters and world-building? What languages did you study to implement the languages that the Aska and the Riki speak? What was the strangest thing you had to research for this book?

I did a ton of research for this story. I actually really love to research things so it was a lot of fun. A lot of it was stuff like clothing, landscape, weapons, food, etc. But I did a lot of research into Norse mythology as well to build a foundation for this world. The language used is Old Norse, but it’s a dead language so studying it was really difficult. There is a lot of controversy about it among scholars and there’s no real way to fully understand it, so I just did my best based on my own investigation. I’m definitely not an expert! The weirdest thing I had to research was how to tear out someone’s eyeball. Yuck.

  1. What was your writing process like for SKY IN THE DEEP?

Complete and utter obsession. When I draft, I get really buried in the world and I don’t really come up for air until I get to the end. I write as much as I can and limit my intake of other influencers that could mess with my mindset. I don’t watch TV or movies or listen to music that’s not on my playlist, and I kind of don’t have a social life until it’s done.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?

I really didn’t struggle to get this story on the page the way I have with other books so I really don’t know what the hardest scene to write was. But the easiest was the first chapter. I wrote it so fast and it just clicked in so perfectly.

  1. Which of your characters are you the most like? Who was your favorite to write?

Eelyn! We have so much in common and she really inspires me. But I think Halvard was the most fun to write. I really, really love him.

  1. Do you have a soundtrack for SKY IN THE DEEP? Can you share a couple songs? What would Eelyn’s favorite song be?

Yes! Music plays a HUGE role in my writing process and I have a playlist for every project. The ones I probably listened to the most while drafting SKY are To the Hills by Laurel, Bare by Wildes, and Rise Up – Reprise by Foxes. But a link to the whole playlist is on my site!

  1. What books have inspired you to write? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

The ones that inspired me to write are nothing like my books. One of the most influential ones for me was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, because the human element is so beautiful and the author explores so many things in that book that really took my breath away. I wanted to write stories that went deep like that, but I love fantasy so I try to it within that realm.

  1. Any advice on querying? Or writing advice for aspiring writers?

Querying – do not just sign with any agent who will take you. Make a dream agent list of qualified agents who have good reputations and make consistent sales. Query them. If they don’t bite, then write another book that they might want. Believe me when I say it is worth waiting for the right agent!

  1. Any details about the companion novel?

I can’t say anything about the companion novel yet! But I’m hoping that we can start talking about it soon because I am really excited about it!

 

Final_Young, Adrienne_NO CREDIT

About the Author

Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

 

 

SkyintheDeep Blog Tour

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Love at the Edge of Seventeen YA #Romance Anthology on @Kickstarter

Kickstarter Header_Love at the Edge of Seventeen

An author friend of mine will have her story published in a ya romance anthology, Love at the Edge of Seventeen. The publisher who will publish the anthology in April 2018, is using Kickstarter as a pre-order platform. Back up the authors by pre-ordering the anthology here.

I have to say I like the design of the banner and the book cover of the previous anthology.

#inkripples Finishing that novel! #NaNoWriMo2017

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

It’s only the 3rd of November and it has already been one of the more exciting months this year. Two days ago, my romance novella, Romancing the Princess, was published as part of the Can’t Buy Me Love box set. I’m finishing revisions on another novel (non-romance), plus NaNoWriMo started! I imagine the topic for this month’s inkripples was chosen deliberately, with NaNoWriMo in mind.

I tried NaNoWriMo twice before, once successfully (the novel I’m now revising) and once not so much. This year, I’m well ahead with the word count and unless something downright shocking happens I’m confident I’ll finish the novel. I got the idea for the novel only a couple of months ago but I really ‘feel’ the characters and I have an urge to keep writing way past the required daily word count.

Amongst my reader friends, I’m known as someone who never gives up on a book. It has only happened a handful of times that I didn’t finish reading a book because it was so terrible. I’m like that when it comes to writing, too. When I get an idea and the characters start to reveal themselves to me, I’ll write like a woman possessed. My biggest problem is not finishing the novel, it’s retaining my interest long enough to go back to the story and edit it until it’s publishable.

Handpicked Bridie HallAn additional incentive to finish this year’s NaNoWriMo is also the cover for my novel which was designed by the super talented Eva Talia. I mean, looked at that? How could I not finish the story when I have this beauty to look at? It captures the essence of the love story, the vineyards as the setting, the guarded main character and the charmer who swoops in and shatters her protective walls.

My fingers itch the wrap up this post and open the file with the novel and start typing. 😉

 

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Publication day #CantBuyMeLove #romance

Guess what? Today is publication day for Can’t Buy Me Love box set!

Buy a copy on Amazon

Or add it to your to-read list on Goodreads

CBML Final
Seven romantic tales of love where royalty, celebrities, and passion meet. A case of mistaken identity, protecting the one you love, or proving you aren’t all about the money…these tales will entice and thrill.

A Royal Pain by Abigail Drake

Getting shot in the bottom saving a visiting royal turns out to be the best thing to happen to, impoverished socialite, Chloe Burkhart in a long time, especially when the prince’s very handsome, very sexy bodyguard, Nicolai, comes to her aid.

Caught by Him by Tammy Mannersly

Blockbuster movie actor, Brody Nash doesn’t quite know what to make of the gorgeous woman precariously perched on his neighbor’s gate, but as they start to get to know each other better, he begins to wonder if she might just be the one for him.

Romancing the Princess by Bridie Hall

A commoner, Sebastian, and Princess Alixandra are set to get married until he begins to wonder if fitting in with royalty is worth sacrificing his principles. Love rules all. Or does it?

All My Memories by Grea Warner

The possibility of reconnecting with an unrequited love leads country music star Finn Murphy on a journey of memories in this special prequel to the Country Roads series.

Me and Tillie by Lisa Hahn

1950s musical film star Oren Cooper returns to Broadway to find new inspiration. Unexpectedly, that inspiration comes in the form of Tillie Parker—his childhood friend’s little sister and an up-and-coming ingénue.

Defending Demma by Melissa Kay Clarke

When faced with an unsavory past, can Demma St. John, rising new starlet, trust ex-Marine Ryker “Digger” McMillan with her secrets and her heart?

His Royal Typeface by Stephanie Keyes

When all is lost, love can be found. Will Prince Asher Tarrington’s unique font design be enough to salvage a royal family and set the tone for true love?

 

I hope you enjoy all the romance in this box set. I’d love to hear what you think of the stories. If anyone is interested, I have review copies, just drop me a line below or on my contact page.

Here’s to Campfires and S’mores by Brooke Moss

Brooke Moss has a new romance novel out. The cover looks gorgeous and the blurb is intriguing. I have a short excerpt below. Do read it, it’s full of emotions and promises a great book.
book cover

Sparks flew the moment fifteen-year-old Molly Kaff and Jamie Burnham locked eyes across the dusty Camp Chimalis parking lot. From that moment, they were undeniably and irrevocably in love.

Until they weren’t.

Months after the demise of their fifteen-and-a-half-year marriage, a mutual friend from those treasured summers at camp dies, rattling their tight circle of friends to the core. Her dying request? Bring everyone back to camp one last time.

Returning proves more emotional than Molly expected. Sweltering heat in un-air-conditioned cabins is just the tip of the iceberg. Memories, both delightful and dispiriting, press down on Molly as she grapples with the momentous grief from the loss of her friend…and her husband.

Trying to honor her wishes with the ex hanging around is one thing, but being stuck in the woods with no cell service and years’ worth of hurt and resentment is another. As Molly tries to navigate her way through the heartache, she starts to wonder if she was wrong about the reasons behind her failed marriage. And if maybe her friend orchestrated their Chimalis homecoming from beyond…

Can a few evenings sitting by the campfire eating s’mores be the salve her battered heart needs to finally move on?

Excerpt
I fumbled for the handle to the janitorial closet door, my palm slipping on the cold metal. When I finally managed to push it open, I stumbled in and slammed it shut behind me. The motion sensor light popped on, and I made a beeline for the utility sink in the corner. I retched up every bite of the chicken salad I ate for lunch, as well as the four cups of coffee I downed since my shift started. When my stomach was empty, I hung limply over the side of the metal basin. With one last feeble gag, I choked on a sob, burying my face in the crook of my arm to muffle the sounds.
“Oh, Bree, no. Not yet. Not yet…” I moaned into the fabric of my scrubs. I’d chosen the purple pair with little grey hearts. Purple was Bree’s favorite color, or had been, when we were teens and coordinated our outfits. Had fate stepped in and helped me pick those stupid purple scrubs? Could she see me wearing them now? Was she watching me barf all over a mop head in the filthy sink?
With a jolt, I stood upright and scanned the tiny four by six-foot space with wide, blurry eyes. “Bree?” I whispered at nothing. “You were supposed to wait for me.” Another whimper escaped, and I clamped my hand over my mouth. She joked last time I saw her, even with oxygen tubes in her nose, and sallow, greyish skin, that she wouldn’t dare croak without me being present. We sealed the promise with a pinky swear, which was the ultimate in contractual agreements between friends who’d known each other since before puberty.
When she was diagnosed with cancer at four months pregnant with the twins she and her husband Zane had so lovingly prayed for, she also promised to kick cancer’s ass and make it cry for its mama. Unfortunately, cancer had kicked Bree’s butt, and by the time she had the twins, her body was so ravaged and unhealthy, it was a miracle Max and Maddie were born pink, plump, and healthy. But Bree hadn’t cared. She’d been in her oncologist’s office three weeks later, demanding she help her combat the disease full force. She announced she wasn’t going out without a fight, that she wasn’t leaving her children.
While her new role as mommy had rescued her heart from despair, it hadn’t rescued her body from illness. The cancer metastasized, spreading to her colon and eventually her lungs. She did chemo and radiation, traveled to Seattle to stay with April’s family while trying experimental drugs, and even went to a healing shaman that Rachael swore cured her IBS. But the desperate measures weren’t enough.
By the time the twins had their first birthday, she was in a wheelchair, unable to bear her own weight. Because of her intravenous nutrition, Bree’s teeth started to decay. She was a ghost of the vibrant, confident, barefooted girl who forced me to get over my crippling homesickness at Camp Chimalis. She wasted away right in front of our eyes.
I sank to the floor of the janitorial closet, ignoring when something dampened my butt. Placing my head in my hands, I wept for the missed opportunity to hug Bree one last time, for the friend I would never see again, for the sweet parents who outlived their adult child, for the adoring husband she left behind, and for those two magnificent children she fought so desperately to live for…
I had to call April. And Rachael. And I had to call Sue back. Oh, lord, that was a call I wasn’t looking forward to. I wondered if Jamie knew. He knew Bree almost as well as I did. Would Sue have thought to call him, too? Surely Zane would’ve asked someone…
I don’t know how long I sat on the floor, my shoulders shaking, hiccups the only sound besides the overhead speakers in the hallway, paging doctors every five or six minutes. But when the door opened a crack, and cool air filtered in, I shivered.

Brooke was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing life and about this book.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually about 4 to 6 months, but this most recent book was 3 years in the making. We lost a daughter, then moved abroad for my husband’s work, and I simply lost my writing mojo after that. It took until last spring to come back, and then I wrote Here’s to Campfires and S’mores in about 5 months.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write while my children are in school, so about 6 to 7 hours of writing time per day, though I balance that with real life at the same time. So between laundry, house cleaning, working on promo, etc, for my books, and doing errands out of the home, I would say I get 3 or 4 hours of solid writing (when my muse cooperates) a day.

What is the first book that made you cry?

Charlotte’s Web. Oh, so sweet! But most recently I wept while I read John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back. I was on a long flight from America to South Korea and I read the whole book in one sitting, and it just got me right in all the feels. So good.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both! When I am cranking out the words and really feeling my characters, it pumps me up, and I feel hyper and excited to keep writing. Other times, though, it can be draining, depending on how personal the material is. When I was writing Here’s to Campfires and S’mores I found the material draining, because there is a lot of talk about infertility, and I had to draw from some of the experiences some friends have had, and that was emotionally draining. But when I wrote the flashback scenes from 1994, I found myself feeling really excited, because I could tap into my own teenage experiences.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Television. I tend to turn on the Real Housewives when I’m writing, and when that happens, all bets are off. I won’t get anything done, except having Tweeted about how rude Vicki is, or how drunk Brandi acted. It’s very time sucking.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Pour your heart onto the page, and edit it later. If you edit as you go, you’ll have a dry, state book. If you put your everything into it from the beginning, you’ll have plenty to work with. It’s always easier to scale back than to add to later.

What does literary success look like to you?

Making a regular wage and having readers who put me on their “auto-buy” list. It would be lovely to see my books made into a movie someday, as well, though I always feel like that’s a pipe dream. We’ll see…..

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I usually start writing, and stop to do research as I go. I find that if I don’t do the two things in a parallel manner, I’ll take a year or longer to plan, then lose interest in writing the actual book before I’ve even started chapter one. So I try to do both at the same time.

What was your hardest scene to write?

Probably the scene where Molly finds out Bree (her BFF from childhood) has died. It was very emotional and trying to write. I’ll admit…I teared up!

Can’t Buy Me Love

CBML Final

Less than a month till Can’t Buy Me Love is out! Pre-order it here.

Seven romantic tales of love where royalty, celebrities, and passion meet. A case of mistaken identity, protecting the one you love, or proving you aren’t all about the money…these tales will entice and thrill.

Read stories by Abigal Drake, Lisa Hahn, Grea Warner, Tammy Mannersly, Melissa Kay Clarke, Stephanie Keyes and me.

Here’s an excerpt from my story Romancing the Princess.

Love rules all. Or does it?

A commoner, Sebastian, and Princess Alixandra are in love and set to get married until a clause in the prenup rubs Seb the wrong way and he stuns Alix by vanishing from the palace just a day before the wedding. He is not sure fitting in with royalty is worth sacrificing his principles but he could lose the love of his life otherwise. The choice seems impossible.

 

Excerpt

Usually, he left before the morning shed light on the consequences of his actions. This time, his insides squeezed at the thought he’d never get to wake up next to Alix again. It wasn’t fair.

“It’s been …” Alix glanced at him and then dropped her gaze. “Well, I need to go through the customs. Boarding will start in half an hour.” Her voice was croaky. It pained him that he couldn’t tell whether from fatigue or emotion.

She leaned into him, soft and supple, and it took his breath away. His arms came around her reflexively. Her bed hair was a stark reminder of what they’d been doing minutes before calling a taxi to take them to the airport.

“This was real, right? I didn’t just dream it?” Seb said.

He couldn’t quite catch what she murmured into his chest.

“I’ll miss you,” he blurted.

She looked up, opening her mouth, but then she pressed her lips together and dropped her gaze to his chest. He forced her face up with his finger under her chin. He kissed her forehead, her cheek and eyelids, her chin and lips, and felt the bitter taste of goodbye intruding on their intimacy.

His mouth on hers seemed to have unlocked something in her because she finally whispered, “I’ll miss you, too.”

When she stepped away, he reached to push a strand of her hair from her face, but her eyes—miserable and dark—flitted to his for a second and then she was gone, walking away from him, and then running, her purse swaying from her shoulder behind her.

Career vs hobby #inkripples

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

inkripplesgreen

Writing has been my hobby ever since I could remember. Even before I could actually write, I made up stories and entertained other children with them. Later, I wrote them by hand in notebooks, later still I used an old typewriter with a defective letter p. Now I tap away at my laptop daily. But writing is still just a hobby.

I’d love to make writing my career, but sadly, I have to pay the bills every month. My consolation is that my day job has to do with books too. I translate and sometimes edit novels, so I get my fill of mysterious, romantic, intriguing stories on a daily basis. So far, I’ve been able to keep a perfect symbiosis between my job and my hobby.

I’m deeply convinced that having a day job which gets me away from my manuscripts but still deals with books has helped me largely to avoid any monumental cases of writer’s block. Translating other people’s work is inspiring and rewarding and it keeps me ‘fit’ for when I tackle my own writing.

It’s because of that I’m not sure I’d choose to dedicate all my time solely to writing even if I had the chance. I think I need some time away from it. I would feel too pressured to constantly write and write well if it were my job. So I believe my situation is pretty much ideal.

stack of papers
I have so much to write and revise this fall!

 

How about you? Do you find you’re still inspired if you write for six or more hours a day? Or do you need to get away from it to rest your mind (and fingers) for a while?

 

World building #InkRipples

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

It’s been a long while since I wrote an #InkRipples post but the summer has been busy as I worked on a new novella to come out this fall.

But I couldn’t not write about world building as I’ve just finished reading the masterpiece that is Six of Crows.

My stories require little to no world building because they are mostly contemporary so they take place in a world we’re all familiar with. It doesn’t take much more than a place name or the mention of the season for the readers to find their bearing in the story setting. I would say my skills at world building are flimsy as a result. I’ve seen this most clearly when writing my current WIP which takes place at a royal court. I had to do a lot more research before I felt comfortable writing about royalty.

So I admire writers like Leigh Bardugo or Sarah J. Maas so much more because they create entire worlds in a way that makes them not just believable, but captivating and intriguing. Even though Ketterdam in Six of Crows is inspired by Amsterdam, the atmosphere Bardugo creates on the page is still unique and so authentic it simply sucks you in. It’s as though you walk those streets and smell the rot in the canals.

Of course, even contemporary stories require a setting so I could call that world building, too. But this is done on a much smaller scale, with descriptions of the surroundings, the details about buildings and weather. It’s important that all this is done through showing and not telling to attract the readers. It’s more about creating an atmosphere which supports the main story, rather than creating an actual world out of nothing. For that, I think magic is needed. Magic like the sort one sees in Six of Crows.

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But I suppose, no matter what sort of a world one is trying to set their story in – an imaginary world where epic things happen or a quiet neighborhood street – it’s all in the details. Even the grandest worlds are built from small pieces of information, descriptions and – most importantly – the characters’ reactions to them. The way the surroundings influence the characters shows best what sort of a world it is and consequently it also affects the readers most. Which is what we, as authors, wish: for the readers to respond to what we write.

Enchanter by Kristy Centeno Cover reveal

Enchanter (The Giver of Life Trilogy #1)

By Kristy Centeno

ISBN: 978-1-945910-18-0

Pre-order:

Kobo

Amazon

Enchanter.v2

 

They have a past. But will they have a future?

Leah Parker is resilient and hardworking. She’d always prided herself in maintaining a level head, even under pressure. Everything changes when she begins to see strange apparitions and hear ghostly voices on the morning of her birthday.

In a blink of the eyes, Leah’s life takes a drastic turn that spirals her into the unknown. Something is out to get her, but she’s unsure if she’s losing her mind, or the faces and demands of the dead are real. Unable to find the answers she needs, she has no choice but to rely on ex-best friend, Brandon Morris, for help.

But as she will soon discover, Brandon has his own secrets. Some of which defy logic and only add to the mystery surrounding Leah. And mix feelings between the two complicate matters by getting in the way of what they really want, and what they must do.

Can Brandon lighten the load on her by figuring out what or who wants her dead? Or will their past history get in the way of the storm brewing just beyond Leah’s grasp?

 

Excerpt

“Are you scared of me? Is that it?” As if to make a point, he covered the distance between us in three short steps, and backed me off into the landing to the stairwell behind me, stopping only when our bodies were a few inches from coming into physical contact. The invigorating scent of his cologne invaded my nostrils, causing my mind to go into total and complete turmoil.

I shut down, unsure how to react. I hadn’t anticipated being cornered in a vulnerable spot where we were shielded from view. Normally, I was a sucker for guys who smelled as good as he did, but this was Brandon Morris. I couldn’t decide whether to lean closer and inhale slowly, or scream and push him away.

“Are you?”

I wanted to deny his accusation, but he could see the truth in my eyes. It was pointless to pretend as if he hadn’t just sent my heart into a race. By then he could see how badly I shook. I could not disguise it fast enough for him not to notice.

“Should I be?” I asked softly, fear forcing my voice to quake.

 

About the Author

Kristy Centeno is the author of the Secrets of the Moon saga and Keeper Witches series.

She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. When she’s not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.

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Beyond Fate by Susan V. Vaughn

Beyond FateBeyond Fate

by Susan V. Vaughn

ISBN: ebook: 978-1-945910-11-1

Print: 978-1-945910-12-8

Buy Links:

Amazon

Kobo

 

Blurb:

Years of separation mean nothing when love is in the air…

Julia Diaz never wanted to fall for her friend’s older brother, especially at a college frat party. But, for some reason, her heart was stolen by Russell that night. Eight years after, she never forgot him. Now destiny has brought them together. Only this time Russell is no longer a boy. He’s a man who knows what he wants and will not be denied.

Russell Webb used to be optimistic, and fun loving until a family tragedy turned his world on its side. Putting all his focus on work, he picked himself back up, and managed to turn his grief into something resembling a life. When a woman from his past reappears, and gives him a glimpse of true happiness, he’ll do anything to secure her heart. Even face the darkness he has avoided for so long.

 

Excerpt

“You’re not going anywhere.” He tightened his arms. The thought of her leaving made him feel desperate.

Her smile broadened. “I have to.”

“Nope.”

“Yes, Russ.”

“Sorry, Julia.” He leaned in, inhaling her sweet, jasmine scent. “You are going to have to live here now.”

She laughed loudly at his suggestion. The sound was deep, sexy, and marvelous.

“What? You don’t want to live with twenty smelly, grown men?”

She wiped her eyes, shaking her head no.

“Well, maybe I should take you back to the library bathroom, until you change your mind.”

She broke out of his arms. “Do it and die.”

He grabbed her back to him in a hurry, not ready to throw in the towel.

“Stop distracting me.” She cupped his face in her hands, and moved closer to him. “I’m here to offer you a reward.”

“What’s my reward?” He felt his body tighten with need as the curves of her full chest pushed against his shirt. She looked up at him, her eyes dancing hazel, this time, with desire.

“This.” She pressed her answer against his lips, and then he could no longer feel his toes.

The kiss was slow, murderously slow. Her lips were soft, silky, and warm. She tasted tantalizing and delicious. He groaned, pulling her closer, sinking into her. She met him, opening her mouth for his tongue, pressing their bodies together. The moment of sweet was over, and suddenly the kiss became desperate, hot, and sensual. He ran his hands down her waist, and she licked his lower lip, before sucking it in.

He pulled his lips away, to drag them down her neck. “I want you.”

“I know.” She sighed, pushing out of his arms. “But not here.”