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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

It’s not difficult to explain why I chose to write about snowboarders in On the Slopes (the MC in My Summer Roommate is a snowboarder too, btw). Snowboarding is more than just a sport. It’s exciting, inventive, dangerous. It takes a special sort of person to blaze down the steep slopes and jump the high kickers.The kind of person that makes a terrific character for a story.

Obviously, I needed to do a lot of research because I’ve never been a professional snowboarder or any sort of a snowboarder for that matter, but I love research. Especially when it entails watching hours upon hours of fun and dangerous snowboarding tricks.

Here‘s the proof that snowboarders know how to have fun!

 

****

On the Slopes

Excerpt

“So, you dumped your mother to come see me?” she joked.

“Yeah, well, this was more important than sightseeing.”

That sobered her up. She hadn’t meant what she said, but she must have been closer to the truth than she thought. “Christ, Sam. It could’ve waited. She flew in from the US to see you.”

He waved his hand. “She’ll be fine on her own. She always has been. She wants to meet you, though.” He added, “It might be because I went on and on about you for the past three days.”

Charlise wanted to weep with all the warm feelings his words had awakened in her. Instead, she said, “I’d be honored to meet her. From what you told me, she sounds like an amazing woman.”

Sam cleared his throat after he sipped his espresso. “Charlie, about that night—”

“Which one?”

He had the decency to blush at her words. “At the club.”

He took another sip. At this rate, his tiny cup would be empty within seconds. His nerves were showing more than she’d anticipated.

“I have no words to tell you how sorry I am. You hurt me, and I went and did something stupid just to hurt you back. I would take it all back in a second if I could.”

“So, you ended up at her place, did you?”

His silence answered her question. The jolt of pain in her chest shocked her. But then again, it shouldn’t have. She’d been thinking of Sam and love in the same context when she woke up alone in her dark bedroom. How had he felt when he awoke next to the beautiful stranger? Or hadn’t he stayed the night? God, she didn’t want to know.

 

Man, that ripped! #snowboarding

Just a few more days until On the Slopes will be available in online bookstores. You can pre-order it here & here. To give you a taste, here’s another short excerpt.

OnTheSlopes.v1-Final

Snowboarding means everything to Charlise, but she hasn’t met Sam Miller yet.

Charlise is a snowboarder with a promising career ahead of her. Despite the fact that her father hates her risking her life on the slopes that had taken the life of Charlise’s mother she is determined not to give up her career the way her mother did when she fell pregnant. Charlise wants to win medals, lots of them.

The last distraction Charlise needs is the American freestyle champion, Sam Miller, who utterly enthrals her with his wit and friendliness. Refusing to risk her career for a relationship, Charlise returns home for Christmas, determined to sort things out with her father. But the holidays culminate in an epic fight, and with a repeat of the painful breakup with Sam. However, new discoveries from her family’s past might change Charlise’s mind about Sam …

*****

She plugged the earbuds in and pressed play on her iPhone. She pushed off, and, the next second, she hurtled through the whiteness, high on the joy and thrill of snowboarding powder. The arousing music in her ears heightened the experience. She vibrated with ecstasy, ripping up the soft white pillows of fresh snow. The powder sprayed her goggles, and she ended up swallowing some as she grinned like a lunatic, tearing past sagging tree branches and sharp rocks.

All too soon she skidded to a stop at the bottom of the slope. Panting, she dusted off her snow-covered jacket, but as Sam stopped next to her, he sprayed her with more snow.

In between wheezing and chuckling, he teased, “Snowman.”

“As if you’re any better. And it’s snow woman.”

He laughed and the sound echoed through the trees.

“Man, that ripped!” He high-fived her and as his snowboard slipped on the snow he almost tackled her to the ground in the process. He caught her just before she fell.

She let out a breathless laugh of delight. Her cheeks glowed and cold sweat coated her back. She hadn’t experienced such perfect conditions for snowboarding in powder snow in ages. She filled her lungs with the crisp air and enjoyed the unspoiled nature with Sam standing next to her, silent and motionless.

After such a treat, she was looking forward to a hot shower and then bed.

When she turned to Sam, she caught him staring at her. His gaze dropped to her mouth and then returned to her eyes. The tingles in her belly made her voice unsteady as she asked, “Ready to go in?”

 

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Let’s go surfing

Is there an activity you’ve always wished you were good at but you’re not? For me, it’s always been surfing. I’ve lived all my life far away from the ocean so surfing has never really been an option for me, but I’ve always loved watching how surfers master the waves, conquering the awe-inspiring power of nature for their enjoyment.

Although I’ve written about snowboarding, which is somewhat similar to surfing (ok, only slightly similar), I don’t know nearly enough about surfing to write about that. However, I absolutely love reading about it. So here are my favorite surfing YA novels.

Blue and Air by Lisa Glass

The first two books in this series are fantastic. There’s more surfing in the first one, blueBlue, but there’s quite enough action in Air, too. The characters are compelling because they are very realistic, so the hot, dreamy guy also has flaws but they only make him hotter! I can’t wait to read Ride in June 2016.

Surfing is sixteen-year-old Iris’s world, and when the ultra-talented Zeke walks into her life, it soon becomes her passion.

Over one amazing summer, as she is drawn into his sphere, she experiences love, new friendships, but also loss, with an intensity she never dreamed of.

But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit.

Amazon

Night Surfing by Fiona Capp

You can trust that anything Fiona Capp has to say about surfing wnight surfingill be good, seeing how she’s a surfer and a great writer. I devour everything she writes. That Oceanic Feeling, for example, is a masterful memoir. But Night Surfing is about the love of the ocean, of surfing, and just … well, love.

There are some summers, like there are some waves, that can never be forgotten. Hannah has dropped out of university to learn how to ‘walk on water’. At Ruben’s Cafe at the end of the Peninsula, she meets Jake, who has demons of his own and dreams of surfing the night. They come from different worlds but what brings them together is a love affair with the sea.

A remarkable novel about fear and the overcoming of it, about love and learning to give into it, and about the power of the imagination.

Amazon

Surf Ache by Gerry Bobsien

I reasurf ached this one on the plane back from Australia and I had no problem identifying with Ella leaving behind everything she loved. And just like her, I’d tried to surf only a few days before I read her story. But unlike me, she persisted and learned to surf well.

This is a story about a family who embark on a seachange moving from Melbourne to the coastal city of Newcastle. It’s about the crazy impact this move has on the kids in the family, Ella and Creaky, and the resilience of young people to handle change. Ella is fifteen and finds herself in a new town having to start all over again leaving behind a full and happy life complete with best friend and boyfriend. In Newcastle, Ella doesn’t know who to be or what to do but she slowly starts to make new friends. A dancer for most of her young life, Ella is thrown into a new world where surfing is the city’s obsession and she takes it on with all the joy of a new challenge. Through Ella’s newfound love of the sea, we learn a few secrets about her mum’s controversial past as a gun surfer. Above all, this is a story about family and love and the secrets we keep. It’s a book about girls doing things. Through Ella, we are infected with a passion for dance and surfing. This complete immersion in doing something you love is an important part of this book.

Walker Books

Free copy of Letting Go & $100 GC for Amazon

letting-go-teenHere’s your chance to win a free copy of Letting Go. Comment on my guest post on the Long and Short Review website to win an ebook copy, and enter the rafflecopter to win a $100 GC for Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

Read about Harper and Isabelle and how Chloe helped them realize they had feelings for each other. In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to read how Chloe is a far less successful matchmaker when it comes to her own love life. In My Summer Roommate, it’s Harper who gives her love advice. Shocking, isn’t it?

Two 5* reviews have already come in for My Summer Roommate. I’m so grateful for my readers! I love you all.

Good news

 

ImageMy to-do list for the summer has just gotten longer. But since it means my second YA novel will get published in August, that’s a decidedly good thing. I’m very excited about it even though I’ll have loads of editing to do instead of enjoying the holidays.

It’s appropriate that it will be published in August, I think, since the story takes place during vacations. You’ll get to see Chloe again, Isabelle’s best friend from Letting Go. This time, it’s all about her and how she’s trying to resist the charm of an ex snowboarder, Chris. But it’s not all fun and lovesick gazes; a life-time of insecurities rush to the surface when Chloe struggles with her trust issues, and just as she thinks she’s back in her comfort zone, Chris makes a terrible mistake.

Also, I’m sure everyone who liked Letting Go will be delighted to see Harper dish out love advice. Because, yes, he’s back too. 😉

I’ll post more details when the publication process starts, so be sure to check back. Until then, enjoy your summer/winter. 😉