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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#Coverreveal Starr Fall by Kim Briggs

Today I’m super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for Starr Fall, Book One, the Young Adult Romance Series by Kim Briggs releasing November 4, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

And heeerrrrreeeeee’s Starr Fall!!

starr

Starr Fall

Book One of the Starr Fall Series

By Kim Briggs

Release date: November 4, 2016

Publisher: Inkspell Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-939590-94-7

 

Pre-Order Buy Links:

Amazon

Kobo

 

About the Book:

On the run from the Organization, Starr never planned on falling in love.

Starr Bishop’s the complete package. A perfect smile, brains to match, and a winning attitude. Boys want to date her and girls want to be her. She’s the type of girl you want to hate, if only she wasn’t so damn likable. But don’t worry, she’s not interested in your boyfriend. Boys are one complication she can live without.

When the Organization decides she’s not only the model student but the ideal assassin, Starr’ll need a lot more than high test scores and extracurricular involvement to get herself out of that commitment.

Dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood is the last person she’d expect—or even want— to come to her rescue. From opposite ends of Webster High’s social hierarchy, their lives collide in one electrifying moment. Christian isn’t the Goth loner he pretends to be, he’s a part Cherokee, All-American boy who wants to be a hero, Starr’s hero. Christian makes Starr forget that the Organization is after her, but nothing will stop the Organization from collecting their top recruit.

By the way, the spot for junior class president just became available.

 

Excerpt

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I glance up just before plowing into a tall, muscular frame. As our bodies collide, time stops for one brief moment. Strong arms pull me into his black Ramones t-shirt. He shifts his body under mine, drawing me in closer to his chest. His heart races against my cheek; it matches the sprint of my own.

In a tight embrace, we fall as if someone hit slow motion and we drop frame by frame without ever hitting the bottom. Nothing exists in the entire universe except for our plunging bodies pressed against each other. When we finally hit the hard tile floor, he takes most of the impact because I’m cocooned in his arms. Something tightens just below my belly button—a nervous kind of flip-floppy feeling, and I finally understand what Sami and Jody always talk about.

“You,” he murmurs. I gaze into Christian’s black lined eyes with newfound shyness. I never noticed just how blue his eyes are. A blue so deep and pure and clear I’m tempted to swim in them for hours, but the catcalls “Get a room” and rowdy laughter remind me we’re in the middle of the cafeteria with our food deprived classmates, and we’re fresh bait. A burn creeps into my cheeks.

He pushes himself up beside me. Whatever emotion was in his eyes a moment ago vanishes as quickly as it appeared. Two sharp, unforgiving vertical lines form between his eyebrows. Without even a grunt of acknowledgement, he stalks away. I stare after his black t-shirt, wondering what just happened and did he feel it too?

“Starr, are you okay?” someone asks, but I’m lost in my own world. “Starr, are you okay?” A hand grips my shoulder.

If there was any electricity coursing through my veins, it’s gone now.

I shake my head to clear it before turning to Frank. “Yeah…, yeah, I’m fine.”

I think.

 

About the Author

 kim

Kim once smashed into a tree while skiing. The accident led to a concussion, a cracked sternum, temporary notoriety as a sixth grader returned from the dead, and the realization that fictionalized accounts are way more interesting than just slipping on the ice.

An unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories combined with a love of travel and happily ever afters led Kim to write her YA novel, Starr Fall, where a secret organization decides Starr Bishop would make the ideal assassin. While in hiding, Starr meets dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood. Cue the swoon worthy music. But it’s not all happily ever afters for Kim, her NA novel, And Then He, explores the dark and scary corners of the human psyche. Following a night of innocent flirting with a handsome stranger, Tiffani finds herself in the midst of a nightmare she can’t escape. And Then He is available now through Amazon and other major book retailers. Starr Fall will debut November 2016 with Inkspell Publishing.

When she’s not doing something writerly, Kim can be found jumping into snow drifts with her three kids, husband, and dog. She’s careful to avoid trees.

Twitter | Web | Facebook | Goodreads | INK Sisters Write |

 

Giveaway Details

To celebrate Starr Fall’s cover release, Kim wants to give away some swag. Let’s look at the cover again…

starr

One lucky winner will receive a bag of Starr Fall swag including bookmarks, all the fixings for s’mores (once you read the book, you’ll know why), and this…

swag

See that little metal tag? It says “Me to We.” Cool huh? You know what else is cool, the purchase of the bracelet bought one month of clean water to a child in a community overseas. Starr’s all about water and making an impact. Kim is too, and she can’t wait to give this bracelet to one lucky recipient. All you need to do is pre-order Starr Fall, then email a copy of the proof of purchase (a screenshot works) to KimBriggsAuthor @ gmail.com (Don’t forget to remove the spaces;)

Winner will be announced on Kim’s Website Monday, October 3, 2016.

OfBloodandSnow banner

Blood is thicker than water, or so the story goes…

As fast as Cora can run, there is no escaping the blood that ties her to an ancient, evil past.

Amongst the bitter cold and driving snow, Nate must find a way to protect the love of his life, before the darkness falls and Cora is lost to him forever.

Buy links:

Amazon          Evernight Teen          ARe

 

14+ due to adult situations

Excerpt:

Why? Why did I need to go home? Other than for shelter, no one needed me there. Nate was all I had left. He was my reason for breathing and now the sole reason I got up every morning. The thought of harm coming to Nate made my heart hammer in my chest even harder. I jammed my hands deep into my coat pockets and focused on letting oxygen flow into my lungs.

In a single moment of clarity, I knew. I mean, I knew I loved Nate; that was without question. But if I didn’t have him in my life, it would be nothing but vacuous space.

I brushed snow off the fallen tree trunk and sat down. My thinking tree. Nate and I came here often to sit and talk, read, or watch the day simply pass us by. I piled up handful after handful of snow, heaping them on top of each other until a small avalanche rolled off the log and into a heap on the ground.

You are the key.

I leapt off the log landing two feet together, crushing the peak of snow beneath my shoes.

“Who’s there?” I shoved my fists into my hips and squared my shoulders. If there was someone there, they didn’t know who they were messing with.

The rustling of leaves came from above and a sprinkling of disturbed snow flittered down in front of my face. The flapping of beating wings and the call of a solitary bird echoed overhead. I caught sight of white feathers tipped with black before they disappeared above the trees and out of sight.

“Is anyone there?” I called out again, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t get a response.

The softness of the voice rolled around my head as I lingered amongst the tall trees on my way back home.

I am the key. The answer is within my blood. What did that mean?

***************

Danielle is visiting my blog today to reveal where she gets inspiration for her stories.

As an author, I am often asked where my ideas for stories come from.  This is never an easy question to answer but I’ll do my best to explain my thought processes when coming up with an idea for a novel or series.

I am going to take you through how I started writing one of my work in progress,  “Let Her Go”, a ghost love story based in Japanese mythology.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBumgq5yVrA

It came to me when I was listening to the song “Let Her Go” by Passenger. There was something about the song that I connected with. I heard the character’s heartbreak of only realising love when it’s too late. The lyrics, “only know you love her when you let her go.” sparked a tiny thread of a story.

What if you loved someone but had to let them go?

From there, I go into full brainstorming mode. While listening to the song over and over, and over some more, characters reveal themselves, plot lines come out. I love the paranormal and am always fascinated by ghosts. The idea struck me, what if you were in love with a ghost? How would you deal with that? How would it even work?

Japanese mythology has always held a place in my heart and adore Japanese horror. One of my favourite myths is that of the yurei. Many Japanese believe that if a person dies tragically or under violent circumstances, their spirit returns and are kept from a peaceful afterlife until they are avenged. This is demonstrated beautifully in the movie Ju-On (The Grudge).

I had also fallen in love with a series of photographs taken by my brother while living in Japan, of the Cherry Blossom forest in full bloom.

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This young girl looked to me as if she lived in the blossom and was part of the forest herself. So I put the two together. The ghost of a young woman haunts the cherry blossom forest where she was violently murdered.

With any love story, you need a male hero, but I have quite a fond attachment to characters that are quite damaged. I wanted my main hero to have a history in Japanese mythology so I thought it a great idea for him to have Japanese heritage. His Japanese mother married an Australian man and moved to Australia but after the suicide of his girlfriend, goes to Japan to stay with relatives to help him recover.

So, once I have my characters in mind, I look for stock images that I can use legally and start building character profiles and so Reika and Michio Hunter were born.

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[ File # csp2684071, License # 2995589 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / chaoss
 From there, I just start writing.

By the end of a completed manuscript the characters are as real as you and me and I know them better than I know myself. They are real people, reacting in their own way.

I just do the typing.

 

 

 

About the Author:

Danielle Belwater adores the concept of true love and that everyone has their Prince Charming or Snow White out there somewhere, even if they have to fight demons, ghosts, and wizards to find it.

Danielle has been having a love affair with words since she was young and in primary school, writing some rather imaginative tales. This love has followed her into adulthood. 

She lives in rural South Australia with her husband, young daughters and way too many animals to mention. She spends most of her time dreaming up characters, stories, ghostly tales, and watching Firefly re-runs.  She also cooks the odd meal for her family to avoid them looking like skeletons at official author functions!  

Danielle is passionate about reading and her interests include pretty much anything with words from rolling four volume epics to the daily newspaper.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

 

Giveaway:
$20 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

 

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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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