Friday, February 20, 2015

The Season of Lightning is Available!

Hi everyone!

Well, The Season of Lightning beat my (human) baby out into the world. It's now available for purchase on Amazon, for Nook, and coming very soon in print on Amazon (available now in print here).

This is my favorite book I've written. I hope you all enjoy it very much. Meanwhile, I'll be lying on the couch waiting to go into labor.

Here's a quick refresher on the summary:

Emma meets Robin Hood in an antebellum-esque fantasy set in the same world as A Gift of Poison.
Verity Elysius is the only daughter of a famous retired general and rich plantation owner. She lives in an insulated world of wealth and privilege, where she spends her time riding her horse, sassing her lady's companion, and being tormented by the family's handsome but irritating nobleman friend, Lord Roth. But when a mysterious, masked vigilante called the Hawk begins stirring up trouble and freeing silvras, the oppressed lower class, Verity's world is turned upside down as she is challenged about everything she knows about her world and her place in it.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Want to Win an Amazon Giftcard?

Hi everyone!

This week, Of Sea and Stone is being celebrated with a blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Today you can find things to read at these stops:

-Book Briefs
-A Dream Within A Dream
-100 Pages a Day
-Cosying Up With Books

There's a giveaway, and I wanted to give everyone a chance to enter by posting it here. Prizes include a signed copy of A Gift of Poison (US and Canada) or a $25 giftcard to Amazon (open internationally).

Enter to win here

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Season of Lightning Chapter 1

Hi all,

I thought I'd share the first chapter of The Season of Lightning, my newest book that releases on Feb 20 (and available now for pre-order on Amazon). The book will be releasing on Nook and in paperback as well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

THE SOLDIERS HAD their guns pointed straight at me.
The sky was cloudless and blue as azure above us, the air dry and hot with late summer heat. I was bruised from falling off Gryphon, my horse, and my temper was as short as the hair of a newly articled servant.
I’d escaped from the house on horseback after another argument with the housekeeper about my inability to keep shoes on while walking the grounds. Riding Gryphon hard across the gold-brown flatlands outside the fields of the plantation made my head clear, so I’d given him slack in the rein­s, and that brat took the bit in his teeth and ran wild for the Jessu River, which cut like a jewel-green snake through the hills between our land and the port city at the edge of the sea. He’d been startled by a hawk in the foothills and thrown me, and then my companion, Trilly, had shown up with the air of a martyr and the scolding of a sergeant to usher me home on foot.
We’d been arguing about the propriety of my actions when the soldiers appeared, guns slung across their arms, on patrol against smugglers that sometimes roamed the river at night. I’d known immediately by the expression that crossed the big one’s face that we were in trouble.
Now, he was toying with us like a cat plays with an injured sparrow.
They were young soldiers—new ones I’d never seen before—the buttons on the gold-embroidered uniforms still sparkled clean and bright in the sunlight, the fringe on their belt-ends still hung straight and soft and clean, unstained by the dust of the canyons that edged the river. Their faces were sunburned, their eyebrows drawn together like locked gates as they looked at me. One was tall, with bright blond hair that marked him as barbarian-blooded somewhere in his past. A foreigner. He jerked his chin at me.
“What’s your business on this road?”
He spoke with the lazy drawl of a man who knows he will be having some fun and who wants to take his time so he can savor it.
The second soldier, who was smaller, swarthier, and darker-haired, an Austrisian, looked away at the twisted trees lining the water of the Jessu instead of the boardwalk we stood on. One of his eyebrows lifted a little, as if he wanted to say something, but couldn’t find the courage to speak in front of the blond.
“I was riding my horse, and I fell off when a bird flew up from behind a rock and startled him. He reared, dumping me. We were walking home, where he has surely already gone.” My words came out stiff and hoarse instead of cold and strong like I wanted.
The yellow-haired soldier frowned. “Let me see your papers.”
This was, of course, an outrage. I wasn’t carrying papers because I didn’t have any, because I wasn’t a bonded servant or a silvra freewoman, or a tyrra like these men assumed. My hair might be curly with a hint of red-brown and my skin milky with a touch of bronze in the summer like a tyyra, the river people who lived in our land as immigrants and strangers, but I was the daughter of a plantation owner, an Austrisian, and I had every right in the world to be walking on this road with my companion.
“Didn’t you hear me? I want to see your papers.”
“I don’t have them, you idiot. I don’t need them.”
“Oh?” His mouth turned down, but his eyes sparkled. The malice in them made me furious instead of afraid.
“My name is Verity Ely—”
“Shut up. I only want to see the notification that you have the right to escort this seevver along this route. I don’t want a sob story.”
I quit feeling frightened when the word seevver left his lips like a breath of smoke.
“You pig,” I snapped, drawing in a quick, sharp breath. “We don’t need papers. Get your guns out of our faces before I have my father arrest you. I—”
“I said shut up!” He stepped forward fast, grabbing my shoulder hard. Trilly screamed, and the other soldier started to raise his gun at Trilly.
The soldier’s hands dug into my arm. His eyes blazed as they stared into mine, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw his weapon in his hand, and the way his fingers tightened reflexively over the trigger. His breath was hot against my chin.
“I’ll teach you to insult me, you little minx. Your father, you say? He’s probably dead in a ditch somewhere, shot for insolence against a patrol. You need to be taught a lesson.”
I heard the sharp rap of a horse’s hooves on the boardwalk, and my mind screamed out for salvation from this new person, but the soldier ignored the sound of hoofbeats, drunk with his station and the power that came with his firearm. He knew as well as I that no farmer would mess with him, not with a gun in his hand, not with the uniform he wore on his back, not with the fury written all over his face.
My heartbeat pulsed in my throat. My shoulder ached beneath his hands. I saw the way his jaw tightened as though he was holding his temper in check, but just barely.
“For the last time, girl,” he growled. “Your papers.”
The hoofbeats halted behind us, and a cool voice cut in. “I knew that the regiment had taken to importing barbarians to do its dirty work, but I was unaware that it had begun recruiting the brain-injured.”
I knew that voice. My heart sank.
The soldier swung around with a swagger of confidence, lifting his gun. As he caught a glimpse of the man who’d dared to interrupt his interrogation, his hand slipped on my arm, and I yanked away.
“Sir,” the soldier muttered, his tone grudgingly deferential.
The nobleman on the horse tapped one gloved hand against his thigh as his lips pursed in a scowl. He darted a look at me that embodied pure scorn before returning his attention to the two soldiers before him.
“I am of course assuming that you were unaware that you were accosting the beloved and only daughter of General Elysius?”
Their faces turned ashen as they realized their horrible, horrible mistake, and I smiled tightly at the way they darted furtive glances at me, their mouths snapping open and then closed, as if they were holding in curses. The dark-haired one stepped away from Trilly hastily.
“Give me your regiment numbers,” the young nobleman snapped, looking disgusted at having to continue even conversing with them. “I’ll report you myself. If you are lucky, you’ll get by with only a caning instead of a full dismissal.”
He remained astride his horse and watched as they wrote down their regiment numbers and gave them to him. My eyes lingered on the pistol strapped to his leg, the fine lambskin boots that came almost to his knees, the crisp white gloves that covered his hands. Lords, I had such terrible luck. Of all the people to have rescued us, it had to be him.
After the soldiers scrambled away, not daring to look back, he turned to us, his mouth folding back into its characteristic smirk. “Ladies.”
I wiped the beads of sweat from my upper lip, avoiding his gaze. I was thankful, naturally. But...
Trilly, on the other hand, gasped out a sigh and snatched up the fallen bonnets and basket, trying without success to smooth out the wrinkles from the bonnets. “Lord Roth, I don’t know what we would have done if you hadn’t shown up.”
I swallowed the snarl that came to my lips, because, after all, he had just saved us. Gratefulness was in order.
His lordship dismounted smoothly, and his eyes found mine. There was a lazy sort of appraisal in them, as always, as though he’d measured my talents and faults and found me wanting in every way. I busied myself with brushing a bit of mud from the full bodice of my gown.
“Thank you,” Trilly said to Roth.
“Oh, it was nothing. I’m sure Verity would have been able to find something to say to keep that lackey at bay.” He folded his arms, as if waiting for my smart reply.
“That’s Miss Elysius,” I snapped, feeling stupid for being unable to think of anything wittier to say to him. “Anyway, we really must be going. We’ve lingered here long enough, and Mimi is probably frantic about us. Goodbye.”
Roth tsked cheerfully under his breath. Now that the soldiers were gone and the danger was over, he was sarcasm as usual.
“Is that any way to thank me?”
I grabbed Trilly’s arm and pulled her down the pathway for my father’s plantation, my silk shoes barely whispering against the planks of the boardwalk that carried us safely over the waters of the Jessu.
“I could send a baou, so you wouldn’t have to dirty your shoes,” Roth suggested.
I knew he was upset with me for getting myself into trouble with the soldiers like an idiot, no doubt, and I knew he was probably also upset that I was being nasty to him about rescuing us.
Perhaps I should care, but it was Roth.
I left him standing beside his horse on the boardwalk without a reply, and his chuckle rang in my ears, infuriating me.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

You Won't Believe What's Available for Pre-Order!

Haha, sorry, forgive my clickbaity title. I couldn't resist--been reading some Buzzfeed lately. Seriously, though, THE SEASON OF LIGHTNING is now available for pre-order!

This is probably my favorite book I've written to date. It's very near to my heart, and it feels a little vulnerable to publish it, but at the same time, I'm thrilled to pass the story on to readers who can love it and make it their own. I think that's the magic of reading, that partnership between author and reader where they work together to build a world, the author on the page and the reader in his or her imagination. It's magic, you guys, and it's the coolest thing. When people tell me they enjoy something I wrote, I want to thank them. It's their creation too, in a way, because they took words on a page and made a masterpiece in their minds. Without that, there is no story.

Anyway, sappy feelings aside, this is the last book I'll release before I have my baby. I will be taking a bit of a break from writing to focus on mom stuff, although hopefully I'll be popping in here and there on various social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. And if he sleeps a lot, maybe I'll do a little writing when I have the time. I'm itching to finish the Itlantis series and get to work on the sequel to A Gift of Poison. I've already plotted and brainstormed for them both, and done a little drafting. When I have titles and summaries, I'll put those on the blog.

In the meantime, The Season of Lightning releases Feb 20 and I hope you'll all check it out.

Emma meets Robin Hood in this antebellum-esque fantasy set in the same world as A Gift of Poison.

Verity Elysius is the only daughter of a retired general and rich plantation owner. She lives in an insulated world of wealth and privilege, where she spends her time riding her horse, sassing her lady's companion, and being tormented by the family's handsome but irritating nobleman friend, Lord Roth. But when a mysterious, masked vigilante called the Hawk begins stirring up trouble and freeing "silvras," the oppressed, elven lower class, Verity's world is turned upside down as she is challenged about everything she knows about her world and her place in it.

(You can find it here)


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