It looks like things are starting to gear up for the next book! While I don’t have exact information on the publication date, Darkstone will be hitting the shelves in the next few months.
How do I know? I got this beautiful baby in my email!
That’s an awesome cover. Don’t you agree? I can’t yet credit the designer since I haven’t been given a name, but whoever you are, you did a great job!
In honor of this wonderful news, I’ve posted two excerpts of Darkstone below. Enjoy!
On her thirteenth birthday, Joram Darkstone awakes feeling something is amiss. Today’s the day she’s sent away from the only stablitiy she’s ever known for a year of…what, she doesn’t know.
Joram sat up in bed, scowling in concentration as she tried to catch the wisps of dream that eluded her. There’d been a laughing girl, about her age, with dark hair and black eyes. As things went in dreams, they’d been the best of friends for as long as she could remember though the waking Joram had no memory of meeting her. Over the years she’d often dreamt of the girl—playing board games together while snow fell on a pine trees outside, teaching her to surf on a hot Jamaican beach or talking for hours as the moon rose and set overhead. The girl had personality to spare, and laughter spilled generously from her lips. The fuzzy specifics of the dream quickly faded, usually leaving Joram with faint recollections of a joy that she’d never experienced. This morning those emotions were sharper and more robust, compounded by an almost spiritual grief. Unbidden, tears sprang to Joram’s eyes as she consciously accepted that the rich friendship she’d just awakened from didn’t actually exist and never would. Their parting this time had held a note of finality, as if she and her dream-friend had both known they would never see one another again. What’s her name? It’s my dream, I should have come up with one by now. She tried to remember. It sat stubbornly on the tip of her tongue, refusing to come forth. She could almost grasp it. It starts with an…N, right?
A sharp knock on her bedroom door startled her, breaking her concentration. “Joram? Are you awake?”
She quickly wiped her eyes and cleared her throat. “Yes, Madeleine.”
Her nanny, Madeleine, cracked open the door to smile in at her. “Time to get up, sleepy head. It’s a big day for you.”
It had been nine years since Madeleine had coaxed a nameless little girl out of a construction site drain pipe, an event Joram barely recalled. It was easier to remember the dark-haired cutie of her diminishing dream. It seemed to Joram that Madeleine had always been in her life, taking care of her. Madeleine liked saying she was “chef, chaperone, chauffeur and chief bottle-washer.” She wasn’t wrong. No one else in Joram’s life had been with her every single day, soldiering through temper tantrums, chicken pox and scraped knees. Madeleine had wiped Joram’s nose, given her occasional kisses and hugs and read Joram to sleep nearly every evening, up to and including last night. With the emotional upheaval from the dream already upending her heart, Joram studied Madeleine with fresh eyes, noting gray hair beginning to overtake the blonde at the woman’s temples, the deepening crow’s feet at the corners of her eyes.
Having received no response, Madeleine’s smile quirked in puzzlement. She pushed the door open a little more and leaned inside. “Are you all right, honey?”
Joram shook off the dismay. Today was a day of profound significance. She didn’t have time for impotence. Anders would be waiting, and Madeleine couldn’t wash these fears away. “I’m fine.” She scooted to the edge of the bed and threw her legs over the side. “I’m getting up.”
Madeleine studied her a moment longer. Her smile widened, and she nodded. “Okay. I’ll see you at breakfast in a half hour. Remember to take a shower.”
“I will,” Joram promised. She waited for the door to close before climbing fully out of bed. Today was September seventeenth and she was officially thirteen years old. According to Professor Anders, once she was finished with Them, she would no longer be a child at all.
Swallowing, her mind shied away from her upcoming trials.
On her thirteenth birthday, Naomi Kostopolous has been sent into the wintry Carpathian mountains to a monastery where she’ll learn her future destiny. The trip is long and tiring. She finds a small stone enclosure to rest along the way.
Blinking, Naomi jerked upright with a frown. The wind howled just outside the door but the sound of it was drowned out by the merry crackle of the fire. Confused, she shifted and stretched, grunting at the muscles that had stiffened in slumber. She distinctly recalled there being nothing but bare floor when she’d entered the hovel. The door was a solid block of ice at her back. With a frown, she scanned the tiny room. If she hadn’t built the fire, then who had? No one could have entered without shoving her out of the way. Even as exhausted as she felt, there was no way she could have slept through that.
The campfire cheerily drove back the darkness though its light didn’t reach the darkest corners. The smoke rose up to the ceiling, escaping through a hole in the roof that hadn’t been there before. Through it she saw the brightest of stars in a tapestry of black as if full dark had fallen while she slept. Apprehension swept through her. Inanna had said she couldn’t survive out on the mountain at night. “I have to get to the monastery.”
“You’ll get there.”
It was the same voice that she’d heard on the saddle earlier and it came from one of the dark corners. Naomi still couldn’t pinpoint to whom it belonged. Avid curiosity drove away her trepidation as she leaned forward, trying to peer through the murkiness. “Who are you?”
The answer was less than forthcoming. Naomi frowned as she pushed her hood back. “You’re no help.”
Surprisingly, laughter emitted from the darkness. “No, I’m not. That’s not my function in your life.”
Naomi tilted her head. “So you have one? Other than being a tease?”
The voice was sly. “I think you’ll like the way I tease you.”
A rush of pleasurable tingles coursed through her abdomen at the alluring sound. She’d kissed both boys and girls through the years. If the words had been meant to scare her off, the girl in the darkness would be surprised. Naomi smiled, responding in like manner, “You might change your mind.” There was no answer, but she didn’t think the presence had dissipated. Setting aside their amateur flirtation, she decided to try another angle. “Do I know you? You sound so familiar.”
A long pause stretched between them. “Not yet. But you will.”
Naomi wrinkled her nose at the perplexing answer. “If I haven’t met you, why do I know your voice?”
“Because we’re meant for each other.”
Now Naomi noticed a light accent, not certain why she hadn’t recognized it immediately. Austrailian? No…Caribbean. “Meant for each other?” She puzzled over the comment, not comprehending. The room had begun to darken. “What do you mean?”
“I mean you have to wake up now.”
“What? I’m not asleep.” The fire burned as high as it had upon her waking but seemed to dim as the shadows grew longer.
“Wake up, Naomi.”
Naomi jerked awake in icy darkness. No fire warmed her toes, no stars looked down through a smoke hole in the ceiling, and she had an overwhelming sense of being unaccompanied. The only constants between her dream and this reality were the whistle of the wind as it continued to blow past her haven and the ice running along her spine where it rested against the door.
Again panic assailed her as she struggled to her feet, memories of Inanna’s warnings in her ears. “How long have I been in here?” No one answered. She felt a moment of loss as she realized her Caribbean friend didn’t exist. You’re tired and cold, that’s all. She cracked the door and peeked outside. Snowy daylight made her blink and squint until her eyes adjusted to the brightness. Not much time had passed at all. She pulled the door open, pausing to look back into the hovel.
No fire pit, no smoke hole and no girl in the now illuminated corner.
Shaking her head at the strange dream, unwilling to focus too much on the sense of loss in her heart, she left the hovel.
This story begins with a lot of groundwork, developing Joram’s and Naomi’s characters from as early as four or five years of age. From there we spend their thirteenth year with them, experiencing what they do, coming to an understanding of each of their destinies.
The questions will then be: Will they achieve or fail at those destinies? What if achievement equals failure? What if failure means success?
I can’t wait to see it for editing!
Did you like the excerpt? Did it trip your trigger, leave you wanting more?