Welcome to my blog. This is my very first entry after picking up stakes and moving from my previous blog, A Human in Progress. While I loved the years that I posted on that blog, it was time to move on.
There’s a few things to do to set up house before moving on to future posts:
First of all, if you haven’t already I would recommend you sign up for my newsletter.
Secondly, “like” my Facebook page–it’s usually the second place I update after my newsletter and stays fairly current.
If you’re feeling a little more social, consider joining the Facebook group for fans of The Five Realms. I’ll be on there quite a bit to answer questions and interact with you all on a regular basis. I just started it so there aren’t many of us yet, but hopefully as our community grows so will it. I look forward to meeting all of you there in due time.
Now, for the grand announcement:
It is my very great pleasure to tell you that Catching Embers, the sequel to Catching Pathways, and book two of The Five Realms, is now set to release September 20th.
“Time is not on our side.”
The Realms teeter on the edge of chaos, the Nyx and Sebastian’s continued reign a threat to every living creature.
Maeve’s power unlocked at long last, she struggles to control the new magics coursing within her.
Rodan fills the power vacuum left by the Basu family, despite his frequent nightmares over what he did to them.
Worlds apart, they are rapidly running out of time.
Please enjoy the following sneak peek of Catching Embers. Keep in mind that this may change during current or future edits, the manuscript is not yet publication ready.
Warning: Here be spoilers for Catching Pathways. Proceed at your own risk.
Even now, as dawn light was only just beginning to filter through the curtains, cars were honking constantly on the city streets below. Each bellow and blare seemed to echo in the pounding of her head. Groaning as she sat up, Maeve cradled her head in her hands, rubbing the heel of her palm into her eyes.
I didn’t drink that much, she thought. Not compared to some of the other nights of late. And she had thrown up most of it, anyway.
Was it the pills?
She had taken two. She had done that before and woken up like this, but those had also been nights of two bottles of wine or a half bottle of vodka. She’d always blamed the liquor.
Her legs dangled over the floor as she moved to the edge of the bed, every breath burning like she had smoked all night long. As though she had been screaming.
She kicked her feet, and something touched her ankle.
The tips of her fingers throbbed as she gripped the edge of the mattress, her knuckles a mottled white.
Darkness bubbled out of the wallpaper and burst into long, tacky strings before overtaking everything, plunging the room into shadow. Walls seemed to lean in as flowing out from under the bed there came a mist of pure black void. Where it touched her bare feet, cold like icicles—like needles—stabbed through her skin. She pulled her legs up as the mist condensed in front of her, flinging itself upwards to the ceiling where tendrils dangled down, coiling and uncoiling as she watched.
A great mouth opened in that blackness, exposing rows of teeth which looked as though they were stained with ink. Eyes like wet pitch opened and settled on her. Maeve trembled, curling in on herself as the creature from the caves outside of Karst spoke with a lipless hiss. “You will join us.”
“No,” Maeve whispered, afraid to face it. Afraid to look it in the eyes, yet unable to do anything else. “No, I won’t. I won’t.”
Those tendrils and fronds were the color of the space between the stars. They reached for her. Grasped her by the neck and the wrists and the waist. Pulled, despite her struggles, until she was lifted from the bed, the tips of her toes dragging along the floor. She gagged against the pressure at her neck. “You will,” the creature hissed. “You were meant for us. We are inevitable.”
She opened her mouth to scream and those coiling strands shot down her throat, choking her. She tasted oil and bitter blood as she struggled to breathe.
And that next moment, in a blink, she was flung from her body. She could see herself from above. Watched her skin darken to the color of midnight and her eyes lose any hint of humanity, hatred and violence gleaming there within the inky depths. Limbs grew out of her ribs, covered in a fine spray of spikes like rose thorns. Her hair soaked in the light and became like a cloak of living shadows around her back.
The creature she became smiled, revealing rows of pointed teeth and a glistening red tongue.
It turned to look at her, floating there on the ceiling, its gaze honing in on her like a beacon.
And then she—it—smiled.
“We are inevitable.”
Maeve woke with a start, clutching the shirt over her chest where her heart pounded like a set of drums signaling the start of a battle. She choked a little as she drew in one gulping gasp of air after another.
It was, unfortunately, an all too common occurrence these days. The nightmares. The feeling of being awake when she was still asleep.
Wiping a hand over her face, Maeve looked to the window. A storm was brewing over the city, and the dawn light cast a faint green tinge over everything, the color like the deep ocean. She could almost taste the electric current in the air.
Sliding out from beneath the cover, she staggered to her private bathroom, running the cold water and splashing some over her face to chase away the last vestiges of the dream.. She rolled her eyes up to the mirror, staring at herself as water dripped from her nose and chin.
I’ve got to snap out of it, she thought to herself. I’m going to drive myself crazy.
She was going to stay in her world. End of story. If she ever went back—
A pang of longing went through her at the thought, and she swore she could smell pine and the crisp, clean air of the Realms. It was one of the reasons she had fled from her home in the Sierra’s the same day she had returned. It was too much like what she had left behind. She traveled, surrounding herself with people and buildings, cars and airplanes, so she could feel as far from that world as possible.
If I go back to the Realms, I’ll never come back.
Her only anchor to this reality was her friend and agent, Jen, and Maeve had pulled back from that friendship in the last few weeks. As much as she longed to tell Jen everything, how could she? How could she describe any of what happened without being consigned to an insane asylum?
If I stay here, I know that my unborn child isn’t going to be given to the god of the dead. They’ll be safe from him—from my father.
But now they will never have existed in the first place, she thought, and it was a thought not far from her mind most days. She went in circles like an ouroboros, unending. If I stay my child will be safe. If I stay my child will never have existed. If I go back, my child will be taken from me. If I go back, my child will draw breath. And two more, beside.
Maeve scowled at her reflection and straightened, using a fresh towel on the rack to blot her face. Wet hair clung to her neck and cheeks.
Rodan had brushed that hair out once. Had sat her down on the floor while he knelt behind her, running a boar bristle brush through her locks in a smooth, soothing motion that almost put her to sleep. He had whispered how much he wished to touch it without his gloves, how the feel of her tresses on his bare arms was like a teasing whisper of what could be. Mumbling affirmations, Maeve only paid half-attention to his words while those skilled fingers petted and stroked at her scalp.
Touching it now, Maeve felt a hollow flutter against her ribs. That space between her heart and her stomach clenched and released, and she knew that he could feel her, even at such a great distance. She could feel him too when she opened up. Relaxed her grip.
That ebb and flow pulsed within her. She gave him her pain, her fear, her sorrow, and pulsing back from his end was just—love. Unending love.
Her fingers dug deep into the skin over her chest and she curled in on herself, tears running hot tracks down her cheeks.
She could feel him, almost. The scrape of his skin against hers. The pressure of his arms. She could almost hear his heartbeat. To feel it pound beneath her fingertips was the greatest wish in her mind at that moment—she felt mere seconds from reaching out through the veil between the worlds and ripping her way back in, but she stopped herself. Shaking like a struck bell, she fought the urge to reach for it. For that membrane that guarded the pathway that lead to the Realms. Her fingernails cut half-moon shapes into the skin of her chest. Every inch of her cried out for him.
And still he radiated his love for her. No judgement, no pain. Just love.
Dragging in deep, trembling breaths, Maeve cut off the connection. The emptiness which greeted this made her waver, and fresh tears wrenched from her as she sobbed. She smacked her fist into the marble tiled wall, the dull thud of her flesh against stone reminding her, along with the pain, that she must remain here. Must stay the course. She hit it again, and again, until the marble cracked and her knuckles were red and one had split.
Maeve slid down the wall and curled on the floor, forehead to the tiles. She cradled her injured hand.
I cannot return to him.
I cannot condemn an innocent child.
Still, she wanted nothing more than to open that window between them, to feel the warmth of his affection coil around her heart and bloom in her chest.
She cried until she was emptied out and hollow. Like she had felt that night they first kissed. Maeve squeezed her eyes shut at the onslaught of memory. How gentle he had been. How careful.
Tell me what you want.
“You,” she said, the word strained beyond a whisper. “I want you.”