April looks to be busy, just as March was for me.
I completed Ascending Hell, the second installment in Liwet's path from an ignored halfling to royalty. I've sent the story to my proofreaders before submission. The first installment, Tarnished Halo, will be releasing from Solstice Publishing this summer.
Writing Ascending Hell made me realize this series isn't about romance. It's about the heroine's journey in a world not her own. Her actions and reactions. Her thoughts and ideals. How she struggles in the demonic, political arena. Granted, the romantic relationship is there and develops, the means the heroine meets her match within Oriax isn't atypical to the acceptable romance curve.
So, I've decided to stop fighting my muse to fit Liwet and Oriax into that genre, and classify these books paranormal/fantasy. So much runs through my mind when I think of these two characters, their secondary entourage and the villains. I've planned a no-holds-barred odyssey that spans several more books. I can barely keep up! I mean that in quite the literal sense. While I was writing Ascending Hell, the third book, Heart of Shadowdyn, and the fourth, Neonate Titan played through my mind.
So now...allow me to introduce you to the second installment:
Title: Ascending Hell
After eleven hundred years, Liwet is forced to halt walking her own path. She has countless aspirations in her life. But becoming a Demon Queen? Underworld affairs never registered on her ambition’s Richter scale. Political pawns close in around her, and Liwet must discern friend from foe. She has two days until her wedding, which will set her on a journey to the crown. If she can survive the assassination attempts long enough to say “I do.”
The farther we traveled, the lighter the world around us became. The silhouette of leafless trees resembled live oaks in shape, though their bark was a dirty brown ribbed in black. Their branches gnarled in sweeping twists, ending in bursts of pencil-thin twigs.
My stiletto pushed into moist loam and stuck. I jerked my leg, but the dirt boiled up around my ankle.
He yanked his sword from his side and whirled. “What’s the matter?”
“I can’t move.” I struggled, which made the wet and slimy muck rumbled and climbed my body. The ground heaved, throwing me toward the nearest tree.
Mastema quartered the area then froze. “We’ve disturbed something old. It’s watching us.”
“No, really?” My world narrowed as nausea begun to take over. “Who is it?”
His gaze wouldn’t shift from the tree the dirt pulled me too. “More like a what.”
“Fantastic,” Aythna muttered. “Things don’t tend to hear reason.”
A branch from the nearest tree barreled for me with alarming speed. I cried out as the thin though strong branches wrapped around my wrists.
Mastema watched without defending me. “Don’t panic.”
“Are you kidding me?” I shrieked. “I’m getting mauled by a plant.”
“Don’t move or speak. And don’t call her a plant.”
“What’s going on?” Aythna demanded.
Everything slowed to a stop around me. The firestone flickered with manic light, which reflected in Mastema’s black eyes. Something on the tree trunk caught my eye. A mass of coral tethered into the bark, and it moved. With the rhythm of my heartbeat. At least the branches ceased their attack, even if they didn’t release me.
I flicked a finger toward the mass. “What…what is that?”
“It’s a Corwyn Tree. The Trees of the Soul, to the younger generation,” Mastema said irritably, as if he expected me to know this!
“I meant what’s hanging off of it?”
“Corwyn means heart in the old language.” He sighed. “The old queen deemed that when demons died, if they deserved to, should have an afterlife. She cultivated the Corwyn for that purpose. They all connect together, and here they coexist with the living. The heart holds the key to a demon’s soul.”
“We’re in a graveyard?” Aythna yelled the same time I said, “I’m being held by a dead demon?”
Mastema continued nonplussed. “This particular one is special. I don’t believe she means you harm.”
Aythna shivered. “So, you know who this particular soul is?”
I swallowed as another branch crept closer, slower than its predecessors. When the twigs grazed the firestone, I awaited strangulation. I jerked back. I wouldn’t have my grandmother’s necklace—the only link to a past I didn’t understand yet—stolen from me!
“Don’t!” Mastema yelled the same moment the branch reared back, then wrapped around my waist.
The sense of falling backward into a pit of nothing overtook me. I landed on my ass, blinded by blood-red light. I covered my eyes before I went blind.
I've have a longer excerpt for you soon! I've very excited about this particular book, as it's the opening of many plots yet to come.
This is the first look at the cover for the three installment, Heart of Shadowdyn:
For more information on the first installment of the Demon Queen, Tarnished Halo CLICK HERE
For now, Happy Reading...