Happy Tuesday everyone. I had so much fun doing the guest #TeaserTuesday last week, that this week I invited Angela Orlowski Pert to stop by with some excerpts of her Forged Series. I’ve also got a Jaded Stone teaser for you.
If you aren’t familiar with this series I urge you to check it out. These are some of my favorite YA Fantasy covers, and I admire them quite frequently, since they are usually in the Also-Bought section of my Souls of the Stones books.
[box style="gray rounded" ]Forged by Magic: Origins is a collection of FIVE short stories, featuring the characters from the Forged series. This is the first of two prequels to the series. Each story is told from a different character’s point-of-view.
Find out how the Amulet and Dasht-e Kavir have been created, and how the powers of the Universe opened the gates to other dimensions, inadvertently releasing unworldly supernatural creatures into the Human World.[/box]
Excerpt from Forged by Legacy: Beginnings (book 0.75 – companion book)
Mrs. Hoffer, the school nurse, was standing in the door to her office, holding it open. There was a motherly look of concern on her dark-brown face. Deep lines ran from her nose to the corners of her mouth. Her short black curls were peppered with gray. She was a small, bony woman in her late fifties.
Another bout of nausea overtook Jatred. He pressed his shaking fist to his mouth and gulped. As soon as they crossed into the office, Mrs. Hoffer closed and locked the door behind them. She was talking, but Jatred couldn’t understand the words. Instead, a murmur of distant chanting voices filled his head.
Jatred’s skin glistened with moisture. The air felt like a heavy blanket, pressing down on him, suffocating. The room smelled of coffee and something spicy, like a mix of sweet cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Jatred heaved, his head spun, and a-half-digested breakfast greeted him with a burning taste of acid.
“It’s okay,” this time he understood the meaning of Mrs. Hoffer’s soft, soothing voice. The chanting ceased from his mind, replaced by a clicking whisper of the ceiling fan.
“What’s happening to me?”
“It’s your first shape shifting,” Mrs. Hoffer said gently in low voice. You will be fine. Now, don’t fight it. Let go, child.”
Mr. Alvarez eased him down onto the floor. Jatred’s knees buckled, and he lay in a fetal position, hugging his stomach. The nurse wiped his mouth and chin with a wet washcloth. His teeth were clenched so tightly that his jaw started to throb. The shivers became violent shakes. Jatred vomited again, groaning in discomfort. The smell of bile was unbearable, and his eyes watered. His vision returned to normal, but his head spun, making it blurry.
“Let it go, Jatred. Let your nature take control now.” Mr. Alvarez knelt on the floor next to Jatred, gently touching his shoulder.
“Is it… always… like this?” Jatred’s teeth chattered as from cold.
“No. Only the first time,” Mrs. Hoffer said quietly. “Your body is going through shock; the wolf part is trying to take over, and the human part is fighting back.”
Jatred’s breath came out in short gasps. “It’s… so… hot.” Sweat ran down his face, arms, and legs, dripping onto the floor. His white t-shirt and the top of his khaki shorts were soaked, as if someone had dumped a bucket of water over him.
The nurse wiped his back and arms with a clean, wet washcloth.
“I’ve never… seen… any… anyone shift here… at school,” Jatred wheezed with his mind.
“Because nobody starts shifting so suddenly. Normally there are small warning signs the night before, so the kids stay home that day. But no worries. Our staff is trained to deal with unexpected,” the nurse explained.
Jatred groaned. It was a long, deep growl that seemed more animal than human. He took a shuddering breath and groaned again. This time the sound reverberated in his throat like a snarl, angry and full of pain. His hands pressed against the floor, fingers clawing then curling into fists.
“That’s it, that’s it. Don’t fight it.” Mr. Alvarez’s voice was reassuring, but Jatred couldn’t draw any comfort from it. All his senses were on fire. His mind could only concentrate on one thing—to stay sane.
The pain and the nausea were agonizing. All the dreams and anticipation about finally becoming a real Shape Shifter were gone. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Nobody had ever said it would feel like your life was about to end. The room spun once, twice, and again. Jatred moaned and squeezed his eyes shut.
“The front office called your uncle. He’s on his way.” Mrs. Hoffer placed a cold compress over his forehead.
“Uncle… yeah… good,” he rasped in between shallow breaths.
Uncle Tyrrell became Jatred’s guardian over eight years earlier, after Jatred had lost both of his parents in a plane crash. He wasn’t Jatred’s blood relative, but the boy had always called him ‘Uncle’, even when his parents—Tyrrell’s best friends—were still alive.
And then Jatred convulsed, and his lungs constricted. His eyes opened wide, and a scream formed in the depths of his throat. The air quivered around him, blurring the outline of his body. His features molted into a mix of human’s and wolf’s. His slim frame expanded; the muscles flowed under his skin into a new shape. His arms and legs stretched. Huge claws shot out. Blue-black fur blossomed over his human skin. Jatred’s Shifter’s body absorbed the molecules of the clothes and shoes. He always marveled upon this fact, whenever he saw the other Shifters change forms. And then—when they shifted back—the clothes would be intact, as if nothing ever happened.
Mr. Alvarez slowly stood up and moved a few feet away. Mrs. Hoffer nodded to him and did the same on the other side of the emerging wolf. Jatred heaved himself upright. His legs were wobbly, but he spread them apart, enormous paws planted firmly on the floor.
[box style="gray rounded" ]Forged by Legacy: Beginnings is the second of two prequels/companion books to the series. It is a collection of short stories, each told from a different character’s point-of-view.
These stories explain some of the behind-the-scenes facts from The Forged series. Do you want to know how the protagonists, Jatred and Jasmira fell in love? And what really happened during the deadly plane crash? How about the reason behind Savannah and Logan’s breakup? Or how do the teens shape shift for the first time?[/box]
Excerpt from Forged by Magic: Origins (book 0.5 – companion book)
The pillar of scorching magic burst out into the skies, piercing its way out into the heart of the Universe. Amber, the Summer Goddess, strolled in the waters of the Caspian Sea. She felt the surge of Earth’s powers before she even saw the evidence of the Mages’ work. She spun around, her eyes narrowing at the blazing spectacle on the horizon.
The Mages are summoning the Earth’s and the Universe’s powers, she thought. Judging from the distance, they were somewhere in the desert they favored so much. She called that place Rig-e Jenn. It was hot, dry, and full of salt. But why were they there again? What’s so special about that part of Earth? Is that where the ley line from their Realm ends? She mused.
The ground moved under her feet, and she staggered a little, but quickly regained her balance. A powerful gust of scorching wind swept over the area, and then another, much stronger. Amber called upon her magic and moved to the nearest ley line. She had to see what the Mages were doing. Such a huge amount of ancient powers could have only been drawn by all seven of them together.
In a few moments she stepped out of the nearest ley line and into the blistering desert. The sand was hot against her feet, and the sun baked the air. But Amber was the Summer Goddess, and she welcomed heat.
They were far away, but she could see them as clearly as if they were within hand’s reach. A massive sphere of protective magic was erected around them, the colors of their powers churning inside. Amber knew about their sensitivity to the Earth’s sun. That’s why they always wore those long, magic-laced cloaks with oversized hoods.
The seven brothers stood inside the sphere, forming a circle, their arms outstretched to the sides. The Goddess watched how the Earth’s essence surged from the ground and through the Mages’ bodies, zigzagging between each of them and linking them to the pillar of light. The earthquake grew stronger. Deep meandering gushes opened in the ground, dry sand spilling into them.
Amber screamed in frustration, but she stayed put, wanting to find out more about why the Mages were tapping into the Universe’s powers. A sudden hurricane struck her, but she immediately drew from her own magic, forming a strong barrier around herself.
[box style="gray rounded" ]Two Seattle 16-year-olds, Jatred and Jasmira, are not your typical star-crossed lovers. They are not even your typical Shape Shifters. Sure, they try to live an ordinary life. At least, as ordinary as the Prince and the Princess of the rivaling ancient Races–the Winter wolves and the Summer leopards–can live. But eventually they learn that not much about their existence can be normal. Especially when the Races’ two commanding Goddesses are involved.
One of the Goddesses is on a quest to tilt the scale of power to her side. The other will never let it happen, even if it means kicking Jatred and Jasmira’s love to the curb. Nothing is off limits, including removing Jatred’s memories of Jasmira.
To complicate things even more, there are the Universe’s powers to consider. They are trapped in an ancient Amulet in order to protect the stability of the world. But the Universe has a mind of its own, and when the powers are unleashed, the forces of nature are disturbed; earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions shake the Earth. All Shifters of both Races are summoned by their respective Goddesses to fight in the name of, or against, the normalcy of the world.[/box]
Excerpt from Forged by Greed (book one)
“We are in the Summer Realm? How the hell did you get me here? I’m a Winter Shifter.” Jatred shot up to his feet.
“Relax. It’s only an illusion, remember? The Amulet did this.” Jasmira looked at him, dazed.
“No, no and no! This is not happening. Get me back to the Human World, J. Now! I’m serious. Get me out!” His eyes flicked around. “Get me out before Crystal finds out. Don’t you understand?” he shouted, frantic. His heart raced, and his blood pounded in his ears.
Jasmira felt like someone just dumped icy water over her. She was confused, but fought to stay focused. She had never seen Jatred panic before, and this sobered her. “Okay,” she whispered. Her mouth was trembling. “But I don’t know if I can. The Amulet… the Goddess.”
She squeezed her eyes. Her breath was shaky and shallow. Her body shimmered in and out, taking on an ethereal appearance then becoming physical again.
“J, what are you doing?” Jatred whispered, frightened. “Look.” His eyes slid to the Amulet dangling down from her fist. The blue stone shone, lit from the inside by a pulsing source of light.
Jatred gripped Jasmira’s hand. This time his fingers didn’t go through like they did before, when she appeared as an illusion. Her body was solid again. She held onto the chain halfway between the jewel and the clasp. The clasp flew open. One side of the chain encircled his wrist. The other part snaked around Jasmira’s wrist. Unexpectedly, it bound them in a vice-like grip. The metal felt as cold as a sheet of ice. They both yelled and tried to pull free, but it wouldn’t budge.
A spiraled script became visible on the jewel’s edge, the symbols shone like liquid gold. The teens frantically tried again to yank their hands away. The runes kept crawling around the gem, barely touching its surface.
“What’s going on? What is this?” Jatred growled. A sudden gust of wind tousled his hair.
“I don’t know. What does it say?” Jasmira shrieked. A storm broke around them. The wind became so strong, it made them stagger. They struggled to stay on their feet, turning their faces away from the wind to breathe.
“The letters look almost Arabic, but that’s not it.” Jatred tugged on the chain once more, this time with both hands.
Jasmira momentarily lost her balance, but regained it quickly. She shouted over the storm, “Stop pulling. It’s not working. Concentrate on getting back to the Human World!”
“Just do it!” Her features twisted with horror. Sweat trickled down her back, and she shook with panic.
They tore their eyes from the lazily spiraling runes and looked at each other. Jatred saw the Summer Goddess in his peripheral vision and turned his head. But she wasn’t there. A cold fear crept on his sweat-covered skin. He swore and squeezed his eyes. His uncle’s smiling face came to his mind. Jatred whispered hastily, “Imagine someone from the Human World.”
Jasmira concentrated on Penelope’s features, and felt a rush of hot air over her face and body. She heard Jatred grunt in pain, and everything went still.
Jaded Stone Update:
Things are going very well with Jaded Stone. I’m just about done the writing part, and things are on track for a mid-November release! I’ve also got some awesome things in store for the cover that I can’t wait to share with you all.
Here’s a quick (rough) teaser for you!
As Valencia followed the girl down the dimly lit hallway that were so different than the bright and airy corridors of Sheas Harbor Palace, she felt the familiar pressure inside of her head. Though she’d missed Carah’s presence in her mind, Valencia had also enjoyed the silence, and she didn’t look forward to the inevitable scolding her grandmother surely had in store for her. Still, this deep in enemy territory, it would be foolish to let pride prevent her from utilizing every tool at her disposal.
Valencia’s mental walls shattered and Carah’s return was instantaneous.
Oh thank The Three! Valencia, be extremely cautious what you consume. Irina is a talented herb woman, and I don’t know how far her command of the Warren’s Gifts reaches, but do not underestimate her—or her desire to protect her son.
Valencia scoffed. She’d do well to not underestimate my desire to protect Sheas, but I hear your words, Grandmother, and I understand. She is much more formidable than I expected, though truly I don’t think she has a voice here. These fools don’t seem in the habit of listening to women.
Carah’s grave response came quickly. And that is exactly why Eltar women are so dangerous. If you ignore the creaking of a damaged board, eventually it will crack and you will crash through. If you listened sooner, it would cause no trouble, but left untended the entire structure could be compromised.
That’s it for today’s teasers, I hope you enjoyed them.