For those of you not in the States, or those of you that missed the news, some massive stuff has gone down in the last week.
Not only am I a believer in body autonomy, but I’ve been open about the fact that I am a sexual assault survivor, so I’m not going to lie — this news has been rough for me.
And after I declared this year I was entering my villain era, I’ve decided to get a little stabby like Cinder.
So, for the month of May I am donating all the proceeds from the sale of Heart of Cinders and Heart of Shattered Glass to the cause.
You can find postings on social media for #ReadForOurRights should you wish to share some of the other authors doing the same. Some of the authors are in Kindle unlimited if you are in that program and want to read to donate. Some, like me, are in libraries and you can request our books for your local libraries to do the same. Those are both ways you can help if you want to without worrying about spending too much money.
But, honestly, just spreading the word I know helps.
Now, onto the reason why you all are here, for us to escape to a world where a girl can handle the ills of her society with the blades at her thighs.
Sigil For After Midnight Strikes
|The sigil on the inside hardcover, under the dust jacket, of book 4 belongs to Thirteen Rivers Valley.|
Yep, book 4, After Midnight Strikes, requires a visit in the Valley where Cinder killed Lord Fall in the first chapter of Heart of Cinders.
So, if you’re keeping track, book 1 had the sigil for Lehar. Book 2 had the sigil for Bridgeton. Book 3 had the sigil for Breakwater, and now we have the sigil for Thirteen Rivers Valley.
Any guesses about what sigil will be on book 5? Book 6?
We’re getting down to the end of the sigils featured in this series, I’ll cross my fingers you all see the ones you’re really hoping to see.
Also, I’m thinking I need some swag with the sigils on them…
Let’s say I did that, would you all want to win some?
The Voice in the Forest
I hefted myself to standing on shaking legs, barely aware of the ache in my muscles from already pushing them to bring me so far.
Montgomery yelped and wrapped an arm around me, his eyes wide.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“Look,” I said, my voice a low croak as I pointed into the woods.
Right by the little private lake, the telltale yellow of a heavy piece of earth moving machinery peeked through the deep green of the trees.
“Oh.” One of Montgomery’s hands let go of me and grasped his shirt in his fist.
“Come on.” I took a couple halting steps, dragging him along, but my knees quaked and he stepped in front of me with his back to the woods, shaking his head.
Everything in me screamed that something terrible was happening or about to happen. I felt the same way I did the morning Mother made me go to the hospital, like I was Atlas, bent forward and bracing myself for the weight of the sky.
Shaking my head, too, I tried to push past Montgomery, but he was immovable. His jaw tightened and his eyes grew hard even though the panic still ran behind the steel.
“You can’t go all the way out there, Ara,” he said, his voice low, but stern in a way that made me shrink into myself and rebel in my mind at the same time.
“But I need to,” I said.
“No, you’ll hurt yourself. Stay here, and I’ll go see what’s going on.” He raised his brows at me, the harsh lines of his face softening and as he bit his lip I realized he was pleading with me.
“Fine. But be fast.” I swallowed and he led me back to my seat before disappearing before my eyes.
It only took him a few moments, which was long enough for me to watch as the yellow of the big machine moved from side to side, telling me that whatever was happening out there was well under way.
My nerves sizzled until I was left wringing my hands together, because the more the machine moved, the less I thought that I could stop whatever was going on out there. And, for some reason I couldn’t understand, I knew I wanted it to stop. Right now.
With all the things Mother was destroying inside the house in the pursuit of what she thought of as improving it, the idea that she was attacking the grounds somehow felt like a much larger violation.
A violation of what, I wasn’t sure, but I felt it growing as keenly as if someone had slapped me.
Finally, after what seemed like years, but was only moments, Montgomery popped up in front of me, looking more like a ghost than he ever had before.
He collapsed into the little planter wall next to me and put his hands on his head, his fingers shaking and face ashen.
“Montgomery?” I was too spooked by his reaction to ask him what he saw, but I needed to know. Because whatever this was, by his reaction, I was right. This was bad.
“They…” His voice, strained and barely there, gave out as he spoke to his feet, not looking up at me. “They…”
I swallowed, my own throat gone dry and the nerves sending my hands to shaking moved through the rest of my body. All the hairs on my body stood on end, my stomach roiled, and I looked back out at the machine in the woods.
“What did they do?” I whispered, speaking my thoughts into the universe more than actually asking him.
He answered me anyway.
“They’re digging up the lake, clearing out debris, and preparing a new dock.”
Shaking my head, I couldn’t get rid of the dread that settled deep inside me and made a metallic taste flood into my mouth that I had to swallow back.
Waiting for him to continue, I couldn’t ask for more details, I needed to wait.
But while I waited, the machine in the woods stopped moving and shouts, unintelligible from here, rang through the air in garbled alarm.
“I have to see,” he said, looking up and disappearing before I could even open my mouth.
Did something happen? Did Montgomery expect it to happen? What was going on?
My mind raced, and not for the first time since I fell down the stairs, I wished to be healthy enough again to run after him and find out for myself.
People appeared at the edge of the woods, milling around, holding their hands to their faces and their heads, acting like the jogger on a true crime show that just found a dead body.
After too long watching them, Montgomery popped back up again and I jumped, too intent on trying to figure out what was going on with the people—to hear something, see something—to be prepared for his reappearance.
He didn’t make it to sitting on the wall this time.
Now he collapsed to his knees next to my chair, his eyes far away and his face even more washed out.
“Montgomery?” I asked, my voice barely there.
Part of me was afraid to touch him even. As if he was now fragile and one wrong move would cause him to disappear.
“They found a casket.”
Book 4, After Midnight Strikes, comes out at the end of this month and I am ridiculously excited about that.
If you wish to help out with the fundraising, spread the word.And next week I’ll let you know about the title for book 5!
As always, happy reading!