If you are out there…I have an awesome Christmas present for you! Check it out:
Akasha ornaments – they are kinda cool, right? Please say yes because I made them myself. My plan was to post step-by-step instructions with pics that would rival any DIY craft blog, but things got a little messy. You can probably get all you need to know from this:
And by the way, the wine in the back was totally involved.
So how can you get your hands on this set of ornaments? Here’s how: send your answers to the below questions, and one fan who emails correct answers by Dec. 14th will be randomly selected. I have to give my sincerest apologies – this contest is only open to those in the US. I just shipped a bunch of books overseas and those rates are killer. So summing up; answer questions by Dec. 14th, US only. Send an email to: email@example.com.
Question 1 from ‘Water’: How did Shawn manage to overtake Kaitlyn and Susan, ending in Kaitlyn’s fateful trip to the Galapagos? (I’m specifically looking for the element used – you have a 1 in 4 chance!)
Question 2 from ‘Air’: What happens to Cato at the end of the book?
Question 3 from ‘Fire’: Where (what island) does Kaitlyn choose to hide from the rest of the gang?
Question 4 from ‘Earth’: The Akasha Series takes the reader all over the world, but near which city (or for bonus points, the exact location) does the final battle take place?
Hopefully the questions are fairly easy, it’s been a while since some of you have read the series! Again, just email the answers to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and hopefully I can get these beautiful ornaments to the winner by Christmas!
Good luck and happy holidays!
Happy Friday! I feel like this is going to be a great weekend – and I have no idea why. Hope it turns out good for all of us. Here is something to start you out; the first chapter of ‘Fire, Book Three of the Akasha Series’. Word of caution – this gets a little graphic. The second book left off with Kaitlyn in labor, alone on a boat navigation the Southern Ocean. Readers were left with the ultimate cliffhanger, so this first chapter couldn’t disappoint!
The fireball shot out of my hand, straight into one of the cupboards, blowing shards of pressed wood everywhere. Bits of flame flared up around the large captain’s bridge on the boat. I bent over, uncontrollable pain wracking my body. The coaching I received on labor pains did nothing.
Imagine riding on top of the wave of pain, instead of sinking beneath them.
I laughed out loud at the irony. Little did the doctor know I’d be in the middle of the Southern Ocean, on my own, navigating literal waves.
The contraction subsided, and I stumbled to the other side of the room to retrieve the fire extinguisher. The foamy, white goo was probably almost gone. With little hope of being able to reign in my powers, I was digging my own grave.
I paused before aiming the extinguisher over what was left of the cupboard. Most of the windows had blown out, and the cold wind, along with the freezing droplets of ocean, was quickly turning my hands blue; the rest of my body was bound to follow. Fire might be a good thing. But there was no way to control it. I forced my numb hand to squeeze the handle, extinguishing the flames before they could burn the ship right out from under me.
I hobbled over to the Doppler machine, checking to see if anyone was on my tail before another contraction came. I hadn’t blown up that machine, yet. Only one dot on the screen; my boat. Everyone I left behind on Heard and McDonalds Islands would still be there, recovering from the battle. Cato was dead, killed by the traitor Vayu – now also dead.
Susan had a boat, but she was on the opposite end of the island and had no idea I was gone. Alex would be helping Micah out of the crater formed from my earthquake.
Micah. A new wave of pain was mounting, physically and mentally this time. I let the contraction take me, nearly pulling me under and drowning me. This one I deserved. This one was my punishment for leaving Micah, depriving him of his family and the wonderful life he envisioned for us. This one left me in tears.
I am so sorry, Micah. Please forgive me. Please understand.
Even if he should find me, which he wouldn’t, nothing would go back to the way it was. Nothing would be the same.
I wiped my cheeks dry, and crawled over to my makeshift bed – a mattress on the floor. I looked over at the bassinet, ready to receive the life inside me. If only we could survive this; which was looking more doubtful by the minute.
Another contraction. Already? They were practically right on top of each other now, giving me no time to recover. It gripped my entire mid-section, muscles squeezing until I thought they would explode. I moved to my hands and knees, trying to concentrate on something. I looked out the window at the gray sky and sea, which blurred into one, never-ending ocean of nothing. I held my breath through the contraction, and my vision went wavy. The pain dulled slightly, making it a little more manageable. This contraction seemed to last forever, and I hadn’t even crested the wave yet.
The wind picked up outside. I blinked and my vision cleared. A tornado had formed directly in the path of my boat.
I want the fireballs back.
I launched my body toward the wheel and turned it, hard. The boat lurched in response. I considered turning back for the islands. I might be safer fighting Shawn than fighting myself.
My contraction peaked, rendering mind and body useless. The boat stopped its forward momentum, pausing as I rode the waves of pain, then was pulled backward, into the tornado. Although the contraction was subsiding, I couldn’t do anything but watch as I was drawn closer and closer into a vortex of spinning wind and water.
Thank God I did not do this in a hospital or even around other people. I couldn’t imagine the consequences. How did the other Gaias manage?
The doctor told me of two Gaias he helped during labor. For one the baby hadn’t survived, the other, the mother hadn’t.
I looked at the tornado. This would be why.
As the contraction ceased, so did the tornado. I dreaded the ride the next one would bring, and it was only seconds away. I pushed myself off the ground, groaning, and hurried to put the boat back on course for Perth, the largest city in Western Australia.
Confidence that I would ever make it was waning. I collapsed on the floor, too drained to even pull myself back to the mattress. My body temperature spiked, the ice-cold ocean spray hitting me through the shattered windows actually felt good.
As another contraction started, a lump of despair rose up in my throat. I can’t do this. What was I thinking? I need to turn back. But I was closer to my destination than my departure point by now.
The pain quickly rose to new heights. I bit my lower lip and tasted coppery blood. It was not a good enough distraction. Having no other choice, I screamed out loud, my shriek lost among the ocean waves surrounding me. The water grew more and more intense until every last wave was double the size of my boat, threatening to engulf me.
The boat made stomach-flipping drops, tilting to one side so much I thought it would tip. Then it leveled out and went to the other side; like a carnival ride. Except this time I wasn’t throwing my hands in the air. My fingers curled into the floor, cracking my nails. Just as I reached the peak of the contraction, I felt something inside drop. There was an unbearable pressure between my legs, accompanied with the urgent need to push. I held out, remembering what I could of movie births. Wait for it, take a breath. Breathe…breathe….it was almost over. I reached down and felt between my legs. Something hard where only soft should be. The head! My baby was almost here!
I waited a few more seconds until the contraction came. Then I pushed. I pushed through my gut, every muscle in my body tensed. My vision went blurry again but a new wave of adrenaline came to me and I used it to focus. Another quick breath, and then more pushing. The contraction came and went, and I had made no more progress.
I started to panic. What if she was suffocating? A million things could go wrong, and my baby was stuck.
One more time, I told myself. She’ll be ok. Give it one more contraction and then you can panic.
Before the thought finished forming, the next contraction came.
“This is it,” I said aloud, my voice rough, foreign-sounding. I pushed, determined to make it work. If she didn’t come out this time, I’d seriously consider putting the scalpel in the first aid kit to good use.
I pushed with everything I had left, not saving one ounce of energy for future contractions. It was now or never.
Everything tensed and strained, except my voice. My vocal chords were paralyzed. Pushing all of that energy out, I felt the elemental magic welling up within me. Shit, shit, shit, I thought. This time it wouldn’t just be a fireball, or a tornado. I could survive both of those, I had proven it. Instead, the elements were intertwining; I felt them knitting together inside me as if they knew exactly what to do.
Please no, please no, I thought. Nothing good would come of this. I couldn’t concentrate on both my labor and my magic. I had to pick one and go with it. At this point, I went with the only one I felt slightly more in control of; the labor.
On my back now, I lifted up my chin, trying to see something over my big, round belly. I put my hands down between my legs, feeling frantically. One quick breath, then I pushed again. I could feel her downward progress within me. It felt like fire. I hoped to God my powers weren’t harming the baby. More burning and finally, I felt her. Her large round head emerged into my hands. I pulled gently, but she didn’t come out further. Frantically, I turned her head, hoping the body would follow, and pushed again. Her shoulders popped out and then the rest of her.
Everything seemed to unleash itself at once. A final wave of energy burst out of the captain’s bridge, spraying bits of glass, laminate, and particle wood out and into the ocean. The atmosphere outside absorbed the mix of elements and then – everything went calm. The wind receded to a light, cool breeze, the waves evened out, and for the first time in hours the boat slowed to a gentle rocking motion.
I looked down at the tiny, pink, wrinkly baby in my hands, still slippery with blood and mucus. I gasped in deep, frantic breaths, laughing and hyperventilating all at the same time. I scooted over to the mattress and bassinette, wrapping a blanket around her, with an awkward twist around the umbilical cord. I worked to get my breathing under control, but tears were now streaming down my face, making it difficult to see.
She was still, eyes closed. And not crying.
She needs to cry; they always cry in the movies. I turned her face down in my arms, and gave her a light pop on the bottom. Still nothing. I took a deep breath. Don’t panic. One more spank and then panic.
The next spank elicited tiny, pathetic mewling. I turned her over, laughing again, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry – but you’re alive! My sweet baby girl!”
A quick check in the blanket confirmed it. The doctor was right – a girl.
Another contraction caused me to take a sharp breath in, and her umbilical cord reminded me. I laid her down on the mattress, still wrapped in her blanket. I brought myself to a sitting position and pushed again.
The afterbirth came out. I avoided looking at it, but glanced at the cord, still attached to the baby. Guess I’d have to make good use of that scalpel after all.
Lying on my side, I washed her as best I could with what water bottles and towels I had with me. Her mewling subsided. Her limbs moved in involuntary jerks as she got used to her body. My cooing was awkward and goofy. Not all motherly instincts came naturally.
A quick glance at her face showed me her eyes were now open, but I looked away. The color of her eyes may reveal who her father is. I had other things to think about. The rest of her was still a mess. Puffy and red from the labor, she resembled what I could only label as demon spawn.
I continued rubbing her down, counting fingers and toes, making sure her ears were clear.
Micah or Shawn?
I suppose in a way, I would feel relieved if she weren’t Micah’s. It would make my running off with her a little more bearable for him, had he learned the truth. But if she were Shawn’s, I’d have to take extra care to make sure she stayed well away from him. And should authorities get involved, they’d insist he’d get parental rights.
Ten fingers and ten toes. Had we been in a hospital, by now she would have been weighed, maybe received a few shots and whatever tests they do in hospitals.
“We don’t need those needles. No we don’t, no we don’t, do we?” I cooed at her.
She calmed a little further at the sound of my voice.
Wind blew in through gaping holes in the captain’s bridge, covering us both in the open artic chill. I moved her back to my chest, letting skin-to-skin contact heat us both. She started mewling again, now rooting with her mouth.
Oh shit, I thought. Does she need to eat already?
I shrugged. She was my daughter, after all.
Wholly unprepared, I took in a deep breath and guided her mouth to my nipple. A painful pinch, and I quickly pushed her away. She started crying now, with gusto.
Glad one of us found our voice.
I tried again, this time using one hand to position my nipple while my other arm pushed her into me. The pain wasn’t quite as intense, or I was better prepared; one of the two.
I felt her feather-light tongue against me as she sucked. I had no idea if anything was coming out, but she seemed happy enough. Almost right away, I had another contraction.
“What the hell; is there another one in there?” I tried breathing through it. It wasn’t nearly as intense, but plenty painful, especially after everything I had just been through.
The baby’s position was disturbed by my tensing arms. She popped off my breast, and cried again.
“Oh, sorry baby.” I moved her to the other side, “Gotta keep them even.”
This time was easier, and definitely less painful as she latched on, but again, another contraction. “Are you kidding me?” I bent over, careful not to disturb her feeding.
After the contraction subsided, I leaned back into the wall, utterly exhausted. The baby fell asleep in my arms. I swaddled her again using what blankets were left, nestled her in the crook of my arm and lay over on my side; sleep catching up with me faster than I cared to admit.
Stay tuned – next post I’ve decided to release the first chapter of the final book of the Akasha Series, ‘Earth’. In the meantime, if you haven’t started yet, you can get ‘Water, Book One’ as an ebook for free, ‘Air, Book Two’ at the special price of $2.99 and ‘Fire, Book Three’ for $4.99. Happy reading!
In three days, ‘Fire, Book Three of the Akasha Series’ will be available for purchase on Amazon and B&N. Shortly after that it will be available for iBooks. Of the few books I’ve published so far, ‘Fire’ – by far – is the most exciting for me! Let me tell you – it starts out with a bang. If you are squeamish, the first chapter probably won’t suit you. Whatever the case, make sure to put ‘Fire’ on your Goodreads TBR list now.
Each day until its release, I will post the first chapter of each of the books in the Akasha Series. You know – in case you haven’t read them yet! Today’s first chapter is the opening to the entire series. Don’t forget ‘Water’ is now free on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and iBooks!
There is nothing like an avalanche to put your life into perspective. I leaned forward and the board strapped to my boots responded. Slicing through the fresh powder, I made a sharp curve to the right. A quick glance uphill showed the wave of snow was five times my height, and about to catch up to me.
The avalanche roared like an angry dragon, breath stinking of the earth churned up in its path. The entire right side of the unmarked back country trail was a thick wall of trees, impossible to break through. I pulled my toes up, arching back to the left side of the trail. But I wasn’t going to make it. Ice pelted me on the back of my neck, sending chills down my spine. I pointed my snowboard straight downhill and put all my weight on my forward leg, hoping to outrun the beast.
I willed my board to go faster than I ever dared before. The avalanche was faster. It opened its mouth wide, closing in on me from both sides and overhead. Gray blacked out the blue sky above and the trees to the side of me. The mountain slope cracked and slithered forward, like a monster’s forked tongue. As the force of nature dropped over me, I closed my eyes and threw my arms around my head. My screams were swallowed by the creature.
Completely engulfed, I moved with the avalanche. The whole of the trail had transformed into its body; an agitated, unstoppable river of churning snow and debris. The world became darker and darker, the snow heavier and heavier. Flashes of light were few and far between.
When I gasped for air I was sometimes rewarded with a clear breath but more often than not I sucked in a mouthful of snow. Hacking to rid my throat of the slush, I came to the awful realization that I was drowning on dry land.
My hands, flailing for something solid to hang onto, finally caught hold of a tree. Small as it was, it held fast against the merciless rush of snow. I fought against nature, literally holding on for my life. I wrapped myself around the trunk as two large branches just above me ripped away and disappeared in the churning white waves, along with my screams. I squeezed so tight the rough bark scratched my cheek. I inhaled the heavy scent of pine, as though the smell alone would keep me tethered to the tree. I willed the roots to be strong.
They were, but I was not. My grip started to loosen as my tired muscles and numb fingers were unable to hold on any longer. I lost the stable trunk and returned to the tumble of snow.
I came to a halt just like the rest of the debris that used to be the Canadian mountainside. A small air pocket had formed, allowing me to spit out the coppery taste of blood. Suffocation couldn’t be too far off, encased as I was in an immobile block of ice. Feeble attempts at movement proved useless. Silence settled in on me as I heard the last of the snow come to a halt above me. I tolerated its crushing weight because I had no choice.
As the numbness slowly receded, pain returned to one hand. I wiggled my fingers. They were free, possibly above the surface. I grimaced. Great – at least the wolves would find me. Closed casket for me.
‘Fire, Book Three of the Akasha Series’ becomes available in October. Wanna see the cover?
Beautiful, right?! This, by far, is my favorite cover of the series. Here they are together (with Earth still to go):
I already have the cover for ‘Earth’, which will be revealed in a few months, but I may make some tweaks. It is damn hard to make dirt look magical. I hope that after ‘Fire’, the ‘Earth’ cover isn’t a let down. Maybe I should’ve saved ‘Fire’ for the last book of the series. 🙂 You really can’t go wrong with flame. For your comparison, here are a few other ‘hot’ book covers I’ve come across:
Which is your favorite? Feel free to say mine! Haha. No seriously – feel free. I’m so excited, can’t wait for the release – stay tuned for the announcement!
I am celebrating!!! I just finished the last chapter to the third book in the Akasha Series, ‘Fire’. Of course, it still has a few months’ worth of editing, revising, and critiquing to go (worst part of the writing process, I swear), but this is the first milestone of novel ‘done-ness’.
By far the largest motivation factor to continuing with my series is the unexpected but awesome support I’ve found from readers. Never could I have imagined that complete strangers would be so enthusiastic about Kaitlyn and the goals of the Seven. Waking up to find posts on my facebook page about how much readers enjoyed my books makes all my late nights and early mornings worth it!
Over the next few months, I will be posting excerpts from all three of the books so far, I will do a cover reveal, and (hopefully) organize a massive blog tour for the release of ‘Fire’. To celebrate my readers, I will be offering ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series,’ for FREE for a limited time. You can download an e-copy in almost any version from Smashwords right now. But I need your help. When you have a moment, please go to ‘Water’s’ Amazon page and under ‘product details’ click on ‘tell us about a lower price’. Insert the URL to the Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92109. I’m hoping within a week or so Amazon will price match, and ‘Water’ can be enjoyed for free by thousands of people!
So – a day of rest for me, then back to writing. I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo with the goal of writing 50,000 words by the end of June. I’m moving right on to the final book of the series, ‘Earth’. The genre of ‘Earth’ shifts into dystopian, so it will be quite an adventure to write!
In the meantime, have you added ‘Fire’ to your Goodreads TBR list, or seen my book trailer yet? Which reminds me, I’ll need to do one for ‘Air’ and ‘Fire’ next…
This week’s flash fiction is a snippet from ‘Air, Book Two of the Akasha Series’ to be released next month. Kaitlyn, the main character, and Vayu, a wind elemental I introduce at the beginning of the book, are sent to battle a manmade fire:
A thick wall of flame came into view. Vayu stopped. “Here. This is the front of the fire.”
He turned to me and I realized how wildly unprepared I actually was. Wind was the most unpredictable of elements, the most difficult to control. I hadn’t had much practice with it.
Vayu was able to read my face. “I don’t have time to teach you, but we can do this one of two ways. You can either feed me energy or you can try to copy what I do as best as you can.”
It didn’t take me long to choose, remembering what happened to Micah last time he willingly gave me his energy. “I’ll try it on my own.”
Vayu scrutinized me for a moment, trying to judge my abilities as if he could by just looking at my face.
I frowned. He hadn’t seen any of what I could do. “Vayu – Micah wouldn’t have left me if he didn’t think I could handle it.”
Vayu accepted my reasoning. In a weird sort of circle pattern, that in turn gave me more confidence. Amazing how Micah could change things without even being there. Vayu took a deep breath in, and flows of energy left his body as he exhaled. It was an all-encompassing net that went out from his body. The net expanded, retracted, and grew thicker or thinner at Vayu’s will. I felt it letting air through in some places and blocking it in others. The net quickly grew to the left and right of us, expanding beyond my sight. Somehow Vayu knew what to do in the places he couldn’t see.
Following his lead, I took a deep breath in and immediately sputtered on the smoke. Vayu spared a sideways glance at me but kept most of his focus on the job at hand.
I thought back to all the other times I had used my powers. I had either drawn energy from within myself, drawn energy from another element, or used raw emotion to conjure weather. I decided I couldn’t draw energy from within and risk my baby; it was the least I could do as a mother. I also lacked any significant emotion, barring the fear building up in the pit of my stomach. I had never really operated on fear before. It was anyone’s guess how the elements would react.
I closed my eyes and concentrated on the elements around me. Water was obviously in short supply, the air was tainted and I didn’t want to interfere with Vayu’s element. That left fire and earth. Could I possibly draw energy from the very element I was trying to defeat? I shrugged my shoulders.
“Why the hell not?” The fire was far too loud for Vayu to hear me. Good – the less crazy he thought I was the better.
I began, this time without taking a deep breath, and started to draw energy from the fire. I worked gingerly through Vayu’s net. Before the energy returned through the net to me, I shifted its direction and in the process it simply converted itself to wind. Perhaps it was following my will or even Vayu’s example. I directed the wind more over the fire than around it, quelling what flame I could and cooling the entire area.
“Good,” Vayu called over the noise. “That is helping – very good.”
He looked surprised, and I smiled. I liked surprising people, as long as it was with my skill and not the lack thereof. I continued to concentrate on my wind, cooling down the fire and occasionally letting a gust blow over the top of Vayu’s net to cool us down.
We were making progress. The evidence was in the blackened landscape left behind as the fire was pushed back. We moved constantly, to the sides, and forward, following the fire. Suddenly, several loud bursts to our left shocked us from our concentration. A small grove of trees had succumbed to the fire and were literally exploding into flames, one right after another.
“Move your wind to only that area,” Vayu yelled.
I refocused my efforts as Vayu’s net grew more intense. I worked for what seemed like hours, no longer sparing wind to cool us down. I was drained. Hopefully the fire was experiencing the same effect.
A strong wind on our right caught me off guard and nearly blew me over with such a force that it could only be described as malicious.
“What are you doing?” I yelled at Vayu.
“Not me – when a fire gets too hot it creates weather of its own.”
Despite the heat, chills crawled up my back. We were no longer fighting just a fire; it was a living, breathing monster. A crafty one, at that. The fire’s weather pushed quickly through Vayu’s net on our right and we angled our bodies to combat it. We had to move backwards to avoid being singed ourselves. Now we were on the losing side of the battle.
We were pushed backwards into burnt terrain.
Something caught us from behind and we both ended up on the ground.
Vayu recovered faster. “Damn log.” He got up quickly and rebuilt his net.
“Vayu.” I swallowed hard, not moving. “It’s not a log.”
“What?” He shouted down at me without looking.
“It’s a person.” I sat, frozen for a moment, then finally shuffled around the charred body and looked for signs of life. The hair was mostly burned off leaving only sporadic patches of fuzz, but judging by the size of the body and width of the shoulders, it was a man. He was lying on his stomach, his head turned toward me. Finally his back rose slightly, a shallow, somewhat regular breathing pattern.
“Is it Shawn?” Vayu asked, not able to spare a glance down at the body.
I looked at his face, and shook my head. “No.”
The man’s eyes, probably the only unscathed part of his body, were a light brown, not Shawn’s icy blue stare. Strange as the stare was. There was too much white. His eyelids were almost completely burned off. Bile rose in my throat.
He began to gurgle in an effort to say something.
I whispered back though he probably couldn’t hear me, “Shhh…..don’t say anything. I’ll get you help.” I touched his shoulder gently and bits of something flaked off. I couldn’t tell if it was skin or clothing. The entire body was either black or red; he wasn’t going to make it no matter what I did. I felt physically ill. I looked at him again and mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry’.
Recognition flashed in his eyes. I believe I had just been so kind as to help him realize his own death was close at hand. I lay down next to him, oblivious of the fire around us. The least I could do was stay with him until the end. Vayu was yelling something, but my priorities were clear. I wasn’t a Gaia right then, nor was I Kaitlyn. I was simply the last connection this man would have in his life, or this life, anyway.
Vayu, still yelling, rustled around in the pack on my back for something. My body jerked as his search became more frantic.
The man resumed his attempts to speak, despite my insistence he lay still. I leaned in closer, trying to interpret a phrase he said over and over. Only two words in the garbling were comprehensible, and they were enough to freeze me in place. “One less, one less.”
He began shifting his body and grunting; I couldn’t subdue him with my hands for fear of causing more damage. Finally he leaned away from me, pulling out a bag from underneath the blanket. It was shiny; possibly fireproof. Inside the bag was a thick, neatly bound document. He must have been protecting the document while sacrificing his own body. The white pages were a stark contrast to the blackened earth below and his charred hand. He pushed the document feebly toward me. He left streaks of ash behind on the pristine paper as he pulled his hand away. On the cover was one simple symbol, the same symbol worn on my shoulder as a permanent scar of Shawn’s doing.Suspicions confirmed, my body went numb. The charred man smiled. “I was chosen to be one less.” Triumph and self-importance emanated from him. His smile, no matter how much it anguished him to do so, was the last thing I saw.
So there you have it. Now is your chance to let me know what you think; before I release ‘Air’! Please leave a comment!