Thursday, December 19, 2013

I've decided to enter an excerpt from Monsoon Reign into the MARSocial Author of the Year contest. While I don't have any grand illusions of winning, there are so many wonderful authors out there with much more experience in publishing their work, I still thought it'd be fun.

Here's a link to my submission. Please give it a tweet or like.

And here is my excerpt:

“Duke Finch.” Whispers and murmuring spread through the audience.
Nicholai Finch leaned against the wall with arms folded across his chest. His gaze shifted from Kathayr and swept the room daring anyone to bid against him. He smirked when no-one accepted his challenge.
“Stroud, I believe the girl belongs to me now.” He dropped his arms to his sides and sauntered toward the stage, scrutinizing her for a moment before ordering the priest to bring her to the back.
She was rushed off stage to a small side room to meet her groom. An empty chamber reserved for this exclusive purpose. The room was devoid of furniture and had only one dim light to see by. A balding, elderly priest waited for the couple, standing between two doors and holding a bag which contained the tools needed to perform the marriage rites.
“Greet your bride” The priest stood rigid and waited for them to do as he bid.
Nicholai nodded briefly at Kathayr and she gave a curtsy in return. One of the doors opened and two more priests wheeled in a wooden chair with three leather straps hanging down from either side, two for the arms and one for the legs. Nicholai sat and they strapped him in tight and instructed her to stand behind him.
“Do you willingly take this mark of union and intend to share it with the lady?” The priest asked in a monotone voice.
Nicholai didn’t even blink. “Yes.”
“Very well.” He began to chant as he pulled the strings open on the bag and took out an iron rod with a smooth head on the end. He continued his intonations and it started to glow as if warmed by an inner source. He held it up before Nicholai. “Choose your symbol.”
Nicholai’s gaze focused on the rod and its glow turned a dark purple hue as it responded to the will of his mind. The smooth surface shifted and swirled forming an intricate clover design to match the comb in Kathayr’s hair. Her stomach turned when she recognized the shape and she filled with a deep sense of foreboding.
The priest placed the end of the shaft into the palm of Nicholai’s right hand. His body trembled with effort to keep from crying out as his skin lit up with purple fire. Kathayr swallowed hard, nauseous at the smell of burning flesh. She had seen the marks of union before and knew she would be next.
When it was over and they pulled the iron tool away she got a better view of the symbol he had chosen. A knotted pattern circled around a clover design in the center.
“Amazing,” the nearest priest breathed. “I’ve never seen one with such color and detail.” He unstrapped the Dukes arms. “Now if the lady would please take a seat.”
“No.” He stood and took her arm, bringing her around the back of the chair and to his side.
“Excuse me?” The old priest lost his stoic demeanor.
“She’s not taking the mark by you. I intend to imprint her myself.”
“The legend?” The younger priest’s whispered to each other.
“Silence!” The elder priest glared at them and returned his sharp gaze to Nicholai. “Judging by the symbol you chose, you’re indeed talented in the ancient’s magic. However, many decades have passed since a man contained enough strength to impart it during consummation.”
Nicholai glared in silence.
“My lord, please understand. If you’re unable to achieve marking her, your marriage will be considered invalid. And we’ll offer no to help you.”
Kathayr felt unsure of what to do. Any woman would be honored to marry such a handsome and powerful man. Still something about him unnerved her regardless of his rescuing her earlier. He’s crazy, thinking he has the ancient’s power. Perhaps, when he failed she’d be able to return to the theater and resume the life to which she’d grown accustomed.
Nicholai continued to ignore them and draped his overcoat over her shoulders.
“Thank-you.” She put her arms in the sleeves, grateful for the modesty afforded to her before their departure. Then she followed him through the door opposite of the priests. It led to an alleyway behind the playhouse, a carriage stood ready for them near an ivy, covered wall. Their breath fogged around them when they exited out into the winter air and she pulled the coat tighter as she stepped inside the vehicle.
The silent ride unnerved her. He hadn’t said anything to her since they pulled away from the theater. While he seemed to be deep in thought, she took a moment to study him. His dark, shaggy hair hung down over his eyes as he leaned forward, arms resting on his legs and staring at his feet. He didn’t appear to be much older than her, yet he dressed rather formal. His under coat buttoned down to his waist and flared out in long tails. Gold trim lined the edges in a simple pattern. Gilded clothing was a rarity, even among the elite.
“What if you cannot mark me?”
His head turned and he grinned at her. Her heart skipped a beat, instead of the beautiful smile she imagined he would have, it was hostile.