Monday, June 29, 2015

Final Cover and Update

Well, my friends, we are less than two weeks away from the release of my third book. I hope you are as excited as I am! My editor and I are working busily on getting everything ready for July 10th, and so far it seem that we'll be ready on time. (crossing fingers)

In the meantime, my amazing cover artist has finished her work! Here is the final product, and I expect that you'll love it as much as I do.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Labyrinth Cover Preview

Here is a preview for the cover of "The Labyrinth of Destiny." My artist is Alyssa Harper, and she is amazing. I've loved working with her for my projects, and I would highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for some awesome art. Here is the link to her blog:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Labyrinth Preview: Chapter Three

Ok, friends, this will be the last preview chapter before the release of "The Labyrinth of Destiny." I hope that you all are excited as I am! As I said before, this is taken from the rough draft, so please don't mind any grammar errors that you come across. I promise, my editor has taken care of them in the copy that she has.

As always, feel free to send me your comments. I love to get feedback (both good and critical) from my readers!

If you haven't read any of the preview chapters, you can start with the prologue here.

Chapter Three: The Northern Threshold

Adesina was eager to leave the hollow where the Council met and begin the next leg of her journey.
“Wait,” called a voice from the crowd.
A small red feline with yellow stripes made its way to the front. “We Children of the Night have bound ourselves to you, and yet you have not offered any of our representatives a place in your party.”
There were a handful of murmurs that indicated approval.
Sitara’s brow furrowed. “There is no need to make a distinction between the Children of the Night and the Children of the Light. Our purposes may be different, but our allegiance is not.”
“But there is a need to make a distinction for the Creatures of Darkness,” asserted Ruon.
“Only if you continue to insist on associating yourselves with the Darkness,” replied Sitara stiffly. “The Children of the Night were not born of evil. It is only by embracing the Darkness that they become so.”
Ruon raised a hairless eyebrow. “I am aware of this.”
Sitara appeared more agitated than Adesina had ever seen her before. She was visibly irritated by the Laithur’s superior manner. She crossed her arms and fixed an icy stare on him. “The magic of the Thresholds remains weak. We do not have the power to transport a large party.”
The small red feline who had spoken originally shook its head. “We are not asking for a large party—only for a representative.”
Adesina waved a hand impatiently. “What does it matter if we are all on the same side?”
Ruon inclined his oval head. “Exactly. Why would it matter if we elected one of our own to be a member of your party?”
The rock-like creature rubbed his head thoughtfully with the grating sound of stone against stone. “Brother Ruon has a point. This is not merely a Serraf matter—it involves all of us. The Serraf alone should not bear the responsibility of stopping Cha-sak and his followers.”
“Adesina needs my guidance,” insisted Sitara. “She is a newborn Serraf and does not know how to use her new abilities.”
“No one doth suggest that thou stayest behind,” assured Toraun, “but a valid point hath been made.”
“Send Brother Ruon,” squawked a creature with the head of a raven and the body of a woman.
Ruon looked extremely smug at this nomination. Adesina silently wished for someone else—anyone else—to be elected to join their party.
Other Council members nodded. Adesina assumed that they were also demons of various kinds, since the Children of Light seemed to be keeping their opinions to themselves.
“Yes, Ruon is a good choice.”
“I agree.”
“We have no quarrel with the Laithur. I suppose he is as good a choice as any.”
Adesina stifled a groan as Toraun raised a hand and said, “The decision hath been made, and all shall abide by it.”
Sitara also seemed less than pleased. “Very well.”
Riel, Sitara’s Rashad companion, spoke in her quiet and musical voice. “We must hurry to the Northern Threshold or we will miss our only opportunity to cross back over into the human world.”
Toraun crossed all four of his hands on his chest in a form of salute. “May the blessings of the Ancients go with thee.”
Adesina wasn’t sure what to say in return. “Thank you,” she said, feeling slightly foolish.
“Do you need anything before we leave, Ruon?” asked Sitara, omitting the title of brother.
The Laithur’s smile indicated that he noticed the omission. “No, Sitara,” he emphasized her name with a sarcastic tone. “I am prepared to leave whenever you are.”
Riel took the initiative and began walking away from the gathering of Council members. Sitara followed closely behind, pointedly ignoring Ruon’s sneering smile. Adesina and Ravi exchanged glances before following, and Ruon brought up the rear at an unhurried pace.
Adesina felt an enormous sense of relief knowing that they were on their way back to the world she knew. There was a driving feeling of urgency to stop Cha-sak before he could cause any lasting harm to humankind.
So intent was the young woman with her inner worries that she almost didn’t notice the landscape around them. She would have been completely unaware had it not been for Ravi.
What a strange world this is.
Adesina looked up in surprise. “Is it?” she responded automatically.
Then she took a moment to look around. She once again took note of the violet moss that covered the ground and the pink sky, but she didn’t observe anything that she hadn’t seen before.
Ravi spoke aloud instead of through their Joining. “It is unnaturally silent here—even that small stream makes no sound. I can sense no life other than the few plants we see and the members of the Council. Are there no animals?”
Sitara shook her head. “We chose this realm because it held no life other than the plants. That way we would not alter the natural order of this world.”
Ruon snorted derisively. “You say that as if we did not affect the plants and rocks of this realm. Our presence changed this place, even if you choose not to notice it.”
“Perhaps I do not have the same affinity to stone as you do,” admitted Sitara.
“Are the…Laithur interested in rocks?” asked Adesina hesitantly. She didn’t feel entirely comfortable around a creature that she knew to be a demon.
Ruon swiveled his oval head on his long and snakelike neck. He fixed his small eyes on Adesina, and she had the unnerving feeling that he could see right through her. “Know you nothing of the Immortals?” he asked with a hint of surprise.
Adesina felt her face redden. “Not very much. Most humans believe that the Immortals are myths.”
Ruon’s flat face took on a thoughtful expression. “The Laithur are creatures that are most comfortable in caves. The Seer dwelt in the Great Cavern, and so the Laithur lived there, too.”
Even Ravi was confused by this explanation. “The Seer?”
“Has all knowledge been lost in your world?” asked Ruon in irritation. He took a deep breath and started again. “Just as you Serraf and Rashad serve the Creator, we Laithur served the Seer.”
“Who is the Seer?” asked Adesina.
“One of the lesser Ancients,” explained Sitara.
“Not lesser in any aspect that matters,” quipped Ruon.
Sitara smiled at the demon as one might to a petulant child. “No Ancient is.”
“And yet you continually make the distinction,” he snapped.
Sitara gave the Laithur a level gaze. “Such loyal defense from one who has forsaken their duty.”
Ruon appeared to have no answer as he turned away in disgust.
Sitara took over the explanation in a low voice. “The Seer was an Ancient who could see all things—past, present, and future. He preferred to live underground because the dark and silence allowed him to see more clearly. The Laithur were the servants of the Seer…until they embraced the Darkness and became demons.”
Adesina’s mind was filled with questions, and she could hardly decide which to ask first. “Who are these Ancients of which you keep referring?”
“Goodness,” smiled Riel, “much knowledge has been lost.”
Adesina and Ravi shared feelings of self-consciousness, but neither said anything.
“The Ancients are the deities that rule the universe,” began Sitara, but she was not able to explain further.
“We are here,” interrupted Ruon.
Sitara had not exaggerated when she had said that the Threshold was not far from where the Council met. The walk had taken them less than a half hour.
The Threshold itself was another low outcropping of rock amid the flat landscape. There was an entrance like the cave that led to the Threshold of Zonne, but this entrance was shallow enough that Adesina could easily see where it came to an end.
She had been expecting something similar to the Threshold of Zonne—a platform or a doorway of some sort. Instead, there was nothing but the slight indentation in the rock.
“Is this it?” asked Adesina in confusion.
Legends say that the Thresholds come in many shapes and sizes. Ravi thought to her with a hint of uncertainty.
“Yes,” affirmed Sitara, “this is it. The Northern Threshold. This is the only other point of connection between this world and your own. This is the only remaining way back…home.”
Adesina looked at Sitara in surprise. She had never considered that the Immortals would view her world as their home, too. It must have been a long and lonesome wait for them during their imprisonment.
They will not have to wait much longer, Ravi promised.
Adesina smiled in agreement. No, they will not.
“What do I need to do?” she asked aloud.
“All Thresholds share the same power,” explained Sitara. “You were reborn upon a Threshold, so your vyala is tied to theirs. You alone have the ability to open a Threshold at your will.”
Adesina stared at the outcropping, hoping to gain some sort of inspiration. “How?” she asked after a moment.
“Connect to your vyala, little sister,” Sitara said kindly. “It will guide you.”
Adesina closed her eyes and let her magic flow from the center of her being. It warmed her as it spread, filling her with life and light.
This was her first time connecting with her vyala since becoming a Serraf, and Adesina immediately sensed a difference. It wasn’t just that her powers were stronger—which they were—but they seemed deeper and more profound. Her connection to the world around her was more than just a greater awareness. She had become one with the world. The rocks and the plants were a part of her.
With this change in the forefront of her mind, Adesina turned her attention to the Northern Threshold.
The rock itself was nothing extraordinary. It had nothing that set it apart from any other rock in any other world. When Adesina looked beyond its physical form, she saw something that caught her breath.
There was a tunnel of swirling magical light that led to worlds without measure. Adesina could not see the other end of the tunnel, but she could feel that the possibilities were infinite. All of space in every dimension—and even all of time—whirled within that vortex of power, and Adesina finally understood what it meant to stand on the threshold of eternity.
“The Serraf did not create the Thresholds,” Adesina said softly.
“No,” answered Sitara. “They were created by the Traveler, one of the Ancients.”
Adesina didn’t need to be told that the Thresholds had been brought into existence by a much greater power. She could feel the pure vyala surging through the small opening that connected the Threshold to this world.
The young woman turned her attention to that tenuous connection, and she saw that the small outcropping of rock served as a sort of anchor to the power behind the Threshold. All she had to do was to part the invisible curtains that stood before the tunnel, and…
A doorway of light appeared.
Sitara gasped softly. “It took a full circle of Serraf sisters to pry the Zonne Threshold open, even for a brief period of time. Yet you open this one with a simple gesture of your hand.”
“You did say that Ma’eve was linked to the Thresholds,” reminded Ravi. “Did you not believe that she could do it?”
Sitara gave a small smile. “Knowing something in your mind is not the same as witnessing it happen.”
Even Ruon seemed grudgingly impressed. “This half-blood may be the one we have been waiting for after all.”
Adesina felt her temper flare. “I have a name, you know.”
Ruon chose to ignore her statement. He turned his full attention to the Threshold. “It is called the Northern Threshold because it is connected to the northernmost Threshold in the human world. We may not be far from the Zonne Threshold here, but we shall reappear in your world many leagues from Zonne.”
Adesina could feel through their Joining that Ravi was very uneasy with this information. “Where is the Northern Threshold, exactly?” he asked.
“Tsan,” Sitara answered shortly.
Ravi’s uneasiness grew to alarm. “Tsan sank beneath the ocean centuries ago.”
“Do not worry,” said Ruon in a strangely detached voice. “Help is on the way.”
Adesina frowned. “How do you know that?”
“I can See,” was his enigmatic reply.
Sitara seemed to understand, but she gave no explanation. “Take a deep breath,” she instructed, “and swim for the surface as soon as you cross over.”
“Why not use vyala to create a bubble of air around us?” inquired Adesina.
“Can you maintain that level of concentration while hurtling between worlds?” challenged Ruon in a sharp tone.
She felt a wave of doubt. “I…am not sure.”
The Laithur’s strangely flat face twisted in irritation. “I said that help is on the way. But we have to cross within the next thirty seconds.”
“I will go first,” volunteered Sitara. She took a couple of slow, deep breaths before walking into the Threshold and disappearing.
Riel followed immediately after her, and Ruon was close behind.
Adesina’s heart raced with apprehension, and Ravi sent soothing thoughts through their Joining.
She took one breath to slow her heart rate, and another to prepare her mind. Then, taking a breath that was deeper than the others, she walked into the light.