With today being Valentine’s Day, I thought I should tell you how very much you mean to me. You, as my readers, fans, and friends, make my literary world go round. You support my novels, take part in some great discussion topics, and you take time out of your lives for me. Every time you visit my website, Tweet or Facebook me, read my novels, or recommend them to a friend, you support me and contribute to a young man’s dream to be his own boss and create something special for the world. Since I can’t give you candy, chocolate, or any kind of flowers through the internet (yet), I thought I’d give you a little snippet of what I’m working on.
Sacred Cities is a Dystopian novel. In other words, it’s a post-apocalyptic Urban Fantasy, taking place in the not-too-distant future. Alex is the main character trying to survive a broken world, and keep himself and his brother alive for just one more day. That’s his task everyday–just make it to tomorrow. In a world that’s been nearly destroyed by demons, what else is a boy to do?
Happy Valentine’s day, everyone. May your day be filled with kindness, sweets, love, and friendship. I give you the first page of my work-in-progress: Sacred Cities, due to rock the world, summer 2014.
I pulled what remained of the tattered blanket to my chin, shivering against the cold air. The singed edges of fabric were curled and hard, scratching along my neck. One too many nights had been spent lying next to the fire. I didn’t know how far we were from the next Sacred City, but I’d need to find something to trade by then. It was only going to get colder and this blanket wouldn’t be enough once our free nights were spent.
Weathered boots scraped along the dirt; my ten-year old brother, Joshua, turned in his sleep. He coughed twice and I cringed, as though that could muffle the sound.
“Alex?” he asked, his voice was hoarse and dry.
“What’s up, buddy?” I crawled over and crouched beside him. I unscrewed the canteen’s lid and it clanked against the side as I tilted it to his lips.
“Can you light the fire again?” he asked. Sweat had forced his brown hair to stick to his forehead. He’d had the cold sweats for two days and now the coughing had come.
“You know I can’t.”
“It’s so cold. Please, just for a little while.”
“It’s too dangerous.”
“But there’s no monsters out tonight. It’s quiet.”
I looked back over the still glowing embers in the ashy pit, then out at the darkness around us. I strained to hear something, anything, but there was only silence. I shook my head. “There are monsters out every night. The quieter it is, the more dangerous. Here.” I draped what was left of my blanket over him, followed by my jacket.
“Thanks,” he whispered, and his eyelids dropped. I watched him for a moment but he was gone, off to another world. I hoped it was one that wasn’t like ours: one where he had food and water and a warm place to sleep. Maybe it was a world where he didn’t have to be scared all the time, one where he had friends too.
I settled back onto the dirt and stared into the shadows. I wished for a sound, something that represented the world I remembered: a frog’s croak, the song of crickets moving unseen in the grass, or even better, a car driving by, but there was nothing. The sky should’ve been dark, but instead it held a deep navy hue. The stars flickered like a Light Bright filled with white pegs, the moon casting a pale glow over the landscape. The thought of a Light Bright made me smile—a brief memory of a childhood almost forgotten. I tried to reach for more of that past, and although it seemed to be just at the edge of my mind, I couldn’t quite grab it.
Goosebumps spiraled down my arms in response to the oncoming breeze. I held my hands over the fading embers, absorbing what warmth I could and rubbing it back along my arms. Then the nostalgia of my childhood memory vanished as a sound came from the darkness. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I crawled onto my feet. I closed my eyes, straining to hear it again, but nothing came. We had made a camp next to the woods so maybe it was an animal. No…I knew better than that. I waited a moment longer, but when nothing came, I settled back down onto the ground. Now that I’d been spooked, there wouldn’t be any sleep tonight. My eyes panned the shadows back and forth, searching for something that might be out there, and then it came again. The sound moved across the dirt somewhere in front of us. It was clear as day now—feet shuffling across the ground, and this time it wasn’t Joshua.