Sneak Peek: Prelude of Fire

Presenting a first sneak peek from Prelude of Fire, which I’m hoping to release later this year! It will be the first in The Gailean Quartet, a young adult fantasy series where most of the magic is music-based.

Prelude of Fire Sneak Peek:

Ashlai Jardis awoke.

The young teen sat up, blinking in the bright sunlight. The Southern Wood had been plagued overnight by a searing heat uncommon for early autumn, and a sticky sweat still clung to her skin, but at least the thick veil of dust and ash no longer tainted the sky. A cool breeze stirred at last, and she inhaled deeply, relishing the clear air and letting it wrap around her faintly burning lungs like a balm.

At first, she could only sit gulping the cool air, dazed and unsure where she was or what had happened. But then she felt something metallic and warm at her side—her new sword. She reached for it, but no sooner did her flesh touch the hilt than a sharp pain burned her palm, and she snatched back her hand with a cry. As she turned her hand over, a shaft of sunlight illuminated the jagged, triangular shape burned into her flesh. Its original brilliant blaze had been reduced now to a pale glow, and the wound had already begun to scar. Pushing through the pain, she clutched the hilt of her sword once more, but this time, along with the sting, a shrill note like a flute shrieking at an impossible decibel tore through her mind, making her wince and curse beneath her breath—

Everything rushed back to her. The Prism and the princess and the golden-cloaked riders carrying the fury of lightning and fire as they soared upon their giant winged panthers, burning and killing all in their path…

The note faded and then ceased its torturous trilling altogether. Along with the memories the awful sound had invoked, Ashlai’s somber spirit returned. But she didn’t cry. Her tears were long spent. She must focus on fulfilling Princess Lilleana’s command: to find the Sprite Woods and the person there who would help her.

Ashlai caught her reflection in the sword’s smooth, golden surface. Her shoulder-length, fiery red hair was disheveled and streaked with ash, her purple tunic torn and charred with smoke. Wiping her hand across her brow, she wished she had a change of clothes. After everything that had just happened, cleanliness was the least of her concerns, but she wished she could at least slip into something cooler. She already sweated again, and the breeze wouldn’t help for long. Behind her, the sun glared hot and high in the sky. Glancing up, she did a double-take. It was already past noon.

How long have I been asleep?” she muttered, rubbing at her throat which still ached dully from all the smoke and dust.

Since you passed out yesterday,” a young man’s voice answered.

Startled, Ashlai staggered to her feet, grabbed her sword, and spun all about. Her carefully searching gaze could see nothing but the thick trees of the surrounding wood. She hoped the heat didn’t make her delirious; surely the voice had sounded too near and real to be a mere trick of the mind.

Where are you?” she demanded. A sting of anger empowered her, returning strength to her weary body. She clutched the sword hard, already feeling its innate fire merging with the flames filling her body.

Show yourself,” she said, a little more forcefully.

I’m right behind you.”

Ashlai whirled, seeking the stranger in vain. “I still can’t see you.”

The invisible whoever-it-was released an agitated sigh. “Of course you can see me—unless you’re blind. Which you obviously aren’t, since you keep staring right at me—Oh…” He chuckled. “Sorry. I was up pretty late guarding you, so I guess I forgot I’m in my other form. Which I’m totally okay with, after seeing that fire blade. I’m rather susceptible to fire, and you seem sort of in a foul mood, and—you are aware that you’re holding a fire blade—?”

Ashlai swung her sword, and a wide arc of golden-red flame blazed from its tip. Euphoria flitted inside her as she released her pent-up anger and pain at this invisible friend or foe. As he shouted in alarm, Ashlai only half paid attention, spinning to release another ring of fire.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!” he cried.

Ashlai paused, still clutching the blade, and lowered the flames, smirking at the sudden fight in his voice. Breathing hard, she stood poised, ready for another go.

Hey, now,” the voice said, “you nearly burned my arms to cinders!”

Maybe if I could see your arms, that wouldn’t be an issue!” Ashlai glared warningly in the voice’s direction and pointed her sword right at the trees. “Now, listen up. I’m in no mood for these silly games. Show yourself, or I’ll burn more than just your arm—!”

Whoa, watch out—!”

Even as the invisible person shouted this warning, Ashlai spotted something from the corner of her eye, something bright and whizzing straight toward her. She flung herself to the ground just as it zoomed past her head, so close that it ruffled her hair. As it whacked into one of the nearby trees, Ashlai glanced up in alarm—an arrow emitting smoke, a sign of the extinguished flame burning on its tip only moments ago. How easily it could have speared her head, had she moved the wrong way.

Something roughly grabbed Ashlai’s arm, and she yelped—then stared in alarm to see a tree branch closing its small, thin limbs around her arm. The next moment, the branch morphed into a green-skinned hand and arm, and suddenly, a tall, lanky boy stood before her instead of a tree.

Subscribe to Schulze’s FADBooks Review!

After some debate, I’ve decided to try the whole author newsletter thing again, but this time, I’m starting off slow with a quarterly release to see how things go. With my busy work schedule and such, quarterly option might work best for me. The newsletter will include info on my upcoming publications, writing advice, info on my quarterly give-aways, and more! I’d also like to create a section where folks can ask me questions and I can get to know my readers more.

To sign up, just click my Subscribe tab above, or just click this here link: http://eepurl.com/b-hGDb

The first issue will be released this December!

Diverse Characters by Diverse Authors

While taking one of my Trinity clients on a trip to ye ol’ library, quite a few of the young adult books in the “New” section caught my eye. Not only was I super excited to see so many books featuring main characters of color, but I was especially excited to see many were actually written by authors of color.

Below are some of the titles that you might wanna check out; I’m personally intrigued to give Shanna Miles’ Willow Born a go.

Bye-Bye, FADBooks Review

fadbooks.jpgSome of you may be familiar with my quarterly newsletter, The FADBooks Review. Some of you may even be subscribers. I am writing this post to announce that as of right now, The FADBooks Review will be no more. Between work, writing, and life, I’ve never had time to keep up with it properly, and it simply isn’t a priority right now. Rather than continuing to send painfully late and uninspired newsletters, I’m giving it the ax, at least for now. Who knows? Perchance it will make sense for me to revive it later on down the road.

However, I WILL be keeping my quarterly give-aways, this time by posting them here on my blog. Give-aways will be posted on or around Dec 21st, March 21st, June 21st, and Sep 21st and will run for the full quarter. Readers can just leave a comment on the give-away post to enter to win!

More good stuff coming up: I just published the special illustrated edition of my interracial fairy tale novella, One Starry Knight. I’ll be showing it off tomorrow as I sign books at Lebanon, Illinois’ annual May Market–while cosplaying my character Evren, of course. Stay tuned for pics from the event!

On that note, God bless, happy reading, and may you all be inspired!

~ Christine E. Schulze

Give-aways and Coupons!!

fadbooks.jpgFor those of you not familiar with my Instagram and Facebook pages, start getting familiar!! I’ve been hosting monthly give-aways for my paperbacks the past few months and am excited to continue doing so. In addition, I will soon start creating special monthly coupons for my ebooks on Smashwords. This might include coupons for discounted ebooks or even FREE ebooks, depending on the book of the month. This is a great way to sample some of my writing for cheap or even FREE, a great idea for new readers as well as being a nice deal for faithful fans. Smashwords offers ebooks in a wide variety of formats so whether you have a tablet or are reading on a dino computer like me, you should be able to find something to suit your needs!!

To enter my monthly give-aways and keep a lookout for those ebook coupons, follow me on the following:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinee.schulze/

FADBooks Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fadbooks/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorchristineschulze/

FADBooks Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fadbooks

God bless, happy reading, and may you all be inspired!!

~ Christine E. Schulze