The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.
[More Preorder Locations to Come]
Previous books in the series (click on images for Goodreads links):
Cover Reveal Exclusive: My Thoughts on the Covers’ Symbolism So Far
Six months ago, almost to the day, Air Awakens came out. It was my debut novel as an independent author, no publisher and no agent behind me, and I had no idea what would come of it. Now, six months later, I can’t believe I’m revealing the cover on the fourth book of the Air Awakens series.
I say every cover is my favorite, because it gets harder and harder to pick. Each of the covers, in their own way, has been perfect for the book they belong with. My cover artist, Merilliza Chan, is amazing at taking direction and incorporating my suggestions.
Part of why each cover is perfect is because there are little hints, teasers, and call-outs to the story within. Without giving too many spoilers, here’s a couple notes on each of the Air Awakens covers so far!
First off, notice how Vhalla’s sash is black. In the book, the sash that goes with her apprentice robes is cerulean. This, combined with her robes slowly turning black around the back of the cover is indicative of sorcery making a mark on her. But she hasn’t yet committed, she has yet to don all-black robes. The wind in her hair and sense of movement is a call-out to her affinity. The book in her hands, is representative of three things: her work in the library, the book she exchanges notes in, and the book she brings to the garden. Which, speaking of, the roses around her… well, if you’ve read the book you know what, or who, those are meant to symbolize. But I told Meril I wanted something ominous, something wicked about them. And the thorns going through them were perfect!
Here is the first cover we see our dark prince on. Fire Falling is named after three incidents in the book… When Aldrik falls to his knees before Vhalla in the Crossroads, the Rites of the FALLen in the Crossroads for another, and the end of the book. Since two of the three aspects of the title of the book related to Aldrik it was only natural that he had to be on the cover. In Fire Falling, Aldrik is beginning to function as a guiding force for Vhalla and, on the cover, he’s looking over his shoulder at her. He can’t openly admit to their association. Vhalla’s eyes are glowing orange and she’s alight, immersed in flame. This was done to symbolize their Bond and Joining. That not only can his flames not harm her, but that he is connected on a mental and magical level. She is also wearing the armor Aldrik crafted for her.
Now, the symbolism is beginning to get heavy. Vhalla is alone again on the cover, venturing into the wilderness. She’s almost facing the camera, symbolizing how she is growing into her own and becoming a more realized person. In the sky above her is a fire bird. We literally see this formed in the book, but it also is symbolic of a phoenix, rising from its own ashes. I think this works for Vhalla and Aldrik in their own ways through Earth’s End. The cloak she’s wearing is the one she receives from Tim with slash marks. The watch in her hand was gifted to her. And, in her other hand, we see a special sort of magic… Finally, one other note… Carved into a tree that’s on the back of printed books is a symbol – that is actually the symbol of Shaldan!
About the Author
Elise Kova has always had a passion for storytelling. She wrote her first novella, a high-fantasy, in sixth grade. Over the years she's honed her love of literature with everything from fantasy to romance, science fiction to mystery, and whatever else catches her eye.
Elise lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she's currently working on the next installment in her debut YA fantasy series: Air Awakens. She enjoys video games, anime, table-top role playing games, and many other forms of "geekdom." She loves talking with fans on Twitter (@EliseKova) and Facebook (/AuthorEliseKova). Visit her website, EliseKova.com/, for news and extras about her books!
Summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old best friends, April and Kyle, are thrown into the final battle of the Titan and Olympian war. Locked into an endless struggle, the Immortals have finally reached a solution - bestow mortal Champions with control over the elements to wage their final campaign.
Bestowed with control over fire and water, April and Kyle were raised by Immortals with a single purpose - win the war. After finally uncovering the remaining Champions' identities, April and Kyle must launch themselves into their final battle for survival. Winner takes all. But the Immortals are growing restless, and time is running out.
The buzz through the room was like a thousand heartbeats, all pounding at once in a thunderous cacophony. Crackling embers cascaded down around me, raining from blistering walls which had once provided safe haven in a world gone mad. Sickening creaks echoed from aged floorboards, threatening to buckle beneath me at any moment. When had a voyage to escape my own fury gone so terribly wrong? Floorboards just beyond reach burst and erupted in a wave of heat, sending wooden splinters showering through a room on fire, across a ceiling teetering at the edge of calamity. My heavy limbs went to throw my body away, wanting to shield my face from the blast, but I didn’t move. I couldn’t.
A weight from above pressed down, pinning my back against shattering floorboards. I pushed away at the thick wooden beam lying across my stomach, but it refused to budge against my blistering hands. I was weak, strength and energy sapped away into feeble fury. Fury which had landed me in my current predicament, trapped, in a burning house that my abilities had lit. But it was all wrong – rage should have made me stronger, like it had done in the past.
The past. When an angry young girl had been shipped halfway across the world to study abilities that I could not harness nor hope to control, only to return, lose control all over again at the most crucial stage of our battle, and be thrown back – hidden once more in a foreign land under the calm watch of a foreign master. As the Taguchi household which had held so much kindness crumbled before my eyes, I feared that I would never return, and Kyle would once again be left alone to fight our war on his own.
Charlotte Jain is an Arts graduate from Melbourne and the author of the Champions series. When not scrawling exciting YA tales filled with magic and adventure, Charlotte enjoys travelling the world and snuggling up on the couch watching movies.
A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.
Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.
And things only get weirder…
Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.
Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.
But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.
Giselle Simlett was born in England. She has studied Creative Writing at both Gloucestershire University and the Open University. She has a diploma in Creative Writing, Language and Literature and will soon complete her BA Hons Open Degree.
She does not as yet have a degree in the power and responsible use of magic, but she does have a young son, which amounts to the same thing.
She currently lives in Australia with her husband and son.
Summary from Goodreads: ....though I would dearly love to play court to you, I would hurt you more than any other.
It is 1752. The year that will change the life of heiress Melissa De Vire. As she makes her first fumbling steps into society, she meets the handsome young cad Justin Lestrade and his world tears her perceptions apart. For Justin is more than he appears and his secrets and enemies are manifold. Drawn irresistibly to him, she finds herself sinking into a realm of feuds, magic and old curses and her life will never again be the same.
“I’m Justin Lestrade, I’m sure you’ve been told about me.” In his warm voice she could hear suppressed laughter and she smiled, answering his amusement with some of her own. Even so she wondered at his hidden laughter for she felt that it was not directed toward the conversation but at something she couldn’t quite understand.
“My brother did mention you,”
“Of course he would have done,” The amusement thrummed through his voice and she was sure that he was quite aware of her brother’s warnings. “And you would be Melissa De Vire? Yes I’ve heard quite a bit about you. You’re the toast of the room.” The laughter spilled from his voice and spread across his face, it made his features look less jaded, more human. There was something magnetic about his voice; it held a confidence beyond the norm for a man his age and a mildly derisive humour that she couldn’t fathom.
“Only because I’m a fresh face,” Melissa replied, a soft smile touching her lips. “I got the impression that I was a shiny new toy.” She took a sip of the sweet wine and relaxed a little more.
“Well that silk does suit you well,” Justin responded, the compliment falling easily from his lips. “Green is your colour,” He beckoned a waiter carrying a laden tray forward and removed a small glass of canary. Dismissing the servant with a wave, he turned his attention back to Melissa. “I daresay shiny new toy is the best description for you at this point. It’s your first night in society; people are supposed to be curious and intrigued.”
“Intrigued?” Melissa asked, her eyes shifting from his handsome face with required modesty.
“You are an unknown. And the unknown is always to be explored.” His eyes sparked as he regarded her and he smiled. Melissa felt her breath catch as he turned that devastating smile full on her. There were layers to his conversation, meanings that she knew were not for a lady or at the least were meant for someone more versed in the arts of seduction. Ordinarily such a conversation would leave her tongue tied and stammering, yet he put her at such ease that she felt confident in replying.
“Perhaps the unknown is best left a mystery.” She answered finally, her fingers sliding over the smooth glass in her hands as she stared at him.
“Perhaps,” He conceded, “but exploring a mystery is a wonderful venture.” He lifted the glass to his lips and delicately took a sip. Melissa followed the motion, drawn to his mouth and its sensual twist with an interest that could not be considered academic.
“What if the unknown wishes to remain unexplored?” It was a bold question and one she should not even be thinking of saying, yet his manner seemed to draw it from her. His rakish smile encouraged indiscretion and for once in her ordered existence she revelled in the opportunity to be free with her thoughts.
“Does the unknown have a choice? What if the explorer decides to find out all he can?” His voice was honey soft and seductive.
She met his eyes boldly. “Then perhaps the unknown will poison him unexpectedly.” Shock flickered through his gaze like summer lightning at her daring and for a second, their conversation stuttered to a halt. Melissa did not drop her gaze as a modest lady should and they both stared at each other. Melissa’s frank gaze meeting his startled one as the room gossiped and danced around them.
Justin laughed; a low chuckle that broke the unnatural silence and relaxed the tension surrounding them. “This explorer always treads carefully,” He conceded finally as the chuckles subsided. “And chooses the safe path,” He sipped the canary and sat back, regarding the girl before him with more interest than before. “What has your brother imparted about me?” His eyes laughed as he looked down at her. “All bad I daresay,”
Guest Post: What Jupiter Ascending taught me as a writer
I think the utter shambles (though it looked good) that was Jupiter Ascending has brought up something quite interesting to my writer's brain. Jupiter Ascending had so much potential, there was so much it could have done. I think the reason that I am so disappointed by this movie, is that I loved the concepts, the cast (Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, a 'living' Sean Bean and a very sexy Douglas Booth) the visuals and the ideas behind it. The film, however, is so poorly executed that I wanted to find the writers and cut off their hands to prevent them ever writing again.
I think the issue lies with the fact that the writers didn't let the characters speak. By that I mean, when I write I listen to my characters, I let them breathe. If the people that live in my head didn't want to do something, I didn't make them do it. As an example, Justin was originally going to curse Melissa in a fit of anger. It would have made for future angst and trouble and I would have had so much fun with it. However when writing Justin, I realized something. Justin would not curse another, not for any reason. He spoke very clearly to me about that, so I had to think of something else.
In Jupiter Ascending, Jupiter and Caine end up together, purely because the plot said so. Leaving aside the 'we spent two hours together and now it's love', there is very little chemistry between them and every bit of dialogue they utter on the subject seems forced and unnatural. I could have got behind sexual attraction (not that there was any signs of that) but not 'love'. Hell Jupiter even seems strangely okay with what's happened to her. I could have got behind building interest (see Replacement Killers for how you write growing attraction) Christ even Terminator managed to pull off a relationship that seemed natural. Possibly because Sarah Connor was confused and angered by the whole experience and she did step up and actually find her own salvation.
So what I'm really saying, if you genuinely want something to happen in your plot, don't force the characters into it. Actually step into their heads and work out how they would get there, don't make them walk where it makes no sense for them to walk. And I know I'm a self published author but I would never do what the Warchowski's did. They could have had a brilliant sci-fi movie. They could have had a surefire hit on their hands, but they fluffed it. The writing is sub par, the 'romance' is risible and they waste plot threads. What has Jupiter Ascending taught me? It's taught me to be logical and listen to my characters, not to get so carried away with my original idea,that my writing tanks out.
About the Author
When I was a child, I made up games and characters when my sister and I played with dolls. As I grew older, I would make up scenarios and scenes, fully intending to write them down but never finding the time. In my late teens, I discovered the world of role playing and settled into an avid ‘geeky’ life of D&D, comics, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Years passed and I finally gave voice to the stories in my head. I write romance, fantasy, action and adventure. I love tales of steampunk and history, tales of magical powers and dark curses lurking in the shadows. Though The Black Lotus is not my first attempt at a novel, it is the first I have finished.
And some fun facts about me:
My favourite Disney film is Atlantis.
I’ve been a film extra and stood 5 feet away from Sam Rockwell.
Summary from Goodreads: Wandering in the vastness of space, is the Sky Drifter; an academy reserved for the best students in the known universe. Seven is just such a student. Gifted in strategy and Sphere, he lives happily on-board with his friends Iris and Pi, taking on his rival, visiting planets for exploration and competition. Everything is the way he likes it, until he sees a mysterious girl in a red coat, who will reveal to him a secret that will bring everything he thought he knew crashing down around him.
SHE GRABBED SEVEN’S hand and pulled him hard in her direction. “This way!” she exclaimed to both of them as the persistent shrill of the alarm sounded about the dark steel corridors.
Seven’s mind was still spinning. He disbelievingly looked back at his double to make sure he was still there. How far away the academy now seemed.
The mysterious bright yellow-skinned girl who held his hand had opened his eyes to a world that seemed too cruel to be real. Yet there he was, and there she was, her long, dark green hair swaying behind her. Part of him still clung to the hope it was all nothing more than a dream. That any second now he would awake to the sound of Pi or Iris banging on the door t o his dormitory room, urging him to wake up lest they be late for class. Yet, the feel of her warm hand, the clanging of his boots on the cold metal underfoot, the stifling thin air he breathed, the sting of the cuts on his body and face, all felt real. A reality the likes of which he had never tasted before. This was the reality he had always been denied. A reality they had kept from him. A reality that wanted him dead.
The urgency of the situation still eluded him, for he had yet to see any attackers, and had only her word to cling to. The fact was, this new existence began and ended with her words, convincing as they were. His other self really was running behind him, and the mysterious girl’s desperation to escape seemed genuine. He trusted her, or wanted to. She could just as easily have left him there at the academy, and he would have been none the wiser, but she hadn’t. She had freed him. The truth had to be better than the perpetual lie he had inhabited.
They ran, weaving through flickering corridors, snaking past oily archways and doors. All of a sudden, any doubts he had vanished in a cry that sounded behind him. He turned as they stopped running to see his other self jerking violently, electric blue forks of light enveloping him. The horror of what Seven witnessed rocked him to his very core.
“We have to keep going!” shouted the mysterious girl, pulling at his arm once more. “Come on!”
Breath catching in his throat, Seven locked gazes with his duplicate, whose eyes shone as tears rolled down his cheeks, just before his body crashed limply to the ground beneath.
“Come on!” Like a rising echo, the mysterious girl’s voice shattered the veil that fogged his devastated mind, and he ran with her faster than he had before.
Seven now ran slightly ahead of the girl as she directed him toward a large doorway ahead. Upon crossing its threshold, he stopped, awed by the enormity of what was before him. He found himself standing on a long, narrow metallic bridge. Surrounding him was a tremendous, cylindrical area that extended up and down into pitch darkness as far as the eye could see. At the other end stood another doorway.
As he made to dash toward it, the bridge retracted into the dusty stone wall on the other side. Seven turned with haste, to make certain the mysterious, green-haired girl was behind him, ready to jump. Emerging from the depths beyond the doorway, she dragged herself to its threshold, clinging to her deeply slashed leg, dark blue blood gushing as she held it.
Panic coursed through Seven’s body. She looked at him, defeat and regret saturating her eyes. He was not going to lose her. She had released him from his prison. She had been his guide and saviour. She was his world.
“Jump!” he shouted, stretching out his hand, imploring her to take it.
He looked into her eyes, his mind ablaze with words he wanted to tell her. The girl whose name he didn’t even know had saved his life, had revealed the reasons and secrets behind his very existence, and he knew nothing about her. And now time was running out.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Brussels, Belgium, but was raised in southern Spain. Right now I live in Australia, but who knows in future (though it’ll probably be Spain). Cats seem to accompany me wherever I go.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
In my early years the adults told me I had to read, so I didn’t and detested the very idea. As soon as it wasn’t a theme, I began reading anything I could. Then, my first creative writing assignment occurred in English class. The very thought of creating my own story, my own world…It blew my mind and adrenaline surged through my body.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who inspires you in your writings?
My favourite writers I would say are Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle. But there are far more, I’m sure.
What is your writing process?
"I tend to stare into space until I can place myself inside the story. From there, I'll try to describe what I see, smell and hear as much as I'm able to. Like a fly on the wall, I guess."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"Well, I don't really think of genre when I write. I just think of stories I'd like to read, worlds I like seeing in my own mind. These do, admittedly, tend to drift towards the dark side of fiction, however. That said, many of my favorite authors do write paranormal, dark, horror, mystery books. I guess it’s something I'm drawn to."
What is in store next?
"I have a paranormal thriller novel being released probably early next year called 'The Regulars', and I'm currently working on another dark fantasy novel, which I'm having fun with, despite its sinister moments. After that I'll continue with a horror set in Victorian London."
About the Author
Paris Singer was born in Brussels, Belgium. He has lived in the U.K. and in various places in Spain, where he currently resides. At university, he studied English law and Spanish law. He didn't like it. He then studied translation and didn't like it, either. Currently, he is an English teacher in the south of Spain. He has far too many interests, he's told, a few of which being sports, playing his old guitar, learning Japanese, painting, reading and cooking. Not a day goes by, however, where he doesn't write something, be it under a palm tree or on a bench at a bus stop somewhere.