Sunday, 8 December 2013

Soul Mates Cover Reveal

So, last week I promised you a cover reveal of my new novella Soul Mates, coming out in January with Barrington Stoke. I am SO EXCITED about this. I really love the story and its characters, and hope you will, too. 

Before I show you the (frankly gorgeous) front cover, here's a snippet from the Barrington Stoke website:

"Our books are edited and designed to minimise some of the obstacles that can stop struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers really getting hooked by a book. Our books don’t patronise and since they’re by the best authors in the business there’s no stigma attached to being seen reading them."
So their books are dyslexia-friendly and tend to be fairly short...but what Barrington Stoke don't say is that they are amazingly cool publishers, and every author I know loves writing for them. When they approached me last year to ask if I'd write a short paranormal romance for their list, I probably hesitated, oh, maybe no time at all before saying YES, PLEASE!

I loved writing Soul Mates. It's a time-slip story with kind of a creepy twist, and lots of romance. Iris is in our time, Nate's in 1922...yet somehow they fall in love. To be honest I became a bit smitten with Nate myself, writing this (he is SO lovely), and also with Iris, who's the very definition of  kick-ass heroine.

Here's the opening:

I always know him by his eyes.

Sometimes we’re on the deck of a ship together, in old-fashioned clothes. Or we stand in the shadow of the Pyramids. Or we watch a tropical sunset. It doesn’t matter. I may not know his name, but his eyes are always the same – a deep, gentle brown. And the look in them as he turns to me is ... something I’ve never seen before.

Not in real life, anyway.
Tonight I dreamed about him again.

This time we’re hiking in the snow. We both have on heavy coats, and he has his arm around me, to shield me from the cold.

“Don’t worry,” he says, and he has to raise his voice over the wind. “We’ll be all right.”

It’s so cold, and I know we’re lost. But I’m not scared. Because we’re together, and that means we can do anything.

“I’m not worried,” I say. I stop and rest my hands on either side of his face. I kiss him. His lips are warm, even in the cold.

He grins through the snowflakes. “You could be a little worried,” he says. “We’re not home yet.”
He’s so beautiful. Maybe that’s a funny word to use for a boy who’s almost a man, but it’s true. And as I look into his dark eyes I have a thousand memories.

It has always been him.

I start to touch his mouth with my finger. Then I gasp as an icy shiver runs down my spine. I glance around us, terrified of what I might see. But there are only snow- covered trees.

He takes my hand and we start to walk again, faster than before. “We’ll be all right,” he repeats.
His jaw looks hard now, and I know that he feels it, too. There’s something out there. Something evil – jealous.

Something that will stop at nothing to tear us apart.  

“Carlton, New Mexico!”

I wake up with a gasp. My pulse is pounding. I’m on a Greyhound bus, with my face pressed up against a window. A fat lady snores in the seat next to me.

It was only a dream. For a second I want to cry. OK, part of it was scary, but I’d still give anything to be back in it again. The boy’s face has already begun to fade from my mind – just like always. All I have left are his voice and eyes.

I swallow hard. His love for me was so clear in both.

Love. Something in me hardens, and I glare out the window at the dusty town. Yeah, right. As if love like that could ever be real anyway. Why do I keep dreaming about this stupid boy? He’s been haunting me for years.

Along with that sense of something evil. I go cold as I remember. Then I shake my head, irritated. ‘Get a grip, Iris,’ I think.

As the bus pulls into the station I grab my backpack and climb over the sleeping fat lady. This is where I get off. It’s as far as I could afford. I still have a long way to go, but I’m a few hundred miles closer now.

I’m the only one who gets off. The driver looks at me as I step out into the warm night air. “Got someone meeting you?” he asks.

“Sure, my aunt.” The lie comes without trying. I’ve had a lot of chance to practise, these last few days. The bus driver nods – he’s bored already. The doors slide shut and the bus pulls away into the night.

I go over to the vending machines. I don’t have much money – only what I’ve managed to save. I check the change slot and find a quarter. Thank God. I add a few more coins and buy a Snickers bar.

As I eat, I stare at the highway. The cars are bright streaks of light heading west. Same as me.

I know where I’m going, and that almost makes me feel as if I belong somewhere. I haven’t felt I belonged anywhere since Gran died and I got put into care. But I’ve been sure of where I needed to go for a long time. I’ve never been there, but it feels like ... well, like there's a magnet pulling me there.

OK, I guess that’s pretty crazy. But at least it’s somewhere to go – as good a place as any. Because I am not going back into care. Ever. I think about that sleaze at the group home and I shudder. Not that anyone’s going to come looking for me. Another 16-year-old runaway – who cares?

I swing my backpack over one shoulder and head towards the highway. It’s summer and the wind is warm, even at night. It stirs at my long, dark hair. My feet kick up small clouds of dust with every step.

When I reach the side of the highway, I stop and stick out my thumb.

I hope that's whetted your appetite! I had so much fun writing Soul Mates; it really just wrote itself. Compared to the books in the Angel series, it's quite short -- only 12,000 words as opposed to over 100,000. So if you read it, just think of it as a tasty snack to tide you over until the next big, epic banquet.

Hmm, can I draw this out any longer? Probably not. OK, here it is: one of the most gorgeous front covers I've ever seen -- and it's mine! All mine! *maniacal cackle*

*swoons* Isn't that stunning? I'm so in love with this. Iris and Nate look exactly the way I pictured them. Thank you, Barrington Stoke!

AND EVEN MORE EXCITINGLY! Barrington Stoke have asked me to write two more stories about Iris and Nate, making it a trilogy. So now Soul Desire will be coming out in May 2014, with Soul Song following in August 2014. I'm really pleased about this, because the first novel in my new big trilogy won't be out until 2015 -- so it's great that readers will have Iris and Nate to keep them company meanwhile.

If you want to have that gorgeous cover in your life for realsies (plus find out what happens to Iris and Nate), Soul Mates comes out on January 15th, and you can pre-order it on Amazon.

In other news: Angel Fever is up for nomination on the Teenreads website as one of the five top reads for teens of 2013. WOOHOO! For it to make it to one of the top five finalists, it needs your vote! So if you think Fever is worthy of such an honour, please vote for it here.

AND! Don't forget to check back next Sunday on the blog, when I'm going to start publishing a series of extracts from an earlier, different version of Angel Fire. These include a character you've never met (who I really, really love), plus lots of never-before-seen Willow and Alex material. It's going to be AWESOME.

See you then!

1 comment:

  1. yeeeeessss! you just made my day! pee ordered now! now waiting for it to come out! xxx