Sneak Peek: Storm Chaser

AW-SC-bk-5-432x648Excerpt, Storm Chaser

The Missouri River came up on our right, and sure enough, a wall cloud was slowly descending over the water. I floored the gas, bringing the TIV to sixty miles an hour as we skimmed under the edge of the rotating cloud. The rain lightened save for a few haphazard splatters, meaning we were beneath the rain-free base where a funnel would emerge.

“Sylphie, pull back a little,” Dad’s voice crackled. “The RFD’s kicking up.”

I’d felt it already, knew we were right alongside the clear slot. The buoyant rear flank downdraft had dried out the clouds and I could feel the warm inflow gusting around the truck. I followed my dad’s instructions and eased off the gas a bit. Our team would be hanging back at the moment, waiting to see not only if we’d get a cyclone, but if it would hit land, hopefully this side of the river as there’d be no point chasing it across a bridge. If it happened to shift its path, you didn’t want to be caught on an overpass.

I sensed the funnel before I saw it, a much smaller twisting of air descending from the center of the wall cloud. It connected with the river, exploding in a column of blue. I increased speed to keep pace with it, but stayed a good distance behind in case it decided to bank left and cross our path.

Gage’s camera clicked furiously. It wasn’t an extreme twister, probably an F1, maybe pushing F2 with wind speed approaching 110 miles per hour. But it was beautiful nonetheless, like an ice-blue snake bending and contorting in a vertical dance, head buried in the clouds as its jaws devoured lightning.

“Not bad, huh?” I said over the cyclone’s whistling.

Gage took a split second to flash me a grin before returning his eyes to the camera’s viewfinder.

“Sylphie,” David’s serious tone cut in. “You seeing that?”

I immediately pulled my focus back and scanned the air currents. Shoot, the thing was gaining speed.

“See what?” Gage asked.

“It’s getting stronger,” I said, tightening my grip on the wheel and watching for a signal it would change direction. At the moment, the waterspout seemed content just to coast up the river.

Gage tilted his head away from his camera, brow quirked. “How can you tell?”

“Experience,” I hastily replied. “Man, if the thing would just come ashore we might be able to get the probe out.” But even a low-level intensity tornado like this one was beyond our physical and mental limits to control, not unless we all pulled off the road, stood in a circle, and concentrated like a bunch of Wiccans chanting a spell. Minus the chanting.

Lightning whipped across the sky like fractured glass. A branch backlit the cyclone, filling it with a refracted glow that reminded me of a pale, buzzing, Jedi sword. Thunder cracked above our heads, rattling the bulletproof windows. More streaks cut through the clouds in rapid succession. I only had a split second to recognize one of the discharges was flashing straight down for ground contact, and even then I couldn’t stop it as the charge struck a power line several yards ahead on our left. Sparks exploded in a showering sizzle and a live wire suddenly whipped out, slashing across the road.

I swore and cranked the wheel right, slamming Gage and David against the far side of the truck. The TIV careened onto a side road—straight onto a small bridge.

“What the hell are you doing, Sylphie?” Dad’s alarmed voice shouted. He would’ve seen the abrupt turn on GPS, but not the reason for it.

“Sorry!” I exclaimed to my passengers before snatching up the radio to assuage my dad. “Wayward lightning strike, nothing to worry about.”

“Sylphie, it’s shifting!”

I jerked my attention out the driver’s side window at the twister I’d assumed would be leaving us behind. But the waterspout suddenly wrenched around, its top veering back while the bottom half took a twisted moment to switch gears and change direction. And it was heading straight for us.

“Oh.” Crap on toast. “Hang on.”

I jammed my foot on the brake, jolting everyone forward. Gage clutched his camera protectively to his chest with one arm while catching himself on the dash with the other. David thudded against the back of my seat with an “oomph.” The back tires squealed and started to slip. Pumping the brakes, I steered into the skid, focusing on keeping the truck steady. The buzzing cyclone was nearly on top of us.

As soon as the TIV came to a jerking full stop, I dropped the stabilizing spikes and wind skirts, nearly jumping out of my skin as my gaze darted between the twister bearing down on us and the slowly deploying hydraulics. The metal teeth hit the ground and dug in just as the truck started to wobble in the increasing wind speed.

The cyclone hissed and veered right in front of us, a sheet of water covering the windows and blinding visibility. Gage kept shooting pictures anyway. The truck lurched and tipped a few feet to the side and I let out an exultant whoop as the waterspout’s sheer power enveloped my senses in a wash of sensory overload. Twisting air currents, colliding temperatures, and the electrostatic discharge converging in a raging storm right over our heads sent my heart into overdrive and flooded my system with endorphins. I lived for this high.

Storm Chaser is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Release date October 16.

Air elemental Sylphie Seaton has the perfect job—chasing twisters. She’s excited for another season of tracking them until Eric Gage, an extreme photojournalist, shows up for a ride along. When he stumbles upon a pattern of unnatural storms and a shady corporation, Sylphie is drawn into a deadly conspiracy that could not only expose the supernatural, but cost the lives of everyone she holds dear.

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Cover Reveal: Storm Chaser

Elemental Magic Book Five is coming soon! I am very excited for this book, and I hope you all are as well. But for now, please give a drumroll for the astounding cover that the amazing Shelley at Spittyfish Designs created. She ROCKS!

AW-SC-bk-5-432x648

Air elemental Sylphie Seaton has the perfect job—chasing twisters. Every year she and her team of elemental scientists hit the road during tornado season to track the elusive weather phenomena in order to collect new data.

Things are about to get complicated when Eric Gage, an extreme photojournalist, comes along for the ride. He’s human, and completely ignorant about the supernatural world. Sylphie can’t decide whether to find the man charming or infuriating, a tension that’s tested when they go up against one of Nature’s most volatile forces.

For something’s off with this season’s twisters. There’s an eerie echo in the wind, and the most destructive weather events seem a little too targeted. It’s impossible to control a tornado…or so she thought. But when Gage stumbles upon an unnatural pattern and a shady corporation, Sylphie is drawn into a deadly conspiracy that could not only expose elementals, but cost the lives of everyone she holds dear.

Storm Chaser will be released October 16, but you can pre-order your Kindle copy on Amazon now!

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An Author Photo Shoot With Captions

Last weekend my good friend Alina Sayre and I got together for an author photo shoot. You see, not only is Alina a talented author (check out her MG fantasy, The Illuminator’s Gift!), but pretty handy with a camera. And apparently I haven’t been professionally photographed since graduating from school. So we packed up my paperbacks (seven of them, yoikes), and hit downtown. We got some great shots, but also plenty of entertaining ones.

EM4

Latest release

 

Is that a typo?

Is that a typo?

 

I made this!

I made this!

In the library…

What ya readin'?

What ya readin’?

And after two hours…

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

 

That's a wrap!

That’s a wrap!

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COMING SOON: Supernatural Sleuth Case Files 2-5

I love how a simple experiment with a Vote Your Adventure story on my blog last year turned into a mini-series of short stories spinning off from Elemental Magic. And now Paige, Sean, and even Vlad will be back with four new adventures!

Supernatural Sleuth, Case Files #2-5

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Cover design by the very talented Shelley at Spittyfish Designs. Watch for Supernatural Sleuth 2-5 coming September 16!

AW-SSleuth-432x648AW-DS-750x1125Download the first case file for FREE on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, and Goodreads. And for Paige and Sean’s first appearance in the Elemental Magic world, check out Dry Spell.

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Be Still My Heart: Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Choc-Peppermint Cookies

One of the hardest things about being celiac and diabetic is that most gluten-free products are made with rice, corn, potato, or other such high-carb flour. And for those who struggle with insulin resistance, our food options become even more limited.

Recently I have gone on a manic search for something to satisfy my sweet tooth without endangering my well-being. And my experiments have finally paid off, for I have discovered one of the most beautiful things in the world—a gluten-free AND low-carb cookie that tastes absolutely AMAZING.

I used a plain, grain-free cookie recipe from Dr. Pompa’s book, “The Cellular Healing Diet,” and tweaked it in order to get this delicious result: Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup  xylitol
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (a good quality brand from Whole Foods—less processed sugar = less carbs)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, cacao powder, sea salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter with stevia and xylitol.
  4. Mix grapeseed oil and peppermint extract with melted butter.
  5. Stir wet ingredients into the dry.
  6. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  7. Form 1-inch balls and press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

 

Double Choc Peppermint Cookies

Don’t they look yummy?! (Okay, I’m not the best food photographer.) If you end up making 40 cookies, one is about 4 grams of carbohydrates. 4! A gluten-free cookie from the store of similar size runs about 18 grams. And I don’t know if this is personal preference or because of the ingredients, but I find these taste best refrigerated as opposed to fresh out of the oven or room temperature. Cold seems to bring the flavors out more. So there you have it. Happy baking!

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Interview with A. R. Silverberry

I have a special guest on the blog today, fellow fantasy author A. R. Silverberry. He’s here to talk about the genre we love and his latest book, The Stream. Please give him a warm welcome!

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What genre do you write and why do you like it?

I love being swept into strange worlds, where creatures and heroes cut a wide swath and battle with swords and magic. If a writer can bend my mind and ignite my imagination, all the better. So you know if I was going to write anything, it had to be fantasy. What I love the most about the genre is that you can inspire people to believe in themselves. The hero or heroine is up against world-shattering power. If they can triumph, so we can we.

 

I couldn’t agree more. Tell us about your hero, Wend.

He symbolizes innocence, the way we all are, thrown into the flux of life, trying to understand our existence and survive the unexpected curveballs that are thrown at us. He symbolizes the spirit in all of us to grow, to love, to be wise.

 

What was your favorite part about writing this book? Least favorite part?

One of the characters, Dory, insisted on being different than I originally intended. Fortunately, I got out of his way and let him do his thing. Completely unexpected was the truculent rooster that came along with him, dripping attitude.

As I approach completion of a novel, I’m down to making decisions I’ve been struggling with. I’m plagued with a million questions. Does that scene need to be revised, or is it just fine as is? Is that sentence clear? I pick and pick and pick, putting in commas, taking them out, putting them back in, etc. After The Stream was supposedly done, I ran a sentence change by my copyeditor, to make sure the punctuation was correct. My point: ending is harder than beginning. My father, a Renaissance man if ever there was one, used to say, “It takes two people to paint a painting. One person holds the brush. The other bangs him over the head with a hammer when it’s done!”

 

Haha, I can relate. Are you working on anything new? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I never reveal a plot before something is released. Call it a character flaw! But I’ll say this: It’s a dystopic, young adult, sci-fi, fantasy trilogy.

 

Sounds intriguing! Now, be honest, what is the geekiest thing about you? 

My love for classical music is so intense it seems like I was born in another century. When I was in high school, I risked my health delving in the mold-invested cellar below our garage, pulling out old 78s of Rubinstein, Heifetz, and Horowitz. Even now, my wife will be singing popular songs, and I’m whistling something from Bach or a Mozart concerto.

 

Everyone seems to complain when their favorite book is made into a movie or mini series. What is your favorite movie based on a book?

New writers long to sell the movie rights. Established writers hold their noses and pray! A movie is usually a guarantee the book will get ruined. There are exceptions, To Kill a Mockingbird being one of them. Who could complain about Gregory Peck?! And Elmer’s Bernstein’s music score was so haunting. Here’s some geeky trivia: Bernstein used the Lydian mode in that theme.

 

Thanks for the tidbit! Now, since we are writers, what would you like your tombstone to say?

He loved, he inspired, he made it to Aerdem!

 

Love it! Thanks for your time today!

 

Stream Small Cover 2The Stream:

What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?

After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?

Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.

Purchase The Stream in both e-book and paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

WC Cover SmallAlso by A. R. Silverberry: Wyndano’s Cloak on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also get a limited first edition hardback, signed or unsigned, directly  from the author.

 

Author Photo 2 198x300Follow A. R. Silverberry: 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

About A. R. Silverberry:

A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel.

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#MyWritingProcess Blog Tour

The lovely Rebecca Enzor has tagged me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour, which means I’ll be answering four questions about my process and then passing the questions along to two other authors. To read about Rebecca’s current project (very intriguing, I might add), visit her post here.

What am I working on?

I’m currently writing a handful of Supernatural Sleuth short stories that I’ll publish as a collection later this year. Then I’ll be diving into the fifth book of my Elemental Magic series.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My Elemental Magic series is a bit eclectic in composition—it’s urban fantasy spiced up with murder mysteries, crime fighting, romance, and mythological creatures. And while vampires, werewolves, and the like exist in that world, they’re not the main attraction. For my elementals, think Charmed meets Avatar, the Last Airbender.

Why do I write what I do?

I write and read fantasy to escape the struggles of this world that are beyond my control or capacity to conquer. Sure, going up against monsters and magic may bring my characters to the edge of despair and almost certain defeat, but they always triumph. Their victories lift my spirit and inspire me to keep fighting, even when mundane hardships seem impossible to overcome.

How does my writing process work?

Goodness, just when I think I have a process down, it seems to change! I’m definitely a plotter though. I brainstorm story ideas with pen and paper (complete with color coding!), and then craft a general outline from start to finish, always looking for potential plot holes to fix before I’ve written twenty pages into something and then have to backtrack. But just because I plan most everything out doesn’t mean there’s no room for detours or surprises. When the muse strikes, I listen and make adjustments.

Lately I’ve been struggling to focus while trying to write on the computer, so I’ve been doing a lot of first draft material by hand and editing later. This process has been working really well—I’ve been averaging 1600-2000 handwritten words a day. But hey, if my process needs to change in the future, so it shall!

That’s all for me. For the next stops on this blog tour, check out these authors!

Alina Sayre is the author of THE ILLUMINATOR’S GIFT, a Middle Grade fantasy written with an imagination and poetic elegance reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Susan Illene is the author of the SENSOR series, a dark urban fantasy featuring a kick-ass heroine and steamy bad boy. She recently released PLAYING WITH DARKNESS, a companion novella following Book 3, DARKNESS DIVIDES.

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