By Merrie Destefano
Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and you’d kinda like to travel back in time to yesterday—just so you could get more done—but then you remember that time travel hasn’t really been invented yet?
Welcome to my life. The pre-time travel version.
My second novel, Feast: Harvest of Dreams, releases in a month (on June 28—EEEEEEK!!!). The closer it gets to release day, the wilder life seems to get. Right now, I’m surprised there aren’t zebras in my backyard and that they don't have a secret conspiracy to take over the world, starting, of course, with me. Don’t all secret conspiracies focus on the person who discovers them?
So, I’m getting off my out-of-control merry-go-round long enough to share some cool things with you.
1. I have a contest going on over at Goodreads. Of course, it hasn’t actually registered yet, but in a day or so, it will be a REAL contest. I promise. I’m giving away 2 signed copies of Feast. Here's a link to the page where the contest will be.
2. I have another contest going on over at my blog. It’s called the Virtual Feast Dessert-To-Die-For Contest. Details can be found here. Also, this contest ends in a few days!
3. I’m currently working on an e-book novella called Cursed, which is a prequel to Feast. If all goes as planned, I should have that puppy up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble a few weeks before Feast releases. Please check back on my blog for more details in June. I can’t wait to show you the cover for that!
4. Meanwhile, right now you can read the first chapter from Feast! Yay! I have a snippet below, and then a link at the end that will take you to my website, where you can read the entire chapter.
FEAST: First Chapter Excerpt
She was just a girl—bony, pale-skinned and wild—when we stumbled upon each other in the woods, the wind shimmering through the trees around us. I remember thinking that she was nothing like her parents, both of them sleeping back in their rented cabin, the stench of rum and coke seeping out the windows and doors.
She should have been scared when she saw me, appearing suddenly in the russet shadows, but I could tell that she wasn't. Her long dark hair hung in a tangle, almost hiding her face. In that moment, I realized that she lived in a world of her own.
Just like me.
“Do you work at the inn?” she asked, her gaze running over my form curiously.
I nodded. Somehow she had recognized me. True enough, we’d seen other often. I did work at the inn. I brought her parents fresh linens and coffee every morning. But this was my free time and I no longer wore human skin.
“You're different. Not like the other one.”
I frowned, unsure what she meant. I cocked my head and then followed her pointing finger with my gaze. She gestured toward a trail that led deep into the woods, all the way to the edge of my territory.
“Have you gone that way?” I asked, concerned when I saw her yawn.
She nodded and stretched, all of her barely as tall as my chest.
I heard him then, one of my wild cousins, calling to her. She lifted her head and listened.
“He wants me to come back.” She shifted away from me, started to head down a path that led to shadows and darkness. In that instant, a stray beam of sunlight sliced through the trees, fell upon her milky skin and set it aglow, almost like fire. That was when I saw them.
She was surrounded by imaginary playmates. Transparent as ghosts, though they were only visible occasionally. An arm here, a leg there, a laugh that echoed and followed after her.
I quickly glanced at her forearms, bare for midsummer and they bore no mark. No one had claimed her yet. She was still free.
I could have claimed her for myself right then and to this day I sometimes wonder why I didn't. I think it was because she was so small—only seven years old, much too young to harvest, though my wild cousin wouldn’t think so.
His calls were growing more plaintive, more insistent; the trees began to moan beneath his magic, and I grew angry that he would consider intruding on my land with his wanton hunt.
LINK TO READ THE REST OF THE FIRST CHAPTER.