We are now into the home stretch of our Virtual Blog Tour. The end is nigh but we are not done. This week announces week 11 has arrived and with it we have for you an amazing writer who has very willingly disclosed an excerpt of their book.
Announcing Penelope Price!
by Penelope Price
Greetings friends! This week I'm debuting an excerpt from my forthcoming novel, "Incandescence". The very first section I ever wrote, in fact! It features the teenage mage, Hannah Brighton and- well, better to read it than to read about it.
Without further ado... "Summer's Bounty":
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A longer day she had never known.
Rising from a lumpy nest upon a lumpy futon at an hour just shy of dawn, she had toiled until noon beneath a scorching July sun. She plied rake and hoe upon a brown, withered garden with nothing but a single puny break for lukewarm tea and a sad, dry sandwich of stale wheat bread and cheap bologna. Afterword, she spent several hours more trying to coax life back into rows and rows of picked-over vegetables, tubers and herbs. She had hauled a mismatched pair of five gallon buckets - one that still smelled faintly of the fast food pickles it had once contained, the other bearing patches of white paint upon its sun-faded red surface - from the creek at the bottom edge of the property until her shoulders burned and her legs refused to carry her any further.
Exhausted, she stood now, surveying the disappointing result of her futile labour, and wiped a dirty forearms across her forehead. Flexing her shoulders, Hannah Brighton closed her eyes - changeling eyes, her mother had called them - and took a long deep breath. She exhaled slowly, lightly, her lips tightly pursed to control the flow of air. Her toes tingled in her boots and she found herself clenching her fists at her sides. With effort, she flattened them against her thighs, still gently blowing.
It seemed to last an hour, that single breath, and she began to feel light-headed. When at last she opened her eyes, Hannah felt her lips curl into a broad grin.
"Beautiful," she whispered to herself.
Where moments before there had been only parched, thirsty earth and rows of wilting plants, now stood a verdant garden in full vibrant blossom. Spring peas swelled enticingly in their pods, a web of delicious produce upon narrow stakes, and cucumbers of two varieties dangled in a vaguely obscene manner nearby. She could see the ruffled heads of red lettuce beside the pretty, flowering tops of potato plants. Onions and carrots sprouted with green beans, cabbage, kale, peppers, zucchini and a whole multitude of squashes. Tomatoes ripened temptingly on their vines and the fragrant bouquet of various herbs - she could identify basil and bay and thyme for sure - wafted upon a weak, hot breeze.
Her eyes drifted in delight toward the briar thatch at the south edge of the garden; raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries and blueberries were juicy, heavy burdens upon their brambled branches. And best of all, a vast patch of crimson, heart-shaped berries that fairly exploded with the colorful little fruits that were her favorite.
The whole scene made her wax poetic.
Spring crops mingled with winter ones, summer plants blossoming with those typically reserved for autumn. All were gloriously ripe, a riot of color and scent that assaulted her sense and like a siren's call, beckoned the long absent birds and insects.
She chuckled to herself, shaking her head in amazement. Hannah bent at the waist reaching down to grab both the pickle bucket, in which she had tossed her handtools and the paint bucket which was empty and thus, blessedly light. As she straighened, a heavy hand fell upon her shoulder. Her heart suddenly leaden, it dropped to her feet as her body turned to ice despite the sweltering head of the evening.
"Such a waste of effort, my precious jewel," came the sickening, sweet voice. It slid like honey from his tongue to her ear; a taste of nectar tainted with a vile toxin that almost, but not quite, concealed the foul rot within. Her skin crawled beneath his touch.
Lifting her chin, Hannah spoke softly. "The effort is never wasted, Alexander."
His grip on her shoulder tightened reflexsively. His annoyance betrayed him for Alexander abhorred being disputed. Pain flared across her chest and down her arm - he had momentarily lost his hard-won control - and she knew when he lifted his hand, the imprint would remain, seared upon her flesh. She reminded herself to wear a sweater over her tank when she returned to the house. It would not do for Luke to see the blisters and be inspired to do something foolish. His temper was short these days and, God love him, he was in serious denial about the realities they were facing.
" do not like it when you talk back to me, sweet flower." Alexander withdrew his hand. "Your continued insolence is most vexing."
Good." She straightened her shoulders, refusing to turn and meet his gaze. "Get used to it."
Heat flared up behind her and she winced, cursing the stubborn streak she had inherited from her father - the trait that forced her tongue.
"You will give me what I want, pet. In time."
She hadn't even time to form a snarky reply; he was gone. Hannah knew it before she turned, the burning warmth of him had passed. His fury, so strong as to be tangible when he was present and the tangy, sulferrous odor that accompanied it, had vanished.
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And there it is... the very first words I ever put to paper when I began "Incandescence". Okay, granted, they've been through a first edit since then (and a second one is still coming) but I just couldn't wait to share this scene!
How did I do? Too verbose? Did it leave you wanting to know more about Hannah and Alexander and magic and- well, anything at all? Any suggestions or other comments? Please, let me know in the comments below.
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About Penelope Price
Penelope Price: author, gamer, nerd. Though she has been writing since she learned to read, P.P. did not emerge from her coccoon to join the writing circuit until the year of Tangerine Tango. She is the crazy chick behind this summer's Incandescence and its sequel, Inferno and can usually be found plotting projects with her partner-in-crime, Jack Morgan of PunchJackMorgan.com. Get updates, gossip and geekery by following P.P. on Facebook (http://facebook.com/PP_TheWriter), Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/PP_TheWriter), and at her blog (http://www.penelopeprice.net).
Well, how do you like that? I personally want some more to read! This is one fine young writer and certainly one to be watched as the years go on.