June 11, 2014

Take Back the Skies Blog Tour: Read an Excerpt!


I'm excited to be a part of the blog tour for Take Back the Skies for Lucy Saxon! Here's a little bit about the book and then.. an excerpt! 

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage and the life her high-ranking government official father planned for her, Cat Hunter does the unthinkable. She runs away from her homeland Tellus, disguises herself as a boy, and stows away on an air ship. She’s ready for life in a new land where the general population isn’t poverty stricken and at the mercy of the cruel officials. What she isn’t quite ready for is meeting Fox, a crew member aboard the Stormdancer—which turns out to be a smugglers’ ship. So begins an epic adventure that spans both land and sea.


This explosive debut starts a unique six-book series. Each novel will be set in a different land within the Tellus world, with repeating characters and related, nonlinear storylines that combine to create a one-of-a-kind, addictive reading experience.

***

On the screen, a war report followed yet another recruitment cast, and she paused to listen.

‘Massacre by Merican soldiers at an Erovan medical centre, no survivors. Five hundred dead.’

She felt suddenly nauseous. How could things like this be happening to Erovan civilians? There were only a few leagues of raging ocean and a single small storm barrier between Anglya and Erova, and the barrier had been there for as long as anyone could remember. Navigating the thicker clouds and tightly grouped whirlwinds was child’s play to most pilots. Erova was closer than any other country, and took two days of flight at the most to reach, yet Catherine seemed so far removed from the troubles there. Not for the first time, she felt helpless. She wished that she were older, that she were stronger, that she could get out from under her father’s thumb and do something to help.

All too often she saw people gathering at the shipyard, dressed in combat uniform and boarding a military skyship. Boys and girls as young as thirteen stood shoulder to shoulder, led by stern guards who looked to be older than fifty. She yearned to be among them. Those brave soldiers were the only reason Anglya was safe from Merican attack.

She turned the newscast screen off and left the room, wandering to her mother’s bedroom. Knocking, she nudged the heavy door open, her eyes adjusting to the darkened room. A lamp flickered at the bedside table.

‘Mother?’ she called softly.

‘Catherine, dear,’ a feeble, whispery voice breathed in reply, surprising Catherine. It wasn’t often she found her mother awake and coherent. She smiled, crossing to the bed.

‘How are you feeling?’ she asked quietly, clambering up on to the soft bed and peering into the cocoon of quilts to see her mother’s small face, clouded eyes staring dazedly up at her. Elizabeth’s skin was pale and papery, and her once shining golden hair was dull and prematurely grey, but the barest hint of a smile tugged at her colourless lips as she looked up at her only child.

‘No better or worse than usual,’ said Elizabeth, and Catherine bit her lip. That was always her mother’s answer.

‘How are you, dearest?’

‘Father wants to betroth me to Marcus Gale,’ she announced, scowling.

Elizabeth’s smile faded.

‘When you were but a baby, and I was in better health, I used to talk of betrothing you to a beautiful little boy who would grow up to be a great man. But alas, he’s gone, as is his mother . . .’ Her voice trailed off and she stared wistfully at the familiar photo on the nightstand. It showed Elizabeth as a younger, healthier woman, with a beautiful blonde woman at her side. Both were dressed in exquisite gowns. The other woman was Queen Mary Latham, and the picture had been taken at the ball celebrating her son’s seventh birthday. It was one of the last photographs taken of the woman before the entire royal family disappeared. Before the war escalated and everything started to go downhill.

As Catherine was about to leave Elizabeth to rest, her mother spoke again with unexpected force. ‘Don’t let your father decide your future, Catherine! I let my father decide mine, and while I got a lovely daughter out of it . . .’ She didn’t need to finish her sentence. ‘Your heart is yours and yours only to give away, and one day, you will find the man you wish to have it, and he will give you his. That man does not have to be Marcus Gale.’

Was her mother telling her to defy her father? How could she? She was the sole heir to the Hunter fortune – she might as well burn herself from the family tree.

‘You are a brave girl, Catherine, and destined for greater things than becoming Marcus Gale’s wife,’ her mother said, her grey eyes clear for once. ‘Your father is . . . a difficult man. He doesn’t always understand how his actions affect others. And he certainly doesn’t expect a woman to have a mind of her own, especially his daughter. Stand up for yourself, sweetheart, and make your own way in the world. Perhaps a shock like that would teach him an important lesson.’

Catherine’s own eyes sparkled with understanding and excitement.

‘But what about you?’ she asked, drawing a faint smile to her mother’s lips.

‘It is a parent’s job to look after their child, not the other way around. Don’t worry about me, dear.’

‘Mother, you do know how much I love you, don’t you? More than anything,’ Catherine told her firmly, leaning in to press a gentle kiss to her mother’s brow and swallowing back the lump in her throat.

‘And I love you, my dear one. But you’re almost a young woman now, and you’re beginning to need your mother less and less. Just . . . teach that father of yours that he’s not lord of the storms, would you?’ Elizabeth replied with a look of fierce determination, which Catherine matched, rendering the family resemblance astonishing.

‘Oh, trust me. He won’t know what hit him.’

***

Lucy Saxon has always loved reading, but her love of writing began at the age of 12 when she first suffered from the neurological disorder ME (chronic fatigue syndrome). She found herself missing lengthy periods of school, giving her the opportunity to indulge in creative writing. TAKE BACK THE SKIES is her debut novel. It was inspired by a dream and Lucy submitted a version of it to the National Novel Writing Month’s online competition. Lucy can often be found attending comic and fantasy conventions and ALWAYS makes her own, very impressive costumes. She is on Twitter at @Lucy_Saxon.


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