StoryTime is a tri-annual event created by Glass House Press. All proceeds from the StoryTime events will be donated to SDDAS Spirit Fund, a nonprofit society dedicated to giving homeless animals the medical care they need. For more information, visit their website at sddac.com/donations.asp.
In Mary Fan’s second novella from Glass House Press, a teen girl wakes up in an icy cell, alone and frightened. She has no memory of who she is or how she came to be there.
She does know that she must get out, at all costs. And that escape must start with remembering the simple things – her own name. Her place of origin. Her possible powers.
When a group of dark magicians reveal themselves to be her captors, she finds herself in the clutches of those who will stop at nothing to uncover the secrets locked within her lost memories. With her life fading under their merciless spells, the need to escape becomes dire.
But can she get out when she doesn’t even know who she is? Can she count on one unlikely ally for help? Or is it already too late for her, a girl without a name?
Tell Me My Name introduces the main characters in Mary’s new fantasy series, Fated Stars, with the first book, Windborn, due in late 2015.
Instead of answering, he raises his hands, and the wide sleeves of his cloak fall back, revealing the elaborate patterns of black tattoos twisting around his forearms like dead vines. A hot gust surges toward me through the bars, carrying bright red sparks with it, and one lands on my arm. I gasp as its searing heat pierces my skin.
Terrified, I scramble away, trying to escape the other sparks flying toward me. But there’s nowhere to go in this tiny cell, and they strike me one by one, each seeming to light a fire as it hits my skin. More of them come at me, and I cry out and cover my face with my arms. Then the sparks seem to connect under my skin, and lines of heat blaze through my body, igniting flames in every spot they touch, until every fiber of my being screams with pain. What’s happening to me? The question tears through my mind like a shriek as fear engulfs me.
I double over and my legs collapse beneath me as a force yanks at my chest, a pair of infernal hands trying to wrench my soul from my body. I scream and scream, unable to form any words or thoughts. All I know is the scorching agony, ripping through my insides with such intensity that I want to cut them out myself rather than let them keep burning. My ears buzz with my own cries, which tear at my throat, and a wave of unbearable hotness flares through my core, oil on an already raging fire. It’s consuming every part of me, and dread floods my heart as I realize that soon, there will be nothing left of me.
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Telepaths, torture, mindwipes … the Institute has it all, and they use each of their brainwashed children as weapons, the way they see fit. To control society, repress its people. To make certain that they stay in power, no matter the cost. Serena’s baby brother Damon is one of those children, and these days he’s so altered that he doesn’t even recognize her.
When it comes to getting Damon away from those who kidnapped him, there’s nothing Serena won’t do. Even if she has to kill him to save him. First, though, she must prove to her father that she has what it takes to be a soldier against the insidious threat of the Institute. Her first mission has to be perfect.
But with inaccurate intelligence, unexpected storms, and Gav Belias, people’s hero of the Watch, on the prowl, will she even survive? If she doesn’t succeed, they’ll never let her go after her brother.
And that would be unthinkable, when it was her fault that he was taken in the first place.
Slam is Tash McAdam’s first work with Glass House Press, and serves as a prequel to her series The Psionics, with the first book, Maelstrom, due in 2015.
The guards are like the Wall – emotionless, efficient, and totally indifferent to what goes on around them. Serena’s heart is in her throat as they approach those soldiers, and the barrier that guards the gaping maw of the main City entrance. It feels like she’s swallowed a rock. Keeping her nerves from her face takes all her attention, but zapping through takes only a few moments, and then they head into the City itself. She makes sure she releases her breath slowly as they join the queue of people going into the City to work, trying to blend. Just another day collecting credits, nothin’ to see here, friends.
The stark differences between the City and the slums never fail to make her insides squirm. Outside, the population are huge-eyed and too thin. Children play in the dust and cough their lungs into bloody scraps as their parents try to eke out a living however they can. The houses are built from recycled materials scrounged from the dumps. But, oh, inside. Inside, the gleaming buildings are unnaturally clean and shining. The main streets are shielded from the worst of the sun’s rays by clever interlocking transparent sheets, which protect the delicate skin of the cerebrally rich. The superstructures are huge, beautiful, flowing edifices that create abstract shadows on the solar-paneled roads. Apartments meld seamlessly in rolling curves; gleaming silver and reflective, like the skin of a huge dragon. It’s no wonder people long to be invited into this clean and wholesome world. I’d stay, if I didn’t know better.
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Almost a hundred years ago, the Enchanters defeated the Lord of the Underworld in one of the most fearsome wars the world had
ever seen. The public thinks that this victory means the people are safe. But they’re wrong. The supernatural beasts the Lord unleashed remain on the earth, multiplying and ravaging what’s left of civilization. As long as these monsters exist, mankind will be in danger. And though the government, ruled by the magic-wielding Enchanters, seeks to protect their people, they are too few in number. They need the Defenders – a special class of non-magical humans – to fight the monsters. The Defenders are an elite force, and mankind’s only hope against the horrors that live beyond their gates.
Fourteen-year-old Aurelia “the Firedragon” Sun has been training since she could walk to become a Defender, and her extraordinary combat skills have earned the attention of the powerful government. In fact, she’s been tapped to represent her nation in an international monster-fighting competition, which pits champions from across the globe against creatures of the Underworld in a violent spectacle. If she wins, she will become a full-fledged member of the Defender force.
But as Aurelia moves deeper into the competition, she realizes that all is not as it appears. There’s something sinister behind the competition, something that could change the way she sees everything … and the Enchanters, it seems, are not the heroes she thought. Aurelia begins to ask questions.
But before she can discover the truth, she is pitted against the most dangerous monster in the competition
– one that will take her life if it can .
Aurelia stepped into the light. Though she’d fought hundreds of vicious supernatural beasts during her two years at the Academy of Supernatural Defense, she’d never faced stakes this high before.
The judges of the International Challenge, the first worldwide monster-fighting competition ever, stared down at her from one of the arena’s boxes. If she impressed them, they would let her enter the contest. And if she made it past their screening, and then through the qualifying round, and ultimately took the prize … her life would never be the same. She’d have the chance to do something much, much bigger than just taking home a trophy.
She could change the world.
Suddenly, a man’s voice boomed out from above. “Aurelia Sun. Age: Fourteen. Classification: Norm. Nation: Triumvirate of North America.”
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Ash never thought going to a party could be dangerous. He certainly never thought it would change his life. But when a man with red eyes begins following him – and his sister – he realizes he was wrong. Soon they’re running, leading the man on a desperate chase over icy roads.
When Ash crashes his car, nearly killing his sister, the red-eyed man offers Ash a choice – save his sister, but pay the highest price possible. Bring Grace back to life, at the cost of his own soul.
Suddenly, Ash is facing a choice he never sought. But will he use that choice to save his sister? And if he does … what will it mean for Ash himself?
He slanted his eyes to the right, stalling to give himself more time, and gasped. There, reflected in the car’s window, were the red eyes, highlighted against the outline of a tall, thin man. The shadow moved, and then he saw the flash of teeth.
He spun around. To either side of the house was forest, and nothing else. No one was there, nothing moved. It could have been an animal, he told himself. Then he saw glints of red in the forest, where there’d been only darkness. He turned quickly, grabbed Grace, and, throwing open the driver’s side door, shoved her in. He jumped in after her, pushing her into the other seat through some superhuman feat of strength, and slammed the door behind him. Slammed the locks down.
“Ash, what’s wrong?” Grace asked, her eyes wide and frightened.
He glanced in the rearview mirror, his breath so ragged that he couldn’t answer. There, leaning casually against one of the parked cars, was the man, his burning eyes focused intently on them. The man smiled slowly, as if he knew what Ash was doing, and knew that it wouldn’t work.
Panic shot through him. He threw the car into first gear and slammed on the gas.
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About The Authors
About Mary Fan
Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil follows a well-received debut novel, a space opera titled Artificial Absolutes (2013), and is the first in the Flynn Nightsider series. Mary would like to think that there are many other novels in her bag, and hopes to prove that to the world as well.
Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.
About Tash McAdam
Tash McAdam’s first writing experience (a collaborative effort) came at the age of eight, and included passing floppy discs back and forth with a best friend at swimming lessons. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, learning to juggle, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning Karate, becoming a punk rock pianist, and of course, writing.
Tash is a teacher in real life, but dreams of being a full-time writer, and living a life of never-ending travel. Though born in the hilly sheepland of Wales, Tash has lived in South Korea and Chile and now calls Vancouver, Canada home.
Maelstrom, the first book in The Psionics, is Tash’s first published work. Visit the website or facebook for news, gossip, and random tidbits about Tash’s adventures.
About Linda Foster
Linda Foster was born and raised in Colorado, where she still lives with her (very patient) husband and four (very spoiled) ferrets. Linda became an avid reading enthusiast the moment she picked up her first book, and has grown steadily worse. By the time she was 15 years old, her library had become too big for her shelves, and she was forced to donate all her books to the local school, just to make room for new ones. She started writing short novellas for her friends in middle school, and expanded into full-length novels several years later. Soul Bound is her first published novel.