Happy book birthday to This Cursed Flame!
This book is finally out in the world and touching people’s lives! It’s been such a long journey, and I am so so thankful for all the people who have contributed along the way. There is a full list of people who have helped me in the acknowledgements section of my book, but I absolutely want to take a minute to thank my husband, family, friends, and all the professionals who have worked with me since the book’s story seed in 2011.
And thank you, readers, so much for taking this journey with me. I hope this book means as much to you as it has to me! And I promise, now we are back to our regular posting schedule (until the next release!).
Don’t forget to jump over to Facebook for the party tonight from 4-7 pm eastern, and put in your entries for the giveaways! I have hand-painted genie bottles, signed paperbacks, and signed bookmarks, all just waiting for a new home. Giveaways will be open until Monday April 29th, and then I will be choosing winners!
And now, your final excerpt…
Janan and Safiyya appeared in a shadowed corner of a loud, crowded city. Cars sped by with alarming disregard for pedestrians. People rushed about, some intent on the sidewalk ahead of them, some entirely engrossed in their phones. No one seemed to take notice of their sudden appearance, and, oddly, Janan couldn’t see any of the other djinn pouring through the portal with them.
Had the portal dropped everyone in different sections of the city?
They plunged into the sunlight outside the alley, and finally people jumped back. It wasn’t every day that humans saw an ocelot and a purple-eyed girl covered in blood and dressed in what looked like a costume. For all they knew, she was a struggling actress in a remake of Aladdin in her loose violet dress, embellished with gold embroidery and gemstones.
Janan looked around, trying to find someplace quiet, somewhere away from prying eyes.
“Janan!” Safiyya said, drawing a few puzzled and concerned looks. They ducked back into the alley before she continued. “Do you still have that bottle?”
Janan placed a hand on the wall of the building to steady herself and opened the bag slung across her body, feeling around for the wrapped bottle. It felt whole, somehow unbroken. “Yes, I think so.”
“Good, I have an idea! Put the bottle on the ground.”
Janan pulled it out of her bag and placed the unwrapped crystal on the cement between them. Icy fingers of fear clawed at her heart—fear for her family, fear for herself. She would never be safe. Never.
Safiyya sat next to it, turning serious eyes on Janan. “We have to do the Binding.”
“What?” Janan exclaimed, unable to control her reaction. Too much had happened, and she was past her limit. Her stomach turned at even the thought of using her magic, and she wasn’t sure she was capable of such an extensive spell. And Safiyya certainly couldn’t do it alone. “Isn’t that too extreme?”
“Extreme, yes, but what choice do we have? The others will find us, and this is our best chance to evade Ahriman.”
“But… here?” Janan looked around the trash-filled alley.
Safiyya also glanced around, glaring at a stray cat. The cat glared back at her with dull yellow eyes. “I can add a protection spell. Move the bottle somewhere safe.”
“Yes, please,” Janan said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Safiyya reached a paw over the bottle, and Janan grasped it. They closed their eyes, focusing all their energy, all their magic, on the bottle between them. Then, they concentrated on weaving their own energy into the crystal lattice.
As the attachment grew, their bodies phased out of physical being, becoming a light vapor that swirled in the weak air currents, mixing lavender and green smoke where they had been sitting.
Finally, the attachment complete, they became physical again and opened their eyes.
“We just need to hide long enough for the others to find us,” Safiyya said. “And you can get some rest in here. As soon as we’re inside, the bottle will take us somewhere safe.” Janan gave her a small smile, and they vanished in a swirl of smoke, disappearing into the top of the bottle.