Hello and happy June! I hope everyone is having a good summer (or winter, for the southern hemisphere).
In case you didn’t know, June is Pride Month in the US. This means that it is a month of visibility, acceptance, support, and protesting for the LGBTQIAP+ community and their rights. I know I haven’t previously shared a list like this, but I have been trying to be wider in my reading and inclusivity this year, finding books with different experiences that teach while being a great story.
If the idea of this kind of wide reading is new to you, that’s ok! I hope this post can be a jumping off point for you and that you find some new stories you love.
This book is a fantasy set in (you guessed it) a desert! I don’t know what it is about desert fantasies, but I’m on quite a kick for them lately. This book follows two women – one a magical storyteller and one the daughter of a bandit terrorizing the other’s village – as they navigate a terrifying world that really wants to kill them in an effort to find themselves and follow a buried line of poetry. It’s so exciting and moving and well-written. It is a sapphic story and has strong Latin-American inspiration and weaves lots of Spanish into its telling.
This was one of my favorites this year! It’s written by a Lipan Apache geoscientist and author and is from the perspective of Indigenous people in a world just a little different from our own – one in which the main character, Elatsoe, can summon the ghosts of dead animals (including ancient trilobytes) and is set on a path to figure out who murdered her brother. This book features an asexual main character (a person who does not experience sexual attraction or only experiences it under specific circumstances), which is explicitly stated in the text, and is an identity that is a bit harder to find in traditionally published work.
This one is a middle grade that deals with SO MANY difficult things. Hazel is a girl with 2 moms, and one of them is pregnant again after suffering pretty devastating miscarriages in the past. She’s also trying to get through her last year of middle school while drifting apart from her best friend and finding new ones. It is a simple book that packs a powerful emotional punch that really had me by the heart by the time I finished reading it.
This book has a ton of representation, too: lesbian parents, a trans friend, and a main character portrayed as asexual and aromantic (someone who does not experience romantic attraction or only experiences it under specific circumstances). It’s a really wonderful array of experiences written in a heartfelt, emotional way.
If you want a tremendously cute graphic novel with all the fall feels (in fact, I read this to put me in the mood for Pie-Jinks!), then this is it. It follows a young witch with hearing loss and her childhood crush, a werewolf named Tam, as they confront an evil together to save each other and the town. I loved the art and the story, and it really has all the cozy autumn feels to it!
The representation in this book is awesome, too. The main character, as I said, has hearing loss, and Tam is non-binary, there is a romantic relationship between them, and they are both Chinese-American characters. The young witch also lives with her two grandmas, a lesbian couple.
Last but certainly not least is this body horror, nature horror, young adult sapphic book that was *chef’s kiss*. I don’t know what it was exactly: the atmosphere, the mystery, or the characters, but this book grabbed me and didn’t let go. It was another I could not put down, and it gave me ALL the feelings. It’s just a touch creepy and a touch disturbing, but I just loved every bit of it!
I hope this list has intrigued you for some new fantasy reads. I can’t stress enough how much I loved each and every one of the books I shared with you today.
And if you are hesitant to pick something like this up, I urge you even more. Books are so important for helping us understand and empathize with the people around us. They can open so many doors to so many hearts, and they can teach us how to be better, more accepting, more loving people.
To close out this week’s post, here’s my question for you:
Have you read any of these? Do you have other suggestions? Let’s chat in the comments!
I haven’t posted in a couple weeks, but guys. I have 2 books up for preorder!
Seasons of Magic
The first Seasons of Magic anthology is coming at the end of July in both ebook and paperback. It includes all four of the first Seasons of Magic stories (you can see them here) PLUS the previously paperback-exclusive bonus content for Of the Clouds. It’s going to be a beauty of a paperback, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Next is book 1 in Pie-Jinks, a brand new series based on my novella, Pumpkin Spice Pie-Jinks. It’s not necessary to read the novella to appreciate the books, but it will definitely prepare you! The first 3 will be coming this fall, and the pre0rder for book 1 is up for August 27! These will also be in both ebook and paperback.
I’ve never been huge on celebrating this holiday, even now that I’m married (we exchange gifts but don’t really do anything too crazy…we’re usually at a convention, though obviously not this year).
Anyway, I know romance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Honestly, it’s not really mine either. That said, I do enjoy a fluffy romance now and then (of the sweet variety, NOT steamy). So today, especially since we haven’t chatted in a few weeks, I figured it was time to share some of my favorites.
I think the reason I liked this book so much was that it wasn’t heavily focused on the romance, like a lot of romances. A lot of it was self-discovery and growing up and finding your dreams. Also, the main character wants to be a weather forecaster on the local news station! Which I thought was kind of cool. I’ve liked everything I read by this author, though these days she seems to be more in the cozy mystery writing than she used to be, which I don’t really care for.
But I do love the books in this series and plan to finish them.
This seems to be a trope I enjoy: fake relationships. A whole mess of circumstances leads the main character to marry a guy so she’s not homeless – a guy who, conveniently, was just dumped by his own fiance days before their wedding. It was a fun, funny story that I thoroughly enjoyed, and it’s one that I’d love to read again!
Speaking of which, perhaps it’s time to thing about that re-read…
This is another by Eryn Scott that I really enjoyed. A statistics professor seeking a relationship! As an academic woman myself, the main character’s profession really pulled me in, and it was definitely an exciting ride to watch her search for true love. Like the other books, this was a fun, light read.
This one is young adult, but it was so well-written and emotional! It follows a main character grappling with some pretty heavy family stuff – a brother who accidentally killed someone while driving intoxicated and is now in jail. It follows her making new friends in a new place, struggling with guilt over her brother, and finding new love. Truly a deep, thought-provoking story that I absolutely loved!
I previously featured this author’s book Ashen, which also has fantastic romance, but today I want to talk about Spice Bringer. This is a fantasy with a main character who has a debilitating, possibly deadly condition and a traveling stranger. They are thrown together and must traverse a dangerous land, so, naturally, some feelings develop. And man, does this book give you feelings! Also, if you need a good cry… yeah, this is the one.
Whatever your feelings on Valentine’s day, I hope these books all give you good feelings. Do you have any go-tos for this time of year? Any you can’t stop thinking about? Any that make you really FEEL something?
Share them with me below!
And until next time, let’s keep loving those books! ❤
Last week, we discussed why I personally love survival stories. We talked about how they can showcase the ingenuity of humanity, the way they can make us as readers think and problem solve, and how they reveal the strength of the human spirit.
Today, I’m going to speak a bit closer to the writers in the room. What is it about a survival story that makes it strong, that pulls on a reader’s heartstrings? How do we create a powerful survival story? Let’s look at four key points of a good survival story.
There needs to be high stakes conflict
Survival is high stakes, so the circumstances in which the character finds themselves needs to be high stakes as well. There have to be heart-pounding moments of terror, moments when it’s really uncertain if the character will survive. Mild circumstances or when there is any doubt in the reader’s mind about the possibility of the character not surviving will kill the tension of the story before it even begins. So no long, slow, tedious walks in the forest – at least not without encountering something more immediate. But we’ll get to that in point 3. 😉
Don’t be afraid to cut your character off and make them suffer. I know that sounds horrible, but without it, the story falls flat.
Conflict needs to be both internal and external
It’s really easy in a survival story to focus on the conflict of person vs. nature, since that’s the main focus of most survival stories. But that is a superficial story structure, and without something more, the reader won’t connect or care about the outcome of the story.
Just like in any story, we need something to make us care, and often that’s the internal conflict. We learn about the bits and pieces of the main character’s life, the things they’re struggling with, and how it relates to the life-or-death circumstances in which they find themselves.
We get to know the character, and then we can care about what happens to them.
There needs to be urgency
It’s so easy to write a slow survival story. I know. I’ve done it.
But that’s boring.
I know, it might be plausible to see a person slowly starving or something similar, but it doesn’t exactly drive the story forward. (refer back to point #1)
But, if you give the character a deadline of some sort – a life-threatening injury, danger to someone they love that is imminent – it adds a layer of tension to the story that will keep the reader of the edge of their seat, begging to know what happens next, begging to know if they’ll make it or fail/die.
It needs to be plausible
Finally, your survival story needs to be plausible. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve seen that are grounded on faulty premises…one that comes to mind is a post-apocalyptic EMP story in which the EMP killed most of the life on Earth. Right there, that is not realistic, as EMPs only affect electronic devices. Not the health of a creature.
So whatever circumstances your character finds themselves in, it needs to be something truthful, believable, and scientifically plausible, or you’ll lose your reader.
So now that you’ve heard what I consider to be the key elements to a good survival story, I’m interested to see what you think makes it. Are there other components you can think of? Other conflicts you like to see in these stories? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet!
Happy writing, and see you next week for some of my favorite survival story recommendations!
This week I’m going to start a 3-part series on survival stories. Why? Well, I’ll get into that this week. But the background is three-fold: I am a longtime lover of the survival story, the novel I’m querying right now is a fantasy survival story, and I just finished reading a new one (which I loved!).
Now, I don’t know about you guys, but right now is not the time I’d necessarily expect I’d want to read survival stories. We’re in the middle of weird times (yes, I am also getting tired of people calling it “unprecedented times”) that feel a little too post-apocalyptic. Personally, I’ve noticed a split between those who want to read ALL the post-apoc and those who want nothing but fluffy. At first, I did want those post-apoc books. Then I wanted fluffy. And now, as things are starting to stabilize again, I’m good with reading slightly more survivally stories.
There are several things that really appeal to me about this kind of story.
First, these stories showcase ingenuity in a way nothing else does. There’s something to be said for dropping a person in a seemingly impossible situation only to see them come up with solutions like MacGyver with nothing more than a shoelace or their own hair. Yes, that really did happen in the book I just finished. As someone who’s never had to fight for my life in a life-or-death struggle, I never would have come up with that. Amazing to see the things a person can come up with when the situation arises.
Next, these stories make us think, but in good ways. They remind us that we really don’t have it that bad, but beyond that, they make us think what we would do if thrown into a situation like that. They are books for critical thinking wrapped up in a pretty package of drama and edge-of-your-seat excitement. They show the raw sides of humanity and let us consider both the good and the bad.
Finally, there is nothing like a triumphant survival story to showcase the human spirit. It can show us the lengths we can go to in order to make it through a difficult situation. And they show us the pure determination and grit, the hope. They show us how people come together in impossible situations to take care of each other, like in The Martian (we’ll go through some specific recommendations in a couple weeks). They show us how people can rise above the terrible things that could happen.
And honestly, that’s the biggest draw of the survival story: the triumph of the human spirit.
Next week we’ll discuss five important elements to writing a survival story, and the week after that I have some good recommendations, but for now, tell me what you think. Do you enjoy this kind of story? Why or why not? What is it about them that make you feel that way? Let’s chat in the comments, or tweet me @selinajeckert!
Guess what? It’s time again! The next Seasons of Magic is coming!
You may have seen this one floating around on the home page of this site for YEARS, and I kept promising to release it. It’s a story I wrote as part of Rooglewood Press’s Five Magic Spindles contest (Sleeping Beauty retellings), and it hit the top ten finalist list! Of those ten, five were chosen for the anthology…mine wasn’t picked because it didn’t quite fit with the others.
Now meet Talia, my Ice Age Sleeping Beauty, waking in the middle of a glacier archaeology dig.
Here’s the blurb:
An archaeology student, an Ice Age princess, and an undead sorceress…
Talia was meant to be her clan’s greatest leader. But when her parents fail to invite a powerful—and very dangerous—sorceress to her birth party, the clan’s long-desired blessing becomes their final curse. As Talia comes of age, the power of the sorceress finds her, and she is lost in a blizzard.
Millennia later, archeaology student Owen is on the field trip of his life to a glacier dig. But what begins as a routine dig soon becomes much more when he discovers a perfectly preserved mummy in the ice—a mummy that returns to life and drags him into a millennias-old dispute.
For deeper in the glacier, dark magic is at work, waking the sorceress known as the Shadow Woman, and she will stop at nothing to end Talia’s life and destroy the clan once and for all. If Talia and Owen can’t stop her, she will destroy not only Talia but also Owen and the rest of the team. But if they can survive, they may just re-discover more than they could have ever hoped for.
This was a Top Ten Finalist for the Five Magic Spindles contest by Rooglewood Press.
And now, without further ado, what you’re all here for: the cover!
And, as promised, this was a finalist, so I HAD to share my finalist medal on SOMETHING:
You can preorder this beauty, or it will also be available through KU…this is my first book ever available through the program, so take advantage of it!
If you’re not quite ready to order, you can also add the book to Goodreads.
The story will be available on February 14 (just in time for Valentine’s Day). I can’t wait for you all to read it! 😀
PS: If you have read any of my previous books, I’d love it if you could leave a review on either Amazon or Goodreads (or your favorite book seller’s website!). It doesn’t have to be long and can say whatever you want! I’m so, so grateful for every review I get (even the critical ones), and I’d really appreciate any additional reviews. But even if you choose not to, I hope you continue to enjoy my stories! ❤
Today I have the absolute pleasure to share Savannah Jezowski’s newest release, Curse and Consequence. If the title doesn’t give it away, this is a regency-inspired fantasy perfect for fantasy lovers who also love Jane Austen!
Check it out:
When Love visits Ravenhead Hall, sparks fly…quite literally.
Miss Rea Abernathy only wants to honor the family who has taken her under their wing, rescuing her from a life of poverty. But thanks to two determined suitors, she finds herself in a state far worse than the one from which her benefactress saved her.
When Mr. Sedgwick Whitby sets his sights on his mother’s sweet-tempered pig keeper, his orderly life is thrown into chaos: Rea’s station is less–than-desirable, and another gentleman may be pursuing her. Hoping to get his annoyingly charming twin brother out of the way, Sedgwick purchases a simple curse from a disreputable faery which consequently plunges them all into a misfortune far more serious than troubles of the heart.
With time running out to break the curse and tempers flying high, can Sedgwick and Rea set things right and find love after all? Jane Austen meets dragons in this frolicking fantasy romance about a comely pig keeper, two wealthy gentlemen, and the curse binding them all together. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Gail Carson Levine.
Still need more? Here’s a taste!
This book just came out yesterday, in time for July 4th, so you can head over to Amazon to snap up a copy now, or add it to your Goodreads shelf!
About the Author
Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.
So this is going to be another one of those posts: a post where I discuss my favorite tools of the craft! And I think this is a fun one. You see, I keep a running list of non-fiction books that have helped me in my journey to become a better writer, and from time to time I like to update and share that list to help other writers. It’s been several years since my last update, and I’ve read some really good ones.
This was one of the first writing craft books I ever read, and honestly, I feel like every writer should read it. Maybe multiple times (speaking of which, I may be due for a re-read!). It’s considered one of the classic books on how to write, and for good reason. It’s packed with advice on writing (of course) as well as the life of a writer and life in general. And it’s also full of Stephen King’s voice and wit, which makes it an entertaining, as well as informative, read.
This is another classic book on writing and another I think all writers should read. Anne’s voice is familiar and friendly and full of tough love all at once, and she really has so many quotable bits on inspiration throughout the book. It was a joy to read this. 🙂
Back when I was more active on Tumblr (in fact, this came up the last time I updated this list), a follower recommended this one to me. I was in grad school for neuroscience, also trying to write and query my first novel (which is now published), and this book hit all my check boxes for things I loved.
Friends. This book. If you want to know how to write a captivating story – and the biology that makes it so captivating – this is the book for you! It’s full of tips and tricks to engage readers, and there is so much to learn about why certain things work in stories. It’s a fantastic, fascinating, and fun read!
I actually read this one as part of a Christian artist Bible study group (yes, it is a Christian book on creativity).
It blew me away.
It was exactly what I needed at that point in my life, discussing the rich inner life of the artist, discussing the misnomer of “Christian art” (hint: art cannot be Christian, but the artist can. Christian is a description that fits a person and doesn’t need to be applied to objects. You can disagree if you like, but this is my viewpoint.), and discussing all the ways we can set up roadblocks for our creative selves.
This book will challenge you, break your heart, and uplift you all at once…clearing the way for you to become your best artist (writer) self. Highly recommend!
So this one I’m actually STILL reading, but it already rates high on my list! This book should be in every writer’s arsenal. It’s the most comprehensive look at the history, current market, and practice of being a career writer (or having any kind of writing career, even if it’s on the side) that I’ve seen yet. It looks at everything from traditional to indie publishing, small press, literary fiction, how to query…and so much more. Definitely a must-read.
This section is all my also-loved books that I highly recommend. These are great to read and keep on your shelf, either as references or bits of inspiration for your writer self.
Much like Matt Tommey’s book above, Madeleine L’Engle’s book speaks to the Christian artist, also reflecting on her own journey as a writer. She has some powerful words to share, and it so interesting to see some of her ideas behind some of her most famous works!
This book is a collection of essays that offer both encouragement and some tough love to get serious about your work. There is so much here, and every time you read it, I’m sure you will find something new to pull out and inspire yourself.
This one is an excellent resource for indie authors ready to format their manuscripts. It is a step-by-step guide, written in Savannah Jezowski’s familiar and friendly voice, that will walk you through everything you need to get that manuscript uploaded to retailers. An incredibly useful tool to save some money!
This is another excellent tool to have at your disposal. It’s an in-depth guide to emotions and how to describe them in your stories, giving you tools to make your characters relateable and realistic, especially if you’re writing about some emotion outside your own experience. I unfortunately got this one right before they updated the edition, but this book is packed full of information on emotions.
That completes this edition of Selina’s Favorite Writing Books. Do you have any to add? I’m always looking for new ones! (Wonderbook is currently on my radar) Share your favorites in the comments below!
H.L. Burke’s new book comes out soon…check out her awesome cover!
Today I have another upcoming release for you, this one from the very talented H. L. Burke! I’ve seen her talking about this so much over the past few months, and I am so excited to read it when it releases.
Anyway, before the cover, here’s the blurb:
The secret lies with the Heart.
Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora’s only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd’s mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.
Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity’s sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater’s stagemistress, is the key to finding it.
While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.
Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.
And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for.
You can find this book in all your favorite places…including an autographed copy from the author herself! It will be out on June 27th.
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
Hey all! Welcome to the first stop on the This Cursed Flame Blog Tour! I can’t wait for you to see all the bonus content leading up to the release on Saturday, and what better way to start than to share the first chapter with everyone?
But first, here’s the blurb!
Sometimes we put ourselves in the bottle…
Six years ago, Janan was transformed into a genie by an evil djinn, ripping her away from her home, her life, and her humanity. She has been on the run from him ever since. Worlds away, high school honors student Laurelin just wants to get into the chemistry program of her dreams.
When Laurelin discovers a crystal bottle that sucks her into the djinn realm, the girls find themselves working together to escape Janan’s creator and get Laurelin back home. But war is brewing in the djinn realm-a rebellion led by the same evil djinn they’ve been trying to escape. And he is determined to rule both the djinn and the human realms. As his creation, Janan is the one person standing in his way.
But to stop him, Janan must learn to overcome the fears he instilled in her and embrace her own dark magic while Laurelin must accept that some things are more important than an A+. Now, they will have to trust each other, and themselves, to stop the encroaching evil. Otherwise, both the human and djinn realms will fall to the tide of death and dark magic this war will unleash.
You can now pre-order this book on Amazon and any other major retailer! Also, if you prefer a paperback, those will be available through Amazon (insider hint: they’re gorgeous!) Also, be sure to head over to Facebook on Saturday for the Launch Party! (and your chance to win your own hand-painted genie bottle!)
And now, without further ado, the first chapter.
Chapter One: Janan
Fuego, Djinn Realm
white dots floated in her vision as her heart pumped blood faster than her
brain could use it. They obscured the beige and white masonry of the city, the
multicolored throng pushing through the cobbled streets like strutting
peacocks. All four types of djinn surrounded her: the ifrits with their fire
magic, marids with their water magic, sila with their air magic, and ghul with
their shapeshifting and electric magic.
she stood here, alone in the crowd, unprotected, probably the only genie in the
city. A half-breed of magic forever caught between worlds. Her human life still
colored her memories, her behavior, but the djinn who had turned her into this
had robbed her of her natural life.
the djinn could tell, could sense her other-ness, as they gave her a wide berth
or cast vicious looks in her direction. She thought eventually she would be
used to it, but even an errand out to fetch groceries was enough to send her
into a panic, even after six years.
hurried to the side of the road, trying to hide herself from their prying eyes.
Her breaths were shallow, and she wheezed as she tried to pull enough oxygen
into her lungs. She could almost see his gaze
everywhere she turned: the hate in that marid’s face, the same crimson tint in
that ifrit’s skin. Like he was
everywhere. Would she ever be free of this fear?
drew her hood lower on her forehead and pulled her cloak tighter around her,
trying to hide the raspberry color of her hair, a sure sign of her genie
status, and her violet dress with the gold embroidery. She had loved it when
her adopted father, Mahtab, brought it home for her birthday, but now it seemed
like too much, too flashy, like it drew the attention of too many.
A voice rang out over the roar of a thousand voices.
cringed, her head snapping toward the sound. Several nearby djinn craned their
heads, also searching for the source of the voice. Her eyes landed on a small,
beige feline with ebony spots. If she didn’t look directly at the animal, she
could almost see the form of the woman beneath the spell.
Janan, still breathless with fear, pushed her way back through the people still
separating them and knelt in front of her friend.
of the House Grimalkin studied her face. “Everything okay?”
almost laughed. No, everything was not okay. It hadn’t been for some time. Not
since before, when she was still human, when she still belonged.
he wasn’t here, at least not as far as she could tell. It was only her brain
running away faster than reason, again, her terror resurfacing after months of
terror had almost been gone when he returned only a few months ago, like an
angry ghost from her past, wishing to exact some terrible vengeance on her for
her very existence. Her Turning had been a mistake. And now it was a hurdle to
him, to his plans, to the very future of the Realm.
least that was what he had said. Right before attacking, driving her from her
home to flee to Fuego with her adopted family. She had brought him down upon
them, and now she saw him everywhere she turned.
of course,” she found herself saying, rising to her feet and refusing to meet
Safiyya’s bright emerald gaze.
couldn’t tell her what was going on. Safiyya had her own problems. She was
djinn, one of the shapeshifters, but she’d been stuck as an ocelot for as long
as Janan had known her, much like the way Janan was stuck halfway between djinn
and human. One day, maybe Safiyya would tell her what had happened, why she was
stuck, but for now Janan didn’t see a reason to draw the cat into her imaginary
nightmares. It was enough to share this unspoken bond.
continued to study her, doubtful eyes traveling across the old scars marring
Janan’s pale skin. There were no new injuries for her to see, but her friend’s
gaze burned across her skin, and Janan tugged the cloak tighter still. If she
kept pulling at it, soon she’d be a diamond from the pressure.
cat dropped her gaze, returning her attention to the writhing mass of djinn in
front of them. “Have you heard from the others yet?”
nothing.” Janan touched the shining gem that hung around her neck, a simple
piece of Torrebon technology carried by almost every djinn and genie in the
Realm. It not only allowed them access to the human and djinn internets but
also provided a simple means of communication with just a small spark of magic.
was all the magic she could bear to use. She had almost convinced herself that
if she didn’t use any genie magic at all, maybe she could be human again. Still
seventeen, still awkward and scared, but human, with a family and a life and
human problems. As it stood now, she didn’t really fit anywhere, and she felt
the weight of it every time she set foot outside.
nodded her head at the crowd, and they wove through the scores of temporary
stalls lining the sidewalk for the weekly farmers’ market. Vendors on both
sides hawked their wares: fabric bolts here, jewelry there, tiny carved statues
from the ifrit city of Prinnyn, mechanical toys from the ghul city of Torrebos.
The road had been blocked off from automobile traffic for the day, allowing the
thousands of pedestrians to browse freely without fearing oncoming cars.
tried to focus on the market and push her fear out of her mind. It was
uncontrollable, arising unbidden and unwanted, but sometimes she could stuff it
back down and ignore it for a while.
least until the next memory took her.
bag bounced against her thigh as she walked. It held only a few coins and her
single purchase of the day: a bright glass bottle to add to her collection. To
her, it had become a joke, a way of coping with what she was. A genie
collecting bottles. Some form of control over the prison of her existence. And
this bottle had felt particularly special, but she couldn’t say why. Perhaps
some subconscious ghost of memory. Heavens knew there were enough ghosts
flitting around in her skull.
sun was rising higher in the sky as the morning dragged on, but Janan still
shivered with cold. He wasn’t here, she was sure of it—sure that her mind was
just playing cruel tricks on her again—yet she couldn’t shake the way every
djinn in a cloak, every turned back, every sideways glare made her feel like
prey. What if he really was here,
somewhere in this mass of bodies?
glanced sideways at Safiyya. The ocelot was small, but she made a formidable
foe. Surely Janan would be safe at her side.
stopped walking and looked up at her expectantly.
sorry,” Janan said, blinking herself back to the present. “What did you say?”
just asked if you wanted a drink. I’m getting a bit thirsty.” They were stopped
next to a vendor selling cold fruit drinks.
rubbed her head against a picture of a lemon below the counter. “This one,
pointed to the lemon drink and a grape drink in the displayed pitchers, trading
a silver coin for the two glasses. They walked a few steps away before she
placed the lemonade on the sidewalk for Safiyya, out of the way of trampling
feet, and sat down on the curb. Her own straw halfway to her mouth, she
suddenly froze, feeling the pressure of a person standing just behind her.
heart began pounding all over again. Sweat shone on her pale skin, and she
wheezed for breath, unable to take a sip of the refreshing drink. No longer
thirsty, she set the glass down next to Safiyya and turned to face the
presence, ready to run or strike if needed.
man in a cloak stood hunched behind her, eyes bright yellow against his pale
blue skin, even shaded as they were under the hood. They seemed to glow with
their own light, like a harvest moon on an otherwise black night.
she saw the man, her heart began to slow its furious pace, and she forced a
shaky smile. “Mahtab.”
adoptive father stood with his arms full of packages from around the market,
grinning a sharp-toothed smile. She crossed her arms and pressed her hands
against her body, willing the shaking in her fingers to subside. Her adoptive
mother, Irina, reached a hand down to help Janan to her feet.
Mahtab’s wife of nearly a century, was the opposite of him in every way. Where
he was blue-skinned and stood with a permanent bend in his spine, she looked
like she was cut from the finest alabaster, her hair fine-spun gold and her
posture tall and proud.
allowed herself to be drawn up next to them. “Is it time to go home?”
you find everything on your list?” Irina asked.
blushed with guilt. In truth, she’d forgotten about the list after the vendor
with the bottles. She had been so distracted with the bottle that she had
missed half of the family’s produce, still on her list.
take that as a no,” Mahtab said. He studied her, quiet for a moment. “But
perhaps we can drop you at home and finish the errands ourselves.”
closed her eyes. He had seen her fear, had made the decision that she had done
enough for the day. She would remain a burden, unable to fulfill her duty to
their small family.
opened her mouth, intending to say no, to say that she could push through and
finish their trip, but no words left her mouth, and she nodded in defeat.
right, then,” Mahtab said, nodding back. His face was kind, but Janan couldn’t
bear to meet his eyes.
turned in the direction of home, a small apartment on the west side of the
city, and began pushing their way through the crowds. She was buoyed by the
presence of Mahtab and Irina, feeling her confidence replace her fear with
every step they took. Maybe she could make it after all.
opened her mouth to say so when a small trio of smug-looking djinn leered at
genie,” one of them spat.
worry,” another snarled. “They’ll be gone soon.”
Safiyya was at Janan’s side, baring her sharp teeth. “Keep walking,” she
growled low in her throat.
third djinn rolled her eyes before following her friends. Her sighed words were
soft, meant only for Janan’s and Safiyya’s ears. “Genie sympathizers. Just as
bad as the genies.”
Janan dropped her eyes to the sidewalk and trailed after Mahtab, already several yards ahead of her. Perhaps going home was for the best.
Want to read more? Check out the masterpost of stops on the blog tour, or go ahead an pre-order your copy today! Again, you can pre-order this book on Amazon and any other major retailer. And don’t forget about the Facebook Launch Party on Saturday!
Wait, you mean there are books with GENIES in them??? GIMME ALL THE BOOKS!!!
We are just over two weeks away from the release of This Cursed Flame (and only a week and a weekend away from the start of the blog tour, starting April 21). So for the next two Fridays, I’ll be sharing things related to the book!
Today I want to talk about some of my favorite books and series that deal with djinn and genies. Genies aren’t common creatures for authors to use, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some really great stories out there that have them!
So without further ado, let’s get right into it! Here are some of my favorite books with djinn and genies.
If you’ve been around a while, you’ve heard me mention this before (maybe back in February?). This series is one of my favorite urban fantasies, and it specifically deals with the relationships between magically gifted humans, the djinn they capture and use, and the tumultuous planet under our feet. I greatly enjoyed the elemental nature of the powers and the complexity of the interactions between each magical thing involved in the story. And having a vengeful planet underfoot, one that seems to be sentient, well, that’s terrifying.
This one just came out earlier this year. It’s urban fantasy, takes place in Pittsburgh, AND features a genie… yeah, this was an insta-buy for me. And I didn’t regret it. This book had a fresh flavor of urban fantasy with unique shifters, lesser-known and lesser seen magical creatures, and a genie with wish magic. I loved every second of the read, and I cannot wait for the next book to come out!
This book was one of those more lighthearted fantastic romps. It felt like I was listening to someone tell me a story, which always warms my reader’s heart, and it stars a genie (jinni) and a golem straight out of Jewish folklore. The story was deep and engaging, and it was such a pleasure to read!
This one is a young adult book set in a desert country full of legendary magic (that a friend of a friend has seen) and gunslingers. It was such an interesting blend of Wild West and desert culture, and then the idea of the magical creatures layered throughout, including genies, just kind of sealed the deal for me. It was a fun, magical read!
This one is about a teen who was changed into a genie a thousand years ago and has been on the run from a power-hungry man who wants to use her magic to become even more powerful. The main character has faced classic genie problems, such as horrible masters and inane wishes, and in this book, she gets a real, kind master who wants to help. This was another fun, unique story that I loved!
And, of course, how could I have a favorite genie books post without including my own??? This book, if you haven’t been paying attention to me lately, is all about a girl who was changed into a genie by an evil djinn… and now he finds that her very existence disrupts his plans. And then there’s the science nerd human. The two girls are accidentally thrown together, and it is only with each other that they can save their worlds, and themselves, from the reach of this evil djinn. This book is full of magic, worldbuilding, and strong female relationships. You can pre-order it on Amazon or any other major retailer, and keep an eye on Amazon for the paperback, coming soon!
Have you read any other books with genies? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear about some more!