Title: In Truth & Ashes
Author: Nicole Luiken
Publication Date: Jan. 2, 2017
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Other Books in Series: Through Fire & Sea | Amid Wind & Stone
What she can’t remember could ruin her life.
The Mirror Worlds are but dull reflections of the True World, where magic and technology blend together…
On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. Uniting the families ensures hers will hold onto its powerful position, and so she’s always pushed down the tender feelings she has for her best friend—gorgeous, steadfast Demian, who isn’t noble.
But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi.
But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping—a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost—and saving the worlds.
Nicole Luiken wrote her first book at age 13 and never stopped.
She is the author of nine published books for young adults, including Violet Eyes and its sequels Silver Eyes and Angels Eyes, Frost, Unlocking the Doors, The Catalyst, Escape to the Overworld, Dreamfire and the sequel Dreamline. Through Fire & Sea, book one of Otherselves, and Amid Wind & Stone, book two of Otherselves, are her most recent releases. She also has an adult thriller, Running on Instinct, under the name N.M. Luiken and a fantasy romance series, Gate to Kandrith and Soul of Kandrith.
Nicole lives with her family in Edmonton, AB. It is physically impossible for her to go more than three days in a row without writing.
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Leah wept in her sleep. And dreamed:
She was a dragon, floating on an orange sea of molten rock. Far above her was a hole like an eye, the Volcano Lord Thunderhead’s caldera. At first, the heat felt pleasant, soaking away the lingering chill of death, but then it increased in intensity as the magma invaded every nerve and lit them each on fire. She screamed through her ruined throat and convulsed—
Leah bolted upright and found herself in the Aerie, the top room of Qeturah’s Tower. She must have fallen asleep on Gideon’s bed.
She was shaking, her heart trying to beat its way out of her chest. Her skin felt clammy. What a terrible, awful nightmare.
One whole side of the Aerie opened out onto a large natural stone balcony. Outside, the sun silhouetted Thunderhead’s steep-sided black cone against the red sky. Thin trails of lava trickled down his sides as he erupted again.
The Volcano Lord grieved for the loss of his son, just as Leah grieved.
Leah had met Gideon here in this very room. He’d been feverish, and she’d been spying for her father, Duke Ruben, trying to prove that the evil sorceress Qeturah had something to do with the dragon attacks on their valley. Only, by the time she found out Gideon shape-shifted into the dragon at night and his mother Qeturah used a magic amulet to control him, Leah had already fallen in love with Gideon, and turning him in had been unthinkable.
But in the end, she’d been unable to protect him from her father. Duke Ruben’s army had shot the dragon down with a huge crossbow, and Gideon had died. And his death had signaled the beginning of the end of Fire World.
Gideon’s father, Thunderhead, had erupted and killed Duke Ruben and three other dukes. Their deaths, in turn, had sent the Volcano Lords linked to them into a mindless fury, and they’d all exploded. Those not killed in the eruptions would likely starve in the next year, since falling ash had blighted all the crops.
And Leah could barely bring herself to care.
Gideon was dead. Duke Ruben, her father, whom she’d alternately feared and wanted to please, was dead. Likely so were Jehannah, her half-sister, and her mother, Beulah. Her childhood home was destroyed.
Leah had spent all her time since the cataclysm struggling to stop Qeturah. But now Qeturah was dead, too. And Leah had no purpose.
Oh, the war hadn’t ended: Qeturah had had a mentor named Malachi who had supported her. He was still out there, no doubt still scheming to shatter the other Mirror Worlds, but Leah had run out of energy to fight. Let someone else take him down, someone from the True World.
Malachi wasn’t her problem.
Leah would just stay here with her memories. Alone.
Only the thought of the nightmare returning kept her from sleeping the rest of the day away.
A Day in the Life of Nicole Luiken...
I am very lucky right now in that I do not have to work outside the home because of my husband’s support.
7:00 am --The Dreaded Alarm goes off.
Me: Whose turn is it to get up with the kids?
Me: (grumble, grumble)
7:30 -- Wake up Middle Child then Walk Youngest Child to Bus Stop and Wait in the Freezing Cold
She has warm ski pants to wear on -20 Celsius days. I don’t.
8:05 -- Last Child Leaves House, But It’s Too Late Now. I’m Awake.
Actually, my husband and I take turns getting up with the kids on school days. So when it’s not my turn, or it’s the weekend, I sleep in until 8:30 and then start my day with a lazy hour in pajamas, reading. Bliss.
9:00 am --Time to Start Writing
10:00 am --Really Time to Stop Doing Facebook and Start Writing, I Am Not Kidding, Buster
I’m something of an oddity in that I don’t drink coffee or tea. I do however drink way too much Coke Zero. I have a very strict rule that I’m only allowed to drink it while I’m working on my novel. So essentially, I bribe myself.
10:30 -- Update Wordcount on Spreadsheet
My morning writing tends to be full of stops and starts. Write a hundred words, stop, stuck on some silly detail. Go check Facebook and email. Write another paragraph, stop, play a game of Spider Solitaire (or two or three..) Reopen document file, type some more… My goal for the morning is a mere 500 words.
Noon -- Lunch! Cuz I’m Starving
Lunch is often accompanied by a chapter or so of whatever book I’m currently reading
12:30 or 12:45 -- Put Down the Book and Go Back to Work
The afternoon usually goes a bit smoother. Write 200 words, pause, update my wordcount, check my email. Write 300 words. Stop and research a nagging detail and while I’m online, check Facebook again. Write some more.
I aim to write 500-1000 words in the afternoon, but this varies wildly. If I’m stuck, it may take me until 2 pm to type more than a couple of paragraphs and I end up not finishing my quota or finishing it in the evening. Other days, if I’m writing a scene I’m excited about, I may be finished by 2 pm and either stop or push on to 2000 words.
But, I’ll let you in on a secret. Writers like to talk about their wordcount because it’s quantifiable. If you say “I wrote four pages today!” or “I wrote 1500 words today” people can tell that you’ve accomplished something. But, in fact, I have three distinct writing phases: plotting or brainstorming, drafting, and revision. If I’m brainstorming, I aim for about a page of notes and ideas a day. Revision is even more difficult to quantify. I may be writing a new scene or working on a particular subplot or doing pen-and-paper editing of a scene, thus my goals change from day-to-day. For pen-and-paper editing, I aim for a scene per day.
3:00 -- Pause Writing, Do Chores (Unless I’m on a hotstreak, then all bets are off.)
My children start coming home from school at 3:15. From about 3 - 4:15 pm I often try to do something in the kitchen like dishes or baking so that I’m mentally available to chat with them about their day instead of head-down into a story.
4:15 -- Back to the Computer
I either type furiously, trying to make quota, or if I’ve already made quota, surf around, play more solitaire, do a small jigsaw puzzle.
5:10 - 6:45 pm -- Family Time
My husband comes home from his work and we talk about our respective days. Then it’s time to prepare and eat supper.
6:45 - 7:30 -- Free Time
I may read or do puzzles or surf the web. Occasionally I do some writing if I’ve fallen behind.
7:30 - 8:15 -- Ugh, Homework Time
No, I’m not in school, but I still dread homework time. This means helping my youngest and nagging the older ones.
Me: “Do you have homework?”
Son: “I don’t think so. There’s one thing but I don’t think it’s due until Friday.”
Me: “Are you sure? Do you have a test coming up?”
Son: “Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. And my textbook is at school.”
8:15 - 9 pm -- Bedtime for the kids.
Why does this take so long? We have a family tradition of reading out loud to the kids while they have a fruit snack before bed. I expected the kids to tire of this once they could read on their own, but they haven’t, and I’m glad. I love sharing stories that I enjoyed as a kid with my children in turn. I’m currently reading a Trixie Belden mystery to my daughter, A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle to my junior-high age son, and Dragonstar by Barbara Hambly to my oldest.
9 - 11:30 pm -- Me Time
After nine is reserved for reading and, a few evening a week, an hour of TV.
Husband: Do you want to watch TV tonight?
Me: Not really. I want to finish reading this book tonight...
Husband: We haven’t watched any TV this week and we’re four episodes behind on all our programs.
Me, grumpily: Okay, but let’s watch Big Bang Theory since that will only take half an hour.
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