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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

☀ Call Forth the Waves: Celestine [2] - L.J. Hatton

Thank you for joining us for the release day party for Call Forth the Waves, a Young Adult Science Fiction novel by (, Skyscape, 348 pages).

This is the second book in the Celestine series.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below, as well as details of the first book in the series, 
Sing Down the Stars.  Read the first chapter with Amazon Look Inside.
Call Forth the Waves is FREE on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Author L.J. Hatton will be awarding three e-book copies of Sing Down the Stars to a randomly drawn winners via Amazon Giveaways during the tour.  


Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Synopsis

Earth, not so very long from now: the silent, inscrutable alien visitors who bathed the planet in transforming rains have moved on, leaving behind a world much changed.

Penn Roma, age sixteen, is blessed—or cursed—with supernatural talents she has always concealed. Her sisters, likewise afflicted, are prisoners of the Commission, the government agency tasked with controlling these strange children. Penn’s determination to save them only gains urgency when she learns of the horrifying plans the twisted Warden Dodge has for the peculiar charges.

But Penn herself must remain hidden, navigating a series of fantastical havens with her embattled allies, similarly enhanced teens also in the Commission’s crosshairs. Worse, her vast, half-understood powers have become unpredictable, failing at critical moments and activating outside of her control.

Can Penn trust a rogue warden, supposedly opposed to Dodge’s schemes, to help free her family…or has the Commission set its most nefarious trap yet?

Teaser: Excerpt

CHAPTER 4


For generations, the Golden Mile had been a lightning rod of commerce for the entire nation. It wasn’t actually made of gold, but the name made people want to go there. Someone could ask for directions and feel like they’d been let in on some great secret when they found it. Once upon a time, metallic banners hung from the streetlights, and the roads were painted yellow with black stripes instead of the usual yellow stripes on asphalt, just so people would know they’d arrived. But that was a quarter century ago, before they came.
     Often shortened to simply “the Mile,” it was a network of shops, stalls, and stands all centered around Brick Street, where exotic foods and textiles were traded or sold like common sugar and sundresses. It had an online marketplace, of course, where all the shops were linked together in a virtual bazaar, but the real draw was going there in person. Folks said there was nothing in existence that couldn’t be found for a price along the Mile. It was where Nagendra’s family had worked before the disaster on Brick Street, but that’s all he ever said about them. I got the impression that they weren’t among the survivors that day. Maybe that was why he turned on the Commission.
     Ideas became the Mile’s hottest commodity, but unlike a bolt of silk or fancy bread made of imported grain, they couldn’t be contained or bartered, and they wouldn’t stay hidden in the pantry. After the year- long Great Illusion, when waves of Medusae turned our skies from blue to shades of violet and pink, people wanted truthful answers to their questions about what had happened to their children—like how those children had been touched when our visitors supposedly never made contact. That demand spread out, drifting from mouth to mouth and whispered from ear to ear. Infecting one mind then another as the most contagious of conditions, fanned by new voices from all over the world as more and more people added to the chorus. Their voices got too loud to ignore.
     No longer were people satisfied with empty promises from a Commission that was supposed to find them answers, and no longer were they tolerant of the midnight disappearances of touched children that so many blamed on the wardens who were supposed to protect them. They wanted more than toss-away excuses about the Medusae that never admitted the jellyfish creatures were not of this Earth, or double-talk repeating the same meaningless statistics over and over and over.
     It took almost seven years, but that fevered drive for something more and the desire to understand the impossible became a common delirium, leading to the Brick Street uprising.
     When the dust settled, all those ideas and demands were buried among the rubble, and Brick Street was a wasteland. The Mile was assumed lost with it. Homes and businesses there were never rebuilt, existing only as the relics of a forgotten time, flattened by the lies told to spin the riots into something more manageable and flattering for the wardens involved. The truth of the day was lost, except to people who had seen it firsthand—like Nagendra, with his drunken recitations of the violence and what it took to quell it. Most people refused to even mention what had happened. They didn’t want their thoughts to stray to places they couldn’t pull back from.
     But if Winnie was right . . .
     If she was a child of the Mile, then at least some of the people in attendance that day had been prepared for the worst. They might not have expected the chain reaction from so many touched children losing control of themselves at once, but they did have a contingency plan in case of failure. They didn’t relocate in the usual sense, and they didn’t hide themselves in plain sight as Nagendra, or even Warden Nye, had done. They lifted themselves—and their children—above the problem.
     My father had been on Brick Street at the flash point. This flying city was a coincidence too great to be coincidental, and I was certain that closer inspection would show his handiwork among the patches in the fleet before us. He’d helped Warden Nye that day; he wouldn’t have refused someone with a child to protect. Maybe someone here had seen or heard from him. The Mile would have been the perfect place for him to seek shelter.
     At Winnie’s mark, we made for a platform on the outer edge of the ramshackle pontoon-village. It was empty, and the golems landed with a clatter, causing the structure to shake with their weight.
     “You lived here?” I asked, sliding off Xerxes so that my feet disap- peared to the ankles inside a rising mist across the platforms. There was no stability like on the Center, and adjusting to the sway of the platform in the wind was a bit like getting sea legs. Thankfully, I already had legs for every element at the ready.
     “I was born here,” Winnie said. She had no emotion in her voice. It was a fact, a memory, said from rote rather than the anticipation of coming home.
     How had Winnie ended up in a warden’s custody if she’d been born in the clouds—and if this place was safe from the Commission? Had she run away from home and straight into trouble? How would someone run from a place like this? It would have taken a vessel, and how would a kid gain access without being stopped?
     “I don’t like this place.” Anise shivered in her long sleeves. Terras were most vulnerable when separated from the earth, which was their greatest strength. I had Vesper’s powers to balance me out, but Anise was nearly helpless.
     Birch was no better. His complaint about the Center had been the lack of roots. On the Mile we were thousands of miles above the topsoil, with mountains far below us, and the thinner air wasn’t making things easy. Jermay was holding his chest, trying to breathe in extra oxygen, and Birdie looked positively green. I would have expected her to fare better.
     “Collapse them.” Winnie gestured to the golems.
     We’d started to follow her off the platform, with Bijou and Xerxes clanging along behind us. Their size was protection, as was their appearance, and I didn’t savor the idea of venturing into unknown ter- ritory without our greatest assets. This was no time to field-test Klok’s repairs—we didn’t have a backup plan or an alternate means of escape.
     “Is their weight too much?” rat-tatted in blue letters across the screen Klok used to talk. “ “I have an uncon- ventionally high mass as well. Am I a dan- ger?” He actually wrote “Am I in danger,” but deleted it in favor of a question that focused less on his own fears.
     “This isn’t a place that welcomes new things,” Winnie said. “We’re showing them new faces. Don’t give them another reason to mistrust you.”
     I hit the switch on Bijou’s neck, which transformed him from a full-sized fire-breathing dragon into a toy-sized trinket that could be carried or worn.
     Jermay collapsed Xerxes, who took it as a personal insult and snapped at the nearest fingers. He would have struck skin if he hadn’t shrunk so fast. Once he was small enough, Xerxes climbed into Klok’s satchel, settling into the bottom so that it sagged. His version of a pout.
     “I guess this is as good as it gets.” Winnie sighed. Her eyes lingered on Klok with his new armor plating and the rest of us in whatever we’d been sleeping in the night before. “Don’t fall behind,” she said, then added, “This was a really bad idea,” under her breath.
     Falling behind was less a matter of moving slowly than a pressing need not to fall. With the clouds rising, it was easy to miss gaps and broken places in the platforms, or to step too close to the joints where they were connected one to another. Those small miscalculations meant stumbling, and that meant the possibility of falling farther than a body could survive. Anise was overthinking, her every stop a hesitant hop that left her tottering on each landing, and Jermay was no better. He tiptoed from one spot to the next, occasionally jumping when the fog allowed him to see a solid place to stand; then he’d pause to gasp for air again.
     “You get used to it,” Birdie assured him, steadying his arm. “I used to fall off the practice wire all the time.”
     I nodded, marveling at how easily she skipped from space to space without fear of missing a step, even though she was dizzy from the air pressure. She may not have been born one of the Flying Jeseks, but she moved as if she had been. She took up the spot behind Winnie, leading Jermay by the hand.
     I tried to step only where they did, but there was no dirt to show their footprints. I stepped through the mist straight off the pier, and would have vanished if Klok hadn’t been guarding my back. One of his telescopic hands dove after me, giving me a lifeline. He set me gently back on the walkway with the others.
     “Penn!” Anise screamed when I fell, but I was on solid ground so fast that she was still screaming once I was safe.
     “I’m fine.” I swatted at her hands as she checked me over.
     “We’ve barely gone twenty feet. How are we supposed to navigate this death trap?”
     “Children are taught the safe ways by following cable lines, all teth- ered together so they can’t fall if they stumble,” Winnie said.
     “I could make something to tie us together,” Birch offered.
     “No!” I snapped, angry that I’d earned another round of humili- ation. “I just need to catch my breath. Tying everyone together could make us all fall. I’ll watch where I’m going.”
     “Would you like me to carry you?” Klok displayed. “I can track the solids beneath the gas concealing them.”
     “I can deal with it.” I waved my hand through the clouds, opening a channel we could walk through, unobstructed. “Let’s just get where we’re going.”
     “Agreed,” Jermay said. “We’re being followed. Look over there.” He jerked his head.
     I cut my eyes to the side, following his. Not the best idea with the way the platforms were rocking.
     A shadow formed from nothing at the corner of my sight . . . no, not a shadow, a woman dressed in black wearing a shawl that covered her to her feet, where it mixed with the clouds, mingling like smoke among the white and trailing in her wake. She didn’t seem quite solid. The garment billowed with her movements and even when she was still, if the air picked up around her, making her appear more vision than human.
     “Her name’s Nafiza, but I’ve never seen her answer to it,” Winnie said.
     “She lives here?”
A stupid question, as one couldn’t casually happen upon the Mile. “You know how every town the train stopped in, there was always
     some kid with a legend about the bogeyman or that one house everyone avoids because they all swear there’s something wrong with the person inside?”
     “Yeah, so?”
     “Nafiza’s my bogeyman. She’s crazy. Ignore her.”
     We tried, but Nafiza certainly didn’t ignore us. She kept following, changing directions as we did. I wanted to turn aside and ask her what she wanted—and to assure her that we didn’t mean any harm—but as soon as I tried, Klok swept me back into the group with his arm hooked around my shoulders.
     Once we were off the docking rim, the Mile transitioned into rows of stacked cubes. Shipping containers. They were piled in different directions and soldered together into a warped city skyline. Some of them had been painted with swirls of white and blue and gray to blend in with the clouds, but most were rusting through, allowing dark browns to show. One of them was bright canary yellow, defying the idea of camouflage altogether. Below these sat an outdoor mall made of stands and storefronts. Grocery stores, clothing stores, offices that had no signs to say who was inside or what they did.
     Winnie led us toward the sort of place that sold everything, but nothing in particular. She pulled a cord on a bell near the counter, and a young boy came out of the back. He startled at our faces, all unknown to him. His own face made it clear that he was both surprised and wary, but once he found Winnie among us, he broke into a wide smile.
     “I know you!”
     He darted out from behind the counter and hugged her around the waist. Winnie smiled, too, laying her hand on top of his head.
     “I knew they were wrong when they said you were gone for good!” the boy said.
     “You’ve got taller,” Winnie said. Her happiness was genuine. She didn’t even wince at the pain of stretching her mouth. “I should have made you promise to stay little. I can’t toss you in the air anymore.”


     “Almost as tall as you, now. See?” He straightened up so his head touched Winnie’s nose. They looked very much alike, with the same sienna skin and dark eyes. His smile matched the one Winnie had before her face was torn, but surprisingly, he didn’t seem to notice that her face was scarred. “Who are your friends?”
     She didn’t have time to answer. The curtain behind the boy rustled, drawing her attention away from him and to an older girl who was emerging. She looked like Winnie, too, but taller and thinner. She wore her hair on top of her head in a braided knot that had been wrapped in a swatch of yellow cloth.
     Seeing her, Winnie went as silent as she’d been while traveling with The Show.
     “Dev? What’s all this racket?” the girl demanded. Her face was pinched and annoyed, and though I would have thought her barely any older than Jermay or myself, there were years in her eyes that didn’t show on her body. Life on the Mile must have been difficult. “I’ve told you not to bother—”
     She choked on her words as she, too, got a look at us. She backed up, trying to pull the boy with her, like she wanted to bolt and run.
     “Please don’t,” Anise said, hoping to stop her before she raised an alarm and dashed our hopes of finding help. “We’re not here to hurt anyone—please. Winnie said—”
     “Winnie?”
     The girl repeated Winnie’s name as though it were the sort of word respectable people avoided speaking in company.
     “Hello, Nola,” Winnie said over the top of Dev’s head. She made the name as much an improper slur as the girl had made hers, and smiled so wide that one of the sores on her face broke open. “Penn, say exactly what I tell you.”
     “What?”
“Just do it—and don’t change the script.” I nodded as Nola said, “Don’t you dare.”
     Winnie ignored her. “We’re travelers,” she said.
“We’re travelers,” I repeated.
Nola scowled; she gave up trying to pull Dev away. He’d grabbed on to the counter so she couldn’t move him.
“In need of assistance.”
“In need of assistance. Winnie, I don’t see—”
She cut me off with a Show gesture meant to remind me I shouldn’t deviate from her words.
“We need shelter and something to eat until we’re able to move on.” It felt ridiculous, but again, I parroted her words. The longer she spoke and the more I repeated, the deeper Nola’s scowl became and the brighter Dev’s smile. As I filled the air with Winnie’s words, I glanced at the others, wondering if they’d noticed some detail I had missed. Maybe this would make sense if I could find the right angle.
     They each shrugged. The only thing to do was keep going until Winnie was finished.
     “Please pardon us for intruding upon your hospitality; we’ve no choice but to ask,” we both said.
     When we finally stopped, Nola was furious—nearly shaking with it—and hiding what I thought was a bit of fear. She didn’t hide it well, and it certainly didn’t seem like she’d be answering our request for help in the affirmative, regardless of who did the asking.
     “If you don’t want to help us, we understand. We can—” Anise started. She never got to finish.
     “That’s not exactly an option, now is it?” Nola spat. She’d dug her fingers so deep into her arms, the skin was dented.
     “I don’t understand,” Anise said. “If you don’t want us here . . .”
     “It doesn’t matter what she wants,” Winnie said triumphantly. “She knows what she’s supposed to do, and we have a witness. Right, Dev?” Dev was beaming. He grabbed Winnie with one hand and Klok
     with the other, and tugged them toward the door. “Come on,” he said. “I’ll show you the way.”
     Watching a boy Dev’s size try to pull Klok anywhere was worth the confusion of the situation, but Klok seemed happy to oblige his game. The rest of us followed them, with Nola stomping along at the rear.
     Jermay fell into line from the doorway, where he’d been watching the platforms outside.
     “That woman’s still watching us.” He nodded toward Nafiza across the street.
     “Just pretend you can’t see her,” Winnie warned us. “We’re better off that way.”
     Our caravan of feet traveled through streets made of rope and panel boards. These weren’t empty like the ones where we’d landed. Clusters of people whispered and pointed as we passed, some ushering children ahead of them into buildings woven into walls that made up sections of the city. Nola marched into the lead, arms crossed, bottled-up anger in every stomping step.
     “What’s going on?” I whispered to Winnie. “Who are these people?” “My family. We’re going to see my grandfather.”

Call Forth the Waves
Available NOW!

purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads

The Series: Celestine

Click on the book cover to Look Inside the book on Amazon and read an excerpt.


Sing Down the Stars [1]

**FREE on Kindle Unlimited**

When they arrived, they spread across the sky like a sea of jellyfish—silent, unknown, alien. When they left, a year later, it seemed as if nothing had changed. But soon, certain girls were born with peculiar abilities—inhuman abilities. An international commission was formed to investigate…and fear began to spread. Families were swept from their homes and, one by one, any girl that was different disappeared.

Penn Roma’s four sisters were born with these dreaded powers: they control the elements of fire, water, earth, and wind.

Penn is the unimaginable fifth child, one with the power to call down the stars.

Her father has hidden his daughters’ powers for sixteen years. Then, one explosive night, Penn loses everything: her sisters are taken, her family destroyed. Now, Penn must do the unthinkable and use the power she’s spent a lifetime suppressing. To save her family and herself, she must travel to the very heart of her world’s darkness and discover the truth about her terrifying gift.

[Published 6 October 2015, 381 pages]

About the Author

L.J. Hatton is a Texan, born and raised.  She sometimes refers to the towns she’s lived in by the movies filmed in them, and if she wasn’t working as a professional pretender, she’d likely be holed up in a lab somewhere doing genetics research.

She is also the author of Sing Down the Stars, the first volume in her Celestine series.

Follow L.J. Hatton:

Visit the author's blog Visit the author on Twitter Visit the author on their Amazon page Visit the author on GoodReads

Giveaway

Visit Skyscape/Amazon and enter to win one of three e-book copies of Sing Down The Stars.

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