Monday, 25 April 2011

FROSTFIRE TEASER

Hi everyone! Happy Monday. Here, for your edification and delight, is the promised FrostFire teaser! Tell me what you think.

****
“Open it,” he said.
I bent my head and fumbled with the hairy twine that held the wrappings in place. From the corner of my eye kept track of his movements as he stood, putting the pack on.
He said, “I don’t know what you expected to happen next, but it’s obvious it was nothing good. Listen to me now. I’m going to make you an offer, which you are free to accept or refuse as you will.”
My hands stopped working on the package as I looked up. The wind swept over the hillside and stirred the leaves behind him into a silvery-green cloud, and sent fine strands of pale hair drifting around his face.
“What offer?”
“Join us. Join me. Become a Hill Guard.”
I felt my mouth drop open. “You – you can’t mean that. I’ve already attacked you once. I’m not safe to be around normal people. I’m cursed.”
“I don’t believe in curses,” he told me, eyes fixed on my face. “I don’t believe in magic, or demons. I believe in choice. Whatever you’ve been told, whoever has hurt you, whatever past haunts you, you can chose to leave it behind. I know it, Frost. I saw who you are today. Your bravery saved those women.”
I began to shake my head, but he held up his hand, silencing me. “With some training I believe you’d be a great warrior. I can teach you to channel this battle rage that affects you. I can teach you to fight your fear and overcome it. But it can’t happen until you take control of your own life. You have to chose to stop running. You have to chose to believe in me.” He smiled, and my breath caught in my throat. “I already believe in you.”
“You don’t know me,” I whispered. The words were nearly swept away in the rising wind. “You don’t know what I’ve done.”
“I don’t know you very well, yet,” he corrected, still smiling. “I saw enough today to know that you’re a remarkable woman. Decent, kind and brave. I don’t believe that you’ve done anything truly wrong. I don’t believe you could.”
I had to look away, clenching my jaw. He was wrong, so wrong. Yet... it meant so much to hear someone say that, believe that about me. My own mother would not have made such a claim on my behalf.
I heard the rustle of cloth and the squeak of leather and suddenly he was kneeling there before me, showing me the golden brown and golden and silver-blonde streaks on the top of his head as his long fingers brushed mine aside on the forgotten parcel. He swiftly unknotted the twine, peeling back a layer of sackcloth.
I sucked in a shocked breath as I saw what lay neatly packed beneath it.
My pack. My hunting knives. My snares. My water-skin and dried meat.
My father’s axe.
Everything I owned in the world. Everything I had thought lost, forever.
Trembling, I closed my fingers around the cold steel and smooth wood of the axe haft. “You found it.”
“I’ve been wanting to return it to you. Other things kept coming up,” he said. I felt heat rising in my cheeks as I remembered my repeated escape attempts. “Now you know I mean what I say. You can go if you want and never see me or my men again. I won’t stop you. It’s up to you, Frost.”
His hand closed around mine on the shaft of the axe and for the second time, our fingers entwined. It was so natural that I did not question it. He knelt up so that our faces were level. Our eyes met.
He touched his lips to mine.
It was a brotherly kiss. A mere brush of mouth against mouth. And yet everything went still. The wind seemed to die as golden sunlight wrapped me up, trapping me in a veil of warmth. A songbird trilled, and the noise stretched out endlessly, rippling in silence. I tasted mint, and something deeper, wilder, something I had never tasted before.
Then it was over. His hand released mine, and he stood, towering over me again. I gazed down at my tingling fingers, still clasping the axe handle.
“You know where to find us,” he said. He hesitated for a moment, then murmured. “I’ll be waiting for you.” I listened to his footsteps move away, straining to hear them until they faded, lost in the voice of the wind.
I sat there for a long time, alone among the gently stirring trees. Something stirred and shifted in my chest too, unfolding beneath my breastbone. It ached, but the pain was sweet. Pain meant life. Something I had no name for was coming alive inside me. Something like hope, or happiness, or belief – none of those things, or all of them. I had thought such a feeling lost forever, just like my father’s axe. And just like the axe, it was now returned to me. By Luca.
  
****

24 comments:

Ashley said...

I don't know if this is a positive thing or not. Because it was amazing. It's all the things I love about you and your books. BUT, I want to read it. I want to own it. I want to have it in my hands like, yesterday. But, it doesn't even come out for EVER!!! Ahh!

Zoe, I bow in the face of your brilliance. (and, that whole UK is too far for me to be a stalker tihng... Be grateful. ;) )

I think I'm going to keep reading and rereading this post until my eyes bleed...

Zoë Marriott said...

Thank you, Ashley! I'm glad you like it - it's a bit nerve-wracking, especially since my editor hasn't even seen this yet!

I'm used to writing books a couple of years in advance of the pub. date, so to me it seems like hardly any time at all before it comes out. Sorry for the additional suspense, though.

Raimy-rawr said...

omg Zoe. Can I haz more?!?!
Its amazing! Its not out for like years though is it?! You know how much I'll be stomping my feet for this!
You are one talented lady! x

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks, Raimy. But no, you can not haz more - 'specially since the whole thing might have to be re-written again before it sees the light of day! That's why it's a *teaser*.

Katie-Lynn said...

I swear if it's more than a year until this book comes out, I'll build a time machine just to read it. I swear I'll do it!

Zoë Marriott said...

Katie-Lynn: if you do, can I please borrow it once you've finished? I could use a time machine for several very good reasons.

Ashley said...

No apologies necessary. I like the extra anticipation. Not that I really need MORE, because I'm already dying for it, but...

Megha Z said...

Zoe, I love you. AND THIS IS THE REASON WHY.

STUPID EFFING PUBLISHERS NOT CHANGING THE RELEASE DATE TO, LIKE, TOMORROW OR SOMETHING!!!!

I can't wait :)

Isabel said...

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG.

I needed to do that. Now I can say something rational... maybe.

Zoe, this is AMAZING. AHH!!!!! Such relatable characters -- you describe emotions in your main character that I can really sympathize with, such as around this part: I had to look away, clenching my jaw. He was wrong, so wrong. Yet... it meant so much to hear someone say that, believe that about me.

I think the reason that I love your work so much (and I'm not bragging here -- it will take me a while to become as great a writer as you are, Zoe!) is because I have a very similar writing style to yours. A lot of people have mentioned it to me before, and the structure of how you write, how you phrase things, your detail and the way you describe things -- it's all really familiar to me. Also the way you describe how the main character is feeling, and what they do in reaction to this. It's amazing, Zoe. You are an incredible writer with a very unique voice. I can't believe how long I'm going to have to wait to read this book. I want it so badly!!! I WANTS MOARRR!!!!!

Zoë Marriott said...

Megha and Isabel: LOL - OK, very glad you like it! But remember, this book isn't even edited yet, so it couldn't come out tomorrow no matter what - and over the next year hopefully Walker Books will be designing an amazing book cover and other things that will make the book beautiful, while I'm working with my editor to make it a beautiful story. Plus, it's now only a couple of months to wait for Shadows on the Moon. Just focus on that.

Megha said...

I know, I know... :(

I don't want to wait. I'm a patient person, but with books? Not really. But still, I can't wait to read SotM. I'm so glad I'm going to be buying a copy because I KNOW I'll read, reread and repeat :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Me either! Oh, well. I hope you do like it, and re-read it often so that you get your money's worth.

Isabel said...

I know -- I can't wait for SotM to come out, and I can't wait to see what the FF cover will be like! I'm definitely going to order it -- there's no way I'm going to wait an extra year for it to come out here. No siree! When do you think we'll know what the cover is? (Not for a while, I suppose.)

Zoë Marriott said...

I should think it would be a good while before we'll see a cover for FF, but of course I'll share it with you as soon as I can.

Vivienne said...

Wow - that is brilliant. I can't wait to read more.

Zoë Marriott said...

Thank you, Ducky!

bfree15 said...

Lost my internet connection for 5 days, sooo glad the problem has been sorted out now. But what a post to come back to, I loved it!! Can't wait for FF to come out. Only 68 days until SotM comes out! Woot

Zoë Marriott said...

And you survived! You're a better man than I am - I'd go nuts after about twelve hours. Glad you liked the teaser!

Isabel said...

Bfree, that is my worst nightmare. (Computer-related nightmare, besides losing my one and only WIP file. ;)) Although a little while ago my Gmail wasn't working on this computer for an entire week! (I'm sure you might remember that, Zoe. It was not fun.) 68 days!!! So exciting!!! Although I'm going to be in South Africa on July 4th. :( (I know -- poor me. I'm going to freaking South Africa!) Divergent comes out very soon, too!

bfree15 said...

Sorry I just realised something, wasn't Luca a female in the last FF teaser, have you changed her into a male now? Or am I just getting confused?

Zoë Marriott said...

Well spotted! Read this: http://thezoe-trope.blogspot.com/2011/02/i-thought-i-could-flyso-why-did-i-drown.html

And all will become clear.

bfree15 said...

Oh I see so they were the two characters you "pushed together".
Maybe I was a bit slow not to see that in the first place but all is clear now thank you.

Zoë Marriott said...

Yeah, basically. I swapped all the characters around, changed everyone's gender apart from the main character (who stayed a girl) and one secondary character, and the story fell into place.

Anonymous said...

Wowza babe! It's gorgeous! ;)

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