Keep reading for more on WINTER’S SIREN, author Krystal Jane Ruin, some exciting teasers, three exclusive excerpts, a Q&A with the author, and a really fantastic giveaway! You won’t want to miss out!
by Krystal Jane Ruin
Publication date: November 1st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.
His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.
As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.
But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.
(a dark reimagining of Swan Lake)
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Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she’s not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net.
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Excerpt & Teasers
Krystal Jane Ruin
Frosty air nips at my nose. I stand almost knee deep in fresh fallen snow, letting the diffused sunlight hit my face. There is no sound. Peace settles over me. In this moment, I truly feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere.
Something cold and wet explodes on the back of my neck. For a moment, I fear the worst. A boil. Pus. My father’s description of my mother’s face plays out in my mind.
But then I hear Andrew laughing behind me. I touch the rough skin on my neck and bring a shaky and damp glove to my face. Snow. It’s just snow.
It’s the middle of the day, and my face is uncovered. To make everything worse, it’s bright outside. Freezing and overcast, but bright.
My hands fly to my face automatically.
“Are you going to let me get away with that?” Andrew laughs again.
I twist around and peek at him through my fingers.
He stands before me, his arms spread wide. A thick coat covers his arms, and in his gloved hands, he holds another snowball. “You have two seconds to stop me!”
I flip my hood over my head and drop down to gather snow in my hands.
Another snowball bursts against my head. The wetness plasters my hair to my face. I hurl my deformed ball in his direction. It misses him completely.
Another wad of snow lands on my neck while I gather a larger, rounder ball of snow. “Cheating!” I throw my handful at him. It lands weakly by his knees.
“Here, let me help you.” He climbs towards me and gathers a nice, solid ball in his fist. He hands this to me, and then stands back and spreads his arms wide again. “Try again.”
I throw it square at his nose.
“Ow!” He covers his face and cries out dramatically. “It’s in my eyes!”
“Stop it! Are you serious?” I navigate closer to him, and he falls back into the snow. I run to his side and hear laughter bubbling out from behind his hands. “Jerk!” I shovel snow over his body, and he laughs all the while.
Then he goes still. I stop.
“Andrew?” I lean in close. “Andrew?”
He lunges out of his shallow grave and tackles me to the ground.
A panicked scream leaves my body as he lands on top of me, heavy and warm. Then a strange sound comes out of my mouth. Something that’s never come out of it before. Laughter.
His braid hangs down, inches from my sunken cheek. Suddenly aware of how close his head is to mine, the laughter dies in my throat, and I slap my gloves to my cheeks.
“You have such beautiful eyes,” he says.
My breath is trapped in my chest. It hurts. I don’t know how much he can see of my face—my hood is pulled low and my hair and hands cover everything else—but I fear it’s too much.
“Andrew . . .”
Krystal Jane Ruin
The musicians set up in the orchestra pit and start warming up. The off-key kaleidoscope of music rises into the warm and stuffy air. I stand on the back edge of the stage, watching dust motes drift down from the rafters.
The first rehearsal. Time is dwindling much too quickly.
The urge to run for it is imprinted on my bones. But my jailer waits for me nearby in the darkness, like always. I know from experience how quick he is.
Muted footsteps sound from behind me. I spin around and force a wide grin on my face, expecting Dillion. I find Andrew instead, and my forced smile melts into a real one.
“You’re here.” I scan the shadows behind him, but there’s no sign of Devi. He came alone. Good. I was afraid he might have run off to spend some time with the little monster. “I missed you at dinner. I hope you can join us next time.”
He returns my smile with a warm one of his own. “I can certainly try.” His eyes roam the backstage area. Parts of old sets are tucked away close to the walls, collecting dust. Parts of new sets sit drying in the middle of the room. The thick scent of latex paint sticks to everything.
“Where did you run off to earlier?” I ask. “I am sorry to have scared you away.”
His smile starts to fade. “You didn’t scare me. I just . . . worry about her.”
Irritation punches me in the ribs. “Yes, I worry about her as well. She’s so guarded. It’s so hard to get close to her.” My throat tightens. Why do you even care?
A haunted look passes through his eyes. “Yes, it is.” He clears his throat. “Is this the first official rehearsal? Are you excited?”
Excited is not a word I would use about anything pertaining to my life. “Yes, very much. I love the new music. It’s so emotive and beautiful.”
“I can’t wait to hear it.” His gaze flickers past me to someone on the stage.
I turn and see Dillion standing on the other end, surrounded by singers and dancers, watching us, his expression guarded. He nods when he catches us staring and turns to say something to the dancer closest to him. They both laugh.
“You and Dillion seem like you’re getting along well.” Andrew’s gaze shifts back to my face.
I wave his comment away. “Yes. Viktor wants me to make him feel welcome and special. It’s all very shallow, though.” I watch him closely and decide to test the waters on his end. “I’d much rather spend that time with you.”
Krystal Jane Ruin
“Devi.” The booming voice of our benefactor startles me into the deep shadows stretching out from the wall. I sink into them and cover my face.
“Devi . . . please let me apologize for my reaction yesterday,” he says.
Was it only yesterday? I suppress a groan and bite back the pinching desire to scream at him. The words expand in my throat, a large ball of them blocking the flow of air into my lungs.
“Devi, I am so sorry. I didn’t know. You don’t deserve that kind of reaction.”
Of course I do. I see his feet step in my direction, and my insides seize.
“I understand if you cannot forgive me just yet, but I am very ashamed of myself.”
“Harrison!” Cheyenne intercedes, though unknowingly I’m sure. For once her annoying, gushing voice doesn’t twist my veins. “There you are.” She pauses, and I can feel her eyes penetrate my curtain of hair. “The orchestra has arrived for their first rehearsal. If you’d still like to meet them . . .”
Harrison clears his throat and turns away from me. “Yes. Yes. Thank you.”
I let out a breath as she pulls him away.
This is torture. Opening night cannot come soon enough. I peel myself away from Fawn’s intoxicating singing and wander up to the library.
In the center of the large, expansive space is a long, rectangular aquarium full of colorful fish. I sit cross-legged on the floor in front of them and watch as they swim in lazy circles around the tall, stone castle in the center.
It’s quiet in here, and the sound of the water relaxes me.
And here I finish the first stanza of the main score of my opera, singing to the fish as if they can understand me. “See how hard the wind blows. See how fast I turn to dust. See how hard my heart is hurting . . .”
A few of them slow, it seems, to listen.
When I run out of songs, I stand and move to leave.
My father stands in the doorway, leaning against the frame. His eyelids are heavy with exhaustion, but there’s a light in his expression that I’ve never seen before.
“Father . . .”
He straightens. “I know these guests are causing you stress.”
“I’m all right.” At least, I’m used to it.
A ghost of a smile touches his face. “No, Devi, you’re not. It pains me a great deal to know you are suffering.”
I drop my eyes to my feet. It pains me more to know what my face puts him through every day. And what it reminds him of.
Q: Why paranormal and what other genres are you interested in writing?
A: I’ve always been drawn to dark stories. Some of my first memories are of me trying to scare myself for some reason. Haha. My writing tastes have always been a lot more narrow than my reading tastes. But I would like to experiment with some dark historical fantasy and supernatural horror. I might talk myself into trying another high fantasy story one day.
Q: If you were a teacher, what subject would you teach?
A: Shakespearean Drama! But I’d also be happy to do plain Shakespeare or plain Drama. Either one of those would be most up my alley. If a class existed that was dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe, I’d also be interested in that.
Q: If you could live in any novel, which one would you choose and why?
A: Is it weird if I say I want to live in Middle Earth? I read The Hobbit a long time ago, but I’ve only recently watched all the movies, and I’m obsessed with them! I hate the thought of giant spiders and trolls and orcs, but I wouldn’t leave Hobbiton anyway, and I think I’d love it there. Also, no creatures there. Bonus. (I mean, if Gandalf was with me, I might could be talked into going on an adventure.)
Q: Are you a plotter, panster, or hybrid writer?
A: I often pants the beginnings of stories or pants my outline as I write, but I always have a clear plan and direction I’m going in. That said, I have to have a finished outline at some point. It helps me remember little details better, and I write faster with one, as well.
Q: What is your mutant power?
A: Freezing everything! Don’t ask what for. I have a long-standing fantasy of water manipulation, and I would just love that. In my head, it’s like a cross between Ice Man and Storm. Ice Storm anyone? No?
Q: What three movies would you take to a deserted island to watch over and over again for a year?
A: Easiest question ever. The Little Mermaid, Clueless, and The Craft. They are my favorite top three movies of all time, but I feel sorry for anyone who knows me after returning from such a trip. I have a really bad habit of quoting movies, and I’d likely have them all completely memorized by then.
Q: What inspired you to write WINTER’S SIREN?
A: Usually, this is the hardest question ever, but I love fairy tales, I love retellings, and I love the theatre: ballet, musicals, opera. My love of theatre directly influenced the direction of this story. You don’t want to know what it looked like before.
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