Thursday, December 15, 2011

Warring Spirits (book preview)

There’s a party going on!! Historical fiction author April W Gardner is celebrating the release of Warring Spirits, the second book in her Creek Country Saga! Everyone who purchases Warring Spirits on Amazon on Thursday, December 15, 2011, will be entered into SIX different drawings for some cool and unique prizes. That’s right—ONE purchase. SIX chances to win.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS. She’s also giving away personalized, signed book plates (labels for the inside cover). One for every book you purchase. That’s a lot of bang for your buck. Order today and cross a few names off your Christmas list! So what’s this book about? Warring Spirits is the sequel to Wounded Spirits, April’s Grace Award winning debut novel. 


Here’s a bit about today’s featured novel:  Where blood is spilt, unexpected love may bloom. In 1816 Georgia, escaped slaves control the land just beyond the American border in Las Floridas. Lost somewhere between white and black worlds, Milly follows hope to the only place that can offer her refuge—the place Georgians are calling Negro Fort. The first, sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. Death would be more welcome. Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters. Forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh—Phillip primes himself for battle.  But inside, a war already rages—return for the woman he thought lost to him or concede her to the enemy she loves; follow orders or follow his heart.

Wanna know more about these great prizes? Get on over to APRIL'S PLACE to see what all the hoopla's about!


Book excerpts are a great way to get a feel for the author’s writing style, so I asked April to share a scene with us. Here’s a taste of chapter one when the hero and heroine meet.


Ears finely tuned, Phillip crept toward his cap which lay before a scanty shrub. The bush shook violently. He jerked his musket up then back down as a woman sprang from concealment.  Her skirt snagged, abruptly halting her flight. As her hands battled to extricate the fabric, she lifted her bonneted head, exposing large, fearful eyes and a face which glowed pale in the waning daylight. Unless the encroaching night was playing tricks on him, this woman was white. Not the midnight skin of a runaway or the smooth olive of a Spaniard, but white. Nearly as white as Phillip.  He settled the butt of his musket at his feet. “Ma’am? What are you doing out here?” Her struggle grew more desperate until the sound of ripping preceded her tumble. Mostly hidden by palmettos, she scooted backward on the ground. Still many yards distant, Phillip reached a hand to her, unable to imagine why she might be afraid of him. “I won’t hurt—”


A black man, large as a bear, darted from behind a thick pine to Phillip’s right. His sprint carried him across Phillip’s path and directly toward the woman.  “No! Get away.” Her words came out a garbled croak.


“Halt!” Phillip flipped the weapon back into position and aimed it at the slave’s chest.  Unfazed, he kept moving and would have intercepted the woman except for the stone she hurled. It thudded off his shoulder and stopped him dead in his tracks. He swiveled to face Phillip, who had shortened the distance between them, his eye never leaving the musket’s sites. “One more step, and before the night's out, I’ll bury you where you stand.”


The man’s shoulders rose and fell with each rapid breath, but his stony face showed no fear. “Then you bettah do it. Otherwise, it’ll be you what's buried. See, I plan to make it to that fort, and losin’ my life to do it is no mattuh to me.”


Phillip’s brother, Dixon, had often said that a man who didn’t value his own life made the most dangerous of enemies. This one wouldn’t live long enough to become that. Phillip leveled his musket’s barrel at the big man’s heart. In response, he took a single step forward. “Don’t shoot!” The woman stumbled forward, placing herself between the runaway and the iron-tipped muzzle.


Reflexively, he skipped to the side to maintain his aim on the man. “Step away, ma’am. Don’t want you hurt.” What was she thinking? She mirrored his movements, keeping herself between them. “No one needs to get hurt.” “Move away from him, and let me handle this.” 


She faced Phillip, her large brown eyes pleading. “Let him go. Please.”


“Woman, are you crazy?” The black man voiced Phillip’s own thoughts. She was either insane or suffering from over-exposure. Weapon still trained on the runaway, Phillip took a quick step forward and flailed at her, trying to grab her by the arm. She skittered to the side, and he swiped nothing but air. “Get out of the way,” he snapped. Not one of his men would have dared defy his command, yet this woman stood her ground. She backed further away from him and dangerously close to the black man. 


“He didn’t run a hundred miles just to be shot down defenseless in the woods a day away from the only chance at freedom he’ll ever have.” Her voice shook, but her rigid back told Phillip she wouldn’t give in any time soon.


With his mind concocting a way to move the woman and save both their necks, Phillip was only half-listening. “What are you talking about?” Although shadows fell across her face, Phillip didn’t miss the softening of her eyes or the quiver of her lips. Her passion for this slave’s freedom furrowed Phillip’s brow.


“If you were fighting for your life, wouldn’t you want a fair shot at it?” she asked. Like a Red Stick’s arrow, her soft-spoken question pierced him, immobilizing his thoughts to anything beyond one image—his brother’s doom-stricken features and the blood-thirsty warriors that swarmed him.


“Yes,” he rasped. Surprise widened her eyes and parted her lips—a lovely image to return to after his disturbing trip to the past. For one instant, Phillip would have done anything she asked. He lowered his musket and stretched a hand toward her...


Sound intriguing? Head over to APRIL'S PLACE to learn more! Or go straight to AMAZON to get your copy.
--April W Gardner is a multi-published author and the founder and senior editor of the fun literary site, Clash of the Titles.