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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Exclusive Cover Reveal & Chapter Excerpt: Oh, That Shotgun Sky (A Novella of The Songs of Sefate) by Sarah Chorn (by Mihir Wanchoo)

 


As a reader and a fan, I can certainly say it’s an extraordinary amount of pleasure to be able to interact with authors and to hear them talk about their craft, their books and what plans they have for the future. During one such recent chat with Sarah Chorn, I happened to mention how much I had enjoyed her prose and worldbuilding skills in Of Honey And Wildfires


This was a story that managed to combine LGBTQ themes within a western premise whilst also exploring issues of financial & corporate colonialism. All of these aspects were so well ensconced within the story which basically focused on three characters whose lives were differently affected by shine. To know more read my review and then grab a copy if you haven’t already.


After finishing this story, I was wondering if she had any more plans for the world. To my delight, she revealed quite a few details. To say I was entranced, would be to put it mildly. After she revealed many fascinating plans, she also quite generously offered to allow us to do the cover reveal for a novella that aim to serve as a bridge story between Of Honey And Widfires and its thematic sequel. 

If you missed the significance of that statement. Let me reiterate, “We the readers are getting a SEQUEL to OF HONEY AND WILDFIRES!!!”

The sequel is titled GLASS RHAPSODY and here’s what Sarah had to say about it:

 Glass Rhapsody is the conclusion of the story started on Of Honey and Wildfires. It both ends that story, but opens up the wider world, which I will explore in future books. Of Honey and Wildfires tore everyone apart. In Glass Rhapsody, I aim to heal them.”

But that’s not the main reason for this post. Today we have the exquisite pleasure of revealing the title, cover and blurb of the first bridge novella in The Songs Of Sefate series.

 So checkout the blurb and the glorious cover below (with design & typography by the author herself). Plus as a bonus, Sarah is also allowing us to post the first chapter of this novella. So this is a double gift for us all.


Pre-order Oh, That Shotgun Sky over HERE

 Official Blurb: Days after the Boundary falls, six strangers converge in a one-horse town, all of them on the run. Some from the past, some avoiding the future.

When men from Shine Company arrive to reclaim their own, these desperate travelers have to decide if they stand with the law, or against it. 

Men pull the trigger and blood spills.

Fate pulls the strings and everybody dances.




Sally Morten

The End

“The fuck was that?” 

A big Fate-damned flash, that’s what it was. And then a bit of burning, maybe, like someone lit a match and held it to my arm. No, tingling more like. Pinpricks. Similar to when my leg falls asleep, and now it’s waking up again. That slow slide of sensation, just enough to remind me I’m alive. 

But I ain’t never seen anything like that. Never seen a flash so bright it blinded. It wasn’t like the sun hitting a mirror. More like the sun making itself real comfortable inside my eyes. 

I look around the room I share with Jess. It’s small. Barely enough space for two tiny beds and a peg for us to hang the two flimsy white dresses we’re each allowed. There’s a mirror over on the far wall, and a small table covered in what finery we’re given, all of which we pay for, one way or another. Makeup, rouge, some necklaces, things to make ourselves look pretty. As pretty as camp whores can look, anyway.

I peer out our small, cracked window. The camp outside is in an uproar. Men are shouting at each other, a few are running scared as rabbits, while others give chase. Predators and prey are sorting themselves out. Someone down the way throws a rock through the supply store’s window. A few are taking their bedrolls and tools, preparing to hit the trail.

Suddenly, it don’t matter about indenture. Don’t matter about servitude. The world is upside-down. It’s going to get bad. I can feel it in my blood. Whatever that flash was, it stirred things up, and I’m not sure this is a place that should be stirred up. 

We aren’t protected here. Not really. Not with these thin walls and our minders more concerned with keeping us in than the world out. 

We are surrounded by men with all kinds of powerful hungers. 

All this anxious energy awakens my soul. A certain dark need I’ve spent most of my life ignoring lifts its head. I learned long ago that desire is as fatal as dreams. Can’t touch the stars, no use trying. And yet, I feel it all the same. I look out the window, and I long to be with those men, taking what I will, feral as a wolf, baring my fangs as I go.

I look at my room again. My cage. This place where I am kept. 

The man I was with is snoring on the cot, face down, big purple ass hanging out. Don’t give a shit. He knows ain’t nothin’ gonna hurt him here. Over on the desk, Jess is snorting some shine powder. One of her regulars pays our minders in coin, then brings her a little extra if she does some special things to him. He cleared out a while ago, and Jess is moaning as the shine hits her.

I hear shouting from somewhere downstairs. Another fight. Common enough in a place like this. Men get drunk. Men get high. Men get overwhelmed by passion. Fists fly, but there’s something different about this one. Maybe it’s due to all that chaos outside, but this fight seems louder, more important somehow. A shiver plays the vertebrae of my spine like piano keys. 

I’ve been living underwater, detached and unaware. It’s easier that way. But this heady, intoxicating moment has driven me to the surface of my still lake. I am alive. I am fully present, no longer drifting. A gasp of pain, of burning awareness, steals past my lips, and suddenly, I’m hungry, but it’s not food I want. It’s sensation. I long to breathe in the ripe air. I want to feel for the first time in years. I want to know what it is to have a soul and a body. Not one or the other, but both together.

The door to my room opens and Grace is there, eyes wide, big, round belly protruding so uncomfortably. Most whores drink some herbs if they catch child, but not Grace. She never does things the way most people would. She decided to hold on and fought hard for every damn day of her pregnancy. Seems foolish to me. After all, she’ll not even have the babe long enough to hold it before it’s given away. All that pain for more pain. Pointless. 

“It’s time,” she says. Her lungs are heaving, shoulders shaking, and she’s got a wild look about her like she’s part animal, untamed and unpredictable. She’s been given a thirst for blood, and she is eager for something to sink her teeth into. 

I realize, looking at her, that it is possible to carry life and death in the same body. In the same breath. And that is a powerful thing indeed. 

“Time for what?” I ask. 

“That big flash! They’re saying fuckin’ Boundary fell! It’s over! We aren’t trapped anymore! The whole damn world is ours! It’s time, Sally! We’re free!” 

Free. 

That’s such a dangerous word. Sure does look pretty sitting in the space between us like that, all glittering and gem-covered. But I can’t help but wonder how much pain is on the other side of it. After all, even diamonds cut.

There’s screaming now. Women running up and down the halls. Men downstairs hollering fit to raise the dead. Outside, the camp is in pandemonium. Miners running all over hell and back with arms full of shit they don’t own. 

Seems like panic is easier on the back than a shovel.

How can something end so fast? How can all this be… over?

It’s impossible. There ain’t much I know. Don’t have my letters or numbers. Don’t have any learning. I can sniff for sour air in the mines, and I can lay on my back. What I know is this: I will always be an owned creature, and the Company is eternal. 

“Come on!” Grace shouts. 

Jess is swaying on her feet. Real bad time to get high, but it’s too late now. “Is we…” A little giggle slips past her lips and her eyes start rolling while her body twitches. 

Before me, Grace is brimming with wildness. 

I’ve got… 

What the fuck do I have?

“Ain’t none of you bitches going nowhere!” I hear James shout downstairs. “You is owned creatures. Boundary may have damn well fallen, but you’re still property of Shine Company right good. This don’t change your situation one bit. Men still gotta work. Gotta fuck.” 

It’s true. We’re all racing around like this changes things, but it don’t. 

But it could. 

This moment could change everything

Possibility is a knife. I’m balanced on its edge. I can feel it cutting.

Another scream.

I recognize that one. It’s Eloise. I’d know her anywhere. My other half. My beating heart. My reason. 

I can’t sit here pondering my navel while Eloise is down there screaming. She’s hurt, and I can’t let that happen. Not now that there’s a choice. I don’t have to listen to her scream. I can go to her. We can run away together. Chase the horizon and keep going ‘til we lose ourselves in all that strange. We can find a place, just the two of us, and we can live in peace. 

This does not have to be our life.

The thought is heady as a drug. 

A pistol shoots off, and my mind is made. I’m done being ordered. Being owned. Eloise is downstairs, and I mean to go to her. 

Grace has a knife in her hand. It’s long as her forearm and fearsomely sharp. How long has she been holding it? “It’s time, Sally,” she says, voice quieter now. Eyes hard. “Sometimes we gotta fight for what we want. I ain’t having this baby in this damn place. I ain’t giving it up for no man and no company. I want my child to grow up with the kinds of dreams that don’t smother. It’s now or never.” 

Another knife appears in her other hand. Where is she getting them from?

I look at Jess, but she’s passed out and I don’t have time to lug her around, not with Eloise screaming and guns going off. As Grace said, it’s now or never.

More gunfire. In the hall behind Grace, whores are everywhere, and men are running around, pulling up their pants. Pure chaos. Something is burning. The air is full of smoke. Everything I ever knew is lit up but good.

I realize I’m crying. 

I grab the knife from Grace. 

It’s fuckin’ time.

1 comments:

Bob/Sally said...

Yes! So excited to give this a read! I loved OF HONEY AND WILDFIRES.😊

Thanks for sharing. :)

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