Well now you’ve all seen it over at GrimDark Magazine (if you haven’t then you should go over and have a look, because there’s also an exclusive mini-interview with me on how I wrote the battle scenes for Nomad ), I can share the cover for The Summer Goddess (by Jason Deem) here and all over the place in all its glory.
And here’s how it starts :
White sails came with the sunset.
Asta saw them first, as she was coming down from the high peak where her mother lived. At first she thought they were birds, the great white gliding sea hawks, bigger than eagles, which floated above the turbulent eastern sea. But they were too low, moved with too much purpose, crossing back and forth ahead of the opposing wind.
It took her a long moment, staring into the darkening sea with her back to the fading sun, to recognise them as ships. Her father had told her about ships, but her own people didn’t sail. And there was nothing beyond the sea, so how could there be ships?
Asta quickened her stride, stones turning under her bare feet as she hastened down the narrow, twisting track towards the bush where she had tethered her favoured roan. From here she couldn’t see the ships any more, could barely see the ocean due to the rise and fall of the land. By the time she cantered to the top of the cliffs and reined in, the sky had darkened to violet and the sails had vanished. Candle light flickered in the windows of the village, strung out along the top of the cliff, and in the lower windows of the tower.
She left her ride in the corral with the rest of the horses. The cliff path was crumbling in places, and she had told her people it wasn’t safe to ride at night. She wasn’t about to disobey her own protocol. She took a torch from the stash in the barn, and lit it with her candlestones. It wasn’t full dark yet; the twilight was long in this part of the world, but the light made her feel more secure.
She peered out to sea once more, but the light that cast a halo around her left the ocean dark, sighing against the rocks. No sails, and no ship could put in to shore here. That was why her father had chosen this place, built western-style walls for their tribe to hide behind, here at the furthest end of the world. No enemy could reach them here.
Still Asta felt exposed, as she made her way down the zigzagging path hewn from the side of the cliff. She trailed one hand along the sea-smoothed rock walls, feeling for the markers she had carved to warn others, in the dark, of the patches where the path was wearing away. The cold salt spray brushed her face, throwing her damp hair across her cheek, and she shivered. Even on the hottest days it was chilly in the shadows.
She traversed the last switchback, sticking close to the wall. She didn’t need the torch any more; the lights of the tower were bright enough to guide her home. The tower was circular, and it seemed to grow out of the living rock. It was hard to tell where nature ended and human work began. The door stood open, spilling light like a beacon across the sea, and Asta knew that meant her brother was waiting for her. Which meant he was worried. She quickened her stride.
You can add The Summer Goddess to your to-read list on Goodreads today, if you’re on Goodreads!