A (Fifth) Sneak Peek Into A Wounded Name

April 13, 2013 at 9:26 am (A Wounded Name, Giveaway) (, , , , )

I have a thing for prime numbers.

Just to let you know, today is the LAST DAY to enter the giveaway for the signed ARC and swag! After this, it’ll be a while before another giveaway goes up, so if you’re not going to BEA (more on that tomorrow), this is going to be your best chance. It’s super easy to enter, and I’ll be drawing a winner tomorrow morning.

And, without further business, here’s the snippet!
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Then it’s time. It’s been time so often today, but it’s time again, this time to close the lid and forever place Hamlet in darkness. The priest places a hand on the sectioned lid, then glances at the line of ravens in the front pew and asks if we’d like to pay our respects. The violet waits patiently in my palm, its fan-shaped petals a little wilted but the colors still true.

Claudius goes up first, his face impassive as he studies his elder brother. His face shows nothing, but then, it so rarely does. Claudius is not one to let others know his thoughts or plans if he can avoid it. He doesn’t touch the body, doesn’t even rest his hand on the edge of the casket but, instead, clasps his hands at the small of his back in a vaguely military stance that keeps his spine stiff and straight.

Dignity.

Propriety.

Gertrude joins him there, and one of Claudius’ hands floats away to rest on her back. His fingers curve over the small of her back, his palm against the swell of her hip. It’s an intimate stance. I’ve had much occasion over the past three days to study how people touch each other in support: a grip on the shoulder, the forearm, a hand placed gently against the shoulder blades, all things as though they could help the grief stand on its own. It’s too close for brother and sister, as they have been for nearly two decades, and yet there his hand rests, and she doesn’t step away.

Her blue eyes glisten, and tears tremble on her lashes but do not fall. She touches her husband’s cheek, leans down to press a soft kiss against his cold lips. Her hand shakes.

Dane stands abruptly, yanking me gracelessly to my feet beside him. He stalks up the steps to the altar, jerky as a badly controlled marionette. We pass his mother and uncle on their way back to the pew, and Gertrude’s hand brushes across my cheek in passing. The shiver crawls under my skin. Was it the same hand? From dead flesh to living flesh, could her hand tell the difference?
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Until next time~
Cheers!

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A (Fourth) Sneak Peek Into A Wounded Name

April 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm (A Wounded Name, Giveaway) (, , , , )

*imagine trumpets blaring here*
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Gertrude comes out to retrieve her son and his dismal company. She watches our silence for a moment, an almost smile a subtle curve on her painted lips. She is too young to be a widow, I think suddenly, too lovely to be left alone. “Dane,” she says softly, “it is time for us to go.”

He slowly stands, allows Horatio and me to adjust his clothing, but he can’t look at his mother, can’t share this grief even with her. He jerks his head in what might be a nod, to acknowledge her presence or her words I’m not sure, and walks past her.

Her smile deepens when I step out of the shadows and she can see me more clearly. “You look lovely, Ophelia.” Her fingers brush gently against one of the violets, too light to a touch to dislodge it. “Hamlet always loved seeing you with flowers in your hair, like you’d stepped right out of a fairy tale.”

I cringe inwardly, grateful that neither Laertes nor Father followed her to the alcove.

“Thank you for doing this, for him. And…” Her voice trembles, the strength crumbling to reveal the grief beneath. Then she clears her throat, and the moment has passed. “And for Dane. This is especially hard for him.” She links my arm through her. “I’m glad he has his friends to help him through this.” We join the others in the entryway.

Father’s eyes show his concern when he sees the flowers in my hair, but no surprise; Laertes must have told him already. Whatever he might say, though, is unknowingly cut off by Gertrude, who again brushes her fingers across the silky petals.

“It does me good to see this,” she murmurs. “Hamlet would have liked to see this.”

Dane’s jaw clenches, as it does whenever he hears his father put into past or conditional tense. Strange, how words can be so precise and yet have so many shades of meaning. Words, words, words, it’s a wonder that they mean anything at all, when so often they don’t.

But that is the last said of the violets in my hair.
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A longer chunk for you today! And don’t forget, for a few more days, you can still enter to win a signed advance copy and swag!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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A (Third) Sneak Peek Into A Wounded Name

April 3, 2013 at 8:40 am (A Wounded Name, Giveaway) (, , , )

*drumroll please!*
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“Think of what this will do to Father; you know he doesn’t need more distractions today.”

Father never needs distractions; he exists in a cacophony of them. Distractions from memory, from fear, from the loneliness he doesn’t know how to let us fill. He never needs more of them, but he looks for them anyway because that is what he does in the name of the making everything run smoothly. I don’t say any of this. I never do. Laertes and I understand Father in very different ways, I think, and I never can decide who has the more right of it.

My black wrap sits on the foot of the bed, and I push Laertes away to pick it up. Even in high summer, the church is always cold. It clings to the stone, to the silence. I switch the violet to my left hand and drape the wrap over that arm to hide it from view. This final flower will be a gift, the last one I can give to a dear friend now gone. That sort of gift must always be a private thing. “It’s time,” I remind him. “We should go.”

He shakes his head but holds the door open for me. The absence of a scent–a ghost, an echo of violets–follows us into the hall. This is the day Hamlet Danemark V, Headmaster of Elsinore Academy, is laid to rest, and the world mourns.
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And you can still enter to win an advanced copy, plus signed swag! ARC is US only, but swag is international!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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A (Second) Sneak Peek Into A Wounded Name

March 31, 2013 at 10:18 am (A Wounded Name, Giveaway) (, , , )

Ready for round 2? (Note: This was supposed to refer to the second sneak peek, NOT a second book- I am SO SORRY about the confusion)
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Every morning, Jack leaves a small basket of flowers just outside my door, as he’s done for years, as he did for my mother. From the first bloom of early spring to the last bloom of late summer, there are violets. Sometimes other flowers as well but always violets, soft petals ranging from their namesake color through shades of indigo, blue, and heavy cream.

The Headmaster loves violets.

Loved violets.

He laughed and laughed when I told him of their elusive scent, how smelling them actually makes it impossible to smell anything for a little while, and he knotted a flower into my hair and told me the most beautiful things will always be the most elusive. I was nine years old, my first day back after the cold place, and he’d come to welcome me home with flowers that Jack gave me.
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And you can

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A Sneak Peek Into A Wounded Name

March 28, 2013 at 5:34 pm (A Wounded Name, Giveaway) (, , , , )

Guys, guys, you guys! I got permission to share some lines from A Wounded Name!

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing bits and pieces from the first few chapters. Want more? I’m also extending the giveaway- you can still enter here, and then you can read ALL of it.
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The sky is blue today.

Blue like glacier ice, like hidden springs. Blue like jays’ wings, peacock feathers. Blue like my mother’s skin.

It isn’t right. Today the sky should be black or deep, roiling grey, a vast, mottled purple bruise overhead. The air should weep, the Heavens pound in anguish and loss, for today we bury the King of Elsinore.

But it isn’t. And they don’t.

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Stay tuned for more sneak peeks, and don’t forget to enter to win an advanced copy of A Wounded Name, plus signed swag!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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