Today I am super excited to be part of the massive cover reveal of Zoe Marriot’s latest instalment in her urban fantasy series, The Name of the Blade. Not only is there a new cover for Darkness Hidden, but the first instalment, The Night Itself has a brand new cover too. Don’t they look amazing????? Personally, I can’t wait to read Darkness Hidden.
As part of this big reveal, each blogger taking part, got to ask Zoe a question. Here is mine below.
Question: Would you ever consider writing for a different age group or venturing into a new genre?
Answer: Definitely, if the right story came along. I have actually written half of a fantasy novel for younger readers, but my agent at the time didn't like it and didn't think she could sell it, so I lost heart and gave up. I may resurrect it one day. Most of my favourite writers - Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, Robin McKinley, Lois McMaster Bujold - skip between genres like fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction and fairytale retellings without missing a beat, and that's the kind of writer I've always aspired to be as well. I've got ideas for two science fiction novels bubbling at the back of my brain currently, for instance. When I've finished work on The Name of the Blade - which is urban fantasy - my next project will be a high fantasy fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the same Japanese-inspired land as Shadows on the Moon. After that, I'm hoping to write a very different kind of paranormal romance...
As if that wasn’t enough, we are giving you the opportunity to read an extract from the Darkness Hidden. You will need to go to the Inkslingers site to read the first extract and then follow the trail.
But this wasn’t the time to kick my own butt over that. Or the place, either. I had to keep it together and get us home.
“Well, it wasn’t exactly like that,” I mumbled. “But ... thanks.”
There was a pause. It felt significant. I tried to figure out what else I should have said.
“Sword-bearer.” The king’s voice rang like the toll of a warning bell. “You have not yet asked for the favour that was promised you.”
“Oh.” I blinked a couple of times in my bewilderment and ended up looking the king in the face again by accident – damn – before I managed to glue my gaze to his ear.
After we’d left the abandoned power station at Battersea, the fox spirits had hustled us straight back through a rupture in the veil between the mortal realm and the spirit world. We’d washed in steaming, opal green hot-springs under the trees while the Kitsune brought us delicious food and ministered to us with strange potions and ointments that magically numbed the pain of our various injuries. I’d taken the brunt of the Nekomata’s attack last night, and after our little disagreement on who was going to be wielding whom, the sword
had shown no signs of being willing to heal me the way it had when I had the car accident, so I’d really appreciated those potions. Once we were fed and fixed up, the Kitsune gave us clean clothes to replace the shredded, blood-covered ones we’d fought in. I had new leather boots that fitted me as if they’d been hand-tailored for my feet, and a new back harness for the katana. The plain wakizashi and katana that Shinobu had borrowed for the battle were taken away and replaced by a much finer pair with silver wrappings and a saya inlaid with mother of pearl.
The Kitsune had lavished particular care on Rachel, and by extension Jack, since Jack wouldn’t leave her sister’s side even if Rachel had been willing to let go of Jack’s hand. Being kidnapped and held captive by a psychotic cat-demon had already pushed her to the limit. Jack’s and my mostly unedited confession of just what had been going on before and during her ordeal – swords of mass destruction, trapped warrior spirits, immortal armies and all – had been too much. Rachel was almost catatonic with shock by the time Hikaru had carried her into the spirit realm. But the last time I’d checked, Jack and Rachel were tucked under a tree listening to soothing music and drinking warm drinks, with Rachel just nodding off on Jack’s shoulder. They’d both looked much better.
The spirit foxes had treated us like treasured members of their own family who had returned from some legendary quest. And since no one had mentioned the favour that the king had promised me again, I’d sort of assumed this treatment was their way of paying us back for taking the Nekomata out while managing to bring Hikaru and all the other soldiers back alive.
You should never assume anything when dealing with supernatural creatures. I ought to have learned that by now.
“I’m sorry, Your Majesty. I hadn’t forgotten, but I thought...” I gestured at myself and then at Shinobu. “I thought that your kind attention to us was payment enough for any service that we, um, might have performed for you.”
There was another growling silence. Hikaru rolled his eyes at me. His blush had faded to leave him tense and pale.
Crap. What did I say? What didn’t I say?
Shinobu took a step closer, his large frame unmistakeably shielding mine. My hand brushed against his sleeve, and suddenly, regardless of everything else that was happening, I had to look at him.
Those endlessly dark eyes were waiting to meet mine. Our gazes connected with an almost physical shock, and the strange connection between us leapt up, alive and dangerous, like the arcs of electricity that danced between the king’s fanned tails. I stopped breathing as I heard Shinobu’s sharp intake of breath.
There you are, the yearning part of me whispered, deep inside. I’ve got you. I won’t let go.
One of Shinobu’s eyebrows quirked expectantly. You can do this. Go on.
I made myself start breathing again and reluctantly turned my attention back to the immortal ruler stewing in front of me. All right, he’s right. I can do this. Focus.
“If the offer of a favour from your Majesty still stands,” I began, “would it be possible for me to hold it in reserve for now? I wouldn’t want to waste such a – a precious thing by failing to consider it properly.”
Hikaru let out a little sigh, and his tail drooped in what looked like relief. The king inclined his head regally. “A very wise request, Yamato-dono. The Kitsune shall stand ready to serve you.”
Wow! Wasn’t that fantastic? Now head over to Raimy’s site, Readaraptor, to read the next instalment.