FALLING TO ASH is the first in a new series about teen vampire Marie ‘Moth’ O’Neal. She already has a (very) small following, thanks to the short story (of the same name) that was published way back in 2009. Since that time, I’ve gotten to know Moth a lot better, and have integrated some changes into her world and background. My publisher for this novel, Random House UK, are going to be re-releasing the short story – with some edits and tweaks to continuity, made by Yours Truly – shortly before FALLING TO ASH goes out into the world on 27th September, 2012. The novel, though, is a completely different full-length tale and should stand alone from the short ‘prequel’.
By the way, do stick around to the end of the post for an early giveaway…
Here’s the UK cover:
And you can see the final Australian cover in this photo (sent to me by the fabulous Adiba Oemar from RH Australia):
So far, the book will only be published in the UK and Australia/New Zealand, but of course you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy (presumably the UK edition) via The Book Depository if you’re elsewhere in the world. My UK publisher also holds the US rights (these things confuse me too, trust me…), so hopefully they’ll sell them on to a US publisher at some point in the future. *makes a wish*
Here’s what it’s about:
You can’t choose your family …living or dead.
Trapped between two very different worlds, newly made vampire Moth is struggling to find her place in either. Not only does she have to answer to her strict Irish-Catholic family, but her over-protective Maker, Theo, is intent on making her the star attraction in his powerful Boston vampire clan. Moth will have to pull off the double-act of the century to please both of them…
Adding to her problems is the dangerously attractive Jason Murdoch, a trainee vampire hunter who loves to play cat and mouse in his spare time (Jace = cat; Moth = mouse). But when the teenagers of Boston’s wealthiest families start to disappear, it forces Moth and Jace into an uneasy truce. Will they be able to solve the mystery behind the disappearances – before someone winds up undead?
Moth is probably my favourite character. I mean, out of the characters that I’ve created. I’m probably not supposed to say that, but I really can’t help it. I do think her voice is the one that comes most naturally to me. I like to think of FALLING TO ASH as a ‘vampire murder-mystery’, and I hope you’ll be interested in finding out the truth alongside Moth as she investigates.
Here’s a short snippet. Moth runs into Jason Murdoch in a basement/storage room at the hospital where the first victim’s body is being held… (Enjoy!)
Jace grabbed a crossbow from behind some tumbled crates. A wickedly sharp silver-tipped bolt was already locked and loaded and he pointed it at me. The stock rested firmly against his shoulder, one eye squinting as got me firmly in his sights. Literally.
The weapon was aimed directly at my heart.
I looked for the nearest exit or hidey-hole, anywhere I could gain some cover. I wasn’t sure how accurate a shot Jace was but I had a horrible feeling he’d be pretty good. His hands were certainly steady enough.
‘Don’t move,’ he said. ‘I won’t hesitate this time.’
‘Neither will I,’ I said, throwing Jason’s dagger directly at his head.
‘Holy fu—’ Jace hit the floor and the flying dagger missed him. Which is exactly the way I’d planned it (go, me!).
Because, of course, I hadn’t been aiming for him at all.
The annoyingly creepy light bulb shattered with a satisfying pop. Glass fell in a musical sprinkle, crunching under my boots as I ran toward the trapdoor.
Impressively, he had actually managed to keep hold of his crossbow and got trigger-happy from his position on the ground. But I was already miles away from where he was shooting. The crossbow bolt swooshed past my left shoulder and thunked into the wall close to the main door to the room.
‘I hope you’re going to collect that,’ I said. ‘We can’t have any hospital staff finding crossbow bolts around here. That would be totally suspicious.’
I’d reached the hatch but Jace was advancing on me again, having tossed aside the now empty weapon. Maybe he intended to finish me off with his bare hands, but I didn’t think he’d be stupid enough to believe he could take me in a fair fight. Even weakened from lack of blood, I was stronger than him.
I raised both hands in front of me. ‘Stop right there. Think, Murdoch. I’m not trying to hurt you – I only want you to leave me alone so I can get on with my work.’
His step faltered. ‘Work? What kind of work would someone like you have to do in a hospital?’
‘That’s none of your business.’
‘It wouldn’t have anything to do with the kid they have down in the basement, would it?’
I couldn’t help it. My mouth dropped open. ‘Um . . . you mean the kid who may have been attacked by a wild animal?’ What was the point of denying it?
Jace’s eyes flickered towards the closed door that would lead back into the hospital. ‘Yeah, that sounds like the one.’
He actually started to laugh. The bastard. ‘Who do you think you are, Veronica Mars for the undead? I’ve got news for you: you’re not blonde enough.’
‘That’s OK, you’re blonde enough for both of us,’ I shot back. ‘Have you had highlights?’
Jace narrowed his eyes. ‘If you think I’m letting you go, you’re dumber than you look.’
I glared back. ‘If you think you can stop me, this time I’ll break both your legs.’
Stalemate. We watched each other in the gloom. I had no problem seeing the anger and confusion etched into his face, but I wondered if the only thing he could see of me was my eyes. If I closed them, would I disappear into the shadows?
He ran a hand through the close-cropped spikes of his hair. ‘So.’
I shrugged. ‘If you can’t bear to let me out of your sight, why don’t you come with me?’ Hello, was I completely brain-dead? What did I have to say that for?
His mouth lifted at one corner, but it wasn’t exactly what I’d call a smile.
‘I think I will.’
If you’d like to win a copy of the book before the publication date (I can’t guarantee quite how early it’ll be, as it depends when I get my author copies), leave a comment telling me which cover you prefer – UK or Australian. I will definitely be doing more giveaways when FALLING TO ASH is actually published, so do remember to check out my blog posts here and elsewhere towards the end of September.
For THIS giveaway you’ll get whichever edition you prefer. The closing date for entries is: end of the day next Monday, August 27th.
**ETA: Yes, you can enter wherever in the world you live. Should have said that before, sorry!**
**ETA2: I now have some Australian cover flats to give away to a few runners up. They are very pretty!**