Today we’re happy to feature our WINTER IN THE SOUL
by Jennifer Novotney teaser!
Pulling her blond locks away from her face, Lilika headed outside her cozy house to do her morning chores. When she hit the doorway, she stopped and lifted her face skyward, soaking in the sun’s beams. She reveled in the heat beating down on her and the feeling of warmth that bathed her skin.
She walked to the garden and sat down. Lilika pulled the weeds with the sun shining on her. Her fingers ran across something smooth.
“What is this?” she muttered to herself, digging quickly to try to see just what was in there. She exposed something gleaming from underneath the brown soil.
What could be under the dirt here? She pulled out a gold heart locket from the garden bed. It glittered in an almost magical way, like nothing she’d ever seen before.
“Lilika!” Jet yelled through the open kitchen window. “It’s almost time for school.”
She shoved the locket in her pocket. “Okay! I’m coming.” Her little brother could be such a nuisance sometimes. She would have to wait until later to inspect her find up-close.
“Hello,” a female voice came from behind her.
“Hello?” She jumped up and turned around, shielding her eyes from the sun.
It was so bright, all she saw was a figure blocking out the light, a black silhouette outlined by the sun’s rays. As her eyes adjusted to the change in light, the figure became clearer and clearer: A beautiful, golden-hued woman stood before Lilika.
“Lilika,” the woman said.
How does she know my name?
“Lil! It’s time to go,” her brother yelled again.
She whipped her head around. “Okay, I’m coming.” By the time she turned back, the golden woman was gone.
She stood, walked to the side of the house, and peered around the corner, but the golden woman wasn’t there. She swiveled her head to each side, but didn’t see her. Could this all have just been a figment of her imagination? Maybe sitting in the sun was affecting her. Butterflies danced in her stomach at the thought of the locket she’d found, and she hurried into the house to get ready for school.
The mile-long walk to school was a quiet one except for Jet humming to himself. Children said goodbye to their parents and walked out of their rural homes surrounded by lush green grass and foliage, through the center of Spring Bloom. Boys in button down shirts and long pants and girls in light colored, pastel dresses lined the walkways when Lilika and Jet got closer and closer to their destination. Lilika walked along with a solemn expression on her face.
She couldn’t help but think about the golden woman, whether she’d simply imagined her or if their conversation had really happened. What did it mean? She couldn’t tell Jet or their mother or father. They wouldn’t believe her. Something was actually happening to her for a change.
The sun cast bright light over all the individual stone cottages and gardens.
“Good morning, Lilika!” Mr. Woodland waved from his garden.
“Good morning.” Lilika hurried toward school.
“Lil! Slow down,” Jet said.
“Come on,” she said with pursed lips, “we’re going to be late.”
More and more residents filtered out of their houses, tending to their gardens, trimming their bushes, and cleaning windows of their homes. With every stone cottage Lilika passed, the people smiled and waved. She greeted everyone with a wave and picked up her pace once she reached the hill.
Standing in front of the school, she paused and caught her breath before opening the classroom door.
“So, do you want to do something after school? Maybe we can go for a walk or something.” Bryony stopped her just outside the door. Lilika had been friends with her for as long as she could remember.
“Oh, I can’t.” Lilika sighed. “I have to do my chores right away when I get home since I didn’t have time to do all of them this morning.”
“Well, I found something I thought you might be interested in.” Bryony pulled out a big book from her backpack and wiped the dust off of it.
Lilika whipped her head around. “What? What is that?”
“It’s called The History of Winter in the Soul.” Bryony moved her fingers along the raised gold title on the front. “It’s all about Wits.” Bryony opened it and read from the book. “It was a cold that could only manifest out of the coldness in the soul. That is how Wits got to be known as the Winter in the Soul.”
“What are you doing?” Violet butted in. Great, she was always putting her nose where it didn’t belong.
“Nothing. Keep your voice down.” Lilika glanced toward the window to make sure no one was looking. Leave it to Violet to try and join in with them when they were trying not to bring attention to themselves.
“What do you have there, Bryony?” Violet put her hand on Bryony’s shoulder to get a glimpse.
“Nothing.” Lilika shook her head.
“Well, what is it? What’s so interesting?” Violet leaned in closer.
“Oh, please,” Lilika whispered, “just stop. Someone’s going to see, and then we’ll all be in trouble. Just mind your own business and leave us alone. Go, go on.” Lilika waved her hand at Violet.
“Fine.” Violet rolled her eyes and stormed off.
“Bryony, you really shouldn’t have that book. Where did you get it anyway?”
“I found it under my parent’s bed. Aren’t you curious about Wits?”
“I am, but…”
The golden locket popped into Lilika’s head. Who was she to tell Bryony not to ask questions about Wits? She had questions of her own.
“Nothing, come on, we’d better get inside. We’re going to be late.”
Bryony shoved the book back inside her backpack and followed Lilika into school.
Winter in the Soul will be available on July 15. If you’d like to review or participate in the blog tour, please complete the form HERE.
As part of our teaser release celebration, we’re having a GIVEAWAY!
We’re giving away an ARC ecopy of Winter in the Soul, today only! The first THREE people to comment below will receive one (1) ARC ecopy of Winter in the Soul.
One comment per person, duplicate comments will be ignored
Open to residents of the continental U.S. only
You must be 18 years of age or older to win
One recipient per mailing/email address, duplicate winners will be considered void and a new winner will be chosen