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Friday, November 9, 2018

PROMO Blitz: The Seas of Distant Stars by Francesca G. Varela @WriterFGV #promo #literary #scifi #excerpt #giveaway


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Literary Science-Fiction
Date Published:  August 7th, 2018
Publisher: Owl House Books

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Agapanthus was kidnapped when she was only two years old, but she doesn’t remember it. In fact, she doesn’t remember her home planet at all. All she knows is Deeyae, the land of two suns; the land of great, red waters. Her foster-family cares for her, and at first that’s enough. But, as she grows older, Agapanthus is bothered by the differences between them. As an Exchanger, she’s frail and tall, not short and strong. And, even though she was raised Deeyan, she certainly isn’t treated like one. One day, an Exchanger boy completes the Deeyan rite-of-passage, and Agapanthus is inspired to try the same. But, when she teams up with him, her quest to become Deeyan transforms into her quest to find the truth―of who she is, and of which star she belongs to.


Excerpt


 Her name back then was not Agapanthus. It was Aria. Aria like the song the wind made through cottonwood trees. They reminded Aria’s mother of feathers, and she often watched the cotton tufts as they floated through the dusk air. She loved when they melted into the flowing, pebble-braided creek, high with water after a storm, or even as they joined the summer trickle when the creek lay stagnant. On summer nights the water shone thick with flies, with dark red clay and the sticky tips of fallen leaves that caked together at the bottom. The freeway hissed in the distance, cars and blackness glimmering just beyond the blackberry bushes.

  Aria’s mother pretended the freeway didn’t exist. She often sat alone, or with Aria scrunched between her thighs, while the trees creaked, and the air stunk of pollen. When the cold air spread bumps over their skin she raised her daughter to her feet and draped Aria’s long blonde hair over her shoulder so she could wipe the dust from her pants.

  They held hands as they emerged from the ravine. There was the sky again, pale and waning. There sliced the blurred traffic, blazing as always in front of their one-story house. There glowed the fields, the sheep far beyond, the hills broken by dirt patches that always shone reddest at sunset. But sunset was past, so Aria’s mother nestled her daughter inside.

  Her husband’s stomach propelled, jiggling, upward and downward with his sleeping breaths. His hands clenched the armrests of the yellow recliner, the remote wedged between his side and the seat. Aria’s mother patted Aria toward the kitchen and kissed her husband’s forehead. He smelled like cinnamon and orange peels, soft remnants of the tea he had finished after dinner.

  Aria’s father woke up slowly. He scooped his wife into his lap. She murmured something about Aria’s bath, and then she burrowed her head into the warmth of his shoulder. They breathed together. The screen door slid open, but neither of them heard it. They didn’t hear Aria’s lithe footsteps against the wooden stairs. They didn’t hear her slide down, crawling on her knees into the grass, unsure of how to balance on the changing surface. She couldn’t speak yet, so she didn’t know what the trees were called, but she knew she wanted to stay with them for a little longer.

  The grass massaged her bare feet and made them itch. Aria looked up at the clouds. The moon was there, too; strangely thin, strangely weak. It wasn’t dark enough for the moon. A bright star shined over the hill already. It grew brighter. Brighter. Then there was darkness. Claws on her shoulders. Flashes of light so hot she cried out as they teared at her, pulled her up, gripping her shoulders until she felt they would pop from their sockets. And then smooth black stone. And then—nothing. back then was not Agapanthus. It was Aria. Aria like the song the wind made through cottonwood trees. They reminded Aria’s mother of feathers, and she often watched the cotton tufts as they floated through the dusk air. She loved when they melted into the flowing, pebble-braided creek, high with water after a storm, or even as they joined the summer trickle when the creek lay stagnant. On summer nights the water shone thick with flies, with dark red clay and the sticky tips of fallen leaves that caked together at the bottom. The freeway hissed in the distance, cars and blackness glimmering just beyond the blackberry bushes.

  Aria’s mother pretended the freeway didn’t exist. She often sat alone, or with Aria scrunched between her thighs, while the trees creaked, and the air stunk of pollen. When the cold air spread bumps over their skin she raised her daughter to her feet and draped Aria’s long blonde hair over her shoulder so she could wipe the dust from her pants.

  They held hands as they emerged from the ravine. There was the sky again, pale and waning. There sliced the blurred traffic, blazing as always in front of their one-story house. There glowed the fields, the sheep far beyond, the hills broken by dirt patches that always shone reddest at sunset. But sunset was past, so Aria’s mother nestled her daughter inside.

  Her husband’s stomach propelled, jiggling, upward and downward with his sleeping breaths. His hands clenched the armrests of the yellow recliner, the remote wedged between his side and the seat. Aria’s mother patted Aria toward the kitchen and kissed her husband’s forehead. He smelled like cinnamon and orange peels, soft remnants of the tea he had finished after dinner.

  Aria’s father woke up slowly. He scooped his wife into his lap. She murmured something about Aria’s bath, and then she burrowed her head into the warmth of his shoulder. They breathed together. The screen door slid open, but neither of them heard it. They didn’t hear Aria’s lithe footsteps against the wooden stairs. They didn’t hear her slide down, crawling on her knees into the grass, unsure of how to balance on the changing surface. She couldn’t speak yet, so she didn’t know what the trees were called, but she knew she wanted to stay with them for a little longer.

  The grass massaged her bare feet and made them itch. Aria looked up at the clouds. The moon was there, too; strangely thin, strangely weak. It wasn’t dark enough for the moon. A bright star shined over the hill already. It grew brighter. Brighter. Then there was darkness. Claws on her shoulders. Flashes of light so hot she cried out as they teared at her, pulled her up, gripping her shoulders until she felt they would pop from their sockets. And then smooth black stone. And then—nothing.



About the Author


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Francesca G. Varela was raised in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. In 2015 she graduated from the University of Oregon with degrees in Environmental Studies and Creative Writing, and she then went on to receive her master’s degree in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah.


Francesca’s dream of becoming an author began in third grade, and her writing career had an early start; she wrote her award-winning first novel, Call of the Sun Child, when she was only 18 years old, and she wrote her second novel, Listen, when she was only 20.

When not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys playing piano, figure skating, hiking, identifying wild birds, plants, and constellations, and travelling to warm, sunny places whenever she can.


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