This is a big week for new releases and we’re thrilled to share this one. Check out Cynosura 99 by author Sam Weiss!
Stranger Things meets Donnie Darko
Cynosura 99 (The Altered Planes #1)
Publication Date: October 9, 2023
Genre: Dark Fantasy w/ Sci-Fi Horror Elements
“The night the moon bleeds is the night the world will end. There’s death in the moon. And the moon is you.”
Atra Hart has spent the last seven years locked away in Vanishing Plains Psychiatric Hospital. In that time, her shadow has transformed into its own entity and is growing stronger by the day, threatening to devour her mind. She calls that shadow Dread, and only her missing father knows what it is.
When a fire breaks out at the asylum, Atra makes her way to freedom just in time to see an electric-purple rift sunder the sky. Like Dread, the rift is only visible to her.
Atra’s already loose grip on reality unravels when she learns the rift is a gateway to the world of the dead. And the Queen, an ancient evil lurking on its fringes, wants Dread for her own.
Even worse, Atra can’t tell if any of this is really happening. She might have escaped one asylum, but the closer she gets to unearthing answers about Dread, why her father knows it’s there, and its role in the Queen’s plans, the more she risks getting trapped inside her own mind forever.
Maybe some truths are meant to stay buried.
Lex paused in the doorway.
“Uh-oh. This isn’t the right plane.”
But Atra wasn’t listening. She brushed past the kid, making a beeline for the window. The moss-green carpet emitted puffs of dust as she ran across it. A lamp glowed in the corner. She was going to grab it, smash the window with it, and crawl out of whatever this place was.
Oof! Down she went as Lex tackled her from behind. They fell into the bookshelf, knocking several volumes off. The gash in Atra’s back seared. The kid was stronger than she looked.
“You can’t let her see you!” a hysterical edge cut into Lex’s voice, all playfulness gone.
“What are you talking about?” Atra got back up. “I have to get out of here!”
Lex grabbed at her legs, but it was futile.
“No, she’ll see you!”
Lex ceased pulling at Atra, choosing to cower behind the bench instead. “Please, please, get down!”
“No. Not until you tell me who’s out there.”
“The one who dwells on the threshold. She calls herself the Queen.”
Atra remembered the woods and the feeling of something standing in the spaces between the trees. The skin tightened around the base of her skull.
“She hasn’t found you yet. But she hasn’t stopped looking.”
Who? The question danced on Atra’s lips, but a glow through the window distracted her. A gnawing grew in her belly as she turned to the kid. Lex had turned her head toward the glow as well.
“You can see it too?”
Lex’s eyes shone with more than the rift’s reflection; she was on the verge of tears.
“We have to leave. This room isn’t safe. It isn’t the right plane.”
Atra remembered being that young and that scared and that alone. Trapped in her bedroom with Dread, with no father to comfort her because he’d run away. She almost agreed to leave, but she needed an answer.
“Why can we see the rift when no one else can?”
“People like us are more susceptible to seeing the truth.”
“Those closer to death.”
The claws in the darkness reaching for Atra earlier finally sunk in.
So, the van crash had killed her.
“Lex, is this house where you go when you die?”
“No. That is where you go when you die.” Lex pointed to the rift. “But you already knew that.”
“Through to the Otherside.”
The response came immediately, although Atra didn’t know why she’d said it. She didn’t know what it meant.
Yet, she did.
“Dread wants to go through the rift,” Lex said.
“How do you know about Dread?” Atra choked out the words, Lex’s statement sucking the air out of the room.
Lex shrugged as if her shoulders weighed a hundred pounds. Suddenly, she was no longer just a scared kid.
“If Dread goes through the rift it will be the beginning for the Otherside but the end for us.”
“I won’t let it go through.”
“It’s not your choice. Dread is a force you don’t understand. The Queen lies beyond the rift. During the lunar eclipse on the winter solstice, she’ll come through for you. For Dread. She’ll use you to end the world.”
Lex’s skin had taken on the same sickly green as the carpet, a far cry from the spunky kid rushing down the stairs.
“I’m tired,” Lex announced, resting her head against the bookshelf. “It’s hard to stay in this house for long.”
“What the hell is this house?”
“A space in between where the worlds are thin. It’s easier to climb the planes from here.”
Lex kept speaking in riddles Atra didn’t understand and didn’t care to. Atra bit her lip to prevent herself from saying something really mean, then asked instead, “How do I get out of here?”
“Not out. Forward. Into the altered planes. It’s the only way to stop the Queen.”
“I don’t want to stop the Queen. I want to get back to my own reality.”
Lex shifted, picking up a book that had fallen off the shelf when she and Atra crashed into it. Something pearlescent twinkled on its spine under the light of the rift. She handed it to Atra.
The worn, brown leather was soft under Atra’s hands. She ran her fingers over the raised symbol on the spine, which resembled a lopsided infinity loop.
“Find Magnus. Find the planes.” Lex’s chest fluttered with shallow breaths, like she was about to deflate out of existence.
“The mind is quicker than the lie.”
And then she was gone.
Now Available on Amazon
About the Author
Sam was named after a dog, a fact her mother disputes to this day.
While she’s terrible at writing “About Me”s about her, she’s been told she’s great at writing about what fictional people do. The more miserable she can make them, the better. Her love of horror films from the 80s, sci-fi shows from the 90s, and alternative music from the 00s have inspired her to write what she’s calling “Dark Science Fantasy” although she’s kind of making that up as she goes along.
When she’s not ready to pull her hair out after discovering another plot hole she’s created, she goes camping with her husband as far away from society as possible. So far, this tactic has been mostly successful and she’s only had to physically converse with a grand total of nine people this year. Next year, she hopes to get that number down to six.
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It’s the month of creepy thriller books and I am here for it. I am hoping to get all the thriller/horror vibes this month and can’t wait to dive into some fun books. Let me know in the comments any good recs that you have.
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