Welcome to the book tour for P.J. Marie’s Veles. Read on for details and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!
Publication Date: December 23rd, 2021
Genre: Dystopian/ Dystopian Sci-Fi
I was the land. I was the air. I was the sea. I was all of it – everywhere – and as I inhaled then let the tormented sorrow screech from my lungs, the world buckled and broke beneath my feet.
I was burning alive…
And the world would burn with me.
A century after the Great Destruction that devastated civilization, Mizuki Altherr lives within a small village struggling to survive beneath the shadow of a great mountain. The Elders teach that it is home to Veles, god of the earth, who keeps them safe – but demands penance for humanity’s past indiscretions.
It’s a Gifting year…
The previous sacrifice tore Mizuki’s family apart and forever changed her world. Now she must face the terrible tradition again as her closest friend, Aiden, and his family are chosen to provide the next offering. In a desperate bid to end the cycle of violence and defy the Elders’ iron rule, Mizuki and Aiden set forth on a daring journey into the Wild – where together they discover a secret that shatters their understanding of the village and reveals the truth behind the horrors that left the world in ruin.
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She froze at the sound of Aiden’s voice, her brain instantly making sense of everything surrounding them as all the pieces and memories from the last two days fell into place. She had fallen asleep in Aiden’s arms, but he had not woken her up for night watch, and now he was sitting rigidly behind her and gripping her tight. She blinked again, her eyes rapidly searching the small space under the overhang and peering out into the darkness that lay beyond their small shelter. Only the faintest hint of light was visible; the sky was dark, with a grey drizzle still lingering from the storm the night before. She instinctively knew that something was wrong from the tense way he was holding her, but no matter how hard she squinted, she couldn’t see anything.
“What is it?” Mizuki whispered, her voice so low it was scarcely audible as she forced herself to remain still against Aiden’s frame.
“I heard something,” Aiden whispered, his hand leaving her side and slowly shifting to point off to the left just outside the shelter. “There.”
She looked to where he pointed but again saw nothing. She could barely make out the nearest trees and the thin trail of smoke coming from the remains of their fire. So she craned her head forward and listened. She could hear the wind as it shifted through the trees, faint and weak compared to the force of the gales the night before. She could hear the slow drips of water that fell to the ground off the shelter and the soft patter of light rain that continued to fall, but what struck her more than anything was the lack of other sounds.
“No birds,” she whispered faintly, feeling Aiden nod behind her. They both remained seated and still, their breaths puffing like little clouds in the cool morning air. She had woken up enough times after a storm to know that the birds always sang, even if it continued to rain. She could feel her heart starting to race, her panic starting to grow as she swallowed hard and willed her eyes to see into the dark. “What do we do?”
“We need to pack up,” Aiden whispered, his hands moving once again as he unwrapped his arm from around her waist and gently leaned forward to reach his calf. “Quietly – but as quickly as you can. Take this.”
She could see from the bottom of her gaze that he was undoing one of his knife holsters and transferring it to her leg, but she kept her eyes firmly locked to the place where Aiden had heard the noise. She remained entirely still as he worked until she felt the leather pull tight, and Aiden patted her calf twice to let her know he was done. Then they both shifted, Aiden sliding back and silently crawling to the small hole where they had stored their packs while Mizuki tentatively stood and began taking down their damp but no longer drenched clothes. Her tired legs ached beneath her as she carefully rolled each item and handed it to Aiden, who had moved back to her side. He stuffed everything into his pack, not caring what was what and keeping his eyes fixed on the darkness as the wind shuffled through the trees.
Her skin started to prickle with the distinct feeling of being watched as she slipped on her pack and glanced over to Aiden. He already had his pack on, and he was holding his bow ready with an arrow nocked. He glanced at her, his eyes gesturing down to the knife on her leg before he looked back out into the dark, grey drizzle. She reached down and took out the knife without question and tried not to think about how much it shook in her hand. She had to remind herself to breathe as Aiden shifted and motioned for her to follow. She held the blade near her hip, moving toward him and standing so close next to his side that there was barely an inch of space between them.
She followed him out from their cover, inching soundlessly to the edge of the overhang as her eyes rapidly scanned the darkness for movement. They had just stepped out into the misty rain when suddenly Aiden was shouting, and her heart was constricting in terror.
“GET BEHIND ME!” Aiden yelled, unleashing his arrow at the dark and silent form that lunged from the treeline on the left.
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About the Author
Engineer by trade, P. J. Marie has always been a storyteller at heart. Inspired by the captivating tales that her Ukrainian grandfather used to tell about settling the Canadian prairies, P. J. has always looked at life through a narrative lens.
An avid creator, P. J. loves the design process from start to finish and is always working on projects that meld the structured world of engineering with her creative passions. Whether through world-building, crafting cosplays, or building custom bookshelves for her ever-growing collection of novels, manga, and terrible monster movies, P. J. is always working on something.
In her spare time, she enjoys collecting new skills, drinking copious amounts of tea, and spending time with her family and adorable doggo.
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