Friday, August 5, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Awaken by Vanessa MacLellan

Title: Awaken
Author: Vanessa MacLellan
Publication Date: July 30th 2022
Print Length: 465 pages
Genre: Dark Fantasy Horror

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Balin stands between two great Powers. One will shatter his mind; the other will destroy his soul. Only one of them can save his people.

Fort Resonbirg, a Norse stronghold in the New World, is besieged by the evil sorcerer Ursulard the Dreamspinner. Though their fields are scorched and homes destroyed, the residents and refugees do not worry, because Fort Resonbirg is Awakened with the power to provide, protect, and grow. But not all is as it seems when a wall of impenetrable mist surrounds the fort, and within the mist hunts the dragon, Nidhogg. Nidhogg hungers for more than flesh and bone. It instills nightmares on its prey, feeding on fear and pain, inevitably taking lives.

Balin Tremore, a commoner bound for the militia but hoping to stay by his noble love’s side, never expected to amount to grand things. When the great power of Cradleweaving is awakened within him, Balin unknowingly becomes the one person with the power to pierce the wall of mist and banish the deadly beast within before it destroys them all—if he can master the new power in time. But to master the power, he must sacrifice much. The question is, will it be his position, his Lady, or his very soul?

The Mist meets Nightmare on Elm Street in this classic tale of personal sacrifice.

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EXCERPT:
Time passed for Balin trapped in the cage, trapped in his nightmares. He thought his heart would rupture each time he thrust himself from that scorched earth terror, that his nerves would fry up like a grasshopper in a hot pan.

He knew they were dreams; half his life seemed to hover between that fuzzy daze and demeaning wakefulness. In lecture, Mistress Ingrid Lyall had shown them all a rare tome on the meanings of dreams. Though a Winddancer, a master of the wind and weather, Cradleweaving and Dreamspinning ran through the Mistress' ancestry, and the book had been a treasured heirloom, the script a flowing scrawl from the hand before the uniform lettering of the presses. From the book, he'd read that visitors could visit a dreamer in this quiescent state. They could take a single step and jaunt from one man's nightmare to another's daydream. “It is with a focused mind that a dream master can travel the currents of sleep thought and intrude upon another's under mind.” So, he figured it was one of these jaunters who had displaced his dreams of fire and pain.

Another Dreamspinner.

Now, instead of a spring prairie full of abundance, a hard, black ribbon of asphalt split parched, gray land in two. Cracks splintered the soil, no longer supporting the devil grass that had whipped his arms and legs. His dream landscape had changed, and no fires threaten to swallow him whole.

An entirely different world had taken form that Balin didn't think was dream at all.

This new Dreamspinner must have changed it, through his magic and his will. Balin hoped this man would help. Hoped it wasn't another face of Ursulard. Taking a good look at the man—dressed in a long, brown coat made of oiled wool or maybe canvas—Balin was certain they'd crossed dream paths before, though their past meetings had never been as clear or vivid as the one he engaged in now.

Legs straddling a wandering crack down the center of the unending road, the tall man faced Balin, a beat-up wide-brimmed hat pulled low across his brow, the brim floppy with age. A thick, gray beard hung to the center of his chest. He looked like a frontier Odin, and Balin scanned the skies for ravens, only to see thin strips of purple clouds.

This man, he was different. New and different, and he rattled Balin even more than those cruel tortures Ursulard subjected him to every time his eyes dipped closed. Grasses and fire. Life and death. Promises. Balin refused to think about those nightmares, swept away to a corner of his brain where he filed the facts about the Westman wars and fencing score points.

At last, you walk this world.

Emptiness and silence settled over the black road.

Your eyes seize on the rotten fruits of your past restraint. Your pain smells like ancient sorrow. You called me.

It was impossible to tell if the words were spoken or thought. Maybe they just were, existing at this time, in this moment, and in the next, other words took their place.

Your time is now. Join me.

Though Balin stood dressed in shabby rags, he didn't feel cold. His feet were bare and the rough surface of the asphalt felt alien to them, so different from the smooth floor of his cell.

“Who are you?” he asked.

The words echoed across the endless plains: “Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?” until they faded into the stagnant air. Bordering the edge of his vision were foothills, maybe mountains. Everything looked dull, the colors eroded by wind and time. Nowhere did he see a speck of green.

I am he who brings the end. Some call me Enda, others call me Dust. I am known as the Sallaedi.

They faced each other. Time stretched out like a curse.

“Are you going to take me? Like a Valkyrie?”

Silent, the Sallaedi considered him.

Then a thought occurred to Balin; perhaps he was already dead, that he had died in that cell, abandoned William to Zebbens and his cruelty, and gone to Helheim. This must be that old trickster Loki, himself. Maybe he was doomed to haunt the lonely road with this apparition for all eternity, breeding nothing but fear and waste.

Then his eyes popped open and the cold, hard floor beneath him reminded him of his situation. The light above glowed steadily, and he wondered how long he'd been gone. What year it was. And in his bones, he felt ancient.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vanessa MacLellan was born and raised in the farmlands of eastern Washington, works as an environmental engineer, and is an avid birder, naturalist and hiker living in Portland, Oregon.

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Facebook * Twitter
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GIVEAWAY:
One Winner: $25 Amazon gift card
Two Winners: eBook of Awaken by Vanessa MacLellan

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Xpresso Book Tours and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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12 comments:

  1. David HollingsworthAugust 5, 2022 at 3:00 PM

    Happy Friday!

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  2. I like the cover and excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Cool book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  4. The book sounds like a great read.

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  5. Sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading.

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  6. Seyma Bennett ShabbirAugust 8, 2022 at 4:44 PM

    Sounds like a great thriller! Can't wait!

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  7. Congrats on your book and the cover looks really spooky and scary !

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  8. looks like a fun one

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  9. I loved the end of the synopsis, "The Mist meets Nightmare on Elm Street"

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