To commemorate the upcoming release of Among The Clouds, I will be posting a short sneak peek excerpt from the novel. Among the Clouds will be officially released May 1st, 2018, put it on your calendars and in your diaries cause this is set to blast off to the stars.
What is Among The Clouds?
Among the Clouds is a fast-paced YA adventure novel, set in a backdrop of cyberpunk and science fiction aesthetics. The basic premise is that a young woman is forced to go on a journey of revenge when the mysterious floating city drops a deadly gas on her village. Below is the back cover blurb.
Jai is a huntress warrior for her tribe. When her village and mother falls sick from a toxic mist, she sets her target on the floating city that abandoned the surface centuries ago.
On her journey to find a cure, she encounters allies, violent arcade games, rebel gangs, kings and queens, and a weapon so dangerous that it could rewrite human history. With the help of Alice, the disgraced princess, Jai stumbles and battles through the maze of skyscrapers, love, and advanced technology aboard the floating city. Fighting to return home before time runs out on her loved ones.
Among The Clouds – May 1, 2018
Among The Clouds is the third novel in my Universe of Chaos, a shared universe where so far all novels and short stories I have published are set.
Jai crested a hill and continued on through the humid night. Her pace had slowed to a steady jog, but she refused to stop. Ribbons of fog flew apart as she followed a stream eastward. She had no idea how far it would be until she caught up to the floating city. It had crossed over at first light and had an entire day of travel. With any luck, it would be only in the next valley or perhaps one more beyond that, but any further and it would be out of possibility to get to it before sunrise, and it started moving again.
The path she was running along was one her people had used for generations to trade with other villages in the area. As a child, she had traveled along it as far east as the coast, which took a week to arrive at. As long as she could remember the ship only ever came from the west and crossed towards the eastern coast, but she guessed that it must make a giant circle in it’s monthly pass over.
Stumbling on a root, she tumbled and came close to losing her balance entirely but was able to counteract her movements enough to keep upright. Wiping sweat out of her face, she came to a stop. Her chest rose and fell with heavy intakes of air as her legs shook as if she were a newborn deer. Leaning over, she splashed water on her face from the stream. The water refreshed and renewed Jai so that she could continue.
“Onward and upward,” She recanted her personal oath and started running again. Jai ran deep into the late night, and just as exhaustion was beginning to become overbearing, she felt the unwelcoming sizzling feeling in the air.
An hour longer and the blue light of its engines reflected in her eyes. She was close, and now it was up to her to figure out how to get on board. The city floated higher than any mountain she had ever seen.
Coming to rest underneath the monolith, She shielded her eyes as the blue light became sharp and hurt to look upon. The air was thick with extra electricity and causing Jai’s hair to frizz and rise. An onslaught of pressure from above forbade her or any object from getting closer, making her eardrums pop.
A flare of red caught her eye, and she looked up to see what appeared like a falling star across the sky. Looking closer, she saw that the spark was coming in her direction and was actually a much smaller part of the ship that had disconnected. Jai also realized that the object was falling right at her.
Diving out of the way, the object crashed behind her. Dirt and rocks spewed in all directions as Jai put her arms over her face. Despite her best efforts at shielding herself, she felt a wave of debris and ash fly past. Waving the smoke and dust away, Jai jumped to her feet and surveyed the damage.
The field beside her was ripped in two as the object had crashed and slid through the ground for a considerable distance. Following the trail of destruction, Jai stopped short as light exploded in all directions. Cupping her eyes, she squinted through the unbearable brightness and saw that a door had opened on the side of the object. As she got closer, the object appeared to be half her height and like a flattened cylinder. Its nose was entirely buried in the ground, but she could see the backside of it sticking out of the ground was round and had important looking words printed on it.
A shadow moved between her and the light. “Hello?” She called out, understanding that she was not alone.
When no response followed her announcement, Jai was left with no choice but to continue and get closer. Sliding behind a boulder, Jai hesitated and observed. Faint hisses of mechanical nature came to her ears, and on top of that, she swore she heard someone muttering very fast but quiet. Peering around the rock, she saw flickers of movements, but the light was too intense for her to see any detail. Other than a few other misplaced stones and newly formed piles of dirt, there was no additional cover for her to hide behind. She would have to approach in a more direct manner.
Gathering her resolve, Jai set out into the overbearing light and announced herself again. “Hello?”
“Oh shit! Who’s there?” A nervous voice replied. Jai could tell that it was a woman’s voice. Part of Jai felt amazement that it was confirmed that humans did live on the floating cities and that one was in her presence. The other half of Jai fought every instinct telling her to run the opposite direction and that it was a bad idea to move closer. For her mother’s sake, she ignored the desire to flee.
“I mean no danger. I just saw you crash, are you alright?” Jai spoke, raising her hands above her head to show that she meant no harm.
“Sorry, it’s fine to come closer. You just scared me that’s all….” As the woman spoke the lights faded down and Jai could see her for the first time. She looked to be around the same age as Jai, her blonde hair cut short in a style Jai had never seen before. A pair of dark glasses shielded her eyes from view. The cloud person had a soft and joyful appearance, her skin was very fair. Jai had never seen such clean looking clothes as black pants and a blue jacket with a multitude of wild patches rounded out her appearance. All Jai could think was that she put a lot of effort to look as dangerous as possible.
Smacking her lips together, the woman blew out a bubble. Jai watched in amazement as it popped and she repeated the action. “Who are you?”
“My name is Jai. What’s yours?”
“Alice…nice to meet you Jai.” Pop. “They never told me groundlings could be so pretty.”
“Me?” Jai felt her cheeks redden at the unexpected compliment. If anyone was beautiful here, it was undoubtedly the woman from the cloud, not her.
“Who else? Yes, you,” Alice pulled off her shades and flashed a smile batting her green eyes at Jai.
“May I ask what you are doing down here? Why did you crash?” Jai changed the conversation.
Pop. “I was bored, felt like doing something I’ve never done before, and when I jumped in my speeder, I saw a lifescan down here so I thought I’d see what you looked like. Everyone up there thinks it’s just a wasteland with mutants down here…there aren’t any mutants right?”
Jai wrinkled her nose at the confusing words. “What’s a mutant?”
“Oh…well just like a weird human or something that would hurt us that’s all.” Pop. “Never mind…Nice to meet you. I’ll be out of your way in a minute, just gotta get this out of the ground.” Alice turned her back on Jai and began moving around the craft. It was only then that Jai realized that one could steer and drive the object as if it were a mechanical cart. Seeing this fantastic piece of technology, she was even more sure that they would have a cure for her mother’s sickness.
A minute passed, and somehow Alice had managed to make the vehicle jump out of the ground and spin around all on its own without a driver. “There’s a reason it’s against the law to disable the autopilot, but I wanted to go where it wouldn’t allow, and that’s no fun.”
The craft slid down into a gentle landing beside Alice, and a door opened revealing a leather-bound seat. Turning her head back to Jai, Alice popped one last bubble. “Wanna hang?”
“You mean I can go with you?”
“Sure…You seem cool, and I get the feeling you want to be up there tonight.”
Jai gave a hesitant thumbs up and accepted the invitation. Approaching the vehicle, she knew that she was supposed to get in, but she didn’t see a way in besides the door Alice held open. Seeing no other way, Jai lifted her leg up and stepped inside. There was a second seat, but it was on the other side and to get to it she would have to climb over a dashboard in the middle. Turning in the place, she brought her legs up and stretched one across the dash before the sound of laughter reached her.
“Keep going…” Alice leaned against the door, as she fought to stifle her laughter by hiding her face in her shoulder. “Some other time I’ll show you a much easier way.”
As Jai completed her maneuver, she slid into the seat and instantly felt it adjusting to her position and the curve of her back. It was the most comfortable she had ever felt, the seat held her in such a way that she felt as if nothing was holding her and she was floating entirely unconnected to gravity and even existence.
Alice slid into the seat beside her and pressed a few buttons. The door slid shut, and the vehicle began to move upwards, but Jai did not feel any acceleration or movement. The only way she knew they were moving was by looking out the window. In an instant, they were off the ground and flying upward through cloud and starlight. As they pierced through the heavens, Jai saw the top of the floating city for the first time and cupped her mouth in shock at how enormous it appeared. From the ground, it had looked large but so were other natural clouds and some of them seemed ten times the size of the ship. But from above the city, she could see that it sprawled for many miles. The entire structure was disk-shaped with three curved arm-like spires that met in the middle above everything. She could see buildings a hundred stories high as well as fields for growing crops and agriculture. There truly was an entire society of people she had never met or knew existed on these artificial clouds.
“Pretty wild right?” Alice asked as she watched Jai’s react to the sights.
They passed through what appeared to be an invisible shield. The only reason Jai knew they went through anything was that for the first time since sitting in her seat she felt an external rumble. The window glowed yellow and orange as they pressed through and Jai was now on board the floating city.
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