Happy New Year’s!
I hope you had a wonderful celebration bringing in the new year and are prepared to read many books in 2020! (As I know that is my personal goal!)
If you’re unsure what book to dive into first and still wishing Christmas didn’t “pass us by” so quickly, I have a story just for you!
One of my best friend’s is releasing an Asian inspired Christmas vibe short story! I LOVED her book Shadow’s Hand and this one is no exception as I had a chance to beta read Guiding Light.
It. Is. So. Good.
Perfect amounts of winter feels, action, and community.
It releases this upcoming Saturday and look at this stunning cover she made!
Set five years before the events of The Shadow’s Creed Saga, Guiding Light is a short story of friendship, community and heart-warming traditions that evoke the complicated emotions of the holiday season.
When Kilo, a young Shadow of Vaiyene, is honored with the duty of leading his people to the winter festival, regret weighs heavy on his heart. The past few years have not been easy, and seeing others spend time with their families awakens old wounds.
But to be a Shadow means to set aside grief and be there for the people. After all, if there’s one thing Kilo has learned is that that time is short—and the best way to spend it is with the ones we love.
Release Date: January 4, 2020
Preorder Link (Coming Soon!)
Want to know more? Check out this excerpt!
Large flakes of snow floated from the sky, covering the village in a muted calm. A trickle of water moved under a thin covering of ice, which cracked and moaned in the morning sun. The pure scent of falling snow remained one of my most cherished memories—tied to traditions that lifted and warmed my heart. It was only a few days until the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. A day the people of Vaiyene came together to share stories and reflect back on the year that had passed.
My feet crunched in the snow, and a smile came across my face. I brushed the snow from my straw hat, admiring the sunlight as it hit icicles on the rocks of the mountain. They shimmered with rainbow light, refracting the rising sun.
Snow fell from a tree, plopping to the ground with a thud.
It was beginning to warm. Soon, spring would come, and with it, longer days.
I let out a deep breath, creating a plume of mist in the frigid air.
Finae, my younger sister, raced through the forest ahead of me. She wore a white kimono decorated with silver snowflakes, making it difficult for me to keep track of her. I had insisted she wear something practical for our climb. Her response was to tie up the bottom of her robe with a long, braided rope and stuff her thick socks into high boots.
When she saw me, she turned and bounded over the snow.
Close to a dozen silver flowers were in her hands.
I bent one knee and sank down enough for her to throw them into the basket.
She grinned at me. “Kilo, look! A bunch of them have bloomed this year.”
“It has been snowing more than usual,” I said, hefting the basket as I began to climb the mountain again. These particular flowers liked the extreme cold, and this winter had been harsher than in recent years. It would be a good harvest, which benefited the Shadows. After the festival every year, we created a healing salve from the flowers. Making the paste was relatively easy, but finding the flowers—enough of them—proved difficult some years. Most of the Shadows used to help with the harvest, but as Finae seemed to have a good sense for where they grew, they now left it to her to hunt them and me to accompany her.
Neither of us minded.
Finae stayed ahead as we continued to climb the mountain. Her light frame allowed her to walk above the snow in places where it had hardened. With my stature, I could not travel as easily as she did, but having grown up climbing the mountains, I was used to the dangers.
I kicked my feet into the snowdrifts, creating footholds to shuffle along the cliff face. It was the trickiest part of the climb, dissuading most. The drop-off was substantial. With a firm grip around a stable piece of rock, I lifted myself up, kicking a new foothold into the snow before I climbed up and over the edge of the cliff.
The summit of the mountain was not far off.
I readjusted my straw snowshoes and spotted Finae bending under a nearby evergreen tree.
“What’s the secret to finding the flowers?”
She stood up and sighed. “There is no secret. Every year I tell you the same thing.”
“And every year, I think you’ll finally trust me enough to tell me.”
I tried to contain my smile as she disappeared through a line of evergreens, annoyed with my question.
Want do you think? Love Kilo and Finae already? Stay tuned to snag your e-copy this weekend!
About the Author
Noelle Nichols is a writer, dreamer and creator. She writes to make sense of the world, often giving her characters choices that rely heavily on moral choice. Her current series, The Shadows Creed Saga was influenced by Japan’s samurai and shinobi. When she isn’t writing, she’s painting or daydreaming on hikes. You can follow her adventures on her website: noellenichols.com