About Lands of Jade:
For the first time in eight hundred years, the sun sets on the desert world of Crimson Winter, throwing the planet into unexpected darkness and further chaos. And with the setting of the sun comes the unexpected rise of hordes of undead creatures from the endless Sand Lakes.
...so I can...
Yukari Namikoya, Japanese high school student turned Chosen of Sapphiros, must rise to the occasion and use the powers she has been given to try and protect those she's come to love against overwhelming odds.
...see the light of day again.
But when each night lasts a little longer, Yukari soon realizes that their days might be numbered and a sinister force beyond even the menace of the Vile Emperor might be behind the terrors that are besieging the planet during such a desperate time. The worst part is that Yukari doesn't know if her powers, or even the combined forces of her allies will be enough to protect the Kingdom of Taiyou, let alone the whole world.
Please welcome Justine to the blog today!!One of my strongest memories from the time I spent working on this book stems from the research I did to make the science feel somewhat grounded in reality. Crimson Winter is by no means a hard scifi, I would classify it as a scifi/fantasy blend, but I even when writing pure fiction I like to keep the events believable within the story’s context.
You see, the Crimson Winter Trilogy is set on a desert planet where the sun never sets… until it does. One of the major plot points in Lands of Jade, the second volume in the series, is that the sun sets for the first time in eight hundred years, plunging the world into chaos and darkness.
I remember doing research on planetary orbits trying to find a scientific explanation for how a planet could theoretically have sunlight twenty-four hours a day and what it would take to return that cycle to ‘normal’. I drove myself crazy trying out various models and explanations and eventually fell asleep dreaming of scientific theories having worked myself into an almost feverish state. When I woke up the next morning, I felt like I had had an epiphany and the explanation was suddenly perfectly clear. I remember surging out of bed and running to my office to find a pen and paper so I could scribble everything out.
This event was so pivotal to the plot of Lands of Jade that I included it in the story. Yukari first tries without success to explain the reason behind the sudden darkness and then she sleeps on it, waking with sudden clarity. Here’s the scene:
I didn’t remember dreaming, least of all working through any of the problems I had to consider, but when I woke, sometime still during daylight hours, suddenly everything seemed clearer than it had before.
I leapt up out of bed and scurried over to the table in the centre of the room, rummaging in my medic kit as I went. I pulled the Blue Moon Scroll out first, just to get it out of my way, and then I reached for the sheaf of blank paper I had picked up from the Temple of Sapphire and the pencil I had obtained at the same time. Laying the paper out on the table before me, I couldn’t get to writing fast enough, almost knocking over the chair in my haste to get in it.
“What’re ye doing over there?” Masaru asked groggily.
Without looking, I held a finger up to him to indicate I couldn’t talk just yet. I drew quick diagrams and notations, working through vague theories and possibilities on the limited amount of paper I had at my disposal. At the edge of my perception I heard Masaru rustle about behind the curtain, before coming over to peer over my shoulder at what I was doing.
“I knew ye could do it,” he spoke softly, placing his hand on my shoulder.
And that’s what Crimson Winter is to me, memories stored on paper. It’s a story I loved with characters, thoughts, ideas and settings that are important to me and I wrote them down because I wanted to always remember them with perfect clarity. So I encourage you to give Lands of Jade a read. The story of Crimson Winter means a lot to me and I’m glad after all these years to continue to be able to share it with you, my readers.
Genres: Young Adult, SciFi, Fantasy, Adventure
Page Count: Approximately 434Sale Information:
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“So it’s a children’s toy that goes down the stairs?” Rama asked. “On its own, you say?”
I listened only half-heartedly as Hotaru tried, once again, to explain another tidbit of Earth culture to someone who had no frame of reference for what she was talking about. Hotaru was my best friend, but I was often exasperated by her lack of good judgment. I prided myself on having a solid grasp on the facts of any given situation, but it was not lost on me that my round-faced, dark-haired friend was my complete opposite. It was a wonder we got along at all.
Beyond Hotaru, Kaji rolled his eyes to indicate what he thought of the current topic of conversation and I smiled at him, despite myself. Like Hotaru, I had known Kaji my entire life. We didn’t talk much, but when we did we often saw eye to eye, which was refreshing compared to the arguments I often had with Hotaru.
Yue, the other one of us who had been chosen by Sapphiros, was another matter altogether. I looked up as I saw my friend appear at the base of the staircase and grab a couple of buns from the soldier handing them out, her impossibly long, chestnut brown hair falling down to cover her face in shadow. Yue and I had been close enough on Earth, though even then she had been quiet and generally preferred to be on her own, rather than socialize or study. Since arriving on this world, she had, if anything, become more distant from the rest of us. In the last three days she had been mostly silent, using her power to increase her walking or running speed until she was no longer visible as she passed from place to place, in order to avoid having to actually encounter anyone.
She turned, buns in hand, and made as if to flash-step back in the direction she had come when she stopped suddenly, her back stiffening. I sat up straight in alarm before I realized what had caused Yue to pause. A familiar grating noise filled the air and I looked over my shoulder in disbelief to see the doors of the temple were opening at last.
The group of us on the steps hurried to our feet as two at a time, sorceresses and sorceresses-in-training emerged from the massive temple, fanning out from the doors themselves and down the sides of the staircase. Prince Narlhep emerged slowly into the light of day from the dark confines of the Jade mountain. He walked stiffly, but I was glad to see him exiting the temple under his own power – after three days of his continued absence, I had begun to worry he would not emerge at all. The prince took a few more steps and stopped between Kaji and Rama, but he didn’t make any move to take his helmet off, nor did he speak.
“All hail the new King of Taiyou!” Kaji called out, his voice amplified by his power so everyone could hear him. “All hail King Narlhep!”
“King Narlhep!” The cheer was repeated by those of us on the steps, Rama’s troops, and the Roughlanders beyond, though the many sorceresses remained silent and stony-faced.
My eyes were trained on Narlhep, who still had not made any move to remove his helmet – something was amiss here. After a long moment, Narlhep retrieved his sword from Rama and started making his way down the stairs. I fell in step beside him as the sorceresses began to disperse and the others talked excitedly amongst themselves.
“Narlhep, are you all right?”
He didn’t answer me, confirming my suspicions. I quickened my pace to keep step with him as he broke free of the crowd at the bottom of the stairs and continued on away from where we had set up our encampment. Ahead of us lay the partly-destroyed small village that decorated the one side of the mountain, where we had commandeered most of our remaining supplies.
“Narlhep?” I tried again as he marched deliberately toward a wooden cabin, which was slightly larger than the majority of the huts still standing in the village.
I entered the cabin on the heels of the prince – or the king now, I suppose. The cabin was still not very big, despite being larger than most of the buildings in this village. The main room – perhaps the only room, I couldn’t tell – contained only a few rickety chairs facing a wooden desk. Behind the desk was a woman I had met before, but didn’t much like. She was small of stature and elderly, with a bun of grayish-white hair held atop her head by a black net of spider-like webbing. As the armoured King of Taiyou entered her presence, the matronly sorceress stood and gave a slight bow of her head in his direction. Narlhep did not wait for the woman to finish acknowledging him before he removed her head with a single, powerful swipe of his sword.
I gasped, my eyes widening in shock. Narlhep, like me, was only fifteen. I had never killed anyone before, though since coming here I had seen my share of death. I had read in the museum of Taiyou that Prince Narlhep, like the other princes of his line before him, had been responsible for the death of his father, but until now I hadn’t fully believed my friend to be capable of murder. Her head rolled to the ground as her body crumpled and a slight green mist, like a gas, wafted from out of her body to dissipate in the air.
“She was the last of the Oujou.” Narlhep’s voice sounded muffled from beneath his helmet, but I could hear him struggling to keep his voice controlled. “I had no choice.”
“Narlhep, please, talk to me,” I pleaded with him, wanting my friend back. “Tell me what happened in there.”
He gave no response, but stood tightly gripping his bloody sword a moment in his gauntleted hand before walking past me. I couldn’t let him just walk away. I tried a different tactic, though it would cost me to do it. “Your Majesty?”
He stopped with his back to me and he didn’t turn his head. “Don’t call me that,” he said. “I’m not the King of Taiyou.”
“If you’re not the King of Taiyou, then who is?”
Narlhep took a deep breath, audible through his helmet. “The Chosen of Jedeite. I’m to act as Regent until he returns to Taiyou, then my time is finished.”
Meet the Author:
Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of ten novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and role-playing with her friends.
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