Friday, June 28, 2013

Awakened by Kriston Johnson Excerpt and Giveaway!

The Indie/Self-Published Author Event, hosted by the lovely ladies over at Say It with Books, is a month-long blog event that features all independently and self-published authors and their brilliant, but under-recognized works. Follow us throughout June to discover your next favorite book!

I'm so excited to share this fabulous YA novel with y'all today:

Awakened by Kriston Johnson

Series: The Legends of Elyndia #1
Release Date: 19 April 2013
Page Count: 272
Publisher: CreateSpace (self-published)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Can fighting for the right side be the wrong thing to do?

Draven, the tyrant ruler of Elyndia for the last one thousand years, searches for the one who can fulfill his prophecy.

The Paladins, an elite band of warriors sworn to protect their way of life at all cost, search for the one with the ability to bring their world crumbling down.

An innocent girl, tormented by demons only she can see, lives on the brink of insanity and longs for a life of peace.

When seventeen-year-old Jade Rosenberg reads from an antique book, she has no idea she just read an incantation awaking her inherited power. But when opposing—and equally terrifying—groups invade her home, she learns she is descended from an enchanted realm and a member of a powerful race thought to have been hunted to extinction.

Ripped from her world, Jade is forced to seek refuge from those who want her dead. She is given one of two options and the time has come for her to make a choice: assassinate their sworn enemy... or sacrifice her soul.

Click "Read more" to check out the entire first chapter of Awakened and enter a fabulous giveaway for finished copies and bookmarks!

Chapter One

Jade was an expert at ignoring everything and everyone around her—except when there was a demon hovering in the doorway. It was supposed to be the time of her life, but so far junior year had sucked. Day after day she spent her lunch in the school library, sitting at the same table in the back corner. The farther away she was from everybody else, the better. It was the easiest place to escape the scrutinizing stares and smart remarks she received from the wonderful students she was supposed to consider her peers. Jade's clammy hands gripped the armrests on her chair until her fingers turned white, her chest frozen mid-breath while other students moved around the room with careless ease.

Why don't they see him? He's right there. She moved only her eyes and scanned the room. If anyone else acknowledged it, she would know she was not as crazy as everyone accused. She just needed one other person to see him. Just one. The demon stood upright like a human, hunched over with a slight hump on its back. She didn't worry about fighting back tears; those had dried up a long time ago.

She'd been seeing the creatures of the shadows for years. That was what she called them anyway—for that seemed to be their favorite place to slink out of. After one glimpse of that hideous monstrosity, the memories of every creature Jade had ever seen flooded her mind, some so grotesque and evil that she figured them to be the direct offspring of the devil himself. Everyone told her they were figments of her overactive imagination, something created in her head because it was easier to be afraid of a supernatural beast than it was to face the fear of being alone. Subconsciously she rubbed the faded scars on her forearm hidden beneath her fuchsia-colored long-sleeved t-shirt. She got them when a clawed beast took a swipe at her a couple years ago. The doctors were convinced she was cutting herself, and after a while, it was just easier to let them think that. It wasn't long after that Jade learned if she acted like she couldn't see the evil heathens, they would leave her alone. The demons couldn't tell who could see them and who couldn't.

After watching it for what felt like an eternity, she saw Sadie Baker strut through the doorway, followed by her boyfriend Seth. For half a second, Jade wasn't sure what surprised her more: the demon or that Sadie even knew where the library was. She breezed past the demon as if he weren't there, because to her he wasn't.

Sadie caught the demon's attention, and he watched as she sauntered across the room. His face was partially hidden beneath his draped hood, but Jade could see it was barely more than a skeleton. His cheeks were sunk in, his skin was practically white, and his eyes were nothing more than solid black orbs. He slithered from side to side like a serpent as he glided across the tile floor, following her as the tattered shreds of his charcoal gray cloak rippled behind him. Mr. and Mrs. Perfect plopped down one table over from Jade and dropped their backpacks on the floor. Sadie wore Seth's class ring on a chain around her neck, and she played with it often to make sure everyone could see it. She loosely held the ring in her fingers and slid it back and forth along the delicate silver link chain. The demon homed in on the ring, his head swaying to and fro like a cobra, saliva dripping from his mouth.

Jade wished the demon would get bored and move on, but something about the ring had him mesmerized. More than anything, she just wanted to grab her things and pretend none of it was happening. Despite the fact that Sadie was cold-hearted, thought she was better than everyone else, and had made Jade's life a living hell every school day for the last five years, Jade didn't want her to suffer the unholy wrath a demon could inflict on a person.

Cautiously, Jade stood. The demon hissed, exposing blackened, jagged teeth, and reached out with gnarled hands toward the unsuspecting Sadie. Jade rushed over and grabbed the ring out of Sadie's hand. She yanked down hard on the chain, breaking it free from Sadie's neck.

"What the hell?" Sadie screeched, rubbing the back of her neck.

The demon jerked his head and lunged for the ring. Jade threw it across the room. Clinking across the tile, the ring slid in front of the window and down into a grated vent in the floor, the chain trailing behind it. The demon gave chase and hovered over the ring's resting place. Before dematerializing into vapor, he faced Jade, a sadistic smile spreading across his pale face.

Seth jumped to his feet. "You're going to pay for that, Rosenberg, you freak!"

"You were a freak when we were kids and you're a bigger freak now," Sadie chimed in.

Jade didn't look back as she ran out the library doors. Thunder boomed overhead and rain splashed off her face as she sprinted away from the school. She darted down a narrow alley between two red brick buildings, seeking refuge. Panting, she leaned back against a wall, the word freak echoing in her mind.

About the Author

Kriston Johnson lives in Southwest Washington with her husband, teenage son, and miniature Australian Shepherd. Her home rests at the fringe of an old growth forest that she insists is the home of Jason Voorhees. Her husband thinks that's a ridiculous assumption, because everyone knows it's really Bigfoot.

Every summer Kriston participates in the annual pilgrimage to Faerieworlds, a real life faerie realm here on Earth, and has an unhealthy obsession with Star Wars, The Vampire Diaries, and Iron Man. Awakened is her first novel.


Want the chance to win a finished copy of Awakened and a bookmark from Kriston Johnson? Two lucky readers will! One will get a paperback set (US only!) and one will get an eBook set (worldwide)—yay!

To enter, leave a comment in response to Kriston's question:
What is your favorite paranormal or mythical creature to read about? Don't forget to leave your email address so I know who to contact when winners are selected!!
Mermaids! I've always been enchanted with them, and not just the lovey-dovey Disney version. The original folklore of mermaids—the ugly and the evil—intrigues me as well. How about you?

Please make your comment meaningful!!! Comments just consisting of a one-worded response or "thanks for the giveaway" will not be eligible for the additional entries. Kriston and I really want to hear you guys' thoughts! :)

Rules and disclosure:
Sponsored wholly by the author—a huge thank you to Kriston!
Giveaway ends July 13th at 11.59 pm (your time).
Open to anyone with a verifiable mailing address—anyone in the world! Woohoo! However, only US readers are eligible to win the print copy set.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are notified of the results, or else their winnings will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.
Although I do select winners (randomly), I am in no way responsible for the prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!