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Small Press, Big Stories: Detox In Letters by Cheryl Low – Cover Reveal and Excerpt!

Vanity in Dust (cover)When I spoke to Sarena at World Weaver Press last year we talked about Cheryl Low’s Vanity in Dust, which I reckoned was pitched like Moorcock’s End of Time characters in a more urban fantasy setting. That sounded more than fascinating enough to get added to the TBR mountain, and now it’s time to reveal the cover for the upcoming sequel, Detox In Letters, again from WWP, and again designed by Linn Arvidsson.

Here’s the back cover copy, followed closely by the cover itself – and read on for a sneak preview of Detox In Letters!

Welcome to the Realm, where magic is your drug, your poison, and your only hope.

An illness is spreading through the city, marking the sick in mysterious letters scrawled across their skin. What is first thought to be madness reveals itself to be an awakening as residents rediscover themselves, their pasts, and their long-forgotten magic…things the Queen wants to remain buried. Things she will sacrifice her own children to suppress.

Mercy has never been a staple of the Realm. Treachery, blood, and magic steeps the city as the rebel leader, Red, seeks to topple the Tower, Princess Fay eyes her mother’s throne, and Prince Vaun must decide whether to submit to his mother’s terrible demand.

Detox in Letters (cover)

Excerpt from Detox in Letters, © 2018 by Cheryl Low

Fay lifted one naked hand, her nails painted gold and fingers framing a black cigarette on its way to her red lips. She inclined her head in consent, as though the whole ordeal grew dull by the second. Her cigarette burned the moment it touched her lips. She breathed deep and exhaled black.

He turned his head the other way. Addom nodded.

Vaun backed from the arena and began to count.

“Ten,” he said.

Addom stared across that stretch of stone yard, across benches and sculptures of roses. Red eyes bore into gold.

“Nine,” Vaun called. “Eight.” He reached the edge.

Fay breathed deep from her cigarette.

“Seven.”

She exhaled and another puff of thick black rolled off red lips.

“Six,” Vaun shouted.

Larc whimpered on the balcony.

“Five.”

Addom slid his hand into his pocket.

“Four.”

Gloved fingers brought out a silver lighter. His thumb flicked the lid open.

“Three.”

With a stroke, it was lit and held low near his thigh, just waiting to reach out and run the flame over the wick of the weapon in front of him.

“Two.”

The crowd inhaled.

“One.”

Fay smiled. Truly, wickedly, gleefully, smiled.

Her fingers let go of her cigarette, eyelids rising just a little. She made no move for the canon at her side, but the wick flared to life just as Addom reached for his. The first boom rocked the courtyard, followed almost instantly by the second. Neither Fay Dray Fen nor Addom Vym flinched. Coats and hair whipped in the wind caused by the iron spheres that whirled past their bodies, missing by a breath before slamming into the bellies of buildings behind them.

Screams from panicked onlookers trailed the blasts as brick exploded and debris hurled into the crowd. Dirt rose into a cloud and drifted down to settle over the courtyard.

Debris speckled the air when the sound finally died and, for a moment, after the ringing in his ears faded, Vaun wondered if he had gone deaf. Again, silence swept them, imperfect only for the panting breaths of the crowd. There was a moment of awe in the wake of explosions and then, almost as one, the gathered onlookers blinked in confusion.

Fay quirked a brow and turned shoulders and cheek to glance at Vaun over her collar, those eyes alone asking, “What now?”

Vaun leaned toward Samuel Sinol at his right. “Do we have more cannon balls, Simon?”

“We do not, your highness.”

The prince was tempted to call the man a liar, but they could only sling oversized iron at one another for so long before they would have to get to the point of this duel. Squaring his shoulders, he marched out onto the courtyard again. Chunks of gravel and brick made the ground uneven beneath his boots. He stood still for a breath when he reached the center, all eyes and ears trained on him.

He made them wait another moment before sealing their fates and sending the crowd into bursts of bloodthirsty glee. “Swords!” he called, voice echoing before cheers.

– – –

Detox in Letters, book two in the Crown and Ash series, is due out September 18. Book one, Vanity in Dust, is out now. To learn more about the series you can visit Cheryl’s website or follow her on social media @cherylwlow.

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