QSFer A.M. Burns has a new contemporary magical YA book out:
Lugh’s mother packed up and moved them from sunny Florida to tiny Steamboat Springs, Colorado after his father’s accidental drowning. Resigned to his mom having to work a lot, and only just beginning to deal with his dad’s death, Lugh is disappointed when she is called in to work on his fifteenth birthday.
After an unnerving dream, he decides to head to the nearby river where he ends up following a strange, urgent, internal pull. When another boy helps him rescue a young cat from the river, Lugh discovers a family secret he never suspected. Now, with his new cousin Abby and their friend Wyn, Lugh must figure out the rules of his new life before the forces that seek to destroy them can get the upper hand.
A.M. is giving away an ecopy of “Blood Moon Yellow Sky” with this post. Comment below with the kind of animal they would most like to be magically bound to.
The river’s roar filled his ears before he saw it. Rounding the last corner to the river trail, he couldn’t deny something pulled at his soul. Something in or around the river wanted—no, needed—Lugh. With each step toward the river, the urge to get there grew stronger. The crashing of the rolling river came at him in stereo. Along with the sounds he heard with his own ears, there were others, almost louder. Disoriented, he stood for a moment, staring at the river.
Lugh turned right, but after a few steps, the pull weakened. He dropped his soda can into a trash barrel, spun around and gave in to the silent call. Weaving in and out of the line of joggers moving steadily east along the trail, he ran as quickly as he could. Where the sidewalk turned into the path running alongside the river, he stopped briefly, panting to catch his breath. His lungs hadn’t fully adjusted to Colorado’s altitude after the move from Florida. As soon as he could, Lugh pushed on down the river-side trail.
Rains from the past couple of days had swollen the river, pushing it higher than it had been last week when he and his mother came down to explore the major waterway of their new town. Here, along the section of river that ran behind the art shops and cafés that made up old town, it roared and rolled like an angry monster, throwing spray and white foam up when it crashed into the rocks filling its course. Last week there’d been kayakers paddling through the white water. This morning, the river lay empty. But the feeling told him something in the river needed him.
An odd spot of gray glistened from on top of one of the rocks as foam drained away. Lugh stopped and stared at the small, drenched cat clinging to the rock. His heart lodged in his throat. He could never resist an animal in need. Lugh ran off the jogging path toward the turbulent water.
The cat looked at him from the rock in the middle of the Yampa River. Lugh thought there might be hope in those eyes as he kicked off his sneakers at the water’s edge. He dove into the river. The frigid water took his breath away and disorientated him. He couldn’t find the cat or the rock.
The current was fast. Faster than anything he’d ever faced before. Swimming in the raging river wasn’t anything like swimming in the ocean he grew up with in Florida. There were a lot of rocks and he knew he had to get out of the water soon or be smashed against one of them. He was good a swimming and fought the current for all he was worth.
“This way!” someone shouted.
He focused on the voice that continued to urge him on and tried to swim across the current. The water pushed at him but he persisted and finally made it to the rapidly disappearing rock the cat clung to. Shivering, he grabbed the rock and stared up into the terrified orange eyes. For just a moment, warmth flooded through him, pushing the water’s chill away. Then it was gone and the glacial cold of the river closed in on him again.
A.M. Burns lives in the Colorado Rockies with his partner, several dogs, cats, horses, and birds. When he’s not writing, he’s often fixing fences, splitting wood, hiking in the mountains, or flying his hawks. He’s enjoyed writing since he was in high school, but it wasn’t until the past few years that he’s begun truly honing his craft. He is the current president of the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group: www.csfwg.org. Having lived both in Colorado and Texas, rugged frontier types and independent attitudes often show up in his work. His books and short stories often show up on Amazon bestseller lists.
Social media links:
Goodreads author page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5134598.A_M_Burns
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/-/e/B0054EVI6W
Mystichawker Press Author Page: www.mystichawker.com/amburns.html
Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group: www.csfwg.org