Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author Julia Ember joining us today at our blog to talk about new release “The Tiger’s Watch”.
Welcome Julia 🙂
Cover Artist: Megan Moss
Ashes of Gold: Book One
Tashi is a spy and killer—an elite warrior known as an inhabitor—taught from a young age to use their bond with the tiger Katala. When an enemy force captures the city, Tashi has no option but to escape. Their safety doesn’t last long, however. Soon the conquering army arrives at the secluded monastery where Tashi is hiding, needing a place to treat their wounded. It’s not long before their leader, Xian, takes an interest in Tashi.
Xian is cold, ambitious, and even cruel—at least at first glance. But Tashi is skilled at watching and reading people, and they find a softer side to the young commander—one that intrigues them.
Tashi’s loyalties are strained when they learn they have been deceived by the people who trained them, and they must choose between their countrymen and a budding romance with Xian. But fierce Katala faces no such conflict, and she massacres the soldiers she sees as invaders. Xian’s men are determined to take revenge against the tiger, but an inhabitor’s bond with their animal cannot be severed—neither can survive if the other is killed.
I kept my eyes lowered as the door to the hall swung open. Nervous energy danced through me. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Part of me imagined a legion storming through the monastery and snatching us up like prized jewels to take back to the capitol in chains.
Instead, only two pairs of feet marched toward the place where Pharo and I sat. One set belonged to Ugyen. His feet were bare, murky brown with a gnarled mole on one big toe. He padded across the wood floors as silently as a rat slinking away, trying to avoid the eye of its predator. The stranger wore thick boots with steel caps. Fine serrated blades stuck out from the metal toe. I wondered whether they were for show, or if this man was the type to use them as a weapon, kicking someone to death with the kind of savagery we had learned that only the Myeik army possessed. The newcomer left muddy footprints with every arrogant stride. A line of brown water trickled across the glossy surface of our polished floor and pooled by Pharo’s knee.
“You will condense your people into one building so that we can set up our troops and hospital in the other,” the man said. He stopped to look down at us. Don’t look up, I willed myself. Don’t look into his eyes. Be invisible.
The door swung open again, and a flurry of servants burst in with the cold wind. They scuttled to the commander’s side and flanked him like a group of ducklings in their yellow army cloaks.
The commander pointed to me and then turned to Ugyen. “I thought I told you to move all the novices into the refectory so I could speak to them after I carried out my inspection.”
“All the novices are there, Commander,” Ugyen said, clearly thinking fast. He wrung his hands once and then picked at a loose string on his robes to keep his fingers from betraying his nerves. The way he simpered after the enemy commander sickened me. I wondered if he or the abbot had put up any resistance at all, or just allowed these city-rapers to stroll through the gates. They hadn’t allowed us to hear their discussions outside. “These are just servants. They are not at rest with the others as they disobeyed the abbot.”
Suddenly, a riding crop darted out. I inched, but the commander lifted my chin with the soft leather and forced me to look at him. I swallowed down terror. His face was young, beardless. I noticed the smoothness of it—he didn’t look old enough to have been in battle at all, much less risen to the rank of commander. He had blue-green eyes and light, freckled skin. He studied me in turn and then crouched down for a closer look. His fingers replaced the crop under my chin, and he turned my face to the side. I closed my eyes and tried to distance myself from the humiliation of his inspection.
When he took hold of my wrist, I nearly cried out from the pain. Yellow burns covered my raw palms.
“What’s wrong with your hands? Do you have a sickness?” He didn’t wait for an answer, turning to Ugyen instead. “What is wrong with him? You assured us this place was clear of disease and would be appropriate for our purposes.”
I cleared my throat, annoyance at being talked around giving me a voice. “No… Commander… sir… it’s from this soap that we used on the floor.”
Ugyen flushed, and I was glad looking at my blisters made him ashamed.
Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.
Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.
Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will be released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.
In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.