Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Today is my stop on the Wintersong blog tour and I am here today to share with you all a very exciting excerpt from the novel!
Before you get to see this exclusive sneak peak though, here’s some more information about the book!
About the Book
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
I whirled around. Sitting on my bed were a pair of goblin girls. They stared at me, tittering behind their hands. With a twist of the stomach, I noticed they had too many joints in their long, twig-like fingers. Their skin had the greenish-brown tint of a spring wood just waking from its winter slumber, and their eyes had no whites about the pupils.
“No, no, mustn’t touch.” One of them waggled an unsettlingly long finger at me. “His Majesty wouldn’t be pleased.”
I dropped my hand to my side. “His Majesty? The Goblin King?”
“Goblin King,” the other goblin girl scoffed. She was the size of a child, but proportioned like an adult, a little stocky, with shining white hair like a thistle-cloud about her head. “King of the goblins, feh. He’s no king of mine.”
“Shush, Thistle,” the first goblin girl admonished. She was longer and thinner than her counterpart, built like a slender birch tree. Her hair was branches wound with cobwebs. “You mustn’t say things like that.”
“I’ll say what I want, Twig.” Thistle crossed her arms with a mutinous expression on her face.
Thistle and Twig carried on as though I were nothing more than another fixture in the barrow. Even among the goblins, I faded into the shadows. I cleared my throat.
“What are you doing here?” My voice cracked through their conversation like a whip. “Who are you?”
“We are your attendants,” said the one called Thistle. She grinned, her smile row upon row of jagged teeth. “Sent to prepare you for the fête tonight.”
“Fête?” I did not like the way she said prepare, as though I were a kill for the feast, a roast to be trussed. “What fête?”
“The Goblin Ball, of course,” said the one called Twig. “We host revels each night during the days of winter, and tonight promises to be special. Tonight Der Erlkönig introduces his bride to the Underground.”
“I must speak with Der Erlkönig,” I said. “Immediately.”
Twig and Thistle laughed, branches rubbing against each other in a sudden storm. “And so you shall, maiden. So you shall. All in good time. You are his guest of honor at the ball tonight, and you shall meet with him then.”
“No.” I tried to impose my will upon them; I was bigger, after all, although not by much. “I must speak with him now.”
“All you mortals are so impatient,” Thistle said. “I suppose that’s what comes with feeling the hand of Death upon your neck at all times.”
“Take me to him,” I demanded. “Right now.”
But both Twig and Thistle were implacable, ignoring my words and circling me with curious eyes. I wanted to shy away from their scrutiny, from their judging eyes, from the sense that they were measuring me against some invisible mark.
“Not much to work with,” Thistle remarked.
“Hmmm,” Twig agreed. “Don’t know what we could do to improve her appearance.”
I bristled. Plain as I was, at least I wasn’t grotesque, not like these goblin girls.
“I shall address him as I am, thank you,” I said sharply. “My appearance needs no improving.”
They gave me a look of pity mingled with contempt. “It’s not your choice, mortal,” Thistle said. “It pleases our esteemed sovereign to have you properly dressed tonight.”
“Can’t this wait?”
Twig and Thistle exchanged looks, then laughed, another burst of branches in a storm.
“There are rituals, and there are traditions,” Twig said. “The Goblin Ball is a tradition. There is a time and place for boons and audiences, and the Goblin Ball is not the appropriate time or place for either. You are Der Erlkönig’s guest of honor; this night is for you. Enjoy yourself. All other nights belong to him. And to us.”
About the Author
Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for ten years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes.