08 July 2008

Release day!

It's release day! I'm so excited - today is the day The Ankh of Isis (Library of Athena, Book Two), hits the shelves, so to speak, at Samhain!
It's the sequel to The Crown of Zeus, and the adventure is bigger, the stakes higher, the snakes more deadly!
Whoops, sorry, there weren't any snakes in the first book. But there's a great big one in this book, along with a little YA romance, and lots of sand and sun. It IS Ancient Egypt, after all.
I'm running a contest to celebrate the release, which you can read about over at my blog. I have four- blogger, LJ, Xanga, and MySpace -but you can find out about the contest at any one of them. If you're part of the Samhaincafe loop, keep an eye out for other release day contests too. AND I'll be doing something a little extra-special for those who belong to my personal loop - www.yahoogroups.com/groups/christinenorris .
Here's a wee-bitty excerpt...
“I rather like this temple,” Rachel said. “It’s got a certain…mysterious charm to it.”
“I’m surprised you like anything that reminds you of Ancient Greece,” Megan said with a teasing smirk. She wrapped an arm around her friend’s shoulders. “You would think you had had enough of it.”
Rachel feigned surprise. “I can’t imagine why you would say such a thing. I mean, I only helped you cut off a Gorgon’s head. Then I was forced to fly on the back of some mad mythical horse.”
“His name is Pegasus.”
“Whatever, it was perfectly terrifying. Then I was almost captured by some bull-man creature and eaten—”
“—and had to face a Sphinx who threatened to eat me if I didn’t answer her silly riddles.” She took a deep breath. “It doesn’t make the temple any less interesting.”
Megan snorted. “Well, when you put it that way…”
Tucked into the far corner, in the shadow of one of the columns, was a plain oak wooden door with a brass knob. Megan pulled the key from her pocket, put it in the lock and turned it. She swung the door open and allowed Rachel to enter.
Rachel’s voice echoed in the dark. “Brr. I’d forgotten how cold it is in here.”
“Bailey says it’s climate-controlled,” Megan explained. She flicked a switch, and torch-shaped electric lights came on to chase away the gloom. “The rocky cavern underneath the house keeps the books at precisely the right temperature and humidity levels to preserve the books.” She picked up two pair of white cotton gloves from a holder on the wall next to the door. She handed a pair to Rachel. “If you’re going to touch the books, put these on.”
“Why?” Rachel took the gloves. “We didn’t have to before.”
“We didn’t know any better last time. They keep the oils on our hands from damaging the paper.”
Rachel pulled on the gloves and took a few steps inside. The Library was an oak-paneled room three times the size of the temple outside. Polished wooden floors reflected pools of light. A wide, carpeted aisle ran down the center of the room and away into the distance; on either side stood row upon row of bookshelves, filled with more books than one could hope to read in three lifetimes.
Above them arched an elegant domed plaster ceiling. Today the dome looked like a perfect spring day—robin’s-egg blue with white fluffy clouds floating across it. It was sort of a timepiece. The ceiling would change as the day wore on, the clouds fading and the sky darkening until it was a deep, midnight blue, spattered with golden stars. A crystal chandelier, ten feet in diameter, hung from the top of the dome to cast its light over the room.
The Library of Athena. Megan thought there was something solemn, something sad about this big room. At the same time, she was glad it was here, a secret place that was just for her, as it had been for Sir Gregory. How many other people had their very own library, let alone one filled with books about magic?
And how many people believe in magic anyway? Anyone who came down here would probably be more interested in the scrolls or the rare first editions…or only editions, in some cases.Megan hadn’t believed in magic herself before her first-hand, near-death experience with it. Now she was a true believer, and she took her job protecting the Library seriously. She felt it was up to her to be responsible, to care for the Library as best she could.
Rachel walked slowly down the aisle, stopping to read the cards in brass holders mounted on the end of every case. The handwritten cards indicated what was shelved there.
“I don’t know what’s down here we could use for our papers,” Megan said.Rachel reached the fifth set of shelves, turned right and disappeared down the aisle.
“Rachel…” Megan said. She pulled the door shut and followed her.
Rachel hadn’t gone far; Megan found her in front of one set of shelves halfway down, scanning the titles.
“Looking for something in particular?” Megan asked, her suspicion reflected in her voice.Rachel picked three books from the shelf. “I’m doing my paper for Livingston’s class on Ancient Egypt,” she said. Rachel tucked the books beneath her arm and walked away from Megan, through the stacks.
Megan chased after her. “I think we should be careful about using books from here…”
Rachel shot a look over her shoulder. “Come on, Megan. There’s way better books here than at the school’s library. Who am I to pass up a great resource?” The stacks emptied into a narrow open area with several reading tables. Rachel pulled out a chair beneath the nearest one and sat.
She opened her pack and got a notebook and pen from inside. “The books are definitely more interesting here. I don’t want to turn in the same old boring paper everyone else has.”
Megan sat next to her. “Um, well, I guess you can look. Like I said, I don’t know what you can actually use. Some of these books you’d have a hard time explaining in the bibliography.”She picked up one of the books. “Like this one—Secret Spells of Ancient Egypt: A Translation of Papyrus found buried beneath the temple of Osiris.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Rachel said. She opened the notebook and started writing. “It’s not like hieroglyphs are some big secret. Everyone knows that the Egyptian priests used their own brand of magic. If you’re worried about me telling where I got it, I’ll just say I found a copy online at the British Museum or something.”
“No, you can’t lie. Livingston will see right through you. And I’m not worried about that. This copy is handwritten, by Sir Gregory, from a manuscript he personally discovered.” Megan said. She laid the open book down in front of Rachel. She pointed to the title page. “Look here, it says it was translated in 1936, by Sir Gregory Archibald.” She scanned the translation. “I’d love to see the look on Livingston’s face, but how would you explain it?”
Rachel’s face fell. “I see your point. Not that one, then.”
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