Tuesday, February 4, 2014

{Tour Stop} SHADOWS OF ASPHODEL by Karen Kincy—Guest Post + Giveaways

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Shadows of Asphodel
by Karen Kincy

When Ardis discovers a man bleeding to death on the battlefield, she knows she has to walk away.

1913. In her work as a mercenary for Austria-Hungary, Ardis has killed many men without hesitation. One more man shouldn’t matter, even if he manages to be a charming bastard while he stands dying in the snow.

But when he raises the dead to fight for him, she realizes she must save his life. 

If a necromancer like Wendel dies, he will return as a monster—or so the rumors say. Ardis decides to play it safe and rescues him. What she doesn’t expect is Wendel falling to one knee and swearing fealty. Ardis never asked for the undying loyalty of a necromancer, but it’s too late now.

Ardis and Wendel forge an uneasy alliance underscored with sexual tension. Together, they confront rebels, assassins, and a conspiracy involving a military secret: robotically-enhanced soldiers for a world on the brink of war. But as Ardis starts to fall for Wendel, she realizes the scars from his past run more deeply than she ever imagined. Can Ardis stop Wendel before his thirst for revenge destroys him and everyone else around him?

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Age Group/Genre: New Adult, Dieselpunk, Romance
Publisher: Self-published
Purchase: AmazonB&N

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by Karen Kincy

KAREN'S FAVORITE QUOTES/SCENES
FROM SHADOWS OF ASPHODEL

One of my favorite parts in Shadows of Asphodel is the absinthe scene. It’s from Chapter 5 in the book, near the beginning of Ardis and Wendel’s relationship. At this point, Ardis finds Wendel’s necromancy disturbing and disgusting, since he has to touch the dead to revive them as his minions. But she finds Wendel strangely fascinating as well, since he has a mysterious past and a mercurial charm.

In this scene, they are travelling together on a train to Vienna. Ardis finds Wendel in the lounge car, drinking absinthe, and she strikes up a conversation. Wendel remarks that they have one day until Vienna, and Ardis asks if he has family there.

“One more day,” he said, “until Vienna.”
“Do you have family in Vienna?” she said.
He knocked back the last of his absinthe. “No.”
She held out the bottle to him, but he ignored it.
“I don’t exist, Ardis,” he said. “Not to them. You won’t find me on any of their family trees. I’m not a part of their lineage anymore. If I die, they will have an easier time erasing me from their reputations. An easier time forgetting.”
Ardis was distantly aware of her heartbeat thumping, and of a tightness in her throat.
“When a necromancer dies,” she said, “does he die like a normal man?”
Wendel’s eyes glittered with a molten emotion she couldn’t name. She found it hard to look at him, but she didn’t dare look away.
“God,” he said, “I hope so.”
She still held the bottle of absinthe out to him, and when he took it from her, the very tips of his fingers touched hers. A shiver of electricity skittered down her backbone, as if she could feel the latent necromancy in his skin.
For some strange reason, she wanted to touch him again.
Ardis fought the urge, until Wendel looked away and she glimpsed a split second of his face. He was struggling to hide his fear, and this made him look more vulnerable than she had ever seen him before. Deliberately, her muscles tense, she sat in the chair opposite him and touched the back of his hand.
Wendel’s stare snapped to her fingers. “What are you doing?”
“Trying to touch you,” she said.
He looked into her eyes, and his own were inscrutable. “Don’t.”
Ardis stared at him for a second longer, then curled her fingers into a fist. She leaned back in her chair and folded her arms.
“I figured it might be practical,” she said, “if I can touch you without feeling disgusted.”
This was of course a lie. She hadn’t thought twice about touching him during the battle. But he had utterly ruined the moment.

Ardis leaves Wendel behind and goes to her cabin on the train. She wonders why she felt the impulse to touch a necromancer. To show him she cared. Then Wendel knocks on her door, and he attempts to apologize.

            “May I come in?” he said.
She hesitated. “I—”
“I suppose I don’t need to. Let me apologize for being unnecessarily rude.” A smile quirked his mouth. “Or necessarily rude.”
“Did you come here to joke?” Ardis said. “It’s not very funny.”
“No.” Wendel sobered and stepped toward her. “Damn, let me try again. I’m not used to anyone wanting to… touch me.”
He held out his hands and stared at his fingers.
“I understand why I disgust you,” he said. “I’m a necromancer. I’m untouchable.”

In the rest of the scene, Ardis and Wendel try to talk about how they feel. Neither of them is especially good at articulating their emotions. Neither of them expected or wanted to feel anything for each other. But Ardis did save Wendel’s life on the battlefield, back in the first chapter, and Wendel did swear fealty to her in return. So they are bound to one another now and have to find a way to make it work.

I love this scene because it’s the first time they admit vulnerability to each other. Wendel manages to ruin the moment, but he tries to make things right. Wendel tends to hide behind a charming bastard act, while Ardis goes through life toughing everything out as a stoic mercenary. Both of them have been hurt before, and have the scars to prove it, but neither of them really knows how to fall in love until they stumble into it together.


It won’t be easy, which is why they have a whole book to sort things out. ;) 

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Karen Kincy (Redmond, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

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Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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