Monday, August 3, 2015

Timekeeper Rising by Allyssa Painter

Title: Timekeeper Rising
Author: Allyssa Painter
Series: Timekeeper Duo #1
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Young Adult
Release Date: August 1, 2015
Fifty years ago, the sky cried acid and the earth vomited poison, all due to human destruction. Desperate for a savior, the people called out to the Shunned, a group of Fallen angels on Earth, and allowed them to take over. Now the Shunned rule with unspeakable cruelty, manipulating and torturing the humans in every possible way. Marked for death, Iris Ankea will do anything to end their tyranny and rescue her brother and best friend from their clutches. When she learns that she is God’s chosen Timekeeper and has the power to defeat the Shunned, she sets out with the only man who can help her, the one she thinks just might kill her. With a prophecy about her drawing ever near, Iris must race against time to discover her powers before the world, and her life, end. Can Iris force herself to embrace her role and sacrifice herself to save everyone she loves, or will she lose it all?

     “Can I help you?” she asked in a polite voice, staring the man down, pretending that she had not already embedded her dagger deep into his thigh and did not currently work through ways to gain the advantage. She took mental inventory as she stared the man down, watching for any move he may choose to make. She carried no weapons, while he carried many. He seemed built for sheer strength, while Iris possessed a thin, wiry body, though she had strengthened it. He possessed at least some sort of power since he could deflect her dagger somewhat. Iris had powers too, but they were undeveloped and mostly still a complete mystery to her. So, what could she do to protect herself? How could she win this battle?
     The man sneered at her, looking down at her both literally and figuratively. “Yes, you can. If you’d like to just, oh, I don’t know, die at my feet, that’d be awesome. Thanks.” The man smiled scathingly, revealing two rows of decaying teeth.
     Iris did not even wince, though inwardly she cringed at his disgusting mouth. “No, sorry, I just don’t think that’s going to happen today. Maybe try again tomorrow. Or you know, don’t.” She smiled sweetly as she suddenly spun, bringing a roundhouse kick to the man’s stomach. He stumbled backward a few steps and snarled. He stayed on his feet but he bent over for a long moment to catch his breath. Iris laughed. “What? You didn’t expect a little thing like me to pack a punch? Or rather, a kick? Oh, sorry. I do so hate to disappoint.”
     The man once again stood tall and began to step toward Iris. She stepped away. He stepped to the side. She countered. Iris contradicted every move he made, the two circling each other. He yanked her dagger out of his thigh and allowed the blood to seep. “Apparently I will have the pleasure to kill you with your own dagger.”
     In one movement, he stepped to the left, forcing Iris to counter even as he shoved the dagger toward her heart. She moved more quickly than he and thus earned a slice across her upper right ribcage. She grunted in pain but did not soften her blow. Instead, she shot forward, shoving her right palm to his nose and up. She tried not to wince at the crunching sound his nose made. She did not care for hurting others but she would defend herself and her family until her dying breath. No one would touch them. As the man recovered from the blow to his nose, Iris stepped forward once more and reached for her dagger. He waved his hand and sent her flying.
     With a thump, Iris landed against a nearby tree. She fought to catch her breath as he grinned, those rotten teeth gleaming out at her. He stalked toward her, a glinting pistol in hand. She pushed herself into a standing position as she tentatively reached out with her mind. She caught snippets, just pieces about her position as the Timekeeper and her lack of weapons. She silently cursed herself for leaving the cabin without them. She knew better. Zander had taught her better.
     As the stranger loomed toward her, she forced herself to forget about the pain in her body. She focused on the matter at hand and how she could fix it. But that was the problem. How could she fix it? Few options presented themselves and the few that did were unseemly. Iris gritted her teeth and faced the man attempting to murder her, a virtual stranger. She wondered what could possess someone to track down a stranger and murder them in cold blood without the stranger ever harming them or anyone, for that matter. She should ask Sage. On her own, she could not comprehend it. She could understand if she had killed someone the man loved or something. But she hadn’t. And he did not care.
     The man once again began the dance of stepping ever closer, each step just a bit to the side. Iris mirrored his movements, once again circling. Her mind raced, trying to win this fight before it fully began. Stall, stall, stall, her mind told her. Give up, you’ll never win, her body replied. There is no victory without a battle, her heart countered. The words steadied her. “Tell me, why did you come? What have I, a teenager, done to someone like you, a man of your stature, to warrant this, this attempted murder? Why do you bother with me?”
     The man laughed, a cruel, evil laugh. “Little Timekeeper, you know as well as I why I intend to murder you. And believe me, dear, this is no attempt. I shall succeed. I always do.”
     Iris smiled. “I must disagree with you there, sir. Fate has already woven a far different tale. I shall not die this day. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.” She grinned again, a scathing grin meant to match his own. He lunged at her, but she had been prepared for that. As he stepped forward she dropped to the ground, delivering her own low swinging kick, knocking his feet out from under him.
     Iris watched the man topple with a satisfied sigh as she stood and moved to ready herself for another attack. She knew she mostly bought time. If she could keep him from pulling that trigger, eventually she could knock the weapon away from him or snag her own. Or, hopefully, Sage or Sara would come looking for her and bring a weapon. She could not really see Cassian coming to her aid, but hopefully one of the others would. She desperately needed help and she knew it.
     As Iris backed away from the man, he rose to his feet. “You insolent girl, do you really hope to defeat me? You would need an army and I see no army. How do you intend to beat me?”
     Iris wondered the same question as the man lumbered toward her once more. How did she intend to escape this situation?

What I Wish Young Writers Knew -- Age Doesn’t Matter
Yes, you read that correct.  I said (or typed) “Age doesn’t matter.”  It doesn’t, okay?  Let me back up.  Of course age matters in some things.  I’m not saying it’s a good idea to drink at fourteen.  I’m not.  Please don’t do that.  But in writing, age does not matter.  I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I think I really started becoming serious about it in middle school.  I started writing this story that ended up filling up three or four notebooks.  Yeah, it was ridiculous.  But that’s not the point.  I stopped writing that story after a while and moved on to other things.  In high school, maybe ninth or tenth grade, I wrote my first full-length novel.  It’s a little short, but nothing too crazy.  After that, I couldn’t stop.  I loved writing and I was determined I wanted to publish my book.  I wanted to be an author.
So I started researching.  I read blogs from authors and advice for writers and all sorts of stuff.  And occasionally, someone would address the issue of young authors.  And they’d always say things like, “You need to wait to publish until you’re older.”  “You’re writing isn’t good enough.”  “You’ll look back at those stories later and realize they suck.”  And that was so disheartening.  Everywhere I looked, everyone said, slow down, wait, you’re not old enough, you’re not good enough.  At first, it was enough to make me stop researching.  And then the anger seeped in.  And the stubbornness.  I’m notoriously stubborn.  And I decided that I was going to publish my book.  I was going to be an author, and I wasn’t going to wait fifteen years just because there was some sort of age requirement.
I started querying my first novel when I was 17 or 18 I think.  And I actually had a decent amount of interest.  I even had an offer for publication.  In the end, I turned it down due to moral/creative differences between myself and the company, which is a perfectly fine thing to do, let me add.  You don’t have to take the first contract offered to you.  It’s important to find the right company to work with, because you’ll have to work very closely with them.
Anyways, around that time, I finished the Timekeeper, which is what the Duo started out as.  I then learned it was way too long and still needed more detail and scenes, so I broke it into two books and finished editing Timekeeper Rising.  I queried it for a while, but the idea of angels and demons seemed to turn everyone away.  I believed in my book, though, and in myself, so with a lot of support, I decided to self-publish it anyway.
Here’s the part that applies to my point.  I am twenty years old.  I just turned twenty in May, actually.  And I am publishing a book.  I am an author.  Now, does that suddenly mean all those authors and professionals were wrong, and my book isn’t crap?  Well, I guess not technically.  Not many people have read it yet, and you can publish anything these days.  So, technically speaking, it could be absolutely dreadful.  But I don’t think so.  Several people have read it for me so far, and they all seem to love it.  Is it the best book ever written?  I sincerely doubt it.  But is it good?  Yeah, I think so.
I don’t doubt that one day I’ll look back at this book and think it could be better.  But let me tell you a secret.  I know of several authors who do that.  They look back at the early books and it’s amazing to them to see how far they’ve come.  And some authors won’t even look back at them, because they know their new books are way better (at least in their opinion).  And these are real adults, guys, not fake adults like me.  These people are thirty, forty, fifty years old, and they still do that same thing that people said teens would do.  They look back at their early work and know it’s not as good as it could be.  Why?  Because they’ve grown.  We all grow, especially as authors.  The more we write, the more we read, the more advice, reviews, and comments we see, the more we learn, and the better our books become.  So if this is true for adults, why can’t it be true for teens?  Why does age have to matter?
It doesn’t.  Age doesn’t matter.  Maturity?  Sure.  Writing ability?  Most definitely.  But if you’re mature enough, dedicated enough, strong enough, and you have the writing ability, you can be an author.  I don’t care if you’re fifteen or a hundred and fifteen.  If you can write a good book that people enjoy, and you have tough enough skin and enough dedication to stick through all the unenjoyable businessy stuff of being an author, you can publish a book too, no matter your age.  The point is a simple one: Age doesn’t matter.  Ability does.

Who’s your favorite author?
I… How can anyone ask a reader that?  Top 5 (not in any specific order): Jennifer Anne Davis, Kiera Cass, Maggie Stiefvater, Nicholas Sparks, and Dr. Seuss.  Other amazing authors: Kelly Oram, Amy Harmon, Maddy Edwards, Scarlett Dawn, Rick Yancey, etc.  The list could go on and on.

What are your reading habits like?
Did you not figure out from the first question?  I read basically anything.  I don’t read horror (I’m not a scary story type of person) and I don’t read erotica.  Otherwise, I read pretty much everything.  I mainly focus on YA but I also read NA and Adult.  I read intermediate and children’s books as well.  I love fantasy.  I think it’s probably my favorite.  But I also love dystopian, paranormal (which is fantasy, but still, people specialize it), romance, contemporary, a little sci-fi, etc.  Pretty much, I read anything that catches my eye.

What kind of music do you like?
Everything but rap, I think.  Country and Christian music is what I set my radio to, but my iPod also has soft rock, alternative rock, metal, pop, gospel, etc.

Favorite Food?
I don’t know that I have one.  Do desserts count?  If not, probably pasta in general.

Favorite recipe?
Candy Cake or Somoa Sheet Cake.  Here’s a link to somoa sheet cake:  For candy cake, just make a german chocolate cake, poke holes in it, pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over it, then a jar of caramel ice cream sauce, then whip cream, then crush butterfingers (or your candy of choice) over the top.  It’s a delicious mess.  I do love apple pie too, though.  I usually make homemade apple pie at least once a year, either for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Favorite Color?
Purple.  Especially light purple.  Like lavender.

Besides being an author, which I guess I am now, and attending the WV Book Festival as an author, which I will be in October, my dreams include learning sign-language, visiting Italy, being a foster mom, adopting at least one child, and making my family happy.  I’m sure I have more, but those are the main ones that come to mind.

Favorite past times?
Besides reading and writing, I love photography, baking, and spending time with my family and friends.  Family is a huge part of my life and I’d be lost without them.  I also love to do things outdoors and to make things.  I make cards and scrapbook, and my husband and I usually come up with ideas of things to make our family for Christmas.  Sometimes I work with my dad in our woodshop to create clocks, wooden boxes, etc.

If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?
Y’all are going to hate this answer, ‘cause I’m no fun at all, but here goes.  I would save a good deal of it.  I would give a some of it to charity (my favorite charities are Wounded Warrior Project, Soldiers’ Angels, Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation, Huntington’s Disease Society of America, and Autism Speaks.)  Then I’d use it on my family.  My dad loves football, so I’d buy him tickets to one of the bowl games (I think he really wants to go to the Rose bowl, but I don’t know.  I don’t know much about football).  I’d take my mom to Italy.  We’ve both always wanted to go.  I’d buy her some books, too.  I’d take my husband to Germany and buy extravagant things for my grandparents, in-laws, etc.  Depending on how much I had left over (I don’t know how much I’d save or give to charity), and when I won it, I may or may not use it for a house or new car or something.  It would just depend on our needs at the time.  Oh, and I’d buy a lot of books.

If you had to move to any state but your own, where would you move?
Probably Colorado, if I actually had a choice.  My husband is in the Navy, though, and he’ll be going active duty in a few years, so I probably won’t have much of a choice.  But I love CO.  It’s beautiful and mountainous and reminds me of home.  I don’t think I’d mind NC or MD too much either, though.  They’re pretty nice.

Author Bio:
Allyssa Painter is the author of Timekeeper Rising, the first in the Timekeeper Duo. She graduated from Sissonville High School and attends Concord University for elementary and special education. She dreams of becoming an elementary teacher and continuing to touch the world around her through the novels she writes. In her free time, she enjoys reading fantastical adventures, spending time with her family, and capturing the world around her in photography and writing.


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