Monday, June 03, 2013

Jill Archer: Fiery Edge of Steel: The Biggest Danger

Do you like fortune cookies? If you’re like me, you love them. What’s not to like about a sweet treat that also tells your fortune?

In Roman times, the goddess of luck, fate, and fortune was Fortuna. A quick Google images search reveals many images showing a blinded Fortuna carrying a cornucopia full of coins. I find the blindfold interesting because it’s a symbol that’s also associated with Lady Justice and her predecessors. In Fortuna’s case, however, I think the blindfold represents how fickle the goddess is, rather than how fair.

In Fiery Edge of Steel, my second book in the Noon Onyx series, I sprinkle the story with various divination tools. One of them is wine. I thought it would be fun to make up something that worked the way reading tea leaves, palms, or tarot cards might but without an intervening medium. In other words, a supernatural fortune cookie, which would have the power to tell the characters’ fortune in written words that clearly and unambiguously give its reader a hint about his or her future – in the same way that fortune cookies do for us. ;-)

Below is a brief excerpt, which shows you what I came up with. After you read the excerpt, tell me what you think. Do you like fortune cookies? What’s the best, worst, or funniest fortune you’ve ever read? Do you believe in divination tools? If so, which ones? Have any of your fortunes come true?

After you read Fiery Edge of Steel, I’d love to hear your interpretation of Noon’s fortune. Feel free to drop me a note at: archer at jillarcher dot com and let me know!
This week, I’m giving away a copy of Fiery Edge of Steel to one commenter. The giveaway will end at midnight EDT on June 10, 2013. Thank you to Lee and everyone here at Tote Bags n Blogs for inviting me to guest blog today!

Excerpt from Fiery Edge of Steel

This scene occurs at the end of Chapter 6. Rochester and Dorio are professors. Ari and Fitz are classmates. Friedrich is the dean of guardians at the Joshua School, an Angel school. A “signature” is a magical aura that can be felt by other waning magic users. Noon is heading into the House of Metatron to pick out a spellcasting partner (a Guardian Angel) for this semester’s assignment and Rochester and Friedrich are giving everyone a sip of wine at the door.

“You are familiar with Empyr wine, Ms. Onyx?” Rochester asked.

I nodded warily.

Angels were obsessed with apples. They took their love of this fruit very seriously, worshipping it as a symbol of the lost world they once ruled. A common motif in Angel art was the fallen apple that never rotted. Empyr wines were apple wines that were “enhanced” by some of the best Angel sommeliers in Halja. The enhancements were spells. Each batch had its own name, flavor, coloring, and associated spell. They were served upstairs in the Angels’ infamous restaurant on this building’s thirty-third floor.

I’d had Empyr wine exactly two times in my life. Each time it had produced life-altering effects, although in an indirect manner and not of the kind I could have guessed.

Friedrich turned back toward me and offered me the cup. Inside, the liquid was pink and fizzy and flecked with gold. I reached for the cup and there was a brief moment when I wasn’t sure Friedrich would let go. Was the spell tied to his touch? I yanked harder and the wine nearly spilled out of the cup as it broke free from his grasp. Rochester’s signature nudged mine, like a parent pinching an errant child. I glanced back at Ari, who gave me a tight smile.

I tipped the cup to my lips and drank. Immediately, a bitter, chalky taste filled my mouth. I hid my grimace, finished, and handed the cup back to Friedrich.

“This batch is called ‘Fortuna’s Favorites,’” Friedrich said. “Think you’re one of them?”

Time will tell, I thought, but said instead, “Fortes fortuna adiuvat.” Fortune favors the bold. Another of Dorio’s sayings. Maybe Fitz had the right idea.

Friedrich grunted. Ari grinned.

Rochester held off magically pinching me again. Instead, he handed me a white linen napkin.

“A gift from this batch’s sommelier,” he said. “Some words of wisdom regarding this semester’s assignment.”

I choked back a laugh. From tea leaves to wine tannins, where Angels fear not to tread . . . I accepted the napkin and wiped my mouth gently. I’d been generous in this morning’s application of Daredevil Red lip paint. Who knew what my fortune might be if I added too much of that to the mix? But the laugh died in my throat as I looked down at my napkin. Slowly, a stain of words appeared:

When traveling into the unknown, sometimes the biggest danger is the one you bring with you . . .

The color of the words was entirely uncheerful. In fact, instead of wine or lip color, the words looked like they’d been written in dried blood. I crumpled up the napkin and shoved it at Rochester.

Then I pulled open the carved mahogany doors of the House of Metatron and entered its unwelcome darkness.

***Jill's winner is Lil! Please email with your mailing address!***


Anonymous said...

Hi Lee, stopping by to say hello and thanks for hosting me at Tote Bags n Blogs. Hope you had a great weekend!

NoraA said...

My sister in law taught all of us a novel way to read our Fortune Cookies. Add these two words at the end of them "in bed". If that doesn't start tears of laughter at the table, nothing will.

Anonymous said...

lol. :-D I've heard of that method too. Definitely puts an interesting spin on things. Thanks for stopping by, Nora!

Pat Cochran said...

Interesting excerpt, I've just added FEOS to
my TBR list. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Pat C.

Lil said...

I love fortune cookies but have never had a fortune come true. Can't for the life of me remember any of the cookies fortunes and can't say that I believe in divination tools. However, Magic and divination make for fun reading to me.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Mary Preston said...

I've never had a fortune cookie. I feel utterly deprived now, because I can imagine how much fun they could be.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat, thanks for adding FEOS to your TBR list! :-)

Hi Lil, I can't remember a specific fortune ever coming true for me either and I have to admit that I can be skeptical about divination tools in real life. But I'm open minded as well and I like considering the possibilities they present.

Hi Mary, You'll have to try one! They are fun and taste pretty good too. :-)

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Lory Lee said...

The only fortune cookies I've ever encountered are from the internet. The funniest yet that I got was this "A secret admirer will soon send you a sign of affection." I hope this will come true! :)

Eli Yanti said...

Yes, love fortune cookies and when know so many authors and have a chance to win and read their I think my dream come true :)

Anonymous said...

Secret admirers can be lots of fun, Lory. I hope they reveal themselves to you soon! :-)

Thanks for stopping by to check out the post, Eli!