Thrilling news! Sunset Empire is finally (finally!) available as both an ebook and paperback on Amazon. I’m so excited to share this book with you, because it’s really a love letter to the north coast of Oregon, blending fantasy with history and showcasing some of my favorite legends and sites from the area.
I’m also elated to share that it is included in the Secrets and Shadows box set, a young adult collection with ten fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi novels from New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, #1 Amazon Bestselling, and award-winning authors. This week Secrets and Shadows became a #1 Amazon Bestseller in the UK. I’m so grateful to all our readers who made this happen.
A few things about Sunset Empire:
- Stay tuned for giveaways on Amazon and Goodreads. I’ll also be giving away a Sunset Empire-themed prize when we reach 1,000 likes on my author page on Facebook.
- I’m currently looking for reviewers for Sunset Empire, so if you’re interested and willing to post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, message me with your email address. I’ll send you a free ebook.
- Subscribers to my blog are eligible for a free short story or chapter. If you’re interested in receiving one, contact me with your email and I’ll pass that along.
- If you order Sunset Empire now, it will arrive before Christmas.
Here’s a description of the book, and another excerpt. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
She may be guilty of arson, but she didn’t kill the burned girl haunting her.
After her house burns down, Elyse Pthan is forced to move to Astoria, Oregon to live with the strict grandmother she never knew. Rebelling against her grandmother’s rigid rules, Elyse discovers the terrible heritage her mother kept hidden. Her family may be responsible for the 1922 fire that nearly destroyed Astoria, the death of a girl who longs for vengeance as she haunts the tunnels beneath the city, and mysterious disappearances spanning hundreds of years.
Helping her uncover the truth is Phantom, an enigmatic and surprisingly attractive boy, considering his scars, his talent as a pickpocket, and his status as the local social outcast. A boy with a hidden weapon and a dark heritage of his own, that could turn him from friend to hunter.
Phantom had been tracking the beast when he heard the first scream. It was coming from somewhere within Shively Park. He started running toward the sound, praying he wasn’t too late.
The creatures were growing bold. The one he was following had left its usual territory in the woods southeast of the city, and ventured alarmingly close to the Astoria Column, a popular place for tourists and locals alike. He wondered if the beast had been spotted by any of the visitors who had climbed the column’s spiral staircase for a view of the Columbia. He doubted it. On a sunny day, you could see all the way to the Pacific Ocean from that vantage point, but the day was overcast with a misty rain. In low light, the creatures camouflaged themselves so well against the backdrop of the forest, most people wouldn’t recognize them for what they were until it was much too late to get away.
Phantom had never seen one out in the open, but he knew they crossed roads sometimes because he’d seen deer carcasses outside the monsters’ traditional hunting zones. He’d even spent the night in a tree before, observing the creatures’ nocturnal activities. They liked the dark. At night, they had no need for camouflage. Darkness shielded them from detection, allowing them to move freely without fear of hunters like himself.
Running silently down the path toward the old bridge, Phantom could hear glass breaking. Someone, a girl, by the sound of her screams, was making a whole lot of noise. That was bad. She was about to attract the wrong kind of attention.
He couldn’t see the creature, but it was close. He could smell it. The air was thick with the pungent smell of death.
Phantom checked his weapon and then left the path, trying to stay hidden in the thick brush. He padded uphill so he’d have a better view of the bridge. He would need a clear visual of the beast to take aim.
He crouched down in a clump of ferns, behind a tree. Peering around the trunk of the tree, he could see her—the new girl, Elyse. What was she doing here? He thought back to his encounter with her at the battery and then later in the alley. She certainly had a knack for finding trouble.
She retrieved something from her pack and cradled it in her hands, before hurling it at the bridge like she was pitching a baseball. He cringed as the tea cup shattered, and looked around frantically, trying to spot the beast.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw it coming—a blur of dark fur that seemed to blend in with the forest. The girl was poised, ready to launch another cup at the wall, when she seemed to suddenly realize something was wrong. She whirled around, a look of sheer terror on her face.
Phantom took aim at the dark shape bearing down her and released the bolt. To his horror, he missed.
Want more Sunset Empire? Get it here. Happy reading!
© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2016
It’s launch day for the Secrets and Shadows box set! This young adult collection includes ten full-length fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi novels from award-winning and bestselling authors. Do you have your copy yet? If not, click here.
I’m thrilled that my newest book, Sunset Empire, is part of this collection. To celebrate, I’m sharing one of my favorite scenes with Elyse and Phantom, which features Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon coast. Enjoy.
Excerpt from Chapter Five, Social Food Chain:
Mr. Mills led the group into Battery 245 at Fort Stevens. After the dark, unsettling walk through West Battery, Elyse was glad to see the bunker was outfitted with fluorescent lights.
“Battery 245 was built in 1944 to upgrade harbor defenses in World War II,” Mr. Mills explained as he led them down the narrow corridor, which ended in a T. There were a series of darkened rooms with opened doors on either side of the hallway. “The battery was self-contained, with its own power generator, plotting rooms, magazines, and other facilities. It was also designed to be gas-proof in case of chemical attack.” A few students laughed. “Yes, yes—you’re all very clever,” Mr. Mills said, a slight smile on his lips, “but let’s save the gas jokes until we’re outside in the fresh air. Come. On to the mine observation station and the steam plant.”
Elyse followed the other students out of the battery and stopped to read the plaque at the entrance. Hearing a scuffle behind her, she peered into the corridor. Jared and Parker jogged up the corridor, laughing. They were trailed by Leif, Maddy, Jackson, and Ava. She turned back to the plaque, feigning interest as they passed. Something about their hushed snickering worried her. What had they been up to?
She waited until they left, and then slipped back inside Battery 245. Her footsteps sounded overly loud as she walked down the corridor alone. At the junction, she turned a slow circle, studying each of the rooms. Nothing looked amiss, except one of the doors was closed. Not just closed—it was barred shut with a length of rebar. She was certain it hadn’t been before.
She stared at the door and then approached quietly, listening. The silence was eerie. Stomach churning, she grasped the rebar and pulled it loose from the door’s iron handle. Carefully, to minimize the noise, she set it on the floor of the corridor. Then she opened the door.
The boy with the scar sat cross-legged on the floor of the room, holding a cell phone. He looked up and then raised his eyebrows. “Oh. You. Not who I expected.” His bottom lip was busted and bleeding and his left eye was starting to swell.
“Who were you expecting?” Elyse asked. She thought she should feel guarded around him, considering what Lien had said about him being questioned in the Jenna Williams case. But she wasn’t afraid of him.
Phantom smiled, and then winced when his lip split open more. “The owner of this phone.” He returned his attention to the phone and swiped the screen, seemingly ignoring her. Then he glanced up. “What was the most annoying earworm from summer?”
Elyse stared at him. He’d clearly been beaten up, and he wanted to chat about music? Maybe his brain had gotten rattled in the fight. “What?”
“The most irritating pop song this summer. What was it?”
Elyse thought about it. “Tell Me, by Kat Savanna.”
“Never heard of it.”
Elyse laughed. “Yeah, you did. It was all over the net. You couldn’t have missed it.”
Phantom just looked at her blankly. “Maybe if you sang it?”
Elyse shook her head. “Uh, no.”
“Please?” He gave her a hopeful smile. It looked painful.
She crossed her arms. “I’m not going to sing it, but the lyrics were like, ‘Tell me I’m the one, summer’s just begun, tell me, say it’s true, I’m the only one for you.’ You know—total mindless, repetitive crap—gets in your head and you can’t get it out.”
Recognition dawned on his face. “Oh, that one.” He shuddered with mock horror. “It’s awful. Perfect.” He played with phone and then, more to himself than her, said, “Now—just have to change the ringtone…and…done.”
Phantom set the phone on the floor, and then retrieved a leather wallet from somewhere behind him. From the way he studied it, Elyse was certain it didn’t belong to him, any more than the cell phone did. He took out a twenty and shoved it in his jacket pocket. He started to close the wallet, then paused, thinking. Elyse watched, fascinated, as he retrieved a second twenty and stashed that in his jacket pocket as well. Then he closed the wallet, placed it on the floor in the middle of the room, and balanced the phone on top of it. He eyed the two items and then, satisfied with his work, rose to his feet and brushed off his jeans. “Let’s get out of here.”
Elyse put her hands on her hips. “So…I take it you’re a pickpocket?”
Phantom gave her a sly smile. “Something like that. But the way I see it, dude locks me in here, the least he can do is pay for my cab ride home.” His smile widened to a vulpine grin. “And dinner.”
“You’re not going back to school?”
He frowned, and Elyse got the impression she’d asked a dumb question. “I can’t very well show my face on the bus if I’m supposed to be locked in here, can I?” he asked. “Kind of ruins the mystique.”
Elyse had no idea what he was talking about. “Your lip is bleeding,” she said.
“Is it?” He wiped at it absently, and glanced at the blood on his fingers. “I’ve had worse.” She found herself staring at his scar and looked away quickly.
“You’d better run along,” he said, dismissing her with a wave of his hand. “Being seen with me will do nothing for your social standing.”
Elyse planted her feet. “I don’t care about stuff like that.”
“You should.” Phantom stepped around her, out into the hallway.
Elyse wondered why he would care about her social standing, but didn’t say anything. Instead, she followed him into the corridor and asked, “Why do they call you Phantom?”
He grinned. “For one, I’m pretty good at getting out of bad situations.” He pushed the door closed and secured it with the rebar.
It didn’t look quite right to Elyse, so she adjusted the metal bar so the door looked exactly the way it had when she’d encountered it. “And? What are the other reasons?”
But he just smiled and shook his head. “Some other time. Thanks for the rescue.”
Stay tuned for more news about Sunset Empire. It will soon be available as a single paperback!
© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2016
BIG NEWS! Sunset Empire is being published! It will be included in a new young adult box set, Secrets & Shadows! It releases on November 30.
The box set contains paranormal, urban, science fiction, and fantasy novels from ten amazing authors. Check out the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Here’s the description and the author line up for the set:
Packed with fairies, witches, shifters, ghosts, space soldiers, deadly magic, gritty dystopian worlds, complicated relationships, and the ultimate swoon worthy love interests, follow ten badass heroines with remarkable powers and gifts as they face extraordinary challenges and decisions with potentially deadly consequences. They will stop at nothing to protect everyone and everything they love. They are fierce!
With over a million words and more than 700 combined four and five star reviews, this is your ultimate young adult collection of mesmerizing paranormal, action-packed urban fantasy, enthralling time travel, gripping dystopian and captivating space operas from 10 Award-Winning, New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors!
USA Today Bestselling Author DelSheree Gladden
USA Today Bestselling Author Angela Fristoe
International Bestselling Author Rhonda Sermon
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Susan Stec
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Laxmi Hariharan
International Bestselling Author Kelly St. Clare
Award-Winning Author Kristin D. Van Risseghem
International Bestselling Author Sophie Davis
International Bestselling Author Siobhan Davis
Award-Winning Author Melissa Eskue Ousley
The boxset is now available for pre-order, on SALE for only 99 cents, which is a crazy low price for ten books.
Pre-order here: http://amzn.to/2fuiyZs
Sunset Empire will be released at a later date as a paperback. Here’s the cover, designed by the incredibly talented DelSheree Gladden (who is one of the authors in the box set).
I’m so excited to share this with you all! Stay tuned for opportunities to get an advance reader copy of Sunset Empire for read and review.
Also, if you’ve not yet read The Sower Comes, the third book in the Solas Beir Trilogy, now’s your chance. There’s a new giveaway on Goodreads. It ends November 16.
Thanks for reading!
© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2016