Aspect of Winter; by Tom Early—Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway
Title: Aspect of Winter
Author: Tom Early
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Sadie Thompson
Length: 260 pages
Release Date: October 15, 2015
Blurb: It’s hard enough being gay in high school, but Fay must also deal with hiding his magical ability—powers he barely understands and cannot possibly reveal. His best friend Sam is his only confidante, and even with her help, Fay’s life is barely tolerable.
Everything changes when Janus University, a college for individuals with magical capabilities, discovers the pair. When the university sends a student to test them, Fay and Sam, along with their classmate Tyler, are catapulted headfirst into a world of unimaginable danger and magic. Fay and Tyler begin to see each other as more than friends while they prepare for the Trials, the university’s deadly acceptance process. For the first time, the three friends experience firsthand how wonderful and terrible a world with magic can be, especially when the source of Fay’s power turns out to be far deadlier than anyone imagined.
“Anyway, you wanna head in?” Tyler asked. “I already picked up supplies. I just need to bring them in to the kitchen.”
“Uhh, sure. I’ll help.”
We grabbed the basic supplies necessary to make a mountain of bread and different kinds of pastries and candies. According to the Baí Zé, the sidhé loved sweet things that had heart in them. The sidhé were like that aunt who insisted love was why her cookies always tasted so good. And, as it turned out, Tyler used to love making cookies and other treats with his mom whenever he was feeling down. He admitted to me blushingly that they still did sometimes. I tried not to let my melted heart trickle too far away, but it was a difficult battle.
I would only be watching him bake for the most part anyway. The sidhé apparently also really liked baubles and shiny things. Most of them were essentially like immortal children, too young to really understand the ethics of a situation, the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. I was going to try to make ice that wouldn’t melt for days, which would hopefully shine enough in the light to gather the attention of the friendly ones. I wasn’t sure how I knew how to make them, but I just… had a feeling about it.
While Tyler started making the most amazing smells waft from the oven, I tried to focus. The problem was that it was really hard to focus when the guy you’re crushing on was bending over with an apron and oven mitts on. I was torn between ogling his ass and cooing at the sweetness of a jock baking, and there wasn’t much left of my mind to try and work magic. I made a strangled noise of protest and went off to his house’s massive backyard to give it another go.
There was an ornate birdbath in his backyard, so I ambled over to it. Score. It was full of clean water, by the looks of it. I held my right hand over it and bore down on the image in my mind. The water cooled rapidly, and a large swirl of compacting snow and ice floated in front of me. I closed my eyes slowly, and when I opened them, it looked all the world like a massive diamond was hanging in the air in front of me, its facets gleaming in the sunlight. Staring at it closely, it also seemed to give off a pale blue glow. Somehow, I was sure that it would at least last through the night. I repeated the process several more times, and soon I was left with a cluster of large, glowing faux gemstones. I was pretty impressed with myself. The whole thing hadn’t taken more than a few minutes.
I headed back inside to see if Tyler needed any help. He was in the process of preparing a second sheet of cookies, so I was, in fact, useful. I molded the cookies into whatever shapes I was feeling at the moment. I was especially proud of my snowflake cookie, which I was sure would look amazing as well as taste delicious when it was done. Tyler looked at my efforts, and then let out a short huff of amusement. He didn’t say anything, though. When we took that tray out, though, I saw why. My beautiful efforts had been utterly ruined when the cookies expanded from the heat. I took out my poor blob of a snowflake cookie, devastated.
“Good-bye, poor snowflake cookie. You will be mourned.”
Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day.
When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now.
Winner’s Prize: Free signed copy of Aspect of Winter