It’s that time of year again. Everyone is going back to school and so is Anton Strout’s Alexandra & Stanis from Alchemystic.
AN OLD FRIEND OF THE FAMILY…
Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name…
Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason—an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis.
Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love…
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Alchemystic.
The Spellmason Chronicles follows the life of New York City’s Belarus family and the gargoyle Stanis that has watched over them for centuries, bit it isn’t until Alexandra’s twenty-second year that she meets this creature. However, that does not mean that was when they first met…
When I awoke to the moon in the sky and the sensation of my solid form turning to stoneflesh, I held myself in place atop the Belarus Building. There were voices nearby, and the rules that governed me—never reveal yourself to the humans—kept me a silent sentinel.
The two humans were smaller than most, what their kind I believe called children, but only one of them was truly of the blood.
“You okay, Rory?” my maker’s kin asked the other who was dressed in a black robe, red and yellow striped scarf. Eyes behind circular glasses with no lenses in them peeked out from underneath short black hair which she pulled off to reveal shorter blonde beneath. In her hand she clutched a broken shaft of wood, the hand itself covered with dried blood.
Rory took her free hand and wiped at another patch of dried blood under her nose. “So… the first day of high school isn’t a dress-up day?” she asked with an angry smile.
“Apparently not,” the maker’s kin Alexandra said, pulling free a clump of her curled black hair. “Funny. I don’t remember Hermione getting her butt kicked like this.”
“Other than the fight, we had a spotless, word-for-word reenactment of Harry Potter going on,” Rory said.
“Until that Ritchie guy punched you,” Alexandra said, stepping to her friend and wiping the blood from her face, “thinking you were actually a boy.
“I put up a good fight, though.”
Alexandra sighed, a dark agitation filling her, washing over me where I stood, remaining still. “You realize this screws us for our entire high school years, right? We’re going to be laughed at, that guy Ritchie and his dirt bag friend will keep on us, making our lives hell.”
“Relax. It won’t be that bad,” Rory said, but the girl did not sound convinced. “Will it…?”
Maybe not for you,” Alexandra said, handing Rory the cloth to wipe her hands. An anger grew in her and she turned away from her friend, heading back to the door and stairs leading down into the building. “You don’t have a locker next to him. I’m doomed.”
“Lexi!” Rory called out, but Alexandra was already storming down the stairs, her anger lingering with me.
“It blows that magic doesn’t, you know, actually exist,” Alexandra said, still going. “I’d teach Ritchie a lesson. I wouldn’t need your protection.”
The other girl sighed and ran into the building after her.
Protection, the maker’s kin had said, the word sticking with me. With the two of them gone, I stood stretching my wings and leapt into the night sky, taking flight. Not revealing myself to humans was only one of the rules set upon me centuries ago by her great-great grandfather. There was the master rule.—Protect the family. I set about my task.
* * * * *
I awoke the next night as I always did upon the sun disappearance below the horizon. And like the night before, I awoke to the sound of argument.
“Just admit it, Rory!” the maker’s kin shouted as she chased and grabbed for her friend. Although Alexandra’s words came out harsh, the emotions coming off her in waves were not those of anger.
The other one laughed and shrugged. “I’m telling you, I had nothing to do with it!”
“Right,” Alexandra said. “I suppose Ritchie’s locker just crushed itself in like that.”
“First of all, I’m flattered you think I have the strength to do that,” Rory said, flexing the muscles in her arms. “But honestly, Lexi, I don’t have that kind of power. Years of ballet have made me graceful, not brutal.”
Alexandra’s face fell and she stopped. “For real?”
Rory nodded. “Believe me, I’d be talking about it nonstop if I did! Wasn’t me.”
“It wasn’t like someone just kicked it in. The thing was destroyed, totally caved in, everything within shredded… although my locker right next to it was fine.”
“So who the hell did it?” Rory asked. “Since it wasn’t me.”
“I’m not sure,” Alexandra said. “But what does it matter? Did you see how nice Ritchie was to me after that? Even those dicks he hangs out with were.”
“Maybe they’re superstitious,” Rory offered.
Alexandra eyed her friend with suspicion. “And why would they be that?”
Rory’s face went red, a trait I still did not understand in these humans. “Maybe because I started a little rumor after I saw the damage, that we might actually be witches…”
Alexandra’s eyes went wide, then her mouth joined in and she erupted with laughter. “You did not!”
Alexandra shoved at her friend. “Rory!”
“Hey,” she said, the very word defensive. “Did you want to go through the next four years being bullied? I saw an opportunity and I took it. Now they’ll at least steer clear of us, right?”
“I love you.” She threw her arms around her friend and squeezed. “Pick a number,” Alexandra said, stepping back from her.
Rory thought for a moment. “Four.”
“Goblet of Fire it is then,” Alexandra said, dragging her friend towards the door that led to the stairs back down into the building. I started to relax, spreading my wings.
“But like you said yesterday, still sucks that magic doesn’t exist,” her friend said, pouting.
“I know. But just wait till they see what I have cooked up for Halloween at school.”
Rory stopped, and since Alexandra was dragging her, she stopped too. “Tell me!”
Alexandra spun back around and pointed in my direction, and I froze in place, hoping to have avoided discovery. “One of those,” she said, staring at motionless me. “A gargoyle.”
Rory looked as well, then shook her head with a laugh and flung open the door, heading in. “Good luck with that one!”
“I can pull it off,” Alexandra said, chasing after her, the door closing shut behind her. “Artistic talent runs in my family!”
As the door shut behind her, a strange sensation crossed my face. Something I hadn’t felt in maybe a century or more of standing sentinel, and after a moment I recalled what it was. I could smile, and chancing it against the humans catching me, I did it. I could not help it, nor, I discovered, did I want to. I thought of my maker, Alexander—her namesake. Artistic talent did indeed run in her family. I spread my expansive wings and leapt into the night sky and flew, proving that very fact and it felt glorious.
Meet Anton Strout!
Fantasy author Anton Strout was born in the Berkshire Hills mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville and currently lives in the haunted corn maze that is New Jersey (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you).
He is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series and Alchemystic, book one of the upcoming Spellmason Chronicles for Ace Books, a division of Penguin Group (USA). Anton is also the author of many short tales published in anthologies by DAW Books.
Once and Future Podcast is his latest project, where he endeavors as Curator of Content to bring authors and readers together through a weekly news show format.
Want to purchase Anton’s novels?
- Dead to Me at Amazon | Book Depository
- Deader Still at Amazon | Book Depository
- Dead Matter at Amazon | Book Depository
- Dead Waters at Amazon | Book Depository
After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar at Amazon | Book Depository
Boondocks Fantasy at Amazon | Book Depository
A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters at Amazon | Book Depository
Spells of the City at Amazon | Book Depository
Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies at Amazon | Book Depository
The Dimension Next Door at Amazon | Book Depository
Pandora’s Closet at Amazon | Book Depository
Please help spread the word: Tweet: Go back to school with 30 authors while #giveaways ensue during #SchoolsIn (Sept 1-30) http://tinyurl.com/LESchoolsIn – #paranormal #contests #UF
Thank you Anton for taking part in Literary Escapism’s School’s in!
Anton is giving away a copy of Alchemystic. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: What else could Stanis have done to quietly protect his charge? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered. US/CA Only!
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
All School’s In contests will remain open until October 7th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have. Have you checked out the other School’s In contests yet? Check out the Master List to see all the School’s In giveaways
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.