November 13, 2018

#FirstPage with For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire #1) by Heidi Heilig

A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader. The first book in a new trilogy from Heidi Heilig.





About the Book:

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

Heidi Heilig creates a world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism.







About the Author: Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko'olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.

She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she's written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, her son and their pet snake.




CHAPTER
ONE

The most thrilling moments in life are when everything comes together.
The delicious chords when harmony joins melody. The way a scrap of leather, a shaft of light, and a clever player can make a shadow come alive. Or the roar of an audience after a show—when they become a creature with many heads and one heart.
Sefondre, the Aquitans call it—to coalesce. I love that word. Madame Audrinne once used it to describe our performance as she toasted us in the parlor of her plantation. I’ve remembered it ever since.
Will it happen tonight at La FĂȘte des Ombres? The signs are promising. The weather is holding clear—just right for the outdoor stages. Papa’s voice is rich and steady as it floats through our roulotte’s carved scrollwork; he is singing a story song as he drives. Beside him on the bench, Maman keeps perfect time on the thom. Inside, I direct the little shadow play that flickers on the silken scrim that makes up one side of our roulotte. A thick stack of flyers lies next to me, ready to tout tonight’s show. And I’m wearing my best costume—a scarlet wrap with ruffled edges, a red silk shawl draped artfully over the rippled scar on my shoulder, and a striped corset in a nod to Aquitan fashion. My dark hair is swept into a twist, the stray ends patted down with a touch of oil, my eyes smudged with bone black and my lips with lucky red. A compelling picture for the Aquitans in the audience: local color, foreign polish.
Everything is nearly perfect. All except for the ghost of a kitten that won’t stop pouncing on my fantouches.
I don’t know where she came from, or where her body is. The little arvana must have crept into our roulotte when we stopped for a quick meal on the edge of town—tempted by our food, no doubt. Then again, does it matter why or where? There is no shortage of spirits in Chakrana. The more pressing question is, how can I get her to leave?
 








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