I’ve been editing a lot of stuff for the Consortium lately, so sadly I don’t have this amazing blog post to make up for not having one at all last week. But while I’m here, I’ll say, the sequel to Taming Fire is coming out next week. You’re read Taming Fire by now, right? You haven’t? Shame on you. It’s an Amazon bestseller and a really great fantasy by Consortium founder Aaron Pogue. Go here and buy a digital copy for ninety-nine cents and then be prepared to be excited that the Dragonswarm is about to be released. Go here to read an excerpt from this action-packed fantasy!
I’m also supposed to start editing the newest issue of our e-mag, A Consortium of Worlds. Look for that to come out sometime next month, and in the meantime you can read the first issue.
But enough talk about other people. Let’s focus on me here! Or rather, on Rahab Carmichael and her novel, Into the Flames. I’m still working on those last three thousand words, dear readers. I hang my head in shame. My copyeditor is also closing in on the final thousands of words. To celebrate this fact, I’ve posted an excerpt from my novel below. It gives a bit of an explanation to the title. Into the Flames is a both literal and metaphorical title. First, Rahab has a fire phobia, and she must learn to conquer it before book is over. Second, Rahab must learn to step out of her comfort zone at Grover Cleveland and place herself in painful situations before victory can be achieved.
And now I give you chapter four:
The day got worse. So far in chemistry Rahab had been allowed to just watch the experiments from afar, claiming ignorance on proper safety procedures. This week, however, Professor Tenenbaum insisted that she participate. She was teamed up with Kathy, Scout’s roommate. Kathy didn’t know they had a mutual acquaintance, however, and Rahab didn’t bother to point it out in hopes that it would keep conversation to a minimum.
“Today we’re going to explore the boiling point of certain mixtures!” Professor Tenenbaum always tried to keep things light and exciting by ending his sentences with exclamation points. He was still young enough to have high hopes and dreams for his teaching career. He was the only teacher Rahab knew of that didn’t wear a sweater vest. “So let’s grab our Bunsen burners! And remember, safety first! Grab some gloves and put on those goggles!”
Did he say…burners? Rahab froze in shock as she watched Kathy hook up the Bunsen burner. Kathy fumbled with the nozzle for a minute, then finally looked to Rahab in exasperation. “How does this thing work?”
“I—I—don’t know,” Rahab said, her hands curled tightly into fists. Already she was starting to shake.
“Why don’t you? You look smart.” Kathy wasn’t a true blond, but she used the bleach as an excuse for not knowing a lot of things.
Some of the other students had already hooked theirs up and were experimenting with flame sizes. Rahab gulped like a beached guppy as her wide eyes took them all in, her mouth opening and closing pointlessly. Suddenly there was fire everywhere, closing in on her. She couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe; she could just smell the burning flesh, hear screams roaring in her ears….she couldn’t bear it much longer…
“Ummm…Professor? My partner’s gone, like, psycho,” Kathy called.
Everyone in the classroom was staring at her, but their faces were just a blur in contrast with the startling clarity of the flames flickering before her eyes, taunting her, daring her to come closer, warning her to stay away.
Rahab jerked away from Professor Tenenbaum’s touch with a horrible scream. Then, jerked somewhat back to reality, she bit her lip to keep from crying. “I’m sorry,” she whimpered. “I…”
“Everyone back to your assignments. I’m going to take Miss Carmichael to the nurse’s office.” Professor Tenenbaum dared to touch her arm again, and when she didn’t react, he guided her gently toward the door and down the hall.
The nurse office was located in the administrative building, but as they reached the sidewalk, Rahab stopped. She took a deep breath of the early autumn air. “Please, Professor, I don’t need to see the nurse. I’m fine, really,” she said. She gave her best reassuring smile.
“I don’t know, Rahab, you were—”
“Acting crazy?” Rahab supplied. “I know. I’m sorry.” She hung her head. “I just…” A long pause. “I just don’t like fire very much.”