Smoke Wings and Stone Tour Stop: Character Bio & Excerpt

June 22, 2013

College has reopened for me, as of Thursday, and I just realised how hectic stuff is going to be from now on. Time never seems to be enough for me, and I have a hundred things to do, but just cant seem to get to them. I also have two reviews that I've been trying to write for the past few days, but it's  not happening. Dont ask me why. And the funny thing is, we haven't been doing anything in college for the past few days, so I dont even have anything to study. Life is so blah.

Getting back, today on the blog, I've got a YA fantasy book! Scroll on down to see the excerpt from the book. And there's also a character bio of one of the main characters! Yay! I like character bios :)

Title: Smoke, Wings and Stone
Author: Marijon Braden
Publication: See Ernst
Publication date: May 8, 2013

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Carrie and Sara Fleming are as different as two sisters can be. Both in high school, Carrie is an outgoing soccer jock, trying to navigate the minefield of Varsity sports –and dating. Sara is a talented musician, who wants to spend her senior year focusing on graduating and getting into a great music school. Both of their lives change forever when Sara inadvertently finds herself engaged to marry Lucien Gargouille, prince of an ancient race of gargoyles.

Sara has no interest in marrying anyone, but a vow spoken in the moonlight has bound her to Luc – forever. To make matters worse, there is a war brewing. For centuries, the gargoyles have protected mankind from all the dark forces in the world. But someone is making trouble, and trying to break the fragile treaty that has kept evil at bay, and Sara has become a target.

Carrie sees the danger around her sister, but can only watch and wait, hoping that Luc and his Family can keep Sara safe. After all, this is what they were born to do – protect the world from vampires, and all the other creatures, who would try to break out of their darkness. But when the enemy makes a daring move, it falls on Carrie to not only save her sister, but to keep the two worlds from crashing together.

 We ran out the sliders, across the deck and down the steps to the backyard.  I turned to look at the house.  There was no smoke coming out from anywhere.  No flames.  Was it a trick?

“Keep moving,” Chris ordered, and he moved across the yard.  It was almost dark, and the backyard was all shadows.  The dogs were running around happily, thinking it was playtime.

“We need to cut through and get back on the street,” Chris said.  “Let’s go.”

We all followed him across the grass, when suddenly Fred started growling again.

I glanced over my shoulder.  Six dark figures were coming from around the house, following us.

“Run,” Chris yelled.

We ran.  Kevin grabbed Becca’s hand and we raced towards the street.  I could hear the dogs panting behind me.  I was suddenly afraid, because the air was ice cold and there seemed to be smoke everywhere.  I could barely see.

“It’s not real,” Chris screamed.  “Keep running.”

I dodged the forsythia bush by the sidewalk.  I knew every inch of the neighborhood.

I’d been running through these streets my whole life.  So had Kevin and Becca.  The vampires were so far behind us, they would never be able to catch us.  I figured we needed to get to Kevin’s house.  Once we were back inside somewhere with the door closed again, we’d be safe. I swerved and pounded down the pavement.

I glanced quickly over my shoulder.  I could see the vampires behind us, much closer than they should have been.  How had they managed to move that fast?

Kevin and Becca were right behind me, Chris ringing up the rear.  Kevin’s house was at the end of the block.  We’d be there in less than a minute.  We’d make it, no problem.

And then the street opened up.  I could see it cracking open, like an earthquake or something.  The ground was shaking and I stopped short, panicked.  The dogs kept running.  Couldn’t they see that the street was no longer there?

“It’s not real,” Chris screamed again, but it was real.  It was right in front of me.  I yelled for the dogs to stop, and whirled around.  Kevin and Becca ran right into me.  The ground to the left of us started opening up as well.  What was happening?  The vampires were so close that, even in the growing darkness, I could see that one of them was wearing a happy face tee shirt.

Chris stopped and turned to face them.  The ground to the right of us was cracked and open.  We were trapped.  Chris stood still. I saw his shoulders lift. Then he started to change.  As he grew, the vampires slowed.  I heard Kevin swear under his breath, and Becca was whispering ohgodohgodohgod.

Chris dropped onto all fours and roared.  He reached out and swiped at one of the vampires with a giant paw, and the vampire went stumbling to the side of the road. The others began moving, two to the left of Chris, two to the right, and one right in front.

Chris moved towards one, but the vampire danced away quickly, like a video on fastforward.

“You can’t take us all,” one of the vampires said.  The sixth, the one who had been slapped away, was back on his feet. “Just give us the bride.”

Bride?  They wanted Sara.  They thought I was Sara.  They were after me. And there were six of them.

Chris snarled.  Fred growled.  Chris spun quickly and took another swipe, but missed.  They were keeping just far enough away that he couldn’t hurt them.  And the three of us were stuck behind Chris, with no place to go but down a gaping hole in the earth.

Fred started yapping.  What was that dog thinking?  Then, from behind us, there was a low, whooshing sound, and a winged figure swept down.  It was a giant frog, over six feet in length.  It opened its mouth and bit off the head of one of the vampires.  The body slumped to the ground and turned to gray ash.

“Yes!” Kevin yelled, pumping his fist in the air.

The remaining vampires turned and ran.  They were gone in the blink of an eye.

So were the craters that had surrounded us on the road.  The pavement was smooth and unbroken.  The smoke was gone, and the cold.

 Chris turned to us slowly.  He was back to his human form.  Toad had landed on the road and was now a slightly plump, middle-aged man with thinning hair and glasses.

Toad walked over to Chris and gave him a long hug.  The older man leaned in close and said something to Chris.  Chris nodded, and the two of them walked over to us.

“Are you all okay?” asked Toad.

We nodded.  Becca was gray-faced.  Kevin was glowing with excitement.

“Where are the craters?” Kevin asked.

“I’ll explain in a minute.  Now, get back into the house,” Toad said, glancing around as he herded us back up the street.

Chris grabbed Toad by the arm.  “They weren’t Brunel,” he said.

Toad nodded.  “I know. I didn’t recognize them.”

Chris took a deep breath.  “So, is the treaty intact?”

Toad shrugged.  “I don’t know,” he said.

Becca grabbed my hand.

“What just happened?” she whispered.

“You have just become a member,” I told her, “of a very select club.”

  • Character Name: Caroline Nicole Fleming
  • Nickname / Alias: Carrie
  • Date of Birth: July1st. She has just turned sixteen as the book begins.
  • General Appearance:  Slim, athletic build.  She’s mostly legs, not very curvy, but strong.
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Clothing Choices:
    She doesn’t care much for clothes, unlike her sister, Sara, and wears jeans winter and summer.  In the warm weather, she has a collection of tee shirts that she wears.  In cooler weather, she likes gray and brown sweaters, usually over-sized.
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Brown
  • Tattoos / Marks: She has no tattoos, and wears three tiny gold hoop earrings in each ear.
  • Role in the Story:
    Carrie is one of two narrators in the story, the other being her sister, Sara.  She’s just a regular kid, until a charming Frenchman follows Sara and tricks her into saying a vow that binds the two together.  Carrie then steps into the world of the gargoyles, an ancient race devoted to protecting the world from evil.  Sara is the catalyst of the story, but Carrie’s narration and POV is just as telling as Sara’s.
  • Key Relationships:
    She and her sister have a love/hate relationship.  Carrie recognizes Sara’s musical talent, but views her sister as a spoiled brat.  She gets along fairly well with her mom, and has a good relationship with her dad (Parents divorced when Carrie was very young).  She also loves her two little half-brothers, Henry and Dante.
    Carrie is best friends are Kevin, whom she’s known since they were both in strollers together, and Becca.  Carrie is very outgoing and confident, and has lots of more casual friends, and gets along well with everyone she meets.
  • Skills:
    Carrie is an excellent soccer player – fast, agile, capable of thinking far ahead and planning a strategy.  She also can look at any situation and see all the sides, as well as the best solution.  She is very intuitive, and picks up on lots of hidden clues in the world around her.
  • Phobias / Fears: 
    She is fearless and determined, and very loyal.  She has no real fears or phobias – she’s pretty well-adjusted and even-tempered.
  • Best Qualities: Her best quality is her loyalty – she will do anything for her family and friends.
  • Worst Qualities: Her main fault is that she doesn’t like being told what to do by anyone, and has no problem ignoring advice she doesn’t like.
  • Favorites:
    Carrie is a bit of a wild card for a soccer jock.  She loves listening to music when she runs, so she spends lots of time on the web finding new stuff.  She loves old movies – classics, old musicals, anything in black-and-white, and will insist her friends sit and watch with her.  As much as she loves soccer, she steps away from it as far as her personal life goes – her friends are not ‘cool’, but she doesn’t care.  She spends a lot of time playing Wii sports as well.  Her favorite foods are pizza and any kind of cake – she’s got a bit of a sweet tooth.
  • Goals and Motivations:
    Carrie just wants to get through high school, keep out of trouble, and maybe get a cool boyfriend.  She was never looking for any kind of excitement, but she’s the kind of kid who rolls with the punches and manages to land on her feet.  Good thing, too – she’s in for a wild ride.

About The Author
Marijon was born and raised in New Jersey, which may help to explain her attitude towards charlatans and idiots. She started writing stories at an early age, her first literary influences being Walter Farley, author of the ‘Black Stallion’ series, and Carolyn Keene, of ‘Nancy Drew’ fame. That’s probably why her earliest efforts involved a young girl detective who solved crime on horseback.

She had a very happy childhood, did well in school, and was a fairly obedient daughter until she went away to college. The original plan was to major in journalism. She wrote for the college paper until she realized that wasn’t the kind of writing she wanted to do when she grew up. So she switched to education. That was not, perhaps, the smartest move.