Thursday, June 14, 2012

Silver: Acheron (A River of Pain) by Keira Michelle Telford




2342 CE Dishonorably discharged from the Hunter Division and banished for crimes she did not commit, Silver struggles to come to terms with her new prison-like surroundings: a segregated area of the city called the Fringe District, populated by murderers, thieves and rapists. Starving, and desperate for money, she reluctantly accepts the Police Division's invitation to enroll in a covert Bounty Hunter program: an initiative devised to infiltrate the criminal underworld of the Fringers, and to force the very worst warrant dodging law-breakers to meet their fate - death. Unfortunately, Silver doesn't realize that the Police Division is about to up the ante. They need more than little snippets of information and arrests - they need someone to pull the trigger. They need an executioner.
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SILVER: Acheron is the first book (a 40,000 word novella) in a 10-book series featuring the character of Ella Silver Cross. Set more than 300yrs in the future, the Silver Series takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world where humans are a species on the brink of extinction. No longer at the top of the food chain, humans are preyed upon by the Chimera - genetic mutants that outnumber humankind 25:1.


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EXCERPT

The Fringe District
Amaranthe, 2342 CE
Present Day

Condemned, Silver is left on the bridge to the Fringe District, her wrist still gushing blood. Moments ago, the delicate skin of her inner left wrist was sliced open with a scalpel and a small, platinum colored microchip was expertly removed.
That tag was her life story, containing every detail of her life from the day of her birth to the last time she ordered a cup of coffee. Formerly a Commander in an elite military institution called the Hunter Division, she is now a prisoner.  Relegated to the Fringe District, she joins the ranks of the banished.
A criminal, or so she is accused of being, she’s cut off from her friends and family and left to fend for herself in this fetid, dank scrap of Old World land that was once called Staten Island.
Now, more than three hundred years after a global war changed the dynamic of our planet forever, humans are beginning to make their resurgence. This place, Amaranthe, is the first reclaimed human city—but Silver is not its first victim. Standards for occupation in the city are high, and many don’t make the cut. If you’re considered unworthy, any excuse will be used—any small indiscretion exposed—to place you before the Banishment and Enforcement Council.
In Silver’s case, she’s lucky to have been banished. In Amaranthe’s poorly constructed, two-tiered judicial system, her sentence could just as easily have been enforcement.
Capital punishment.
Death via bullet.
Fortunately, the man who raised her holds some sway in the government. Not enough to keep her from facing the gavel, but enough to keep her from facing the gun. Amaranthe’s governing body, the totalitarian Omega administration, is a harsh and cruel master, feared by all who dwell within its jurisdiction.
Left with nothing more than the clothes on her back and a few small weapons, Silver begins the lonesome walk toward her new Fringe District life. Her Hunter Division boots are the last identifiable remnants of her prior occupation. Stained with blood and dirt, the Omega emblems are hard to make out on the scuffed steel plates decorating the backs of the heels. Her well-worn jeans are made from a mixture of hemp, which flourishes rampantly in the New World, and para-aramid synthetic fiber—Kevlar. Designed to last for up to a decade of use, this pair has seen at least three rotations of the year already. They’ve survived countless days spent off-duty, romping in the playground of the unreclaimed world outside Amaranthe’s secure walls, often finding themselves covered in dirt and mud, and Chimeran blood.
Chimera.
The creatures generations of humans—including Silver—have been bred to kill. Born in the aftermath of a nuclear war, they were human once … until their humanity was lost over centuries of rapid genetic mutations. During this time, ninety-nine percent of all living things on Earth died, yet the Chimera proved to be an adaptive and resilient new species.
Outnumbering this small population of humans by 25:1, the Chimera lurk in the shadows, scavenging for food in the places where human feet no longer dare to tread. Ferocious meat-eaters, they will hunt alone or in packs, and human is their prey of choice.
Kill, or be killed.
A motto of the Hunter Division whose job it is, among other things, to destroy Chimera so that Amaranthe can continue to expand. Not to mention, the whole city relies on the Hunter Division kills. Chimera is the only source of fresh meat, and no part of the animal is wasted. Their hide makes good leather, and many things can be made from bone. Some live specimens are even farmed for their milk.
Today, though, Silver’s jeans are clean. Held in the detainment corridor for almost a month prior to her sentencing, she’s had no time to play. Affixed to the belt loops, a utility belt contains holsters for a hunting knife, a handgun and two spare clips of 9mm ammunition. The knife, recently sharpened, bears a ferocious steel blade and a jet black handle custom inlayed with a sterling silver design—an Ella Cross .
This is Silver’s trademark; her territorial stamp. Not only is it an ancient Old World symbol, once known as a warrior shield, it’s a pictorial representation of her birth name. Ella Cross was born twenty-eight years ago. Silver was forged in battle, when she joined the Hunter Division.




Hello Keira and welcome!  I've been really looking forward to this opportunity to find out more about you and your new series.  So, to get warmed up, tell us what one word best describes you?

Unorthodox.

What books have most influenced your life?

When I was younger, I was completely obsessed with the works of Edgar Allen Poe. He’s probably been the most influential author in my life, though I couldn’t tell you which of his poems or stories in particular has had the greatest impact on me. When it comes to full-length novels, some of my favorites are: Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment, Déjà Dead (the first novel by Kathy Reichs), and The Animals of Farthing Wood series, which I read as a child.



Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Fulfilling. Agonizing. All-consuming.



Tell us about your current release.

SILVER: Acheron introduces us to the character of Ella ‘Silver’ Cross after she’s been banished for treason—a conviction based upon false charges. Relegated to the city’s harsh and foul prison district, she’s torn away from her lover and her family, and essentially left for dead. Fortunately, her father is the Chief of Police and he’s not about to let her rot there. He encourages her to work for the Police Division as an informant; a job which brings her back into the life of her childhood sweetheart, Luka.


Tell us about your next release.

SILVER: The Lost & Damned is the second installment in The SILVER Series, and was just released in paperback. It picks up where Acheron leaves off, with Silver’s father offering her a way that she might be repatriated—by catching an elusive killer who has the Police Division in a panic. Part One of this book was a Quarterfinalist in this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and was reviewed by Publishers Weekly:


“Silver, once Ella Cross, and her team of outcast warriors kill their way through post-apocalyptic New York City in this fast-paced science fiction tale.”


“The frequent bloody battle scenes are handled with cinematic precision and wicked humor.”

“Silver’s quieter scenes offer moments of emotional depth through subtle, intimate gestures … [and] the energetic pace and the vividness of this ravaged world invites readers to stay and watch it unfold.”


Is there one passage in your book that you feel gets to the heart of your book and would encourage people to read it?  If so, can you share it?

“Christ, your hands are cold.”

Scooping up her other hand, he clasps them together between his, rubbing them up and down to entice the blood flow back. Bringing them close to his lips, he huffs warm air around her fingertips, the moisture in his breath turning to tiny droplets on her fingernails.

If she closes her eyes, the tenderness of his companionship feels good, and she edges in a little closer. Even the smell of him is comforting tonight. On other days, she hates his cologne. Today, he’s spent hours with Maydevine. The scent of Maydevine’s cigarettes lingers on his clothing and she tucks her head in against him, pressing the fabric up against her cheek.

Alex smokes those cigarettes, too. Since she was fifteen years old, she’d often lain her head upon his chest in just this way. Without thinking, Silver clutches a handful of Luka’s shirt in her hand and holds him tight against her.

“We’re here for the night. You know that, right?”

Luka doesn’t answer her, but he doesn’t object to the notion either. The rain shows no sign of stopping, and he can think of much worse ways to spend a few quiet hours of another long, cold night.

Her fingers separated from his skin by only a layer or two of thin woven hemp, she can feel his softly beating heart beneath. Not even the touch of his lips on the top of her head is enough to shake her out of the daydream she’s having; she just wants to feel some familiar sort of comfort.

His arms around her shoulders, drawing her in to him, she begins to forget where she is. Right now, it could be a month ago when she and Alex snuck away to a secluded South Town beach and made love on an old truck bench seat. Or it could be her last birthday, cocooned in a blanket together underneath the stars on the rooftop of his apartment building.

It could be anywhere—anywhere but here.

Suddenly sleepy, and too tired to fight it, Silver says nothing when Luka lifts her chin to face him. Giving her no warning, he brushes his lips against hers, so gently—testing her reaction.

She doesn’t move. She doesn’t pull back.

Her lips part, just a little.

An invitation.

Accepted.

He presses his lips fully against hers.

Just a peck, at first.

“Goodnight,” she mumbles after the peck is withdrawn.

Only, it doesn’t withdraw completely. Still able to feel the warmth of his breath against her skin, she isn’t completely surprised when his lips begin to reengage her. Instead of the friendly pucker of before, though, his lips start to softly caress hers. His head tilted to the side, the tip of his cold nose pressed against her cheek, he gently pinches her sensitive lower lip between his …


Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Their dystopian world might be brutal—sometimes horrific—but the love between Silver and Alex is pure, and strong enough to outlast it all. And, after all, who doesn’t have a soft spot for a post-apocalyptic love story?

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I collect bones, taxidermies, and specimens preserved in jars. In my office, I have a growing collection of animal bones which includes: sheep, rabbits, birds, dogs, cows, badgers, and guinea pigs. I used to live in farm country, so it was easy pickings. I also have a preserved bat and a scorpion in my collection, as well as a baby mouse in a jar. Yup, I’m one of those weirdos who collects roadkill. I blame my background in biology and forensic sciences for this. Well … that, and my upbringing. My father taught me all about death and putrefaction by keeping a dead blackbird inside a plastic box and letting me watch it slowly decompose. I was five. Is it any wonder I turned out the way I did?

 That's all from me for today.  Thanks again for stopping by.




Keira Michelle Telford was born and raised in the UK. She spent the early part of her childhood in Worcestershire, before the family moved to Waleswhere she lived for most of her teenage years. In 2006, she moved to Canada. She currently resides in beautiful British Columbia, where she lives with her husband and 9 guinea pigs.

Twitter  |  Facebook: Acheron  |  Facebook: Silver series  |  Website  |  Amazon Author Page  |  Goodreads





Two winners. One randomly selected winner will receive a Print copy of Silver: Acheron.
A second winner will receive a Digital copy of the book.  The Print copy may be shipped worldwide.




 
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