Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Heartfelt Sounds by C.M. Estopare

Release date: July 9, 2016
Sub-genre:Coming of Age, Fairy Tales

About Heartfelt Sounds:

Orphaned Naia Belle is an apprentice songstress, attached for life to her silkhouse in the illustrious pleasure capital of Sorrel, Felicity. But as the dark clouds of war descend upon Felicity, Naia, ill-prepared and not yet fully trained, is forced from her home and into a nightmare she never imagined. 

Driven once more from the haven she finds, posing as a boy and conscripted into a foreign army, Naia struggles to remain hopeful in spite of the trials she faces. Then she discovers there are those who wish to reopen Heaven's Gate and allow titans to walk the mortal realms once more. Only one power can stop them. 

As her friends and allies fall around her, beset by sand wraiths and the soulless dead, with everything she loved now lost to her, Naia faces yet another challenge: the blackened plains of the Void, where she may learn the true power of her voice. A power the necromancers and titans would kill to stop


  Deft fingers swim across thin silver strings.
I'm shaking—I can't perform like this.
Thick sandals slam onto the stage behind me. The dancers present themselves. I open my mouth as the dancers still behind me. They are statues. Dolls sprinkled in white beneath dimming candlelight. 
The stillness is a learned reaction. One given by time and misfortune.
I open my mouth. I sing.
“In this bitter world...”
Fans glide open with a snap of paper. My eyes stay to my hands and fingers as they sail over sixteen strings. As the long cherrywood body of the zither rocks beneath me, in time to the foot falls of the dancers. 
“...who can declare the difference between love and hate?”
The dancers still, their faces stoic. 
“In these mortal realms...”
I cast my gaze up to steal a look at our audience. Three women curve their legs beneath skirts which balloon out around them. They litter the carpet like fallen petals. They are not strangers, nor are they patrons.
A gray haired woman snaps her gaze from the dancers to me. Hard opal eyes narrow to slits. She raises a hand, her drop sleeve rises with her like the erratic tail of a ghost. A crooked finger frees itself from the long crimson sleeve. It points, squarely at me. 
Althea's eyes—they make me shiver.
I snap my gaze to my fingers. I breathe. I sing.
“...who can declare the difference between right and wrong?”
Feet shuffle as the dancers behind me glide into the next act. Fans disappear into the deep pockets of pastel colored drop sleeves. Lacy cloth draped upon the stage resemble wind and they shower themselves with it. The tissue-like fabric floats in the air around them as they make movements to hold the falling cloth there, suspended in midair. Floating about their persons.
Before they snap the cloth back with quick hands, sliding the cloth along the length of the stage as they jump and leap like tumbling winds. They form a line now, as rushing feet halt. They form a line, heads bowed to the front. 
I open my mouth.
“Someday, I would like to ask—”
Hands strike out—vipers reach for their prey. They strike at opposite intervals.
“'In this world, who writes the scrolls of our fates?'”
Arms move as waves that heave. The lead dancer raises her right arm to the sky, questioning the gods.
“Someday, I would like to ask—”
The leader falls. Arms forward, legs curved behind her. The dancers begin to vary in height, resembling the mortal who fights through trials. She comes from nothing. Gains strength from what the gods place before her. Trial after trial, failure after failure—she prevails. The final dancer raises her right arm in a straight arc—her body rises onto its toes. She has ascended.
“'When mortals dream, who plucks the strings of the ancient zither?'”
Hands soar across an ocean of silver strings.
As one simple pluck ends with a sharp twang.
As a string upon my precious zither rips from its wooden base.
My hands shake as I take both ends of the little silver string. I tie them together only for them to wind apart again.
Again and again and again.

About C. M. Estopare:

C.M. Estopare is a full-time author, avid yoga enthusiast, and veteran of the United States military. She is the author of Heartfelt Sounds, the first book in the up and coming World of Sorrel Series, as well as titles such as Afterlife and the soon to be published Kindred Souls Series. 

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