Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah: Excerpt


Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah is a YA/NA high fantasy series.  This is book 1 and 2 of The Sky Chariots Saga. The tour runs July 20 - 31 with reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

For over a thousand years, the Tanoa have relied on their Earth Shamen to bring rich harvests, temper stone tools and weapons, and imbue pottery with strength like metal. Now, though, the bloodline has dwindled to one Shaman, Tuwa, who is trapped high in the mountains, holding bedrock together to prevent a volcanic eruption while the rest of her people flee to safety. The only way to save the village is for her to sacrifice herself and buy them the time they need to evacuate.But her grandson, Ahote, refuses to abandon her to die. Rather than do as she asks—marry and bear daughters who might inherit her gift—he sets out to find the one person who might be able to save Tuwa’s life.Kasha is a Tanoa girl in who lives in Solace, a city of the pale-skinned Andalanos. If the Engineers Guild ever discovers her gender or race, they could order her execution—for in violation of the King’s law, Master Engineer Seamus trained Kasha as his apprentice. She is a genius in all things mechanical and earned her master certification when only fourteen years old. Since Seamus’s death, she has been discreetly working his job as the City Engineer.She knows there is no machine or technology that can save Tuwa. In order to complete this task, Kasha must invent a vehicle unlike anything the world has ever seen, and risk exposure and death in the process.
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Master Engineer Kasha lives in hiding. As a Tanoa and a woman, she has no legal right to her title, and risks expulsion or even execution if the Guild discovers her identity. For over a year she has served as the City Engineer of the Andalano city of Solace, home to the Winged Riders and their pegasus mounts.Now, though, her people need her. The last of their Earth Shamen is trapped in the mountains, holding back a volcanic eruption so that the rest of her people can escape. It is a job for only the greatest of all engineers, and that happens to be Kasha.But when her kinsman, Ahote, breaks the most sacred law of the Winged Riders, an alliance with him means certain death. Kasha must work alone to solve the most difficult engineering problem of all time before the summer months are done and winter comes to claim the life of the Shaman and the hope of her people.
Kasha had begun her illegal studies with the City Engineer when she was six years old, after wandering into his shop off Market Street, pulling apart one of his simple, shiny metal clocks, and putting it back together again. The thing had only three gears and a winding key and spring, easy enough to understand once she had a glimpse inside.
When a shadow had fallen across her, she’d looked up, expecting chastisement, but instead, she had seen a kindly, old Andalano with wispy, gray hair and shining eyes.
“Is it put back together correctly?” he had asked.
“Yes. I didn’t break it.”
“Wind it. Let me hear it tick.”
She obliged him. The ticks echoed hollowly against the clock’s metal walls.
He shut his eyes a moment then smiled. “What is your name?”
“Ah… You are a girl?”
Her face grew warm with shame. Just because both Tanoa boys and girls had long hair didn’t mean she looked like a boy, did it? “Yes.”
“And Tanoa?”
“I see.”
She put the clock back on the shelf, and it was strange how high that shelf was in her memory. Now, it would be at her knee, but then, it had been nearly at her waist.
“Do the Tanoa have engineers?” he’d asked.
“I’m sorry?”
“People who build things like clocks and carts and buildings?”
“I don’t know. We have people who build things. But not clocks, I don’t think.” Those were an Andalano item, borne of their inability to tell the time by simply looking out the window and their obsession with planning and filling every moment throughout the day.
“I see,” he said. “So, where did you learn to take things apart like that?”
“Nowhere…” What a confusing question. Did a person really need to be taught how to take things apart?
“How old are you, child?”
At that, his head snapped back a little. “I thought you small for your age, but you aren’t, are you?”
Kasha folded her hands, unsure of why the man kept talking to her. He wasn’t going to yell, that much was clear, but he also would not let her go.
He knelt down creakily so that their eyes were on the same level. “Thrice I have written to the Engineers College, and thrice I have gotten no answer. In my younger days, I was too busy inventing to teach, and now that I am ready to teach, my failing health betrays me. They don’t want to send an apprentice to an old man who lives at the edge of the world.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, because it seemed the polite thing to say.
“Where is your mother?”
“At home. She has trouble with her eyes. She can’t see well.” She bit her lip, hoping he wouldn’t press her for details. Her mother’s maiming and her father’s death by a lynch mob was recent enough that the merest mention of it stung like a hot coal pressed to her heart.
“Ah,” was all he said. “Might I pay her a visit this afternoon?”
“As I said, I need an apprentice. Would you like to become an engineer?”
“Like you?”
“Yes, like me.”
Master Seamus was well known and respected around town. His shop was full of expensive wares. Kasha could not afford even the cheapest of his clocks.
“Yes,” she said without hesitation. “I would like that.”
“It will have to be a secret,” he said. “Our little secret.”

Emily writes as both Emily Mah (for science fiction and fantasy) and E.M. Tippetts (for chick lit). Her short stories have appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, The Black Gate, and anthologies like The Dragon and the Stars, Shanghai Steam, and The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth.  Her E.M. Tippetts novels have been on the Amazon Top 100 numerous times, and her novel, Someone Else's Fairytale was semi-finalist for the Best Indie Book of the Year -  Kindle Book Review, and a runner up in Romance for the Best of the Independent Book Awards - eFestival of Words. She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writer's Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy and Viable Paradise Writers Workshop, and she often teaches the unit on self-publishing at the Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop.When she is not writing or chasing small children, she manages E.M. Tippetts Book Designs, her company which offers formatting, cover design, and editing services to authors and publishers.

GiveawayThree (3) winners will receive signed ebooks of Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah
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