Ash_Bloom_4x6ACI cannot believe it’s already September. It feels like just yesterday that the first sprigs of spring were peeking out from beneath winter’s brown blanket. Now fall was right around the corner and I see scarecrows and jack-o’-lanterns in every store window I pass. The weather here in Dallas is just as warm as it was at the end of July, but that too will change in the next few weeks.

In the midst of all of this change, my husband and I have finally begun settling into a normal routine. There are still a few boxes piled in odd places and we have yet to hang all of the pictures on our walls, but everywhere I look I see progress that suggests our small apartment will soon be called home.

Our front entry still houses boxes labeled with the words “Totaled and Burned Items”, but the boxes of undamaged goods that Matthew and I have unpacked have far outnumbered those. The generosity of our friends and family has been unmatched this season of trial and I can’t begin to tell everyone just how grateful we are for your great outpouring of love!

Before I begin today’s special book excerpt, I have to share some words of encouragement from yet another source. This comes from Lisa Brown-Gilbert, a reviewer for who just finished reading Skinshifter. She writes: “As involved as it is vividly eloquent, Alycia Christine’s Skinshifter…is fueled by engagingly twisted fantasy elements, vivid imagery, appealing characters, rousing adventure and terse storytelling.”

Her full review brought tears of joy and gratitude to my eyes. In honor of that and of its upcoming release, I thought I would share another Skinshifter excerpt with you.

“Lauraisha, stay away from the tunnels and be on your guard!”

“What’s coming?”

Before Katja could answer, the triangular head of the first basel slipped into view. Its head was the size of her chest. Lauraisha screamed as it struck. Katja feinted left out of the path of its attack and swept unsheathed claws at the snake’s right opalescent eye. The creature shrieked as Katja’s middle claw found its mark. She pulled her paw free and blocked the snake’s clumsy lunge with her opposite forearm—dancing away from the greenish-gray head.

She spied the shadows of the second and third snakes out of the corner of her eye. They had reached the tunnel entrances simultaneously. She lunged under the first basel on its blind side just as it reared its head, and she struck at its neck glands with both paws. She felt jarring pain as her paws struck bone and staggered under the snake’s weight as it began to convulse. She laboriously pinned the twitching body against the wall with a small boulder and then jumped back into the fray.

“Lauraisha, they’re most vulnerable if you strike at the spine just behind their heads!”

The human had drawn her forearm-length dagger and stood waiting in a loose stance for one of the two snakes to lunge out of the tunnels. Katja went to Lauraisha, grabbed the torch from her hand, lit the wall sconce behind her, and then threw the torch at the nearest basel. It hit the monster full in the face. The serpent shook and ducked its head, leaving the human open to strike at the base of its skull. Lauraisha seized the opportunity and drove her knife through the bone—the resulting crack was nauseating.

Two serpents now lay dead, but the other two had entered the cave. Katja had engaged the third, but Lauraisha stood vulnerable to the fourth because her knife was still lodged solidly in the second snake’s skull. Katja realized with horror that the human had no weapon, but the werecat could do nothing to help her while she was still fighting this serpent.

“Weave! Dodge! Don’t get bit—”

Katja heard Lauraisha scream just as the werecat sidestepped a ferocious lunge-and-snap. She swiped at the snake’s scaly head—leaving faint gashes along its length—and rolled to her left while trying to see what had happened to her companion. A chill crawled the length of Katja’s spine. Lauraisha was nowhere in sight. The fourth basel had now turned its full attention to Katja and the other snake.


The serpents’ malevolent hisses were all that answered her.

Skinshifter, The Dryad’s Sacrifice, and Thorn and Thistle will release on Amazon on September 25th, and on Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, and Barnes & Noble on December 24th. Pre-order purchasing is now available for all three in all places. You can read other excerpts for Skinshifter HERE, The Dryad’s Sacrifice HERE, and Thorn and Thistle HERE.

Also, don’t miss the official Skinshifter Blog Tour starting on September 28! I’ll be stopping by several websites and giving away some awesome prizes to readers! Watch my blog and the news page for more details.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!