Hi lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host John Geers and his new book, “Emerge Beyond Circles”! For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.
Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon GC, a signed copy of the book, and an adorable stuffed tiger (US only)!! Also, come back daily to interact with John and to increase your chances of winning!
Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!
Emerge Beyond Circles
by John Geers
Two couples from Madison, with entwined destinies, both seeking love, are connected by a single element: the ancient Siberian witch, Thuban-Pol. Her magic will either be their savior or their ruin.
Thuban-Pol is the latest in a lineage of Siberian witches. Their eternal aim is to guide humanity to true love. Their guiding tenet, “For love to bloom, these three endure: sacrifice, perseverance and suffering. But the greatest of these is suffering.”
Since the dawn of humanity, they have summoned countless couples, inflicting suffering with the intention to grow true love. They have never succeeded…but now they have their best opportunity in two couples from Wisconsin.
If they succeed, love will finally bloom for all of humanity, if the suffering inflicted on these couples doesn't kill them first.
Slivered gray wood covered the outside. Macabre scenes carved like tattoos stretched from ground to gutter and marched around each corner in a black parade.
Clint stepped close to the dark images and put a finger to one. "It's soft and squishy, like driveway tar in summer, but it doesn't stick to my skin. Weird." His finger went to his nose, and he said, "Interesting. Hey, sniff this stuff."
Lucy pushed her nose forward and sniffed the carving. "Yum, smells like…" she let the scent tumble around her brain, "like peppermint and something else I can't place, but definitely peppermint."
"Check out these carvings of animals," he said.
Real and imagined creatures prowled midst the gray slivers. Indigenous animals were well represented; the snowy owl, Arctic fox, caribou and ermine. Along with these were animals too strange to be from this age. Some warned. Others offered a wry smile of welcome. A serpent barred vicious fangs stained crimson, dripping pregnant bulbs of creamy poison. A grizzly bear smothered the head of a besieged she-wolf with one massive paw while tonguing the cheek of its pup. Wild caribou ran in stampede along the edge of a deep ravine, flirting with the abyss.
Woven among the animals were humans. Black eyes. Black bodies. Black forms. Black illuminated. A child held the face of its mother. A man raised a silver sword over the broken body of his slain foe. A son leaped into the arms of his father, reminiscent of the Prodigal Son, but on this wall, soaked in black, the anguish and joy were fresh. Sex was here too. Bodies engaged in all variety of forbidden acts, twisted and beautiful.
As the black parade marched on, frozen poses of pain pinched Lucy, forcing her tight against his chest once more.
A man groped the ground with orange coals where eyes once took in the world. A woman with a flapping tongue, split like the Serpent, hissed a song to the full blood moon. A young man pled for mercy, torn fingers lost in the gnashing teeth of his lover. A man pounded the ice above his head. A child wailed in the jaws of a terrible beast, eyes begging for a hero, a call for rescue swallowed by winter. A family huddled tight, defying flames that, in real life, would be their end. A woman slumped with blood and afterbirth at her feet, her ashen eyes stone, silence of mother and child scattered across eternity. A wrinkled face echoed hope, sealed behind tortured lips.
Exclusive Excerpt from Emerge Beyond Circles by John Geers:
Once past the sign, he stepped on State Street to merge with the sea of football fans. The Farmers Market on the Capitol Square was only moments from Johnson and in full bloom now.
Predawn preparations, the glimpse behind the veil, felt like weeks ago, part of another dimension altogether. Premarket ghosts blown out over Lake Mendota by a gust of football buzz, mummers, art vendors and gawkers.
Diversity and doing defined the market.
Being on the square during the market was intoxicating.
This day allowed but a brief visit to the Mifflin Street section.
Of all the vendors, one snagged his attention, set back from the others by several yards and hemmed in by its neighbors. The location poor, even hidden, and the female attendant quite apathetic. Approaching the table required maneuvering through the throngs gathered around the adjacent Wisconsin Honey stand and Hmong vegetable tent. Marc wiggled and excused his way to the curious stand and stood before it. The selection she offered was limited, but magnificent. Housed in three chipped and chaffed five-gallon buckets, set atop a worn plywood table, were the most breathtaking flowers he had ever seen. Each flower featured brilliant colors, fabulous gemlike facets and leaves of the most distinct design, so ornate they demanded awe and inspection. Ancient curiosity stirred and propelled him forward until he was inches from them.
Why he was there remained hazy until a tender breeze launched from the iced waters of Lake Mendota drifted up State Street, meandered amidst the crowd, made a final push, pried heavenly aromas off velvet petals, and delivered them to his nose.
“Excuse me,” he coughed out much quieter than intended.
“Excuse me.” Louder but still covered by the racket of the crowd.
The old woman behind the plywood, seated in a crooked wooden chair, roused in response, revealing gray hair tucked beneath a wool cap with wide flaps tied under a prickly chin. Her level of disinterest in peddling her wares was betrayed by her filthy clothes, torn snow pants, stringy scarf, mud-caked boots and gloves that left more skin exposed than protected.
“Excuse me, can you tell me what sort of flowers these are?” he asked, pointing to the middle bucket.
“Yellow,” she said through pallid lips.
“Yellow, yes, but the name, I’ve never seen anything like them before.”
“Don’t know,” she said, shifting her weight extracted a severe crack from her chair. “If you like em’, buy em’, only twelve bucks a dozen. Fair price. Bundle em’ for ya?” She strained to rise, no easy task.
“Actually, these here,” he motioned toward the bucket to the right of the yellow, “what kind are these?”
An icy wind slurred his question and he asked again.
“Blue,” she answered.
“Alright, how much for the blue ones?” he asked after being bumped from behind by other shoppers for the umpteenth time.
“You want the blue? Only ten bucks a dozen. Bundle em’?” She grabbed a bag designed to hold a bouquet of flowers.
“Yeah, I guess so, bundle em’ my good woman, Bruce will enjoy their perfume. It will remind him of summer.” He smiled under frozen breath and dug cash from his parka. “I only got a twenty, can you make change?”
“Of course, good merchants make change,” she said, reaching for a beaten abacus.
“Yes, I’m sure you’re a good merchant.” He corrected his misstep and handed over the money. “Do you come to the market much?”
“Not much,” came the vacant reply while she arranged the three buckets. “Enough. People need flowers. No?” She plucked a bouquet from the bucket on the right and presented them to Marc. “These?”
“Those will do just fine,” he replied during a scan of the market.
“Not yellow? Blue?”
“The blue ones, yes the blue ones.”
“Blue then.” And she continued the process.
Bundling the blue flowers proved to be a slow process. He quickly saw why her gloves were shredded. Hidden under oaken leaves, running up the stems were needle-like thorns at least three inches in length. These required skill in handling. Her tattered gloves granted fleeting glimpses of scarred hands. Shreds of cloth concealed the bulk of each hand while their motion hid the remainder. Still though, he picked up snaps of flesh when they slowed to adjust her scarf or wipe a drippy nose. Without warning, those snaps congealed in his mind and became whole. Like a black rampaging wave, the image staged a coupe on his senses, seized them by the throat, pitching his soul to and fro. The wave stifled the whir of the market. A drone flooded his skull, extinguished thought, eyes fixed, unblinking. Blood battered his eardrums, thrumming in time with racing heartbeats. Nausea twisted his gut.
The hands within those gloves, the ones working the flowers, the skin, the blotches, tendons, each bony knuckle, every stray hair…an exact replica of the Siberian witch, Thuban-Pol.
A clot lodged in his arteries, the chill numbed his synapses, the genesis of the black wave there, under tattered gloves, the realization crystallized. Seeing these hands was seeing the hands of his true love at the distant point of Reunion.
Stabbing pain struck his fingers like lightning, cracked him from the trance.
Slammed into his hand by the old woman, his bouquet of thorny stemmed blue flowers. Blood bulbs blossomed on three fingertips where the spikes ripped a furrow in his skin and fell, splashing to the concrete.
Shaken, he turned for home and resumed a brisk walk down Mifflin, this time determined, stopping for nothing.
“Sir! Your change!” Came a call from the other side of the buckets.
“Keep it,” he said with crimson fingers between chapped lips, too garbled for anyone to hear.
John Geers drew inspiration to begin his debut novel from a dream he experienced.
Hours spent in the caffeinated air of his favorite coffeehouse proved to be the perfect place to complete Emerge Beyond Circles.
John is a middle school literacy educator, where he inspires and is inspired by the writers of tomorrow. He is the founder and facilitator of his school’s Creative Writing Club. He is also a columnist for the online magazine Elephant Journal.
He loves a good story, being on the water, and witty puns. He can be found hiking the wilderness, biking big hills, sipping dark coffee, and looking for a chair in the mall.
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John will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC, a signed copy of the book, and a stuffed tiger (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
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This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions. Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.