VENTURESS Excerpt on HMH Teen

Venturess is coming out on August 1, but HMH Teen is already offering a sample chapter on Tumblr. I said they could choose any excerpt they liked, and it turned out they chose one of my favorite bits (I love the ocean, what can I say?).

Here’s a small sample of the sample . . .

Ten days into our journey, Wheelock declared the wind conditions safe enough for a low-flying day. This meant first of all that billowing nets were cast out from the sides of the boat to catch fresh fish for the galley, and second of all that Fin, Caro, and I were given the all-clear to use the bathysphere pods.

It was amazing how quickly we’d all adjusted to life on the Imperator. My motion sickness was entirely gone, and once I’d even scurried up the ropes with the crew, to inspect the workings of the segmented balloon that kept us afloat, or the dozen folding, fin-like sails at either side of it that caught the wind. We needed stiff breezes for this voyage, especially if we really were to reach Faerie in only a month, but a few slow days were necessary too if we wanted to eat any fresh food at all.

After my years of eating the Steps’ scraps, I knew better than to complain about having any kind of plentiful food at all, but I was still looking forward to a fish fry instead of the salted-meat stew that had become our standard dinner fare. The luxury of the first day’s refreshments had turned out to be just a ceremonial anomaly. I yearned for rhodopis berries, which could pop back into freshness at the touch of a finger, and I felt more annoyed than ever about the embargo on Fey goods.

Once we got there, at least, that was one of many things that Fin and I would try to fix.

On the morning of our voyage underwater, all three of us woke up early and excited. Caro woke before dawn every day, in order to return to her own bunk undetected, but on that particular morning we were all up and dressed with starlight still whispering through the portals in the royal suite.

I’d known that Caro had to be discrete when she left in the mornings, but I’d never spent too much thought on what that must feel like, a neglect that embarrassed me now as we slipped silently through the dark corridor together. I knew that we weren’t doing anything dishonorable. Besides, I had always told myself that I didn’t care in the least what other people thought Fin’s, Caro’s, and my friendship entailed. But I still breathed deeply with relief when we got through the corridor without anyone coming across the three of us, so closely grouped together and so obviously recently asleep.

When we came out onto the deck, it was so dark that we might have been walking on the night air itself. Clouds blotted out the stars, and there was no bright moon as there had been on the first night of our voyage. I had a disorienting sense that I really was standing on nothing but the thousands of feet of empty void that separated my one frail human body from the deeper void darkness of the sea.

Here be monsters, the map had said. I could still see the drawings of writhing serpents dipping in and out of the paper waves, tentacled beards frilling around their toothy jaws.

For more unconventional friendship, romance, steampunk submarines, and a few surprises, read the rest of the sample chapter on HMH Teen.

And for a real gold star, go ahead and pre-order Venturess so you can read the rest ASAP.



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