Fiction Fest: A non-demonizing preview from ‘Demon’s Heart’

demons-heart_9781462115150The blog tour for Emily Hall Bates’ “Demon’s Heart” has gathered several positive reviews, including this one:

“[The author] has done a wonderful job at crafting a story and creating a fantasy world. The plot drew me in and I liked the characters. The book is paced well.  I didn’t find myself wondering or skipping words to get to a more exciting part. I look forward to reading the book that will follow this one.”

Another reviewer said, “‘Demon’s Heart’ is a thoroughly engaging book that you won’t want to put down.  The only draw back is that book two has not yet come out.”

Demon’s Heart” is available in bookstores and from online retailers.


From the author: A few days after Rustav’s arrival in town, Dantzel stumbles across Rustav sitting alone at the stream, talking to the water. Understandably curious, she asks why he’s talking to the stream instead of the townspeople.


“I miss the ocean.” For a moment, Rustav’s eyes drank in the stream with such painful longing that Dantzel ached. She was certain, in that instant, that he had forgotten she was there, and he was speaking to the stream once more. “I had my own little cave in the rocks, my safe place where no one could ever find me. The waves would crash against the foot of the cliffs, a hundred feet below me, and I got it into my head that they could hear me. I’d tell them everything, everyone who hurt me, wild plans for escape, all the things I’d do once I got away.”

“Wasn’t there anyone in the city you could talk to?”

Her words broke the spell of the stream; but though Rustav’s expression hardened defensively, Dantzel thought that it wasn’t quite so impenetrable as it had once been. “There was, once,” Rustav said, a bitter bite to his voice even as he waved his hand carelessly. “Ollie the bookseller felt sorry for me. When I was three or four, old enough to start running away from Karstafel, I would hide out in his shop. He taught me to read, told me all kinds of tales. Life was looking up. And then Karstafel realized I could read. He didn’t like that someone was being nice to me, and he beat me until I told him who taught me.”

Dantzel couldn’t withhold a horrified gasp, and she covered her mouth. “When you were four?”

Shrugging, Rustav said, “I might’ve been five by then. Anyway, a couple days later, the Guards dragged Ollie out of town and burned his shop. They claimed he was guilty of treason, one of the old king’s men, but the whole city knew Karstafel had sent for them. After that, no one wanted Karstafel thinking they were on my side, and they made their loyalties painfully obvious to me.”

A sharp twisting knifed through Dantzel’s stomach as she took in the sharp angles of Rustav’s face. Dantzel wished she dared give him a hug, but his hardened exterior extended several inches around him, holding her at bay. “Couldn’t you fight back?”

Rustav laughed briefly, a rusty and unused sound. “I tried a couple of times. The governor’s Guards tossed me in the city jail overnight for brawling.”

“Then how did you make it through all those years?”

“I’m fast.” Self-derision weighed heavily in his words. “No one can turn tail and run like I can.”