by L.A. Morton-Yates
GENRE: YA Fantasy
A Shade. A Storm. A Soul.
Cursed with forbidden knowledge, 19-year-old Dela must hide her secret from her nomadic tribe or face exile into the frozen wasteland of the Bitters. When she becomes separated from her people during a blizzard, a mysterious and dangerous wanderer named Talon promises to help her find her way back to them. She quickly learns that nothing is what it seems, that her curse may actually be a gift, and that the Bitters are far more dangerous than she could have imagined.
Packed with unexpected twists, Bittersouls is a mixture of survival, adventure, and slow-burn romance that is sure to get your heart pounding.
[Dela] rounded the corner, stepping into the mouth of the cave. As she expected, she wasn’t alone. But the man who leaned against the far wall of the cave, watching her with a wild and savage curiosity, was not a man she’d ever laid eyes on before. He wore a stark, white roughcloak. To Dela’s eye, it looked to be fashioned from a Jackal’s fur. The head of the beast encircled his own as a hood, the angular snout coming to a toothless point a few inches past his forehead. His arms were crossed over his chest, pushing the sides of his rough out enough to reveal a tattered and patched network of leather garments, ugly and indelicate, but which looked to be sturdy and thick. At his sides, an array of bone hooks much like her own supported various tools and weapons.
But what caught her eye most was the fiery array that spread out around him, stemming from the center of his back. Unlike those in her congregation, whose entities kept small and close and wrapped themselves around their humans, his spread all four of its ghostly appendages out behind him like crimson wings, swaying gently as though breathing or being brushed by the wind. If the congregations’ were simply alive, his was awake.
“Interesting,” the man mused. His voice was low and scratchy, as if from months or years of disuse. Dela realized she’d been staring at him for some time.
“Interesting?” she repeated. Who was this man? What was he doing out here? He’d been so close to their group… and she’d followed him out here. Alone. Had that been his plan?
The man shrugged, stepping off the wall and approaching her with footsteps too quiet to hear over the din of the storm. “I had expected another—”
About the Author:
A life-long lover of the magic of storytelling, L.A. wrote his first story at the age of 7 and has been writing ever since. Speculative fiction, particularly fantasy, has always held a special place in his heart for the uniqueness of the places and the questions it can address. Though veiled by apparent strangeness, he has always seen it as capable of revealing deeper truth about our own reality.
L.A. graduated from Montana State University in 2015 with Honors in Biochemistry and a minor in Music Composition. This helped nurture his critical thinking and research skills which continue to be instrumental to his writing. During his collegiate years, he also met the love of his life, Julie, whom he later married. At once his greatest supporter and his staunchest critic (when he is wrong, which is more often than he’d like to admit), she has been an integral part of his creative process ever since.
In February of 2018, L.A. became the father of his first son, Griffin. His second son, Tiber, was born in December of 2019 and his third son, Malachi, was born in January of 2022. Though life has become considerably busier since he became a family man, L.A. continues to work on writing in what little spare time he can find. He hopes to one day pass on his love of literature to his sons.
Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I really enjoyed the sense of adventure that permeates this book. I find the Bitters to be a fascinating setting and it was really fun getting to explore it through Dela’s eyes. There’s a mystery around every corner and so much that the character and the reader will want to know more about. A lot of the questions posed about the mysteries of the world are answered over the course of the story, but a good number of them are not—something that I feel & helps preserve the sense of wonder and intrigue in the worldbuilding.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
I’ve got couple in various stages of the process. Right now I am working on revision for a sci-fi novel that I hope to release later this year. It’s called The Damned Earth and it follows a lone explorer as he tries to make a post-apocalyptic alien world habitable for human colonists while the mystery and the threat of what happened to the planet’s original inhabitants looms at every moment.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
I’m just getting started. Though Bittersouls is currently a standalone, I have a sci-fi novel, a steampunk series, and a cyberpunk fantasy trilogy in the works for the coming years. In my vision of a perfect future, I’ll be releasing a book a year from here on out, starting with The Damned Earth at the tail end of this year. Only time will tell if I’ll be hit with a reality check on that ambitious release schedule, but I figure there’s nothing wrong with aiming high so long as you’re prepared to rein it in as needed.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing pretty much as long as I can remember. My first actual stories were a comic book series I wrote as a 7-year-old called “Magical Man”, which were about as cringe-worthy as you’d expect from someone at that age (and surprisingly violent). It took me many, many attempts as I grew older to actually complete a novel—it wasn’t until I was 25 that I wrote “The End” for the first time, and that novel took 1.5 years to draft and will never see the light of day. Even so, it was probably the most important milestone in my writing career—my very next book was Bittersouls, which was by contrast actually readable in its first draft and only made better through the revision and editing process.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I love you guys! Thanks for giving Bittersouls and I a chance. It’s been an awesome journey so far and I hope to get to know you all better in the coming years. Feel free to follow me on Substack and social media, and please let me know what you’re most excited about with my work and what you’re looking forward to in the future in the comments!
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/lamortonyates/
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Buy on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BQFLM7D4
L.A. Morton-Yates will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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