Today, on Day 4 of the Blogger Book Fair, it pleases me to welcome another wordsmith with a scintillating book to offer. I could talk wonders about N.R. Wick and the novel, Land of No Angels, but instead, I think I shall allow a story excerpt to speak for itself.
Excerpt from Land of No Angels (Dark Ascension, Book 1)
Carter followed Fox’s directions until they reached a street completely blocked from one shattered building across the street to another. The barricade consisted of a school bus, two garbage trucks, and a number of other heavy machinery that fit snuggly together. Concrete barriers from construction sites had been lined up on top of the vehicles to provide extra height. Carter slowed to a stop a hundred feet in front of the barricade. Fox exited the truck, followed by Carter and Rebecca.
“What the hell is this?” Carter said.
“They must have blocked the rest of the street to deter the demons,” Fox replied.
“Is there another way to get to Crown Center?” Rebecca asked.
“Yes, but they will most likely be blocked as well.”
“You think so?” she asked.
“Are those people?” Errol asked, coming up from behind them with Jupiter held against her hip. She motioned towards the top of the barricade where several human faces appeared over the edge.
“Oh great, maybe they have a way over,” Carter said. “Hey, hello!” He gave a wave and started towards them.
Rebecca felt uneasy as she looked at the faces. From this distance, she had a hard time distinguishing their facial features. Several more faces popped up from behind the barricade.
“Can you help us?” Carter called.
“Maybe we should find our own way in,” Rebecca said. She looked at Fox who was staring at the faces in a way that bore into them, as though staring hard enough would bring him answers.
“This isn’t right,” Fox whispered. He began to back up and nudged Rebecca to come with him. One of the faces moved to the highest point on the barricade, which exposed its hunched, hairless body. The body was lean and shaped like a cross between a large wolf and a gorilla.
Carter stopped. “I think you might be right.”
The demon’s face split open into four pieces attached by flaps of skin. Beneath the human face-shell were two beady eyes and a circular orifice with rows of jagged teeth where its mouth would be. It made a guttural choking sound. The other demons exposed themselves fully and replicated the noise. Their face pieces thrashed about their heads before they poured over the barricade towards Rebecca and the others.
Fox swore. Rebecca and Errol ran to the truck and jumped in, followed by Fox and Carter. Carter tried to start the truck just as the first demon reached them. It jumped on the hood and thrashed at the metal with its claws. The truck wouldn’t start.
“Hurry!” Fox yelled. “Go!”
“I’m trying, you idiot!” After another attempt, the truck started. Carter slammed his foot down on the gas pedal and plowed through a group of the demons as he u-turned. The demon on the hood of the truck toppled off. Its body thudded and clinked against the metal beneath them as Carter drove over it.
Jupiter wailed from the back seat. Errol tried to sooth him, but Carter’s wild driving threw everyone around too much to be comfortable. Rebecca looked through the back window to see at least a dozen of the demons chasing after them.
One of the demons ran up from behind the truck with its human face still intact.
“It’s keeping up with the truck! I’m going 55 and rising!” Carter cried.
“What are those things?” Rebecca yelled in a panic.
“They might be Masquers. I’ve never seen one this close before!” Fox answered. The demon leaped at the moving truck and tried to dig its claws into the driver’s side door. Rebecca screamed. The demon’s face broke apart and it began to gnash at the truck, using its back claws to keep steady while its front claws and teeth damaged the door.
“Wait! Turn right! Turn right here! Quick!” Fox pointed down the street they had just missed.
“Great! You couldn’t have told me before we passed it?” Carter said.
“I didn’t know until I saw it!”
Errol took a break from pacifying Jupiter to yell at them. “Don’t argue! We don’t have time for that.”
Carter flipped another u-turn, the tires screeched as he did. Rebecca felt the truck tip as they turned and she wondered if they were going to crash. The sharp turn pulled the demon off balance, but it didn’t let go. Once the truck was heading down the correct street, the demon resumed snarling and ripping at the door.
“There’s another blockade up ahead,” Carter said.
“Look! On the left side. There’s an opening.” Rebecca pointed at a spot where the heavy vehicles had been ripped apart.
“We can fit through,” said Carter.
“Well, do it quick because that demon’s about to get through the door,” Fox told him.
“Hold on!” Carter pushed the acceleration pedal to the floor and sped into the opening. There wasn’t enough room for the demon to fit through the hole as well. Instead, part of the creature mashed between the empty space and the truck until it couldn’t pass through. Its body skimmed the length of the truck as it passed, then dropped to the ground with a squelchy thud.
“Turn right again up there. It’s the building on the right. I think there is an entrance on that side,” Fox said. As they came to the intersection to turn right, a hoard of the Masquers swarmed them from the left.
Carter swerved to the Crown building. He lost control, spun out, and hit the back of the truck against a light post. Rebecca looked out her window. The Masquers were a block away, and even though Carter’s erratic driving had stopped the car across the street from the building’s entrance, she feared they wouldn’t make it inside.
“Out of the truck! Hurry!” Fox yelled. He was already out and opening the door for Errol and Rebecca.
“You guys get inside. I’ll try to distract them,” Carter said.
“No!” Rebecca stopped halfway out the truck.
“Don’t worry about me. Get inside!”
“Rebecca, come on!” Fox grabbed her with both arms and yanked her out of the car.
“Wait, No! Just let me—” She struggled against him. Carter winked at her, gave his best smile, and sped off.
Land of No Angels
The Ascension marked a demon apocalypse that decimated the human race and forced survivors into hiding. Sixteen year old Rebecca Ashford and her younger sister, Errol, have spent the last year hidden in their family’s tornado bunker. When the sound of a screaming baby wakes them in the middle of the night, they attempt to save the infant and Errol is poisoned by a demon.
With only a week until the poison consumes her, Rebecca must trust a mysterious survivor named Fox to help her find a cure. Together, they confront demons and other monsters while Rebecca struggles to learn magic that will help them locate the ingredients needed to save her sister.
Land of No Mortals
Seventeen year old Rebecca Ashford and her younger sister Errol have finally found safe refuge at Crown Haven, a witch-led survivor colony. Rebecca should be thrilled by the secure place to live and the human contact after spending a year hiding in their family tornado bunker, but ever since her friend Fox left she’s been plagued by guilt strong enough to mess with her newfound witch powers.
When demons destroy Crown Haven, Rebecca uses her power to locate the only person who may know how to fight back. Instead, she discovers that Fox is in danger. She and Errol must rescue him and enlist his help in their quest to learn what caused the demon apocalypse and find a way to take back their world. As Rebecca struggles with her feelings for Fox and with controlling her power, she fights to stay alive and defy the demonic oppressors to protect the people she loves.
Land of No Demons
Having embraced her role as a High Witch in the post-apocalyptic Midwest, Rebecca uses her magical powers to locate imprisoned or hidden survivors. She and her comrades trek through snow and bitter wind to battle demons in order to rescue the dwindling human population. Even though developing her power has become effortless, her relationship with Fox is more complicated than ever.
After a demon informant reveals a plan to summon the creator of all demons, known as The First, Rebecca and the other High Witches must use their powers to heal the dimensional weak points and send him back to his tomb. If they fail, the human race will never recover. Join Rebecca, Fox, and the other survivors of the Ascension as they fight their final battle against evil in the third book of the Dark Ascension series.
N.R. Wick writes fiction for young adults and children. She loves everything magical, fantastical, and supernatural, especially if it’s dark. N.R. Wick has a Bachelor of Arts in Pictorial Arts from San Jose State University, where she studied Illustration and Digital Media, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She currently teaches college level writing and lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Andrew.