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Solstice Of The Heart by John J Blenkush is an Indie Reads pick #fantasy #indiereads #giveaway

Title: Solstice Of The Heart

Author: John J Blenkush

Genre: Fantasy, Romance/Magical Realism

Book Blurb:

In Telos, the city buried beneath Mount Shastina, the Remnant Lemurians’ DNA strain is at its end. On the earth’s surface, world apocalypse looms. A surface-equal, a virgin with virtuous heart and pure blood must be found to stave off extinction of the Lemurian race before life on earth is obliterated. To this end, the Lemurians send their equal, Aaron Delmon, topside to secure a bride.

Rarely does one escape their destiny, or so they say. Julissa Grant just never dreamed hers would include becoming the Virgin Mother to the leader of the New World, producer of pluripotent cells, a manipulator of life-force energy, or an ignor-inferus – one with Lemurian physical traits but lacking the skills and wisdom of a true Lemurian. After all, she’s just a sixteen-year-old Midwestern Catholic-raised girl who wanted nothing more than to find renewed hope after death and despondency crushed her idyllic perception of the world.


I stand high on a mountain. Puffy, billowy-looking clouds float by. As I reach out, I find they’re not within grasp. My other hand clutches a golden rod with a hook on the end. I lay the rod out, snag a cloud, and reel it in. I fold the cloud over and over and push, prod, and punch it until it’s the size of a tennis ball. I do the same thing to another cloud, and another, and another. I pile the balls up at my feet, stacking them into a pyramid, the same way I did snowballs when I was a child back in Minnesota. When I’m finished, I look out to see an empty, clear blue sky.

Out of the sky’s depth, a flock of Canadian geese, arranged in V formation, fly toward me. I step back, fearful the geese might knock me off the pinnacle. And then I remember how, as a child, I would crouch down behind a wall of snow and fire snowballs at the attackers of my fort. I do the same now, crouching down behind my pyramid of cloud-balls, while lobbing the soft orbs out into space. I watch them float out and away as the updraft from the mountain propels them toward the charging geese. They bounce along the backs of the geese until they bust apart and balloon back into clouds.

I’m down to one cloud-ball. I pick it up, rotate it in my hands, and rough up the outer coating of the ball—like I’ve seen the baseball pitchers do—until it feels case hardened. I wait. And I wait some more, until the lead goose is but yards from me. And then I wind up and hurl the ball at the goose’s eye.

The orb floats like a balloon through the air. The geese break formation. One by one they surround the cloud ball. I expect them to devour it and, at first, as they peck at the orb, this is what it appears they’re doing. But they’re not just pecking at the cotton-candy looking fibers. They’re pulling it apart. Strand by strand, the geese build the cloud back into its original shape.

A breeze starts up. I feel it tug at my hair, wash my face, and filter through the silk-thin cloth of my gown. I lean into the wind, breathe deep of the draft, and catch a whiff of scorched air. Far off, I see a flash of lightning, rain, and a rainbow piercing the setting sun. From behind me I feel a presence. The smell I breathe reeks. I turn.

Aaron stands before me.

He’s dressed in white, so dazzling the eye cannot decipher detail, yet I know his gown has been sewed with gold thread, for at every seam, brilliance, more stunning than the reflection of the fabric it binds together, glitter like jewels. He wears nothing on his head, for no crown is needed where locks of hair are woven into trusses resembling gold sheaves. And there, in his eyes, without pupil, is the reflection of all that is around him. Within his eyes, I see me stepping forward, offering my hand into his, moving into his aura, raising my eyes to his, and laying my lips across the breath he exhales. Within him, and around me, I feel love. I gain trust. And I accept, without word from his mouth, the truth he speaks.

And never shall we be separated, I think.

We float, hand in hand, across the flat of the mountain top to the summit proper. Here we stand, two as one, leaning into the wind, breathing shallow the rarified air, sun on our faces, rain on our backs, watching, waiting, knowing, should we take the next step, never will we return.

The geese, their beaks tethered to the edge of the cloud, guide our billowy chariot to the mountain top where we waver in stance.

Together, hand in hand, we pull from our mooring, step across the abyss, and onto the cloud.

As the geese surge forward, we feel the wind on our faces. Our hair fans out in back of us like capes. Our gowns wrap skintight, giving us the appearance of undress. I see, on Aaron, what Cherrie says the girls will see when he wears tights for the part of Romeo, and I’m impressed.

I don’t know where we’re going, and I don’t care. As long as Aaron continues to hold my hand, I’m at peace.

We fly high, miles above the valley floor. Things beneath us appear small, distant, yet I feel if I were to reach down, I could grab away the tiny houses, cars, and people too. I’m unwilling to let go of Aaron’s hand. I fear, apart from him, I will slip through the cloud and fall to earth, shattering all that I know and am.

In the distance I see Mount Shasta. Snow covers her from summit to flank. Shastina sits lower, yet, in her own way, stands tall.

The geese park our cloud next to Shastina, below the summit flat, in amongst the broken rock, talus fields, and banks of snow, in a place where no man has tread.

Holding hands, we step off.

The snowpack is deep, tens of feet, but, as we skate over the surface, we don’t sink. The crunch of snow beneath our feet stirs memories of the little girl walking to school. Crisp, cold morning. Swirls of breath filtering from my mouth. Cherry cheeks.

My gown, wrapped tight, holds no warmth. We should be freezing to death. This I know. For our sweat beads fall away as hail. I come to realize it’s pure love keeping me alive, for only through worship is fright absent. I do not fear. Not the heights, not the cold, and certainly not Aaron, the savior of my lifeforce.

This is what I believe.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What makes your featured book a must-read?

"The Solstice book series is nothing like I have ever enjoyed reading before. Fans of Stephanie Meyer will immediately want to dive into this series. If you are a fan of Suzanne Collins, then this book series is for you too. The constant keeping the reader on edge generates a hunger that feels like a game. The books are a sweeping saga seemingly about love. Read this incredible series... Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will also love this series." N.N. Light

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally.

Runs December 5 – December 14, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on December 15, 2023.

Author Biography:

John J Blenkush is the author of the award-winning SOLSTICE SERIES, and other critically acclaimed novels. Having spent a multifaceted career in aeronautics, engineering, and construction, he now devotes his time to writing, woodworking and—the love of his life—spending time with his family. He lives with his wife in northern California.

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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Dec 08, 2023

Thank you, John, for sharing your box set in our Indie Reads Bookish Event!

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