GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ W.I.P. it Real Good from Justin Joschko's WIP The Moon Willow + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

W.I.P. it Real Good from Justin Joschko's WIP The Moon Willow + giveaway

W.I.P. it Real Good
from Justin Joschko's horror WIP The Moon Willow

The second book in the Yellow Locust series, IRON CIRCLE, comes out later this month, and book 3 is in the planning stages. In the meantime, I’ve switched focus a bit to work on a horror novel called THE MOON WILLOW.

Eleven-year-old Samantha Palmer has begun having strange encounters in her country home. Voices whisper from stairwells, the floor beneath her bed turns to dirt, and a strange creature with huge teeth and yellow eyes grins at her from the shadows.

While seeking answers, she discovers a box buried in the wall of her root cellar. Inside are seeds and a scrap of yellowing paper bearing a single name: morlocksbane. She plants them, and the resulting flowers seem to drive the visions away—for a while.

Things take a darker turn one night, when her parents are out and she’s left alone with her babysitter, a college student named Amanda:

The Moon Willow W.I.P. excerpt
Moonlight slanted through the blinds of her window, where it sprawled like toppled columns from some Atlantean ruin. The flowers on her windowsill spread their petals in full bloom, blossoms turned to the windowpane. There was an air of genuflection to their posture, as if they were penitents absorbed in silent prayer. They seemed almost to be made of moonlight themselves, their silver petals sparkling faintly in the moon’s cool glow. Samantha watched them for a while. She drew comfort from their presence, though the reason for that feeling was something she couldn’t quite define. It was as if the peace she perceived in them, though obviously projected from her own mind—they were just flowers, after all; they didn’t think or feel anything—infused the air around her.

The sensation was so strong that she barely flinched at the thump that sounded outside her bedroom door, though a few minutes earlier such a sound would’ve have likely sent her halfway to the ceiling with right. As it stood now, her mind alighted on the most obvious conclusion: that Amanda had something to ask her.

“Come in,” she called.

The door swung halfway open. When a few seconds passed and Amanda didn’t enter, the first cracks appeared in the supposed bedrock of her calm. She chastised herself for her worry, slight as it was.

“Amanda? Is everything okay?”

There was no answer, just the silence of the hall and the slow whisper of the wind outside her window. The door pushed open another few inches. The cracks in her composure widened.

“Is someone there? Hello?”

A pale comet flew through the doorway and landed on her bed with a muted thump. Samantha peered at it over the top of her covers. Amanda’s head stared back at her, its eyes frozen in a look of glassy puzzlement. Her neck ended in a clean stump from which nearly all the blood had been drained. It left a reddish crescent where it touched the bedsheet, the sort of dappled, ghostly image made by a rubber stamp on its third pressing.

by Justin Joschko
May 8, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian
Publisher: Month9Books
ISBN: 978-1-946700-63-6
ASIN: B079828BLX
Number of pages: 306
Cover Artist: Danielle Doolittle
Selena Flood is a fighter of preternatural talent. But not even her quick fists and nimble feet could save her parents from the forces of New Canaan, the most ruthless and powerful of the despotic kingdoms populating America-that-was.

Forced to flee the tyrannical state with her younger brother Simon in tow, Selena is now the last chance for peace in a continent on the verge of complete destruction.

In her pocket is a data stick, the contents of which cost her parents their lives. Selena must now ensure it reaches the Republic of California—a lone beacon of liberty shining across a vast and barren wasteland—before it’s too late.

Between New Canaan and California stretch the Middle Wastes: thousands of desolate miles home to murderers, thieves, and a virulent strain of grass called yellow locust that has made growing food all but impossible. So when Selena and Simon stagger into Fallowfield, an oasis of prosperity amidst the poisoned plains, everything seems too good to be true—including the warm welcome they receive from the town’s leader, a peculiar man known only as The Mayor.

As Selena delves deeper into the sinister secrets of this seemingly harmless refuge, she soon learns there is a much darker side to Fallowfield and the man who runs it. Before long, she must call upon the skills she honed in the fighting pits of New Canaan to ensure not only her own survival, but that of her brother, in whom the Mayor has taken far too keen an interest.

And she’d better act fast, for an all-out war inches ever closer, and New Canaan is never as far away as it seems.

The grass followed the siblings into town, looming silently along the highway shoulders, lancing up through broken sidewalk slabs, squatting in the cavernous lobbies of derelict skyscrapers. It stalked them all the way to the city center, where a square kilometer of turf and asphalt had been pared away to uncover the silty soil beneath. Stakes with tips painted green, blue, and orange still jutted evenly along the field’s southern edge, though whether the colors signified crop rotation or ownership, Selena couldn’t say. Only one plant grew there now, and she was willing to bet it hadn’t been deliberately planted. The yellow grass devoured every inch of naked soil, creating a neck-high carpet of brittle, oily stalks. We aren’t gonna find any food on offer here, Selena thought, though she kept this opinion to herself—the last thing her brother needed was more bad news.

A fountain stood on a cobbled square beside the field, its ledge chipped and weathered. A bronze woman stood atop its stone platform, her face tarnished and scaly with grime. She held aloft a jug with a broken handle. Water dribbled from its spout. No food, maybe, but water’s more important anyway.

Selena knelt to the water. A caustic stench of grease and bitter herbs rose from the pool. A skein of shimmery oil coated the water, stirred to a rainbow froth where the trickling spout spilled its endless contents. Selena rolled up her pant legs, removed her shoes, and waded into the fountain. The water’s scummy skin clung to her leg hairs. She cupped her hands beneath the dribble.

Even before the water touched her lips, she knew it was bad. The stench of it lapped at her face like a hungry tongue. She sipped anyway, gagged, spat. Running or still, the water was hopelessly befouled. Its taste and smell lingered long enough for her to place it: the smell of the yellow grass, the few times she’d been forced to push her way directly through it. Not content with razing the town’s crops, the vile stuff had also poisoned its water supply. Whatever this shit is, it’s thorough.

About the Author:
Justin Joschko is an author from Niagara Falls, Ontario. His writing has appeared in newspapers and literary journals across Canada. Yellow Locust is his first novel. He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife and two children.

Tour Giveaway 
eStarbucks or eAmazon gift card (winner choice) plus one eBook of reader choice 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Looks very intriguing!


  2. I finished Iron Circle recently and it was pretty action packed. The characters are strong and the story kept me interested for the entire read.

  3. I haven't read a post apocalyptic book in a while. This looks interesting.

  4. Sounds like an interesting read. I like the covers in the series.

  5. the book sounds good-thanks for your giveaway

    tiramisu392 (at)

  6. Yellow locust sounds like an interesting book to read

  7. Congrats on the release & thanks for the chance!

  8. I am always looking for new authors to read. This book sounds like the kind I enjoy reading.