Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway || Teresa of the New World by Sharman Apt Russell

Teresa of the New World
by Sharman Apt Russell
Series: None
Release date: July 30th 2015
Publisher: A&A Literary
Genre/s: Contemporary romance
Age category: Adult
No. of pages: N/A
In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to travel to outposts in New Spain. Once there, Teresa is left behind as a servant in a Spanish household. But when an epidemic of measles devastates the area, the teenager must set off on a new journey, listening again to the voices of the desert, befriending a war-horse and were-jaguar, sinking into the earth to swim through fossil and stone, reclaiming her power to outwit the cunning figure of Plague. A story of apocalypse and hope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

add to goodreads


Teresa startled and turned. Across the green grass, from a shadowed cave in the red rock, the jaguar appeared, coughed, and stared. Bending his body and head lower to the ground, he inched toward her, his muscled legs tensed. His mottled coat glowed in the dimming light. His long tail flickered back and forth without a sound, and his big round eyes watched her intently, focused on her alone. She was all that mattered to him.

Sit still, he said. Don’t move. Don’t be afraid.

And Teresa was still, fascinated by those amber eyes, so intent, so focused.

This is your destiny, the jaguar said.

No, Teresa thought. Blinked and shook herself. It was not her destiny at all. Stop it, she said to the jaguar. Stop that. The animal paused, but only slightly. One paw lifted and moved back down and the next paw lifted, all so silently, bringing him forward, closer to her.

I remember you, the jaguar said. You are the human who spoke to me before, when I changed back.
Change back now, Teresa ordered. I want to see the boy.

The jaguar crouched lower and opened his mouth in a snarl, so that Teresa could see his pointed teeth. His blocky head and wide nose made him look imperious, like a king. I am no longer the boy, he snarled. I am myself, me. I am hungry, and I will eat you.

No! Teresa said. She made herself speak calmly, firmly. I am the boy’s friend. I take care of him.
I am no longer the boy, the jaguar repeated. He huffed in a series of angry hunh! hunh! hunh! The boy no longer needs you. The boy is better off with me. We will never change back again. We will eat you and drink you and sleep in the cave.

Teresa stiffened. She called again—not to the jaguar, but to the child. Remember the fish we caught together? Remember how good it tasted? Remember how we laughed and laughed? Change back now and we will fish here in this pond and then we will build a fire and sleep and go back to the horse. Remember how the horse let you ride him?

The jaguar wrinkled his flat nose. I like fish, he said. But there are no fish in this pond. I don’t smell any fish, only frogs and insects.

Then we will catch a rabbit, Teresa said. We will roast it for supper. I’ll tell you a story about a fiesta. A beautiful fiesta with lots of food.

A fiesta? the jaguar faltered.

A party with music and jugglers and chocolate and tortillas. You remember eating tortillas? You remember dancing! You remember being human.

I don’t! The jaguar sat back on his haunches and moved his head back and forth. He opened his mouth to gather in more scent from the air. He didn’t know what to do. Hunh. Hunh. He huffed.
You remember your mother, Teresa said firmly. You remember your mama. What happened to her? Where is she?

Teresa found herself entering the jaguar’s mind more forcefully than she had ever entered the mind of the horse or any other animal. She wanted to know more about the boy, how he shape-shifted and why. She wanted to know what had happened to his mother and father. Her curiosity and fear formed an edge that she used to move deep into the animal’s thoughts.

There she felt a whirling and a turning. She was staring out of yellow eyes. She saw the flutter of the cottonwood tree. She saw the shifting shadows along the rock walls. She saw a human girl standing by the pond, a human girl colored in shades of gray, each shade distinct. Even in the dimming sunset, she could see perfectly—the sharp detail of the girl’s stained clothes, her hair coming loose and unbraided, the four tattoos on each cheek.

The vertical pupil of her eye widened to take in more light.

She lifted her nose and opened her mouth and breathed in.Her senses exploded. Now she could smell what the jaguar could smell, intoxicating odors deeper and richer than anything she had experienced before, layers of smell she could read like Fray Tomás had read the words in her father’s book: the wet decay of leaves; the urine of a coyote; the death fear of a mouse; the sweet cloy of the datura flower opening to attract the night moth; the poison in the flower’s petals and leaves; water and mud and insects and toads; lizards that should be eaten only if necessary; the wind carrying the smell of other animals; the wind itself; and the girl, of course, always the girl with her juicy flesh. The girl smelled incredibly good.

Teresa felt the world, immediate and joyous, pressing on her senses. There was no doubt what she should do. She should crouch and spring and eat the girl. That would give her more life, more of this world!

About the author:
Sharman Apt Russell has lived in the beauty and magic of Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be amazed by that. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. Teresa of the New World is her third middle-grade and young adult novel. Sharman teaches graduate writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award. Her work has been widely anthologized, with numerous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The San Francisco Chronicle has said “Russell’s writing is luminous” and Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.” The Seattle Times described her An Obsession with Butterflies as a “masterpiece of story-telling” and the San Diego Union Tribune called it “A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.” The New York Times and Discover Magazine both described her book on hunger as “elegant.” Of her Anatomy of a Rose, the Sunday Times (London) said, “Every page holds a revelation.”
Author links:


Four (4) signed copies of Teresa of the New World (US only) 07/28