April 18, 2016

Excerpt: The Books of Ore

Waybound Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz are excited that their Second Book of Ore novel, WAYBOUND, is now available from Disney-Hyperion!

Both authors got their start in film.

Cam Baity is an Emmy Award-winning animator, and his short films have screened around the world, including at Anima Mundi in Brazil and the BBC British Short Film Festival. His credits include major motion pictures like The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, and popular television shows such as Robot Chicken.

Benny Zelkowicz studied animation at CalArts and made the award winning film, The ErlKing. He worked on The LEGO Movie as well as several TV shows including Robot Chicken and Moral Orel.

Check out the blurb for WAYBOUND:

Phoebe Plumm and Micah Tanner are a long way from home and entrenched in a struggle with no end in sight. The Foundry, an all-powerful company that profits off the living metal creatures of Mehk, is unleashing a wave of devastating attacks to crush the rebel army of mehkans known as the Covenant and capture Phoebe and Micah, dead or alive. But the Covenant believes that their ancient god, Makina, has chosen Phoebe for a sacred task: to seek the Occulyth, a mysterious object they hope can turn the tide against the Foundry. With her father gone, Phoebe's once unshakable determination is broken, and while Micah tries to uphold the vow he made to protect her no matter the cost, their enemies are closing in and time is running out. 
To celebrate, I am pleased to share an excerpt from the first volume of the trilogy, THE  FOUNDRY'S EDGE.  What is it about, you ask?

For Phoebe Plumm, life in affluent Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome servant Micah Tanner, and waiting for her world-renowned father, Dr. Jules Plumm, to return home. Chief engineer for The Foundry, a global corporation with an absolute monopoly on metal production and technology, Phoebe's father is often absent for months at a time. But when a sudden and unexpected reunion leads to father and daughter being abducted, Phoebe and would-be rescuer Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal-one that has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries and is the secret source of every comfort and innovation the two refugees have ever known.

Take a look!

The Foundry's Edge She hefted open the great front doors and hurried down the wide slab steps. On the hammered-steel driveway below, Tennyson the chauffeur was finishing up a quick polish of the long, smoke-gray Baronet with his chamois.

The Plumms had seven Auto-mobiles in all. Phoebe’s favorite was the classic, electric-blue Flashback her dad had named Shameless. Tennyson, however, preferred the Baronet, which was the largest and most impressive of the collection. It was a silver arrow of aerodynamic design, with sweeping fenders whose curves reminded Phoebe of brushstrokes. Parallel grooves ran along the body, giving the impression that the Auto-mobile was speeding, even when it was at rest. The Baronet was quite a sight, but it was no match for Shameless.

Tennyson ignored Phoebe and headed for the driver’s seat without opening the door for her—their relationship no longer included even that basic formality. She stretched out across the oiled black and silver leather, her foot knocking up against the book bag she had left under the seat.

The Baronet hushed quietly out of the driveway and onto Shimmering Crest, which made a steep series of zigzagging switchbacks all the way down the hill. Tennyson whistled as he drove, clinking his wedding ring on the aluminum steering wheel. Phoebe assumed he was doing that to annoy her.

Two can play at that game, she thought. So Phoebe activated the Trinka strapped to her wrist and let the toy’s spinning tentacles clatter across the ceiling. She did it again and again and looked in the rearview mirror to see if she was getting a rise out of Tennyson, but the chauffeur just whistled and clicked his ring that much louder.

Phoebe lolled her head to the side and gazed out the window as they whizzed from the hills and approached downtown. They plunged in and out of long shadows thrown by the forest of skyscrapers, making it seem like someone was flicking the world’s light switch off and on. Phoebe craned her neck to try and see the tops of the buildings they passed.

There was the bronze Lion’s Mane Hotel, whose sharp spires seemed to jab at the sky like the prongs of a trident. Then there was the Uniton Tower, home to Phoebe’s favorite Televiewer network, which boasted gold windows that slanted in over lapping ribs, reminding Phoebe of a titanic stalk of wheat. Then the Opal District, a plaza of art galleries made of copper covered in a lush green patina. And the Central Library, which resembled the prow of one of the Foundry’s impressive ocean liners. And the five silver pillars of the National Museum.

Phoebe rolled down her window to absorb the commotion of morning—the symphony of horns, the clamor of traffic, and the bustle of sharply dressed pedestrians, some walking dogs that were just as elegantly attired. These steely streets were the veins of the city, flowing with thousands of polished Auto-mobiles and pulsing with hordes of hurried people. The Link-Way hubs were packed, as riders hooked their Cable Bikes on to the lines and zipped across the intricate web of aerial wires. Phoebe counted three new building projects, with Over-cranes and Earthshakers hoisting beams into position.

She imagined what wonders these new structures would add to the world-famous skyline. Every year the capital grew more and more magnificent.

“Keep it closed,” grumbled Tennyson as he rolled up her window from his control panel. “Got the air on.”

Phoebe glared at the back of Tennyson’s square head and then mashed her button to lower the window again. She slung her arms out of the Auto to prevent the chauffeur from rolling it back up.

As they drove through Paragon Park, Phoebe admired the chrome statue of Creighton Albright at its heart. The legendary inventor of the modern age was holding the globe aloft and gazing upon it with fierce pride. Every Dudscrub and Microcounter, every Auto-mobile and Megatanker, from the tiniest pin to the mightiest skyscraper, every glorious new advancement served as testament to his genius.

She wondered if Albright could have imagined the impact he’d have on the future. That four centuries later, his greatest invention of all, the Foundry, would remain the unrivaled source of progress and innovation.

“Hey!” Phoebe yelped as the window started to close on her. She yanked her arms back into the Auto and pulled the golden tendrils of her hat inside as the glass was sealed tight. She kicked the back of Tennyson’s seat.

“I said, keep it closed,” the chauffeur grumbled. “And no kicking.”

 Phoebe pressed the button repeatedly, but he had locked her window.

“You can’t tell me what to do,” Phoebe huffed.

“That’s not what your father said. He told you to be a good little girl and obey me, remember? Upsetting the driver is a hazard.”

Phoebe kicked Tennyson’s seat harder.

They emerged from the shelter of the park, and Tennyson turned onto the road that hugged the coastline. As she did every morning at this spot, Phoebe slid to the opposite side of the Auto and stared at her feet. The Baronet was blasted with an intense light, a reflection from the Crest of Dawn, which towered over the island of Foundry Central.

Phoebe squeezed her eyes shut, but not because of the glare.

They were driving on a high bluff above the dark churning bay. Though the Baronet was soundproof, Phoebe could feel the crash of the waves, malevolent and hungry. She trusted that the guardrails would prevent the Baronet from going over the edge, but she could not bear the sight of the water below. Her heart pounded, and she tasted bile at the back of her tongue. She closed her eyes and counted backward from ten, knowing that when she reached zero, the ocean would no longer be yawning, waiting right below her.

Ten. Nine. Eight. 

She thought of her father. How when she was little, she couldn’t wait to see what gift he had brought her when he returned from his business trips. Nowadays, she just wanted him. She pictured his open arms.

Seven. Six. Five. 

She imagined Micah’s stupid face turning bright red as he discovered the snipe she had set up that morning. That made her smile.

Four. Three. 

They were definitely past the worst part of it by now, but Phoebe didn’t like to take any chances. She searched for other glimmers of happiness.


All at once, the strangest sensation overcame her. It was a prickling chill at the back of her neck that had nothing to do with the dreaded bay below.

Phoebe had a powerful urge to look, but she resisted it.

Just one more second to go.


She opened her eyes. Foundry Bay was gone from view as the busy street angled around a bend. But the weird feeling was still there. Phoebe looked out the back window.

Behind the Baronet was an unfamiliar model of Automobile. It was jet-black with a dark bronze stripe down the middle. A row of oval headlights wrapped around the front of the Auto below a narrow, tinted windshield. For an instant, she glimpsed a face behind the smoked glass.

Curving mustache. Bowler hat. Round black spectacles.

Phoebe gasped. With reflections dancing across the dark windshield, she couldn’t be sure. Was she imagining things?

No. It was the stranger she had seen from her bedroom window.

Her mind scrambled for an explanation. Was it merely someone who looked like him? It was a fairly typical fashion, plain black suit with a white shirt and gloves. Maybe he was a new neighbor who coincidentally shared her commute.

That’s when it hit her. This man had been sent by her father, hired to watch over her like a bodyguard. That’s why he had been surveying the house that morning and why he was following her now. Did that mean she was in danger? Her father was a big deal at the Foundry, after all. Maybe this was a precaution, what with all the anti-Meridian stuff going on.

Surely that was it.

Phoebe gave the stranger a little wave to let him know she understood. On cue, the black Auto drifted back and disappeared into the sea of traffic. Not exactly the reaction she was expecting, but it was no matter. She was relieved to know that her father was watching over her from afar.

Still, why didn’t he just tell her? Her father could have sent word from wherever he was. It would certainly scare her a lot less if she knew this stranger was a bodyguard and not some creepy stalker.

She pondered this until they arrived at Beatrice Albright Academy for Girls. The campus was a vast grassy commons enclosed by a row of stately elms, and the front of the school faced the distant bay, whose waters glittered through the leaves. Her instructors always boasted about the inspiring historical significance of their school. But to Phoebe, it looked like some sort of burned-out fortress, with a clunky iron block design corroded by centuries of ocean air.

 Lately, the Academy had been undergoing renovations, and while half of the sprawling campus was caged in by scaffolding, the other half had received a shiny new veneer that gleamed with fiery reflections from the Crest of Dawn.

Tennyson parked the Baronet. Phoebe slouched so that no one could see her, and he didn’t say a word, knowing her routine. Every day, she watched as the other girls milled about, playing with their Spinner Purses and ridiculous hair mobiles until they all finally bobbled indoors. Only then would she slink inside.

The chauffeur resumed his obnoxious whistling and tapping. He glanced at her in the rearview mirror and gave her a smug grin. She had considered letting him off the hook for his previous slight, but this sealed the deal.

Phoebe searched one of the secret pockets in her skirt.

At last the bell rang. She grabbed her bag and shuffled out of the Auto, immediately feeling weighed down by schoolwork and the salty humidity of the bay.

Phoebe paused for a second, pretending to adjust her shoe as she pulled the bent nail from her pocket and wedged it beneath the Baronet’s back tire.

She slammed the door, and as Tennyson sped away, she thrilled to the pop and hiss of the punctured wheel. Hopefully, he would be stuck in traffic by the time he discovered the flat. That was sure to stop his stupid whistling.

“Gotcha,” Phoebe said.

As she trudged up the steps, Phoebe scanned the driveway and parking lot, looking for the stranger’s black and bronze Auto. It was nowhere to be seen. She took a last deep breath of the free world, sour and salty though it was, and forced it out, resigned to another day’s hard labor at Fort Beatrice.

Excerpted from THE FOUNDRY'S EDGE © Copyright 2014 by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz. Reprinted with permission by the publisher. All rights reserved.

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