Blog tour: Pixeldust

Welcome to the blog tour for Pixeldust by T. K. Arispe. Today I have a gift for you: an extract from the book! Can’t wait? Scroll right down…

More about the book…

Maria Elena thought she’d sworn off gaming forever. But she hates her new internship, so her brother Balt convinces her to play Heroes of Avonell, a cutting-edge virtual-reality video game with such complex programming that it’s like the non-player characters are self-aware.

Disappointed with the usual cliché job class offerings, Maria Elena’s character Quinny stumbles through a glitch in the game and ends up in Caed Dhraos, a strange city populated with friendly monsters. Quinny decides to work for the resident dark lord as part of his magic personnel, but she can’t tell anybody she’s playing in off-limits areas of the game—not even Balt. Soon Quinny finds herself getting to the bottom of a mystery surrounding an ancient demon and why Caed Dhraos is suffering from the Blight.

But the artificial intelligences in the game really are self-aware, and some of Avonell’s so-called “heroes” have decided they don’t like humanity very much. The game has gone out of control, and Maria Elena and her new friends have to find a way to set things right. Can she save Avonell – and Earth – while juggling her real job and trying to salvage her crumbling relationship with her brother?

Pixeldust is a dive into a fantastical, fun virtual world where the universe may be made of data, but the dangers, friendships, magic, and lessons learned are very real.

More about the author…

T. K. Arispe is an illustrator, gamer, and unashamed nerd with a background in animation and webcomic production, including the webcomic Trainer Wants to Fight! which somehow got its own page on TVTropes. She loves interesting stories, well-crafted worlds, and memorable characters, and is passionate about creating quality, intelligent, slightly offbeat media that everyone can enjoy. Most of her story ideas come from random research binges, usually in the fields of theoretical physics, computer science, or oddly enough food history. She lives in California, where she enjoys not having to deal with snow because it is terrifying.

Last but not least, here’s an extract from the book…

Intro: Maria Elena’s player character has been reset by the programmers for using magic to tamper with the game’s code in an attempt to stop some out-of-control non-player characters. She logs into the game and her character Quinny meets up with her brother’s character Lorik, as well as their NPC friend, the master thief Marlowe. Marlowe can help Quinny get her magic back—but right now the thief is dealing with an identity crisis, as she’s found out that she’s just an artificial intelligence.

Suddenly a long-tailed shape dropped from the ceiling in front of them. Quinny jumped, but it only took her a second to register who it was. “Marlowe!” the dwarf said. “Am I ever glad to see you, despite you nearly giving me a heart attack!”

“Sorry,” Marlowe said with a shrug. “It’s a thief thing. I rarely make an entrance the normal way. Too boring.” She looked at the siblings for a moment. “You needed me?”

“Yes,” Quinny said. “How did you know?”

“I’ve got a network,” Marlowe said. “Nothing happens in this castle without me knowing. That’s pretty low what the creators did, Quinny. I’m sorry.”

Quinny sighed. “I guess I can understand it,” she said, kicking at the stone floor with the toe of her boot, “but… that doesn’t make it okay.”

Marlowe twirled a dreadlock around her finger. “Well,” she said, “if it makes you feel any better… Noshé opened the game code back up.”

Quinny’s eyes widened. “He what?!” she shouted. “I sealed it off!”

“He is a master magus,” Marlowe said. “Sort of the strongest magic user in the game, y’know? I’m not surprised that your spell didn’t hold him back for long.”

“And you didn’t do anything to try to stop him?!” Quinny said.

“What was I supposed to do?!” Marlowe said. “The other three faction leaders were on board! I was outnumbered!” She paused and looked aside. “And… okay, I didn’t try very hard to talk him out of it.”

“But—we both agreed he had to be stopped!” Quinny said. “I trusted you!”

Marlowe bit her lip with a fang. “I know!” she said. “I’m sorry, okay?! It’s nothing personal—but I hate the idea of being stuck in this game forever! I’m not really going anywhere just standing around pretending to lead a bunch of thieves! This whole place is fake!” Her tail bushed as she hunched her shoulders.

“What do you mean, ‘pretending to lead’?” Lorik said. “Marlowe, you’re a great leader. Me and the other rogues really look up to you. You’re awesome, girl! Why do you think so many people play as rogues? Because they wanna be as hardcore as you!”

Marlowe’s expression softened. “Thanks,” she said. “But I haven’t actually done much.”

Lorik scratched the back of his head through his mane of hair. “Just because you haven’t done anything like, worthy of a five-minute cinematic sequence, doesn’t mean you’re a flop,” he said. “You’re a really cool person just because of who you are. You’re nice, and friendly, and you’re always looking out for your guild members. And you’re actually okay with player characters. I’ve been seeing posts online lately that the other faction leaders have been kinda rude to players. Like they just straight up don’t like us.”

“Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me,” Marlowe muttered, rubbing her chin. She cleared her throat and grinned at the other rogue. “Thanks, Lorik. The stuff you say… helps me believe that I really am alive.”

“Of course,” Lorik said. “Real friends like you for who you are, not just what you do.”


  1. Thank you so much for being part of my blog tour! I really appreciate it!


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