Get to know Sandra Unerman, author of Spellhaven

Sandra Unerman’s novel, Spellhaven, is coming August 17th, 2017, so we invited Sandra to answer some questions and introduce herself…

M|W: Hello Sandra and welcome. Since you’re new to the Mirror World family of authors, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

SU: I’m really enjoying being part of the Mirror World family. Thank you for bringing me on board.

I grew up in London, where I’ve lived for most of my life. I studied history at Bristol University and then qualified as a barrister, which led to a career as a Government lawyer. This was a fascinating job, which included a year based in Minneapolis, when I travelled to various US cities to study land use planning. But the job became increasingly demanding, especially when I was managing a team of about seventy people. So I was pleased to be able to retire a few years ago, in order to focus on my writing ambitions, among other things.

Before retirement, I had attended some Milford workshops. I am not sure whether there is a Canadian version of Milford but it’s a weeklong residential workshop for about 12 to 15 writers, in which you take it in turns to critique each other’s contributions. The atmosphere is intensive but supportive and I’d found it really stimulating. That led me to embark on an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, with a specialist strand in SF and Fantasy. The MA helped me develop my writing in a number of ways and strengthened my contacts with other people in the SF community. I am now a member of London Clockhouse Writers, which has monthly meetings. We don’t critique but discuss market opportunities and have go on the spot at writing on a set theme, either on our own or in collaboration. These sessions have also been very productive for me.

My father passed away three years ago and I now share a house with my mother, who is 88. As a result, I don’t do much travelling these days but I visit exhibitions and go out and about in London.

M|W: So you’ve got a book release coming up in August, Spellhaven. In your own words, what’s Spellhaven about?

SU: Spellhaven is an island city ruled by magician lords. Their powers come from the supernatural beings trapped in the island, whose good humour must be maintained with shows and entertainments of all kinds, or they will turn spiteful and dangerous. To keep up the supply, the magicians kidnap artists and performers from other places and make them work for a set number of years, in exchange for their freedom. My novel concerns Jane, a young English musician, kidnapped in 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War. She refuses to accept the usual terms to obtain her release. Her anger at what’s been done to her leads to unexpected consequences for her and for the magicians.

M|W: Spellhaven is your first novel, right? Have you written anything else we should take a look at?

SU: In 1979, I had a young adult novel published by Dobson Books in the UK, Trial of Three, which was an Arthurian fantasy. After that, my day job took over and I did not get anything else into print for a long time. In the last few years, I have produced several short stories, as listed on my website. These are not tied to Spellhaven but depict fantastic adventures in a variety of settings. For example, Mountain Tea, (published in Legends, an anthology in honour of David Gemmell, NewCon Press, 2013) is a fairy tale about an heiress with three suitors, who finds an unconventional way of putting them to the test. In The Night Hound, (Detectives of the Fantastic, volume IV, Horrified Press, 2015) a student mage is in love with a young man suspected of a series of supernatural murders.

M|W: We love the concept of Spellhaven, the magical city filled with unseen spirits that must be entertained. Is there anything in particular that inspired you to write about a place like that?

SU: Many different themes and images came together as I was working on Spellhaven. I’ve always enjoyed live theatre, including opera and ballet, far more than film or television. I’d been reading a lot of biographies and memoirs about stage personalities and performers like Diaghilev and Henry Irving. They increased my fascination with the way theatre can create a magic of its own, which doesn’t have to be realistic to have a powerful effect on the audience. I wanted to bring the feel of that alive in my novel.

M|W: So now that Spellhaven is on the way, are you working on anything else?

SU: After I’d finished Spellhaven, I become interested in a group of exiles from the magicians’ city, who end up in London in the 1930s. It’s a time when people were struggling to deal with the aftermath of the First World War and the troubles that led to the outbreak of the Second. And when women, in particular, were beginning to question their roles in society. So my next novel is about people in that setting, who are threatened by an intrusion of supernatural spirits and dangerous magic. They have a lot to learn if they are going to survive.

sandraunerman
Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in SF and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.

https://sandraunermanwriter.com/

Cover Reveal: Uncharted

It’s here! The cover I’ve been waiting anxiously to share with you!

Uncharted is a romantic comedy set on the high seas of a fantasy world. Meredith, a fugitive priestess takes her fate into her own hands when she stows away on a naval ship belonging to two mysterious men. To clear her name she will have to go on the journey of a lifetime and in the meantime discover that destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.

Here is the cover:

Uncharted Cover

Title: Uncharted
Author Name: Justine Alley Dowsett & Murandy Damodred
Length:  344 pages
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Historical, Comedy, Adventure, Swashbuckling, Polyamoury
Release Date: April 17, 2017

Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. 

Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order.  A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact.

Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner, the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future.

Uncharted Cover Flat

Saphs Book Promotions

This book launches April 17th, but until then, you can pre-order it from us, or from major retailers: 

Mirror World Publishing: http://www.mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/adult-fiction/products/uncharted-ebook

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2mIVJUd

Subscribe to this blog for more updates and sneak peeks into Uncharted and other upcoming releases!


1usJustine Alley Dowsett

From obtaining her BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett’s unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. She lives in Windsor, Ontario and dedicates her time to writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.


Murandy Damodred20160318_205621.jpg

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she’d rather imagine herself as the heroine of her next novel, in reality she’s a new mom starting her new career as a medical technician in Windsor, Ontario.

 

Eye of the Storm – Part 5

(Find Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.…)

Several things happened at once. The crowd, seeming to get over its shock en masse, scattered. Debbie wrenched the passenger side door open, turning her attention from the creature in favour of self-preservation. And the creature, instead of leaping, seemed to hunker down, its quills bristling. Somehow the motion didn’t do anything to set my mind at ease.

Debbie’s ass struck the seat cushion at the same time as a veritable barrage of those massive porcupine-like quills struck the passenger door and window. Debbie screamed, but more from shock than pain, I thought, as the glass from the shattered window rained down on her lap, followed by a quill, made more or less harmless by its loss of momentum.

“Hold on,” I said, more than a little surprised by the controlled sound of my voice and without waiting for her acknowledgement, I let my foot fall on the gas pedal.

The passenger side door wasn’t closed, but Debbie’s death grip on the handle was enough to keep it from swinging wide as I abruptly sped off, veering away from the monster, heedless of the rules of the road. If the thing followed, or decided on easier prey, I wasn’t aware of it. I turned the first corner I came across, making a sharp right without signalling, and settled into a smoother speed almost by reflex.

“Shut the door, Debbie,” I commanded her, beginning to regain control of my faculties.

“Oh, yeah, right,” she muttered, her voice as shaky as her motions.

I glanced over to see her gripping her leg tightly as she grimaced in pain. My eyes widened in horror taking in the sight of the quill embedded in her leg and the blood that ran down her leg from the wound, but there was nothing I could say or do to make it better.

It took her some effort, but the door clicked at least partially closed and she was able to let go of the handle. Debbie fidgeted, uncertain what to do with her hands. One hand hovered over the filthy-looking quill in her lap, but then she seemed to think better of it and settled on lifting a piece of glass from her thigh instead.

“W..what..?” She began, but I forestalled her, knowing the question she was trying to ask.

“I don’t know, Deb.” I decided not telling her about Howe and what I’d seen in the bar’s basement was for the best.

“D..do…” She stopped, gathered herself and tried again. “Paul?”

“I’m sure he’s okay,” I told her, whether it was true or not.

Debbie just nodded and fell silent, her eyes distant. As I drove, I became aware of two things. The power was still out and everywhere, not just the area around the bar. The brightest thing in any direction was the ominously pink and orange storm-filled sky. The other thing was that there was no emergency vehicles. No sirens, no calls of alarm and no reassuring presence of cops racing to the seen. I didn’t mention it to Debbie, but I hoped that they were simply taking another, quicker route to the bar. Preferably with massive tranquilizer guns to take that thing out and put it back in whatever zoo or experimental horror factory it had come from.

That’s a good question though, I realized abruptly, where in hell did that thing come from? And how did it get into Howe’s basement?

Neither Debbie, nor the eerily silent streets gave me any answers. I needed to get Debbie to a hospital, but without thinking about it, I instinctively took the streets that led me toward home. Halfway there, Debbie seemed to realize where we were headed.

“I’m waking my parents up and then I’m taking you to the hospital,” I stated firmly, deciding right there and then on my plan of action. “Are you okay for now?”

She nodded. “But what about Paul?” she seemed to have recovered herself enough to speak. “He won’t know where we’re going.”

“Call him, then,” I told her. “I have to make sure my parents and sister are safe. Besides, my dad will know what to do.”

My dad was a natural born leader and he’d spent the years before Becky and I were born in the Canadian armed forces. If anyone would know how to deal with an enraged monstrous cat-creature terrorizing the downtown streets, it would be him. I felt better just thinking about handing this problem over to his capable hands, though telling him would be a bit surreal. So, Dad… Debbie and I were out at the bar and…

I sighed as I pulled into my driveway, Debbie holding her cell to her ear like it was some kind of life line. I shot her a questioning glance. She shook her head looking worried as she shrugged. At least trying to get a hold of Paul is taking her mind off of things. Opening the door, I took advantage of her momentary distraction to extract the quill from her lap and mouth, “I’ll be right back.” She nodded again, and I left her in the car, knowing she’d scream if she so much as saw a housecat right now and I’d be able to rush back outside… to do what, I wasn’t sure.

(If you like this serial and want it to continue, like this post, subscribe to this blog, or leave me a comment below! Thanks for reading!)

Surprise Announcement! Leigh Goff’s Bewitching Hannah

Surprise! Leigh Goff’s got a witchy new book for us!

You may already be familiar with Leigh’s first witch-centric YA masterpiece, Disenchanted, but if you haven’t read it yet I strongly urge you to do so. Leigh has a unique writing voice and a flair for combining magic and romance.

disenchanted-2 copyIn Disenchanted, sixteen-year-old, Sophie Goodchild is a young witch faced with the choice of embracing light or dark magic. She’s also faced with the consequences of falling for the one boy she’s forbidden to fall for; the descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. Throw in an  ancient magic bloodcharm and a true-love curse and Disenchanted will leave you spellbound.

Bewitching Hannah is not a sequel, but it does revisit Leigh Goff’s witchy-world. This time, the setting is Annapolis, Maryland, and Hannah Fitzgerald is the unfortunate descendant of some powerful Chesapeake witches. The problem is, Hannah wants nothing more than to live an ordinary life, especially since the loss of her parents a year ago. Hoping for a fresh start, Hannah starts at a new school, but is soon embroiled in the local coven’s politics when she sparks a rivalry with the head of a mean-girl witch clique, the Queen Js. Then, she learns of a terrible prophecy – the coven’s two most powerful young witches are fated to face off and only one of them will live.

Leigh Goff-150 RETSubscribe to this blog our our newsletter to be kept up to date on developments concerning this upcoming release!

Leigh Goff grew up in Maryland where she resides today. Her writing is inspired by an eclectic childhood, a vivid imagination, and compelling historical events. After taking several writing courses in college and attending professional writing workshops after she graduated from the University of Maryland, she joined the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America.

Catch up with Leigh on her website/blog: https://leighgoff.com/

 

Eye of the Storm – Part 4

(Find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here.)

“But Debbie!” I protested, pulling my hand out of Victor’s grasp. And Paul…  I added silently.

“Shit, yeah,” Victor startled me by agreeing. “We’ll drive around and pick them up.”

Wait, this guy knows Debbie? Belatedly, I noticed Victor’s hand was on the door handle of an ambulance parked as inconspicuously as possible in a shadowy back corner of the lot. I watched, open-mouthed, as he wrenched the passenger side door open and stepped back, gesturing for me to get in. Victor’s a paramedic? Not just any paramedic, my muddled mind supplied. It seemed Paul and I weren’t the only people Debbie had invited out tonight. “You’re Debbie’s partner?”

“Yeah,” he answered, his wide eyes betraying his surprise that I didn’t already know – either that, or just his panic over what we’d just witnessed in the bar. “Are you getting in or what?”

But my legs were already carrying me backwards. I heard a jingle as I adjusted the strap of my over-the-shoulder purse and remembered my battered oldsmobile. “No,” I told him. “My car is…” I scanned the lot and found it easily, much nearer to the front of the bar where I hoped I’d find Debbie waiting for me. “I’ll meet you there.”

Without a backwards glance, or the presence of mind to wonder why Victor had driven an ambulance to the bar, I left Victor and dashed across the lot, heedless of the puddles this time. When I reached my old car, I slid myself into the driver’s seat, grateful the door opened without a fuss. Struggling to slow my beating heart, I knew I was in no state to drive, but I felt better already with the firm solidity of the ancient car around me. I took a deep breath and turned the key. The car’s engine turned over and stuttered to life.

I backed out and righted myself, exiting the lot with the ambulance’s lights filling my rear-view mirror. A quick right turn and then another down the one-way street the bar faced put me right outside just as Debbie and Paul surged out of the bar to join a handful of other confused and scared patrons. I didn’t imagine it, then…

Debbie, seeing my car, tried to pull Paul toward it. He shook his head. I reached over, rolling down the passenger side window to wave them over when he said, “No way I’m leaving my truck. You go on, I’ll be right behind you.”

Debbie looked troubled, but at my frantic waving, she nodded. Paul headed off as Debbie made for my car, but before she could get there the unthinkable happened. Screams and shattered glass filled the air as that thing, whatever it was, came crashing through the bar’s front window. I felt my jaw go slack seeing it by the preternatural light of the stormy clouds that roiled above. No longer half-hidden by the enclosed darkness of the basement or bar, I could see that it was a cat, of sorts.

The creature was cat-like in that it stood on all fours with cat paws and a cat face, but it was also larger than any lion I’d ever seen, being easily taller than me, or even long-limbed Debbie. It’s muzzle was still covered in Howe’s blood and shattered glass decorated its reddish-brown fur, adding to its menacing appearance. And in addition to the large yellow cat eyes I’d noted before, it had a massive mane of what looked like porcupine quills, only they were too big and lengthy to have belonged to any porcupine in existence.

It was eating the bartender, the truth of what I had witnessed sunk in with a sick feeling as I watched it hunker down, its quills quivering as its growl mounted in intensity. Any moment now, it would choose a target and leap, tearing and biting with its over-sized claws and wickedly sharp-looking teeth.

(If you like this serial and want it to continue, like this post, subscribe to this blog, or leave me a comment below! Thanks for reading!)

Sharon Ledwith’s Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls

In honour of her upcoming new release, the first in the Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Series, I interviewed the author, Sharon Ledwith, so she could tell us all what to expect in Lost and Found.ADSharonLedwith copy.jpg

So your upcoming novel, Lost and Found is part of a new series, is that correct? What’s this new series about?

Yes, it sure is, and I’m so excited about connecting with new readers! The name of the series is called Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, and is set in a small, nostalgic cottage country community in Canada. Written for a young adult audience, each book is a stand-alone project with a different cast of characters. The five book series deals with teenagers possessing a unique psychic ability who are suddenly uprooted from their familiar surroundings, and forced to live in Fairy Falls where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go, and now these teens have to deal with trying to live a (para)normal life!

Psychic Teens, that’s cool. So Lost and Found is the first one planned. What’s this book about? 

In Lost and Found we find the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear…

I know you’re a planner, so what other psychic powers are you planning on exploring with this series? 

Yes, you could call me an architect where I plan, map, and flesh out as much of a series as possible on a ‘Master Plan’ document. First, I set up the premise and a strategic ten year plan for a series, and then give a title and mini synopsis for each book I intend to write. This really helps me with the development of a book series, and allows me to actually ‘see’ each book in my mind.

In the first book, Lost and Found, the protagonist, Meagan Walsh has the ability to communicate with animals. In the second book, Blackflies and Blueberries, seventeen-year-old Hart Stewart is a psychometrist, and has the uncanny ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. In the third book, I deal with a teen boy who has psychokinetic powers—the influence of mind over matter through invisible means, such as moving objects or bending metal. The fourth book introduces a sixteen-year-old girl who finds out that she’s descended from an elite sect of Druids, and possesses the power to manipulate nature. And finally, the fifth book has an adolescent girl who is a blood charmer—the ability to stop the flow of blood when a person is bleeding without ever touching them.

In Lost and Found, you write from the perspective of Meagan, a teen trying to fit in to a calico.jpgsmall town, but you also write from the perspective of Whiskey, a calico cat, how was that experience?

I absolutely loved it! Lost and Found is near and dear to my heart and a true labour of love, since I wrote this novel after my experience with working at a local animal shelter as an animal care attendant. Every dog and cat featured in in this story is based on an animal which I cared for or handled in some capacity. This is a novel that truly speaks for the animals! While working at the shelter, I found myself wondering what the animals would say? How would they act? How would they sound? What did they really think of humans? So, chasing down the animal voices frolicking in my head, I wrote their story. Lost and Found is the culmination of that fruitful experience.

So now that Lost and Found is coming out and you’re three books into The Last Timekeepers series, what’s next for you? Are you currently working on anything?

With the pressure of juggling two book series now, I’ve already planned and started Book #3 in The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel adventure series. The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, features Drake Bailey as the point-of-view character this time around, and as usual, my poor characters are being dragged through hell and high water during this particular Timekeeper mission which takes place in antebellum Georgia just before the American Civil War.

Once I’ve finished and submitted The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave for publication, it’s on to revising Blackflies & Blueberries, book #2 in Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series. In this story, we meet Hart Stewart, a teen possessed with the gift (or is it a curse?) of psychometry—the ability to discover facts about an event or person simply by touching inanimate objects associated with them. After his mother’s senseless murder, Hart endures homelessness and hunger while trying to hide his secret of being illiterate. Then, through contact with his social worker, Hart learns of a great aunt living in a small community up north. Packing up his worldly possessions, Hart decides to escape from the harsh city life he has known…

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected!

Sharon Ledwith and pets #3Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

Eye of the Storm – Part 3

“Nice to meet you, Summer,” Victor echoed my words from earlier, then turned back toward the bar. “Hey, Howe!” He called out, raising his head and his glass in search of the bartender. “Can I get another one of these?”

Curiously, ‘Howe’ was nowhere to be seen. I shrugged, about to use this opportunity to escape my new ‘friend’ and head back to where Debbie and Paul stood to either side of the jukebox trying to choose the next song, when the power went out. Without lighting or sound, the dilapidated old bar was just that. It was pitch black thanks to the shitty weather and the fact that the streetlamp outside the front window had also gone dark. Guess this isn’t just Howe blowing a fuse.

I could hear voices and shuffling even if I couldn’t make anyone out. It wasn’t crowded by any means, this being a Tuesday night, but it wasn’t a big place. Somebody must have bumped into Debbie because she squealed, “Paul, that better have been you!”

“Uhh…” I heard Paul reply.

“Power’s out across the street too,” somebody called, presumably looking out a window, “but it seems to have stopped raining, so there’s that.”

But my attention wasn’t on the bar patrons, it was on Victor. From the sounds of his stool scraping back, he’d stood and if the darker shadow over the bar was any indication, he seemed to be trying to clamber over it. “Howe?” He called out again from somewhere ahead and above me.

I heard a thunk as Victor landed heavily behind the bar, followed by rustling noises. In the background someone said, “Hey, a power outage doesn’t have to ruin the night, I brought my guitar!”

Despite my better judgement, I started forward, feeling for Victor’s stool. I found it with little trouble. It was still warm. Without thinking too hard about what I was about to do, I put my drink down, hoisted myself up onto the still-warm leather seat of the stool, and stood, stepping onto the bar. My foot hit what I presumed to be Victor’s drink. I made a point to avoid it as I let myself down the other side.

“Aha!” Victor proclaimed seconds before a match flared to life in his hands and our eyes met for the briefest of seconds in the sudden illumination. He seemed surprised to see me there. I was simply glad the ruddy light of the single flickering match didn’t allow Victor to make out the embarrassed flush of my cheeks.

“Here,” he shoved the pack of matches in my hands before grabbing another and starting past me. By the time I got a match of my own lit, he was halfway around the inside corner of the L-shaped bar and moving quickly. I hurried to follow.

A door I hadn’t noticed before now was open slightly. Pulling it wider, Victor disappeared into the opening, his body cutting off all view of the match in his hands. Rounding the corner myself, I almost bumped into him where he had stopped on a set of stairs headed downwards. In retrospect, wearing black was a poor choice, Victor, I silently admonished him.

I became aware of a strange sound coming from the darkness below. Halfway between a hum and a rumbly growl, I couldn’t identify it, but the sound unsettled me in way I couldn’t explain. “Howe?” Victor called again, more tentatively this time, I thought.

Silence greeted his call. I mean real silence; whatever that grumbly sound was, it stopped the moment Victor spoke. Against my better judgement, Victor started forward again, lighting a fresh match and raising it high above his head. I made it two steps before my own match burned my fingers, forcing me to shake my hand forcefully to put the fire out. I stuck my fingers in my mouth and looked down, less than eager to face the prospect of burning myself on another match.

My fingers in my mouth were the only thing that kept me from screaming. There on the ground, in a pool of his own blood mingling with the juice from a smashed jar of pickles was the bartender, Howe. His pale green shirt was bloodied and torn, and the gut I’d noticed earlier was missing entirely, having been replaced by a gaping maw, resembling nothing more than a fleshy crater. From that crater rose a field of spikes, like an over-sized porcupine had taken up residence inside the portly man.

“Holy shit!” Victor cursed and flailed wildly, causing his match to go out.

I fought the urge to vomit as he quickly struck another. The initial flare of light glinted off large yellow eyes and as the light settled to its dim brightness I became aware of what I was staring at. Well, not what it was, exactly, only that I was staring at it.

It, was the source of that strange rumbling growl from before and now the sound returned. A warning, low and guttural, it informed me on an instinctual level that I was in danger. Even with shock numbing my mental faculties, I didn’t need the warning. I fled, Victor’s heavy footfalls on the stairs proclaiming that he was trailing after me. Only two steps were needed to take me out of the basement, but they felt like twenty. I cleared the threshold of the door and quickly realized I was trapped by the L-shaped bar I didn’t know my way around.

Victor however, did. He made straight past me for the exit. I started after him, but a blur of motion crossing my vision stopped me.

The creature’s leap was silent. It’s landing wasn’t. Bottles crashed and the wood of the bar groaned as the massive cat-like thing landed on it. Soft guitar music was replaced by a cacophony of screams and curses from the bar patrons as the thing swung its head around, sniffing the air.

I felt a hand grab mine, warm in the darkness. I gasped, but it was only Victor, pulling me away from the scene and toward the back door of the bar. I stumbled along after him and we broke out into the cool, wet night air.

The rain had stopped, but the sky still looked dangerous.

*** Missed Part One, find it here. Part Two is here. If you’d like to read more of this serial, like this post, subscribe and/or leave me a comment!***

 

Up next: Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

In anticipation of our 2017 releases, I wanted to interview each of the authors, but I’ve tried, and I simply can’t interview myself. So, instead let me just tell you a little bit about where I’m at now and what my upcoming new release is all about.

07bcdcc12df687f02e58c2def519f9a9There’s less than two months left until Uncharted is released into the world and I’m excited and nervous and experiencing all the other feelings that come with sending a labour of love out into the world.

Next month, on March 20th, we’ll reveal the cover right here on the blog. I can’t wait to show it to you. Sara Biddle, www.salizabeth.net, is the extremely talented digital artist behind the Mirror World series, Unintended and now, Uncharted. As always, she has gone above and beyond any expectations we had and created something truly lovely.

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Uncharted, in case you’re wondering, is a love story set in the multi-cultural historical/fantasy world of Ismera (the same as Unintended). In it, a woman named Meredith questions her future as a priestess of the Order of Saegard and runs away. On the night she leaves, a legendary artifact is stolen from the temple and she’s blamed for it. Suddenly a fugitive, Meredith stows away on a ship belonging to an off-duty naval officer and a ex-con man posing as his business partner. Together the three of them must evade the law while they work to clear Meredith’s name and track down what was stolen and why.

Uncharted will soon be available for pre-order and will launch on April 17th, 2017. We’re in the midst of planning what we’ll do to celebrate, so subscribe to this blog or our mailing list to be kept informed.

As you may or may not know, Murandy, my sister and co-conspirator… I mean, co-writer, is on maternity leave with her four-month old, but we’re still writing. We’re in the middle of this years’ #85K Challenge (that’s 85,000 words in 90 days) and we’re a little over halfway through two different projects. The first is the next installment in the Mirror Series, working title, Mirror’s Redemption. And the other is the much-anticipated sequel to our first novel ever written together, Neo Central.

1usWith a passion for media and sales, Murandy has a strong background in public relations and promotions as well as an education in Drama and Communications. Justine is an author herself and has worked in a multitude of industries, including publishing. She comes to Mirror World Publishing after acting as Producer and Business and Marketing Director for First Age Studios, a video game design company.

 

Eye of the Storm – Part 2

I pushed away from them, trying not to look like I was fleeing, and soon found myself at the opposite end of the L-shaped bar. “What can I get you?” The bartender, a pudgy bearded man with an obvious beer-belly, questioned.    

“Uh, rum and coke,” I said the first drink combination my mind could supply and the man busied himself with the bottles in front of him.  

“It’s on me,” a new voice said to my left and I whipped my head around. “You look like you could use it.”

The man before me was hunched over the bar, his own drink, a straight shot of whiskey over ice by the looks of it sitting on the bar between his elbows. I narrowed my eyes at him, taking in his deliberately mussed mahogany-coloured hair and his matching dark five-o’clock shadow. His black collared shirt, slightly rumpled from wear, gave me the instant impression that he figured himself a ladies man, but was currently a little down on his luck in that regard. Great, so he’s slumming it…

“I can get my own drink, thanks,” I told him, not kindly.

My rum and coke arrived and a blue five dollar bill changed hands. My blue five dollar bill.

“Victor,” he said, before I could walk away.

“Sorry?” I asked, turning back to look at him, not sure I heard him right.

“My name is Victor,” he repeated. “You look like the kind of girl who wouldn’t accept a drink from a stranger. Now you know my name, so we’re no longer strangers.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, noncommittally, lifting my drink to him in salute. “Nice to meet you, Victor.”

Having dealt with the ‘local colour’, I was ready to return to Debbie and Paul, and face the music, but ‘Victor’ felt the need to stop me again. “You never gave me yours.”

I whirled again, more confused than ever. “Gave you my what?”

He smiled, revealing perfectly straight, white teeth. So he’s not just dressing well, he’s got money. Or at least, his parents had enough to buy him braces as a kid. I snickered at the thought. “Your name,” he said, smiling wider now, thinking because I was laughing too that we must be sharing some kind of moment or something.

“Summer,” I told him. Certainly telling him my name can’t hurt anything, can it?

********** If you would like me to keep posting more of this story, please leave a comment below. If people keep commenting, I’ll keep writing! Thank you. Also, you can find part 1 here.************

MW Recommends: The Sun God’s Heir by Elliott Baker

You may remember Elliott Baker from his query letter, which we used to show you what a well-written query letter looks like. Well, Elliott is now celebrating the re-release of his novel The Sun God’s Heir: Return and we want to help. So take a look at what Elliott Baker has to offer: 

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The Sun God’s Heir is a swashbuckling series, set at the end of the seventeenth century in France, Spain and northern Africa. Slavery is a common plague along the European coast and into this wild time, an ancient Egyptian general armed with dark arts has managed to return and re-embody, intent on recreating the reign of terror he began as Pharaoh. René Gilbert must remember his own former lifetime at the feet of Akhenaten to have a chance to defeat Horemheb. A secret sect has waited in Morocco for three thousand years for his arrival.

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Book Information:

Title: The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book 1
Author Name: Elliott Baker
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: January 2, 2017
Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/2ivhu4z
Visit the Blogs Participating in the Book Tour: http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2017/02/schedule-book-tour-giveaway-sun-gods.html

Praise for The Sun God’s Heir: Return:

A great read! From the first sword fight I could not put it down. Adventure, romance, action with just the right amount of his history and mysticism. The main character Rene displays all the qualities a true hero should; loyal, smart, humble, and a ferocious warrior all opponents will fear before their end. I could not help but feel fully immersed in the story. One of the best reads I can remember, I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series!! ~ Jason Battistelli

The Sun God’s Heir is a page turner. The development of the characters made you really care what happens next to each person, good or evil. The descriptions of the ships, homes and countryside transported me into the era and made me feel like I was one of the onlookers or a part of the story itself. The moment I finished I had to have the second book to see what happens next. Fabulous!” ~ Karyn Krause Cumberland, Esquire

The Sun God’s Heir is a fascinating combination of historical period fiction, sci-fi, and political intrigue. Elliott Baker weaves a tale that one would have to be catatonic not to enjoy. The character development ranks among the best I’ve read; truly, by halfway through the book I found myself thinking like Rene (the main character) in my own daily life. This is the sign of mastery of character depth which is so often lacking in contemporary fiction. And the pacing! Rarely does a book seem to move at the speed of a movie without feeling haphazard. I applaud Elliott for pulling that off, as only an experienced screenwriter or playwright could. If you like a quality story that bridges traditional genre boundaries, then the Sun God’s Heir is for you! ~ Joshua Bartlett

Meet the Author:

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Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida but has spent the last thirty-five years or so living in sunny New Hampshire. With four musicals and one play published and produced throughout the United States, in New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy. Among his many work experiences, Elliott was a practicing hypnotherapist for seven years. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.

You can find Elliott at the following places: Website: http://elliottbaker.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElliottBakerAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElliottBaker?lang=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8423737

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Giveaway:

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Read an excerpt: 

Chapter One

1668, Bordeaux, France

THREE MEN bled out into the dirt.

René stared at the hand that held the bloody rapier. His hand. Tremors shuddered through his body and down his arm. Droplets of blood sprayed the air and joined the carmine puddles that seeped into the sun-baked earth. He closed his eyes and commanded the muscles that grasped the rapier to release their tension and allow the sword to drop.

Years of daily practice and pain refused his mind’s order much as they had refused to spare the lives of three men. The heady exultation that filled him during the seconds of the fight drained away and left him empty, a vessel devoid of meaning. He staggered toward an old oak and leaned against its rough bark. Bent over, with one hand braced on the tree, he retched. And again. Still, the sword remained in his hand.

A cloud shuttered the sun. Distant thunder brushed his awareness and then faded. Rain. The mundane thought coasted through his mind. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and glanced down hoping to see a different tableau. No, death remained death, the only movement, that of flies attracted to a new ocean of sustenance.

The summer heat lifted the acrid blood-rust smell and forced him to turn his head away. Before him stretched a different world from the one in which he had awakened. No compass points. No maps. No tomorrow.

The Maestro.

The mere thought of his fencing master filled him with both reassurance and dread. René slid the rapier into the one place his training permitted, its scabbard. He walked over to where the huge black stallion stamped his impatience, and pulled himself into the saddle.

Some impulse caused him to turn his head one last time. The sunlight that surrounded the men flickered like a candle in the wind, and the air was filled with a loud buzzing sound. Although still posed in identical postures of death, three different men now stared sightless.

Their skin was darker than the leather tanned sailors. Each wore a short linen kilt of some kind that left their upper bodies naked. As strange as the men appeared, their weapons were what drew René’s eye. The swords were archaic; sickle shaped and appeared to be forged of bronze. These men wore different faces and yet their eyes—somehow he knew they were the same sailors he had just killed. René blinked and there before him the original three men lay unmoved. Dead.

For an instant his mind balked, darkness encircled the edges of his vision.

Do not anticipate meaning. The Maestro’s voice echoed in his head. Meaning may be ignored, but it cannot be hurried.