Author: Mirror World Publishing

The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J. M. Walker – Part 4

We’re in the middle of this fantasy short story by Elizabeth J.M. Walker! If you’d like to get caught up, here’s the link to part one! Otherwise, keep reading:

“First we need to find the golden feather,” Oriella said. “So, have you heard anything useful or not?”

“No,” Eddy said. “I have no idea why anyone at Flora House would choose to carry out revenge on Knox House by stealing your precious golden feather of Sir What’s-His-Name.”

“Sir Gadison,” Oriella said, “and it’s the house heirloom.”

“Why do you even care?” Eddy asked the elf mage. “You’re not even supposed to live there. You’re not a fire mage.”

Eddy was right, but Trina remembered Oriella trying to fit in with the uptight elf mages at Oak House, only to feel like an outcast. Being the only dragon mage at the school had made Trina feel like an outcast, too, so the two had bonded as soon as they’d met on their first day of school. Since not too many people wanted to live in Knox House in the first place, and no one wanted to be roommates with a dragon mage, with exception of Oriella, Corbin had allowed Oriella to move in and be Trina’s roommate.

“It’s still my house,” Oriella said stubbornly.

“And whoever finds it first gets Corbin’s suite,” Trina added.

“Is it true he has his own pool table up there?” Eddy asked.

Oriella shrugged. “Only one way to find out.”

Eddy looked over his shoulder at Flora House and the group of frowning pixie mages who were still watching them.

“If you win, can I move in too?” he asked.

“No,” Oriella said. “Girls only.”

“I already live in a house full of girls,” Eddy pointed out.

“I might sneeze and burn your whole wardrobe,” Trina said.

“Forget it,” Eddy said and Trina smiled. She knew he cared about his clothes too much.

The sound of a twig snapping made them all turn in the direction of the Whispering Woods. A pixie mage with sky blue hair and a freckled nose came walking out of the forest, looking down and wiping tears from her eyes. She hadn’t noticed the trio standing at the edge of the woods between her and the path to Flora House until she was fully emerged from the foliage.

“Oh,” she said as she looked up and noticed them. “What are you doing out here Eddy?”

“Chatting,” Eddy said, nodding towards Trina and Oriella.

“Oh,” she said again, still sounding a little confused. “Okay.”

They watched as she walked up the path to Flora House, where there was no longer a band of fuming pixie mages on the porch.

“Who was that?” Trina asked.

“Chantelle,” Eddy said. “I think she’s a Fifth Year.”

“Does she usually go for weepy walks in the woods?” Trina asked.

Eddy shrugged. “I don’t see her very often.”

“Do we have our first suspect?” Oriella asked.

Eddy shrugged. “Why would a crying pixie mage want to steal your house’s stupid feather?”

“It’s not stupid,” Trina said. “Doesn’t Flora House have some kind of historic heirloom?”

“I think it’s a golden barrette…or hair comb…or…I don’t know, something girly,” he said.

“Maybe you should go and try console Chantelle during her time of obvious sadness and find out why she’s crying,” Oriella said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever really talked to her before,” Eddy said.

“But you like talking to girls,” Trina said. “Go on, find out some information and we’ll let you come play pool anytime you want.”

“Fine,” Eddy said, and went back up the path to Flora House.

“Now what?” Trina asked.

“This!” someone shouted from behind them, and suddenly Trina felt herself enclosed in a bed sheet and swept off her feet.

Advertisements

Cover Reveal! Ghosts and Exiles by Sandra Unerman

Spellhaven is no more, but its spirits remain.

Tilda Gray hates Spellhaven, the city where her husband was born, even though she has never set foot in the place, and she does not believe in the magic it’s supposed to have held. Now her husband is dead, she would rather avoid any mention of the city. But her sons, Nicholas and James, have befriended Hugo, a young boy threatened by forces none of them understand. When Hugo’s uncle and guardian, Stephen Cole, visits the Gray family to ask for help, Tilda agrees against her better judgement. Between them, as they search for ways to banish or at least help Hugo cope with the ghosts that are driving him mad, they seek out the dubious aid of the exiles from Spellhaven. In doing so they must face new dangers and unknown magic, unlike anything Tilda could have believed possible.

GEcover copy

Book Details:Saphs Book Promotions
Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
ASIN: B07B24HY9Z
Genre(s): Magical Realism, Historical Fantasy

Read a Short Excerpt:

Stephen Cole would never have asked for help on his own account, not from strangers and especially not from a woman and a couple of young boys. Since his slow recovery from his experiences in the trenches during the First World War, he had devoted himself to his work at the Bar and had spent little time in the company of women or children. But the help was for his nephew, Hugo, and by the time Stephen arrived at the Grays’ house in Highgate one Sunday morning in November 1933, he did not know where else to turn.

When he was shown into the drawing room, Stephen looked round to try and gain an impression of the family. He decided that the room had been decorated about ten years ago and hardly changed since then. The yellow and grey curtains had lost their bloom and the wooden feet on the armchairs were scuffed, but the parquet floor round the carpet was thoroughly polished, as were the tiles inset into the fireplace. Mrs. Gray must have had skilled and hardworking servants, not as easy to find as they would once have been. Botanical illustrations hung on the panelled walls. Stephen had no time to notice more before Mrs. Gray entered the room.

Her appearance took Stephen aback. When he had been told she was a widow, somehow he had pictured a middle-aged woman, dumpy and depressed. Maybe he had been thinking of Queen Victoria, even though he had seen enough war widows in the early days of his practice to know they came in all shapes and styles. Matilda Gray was tall for a woman, with light eyes and a pointed chin. Her pale brown hair was bobbed and smooth. She wore a fawn twin-set and a brown skirt, not new or fashionable but shapely and trim.

‘Thank you for seeing me on a Sunday, Mrs. Gray,’ Stephen said. ‘It’s your son, Nicholas, I’d really like to talk to. He is home for the weekend, isn’t he?’

Hugo lived at school all term, and often in the holidays as well, but Stephen had been told that the Grays were weekly boarders.

‘The boys are at breakfast, Mr. Cole.’ Mrs. Gray looked as wary of him as he was of her.

‘I hope your maid gave you my apologies for disturbing you.’

‘It doesn’t matter, but you will have to explain what this is about before I decide whether Nicholas should be involved.’

Pre-Order is now available from: Amazon

You can Read About the Book at Mirror World Publishing

Or Add it to Your Shelf on Goodreads

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 science fiction and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. Her latest stories are in Sword and Sorcery magazine, June 2017, and Fall into Fantasy, an anthology from Cloaked Press. 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.

 

Connect with Sandra: https://sandraunermanwriter.com/

Sandra’s Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Unerman/e/B0034NS9VM

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6566116.Sandra_Unerman

 

Your Invite to the Mirror World Book Club!

Do you like to read escapism fiction? Do you like to discuss the books you’ve read with other people? Well, Mirror World is starting a book club and it might just be the place for you!

Here’s how it will work:

We have a facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mwpub/

Each month, we’ll put up a poll where members can vote on which book we’ll be reading next. Note: They won’t all be Mirror World books, but they will all be indie titles and all in escapism genres (fantasy, sci-fi, romance, adventure, time travel, ect.) Once the book is selected, we’ll provide a link and a discount (where able) where you can pick up a copy of the book in your preferred format.

Then, we’ll all have a month to read, review and discuss. Bonus, we’ll also make sure to have the author on hand as a member of the group so we can ask them questions or give them feedback. And, for those who write a review and are interested, we’ll feature members reviews in a post on this blog each month as well.

Would you like to participate? Join the facebook group and keep an eye out in the next few days for the first poll to go up!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/mwpub/

Oh, and once you’re a member, if you want to suggest a book to add to the monthly poll, we will gladly take your suggestions into consideration. Thanks and happy reading!

 

The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J. M. Walker – Part 3

If you missed the first or second part. If you would like more information on She Dreamed of Dragons, the novel this short story is a prequel to. Otherwise, read on!
“Well, this is a first,” Trina said as she walked with Oriella to the main cluster of dorm houses. “You never ask to go to Flora House.”

“I don’t think the forest pixies acted on their own,” Oriella said. “It’s obvious they’re in league with someone and wouldn’t the most obvious group of mages for forest pixies to be in league with be pixie mages?”

“They’re not the same,” Trina said, as they walked up the pristine white steps of Flora House. The dorm that housed mostly pixie mages and female fairy mages looked like a pink and white gingerbread house. There were curlicues around the windows, pastel pink shutters and a wraparound porch painted entirely white. The front door was painted pastel pink and had a large golden knocker in the shape of a rose. Trina reached up and knocked three times.

“Coming!” they heard a sing-song voice answer before the door was pulled open.

A pixie mage with pale blue curls frowned when she saw Trina and Oriella.

“Ew,” she said disgustedly and then abruptly turned away from them to call out, “Eddy! It’s for you!” in her sing-song voice once more. She gave them one more disgusted look before skipping away and not inviting them inside.

Eddy, the only male who lived in Flora House and the only male pixie mage in existence, quickly made his way to the door. He was wearing a freshly ironed pair of grey dress pants and a lilac dress shirt. His brown curls were a mess, but that was the way he purposely styled them.

“Hey cuz,” he said as he spotted Trina and stepped out onto the porch to join them. “Elf mage,” he said to Oriella with a nod.

“We have names,” Oriella told him, arms crossed over her chest.

Trina shook her head. Her roommate and her cousin were not the best of friends. Or even friends.

“What brings the two of you here this fine Saturday morning?” he asked as he flopped down onto the porch swing.

“Sir Gadison’s Golden Feather was stolen from Knox House,” Trina said, sitting next to him on the swing. Oriella chose to lean against the porch railing across from them, arms still crossed.

“So?” Eddy asked.

“By forest pixies,” Trina said.

“And again…so?” Eddy asked.

“Forest pixies don’t steal things,” Oriella said. “They make mud pies on our front steps and they sing ridiculous songs at the top of their lungs, but they don’t enter mage dwellings and they don’t steal things. They were obviously working with or for someone. Someone who has a connection to pixies.”

“You think I hired pixies to steal your stupid feather?” Eddy asked.

“Not you specifically,” Trina said, “but maybe one of the many pixie mage girls you live with. Maybe you…saw something? Heard something? Someone mentioning the feather? Someone mentioning how much they hate Knox House?”

“They all hate Knox House,” Eddy said. “Well, maybe not hate but, you know, you set things on fire. You fire mages are scary.”

As if on cue, Trina sneezed another fiery sneeze and the wooden armrest of the porch swing caught on fire. Trina quickly smothered the fire with her hands, but it was too late. The wood connecting the swing to the chains it hung on was completely burned and it broke from the chain, causing Trina’s side of the swing to completely fall to the ground. Trina went tumbling onto the porch with Eddy rolling on top of her.

The front door of Flora House was yanked open. A pixie mage with dark purple hair stomped out, surrounded by other colourful-haired pixie mages.

“Get off our porch, dragon mage!” she shouted. “You too, elf girl!”

“I’m sorry!” Trina said as she got back on her feet and helped Eddy up. Oriella was casually strolling back down the front steps.

“I’m so sorry!” Trina called again as she quickly ran down the steps.

“Sorry,” Eddy said, glancing from the pixie mages to his cousin to the broken swing. He followed Trina down the stairs and down the path away from the house.

“What was that?” Eddy asked as he caught up to the girls. “You sneeze fire now?”

“Apparently,” Trina said. “Maybe I have a cold. Or allergies.”

“Maybe you should stay away from people, and porch swings, until you figure out why you’re sneezing fire,” Eddy said.

How to overcome obstacles in your writing

As writers we often get the advice to ‘Just keep writing.’ ‘Don’t stop until you reach the end of your first draft!’ ‘Write first, edit later!’ And while this is to an extent, good advice, sometimes your plot gets off course, or you get the nagging feeling that something isn’t going the way you want it to with the manuscript you’re working on. And when that happens it’s perfectly okay and sometimes necessary to stop, take stock of the situation, and correct the underlying issue before continuing to write. Otherwise you risk creating a whole lot more work for yourself in the long run.

So what sorts of things can go wrong?

Unfortunately lots of things. Writing is such a free-form kind of exercise that there is no one right way to do it. When you start a new project, you make all sorts of decisions, consciously or not, like what point of view you’re going to use, which characters you’re going to focus on, what the plot is going to be, what style or voice you’ll use, verb tense, and etc.

How do you tell when you’ve encountered an obstacle in your writing?

Most of the time, you have to go by instinct. It’s your project, so ultimately, you’re the decision-maker. The easiest way to tell, for me, is when I reach a dead-end of sorts. Either that’s because my passion for the project has faltered, or because I’ve ‘written myself into a corner’ so to speak, and I can’t see my way out of it. Usually this is a symptom of a larger problem with the manuscript. Either I made a wrong turn in the plot, or there’s something I don’t like about the manuscript that’s making me reluctant to work on it.

So what do you do when you come across something like this?

Take some time to think about what it is that’s gone wrong, what isn’t working for you. If it’s a matter of plot, sometimes you need to back up to the point that things changed for the worse and take a different path from there. If it’s a matter of style, is it something that changed, or is the overall style not working for the kind of novel you want this to be? Point of view can be a big game changer as well, whose story it is and whose perspective it is being told from is a huge decision. For example, if you started writing in first person limited perspective from one character’s point of view, but then determine later that you need a wider view of what’s going on, or need to include the perspective of another character to make the story work, then you might want to consider changing it. It’s hard to make these changes when you’ve already begun and the temptation is there to just simply carry on with what you have, but trust me, it’s much harder to change the entire manuscript on the second draft than it would be to correct the problem when you first detect it. Even if that means starting over, and it very well might.

My experience with Mirror’s Despair (the fourth in the Mirror World series)

As you may or may not know, Murandy and I have been working on our latest novel, Mirror’s Despair, for the #85K90 challenge. The challenge is to write 85,000 words in 90 days from January 1st to March 31st. This is our third year in the challenge and usually the pace of the challenge works very well for us. Not so this year, I’m afraid! Early enough on in the challenge (sometime in early February) we realized that we had encountered one of these kinds of obstacles with our manuscript. Specifically, we knew what we wanted to have happen by the end of the book, but we hadn’t done enough work planning what needed to happen to get us there while keeping in mind all the mysteries we had to solve before the end of the series. A big reason for this is because we weren’t done editing or getting our notes back from the third book in the series. In short, we were getting ahead of ourselves and really weren’t ready to dive into the pace of the challenge starting January 1st. So, mid-february, we stopped working on Mirror’s Despair temporarily to take some time to reconsider our decisions so far and make some changes. And despite this killing our chances at completing the challenge in time, I know it is going to make for a healthier manuscript in the long run.

6cf75d3fcd223ef44d86565afa58150f--overcoming-obstacles-quotes-obstacle-quotes

 

So if you encounter similar problems when working on your own writing projects, remember that it is perfectly okay to stop, take stock, and make some changes before you continue. In fact, it may make the whole project easier.

Happy writing!  

The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J. M. Walker – Part 2

Have you read Part 1? Here it is if you missed it. If you’re liking this and would like to read She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker, you can pick that up from our webstore in ebook or paperback form. Then, keep reading…

The roommates headed downstairs to the common room, where they suspected the commotion to have come from. Several of their dorm mates had also been awoken by the noise and had come down to investigate, some dressed, some still in their night clothes. None of them were looking at the broken window – they were all staring at the empty place above the fireplace.

“What happened?” Trina asked. “Where’s Sir Gadison’s Golden Phoenix Feather?”

“The stupid forest pixies smashed the window and stole the feather!” Heath said. He was a phoenix mage like Corbin, but paler, and with light brown hair.

“They stole the feather?” Oriella asked, looking to Corbin for reassurance. “That’s not like forest pixies. I mean, they smash windows and throw acorns at us while we walk to school, but they don’t enter our buildings and steal things. That would require too much effort, not to mention brain power.”

Forest pixies were small, about a foot tall, and usually dressed in nothing but dirt. They were also dumber than the average pixie, which was closer in comparison to a fairy. Forest pixies were their own subclass of pixie: silly, stupid and they loved to cause mischief.

“Well then, where’s the feather? There were definitely forest pixies outside after the window broke, laughing up a storm,” said Laina, a chimera mage with long red hair. “I ran in here as soon as I heard the smash and saw them myself.”

“Did you see anyone else with them?” Trina asked.

“No,” Laina said. “Just the forest pixies, at least five of them. They were dancing and cheering and then ran off into the woods again.”

“That feather is the Knox House Heirloom,” Corbin said grimly. “Our founding father Sir Gadison placed that phoenix feather above our hearth after dipping it in gold. It belonged to his phoenix companion, Palyrius. It was supposed to be our duty to protect the feather, to make sure it remained in the house for future generations. It symbolized the unity between mages and the mystical creatures who created us.”

“No one has even seen a phoenix in at least a decade,” Heath said, gazing at the empty space above the fireplace.

Trina was looking up at the same spot. It didn’t really matter that she wasn’t a phoenix mage, the feather was still her house’s heirloom. It not being there felt like part of the house was missing, like the very heart of the house had been stolen.

“We need to get that feather back,” Corbin said, and climbed up on the coffee table so he’d be standing above the rest. “It’s the weekend, so none of us have class. If we begin our search immediately we should be able to track the feather thief down and return our heirloom. Whoever returns the feather…gets…gets…”

“The suite!” a tall boy named Loukas called out.

“The suite?” Corbin said. The suite was his own dorm room, the biggest and nicest room in the whole house. The suite was the entire fourth floor of Knox House and every single window was still intact because the little forest pixies couldn’t throw their rocks that high.

“Yeah, make the hunt worth it!” Oriella said.

Trina looked sidelong at her friend and Oriella shrugged. “It’s not like we had other plans,” Oriella said.

“You should want to find the feather because of house honour, because it belongs here with us,” Corbin said. “The suite is for the house don, it’s not-”

But he was cut off by all the mages in the room all chanting the same thing: “The suite! The suite! The suite! The suite!”

“Great gryphons! Fine!” Corbin shouted, silencing them all. “Whoever finds the golden feather first can have the Knox House suite.”

 

It’s time for an update…

Hello readers!

85k-twitter2018-400x400 (1)

It’s March already and I don’t know how 2018 is getting away from me so quickly. As you may know, Murandy and I signed up to participate in this years #85K90 writing challenge. The challenge is to write 85,000 words from January 1st to March 31st. This is our third year participating in the challenge, but unlike previous years, it is not going well for us. In 2016, we wrote the first draft of Uncharted, in 2017, Mirror’s Deceit, and this year we’re supposed to be working on Mirror’s Despair, the 4th in the Mirror World series. Unfortunately, we discovered that in retrospect we probably weren’t ready to dive into writing Mirror’s Despair, especially at the speed needed to complete the challenge. What we were missing were the final changes and editorial notes being made to Mirror’s Deceit. Without them, our plans for Mirror’s Despair were incomplete. You might be wondering how two veterans like ourselves could make such a mistake, and the answer becomes pretty clear when you remember that Murandy and I are not plotters, we usually write by the seat of our pants. (For an explanation of how that works, read this blog post.) Unfortunately when you’re writing a complicated series like this, plotting and taking notes becomes not only helpful, but extremely necessary. Live and learn, I suppose.

Well, it’s March, so one more month left to catch up and see if we can complete the challenge. I’m not overly optimistic about our chances anymore, but the great thing about the #85K90 cycle is that April is left open as a 30-day finish in case you need it to wrap things up. Don’t fret either way, Murandy and I WILL get Mirror’s Despair done and you’ll likely see it launch in 2019.

In other news, we are currently looking for beta readers to give us a hand in reading a middle grade manuscript. You may have read our announcement about Karen Koski’s The Gimmal Ring? (Find that here.) Well, as part of the publishing process, we’d like a small dedicated team of readers to read and review the manuscript for us. If you’d like to volunteer, please get in touch with us through email or Facebook.

Coming up, we’d like to invite you to participate in two local events. If you are near enough, or can get to Windsor to visit us, you might want to consider attending this unique literary event: A Taste of Literature. This month’s book is a mystery by local author John Schlarbaum and included in your ticket is musical entertainment, a live interview/Q&A/Signing with the author, along with a gourmet five-course meal by a trained chef. Go to the restaurant’s website to book your ticket now, space is limited!28168499_907024422811919_9145286208312990388_n

And last, but certainly not least, Mirror World will once again be attending The Windsor International Writers Conference. This year the event is being held July 6-8 at the Holiday Inn on Huron Church Rd. You can find everything you need to register and attend this great event on their website, but if you’re a writer and you want to improve your writing career and have the chance of a lifetime to network with other writers and industry professionals, the Windsor International Writers Conference is your chance to do so! You can register here. If you have any questions about this event, you can leave them in the comments and I would be happy to answer them.

 

The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J. M. Walker – Part 1

Have you read Elizabeth J. M. Walker’s young adult fantasy novel, She Dreamed of Dragons? Well, you can find it here or in our store. You can also learn more about Elizabeth J. M. Walker on our website. This short story is a prequel, so read on!

***

Trina woke with a sneeze. It was an alarming way to be brought out of dreamland. She rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. But then the scent of burning began to fill her nose and her eyes shot open.

“Trina!” her roommate Oriella yelled, jumping out of bed. “Your bed is on fire!”

Trina had already realized this and was trying to extinguish the flames by smothering them with her hands. Being a dragon mage, the fire didn’t harm her skin, but it did harm her comforter. By the time she had successfully smothered the small fire, her periwinkle blue bedding was burned to a crisp and faint tendrils of smoke were floating about the tiny dorm room.

Oriella rushed to open the third-storey window. She began to cough, she so stuck her entire head of dark blond waves out the window and into the early morning fresh air.

“What just happened?” Oriella called back into the room.

“I think I sneezed,” Trina said as she shoved the charred remains of her bedding onto the floor. She’d have to find a dustpan to clean it up. And she’d have to find a new comforter.

“You sneeze fire?” Oriella asked, bringing her head back into the room. The smoke was beginning to clear.

“Sometimes?” Trina said meekly.

“I don’t sneeze leaves,” Oriella said, referring to her own powers as an elf mage, which included being able to travel through trees.

“I think I’d rather sneeze leaves,” Trina said.

There was a knock at the door.

“Hey! It’s Corbin!” their house don called. “Everything okay in there, Trina? I smell smoke.”

Trina went to open the door.

“Sorry,” she told her don, a Fifth Year with dark brown skin and shoulder-length black hair. He was a phoenix mage and knew a thing or two about having fire powers, but nothing nearly as powerful as Trina’s dragon mage abilities.

“Everything is under control,” Oriella chimed in.

“Please don’t burn our dorm down,” Corbin said. “It’s bad enough we have scorch marks in nearly every room, so let’s try to keep our house in one piece.”

Being the don of Knox House, the dorm that housed mages with fire powers, was not an easy task. The dorm was placed the farthest from the main school building of the Mage Academy and the cluster of other dorm houses due to the risk of student mages not always having full control over their fire powers.

Trina jumped as she heard the sound of breaking glass.

“Forest pixies!” they heard someone shout from the ground floor and Corbin sighed.

“Again?” Corbin said as he headed down the stairs. Being farther from the school and the main dorms also meant being deeper in the Whispering Woods, which meant being plagued by the forest pixies who lived in the woods.

“I hate pixies,” Oriella said as she yanked open a drawer and began to pull out some clothes. “I’m getting dressed before we go find out what they did this time.”

Trina nodded as she shut the door. She found a plain brown dress with singe marks around the wrists of the sleeves to change into. She tugged on her brown boots as Oriella did the same, pulling hers over a pair of green leggings she wore under a black tunic. Trina ran her fingers through her brown hair, which was so short that she didn’t need to properly brush it. She would have liked to have longer hair like Oriella, but she kept accidently burning it.

***

Come back next week or SUBSCRIBE for more!

Unmoored by Justine Alley Dowsett – Part 6 (finale)

Please find part 1 here if you’d like to read from the beginning. Otherwise, read on!
Despite himself, Renaud ran forward, but the girl didn’t scream or otherwise announce her presence. Instead she hunkered down and waited for the lift to bring her safely to the ground.

Renaud was there to meet her.

“Petite fille,” he called to her, not even realizing he’d reverted to French in his distress. “Are you all right?”

She stood and nodded, her grey eyes wide and serious-looking in her young round face.

“Come away from the lift,” he told her, holding out his hand. “It’s not safe.”

She didn’t take his hand. She was wary of strangers. Good for her, Renaud thought, nodding to himself. “C’est d’accord,” he said, trying to be comforting. “Je m’appelle Renaud.

Êtes-vous un Capitaine?” she asked cautiously in halting French.

Abruptly, Renaud remembered that he was, in fact, a Captain. He straightened his back. “Oui, Madame.” He switched back to English, which the girl was obviously more comfortable with, “My ship is called The Clover. She’s waiting right over there.” He pointed out which vessel was his in the harbour.

“My mother…” She fought back tears that threatened to overwhelm her, hugging something to her chest beneath the navy-blue cloak she wore. “My mother wants me to find a good ship, one without soldiers.”

“Well there are no soldiers on The Clover, only sailors. And Dot, she’s a cook.” Renaud didn’t know why he was wasting time talking to this little girl when he should be fleeing Ismera, but some part of him missed his own family and he didn’t have it in him to leave this girl all alone. “Would you like to come to my ship and you can wait for your parents there?”

The girl nodded vigorously, darting a hand out of her cloak to wipe at her tears. This time when he extended a hand to her, she took it. “What’s your name, little one?”

“Meredith,” she answered between sniffles. “Meredith Turrell.”

Renaud almost stopped where he was, halfway back across the dock to where his ship waited with the gangplank lowered for him. Turrell?! As in ‘Lord and Lady’ Turrell? The man and woman I saw on the lift earlier, they own this town and this is their daughter. Of course, I’m so stupid! The Turrell Manor is at the top of the cliff, you can see it from the Channel.

“Are you sure you should be down here?” Renaud looked back at his newfound companion, suddenly nervous that his act of charity would be misconstrued for a kidnapping. “I could take you back up the lift to your house.”

She shook her head. “Mother told me to find a ship.”

He would have pressed the issue, but at that moment a bright light erupted on top of the cliff. Renaud’s eyes went wide. It looked like nothing more than a massive bonfire, its light reflected on the clouds above.

Vitement,” he urged Meredith and the two of them hurried across the gangplank, which was pulled in after them.

Back on his ship, Renaud gave the order to disembark and his skeleton crew worked double-time to obey his command. Unmoored from the dock, The Clover began drifting into the Channel, and one by one the crew unfurled the sails to take advantage of the rising wind.

Looking back toward Turrellin, and at the Turrell Manor on the hill, it was clear that the civil war his good friend Christian Vellaire had fled from had reached Turrellin, and young Meredith’s parents were among the unfortunate casualties.

Renaud heard a thump and looked down to see that Meredith had dropped a satchel the size of her torso onto the deck at her feet. He didn’t have time to wonder much about that before he felt the girl’s arms clamp tightly around his waist as she buried her face from the sight of her home up in flames. Overcome with emotion, Renaud put a hand on her slight shoulder. “I’m sorry, little one,” he whispered, his voice thick and his cheek moist from tears he hadn’t realized had formed. “I’m so sorry.”

Watching the flames grow farther and farther away, Renaud couldn’t help but feel that his victories over the past twenty-four hours were being balanced somehow by Meredith’s losses, and he vowed right then and there that he would do everything within his power to see this little girl safe.

Renaud turned Meredith about so she could face the water and the way to Saegard instead of the chaos they were rapidly leaving behind. He wiped at the tears that ran down his cheeks to nestle into his bushy beard. I promise my dear, if I have anything to say about it, one day you’ll be the luckiest girl to have ever crossed the Ismeran Channel.

 

The End

***

This story relates to and is a prequel to the novel, Uncharted. Find more info here.

The Last Hockey Fight by Nate Friedman is here!

There is nothing better than a good Hockey Book. This goes doubly for Nate Friedman’s new Canadian Classic ‘The Last Hockey Fight’. The story’s hero, Billy ‘The Bruiser’ Fenton, has had a legendary career as every hockey fan’s favourite player. Billy is a Hockey League enforcer for his hometown team, The Windsor Punch. Gaining momentum for his team, defending his fellow players, and entertaining the fans every game is his job and he takes that responsibility seriously.

Billy has overcome a lot of things throughout his career but this season is sure to bring some big surprises. First among them is the announcement that the Hockey Commissioner has decided to take fighting out of Hockey. Will the players be able to adapt? Will ‘The Bruiser’ still have a place in the game he loves most? Will The Windsor Punch still have a shot at winning the prestigious Hockey Cup? Find the answers to these questions and more in… The Last Hockey Fight.

LastHockeyFightCovefont

The Last Hockey Fight is available in ebook and paperback form wherever books are sold. You can get them from our online store, where all proceeds from the ebook will go to the Make-A-Wish Canada. Here are the links:

Paperback: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/juvenile/products/the-last-hockey-fight-paperback

Ebook: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/juvenile/products/the-last-hockey-fight-ebook

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Hockey-Fight-Nate-Friedman-ebook/dp/B078X1HV5Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519054992&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Last+Hockey+Fight+by+Nate+Friedman

Author Bio Pic

Nate Friedman
A writer from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Nate graduated from the Kinesiology program at the University of Windsor. His education has fuelled a keen interest in how people think and what drives them to be their best. Comedy is his firstlove and his desire to be creative has directed him towards writing children’s literature. He enjoys reading to his nephews, two of his biggest fans.