All Posts

An Interview with YA author, Sharon Ledwith

You may already know Sharon Ledwith. She’s an author, a time traveler, a psychic, and a super sleuth. And we’ve published all of her books, because they’re awesome.

If you haven’t checked out Sharon Ledwith’s work yet, you should. She’s the author of not one, but two great young adult series. The first is The Last Timekeepers time travel series, which tells the story of five teens and two adults as they travel through time to keep history safe from an evil force. Here’s a list of the books in that series, along with links to where you can pick them up or read more about them:

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret

Legend of the Timekeepers (prequel) 

Her newest series is about teen psychics who find themselves in a small northern tourist town where nothing much ever happens – until it does. The Mysterious Tales of Fairy Falls includes:

CoverLFtest2

Lost and Found

and coming soon, Blackflies and Blueberries

So, as a part of a local blog tour, I’ve invited Sharon Ledwith to join us and tell us a bit about herself, her books, and her writing process. Here goes:

 

Why did you choose to write about teen psychics?

I’ve always been intrigued with the supernatural (blame Scooby Doo for that) and psychic abilities, since I was a kid. Of course we all have psychic abilities at some level, some stronger than others, but your intuition is always available to you. I must have listened to my intuition when I came up with the idea of writing Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mysteries, and followed through on it. Since I was already writing a young adult time travel adventure series, it was a no brainer for me to write in this genre.

While planning this five book series, I choose certain psychic gifts that appealed to me or I would have loved to have possessed. Gifts like being able to communicate with animals (Book One), having psychometry—the power to read an inanimate object and getting its history from it (Book Two), possessing psychokinesis—the mind over matter ability to bend or move objects at will (Book Three), manipulating nature through Druidic hereditary powers (Book Four), and the ability to stop the flow of blood and heal (Book Five). Then, I created an out-of-the-way tourist town named Fairy Falls, and uprooted my suffering psychic teenage characters, forcing them to live in this small, boring town where nothing much happens. Until something does. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

We all know you’re a planner, but how long does it take you to write your first draft once you’ve begun?

Oh, Lord it varies! I give myself a year to eighteen months (that includes the research). But depending on the book and subject matter, it may take a little longer. I truly believe that slow and steady progress assures success, and know I’m in for the long haul in this business. My goal is to publish a book and write a book in a year. That way, I can easily (says with tongue-in-cheek) juggle both my young adult series, The Last Timekeepers and Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls.

Who’s your favourite side character in Fairy Falls and why?

Side character? Hmm. Actually, that’s easy. Louis, a Rottweiler mix who is actually based on a real-life dog I had the pleasure of caring for at the animal shelter I used to work for as an animal care attendant. I gave fictional Louis a lot of characteristics that the real Louis possessed. It was as if I tapped into Louis’s soul to give my fictional character a loveable, gentle edge. Louis possesses such an innocent and comedic child-like quality, which I believe makes him so memorable. Ruh-oh.

What are you working on now?

The third installment of The Last Timekeepers time travel adventure series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave. It’s slow going for some reason. Either my muse thinks she can slack off in the summer, or my motivation needs a kick in the keister. It’s all planned out, but there’s lots of research between each chapter that I didn’t anticipate. In this book, Drake Bailey is the point-of-view character, where the Timekeepers mission takes place during antebellum Georgia in 1855. Poor Drake.

I should also mention that I’ll be doing editing on the second book of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, Blackflies and Blueberries sometime this fall with my kick-ass editor. Wink. So, I’m looking forward to making this book even better. I believe the tentative release date is May 17th, 2019—just in time for blackfly season. Double wink.

What does ‘Escapism Fiction’ mean to you?

I absolutely love this term, Justine. To me, Escapism Fiction means that you (a reader) get to spend time with an author’s manifested imagination (a book) and be whisked away on a journey, taking you away from your troubles or problems or life in general, if only for a few hours. And it’s way cheaper than a therapist, that’s for sure! Both my book series possess an escapism feel. That’s why I came up with my author tagline: Escape to the past and have a blast. What more could a reader ask for?

Sharon Ledwith #1 Headshot

 

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS and teen psychic 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 with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Advertisements

Cover Reveal: Unreachable Skies, Vol.1, by Karen McCreedy

All of us here at Mirror World are super excited about this upcoming release! Unreachable Skies is Karen McCreedy’s first novel and it is the first in a fantasy/sci-fi trilogy. Yes, you read that right, this is a cross-genre story. It’s set entirely on another world with no humans in sight. The natives of this world are beasts that can fly, until a plague leaves their surviving hatchlings wingless, sending their very-traditionally ordered lives into uncertainty and chaos. Zarda is an apprentice fate-seer tasked with leading her people through this dark and tumultuous time.

Volume One will launch August 17th, and we hope to bring you the rest of the trilogy over the next couple of years.

Without further ado, here’s the beautiful cover: US1COVERedited.jpg

On a world where it is normal to fly, what happens when you can’t?

When a plague kills half the Drax population, and leaves the hatchlings of the survivors with a terrible deformity – no wings – suspicion and prejudice follow. Continuously harassed by raids from their traditional enemies, the Koth, the Drax are looking for someone, or something, to blame.

Zarda, an apprentice Fate-seer, is new to her role and unsure of her own abilities; but the death of her teacher sees her summoned by the Drax Prime, Kalis, when his heir, Dru, emerges from his shell without wings.

A vision that Dru will one day defeat the Koth is enough to keep him and the other wingless hatchlings alive – for a time. Half-trained, clumsy, and full of self-doubt, Zarda must train Dru to one day fulfil the destiny she has foreseen for him, even if it is quickly becoming clear that the Prime’s favourite adviser, Fazak, is not only plotting against the wingless, but is gaining more of Kalis’ trust by the day.

Efforts to fight prejudice and superstition are certain to lead to death for some and exile for others; while Zarda’s own journey to understanding her role in events may lead her to abandon all tradition in order to protect her peoples’ future.

Pre-Order is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Unreachable-Skies-Vol-Karen-McCreedy-ebook/dp/B07F4KX451/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531687097&sr=8-1&keywords=Karen+McCreedy

Or in our Online store: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/unreachable-skies-vol-1-ebook

Unreachable Skies: Vol. 1 – Paperback

Or wherever you prefer to buy books.

karen-mccreedy

About the Author:

Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen McCreedy now lives in West Sussex where she works at the University of Chichester.

She has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’.

Karen has had a number of short stories published in various anthologies. She also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’.

‘Unreachable Skies’ is her first novel.

An Open Invitation

Hello everyone!

First of all, I’d like to thank you for following, subscribing, and just generally coming out to read this blog. I’ve put a lot of work into it over the years and it really does take quite a bit of effort to keep coming up with new content twice a week. That being said, I’ve got an opportunity for you. This is your chance to tell me what you like on this blog, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to see more or less of. Also, this is your chance to submit content to me if you’d like some of your own words featured.

Here’s a list of the kinds of posts we feature on this blog right now:

Short Stories

Book Spotlights

Book Launches

Cover reveals

Updates (on the publishing/writing process)

Writing Advice

Publishing Advice

Author Interviews

Guest posts

Descriptions and invites to local literary events

Sales or new products announcements

So if you’d like to see more or less of the above, or just offer some feedback, let me know in the comments below, or send me an email. ( info@mirrorworldpublishing.com )

In addition we could be offering:

Choose your own adventure stories

Book-themed Recipes

Character Interviews

Book Reviews

Marketing advice

DIY and arts suggestions

Reviews of local literary events or businesses

Conversations with authors or industry professionals

Book or writing related product reviews

Let me know if you like any of these ideas, or if you have any of your own to add to this list!

Also, if you have any content you would like to submit, that’s articles on writing, publishing, marketing, creativity or the arts in general, or short fiction. Please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to feature your work here on the blog.

Thanks for reading!

The Silent Serpent by J.A. Dowsett – FINALE (part 6)

Nell banked left, into the laser fire. The Silent Serpent rolled and Claw fell on top of Xendri, knocking her to the wall, which was now, or at least for the moment, the floor. There was another shudder as the laser-fire struck the ship. Xendri closed her eyes, thinking this was the end, but after one heartbeat and then another, they were still flying.

Claw was climbing off Xendri as the ship righted itself once more.

“What happened?” Xendri questioned struggling to her feet.

Instead of answering, Nell simply tapped the scanner screen with her metal-tipped tail. Xendri climbed onto the back of the pilot’s chair to be able to see over Claw’s shoulder. Below them, or was it above now? Xendri could never really tell, in space, and besides, Nell was still pulling them away and maneuvering deftly to keep any of the rest of the shots being fired from hitting them. Somewhere away from them, a mangled-looking version of their cargo bay dropped with what seemed like agonizing slowness toward the Delkrit city.

There was a moment of anticipatory silence and then the scanners lit up, reporting the explosions, one after the other, as the bombs caused a cascade reaction within the Delkrit vessel. Captain Claw let out an unexpected whoop, breaking the silence as he thrust his fist in the air. “Good job, Nell! Now get us out of here as fast as you can!”

Nell nodded, trying to catch her breath now that adrenaline was no longer ruling her. “Got it, Captain.”

Xendri just blinked, feeling shaken. The turret’s laser fire had come within inches of hitting their armed cargo and blowing them all to bits and pieces, and instead it had hit the stubborn clamp, freeing the bombs and saving their lives.

It occured to her in that instance that out in space, survival was balanced on the head of a pin. And if nothing else, Xendri intended to survive.

***

Two days later, the Silent Serpent landed safely on Mars with only a skeleton crew left, the rest having been asked politely to depart at the last station they’d passed through.

“I’m selling the ship,” Captain Claw announced to the few of them that remained. “Vox, excellent work setting up the gold exchange on Denain. With what we’ve made, split up evenly between us, plus the sale of the Silent Serpent to the scrapyard, I’ll have enough to retire.”

Xendri blinked a few times, confused. “What about the rest of us?”

“Well, that’s up to you, of course,” Claw allowed, “but I’m thinking that with your cuts combined, you might just have enough to buy a ship of your own, or cobble one together from used parts, at least. I’d be willing to help put you in touch with the right people.”

“But who’d be Captain?” Quattro asked the pertinent question.

“Not me,” Nell said. “I’m not the ‘Captaining’ type. I’ll happily fly whatever, wherever you tell me to, but I’d just as easily catch a ride on the next ship out of here.”

Vox, Xendri, and Quattro looked around at each other, but when Vox said nothing, Quattro and Xendri both spoke at the same time, drowning one another out.

“Listen, you don’t need to decide now,” Claw suggested. “Why don’t you sleep on it for the night? We can meet in the morning at the scrapyard to go over the options and the numbers.”

Claw’s authority still ingrained in them, they filed out, talking amongst themselves. All but Xendri. She lingered behind, watching Captain Claw. Finally his eyes fell on her and she mustered up the courage to ask, “What makes a good Captain?”

Claw smiled, his expression wistful, “The best kind of Captain is one who asks questions like that,” he told her, adding after a beat, “You’ll figure it out.”  

“Me?” Xendri was taken aback by his endorsement.

“Vox and Nell don’t want it, and Quattro really wouldn’t make a good Captain, so that leaves you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not only that you’re the only logical choice, you’ve got the spark, I can see it. You want to know what’s out there, what lies beyond the next Jump Gate, and the one after that.”

Xendri found herself nodding. “That’s why I left home.”

Claw put a hand on Xendri’s carapaced shoulder. “I think ‘Captain Xendri’ has a nice ring to it, don’t you?”

To be continued… 

The Windsor International Writers Conference is THIS WEEKEND!!!

So I have an incredibly busy week ahead of me, culminating in the Windsor International Writers Conference this weekend at the Holiday Inn Ambassador Bridge. If you’d like to join me, there’s still space available for last minute registration, wink wink.

I’m currently working on a number of projects, the main one being preparing Karen McCreedy’s Unreachable Skies, Vol. 1, which releases August 17th and has a cover reveal coming up July 17th! I’m super excited for this release because it’s Karen’s first novel and she’s written a remarkable and beautiful blend of Sci-fi and Fantasy. Set entirely on another planet, without a human in sight, Unreachable Skies is the story of an apprentice fate-seer named Zarda who is tasked with guiding her people through a difficult time following a plague that has left the new generation of their kind without wings. This will be the first installment in a planned trilogy and we should see the second book in 2019. 

I’m also working on our September release, the much-anticipated Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast written by Regan W.H. Macaulay and illustrated by the talented Lulu. I’ve just received the art and it is ADORABLE. Partner that with Regan’s really clever and unique writing style, and I just know you’re all going to fall in love with the egg-thieving Mixter Twizzle like we did!

And last but not least this year, I’ll soon be starting work on The Gimmal Ring by Windsor’s very own Karen Koski. I’m looking forward to diving in to this middle grade urban fantasy, but first it has to go through Robert’s very capable hands and I think it’s fair to say I have enough on my plate at the moment!

So this week I’ll be looking over some submissions I’ve received in preparation for meeting one on one with some conference attendees, and judging some contest entries, then on Friday I’ll be hosting a round-table intensive where I’ll help a facilitate a group of writers as we review and critique the samples of their work they’ve brought with them. I’m also looking forward to listening to all the great workshops and keynote speakers and of course, participating in the panel discussions. It’s going to be a lively weekend. So if you can make it, even to one of the days, I recommend it!

Thanks for reading!

The Silent Serpent by J.A. Dowsett – Part 5

Here’s Part 5 of my sci-fi short story! If you haven’t started yet, click here to read from the beginning. Part 2 is here, Part 3 and of course, Part 4. Now that you’re all caught up, keep reading! 

***

“Identify yourself.” The words came sharply through the Silent Serpents’ speakers.

“Olympus, this is Captain James Claw of the Silent Serpent. We’re a small cargo vessel, but we happen to be carrying cargo that may be of use to you against the Delkrit.”

There was a pause. “What kind of cargo?”

“Explosives,” Captain Claw answered and Xendri flinched, knowing the Terran ship wouldn’t be too happy to hear that. The Council was really particular when it came to transporting weapons and the Terrans, or humans as they usually called themselves, basically ran the Council.

“Captain, I’m sure you’re aware of the law regarding-”

“They were a delivery meant for the mine on Elu,” James cut the person off. “Perfectly legal. I even have a manifest signed by the mine’s owner requesting the delivery. However, I think, under the circumstances…”

There was another pause. “Yes, I think you’re right, Captain. Under the circumstances, it would be your duty to use everything at your disposal to defend the system. I’ll make a note of your sacrifice, so that the owners of this mine can file for insurance.”

“Thank you, Olympus,” Claw said, grinning now. Xendri raised a brow in his direction.

“Captain, will you be dropping these explosives of yours off to us?”

Instead of answering immediately, Captain Claw met Nell’s eyes questioningly. The pilot settled her nerves by taking in a deep breath and then nodded to the Captain, some silent exchange taking place between the two of them. Xendri wasn’t sure what it was or what her place was in all this, but she was fascinated and couldn’t tear her eyes away from the action unfolding before her.

“That won’t be necessary, Olympus,” Claw said then, squeezing Nell on the shoulder. “We’ll manage.”

“Best of luck, Silent Serpent, and thank you for your help. Olympus out.”

Xendri heard a growling sound behind her and she whirled around to see the Silent Serpent’s main pilot, a burly-looking orange-skinned Jorn male, his short horns pointed. As soon as she made eye contact with him, his expression contorted as his growl cut off and he spun on his heel, taking off back into the ship. Ahead of Xendri, Nell started at the sound, trying to whirl around to see what was going on behind her, but Captain Claw squeezed tighter on her shoulder. “Don’t worry about him. Keep your focus on the task ahead.”

Nell nodded again, squaring her shoulders and taking a few more deep breaths as she gripped the steering column firmly with both paws.

“Xendri, shut that door and don’t let anybody through it, alright?” Claw ordered.

Spurring into motion, Xendri dove for the door mechanism and sealed the cockpit away from the rest of the ship. Abruptly it was just the three of them cramped into a very small space facing a Delkrit platform and a swirling mass of ships and weapons fire; the rest of the ship felt very far away.

“Here goes,” Nell announced suddenly and the Silent Serpent surged forward at its maximum velocity toward the dreaded machine-city.

To his credit, Captain Claw hung on to the back of Nell’s chair and said nothing; he just let the Pentaurii pilot do her job. Despite Xendri feeling like she was staring down the barrel of a gun as they hurtled toward the massive metal structure, flying like this was exhilarating. It was one thing to go fast in a Jump tunnel where there was little danger of anything going wrong and even less danger of hitting anything. It was quite another to go full speed while surrounded by chaos and to dive headfirst toward something much larger and much deadlier than you. It made her feel powerful and fearless, even though she wasn’t even the one piloting the vessel.

Thankfully the Enbi fighters were still drawing most of the fire, but the Silent Serpent still shook with the force of their passage and occasionally with the graze of a laser scraping the hull. Xendri could smell smoke and she wondered if being sealed away in the cockpit kept them from realizing how much damage the ship was really taking.

Nell weaved, getting in as close as she could, her tail hovering over the control panel as if she might need a third limb just to get the ship to do what she wanted it to do. She deliberately positioned the Silent Serpent to pass in the space between two enemy turrets. Those turrets were currently occupied, firing doggedly at the swarm of Enbi, but at any moment they could swing around and obliterate them.

“Now,” Captain Claw commanded, the authority clear in his voice.

Nell’s tail swiped downward like a scorpion striking, hitting a button on the control panel. Xendri heard the mechanism in the ship click and it was the sound that clued her in to what they were attempting to do. The button was meant to unlock the clamps that held their detachable cargo bay in place. Nell made to reach to her right for the lever that would physically detach the arms and release the cargo bay, bombs and all, onto the unsuspecting Delkrit ship below, but Captain Claw beat her to it. He pulled hard on the mechanism and it wrenched downwards with an audible whine. Nell didn’t wait for confirmation; she pulled upward on the steering column to send them up and away so the bombs could do their work.

But the cargo bay didn’t detach.

At least, not all at once. There was a horrible shudder accompanied by the sound of tearing metal, as the top of the ship went one way and the cargo bay tried to go another. A shared look of horror crossed all three of the faces in the cockpit as they collectively realized what had gone wrong; one of the clamps hadn’t let go.

And that was only the first sign that their luck had run out. As they passed too close to the Delkrit turrets, the weapons locked onto them as the biggest and most dangerous thing in sight. Two guns, each one almost the size of their entire ship, visibly cocked back as they prepared to fire.

Xendri gasped, watching the laser shoot straight for them.

The Silent Serpent by J.A. Dowsett – Part 4

If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3, follow the links. Otherwise, read on! (This is a sci-fi short story by J.A. Dowsett that you don’t want to miss!) 

***

The Silent Serpent surged out of the Jump Gate into regular space and slowed immediately, though still moving far faster than the well-worn ship could have managed under its own power. Nell was back in the pilot’s chair and Xendri stood behind her, eager to see another new region of space. However, no sooner had Nell caught sight of what awaited them in this sector did her gold-flecked black fur stand on end. Whipping her tail around, she used the metal tip to tap the button that allowed her access to the ship-wide communications system, setting it to high-alert, while every other part of her remained focused on the ship’s controls.

“Xendri,” Nell said, tension making her voice clipped, “get the Captain. We have a problem.”

Before Xendri could so much as turn around, Nell knocked the controls forward and the old cargo vessel lurched, nose pointed downwards. Weapons fire was visible in the cockpit’s narrow window, but it made no sound until it grazed the side of the vessel, where it sounded like metal grinding against metal and sparks.

Xendri’s breath caught in her throat, but she didn’t let the stop her. “Captain!” she yelled into the rest of the ship as she exited the cockpit, clinging to any handholds she could find on the ship’s metal interior.

Captain James Claw stumbled into view just as Nell was righting the ship once more, sending the Terian shoulder-first into a metal wall. “What’s the prob-” He stopped mid-sentence, cleary able to see the issue for himself.

Xendri turned around to see what he was looking at and she finally was able to understand fully what Nell had grasped in those first few seconds out of the gate. It wasn’t just one ship firing at another or some sort of defense system they were on the wrong side of. They’d entered into an active warzone.

Ships of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions flew this way and that, defending the gate and the nearby space station from the largest ship in the area, which looked less like a ship and more like a floating platform atop which sat a silent, technologically advanced city. It was massive, as large as the space station itself and oddly square in shape, not like most of the vessels that flew around it. It was also…lifeless-looking. There were a few minor lights here or there, mostly near the guns, but otherwise the vessel was dark and unornamented as it drifted slowly through space.

“Delkrit,” Captain Claw whispered as he pushed absent-mindedly past Xendri.

Even being from one of the more remote corners of the galaxy, Xendri recognized the word. Everyone had heard of the Delkrit, though it was rare for anyone to have seen one, let alone survived to tell about it. They were the modern-day boogeyman. Tales that were told about the horrors that lurked out in the black of space to keep pilots and captains from venturing too far out into the uncharted parts of the galaxy. Not exactly a race, or even alive in the traditional sense, the Delkrit were machines with an AI hive mind programmed for one thing: to destroy all organic life. They were said to be the scourge of the galaxy.

Despite herself, Xendri followed the Captain back into the cockpit and squeezed herself beneath the wall and his arm so she could see what was going on. Nell had brought the ship around to join with the multitude of ships that were arrayed in a semi-organized fashion in their united goal to keep the Delkrit from destroying the gate. No matter which race this sector belonged to, the Delkrit were everybody’s enemy, and if the gate fell anyone within it would be stranded somewhere between here and the gate they left from, with no way to know how far they’d been tossed off course. And that was if they survived the gate’s collapse at all. It wasn’t lost on Xendri that had they not exited the gate when they did, that could easily have been their fate. As a spacefaring vessel, they owed it to whomever might be travelling through that gate to do what they could to ensure it didn’t shut down unexpectedly.

“Captain?” Nell questioned.

“You have any skill with guns?” Claw asked her and she nodded without taking her eyes off the task ahead of her. “Then use your best judgement,” he told her.

Xendri held her breath as Nell brought the Silent Serpent within firing range and strafed to the left, using the ship’s lasers for all they were worth. She left a few small explosions in her wake and managed to avoid being shot out of the sky. Xendri allowed herself to breathe again only when they were again skirting away from the horrifying cold and impersonal-looking Delkrit city, which fired at them only because its sensors detected their proximity, not because it ‘felt threatened’ or even felt anything at all. Xendri shuddered.

Just then, a team of Enbi ships swooped past them, so close their sudden appearance took Xendri’s breath right back out of her and Captain Claw swore audibly. Tiny one-man vessels, the Enbi fighter-ships were like a swarm of bees compared to the Delkrit city and just as angry, but as Xendri learned a moment later, they weren’t what had Nell or the Captain’s attention.  

“Shit, is that a Terran dreadnought?”

Between one breath and the next, by far the largest ship Xendri had ever seen popped into the sector, blocking out her view of this system’s sun. It was easily the width of the Delkrit vessel, if not wider, and it towered upwards as well, like a giant ark without sails. The words, ‘The Olympus’ were painted on the side, each letter easily the size of their own meager cargo ship.

“Wait, that gives me an idea,” Claw declared. “Nell, open up a communication to that Terran vessel.”

Nell’s eyes went wide at the command, but she followed it and hailed the Terran ship, even as she kept them moving, so as to make a difficult target for Delkrit guns.

It’s launch day! The Ghost in The Gardens by HL Carpenter is here!

We’re super excited to announce that our 30th title, The Ghost in The Gardens by HL Carpenter, is here! You can order your copy in ebook or paperback form through our online bookstore, or wherever you buy books online!

Here it is:

CoverArtGG copy

Until the first spooky visit, ten year old Chrysantha Howe doesn’t think about ghosts. She thinks about plants.

All.

The.

Time.

She has her future planned out, and that future includes plants. Chrys is going to be a plant scientist like her uncle and her favorite teacher, and she’s determined to find the very rare Coralroot orchid.

The ghost is not in the plan.

But when her teacher disappears and the police suspect her uncle was involved, Chrys has to figure out what the ghost is trying to tell her—before it’s too late.

Book Details: Saphs Book Promotions

Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery

Page Count: 152 pages

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing (http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40072894-the-ghost-in-the-gardens

Order Links:

Mirror World Publishing:  Ebook  Paperback

Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

I had the future planned out.

The ghost was not in the plan.

After the first visit, I still didn’t really believe in ghosts. But when she came back the second time, I had to change my mind. I hadn’t been dreaming and I wasn’t crazy. The only other alternative was: I had seen a ghost.

I started researching ghost visitations. What made them stick around in this world? How did they choose who to haunt? Why had no one ever caught a legitimate sighting on video or made a recording?

Mostly what I learned was that people argued a lot about whether ghosts existed. People who believed in ghosts liked other people who believed in ghosts. People who didn’t believe in ghosts thought people who did were crazy.

I was not crazy.

Finding out the answers to my questions about ghosts should have been easy. I had my own personal ghost to ask. But every time she visited me, I couldn’t say a word. My thoughts got all tangled and my breath stuck in my throat and I got dizzy. Having my own personal ghost was not helpful. The visits were…creepy. Like are-you-here-because-I’m-going-to-die creepy. Maybe the creep factor was why no one had ever documented a ghost.

I shivered, though I hadn’t seen the ghost in hours and cheerful sunlight warmed the early June morning. The Water Garden, a magical green fairyland of trickling streams and arched bridges, closed in around me. Shadows shifted. Bushes rustled.

I’d never seen a ghost before, not even when my dad died. Why had one decided to haunt me now?

“Just lucky, I guess,” I said. “What do you think, Barkley?”

My long-legged Schnauzer scratched his ear with his hind foot.

“That’s what I think too.”

I tugged Barkley’s ear and picked up one of the quarter-size flat stones scattered beside the path. I tossed the stone into the deep end of the Water Garden pond.

Barkley scrambled to the bank, then yipped and jumped back, almost jerking the leash from my hand. The ruff on his neck rose straight up. He stared at the pond, his lips curled, his teeth bared.

I gripped the red plastic leash more tightly.

The ghost liked water.

Barkley growled.

In the pond, twin black shafts of water shifted into the wavy outline of feminine eyes. Pale lips, reed-thin and white as unearthed slugs, parted. The lips tried to form a word. A gurgle rose from the depths like a deep sigh.

“Daaaaay…daaaay…”

Bubbles roiled the surface of the water.

Barkley growled again. Then he barked, as if to prove the ghost hadn’t silenced him.

I tried to speak, to ask the ghost what she wanted. My tongue clung to the roof of my mouth. My lips moved in a quivery jiggle as if I were silently whistling. But I could not force out a sound, much less a whole question.

Maybe if I could think a question, the ghost and I could communicate. Maybe she didn’t need actual words to hear me and to answer.

I tipped forward. My glasses slipped down my nose. I wanted to ask her…something…something…important…

What would touching her feel like?

I stretched out my hand.

HL Carpenter full size (1)

Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter writes family-friendly fiction. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Connect with HL Carpenter: Website: https://hlcarpenter.com/

Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5820921.H_L_Carpenter

 

Why ‘Escapism Fiction’?

I love stories. I live for them. When I read, I tend to go for books that offer an escape from the real world. Recently I’ve wondered why that is. I think it has to do with when and where I read. Typically I will carry a book around with me all day in whatever bag I’m carrying and I will pull it out when I want to pass the time. Waiting in a waiting room? Read. Waiting to rendezvous with someone? Read. Taking a bath, or otherwise trying to relax? Read.

images (2)

Am I uncomfortable where I am? Is life boring or dull? Would I rather be doing something else? Do I need to unwind from work, or some other stress? In all of these cases, reading is often the answer.

So when I read, I don’t want to read about a life like mine; a life I can easily envision. I want to read something set somewhere else. Something that allows me to step into another person’s shoes. And I want it to be engaging so that it’s a story that sucks me in and tugs me along. If it does all that, it’s a story I’ll be thinking about, even when I’m not actively reading it, which is all the better.

And since those are the kinds of stories I like to read, it’s also the kind of stories I tend to write. And since it’s what I write, it has become what I’m in search for when I’m looking for another author’s work to publish. Hence Mirror World = Escapism fiction.

9bc29e65dd3a608b8c077dfbcffd8ac0--so-true-true-love

Escapism fiction for me is an engaging, creative character-driven story set in a vivid, imaginative world that is not our own, or at least not exactly our own. It’s a character’s exploration of another world, another culture, another time, or a possible hidden world within our own. Our goal is to literally bring you books that allow you to be somewhere else, even when you have to stay exactly where you are.

With that said, I’m pleased to announce that next week’s release, HL Carpenter’s The Ghost in The Gardens will be Mirror World’s 30th title! I’m super proud of all we’ve been able to accomplish since we started in 2014. 30 titles is so much more than I expected by this point in our existence. It’s been an amazing wild ride and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing authors, of which there are 16 of now! And also, our lovely readers and fans. Thank you for escaping with us!

4_262e619932784112b1f984e37d4e975d30th happy cake topper gold

So if, like me, you’re eagerly anticipating the release of our 30th book, I hope you’ll pick up The Ghost in The Gardens by HL Carpenter and give escapism fiction a chance.

Thanks for reading!  

The Silent Serpent by J.A. Dowsett – Part 3

If you missed part one of this sci-fi adventure, click here to start at the beginning…

It wasn’t long before they were all assembled in the cargo bay. Well, not everyone, just those between them Captain Claw and Xendri thought were trustworthy. They needed hands to help with the plan, but the more that knew a thing, the less safe that thing was to know. Xendri faced off against the Captain’s choices; Quattro and the ship’s secondary finance officer, Vox, just as Quattro and Vox were eyeing her choice; Nell.

Xendri shrugged. She hadn’t known any of them long, but she liked Nell. The Pentaurii was a good pilot, and new enough to the ship that she kept to herself and didn’t socialize much with the others. Besides, she had that look about her that said she could keep a secret. Probably had loads of them already.

Choosing Quattro made sense for his skills alone, but Vox she couldn’t figure out. Over seven feet tall, Vox was an Urtax; a genderless being made of crystal. He was sentient, though you wouldn’t know it to look at him. He looked like a hunk of rock, only vaguely humanoid in shape. He could stand still for hours, not doing or saying anything, like he was now. Most found him disconcerting at best, but Xendri didn’t have an opinion on him personally. He was much like any other Urtax she’d ever come across and their species was common enough in her corner of the galaxy.

“If she’s here, then who’s at the controls?” Quattro asked, indicating Nell with a thumb.

“No one,” she responded, shrugging. “Technically a pilot isn’t required in Jump-space, seeing as there’s nothing to hit, but just to be safe, I rewired the alarms to sound down here should anything show up on the scanners. We’ve got hours until I’m needed to take us out of the gate, so…”

“Nell’s right,” Claw agreed, “and the risk is worth it at this point. We’ve got a dangerous situation on our hands, but it’s also a profitable opportunity.” This caught everyone’s attention. “These crates contain what amounts to a sizeable fortune. Provided we get away with this, I’m willing to share it with the four of you in equal cuts.”

“You won’t be dividing the funds through the usual channels?” Vox inquired, his monotonous voice somehow reverberating from his whole body at once.

“No,” Captain Claw stated. “That’s where you come in, Vox. These crates contain unrefined gold. I’m going to need you to quietly and discreetly find someone willing to take it off of our hands in exchange for the kind of currency we can actually use. Xendri, I’m going to have you on top of a crate directing Quattro’s drill with a scanner and your own intuition. Nell, I’m going to have you do the same for me.”

“We’re stealing the merchandise?” Nell questioned. Despite the question, she didn’t seem bothered by that fact.

“More accurately, we’re leaving the merchandise intact and stealing the part they didn’t put on the manifest,” Claw clarified. “I consider that fair exchange for putting armed explosives on my ship without my knowledge. Does anyone take issue with my plan?”

Silence hung in the cargo bay for a beat longer than was comfortable.

“Good,” Claw finished. “And Vox, find us some empty food-storage containers. We’re going to need places to hide this stuff. Remember, the less people find out about this, the less we’ll have to share the profits. Okay, let’s get to work.”

The next few hours were tense but productive. They worked as quietly as possible, so as not to attract attention, and they prayed none of the rest of the crew would wake up and take issue with what they were up to. Before long, sacks and small crates were filled discreetly with gold nuggets and Xendri and Quattro were busy filling the cavities they’d emptied with whatever bits of scrap metal they could find to approximate the weight, just in case anyone should notice a discrepancy on the receiving end.

“We’re nearing the gate,” Nell warned, checking the time.

“Alright,” Claw conceded. “We’re almost done here. Nell, Vox, take what you can carry and find somewhere to hide it upstairs. Even better if I don’t know where it is. We’ll follow with the rest when we’re done here. Then, Nell, take us out.”

She nodded, lifted two sacks of gold, and took off up the ladder. Vox followed more slowly with a crate in his arms, passing it up to her before taking the rungs himself. Xendri fit the last of the cargo container lids back in place before joining Claw’s side. “What about the bombs?”

Claw frowned. “I have some thoughts about that, but for now, one thing at a time, alright?”

Xendri nodded, picking up her crate. “You’ll figure it out.”