Excerpts

The Hunting Dog by Rita Monette – Part 2

Find Part 1 here! Or find Rita Monette’s Nikki Landry Swamp Legends books here!

Me and Lydia sat in her tree house and talked about her cat and my dog until I heard Papa driving up the gravel road. I ran to meet him as fast as I could. I took a quick gander into the back of his truck, then followed him inside where mama had lunch on the table. I had some more begging to do.

“I’m heading back to old man Lowry’s first thing in the morning,” Papa said before I could even open my mouth.

“Ain’t that the man you got the dog from?” Mama asked as she set a glass of milk in front of me.

“That old coot sold me a bum dog,” he said.

“A bum dog?” I asked. “What does that mean?”

“Took him out this morning and all he did was lay on the ground,” he said. “Woods full of rabbits and coons, and he just laid there.”

“Maybe he didn’t feel like hunting today,” I said.

“Dog’s no good I tell you.” Papa took a big bite of fried chicken, then continued to talk with his mouth full. “He’s going back tomorrow.”

“No!” I jumped and ran outside and to the cage in the back of Papa’s truck.

Snooper sat crouched in the crate.

I opened the door and reached inside.

The brown and black and white dog licked my hand. Then he scooted toward me and stuck his cold nose to my face.

I giggled. “You’re not a bum dog,” I said. “You’re a good dog. And I’m keeping you.” I put my arms around him and carried him up the pier and to the deck.

“Nikki,” Mama shouted as she opened the screen door to meet me. “Where are you going with that dog?”

“I’m keeping him,” I said.

Papa jumped up and stood next to Mama. “No you’re not. I’m getting my money back for that no-count dog.” He stepped outside, took Snooper from me, then carried him back to the truck.

I ran up behind him and stuck out my lower lip. “His name is Snooper and he ain’t no-count.”

Papa glanced at me, and his wrinkled forehead smoothed out a bit. He chuckled, then his frown came back. “Tadpole, you can’t have the dog and that’s final.” He grabbed my hand and led me back to the house and the table.

I flopped down into the chair, but I wasn’t hungry. I looked sideways at Mama. “What if Mama says I can?”

Papa kept eating.

Mama kept eating too.

I glanced from one to the other for a sign of caving in.

“You can’t have a critter in the house,” she said without looking up. “With the baby on the way and all.”

I blinked. “What baby?”

Papa stopped eating. “A baby?”

“Yes, we should have it by Fall.”

“Is it a boy or a girl?” I asked.

Mama laughed. “We don’t know yet.”

“I hope it’s a girl,” I said. “But why can’t we have a dog and a baby too?”

“This place is too small,” Mama said. “If you do keep him he’ll have to stay outside.”

“I can keep him!” I jumped up and ran for the door.

I didn’t say you could keep him!” Papa yelled at my back as the screen door slammed behind me.

“That girl,” I heard Papa say.

“She’s of your making,” Mama said.

I carried Snooper to the door and put my nose against the screen. “Can he stay inside until Papa builds him a bigger pen? That cage is way too small.”

“Good grief, Nikki,” Mama said. “You sure are persistent.”

“I am not,” I said. “I took a bath yesterday.”

Papa laughed out loud. “Hard headed, Nikki. Your mama means you are hard headed.”

“Well can he or not?” I asked.

Mama put her head into her hands. “Just until Papa builds him a pen. And only until then. He has to be out by the time the baby comes.”

I opened the door and set Snooper down on the floor. “You’ll be sleeping in my room, Snoop.” I looked up at Papa and Mama. “For awhile anyway.”

I reached into my plate and grabbed a piece of food and handed it to him. He gobbled it up real fast. He must have been starved.

“And no feeding him from the table,” Papa said. “There’s some dog food out in the truck.”

“And you are responsible for any mess he makes, young lady,” Mama said.

“Yes ma’am!” I sat on the floor and put my arms around my new dog. “You won’t even know he’s around.”

That was four years ago.

My baby brother, Jesse, was born in November, and Snooper still sleeps with me. Unless he’s sleeping on the floor, or the deck, or the grass. He just likes to sleep…when he’s not helping me solve legends that is.

 

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Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. She is currently retired and lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, She enjoys participating in festivals and craft shows where she does face and body art, along with selling her books.

Read an excerpt of Uncharted!

Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred launches April 17th, 2017. We’re celebrating the release by hosting an online launch party, live Q and A, live reading, and giveaway on Facebook. You can RSVP here:https://www.facebook.com/events/345964425805281/

While you wait, here’s an excerpt from this upcoming fantasy/ romantic comedy:

Uncharted Cover

Noiseless on slippered feet, Meredith darted swiftly to the oversized double doors of the Celestial Chamber. She glanced once quickly over each shoulder to make sure she was still alone in the Great Hall before she gave the wide gilded handle a tug and felt the latch give way. With a grimace of effort, she pulled the heavy door open just enough to allow herself to squeeze into the chamber beyond.

Expecting darkness, moonlight dazzled her senses. The silvery light pooled in the middle of a wide and perfectly round central platform, serving to bring focus to the reason for this room’s existence: an ethereal-looking blue bowl lined with silver and filled with glittering water.

The Celestial Bowl beckoned to Meredith from its place on the solitary stone pedestal in the centre of the chamber. The sound of rushing water from the underground river that surfaced briefly in this room filled her ears as she let the heavy door fall quietly shut behind her.

I shouldn’t be in here, a small voice in the back of her mind reminded her, even as she took a step toward the glittering artifact. It’s only that I just can’t help but question if this life is for me. I want a family, a home…and a husband. I owe the Order for what they’ve done for me, but if I stay here and become a Priestess, I can’t have any of those things.

If I can just have a look at my destiny tonight, then maybe the path I should take will become clear. Besides, she countered the nagging sound of her conscience, if I wait until tomorrow’s ceremony to see my future, it will be too late to change it.

Her decision made, Meredith closed the distance between herself and the bowl with purpose, crossing the small, railless stone bridge spanning a gap over the rushing water beneath. As she neared the bowl, she kept her eyes fixated on the calm, reflective surface of the water within, not wanting to chance missing even the slightest bit of whatever vision it might grant her. Moonlight glinted off the silver interior of the bowl, making the room seem brighter than it actually was. As if in a trance, she lost herself in the beauty of the dancing light and that was when she saw it.

A man, no…only his torso, wearing a dark grey suit coat buttoned over his left breast. He stood with pride in his bearing, but beyond the grey coat and a single purple flower in his lapel the image cut off at the neck and didn’t show his face. Meredith leaned forward, trying to get a better angle.

The vision, if that’s what it was, continued and she saw herself from behind, unmistakeable with her lengthy waves of chocolate brown hair cascading over the hood of her light grey Priestess cloak. The vision of herself flung herself at this man and his arms reached up to hold her. Engrossed now, Meredith leaned directly over the bowl, determined to get a glimpse at the face of her mystery man when the image in the silver-lined water abruptly disappeared.

What? No! I wasn’t finished. I didn’t see his face!

Meredith stared into the reflective water without blinking, willing the vision to return or resume. The reflection of her own face stared back at her, but beyond it she thought she saw something else. Focusing on the anomaly, she realized it was a reflection of the bowl itself, seated as it was in real life atop its stone pedestal in the centre of the Celestial Chamber.

What does that mean?! she exclaimed in the silence of her own mind. How can the bowl show an image of itself? It doesn’t make any sense.

She looked back down at the bowl and its stubborn reflection of itself, then turned her head upwards to the moonlight as if to make sure it was still there when it dawned on her. Ugh, I put my head in the way! I interrupted the vision!

She tried several times to recreate the circumstances which brought her the cryptic glimpse of the future, but nothing she did seem to bring the bowl’s power back to life. I guess that’s it! Meredith threw her hands up in defeat. I should get out of here before I get caught.

Turning from where she stood on the small bridge that led from the pedestal’s platform to the double doors she’d come in by, Meredith made to sprint for the exit, only to smack bodily into a dark shadowy figure she hadn’t known was there until it was too late.

She let out an ‘oomph’ as the wind was knocked out of her and she was flung backwards a few steps.

Over the by now familiar sound of rushing water, Meredith noted a somewhat metallic clatter moments before her ankle rolled over something round at her feet. Set off balance, she stumbled and spent a few steps trying to right herself. She might have succeeded, too, if it wasn’t for the fact that she’d gotten too near to the edge of the narrow bridge. She cartwheeled her arms a few times, trying to right herself, screamed in hopes that whomever she’d run into would see her plight in time to catch her, and then unceremoniously went off the side of the stone bridge into the cold rushing water below.

(For the rest of the prologue, tune into our facebook launch party April 17th, 6pm EST: https://www.facebook.com/events/345964425805281/)

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!***

 

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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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.

 

 

Eye of the Storm, Part 1

Remember that opening I shared as an example of how openings are hard to write? (You can read about that here.) Well, with two books currently in the works, I have no plans to do anything about the sci-fi novella I started, so… I thought I would share it with you. If you like this opening bit, let me know in the comments below and I’ll keep posting every week or two so you can see where this story goes (and keep me motivated in writing it at the same time!)

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Chapter 1 – The Rain

The change came without warning, unless you count the rain. It pounded on the window of my battered Oldsmobile, demanding to be let in. I sighed, frustrated. So much for the Weather Network. Wrenching the rusted driver’s side door open, I was drenched in seconds. I scurried across the city parking lot, doing my damndest to avoid the worst of the puddles, though it hardly mattered now. The damage was done.

Inside the bar, the lighting was dim and yellow. Even so, it took a moment for my eyes to adjust.

“Summer!” Debbie ambushed me before I could so much as shake myself off like a dog after a swim. Her dry hair smelled like strawberries and stranded me somewhere between envious and nauseated. “You came!”

“Of course,” I mumbled. “You said it was important.”

Nodding, Debbie pulled back. “Come on. There’s someone I want you to meet.”

This is it, I realized, I’m finally going to meet the new boyfriend Debbie has been going on and on about. Despite this guy being the subject matter of all our conversations over the past few weeks, I really knew very little about him. I think she said his name was Paul…

“Well, if it isn’t Summer Green!”

Wait… Paul? As in Paul Sheffield? It was him, in the flesh. The very, very attractive flesh. Oh, god, what am I thinking. He’s Debbie’s boyfriend now… Not my highschool fantasy crush.

“Paul!” I didn’t manage much more than awkwardly saying his name before my nerves shut down my vocal cords. Leaning on a barstool, his elbow up on the bar, Paul was as drool-worthy as he’d ever been. Maybe more so. It had been years since I last saw him, but I remembered the day clearly. It had played in my mind over and over again to remind me of just how pathetic I was. Our last of of high school, Paul had left his group of much cooler friends to come over and give me a goodbye hug and I was so shocked I’d garbled any useful words that could have come out of my mouth in that instant. He’d walked away, a confused and sympathetic expression on his face and I just waved awkwardly and let him leave, instead of being suave and asking him to hang out over the summer like I’d planned.

In my fantasy, that summer would have led to a fabulous romance. In reality, I spent that summer working in a greasy 50’s themed diner, which was where I’d met Debbie. We were as opposite as people get, but somewhere along the line we became inseparable.

Speaking of Debbie, she’d managed to fit herself under Paul’s muscular right arm, her thin frame fitting far better there than my plumper one could have managed. She was looking up into his clear blue eyes, her own green ones twinkling. My slight envy from earlier came back with the same ferocity as the storm raging outside the building, developing into full blown jealousy.

“Paul and I are getting married!” Debbie exclaimed, looking to me for my reaction.

My eyes widened and my breathing became laboured. Face with them both and their sickening perfection, I suddenly became very much aware of my bedraggled and water-logged appearance. The nice white top I’d chosen for a night out with Debbie had been soaked through and was likely showing off my breasts, not to advantage like I’d planned, but more in an indecent sort of way. And my jeans, once form-fitting in a comfortable sort of way now just stuck to me in places where I’d rather they didn’t. I took a subconscious step back from the scene before me, wanting to be anywhere but here, but was stopped by a combination of the squashing sound my sneakers made and Debbie’s sudden frown as she began to realize I didn’t share her elation.

“That’s…great…” I tried to save face and failed.

Debbie pouted. “I know it seems unexpected and sudden,” she allowed, “but it makes sense when you think about it. Paul’s a dual citizen and is living and working in Michigan. If I want to be able to move in with him, we’ve got to get married. It’s just part of the immigration process.”

Whoa, immigrating? ‘Just part of the process…?’ I know Debbie moves fast, but holy hell.

I kept my thoughts to myself. “No, I’m sorry, I’m happy for you. I was just caught off guard, that’s all.”

Debbie beamed, assuaged. Paul smiled, that oh-so-cute lopsided smile of his that used to make me weak in the knees. Now it just made my stomach do uncomfortable flip-flops. “I get it,” he said. “You’re Debbie’s best friend, so it would stand to reason that you’d want to get to know the man she’s going to marry. Lucky for us, you and I go way back.”

“Yeah, lucky…” I mumbled. “If you’ll both excuse me, I’m going to go get myself a drink.”

***

Let me know in the comments below if you’d like me to continue sharing this story and if I get enough comments, I’ll put part two up on Thursday, next week! Thanks for reading.

The Many Worlds of Mirror World Publishing

As you may or may not be aware, we offer a membership program. For just $19.95 a year, members get unlimited access to our ever growing collection of ebooks, early access to new releases, a discount on paperbacks ordered from our store, and SO MUCH MORE…

Not sure yet if you want to join? Well, we also offer FREE SAMPLES of our books in each age category. Order a free sampler through our store and we’ll send you an ebook that contains the first chapter of each of the books listed in a given category AND we’ve thrown a bonus short story into each one! Here’re the links:

 Kids                                           Young Adult                                          Adult

At Mirror World, we’re all about the setting, so here’s a glimpse into a few of the worlds you can visit within our books:disenchanted-2 copy

  1. Historic Wethersfield, CT

The small tourist town of Wethersfield, Connecticut is the setting of Leigh Goff’s Disenchanted. Filled with magic spells, witches, curses, ancient family heirlooms and haunting prophecies, Wethersfield is the perfect place for the occult enthusiast. Oh, and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers in Sophie’s aunt’s garden, or sample some of her fantastic home cooking.Cover SDOD4

 
2. The Kingdom of Dorlith

Elizabeth J.M. Walker’s She Dreamed of Dragons is set in the magical kingdom of Dorlith. Dorlith is home to magic-users of all kinds and cats. Lots of cats. Enroll yourself in Mage Academy, or dance your way to the palace and sign up to compete in the Royal Tourney. Either way, you’ll have a blast, learn a lot, and maybe, just maybe, end up the next heir to the throne!

 

3. Crimson Winter

Officially the planet has no name, but the desert world of the Crimson Winter Trilogy, by yours truly, is certainly a unique place to visit if I do say so myself. Accessible only through the magic of the gods, this planet has gone eight hundred years without seeing the setting of the sun. Water is scarce, and so is shelter, with the majority of the population, the self-named, Roughlanders, living in ancient military outposts and surviving by means of trade caravans from Taiyou, one of the few remaining fertile areas.

ncbook4. Neo Central

A look into the city of the future! In the world of Neo Central, again by yours truly, only one city remains after the collapse of modern society. This city is a marvel of technology and magic, but it isn’t meant for everyone. Those who can’t feel the city’s current and access the magic it uses to run itself are treated as outcasts and left to live in the ancient ruins of York Slums, or in the dangerous catacombs beneath the city; the Tunnels.

 
Thanks for reading!

It’s Launch Day! The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum is here!

Written by David McLain and illustrated by Felix Eddy, The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum is really a marvel. It’s our longest and biggest book yet, fully illustrated, and it somehow manages to dip it toes into every genre that we publish. It’s not just a time travel novel, it’s got elements of fantasy, science fiction, romance, adventure, and best of all, comedy. It’s an ambitious, far reaching tale that spans the history of time itself from somewhere in the ice age to San Tiempo, an island out of time.

We’ve created an ebook version, a paperback version, and a hardcover version of this book, so whichever is your preferred method of reading, I encourage you to pick this book up and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. coverimagettrm

Title: The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum

Author Name: David McLain

Illustrator: Felix Eddy

Genre(s): Time Travel, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance, Comedy, Steampunk

Release Date: November 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

(http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/)

Saphs Book Promotions Follow the Tour:

http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2016/11/book-tour-schedule-time-travellers.html

 

About The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum:

 “If you need to know men’s secrets

Or if there’s something you need to find 

If you want to see the dinosaurs 

Or the insides of your mind.

If you want to watch the earth begin,

Or see what the apocalypse will leave behind,

You need to thank Alice Anderson,

For Alice is the mother of time.”

That was how the rhyme went. Every time traveler knew it. Everyone that is, except of course, for Alice herself, since she hadn’t invented time travel yet. Since returning to London, Alice’s life has been turned upside down. She’s been accused of murder and lost her position in the scientific community. Her only ally in this journey is a strange man who seems to think that Alice may be about to open up a strange new world of possibilities, but is probably not telling her everything he knows.

 

Read an Excerpt:

xtra-somethingfortheback“Hello,” Alice said, with a certain degree of reluctant enthusiasm.

“You sound American,” an annoyed voice on the other end of the line said.

Alice dropped her bag. “I’ve been in New York for three years,” Alice said. “You’re lucky I don’t sound like I’m from the Bronx.”

It was Alice’s sister, Wendy, giving what by her standards was a remarkably warm and friendly greeting. “You’re lucky I don’t steal your passport while you’re here and force you to teach Electrical Engineering at the University of the Orkneys. Electrical Engineering, that’s what you do, isn’t it?”

“You do realize that I just spent an entire evening in a metal tube, sitting on a very small seat that appeared to have been made from rocks confiscated from terrorists at security?”

“Terrorists use rocks these days?”

“Well, they’re harder to spot going through metal detectors, aren’t they?”

Ending a sentence with a question apparently sounded appropriately British and Wendy seemed to ease up a little.

“How was the flight, then?” she asked.

“I believe I aged three years,” Alice answered, looking for the way to the exit. “Do you want to have a drink?”

“Is that a rhetorical question?”

“In America, it’s considered polite to ask.”

“I believe that the University of the Orkneys has early tenure.”

Wendy took pride in her absolute loathing of all things American. She saw Alice’s decampment to New York as nothing less than a complete betrayal.

“Would you mind if we met in at my hotel?” Alice asked, trying to sound as if this were a polite request and not a desperate plea.

“I don’t know,” Wendy said. “There aren’t going to be a lot of randy outer-space types there, are there?”

“It’s an astronomy conference,” Alice insisted. “Not a Sci-Fi convention.”

There was the unmistakable sound of pursing lips on the other end of the phone. “What hotel are you staying at?” Wendy asked.

“The Kensington.”

Wendy thought about it. “I’ll meet you, but let’s meet somewhere else. There’s a pub down that way that I’ve had my eye on.”

“Wendy–”

“I have to drive in all the way from Brixton. You can walk a hundred metres out of the hotel lobby.”

Alice sighed. She decided not to point out that in fact she had come quite a bit farther than hundred meters. “What’s the name of the place?” she asked.

“The Gristle and Thorn,” Wendy said.

Alice spotted the word “EXIT” on the far side of the hall. “Couldn’t find any place with a ghastlier name? Was the ‘Skull and Crossbones’ already booked?”

“Just meet me,” Wendy insisted, and for a moment, she did her best to sound kind. “I’ve missed you.”

It has been said that all journeys begin with a single step, and while it might seem that Alice’s journey began all the way back at JFK, in actuality the first step of Alice’s journey began with a decision. It was not a big decision, not the kind of thing that would strike a historian as a significant chapter in the decline and fall of the Western Empire, but for Alice Anderson, it was the equivalent of crossing the Rubicon. It was the simplest thing really – a choice of restaurants.

“The Gristle and Thorn it is,” Alice said, picking up her bag again and shuffling through the crowd.14731184_1306675979395903_3666018888957435109_n

Meet the Author and Illustrator:

bio

David McLain is the author of the two novels: Dragonbait, and The Life of a Thief. His stories have been published in the anthologies Metastasis, Penny Dread II, and the Doctor Who Anthology Time Shadows, as well as over two dozen magazines. He has been featured on NPR’s Off the Page and the History of England podcast. He lives in New York.

Felix Eddy graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Alfred University. She is the author and illustrator of A Bestiary Alphabet, and has illustrated several book covers and children’s books. You can find out more about her at www.felixeddy.com

Connect with David McLain:

Website: http://mydogisgross.tumblr.com/

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-mclain-63b77963

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidMcLainDragonbait/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5814869.David_McLain

Publisher’s Website: www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/our-authors-2

 

Purchase Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING:

Paperback: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/the-time-travellers-resort-and-museum-paperback

Ebook : http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/the-time-travellers-resort-and-museum-ebook

Hardcover: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/the-time-travellers-resort-and-museum-hardcover

AMAZON.COM:

http://amzn.to/2eT8hRT

AMAZON.CA:

https://www.amazon.ca/Time-Travellers-Resort-Museum-ebook/dp/B01M66TQZV/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477600719&sr=8-1&keywords=david+mclain

KOBO:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-time-traveller-s-resort-and-museum

BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1124986783?ean=9781987976243

Chapters.Indigo:

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-time-travellers-resort-and/9781987976229-item.html?ikwid=David+McLain&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=3

The Laws of Time Travel

As you no doubt already know, The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum by David McLain and Felix Eddy is our featured book this month. That means, you get $3 OFF any version of this book in our store with the promo code: FEATURE during the month of November.

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What you may not know is how time travel works in David McLain’s world. So, I’m here to give you a lesson in “the theoretical parameters of multidimensional space time with regard to fictional realism.” Don’t worry, it will all make sense when you read the book!

First, The Five Basic Laws of Time, as used in The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum:coverimagettrm

Everything written is real.

You cannot break the laws of physics.

The past has passed.

The present always rolls forward.

The future is unwritten.

 The rest you can figure out yourself.

 -D.E.M.

Now, an excerpt from The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum on the subject of theoretical physics:

Once, in the distant memory of his youth, Malcolm Oliver had had an argument with his high school physics teacher. Teaching Malcolm physics was one of those lucky draws in the same way that being Muhammad Ali’s sparring partner was an incredible opportunity, so the argument was probably more or less inevitable. The argument concerned the universe, and how many dimensions of time and space we live in. The teacher (who apparently thought that Einstein was some kind of upstart whose theories were akin to pop music and movies starring teenagers who aren’t wearing underpants) was telling the class how even though it seemed as though we live in three dimensions, we actually lived in four, the first three being the dimensions of space, and the fourth being time. The instructor went on to point out, rather smugly, that although all objects move forward through time, it was only the creatures on this planet who really experience it, which was one of the things that made the Earth special. Malcolm, who knew perfectly well that the universe consisted of more dimensions than men could ever count, tried to at least bring the teacher into the twentieth century by pointing out that we don’t live in four dimensions, but six.

“How do you mean?” the teacher asked.

“Consider, a road,” Malcolm suggested. “You’re travelling down a highway and you come to a fork. As it happens, one path leads to fame and fortune and the other path leads to certain destruction.”

“All right,” the teacher said.

“Well, as it happens, you happen to take the right path, the one that leads to all the good things in life. Good for you, but that doesn’t mean that the other path isn’t there. It just means that you don’t perceive it, and the consequences that it entails.”

“So?” the teacher said.

“The fifth dimension,” Malcolm said, “is choice.”

There was tension in the air that was broken by one of the students shouting out. “What do you think the sixth dimension is, then?”

“Now consider all of the roads,” Malcolm suggested. “All of the roads that you won’t turn down. All of the roads you will never see. All of the roads that have never been made, but someday will be. They all exist. They’re all out there. The consequences of you going down them would be the same, whether you go down them or not.”

“The sixth dimension,” Malcolm explained, “is imagination.”

The teacher responded to this by moving on to a lecture about the laws of electromagnetism and giving Malcolm a D minus, which he judged as proof that Malcolm would never make it through Oxford. Malcolm, in turn, would eventually react to this by tearing through Newtonian physics with a wrecking ball.

Thanks for reading and I hope you consider pre-ordering your copy of The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum written by David McLain and illustrated by Felix Eddy! 

We’re all about Time Travel!

Next month, we’re releasing The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum by David McLain. More on that here.

But, if you haven’t picked up one of Sharon Ledwith’s Last Timekeepers books yet, this is your last chance to pick them up while they are still ON SALE this October. You have until Monday to head to our store, select which Timekeeper tale you want and punch in the promo code: FEATURE at check out to get $3.oo OFF. What are you waiting for? Go! http://www.mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com 

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To help you decide, here’s an excerpt from our newest release, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, book 2 in The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Series by Sharon Ledwith.

Laughter from across the field infiltrated his thoughts. Jordan glanced up to see a group of boys tossing a football back and forth. On the scoreboard above a new set of bleachers sat a turkey vulture, perusing the green. It spread its wings, stretching them to welcome the sun, and then took off into the sky toward the line of tall trees. Jordan turned his attention back to the acorn. It’s still hard to believe time travel is even possible. He plucked up the acorn and stood. He let it roll around on his palm. “Guess you can’t imagine being a mighty oak a hundred years from now, can you?”

Jordan grunted. He was wasting too much time with trivial thoughts. He tossed the acorn aside, set his jaw, and then squatted between the white lines on the green track. A large, light blue stone on the end of a copper-colored necklace around Jordan’s neck rolled out from under his T-shirt and clipped him under his chin, reminding him once again of his responsibilities as a Timekeeper.  His necklace was the same as those worn by the rest of the Timekeepers. Lilith called them Babel necklaces. They allowed the wearer to communicate in any language and also conveniently let Lilith summon the Timekeepers to the Arch of Atlantis when she needed them for a mission.

Jordan stuffed his Babel back underneath his shirt. He looked forward and cleared his mind. Immediately, Coach clicked on in his head. You have what it takes inside of you to remove any barriers that will confront you.

Jordan nodded. The voice he had dubbed Coach had always been a part of him, and there for him, ever since he could remember. In a way, Coach was his form of discipline, personal trainer and mentor wrapped into one. It was probably also the reason he was so awesome at sports. Jordan  listened and focused before making his play.

“Got it, Coach,” Jordan said aloud. Then he did a mental count. Ready, set—

“Who ya talking to, Jockstrap?”

Jordan stumbled. He shook his head and looked up. Amanda Sault was standing on the sideline, close to the bleachers, her brown eyes staring at him. He’d been tagged ‘Jockstrap’ by Amanda ever since their first Timekeeper mission.

He sighed heavily and waved her off. “No one. I was just giving myself a pep talk.”

“If you say so—” Amanda stifled a giggle “—Coach.”

Jordan’s ears burned. He stood, brushed his blue track pants off, and pulled down his white T-shirt printed with White Pines’ wolf logo. “What are you doing here?”

“I was taking a shortcut through the field,” she replied, shrugging. “Is that a crime?”

Jordan opened his mouth, but was abruptly cut off by Amanda squealing, “OMG! What a beautiful acorn!” She picked it up. “I’ve never seen one this big before.”

Jordan rolled his eyes. “It’s an acorn. Get over yourself.”

Amanda scowled. “Don’t you ever notice the beauty nature has to offer?”

He shrugged. “Only when I’m running, sliding, or tackling across it.”

“My grandmother taught me a lot about the signs and symbols of nature over the summer when I was staying with her at the reservation and this”—she held up the acorn— “is a sign of great self-potential.”

“Then you keep it.” Jordan smirked. “You’re gonna need all the help you can get with your grades this year.”

Amanda’s eyes widened. Her long, chestnut hair was pulled back into a single braid as usual, but there was something different about her. Jordan couldn’t immediately figure it out. She wore faded jeans and a pink T-shirt underneath a jean jacket with deep pockets and her blue nylon knapsack was slung over one shoulder. Her Babel necklace was partially visible around her neck, but like his, the rest of it remained hidden. A pair of brand-name running shoes—white with pink laces—caught his eye. That’s it! Jordan nodded. It’s gotta be the new shoes.

Amanda stuffed the acorn in her pocket, then advanced on Jordan. She poked him in the stomach. “What’s your problem, Jockstrap? Three weeks into school and barely a ‘hi’ comes out of your mouth when we see each other in the hallways or in class. Have you forgotten that we’re Timekeepers together?”

How could I forget? Jordan snorted. “My world doesn’t revolve around you or the others,” he replied, rubbing his belly. “Besides, I’ve been too busy playing—” He stopped. Now Jordan knew what was different about Amanda. “Are…are you wearing make-up?”

Amanda’s bronze skin deepened to a reddish hue. “Um, yeah. So?”

Jordan laughed. “Who is he?”

Amanda frowned. “Who is who?”

“The guy you’re wearing make-up for,” Jordan replied. “Oh wait, is it that geek in English class? Or, I know, the dork in math class, the one who keeps helping you out.”

Amanda shoved him. “I’m wearing it for me! It was a gift from Treena for my birthday. You know, the other day, when Melody invited you over for cake?”

Jordan’s jaw dropped. “That was for your birthday? Oh, um, sorry Amanda, but I…I had football practice. I couldn’t ditch that.”

“And I thought you were a team player,” she said, stepping back. “It’s all about you, Jordan. That’s your life motto. That’s who your world revolves around. You could have shown your face after football practice.”

“Whoa, that’s not fair,” he replied, raking his fingers through his tawny hair. “I have obligations. I have responsibilities. You don’t get it.”

Thanks for reading! If you want to keep going, pick up this book in our store, or wherever you buy books, like Amazon.com