Excerpts

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 

It’s Release Day! The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret by Sharon Ledwith

If you’re a fan of Sharon Ledwith’s The Last Timekeepers, then this is a day you’ve long been waiting for. The sequel is here. The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret is book 2 in the series and the Timekeepers are back together. This time, for an adventure in Amsterdam in 1942. Read on to learn more about this thrilling time travel adventure!

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

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Book Details:

Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book 2

Author Name: Sharon Ledwith

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Time Travel

Release Date: October 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

 

About The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret:

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

Read an Excerpt:

“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing: Paperback: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/the-last-timekeepers-and-the-dark-secret-paperback

eBook: http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/the-last-timekeepers-and-the-dark-secret-ebook

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2dJvpoL

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Last-Timekeepers-Dark-Secret

KOBO: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-last-timekeepers-and-the/9781987976199

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/the-last-timekeepers-and-the-dark-secret-sharon-ledwithSaphs Book Promotions

Follow the Tour: http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2016/10/book-tour-schedule-last-timekeepers-and.html

Meet the Author:

Sharon Ledwith #1 HeadshotSharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her 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, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

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

 

Escape to the past and have a blast.

Would you like a free sample?

Over the weekend we were in Toronto at the Word on the Street Festival and I discovered just how refreshing it was to know that nearly every person who stopped by our booth was already a self-professed reader. Typically at craft shows, conventions, or even our own events, it’s a mix of different types of people, some who enjoy reading and some who don’t. From a marketing standpoint, the conversation is very different when you already know that the person in front of you likes what you have to offer. The conversation essentially begins at a different point. Instead of, ‘Do you like to read?’ it’s ‘What kinds of books are your favorite?’ or ‘Are you looking for anything particular today?’

At the festival, we also got the chance to try out something new: Free Samples. I’ve created three different ‘Samplers’ and I’m giving them away to anyone who wants one. They’re ebooks that contain the first chapter of each of our books in a given age category. There’s one for kids, one for young adults, and one for our adult collection. So now, you can sample what we have to offer which might help you decide which book to read first, or if our membership program is for you.

The Kids one contains:MWKS1 copy.jpg

Black Lightning by K.S. Jones
The Legend of Ghost Dog Island by Rita Monette
The Curse at Pirate’s Cove by Rita Monette
The Secret in Mossy Swamp by Rita Monette
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith
The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret by Sharon Ledwith
Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith

And a bonus short story not found anywhere else:
The Hunting Dog by Rita Monette

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The Young Adult one contains:

She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker
Neo Central by Justine Alley Dowsett
Crimson Winter by Justine Alley Dowsett
The Watcher by Joshua Pantalleresco
Stormdancer by Joshua Pantalleresco
Disenchanted by Leigh Goff
This Night Sucks by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

And a bonus short story:
The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J. M. Walker
And the Adult one contains:MWKS3 copy.jpg

Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord
The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum by David McLain
Mirror’s Hope by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Mirror’s Heart by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Unintended by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
Forbidden by Matthew Freake

And a bonus short story:
The Queen’s Intent by Justine Alley Dowsett

These ebooks are available FOR FREE in our online store! Just follow the links to check them out or head over to our online store for the whole collection.

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In other news, our Worlds Collide Gala is in two days and if you’re local to Windsor, Ontario we hope you can make it out to see us. With several authors, prizes and the birth of our imprint, Adventure Worlds Press, it will be a night to remember! RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1186485788080361/

Thanks for reading!

Cover Reveal: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret by Sharon Ledwith

Suit up and get your spy gear because The Last Timekeepers are back and they’re going undercover! In the Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, our heroes are sent to Amsterdam during World War II to uncover a dark secret and keep a precious book from falling into the wrong hands. This action-packed time travel spy thriller is the sequel that Timekeeper fans have been waiting for. If you haven’t started the series yet, go on and pick up The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, then come back here so you don’t miss the big reveal.

I have to say, I am very proud of this cover. I designed and created it myself and it took about a million tries to get it just right. I hope that means I’m entitled to a little bragging. Well, anyways, see for yourself:

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Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book 2

Author Name: Sharon Ledwith

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, WWII

Release Date: October 17, 2016

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

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And here’s an excerpt:

“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

 

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

 

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

 

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

 

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

 

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

 

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

 

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

 

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

 

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

 

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

 

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

 

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

 

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

 

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

 

Unearthing the uncanny one book at a time.

Sharon Ledwith #1 Headshot

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her 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, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

 

Connect with Sharon:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seledwith

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharonledwith

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.ca/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116758820349834035390#116758820349834035390/posts

Author’s Website: http://sharonledwith.com/

Unintended: A Comedy of Errors

Uncover3There’s still three days left of the sale on our featured book for August! Go to our store and use the promo code: FEATURE at check out for $3.00 OFF the price of the ebook, making Unintended by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred only $0.99!

Kenzie en Shareed, daughter of the Northern Clan Chief, is sent south to the Kingdom of Ismera to uphold a treaty between the two lands by marrying the prince. Somehow she manages to marry the wrong man in this romantic comedy about good intentions and their unintentional consequences.

Here’s an excerpt:

Kenzie suddenly felt ill and more than a little dizzy. “You are not Prince Kadrean…?” The golden-haired stranger she’d just married wore a look of concern mixed with confusion. “Then who are you?”

“Uh…” He cleared his throat, made a little uncomfortable by the stares of the clanspeople. “Lord Garron D’Arbonne…at your service, Your Highness.”

An uncomfortable silence fell over them and the clansfolk, but Kenzie couldn’t find it in her to break it or fill it with anything meaningful. Her entire focus was on keeping herself from hyperventilating.

I just married this Garron D’Arbonne…not the Prince. Not my intended. Kenzie was in full panic at the gravity of the error she had just committed. How can I fix this?! The marriage bond is forever, never able to be undone. A man can remarry, under certain circumstances, but can a woman? Would they even allow such a thing?

My father will be so disappointed in me. He wanted this treaty between our lands to work. I’ve only just arrived and I’ve already ruined it. What am I going to do?!

“Well,” Garron cleared his throat again, “we should be going. I’m sure Prince Kadrean is eager to meet you.”

Gesturing forward, her husband held out his arm for her.

No, I mustn’t think of him that way, she admonished herself. He is my husband, but he’s right, I’m supposed to marry Prince Kadrean. There is a treaty. Our marriage is law. It must happen.

I’m so stupid. I could have avoided this if I had just thought to ask his name.

Her mentor had spent long hours making sure she understood the nuances of Ismeran culture, so Kenzie knew what was expected of her now. She slid her arm into Garron’s, even though she felt very conscious about doing so, and her people’s cheers resumed.

“What’s that all about?” Garron leaned into whisper to her, which didn’t help her self-consciousness.

“My people are happy for us,” she did her best to explain, “Most of them do not know English.”

“Oh,” he answered simply, considering this a moment. “I’m glad they approve…but what are they happy about, exactly? Pardon my questions, but I feel as if I’m missing something here.”

Garron took hold of the reins of his horse as they reached it, and with Seraphina leading both Kenzie’s horse and her own they were now reaching the open gates of the city, where it seemed that more people waited to greet them.

“They approve of our recent marriage…” Kenzie meant to say the words clearly and confidently, but they came out as a whisper instead.

Unfortunately, Garron heard her. “Our what?” he demanded as the roar of the crowd and the renewed fanfare swallowed them and there was no more time for words.

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Justine Alley Dowsett (right) and Murandy Damored (left) are the co-writing duo behind Mirror’s Hope, Mirror’s Heart and now Unintended. Their next novel, Uncharted, is coming early 2017. In addition to writing novels, they’re inseparable sisters and the unstoppable force behind Mirror World Publishing.

 

 

A Fusion of Epic Poetry and Graphic Art

The Watcher by Joshua Pantalleresco and its sequel, Stormdancer, are our featured books this month! Get the ebooks for $0.99 each with promo code: DRAGON in our online bookstore and enjoy an epic post-apocalyptic journey of discovery shown through a unique fusion of poetry and graphic art by the talented Florence Chan! Here’s a sneak peek:

  1. The Watcher

 alive and aware as the light comes in

rising to the sound of the morning drum

it’s plantation time

all of us work extra hard

they said we’d have bigger shares this year

if we did good

we wanted to try

I look to my mom and dad still sleeping

their hands calloused

their skins toughened

catching that last extra minute of shut eye

before they come

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the light darkens

snouts forming silhouettes in the shadows

scaly reptilian eyes and angel wings gaze down on them

he (she/it?) knows

for just a second, there is mercy

then justice rears its ugly dragon head

and roars

time to get to work

my job is atop the watchtower

I watch the skies for weather

we cannot work in rain or hail

if I see a cloud, I clang the bell

easy peasy and important

two dragons guard me from below

wielding their sticks of flame, they look up

making sure I do what I’m told

I would’ve anyway

I wanted that extra bit of honey

I wanted to feel the crunch of blackberries

I would be good until harvest time

days and weeks pass

the fallow ground sprouts with crops

corn and beans can be seen for miles

I gaze into the horizon

the skyscraper gazes back

it once stood tall and proud

now it is bent and tilted

covered in trees and shrubs

unable to tell the forest from itself

I cannot help but wonder

what were we like back before the dragons came?

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were we like them?

strong and proud

not caring about how hard we worked others?

many claim we were better then

more prosperous and possessive

me, I think we were the same

struggling and starving

tilling concrete instead of corn

working to eat a decent meal

had we really changed at all?

even more time passes

I stand atop the tower

thinking, thinking

I don’t know when it happened

But now I see things differently

I know what’s going to happen at harvest time

without counting a single crop

it is not enough

it was never enough

we would always fall short

my parents would be waiting for me at shift’s end

tears in their eyes

wondering just where they went wrong

blaming themselves for nothing

I’m furious now

I imagine wrapping my hands around a dragon’s neck

squeezing and squeezing

until I hear something snap

and I am satisfied

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I am unafraid

death doesn’t scare me

because I know the truth

next year it’d start again

the same empty promises, the same cycle repeating

we’d work and work and work

and get not a shred more than a crumb from their table

the way it has always been

it doesn’t have to be this way

I have to be patient

soon my chance will come

I’ll bide my time until then

waiting until their guard is down

I’d steal one of their sticks of flame

using it on their headquarters

I’d burn them to the ground

afterwards, I’d seek something

there just had to be something better out there

I just needed to be brave enough to find it.

I just needed one chance

until then, I’ll wait and watch

and be ready

one day, I’ll be free

Excerpt: Black Lightning by K.S. Jones

Just a reminder, in celebration of Black Lightning’s launch this month, the Ebook is ON SALE in our store until May 31st! Use the promo code: LIGHTNING to bring it to $0.99!

Black Lightning Cover Final

After his mother’s car accident, Mrs. Abel had driven Samuel to the hospital and stayed until Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack arrived. “Don’t worry,” is all she would say to him. “You must have faith.”

But when Samuel saw the doctors and nurses rush to the Critical Care unit where they had hidden his mother, he worried anyway. He had paced the long hospital hall from end to end while Mrs. Abel read one magazine after another.

At nightfall, Dr. Reed, a frail middle-aged man wearing blue medical garb, emerged through the double doors marked Authorized Personnel Only. With a determined gait, he walked straight to Samuel. Reeking of antiseptic, he asked, “Are your aunt and uncle here yet?” When Samuel shook his head, the doctor stiffened then announced, “Your mother is still in serious condition. We’re doing what we can.” Then, without waiting, he turned and walked back through the double doors as if his job were done.

“What did he mean?” Samuel asked Mrs. Abel.

But instead of explaining, she said his mother was in God’s hands. Then she promised Uncle Jack and Aunt Janis would be with him soon.

Samuel hoped, prayed, and paced. He put all his trust in God to heal his mother.

As the full moon rose high into the night sky, Mrs. Abel fell asleep on the waiting room couch. She was still sleeping when the doctor returned.

“I’m sorry,” Dr. Reed announced. “Your mother passed away.”

With one shove, Samuel slammed the wire magazine stand to the floor, sending the bound pages sliding across the linoleum like racing sleds. “NO!

He hated the drunk driver who had slammed into his mother’s car and he hated the doctors and nurses who couldn’t heal her. He was especially angry with God for taking her, but the fury that burned most seared straight through his own heart. Why hadn’t his prayers been strong enough to save her?

A fiery pain burned deep inside him, so clear and sharp it almost drove out his sorrow. Raging against faith, Samuel looked up and shouted, “You can’t take my mom!” But when no reply came, he slammed one foot and then the other against the floor. He envisioned cities and people beneath his soles. Bad people. Monsters. He would murder them all as payment for taking his mother. But as he stomped, the truth slowly settled. He was powerless to do anything at all that mattered. Feeling his strength drain, Samuel dropped to his knees, sobbing. His mother was dead.

KS Jones

Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.

M|W News: How to write an engaging opening

I’ve been reading a lot of submissions lately. To put that into perspective, that’s a lot of reading the first three chapters of books and deciding what works and what doesn’t and if the manuscript I’m looking at has the potential I’m looking for.

The one thing I’ve been noticing lately that really makes or break those first few chapters, or even the opening few paragraphs is how engaging the story is or isn’t. What makes something engaging or not is hard to pin down, but there are a few things that can help.

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Consider your opening line

I can’t stress enough how important your opening line is! It should hook your reader and make them want to read on. Some examples from Mirror World books that I can offer are:

“A little violet envelope with sparkling silver wings fluttered through the fog in search of its destination.” – She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

“When Mirena received the letter, she knew it could only contain bad news.” – Mirror’s Hope by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

“A baby’s cry.” – Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord

These are all very different opening lines, but they have one thing in common. They all subtly put a question into the reader’s mind. They’re intriguing. Just by reading them you want to know more. Where is the violet envelope going? What sort of bad news is Mirena about to receive? How does she know it’s bad? What is a baby doing in the Coliseum?

They also all set the tone of the story you’re about to read by giving just the tiniest bit of information. Again, so that you want to know more and therefore keep reading. Elizabeth’s opening line in She Dreamed of Dragons tells the reader clearly that they are entering into a fantasy world where envelopes fly and anything is possible. Adam Gaylord does the opposite and subverts the reader’s expectations by starting a gladiator novel with the sound of a baby crying in the last place you would expect to hear that.

 ‘In media res’inmediasres

Another way to generate interest in the story you’re telling in the first few opening lines is to start in the middle of whatever is going on. Your first scene is just as important as your first line. It should be interesting and in the thick of things while still being clear enough that the reader is able to follow along. Your goal should be to immerse your reader in the story immediately.

Here’s an example from Leigh Goff’s young adult fantasy novel, Disenchanted

While scooping dried witches wort into sachets at the shop counter, I watched a girl with dark upswept hair, wearing a Puritan cap and dress, emerge from behind a tall display shelf of Aunt Janie’s Forbidden Passion Potion. She looked to be a bit older than me, maybe seventeen or eighteen.

“Are you one of the historic foundation’s tour guides? If so, you get a discount on the merchandise.”

As you can see by the example, ‘in media res’ doesn’t need to refer to being in the middle of the plot or in the middle of an action sequence, but it does need to be where things are happening. The opening scene should also be relevant to your story and directly tie in to what your story is about. A good way to do this is to start with whatever scene it is that kicks your plot into action. In the case of Leigh Goff’s Disenchanted, it’s the meeting of this girl dressed like a Puritan that sets Sophie’s story into motion and the Puritan girl is directly relevant to the plot. (No spoilers, you’ll just have to read it!)

Avoid infodump or passive backstory details

Backstory about the info-dumptruckcharacters and the setting are important. It helps to explain what’s going on and makes clear to the reader how the characters got to where they are now. However, it is extremely important not to just get this all out at once (especially at the beginning) even if you might be tempted to. Find creative ways to reference the past without just telling the reader what happened. Or, spread the information through the action instead of telling it all at once.

Continuing the scene from above, Leigh Goff does this very well in Disenchanted:

“Are you one of the historic foundation’s tour guides? If so, you get a discount on the merchandise.”

It wasn’t unusual for ordinary girls to be touring around Wethersfield, Connecticut, in period costumes, pointing out graves of the seriously self-righteous Puritans who participated in hanging the Wethersfield witches. However, I knew all the ordinaries who had summer jobs with the foundation, and I didn’t recognize her, not that she looked like one of them beyond the outfit.

I tightened the strings on the sachets and tossed them into a large decorative basket on the shop floor. I wiped the honey-scented witcheswort dust on my spring green apron.

“Would you be interested in sampling our Tulips to Kiss Stick? The tulip pollen lushifies your lips.”

Information about the setting and the history of the town is provided as context and it is neatly tucked between the dialogue and the action, so the scene continues without getting bogged down with information and the reader learns what they need to know to follow along.

 Show, don’t show-dont-tell-checkhovtell

I’m sure you’ve heard this advice a million times: Show, don’t tell! But what does it mean and how do you do it?

It has a little to do with all the things I’ve already mentioned. The important thing to keep in mind is never to tell the reader something when you can show it to them instead. This is another way you can avoid info dumps. In the example above, Leigh Goff never actually mentions that her protagonist, Sophie, works at her Aunt Janie’s shop, nor does she expressly say what kind of shop it is exactly, yet all of those things are clear by Sophie’s actions and the products she interacts with.

Showing also means using active words and language to describe what’s happening in your story. Try to avoid telling us what has already happened and instead focus on what currently going on.

 

So, take a good look at your first line, your first paragraph and your first page and check your story to see how engaging it is. Does it draw readers in? Does it hook them by subtly presenting questions so they want to read more? Does it provide the information they need to follow along without bogging them down in the details? And most of all, does it show instead of tell?

If you have any more tips for writing an engaging opening, make sure to leave them in the comments below! And if you’re looking for more information on this topic, be sure to check out this week’s episode of Mirror World News:

 

 

Cover Reveal: The Curse at Pirate’s Cove by Rita Monette!

Introducing our last new release for 2015 and the second installment in the Nikki Landry Swamp Legend Series, The Curse at Pirate’s Cove by Rita Monette will officially launch November 17th, 2015!

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“When one man’s treasure is another man’s curse.”

Nikki Landry is turning eleven years old, and is looking forward to riding her bike to school. That is until it falls apart. Papa can’t afford a new one. Is she doomed to ride the smelly old school bus from now on?

Hearing of an old pirate ship, and a legend about long-ago pirates burying treasure on a nearby swamp island, Nikki sees a way out. But when she makes a birthday wish for the pirate’s gold, things go terribly wrong. Did her wish trigger an ancient curse?

Join Nikki and her friends as they find themselves sailing away aboard a haunted schooner with ghostly pirates into the Gulf of Mexico … and into the year eighteen fourteen.

How will they ever find their way back home?

 Piratescoverlayoutyellow copy

Here’s an excerpt:

 

Eleven. I thought I’d feel all grown up and stuff when that day came. I looked at my hands. Same as yesterday. Nothing really changed, ’cept—for a few months anyway—I was older than my best friend, Patti. I poked my dog, Snooper, in the side. “Wake up, lazy bones. It’s my birthday. I’m Uh-lev-vun.” A giggle crept up into my throat. Papa had said when I turned three syllables I could ride my bike to school instead of taking the smelly old school bus. And today—the second day of February—is that day.

The early dawn light peeking through my window threw ghostly shadows around my tiny room. A tugboat’s horn honked in the distance. Soon, it would make its way down the bayou, pushing a loaded barge past our houseboat. Papa’s roosters crowed one after the other as if competing for the morning call. The strange creature living out there on Ghost Dog Island still howled across the swamp sometimes at night, but I’d sorta gotten used to it. Bayou Platte seemed eerily peaceful.

“Nikki, you up?” Mama yelled from the kitchen.

“Yes, ma’am.” I swung my legs over the edge of the bed, and my bare feet touched the cold floor. I quickly pulled ’em up and jerked the covers back over my toes. “Brrr, it’s freezing in here.”

Mama came into my room. “We got a little bit of a cold snap last night. Put your boots on today.” She walked over to my closet. “Here’s a flannel shirt you can wear. It’s only fifty degrees out, but it should warm up later today.” Mama laid the shirt and a pair of socks on my bed and sat down next to me. “By the way, honey, happy birthday.”

I smiled wide as a bullfrog’s grin. “I get to ride my bike to school today, right?” I slid on my socks.

“That’s what we talked about.” She handed me the shirt. “It’s a long ride, and I’m still uncertain if that old bike is safe.”

“It’s not that far. I’ve—” I pressed my lips together so I wouldn’t blab. Mama didn’t know how many times I’d snuck off to town on that rusty old thing.

“We’ll talk some more about it at breakfast.”

“Humph.” I slammed my head back down on the pillow. I knew what talking more about it meant. Snooper growled from under the quilt as if to say, let me sleep some more.

Mama stood up. “Stop acting like you’re still a baby, and I might think you’re mature enough to ride to school by yourself.” She crossed the small room, her slippers scraping against the rough wooden floor. “Now get dressed and come to breakfast.” She closed the door behind her.

“She’s not gonna let me, Snooper. I just know it.” I sat up and threw my clothes at the door. “That’s okay, I’ll ride my bike far, far away and she’ll never even know where I’m at. Then she’ll see how mature I am.”

My beagle let out a low whimper.

The Curse at Pirate’s Cove is expected to launch November 17th, 2015. Until then, keep an eye out for pre-order opportunities and more information by following this blog or signing up for our new release newsletter here.

Rita-studio pic cropped-cropped

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.

Her middle grade series, The Nikki Landry Swamp Legends, is based on tales told by her father—who made his living in those bayous—of reasons to stay out of the swamp.

She currently lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, she loves watching the many birds that make their habitat on the Cumberland Plateau, working in the garden, and frequenting waterfalls.

It’s Launch Day: Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord is Here!!

Even though it’s September now, our Summer of New Releases isn’t quite over. (We’re going all the way to October 17th with Rita Monette’s The Curse at Pirate’s Cove!) Today we are happy to announce the release of a fantastic epic adventure novel by first time novelist Adam Gaylord. Sol of the Coliseum shows you the life of a gladiator through the eyes of Sol, an orphan born a slave deep within the confines of the Great Coliseum. It is action-packed and full of adventure. It also has a gorgeous cover by Jon Guerdrum of Guerdrum Art. Check it out:

solcover1

Survival is an act of defiance.

Deep in the bowels of the Coliseum of the mighty Astrolian Empire, the orphan, Sol, is raised by a makeshift family of guards and fellow slaves to become the most famed Gladiator in all the land. Alongside K’nal, his giant Frorian fighting partner, Sol must battle cunning warriors and fantastic beasts to delight the crowd and stay alive. But when an oppressed populace transforms Sol into a revolutionary folk hero, the Empire sends its most ruthless assassin to put an end to the uprising. Sol’s only chance is to do what no slave has ever done: escape from the Coliseum and the only home he’s ever known.

Saphs Book Promotions

Follow the Blog Tour:

http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2015/09/tour-schedule-adam-gaylords-sol-of.html

Title: Sol of the Coliseum

Author Name:  Adam Gaylord

Genre(s): Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Tags: Fantasy, Adventure, Epic, Coliseum, Gladiator

Length: Approx. 259 pages

e-Book:  978-1-987976-10-6

Paperback:  978-1-987976-09-0

Release Date: September 17, 2015

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

Read an Excerpt:

Grall gave the helmet a whack and a twist. “How’s it fit?”

Sol finally found his voice. “Perfect.”

“I had the smith add some extra padding. That way you can take it out as you grow.”

“You had this made for me?”

“That’s no hand-me-down boy, that’s the real thing. I heard that one of the smiths was an armorer on the outside. I wasn’t sure he’d be too keen on the idea but it turned out he jumped at the chance. Said it was a waste of his talent to be stuck making chains and repairing cages all day. By the looks of that helmet, I’d say he was right.”

This time they both jumped at the rap on the door. Sol’s eyes went wide as a rather fat guard stepped inside.

“I’ll bring him out,” Grall said sharply.

Confused and eyeing Sol’s helmet, the guard backed out while mumbling, “Yes, Sir.”

Grall grabbed Sol by the shoulders. “You’ll be fine. Stay calm, ignore the crowd, and remember what I told you.” He guided Sol out the door and passed him to the other guard with a nod.

Sol was led to the entrance of a long dark tunnel. As they made their way up the sloping passage, he considered Grall’s words. He thought about Oci and about the other women that had helped raise him. He thought about the smith, so happy to take up his art and craft the helmet he now wore. He thought about Grall, a guard and a friend. He thought about his mother. As these faces crossed his mind he felt a part of himself change, felt it harden. This is my home. They are my family. I fight for them.

The passage ended at a large wooden gate. Sunlight and sound trickled through the slight gap under the door. The fat guard drew two swords. One he handed to Sol, the other he kept. Sol tested the weight of the weapon. It was a short sword and a little pommel-heavy, but the blade was straight and sharp. He twirled it and the guard stepped back, his own sword raised defensively.

Sol lowered the weapon. “What’s your name?”

The guard looked over his shoulder as if Sol might be addressing someone else. “Ramsey,” he answered suspiciously.

“Ramsey, will you be here when I get back?”

If you get back,” Ramsey corrected.

Sol knelt at the foot of the massive gate. He bowed his head and closed his eyes. The dark passage shook with the roar of the crowd, smelling strongly of dirt, blood, and urine. He ran his fingers over the polished metal of his new helm and nodded. “I’ll see you then.”

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Kindle http://amzn.to/1i60QIx

Paperback http://amzn.to/1K34I4v

Mirror World Publishing

ebook http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/sol-of-the-coliseum-e-book

Paperback http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/sol-of-the-coliseum

HeadShot_AGaylord

Meet the Author: Adam Gaylord lives with his beautiful wife, daughter, and less beautiful dog in Loveland, CO. When not at work as a biologist he’s usually hiking, drinking craft beer, drawing comics, writing short stories, or some combination thereof. He’s had stories published in Penumbra eMag, Dark Futures Magazine, Silver Blade Magazine, and Plasma Frequency Magazine, among others.