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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Captain?” Nell questioned.

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

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

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

“Shit, is that a Terran dreadnought?”

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

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

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

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We’re revealing the cover of The Ghost in the Gardens by HL Carpenter!

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

All.

The.

Time.

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

The ghost is not in the plan.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery

Page Count: 152 pages

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

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

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This book launches June 17th, 2018! Saphs Book Promotions

Pre-Order Links:

Mirror World Publishing

Ebook: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/juvenile/products/the-ghost-in-the-gardens-e-book

Paperback: https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/juvenile/products/the-ghost-in-the-gardens-paperback

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GAWW6Z

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

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

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

The Silent Serpent by J.A. Dowsett – Part 1

It’s time for another short story! This one’s not a pre-quel, or attached to any book at all, it’s a stand-alone sci-fi adventure following a group of characters that have been bouncing around in my head for a while. Please, enjoy! For more about me, just look around, or check our authors page here. 

***

The Silent Serpent hurtled through space at a speed only made possible by Jump technology. The old cargo hauler shuddered in protest at the velocity, but the pilot, Nell, paid the vessel no mind. Instead, her golden-green cat eyes were narrowed lazily over the cards in her hand as she deliberated her next play, her metal-tipped tail twitching idly.

Xendri watched her carefully, but the black and gold tortoiseshell cat, or Pentaurii as her race was called, gave nothing away by her expression; she was good at this game. Nell played the Queen of Spades, placing it on the foldout tray between them in the cockpit. Xendri frowned, looking between the cards at play and the ones in her hand before realizing all of a sudden that she’d been outmaneuvered. There was no way she could win now.

Xendri clicked her tongue in displeasure, speaking a few less-than-polite words in her native language before standing. “I’m going to check on the cargo.”  

“Cargo?” Nell questioned. “We’re mid-jump. It’s not going anywhere.”

“Yeah, but I haven’t seen it yet.”

Nell rolled her eyes. “Suit yourself.” Yawning, she put her hand of cards down as she turned to inspect the ship’s controls, absently going through the motions her job as thes ship’s secondary pilot required.

Xendri left her there and swung out into the main body of the ship, nimbly making her way to the ladder that led down into the detachable cargo bay.   

“Hey, Kiddo,” a deep male voice rumbled, catching her off guard. “Where you goin’?”

Looking up, Xendri found one of the loaders, a human man named nicknamed Quattro, looking at her curiously. He was much taller than her, six feet to her four, well-muscled, and he wore a impressive-looking pistol on his belt. Despite all that, there was no malice in his expression or in his glowing purple eyes, so she decided to let the ‘nickname’ he’d chosen for her slide, for now.

“Looking around,” she answered briefly. “Stretching my legs.”

Quattro nodded. “Yeah, gets a little boring in Jump-space, doesn’t it? Alright, go on then. Can’t hurt nuthin’.”

But Xendri wasn’t listening to him any longer; her eyes had fixated on the other device his belt contained. “Hey, can I borrow that?” she asked, gesturing with her chin.

Quattro looked down, confused. “You mean the scanner?” He unhooked it and tossed it to her. “Sure thing, Kiddo, knock yourself out.”

Xendri nodded, catching and pocketing the device before scurrying down the ladder, dismissing the burly loader from her thoughts. She took the ladder rungs two at a time and jumped the rest of the way to the floor of the cargo bay, landing gracefully on all fours before standing and making sure she was alone. The cargo bay was quiet; the only sound the occasionally creak to remind her that they were still moving very very fast, even if the floor beneath her feet felt stationary. She tapped the metal-plated floor with her foot as if to test the artificial gravity, but it felt the same as standing on any other surface. Space travel was weird that way, the universe had no up and down, but people made their own. Xendri wasn’t sure she’d ever really get used to it. She shrugged and pulled the scanner device out of her pocket, fiddling with the dials and buttons until she got the display to show what she wanted.

Walking slowly between the long cargo containers that filled the bay, Xendri let the scanner device do its thing, even going so far as to climb on top of one of the massive containers to scan closer to the middle.

“That’s odd,” Xendri muttered after some time spent in contemplation of what the hand-held device was telling her.

Eyes still on her findings, Xendri climbed back down off the crate, then back up the ladder to the rest of the ship. There was no sign of Quattro, but she wasn’t looking for him anyways; she went straight for the Captain’s quarters.

To be continued… 

The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J. M. Walker – FINALE!!

“Corbin is my boyfriend,” Chantelle said.

“Corbin is your boyfriend? I didn’t even know he was dating anyone,” Trina said, glancing at Oriella.

“Because we were keeping it a secret, because my friends would never approve of me dating a phoenix mage,” Chantelle said. “But then Loukas asked me to the dance. I told him I could never date anyone from Knox House but he was persistent, so finally I told him I had a boyfriend. I refused to tell him who, but he followed me, he saw me with Corbin and he got angry that I was already dating someone from Knox.”

“Wait, what’s wrong with dating someone from Knox House?” Trina asked.

“Pixie mages don’t date anyone from…from Knox House,” Chantelle said. “Loukas knew I didn’t want my friends to know I was dating the don of Knox House, so he forced me to steal the feather. He didn’t say why, but he said if I didn’t he’d tell everyone at Flora House my secret. But then Eddy came to talk to me and he was asking all sorts of weird questions about the feather and Knox House. I had no idea the stupid feather meant so much to Knox House. I didn’t know it was your heirloom. I didn’t know Loukas made it into some stupid game to steal Corbin’s room.”

“First of all, it’s not a stupid feather, it’s Sir Gadison’s Golden Phoenix Feather,” Oriella said, “and second of all, it’s not just Corbin’s room, it’s a suite that takes up the entire fourth floor and has its own pool table.”

Trina nodded. “Loukas was the one who suggested that the suite should be the prize.”

“I’m sorry,” Chantelle said. “I didn’t mean to cause such a mess. I got the feather back from where I hid it in the greenhouse and took it with me into the woods. I was waiting for dinner, when everyone would go to the meal hall and I could sneak back into Knox House and return the feather, so no one would win and Corbin wouldn’t lose his suite because of me. But then the greenhouse caught fire and I figured I could sneak back in while everyone was gawking at the fire.”

“So…let me get this straight,” Trina said. “All of this happened because of some stupid pixie mage dating rules?”

Chantelle’s cheeks turned pink with embarrassment. “I’m sorry.”

“I hate pixies,” Oriella said.

Trina sighed and looked at the golden phoenix feather she held in her hand. “I’m putting the feather back before the others return,” she said. “And you,” she said, pointing at Chantelle, “are escaping through our window so no one sees you leaving Knox House. You’re going back to Flora House and pretending none of this happened.”

“But…you’re going to take credit for finding the feather? You’re going to take Corbin’s suite?” Chantelle asked.

“No, we’re not,” Trina said as she put the feather back in its rightful place above the fireplace.

“We’re not?” Oriella asked.

“Corbin doesn’t deserve to lose his entire suite because Loukas is jealous of his silly pixie mage girlfriend,” Trina said. “He worked hard to become don, he didn’t just get the job handed to him, and whoever is don deserves the suite.”

Oriella nodded. “Fine.”

“Now c’mon, let’s get you out of here,” Trina said and led Chantelle up to their room.

 

Mere minutes after Chantelle’s escape down the ivy-ladder they heard people returning to the house. Footsteps came down the hall and there was a knock at the door. Trina opened it to see Ludella, the Headmistress of the Mage Academy. Ludella was a petite fairy mage who didn’t look a day past twenty, but Trina knew she was actually much, much older.

“Oh!” Trina gasped. “Hello, Headmistress Ludella. How may I help you?”

“You can invite me in,” Ludella said.

“Oh, yes,” Trina said and stepped back so Ludella could enter the dorm room.

Ludella glanced at Trina’s bed and the charred comforter she had yet to clean up.

“I believe you may have had something to do with the burning down of our greenhouse?” Ludella asked smoothly.

“Um…no,” Trina said, but she felt her cheeks grow hot.

“It’s okay, you can tell the truth,” Ludella said. “I had no idea your fire powers were becoming so strong. It’s obvious now what we must do.”

“Please don’t expel Trina!” Oriella said.

“I’m not expelling you,” Ludella said. “I think it’s about time we start searching for an apprenticeship. We need to find you an experienced dragon mage, one who can teach you how to control your powers. We need to find you a proper teacher.”

“We do?” Trina asked.

“Yes,” Ludella said. “It’s not every day a student burns down a greenhouse.”

“I’m very sorry,” Trina said. “I’ll find a way to fix it…I’ll help rebuild it, I’ll-”

“That’s enough Trina,” Ludella said. “You are a dragon mage. It’s about time you learn what that truly means.”

You can continue to follow Trina’s adventures in the novel:

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She Dreamed of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

Our first #Bookclub pick: Lost and Found by Sharon Ledwith

Yes, you read that right, Mirror World has started a book club! And it’s not too late to join in if you’re interested. Currently for the month of May, we’re reading Spellhaven by Sandra Unerman. You can check out that book here, and get a discount off the purchase of the ebook or the paperback with the code: MWBOOKCLUB. Once you’ve got the book and you’re ready to start chatting, come join us on Facebook, here.

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In April, we read and reviewed Lost and Found, the first in Sharon Ledwith’s Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series about psychic teens in a cottage town setting. Lost and Found features teen protagonist Meagan Walsh who was born with the ability to hear the thoughts of animals. After causing some trouble back home, Meagan is sent to Fairy Falls to live with her aunt and perform 200 hours of community service. Her Aunt, Izzy, just so happens to work at the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter, where the shelter animals, led by an old calico cat named Whiskey have decided to send their thoughts to any humans who will listen to try and find a pack leader to help them save the shelter from closing due to ‘no money’.

Here’s what some of our readers thought about Lost and Found:

 I enjoyed this book a lot, but it’s hard to write a review without spoiling the book itself. So, you have my two thumbs up for this novel. I am eagerly awaiting more tales from Fairy Falls, and hope that others take a peek at this seemingly gentle town covered in a fog of mystery, and get hooked as well.  ~ Sabrina

Lost and found is a fast-paced mystery and psychic adventure sure to please readers of all ages.  ~Rita

I absolutely love the concept behind this new series by Sharon Ledwith – teen psychic, no-kill animal shelter, animals that can talk. Sharon wrote this book with an unmistakable amount of passion. The reader knows that she is an animal lover and supporter. I read the book with an equal amount of passion as an animal lover and supporter.

The character development and world building created a book that played like a movie in my head. The dialogue between the human characters and the animal characters was conversational and never awkward or choppy. The pacing was the perfect speed – not too fast, not too slow – and I read the book in one sitting. There are parts of the book where my emotions matched the characters. I felt what the characters felt – anger, frustration, sadness – and that is what makes a book a favorite of mine. I really enjoyed Lost and Found and look forward to reading more from Sharon Ledwith.  ~Amber

Sharon Ledwith’s “Lost and Found” (the first in her “Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls” series) is a truly fun mystery for middle-grade and young adult readers (and readers of all ages, honestly). As an author, canine (and feline) massage therapist and all around general animal lover from Ontario, the story suited me to a tee, what with it’s setting in an animal shelter in a small town in northern Ontario!

A unique way to allow animal characters to talk, a mystery that keeps you guessing and twists and turns ensure the reader simply cannot put the book down—what more could an animal-lover and avid reader want? ~Regan

So there you have it! It seems that pretty much everyone enjoyed Lost and Found by Sharon Ledwith. And if you’re an animal lover, or just love paranormal YA books set in a a town you can easily picture, then this series is for you! You can pick up Lost and Found by Sharon Ledwith wherever books are sold, or in our store, here. 

The Search for the Golden Feather by Elizabeth J.M. Walker – Part 8 (of 9)

If you’re new to this story, I suggest starting at part 1, here. Otherwise, read on!

The greenhouse was a tiny building just south of the main school building. It was frequented by gnome mages who took classes in gardening, as well as other mage disciplines that involved nature, such as elf mages and fairy mages.

“Why would she choose the greenhouse?” Oriella asked as they walked briskly.

“Because fire mages rarely go there?” Trina suggested.

Oriella nodded as the greenhouse came into view. No one else was around so the girls quickly ran inside. They looked around the interior of the building; there were long wooden tables full of potted plants and hanging baskets hung from hooks in the ceiling. There was green everywhere with spots of brightly coloured flowers. The greenhouse had a musty feel to it that was very similar to when Trina followed Oriella through a tree. They searched the entire greenhouse but there was no pixie mage to be found.

“She’s not here,” Trina said.

“Maybe she hid the feather here and already left,” Oriella suggested. “Could you see in the pool-image where she might be hiding it?”

“Not really…it was kind of blurry. I just knew it looked like she was in the greenhouse,” Trina said.

“Yeah, same here,” Oriella said, “but where could it be?”

Trina scanned the rows and rows of potted plants but nothing looked out of place. Most of them looked like they had been recently watered and many had been recently planted or repotted. It was impossible to tell where Chantelle may have hidden the feather.

“I say we go back to Flora House,” Oriella said, “and see if Eddy figured anything out from his chat with Chantelle, like where exactly she hid the feather.”

Trina inhaled sharply and began to sneeze. No, not now, she thought. She sneezed five times before she could stop herself. Flames were shooting everywhere and the wooden tables caught fire. The flames grew taller, until they were reaching the hanging plants, and soon the roof rafters began to burn. Oriella grabbed Trina, yanking her out of the greenhouse and into the cover of the Whispering Woods.

“Great gryphons!” Trina said as she watched the greenhouse burn. She could hardly believe she had created such a huge disaster. She had no idea she was even capable of setting an entire building on fire. She felt her stomach tighten with…fear? With dread? What would happen to her if they found out it was her fault? What if she continued to accidently cause more destruction?

She continued to watch the flames as a crowd began pouring out of the dorm houses and gathering. There were at least three water sprite mages who could create spouts of water, similar to Trina and her flames, except they actually knew how to control their water powers.

Within minutes the flames had died down. More water sprites arrived to douse the greenhouse with even more water, just to be safe, but the damage was done. There would not be any classes in the greenhouse on Monday – or anytime soon.

“Let’s get out of here!” Oriella said and yanked on Trina’s arm again, pulling her away from the scene of the fire.

“Where are we going?” Trina asked as they ran along the edge of the Whispering Woods, still under cover of the trees.

“Back to Knox! We’re going to pretend this never happened!” Oriella said.

The girls ran out of the woods as they reached Knox House. Instead of running to the front door they went to the left side of the building where their room was. Ivy grew up all sides of the building, especially on their side, and it was particularly thick right beneath their bedroom window.

“I’ve been doing some tweaking,” Oriella explained and quickly found handholds in the ivy. Trina watched as her nimble friend scaled the side of the wall, with the ivy growing in the pattern of a ladder.

“I’m not so sure I can do that,” Trina said.

“You have to at least try,” Oriella called as she reached their window and slid it open.

Trina took a deep breath and found the first handholds of ivy Oriella had used. It was surprisingly stable; the ivy was so thick it felt like she was climbing a regular wooden ladder. She took a deep breath and continued to climb, reminding herself to not look down. Oriella reached out when she made it to the top and helped her climb through the window.

“Now, let’s casually walk down to the common room as if we’ve been here all along,” Oriella said, brushing bits of leaves and dirt from her clothes.

“They’re never going to believe us,” Trina said.

“Only one way to find out,” Oriella said and headed out the door.

When they entered the common room, Trina was surprised to see someone with sky blue hair.

Chantelle gasped as Trina and Oriella entered and the pixie mage dropped the golden feather.

“Sir Gadison’s Golden Phoenix Feather!” Trina said and rushed forward to pick it up. “Why did you steal this? What are you doing here?”

“No, I’m returning it!” Chantelle said. “I’m trying to help!”

“How?” Oriella asked. “Why are you even here?”

“I’m trying to return it,” Chantelle said again, “because I feel awful, and so Corbin doesn’t lose his suite.”

“So, you did steal it?” Trina asked.

Chantelle hung her head. “Yes.”

“Why?” Oriella asked.

“Because Loukas asked me to the spring dance,” Chantelle said.

What?” Oriella asked loudly.

“Loukas asked me to the dance, but I said I couldn’t go, because I already have a boyfriend,” Chantelle said.

“Great gryphons, what pixie nonsense are you talking about? Who’s your boyfriend? What does any of this have to do with our feather?” Oriella asked.

It’s Launch Day for Ghosts and Exiles by Sandra Unerman!!!

We’re super pleased to be able to announce that Ghosts and Exiles by Sandra Unerman is now available worldwide! Whether you have read Sandra Unerman’s first novel, Spellhaven, or not, you’re sure to enjoy this quasi sequel set a generation later in historical 1930’s London, England. And now, you can pick up an ebook or paperback copy anywhere you buy books, or in our online store! 

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Spellhaven is no more, but its spirits remain…

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

 

Print Length: 300 pages

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Publication Date: April 17, 2018

ASIN: B07B24HY9Z

Genre(s): Magical Realism, Historical Fantasy

 

Saphs Book PromotionsFollow the Virtual Book Tour:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2018/04/book-tour-schedule-ghosts-exiles-by.html

Purchase from

 

Amazon

 

Amazon UK

 

Ebook: Mirror World Publishing

 

Paperback: Mirror World Publishing

 

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Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads

Praise for Spellhaven: 

‘…Spellhaven is an intriguing novel with no easy answers or way out, which means you can keep rereading it and drawing different conclusions every time. Jane is never going to be entirely happy and settled in life – but would she ever have been, even without her magical summons? 

Refreshingly, it does not appear to be part of a series: that ending ambiguity is all you’re getting and it will keep buzzing at the back of your mind for days.’ ~ Ben Jeapes, author of Phoenicia’s Worlds and other SF novels, from the BSFA review.

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Connect with Sandra:

 

Sandra’s Website:

https://sandraunermanwriter.com/

 

Sandra’s Author Page: 

https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Unerman/e/B0034NS9VM

 

Goodreads Author Page: 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6566116.Sandra_Unerman

Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in science fiction and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. Her latest stories are in Sword and Sorcery magazine, June 2017, and Fall into Fantasy, an anthology from Cloaked Press. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: Mirror’s Deceit by J.A. Dowsett and M.Damodred

We’re very excited to finally be able to share this next cover with you! The artist is Sara Biddle, whom you may remember from such covers as: Mirror’s Hope, Mirror’s Heart, Unintended and Uncharted. She’s outdone herself again with Mirror’s Deceit and we believe has really managed to capture the essence of the character we asked her to draw. For those of you familiar with the series, we hope you’ll agree that her rendition of Tendro Seynor is dead on!

Without further ado:

Mirena Calanais is destined to change the world. 

Her rival has made a desperate flight to the past to stop her.

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A gifted student of majik, Mirena is on the verge of graduating from a secret college that will give her a leg up in her political career, when her achievements are overshadowed by the arrival of a mysterious woman with an unknown agenda. Desperate to keep what she sees as her rightful place in the spotlight, Mirena goes to astounding lengths including taking it upon herself to pose as a double agent to investigate a rebel force plotting to destabilize the government. Unfortunately, her actions cost her the trust of those around her, so when she is proclaimed the Dark Avatar of the Destroyer, she finds she has nowhere to turn.

In a seeming utopia, Mirena is now a pariah with the force of Destroyer behind her and her once bright dreams have darkened, leaving her a threat not only to herself, but to those she cares about. Can she turn her life around, or will someone need to stop her before she goes too far?

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition

Publication Date: May 17, 2018

ASIN: B07BNY8RVF

Genre(s): Dark Fantasy, Romance, Fantasy

Page count: 240 pages

Pre-Order from Amazon

Pre-Order from Mirror World Publishing

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads

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Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of eight novels and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally roleplaying with her friends.

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

Connect with:  Website: http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Justine-Alley-Dowsett/e/B004MNQAUA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4637105.Justine_Alley_Dowsett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sometimes?” Trina said meekly.

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

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

There was a knock at the door.

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

Trina went to open the door.

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

“Everything is under control,” Oriella chimed in.

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

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

Trina jumped as she heard the sound of breaking glass.

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

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

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

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

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Come back next week or SUBSCRIBE for more!

Unmoored by Justine Alley Dowsett – Part 6 (finale)

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

Renaud was there to meet her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The End

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