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The Majestic by J.A. Dowsett – Part 1 of 9

You may have read my last sci-fi serial, The Silent Serpent, (and if you haven’t, you can find it here.) This nine-part serial meets up with that same crew as they pour every last credit they have into a new ship of their very own… The Majestic. 

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“McGrath’s Scrapyard,” the sign overhead boldly proclaimed.

Nell eyed the rusty crooked letters cynically, This doesn’t bode well…

Once past the garbage heap-style entrance, the moderately-sized yard was entirely hidden from view by a monstrosity of a ship, rust-coloured from top to bottom as if it had lain in that exact spot for a hundred years or more. It wasn’t large as far as ships go, but ships always seemed comically oversized when parked on a planet, and this one looked like nothing more than a rusted metal turtle flipped on its back.

“Ah, there you are!” An unfamiliar voice proclaimed, causing Nell’s fur to prickle and her tail to whip about, ready to strike if needed. “I was hopin’ to show you the beauty myself, but it seems you’ve found her already.”

The man came to a stop before her. He was full human, not Terian, since his dull brown eyes had no glow. He stood maybe six feet in height, with broad shoulders, but it was clear from his paunch that if he worked here, he didn’t do any of the heavy lifting. His gruff tanned face was mostly covered by a white-laced ruddy mustache that hung from the sides of each cheek like a piece of rope glued there for comedic effect.

“Oh, where’s my manners?” He stuck out his hand. “Hank McGrath.”

Nell eyed the calloused fingers encrusted with dirt, rust, and who-knows-what-else and decided quickly she wasn’t about to touch this man, let alone shake his hand. I’ll need a sonic shower just from standing in this place, she wrinkled her nose at the sour smell of rust and garbage, no need to make it worse.

If McGrath noticed her discomfort, he made no show of it. “Ah, and you must be Captain Xendri.” Not missing a beat, the middle-aged human shifted his hand as if he had been intending to hold it out for the Koowan Captain all along as she scurried over to join them.

“Oh, is this how humans do it?” Xendri questioned, trying to position her arm to mirror McGrath’s gesture. At half his height and with limbs more suited to running and climbing, it looked a little silly when she tried to do it.

The next several minutes were lost to Hank McGrath trying to teach Xendri how humans shake hands. The part furred, part carapaced Koowan seemed fascinated by the man’s lesson and eagerly practiced the gesture half a dozen times, despite the dirt on McGrath’s hands.

This gave Quattro and Vox enough time to arrive, followed by their former Captain, James Claw. Quattro and Claw were both Terian, their purple and blue eyes respectively giving off a faint glow, noticeable even in the orange-ish light of a sunny day on Mars. Otherwise they looked to be the same species as McGrath, though supposedly there were some other subtle differences between the two variations of human. Vox, however, was a different being altogether. At nearly eight feet, he was the tallest of them all, and though he was humanoid in shape, the resemblance ended there. He stood stiffly, barely moving, and he never bothered to turn to look at you since he could see in all directions, being made entirely of a white opaque crystal.

“Good to see you, Nell.” Words came from somewhere around Vox. He didn’t have a mouth, so Nell had no idea how he managed to make vibrations, or where the sound came from exactly. “I wasn’t sure you were going to be joining us, but I’m pleased to know we will have a pilot.”

Nell shifted uncomfortably. She had considered going her own way when the last ship they were on together needed to be scrapped after unexpectedly finding itself in the middle of a firefight. But this is what I want, right? The chance to pilot my own ship?

Captain Claw managed to draw her attention back to the present. “So this is it, huh? What do you guys think?”

Nell turned to look at Claw and then followed his gaze to the rusted metal turtle. “Wait. This is our ship?”

“Ain’t she a beaut!” McGrath proclaimed.

“She’s somethin’ alright,” Quattro twisted his mouth dubiously, fighting off the urge to laugh.

“It’s… it’s…” Nell struggled to put her thoughts into words. Garbage? A Scrapheap? Junk?

“It appears to have the shape of a space-faring vessel, without the substance of one,” Vox stated. “A picture of a ship, if you will. It also appears to be far below the value in credits we provided you to build it.”

McGrath just laughed, his belly shaking up and down in a disconcerting manner. “Ah, that’s just the outside! A good coat of paint’ll fix that right up. It’s the inside that counts, my crystalline friend. Come on, lemme give you the tour.”

***

To be continued in Part 2, next week. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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It’s Launch Day! Unreachable Skies, Vol. 1, by Karen McCreedy is here!

We’ve been waiting for this day ever since the day we opened Karen McCreedy’s submission email. Sabrina, one of our slushies, was blown away by the sample of Unreachable Skies even though, and she’d be the first to tell you this, she is generally hard-pressed to like anything written with a first person point of view. She was so impressed that we decided to request the full manuscript immediately, which unfortunately left Sabrina waiting rather impatiently over a weekend for the rest of the story to be sent in.

Needless to say, the rest of the story holds up just as well as the sample did. Sabrina loved it, I loved it, and Robert also gave the thumbs up, so here we are most of a year later and the book is complete and ready for you to fall in love with it like we did.

So I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Unreachable Skies is a trilogy and Karen McCreedy’s first published novel. It’s a unique story. Not really sci-fi and not fully fantasy, it sits somewhere in between as a story set completely on its own planet with a species of people that are not human with their own traditions, history, and problems.

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

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

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

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

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

Saphs Book PromotionsFollow the Book Tour: https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2018/08/virtual-book-tour-schedule-unreachable.html

Book Information:
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure – This book is targeted toward a general audience.
Page Count: 242 pages
Publish Date: August 17, 2018
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Purchase Links:Amazon
Mirror World Books

Review Quotes:
“In the tradition of Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffery, with Unreachable Skies Karen McCreedy has created a nuanced alien culture populated by compelling characters.” ~ James Swallow, bestselling author

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Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen McCreedy now lives in West Sussex where she recently retired from the University of Chichester. She has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’. 

 

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

 

‘Unreachable Skies’ is her first novel.

Flash Fiction from Regan W. H. Macaulay: The Kiss.

This week is another piece of short fiction from Regan W. H. Macaulay whose children’s picture book, Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast, launches September 1st. You can learn more and pre-order this book here

The Kiss

His heart raced when her full, parted, lips touched his. His mouth welcomed her warm breath, her soft tongue.  From deep inside his stomach, he felt the familiar feeling of falling.  Every muscle in his body contracted as, eyes closed, he pictured her face that was so close to his right now.  His body collapsed in on itself while his heart thumped maniacally, exploding, like birth.  He saw her wintry skin in his mind’s eye.  He watched her hair flow before him like blood from a wound. It was burnt amber, like falling leaves in autumn.

He was sinking.  He felt small and insignificant next to her.  She could cradle him in her hands.  She could crush him.  He opened his eyes hesitantly and watched her hazel eyes deepen before him into a green as deep as a dark, fabled forest.  She was watching him, too.  He could not break free from her enduring kiss.

He shut his eyes again and remembered.  It seemed like he had watched her over the course of a lifetime.  She had ignored him as if unaware of his obsessive observations.  She sat in the lecture hall, her gentle form bent over her notes as she stared at them with the intensity of a marble statue.  Her willowy form strode through the halls with an air of absolute entitlement.  He could see she had the world by the short hairs – the world and all the people in it.

But Marianne saw nothing impressive in her.  His friend warned him that type of woman would never need him.  Would she even want him?  He had said he didn’t know.  And what difference did it make to Marianne, anyway?  He must know her.  He bent all his will towards that end and let everything else slip away into a vortex spinning in the back of his mind.  He built his confidence a little every day just to gather the strength to say hello.

Now she shone down on him like orange twilight or burnt sunshine, so far away.  And he was still sinking.  No, shrinking before her.  Was he falling?  Why did she tower over him?  He was hard all over, tense with panic.

He experienced a waking reverie of the time he spent trying to woo her, all the while staring at her far above him.  He recalled their first words for a fleeting moment, but that was soon gone.  His mind was falling in on itself.  Imploding.  He remembered the name of her cat – Sookie.  She was the darkest cat he’d ever seen.  Like a deep forest with bright eyes, like her mistress.  He remembered the first time he ever stepped into her apartment, which was where he stood now.  No, he was sitting.  His limbs felt springy.  They flopped around, spaghetti-like.  They slapped on the floor.  His fingers felt nubby.  He gazed down at them.  They were alien to him.

His frantic mind turned over images around the room.  He both saw and recalled his first time noticing all the terrariums in her apartment.  They glowed at him with a green-tinted fluorescence.  They were decorated like small jungles.  He wondered then, as he did now, why she would have so many pet frogs.

His lips had left hers now.  His eyes felt plump as he gazed up at her.  Surely they would bulge out of his skull if these strange sensations continued.  She gazed back at him with an expression he could not discern, but it made him feel helpless.  Like loving her had made him feel hopeless.

She smiled and her expression changed.  Her eyes sparkled and in those last moments of rational thought, he knew he had obtained her love at last.  She doted on him, bending over him, gently picking him up off the floor in her enormous, pale hands.  Her fingers cupped his bloated stomach.  She pulled him out of his crumpled clothing.  Now he had her!  He could see she would obsess over him, now.

She carried his orb-like form to one of the terrariums and opened the door on the front of the tank.  Gently, she slipped his gelatinous body onto the soil.  His mind grew dark.  He stared about and noticed the other gargantuan frogs sharing his new habitat.  He gazed at his golden, bulbous eyes, tomato-like form and twilight orange skin reflected in his water dish.  He matched her hair.  Perhaps that made him special.  Then it dawned on him that she had had a lot of first and only kisses, and his awareness slipped away with the click of the terrarium lock.

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Regan writes novels, short stories, children’s literature and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film and television. She is an animal enthusiast as well, which led her to become a certified canine (and feline) massage therapist.

A complex series for dedicated readers: The Mirror World Series by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

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Mirror’s Deceit is the third book in the Mirror World Series that I co-wrote with my sister, Murandy Damodred. This series or quartet, if you will, is unique because it doesn’t just follow one set of characters through all four books, but is rather two interconnected stories.

Let me explain.

In Mirror’s Hope, we meet Mira Calanais, a sweet and somewhat naive young woman who lives in a dystopian fantasy world where cruelty is the norm. In her heart she wants to change things, but she doesn’t believe herself capable of making a difference until she meets and falls in love with Tendro Seynor – a man with strange powers who is on the run because he’s just been identified as the prophesized ‘Avatar of the Light’.  Together, and while trying to flee those who are hunting them, Mira and ‘Hope’ as she comes to call him stumble into the discovery of a parallel world where beliefs, politics, and even the personalities of the individuals they encounter are the reverse of the world they’ve known all their lives.MH2

Putting together a team of people from both worlds, Mirena and Hope plot a revolution to free their world from the tyranny of the Panarch, Terrence Lee.

Mirror’s Heart, the second book in the series, takes place a decade later, and continues the story of Mira and Hope as they try and regain what they lost during the final moments of book one.

Mirror’s Deceit, by contrast, takes place chronologically before the events of the first book, but in the parallel world. This third book follows the story of Mirena Calanais, Mira’s double in the ‘Mirror World.’ Mirena is Mira’s opposite. She is ambitious, self-centered and confident, whereas Mira was meek and naive. 

Mirena travels to the Capital city intent on fulfilling her lifelong goal of entering political life and rising to the top to rule alongside her hero, Terrence Lee. There she meets Tendro, and a familiar cast of characters, though they are all the ‘Mirror’s’ of the ones featured in books one and two.

CoverDeceitThe fourth book, Mirror’s Despair, coming in 2019, will of course continue and conclude Mirena and Tendro’s story. Books three and four being set in the Mirror World, and focusing on a tale of two anti-heroes trying to get what they feel they deserve out of life.

So, as strange as it seems, you really could start the series with either Mirror’s Hope, or Mirror’s Deceit, as each has its own story though with crossovers sprinkled throughout. There are lots of details in this series for dedicated readers to pay attention to and I hope I’ve adequately explained how this complex series works. But in case I haven’t, the best thing to do is to just pick up Mirror’s Hope or Mirror’s Deceit and dive in. I promise you’ll have no trouble following the story and you’ll have a whole cast of characters and two different worlds to either love or hate as you see fit.

Thanks for reading!

1usJustine Alley Dowsett (right) is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred (left), 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 role-playing with her friends.

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Interview with local author of The Thinking Machine, Ben Van Dongen

You may already know Ben Van Dongen from Adventure Worlds Press. He’s the other half of the collection of science fiction short stories in No Light Tomorrow, and one third of the crime fiction stories in All These Crooked Streets. Now, he’s written a pocket-sized sci-fi novella entitled, The Thinking Machine.

The Thinking Machine

The Thinking Machine

A Man and a Monster with the Same Name

In a city that spans most of the eastern seaboard, there is a creature that used to be a man. A stranger, from the shrinking wilds of the north, is called by a spirit to enter the city and destroy the abomination. The thing that shares his name. Zed.

We thought we’d ask Ben a few questions in light of his new release;

Hi Ben, what’s your ideal writing spot?

I do my best writing out of the house, often at a cafe. I go to Anchor Coffee house every day I can to get some writing done. Tim’s if Anchor isn’t open.

How Canadian of you! For our non-Canadian readers, Tim’s is shorthand for Tim Hortons, a very famous Canadian coffee shop franchise. In your opinion what’s the hardest part of writing?

The hardest part is likely a tie between starting and finishing. I tend to struggle often when I sit down to write. Sometimes I fight my way through a couple sentences before things start flowing, sometimes I take a good half hour of faffing about before I can focus. Once I get going, I am good, but starting is a grind. As for finishing, it’s usually at the point where I’m spending more time imagining the next story throughout a day than the one that needs to be finished. It takes some discipline to stay focused and power through to the end. There may be something about reaching the end of a story and not feeling like I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do, or really captured the original idea, but I’m not ready to unpack that feeling, so I’ll say it’s thinking about the next story.

Are there other books or media that you try and emulate or take inspiration from?

I get a lot of inspiration from 80s science fiction movies. I started out as a movie fanatic before discovering books. The visual elements of my stories often have some inspiration from those films. Philip K. Dick is someone who I try to, not emulate, but maybe keep in mind when I write. He was an idea focused writer and that is what first caught my attention with reading a writing. I try to make sure my ideas have something novel to them and that I don’t lose the story (or that idea) in the description or drama.

I’m also hugely inspired by music. I’m the kind of person who always has to have some music playing when I’m not doing something that precludes it (say working at the day job or watching a movie). I take a lot of time (probably too much if you look at my answer to the second question) picking out what to listen to each time I sit down to write.

Tell us a little bit about your novella, The Thinking Machine.

It’s part of an interconnected series. I tried to write something fun, fast, and with a strong idea pulling the plot along. To clarify, the idea is really a question about what makes us human, and when will technology change the definition?

Would you say you write ‘what you know’ or do you create ‘pure fancy’?

I write what I think about. Since I mostly write science fiction, there is a mix of fantasy and some science or technology rooted in reality. Sometimes that science and tech is an extrapolation I make from current theories, so I make up aspects or ignore limitations for the sake of the fantasy, but I try to have some idea of what I’m talking about. For my last story, the novella in the Crime Anthology All These Crooked Streets, I used what little I new about photography and did some research to fill in any gaps. I didn’t study photography for the sake of the story, just grounded it in some kind of reality. It’s the same with my science fiction. In The Thinking Machine, I too some current cutting edge technology, (like prosthetic eyes) and made the implants. I’m no expert in computer aided prosthetic, but I wanted to give the technology of the story some kind of realistic origin. So, my long winded cop-out answer is both.

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Ben Van Dongen grew up in Windsor Ontario. He likes to think that if he tried harder he could have been an Astronaut, but he is happier writing science fiction anyway. He co-authored the books No Light Tomorrow and All These Crooked streets, and is one half of the founding team of Adventure Worlds Press. His newest book, The Thinking Machine, a cyberpunk novella, is out now.

You can read more of his crazy notions on his website: BenVanDongen.com

Or connect with Ben:  https://benwltp.wordpress.com/books/
https://www.facebook.com/AdventureWorldsBen/

https://www.instagram.com/benwltp/

It’s Cover Reveal Time! Introducing Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast by Regan W. H. Macaulay…

Mirror World Publishing presents the cover reveal for Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast by Written by Regan W.H. Macaulay and Illustrated by Wei Lu!

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About Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast:

Mixter Twizzle is an odd, red, round-shaped, mischievous creature. He lives in a hovel, beneath a rustic barn, underneath the chicken coop at Riverdale Farm. He’s a snoozing sneezer and a snoring barker—a peculiar sort that both annoys and pleases. At first, Mixter Twizzle is thrilled by his egg-gorging fests, delighting in his own wickedness, but he soon realizes he is lonely. He longs for companionship, but the hens will have nothing to do with him. Can this fiendish creature learn to make friends at the farm?

Genre: Children’s Picture Book; Fantasy; Friendship

Publish Date: September 3, 2018

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Publisher Website: https://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

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Regan W. H. Macaulay writes novels, short stories, children’s literature, and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film, and television. She is an animal-enthusiast as well, which led her to become a Certified Canine (and Feline) Massage Therapist. Other award-winning picture storybooks by Regan W. H. Macaulay include Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese, Sloth the Lazy Dragon, and Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far. She is also the author of The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham which includes Space Zombies! (based on her film, Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!—available on iTunes and on DVD), They Suck, and Horror at Terror Creek.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReganWHMacaulay
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/regan-%20%20macaulay-18989a34

Wei Lu
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LxzSNt

Wei Lu is an illustrator and graphic designer residing in Toronto. She grew up in China before studying at Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design. She loves animals and make-believe characters of any kind and can bring them to life with a pencil and paper.

“Envy” Flash Fiction by Regan W. H. Macaulay

You may already be familiar with Regan W. H. Macaulay. We introduced her a while back as a member of the Mirror World family. She’s a children’s author and has two upcoming Children’s picture books with us. The first, Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast launches September 1st, 2018 and we’ll be revealing the cover and some of the art around the beginning of August.

Mixter Twizzle is an odd, red, round-shaped, mischievous creature.  He lives in a hovel, beneath a rustic barn, underneath the chicken coop at Riverdale Farm.  He’s a snoozing sneezer and a snoring barker; a peculiar sort that both annoys and pleases. At first, Mixter Twizzle is thrilled by his egg-gorging fests, delighting in his own wickedness, but he soon realizes he is lonely. He longs for companionship, but the hens will have nothing to do with him. Can this fiendish creature learn to make friends at the farm?

The second is another Children’s picture book called Beverlee Beaz, the Brown Burmese, and this one’s about a curious and adventurous cat who uses her imagination to get herself both into and out of trouble. Beverlee Beaz, the Brown Burmese, will be launching sometime in 2019.

In the meantime, we’ve got some flash fiction to share from Regan W. H. Macaulay. So, here goes:

ENVY

The woman pauses and heaves a sigh. She clutches a live cricket with her index finger and her thumb. It wriggles for its life, which will end shortly. Not like her life. Not like theirs.

She is the woman at the end of the universe and her time will never come. They are the creatures she looks after: the last of the Moca salamanders, the final pair of Bumble Frungit toads, a single Royal Fish of the New Siam government, and three mammals whose names are long forgotten. There are more–feeding them all is an endless and repetitious task. They are suspended in perpetual time. Immortal. Trapped. And they all eat crickets. That’s all that’s left to eat.

A Frungit toad laps the cricket from between her fingers. Squish. The toad gulps, swallows hard. The cricket is gone. The woman’s envy swells inside her like an angry flame.

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Regan writes novels, short stories, children’s literature and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film and television. She is an animal enthusiast as well, which led her to become a certified canine (and feline) massage therapist.

You can connect with Regan on her website: https://reganwhmacaulay.weebly.com/

 

An Interview with YA author, Sharon Ledwith

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

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

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret

Legend of the Timekeepers (prequel) 

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

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Lost and Found

and coming soon, Blackflies and Blueberries

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

 

Why did you choose to write about teen psychics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you working on now?

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

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

What does ‘Escapism Fiction’ mean to you?

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

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Sharon Ledwith is the author of the young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS and teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unreachable Skies: Vol. 1 – Paperback

Or wherever you prefer to buy books.

karen-mccreedy

About the Author:

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

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

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

‘Unreachable Skies’ is her first novel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…