Author: Christian Laforet

The Fifth Monday Four: Ounta – Part Two

By Christian Laforet

The fire swirled and crackled. A knot in the pine log popped, sending a small army of embers floating into the night. Aen, laying in his sheep-skin sack, watched as his mother stoked the flames. Tartara had only been in his life for a few months, but that time had been a whirlwind of instruction. She had taught him how to use his gift—to shift between the form of man and tiger—along with other useful traits. During all of those lessons, however, she had managed to carefully avoid his only real question: what happened the day the humans found him? Whenever Aen would broach the subject, his mother would give a vague, unsatisfying answer. His favourite being, It was so long ago, I cannot clearly recall.

Her refusal to shed light on that day, the day he went to live with the human tribe, had become so expected, that he stopped asking about it. That is why, while camped on the north road to Nythland, with freshly killed rabbit cooking over the fire with fat, lazy snowflakes danced to the frozen earth around them, Aen was shocked when his mother began to speak of the past without prompting.

“We had been travelling for many days before we encountered the group of humans. Your father, his name was Morga, felt that our safety lie in hiding amongst their kind.” As she spoke, Tartara, kept her gaze on the browning meat of the rabbit.

Aen pushed himself to sitting. “Why are you telling this to me now?”

Slowly, the woman, clad in a layered cloak, turned her attention to her son. “The event still hurts like a fresh wound. I would prefer not tell you at, but if we are going to continue on our quest, you need to know what happened.” (more…)

Uncharted Excerpt

For our final week looking at featured author Justine Alley Dowsett, we have an exclusive excerpt from her upcoming novel, Uncharted!

Uncharted

Chapter One

“Sam!” Reginald exclaimed, making a point to sound jovial when addressing the sour-face postmaster. “How’re the kids? How’s Frank?”

“Har, har,” Sam replied in a flat monotone, barely looking up enough to glance over the edge of his half-moon glasses. “Like you care. I don’t even know why you bother to stop in here, you’re just going to throw out the letter from your mother without even reading it.”

“You’re reading my mail now?” Reginald raised a quizzical brow in Sam’s direction.

The postmaster shrugged lazily instead of answering, reaching below his desk to pull out a familiar-looking manilla envelope to hold it out to Reginald. He did all of this without taking his eyes from the newspaper article he was reading. Leaning forward, Reginald took note of the headline: Kevlan Warship Spotted Off the Eastern Coast – Coincidence or Portent?

Reginald shook his head. Kevlans, our modern day boogeyman. Sure, relations with Kevla aren’t great, but one ship in our waters is hardly a declaration of war.

Regarding the man suspiciously now, Reginald took the proffered letter and ignored the wastebasket this time in favour of stuffing it into the breast pocket of his sailor’s jacket. Sam didn’t seem to notice the change in Reginald’s routine, or if he did, he simply did not care.

“So if anyone comes this way looking for passage, you’ll direct them along then, right, Sam?” Reginald fought to get Sam’s attention one last time even as he backed away, intent on the door. “Especially a–”

“A Priestess,” Sam finished for him without looking up, “yes, yes, I know.”

“Right, because Priestesses are leaving here all the time, heading out to perform weddings, act as diplomats, healers–”

“Reginald,” Sam stopped him, “I live here. I know more about Priestesses than you do. I’ll send them to you if anyone is coming to book passage.”

“Thanks, buddy. I knew I could count on you.” Reginald forced a smile in the off chance that Sam should look his way.

“You mean you knew you could count on your coin buying my discretion,” Sam commented drily, directing his words to the paper in his hands more so than to Reginald as he turned the page.

“That too,” Reginald mumbled half to himself as he let himself out of the trading post and into the early morning sunlight. “Rat bastard.”

The street was bustling, at least for the Temple District in early spring. It wasn’t cold out, and perhaps that was the reason, this having been the first real nice day since winter broke. Kids laughed as they ran in the street, chasing one another, and Reginald nearly tripped over one of them as they got near enough to be underfoot. (more…)

Unmoored

By Justine Alley Dowsett

Red in the face, Renaud Laurent stood and slammed his cup down, splashing ale on the table’s checkered cloth. “I’ll bet any one of you here,” he slurred in his thick French accent, “that I’m the luckiest man ever to have crossed the Ismeran Channel!”

“Aww, sit down and put your money where your mouth is, Renaud!” His dicing companion, a red-headed Haldoram man, nudged the dicing cup toward him, taking a swig from his own ale cup and wiping his scruffy chin with the back of his hand. “All you do is talk.”

“Ginny, another round please,” Renaud called out after dribbling ale all over his thick curly beard, “I’m about to win all of Dagan’s coin.”

“If you lose this hand, I’ll buy the round,” Dagan countered.

Renaud grinned, scooping the dice up into his calloused hands. “As you say.”

He blew on the dice in his hands for emphasis, his blue eyes twinkling with more than just drink under his thick brown brows, before he let them fly onto the checkered cloth below and waited, holding his breath.

“Ha!” Dagan jeered. “That’s a win for me.”

Renaud studied the results of the dice closely, feigning shock. “Why, I believe you’re right, Dagan.” He lifted his head. “Ginny, I’ll have that ale now.”

“You’ve had more than your share,” Ginny called back, but that didn’t stop her from delivering another cup at Dagan’s expense, sashaying her ample bottom as she did so.

Dagan scowled, seeming to realize he’d been played, but wisely kept his thoughts to himself. Seeing that he’d possible overstayed his welcome, Renaud downed his first cup and started in on his second as he looked about for another dicing partner.

“Ah, well, I guess I better call it a night,” he said loudly, wobbling slightly as he reached for his winnings from the night. Not bad, he noted, mentally tallying them, though I should’ve bet less on that last round.

He turned about, ready to depart, only to find a lithe, dark-haired man staring intently at him. Renaud squinted at the newcomer. By his appearance, he was not a sailor like most of the patrons at The Crow’s Nest. His hair was greasy and pulled back into a loose tail at the nape of his neck, and his clothes were well-tailored and expensive looking, though they had clearly seen better days.

“Excuse me,” Renaud belched. “I was just leaving.”

“Luckiest man ever to have sailed across the Ismeran Channel, huh?” the man questioned, eyeing the dice on the table. “Ever thought of playing a game with a bit more skill involved? Poker, by chance?”

Renaud looked down into his mostly full cup. “Well, it seems I’ve still got some left in me after all,” he drawled. “Why not?” (more…)

Unintended Excerpt

We’re very pleased to bring you an excerpt from the novel Unintended, by Justine Alley Dowsett!

This book is available now! So if you enjoy what your read, make sure to pick up a copy. The e-book can be found here, and the physical copy, here.

Unintended

Chapter One

The rolling hills and grasslands of Ismera were strange to her in the beginning. Now, after nearly a month of riding through them, they had begun to seem commonplace. What the High Clan Chief’s daughter was not prepared for, however, were the high turrets of the palace she was headed towards and the sprawling city of Ismer that surrounded it. Even more surprising than all that was the fanfare that greeted her when at last she reached the city’s high-walled gate.

A handsome man atop a white horse rode boldly out to greet her, without so much as a weapon drawn or a friend to watch his back.

They are much more trusting here of strangers than they are back at home, she noted. Unless, it’s only that they don’t consider me a stranger.

Mackenzie en Shareed of Haldoram straightened her back, instinctively preparing herself to make a good impression. She felt her breath catch in her throat as he came closer and she realized that the man before her, with his sunny hair, tanned skin and bright blue eyes, could be none other than the man she’d ridden all the way here to marry. She felt her usually flawlessly tanned skin flush an uncomfortable shade of red as she watched him dismount and walk the rest of the way to her side, a wide grin spreading across his face at the sight of her.

I didn’t expect him to be so handsome. Kenzie found that as much as she might want to, she couldn’t deny the pounding of her heart or the fluttering in her stomach. I’m very fortunate to be attracted to him so easily.

If he took notice of her discomfort he didn’t show it, bowing over her hand and kissing it lightly. “Princess Mackenzie, let me be the first to welcome you to the City of Ismer.”

Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Kenzie reached for the marriage bracelet she’d woven herself for this very occasion. Unhooking it carefully from her belt, she caught his hand before he could take it away and swiftly wrapped the small, white-flowered wreath about his wrist, tying it with a practiced motion.

She could see in her husband-to-be’s eyes that he was confused, but she didn’t have time to explain it to him now. That would come later, after they were entwined together in their marriage bed. Right now, only the ritual mattered.

I have to do this now, she affirmed silently. Once I enter this city of theirs and am completely surrounded by Ismeran culture and politics it will be too late to marry him in my own way, in front of my people and by our customs. It’s the only way I will feel comfortable with his arrangement. I can marry him in the Ismeran way afterwards. (more…)

Featured Author: Justine Alley Dowsett

We’re very excited for this month’s featured author, Justine Alley Dowsett. Besides being a fantastic writer, Justine is also owner and publisher of Mirror World Publishing.

You’ve heard us mention Mirror World several times over the last few months, but if you need a refresher course on just what Mirror World is all about, click here.

Justine’s writing is both deeply emotional and utterly fantastic. Although her books would be generally categorized as either science fiction of fantasy (or both!), her work is accessible and quite enjoyable for everybody, even those who don’t usually read such genres (Monsters!).

For the month of February, we’ll be bringing you an excerpt from Justine’s most recent novel, Unintended, a brand new short story and to cap it off, another except, this one an exclusive from Justine’s upcoming novel, Uncharted!

If you are interested in buying Justine’s books, you can do so at Mirrorworld.com, or if you prefer Amazon for your shopping needs, they can be found right here.

And make sure to check out Justine on Goodreads

Exclusive Excerpt from The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum

Have you bought your copy of No Light Tomorrow Illustrated edition yet? If the answer is yes, then you’ve no doubt noticed that there is something special at the back of the book. A bonus sneak peek at The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum.

For those who haven’t gotten their hands on the No Light Illustrated edition, have no fear, we’ve got you covered.

The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum is the newest release from Mirror World Publishing, and we’ve got an exclusive excerpt for your reading pleasure!

So with that, we are happy to deliver to you an exclusive look at the fantastic new novel, The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum! Enjoy. (more…)

Hole in the Wall: The Fifth Monday Three – Part Three

By Christian Laforet

Carol stared at the wall. She wore an oven mitt on one hand, a baseball glove on the other, and a Kiss beach towel wrapped around her face. Clutched in the oven mitt was the biggest knife she could find in her silverware drawer. She wasn’t sure what she would do with the weapon if the ball-thing returned. Thanks to the fact that the towel kept sagging, blocking her vision, she was just as likely to stab herself as anything else.

The wall were the thing had disappeared looked the same as ever, sunflower yellow with a framed picture of a horse wearing a stovepipe hat hanging off to the left. But she knew what she had seen, and whether it was visible now or not, there was a hole in her wall.

She edged closer to the spot and slowly leveled the knife until the tip of the blade was half an inch from the yellow surface. Taking a deep breath, she pushed the rest of the way. The point of the knife did not stop at the wall, but slid right in. At first she told herself that the knife had cut through the wall itself, but there was no resistance. Besides, that theory was put to bed when she retracted the blade only to find the end of the knife gone. (more…)