Ben Van Dongen

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…)

This year, Next Year

We’re getting to the end of 2016 and it’s the time of year for us at Adventure Worlds to take a look back on what we did and tried throughout the season, see what worked or didn’t, and make our plans for 2017. Sadly, that means you have to read this post instead of a story (like normal) but things will be changing and we thought it would be unfair to not let you in on it.

We’ve had some big personal strides this year, both Christian and Ben managed to write the first draft of a novel (Christian knocking out four drafts by the end of the year). They went to several events a month, hosting some and going out of town on two occasions. They also took the step to become an imprint under Mirror World Publishing, putting out the Illustrated Edition of No Light Tomorrow (the second printing of the year).

With all that, the story requirements of this site were mostly supported through submissions. Among the ever present and creative Edele Winnie taking lead most weeks, and local author Ed Gagnon filling in many times, we had submissions from around the world. It was exciting to work with so much diverse talent and to showcase their stories, but it also requires a big time commitment on our end to keep them posted regularly.

That said, this coming year will be a turning point for Adventure Worlds where we spend less time on the blog and more time on publishing. We currently have three books slated to come out in 2017 and they will take up the majority of our time. We will still be posting stories on this site, but rather than post a random story every other week, we will be featuring an author each month. That means we may have a one post story, a multiple post story, or even a couple of stories from a single author each month.

The Fifth Monday will continue as well (it’s too fun not to keep that going). This year, the fist story will be by Maine based Fantasy/Science fiction author Jason H. Abbott. He has a couple of blogs himself and posts every weekday over at Aethereal Engineer. The first part will be going up on the last Monday of January.

Also, look for the first Featured Author post by Edele Winnie on Monday January 2nd.

Thanks for sticking with us as we grow and transition from a jumble of posts from fledgling authors to a real publisher. We love what we do and this site is a large part of that. Have a great holiday season and a Happy New Year. We’ll see you bright and early in 2017.

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

By Edele Winnie

“Jocelyn, is it really you?” Carol asked the white-coated woman up on the catwalk. “I am so…. muddled.” Carol ran her hands through her brown hair but the confusion remained. They were surrounded by buzzing machines, tubes and metal catwalks. “What is this place?”

Jocelyn laughed. “It’s definitely not the bank. The Jocelyn who works there with you is just one version of me. A sister, if you like.”

Carol pointed at one of the large glass tubes. It was filled with green liquid and an exact copy of Carol herself, floating languidly. Beside that there were more tubes and copies. Carol shook her head, unable to find words. Beside her, Gary shifted into a quivering red cylinder shape.

“I see you’ve met Gary. He’s a portal jumper. A creature that can transfer between dimensions without decomposing.”

“You make me sound so dull.” Gary complained and transformed into a star shape. “I’m actually a star.”

Everything seemed to be swirling in her head and Carol looked for a place to sit. She settled on the bottom step of a metal ladder that led to a catwalk above.

Gary changed into a rhombus. “There was a cloh enforcer right behind us.” (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…)

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

Ben Van Dongen

Gary rolled into the portal and fell to the ground, landing with a splat. “Ahhh! Damn that hurts! Tanya? Where are you? That crazy thing threw acid or something at me!” Composing himself, he became a ball again.

The ground was a piece of land, ten metres around, floating in the ether. The bare earth beneath it bowed out, like the bottom of a bowl, but at a sharper angle and uneven.

A large tree sat in the middle, stretching up to the empty nothingness, its roots dangling below the platform. Shrubs and tall grasses sprouted all around, making it look like the tree was dug out of a forest, taking the ground coverage with it.

Hundreds of other platforms floated in the void, stretching out into blackness. Each of them had a single tree, roots dangling below the convex bottom, nothing tethering them, nothing holding them up.

“Tanya? Did you hear me?” Gary formed a cube, a tall cylinder, and went back to a ball. “Tanya!” (more…)

No Light Tomorrow Cover Reveal!

We’re thrilled to finally show the world No Light Tomorrow!

No Light Cover

Some things are so accepted as to be taken for granted. While the far future is shrouded in uncertainty, there are expectations often considered assured that are overlooked. There is only one you, threats are usually empty, ghosts are not real, life is finite, science can solve the most daunting challenges, and beliefs are assured when society takes matters in their own hands. When unexpected events transpire, we are left in the dark.

Authors Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen present six science fiction stories that explore improbability and show you what happens when expectations are subverted.

 

The Fifth Monday – Hard On’s Curse Conclusion

By Ben Van Dongen

Chad struggled to wake up. His dream, something about a hot Quebecois redhead with a Charles Bronson moustache, kept tugging him back to sleep. Yawning, his jaw cracked, and water slipped into his open mouth. The half of his face he wasn’t sleeping on was wet and cold. The sensation, along with a burning desire to take a piss, roused him.

Burning. The word repeated in his head. Burning. It was distasteful, making him frown and fidget. Burn. He smelled smoke, or char. Burner. The word made him sneer.

“Ah!” He jumped up, running in a circle, kicking up snow, screaming and clutching his bottom.

The grumbled, deep voice of the snoozing demon joined the yells. “Shut the fuck up Hard-On, I’m still fucking sleeping.” The words, accompanied by small fires, caught dry branches and grass in the patch on the ground, melted by the demons heat.

“My asshole is on fire! My asshole, it burns!” (more…)