Thursday, 28 November 2013

Shades of Smoke (Graham Buckby and Alan Denham) in One Thousand Words

Shades of Smoke by Graham Buckby and Alan Denham is today's featured book on One Thousand Worlds.

Shades of Smoke-

Brief synopsis:
Shades of Smoke tells the story (stories) of a young Illusionist, gifted with the ability to create wonderful pictures – on paper, in embossed leather, in ink drops in water, but mostly in smoke – yes, he is a sort of magician.
However, he has problems.  He lives in a violent and dangerous world, and he is not a swordsman!  And his magic is not exactly useful as a survival aid in such a world . . . or is it?  When he returns home after his training to find his father murdered, how can he set about his revenge?  And having done that, what will he do next, given that he has now used his Art in a proscribed manner, and his life could be forfeit if his College ever find out.  Answer:  He flees across the breadth of the world, seeking employment, righting wrongs, making friends, rescuing his childhood sweetheart from slavery, helping to provide justice where possible and vengeance where appropriate. And will he get the girl?

About the authors-

Graham Buckby and Alan Denham have been friends for many years.  The writing started as a sort of private joke between them – but it grew, and eventually became good enough for publication.  There are now four books published, and several more in draft form, one just waiting for the final polish, other needing more work . . .

Get more details about us and about our world from

The Price Of Life.

Cormell seemed to be a perfectly normal child.  He was born in the perfectly normal town of Bridgeport.  There were worse places to be born.
Bridgeport was a prosperous little market town huddled on the steep east bank of the upper reaches of the mighty River Nuarine.  Other people might have called it the back of beyond, but locals would reply grinning that the back of beyond actually began the other side of the town’s wall.  Bridgeport was where it was because the confluence of the White River - which was neither white nor properly a river - with the Nuarine created a natural harbour; and was called Bridgeport because it had one of each.  Bridges were a rarity on Nuome, and the high stone arch over the deep rocky cleft carved by the White River was a curiosity which attracted visitors who passed the night there when travelling along the Nuarine on the Southport ferry; and it lured them up through the little town’s market place, and that made the local craftsmen smile a lot.
Another minor curiosity, to a student of natural philosophy who is interested in such things, was the big curving spit of sand which looped across the junction of the rivers, creating the harbour, and which the locals called ‘the beach’.  That beach is important to our story because it was Cormell’s favourite childhood haunt.
Like little boys everywhere Cormell liked to play in sand.  He built defences against the washes of boats, dug moats and pools, threw dams across a small stream that ran nearby, and built castles.  But it was his models and pictures that he enjoyed the most.  While he was still a child people could recognise in his sculpting the town’s bridge and the tower of the Riverlord’s castle, and observed how good they were.
If you had asked the teacher at the Artificers’ Guild school whether Cormell was artistic he would have looked blank, and commented that he had a neat hand, though his script tended to be rather florid and over intricate; and wryly added that perhaps he should have been born a Ryaduran.  The teaching of art was no part of his remit, he taught the abstract sciences needed by his pupils for their crafts; reading, writing and sums.
However, Cormell’s father approved of Cormell’s artistic bent, for he was a leather worker, and artistically decorated leather work could fetch very good prices, especially from rich passing travellers, and especially if it was decorated with pictures of the famous bridge, so he encouraged his young son to spend his free time practising his talent on the beach.
When Cormell reached nine years his father gifted him with paper, inks and charcoal.  Cormell was truly delighted with that gift, and was proud to the point of bursting when his father first displayed one of his pictures of the bridge in his workshop.
When those pictures began to sell for real copper coins both Cormell and his father were even prouder, and, by his eleventh birthday Cormell was on a commission to produce a new picture of the bridge every week for the local bookseller and printer.
But Cormell’s father did not intend to let him be lured into another craft, and, on his eleventh birthday presented him with a set of a set of small sharp knives and punches and showed him how to carve a simple picture into thick leather.  Cormell quickly became rather good at it, and some of his leather work soon came to be displayed in the shop - and occasionally sold, for good prices; but, whenever he was able, he still spent time on the beach by the river.
He still enjoyed sitting alone on the beach, crafting castles and boats, and even faces out of the sand, humming happily to himself as he did so.  It struck him that some tunes seemed somehow to blend with his sculpting, though he couldn’t have explained why it was so.
Cormell was aware that he was having an idyllic childhood, and, if his family weren’t exactly rich, they were comfortable, and at least his father wasn’t a tanner!  Or a fisherman!  Or even a candle maker like Ellisa’s father!  At least worked leather smelt good.  So Cormell actively enjoyed being who he was, where he was, and if the hot summer evenings on the beach had gone on for ever it would have been his idea of paradise.  He knew in his heart that he would soon need to spend much more time in the workshop, and that a part of the idyll would thus be lost, but that was the price of life, and he accepted that.  But he was not expecting what actually happened.
It began innocuously enough.  He was twelve, nearing thirteen, when it happened.  His father had sold a leather saddlebag decorated with one of his bridge pictures for a very good price, and, well pleased, had told Cormell to take the rest of the day off.
Cormell had wandered down to the beach and found some wonderfully workable wet sand at the water’s edge, and was humming happily to himself, moulding his father’s smiling face, trying to capture the way he had looked when the saddlebag was sold.
The ferry boat passed close, and the wake surged up from it, threatening to sweep across his picture and erase it.  Something inside Cormell said ‘STOP’ and then ‘MOVE SLOWER’.  The wave flowed over the face, but, instead of blurring the image or washing it completely away, it smoothed the roughness of the edges, and left the picture clean and glistening, like a fine carving, with a layer of water standing on it like varnish.
Cormell froze, studying its perfection.  This was exactly what he had been trying to create!

Where you can buy Shades of Smoke: - Amazon US - Amazon UK

Smashwords - Smashwords

Connect with Alan Denham on Goodreads

Monday, 18 November 2013

Author Interview - D Antoinette on One Thousand Worlds

Tell us about your latest book.
The First Book of Carrie is my first completed fantasy novel.  I am so in love with this project.  The story follows Carrie Carter as she is trying to find out the truth about the rumors about her family and some secrets are best left secret.
How many books have you written?
Well in my mind, I've wrote maybe a thousand books but in reality, I've only successful wrote one.

What are you working on at the moment?
The First Book of Carrie is the first book in my I Am Carrie Carter Series, so I am working on a sequel and prequel.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
I prefer the insanity, when the voices stop, I no longer have a story to tell.  But if I had to describe attributes for sanity as a writer, I'd say time management and goal setting.  Total chaos isn't going to help you write a best seller, so set goals and mange your time well. Something that I am still learning.
How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
My childhood plays a pivotal role in my writing!  I am a fantasy writer, I need my imagination and luckily for me, I still have the same imagination that  I had as a child.  It comes in handy. 

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The greatest lesson I learned in school was the power of words.  I when I would debate in English class, I learned the art of "selling your point of view" and the beauty of a couple of well placed words.

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
I would say Noah Greene.  When I created Noah, I had a peculiar vision of him.  I think I am in love with him.  Though I think Carrie might hurt me if she heard me say that aloud (and if she was real)
Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?
I love all my characters equally but if I had to choose I would say Carrie, only because she is the most like me.  I like the fact that she is honest about her short comings, something I am working on.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
 The Tooth Fairy
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
Beyoncé!  I always tell my daughters, be yourself unless you can be Beyoncé then you be Beyoncé!

What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
My third grade teacher, the girl who was in my third class that farts smelled like motor, what did she eat that smelled like motor oil, can you put motor oil in your hair, I want to get my hair done, should I dye my hair, is hair dye safe...
What song best describes your work ethic?
Puddle of Mudd, Psycho.  My work ethic is... I don't  think dye is safe, I'm going to look that up on the Internet.  Wasn't I answering interview questions?

Friday, 15 November 2013

Where Flap the Tatters of the King (Lauren Scharhag & Coyote Kishpaugh) in One Thousand Words

Where Flap the Tatters of the King (Book 3 in the Order of the Four Sons series) by Lauren Scharhag & Coyote Kishpaugh is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.

Where Flap the Tatters of the King-

The Order of the Four Sons, Book III sees the surviving members of the Order – Kate, JD, Murphy, Bill, Clayton and Alyssa – reunited in a world known as Corbenic. It’s definitely not a warm reunion. With the Corbenese king held hostage by Starry Wisdom, the land has been plunged into endless winter, and certain members of the team are less than thrilled that they have been joined by former MJ-12 Agent Emily Hayes.   

As the team sets out, they find themselves once again braving the elements, on their way to Corbenic's capital city, where they will be plunged into a world that has almost as many enemies within as without. It is a dark and seductive world, a world of alchemists and geomancers, nobles and courtesans. Unrest has spread throughout the empire, stirring talk of rebellion. And beneath all the gilt and glamor, evil sleeps. 

It is here that the team begins to find answers about themselves and about Starry Wisdom’s secrets. Both sides find themselves embroiled in a game of old alliances and older enemies. 

At all costs, the Order of the Four Sons must liberate Corbenic and restore their king. 

Where Flap the Tatters of the King

It was daybreak, and the countryside was barren and still.  The dry grass glittered crystalline and white, the bare black trees silvered with frost.  In some places, dead leaves or frozen clumps of bright red berries still clung to their branches.  A light dusting of snow fell, the wind eddying flurries into low drifts in the hollows and dells.  A snowshoe rabbit paused in a clearing and sat up on its hind legs, ears erect, nose quivering. 

Figures faded in from the snow and wind, bringing their sounds with them, shattering the silence with their voices and footsteps.

The rabbit leapt into the air, spun, and fled back into the dense tangle of frozen briars, its white body melting into the undergrowth.

Christophe looked reproachfully up at the sky, turned his collar up against the cold, and pulled on a pair of gloves.  Behind him, Alyssa was clinging to Clayton, eyes squeezed tightly shut.  When she became sure of her footing, she raised her head, blinking as snowflakes caught in her eyelashes.

Clayton was wearing a blazer over a linen shirt and an undershirt, and he immediately shivered in the winter air.  Alyssa did not fare nearly so well, dressed in a T-shirt and pants.  She opened her bag and took out a jacket she had picked up at the airport in Edinburgh.  It helped some.

“Please, mademoiselle, allow me,” Christophe removed his cloak and draped it over her shoulders in one fluid motion.

“Thanks.”  The cloak was heavy wool and very, very warm.  She pulled it tightly around herself and pulled the hood up.  Immediately, the snow ceased falling on her.  Surprised, she looked up. 

It was still falling.  Just not on her.

She looked down at the cloak, then over at Christophe, one eyebrow raised.

He did not appear to notice and, in fact, had already turned away.  “Now come,” he said briskly.  “This way to my villa where await you a hot fire and food, and I shall tell you of the tragedy that has befallen our fair Corbenic.”  He gestured to the hills, perhaps a mile away, beyond a small forest where they could make out the soaring gables of a great manor house, its lights a glimmer on the pale horizon. 

He set off through the trees.  “Make haste!” he called over his shoulder.  “I cannot be missed!” 

There did not appear to be a trail, but it was evident from the pace he set through the dead undergrowth that he could maneuver through these woods blindfolded.  He seemed to be leading them on a route that ran parallel to the hills.  Dry branches snapped underfoot.  In the trees, tiny dappled wrens fluffed their feathers against the cold, chirping sadly.  They passed a frozen pond fringed with a low profusion of snow-capped evergreens, its coating of dove-gray ice smooth and absolutely pristine.  Some sort of hawk glided by overhead, white-throated, russet and black, with a black-tipped beak, its red eye flashing before it disappeared into a copse of trees on the other side of the pond. 

Alyssa turned her face up to the snow drifting out of the nearly translucent sky.  A silver circle marked where the sun was almost hidden behind a pearl-colored veil. 

“It’s pretty here,” she said in a hushed tone, as if she were afraid of breaking some enchantment.

Clayton smiled.  “It was spring when I was here last.”

“You have been to Corbenic before?” Christophe asked, surprised. 

“I have had the privilege of seeing Four Mothers in springtime, monsieur,” Clayton replied.

“Ah, splendid, my friend, splendid,” Christophe said reverently.  “With luck, you shall again.”

At last they reached an opening in the trees, where the forest was bisected by a road—a road of smooth black flagstones, blown over with snow.  They followed it until they reached the bottom of the hill leading up to the villa.

The house was of some light-colored stone, with a roof of red shale.  In addition to the gables, there were steeply pointed turrets, their outlines ghostly and stark, backlit against the quickening dawn.  Dozens of windows with elaborate wrought-iron panes held gilded fleur-de-lis, egg-and-darts, ivy, hearts, doves.  The windows themselves were arched, rimmed with dazzling stained glass patterns of flowers in red, blue, green and gold.  The road curved in front of the house, leading off to the right where stables and a carriage house stood.

They began the long trek up the hill, heads down, the wind blowing in from the open fields to either side of them. 

All three were shivering violently by the time they reached the wide, heavy front door mounted on gold and silver clasps.  Even the knocker was ornamental—thick, gold, carved with a flower design.  The doorknob was gold, bearing some sort of stylized symbol that was either a slender crescent moon or a bull’s horns. 

Christophe produced a large, ornate key, also gold.

The door opened and a rush of warm air greeted them.  They all breathed appreciative sighs as they stepped over the threshold, into the foyer.

The walls were papered in a soft ivory with gilded moldings.  The floor was marble.  Its pale coloring matched the exterior stone almost exactly, veined in gold, the slabs fitted together with interlocking diamonds of deep red carnelian like cloisonné, drawing the eye forward to a grand marble staircase with delicate gold railings, which held the same designs as the window panes.  The risers and treads were inlaid with more carnelian, edged in gold.  There were gold wall sconces which held not candles but crystals, their illumination reflecting the gold and cream-colored floors, filling the interior with a warm, almost buttery, glow.  Every element had obviously been created in symphony with everything else.  Clayton and Alyssa regarded their surroundings, impressed with the coordinated beauty, the painstaking design of the place.  

Where you can buy Where Flap the Tatters of the King:


Connect with Lauren Scharhag:
Twitter: @laurenscharhag

Connect with Coyote Kishpaugh:

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Prophecy Denied (M.L.Rigdon) Seasons of Time trilogy Book One in One Thousand Words

Prophecy Denied by M.L.Rigdon (Seasons of Time trilogy Book Oneis today's featured book on One Thousand Worlds. What's more, you can get the book FREE from today until 13th November.

Prophecy Denied-

Lord Ladnor is not a Believer, nor does he have any interest in becoming a national hero. He wants only to stay at home and rule Sha, Omirr’s largest and richest province. When his uncle, Omirr’s Lord Protector, summons him to the corrupt and crumbling capital, what Ladnor learns forces him to abandoned his isolationist ideals. The assassination of the entire royal line has left Ladnor the remaining heir to the Protectorship, a position that obligates him to marry the reigning High Priestess, a woman of power and mystery, whose abilities have made her unpopular and feared. Together they must quickly discover the secrets of the past in order to save their country’s future.

"...epic high fantasy saga of a reluctant hero and the high priestess he is fated to marry...A high-spirited and thoroughly entertaining tale of two people's journey and a nation's quest to survive. Prophecy Denied is especially recommended for fantasy fans and genre enthusiasts who will look forward to the next volumes..."
--James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

About M.L.Rigdon-

M.L.Rigdon grew up in historic Galena, IL and spent most of her time in the museum of her aunt, who encouraged her interest in history and understood the need to cherish a dream. She started writing in secret in her teens and never stopped, merging it with her mother's encouragement to study theater and music, which led to performing in the Midwest, California and as far away as Austria. Rigdon’s favorite genre is fantasy, but since she loves to read everything, she also writes contemporary, romance, and YA. (Yes, she knows you’re supposed to stick to one genre but can’t stop herself.) Rigdon has nine titles on Kindle, including the final book in the awarding winning SEASONS OF TIME trilogy, and writing as Julia Donner, THE TIGRESSE AND THE RAVEN, an RWA contest finalist.

She never forgot what it was like to write alone as a girl and is a happy member of Summit City Scribes. A concern for the failing educational system led her to develop Your Futures In Ink, a panel of local and regional authors, who go into schools to answer questions about writing. She also assisted poet Mia Elkovsky Phoebus in the compilation of AN I NOT LEFT BEHIND, available on Amazon.

The second book in the regency historical Friendship series, THE HEIRESS AND THE SPY, written as Donner, is slated for Winter 2013 release, followed by THE RAKE AND THE BISHOP’S DAUGHTER in Summer 2014. The next installment of the YA fantasy SONGS OF ATLANTIS, CANTICLE OF DESTRUCTION, is slated for Spring 2014.

Prophecy Denied

Harvest Season on the Isle of Exile

The girl looked across the languid expanse of dark sea to the forbidden city for answers. Her slender body pressed into the shifting wind that lifted and tangled her hair. A relentless tide slid back out to sea, sucking grains of sand from beneath her feet, undermining her grip on the world. 
The ocean’s tumbling withdrawal revealed a bed of sparkling gems-—the Sea Stones, living jewels. Some glowed incandescent black, reflecting a myriad of twinkling colors, but most were fluorescent blue-green. The gem-like marine creatures had proliferated over the last two seasons, and the girl sensed there was a menacing significance attached to this mysterious increase. Sea Stones glittered up at her, mocking and malicious, hiding a terrible secret. Every nerve and instinct in her slim body cried out a warning.
She felt the presence approaching long before the loving touch glided across the crest of her shoulder. It had always been this way; she didn’t have to feel her mother’s touch to know she was near.
Her mother’s voice, usually so deep and precise, sounded muffled in the twilight. “Daughter, why do you stare so at Chi?”
The girl hesitated, weighing her answer. “Perhaps because we aren’t allowed to go there.”
Darkness crawled up behind them and glided out over the now listless water. For a time, neither of them spoke, both thinking thoughts too painful to share.
“Daughter, when you look at it, what does Chi say to you?”
The girl reached up to curl her cold fingers around the hard curve of her mother’s enfolding arms, savoring the warmth and strength. She brushed her fingertips over knobby scars, and as always, a jumble of chaotic images rose up and scattered behind her eyes.
Her mother’s body was marked from the signs of her former profession, Cavalry warrior. Scores of puckered gouges refused to fade with time. The sinewy muscles of her arms still rippled with latent menace. Her mother exercised every morning, like a penance, even though there were no more battles left to fight.
“Daughter, you haven’t answered about Chi.”
“Oh, you know how it is with me. I can’t clearly see that which involves my own future. I know I must go there. Someday. But you’ve been there. What is the place with the blue courtyard? A white building with a big, round room inside. There are benches all around for people to sit and watch…. Watch, what? What happens there?”
“The white building is the Temple. The circular hall with marble benches is Judgment Court. Punishments for serious crimes are decided there.”
“And you’ve been there?”
“Oh, yes. Many times. I often had execution duty.”
“But you were Cavalry Leader!”
“Leadership doesn’t exclude one from unpleasant tasks. None of us liked it, but we were bound to serve in turns. I was judged there and sent here into exile. High Priestess doesn’t have your gifts. She couldn’t see I was carrying you, which was a crime in itself.”
“Having babies?”
“Warriors aren’t allowed to conceive while assigned to hazardous duty.”
“Have you forgiven her for sending you here?”
“There’s nothing to forgive, Mirra. She was only doing her duty. That was long ago. She must be quite old by now.”
“I’ve seen her. She’s old and lazy and not wise. She likes too much to have her own way. People will end up paying for her selfishness.”
“It is the way of governments, child.”
“It’s not fair that all of Omirr suffers just because she’s spoiled!”
“Mirra, if you are my daughter in all things, you will never speak against the Temple. What if someone listens?”
The girl closed her eyes and tilted her head. A moment later, her eyes popped open. “No one listens. High Priestess is thinking about the lovely food she’s eating. The cheese is a gift from Vos. The wine is Sha’s best. The novices are watching her and whispering naughty things.”
Concerned by her mother’s sudden withdrawal, Mirra clung to the ragged, Cavalry blue tunic. “Why are you afraid? She bears you no ill will.”
“I know she doesn’t.”
“But you’re shivering!”
“From the damp of the sea breeze.”
“Will you tell me more about Chi? But first, tell me about the other place. The one with the rolled up papers. It’s a sacred place of knowledge, hidden under black rocks. It sometimes calls to me even louder than the city. Is it part of the Temple?”
“I’ve never heard of a place like that.”
“Mother, can you make them stop calling me? Make them go away. Please?”
“I’m sorry, child. For you, there is no escape. It was seen at your birth that you’d belong to these places.”
“But what about you?”
Her mother looked up into the black dome of stars overhead. “All I’ve ever known is the warrior’s way. I had to be forced to accept how destiny can alter one’s idea of duty. I’ve fulfilled my obligations and destiny, as you will also.”
“But why talk of these things now? You’ve never liked talking about Chi and the past.”
A callused palm cupped Mirra’s upturned face. “Because a man will come for you this night. Long ago, I was told to watch for a configuration in the stars during Harvest Season that would tell me when you must leave.”
Mirra laughed. “We’re leaving?”
“Not we. I stay, and you’ll go with him.” She continued before Mirra could rebel, “Don’t fight this, child. You will go with this man and obey him in all things. Until the time comes when you can obey only your destiny.”
“Then I’ll ask One God for you to come with us.”
“No, daughter, you will not!”
Mirra’s half-spoken protest was forgotten when she sensed an alien presence. She whirled and looked down the shoreline, peering through the murky night.
Polished metal glimmered through the gloom. A man walked at the edge of lapping waves. As he neared, she identified the reflections from the circlet in his silver hair and gems studding the torque around his neck. The opulence of both pieces proclaimed his importance. She felt no fear as she faced this advancing stranger. With each step, she felt her destiny drawing near.

Where you can buy Prophecy Denied:

You can connect with M.L.Rigdon here:

Twitter @RigdonML

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A Shadow in the Flames (Michael G. Munz) on Sci-fi Saturday

Sci-Fi Saturday is here again and One Thousand Worlds has the pleasure of introducing A Shadow in the Flames, (Book One in the Aeneid Cycle) by Michael G. Munz in One Thousand Words. Michael was interviewed here on One Thousand Worlds in October. Find out more about him here.

A Shadow in the Flames-

There is more behind the fire that took his home than Michael Flynn would ever suspect, and more darkness in his only friend than he could ever admit to himself. Now, three nights tracking a cybernetic vigilante will alter his life forever. As a discovery on the Moon promises to change the future of the world, a conspiracy of light seeking to shape that change has its eyes on Michael...

About this author-

An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State at the age of three. Unable to escape the state's gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.
Developing his creative bug in college, he wrote and filmed four amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories and give to others the same pleasure with those stories as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.
Munz has traveled to three continents, and has an interest in Celtic and Greco-Roman mythology. He resides in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini.


A Shadow in the Flames  

Michael Flynn felt naked. The sidewalk outside of a transit station on the edge of The Dirge was far from the safest place to be standing alone at night. Even so, waiting there to rendezvous with his roommate was less risky than walking home into The Dirge alone.

He glanced up and down the street from his vantage point atop the steps that led back down to the transit bay. The other passengers who had left the bus with him dispersed into the night along isolated paths. A homeless woman sat hunched beneath a small overhang, silently begging as they passed without taking notice. Michael supposed he could be in a worse situation than having to stand a few extra minutes waiting for his roommate to meet him. The woman had been in the same spot when he had left that morning. Did she have a place to sleep?

Sleep. He'd welcome it after such a fruitless day. Maybe, if he could just get home and relax, his problems might go away for a bit. They might even look better in the morning.

A soft rain began to fall. It spattered on a fallen poster that proclaimed the arrival of the new 2051 model year Uhatsu sedans. The woman's bare feet pressed on the pavement as she tried to better position herself in the dry spot beneath the overhang. Michael watched her and doubted anyone in the neighborhood was in the market for a new luxury car. Then he noticed something more.

She'd worn shoes that morning.

He cursed under his breath that someone would have stolen them from her, and his wallet was open before he'd really even thought about it. What insignificant cash he had clung to the inside and made the empty space there all the more prominent. He stared at it for a few moments, and then put it away again. Soon he would need to think about from where his own next meal was coming.

Yet there was still no sign of his roommate. After casting a few more glances along the street, he found himself meeting the woman's chance gaze. The resignation in her eyes struck him, devoid of hope and heavy with loss. Michael's heart sank in the brief moment before she turned away, and, once the contact was broken, he looked down at his own shoes: barely six months old. He'd bought them just before coming to Northgate. Though the city had marred them a bit, they were still in solid shape.

He reached for his wallet again and walked the short distance to the homeless woman with the regret that he wasn't better equipped to help. At the very least, he wished he could have caught whoever had taken her shoes.

Her hands were chapped, weathered, and dusted with the grime of street life. She took the few bills he offered, and her dirty fingers briefly brushed Michael's own before withdrawing, almost apologetically, from the contact. After a moment, he took out another five and passed that to her as well. Tired eyes looked up at him and a melancholy smile passed over her worn face before her gaze quickly dropped again.

"Thank you," she whispered.

He opened his mouth to offer some form of comfort, but any words he could think of only sounded hollow. He cast his eyes about in a search for what to say, yet all he managed to find was the sight of his roommate's arrival. The older man kept his distance down the sidewalk, waiting in the evening drizzle. Michael left the woman with a weak smile to cover his loss for words and then hurried to join him.

His roommate turned and began to walk as Michael reached him. "You've found a job, then?"

"Well. . ." Michael shrugged. His search that day had been a bust. "Not really, no."

"You shouldn't be throwing away money on strangers," the other said. "Thought you said your savings are running out."

"Yeah, I know." It was true: he was twenty-two with almost nothing to show for it, and giving her a portion of what little money he had left probably wasn't the smartest thing he could have done. "But. . . she probably had less."

"It won't help her. You might need it." He quickened his pace towards the bridge ahead. "Come on."

Michael looked ahead of them, across the water. The clouds broke along the horizon, and the Moon was just beginning to rise over the degenerating slums where he lived. Most just called it The Dirge, a violent, forgotten section of the city where police seldom went and those elsewhere tried to ignore. Roving gangs had long ago torn down the security cameras that were otherwise common on public streets and the corporate run sectors of the city. Even so, his pace quickened to get there. Meager though their apartment might be, it was a place to call home, and sometimes just the fact that he had a roof over his head was a comfort. At least it was in one of the more subdued quarters of The Dirge. Still dangerous, yes, but there were worse places, and it certainly wasn't expensive.

Yet he still had to eat, and if he didn't find a source of income soon, well, he wasn't exactly sure what he would do then. The small sum he'd given the woman might buy her a meal or two. Even so, his roommate was right. If he wasn't careful, he'd be in the same position.

Yet there were so many like her.

Want to read more? You can get A Shadow in the Flames FREE at:

You can buy Book Two in the Aeneid Cycle, A Memory in the Black here:

Find out more about Michael G. Munz

Thursday, 7 November 2013

What the Faeries Left Behind (Amber Michelle Cook) in One Thousand Words

What the Faeries Left Behind by Amber Michelle Cook is today's featured book on One Thousand Worlds.

What the Faeries Left Behind-

Looking for something fun to read?  I write stories of deep, meaningful fun.

My first book is an urban fairy tale for adults.
___ _ _ _ ___

After coming home from a monotonous office job to the apartment where she lives alone, thirty-something Abigail Watson is having a tough day in a hard week in a rotten month, and don’t even get her started on the year.  Until that night when something wonderfully impossible shows up at her door and rings the bell insistently.

You’re not supposed to answer the door late at night to strangers who come knocking unannounced, right?  

Right.  But Abigail does.

Because how can you be scared of someone with translucent wings like those of a dragonfly?
___ _ _ _ ___

What the Faeries Left Behind is an urban fairy tale ‘antidote’ to those times when the dullness and drudgery of grown-up life seems inescapable, and to the misconception that wonder and play are just for children. 

About the author-

Hi everybody.  I'm Amber, happy to have just released my second book.  I'm not ashamed to admit I have a print copy of it hanging out nearby so I can see it, and would have hugged it when it arrived in the mail.  I didn't hug it, didn't want to squish it, but it sure made me all smiley.  I can't wait for people to read it.

I write urban fairy tales (for grown-ups) and lit-style period pieces with a speculative element.  

I like reading speculative fiction, preferring books that are less straight SF or Fantasy, but more Something Cool meets the Real World.  I go for substance, but favor substance with fun, quirk or humor over serious abuse and brutality.  I like to say that while I don't enjoy Man's Inhumanity to Man, I do enjoy Inhumanity's Inhumanity to Man (so monsters and supernatural/paranormal of all kinds) [grin].

Aside from being an author, I'm also an artist, a graphics artist.  If you'd like to see some of my Chromatic Daffodil Shadows,

In addition to those two things, I love all forms of color and light, all things aquatic, literature, TV, SAABs, french fries, improv writing, Halloween, daffodils and integrity. 

What the Faeries Left Behind

“You have—one—new message.”
“…Hello?  Is this—I mean, I’m trying to reach—”
“Your message just says—”
“I…I guess I misdialed—But if not, then Monica, if this is your machine—”
Grr.  I jabbed the button down hard.
A voice in a forced tone of friendliness told me:  “Message deleted.  You have—no—new messages.”
I went to take out my contacts and put on some sweats, wondering about Monica.  Whoever she is, she used to have this number.  I still get the occasional call for her.  And when they call, they get all confused like that guy did just now because I only have the prerecorded, ‘you’ve reached such and such phone number’ rather than a personalized greeting.  But it’s better than advertising that I’m a female living by myself.
Figures my only message is a wrong number.
Yeah, don’t get your hopes up.
I hate getting my hopes up.  They get dashed, and then I get depressed.  And when I get depressed, everything starts to look hopeless.  It takes me a long time to recover and I’m not sure I ever fully do.  So I don’t need any more disappointments, thank you very much.
I had just sat down for the first time since getting home.
I leaned back into the couch, enjoying the sensation of not having to hold my head up.  I was on call so I’d have to answer my work phone, but I was under no such obligation to my personal cell phone or my landline.
Ring.  Click.
I always leave the volume up on my answering machine so I can screen calls, too many of them are solicitations and I can’t talk to those people any more.
“Hello?  Hello!”
I waved whoever it was away with a vague flick of my wrist, wishing I could hang up on them.  Telemarketers are so obnoxious, and I can’t stand the automated ones.
“Drat.  I know you’re home.  You don’t know me, but I need to speak with you.  Badly…YOO-HOO!”
“It’s about who you really are, where you’re from.”
“I’m right outside.  The one standing in front of your apartment holding a cell phone—the ONLY one standing in front of—mm, let’s see, I’ll just go…and…ring the bell…[riiiiing]…”
I sat up.
Normally I’m more alert and responsive to my environment than this, but it had been a tough day.  A tough day in a hard week, and a hard week in a rotten month, and don’t even get me started on the year.
I went to the window, brushed aside the curtains on one end and peeked out.  Just outside I could see someone stepping back onto the sidewalk and peering in at me, all annoyed.  Whoever it was sighed and then walked the few steps back to my front door.
Beep.  Click.  Beep.
I was gaping.
Knock, knock.
No way.
Knock, knock.
You’re not supposed to answer the door late at night to strangers who come knocking unannounced, right?
“I’m coming!”
I opened the door all the way to let ’em in, because how can you be scared of someone with translucent wings like those of a dragonfly half the size of their body?
“You don’t think I’m Monica, do you?”  My tone was suspicious, but that was only a front to cover the childlike thrill threatening to overcome me any second.
This is so cool!
This had better not be another case of mistaken identity.
Shushing the internal conflict, I wordlessly motioned for…It? to step inside.
“Monica?  What?  No.  Why?”  It came in full-body fretting and added with a squeak, “You’re Abbey, aren’t you?”
I ducked around trying to avoid the wings as It attempted to squeeze past me in the narrow entryway.
Its voice rose a notch.  “Abigail?  Abigail Louisa Watson?”
“Yeah, that’s me but—”
“From Springfield—”
“Let’s just get inside,” I said.  Strangely I was the one doing the calming as It twisted and turned to get past me in order to get a better look at me.  “Watch out—”
Those gossamer wings might look as fragile as butterflies, but they were the ones doling out the damage.  They knocked down two of my framed photographs off the wall, and then gave me the equivalent of an open-handed slap in the mouth.
It finally got to where It wanted to be to give me a sharp mustering glare while I rubbed my cheek and upper lip with the back of my hand.
“Of course,” the creature said after a moment of silence, “you’re not actually Abigail Watson, but the important thing is that we’ve found you at last.”
Wide-eyed I motioned It further into the apartment.  It entered the living room with something like a swagger, but once there It flapped those gorgeous iridescent wings ever so gently, gliding over and onto the sofa.
I had to look away.  
This is too much.
But then of course I had to look back again immediately.  It was sitting up on the back of the futon frame sofa, swinging Its legs over the edge, dangling them above the seat.  I hadn’t noticed how short It was…
Now wait a minute.  
It had been taller than me when It came in.  I hardly wanted to blink for fear I might miss something.
It stared at my plain, black couch, pursed Its thin lips and shook Its head.  It laid both hands down across the back, rolled Its eyes and gave me a chiding look.  Scrunching Its butt around like It had an itch, the metal frame began to gleam like polished chrome and the futon cover took on the liquid luster of tropical waters.  As it ceased to move, I noticed the rocking motions of the futon changing, too—they became more sluggish…and were accompanied by a faint sloshing sound.
A water sofa?
So glad I didn’t miss that!
Besides, I had been wanting something extra-ordinary like this to happen all my life.

Where you can buy What the Faeries Left Behind:

Amazon (also Kindle,, Kobo,, Diesel, the iBookstore and Smashwords)

You can connect with Amber Michelle Cook here:

Blog (for more about the story, including an excerpt)

Facebook author page
(Likes appreciated)



More links:

For my blog, Caution: Adults Playing, go to:

Do you know Bublish?  Check out my book bubble there:

And watch a fun book trailer for What the Faeries Left Behind: