Lantern Leaf Press

Voyages Into The Fantastic

Category: Excerpts

Excerpt from The Mirror Knife

Hello, all! Here is one of my favorite scenes from The Mirror Knife. This particular scene involves Burgundy taking her pixie and current client (a tiny, hunted fairy named Fly) to a faery black market to try to uncover some information.

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   I opened my eyes to see the familiar rows of booths, tents, and haggling fairies. A tall female fairy on guard duty glided forward and looked me straight in the eye. “Can I help you?” she asked. She stood as tall as me, and her voice was husky and clearly suspicious. Her gaze travelled to my shoulder. “Two visitors?”

   “Three. Surfaeillance business,” I replied. Silence rippled out from where I was standing. Then the talk began again, but in hushed tones.

   The fairy arched a perfect eyebrow. “Really?” The slender vine in her dark curls wound tighter, obviously disappointed that it didn’t get to attack an intruder. She turned away in a rustle of gypsy skirts and vanished into a shrub.

   “Hang on,” I said, poking at the bush. “Where’s Saunders hanging out these days?”

   The branches rustled and the fairy peered out at me, her brown eyes turning green. “Why?” she asked.

   “Because.”

   She sniffed. “Third tent from the end. Red curtains.” The leaves swished shut in my face.

   Fairies. I plunged into the sea of tents, hoping to keep my sense of direction. The interiors of the booths glittered with glass jars, amber-colored lamps, and all sorts of human-made junk. One fellow was even trying to sell broken washing machines.

   “I am thinking this was a bad idea,” Fly said in my ear. I felt a little hand tug on my hair. “Maybe you should wait here, and I will go find the. . . it.”

   Well, that was new. “You want to risk getting caught again?” I said, turning a corner. I could see the red tent now, at the end of the row. Fly seemed to be getting more and more agitated. I slowed down. “You’ll be fine,” I said. Few fairy criminals would be stupid enough to try anything in the Market, but it paid to be on the safe side. “If you see anything suspicious, let me know. Got it?”

   Fly whimpered a response as we reached the tent. I slid one hand into my coat pocket and stepped up to the counter.

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The Luck Child: Update and Excerpt

May is almost over, can you believe it? At least my birthday isn’t over yet. Let’s hear it for grilled hotdogs, broccoli salad, and amazing strawberry crisp.

On the writing front, things are a bit in limbo. The Luck Child (Cabernet) is first-draft finished and off to test readers – many of whom have already finished and sent me their thoughts. The general consensus is one of high acclaim, and a couple areas that need work. My villainess needs to be more villainess-y, and a little plot twist I prided myself on turned out to be confusing and doesn’t pay off enough. I will be working on that. 

Finishing Cabernet’s story left me in a sort of thundering silence. Going from “almost two thousand words a day for a month and a half” to “waiting for people to read and give me their thoughts” was very shocking to my writer system. I flailed around for a little bit, started reading James Scott Bell’s “Revision & Self-Editing” (very enjoyable so far), and then attempted to begin yet another new story. Yes, another one. (Can I help it that I have stacks of them eager to get out on paper?) I also have plans to sit down with my editor and discuss her notes on A Twist of Fae.

Meanwhile, here’s a little snippet for you from the part of The Luck Child about Cabernet as a youngster. All his life, Cabernet has had a rather unusual problem. No one remembers him. They can laugh and talk and be friends, but as soon as they leave, or lose sight of him, they forget he ever existed. 

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   Rain sleeted against the diamond-paned window in the parlor. Cabernet, standing with his face pressed against the cold glass, could feel the distinct prick of each drop. No one interesting had driven by, no one remarkable had called at the kitchen door, and the rain would not stop. “We’re going to die here,” he groaned to whoever was listening. He peeled himself away from the window and flung himself dramatically into a chair. Right on top of his playmate. 

   “Gerrof,” Young Jackwell spluttered, digging both elbows into Cabernet’s back. “Did you want to play jacks or didn’t you?” 

   Cabernet let himself go limp and slid to the floor, where he lay on the moth-eaten rug in abject misery. “Not that again. You always win.” 

   Across the room, Penna looked up from her reader. “I think that’s why he likes to play it.” She smiled, then ducked back behind the book. 

   Cabernet propped himself up on his elbows. “What about,” he began, in as mysterious a voice he could manage, “we try something new.” 

   His comrade gave him a suspicious look. “Like what?” 

   In answer, Cabernet rolled onto his belly and squirmed beneath the lavender sofa. The dust tickled his nose as he felt around for the little sack he knew would be there. A foot nudged him in the leg. “Don’t get stuck,” Jackwell whispered. “We’d have to call the headmaster.”

   Blast. It’s just out of reach. Cabernet snaked forward. A broken spring poked his ear, and the infernal buttons on his almost-white shirt snagged against a crack in the floor. “If I get caught,” he said, “call Miss Andenel. She’ll be more understanding.” The tips of his fingers touched paper. “Got it!” He wriggled his way back to the surface and held up the squashed packet. 

   Jackwell’s eyebrows squashed together in a frown. “What’s that?” he asked. His sandy-brown crop had been neatly combed into a good imitation of Headmaster Franks’. 

   Cabernet felt a sneeze coming on. He sat cross legged on the rug and gave his nose a good scratch. “Cards,” he said. “Like Franks and the bishop play when he comes to call.” He sneezed once, violently, then unrolled the top of the packet. “I made them myself. While the girls were doing their sewing.” 

   A flicker of interest crossed his playmates’ face. Jackwell climbed out of the chair and squatted across from the tiny mound of ink-splotched paper. “Do you know the rules?” he asked, picking up two of the cards and studying them. 

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