Extracts/ Flash Fiction

A scene from a new idea

Tia’s arm flinched as Lannah adjusted the mechanism at her wrist, using a red-hot needle to inscribe the Tsa markings needed to reinforce both the spellwork and metalwork holding it together. Unable to stop herself from smirking, Tia analysed her friend’s serious expression despite the Elvis Presley track blaring through the spellcrafted speakers on the walls. Although the song was six hundred years old, she couldn’t deny Lannah had good taste. ‘You always get that same look of severe concentration on your face when you fix me up.’

Lannah finished the Tsa she was working on and sat up, rolling her shoulders back with a sigh. Her eyes were dark with lack of sleep. I probably look just as bad, Tia thought. ‘That’s because you are particularly hard to repair,’ Lannah said. ‘Do you have any idea how many extra enchantments I have to put on your arm just so it can keep up with your raiding antics?’ She stretched her arms up, adjusting herself. ‘Of course, if you didn’t feel the need to keep ripping it off every time you get in the slightest bit of trouble, my job would be much easier.’

Tia made a fist with her metal fingers, testing them out. Satisfied, she sat up, facing Lannah. ‘If I didn’t yank it off, then me and the team would be toast right now. My magic isn’t half as powerful with it on, and the colonists down on that planet aren’t the friendliest of people. And they’ve got two witches of their own. I nearly got spell-speared in the back.’

She jumped off Lannah’s white operating table, nearly hitting her head on the lamp the engineer had been using. She shivered. Now that she wasn’t focused on the pain from her metal arm being fixed, she noticed how cold it was in the room. She grabbed her jacket from the coat rack and zipped it up to her chin, grateful for its cosy warmth.

‘Maybe they felt that a team of raiders suddenly appearing to take all their tech away was a touch uncalled for?’ Lannah suggested, making a quick Tsa in the air with her finger. Immediately, Tia felt the air in the room get warmer. She chewed the inside of her check, quenching down the familiar pang of envy that rose up inside her. If she’d been born with witch gene zero, she would be able to use Tsa marks too. But she hadn’t. She had plain witch gene zero one, like the majority of witches aboard the Merlin.

‘It’s not their tech anyway. It’s Cosmic Witch’s,’ Tia replied, running her fingers through her short hair. Still feels weird to have it this length, but I guess it’s practical. ‘Anyway, we’re only following orders. They want it back as quickly as possible, we had no time to negotiate.’ More like we were told specifically not too. The truth disgusted her just as much as it did Lannah, whose mouth had stilled into a thin line.

The engineer turned away to her desk and began typing up her report, absently flicking the music from ‘Love Me Tender’ to ‘A Little Less Conversation’. ‘If you’re ready, you can sign out on the module. The form should already be on the screen.’ She shot a slight grin over her shoulder. ‘Try to be more careful next time.’

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Extracts/ Flash Fiction

A snippet of my WIP

Rae hazarded a look back down, but then wished she hadn’t. The dragon was following them as they’d planned, but it was only seconds away from snapping its jaws around Lady Olande’s rear legs. The dragon-woman made it back out onto the palace grounds, where her kin stood waiting, also transformed, just as the outer structure of the catacombs exploded from within, spraying rubble in every direction. In its place was the dragon, and as it saw how many people faced it, it licked its teeth hungrily.

The Drengin didn’t wait for it to attack; they made for the sky, joining the Ice sparrows still fighting the Fae soldiers. The dragon beat its wings twice in preparation, then flew up after them. Sure that it was following the main formation, Lady Olande discreetly changed direction and headed for the outskirts of the city, where the Grand Lubber would – if all had gone to plan – already be waiting with Silver, Gwind and Max.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction, Uncategorized

A little taste of my WIP (which features ogres, dragon-people, fae and many other creatures)

‘What…is all this?’ Max said, tentatively picking one of the hair-wrapped parcels up. He rubbed it against his trousers, trying to get as much dust off it as he could.

‘It’s blue,’ Rae said, examining the neat strands. ‘Gwind, it’s just like yours. It’s exactly the same colour.’

‘You think it’s Fae hair?’ Max asked her. ‘I suppose if it was used to protect whatever is underneath, then that would make sense.’

‘I’ve never heard of it being used for that before,’ Gwind said, ‘but as Silver discovered, there might have once been more uses for it than we think. Perhaps we should unwrap them? Though it looks as if that would take even longer than rearranging the books upstairs. I can’t even see where the ends are.’

‘I could just burn through it,’ Silver said, and before they could stop her, she spat a tiny flame at a parcel by her feet. It touched the hair, fizzling for a moment, and then went out. ‘That’s strange. Our flames should be able to burn through anything.’

‘Let me try,’ Max said, and took out his knife, attempting to cut through the hair. Despite pressing down hard, the blade simply glided over it. ‘Some hair you people have,’ he said to Gwind, failing to keep the awe from his voice.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Merry Weather

At first, I didn’t see her. She was caught between two bushes, tangled up in cobwebs, spindly branches and the lacy trim of her silvery blue cape. I did hear her, though. Cursing so much that I thought a group of drunken sailors had strolled around the corner from the pub in town.

But no. All the swearing was emanating from a tiny fairy, red in the face from her efforts to untangle herself.

If it wasn’t for the fact that she saw me and gave such a scowl that my legs automatically wanted to run for the hills, I might have laughed. Instead, I mumbled an offer of assistance while pulling my most solemn expression, and stepped forwards to help. My fingers slipped in my attempt to de-cobweb her and I ended up jabbing her in the head. She bit me for that. Straight through the skin, so that a bead of blood rose from the puncture wound and stained her clothes. I winced, but her long frenzy of expletives detailing every inch of my incompetence drowned it out. Then she wept, equally as loud, about the state of her clothes and how they were positively ruined.

I think it was supposed to make me feel sorry for her, but in actuality it made her terrifying hold on me weaken enough to simply pinch her roughly out of the tangled mess, tearing her cloak completely. She wailed even more. I pointed out, bluntly, that she was free and if she hadn’t have been wearing the ridiculous thing, she probably wouldn’t have ended up in that state in the first place. In answer, she took a small stick from the top of one boot and jabbed it at my nose. Hot sparks shot out the end, singeing my nostril hairs. I let her go in disgust and watched her zoom away, emitting the wettest raspberry I’d ever heard. At least, I hope it was a raspberry…

Extracts/ Flash Fiction, Poetry

Extract from my current WIP

I don’t usually write poems or songs in my books, but this time the story called for one. And as this blog features quite a lot of my poetry, I thought I’d share it. To put it in context, it gives a vial clue for my characters to find something:

‘And when the snows begin to ease

On mountains high, with cool breeze

Look out to the peaks every morn

From which the ice sparrows are drawn

And watch them duck and dive

Until upon the floating cities they arrive,

Stealing crystals for their nests,

Those naughty sparrows, dragon’s pests.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Extract: Necromancer’s Cage

Johnathan left the building and strode to the end of the street, trying to stay as casual as though he was just out for a midday stroll. Unfortunately, he’d forgotten it was still winter and the snow had now turned to ice. His feet skidded out from under him, causing him to walk with his arms splayed out for balance. When he reached the corner where the Bandits and Winkit were indeed waiting, he found Jasmine and Samuel in fits of giggles.

‘What happened to you?’ Jasmine asked, making Johnathan feel terribly self-conscious. ‘You look as though you were attacked by a violent dishcloth while attempting to dress yourself in the dark.’ She took out a small compact from the pockets of her thick coat and opened it up so he could see his reflection in its small mirror.

His face, where he’d scrubbed it quickly, was covered in red blotches and the buttons on his shirt were all done up wrong. He saw his face redden even more with embarrassment before she finally shut the compact again.

Extracts/ Flash Fiction

Extract: The Door Between Worlds

They turned a corner and found themselves in a street full of stalls of every kind and colour, stretching as far as they could see. There was a black stall with yellow stripes to their right, selling honey and beeswax candles, and to their left was one which was deep purple, selling various creams and powders. One of them was called ‘Anti-Wart Cream’ and was advertised as being perfect for witches who wanted to avoid looking evil.

As he read the label, a woman with a greenish tinge to her skin and six extremely large warts on her chin came up to the stall and looked at the powders and creams with interest. The vendor, a tall, stout woman, smiled at her.

‘Ah, Baltinda! It’s good to see you again. How’s the anti-evil cream coming along?’ she asked.

‘Well, as you can see, my skin is gradually fading back to its natural colour now. I can’t believe I was involved with that coven for so long that my skin turned green! I only went there for a laugh, I never thought I’d start becoming a wicked witch like the rest of them,’ the green-tinged woman replied.

‘Ah, you can’t help things like that. Wicked witches are very clever at deceiving good witches. I think Wilhelmina is the only good witch I’ve ever known not to be lured by their charms.’

‘Oh, don’t talk to me about Wilhelmina. She’s so full of good spirits that it makes me sick,’ the woman spat in disgust. Ramble noticed that her green skin darkened slightly as she spoke.

‘Now there’s no need to upset yourself, Baltinda. Here, have some more anti-evil cream,’ the vendor said, handing her a large jar of it.

‘Thank you,’ the witch said, taking it quickly and spreading some on her cheeks. The green diluted within seconds. ‘I know I shouldn’t carry on, but have you heard that she’s made friends with Ramble now that he’s come back?’

‘No, I haven’t. What’s she up to then, I wonder? I knew that she’d met him several times before, but they were never very—’

The vendor stopped as she caught sight of Ramble looking over the witch’s shoulder. Seeing her stare, the witch turned around. She let out a small cry and stepped back, knocking several packets off the stall. Ramble bent down and picked them up, handing her one of them.

‘Here,’ he said. ‘I believe you need this one.’

The witch looked down at the packet he’d given her. It was the Anti-Wart cream. ‘I—’ she began, but before she could say anymore, he gave a curt wave and turned away to merge with the crowd.