Novel Monday: Transplant of War – Chapter 4


Description:
Adane barely escaped war in his homeland. He wanted nothing more than to hide in this new city with his adopted child Chisa by his side. But every choice he makes risks their quiet lives and every day brings the war that Adane fled closer to their doorstep. Soon Adane will have to choose between running away again or taking a stand against an enemy that can’t be seen and cannot be fought.

Transplant of War
by Meyari McFarland

4. Door

The old door crumbled under Adane’s fingers as he eased it out of the way. Truly, it was a miracle that the thing had stayed in place for so long. Dawud snorted and shook his head as Adane brushed the dry, rotting wood off his fingertips. Both of them laughed as Chisa, face utterly serious, poked a finger straight through the door and then gasped with stunned delight.

“Careful,” Adane warned Chisa. “Could still get splinters.”

“Useful for compost,” Dawud said as he tore the frame out with his bare hands. It crumbled under his grip, prompting a disgusted snort. “Not much else.”

“Lintel will stay up?” Adane asked. He gently gripped Chisa’s shoulder and pulled them back away from the now unsupported doorway through the wall. “Not dangerous?”

“Nah,” Dawud said. “Frame was just to support the door. Not structural. Old walls like this, real old ones, made so magic doors could be cast. Grandfather told stories. Glowing doors, spells to welcome or repel. Like the rich mansions other side of town.”

“Ah,” Adane breathed.

Now that Dawud had pointed it out, Adane could actually see the old runes around the inner surface of the archway. It wasn’t a spell that he knew but Father had taught Adane years ago how to make door-shields much like the ones Dawud spoke of. Of course, the ones that Adane knew were intended to kill anyone forcing their way in. He certainly couldn’t cast that spell here.

Still, Adane helped clean up the crumbled doorframe, sweeping the splintered bits into a pile that Zakwan could use for compost or not, as he preferred. As Chisa helped Dawud measure the new door frame timbers, Adane traced his fingers over the old runes cut into the stones. Here was Peace, round swirls familiar. That was probably Quiet, logical in a home where other houses were right next door. You would want to be able to muffle noise inside and outside so no one disturbed the others. And that, most definitely, was Death.

Adane’s fingers lingered over the coffin-shaped rune. It still held a whisper of power. Perhaps that was what had kept the Shiraida in all this time. The walls, weakened by time and lack of care, certainly hadn’t done it.

“New door.”

The deep-voiced comment startled Adane. He whirled, heart pounding, only to stiffen even further when he saw the neighborhood’s bane, Bahji the tax assessor, smiling brightly at the three of them with his plump hands folded over his full belly. Adane waved for Chisa to come to his side, pushing it behind him where the child would be safe.
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Free Fiction Friday: Broken Sword of Night

POD Broken Sword of Night Ebook Cover 03

Description:

Jamie was king, granted by the right of the Black Sword of Night. Except he wasn’t king, not now that his Knight and lover Ainsley was dead. No one was until the Black Sword was restored.

A year after the sword broke, Jamie ran to Ainsley’s memorial. Finding the true king meant opening his heart and Jamie didn’t think he could do that

Let him have one night to mourn. Then he’d find the true king.

Broken Sword of Night

By Meyari McFarland

Jamie crouched, hidden from view beside the massive granite base of Ainsley’s statue. The street was dark, quiet, only two torches burning in front of the statue. Thankfully, they cast flickering cones of light only a couple of feet from their base which left his hiding spot swaddled in deep darkness. If only he didn’t have to deal with the stink of the cheap oil fueling the torches tarring the back of his throat.

There was already moss under his knee, wet slimy green-black stuff that stank of rot instead of anything living, healthy. Good. Appropriate, really. The entire city was broken. They’d broken along with Jamie the day Ainsley marched out to battle and came back on a stretcher with his neck snapped, his limbs broken but still, somehow, a hero.

A statue. They’d sculpted a statue of him instead of doing anything that Ainsley would have approved of. No feeding the poor, the desperate. The nobles said there was no point to healing the sick even though Ainsley had worked tirelessly to create free clinics for those in need. His beautiful garden, created in the center of the worst part of town so that the poor could come and pick food, had already gone to weeds. Most of the vegetables were already dead.

Because everyone knew that they were doomed. Even Jamie knew it and he’d spent most of the last year desperately trying to pretend that they’d won the war, that Ainsley really was a hero. Acid burned at the back of Jamie’s throat. He swallowed, shut his eyes, dug his fingers into the slime-moss that would inevitably consume Ainsley’s statue.

“He had to come this way.”

Jamie flinched and shifted deeper into the darkness. There was a tiny gap only about ten inches wide, between the statue’s base and the wall of the building behind it. He stood, carefully, and then edged into it. It took breathing all his air out but he made it just as Lindsey strode up to the statue and peered into the darkness for any signs of Jamie.
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Novel Monday: Transplant of War – Chapter 3


Description:
Adane barely escaped war in his homeland. He wanted nothing more than to hide in this new city with his adopted child Chisa by his side. But every choice he makes risks their quiet lives and every day brings the war that Adane fled closer to their doorstep. Soon Adane will have to choose between running away again or taking a stand against an enemy that can’t be seen and cannot be fought.

Transplant of War
by Meyari McFarland

3. Renovation

“Where this goes?” Chisa asked as they carried a bundle of blankets as big they were into their finally renovated house.

“Bedroom upstairs,” Adane said.

“Awful small,” Chisa said, giggling a little.

“So true,” Adane sighed. “Still, bedroom.”

Their bedroom was tiny, barely three paces one way and two the other but there was room for a mattress and a chest for clothes under the narrow stairs up to the roof. Adane had thought of having Chisa sleep in a hammock on the far side of the room but both Chisa’s and Adane’s nightmares made that impossible. Thankfully they both slept better with someone to touch or cuddle in the night. They’d just have to share the mattress until Adane could expand the house or figure out another place for Chisa’s bed. And, of course, until they were over their nightmares.

“Will do!”

He grinned as the entire bundle nodded along with Chisa’s head. A month along the house was livable. They’d spend half the rudraii getting the house to a point where the walls wouldn’t collapse, the ceiling didn’t leak and the kitchen could be used to prepare food. There was still a huge amount of work to be done, including plastering all the walls, redoing the floor downstairs and then getting actual furniture for them to sleep on but it was something to be done in the future. For now they had a home.

Which had, actually, gotten named Shiraida House much to Chisa’s amusement. Adane shrugged off the comments every time people saw them together. It was a good old house and it was theirs. Other people’s opinions didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered to Adane was getting the place livable. He breathed slowly against the surge of memories from before. His flashbacks had already frightened Chisa once. No reason to repeat it now when Adane was safe and secure.

“What now?” Chisa asked.

They grinned up at Adane, the gap in their teeth starting to fill in. Having three meals a day seemed to have triggered a growth spurt. Chisa’s now perpetually clean face had filled out but their arms and legs had grown enough that the new shirt and pants Adane had bought were slightly too short.

“Walls?” Adane said, looking out the door towards the crumbling plaster on the outer walls.

“Can’t reach big chunks of wall,” Chisa said doubtfully. They sucked on their bottom lip, hesitantly sidling closer to Adane. “Too many plants.”

Adane laughed, scooped Chisa up in his arms and pressed a kiss against Chisa’s cheek. The startled squeak and then laughter just made Adane laugh harder. He could taste the sugar of Chisa’s morning pastry. Chisa giggled as they hugged Adane, settling into Adane’s arms with a little sigh of contentment that always made Adane’s heart break for how lonely the child’s life had been.
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Sale!

On Sale Now: Consort of the Crystal Palace! Get it on Kobo for $0.99 but only until Monday.

wlw romance / SF adventure FTW!

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Free Fiction Friday: Drifting Leaves, Misty Skies

POD Drifting Leaves Misty Skies Ebook Cover 03

Description:

Sand shifted under Simeon’s feet, under the stairs, the buildings, the entire town.

James waited, eyes on the horizon like a onyx sculpture of a man as he gazed across the misty beach towards the booming waves.

The waves summoned James’ magic away from Simeon while Simeon’s magic swirled him away into the echoes of the past.

They drew together, shifting with the waves, the sand, the misty rain.

Drifting Leaves, Misty Skies

By Meyari McFarland

Simeon rubbed one shoe against the grass, carefully scrubbing sand off of it. The surf boomed off to his right, shushing as the waves withdrew only to crash again. His toes were cold. Wet. Sandy. There really wasn’t much point to cleaning the sand off his shoes when his feet were covered in sand, too. Still Simeon carefully brushed them off, making sure every speck of gray fell off the white plastic sole, the neon green upper.

Off to his left James waited, eyes on the horizon. He could have just arrived at the beach. Face calm, shoulders relaxed. He’d thrust his hands into his pockets, all but the thumbs that stuck out, hooked through a belt loop. James’ mop of curly hair drooped over his forehead to shield his eyes, dark against the gray concrete retaining wall that kept the cliff from slumping down onto the beach. His skin looked darker than normal down here, almost black instead of warm reddish brown.

Cedric had sniffed the first time he saw James, had curled a lip and turned away to look side-long at Simeon as if he suspected that Simeon had lost his mind. Of course, Cedric always did that. He’d sneered at Simeon’s first grade painting of the sky, at the news that he was going to be in band in junior high. When Simeon’s test results came back positive, Cedric’s sneer had curled so high that Simeon had punched him in the face.

Just because Cedric had no gifts, no magic, didn’t mean he had the right to put Simeon down.

He still did. Every time they spoke, emailed, texted, there would always be some snide comment about Simeon that was designed to make him feel like crap.

“He’s not here,” James murmured. His voice blended into the crash and suck of the waves just as James always blended into his environment, quiet, still, calm.

“I know,” Simeon said. “Except for how he is.”

James turned his head, electric green eyes softening to deep moss green when he saw Simeon’s face. He chuckled and came over to brush a hand over Simeon’s cheek. The sand dropped from Simeon’s feet, fell from his shoes. Simeon ducked his head and smiled, looked up through his lashes and laughed under his breath that his heart could beat so fast just from James smiling at him that way.

Simeon blushed as James took his hand, led him up the stairs towards the street above. Sand should have stuck to his feet. The stairs, damp with misty rain, dotted with soggy blackberry and maple leaves that had fallen into the stair well, were coated with sand. Many of the steps domed in the center from the amount of sand people had tracked up on the bottoms of their shoes.

No sand stuck. When they got to the top, Simeon panting a little, James with his eyes crinkled in a quiet smile that didn’t touch his lips, Simeon put on his shoes without any worries about sand between his toes. It was still odd. A little frightening. Exhilarating.

“Do you think I’ll learn how to do that?” Simeon asked as they slowly strolled up the street as it wound to the left and then climbed sharply towards the main road above.

“The sand?” James asked. He shrugged. “Maybe. I doubt it. It’s not your gift, really.”

His eyes were distant, looking ahead, not at the road, per se, but the future that only James could see. The future? A future, maybe. James had told Simeon that the future shifted, drifting like leaves in the wind, subject to the choices they made moment to moment.
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Now Available: Living Beginning of the Storm


Description:
Keanu clung to his form. Only Cyrille, his beloved First Follower, kept him from being blown apart by the power of the sea surrounding him.

Baby gods should never confront the Gods of the Sea. They just shouldn’t.

But the team needed Keanu so he had to cope with the roar of the waves, the pounding of the surf, the tearing at his fragile energies.

Somehow.

Find This Story:

On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On Amazon $2.99 ebook or $5.99 TPB
On CreateSpace $5.99 TPB

Yay, I got this up when I wanted to instead of weeks later! *laughs at myself* Sometimes you have to take your wins where you get them.

So yeah, another Gods Above and Below story up and available. Keanu faces some threats and makes some changes in this one. Hope you enjoy if you choose to read!

*happy dance*

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Novel Monday: Transplant of War – Chapter 2


Description:
Adane barely escaped war in his homeland. He wanted nothing more than to hide in this new city with his adopted child Chisa by his side. But every choice he makes risks their quiet lives and every day brings the war that Adane fled closer to their doorstep. Soon Adane will have to choose between running away again or taking a stand against an enemy that can’t be seen and cannot be fought.

Transplant of War
by Meyari McFarland

2. Trap

Copper tainted Adane’s tongue as he licked his split lip. The wood of the door flaked away under his fingers. Something large and heavy scuttled away from the slow drag of the door across the uneven stones that marked an ancient pathway into the garden at the center of the house. Heavy green ferns covered the ground. Moss as thick and soft as a one hundred year carpet spread between the worn stones of the path.

It was an old style house, older than Adane had expected. Instead of an outer ring of building that opened into a central courtyard, the house loomed like a moss and vine-covered shadow to the left. Something that might be an outdoor kitchen lurked directly opposite the door behind shrubs that had grown into trees during their decades of neglect. And to the right Adane could just make out what he thought might be a wash house and toilet. Maybe.

“Got lots of work to do,” the Shiraida hunter snorted.

“Lots,” Adane agreed, much more tense. “Do the summoning spell, please.”

“Not gonna get Shiraida in a place like that,” the hunter sighed and spat towards Adane’s feet as if to drive him away for his stupidity. “Don’t like that much greenery.”

“Please,” Adane said. He deliberately didn’t respond to the insult. There was no benefit to that. “Get paid either way.”

The hunter snorted, spat towards Sand who glowered at the man but didn’t clench their fists as Adane expected. Instead Sand bit their lip, swallowing so hard that Adane could hear the swallow from yards away. Adane waved Sand to come over to his side so that he could protect the child. He was alive because of Sand. It was only appropriate, no matter what the others around them might think of him for protecting a homeless, filthy child with no name.
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Free Fiction Friday: Stars Drifting Ever Upwards

POD Stars Drifting Ever Upwards Ebook Cover 03

Description:

Gisela paused, one foot planted on a fallen log, the other buried in a mound of long brown pine needles.

Beaten, cast out with her sisters, Gisela burned with fury that Harbart had turned on her this way.

She’d left their village to protect her sisters but as Harbart chased her Gisela’s reserve burned away in the flames of revenge.

Harbart’s obsession with magic would be the world’s doom.

Stars Drifting Ever Upwards

By Meyari McFarland

Gisela paused, one foot planted on a fallen log, the other buried in a mound of long brown pine needles. The rough bark of the pine scraped against her bare sole, as rough as a rasp despite the wet dragging her hair down over her eyes. The forest was quiet, nothing but the sound of water dripping, dripping, endlessly dripping from moss-covered branches and drooping bunches of needles as long as her hand.

If it were summer, if things were different, Gisela would stoop and gather great handfuls of the needles so that she could bring them home and carefully weave them into baskets for sale. Or bundle them into loose balls to set aflame, piney sap filling the air with the scent of summer and joy and heat. But these needles were already half rotted, the clear amber color so prized during the summer turned to musty brown patched with blackish mold.

Nothing good could come of the needles right now. But at least they did not burn. That was good. Better. Safer. For the moment. They shouldn’t bring too much attention to themselves, not while they fled. Someday, once they had a new home, then they could be open again but not now.

Ahead, Alli had one shoulder under Coby’s arm, supporting her so that they could hobble along together, their three good legs doing what they could to spare Coby’s badly broken leg. Even if Coby still had the crutches that had been taken from her they wouldn’t have done much good. The forest floor was too uneven, the blanket of pine needles too thick, for crutches to help.

It still burned that they’d taken the crutches away before chasing them out of town.

Gisela shook her head, spraying tiny hot sparks all around her as the anger shifted and left her. A few yards away Liselot glowered at Gisela, sparks rising from her eyes. They’d all agreed, no fire, no magic, no revenge for the slight but it was hard to let anger go.

Necessary, yes, but still hard. Gisela shook her head again, ignored the upward drifting sparks, and lifted her skirts as she followed Alli and Coby. Her back ached where the mob had kicked, hit, beaten her. Her neck throbbed where the mob had wrapped a rope around her neck, tried to drag her to be hung before Gisela had burned it away in a flash of fury and fire that had sent people screaming in terror. When she swallowed sour bile crept back up, tainting the back of her throat like the hurt fury that wouldn’t leave.

People were stupid, no matter what sweet, pale, gentle Viona claimed. Her magic was all light, all warmth, a fire so intense that it seemed barely there. She stood at the top of the ridge, staring down into the valley with her stark against the black-brown bark of a great pine. It was like staring at the sun, sometimes, or a single candle flame burning in a still, still room. Viona never had wavered, never had doubted, never had to worry about whether people accepted them or not.

Her fire burned so hot that she had little to fear.

Gisela did not have that luck. Her fire was the smoldering fire of a stove as morning came and new wood was put on old embers, the deep fires of the earth that moved continents and shoved mountains towards the sky. Slow burning, inevitable, like the turn of the seasons and the heat of the sun on a winter day. She couldn’t set the world on fire but if she decided to burn something it was going to go up in flames eventually. Viona was the fast spark, the oil-fed flame that leaped up before you knew it was there.

“What do you see?” Liselot called to Viona. “Anything?”

“They’re following us,” Viona replied.
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Overdue Now Available Posts!

6. The Ice’s Voyagers

Description:
Xun’s breath puffed into the air, crystallizing in a cloud. So cold. If Chifundo hadn’t begged…

But she had. And Xun had to answer her, treking all the way up to the glaciers over Turnbull.

Only to discover that Chifundo didn’t want her.

Or need her.

Something was very, very wrong. Xun had to fix it or lose her cousin forever.

If it wasn’t already too late.

Find This Story:

On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On Amazon $2.99 ebook or $5.99 TPB
On CreateSpace $5.99 TPB

7. First Snake of the Dwindling Ships

Description:
The Headquarters of the Snakes of the Empire was a black blot against the white marble of the Holy City.

Akuchi would rather be anywhere but here.

Bonding to Prince Cyrille was the best thing that had ever happened to him. It had taken him from this duty and he was so glad.

But his old friend Kirran Pekkanen waited for help that only Akuchi could give.

Though Akuchi refused to give what he demanded.

Find This Story:

On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On Amazon $2.99 ebook or $5.99 TPB
On CreateSpace $5.99 TPB

8. Kiss of the High King’s Illusion

Description:
Cyrille strolled to the library window overlooking the east rose garden, Akuchi by his side. Misty rain fell outside.

Odd for his favorite place in the world to be so grim but then the murderous ghost haunting the High King’s library was a great threat.

Greater than Cyrille usually faced.

For being possessed by a ghost determined to kill the High King might get Cyrille and Akuchi both murdered.

Find This Story:

On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On Amazon $2.99 ebook or $5.99 TPB
On CreateSpace $5.99 TPB

Finally! Got the Now Available posts up. Sorry that took so long. It’s been a busy three weeks.

The sixth, seventh and eighth stories in the Gods Above and Below series of short stories is now available pretty much anywhere you look. Hope you enjoy the stories should you choose to read!

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Novel Monday: Transplant of War – Chapter 1

Time for a new novel on Novel Mondays–Hope you enjoy the switch over to the Mages of Tindiere ‘verse and our slide back a thousand or so years into the past.


Description:
Adane barely escaped war in his homeland. He wanted nothing more than to hide in this new city with his adopted child Chisa by his side. But every choice he makes risks their quiet lives and every day brings the war that Adane fled closer to their doorstep. Soon Adane will have to choose between running away again or taking a stand against an enemy that can’t be seen and cannot be fought.

Transplant of War
by Meyari McFarland

1. Sand

Cobbles twisted Adane’s ankle sharply as he picked his way up the narrow street. He cursed under his breath only to stop abruptly, sweat breaking out over his forehead and back. His heart pounded against his chest, shaking his knees and grabbing at his lungs so that breathing abruptly became impossible.

Adane looked over his shoulder. No one was there. No one had heard. They weren’t hunting him. A great flying cart, as long as a block, stacked high with bricks for someone’s house, flew by overhead. Its magical flywheel whirred silently, the driver manipulating the glowing control disks so lazily that he looked three quarters asleep.

The driver didn’t look down at Adane cringing in his narrow, dirty alley. Probably didn’t even notice that Adane was there but still, it was a risk that Adane couldn’t afford. He kept the curses in his head after that, despite how uneven the cobblestones were under his feet. Too much risk, too many dangers; he needed to do everything right including navigating this tiny street.

If you could call it a street. It was a path between two rows of buildings with what should pass for cobblestones under his feet but Adane would have considered it no better than an alley back home. Less than that. Alleys had enough room for a proper cart to go through, space overhead where the neighbors could look across at each other, maybe windows in the walls so that passers-by could glimpse the gardens beyond.

Not here. The walls towered over his head, a good eight feet high. Most were topped with broken shards of glass that said more clearly than signage that no one was welcome to visit. The buildings beyond had no windows, no gardens. Those were all wrapped inside in central courtyards that only the privileged few could enter. Or at least that only the residents could see and complain about the upkeep that had not happened in far too long.

In this portion of town no one had time for gardening. They were too busy surviving, working for every penny they could scrape up. A far cry from his childhood before everything went wrong but this was what Adane could afford. At least here people didn’t ask questions. No one had commented on Adane’s flinches, fear sweats and barely covered scars around his wrists.

The street itself was narrow. Cramped. Worn. He gently brushed his fingers along the grey plastered wall to his left. Chips broke off, white on their underside, falling into the out of place cobbles below. One chunk as large as his head toppled to the cobbles in a crack that made Adane start. Underneath old worn bricks peered outwards, curling inwards at the edges where grout should be as though the grout was slime mold startled by the light.

Adane frowned.
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