Monday, June 16, 2014

Countdown: Remnants to Recent Years Releases this Week

The first volume of collected short works completed, revised and prepared for publication or published in 2013 releases in 5 days’ time.

Remnants to Recent Years consists of short stories, flash fiction and poetry, explorations of fantasy, science fiction, speculation, real-world and real-life commentary, language and word play in general.

Some of the short stories in have been released as stand-alone works, as part of An Anthology of Blades, or both. Rather than buy them one by one, you can find them all in this volume. These stories are:

  • Old Magic
  • The Runaway
  • Corporate Loyalty
  • Pigs Might Fly
  • Gods in the Lianreida
  • The Buried Blade
  • A Battle of Minds

Remnants to Recent Years is scheduled for release on June 21, 2014.

 Here is another taste of what to expect:

The Lady Margreath and her Lord

This piece was written away back around April 28, 2002. I think it was my first attempt at the gothic style. This is the first time it has appeared in print. Enjoy.

Margreath shivered in the darkened loneliness of the balcony, and I was sure I could see the shimmer of moonlight on tears as she stared across the garden.  It was the orange tree that did it.  The accursed plant was in full bloom and its fragrance invaded every corner of the garden, then crept into the house to entice civilised hearts with the tangy promise of something else. In Margreath it woke something we hoped to keep dormant.
I went to her, watching her for the first sign of regression.
She was lovely to look at, her skin a pale gold, her hair darkened copper and her eyes the blue-green of oceans. She turned her head as I drew near, hiding from me what she did not want seen in those windows of the soul.
The orange tree had worked its magic again, and she knew her tower waited. In silence, I handed her the veil that would protect her from notice, and protect the guests we had dined with from her gaze. She took it and, sighing, put it on.
In silence we returned to the ballroom and skirted its edges, ignoring the way the shadows danced behind the gas lamps. Margreath lifted her head and I felt a part of me grow weary with dismay. Even with the green fire of her eyes shielded by the veil, her posture could invite the trouble we sought to avoid. I hurried in her wake, crowding her heels to remind her to travel swiftly.
The sooner we reached the safety of the tower the better. It would be better still if we did not attract the attention of her lord. I glanced across the hall towards him and saw him watching, his expression thoughtful, pensive in the yellow gaslight. Margreath must have sensed it for she turned her face in his direction and I saw her lips curve to form a mocking smile. My heart sank further and I swept to her side, placing an arm about her waist and taking one of her white-gloved hands.
At first I thought she would resist me, but then the rigidity of her pose softened and she allowed me to lead her from the great hall and along the corridor that led to her quarters. The corridor was dim after the lamp-lit ballroom; the lamps were placed far enough apart that shadows coiled between them. Their golden glow seem diminished here, the dance of caged flame making houseplants and furniture appear to be dormantly alive, and giving a sinister flicker to the faces housed within the great oil paintings on the wall.
I quickened my pace although I was in no hurry to reach the silk-draped quarters that would become my mistress's prison until the orange tree no longer blossomed. As we neared the end of the corridor, and the steel-bound doors that led to her tower, we passed another portrait.
This one was of my lady's beloved, her lord of the hall behind us. He was mounted on the night-haired dun that was his favourite and swung a blood-stained sabre above his head. His face, usually so benignly handsome, was contorted with a ferocity I had never hoped to see.
The painting rippled in the lamplight, until I thought the horse moved beneath the blazing sun and the sabre about descend. I wondered why I could not hear his roar of triumph as I leapt past him, dragging my mistress behind me.
My mistress laughed and dragged at my hand, so that we stopped before the doors.
"I have never seen you in such a hurry to entomb us both," she giggled, then her gaze strayed to the painted silk of the dun and the sabre and her husband's face in its contortions and she paled, quieting at once.
"Come then," she said, unlocking the iron-bound doors and drawing me through. "He will be with us soon enough."
Indeed, he did not come until after the great hall clock had struck two and the wheels of the last guest's carriage departing, had echoed down the drive. By then, my mistress was bathed and perfumed and rose oil had been scattered between her sheets.  She was sleeping in perfumed splendour when his key turned in the lock and I had locked the door to my quarters and bolstered its handle with a sturdy chair by the time the great doors had boomed shut behind him.
My precautions did little to muffle the proceedings beyond, but they did protect me from having to join them. He did not leave until the first faint gleams of sunrise had touched my window ledge, and I dared not come out until the kitchen maid had brought my lady her breakfast.

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