Tuesday, November 29, 2016

HAVELOCK by Jane D. Everly is ON SALE!!!!!!



Today only, you can find HAVELOCK by Jane D. Everly on sale for just 99 cents! As the sale ends soon, I thought it appropriate to share just how this story came about.

I’d had this idea for a spy novel for a while. I was always disappointed in the lack of female spies and the way the existing ones were portrayed. While they might be able to kick-ass occasionally, most ended up captured and needed to be rescued. Without a doubt, there was room for a strong-willed heroine who possessed the attitude and skills and absolutely no trace of the usual ‘damsel in distress’ element that plagues too many strong female characters.

Having read almost all the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, I wanted to create a female character who would be more than a match for a man like Bond. And then I started to wonder what Bond’s daughter would be like had he actually succeeded in impregnating any one of the women he’d encountered over the years. In one of Fleming’s short stories, there was a female character who was out to take revenge on the people that killed her parents. She was fiery and passionate. She ended up as a Bond girl in the movie ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and her name was Melina Havelock (Judy in the original story).

I contacted the Ian Fleming Foundation in the UK, who own the rights to all the Bond novels, including the new ones, to ask if I could reference James Bond in any way in what I originally wanted to be a spinoff novel. They were extremely helpful but couldn’t grant the permissions I needed. The story had to be original. Which I took as a challenge to write a James Bond spin off without any reference to Bond himself, M, Q, 007, a license to kill, etc. The result was HAVELOCK.

Is Eliana Havelock the daughter of James Bond? Does she have her own ulterior motives? Is she as lethal as she is beautiful? One thing’s for certain . . . Eliana Havelock doesn’t need a license to kill.


An Excerpt from the Beginning of Havelock:

Ever had one of those days? The kind of days that challenge every skill, threaten every ethical standard, and undo every single concept of what you would ordinarily have considered an impossible situation? Despite near-perfect planning, I’m having one of those days right now.
It all started when I decided to find my father. I’ve never met him. His longtime vocation makes him a hard person to find at the best of times, but I recently discovered he was reported missing three years ago. He hasn’t surfaced since, and maybe it’s the paternal side of me, maybe it’s because my mother passed away and I’m seeking a parental figure, maybe I want to know why he never came back for me, but well… I gotta find out what happened.
And that’s why I, Eliana Havelock, now find myself tied to a chair in a dank basement somewhere near Karachi, Pakistan.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to be tortured.


Andrew Buckley - The Story So Far . . .

Andrew Buckley attended the Vancouver Film School’s Writing for Film and Television program. After pitching and developing several screenplay projects for film and television, he worked in marketing and public relations, before becoming a professional copy and content writer. During this time Andrew began writing his first adult novel, DEATH, THE DEVIL AND THE GOLDFISH, followed closely by his second novel, STILTSKIN both published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Andrew also writes under the pen name 'Jane D. Everly' for his HAVELOCK series of novels. His first upper middle grade novel HAIR IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES is now available from Month9Books with the sequel due out in August 2017.

​Andrew also co-hosts a geek movie podcast, is working on several new novels, and has a stunning amount of other ideas. He now lives happily in the Okanagan Valley, BC with one beautiful wife, three kids, one cat, one needy dog, and a multitude of characters that live comfortably inside of his mind.

Andrew is represented by Mark Gottlieb at the Trident Media Group.

Monday, December 21, 2015

COGLING by Jordan Elizabeth... cover reveal!!!

COGLING
A Steampunk Fairy Tale for Young Adults
who love a little Romance in their Adventures


When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother's neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags' swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors. 

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family. 


###
COGLING has already gained advanced praise from NY Times Bestselling author Maria V. Snyder!
“This is a fun YA Steampunk novel. It's very different than many other Steampunk stories I've read. Basic plot is Edna's brother is kidnapped by hags and replaced with a "cogling" and she's on a mission to find and rescue her brother. The world is a Victorian-era with a strict class system for the humans and for those with magic. The woman with magic are called hags and the men with magic are orges and they're not nice and are planning to change the system. I really enjoyed learning about the world and the characters are well drawn and engaging.”
###
Check out COGLING on GoodReads and Curiosity Quills.  





Meet the author – Jordan Elizabeth Mierek lives in a dream world.  Sometimes she comes out to do her day job, but most of the time she is writing about her favorite people – her characters!  COGLING is her fourth book.  Her previous steampunk series, the Treasure Chronicles, include TREASURE DARKLY and BORN OF TREASURE.  Her debut novel, ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, is a young adult fantasy-horror.  You can find her short stories in numerous anthologies.  Check out her website, JordanElizabethMierek.com, for contests and bonus stories!








Win a steampunk necklace!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 27, 2015

#BlackFriday and #SmallBusinessSaturday TWO DAY SALE!

BLACK FRIDAY and SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
TWO DAY
SALE SALE SALE!

Buy all three paperbacks of my young adult novels for a LIMITED time price of $27.00!


Includes personalization AND bookmarks! 



Free Shipping within Continental US! 

International Shipping is just $10!




Choose the best option below:




***EVER*** 
YA Paranormal Romance
The EVER Trilogy, Book One  




Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious. Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.

Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.

Some girls lose their hearts to love.
Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.






EVER: Goodreads | Amazon 





***EVADE***
YA Paranormal Romance
The EVER Trilogy, Book Two


In this thrilling sequel, Ever Van Ruysdael's race to beat the odds—and the clock—begins with the introduction of an integral part of her past. As secrets are revealed, and truths uncovered, she learns her imminent death is the least of her problems: Ariadne did more than just put an expiration date on her life; she marked Ever's soul by upping its value for greedy collectors looking to buy their freedom.



Condemned by the countdown on her life, and hunted by hired Seekers, Ever’s journey leads her to question everything she’s known and everyone she’s trusted, while growing closer to the one person from her past she was determined to avoid—and the one guy she never could—Toby James.



With her ex-boyfriend by her side, and the countdown clock rapidly ticking away, Ever tries thwarting fate’s plans. But as her nineteenth birthday approaches, and desperate Seekers follow her every move, she may be too late.



A marked soul is hard to come by … and even harder to escape.


EVADE: Goodreads | Amazon 


***DIVIDE***
YA Fantasy/Fairytale Redux

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson. 

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish. 

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her. 

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.

 DIVIDE: Amazon | Goodreads

Monday, November 9, 2015

We Need YOU: Auction to Support Summer Heacock AKA @FizzyGrrl! #FriendsOfFizzy

We are currently seeking AUCTION items for a beloved member of our writing community, Summer Heacock. 


If you are unaware of what Summer's family is currently facing, please visit her blog and read her most recent--and very raw, very honest--post HERE


#FriendsOfFizzy

AUCTION

Point blank, Summer and Drew need our help. 
In addition to the GoFundMe account a friend of Summer's created for the Heacock family (for those of you who wish to make a monetary donation), Tamara Mataya and I are compiling a list of donations for an online auction to raise money for Summer and Company. 


ALL proceeds of this online auction will go directly to Summer and Drew Heacock and their children. ALL money raised will be raised with the intention to help the Heacocks with medical expenses, household expenses, loss of income, and upcoming birthdays and holidays so that their children do not miss out on anything this Holiday season. 

But we need YOUR help! 

If you and/or anyone you know (fellow writers, agents, editors, artists, musicians, non-writing folk, reviewers, small businesses, etc.) could donate items, critiques/editing services, artwork, books, swag, mentoring phone calls or Skype chats, blog tours, signed book stuff/ARCS, various  goods/services, etc, please, please, please consider donating. 

If you are interested in donating, PLEASE comment on this post with your email address, or email Jessa directly at emailjessarusso AT gmail DOT com if you can help.  You may also reach out to Tamara at tamaramataya AT gmail DOT com.

We are always available on Twitter as well. 


Summer has always been a source of epic light in our writing world, but she needs us to shine for her now. 

Let's do this. 

*Auction dates and further details to come.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The First Annual Hedlund Summer #Steampunk Festival!

The First Annual Hedlund Summer Steampunk Festival
Come to Hedlund for a riveting good time.  Arrive in style using your personal steamcoach.  Don’t forget to wear your finest attire and top it all off with a shot of absinthe. 


Hedlund is home to Clark Treasure, the rogue star of TREASURE DARKLY, a young adult romance set in a steampunk Wild West world.  Join him here in Hedlund while wearing your best cowboy boots and goggles.  For three days only (July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd), TREASURE DARKLY is on sale as an Amazon ebook for just 99 cents.  That’s a quite a steal, and Clark knows a lot about stealing, having swiped a bottle of what he thought was absinthe, but the green liquid actually gave him the ability to save the already deceased. 

TREASURE DARKLY picks up when Clark finds the father he never knew – a millionaire rancher meeting his illegitimate son?  Ut oh – but what happens while Clark is on the run from the army and its captain who seeks to use him for his newfound power?  Check out the following short story for an adventure featuring Clark Treasure in all his bad boy glory.


A Treasure Tale
By Jordan Elizabeth

 Clark extended his hand for a shake, but the manager of Arvay Ranch shook his head. Not a good sign, that. Clark pulled off his glove, the leather worn almost clear through in the knuckles, and stretched out again, but the manager rocked back on his boot heels.
 “You’re an honest looking kid. I like that about you.” The manager turned his head to spit tobacco juice into the dirt. “We’re just mighty filled up here for the time being.”
 “I’m willing to do any job, sir. I can wrangle and rope. Work the fields. I know my way with a saw.” Brass glass, he’d be eager to muck out the outhouse if it came to that. His pockets didn’t jingle with coins as loudly as they used to. He’d had to leave his last job at a ranch further south –
 a good position where he looked after horses, when the army sniffed too close, and he hadn’t dared stop until now. “I can do housework too. I’ve trained with butlers.” He’d seen them, in the fancy ranch houses. That sort of work seemed to mean politeness and servitude, and not much else.
 The manager jammed his hands into the pockets of his denim slacks and narrowed his gaze at the Arvay Ranch. The Bromi woman who’d fetched him from the “Big House,” as she’d called it, stood by a fence with her head bowed.
 “Good lookin’ ranch,” Clark said. “Smaller than some I’ve seen, but hearty. A fellow can tell you folk love the land here.” Managers didn’t appreciate sugar-coating. If a man told it like it was, he got further with those who loved work, and Arvay Ranch shone with crisp paint and clean yards. “Place looks run well.  Looks like your crop is peaches?”
 The manager nodded, tugging at the red bandana at his throat. “We are pretty booked here. Don’t really hire a lot of outside folk. You know what, though. My brother’s the doctor in town and I’m certain he could use help.”
 The image of a physician’s saw biting through a man’s gangrene-ridden leg pierced Clark’s mind and he forced his lips to remain in a line. He’d done worse in life. Brass glass, he’d helped the midwife back in Tangled Wire for spare pennies. Maybe he’d be able to use his ability to save a few lives.
 “I’d be grateful, sir. I can’t stay forever, just passing through, but I’d appreciate the job for the time being.”
 “I’ll write you a letter and some directions. Feel free to get yourself a drink at the well.”
 Clark pulled his glove back on and headed toward the pump near the shed. Sunlight beat against his neck, the skin bared by his ponytail, as he worked the brass handle. Water flowed out in clear spurts into a bucket on the grass. He used the hanging ladle to scoop out the liquid, frigid from the earth, and sighed. Nothing beat fresh water from a pump, not canteens or streams. Streams were good, but the water had a grittiness to it that stuck in his teeth.
 When his stomach felt thick with water, he sidled back toward his steamcycle, wiping the back of his mouth on the sleeve of his leather jacket. The Bromi woman stared at him while she plucked at the stained apron tied over her calico dress.
 Clark lifted his hand in a wave. If he spoke to her in her tongue and the manager returned, he might not be so willing to get him the job.
 “I know who you are,” she said.
 Talking in her tongue might not be so devastating then. Some ranches treated their Bromi with humanity. “I’m looking for work—”
 “Those who die live again for you.”
 She meant it in that way then. Ice crept over Clark’s skin and he folded his arms to appear nonchalant as he glanced at the ranch house. A dog barked in the distant fields. “That’s something that’s not talked about.”
 “A new Bromi is here. He knew you from the desert. He spoke of you to us. You saved his father from the dark sleep.”
 Clark kept his facial muscles slack to avoid looking suspicious. “Glad I could help him, but there are people who don’t like that part of me.”
 She nodded so hard her bonnet slipped down her broad forehead. “We never harm our own and you are one of us now. Be careful with Mr. Parker’s brother.”
 “How’s that?” Clark leaned his back against the fence beside her, drooping his arms over the top and hooking one of his boot heels into the wood. If anyone looked over, the individual might not realize they carried on a conversation.
 “Manager Parker has a brother who’s crazy. Doctor is crazy.” The woman wiggled her fingers in a jagged pattern in front of her face, the Bromi sign for mentally unsafe.
 “What’s he do?” The doctors could be cruel to Bromis; not many would treat the natives.
 “You smell it on him,” she hissed.
 The Bromi relied on spirits and herbs; the woman might be uncomfortable around modern medicine. “Thank you for the warning.”
 “Not even you, who befriends the dead, can protect against crazy.”
 The brick house’s side door slammed and the manager swaggered across the lawn with a paper in his hand. “You can read, can’t you, kid? You seem like a bright one.”
 “Yes, sir.”
 “If you know your sums, point that out too.” Mr. Parker slapped the note into Clark’s palm and at last shook his hand.

#

 Clark parked his steamcycle along the dirt road through town. The doctor’s house, a three-story white clapboard with a veranda and four chimneys, had to be the nicest place for miles, at least the nicest place he’d seen all day. Trimmed bushes lined the porch and walkway, and a wrought-iron gate blocked off the property. The doctors Clark had known in the past kept shacks; they didn’t have time to build up a fancy life.
 He slung his leg off the ride and hung his helmet off the handlebars. A buggy rattled by in the road and two little boys stood across the street outside the general store. When he looked at them, they darted behind a rain barrel. He’d been like that once, Clark and Mabel, pretending the world was out to get them and hiding in near plain sight would save them.
 The world was after them and hiding didn’t help a lost soul.
 Clark tested the gate and it swung open – halleluiah for that, he wouldn’t have to try to call for attention from the road – so he shut it behind him and headed to the front door. A brass plaque read: Doctor of Ailments, Lionel Parker. Clark whistled; what other kind of doctor existed?
 He lifted the brass knocker shaped like a lion’s head – how fitting with the name Lionel – and let it smack the mahogany door. Clark stepped back and wiped his hands on his denim pants.
 No gloves. He pulled them off and stuck them into his jacket pockets. His hair would have to do with a quick brushing of his fingers through the shoulder-length yellow strands.
 The little boys laughed from the rain barrel. A cowboy on a horse clopped past.
 Clark knocked again. Brass glass, the doctor might not be home. How long would he stay around before he headed out to find the next ranch? Ranches were safe. Drifters wandered through on a regular basis, but workers in stores tended to stick around. People asked questions about folk they saw every day. Hired ranch hands stuck to themselves in the fields or barns. For sure, Mr. Parker wouldn’t have sent him if he’d known the doctor was out, but living miles apart, communication might be sparse between them.
 The door opened to an elderly Bromi woman in a black dress. “You need Doc Parker, suh?”
 “Um, yes. Thanks.” Clark cleared his throat. “His brother sent me.”
 Her dark eyes widened before she nodded. “Come, please. I get him for you.”
 Clark stepped into a hallway of red walls and polished wood. No pictures or mirrors offered decoration. She opened a left-hand door and slid aside for him to enter. He wondered how she could move so soundlessly until he looked down, noticing her bare feet beneath her skirt.
 Potpourri scented the room to a degree that made his throat clench. Like the hallway, naught adorned the room, apart from the smelly balls hanging from brass hooks in the ceiling. Two velveteen sofas faced each other.
 He wasn’t a patient or someone sent to fetch the doctor. Clark had no spare money for medicine, if he’d needed any. He hovered near the window, with its crimson curtains, to avoid touching anything he could dirty with filth from the road.
 What did the potpourri serve to hide?
 The door opened to a tall, thin man in a black suit…and a ghost with a missing leg. Clark bit back a groan. He should have known a doctor’s office would be riddled with the kind of dead who didn’t want to pass on.
 “My brother sent you?” A smooth accent toyed with his words.
 Clark held out his hand, but the doctor made no move to shake it. Not a shaking family, the two men. Clark dropped his arm down to his side. “I was looking for work out at the ranch and Manager Parker sent me here. He said you might have something for me to do. I know my words and sums.” He removed the letter from his jacket and held it out; the doctor did accept that. “I don’t plan on staying long, a month at the most.”
 The doctor flared his nostrils in his long nose as he read the note. “My brother enjoys the richness of life and the joys of people. I, unfortunately, do not share his feelings. I have seen too many men harm their brethren.”
 Clark licked his lips. Doctors had to want to help people. Why else would they invest in learning cures? “Sorry to waste your time, sir. I’ll get off.” On to the next town then. He might find a farm that would give him food for a few hours of work.
 Doctor Parker breathed through his lips. “Have you ever helped a physician? Do you know how to measure vials and sterilize instruments?”
 Hope lodged in Clark’s throat. “I can sterilize, sure, and if you show me with the vials, I can do that too.”
 “Those vials,” the ghost hooted from the doorway. “They’re tainted. Don’t get near those vials.”
 Clark caught himself before he could frown. Ghosts tended to struggle with truths.
 “I’ll keep you for a day or two,” said Doctor Parker. “I can pay you two cents an hour for odd jobs. If you work out, we can extend that period. I do amputations, son. I need strong hands to hold down the patient.”
 It would be lost limbs then. Clark forced himself to nod. “Is there a place I can hunker down? I normally stick to ranches, and they offer food and a roof.”
 The doctor snorted, crumpling the paper into his pocket. “I can’t offer you any rooms in here. I keep them for patients to stay in. You know what a hospital is, son?”
 “He thinks this place is a hospital,” the ghost hollered.
 “I’ve heard of army hospitals.” Clark nodded. Those places he avoided. Besides, he wasn’t salaried by the government. Only soldiers could go there.
 “The east has one in each main city. I want to bring the safety of the east out here. That’s where I’m from.”
 The ghost drew a line across his throat. “He came out here to torture us stragglers.”
 Whatever operation the doctor had done must have failed. Clark had seen it before, men who lost limbs in hopes of saving their lives, but passing on anyway. It had happened to a Tarnished Silver who had worked with his mother. She’d cut her hand on a razor, the wound had festered, and even though the doctor had removed it, she’d grown sicker and left the world in a week.
 “I can stay in a barn.” If Clark had to find lodging elsewhere, it would eat up his money like a brushfire.
 Doctor Parker touched his goatee, drawing the graying hairs into a tighter point. “My Bromi girl can get you some bedding. Stay in the stable if you want. I have scraps in the kitchen; eat that if you like, but if not, you’re buying your own.”
 “Thank you.” He’d lived on worse than scraps.
 “If it comes to you being my assistant, you’ll have to wear black. Hides the blood. I see you’re mostly in that now. If we get anyone staying here, I have a no shoes policy. Keeps things quiet for them.”
 “Yes, sir.”
 “Come on with me to the back room where I mix my medicines. I’ll get you to that and we’ll see how it goes.”

#

 The ghost of a woman with no arms joined the one-legged ghost in the backroom. Clark bent over a table using eyedroppers and glass beakers to fill vials. Doctor Parker had scribbled the recipe on the back of his brother’s note, wrinkles and all.
 “Bad man,” the female shrieked. “Look at what he did to me arms!”
 Clark glanced toward the door. Doctor Parker had shut it, saying, “If a patient comes, you’re to stay out of sight.”
 “Sometimes operations are necessary,” Clark said. The green and blue liquids created a murky purple shade.
 “Not this one! Me husband called me an adulteress and off went me arms.”
 Clark looked up. “That can’t be the reason.”
 “Doc Parker’s known for taking the man’s side. Ask him.” She glared at the other ghost.
 The male scowled. “Sure, you got a problem and you pay enough, Doc Parker will help.”
 Clark clenched his hand around the glass vial. That couldn’t be true. Anyone in the west knew some doctors wanted money for medicine, then didn’t deliver more than dyed water or sugar cubes, but he’d never heard tell of one amputating limbs for perversion.
“Doc’s crazy,” the female ghost continued. “He has his own daughter locked up. Real bright girl. Sad state.”
Clark pictured a shed with a girl pounding against a padlocked door, and his skin crawled. “What do you mean?”
“The room upstairs, end of the hall,” she exclaimed. “He won’t let her out. He’ll probably experiment on her next. See if she grows back a tongue.”

#

            Clark crouched outside the room indicated by the one-legged ghost. He held his breath as he worked his tools into the lock. If anyone came, the ghosts had better warn him. If it weren’t for their nagging, he wouldn’t have bothered skulking around the house. A girl locked in a shed was one thing; a girl locked in a room was another. She might have a disease. Clark chuckled under his breath; his abilities had better keep him from catching it.
            The lock clicked and he slid the toolkit back into his jacket pocket. Easing the door open enough to peer through, he studied a white wall and plain table with a single chair. Not really girl friendly, from what he’d seen. Sure, he knew more about men on the run, but the soiled doves who’d worked with his mother had treasured knick-knacks. His mother would have had a table cloth, a candlestick, maybe a cushion on that chair. He’d drawn a picture for her once with a hunk of charcoal and a meat paper. She’d stuck it to her wall on an old nail and never taken it down, even though neither of them could remember after a few years what the blob was meant to be.
            Clark pushed the door open a bit more, and froze. Against the opposite wall, a young girl sat on a cot beside a window, paper taped over the glass as if to obscure the image. Lank brown hair hung down her back, oily and matted, and she wore a shapeless gray shift.
            He glanced back into the hallway before he darted inside and shut the door, in case the Bromi slave or doctor wandered by. “Um, hullo.” He cleared his throat and shifted his stance. “Are you… the doctor’s daughter?”
            She nodded. “I’m Brenda. Father didn’t send you, did he?” Dark circles lined her eyes a shade grayer than her linen shift.
            “A fella your pa worked on told me to find you here.” She didn’t need to know the fella was dead, or that he’d only discovered her after haunting the halls. “I can help you leave. We can go now.” So much for having a good job for a day or two.
            “No, I can’t.” An Eastern accent tinged her voice. “I’m sorry, but I can’t, sir.”
            The “sir” title didn’t really fit with him, made his skin crawl.
            “Are you sick?” He fought to keep from wrinkling his nose.
            “I’m not sick. Father said if I tried to leave, he’d never let me find my sister. As long as he’s got me, he’ll keep her safe.”
            Clark almost growled. Doctor Parker was the monster the ghosts had hinted at. “We’ll go find your sister then. I can’t leave you locked in here.”
            She stood and wobbled; the arms and legs poking from her clothes showed skin and bones, as malnourished as some of the thieves he’d run across in the desert. “If he finds me gone, he’ll hurt her. I know he will.” Her lower lip trembled. She couldn’t be more than fourteen-years-old at the most.
            “Brass glass,” Clark swore. Brenda had a point in that. “I’ll find out where your sister is. We’ll get both of you away.”
            “He’ll lock you up, too,” she said. “The man’s crazy. I’m safer in here. It’s better to be safe.”

#

            Clark spread the new leather cover over the medical text and glanced at Doctor Parker from the corners of his eyes. The doctor scribbled into a notebook, a gaslamp illuminating his work.
            Clark set the tome back on the bookshelf. “Have you been in the west long, sir?”
            The doctor hesitated, his stylus hovering above the paper. “Long enough. I am needed here. People need medicine.”
            People who wanted their enemies to suffer. “Thanks for doing the good deeds.” The words swelled in Clark’s throat as if to choke him.
            Doctor Parker nodded as he returned to his notebook.
            Clark pulled down another tome to cover it in the new binding. “Before I got here, I heard you had a daughter. I haven’t seen her around. A little girl,” he added, in case the doctor thought he liked to sniff around pretty skirts.
            Doctor Parker set down his stylus, the movements slow and deliberate, his gaze on the office’s only window. “I have no children.” Liar. “That’s enough work for today. It’s getting late and I’ve already sent the slave off for the night.” He turned in his chair to face Clark. “Don’t ask questions here, boy, or this arrangement won’t work out.”
           
#

Something shook Clark awake; he clamped his hands down on the offender and he shoved. Maybe he should have opted for the shed, but he’d taken the doctor up on his offer of a pallet in the kitchen. A female gasped; a single candle sent a yellow glow around her shape.
“Brenda?” Clark reached for the pistol he’d left on his belt. When he’d first started sleeping with it out in the desert, it had jammed into his side each time he’d moved, but he’d grown used to slumber in one position.
“I did it, sir. I snuck out. The lock on my door’s faulty and Father never fixed it. Did you know she’s here? My sister’s here.” Brenda’s eyes seemed to glow in the dark of the kitchen. “He’s got her locked in too and he told her the same thing, about behaving so nothing happens to me.” Her voice rose with each word and Clark cringed.
“Hush!” If she didn’t keep quiet—
The door to the kitchen smacked into the wall and Doctor Parker stormed inside, his robe flapping around his legs.
Brenda screamed and yanked at Clark’s hands as though to pull him up, but her father caught her around the waist and shoved her back against him, slapping a cloth over her mouth. She screamed against the rag, slashing at him with her fingernails and kicking with her bare heels.
The doctor muttered as he dragged her into the hallway, her shrieks growing quieter. 
Clark gripped the pallet of old linens, his heart pounding. He’d seen something he shouldn’t have. Doctor Parker would have to explain it away and send Clark off before he witnessed more.
 “You.” Brenda Parker appeared beside the stove with hollow, black eyes, and marks around her mouth and neck.
 “You’re dead.” Clark stood, kicking off a blanket, before Doctor Parker could return.
 She touched her lips. “Chloroform can do that, you know.” Brenda lowered her hand to her belly. “Go get my sister. My father’s crazy. Don’t let him hurt Maura, please.”
 Clark’s muscles tightened; Doctor Parker knew what he was about. Brenda wouldn’t have been an accident. The doctor would return to deal with Clark.
 “That’s how you found out about me. Ghosts told you.” She floated higher before sinking back to the kitchen floor. “Send Maura east. Our grandparents are there and Mother.”
 How calm she acted for a ghost. Usually the newly dead screamed at him until they realized he worked better when he understood. “I’ll get Maura.” She’d been alive in front of him, but he hadn’t managed to save her. “You can be with your Mother now.”
 Brenda recoiled. “Mother’s not dead. Father made her work as his assistant and she threatened to tell on him for what he did to his patients. He put her up in Wade Asylum and whisked the two of us out here.”
 “Does your uncle over at the ranch know about all this?”
 “They’re grave diggers together. My uncle used to send parts to my father when we lived in the east.”
 Bile rose in Clark’s throat. Sure, that earned a few dollars and he’d seen people decimating graves for an eyeball or brain, but he had enough of the dead on a daily basis without dealing with them in the dirt at night.
 The kitchen door swung again – that thing was going to tear off its hinges if the doctor wasn’t careful. Lionel Parker barreled through with his hands clenched into fists. “Get out. You’re not needed.” He fumbled in his jacket pocket, the item thrown on over a thin nightshirt, and threw coins at Clark’s feet.
Clark pulled the pistol from his holster and aimed it at Lionel’s chest. “You killed your daughter.”
The doctor swore as he patted his body, as if searching for a weapon. “I would never do that. Get out of here, you and your lies!”
Clark pulled the trigger and a hole blossomed with blood in the center of his chest. The doctor gulped as she stumbled backwards into the wall and slumped.
“You killed him,” Brenda said.
“Yup.” Maybe his ghost would appear for the other spirits to tear into him.
Clark glanced at the door leading to the backyard, but no shouts came from outside. Someone would find the doctor and Clark didn’t want to be arrested for murder, no matter how warranted. If the men in town liked the doctor to take care of their troubles, including upset wives, then they wouldn’t care about a deceased daughter.
Clark fastened his pistol into his holster. “We’ll free the Bromi so she can get a head start, and then we’ll nab your sister.”

#

 “This one.” Brenda slapped her hand against the door, but it slid through and she grimaced. “Did you see my body down there on the parlor table? What do you suppose he wanted to do with me?”
 Clark shrugged; his tongue seemed to have thickened past speech. He worked his picking kit into the lock and waited until it clicked to turn the knob.
 “She should be in here,” Brenda said. “I called to her through the door and she answered. She was crying. That’s when I got you.”
 That would also be when Lionel Parker overheard Brenda’s escape.
 Clark stood, his gas lamp in hand, and entered the bedroom that reeked of mothballs. A little girl huddled on a cot similar to Brenda’s.
 “That’s her!” Brenda soared over to the child, whose black hair hung loose.
 “Maura?” Clark lifted the lamp higher so she could see him. “We need to leave, Maura.”
 The little girl rubbed the back of her hand across her nose. “Where’s Brenda?”
 “I’m right here, sweetie!”
 Clark licked his dry lips. The child had lived through imprisonment; she couldn’t be reduced to lies. “Brenda’s gone. Your father got her.” If she were Mabel, he would have hugged her and she would have wept, made up some statements about feeling strong. Maura was a stranger, though.
 She pressed a pillow against her face and her shoulders trembled.
 “Brenda gave me directions to your grandparents in the east,” Clark said. “I’ll send you to them. They’ll take care of you.”
 “Mama?” She lifted her face, tears on her cheeks.
 “Right. She’ll be there too.”
 “But not Brenda.”
 “Not Brenda.” The poor chit had to be only seven or eight.
 “I’ll be with her the whole way,” Brenda interjected.
 “She’ll be with you in spirit.” Clark eased the pillow away from her. “Do you have anything to take with you?”
 Maura shook her head, lips parted. Like Brenda, she wore a sack dress, minus the corset.
 “We’ll find your father’s money,” Clark said. “Then we can get you a train ticket and something warm to wear. Some food. I’ll wire ahead if we can find the address for your grandparents.”
 “I remember the address.” Brenda floated in front of him. “I want you to take some of the money by way of thanks.
It would be the first time a ghost paid him for help. Usually they screamed and vanished. Brass glass, maybe it would be the last time he had to help a ghost. Clark laughed. Nah, his curse wouldn’t let him go that easily.


What’s a festival without games and prizes?  
You can win this awesome spyglass necklace and be able to see across the desert, in case a rival gang is hot on your trail. 

Check out my website for contests related to my books, and you can read the first three chapters of TREASURE DARKLY: http://www.jordanelizabethmierek.com/
Craving more steampunk?  The clockwork adventures continue with GEARS OF BRASS, a steampunk anthology featuring TREASURE DARKLY’s own Amethyst Treasure.

The Summer Steampunk Festival might end soon, but you can return to Hedlund in September for the release of BORN OF TREASURE, the sequel to TREASURE DARKLY.  Twice the romance, thrice the ghosts, and a heap of clockwork inventions. 

As a special addition to the summer steampunk festival, TREASURE DARKLY is on sale for 99 cents this week only!  Check out Amazon for the deal.