A fantasy serial by Siri Paulson
Another town, another floating market. Payut settled his conical straw hat more firmly on his head and paddled closer, already planning what he would say. The market thronged with narrow boats, hawking fruit and rice, fans and sarongs to the townspeople on the docks. Every town market smelled almost the same, with small variations if one went far enough up the waterways – a different spice mixture here, a different oil there. This one smelled of incense and fresh fish and deep-fried bean curd. His stomach gurgled.
As he brought his boat in to an empty spot on the docks, children were already crowding close. “It's the charms man!” they shouted, overlapping each other in their excitement. “What did you bring us?”
Payut smiled. “Dolls and toy soldiers, fans and tops. I even have an emperors-and-footmen board for sale.”
A little girl called down, “Don't you have any charms?”
Payut kept his smile in place. “Of course. Love charms, schoolwork charms, charms to make you faster at martial arts or steady your hand at weaving sarongs.”
An older girl, who looked very like the first, frowned at him. “What about health charms?”
Here it came. “You don't need any health charms, Little Sister. You're the very model of the five harmonious elements.”
The little one shook her head vigorously. “It's not for her. Mama is sick.”
Would you believe I wrestled for days with what to write for my blog post? Then I remembered that the reason I was stressed and unprepared was that I have a novel coming out...
This is the first chapter of Captain's Boy, coming April 1st (Monday, aaah!) from Turtleduck Press. As stated in this handy-dandy timeline, it occurs about two years before the events of Knight Errant.
Warning for some explicit language.
Donte looked at the sagging awning above him, at the straggly hedge separating the restaurant patio from the graffitied wall next to it, and thought about space and how he'd like to be there. Out there he and Jordan would both be safe, and Jordan might actually learn math.
"Yes, Alex is a bully," he said, interrupting Jordan's story. "But I'm not fighting him." Donte shoved his hair back and tapped the notebook. "This answer is wrong," he said. "Can you see why?"
Jordan didn't even look at the paper, staring instead at Donte in challenge. "Why not?" he demanded. "You could take him! Alex is big, but he's just a coward. And it's not just me that he picks on. He stole Cadie's bundle last week. You know she thinks it's her baby what died. She was on her knees begging him to be careful and he held it over his head and laughed."
"Math." Donte tapped the paper again. When he started tutoring Jordan, Donte had bent the mentoring rules to give the boy a digital workpad and stylus. Jordan's aunt had sold the tech to buy a bottle, so now Jordan and Donte worked on paper that fluttered in the intermittent breeze. "Find your mistake."
This month's free story is another short from the Dream'verse, featuring Donte and Selene. Both have turned up before, but they get to be the main characters in my next novel, Captain's Boy. Coming out April 1st, Captain's Boy takes place about two years before the events of Knight Errant. There's a handy chronology post over here on kdsarge.com.
Selene tapped her fingernails on the table. She had given it plenty of time, so she would not be late--and everything had worked together so she would be very early. Now she had half an hour until her appointment. Mierda, why did it never work that way when she was late? She took out her book-pad, opened it and closed it again. The battery was dead. Viejo piece of mierda, she needed a new one.
She looked around at the coffeehouse, at college kids in their expensive casual clothes talking and laughing and eating and drinking. A few were studying, but not many. After all, the semester had just begun.
How would they do without Mama and Papa paying the bills?
To The Waters and the Wild
by Kit Campbell
On some level, she was aware of how cliché it all was – the family and friends all dressed in black, the solemn preacher saying the same thing he always did, pretending it applied to the deceased more than it had the last hundred souls. And the rain – a true downpour, clacking on somber umbrellas and mixing with tears.
It clattered on the lid of the coffin, a dull, hollow noise. Fitting, as it was empty, all for show. There was no body.
Water had taken her brother, and now water welcomed him home.