Monday, October 13, 2014
Blog Tour-Mirrored Time by J.D. Faulkner
Title: Mirrored Time
Author: J.D. Faulkner
Series: A Time Archivist Novel (Book 1)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 7 2014
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
First it was water.
And finally smoke.
Gwen Conway never knew there were so many ways to die. Honestly, it was something she would have been happy not knowing.
Maybe, they really are just dreams. Nightmares. But they won't stop. And dreaming of her death is getting old. Then there's the sleepwalking. She'd like to pass on that too.
Gwen's pretty sure the dreams have something to do with her new job. Which of course, is definitely not just a 'job.'
Don't get her wrong, working for the Archiver of the Time Streams has its perks. Having the power to travel to any past or future time is fantastic. Plus, there's Rafe, the ex-gladiator from the future. She'd like to keep him around too. Not that she would tell him that. It'd go straight to his head.
But she's less than pleased to find herself in the middle of a time travelers' war. Especially against a crazed half-god who has the power to obliterate the existence of any time or place. And the Guardians, her so called allies? All the help they offer are strict rules and smug superiority. Plus, they seem convinced she's already lost, that she's already died.
Gwen is starting to wonder whether she should have read her employment contract more carefully.
Borrowing themes from Greek and Roman legends such as Pandora and the war between the Titans and Olympians, lovers of mythology and fantasy alike will enjoy this mind-bending romp through different times and universes. Well-grounded in the world of today, this urban fantasy stands out from the pack with its complex theories on time travel and unique brand of quirky humor.
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J.D. Faulkner lives in Seattle, Washington. She spends her time reading anything she can get her hands on; studying Greek and Roman mythology; and avoiding the rain whenever she can. MIRRORED TIME is her first novel and book one of the Time Archivist Novels. Currently, she is working on the second book of the series, FRACTURED TIME.
Excerpts (Please Choose Only One)
THE CRACKED FLUORESCENT PANEL on the ceiling buzzed, flickering to darkness for a brief second before flaring back to life with a loud crack. Standing outside the dingy office, a newspaper advertisement clutched in her hand, Gwen Conway wondered what she was doing. Here she was, answering some vague classified with the desperate hope it would lead to a job. A glorified secretarial job. I wonder if I’ll get to fetch coffee too. Oh lucky day.
The hallway itself did little to settle her nerves. The stained linoleum flooring and the bad lighting brought to mind too many horror movies to count. Standing there was creepy enough. Working there? Imagine how charming it would be at night. She read the lettering on the glass-paned door. Alistair Fletcher, Legal Files Specialist and … something. The rest was too faded to make out. Although curious about the full title, she was content with the use of the word ‘legal.’ Not her dream job by any stretch of the imagination, but it was good enough.
Running a hand over her chestnut hair, she hoped it wasn’t a frizzy mess from the rain. It was hard to act the functioning adult when her hair was snarled as if she’d been dragged backwards through a hedge. With a sigh, she practiced a smile. No one was going to hire her if she walked around like a kid who dropped her ice cream cone. Great, now I’m depressed and craving ice cream.
She knocked. Here we go.
The office was bigger than it looked from the outside; and after the dingy light of the hallway, it was brighter too. Her attention was focused on the solitary figure standing in front of a large desk. At her approach, the man offered his hand for her to shake.
“Miss Conway, I presume?” His voice carried a distant hint of rolling green hills and waves on a rocky shore.
Alistair Fletcher wasn’t what she imagined at all. She was expecting an academic eccentric: a smart, but odd man; thinning white hair, stooped shoulders, and owlish eyes hidden behind thick-framed glasses—a grandfatherly type. Who else would be banished to this forgotten basement corridor?
Instead, Mr. Fletcher was tall, and, while somewhere on the far side of middle age, he hadn’t let himself diminish with time. His thick, silver hair was combed back from a high forehead, and his jaw was covered with a neat beard. She didn’t realize she was staring until his eyebrow arched over his steel gray eye.
“That’s me.” Gwen blushed. “Mr. Fletcher?” Her voice cracked, disbelief coloring her words. She was expecting a little old man. Not someone who was … kind of attractive. Her cheeks burned hotter.
“Yes.” The one word contained the hint of a smile. “I hope you didn’t have any trouble finding the office?”
“Not at all.” Her gaze bounced around the room trying to find a safe place to land. Biting her lip, in a gesture carried over from childhood, she dragged her gaze back to the man’s face. Gwen wanted to blame her nerves on the rudeness of the courthouse secretary. As Gwen had asked for directions, the woman’s daggered fingernails tapped out an irritated beat. She had made Gwen feel as welcome as a cockroach in a five-star hotel. “The secretary upstairs, um, told me where to go. I didn’t know we were supposed to use the back entrance to the courthouse. After that, an elevator ride and a couple flights of stairs, nothing too difficult.” She tried not to wince. You’re blathering, Conway. He knows you can go down stairs. How impressive.
In a room hidden within a twisting labyrinth, an ancient presence stirred. Something drew him from his rest. Too aware to sleep, he instead spent the endless years dwelling on past events. And planning. Always planning. The ages dripped by at a maddeningly slow pace. Yet he could do nothing, imprisoned behind the glimmering surface of a black framed mirror.
The mirror hung alone in the dusty room. It was crafted with extraordinary skill, each carved figure waiting to come to life at the softest breath. On closer examination, the mirror’s beauty turned grotesque. Hercules, driven mad by Hera, slaughtered his entire family. Prometheus, chained and bound, screamed in agony while a skeletal eagle tore at his liver. Sisyphus, tired and bloodied, struggled to press a boulder up a jagged hill. Set, smile as wicked and sharp as his knife, carved his brother Osiris into tiny pieces and hid them along the banks of the Nile. Each image was more disturbing than the last. Out of the corner of the eye, they writhed in pain.
With a soft crack, a thin fissure appeared on the face of the mirror. A dark smoke slithered out from the flaw and disappeared into the shadows clinging to the corners of the room. A wavering light illuminated the glittering mirror before the room was once again plunged into darkness.
He had waited for eons and conserved his strength. Whatever weakened his prison, it was sufficient. Complete freedom could wait. For now, the power to change would be enough. The Guardians had forced the time streams to remain static for too long. Change would be good.
In fact, change would be excellent. Through change, he would find revenge.
Excerpt # 3
A crash interrupted her reading, and her chair slammed to the floor. Gwen jumped to her feet and peeked into the main office.
No answer. Slipping out of her office, she stood in the main room, shifting her weight from foot to foot. Another crash broke the silence. The sound was coming from the Archives. Blocked by a closed door—one she didn’t have permission to open. Alistair, when she saw him, was friendly and polite. But he was still her boss. Until he offered to show her the Archives, she wasn’t going to open the door. Even if curiosity kills me.
The strange sound of splashing water was too much. Gwen raced into the Archives. So much for self-restraint. An endless hallway stood before her. It offered no clue as to the maker of the noise.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
This time there was a softer thud, and Gwen could hear muttering. She inched farther into the hallway.
“Whoever’s there … you …” Her voice trailed off. What did one intruder say to the other intruder? For all she knew, the maker of the noise was Alistair or someone who actually had permission to be in the Archives. Unlike her. She crept farther down the hallway, following the sound of the voice.
“Idiot, bloody idiot. How many times are we going to fall for this one? Of course there won’t be guards, he says. Why would there be guards? Why indeed? Maybe because you are trying to steal the—”
At a touch of her hand, the door swung open. She blinked. The sight of the shirtless and soaking wet man was difficult to process.
“Um … oh …” She wasn’t sure what to say.
The man didn’t share her struggle to adapt to the situation. With a quick glance down her body, he grinned. “Well, hello lovely. How did Alistair lure you into this pile of dust?”
Gwen was horrified to feel herself blushing. “Um … what?” Trying for calm and collected, her voice went for squeaky.
His smile grew. With a final wring of his shirt, he pulled it over his head. Dark hair clung to his face and shadowed his jaw. His blue eyes regarded her as he smoothed the material over his stomach. His rather nicely muscled stomach. Too fast for her to back up, he darted forward to peer around her shoulder.
“So, the old man not in?” He tugged on a lock of her hair, eliciting an indignant gasp, before moving back to the middle of the room. A bag, heavy with water, sat in a growing puddle. He started digging through it. “Pity. Could have used his advice.” His voice was heavy with an accent she didn’t recognize.
“Look, you can’t …”
He continued speaking, raising his voice so his was louder. “Shame, of course, that you couldn’t be of help.” He threw an exaggerated leer in her direction before turning back to his search. “Now where did I … Ah ha!” With a flick of his wrist, he pulled a long black jacket from his bag.
Sketching a bow, he handed her his jacket. “And I have the honor of speaking to …?”
Her name tumbled off her lips. “Gwen …” She stared at the wet garment hanging in her hands. Why in God’s name did I take his jacket?
Walking back to his bag, he slung it over his shoulder. “Well, it’s been a pleasure. Tell the old man I was here.” He plucked the jacket from her hands, shaking it with an amused grin as water drops hit her legs. “Thanks.” He was past her before she realized he was moving.
“Hey!” Why are you so wet? Racing after him, she took care not to slip on the trail of water left in his wake. “What are you doing …?” She stared at the empty hallway in front of her. There was no sign of the mysterious guest. His wet shoeprints ended in the middle of the floor.
With wide eyes, she glanced around the hallway. “Hello? Mr. …?” She didn’t even know his name.
Alistair watched the slim girl slip from the office, her shadowed eyes haunting him. He had known it wouldn’t take her long to follow Rafe into the Archives—and to see what she had witnessed. Running a hand through his silvered hair, he sighed. The Archives’ mysteries had broken stronger minds before. Still, he had every belief that Gwen would be able to accept what she had seen, even though he knew there would be questions. He had planned on running an errand that would take him away, but the turn of events had him reevaluating his plans.
Reaching his hands towards the ceiling, he bent in a back-popping stretch. He felt old. Most would have labeled him old years ago, but he hadn’t felt it until recently.
The chain of would-be events lined up in front of him; he could almost touch them. The future, however, was out of his hands. He could do nothing. That more than anything had aged him. Of all that he had seen and all that he had done, it was the frightened eyes of a young girl that had made him old in an instant.
His bitter laugh cut through the silence of the office like a knife. Apparently old age and melancholy went hand in hand. He pulled on his wool coat and wrapped a red scarf around his throat. His feet followed the familiar path: out the office, down the long hallway, up a creaky elevator, and onto the courthouse roof. The rooftop entrance had been forgotten by almost everyone. Pulling the collar of his coat up against the biting wind, he moved closer to the edge of the building.
The city spread out before him, lights shining in the dark. So many people with no idea how their lives could be affected by the next move of Miss Gwendolyn Conway. It wasn’t fair to place that burden on anyone. But now Alistair was forced to destroy her innocence for people who would never offer her their thanks.
A noise behind him drew him from his thoughts, but he didn’t turn. He didn’t have to. Standing in silence, the two watched over the city below them. For a long while, there was just the lonely howl of the wind. Then Alistair spoke.
“So it begins.”
Excerpt # 5
Time crept by, and her one accomplishment was listening to the steady ticking of her clock. With a huff, she shoved away the legal files and rubbed her temples. She peeked at Alistair’s desk from underneath a curtain of hair, but he still hadn’t magically appeared. The main office was empty. Just like it had been a few seconds ago.
Going home would be better than sitting here and obsessing. She slipped on her coat, planning to leave. Her feet stayed rooted to the floor. Honestly. It couldn’t hurt to check the mirror before bringing it up to Alistair. She could figure out how Rafe had tricked her. Then she would have an answer. So I can stop obsessing.
“Sorry, Alistair,” she whispered to his desk before stepping into the dark hallway of the Archives. Pausing outside the room, her thumb ran over the cool metal of the door handle. Whatever happened, it would be the end of the mystery—maybe the end of her hope. Her aunt’s words echoed in her mind. I would live, my girl, live.
This time there was no glowing light. With more effort than she would care to admit, she stepped into the darkened room. She needed to know the truth. And whatever happened, she would never forgive herself for running away. Lying to herself was no longer an option. As crazy as it was, she wanted the possibility to be real. What if everything she knew about life was a lie? What if magic did exist?
The room was silent as she stared at her reflection, her eyes wide but determined. She raised her hand, watching her reflection reach up to meet her. Her fingers encountered the cool, and solid, surface of the mirror.
The stab of disappointment was sharp. So, the world was as she always had imagined it. It didn’t hide any secrets involving magic mirrors. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, you’re not so special after all.
Her fingers ran over the glass. She didn’t know how Rafe had done it, but she would figure it out. At the very least, she had revenge. She smiled at the idea of paying Rafe back. Her reflection’s smile widened with her own, fingers following the opposite path. There would be hell to pay, that’s for sure. Didn’t they always say ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?’ She laughed, palm pushed flat against the mirror. Magic mirror, indeed. Now she needed to find Rafe.
With her thoughts so centered on Rafe and her revenge, it took a moment for her to notice the light. When her palm sank into the mirror, she stared as liquid silver lapped up her arm. She tried to jerk back but the mirror wouldn’t let her. It continued to pull her in. Gravity lurched with a dizzying shift, and she fell into the mirror with a scream.
It echoed in the empty room.