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Good news, everyone!

Spark and Carousel, my third novel with Kristell Ink, will be launched at BristolCon on September 26th with a celebration that will include WINE, CAKE, FLASHY LIGHTS, PRIZES and BOMBASTIC INTRO MUSIC. And reading and signing and answering questions and meeting fab people. But really it’s all about the bombastic intro music – did I mention that already?

Cover by Evelinn Enoksen

Cover by Evelinn Enoksen

Spark is a wanted man. On the run after causing the death of his mentor and wild with untamed magic, he arrives in Cape Carey where his latent talents make him the target of rival gangs. It is there that Carousel, a wire-walker and thief, takes him under her wing to guide him through the intrigues of the criminal underworld.

But when Spark’s magic cracks the world and releases demons from the hells beneath, two mages of his former order make it their mission to prevent his magic from spiralling out of control. They must find him before he falls into the clutches of those who would exploit his raw talent for their own gain, forcing Spark to confront a power he is not ready to handle.

Meanwhile, a wealthy debutante learning magic in secret has her own plans for Spark and Carousel. But the sudden arrival of the mages throws her carefully laid plans into disarray and she unleashes a terrible evil onto the streets of the unsuspecting city—an evil only Spark’s magic can control.

Everyone wants a piece of Spark, but all Spark wants is to rid himself of his talents forever.

 

If you’re coming to BristolCon all the fun will be happening in Panel Room One (the big room) at 2pm. Kristell Ink will also have a stall in the dealer’s room where you will be able to pick up copies of all their books and chat with Sammy and some of the authors who will be in attendance.

It would be lovely to see some of you there.

If you’d like to let us know you’re coming there is now a Facebook page for the launch.

And in the meantime, to whet your appetite, here’s an extract from Chapter Two…

*****

 Kayall ran, chest heaving, feet clattering on the cobbled streets. Running as if his life depended on his speed, which if he stopped to think about it, it probably did. The leap from the window had jarred his knees, and now every stride sent painful lances through his thighs. No time to massage the ache, even to catch his breath. Certainly no time to work an enchantment to evade his pursuers.
“Shit, shit, shit!” His cursing came in abrupt pants. His ankle turned on a loose stone and he stumbled. Why, by all the stars, had he worn heeled shoes this morning? He should have learned by now . . .

“There he is!”

Kayall risked a glance behind, in the pathetic hope that some other sap was being chased through the alleys of Lambury, but no such fortune. The three men pursuing him wore the tangerine sash that marked them as hirelings of the Fruit Master’s Guild, and the grim-humoured expressions of men who broke people’s arms for a living and enjoyed their work.

Kayall had no wish to increase their job satisfaction. He took off again, cursing his shoes, the pain in his legs, the charms of Thessa and the wealth of her father’s guild. From now on, he swore, he would only dally with girls whose fathers couldn’t afford hired thugs.

He burst out of the alley and twisted sharply to the right, hoping to throw the men at his heels into confusion. Ahead of him, up three shallow steps and behind a long colonnade, yawned the entrance to the Fruit Market.

Where better to hide from a patchcat than in his own den? Kayall took the steps in one leap, pushing through the bustling crowds. He stumbled into the cavernous hall. The noise and smell slapped him in the face, but he couldn’t stop. He pounded along the lines of stalls, feet slipping on the mangled fruit littering the floor. He caught a stout middle aged woman by the shoulder, spun her round and shoved her in the direction of his pursuers. Her wheeling arm caught the end of a table, a precariously balanced plank laid across rickety legs. The far end of the table shot up in the air, catapulting fruit across the room. Over the chaos, Kayall couldn’t hear the dull wet splats as it landed, but he heard the howls of indignation.

He ducked the punch of the irate stall holder, leapt a patch of evil-smelling sludge, and swung to the left to avoid the heavily-armed men pouring in through the opposite entrance. He scrambled onto a nearby table, and as the stall holder lunged, he planted a trampled-fruit footprint in the man’s face and leapt to catch the trailing pepper-vines hanging down from the upper gallery.

He seized them, crushing gritty leaves to powder under his hands. The vine swung like a pendulum, smashed him into the wall and knocked the breath from his lungs. He rebounded off the wall, above the melee in the hall. His legs thrashed like a drowning man. One of his shoes, his stupid, highly-polished, expensive shoes, flew off and was lost amid the riot.

Kayall didn’t have any breath left to curse. He scrambled hand over hand up the swaying, shivering vine, pushing past clusters of bright orange peppers that ripped free and tumbled to the stone floor to burst open in showers of seeds and pulp. If he slipped and fell, that would be his brains decorating the floor of the market hall.
More through luck and grim determination than any skill, he reached the balcony of the upper tier and hauled himself over, wheezing like an old man. The gallery was less crowded and the shoppers were more interested in the fight breaking out below than in chasing its instigator. Shoppers and stallholders brawled as a few enterprising souls took advantage of the distraction to stuff their pouches and pockets with free fruit. Through the chaos, the orange sashes of Boranth’s thugs moved with quiet menace, heading for the stairs. From the opposite end of the hall, a detachment of the City Guard marched with the same purpose.

Leaning against the balustrade, Kayall groaned as he shook off his remaining shoe. He couldn’t run with one foot an inch higher than the other. And he was rapidly running out of places to run. There only seemed one option, and he didn’t fancy it much.

“You there!”

The shout came from the head of the stairs. Heavies barged through the crowds, weapons drawn. Kayall turned to the flight at the far end of the gallery, hope fading. He was pinned between Boranth’s men and the forces of the law.

“Stop, in the name of the Guard!”

“Not likely!” The windows behind the row of stalls were half-circles, open to the elements, with a broad sill the height of Kayall’s head. Vaulting the nearest stall, ignoring the protests of the owner, he leapt for the sill. He grabbed hold with both hands, swinging one leg out over the ledge. The drop to the ground was dizzying, and he clutched involuntarily at the stone beneath his fingers. Fall to his death or be skewered; it was a lousy choice.

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