For those of my friends not in the know, this year I'm taking part in Drea's Easter Blog Hop (http://thebloghopspot.com/event-page/)
For my Easter Treat to everyone (blog hoppers and regulars) I'm offering you the chance to win a digital advance copy of my upcoming short story collection, A Series of Ordinary Adventures, along with a bag of swag from my publisher, Candlemark and Gleam.
A Series of Ordinary Adventures covers a wide range of fantastika: fairies, ghosts, zombies, magickal realism, and the horror that lurks in the darkest depths of our memories. There's romance in there too, and also some stories that are all about friendship. For Easter, though, I bring you an excerpt from a story about an egg.
Cynthia, with her purple hair and taste for alternative fashion, has a rather unusual history. After a short career as a city trader, she made a life-changing decision and became a whole new woman. She worked for a charity, fell in love, and travelled the world with her partner, Sophie. Now widowed, she has moved to the former mill-town of Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire and begun another new career, this time as an artisan weaver and prospective guesthouse owner.
One day she comes across a strangely patterned egg on her doorstep, which she decides to incubate and hopefully find out what it will hatch into.
Cynthia finalised her plans for the downstairs rooms. Her study and dining room would stay as they were, with the room in between becoming her private sitting room. The lounge would be for her guests' use, and she would eventually enlarge into a double the doorway from it into the room at the back, which she had earmarked as the guests' dining room.
She'd decided from the beginning to leave the kitchen for the time being, having already overhauled it when she first moved in. It might be convenient to add a conservatory, eventually, linking the room more directly to the big common dining room. That would also add light and extra space for her guests, but she had no idea how popular her plans would be with the paying public; such ambitious ideas could be put off for a year or two. Help would be available for her when she needed to carry out more work on the house; now that she had found a team of builders she could rely upon, she was hardly going to turn them away before all possible jobs had been done.
The Women's Collective were efficient in their work, and remarkably quiet in their methods. Several times in the first week, Cynthia had gone into her bedroom, closed the door, and stood perfectly still for a minute or two. She had easily been able to block out the sounds from elsewhere in the house, and to concentrate fully on the songs or snores from the egg.
The egg had seemed not to notice the noise. The disturbance had not affected it so much that it changed the tone of its songs. The egg sang, and it slept. Cynthia checked the temperature and humidity levels of its incubator regularly and turned the egg at the appointed times each day.
Whatever was inside continued to develop; as the weeks went by, Cynthia imagined she could feel it moving deliberately inside the shell each time she lifted the egg to turn it over.
She wondered, at times, exactly what was going to hatch out of the egg, and when that might happen. She thought she would know when the time was close, but couldn't say how. At night she dreamed of eggs with shells in all manner of colours and patterns; of strange creatures, whose forms she had forgotten by morning; and she dreamed of flying, flitting between flowers and up into the leafy depths of trees.
Comment on this entry for a chance to win the ebook and swag. What's your favourit kind of fantasy story?
[ETA:] winner will be drawn on Tuesday morning. Please leave an email address so I can contact you.