Beyond the looking glass lies a world of torment …
Despondent, lonely, and booted from her favorite bar, Aideen has convinced herself that life is fine the way it is, as long as she gets to keep on drinking. But all that changes when she falls through her living room mirror to find herself trapped in another world: D’Nal Harrim, where monsters called Turkeys and evil men called Trappers scour the land for Refuse–addicts–to kill.
Now Aideen has to find her way home. Her ultimate ally is a man called Sterling, but she loses him to an unjust imprisonment. After taking a mortal wound, Aideen makes a deal with Imuhn, a magical being. Even as her problems begin to feel solved, the truth on the other side of the mirror draws Aideen in deeper. The world is in trouble. She must rescue Sterling and save D’Nal Harrim … no matter the cost.
Aideen must decide what is more important: Life as she knows it, or what lies beyond in the other world. With death before her, can she save what matters?
Lord of the Rings meets Through the Looking Glass in this adventure fantasy. A light read with a dark tone.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A love of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and my experience with alcoholism led me to combine the two. I pull ideas from everywhere, and the story contains influences by everything from mythology to pop culture.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My main character, Aideen, is based on me. (I like to say that I'm her average: her highs are higher than mine, and her lows are lower. If you average that out, you get me.)
My other characters are often a combination of Lewis Carroll characters and people I've known. I decide who they are before I write about them.
Sometimes the characters are born from the plot: an event or situation will call for someone I don't already know. I let the story tell me who those characters are.
Aideen fell face-first into the packed dirt. She turned her head and blinked at the mid-morning sun.
'What just happened?' Brushing her hands on her pants, she stood and stared.
“Not exactly Looking-Glass House, is it? Then again, I’m not exactly Alice.”
Not only was she no longer in her house, but she wasn’t anywhere near Boston. The eight-foot-tall walls surrounding her were constructed of . . .
'Is that travertine? Ancient Romans used travertine. But those columns . . .' She pivoted slowly to face the Ionic columns, which she could now see were topped with a portico. 'That’s Greek. Where the hell am I?'
The portico’s triangular pediment displayed a bas-relief of one person stabbing another person. The weapon didn’t look like any kind of knife Aideen had ever seen.
She headed toward the space below the portico to inspect it closer, but her bourbon caught up with her. Stumbling, she fell to her knees and heaved as the liquor retraced its steps, stinging her throat on its way out. She spat and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
Crawling around the puddle and between the columns, she searched for something that would explain how she appeared here. Nothing stood out as unusual—for a mixed-heritage atrium, anyway.
She continued to the far wall and leaned on it as she stood. Keeping one hand against the cool limestone, she walked around the perimeter of the atrium. She pretended to appreciate the texture, but she really wanted to keep herself from falling over.
“Trapped in a Roman and Greek atrium in a painting.” What other explanation was there for the image on the back of her mirror? “What is this, Charmed?”
Surveying the atrium, she hoped to see a window back to her living room. Too bad she didn’t have Phoebe’s Smart Spell to help her find a way out of there.
As she made her way along the wall, her breathing shallowed and her heart picked up its pace.
'Am I stuck here?'
Her hand fell to her side and she teetered when the stone disappeared. She regained her balance and peered down the short hall she remembered from the mirror-painting. She sighed.
“It may not be the way home, but it’s a way out. I’ll take it, for now.” She laid her hand on the wall and moved down the hall.
Aideen reached the end and shielded her eyes from the sun with an arm. It was an odd thing to do, exiting a roofless structure; she’d been warmed by the sunlight ever since she arrived.
'Why is the sun suddenly so bright?'
Then she remembered how clouds worked.
“What brings you here?”
Aideen jumped, lost her balance, and fell back against the doorway.
“Shit. Don’t scare me like that.”
A scrawny, leathered man dressed in tattered rags squinted at her. For a moment, Aideen swore she recognized those eyes, but they couldn’t be . . . This man—and this place—was a stranger. Her thoughts sputtered as they drowned in bourbon.
Well, whatever bourbon is left.
“Are you drunk?” he asked.
“I had a few drinks before I went home last night.” Aideen gazed at the sky, where the sun crawled behind a fluff of clouds. An inscription over the doorway, in weird, loopy script, caught her eye. Another flash of recognition. “Of course, last night was like, just now. Before I got here. Maybe I had more than I realized.”
“Here, eat this.” Rag Man held out a spiky, purple potato.
“What is it?”
“My last gojoos. It’ll take the edge off the alcohol.”
“Go-Juice is what my dad used to call his beer.”
“This is better than beer.” He twisted the gojoos. Its juicy green pulp dripped down his hands as he offered her one half.
Aideen took the fruit and held it to her nose. She smiled.
“Anise and orange. Daddy always smelled like that.” She bit into the flesh. “This is wicked good.” She wiped her chin on the sleeve of her t-shirt before finishing her half of the fruit. As she stuck a sticky finger in her mouth to lick off the sweet juice, she noticed a tall, dark figure striding toward them.
Rag Man followed Aideen’s gaze and cringed.
“Run. You can’t let him catch you.”
Aideen, confused, made no effort to move.
“He will throw you in prison if you don’t run NOW!” Rag Man yanked her away from the wall and shoved her in the opposite direction.
Aideen watched while the figure’s features became clearer as he got closer. His Stetson-style hat sat low on his brow and his black trench coat dusted the tops of his combat-style boots.
Rag Man jumped between the Dark Man and Aideen.
“You don’t want her. She hasn’t done anything.”
“Yet,” the Dark Man growled.
“We don’t even know if she’s viable yet.”
“She must be, or she wouldn’t be here.”
Rag Man stepped toward the Dark Man, as menacing as a skinny, homeless guy could be.
“If she is, what makes you think you can stop her?”
“If this is all the backup she gets, I think I’ll manage.”
The Dark Man grabbed Rag Man by the throat and threw him against the wall. Rag Man lay in a heap, motionless. Aideen backed away.
“He’s right. I haven’t done anything. I’m more than happy to turn around and go home, but this seems to be a one-way street. Help me and I’ll never bother you again.”
The Dark Man strode toward her, undeterred. “You will come with me if you know what’s right.”
“My judgment’s a little impaired at the moment. I don’t think I will.”
Aideen turned, but before she could run, the Dark Man’s hand clamped on her shoulder. She bit down on his first two fingers.
'Blecch. Dirty leather.'
The Dark Man loosened his grip enough for Aideen to slip away. Rag Man was right about the Go-Juice; her head was clearer and she was bursting with energy.
As she ran, she barely registered the caramel-trunked trees lining both sides of the road. The thick canopy overhead added a shamrock-green tinge to the sunlight.
She thought—hoped, at least—she was getting away, so she stole a glance over her shoulder. So much for that idea. Cursing her sloth and gluttony, the Dark Man’s hand clenched around her neck, choking off her air and graying her vision.
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