Posts Tagged ‘story extract’

We’re moving back to Viking Denmark today for another extract from the Children of Ribe series with book 4, DOUBT. The series has been written to not only open up the world of Norse magic and myth for children, but also to help encourage children with dyslexia to read.

DOUBT: An extract

Pieter didn’t like travelling on ships. He got seasick after a few minutes on rafts, let alone in ships that crossed the Kattegat. Camila and Beatrix didn’t seem to be at all phased by travelling across the sea, even when the waves came over the side of the ship.

When land was sighted, Pieter was so relieved that he momentarily forgot his sickness; that is until he tried to stand.

“Pieter! It’s them! Look!” Camila shouted excitedly as the ship drew close enough to the shores of Fyn so that both Camila and Beatrix could see their brothers and friends stood beside the sea, almost as if they were waiting for them.

“It can’t be.” Pieter murmured as he stumbled across the deck, his hand clamped over his mouth.

“But it is! Look, Wifrith is there too!” Beatrix was just as excited as Camila.

“Who are the two men with them?” Camila asked her sister.

“I don’t know; they look familiar for some reason.” Beatrix said, scratching her head.

“They are some of the men from Hedeby that attacked Eva, Christian and Erland in Ribe.” Pieter said as he wretched over the side of the ship.

The captain brought his ship up on the shore and his sailors jumped over the side, rushing over to where the group of children stood.

“Where is the witch?” one of the sailors demanded.

“Which witch?” Erland asked.

“There’s more than one on this island?” another sailor asked, looking slightly worried.

“There are three.” Eva replied dryly.

“We’re looking for the witch that gave us gold to bring her here with some warriors from the south.” the first sailor replied. Christian, Eva, Oleg and Joas drew their swords and levelled them at the sailors.

“Why are you looking for her?” Riki asked. Wifrith was stood next to the young boy, but he wasn’t growling.

“The gold was enchanted. When we looked at it on the mainland it had all turned back to charcoal.” the second sailor grunted. The four warriors amongst the children lowered their swords and put them away.

“We don’t know where she is, but we want to talk to your captain.” Dalla said. The sailors looked at each other and nodded to those on-board that it was safe to disembark. The captain came over the side of the ship next whilst the other sailors helped Pieter, Camila and Beatrix to come ashore.

“Beatrix! Camila!” Riki shouted as he recognised his sisters getting off the ship. The boy ran forward with Wifrith beside him to greet the two girls.

“You know when Fjori said that there were three missing from our party, your sisters are the last people I would have thought she was talking about.” Erland whispered to Christian.

“Who are they?” Joas asked as he watched the two newly arrived girls with interest.

“They are Christian and Riki’s sisters.” Eva said with a warning note to her voice.

“They aren’t warriors like you, why are they here?” Oleg asked.

“I have no idea.” Eva shrugged.

Pieter struggled to disembark from the ship, even when he was on the land he still needed to sit for a few moments to recover before he could stand up again.

“Who is that mess?” Joas laughed as he saw Pieter sat by the sea with his head between his knees.

“My cousin, Pieter.” Eva replied shortly.

“Is he a warrior?” Oleg asked.

“Yes, he used to train with me.” Eva replied.

“Then why is he in such a bad state?” Joas was still laughing.

“He isn’t very good with boats.” Christian said with a broad smile.

“So these are the three that we have been missing from our party?” Dalla frowned.

“Two girls that don’t know anything about fighting and a boy who gets sea sick.” Erland shook his head as he spoke.

“Before you are too hard on Camila and Beatrix, none of you could fight before I trained you.” Eva reminded Erland and went to join Riki and Wifrith.

“Do you think they’ll survive training with Eva?” Erland asked his best friend. Christian responded with a broad grin, a supressed laugh and a shrug, before he followed his girlfriend.

“Captain!” Dalla called, and beckoned for the ship’s captain to come over.

“My sailors tell me the witch we are looking for isn’t here. What is it that you want?” the captain asked.

“We want you to take us all to Skåne. We have seven jars of mead to exchange for passage. If you are looking for the witch, she is looking for us. Wherever we go, she is sure to follow.” Erland replied.

“Mead? Let me taste it.” the captain said as he held out his hand for one of the jars. Oleg handed the captain the jar he was carrying. The captain opened it and took a swig out of it.

“Will you take us to Skåne?” Joas asked.

“For this mead, I’d take you to the end of the world,” the captain replied with a grin on his face, “is there anywhere that we can get water and food for the journey?” he asked.

“There’s water and some food that can be foraged, but the island doesn’t have much.” Oleg replied.

“Can you show my boys where it all is? Then as soon as we’ve restocked, we can be on the way.” the captain said.

“Oleg and I will show them,” Erland answered, “Dalla, you should take Joas and introduce him to the others.”

Dalla nodded and Joas followed her over to where Camila and Beatrix were hugging their brothers and Eva was sat by her cousin waiting for him to be well enough to talk.

“Dalla!” Beatrix squealed as she saw the young spell caster and rushed over to hug her. Dalla found it odd that Beatrix was being so friendly. They had never spoken in the village, Dalla hadn’t been there long enough for them to talk, let alone become friends.

“Don’t worry; she’s like that with everyone.” Riki beamed. He was clearly thrilled to have his sisters there as well as his older brother.

“Oh we’ve missed you both so much!” Camila said as she threw her arms around Riki for the fourth time.

“How are things in Ribe?” Christian asked as Eva led Pieter over to where the Anderson siblings stood.

“Bad. The warriors from Hedeby and Schleswig have marched on the town. Everyone is ready for war, they are defending the town. The elders sent us out after the first attacks on the south side of the town.” Pieter replied with a snarl in the direction of Joas.

“It wasn’t Joas that attacked Ribe.” Christian defended their new ally.

“I beg to differ. He was the one that led the warriors to attack the town to kill all of you.” Pieter growled in reply.

“You’re right, I did. I was doing what I was ordered to do as a warrior of my people. I was told it was to protect my home from the children of Ribe who were trying to find the arm rings to start the tribe wars again.” Joas spat back.

“And yet your people are the ones attacking us.” Pieter replied tartly.

“Enough bickering,” Eva said sternly, “Joas and Oleg chased us up to Lindholm and then down to Fyn. They have been trying to kill us since we first met them in Ribe, if anyone has a right to be angry with them – it’s us. They are not our enemies, they are working against Viggo.” she continued. Pieter stared at his cousin, not quite sure what to say.

Beatrix was stood next to Dalla, but she wasn’t listening to what the others were saying. She could hear the faint sound of singing coming from somewhere nearby.

“Beatrix, are you all right?” Christian asked, breaking her concentration on the far off music.

“Yes, I’m fine.” Beatrix smiled. The singing had stopped. She shook her head and watched as the captain gathered up the jars of mead and helped the children load the belongings and the ponies onto the ship.

“What is going on?” Pieter asked with concern.

“We’re taking the ship to Skåne.” Riki replied.

“Why can’t we stay here? We’ve only just arrived.” Pieter replied.

“The next arm ring is on Skåne. We need to get there as fast as we can. Fjori the völva told us where we can find it and that you would be arriving here.” Christian said with an edge to his voice.

“So you were here waiting for us!” Camila clapped her hands with delight.

“Yes, we should help the captain. The sooner we get everything loaded onto the ship, the sooner we can leave.” Eva said flatly.

“What’s wrong with Eva?” Joas mumbled to Christian.

“I don’t think she’s thrilled to have Pieter here.” Christian replied in a quiet voice.

“He’s her cousin though.” Joas frowned.

“Yes, and the only other warrior in Ribe who isn’t a married adult.” Christian replied.

“I see. What about your sisters? Are they married yet?” Joas asked lightly. Christian looked at Joas with a raised eyebrow, “I’m just asking.” Joas said defensively.

“They’re not married, Camila is seventeen and Beatrix is fifteen, does that answer any questions you have about them?” Christian asked with a wry smile.

“Yes, I was just curious as to why Pieter isn’t married to one of them.” Joas smiled.

“Because I would kill him before he married any woman that is important to me.” Christian replied dryly.

“You’re starting to sound like Eva.” Joas teased.

“In this case, that’s not a bad thing.” Christian sighed.

It didn’t take long for the sailors to return to the ship with Erland, Oleg, fresh water, berries foraged from the forest, packs of grass that had been cut for the ponies and eels that had been caught from the river.

When the captain was satisfied that everything had been stored properly on the ship, and that there was enough food and water on-board for his passengers, the were ponies securely tied up next to the cargo and all their bags tied down so that they wouldn’t slide about the ship, he gave the order to set sail.

The children were put to work on the ship, Camila and Beatrix were taking care of the ponies, Pieter was stood leaning over the rail of the ship, and the others were helping the sailors with sailing the ship.

They were at sea for little more than an hour when Beatrix could hear the far off singing drifting to her over the roar of the waves.

More about the Children of Ribe

A Viking Saga. The Children of the Viking town of Ribe must find the eight arm rings of Yngvar. The arm rings contain magic, which will save their town from the warrior horde of King Viggo Odinsen.

To find out more about the four books in the Children of Ribe series, follow these links: FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT.

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Today we are going back to the land of the Danes with an extract from book 3 in the Children of Ribe series, WIFRITH.

Wifrith: An Extract

Wifrith growled, but his warning was too late. Ciara Enosdatter, völva, witch of the old ways, used magic to knock the wolf aside before he could bite her. Wifrith rolled over on the muddy ground several times. He whined and tried to get up, but fell back down almost straight away.

Erland Kalebsen was asleep in the tent. The sound of Wifrith growling woke him up. He stumbled out of the tent with his sword in his hand, but he was too groggy. All he could do was watch.

Dalla Ingeborgsdotter had been sat by the fire, lost in her thoughts when Ciara had entered the camp. The dreamer hadn’t heard Wifrith’s warning. By the time she realised she was in danger, it was too late. Ciara had grabbed the girl by the arm and started chanting.

Erland watched as Dalla and Ciara vanished in a blinding flash of light. The young man from Ribe was suddenly very awake. He rushed to check on Wifrith.

The wolf wasn’t badly hurt, just stunned, but as Erland approached, Wifrith tried to bite him. Erland snatched his hand back and stared at the wolf with surprise.

Erland watched Wifrith warily as he slowly got up, snarled and darted out of the camp towards the woods. Erland thought about chasing after him, but he didn’t want to leave the camp. If Christian, Eva and Riki came back to an empty camp, they wouldn’t know what had happened. Instead he called on the guardian of his arm ring of Yngvar.

“Aldís!” Erland called. His guardian Disir slowly materialised in front of him. She looked different to the last time she appeared. She looked more like a ghost. Erland could barely see her with the sun behind her.

“What is it?” Aldís asked impatiently.

“What’s happening? Why didn’t you help?” Erland demanded.

“You weren’t in danger. The force that was blocking magic here has gone, but it has left damage. It is harder to breakthrough from the spirit world than it should be. It is like the bridge has been damaged. I was weakened by the barrier and now it is harder for me to get here.” Aldís explained.

“But what about Dalla?” Erland asked.

“She is safe for the moment. The witch couldn’t take her far, but I can’t see where they are.” Aldís said, her form fading so that she looked like a chalk outline.

“What about Wifrith? What’s wrong with him?” Erland asked.

“I already told you that magical creatures have had their strength drained and the damage is making it harder for spirits to cross into this world,” Aldís said, “is that all you wanted?”

“No! I have to find Dalla!” Erland cried.

“That is something I can’t help you with. You will have to wait for your friends to return.” Aldís disappeared as she spoke until only her words hung in the air.

Erland kicked the ground in frustration. He didn’t know where Dalla or Wifrith had gone; he didn’t know where Eva, Christian or Riki were, if they had found the next arm ring or if they had been eaten by a dragon.

He was all alone on a strange island and didn’t know what to do.

“At least the warriors from Hedeby aren’t here.” he sighed to himself as he sat down by the fire to think.

More about the Children of Ribe

A Viking Saga. The Children of the Viking town of Ribe must find the eight arm rings of Yngvar. The arm rings contain magic, which will save their town from the warrior horde of King Viggo Odinsen.

To find out more about the four books in the Children of Ribe series, follow these links: FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT.

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For our fourth and final day of our Raven Siren extracts is the most recent of the full length stories in the Nicolette Mace universe, the Lily & Rose Saga.

Lily & Rose: an extract

Fred Barlow sighed as he hung his hat and coat behind his door and stared about the immaculate living room. He didn’t spend enough time here. He glanced at his watch, 1.30am; his days at work were getting longer.

He strode across the living room to his bedroom. It too was spotless. He sighed again as he sat upon the corner of his bed.

The bathroom door opened and a silhouetted figure stood leaning against the door frame. The silhouette had legs like a racehorse and the chemise she wore showed them off nicely.

“You’re late.” She said gliding across to him. She straddled his legs and kissed him as Fred grabbed her by the waist.

“Paperwork.” He said throwing her onto her back on the bed. “I hate it; it’s not about catching criminals any more, God it’s changed and not for the better.” He said as she rested her hands upon his shoulders.

“I wish Siren was still around. She at least kept bringing in criminals and was marginally entertaining whilst she did.” He shook his head.

“But she died a long time ago now.” She said as she kissed Fred again.

“Nic, don’t be ridiculous.” Fred smiled slightly, gazing down at his wife. She hadn’t changed in appearance in four years, only her dress sense had.

“If she hadn’t died we wouldn’t be together. I gave it all up for you and I don’t plan on going back…” She said stroking his face.

“God, I wish you would, if only to show the new mayor that at least someone still wants to get criminals off the streets.” There was defeat in his voice. He was tired now, almost too tired to fight against the corruption and restriction he faced every day.

Nicolette rolled Fred onto his side and nuzzled his neck.

“Nic please don’t do that whilst I’m ranting…” He groaned at her, there was still lots that he wanted to get off his chest without really knowing how to.

She nuzzled him more.

“What are you, some kind of cat?” He demanded trying to sound annoyed.

“Miaow.” She and Fred both laughed.

“I don’t know how you do it, but you always make me feel so much better.” He sighed as he looked at her. She was much happier now that she wasn’t a private investigator, much happier now that the two of them were together. Her abrasive and defensive nature had been replaced with joy and a gentle nature he had only hoped lay beneath it all.

“What else is a wife for?” She asked kissing him again. Fred rolled her back on to her back and whispered in her ear.

“To be my equal, to share everything with me, to show the world that I love you above all others and keep you happy. You aren’t just here to cheer me up.” He said lovingly running his fingers through her hair.

She smiled broadly and kissed his forehead.

“Now if you don’t mind, I would like to forget about work.”

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

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Once again we are back today with the Raven Siren in her continuing adventures, this time we’re taking an extract out of book 3 in the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series – the Kevin Metis Saga.

Derek Long Saga: an extract

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I was in the hospital but I wasn’t a patient. Granted I had been up until about half an hour ago but I had been discharged, for the first time, and I was still there.

“His condition is stable but he is showing no response to any outside stimuli. The machines are the only things keeping him alive right now.”

“That is just so comforting.” I sneered at the man who had spoken; the brown eyed and brown haired protégé of the comatose Fred Barlow, known to most people as Rick Clegg. I however was not yet ready to address him by any form of name. I had only met him once before today and that was after Fred had just been shot by Derek Long.

“So your reputation is well earned then.” Rick replied leaning against the door frame of Fred’s room.

“And which reputation is that then?” I snapped back as I sat watching the heart monitor.

“For being a bitch.” Rick said shrugging.

I chose to ignore him and reached out to take Fred’s hand.

“So you and he were close?”

Rick seemed to have a really annoying problem of not knowing when conversation wasn’t welcome.

“Is that any of your business?”

“Probably not, so do you mind telling me what happened to result in all the blood, guts and bullets?”

“Maybe I do mind. Maybe I don’t talk to strangers because I’m not a snitch.”

“They prefer the term verbally challenged.”

“Shut the hell up you annoying excuse for human life. There is nothing you can say or do that is going to make me tell you what went on in that house and if you decide to speak to me again, don’t bother, because if you do I’ll just shoot you.”

I was in the foulest mood I’d ever been in. It didn’t take much at the moment to make me want to rip the head off someone for asking me ridiculous questions.

“You may already know this, but threatening a police officer is a punishable offence.”

I drew my revolver and aimed it at Rick’s head.

“You wouldn’t shoot me in a hospital.”

“You really don’t know me very well, do you? Whatever you have heard about me hasn’t been exaggerated. If anything some of the stories have been downplayed for the sake of believability. So step away from the door and let me get on with what I have to do.”

“And what exactly is that?” Rick asked moving to block the doorway.

“Well if you don’t move, then firstly killing you and then finding the man who has so much to pay for.” I stood and walked towards Rick, the gun still aimed at his head.

“And here was me thinking you might want some help.” Rick said raising his eyebrow and slowly smiling.

”I don’t need any help.” I wasn’t exactly in the mood to try and be civil. The only time I ever tried to be civil is when Fred made me.

“If you need it, and I’m not saying you do, then you’ll know where to come to get it. I’ll be watching over Fred whilst you are…erm…busy.” Rick said as he walked past me, ignoring my gun and sat down beside Fred.

“Let’s just make one thing perfectly clear. There aren’t many people I trust and probably the only person I do trust is lying next to you unconscious. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m going to come around to you pretending to be a charming nice guy, because I won’t. I’m not like the women you’ve met before; you have to earn my trust.” I holstered my gun.

“And how do I do that?”

“You don’t ask me stupid questions or try and manipulate me.”

“Well.” Rick leant back in his chair and rested his heels on the edge of the bed. “At least you didn’t shoot me.” He pulled out a packet of cigarettes, took one and lit it. He held it out to me.

“You aren’t supposed to smoke in hospitals.” I replied coldly.

“From what I’ve heard that’s never stopped you before.” Rick shrugged.

“The rules apply to you though. They never seem to have had the nasty habit of applying to me.”

Fred being in the hospital was a slight handicap to what I had to do now. Having him watching my back whether I’d wanted him to or not had always made my life easier; though I would never admit it to his face.

I never had to worry about what was sneaking up behind me because Fred was watching out for me. So I had one extra thing to think about, I couldn’t just tear around town trying to kill Long whilst someone else mopped up behind me and made sure I didn’t get a bullet in my shoulder or worse.

I didn’t like doing things in a low key manner either. It takes longer to do and requires people staying alive long enough to tell you what you need to know without them screaming. I actually don’t mind hearing people scream, it actually has become quite common place in recent years; screaming seems to be an unfortunate side effect of shooting someone during interrogation. What I don’t like is sneaking around, sneaking around makes you no better than – than an assassin.

Assassins are not my favourite people in the world. In fact you could probably go as far to say that of all the people in the world I have ever hated, assassins would come top of that list every time.

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

We’re staying with Nicolette Mace today for more from her adventures, but this time from the Kevin Metis Saga, book 2 in the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series.

Kevin Metis Saga: an extract

It was a dark, dismal afternoon, like they all seem to be these days, when I got this call. I could hear the rain battering the windowpane of my office when the phone rang.

“Nicolette Mace, the Raven Siren.”

“He’s back and you’re marked.” The phone went dead in my hand. Anonymous calls were always trouble; laying traps for the unsuspecting Private Eye, but this time it was more confusing than anything else. It wasn’t hard to believe that someone had painted a bullseye on my back; the hard part was believing that someone was warning me.

Eight years in a business like this and you don’t make any friends, probably why most P.Is have cats. The only social life a P.I has is with the scum of the earth (their clients), who in this burg are no better than those they ask you to catch, and the local police; you can tell dinner parties are always a blast to have. Usually a shotgun blast.

I could have kept my head down and waited for the hit, it would have saved me an awful lot of trouble and a few fingers as well, but that’s the deal with retrospect.

Two minutes after the phone call I had my coat in hand, my guns in their holsters and no cat to wish me luck.

Times have changed in this business from the days of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. The two of them didn’t have the modern world to contend with, the escalation of violent crime, the degeneration of society, in my mind those guys had it easy.

Some things though haven’t changed.

The first thing to do was to try and sniff out a lead, general snippets of news, new guys in town, old faces resurfacing, suspicious activities anywhere in the city.

There was only one guy to go to who’d know what was happening and who would actually talk, Alfie Dennis. Alfie Dennis, still in his early twenties, was the best snitch in the city. He took from both sides and consequently knew more about the city than either side was willing to admit.

He’s a pricey resource if you knew only one way to ask and after double-crossing both sides more than once, he knew how to disappear in the blink of an eye. Luckily enough for me though, he wasn’t immune to female charms.

Alfie wasn’t an easy man to locate and the rain made me irritable when I found him in a down-town pool hall. He wasn’t an attractive man, pug faced with a spot epidemic still clinging on from his teens, though he was never short of women, mainly hookers because even though his looks made any woman want to wretch, the depth of his pockets more than made up for it.

That night he wasn’t alone either, he had two girls hanging on his arms and another two throwing him glances from the bar. When I walked through the door, all eyes turned from their games to the door and back again. That wasn’t unusual, most people in there knew who I was and I knew who they were, if I left them alone, they’d leave me alone.

Simple arrangements like these tend to make life so much simpler, and by “simpler” I mean “longer.”

It wasn’t unlike any other night walking into that hall, but the moment I walked through that door I knew something was different, something about the pool hall was bothering me and the phone call was enough to get me on my guard.

I didn’t like it.

I felt cold like I’d been dropped in a snow bank in the middle of December. It struck me as odd that Alfie hadn’t looked up as I walked in. Normally he would have been watching the door intently, just waiting for business to walk through it. I’d seen him react to the police like a snivelling worm and to the underworld agents in the same way, but he always jumped and headed for the back door if it was me he saw. He hadn’t moved.

Damn.

It was a set up; I could feel it as my flesh crawled. I thought as fast as I could, trying not to give anything away. First thing that came to mind was backing out the door I had just entered through, but it would be being watched.

I stepped away from the door and moved to the bar, the two hookers leaning against it turned and grinned maliciously at me. There was something familiar about them. I was over the counter, guns in hand, before the first shot left its chamber.

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

The New Year is off to a flying start for all of us here at Mightier Than the Sword UK – some of the more interesting things you’ll all find out about in due course, but we felt that today was a very appropriate day to post an extract from Beginnings, the first book in the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series by C.S. Woolley (you’ll understand why in a few weeks time)

Beginnings: an extract

When I walked into the living room, Louise was sat on the sofa cleaning her favourite rifle. The coffee table was covered with a multitude of other weapons, including six revolvers, a colt that had been a gift from my dad to me, a shotgun and my dad’s favourite assault rifle.

I never thought it was fair for a P.I. to carry an assault rifle, but he mainly used it for intimidation since it had a high tendency to misfire. Most people tend not to argue with someone carrying an assault rifle, but then again there are always exceptions.

I can remember my father being hospitalised for three weeks after he had to use it against a small time gang that seemed immune to intimidation. Any normal person with any amount of sanity would have probably gotten rid of it after that, but honestly, I think it increased his love of the stupid thing.

At least it wasn’t a misfiring shotgun, though there were days when I am sure that Danny had tried to sell him one.

I walked over and sat beside Louise and picked up my colt. It was a beautiful antique six shooter that I lavished more care and attention on than spinsters do on their cats.

Louise always mocked me for it, said a love affair with a gun wasn’t normal – rather rich coming from her considering how much time she spent talking to her rifle.

What it came down to is that our weapons were our greatest friends, the only things we knew we could count on as long as we took care of them. Dad had taught us from a very early age that we couldn’t rely on each other, but if we looked after our guns – we could rely on them.

Louise took this very seriously. She spent more time cleaning and maintaining all our weapons than I have spent sleeping in my fourteen years on the planet. As I sat down next to her I picked up the small brushes and began examining my colt for the smallest specks of dust that could have gotten past my sister’s inspection.

It didn’t take long for my father’s voice to reach decibels that shook the building and caused glass to fall out of the rotting window frames.

“He’s getting worse.” Louise shook her head in despair. She always did think that dad lost his temper too easily, especially when he was on the phone to Danny.

“I don’t think he is, I think you’re getting less tolerant as you get old.”

“You mean older.”

“No, I know what I meant. Definitely old.” I said, staring down the inside of the barrel of the colt.

Louise would have retaliated for a comment like that, normally with some form of excessive violence, but it was this moment that my father chose to throw down the phone and storm into the apartment.

“We’re going out.” He growled in our general direction.

“Why?” I asked, putting down the little brushes. Louise hadn’t missed even the smallest speck of dust.

“Because Danny knows how to push the old man’s buttons and he thinks we have nothing better to do than come along.” Louise sighed as she polished the barrel of her rifle.

“You don’t have anything better to do.”

Dad was never very good at recognising we had our own lives to lead.

“Niccy doesn’t.” Louise shot back.

“And you do?” I always hated it when she called me that.

“I have my own case to work on.” Louise always was more independent than my father liked. After Laura had died, he’d always been very protective of us both – at least that’s what Louise always told me. She said that before mum had died, he’d been different, much more easy going than he was now, not quite so prone to violent outbursts of temper.

He wasn’t a man that doted on his daughters in the same way that I have seen most men dote on them. He didn’t try and buy love because he couldn’t really afford to – there were no ponies or promises of trips to Disneyland, there was no coming home from being on a business trip laden with foreign gifts – there was always the possibility that he would come home from the hospital; bleeding, carrying pizza, but that’s about as far as it went.

The way my father showed his love was teaching us to shoot, teaching us to fight and teaching us how to survive. Louise had learned these lessons very quickly. She had a tougher skin than even my father did, and her ability to shoot straight under pressure was legendary. I, on the other hand, hated the sight of blood, flinched at loud noises and missed every target I shot at.

Arthur said it didn’t matter, that I would get better with practise, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t cut out to be a private detective, but then again, there was nothing at school that interested me either. It’s an odd feeling that you might not have a place in the world. But at fourteen, I hardly let that bother me.

“What case is that?” Arthur growled. He wasn’t very good at hiding when he was angry, or supporting what he disapproved of.

“It’s none of your business.” Louise said bluntly. She never liked sharing really, was always a problem when it came to our toys.

There wasn’t a lot that my father could say to that. He tried to form several sentences several times before he gave up completely. I was glad in a lot of ways that he couldn’t come up with a retort; it meant not having to suffer through the carnage of Louise vs. Arthur, round nine hundred and thirty seven.

Louise didn’t give my father the opportunity to argue back either; she dropped the gun parts on the table, grabbed her coat and headed out of the door. It slammed behind her and caused the walls of the office and apartment to shake like they were made from paper; to this day, I am not entirely convinced that they aren’t.

“Get your coat.” Arthur snapped at me and disappeared back into his office. Louise had gone out unarmed, but she was more than capable of defending herself without the use of weapons. The only thing I could take was my colt.

In the office there were plenty of places that my father had guns hidden that I knew existed but had never had any great success in finding. I realised that I hadn’t eaten yet so threw some of the leftover rabbit stew Louise had made two days before, into the microwave and turned it on.

There was a great crash, a smell of burning and the next thing I knew there was a flash of light, I was lying on my back and the smoke alarm was going off.

Arthur came rushing in to see the remnants of the microwave smouldering on the side, rabbit stew sprayed about the apartment with an assortment of electronics.

Who knew putting rabbit stew in a microwave would make it explode?

My father hauled me to my feet without a word, strode across the apartment, opened the window and threw what was left of the microwave out onto the street below.

“You can clean this up later. We have work to do.” He growled as he picked up my coat and threw it at me. I checked over my arms, legs, torso and face and found only four wounds. None of them were particularly deep, the bleeding mostly superficial and there weren’t any scraps of metal lodged in them.

Walking out of the building, my father was already halfway down the street; he didn’t like to be kept waiting. I stepped over the smoking remains of the microwave on the pavement and ran smack into someone walking the other way.

“Hey, watch it!” I shouted as I nearly fell backwards into the pile of ruined electronics and melted plastic.

“Sorry.” The man I had run into replied. I realised that I wasn’t falling because he had grabbed my arm to keep me on my feet.

I looked up to see a young looking man with blue eyes, dark hair and the shadow of stubble that had been left intentionally unshaven. I felt my cheeks flush as I looked at him.

“Colt!” My father shouted, dragging my attention away from the attractive man. I pulled my arm from his grasp and ran off down the street. I could feel his eyes watching me as I chased after my father and couldn’t put my finger on why him watching me didn’t bother me.

“Stay away from him.” Arthur said gruffly as I caught up to him.

“Why?” I said, frowning and turning my head to look back at the man who still stood by the smouldering remains of the microwave.

“Bacon has never been a very healthy thing for private investigators to associate with.” Arthur grunted. For those of you who suddenly feel offended at the thought that bacon, being possibly the greatest meat product after steak, could be seen as something that private investigators shouldn’t associate with; by bacon what Arthur meant was the police.

I didn’t say anything in response as I looked back at the young man. He didn’t look like he was a cop; he looked like he should have still been in high school, not locking up criminals on the street and getting in the way of the work of a private eye.

I hoped I wouldn’t come across him again, not because I have anything against the police really, it’s just they tend to end up getting shot by my father for interfering and surprisingly I didn’t want to see this nice young man end up with a bullet between his shoulder blades.

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

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Christmas is over and all the supermarkets in Great Britain seem convinced that it’s already Easter, but we’re not quite done with our Christmas giving. Today we are bringing you the opening to WAR, book 2 in the Children of Ribe by C.S. Woolley. The Children of Ribe is a book a modern fairytale and Viking saga for children.

WAR: an extract

“Where are we?” Riki Andersen frowned as he looked around. The last thing he remembered, he had been scrambling to pick up his sword. He had dropped it when he tried to draw it from its scabbard. The warriors of Hedeby had found them on the headland opposite Lindholm.

“I don’t know.” Eva Axeldatter replied. She had been the only one of the children who was ready to fight the advancing warriors. Her pet wolf, Wifrith, was sat next to his mistress. The danger that had threatened her was gone. The wolf didn’t care where they were now, only that Eva was safe.

“You are on the island of Fyn.” a female voice said. Eva and Riki turned round. Behind them were stood Dalla Ingeborgsdotter, Christian Andersen, Erland Kalebsen and a woman that neither of them had seen before.

She wasn’t a normal woman, she looked like a spirit. She was stood next to Erland, though neither Erland nor Christian seemed surprised to see her. Eva wondered if she was a threat, but Wifrith wasn’t growling.

“Aldís,” Erland said, “why are you here?” he asked.

“I am the guardian of the arm ring of Yngvar, now that you have found the arm ring, I will be there to protect you wherever you go.” Aldís replied.

“You transported us to Fyn?” Christian asked.

“I did. I can only protect you when Erland is wearing the arm ring though. If he hadn’t put it on before the warriors reached you, I wouldn’t have been able to transport you to safety.” Aldís said.

“Why did you bring us to the island of Fyn?” Dalla asked.

“Because it is the furthest away from the warriors of Hedeby I could carry you, your ponies and all of your belongings,” Aldís replied, “you should rest for the night.” The spirit said before she disappeared.

“An unusual day we’re having.” Christian said under his breath.

Riki set to work looking for wood so that Christian could build a fire. Christian and Erland were both still wet and cold after swimming the strait between the headland and Lindholm to find the arm ring. The two boys were checking the ponies, the warm bodies of the ponies helping to keep the two warm until the fire was built.

“We should put up the tent.” Eva said. The tent they had made to camp in the woods to the east of Viborg had been saved and packed onto the back of Riki’s pony. It didn’t take the two girls long to put it together.

Erland and Christian went inside the tent to change out of their wet clothes. Eva sat down with Dalla as they went through the food supplies they had.

“When did you learn how to do magic?” Eva asked quietly.

“Ciara taught me.” Dalla replied. She didn’t look at Eva as she spoke.

“Is that why we were kidnapped?” Eva asked, chewing on her bottom lip.

“Yes.” Dalla said meekly.

“When were you going to tell us?” Eva asked calmly.

“I don’t know. I was hoping you wouldn’t find out. I didn’t want you all to be angry with me.” Dalla was close to tears.

Eva didn’t say a word. She stood up and went to help Riki with the fire. Dalla sat looking miserable. Wifrith lay close beside her, his watchful eyes fixed on the food.

Erland and Christian felt much better when they had changed into dry clothes. Erland was wearing his arm ring proudly as he stepped out of the tent. He was carrying the wet clothes. Riki and Eva had lit the fire and gone in search of water.

“All alone?” Erland asked Dalla as he laid out the clothes so that they would dry by the fire.

“Wifrith is here.” Dalla replied.

“Where are Riki and Eva?” Erland asked.

“They went to get water, I think. They didn’t tell me.” Dalla shrugged.

“Oh.” Erland said. He felt a little uncomfortable talking to Dalla. He found it hard to talk to girls at the best of times. They liked him a lot, but he was always tongue tied. Dalla was even more of a problem to talk to. She swung between being very happy and very sad and always seemed to have a faraway look in her eyes.

“We should make a pen for the ponies.” Dalla said, breaking the awkward silence.

“Good idea!” Erland said enthusiastically. He waited for Dalla to put away the food and then the two set to work building a pony pen.

Christian had fallen asleep inside the tent. Wifrith padded in and flopped down beside the boy. The wolf knew that Christian was important to his mistress, so he guarded him whilst he slept.

“Are you angry with Dalla?” Riki asked Eva. The two were looking for any signs of a river close by.

“Yes.” Eva said shortly.

“Why?” Riki asked.

“She learned magic from the witch that held us prisoner.” Eva said with a frown.

“She was a prisoner too. Ciara put her under a spell.” Riki replied.

“Don’t say her name.” Eva’s eyes flared as she spoke.

“Why not?” Riki asked.

“When you say the name of evil things you give them more power.” Eva warned.

“Don’t say things like that!” Riki whined.

“It’s true; you’ve heard the old stories.” Eva said.

“But in the old stories saying the name doesn’t only give it more power. It calls the evil to you.” Riki shuddered as he spoke.

“Exactly. So don’t say her name.” Eva said pointedly.

“Okay. The witch it is,” Riki agreed, “but Dalla really was a prisoner too. I heard the witch casting spells over Dalla and I am sure the witch put potions in Dalla’s food too.”

“It doesn’t matter. Dalla put us all in danger.” Eva said stubbornly.

“What about you?” Riki asked.

“What do you mean, ‘what about you’?” Eva demanded.

“You got captured by that troll. You put us all in danger.” Riki asked innocently.

“That was different. We weren’t all prisoners of the troll.” Eva snapped.

“No, but Christian fought the troll to free you. We didn’t have to fight the witch, we just ran away.” Riki said.

“It’s not the same thing.” Eva refused to admit she was wrong.

“If you say so,” Riki shrugged, “hey, look over there, I can see a pond!”

More about the Children of Ribe

A Viking Saga. The Children of the Viking town of Ribe must find the eight arm rings of Yngvar. The arm rings contain magic, which will save their town from the warrior horde of King Viggo Odinsen.

To find out more about the four books in the Children of Ribe series, follow these links: FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT.

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We’re taking another break from the short stories today to bring you an extract from another one of our books – FATE, book 1 in the Children of Ribe Saga. The Children of Ribe books are written by C.S. Woolley and aimed at children who are not only interested in adventure and magic, but also learning about the Vikings.

FATE: an extract

“Erland! Erland, wake up!” Christian Andersen jumped up and down on Erland’s bed. Erland Kalebsen opened his eyes and glared at the young man of sixteen who was shaking him.

“What do you want?” Erland pushed his best friend off the bed and sat up. Christian collapsed in a heap on the floor and grinned.

“I have something to tell you.”

Erland yawned and looked out the window, noticing that it was still dark outside he asked, “What time is it?”

“I don’t know, maybe four o’clock?” Christian shrugged.

“Four o’clock! Why are you waking me up at four o’clock?!” Erland demanded.

“Keep your voice down. You’ll wake up your mother. She won’t be pleased I climbed through the window again.” Christian hissed.

“You better not have left footprints on the wall. She’ll hit you with the broom until you’re sore!” Erland said, sticking his head out of the window. It was too dark to see if Christian had tracked mud up the side of the house.

“I was careful; I didn’t even step on the window this time. Look, your mother will get over it, Frigg is a good sport really. Anyway, I have something important to tell you!” Christian said, his chin length blonde hair bouncing up and down as he spoke.

“Well, what is it?” Erland asked grumpily.

“There’s a new girl in town!” Christian grinned.

“A new girl? You woke me up at 4 o’clock because there is a new girl in town?” Erland stared at his best friend.

The two boys were both sixteen. Erland was a tall boy with dirty blonde hair and dark blues eyes, something he had inherited from his mother. He was strong for his age, but when he stood next to Christian he looked decidedly small. Christian was shorter than Erland, but a lot more muscular. He had a slight blonde stubble spread across his chin and blonde hair to his chin that was so light it was blinding if the sun caught it at the right angle.

Though they were the same age, Erland was a lot less interested in girls than Christian was.

“She’s not just any new girl, she comes from Norway.” Christian replied.

“So?” Erland asked.

“So! Don’t you listen to the stories that Alessia and Sibel tell?” Christian said with exasperation.

“No, I’m too old to be listening to fairy tales. I need to learn about running the farm and how to protect the town and the farm from thieves and wolves.” Erland said, lying down again.

“What a load of nonsense, you are too young for that, you should listen to Alessia and Sibel. Their stories are all about adventure!” Christian’s eyes danced as he sat on the edge of Erland’s bed.

“A girl coming to Ribe from Norway is important in the stories?” Erland asked.

“Well, no, not Norway. It’s the legend of the arm rings of Yngvar.” Christian said scratching his head.

“The legend of the arm rings of Yngvar? Another tale of adventure and daring that cause your sisters to swoon?” Erland rolled over and pulled the blankets over his head.

“Beatrix and Camilla aren’t interested in adventure stories, they just want to sit in the meadow and make daisy chains.” Christian tutted.

“I think you missed my point.” Erland muttered.

“Look, Erland, the legend of the arm rings of Yngvar, it says when a girl from a distant land arrives that danger is near at hand. That heroes must rise from the town and set out to find the rings.” said Christian.

“And these rings are not normal arm rings like the ones that my father has?” Erland asked, his voice muffled by the blankets.

“Yes.”

“And each arm ring will give the wearer untold power and unmatchable skill?”

“Yes!”

“And there are only a few days when you can find these arm rings of Yngvar before disaster befalls everyone and the darkness takes hold?”

“You do know the legend!” Christian said with a smile.

“No, I just know the stories that Alessia and Sibel tell.” Erland said crossly. The sound of footsteps echoed in the corridor outside Erland’s room.

“Uh oh.” Christian said.

“I told you to keep your voice down.” Erland said from under the blanket. The door to Erland’s room opened. Erland’s mother, Frigg, stood in doorway.

“Christian Andersen! You should be at home in your bed!” Frigg said in a stern voice.

“Yes, Frigg.” Christian sighed. He started to climb over Erland to get to the window.

“What do you think you are doing?” Frigg shouted.

“Going out the same way I came in.” Christian said and instantly regretted it. Frigg grabbed her broom and started chasing Christian.

“I told you not to climb the side of our house!” Frigg yelled and Christian ran to the front door. He undid all the bolts and ran outside. Erland heard his mother slam the door, bolt it and walk back to his room.

“What did he want?” Frigg asked.

“Something about the legend of the arm rings of Yngvar.” Erland yawned.

“I see.” Frigg said with a slight frown on her face.

“He believes all those tales that Alessia and Sibel tell to the children.” Erland said as he drifted back to sleep.

“You are still a child.” Frigg whispered as she closed the door to Erland’s room.

More about the Children of Ribe

A Viking Saga. The Children of the Viking town of Ribe must find the eight arm rings of Yngvar. The arm rings contain magic, which will save their town from the warrior horde of King Viggo Odinsen.

To find out more about the four books in the Children of Ribe series, follow these links: FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT.

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