I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Excerpt: Light Weaver

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Special guest post by Carol Anne Strange, Author of Light Weaver

Plot summary: Strange and inexplicable things are happening in the Lakeland fells … light orbs dance over mossy crags, symbols miraculously appear in grassy lowlands, and Cali Silverthorn keeps disappearing into other worlds.

Mobile librarian, Tom Philips, is captivated by free-spirited Cali but is struggling to make sense of her remarkable abilities and the escalating strangeness impacting ordinary rural life.

As beliefs are challenged, Tom and Cali's love becomes the only constant in a questionable reality as they face the heart-breaking realisation that Cali may soon disappear for good.

Light Weaver Excerpt:
'Question your eyes; there are other worlds within yours that you do not see.'
Seeing a naked woman on the Lakeland fells wasn't a common sight, and certainly not before the last of the daffodils. What's the saying, 'never cast a clout until May is out'? Well, she had cast more than her outer garments, and I was sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.
I lightened my foot off the accelerator and looked beyond the mossy wall to where a copse of hawthorn idled in the sun. There she was, dancing. And she really was naked. She trailed a blue scarf as she skipped and twirled obliviously, charmingly, a slender waif, coal-black hair and all pale honey. I checked the road and slowed the vehicle to a crawl so that I could take a better look. Her wildness, her spirited dance, her audacity left me strangely breathless. I followed her movement, almost hypnotically, as she weaved around each tangled tree. Trance-like, she skipped into a hazy beam of light. The air glimmered for a second like shards of fragmented glass suspended in sunshine - and then something very odd happened. Something very odd indeed! She vanished. She completely disappeared right before my eyes. I stared into the field, blinked, and stared again. What had happened? Where had she gone?
A sudden jolt catapulted me sideways. The mobile library lurched and bumped and juddered as the tyres lost contact with the road. I steered but it was too late. I missed the ditch by a fraction, clipping a hedgerow, and the vehicle shuddered to a halt in an abandoned pasture. I re-started the engine and eased the vehicle into reverse but the wheels spun, sucked into the field's dark muddy ruts. I was stuck. Here I was, newbie to the job, and already in danger of hearing my boss say, 'Tom Philips, you're fired.' I turned off the ignition and fumbled in my coat pocket for my mobile phone. I didn't relish the prospect of having to ask for help, though. I kicked the door panel in frustration as I made my rescue call.
While I waited, I sat in the day's stillness, wondering whom I'd just seen. What kind of a woman danced naked on the fells and disappeared like a magician's assistant, causing me to run off-road in the process? I sank my face into my palms. A crow settled upon a weathered gatepost, feathers oily-black beneath the climbing sun. It glared at me curiously, and then cawed in a mocking tone. 'You can laugh, you scrawny bird!' I shouted. It flapped its wings with a great flourish and took to the sky, circling a couple of times, before disappearing into the woods.
'Life is an illusion. You are the dreamer and the dream.'
It's not easy driving a mobile library on the steep inclines and narrow passages of the Lakeland fells. You need to know the roads for this job, especially on those frequent foggy days when the sky's caved in and lost sheep roamed. You'd think that having lived at least eighteen of my thirty years perched on the side of one of these unforgiving fells would give me an advantage but, as I'd demonstrated, there wasn't much room for error. One moment of poor judgement and you could end up in a ditch or, worse, careering off the fell-side into an uncertain predicament or, in my case, stuck in the mud.
A tow-rope snaked from the front of the mobile library to the back of my brother's tractor. The tractor slowly rolled forwards, the cable snapped to life, and the library lurched. My chin banged against the steering wheel and I bit my tongue. Slowly, the library freed itself from the rutted loam into which it had sunk half a wheel deep. Pete looked over the back of his tractor at the cable, at the library, and at me. I did my best to avoid his eyes. He's shaped to that tractor, born to it. He had Dad's ox-like back and shoulders and even the same straggly hairline.
The tractor laboured but slowly released the mobile library from its muddy confines. We parked up on the roadside. I knew questions would follow.
'How the hell did you manage that, Tom?' Pete released the tow-rope then stared at the straight road in front and behind us, the lines of his forehead creased. 'You weren't reading at the wheel again, were you?'
He gave me a knowing look and I was eleven again, helping Dad plough the bottom field, so engrossed in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four that I misjudged the turn, and plunged the tractor into the stinking ditch. That little episode had cost me a whole year's pocket money, and a lifetime's worth of family jibes.
'Well, Pete…' I paused, wondering if I should be economical with the truth. 'I was distracted by something in the field over there.'
Pete eyed me suspiciously, and then laughed, 'Distracted, hey? What was it, a pink giraffe?'
He patted me on the back with his large land-worn hand, and stared at the field. 'You'll be telling me you've seen a bevy of naked dancers next.'
'Well, actually…' I started, slightly flummoxed by how close he was to the truth, but he was already stepping up on the tractor, ready to leave. I decided it was better not to say anything.
'Got to get back to the farm, bro. You owe me a drink later.'
The tractor gurgled and off he went, without a backward glance. I realised I was a good hour late. It wasn't a great way to start the week, nor worth stressing about. As long as the Hawkdale locals received their regular fix of printed or digitised entertainment, that's all that mattered. I relaxed, happy to be travelling on, with the lake gleaming silver in the distance, and fells feathering the horizon in such a way that you couldn't be sure if they were real or imagined. The air in the van was filled with the evocative aroma of books, new print mingling with ageing, well-thumbed pages. As for the naked woman doing her disappearing trick, I guessed the circus must have been in town. Maybe she'd show up again later. Yes, maybe she would...
Read moreLight Weaver is available in paperback and Kindle formats and can be purchased from Amazon.
Thank you, Charlene and Bookish Whimsy, for allowing me the opportunity to share a brief excerpt of my debut novel, Light Weaver. I write to feed the soul and fuel the imagination so it's always a pleasure to connect with readers interested in my contemporary fiction with a fantastical twist. For more information about my writing, please visit http://www.carolannestrange.com and follow me on Twitter @CarolAStrange

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