Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Strawberry Dreaming

It's time to return to Belfast of 2079, where Mariah is dreaming of strawberries. After several years of famine, it's been a long time since she saw one - but the day may yet hold a surprise or two for her.

I am still having a grand old time drawing the covers for these short prologues. Now there are four of them!

The novel itself, Mariah's Dream, is now up for pre-order on Kindle and will be fully available - also in print - by the end of July.

Here is an excerpt of Strawberry Dreaming:

It is a warm summer day. Layers of wispy clouds do little to obscure the sun, for once. These temperatures are rare in Ireland—but all the more treasured for it. The air carries wondrous scents of flowering things and the promise of tree fruit in autumn: apples and pears and plums now ripening, the unborn ghosts of their nascent aromas already filling the orchard slopes.

Railway tracks border the green area, with rows of brick houses beyond. Farther still, to the north, are the tall chimneys of an industrial area nearer the city, and on the left hand looms the dark shape of the Black Mountain that overhangs western Belfast. A train rattles by, its wheels screeching, the commuters gazing with longing at the paradise that is lost to them a few seconds later. In the midst of the city the allotments bloom. Tired brick and old streets have given way to a space between the walls where determined gardeners have staked a claim and worked the land.

Even now there is a harvest of other crops, the summer vegetables and early fruit. The little girl stoops, reaches into a tangle of leaves, and twists a strawberry from its socket with a pleasing pop. Her sharp eyes watch to confirm what her fingers have already told her. When she brings it out into view, it is intensely scarlet and fills the palm of her small hand, a thing of beauty with a drop of juice barely clinging on at the recently detached summit. She breathes its essence, warm and ripe, a storehouse of sunshine and satiety, the secure anticipation of how it is going to feel on her tongue as she savours it and her tastebuds will explode with simple happiness.

You can read the whole story free on my website here!

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