Many readers of my time travel novel The Renaissance Club have connected with my time travel guide, George St. James, so I’ve made him the hero of my new time travel novel. Timegathered is the story of George in his youth, and how he became a time traveler, realizing his innate potential for slipping between the folds of time into other periods of history.
Here’s a taste of George discovering his ability to timegather:
When George returned home to 2050, his head was buzzing with an electric guitar’s spangled notes. Hours of hauling equipment for his band, Curdled, left him with sore muscles and psychedelic earworms. Both effects could last for days, but at seventeen, living with the reverberating whine of a high note was a sick background noise to homework.
As soon as he returned to his dining room, the butler caught him. “What do you think you’re doing, young man?” The permafrost in Sanders’ voice deepened to a chip off a glacier.
George startled. “I was just …” he thought fast “… doing research for my essay on the medieval university.”
“Research? Where, in the pantry?”
Sanders could make George sweat until it ran down his back. The family butler had been deputized by his parents to supervise George in their frequent and often extended absence, while they traveled for their import business. Sanders, in George’s view, took much too full advantage of his power. And the butler had something like x-ray vision when it came to penetrating George’s excuses.
At this moment, the false notes of George’s excuse echoed in the still air of the dining room, bouncing off the crystal chandelier in tinsel-tuned fragments. Why had he said that? The medieval university! He knew better than to try to fool his ever-vigilant and learned butler.
Besides, lying made George feel queasy. He wasn’t good at it. His parents had raised him to be honest, making the consequences of truth much more pleasant than those of evasion. Early in his life, they made him understand that honesty made his road straight, and that even if being forthright brought a punishment, there would also be a reward. Sanders seemed to have been coached to follow through on this. Every time he caught George at something, Sanders gave something back for what he took away: a day’s ride on his horse lost but a special dessert gained.
Being honest with the intimidating butler was going to cost, but he had to do it now. George sank into himself, head bowed, though it should have been Sanders who bowed his head.
Sanders skewered George with his gray-eyed gaze. “And do you often fade in and out of visibility while doing your homework?”
Caught. George shifted his eyes down and to the left, seeking escape, wanting to jump right back to the nineteen seventies—but no. He couldn’t time travel in front of the butler, who would inform his parents—and how would they understand that while they traveled for their import business, their teenage son traveled to another era in history? They’d fire Sanders for taking hallucinogenic drugs. Or laugh uproariously and recommend the butler outline a fantasy novel, then fire him. Either way, George was staring at a new punishment.
He wished his sometime-parents would just fade into never-parents, along with their servant, and leave him alone.
“If you think I haven’t a clue about what you’re been doing, think again.” Sanders said. “I’ve done a bit of timegathering. In my youth, I spent time as a musketeer. But falling through time isn’t simply for your entertainment.”
Sanders, the family’s stolid, gray-suited butler, time-traveling? His parent substitute, who would ground him for dropping a silver spoon to the floor, gallivanting through history?
George stared and then asked. “You spent time in the fifteenth century?”
“Sixteenth century, young man, and that’s why you are to stay in the present and work hard at your studies. You should know your history a lot better if you’re going to wander around in it, timegathering.”
The steely stare George received matched the butler’s suit. “Because time folds, and when you exercise your ability, you rearrange or gather those folds in order to slip through to another era. And you must travel with a purpose, not merely fooling around with rock-and-roll bands.”
News — A New Book Coming Soon!
Timegathered will be a 2020 release, but in the meantime, I’ve taken a detour to another part of Italy with The Invisibles, a magical realism story of two half-sisters, the cottage they inherit on the northern Italian coast, and the spirit who comes with the house:
When feuding sisters Elinor and Saffron inherit a seaside Italian cottage, with a ghost and a hidden manuscript, but big repairs stall the sale, forcing them to confront their flaws and with the help of the spirit & interesting locals, repair themselves. PRACTICAL MAGIC meets ENCHANTED APRIL in this story of family, love, and spirits in The Room Over There.
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