A literary short story collection set in a magical steampunk world.
Excerpt from BONES FOR THE SEA:
With the tail horn of the moon passing from the face of the sun, dawn began to flood Alchemist City and its mostly groggy residents. Mook Pearler though was a fisherman, and fisherman got up early. In fact he was late and should have been out at sea over an hour ago. This wasn’t his fault however, unless he could be blamed for agreeing to take on that lousy Quird Cunes as a partner.
“You need help,” his wife had said. “You’re not a green dragon anymore.”
She did that sometimes, belittle him, but he’d long ago learned that she could talk spider webs around anything he said so Mook usually kept his soreness to himself.
Why Quird though? He was half a devil if he was anything and may have only been a half at that. The man was unreliable. He was always going off in the middle of dock work on who knows what and then would show up at the Sunken Hull without any attempt to explain himself. Since Quird’s magician acts tended to end with him sitting at their local tavern, Mook initially suspected he was sneaking off to go drinking. But the man was never drunk! And that in itself bothered Mook because what type of self-respecting mariner spent all his time on land sober? No, the whole thing was a mystery and an irritating one at that. When it came to trouble however, his nets always came up full, so Mook Pearler did his best not to let the shackle of Quird bother him and instead stuck to taking care of the morning.
Mrs. Pearler was baking in a frenzy at the small wooden table by the hearth when he entered. Their house only had three rooms; the one with the bed, the one with the fire, the one with the chamber pot. And of course all of these put together didn’t even add up to the space he had on his boat. The Pearlers however were childless so that helped, although sometimes Mook could sense that the long periods of quiet shared between him and his wife at home didn’t please her as much as they did him. Lately she’d been making herself busy with all sorts of things though and, if it kept her from cracking the whip at him, he was fully supportive.
“Morning girl,” he said to the woman he’d married over sixteen years ago when her first husband died. “Looks like you’ve been at it for some time now.”
His wife, who was concentrating on her rolling pin technique, didn’t look up as she replied. “Can’t all fuss around in the bedroom all leisurely like can we?”
Mook was stung by this sudden cannonball and, despite his better judgement, he fired one of his own across her bow.
“Not much I can do until your boy Quird Cunes gets here with a new net!”