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Jaime Lee Moyer

Delia's Shadow

Jaime Lee Moyer Delia's Shadow
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Biographical note:

JAIME LEE MOYER’s Delia’s Shadow won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for Fiction. Moyer has sold short fiction to Lone Star Stories, Daily Science Fiction, and to the Triangulations: End of the Rainbow, and Triangulations: Last Contact anthologies, and edited the 2010 Rhysling Award Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Moyer lives in San Antonio with writer Marshall Payne, three cats, three guitars, and a growing collection of books and music.

Excerpt from book:

CHAPTER 1
 

Delia
The locomotive engine belched billowing clouds of steam, a black-iron dragon chained to the tracks. Warm air ruffled my hair and vanished before I became sure I’d felt it. Foggy, late-spring nights in San Francisco were cold, something I’d conveniently forgotten.
Sam, the elderly porter who’d looked after me all the way from New York, took my satchel and offered his hand as I came down the rickety train-car steps. “Will you be all right on your own, Miss Delia? I can wait until your friend comes if you’d feel better.”
“I’ll be fine.” I shook out my skirts and took my bag. “This is home. I won’t get lost.”
He doffed his cap and smiled. “You take extra care anyway. Lots of strangers in town for the fair.”
I tipped Sam a dollar and moved away from the tracks, facing my fear head on and confronting the reason I’d left home three years ago. San Francisco was full of ghosts. Long-dead children trailed after sad and worn-looking women, and young mothers carrying newborn babes followed proper-looking gentlemen with new wives on an arm. Each restless soul clung to someone they’d loved in life, unwilling to let go. Others walked purposely through train cars and walls, following paths they’d walked before or stopping to cross streets that no longer existed.
Ever since I was a small child I’d caught glimpses of people my parents couldn’t see, or faces peering at me from corners in an otherwise empty room. More than once I’d run to my mother frightened and certain that some stranger had crept into our house. Each time she’d stopped whatever she was doing and taken my hand, walking me from room to room so I could see no one was there. She thought the ghosts I saw an overabundance of childhood fancy, something I’d outgrow in time.
My mother was seldom wrong, but growing up didn’t cure me of seeing spirits. After the earthquake and subsequent fire nine years ago, I began to see them everywhere. Some ghosts were translucent with no more substance than the fog, barely in the world of the living. I’d no way of knowing for certain, but I thought them the oldest or with the fewest ties to loved ones. Others were so close to solid looking I might have thought them made of warm flesh if not for the old style of their clothes and ability to walk through objects.
Going to New York was an attempt to escape spirits and find respite, however brief. That respite lasted almost two and a half years. Long enough to think I might have a normal life.
I dropped my monogrammed satchel on a bench and gathered courage to search the faces on the platform for Sadie. My shadow stood before me, appearing so alive I expected to see her breathe. Thinking of her as a shadow made me feel less insane. I’d never wanted to believe in ghosts, not really. After six months of being haunted by one, I clung to every scrap of sanity I could.
She watched patiently and waited to follow as soon as I moved away. Long dark hair was plaited and coiled neatly on the top of her head, exposing delicate ears and a pale neck. Slender fingers clutched a thin shawl closed over her old-fashioned white cotton blouse. A gold cross glittered at her throat, tiny and easily missed. Dark-b

“Moyer creates a hauntingly real San Francisco, full of characters you can't wait to get to know better. Delias Shadow is an engaging debut novel, one that cost me a good night's sleep.”
—Jim C. Hines, author of Libriomancer

“Like fog creeping in from the Bay, this ghostly, romantic tale of San Francisco past made the outside world disappear and sent shivery tendrils into my soul. A gorgeous and haunting book.”
—Rae Carson, author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns

“Haunting and sweet, Delias Shadow pulls off the rare feat of combining a thrilling ghost story with a gentle romance.”
—S. C. Butler, author of Reiffens Choice

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