Oathbreakers’ Guild

“The time has arrived for your final trial.” Dalcoran sat across from her, every detail of his grooming, attire, and manner precise, his features ageless despite his infirmity. “It’s an act which binds you to the guild, solidifies your power, and acknowledges the great burden you will bear as an influencer. Your oath to the heiress is absolute; you are sworn to do her bidding even when it rails against your personal wishes. It is the responsibility of the guild to see you prepared.”

“I understand.” Catling set her teacup on the low table between them. Nothing he said thus far shocked her, and yet, a chill coiled up her spine.

“What we ask of you, we ask of all initiates. We only ask it once in training, though your oaths may dictate future sacrifices in practice.”

“You may tell me, Dalcoran-Elan.” Catling threaded her fingers in her lap.

“You are to kill an innocent.” He met her eyes. “Not someone dying, sick, or aged. You must steal the future of someone at the height of life. The heiress may require it of you, and your binding oath will demand your obedience.”

She stared at him, an all-consuming emotion burning in her chest. Not horror but fury. “The heiress would never order the random execution of an innocent without purpose—as an exercise. Dalcoran-Elan, I refuse.”

“You cannot refuse, Catling.”

“I can refuse because that is exactly what I am doing.”

He sat in rigid silence and sipped his tea while hers grew cold on the table.

“I’m an aspirant,” she said, “and it’s within your rights to coerce me into compliance. Yet, I suspect the whole point of this trial is to test my willingness to stalk and kill with complete self-control.”

“I shall report your decision to the heiress,” he said, ignoring her statement.

“You may do so.” She rose to her feet and brushed the creases from her jacket. “You may also tell her that I will act as her assassin if the need arises, but I will refuse to murder without purpose.”

The knowing smile on Dalcoran’s face made her feel as though she were a child refusing to grow up. “You will learn in time, Catling, if your fiery principles are forged of steel or glass.”

**

A snippet from Oathbreakers’ Guild – Book II of The Rose Shield
Live Today.

Book I   

PS. Tornado Boy is touching down for the weekend. I may be delayed in responding to comments, but I will catch up. ❤

Book Talk: Waterdragon-Watching

Many thanks to Kevin Cooper for inviting me to his site for Book Talk. Little did Kevin know I was going to take him Waterdragon-Watching with the Heiress. He ended up being braver than I.

Source: KC Books and Music 

I rush down the ramp to the dock girding Elan-Sia, a tier city drilled into the midst of the glimmering delta. The river and sea are brilliant with luminescence, a sheet of liquid light that draws my eyes.

Kevin’s been waiting for me to talk about my new book, Catling’s Bane, and I’m late. But I have an excellent reason. “Guess what?” I catch my breath as I join him. “Instead of Book Talk, we’re going waterdragon watching!”

“Waterdragon watching?” He props his hands on his hips.

“Can you believe it?” I’m giddy at the thought. “While browsing the first-tier markets, I happened to mention that the heiress is in my book. The next thing I know, she’s offered to take us sailing. I couldn’t very well deny her, could I?”

“Is that her?” Kevin gestures toward the city, and I swing around. Lelaine-Elan, the heiress to the Ellegean throne, approaches with her escort of guards. She appears younger than her seventeen years, petite and pink-cheeked with a fall of blond ringlets. Her jacket brushes her boots, and she’s wearing an azure underdress with a wide belt.

We face her and bow. “Our respects, Heiress.” I point a sideways thumb at my friend. “This is Kevin Cooper.”

“A pleasure.” Lelaine dips her chin. “Shall we depart?” She doesn’t wait for a reply, so we clomp down the royal pier behind her. I imagine we’re taking one of the large cutters or ferries, but she climbs down into a single-masted catboat. I give Kev a nervous smile, and when he shrugs, we clamber aboard. A guard hands down a heap of blankets.

“We won’t travel far beyond the breakwater,” Lelaine informs the guard, and when he retreats, she hauls up the sails. Kevin stows the blankets, and I stare at the alien sea. “Is there anything I can do, Heiress?”

“Tell me about your book.” She cleats the stays and sits by the tiller. “I’ll manage the boat, and Kevin shall scout for waterdragons. I’m in no hurry to return to my duties, so if we wish, we may wrap ourselves in wool for a nighttime view of the sea. It’s lovely, brighter than the moons.”

Kev grins at the idea while I’m rethinking our adventure. The boat’s dinky, and I forgot my Dramamine. Too late to back out, I hold on as the balmy wind catches the sail and the catboat glides from the pier…

(Continue Reading: Book Talk: Waterdragon-Watching)

Sunday Blog Share: The Evolution of Mom

The Evolution of Mom

By Bridget of The Happy Quitter

Perhaps I shouldn’t be the one posting this since I am not a mother, but then on the other hand maybe that’s precisely the reason why I should post it because I watched all my friends go through all the different stages. I am a witness, this all is true!

The Evolution of Mom

Parenthood changes with each baby. Here, some of the ways having a second and third child differ from having your first:

Your Clothes

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.

2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.

3rd baby: Your maternity clothes are your regular clothes.

The Baby’s Name

1st baby: You pore over baby-name books and practice pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favorites.

2nd baby: Someone has to name their kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right? It might as well be you.

3rd baby: You open a name book, close your eyes, and see where your finger falls. Bimaldo? Perfect!

Preparing for the Birth…

(Continue Reading: The Evolution of Mom)

Empty #Writephoto

Empty

Sable and bristle brushes
clattered into the waste
between crinkled tubes of paint
gone her linseed and turpentine
she surrendered her easel to anger
and snapped her palette
in oily hues of cerulean blue
ochre and umber.

With room to spare
she stuffed the black bag
with false smiles and laughter
a whore’s fawning
over gallery Johns in tuxes
of mars and titanium
she discarded
the remnants of hope.

She left the bag at the corner
for dawn’s trash man
in a twilight of cadmium yellow
and alizarin crimson
her bitter heart she held close
bleeding against her chest
and doused the muse with spirits
watched sitcoms like an automaton
in ultramarine blue
she dreamt she was drowning.

In the watercolor morning
she ran breathless to the corner
her life collected and recycled
she rifled through her junk drawer
for her child’s dried up colors
a frayed synthetic brush
and on a whitewashed canvas
she sketched out her emptiness
and painted her soul full.

**

Special thanks to Sue Vincent for the beautiful photo prompt. Consider joining in!

Sunday Blog Share: I Will Have Played My Part

I Will Have Played My Part

by Kevin Cooper

 

I was carried in a womb

Born in a place

Built upon a street

In a town

Of a shire

In my country

A kingdom

On an island

Broken away from a continent

Of this world

This solar system

Belonging to a galaxy…

 

(Continue Reading: I Will Have Played My Part)

The Rose Shield: Catling’s Bane goes Live!

Many of you have read the character introductions and heard me going on and on about getting this book ready. Well, that’s all in the past now as Catling’s Bane is live on Amazon!

Catling’s Bane is currently .99 cents 

Books 2-4 are available for preorder

Available in print too (here)

Many thanks to all those who read, commented, and encouraged me with your kind words over the past two years. Special thanks to my writer’s critique group and to an awesome bunch of beta readers who helped me with the final spit and polish.

The blurb

In the tiers of Ellegeance, the elite Influencers’ Guild holds the power to manipulate emotions. Love and fear, pain and pleasure, healing and death mark the extremes of their sway, but it’s the subtle blends that hook their victims’ hearts. They hide behind oaths of loyalty and rule the world.

A child born in the grim warrens beneath the city, Catling rues the rose birthmark encircling her eye. Yet, it grants her the ability to disrupt the influencers’ sway. Established methods of civil control disintegrate before her. She’s a weapon desired by those who reign and those who rebel.

To the Influencer’s Guild, she’s an aberration, a threat. They order her death and thus the betrayals begin. One woman protects and trains her, plotting to use her shield to further imperial goals. No longer a helpless child, Catling has other plans. As chaos shakes the foundations of order and rule, will she become the realm’s savior? Or its executioner? 

The Rose Shield Series – A blend of science fiction and fantasy.

Welcome to a world of three moons, a sentient landscape, rivers of light, and tier cities that rise from the swamps like otherworld flowers. A planet of waterdragons, where humans are the aliens living among three-fingered natives with spotted skin. Where a half-blood converses with the fog and the goddess plans her final reckoning.

Follow Catling’s journey as she grows from childhood into the deadly force that shapes the future. She is the realm’s shield, an influencer, assassin, healer, mother, and avenger. And all she wants is to go home.

The books of The Rose Shield Tetralogy
(Global Links)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You!

Pinky the Cat’s First Blog Post

This is me looking debonair. I’m a boy cat. I don’t know why they named me Pinky.

Pinky the Cat here.

E*en though I’m a cat, I’m a big fan of Danny the Dog who blogs down in Florida on Andrew’s boat.  If a dog can blog, why not a cat, right? Cat’s Rule! (I said that just because Danny thinks that dog’s rule.)

I’d almost gi*en up on blogging, and then this morning, I got my chance. This is my first post, and I need to type fast. My human, Diana, usually hogs the laptop, and I miss out on telling the world about my ad*entures. She’s not ha*ing a good day, so this is my chance.

Where is she? What happened to her? Well, that’s an interesting story.

As you might imagine, I am her greatest inspiration and most conscientious writing partner. While her muse is out gala*anting in the forest, I’m here sitting on her keyboard and practically telling her what to write. I also keep her warm.

Another thing I do is keep her healthy. If it wasn’t for me, she’d sit in her recliner all day without a break. I ha*e numerous strategies, all tried and true and 100% effecti*e. For one, I bite her when I want her to feed me. She doesn’t like that at all, but she feeds me anyway because she adores me and doesn’t want me to star*e while she finishes “one more chapter.”

Here, I’m helping with editing

Also, e*ery hour or so, I go outside through the cat door, run around the house, and scratch on the window screen until my claws get stuck. I do this rain or shine so she can play the hero and rescue me. It’s good for her self-esteem.

Finally, I shred anything made out of wood. Diana and I li*e in a log cabin so there’s a lot of wood to shred. She puts me outside and then I run around and scratch on the screen. Keeping humans healthy is hard work.

But back to my story about where she is.

When I’m keeping her warm, she can’t resist patting me. Who could? I’m soft and I purr. I know how to play to the audience. Naturally, my handsome pink hair gets all o*er her laptop. She wipes it off, but, occasionally, so much pink hair gets under the keys that some of them stop working. She gets out the *acuum cleaner hose and *acuums her laptop keys. Sometimes, that isn’t enough, so she pops off the keys, picks out the hair, and snaps the keys back on. That usually does it.

You might wonder why she goes to all this trouble, but I am irresistible. Enough said.

Well, yesterday, a particular key wasn’t working, so she pried it off. She cleaned out my hair and popped the key back on. I don’t think she paid enough attention because she didn’t click it back on all the way. This morning, she used the *acuum cleaner. And you can guess what happened. Yup, the *acuum sucked up the key! You should ha*e heard her curse.

So, right now, she has the kitchen floor co*ered in plastic and she’s dissecting the *acuum cleaner bag looking for her little black key. She’s making a bigger mess than I e*er make. I think it’s almost time for a new laptop.

Thanks for reading my first blog post. Uh oh, here she comes. Where’s that publish button? There it is!