The Child’s Moon

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Pixabay image by Mysticartdesign

In my fantasy tales, the Child’s Moon ushers in a warm world. The land reawakens and whirls into bloom, spattering its treasure of color with an untamed brush. Promises of summer ripeness push through the soil, and markets open on the cobbled squares with honeyed milk and leafy hope. Those who survived the hungry moons molt their winter skins and bare their faces to the sun.

It’s a moon of roses, of bare feet, of rooting for wild strawberries, and newborn lambs bleating on unsteady legs.  The Child’s Moon is the eternal reminder that all of life travels in cycles, that death and birth go hand in hand, that every winter finally rolls to an end.

The full face of the Child’s Moon rises tomorrow night on May 21.

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pixabay

Excerpt from the Child’s Moon, Eye of Sun, Dragon Soul Saga.

Branwen slipped to the bench. The grove spun, consciousness sliding from her skin. She fell from Yula’s white cliffs, terror overtaking her as she clung to her body, losing control. Let go, surrender, the world whispered in her ear, and she let go, unable to stop her fall, unable to sustain her struggle to know the unknowable, to understand the indecipherable mysteries of her life.

There in the garden, her body filled with light and broke apart, sifting into the colors and textures of the grove. She felt intact, her soul complete but without definition and form, merged into sap and soil, wind and water, fire and gold. The world abided, not virtuous or wicked, careful or neglectful. It bore no intent, no desire, no plan. A void, it reflected her infinite possibilities; the massive, unfolding power hers to do with as she willed. She heard the dragons’ calls above Eydis, Morgen’s echo inside her heart, Ena humming herself to sleep, Aedan whispering, soft lips against her cheek.

Alive with wonder, she gazed at her son, the light of him flowing through her and illuminating the grove. Her first love soared there with him, and she gathered him too in her heart, the soft drumbeat she’d lost to a winter gale. Darkness descended and yet the air flared, bright with flameless fire. The faces of love held her son and his father aloft, embraced them, their song filling her.

Little fire, starry light, guide me on my path tonight
On waves of dreams, as you sleep, ‘cross the seas, calm and deep
Farewell to troubles, lay them low, sing the seamaids, soft and slow
Little star, flame above, sail away the night, my love

Boundless and unfettered by fear, she expanded, flowing down the thousand steps like water to the sea, swaying across the waves. On the horizon where sea and sky merged, she beheld a wondrous world, smiled, and returned to find herself.

Flood Moon

pixabay tpsdave

pixabay tpsdave

In my fantasy world, the month of the Flood Moon slides into fullness as winter wanes. The snow begins to melt, gorging streams and unleashing ice floes in swollen rivers.  The cold isn’t over and the snow still falls between sheeting rains, but as the days grow longer, bulbs thrust their green fingers from the loam in a sunny corner.

If the sky is clear, the full Flood Moon will shine tonight.

en.wikimedia.org

en.wikimedia.org

Excerpt from Flood Moon, Eye of Blind

Gallard and Percy joined brothers Hywel and Malven at the Crow’s Nest tavern. The flaxen-haired pair from Glanmor had sailed with the Seabourne for four years with nothing to show for it except callouses. Coin dripped through their fingers like seawater. The two crewmen sat half in the cask already and Percy downed his first ale, intent on catching up. Gallard ordered a slab of beef, buttered potato mash and a stinky mushroom soup. He’d swig a tankard on the backside to wash it down.

“Woulda been here afore,” Percy complained, scratching his cow-licked head. “But Gallard makin’ me tramp up and down the hill like a grounder.”

“Lookin’ for Meriel still?” the older brother, Hywel, asked.

“She’s disappeared,” Gallard replied, unsure of his next step.

“She’ll find the Seabourne if she can,” Malven said. The brothers were hard to tell apart, except where Hywel boasted the start of a thick beard, Malven’s chin refused to grow a single pale whisker. “We’re here every week. Don’t seem like she’d miss us.”

“That’s what worries me.” Gallard’s food arrived, and he swatted away Percy’s finger that scooped at his potatoes.

“Shame puttin’ her in the locks.” Percy slugged down his ale and ordered more for the table. “Too old fer me but pretty elsewise.”

The brothers guffawed, slopping their ale, and Gallard frowned as the brew doused his supper.

Tears in his eyes, Hywel patted Percy’s shoulder. “She wouldn’t give you a wink, Perce, even if she were an old sea hag with green teeth. You’re no looker.”

“My teeth isn’t green.” Percy scowled. “They’re barely near yellow.”

Hywel and Malven bent over laughing, and Gallard pushed his supper away. “You need another drink, Percy. The teasing won’t hurt so bad.” He filled Percy’s tankard and poured one for himself. Percy swallowed it down and Gallard poured him another.

The Crow’s Nest filled as the day lengthened, crewmen and yardsmen finding seats on sturdy benches. Voices rose, ale spilled across the tables and floor, and there remained enough good-natured tolerance for stumbling drunkards to keep the peace. Gallard figured Percy was already sloshed beyond the borders of hope, and Hywel and Malven made sloppy drunks, reminiscing about the old days in Glanmor when they stole crabs from  traps and steamed them on the rocky shore. Gallard remained mildly sober, enough to get them back to the ship without drowning.

**

Today I head home to the rainy Northwest, timely with the start of the Flood Moon – Hawaii’s forecast predicts high seas and, well, flooding of beaches and low-lying roads. I’ll be winging over the Pacific for much of the day, losing time as my planetary destination spins away from me. I’ve been remiss in keeping up my blogging duties, but I’ll catch up quickly tomorrow. Enjoy the full moon tonight!

Burrower’s Moon

pixabay free image, skeeze

pixabay free image, skeeze

In my fantasy world, the full face of the Burrower’s Moon heralds the coldest days of winter. Fronds of ice feather the windows, and the snow crunches and squeaks. Fire licks the sooty stones of the hearth while candles burn low. We sleep in our socks and drink tea to warm our bones.

Here in Oregon, the Burrower’s Moon lights the sky just after midnight, during the wee hours of January 24th. We haven’t any snow, but in my books, the white is deep and cold.

pixabay free image, stocksnap

pixabay free image, stocksnap

Excerpt from The Burrower’s Moon, Eye of Blind

Lying beside Gallard, Starling felt the tenderness she’d carried all day. She thought of the Endellion and the finality of terror they faced while she lay sheltered in a landscape beautiful in its rawness, her World full of possibility. She was struck by the contrast, starkly rendered for all to see if they would only look. A contrast pitting life against death, connection against separation, compassion against brutality, vision against blindness, caring against indifference. She could go on and on and on as if the differences were so absolute there remained not a scrap of common ground for them to reach across. Yet that was illusion; there existed no air at all between hunter and hunted and the wilderness they inhabited. That alone felt so terribly heartbreaking.

credit background: pixabay free image by carolinda

Ice Moon

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The dawn of between-time rises gray and slick with ice. Sheets of rain turn to sleet, to snow and back to rain, the cold raw and penetrating. The first of the winter moons rims the shunting clouds in silver, the ice moon, when the world requires far less effort.

When I started writing fantasy, I found myself contemplating worlds without the modern convenience of electricity, worlds without light switches and clocks, furnaces and gas ranges. Logistics needed to be attended to, and I paid attention to the way the moon and stars lit the forest’s night sky, the way the cloud cover blocked or magnified light.

I began taking short lightless walks at night (despite the cougars and coyotes). There were nights when the woolen darkness was so thick I couldn’t see the ends of my fingertips and nights when the luminous moon cast long blue shadows. I began writing with greater attention to the seasons, the phases of the moon, the natural rhythms of the wilderness that were integral to my characters’ lives.

In the Dragon Soul Trilogy, the Ice Moon begins with the full moon’s appearance in the early winter sky. Here in Oregon, the Ice Moon bares her full face on Christmas.

My blog’s green summery background has been irking me a bit lately, so I thought for a year I would follow the moons through my fantasy world. Welcome to the Ice Moon. Happy solstice.

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Freeing the Dragons of the Lair

The cell’s iron door swung open, heavy and groaning on tired hinges. Adaryn paused in the broad aisle, blood racing, hands slick with sweat. The reek of foul hung thick in the heat, burning his nose. At the aisle’s end, chains clanked as the winch turned. Massive stable doors rumbled open, welcoming the remaining rays of day and hot breath of summer wind. The hooded dragon swung its tufted head toward the sunlight spearing the stale air. It pulled against battered shackles, swaying with the low thrum and hum of the song that echoed in Adaryn’s chest.

Across the aisle, Hedd and his grandson, Cadan, skyriders of the old Way, stood with eyes gazing inward, calling the dragon down in Belonging. They opened their souls, beckoning the creature into their blood, bones, and heart, their breath filling the dragon’s spaces.

This was Adaryn’s dragon; at least, in his mind it was. It towered over him, lustrous scales the emerald of dragonflies, onyx wings black as midnight. This dragon once brushed the sky with beauty and flew into myth, a copper ring clutched in its talons. A creature of the unfurling world, it arced with a swallow’s grace and hovered with falcons over wildflower meadows. As a rider of the lair, he had flown on this dragon’s back, harnessed its power, and mastered its will. And he would be the rider to finally set it free.

His opportunity arrived. Adaryn wiped the sweat from his forehead with a sleeve, and drawing a breath, released the tension gripping his chest. He took an irresistible, however unwise, risk and entered the cell.

Reaching up, he unclipped all but one of the braided tethers that strapped the hood to the dragon’s head, letting them slip to the stinking foul on the floor. Smooth scale shimmered before his eyes. Sinew flexed, muscle rippling with every sway, breath steaming above his head. The desire to touch it undeniable, his hand rose to the neck’s soft scale. Cautious fingers slid down to the base of the throat where a steel spine had carved its flesh, drawing blood and scarring, not so long ago.

At his touch, the dragon’s song silenced. Muscles tensed beneath his fingertips. Talons extended and curled, scraping the stone floor. Its long tail flicked, rattling the iron bars. The skyriders shifted, and Hedd’s eyes captured his in warning. Adaryn let his hand fall and knelt by the forelegs, unchaining one, then the other. Slowly and with care, he removed pins and slid the bolts free that held the manacles tightly bound.

His body pressed to the black bars, he sidled toward the rear of the cell. He yearned to slide his fingers along the webbed wing, touch the hollow bones, the sleekness of the skin that caught the air. Yet he resisted the impulse. With one rear leg unchained, he stepped carefully over the slender tail to release the second. He slipped back toward the cell’s door and there grasped the one loose tether left hanging from the dragon’s hood. As he stepped into the aisle, he pulled, and the hood fell free.

The dragon’s fiery eyes, splinters of gold, fell on the gaping doors as if the stream of light had harnessed all the sun’s brightness. Adaryn stumbled back against the bars, an arm raised to shield his face as the dragon reared. The giant body turned into the aisle, moving beyond the two skyriders who stood as still as the gray stone.

As the dragon spread its cramped wings, Adaryn felt his own heart swell, his body vibrating. Black webbing unfurled, filling the lair like a moonless night, stretching outward into the world with the dragon’s song. Thunderous wings drummed the air, fanning the heat as the creature rose from the stable floor, casting dust and dirt to the face of the man who embraced the freedom of its flight. The dragon soared through the gaping doors into the failing light.

***

Through a fluke of timing, this poor little trilogy entered the world the same week as The Sorcerer’s Garden and is feeling neglected.  It was time for a little tender loving care. Thanks for reading!

Available on Amazon: Eye of Fire, The Dragon Soul Trilogy, Book One

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The Dragon Soul Trilogy – All 3 at once because I hate to wait.

Dragon Soul Trilogy Covers

Three years in the making!

I haven’t blabbed about my books for awhile, but this summer is a busy one for me with four, yep FOUR, books hitting the press in the next 8 weeks. I can hear the promotion groans coming through the airwaves, but I promise brevity while containing my glee. And I will attempt to entertain as well!

How did that happen? Weird timing, which I won’t belabor or fret over. My life unfolds willy-nilly, and I tend to amble along in near oblivion. I learn almost entirely by making mistakes, picking up the scattered shards, and fitting them back together into something more agreeable.

Here’s part of the answer:

image from brainworldmagazine.com

image from brainworldmagazine.com

There’s little I delight in more than reading a completed fantasy series. I take mini-vacations from reality to immerse myself in a story – the more pages the better. I ruminate over characters like a god and lover. Without a modicum of dignity, I luxuriate in the sensory richness of strange lands and the details that bring them to life. I am the story embodied.

After this testimonial, you might guess that I have a tantrum when I finish a book, discover it’s a serial, hop onto Amazon, and learn that the rest of the story isn’t written! What? Are you kidding me? Rats! It’s probably my deteriorating brain cells, but by the time the next installment is released, I’ll have lost all the luscious details that make these mega-tales so intense and real for me. I’ll have forgotten the secondary characters’ names completely.

image from lydiakang.blogspot.com

image from lydiakang.blogspot.com

Talk about literary torture. George RR Martin stands guilty of this heinous crime, as does Patrick Rothfuss, and a few others who have sucked me in and left me like a jilted lover. After the last time, I swore NEVER AGAIN, and have denied myself the pleasure of several well-acclaimed series until the day the authors  roll out the last of their tomes. Yes, Mark Lawrence and Brandon Sanderson, I mean you!

Well, golly, I’m no hypocrite. When writing the sequel to Myths of the Mirror, I told the publisher I wanted all three books of the Dragon Soul Trilogy to make their debut on the same day. That meant holding up the first two for the last. It took a long time, and I’m happy to say…they’re on their way…together.

Do you read incomplete serials? How the heck do you remember what happened a year ago?