Tunnel #Writephoto

Azalus teetered on the bluff’s edge, warded sword wheeling for balance against the brilliant sky. The mountain beneath his feet offered no reprieve, a sheet of obsidian sleek as spilled oil.

Below him, the massive dragon shot up along the mirrored wall, its neck and talons extended. Slit reptilian eyes reflected the inferno erupting from its throat. The beast blasted through its own blaze, and its maw gaped, scorched shards of the last armsman wedged between rows of serrated teeth. In a heartbeat, chances of escape had dropped from doubtful to dismal.

Gaylen’s whip coiled around the vambrace shielding Azalus’s forearm, and he clasped it as his feet slipped into the heated air. His body slammed against the rock wall, and the dragon altered its flight to pick off the newly dangling prey.

“Dragon,” Azalus shouted to his fellow fugitive and pointed the tip of his sword at the ascending beast. Jade scales glimmered like sunlight on still water, and webbed wings beat with the snap of wind-caught sails. Beautiful and deadly.

Above him Gaylen hauled. “Reavers are closing.”

Suspended on the whip, Azalus kicked against the cliff’s sheer face. Gaylen heaved, and when Azalus reached the lip, he thrust his sword arm across the rock, fighting for leverage. Movement at the forest’s rim caught his eye. “Reavers. Behind you!”

Gaylen staggered. His face morphed into a fusion of disbelief and despair as his flesh yielded to their enemy’s iron bolts. The whip’s stock eased from his hand. Azalus slipped into the air.

The monstrous dragon’s throat yawned, jaw bones split, and fangs hyperextended. Azalus straightened, arms overhead, sword in a two-handed grip. The beast’s gullet stretched open, air drawn in for another explosion of fire. He speared between the teeth, slid over the forked tongue, and descended into darkness. The welling heat and sulfurous reek burned his lungs as he glided down the blackened throat. With a vengeful howl, he thrust the blade forward and carved as he fell. Steel sliced through flesh, thudded against bone, and blood gushed, dousing the rising flame.

Azalus’s careening descent ceased, or the dragon plummeted with him. He braced himself against the blood-slick wall, sword jammed deep between the vertebrae. The creature writhed and spasmed, and Azalus swallowed his gorge as they plunged toward the vale.

He woke with a gasp, disoriented, heart pounding. His body felt trampled, but nothing of his pain foreboded death. He gulped a breath and listened, willed his nerves to stillness. The dragon lay motionless, he lodged in its throat in a pool of congealed blood. Rising to a crouch, he yanked his sword free of the flesh, and with fingers tracing the throat’s charred wall, he staggered down the tunnel toward the light.

**

Thanks to Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo for another fun #writephoto prompt. Check out her site and join in the weekly fun.

Sunday Blog Share: Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore

A special blog share this Sunday. If you’re a blogger or writer, Sally Cronin is a woman to know – a talented author, tireless blogger, and generous supporter of indie authors. Her blog is Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life.

Sally is running several Christmas Promotions for us this year. Here’s a brief description (with more info at the bottom of this post):

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore has over 100 authors along with buying links, covers, and website or blog link. Note: if you have a new book that hasn’t been promoted in the last year, let her know so that she can do a full promotional post.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Christmas Update  starts in late November. Sally will be featuring a number of authors at a time with one of their books and the latest review sourced from Amazon.

Smorgasbord Christmas Reading is a straightforward promotion of your book, open to all authors.

Bloggers Around the Christmas Tree is an opportunity for bloggers to showcase their talents and bring new readers to their blogs. Send Sally your links to posts about any aspect of this huge celebration around the world.

I had the great privilege of showing up on Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore Christmas Update.

On to Sally’s Post:

My thanks to those of you in the bookstore who have let me know your updates and news. I will feature your updates as they come in and also work my way through the bookstore finding new reviews and sharing them.  Contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com if your book in the store has a great new review we can showcase.

The first update is from D.Wallace Peach who has brand new covers for her Dragon Soul Quartet having moved to self-publishing.

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You can buy the complete series at a special price of £7.28 but here is Book 1 in the series.

About Myths of the Mirror

In the distant mountains of the Mirror, exiled skyriders fly dragons in the old Way, merged in flesh, blood, and bone. Twenty years past, they fought for the freedom of the valley’s dragons … and lost.

Imprisoned in the stone lair, the captive dragons beat their webbed wings and thrash serpentine tails. They tear their flesh and batter their bodies against the black bars of their cells, iron grating against iron. The once peaceful creatures howl…

(Continue reading: Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore Christmas Update) But before you go…

Be sure to click on Sally’s menu item: Christmas 2016 Smorgasbord Promotions Blogs, Books, Gifts, Short Stories for a full description of her promotions and what she needs from you to include your books or stories.

And

The Sorcerer’s Garden is FREE today.

Happy Holidays!

Water Moon

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In my fantasy world, the winter rains blend the sea and sky into billowing hues of blue and gray. They paint the islands with a steady brush of storms, drum cold fingers on diamond panes, and drip through the draped boughs of evergreen. The last mottled colors of autumn skitter away with the wind.

Villagers venture down puddled lanes, hooded cloaks clutched against the sheeting rain. In the gray twilit mists, roadside bramble twists black, brittle and forlorn, and the smoke of wood fires scents the air with memories of home. Inside, a warm hearth awaits them, a welcoming blaze of vermillion in the deepening dusk of the year.

The full Water Moon shows her face in tonight’s night sky. This will be a supermoon, larger than usual because it’s orbit is closer to Earth. If you have a clear sky, I hope you catch a glimpse of her magic.

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Excerpt from Eye of Fire, Dragon Soul Quartet

Her skirt in her fists, Meriel rushed up the stairs to the gallery that stretched across the cliff’s face in the Compassionates’ Hall, connecting the public and private quarters. Long ago craftsmen had carved the gallery into the ivory rock and framed thirteen stained glass windows with a view of the sea, one for each moon. The windows weren’t only exquisite in themselves, the glass perfectly cut in a myriad of colors, but when sunlight shone through them, the gallery’s back wall came alive, mottled in soft hues, subtly edged and blending like pebbles under water. The sun promised to peek from behind the cloud cover, and she wanted to see it.

When she opened the door, the display dazzled her as it filled the air. Stepping into the color, her body became both a palette for the sun’s brush and a silhouetted shadow on the rock wall. She glided along the corridor, stopping at each window, noting the moon, the change of seasons in the hues, wondering at the artist whose work so sincerely and boldly reflected the complexity of creation.

“I never get tired of it,” Caron said.

As she turned, Meriel sought out his form in the liquid color. Her focus returned to the windows, and she continued down the gallery.

The tall man fell into step with her. “I especially like it during winter moons when the skies are brushed with gray.”

“Do you have time to talk?” Meriel touched his arm.

“I thought I already was.” He smiled.

“Yes, you were.” She let her hand drop. “Caron, I want to ask you about the dragons. Can we sit?” They moved to a stone bench bordering the rock wall.

“I don’t know very much about them, Meriel. In fact, you probably know more than I.”

“I told Gallard I would ask if anyone in the islands knows their nature, if anyone cares about what’s happening to them.”

The sun winked out behind scudding clouds, and the color vanished from the gallery, its windows still beautiful but flat and static. He rested his back on the wall and closed his eyes. With his hair newly shorn and beard tightly trimmed, the angles of his face lent him an appearance of weariness. “It seems I should know more than I do—a natural concern for the Compassionates, understanding and preventing cruelty. Why do I always feel I’m plodding uphill?”

Meriel knew the sensation. “I’m not blaming you for anything, Caron. I’m only asking questions.”

“The dragons live above us in the hills of Eydis. They abound in Anghard and fly deep in the mountains of Halle. Other than in Yula, we rarely see them, and that’s a good thing—for the dragons.”

***

This is my last moon post. A year of 13 full moons began last December, all marking time in the Dragon Soul series. Thank you for reading along and celebrating nature’s timekeeper with me. ❤

Dragons on the Loose

Dragons are on the loose!

My journey from traditional publishing to indie publishing is complete with the release of my last 4 books, a quartet set in a land of dragons and skyriders, mountain meadows and outland seas. The Moons mark the passage of the seasons in the books and here on my blog.

The Blurb-ish

In the distant mountains of the Mirror, exiled skyriders fly dragons in the old Way, merged in flesh, blood, and bone. Twenty years past, they fought for the freedom of the valley’s dragons … and lost.

Thus begins the epic adventure that stretches from the quaint village of Taran Leigh and the mountains of the Mirror to the Anghard Archipelago in the western sea. Welcome to a world where wealth and power rule, fear is the weapon of choice, and cruelty is the cost of a pocket of gold. It’s a world that forces a choice — indifference, complicity, or defiance.

The dragons of land and sea, souls of grace and beauty, hang in the balance. Will they descend into howling violence, lost to the terror and pain inflicted upon them by their tormentors? Or will they fly free, the creatures they were born to be? With each book, the stakes rise and far more than the dragon soul lies at risk.

“The chest rose above his head, long neck curving, aquamarine eyes fracturing the sunlight. This dragon’s scale gleamed blue and gray, sea-shaded with crescents of curling white waves. The webbed wings shone seafoam blue with ribbons of coral and the mottled green of seaweed. Kearney smiled. If the sea glimmered like this dragon, he’d have become a sailor.” – Mor Kearney, Clan Lord of Loughran.

Myths of the Mirror (Book 1):

Imprisoned in the stone lair, the captive dragons beat webbed wings and thrash serpentine tails. They tear their flesh and batter their bodies against the black bars of their cells, iron grating against iron. The once peaceful creatures howl, tormented by spine and spur, their fury matched only by their despair.

Treasa, the daughter of exiles, seeks the secrets of a hidden past and a father she never knew. Gifted with visions, she glimpses pieces of years long lost and a veiled future that only raises more questions. The dragons visit her dreams, laden with contradictions that tear at her heart — for one day she sails in unfettered flight, her arms thrown wide, and the next she writhes in tortured darkness, desperate to be free.

The lair’s black-garbed riders sense the dragons’ growing savagery. Yet Conall longs to grasp their power, to subdue them and soar, and he will endure the reek, filth, and terror of the lair to earn his right to fly. With a heart encased in steel, he masters the weapons of compliance to see his will done. At the cost of the woman he loves.

Then, a curved talon rends flesh and dragon scale, rattling against white ribs. Blood falls like rain and the world shifts. Treasa and Conall must decide who they are and what they stand for. Thus, the battle for the dragon soul begins again. Alliances form, old myths are revealed, and new myths are born.

Thanks again, my friends, for helping with the covers! 

Now, back to writing… 🙂

I Need a Little Help with Book Covers

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I need your help with book covers.

My lovely book designer (for reasons beyond her control) had to back out of doing covers for my book series. My publishing deadline is August 20, which in book-time translates to pressure. I need to submit to Createspace on Thursday 🙂 Yikes!

So, I spent the weekend pulling together some covers until my brain turned to mush and I lost all perspective. You are all so sweet and supportive, but I need honest feedback. Your candid opinions are not only welcome but invaluable! And don’t worry, I have armadillo skin.

Here they are:

Thanks!

Cover Myths - Final

Myths of the Mirror (Book 1)

 

Cover Fire - Final

Eye of Fire (Book 2)

 

Cover Blind - Final

Eye of Blind (Book 3)

 

Cover Sun - Final

Eye of Sun (Book 4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Another Note: I completely forgot to include in my Interview of Steven Baird the link to his blog. So, here it is: Ordinary Handsome. Definitely worth checking out (After you help me with my covers! Ha ha! 🙂 )

What it feels like to ride a Dragon

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pixabay compilation

The meadow sings with crickets and dragons, swarms of bees and seeds on white wings. You wade into the blue-eyed grass, a waterless sea of larkspur, speedwell and mountain everlasting. Breathe the fragrance of a windless day when the energies of earth, water, and sky crackle in the air.

In the cloudless currents, dragons dip and roll with the grace of swallows. Silken wings billow, dyed by a blushing sky, light as windswept sails. The waning sun glints on scales of emerald and seafoam, coral and moonstone.

You know what to do.

Present to your perceptions, shutter your eyes and breathe until the rhythm of your heart entrances. The dark and stale corners empty, willing you to release the mind and be one, indistinguishable from the world. You call the dragons down.

A breath of wind whispers across your lashes. Risk a glance. The aimless whirl of wings transforms into a weaving dance of muscle, sinew, heart and soul.  Dragons ride the sky in undulating waves, a vortex swirling down to the mountain’s flowered sea.

Be still, a pillar of stone as the great dragons descend. A flurry of wings paints the air in hues of topaz, amethyst, and green tourmaline. Crescent scales shimmer like watercolor moons.

Wary, you exhale, mindful of those that huff and hum around you, sharing the air as if you’ve vanished into the breathing, living landscape. A dappled dragon rears before you. Wings of abalone sweep the sky. You do not falter, but surrender and approach.

Fingertips glide over the webbing’s hollow bones and brush pearly scales, bestirred by the softness. The long neck curves and cloud-gray eyes peer into you, a soul freed of fear. The dragon lowers a wing, the long-awaited invitation.

You open like a whisper, and in that pause between your heartbeats, at the precise point when the inhale becomes the exhale, the dragon slides  beneath your skin. Light streams into your heart. Particles of life that once comprised your body merge in tender intimacy with the world, and your essence radiates beyond your flesh, blood, and bones. You are luminous, sunlight and stardust, one with the dragon’s soul.

Stepping softly, you rise over the sleek back. Wings unfold beneath you, flowing and flaring outward as the last rays of day span the wilderness. They drum the petaled sea, and as one, you ascend, chasing the sun that rolls over the horizon. You lift your face and raise your arms for you too have wings and song and soar.

The dragon spirals higher, neck craned, eyes glistening in the golden glow of twilight. Wings fanned back, you fly faster, picking up speed, letting the world pull you around, faster, the wind singing in your ears. You sweep past forests of jagged giants, crest the snow-cowled peaks, and soar over the thorny rose that rims the craggy shore. Your heart surges as you sail over the wind-worn sea, embracing the utter boundlessness of flight, the freedom of the wing, the spinning of the world hurling you forward and slinging you into myth.

That’s what it feels like to ride a dragon.

Adapted from Myths of the Mirror – Re-release in August

The Big Story #writephoto

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Another of Sue Vincent’s irresistible photo prompts from the Daily Echo. Thanks, Sue!

The Big Story

Rebecca inhaled and checked her teeth in the rearview mirror. Old Grumpy Pants was retiring from the Valley Voice, and that meant someone else’s butt would inherit his coveted chair. She needed one big story, a fabulous story, and she’d be renovating her sunny house on the beach and saying sayonara to her second job.

That story awaited her behind those looming stone walls and an iron-bound door large enough to accommodate a troll. The renowned fantasy author and recluse, Montague Ferry, hadn’t given a single interview since…ever, and she was determined to set the literary world on fire.

His books were sensations, translated into 45 languages and soaring to number one the instant they hit the e-street. She’d never liked fantasy, but she’d read one of Ferry’s novels and ended up gobbling all twelve down in one gluttonous binge. They were tastier than chocolate, and like every other person on the planet, she was addicted!

Ferry’s tales were intensely realistic. His worlds rose from the pages as if they were places he’d visited—with histories and languages, cultures and architectures, religions and politics. The characters were lovable, detestable, conflicted, and redeemable, portrayed with brilliant emotional authenticity as if he’d sat in a corner with his laptop and witnessed their actual lives unfolding. Epic trials escalated with each book, and the cast of characters expanded, unique faces flung unwittingly into the story and forced to uncover their strengths and talents, meet the challenges, or die trying.

Rebecca grabbed her recorder, exited her car, brushed her skirt, and marched up to the door. She reached for the knocker and something about it prickled the hair on her arms. Her hand stopped, suspended in mid-air, inches from touching the iron ring. The odd sensation wasn’t fright, but it wasn’t comforting either. Closer to an adrenaline rush before something momentous or life-changing. She puffed her cheeks and blew out a breath. “It’s only an interview. Relax.”

She knocked. The door opened. A diminutive Montague Ferry looked up at her through a pair of round granny glasses. His nose was shaped like a potato, and his hair looked as though he’d been recently electrocuted. “Here for the next big story?” he asked.

“Uh, yes.” She blinked. “I’m Rebecca from the Valley Voice.”

He wrinkled his brow. “You realize the commitment you’re making. This could take a while, and it doesn’t always end well.”

“I’m willing to give it a go,” she said with a smile, the encounter strange but far smoother than she’d anticipated. Ferry’s reception wasn’t jubilant, but he hadn’t slammed the old door in her face. She tried to peer around him into the home and couldn’t see a thing in the dim light. “I’ve been planning this for days, Mr. Ferry, and I promise not to waste your time.”

“You don’t look like the fantasy type.” He tapped a knobby finger on his chin.

I’ve read all your books. Emeris, the dragon tamer, is my favorite character.”

“Emeris, huh?” He sized her up. “Your timing isn’t bad, but you’ll have some competition for that one. He’s popular.”

“Pardon?” She laughed, the man so quirky. “Well, why don’t we go in and get started.”

“You’re certain?”

“Absolutely.”

Montague pursed his lips, nodded, and stepped aside. Rebecca grinned and walked through the ancient door that closed behind her.

The cavern’s torchlit walls domed over her, and the air reeked of smoke. The dragon swung its head, nostrils flaring, serpentine scales rippling over long sinuous muscle. She froze as its tail slithered across the stone floor at her feet in a shimmering stream of gold. Horns spiraled from a reptilian head and spikes laced the ridged back between its taloned wings. The beast inhaled, chest swelling, jaws gaping. She screamed.

A chain whipped around the dragon’s neck, wrenching its head aside as a gout of flames meant for her spewed against the blackened wall. “This way!” Emeris shouted.

In utter panic, Rebecca spun for the ancient door and hit nothing but stone; the door vanished.

Montague Ferry sat against the wall typing furiously on his laptop. “You’ll get the hang of it,” he assured her. “This will my biggest story yet. Now, run over to Emeris before you’re broiled alive.”