Just a ‘little’ teaser

This is an excerpt from the recently written new chapters of The Stone Dragon Saga Book 4: Dragons in the Deep. In this section we are dealing with a problem of significant proportions…Anna’s new and unwanted (yet BEAUTIFUL) butterfly like wings. This section sets us up for at least two interesting adjustments (alterations really) in the story, and one amazing, astonishing, REALLY BIG secret to be revealed…

“Fascinating…” Z circled the box, staring through lime green edged, thick goggles. “Some type of phosphorescent maybe? There are some types of se life that grow in deep waters even though light doesn’t reach to their depths. Maybe…”

Her mumbling railed off as she continued to round the glowing box, clipboard and 3 pens gripped tightly as notes and measurements were swiftly and meticulously taken.

Seizing the opportunity found in Zoey and company’s excellent distraction, Jane grabbed King Ferdinand’s arm and dragged him out into the empty walkway.

“We have a problem!”

“I know,” Ferdinand interrupted distractedly, “There’s no way Jemas and Bernard are in that little box. So what’s in there? They have an orange tinged glow, according to the information we’ve gathered, so what is THIS?! Could it be a trap?”

“Ferdinand!” Jane’s sharp reprimand brought the Fairy King’s attention back to focus. “That is NOT our biggest problem right now!”

“Anna still won’t come out huh?” Ferdinand patted her arm in the typical, ‘oh poor child thinks she has a big problem’ manner that adults seem to naturally inherit as they grow older (and he had had a LOT of years to practice!)

“Nope,” Jane smiled sarcastically, “But that’s probably because she HAS WINGS!”

“Huh,” Ferdinand held up a finger and dazedly shuffled back into Zoey’ research cabin. “Sorry to interrupt everyone, but Joseph is needed for a conference with our bosses. Thank you.”

“Our boss—umph!” Ferdinand yanked Jo out of the cabin and down the walkway, one hand under the artist’s elbow as they marched past Jane and led the way until their small group had made it back to the relative ‘safety’ of their own ship; Joseph grumbling and questioning the entire way.

“Now Janie,” Ferdinand spoke very slowly, enunciating every word. “Tell us again.”

“AGAIN?” Joseph sputtered, “You never told me the first time! What…”

“Hush.”

“Ok,” Joseph quieted sullenly and sat down, finally taking the hint.

:Now then Jane,” Ferdinand raised perfectly arched eyebrows at the girl. “You may proceed.”

“Ok, woo,’ Jane took a deep breath and released it quickly, “Franme’s light show gave Anna big beautiful butterfly wings.”

“Oh,” Joseph rubbed at his ears. “You may have to tell me again, there’s a sudden buzzing in my brain.”

“I know the feeling,” Jane agreed sadly, “And I have no clue how to fix it.”

“Excuse me,” Flynn’s voice cut through the fog of magical tension like a whip, startling and scaring all involved.

“Flynn,” Joseph stumbled over his words as he tried (and failed) to stand quickly, “What, uh, what can we do for ya today Captain?”

“WE just came to make sure everything was ok,” Garron answered slowly, ducking out from behind his twin. “When we saw you racing across the decks, we got a mite bit worried.”

“We’re fine,” Jane tried to lie, Ferdinand and Jo nodding like bobble heads beside her.

“Ok then,” Flynn smiled calmly, “So tell us about Anna’s wings.”

“Oh.”

A beautiful set of wings any half-fairy lady could be agitated by!

Anchors Away

I love the symbolism of an anchor and that love has only grown over the past year and a half as I researched and began writing my 4th Stone Dragon Saga novel (Dragons in the Deep). As I continue to not only research marine symbols, but also art, quotes, and whatever else I can get my little hands on, I keep coming across tattoos.

I love tattoos when done “correctly” (to my mind at least). What I mean by that is that I believe that tattoos are supremely personal and need to have a longevity that will probably not peter out when you hit a certain age. I have two such tats and one that I keep finding (on Pinterest of course) that holds a certain level of meaning is that of the anchor and quote ‘I refuse to sink’. We’ve all been through something(s) that make us think “I’ll never go there again!” or “I’ll never be that low again!” or “I will never go back there again!” and to me ‘I refuse to sink’ is a great reminder that you didn’t sink then and you won’t sink now. You are stronger than all of that, don’t go back!

I have a little addition though, if I’m to ever get this ink (honestly, as much as I would love to, I probably won’t ever get it but…). I think it should look a little something like this:

I REFUSE to Sink;

even DRAGONS can fall into the Deep

I suppose that, for now at least, I should probably just focus on actually WRITING the books and worry about designs later…although this might also make a great canvas to hang up in the Loft, or part of the back cover…hmm. Now where did I put that illustrator at?

Short Story Sunday

“Anna?” Jane knocked on her friend’s cabin door again. “What’s wrong Anna? You have to come out sometime! OR at least answer your phone!”

“NO! I—I can’t!” Anna stubbornly responded, slamming books around for good measure.

“Why not?”

“Remember Franme’s parting shot?” Anna sighed defeatedly, knowing that Jane would never stop hounding her.

“You mean the light show that FREAK hit you with? Yeah, I remember,” Jane was so frustrated now that she punched her hand like a catcher getting ready for the pitch. Her best friend had gone to take a nap the day before and was now refusing to sen unlock the cabin door. This line of questioning was obviously getting them no where but at least it was a conversation. “Did it make your tummy hurt sweetie? You didn’t grow a tail or fur or anything, right?”

“Well, it definitely did more than we thought.”

SCRAPE! POP! CLICK! CREAK! Anna slowly unlocked and opened the door, preparing to face her nightmare. “I think I know what all that babbling about ‘True Forms’ meant now…”

Jane stood frozen, eyes wide with disbelief and mouth slightly agape. She had gotten exactly what she wanted, her best friend had finally opened the door…too bad it was to show off a brand new pair of glistening, shimmering, butterfly wings!

“I can’t come out Janie,” Anna whispered, “We’re on a ship in the middle of the ocean. There is no where else to hide.” And with a soft click and tumbler, the door was once again in Jane’s baffled face.

Thrilling Thursday

Ok, so the title might be a little bit of an exaggeration. I am thrilled because I have an interview this afternoon and have been busy getting myself and my Monkey ready to go all morning (it’s an hour’s drive from home). However, the not so thrilling part is that I don’t have much time to really dig in to a new post for the day. Soooo…I’m leaving you with another excerpt of my NaNoWriMo piece…which I used to win Camp NaNoWriMo yesterday afternoon. (My goal was 30k and I reached a little over 32K! Thrilling, right?)

Here is your final ‘April’ excerpt from Dragons in the Sea:

Chapter 33:

“So here’s something I don’t normally say to people,” Jane juggled the shipboard phone as she poured herself a glass of tea, “These symbols and etchings on the railings seem too organized and in line. They are as straight and true as they would be if a machine had carved the glyphs before the boat was built! I think there’s more to this than just superstitions. Whoever did this was intent on perfection.”

“Maybe it was just an obsessive pirate,” Brandon couldn’t hide the smirk in his voice as he smiled over the phone. “You aren’t the only super neat person around you know.”

“Oh stop mocking me,” Jane sighed in exasperation, “I’m serious! I’ve been staring at these pictures for hours now and while we have come up with a few suitable translations to add to Nickel’s work, the one thing that strikes me the most is how amazingly neat it all is. Especially for a ship that sank sometime in the mid-1500s. Over five hundred years underwater and the etchings are still crisp and sharp and clean, no algae, no coral, no seaweed, and no aquatic renters taking over the space. There isn’t even a hole anywhere that might lead us to believe that the ship SHOULD have sunk. There is something else at play here.”

“Maybe it’s the dragons,” Brandon pointed out. “Grandmother and the boys produced lightening and electronic malfunctions for years before you and Anna went to awaken them. Aliphonsore was rarely worn because he ‘creeped’ out his owners by feeling like he was ‘vibrating’ as soon as they put him on, everyone remembers their lives as a statue. Oh, and remember what the legend says about the statues? That’s probably at least part of the reason behind the glyphs in the first place.”

“What legend,” Jane asked softly. “Did someone find something that we don’t know about yet?”

“Oh,” Brandon paused to look in wide eyed helplessness at the retreating crew around him. “Polly” he mouthed desperately as she shook her head and disappeared into the kitchen with Chris.

“Polly?” Jane asked, motioning Anna to come listen to the conversation, “Did Polly find something?”

“hmm, Oh yes, Polly.” Brandon stumbled, “Yes she was doing some research on dragons mentioned in Spanish legends from the era, found out who the king would have been, followed bread crumbs..you know how it is.”

“Brandon!” Anna and Jane’s sharp reprisal made the older jump and scramble like a guilty school boy.

 

The Legend of the Castillian Dragons:

In the year 1277, during the civil war for his throne, King Alfonso X of Castile located a secret room in his home. In this secret room was a staircase, at the bottom of the staircase a tunnel. The tunnel wound deep underground, the air cool and musty as secrets. The cool air and winding tunnel took him to a large, well-fortified, and long forgotten vault carrying the secret symbol of a monarch.

Recognizing that symbol as his grandfather’s emblem, Alfonso excitedly pulled an old and rusty key from deep in his robes. The worn and discolored rope that dangled from the key was warm against the king’s palm and seemed to tingle with an excitement to match his own as he wrestled the rusty skeleton key into the rustier lock. IT FIT! The tumblers moved with a quiet sigh, much more easily than he had anticipated. Suddenly a fear of the unknown began to creep up on him, the tingling from the doorknob intensifying to cause his entire body to shake.

What could possibly need to have been hidden in such a manner??

With a mighty groan from both the king and the door, the vault was revealed. Light emanated from the back corner of the room, something was glowing. That glow drew King Alfonso X through the doorway and, as if by magic, torches whooshed to life across the walls on either side of him. The two torches at the corners then each slowly moved down in an arc and touched the liquid that was waiting in the previously unseen troughs that lined the other walls of the room. Flames leapt up to reveal what had been kept hidden for so long; treasures from various histories crowded the tables and rugs, a throne with rusty streaks on the back rest leaned against a wardrobe filled to overflowing with tapestries that Alfonso could not remember having ever seen before. He didn’t spend much time on the wonders around him, however. The glowing statue in the far corner drew him in and left little room for other curiosities.

As he neared the corner Alfonso realized that this was not just a statue. No, this was masterpiece of massive interweaving parts. Two beings, two dragons, twined together as if attempting to protect one another from harm’s way. The orange tinged glow that had drawn the king near was coming from the more feminine of the statues, her features seeming to be blurred in a warm moist fog that was wrapping around the couple.

Entranced, Alfonso spent hours sitting in the old throne and staring at the statues as the mist and fog thickened and boiled across the floor toward him, only to disappear moments later and begin the journey all over again.

Alfonso would sneak away at every chance to visit this secret vault. Occasionally he would bring bits of plunder up to his wife and children, or as present to a political visitor, and pass them off as things he had stored from king’s who went before him.

Life, as is usual, continued on and Alfonso began to use the vault as an escape from pressures as his eldest son passed away and his new heir was left to fight for the legacy. During the Civil War that followed, Alfonso shared his secret with his favored son and the two devised plans and strategies while sitting in the cool of a hidden room. Their plans failed, however, and King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon passed away in the year 1284 leaving behind a soon-to-be-forgotten hidden vault, a key to pass down through his son’s line, and an heir that was not his chosen.

. “No mention of the vault or the stone dragons was seen or heard for over two hundred years.”

Then, Charles I became interested in a family heirloom that didn’t seem to be worth anything but was prized highly in his legacy. An old rusty skeleton key that had no door to open. 

Through his convoluted family tree, as all monarchy family trees are, Charles was passed down both the title of King of Castile and an old rusted key that’s known history was that it was said to have been handed down for hundreds of years. Eventually reaching a dead end as he researched the key’s heritage, Charles journeyed to the castle in Seville in search of answers.

Every door was tested, every room searched, and still no home for the key was found. After days of searching Charles became despondent, fearful that he would never learn the secrets the key held. Preparing to leave the castle and return to his usual home in Spain.

Dejectedly yanking his own clothing out of the wardrobe without waiting for his valet, Charles noticed an etching in the upper corner of the back wall. Tracing it gingerly, he realized that the panel moved! When slid open it revealed another panel, this time the room’s wall that was slightly ajar though spider web covered. Gingerly using his pocket square to wipe away the worst of it, Charles shoved open that panel as well. Quickly grabbing a candle and a spare from his room, the Holy Roman Emperor descended the revealed stairs and traveled the musty tunnel, several times almost turning back but prodding himself on with the thought of the key. The mystery had bugged him and he was KING not some frightened coward! King’s get answers.

At the end of the long and musty tunnel stood a door. Though forgotten and alone for centuries, the door had not wavered in its strength and the lock waited patiently for the next heir who would unite it with the key. Charles did just that.

With a mighty heave the door swung wide and, has had happened with his predecessors, when Charles walked into the vault torches and troughs lit to welcome him home. Ecstatic at his success and at the large piles of treasure awaiting him, Charles began to plunder the smaller goods, placing them into his pockets until the golden glow lured in to the corner of the dragons.

Dragons hold a major magic in all superstitious and legendary tales. They are the fire breathers, the knight eaters, and the treasure seekers. They are the wise, the warriors, and the wanted…and OH! Did King Charles the Wise WANT those wise warrior dragon! He yearned after them, he relished in the cool misty fog that slowly surrounded him in her glow. He wondered at the tinge of smoky scent that followed. He made his decision. Those would his plunder, the other treasures meant nothing if the dragon couple were not his. Charles had no way of knowing where they came from or how old they were, but he knew where they were going and that was enough for him.

Updates and Promotion

I did manage to write somewhere around 5,000 words last week, leaving myself 10,000 to sclepp through in the final few days.

While I work on finishing up this first draft…or at least getting my minimum word count in (because I don’t think I’m anywhere near the end of the book yet!) why don’t you relax and go back to the beginning with my first book Dragon on My Neck, which will be free for e-reader download Sunday, April 27th thru Tuesday April 30th.

I want to thank everyone for their support and understanding during Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I have gotten a lot of work done, though not necessarily in the area I was looking to work in! Here is an excerpt from last week’s work,

 

Chapter 30:

“See, I can control my own diet,”” Jonsturney announced snottily, the almost constant joked about his food intake finally taking their toll on his usually happy personality. “Mm, Mm, Mm, Saladation.”

“Saladation?” Polly repeated, looking up from her own lunch/study session and trying not to smirk at the still growing dragon teen.

“Yes, Salad-ation,” Jon confirmed with a sassy head wag at his friend. “You know, like validation but with lettuce. Yummy, water filled, healthy lettuce.”

“I’m very proud of you,” Polly smiled and offered up half of her dessert, “Would you like a little chocolate to celebrate your salad?”

“Yes…wait,” Jon pursed his dragon lips and allowed his eyelids to droop a little as he thought it out. “No, I want some fruit for dessert, but thank you.”

“Wow,” Polly tossed him a container of blueberries before returning to her pile of dust smeared and leather bound volumes. Absentmindedly eating her own slices of fruit between page flips, Polly was concentrating so hard on the fading words that she didn’t realize Jon was looking over her shoulder until ten minutes later, when he spoke again.

“What ya doin?” The mostly forgotten fruit soared in all directions as the mercifully paper plate hit the floor.

“DO NOT DO THAT TO ME!” Polly carefully pronounced each word as she rushed to wipe juice from the book she had been reading.

“Sorry, I was just asking,” Jon shrugged his shoulders and started to lumber back to his pillow couch.

“I’m sorry Jon,” Polly, who clearly remembered the first time she had ever seen the large dragon, dressed in a bright sweater and pretending to be a lizard, had a soft spot for Jon and quickly went to rub the third spike from the front of his head (his favorite spot). “I was just doing some research into old Spanish beliefs, myths, and legends. I thought I might be able to find something on your family…and I may have.”

“Really??” Jon leapt up, hit his head on the ceiling fan, knocked Polly over, and broke a glass shelf. “Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t get so excited in here.” He looked around sheepishly, “But maybe I should find a broom my size.”

 

“I have one ordered for you,” Sir Brandon assured as he walked in the door and surveyed the mess Jon had just made. “Now then, what’s all this ruckus about? We heard you out on the tennis courts.”

“Salad,” Polly kept a straight face as a piece of blueberry soaked lettuce dropped from the fan and onto Sir Brandon’s white shirt.

“Salad,” Brandon sighed, “Why do I have the feeling that there’s more to it?”

“Because Polly is an exceptionally poor fibber?” Broyli guessed, stepping around more of the scattered fruit and snatching up a book from the pile. “Looks to me as if she’s taking some of her time off to do a little research.” He waved the stained and cracked spine toward the girl, “So the real question here is what did you find?”

“I found something that might explain why a king would remove valuable and mythic statuary from his castle, send said statuary overseas on a pirate ship covered in mystical ancient runes, and never mention it in anything ever again.” Polly smiled at the bemused expressions on her friends’ faces. “However, I’m not completely sure yet if that is the case. I could have just found some old recipe for tartar sauce.”

“Tartar sauce??!?!”

“Ok, so probably not tartar sauce,” Polly laughed, “Right now all I know for sure is that the story involves a rather large stone statue that I’m pretty sure will turn out to be of a familiar dragon family’s parents. Jon interrupted me before I could get much further than that.”

Aside

Note Cards and Outlines

I have a very simple and complex way of writing. Simple because I sit down with pen and paper and just write. I write what is flowing through my mind, it streams down the nerves and muscles into my hand, where the words drain into ink form and splatter across the page. Nothing convoluted about the process. However, the complex part begins soon after.

Many of the other writers I know, including those who teach the subject, tout the almost sublime attributes of a good outline. Most use a distinct outline format of flow charts, bulleted lists, painstakingly drawn out maps of characters and places, and the occasional snap shot. I don’t do that. If I begin an outline, I invariably forget the part about ‘outlining’ and begin the actual story. I sometimes make it as far as a second bullet on the list before sentences start spurting out, but not often.

No, the complexity of my work begins somewhere in the middle of a first draft. My characters are in the midst of a big action sequence (or a long, drawn out flight) and I suddenly can’t remember who stayed in England to begin with; and that is where the notecards come in. I have stacks upon stacks of notecards for each book. Cast of Characters in a conveniently numbered and color coded pile, followed by important places, car/house/business/ship names, pet names, and every once in a while, a quote so that I don’t forget to put it in.

Line after line scrawled on 3×5 squares in varying shades of bright ink with little numbers circled in the upper right hand corners so I don’t get them out of order. TWO note card holders busting at the seams in an attempt to contain them all, and I still forget a name from time to time. I suppose even notecards do not make my brain perfect (although I am close to it…if I do say so myself!).

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My actual notecards for the newest Stone Dragon Saga book. Begun around midnight last night…I don’t think they’ll fit in the green holder.

Do you have any certain ways of keeping yourself organized? I would love to hear how you do it!

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

“I feel like we’ve already been in the air for hours,” Anna complained, fretfully searching through her bags for something to occupy her mind.

 

“I know what you mean,” Jane pointed to an already sleeping Joseph as their small Oklahoma town faded below them, “We’ve only been in the air for ten minutes and he’s already snoring. How does he do that??”

 

“You should be used to this flight by now!” Al shook his head at his roommates, “Honestly, you’ve both done this a few times now, and you know how long it takes! Now, what movie should we watch this time? I vote for something scary.”

 

“You know you actually want to watch Clueless,” Jane joked, “Why don’t you put in a super hero movie?”

 

(That suggestion started an argument on which super hero was the best, which lasted for hours and led to a movie marathon that would carry over into their time at the estate, but that discussion is best left for a time when all involved have a day or two to wile away.)

In longer than they would have liked, but much sooner than they had anticipated and fretted over, the artist’s plane taxied to a stop on their British runway, its inhabitants falling over each other in the rush to deplane and hug Nicholas and Polly, who had come to pick up the group. All except Joseph, that is, who had to be pounced awake by the ever growing, and ever sneaky, Alexiann (who had almost doubled in size since her awakening two years before.).

With the help of the airport crew, all fairies who had defected from Passiona and been hired by Sir Brandon for just such a sensitive occasion, the baggage was quickly unloaded, maneuvered, and reloaded into the Whimsical Art van.

 

Giving a friendly wave to last retreating fairies, Anna slid the van door closed and clicked her seatbelt into place. “Wow! I knew that Uncle Brandon had said that a lot of Passiona’s ‘outer ranks’ had defected, but I had no idea there actually so many. When he said a lot, for some reason I thought there might be ten, at the most. There were what, thirty fairies in that airport?”

 

“Yeah,” Polly smiled into the rearview mirror at her friends, “Most of them are like Broyli; fairies who were born and raised here with no real connection to the queen. When they saw how quickly things got bad, they just packed up and left. A lot of them were already going to colleges or working out in our world anyway, so they found it easy to just keep melting into the background.”

 

“How did they wind up here then?” Jane asked, leaning forward between the two front seats in an attempt to sate her curiosity that much more quickly.

 

“We had heard that there was a ‘fairy rebel’ group going on at some local colleges,” Nicholas supplied, “So Broyli sent a few feelers and once word got around that Sir Livingstone was in need of stand-up fairy folk to run operations for him, the applications started to pour in. The house, the new airport, and the art studio all have fairies staffing them now.  I didn’t even know that there were that many fairies in this world, let alone in this PART of the world!”

 

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Time Out!

Time Out!

Ever wonder what those media time outs are good for?? Well here it is, the answer you didn’t know you were looking for…WRITING!! That’s right, I went to a basketball game last night (Ride Rangers Ride!) and used most of the time outs to scribble down the next chapter of ‘Dragons in the Deep’.
It was a close game and we lost by a three pointer…but it fun and inspirational.

May you all have a Blessed Day!