Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Tour & #Giveaway for the Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm by Sybrina Durant


Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm by Sybrina Durant.  Please leave a comment or question for Sybrina to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck! 

The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm
by Sybrina Durant
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy



Everybody loves unicorns! OK maybe they don't but for those who do, they will love this story about a little unicorn who was born into a tribe of magical, metal horned unicorns. The little guy has no magic and he has no metal but somehow he must save the tribe from an evil sorcerer. Read the book to find out if he can do it.


“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad?

Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors.

Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed.

Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.

This chapter book is a collector's dream containing page after page of lavish artwork. It contains nearly 100 pages of story text by Sybrina Durant and the same number of pages of magnificent water-color illustrations by Dasguptarts. This book, written by Sybrina Durant and illustrated by Dasguptarts, offers readers a visual feast of over forty beautiful water-color pictures that each span two pages. Forty-two - easy to digest two-page chapters are chock full of adventurous and entertaining morsels. This illustrated book will become a favorite of teen and older fantasy readers.  A companion coloring/ character description book is also available at any online bookstore.




Hi!


I'm Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you'll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today.

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I'm so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books.

Enjoy!

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Amazon * Goodreads



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!



Spotlight for The Beast of Aros Castle by Heather McCollum


August is Romance Awareness Month and what better way to celebrate than to put some of our favorite romances from different genres on sale! Whether you are already a romance lover or new to romance reading you are sure to find something to fall in love with.


If you haven't fallen for a Highlander yet, you don't wan to miss this steal! 


The Beast of Aros Castle by Heather McCollum is on sale for just 99¢.  PLUS, as an added bonus you can also pick up the latest book in the series, The Wolf of Kismul Castle is also on sale for 99.



Readers are raving about The Beast of Aros Castle...


“There is SO much to love about this book!... It's passionate and steamy and I loved every passage and word. Tor is a magnificent lover and with Ava, they literally set the pages on fire.” – Kilts and Swords

“I was glued to the pages of this fascinating dramatic romance. Ms. McCollum did not disappoint me with her vivid descriptions, her captivating characters and the storyline was intriguing and masterfully written.” – April, My Book Addiction and More

“One of those books that keep me reading till all hours of the night (morning!) because I couldn't put it down… Tor and Ava's romance is so beautifully written.” – Linda, Goodreads.com review



About the book:

Ava Sutton is on the run from a dangerous man and makes her way safely to Scotland. Masquerading as a titled, English lady, she must convince the darkly handsome chief of the Macleans of Aros to wed her before she is tracked down.

Tor Maclean, the new chief of Aros Castle, has sworn off marriage. Despite his efforts to scare away the Englishwoman his father arranged for him to wed, Tor is nonetheless drawn to her passion and beauty. But he doesn't know if he can forgive the untruths that have come to light for a chance at a once in a lifetime love...


Buy it for just 99¢!


Find it online: 


Other books in the series:



About the author:

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor's dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum's heart and imagination every time she visits. The country's history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

Book Tour & #Giveaway for Alexandria Rising by Mark Wallace Maguire


Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for Alexandria Rising by Mark Wallace Maguire.  Please leave a comment or question for Mark to let him know you stopped by.  You may enter his tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!

Alexandria Rising
by Mark Wallace Maguire
Alexandria Rising Chronicles, Book 1
Speckled Leaf Press
Genre: Action-Adventure, Conspiracy, Suspense




Rand O'Neal, an ambition-less newspaper reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries chased by unknown pursuers into a world he never could have imagined. The novel has been reviewed as, "Superb," "Amazing" and "Extremely well written" and has drawn comparisons to Dan Brown, Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum. The book is labelled an action adventure, but contains elements of science fiction, suspense and mystery.  It is also linked to a multi-media website which allows readers to engage with the experience in video, images and interactive appendices. .




PROLOGUE
London
1603


The city stank.

It always stank in summer when the scents of the clogged drains, rotten food and sweating bodies combined for a noxious fog that hovered over its hills. Even the Thames stank, its shores lined with flotsam from forgotten ships, animal carcasses and mounds of refuse washed on the rising tides and left for the foragers from the sky and the beggars from the cracked cobbled streets.

But he ignored the stench. Stood at his windows opened defiantly, inhaled deeply, begging for a breeze to cool his beaten brow. Even a simple draft to flutter the tattered drapes would be welcome. Anything to soothe his fevered head, to alleviate the sweat bullets lining his chest, rivulets streaming down his arms, his legs.

He brushed a piece of lank hair from his forehead, sat down to his pockmarked desk, took another sip of watered-down wine and pressed the quill to the piece of parchment. His hand shaking, he pushed the words from his mind, half-muttering to himself as the black ink stained the yellow paper.

“The sight is dismal;
And our affairs from England come too late:
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,”

He took another deep breath, dipped the quill in the inkpot again. Started to write. Had to take a break. So hot. Leaned back his chair. A breeze? My soul for a breeze, he thought. Beneath his opened shirt, attached to a leather band, a sliver of translucent stone lay on his chest. It shifted colors in the half-light of the candle. Sometimes azure. Other times silver. A passing hue of cobalt. He clenched it. Inhaled again. Opened his eyes and grabbed the quill. Attacked the parchment.

“Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune.”

He leaned back again. Closed his eyes. Focused. Listened. Heard the sounds of the streets below. The usual calls of the pedestrians, the hawkers, the laughter of children, the occasional neigh of a horse or the bellow of a cow being led to slaughter. He heard clattering in the streets, the distinct sound of wagon wheels grinding on cobblestones, a sharp rapport.

He knew that they had come. Come for him. He was late. Again. But, there was so much perfection to do. So much to finish. So much yet to rewrite. But, his time was up. And he needed the money. The squeak of a carriage door, he could even hear the footfalls, knew it was him. The benefactor. Then the words shouted above the din of the crowd.


“William!”


He ignored it. Clutched the stone in one fist. Gulped down the last of the drink with the other. And began writing again, the thoughts racing now, he had to force himself to slow down, lest the writing be unreadable. The shout again from the streets.


“William! Where is it? I need it now. I am coming up and Martin is coming with me. I know you’re there. They told me you were at home at The Fox and The Hound. I see your window is open. Unlock your door.”

He knew he could no longer wait. It was time. He wrote quickly. Dipped the quill in the inkwell for a final push and then finished the last few lines.

“The soldiers’ music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.”

Heavy thud of big boots on the worn wooden stairs. A knock at the door. He scribbled a title on the first page. Blew on the ink. Rolled up the parchment, wrapped a ribbon around it. Took the chain from around his neck. Lifted the lid of a wooden box on his desk. Dropped it in. Cinched up his shirt. Lumbered to the door. Opened it.

“Is it ready?”

“Of course, I was just taking a nap.”

The man snatched the roll from his hands. Slid off the ribbon, opened it up. Read the first few lines.

“A nap….Mmmmmm,” a low groan, then, “Interesting opening. I like ghosts. Audiences love ghosts. A good start.”

“Here,” the playwright said. “Flip to Act III, yes, there a few lines down.”

The man did so, patiently, eyes intent.

Then reading. The lines of angst giving way to surprise, then relief. A smile.

“Late as usual old friend, but it looks good. By Jove, I do love these lines here in this act. My God. Very powerful. The very sense of the universe itself isn’t it? The only thing I don’t like so far is the title. Usually you’re very succinct on these, but it looks like this was an afterthought, ‘Hamlet.’ It could be a play about a small village and that wouldn’t draw the crowds would it?”

The playwright ran a hand through his hair. His mind still reeling.

“How about, ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark’? Yes, a bit more detail. Will that work?”

The man looked at him. Peered deep into his eyes. The playwright answered his own question.

“Yes. That’s it. ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark.’ By William Shakespeare.”

The man shook his head, let forth a small chuckle.

“It is a bit wordy, like I have a mouthful of stones, but it will work. And I am sure once people see it, they’ll remember it. I don’t see how you do it and keep doing it. You may be late, but you’re good son. You are good. Time may forget you, but I won’t.”

“Time forgets us all, my friend, but for some it takes longer than others.”







Alexandria Reborn
Alexandria Rising Chronicles, Book 2




He can't go home. He's dead in the real world. Everything has changed. Forever. In, 'Alexandria Reborn,' the anticipated sequel to 'Alexandria Rising' Rand O'Neal rises from the ashes to join an elite team in an effort to shift the power struggle set in motion by control of the alchemistic Slendoc Meridian. As this fast paced adventure continues, Rand will discover the answer to many of this questions, but will he lost Hope in the process?




As a preacher’s son, Mark Wallace Maguire spent his childhood crisscrossing the South soaking in the lilting dialects, oral traditions and cultural idiosyncransies. After a brief career in music, he settled behind the desk as a reporter at the Marietta Daily Journal and has spent the last 20 years as fixture in the metro Atlanta media scene.  He currently serves as director of Cobb Life magazine and Cobb Business Journal. His writing has been published in many regional and national publications including Snake Nation Review, Reach of Song, Cobb Life magazine, Neighbor Newspapers and The Blood and Fire Review. He has been honored for his writing by several organizations including The Associated Press, The Society of Professional Journalists and The Georgia Poetry Society. In 2005, he was named the Berry College Outstanding Young Alumni of The Year. In 2017, he was nominated for Georgia Author of The Year for his first novel, “Alexandria Rising” which was described as “magical” and “phenomenal.” “Letters from Red Clay Country: Selected Columns” was published in 2015 and features the best of his award-winning newspaper and magazine columns.  When he’s not writing, Maguire produces musical projects inspired by his favorite authors and books as well as painting, gardening and making Star Wars puns with his sons.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Youtube * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!



Friday, August 18, 2017

Blog Tour & #Giveaway for Ten Days with the Highlander by Hayson Manning

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour, presented by Author’s Pal, for Ten Days with the Highlander by Hayson Manning.  Please leave a comment or question for Hayson to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  Good Luck!


Ten Days with the Highlander
By Hayson Manning
Love Abroad, Book 1

Publisher: LoveStruck (Entangled Publishing)
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Length: 182 Pages
ISBN: 978-1973904748
ASIN: B0746MWLJY


Purchase links:  Amazon  B&N  iTunes
Kobo 



About the book:

Go-getter Georgia Paxton has ten days to acquire a quaint hotel in the Scottish Highlands for her travel accommodation company before she’s off on her next grand adventure. Too bad the sexy, broody Scot who owns the place is dead against the idea…and that she’s in very real danger of losing their little bet to see who can convince whom first.


There’s no way Callum MacGregor is going to let the gorgeous American turn his tiny hometown over to bored tourists looking to satisfy their Outlander fantasies. He only has ten days to convince her to slow down and see the magic of the town and its people. If he succeeds, he won’t have to run her out of the county. But if he fails, Georgia might run off with his heart.



EXCERPT


Georgia sniffed the air.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” she muttered, straining her neck to get a peek.

“Wait your turn.”

He’d purposely asked Ainsley to serve Georgia last, building the anticipation. Frustration was written in a scowl on Georgia’s beautiful face, and she huffed out a big breath. Finally, Ainsley slipped the dessert plate in front of Georgia.

“My spotted dick, with custard.”

Large green eyes flew to his.

Shit. Callum caught the innuendo immediately and rubbed his hand across his jaw. “Christ, that sounds like a porno.”

Georgia’s shoulders were shaking. “That line belongs in a public health warning pamphlet.” She picked up her spoon, and tucked into the individual pudding.

She leaned forward so only he could hear. “Your dick is fantastic.” She scooped another mouthful. “Zesty and tangy, with hints of cherry.”

The actual topic of conversation stirred in his jeans. He was glad Leonard hadn’t caught that line. The man would pop a vein.

She chewed slowly, never looking away.

Oh, she was good. Excellent even.

The tension between them was sucking the oxygen from his brain and his body.

“Custard’s good, too. Just the way I like it…smooth and creamy,” she murmured.

He lifted his finger, caught a tiny blob of custard on the corner of her mouth, and licked his finger.

He’d swear in a courtroom that her eyes darkened, her pupils widened, and she shifted ever so slightly on her stool.

She ate spoonsful of pudding, taking her time, appearing to savor each mouthful, drawing her teeth and lips across the spoon. Callum was transfixed. Watching her eat turned him inside out. His gut was twisted into a tight knot. Every now and then she’d glance at him and glance away, the tiniest of smiles on her lips.

Christ.

Finally, she finished.

“Best I’ve had.”

I don’t think so.

“Excuse me while I powder my nose.” She slid off the stool and, without a backward glance, walked to the back of the pub.

“You two should get a room.” Ainsley picked up Georgia’s plate. “Actually, you should just walk into her room, or her into yours tonight, and see what everyone else here knows.”

“What?” He knew the answer.

“You’re attracted to her in a way I’ve never seen you drawn to a woman before. You two fit.” Ainsley laid her hand on his arm. “You should do something about it.”

He gave her a pointed look, then glanced down the bar to find Hamish’s gaze locked on Ainsley.

She shook her head. “We’re not talking about me. We’re talking about you and Georgia. I like her, a lot. You have to do something about it. Don’t let the best thing that’s walked into your life get away.”

He blew out a breath. “Yeah.” 



Author Bio:

I love Princess Bride, Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives – the drama is deliciously addictive. Big Bang Theory but will take Wolowitz over Cooper. Star Trek not Star Wars. Undercover Boss, Secret Millionaire – any story that shows the little guy making it. I follow the Buffalo Bills like a religion. I am spellbound by showjumping and equestrian eventing. I love curling up and reading all books – no genre is off-topic. I like ironing, I hate peas, love donkeys, I play a killer game of Scrabble. I will often be heading towards the fridge for another Diet Coke. I eat nothing with legs and believe wine goes with everything, oh and I’m an expert at finding new and inventive ways to avoid exercise.

I live in the sparkly beachside suburb of Redondo Beach in California with my infuriating shoe-dropping husband and my two boys who speak in mystifying grunts.

Connect:



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Book Tour & #Giveaway for How To Marry A Marquess by Stacy Reid

Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by IndieSage PR, for How To Marry A Marquess by Stacy Reid.  Please leave a comment or question for Stacy to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  Good Luck! 


How to Marry a Marquess
by Stacy Reid
Wedding by Scandal #3
Publication Date: August 14, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Scandalous, Historical, Romance, Standalone

BUY:  Amazon | Paperback | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

About the book:

Lady Evie Chesterfield is a darling of the ton who refuses to become engaged. She’s been desperately in love with her brother’s friend, Richard Maitland, Marquess of Westfall, since forever. But the dark, dangerous marquess only sees her as a friend and refuses to marry any woman. When circumstances change and Evie has no choice but to take a husband, she decides to convince London’s most notorious gentleman to marry her by seducing the scoundrel.

Richard Maitland decided long ago that he wanted nothing to do with love. So when the gorgeous, off-limits Evie asks him for lessons in seduction, Richard knows he’s playing with fire. Despite Richard’s determination to protect her from his dastardly reputation, he is tested at every turn by his need for the infuriating, but enticing, Lady Evie. Before too long he is faced with making an impossible choice…

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EXCERPT


“I need lessons in seduction.”

“Bloody hell. If you must work to ensnare your gentleman’s regard, he is a bloody fool,” Richard said gruffly. “You are beautiful, Evie. Clever, witty, and kind. He should be damn well fortunate you would consider him.” He scrubbed a hand over his face. “Who is this idiot?”

You, my darling. “I would rather not say.”

“Why in damnation not?”

“I already know you are going to investigate Ponsby, as you did all the other suitors who have approached me over the years. I would…prefer you not to do so with my secret gentleman.”

“And if I gave you my word?”

“I will still be directed by my desires and withhold his name from you.”

“And what makes you think I have any notion of what in God’s name you must do to attract this buffoon?”

Evie couldn’t help laughing. “Rumors says you’ve had various lovers—actresses, famed courtesans, ladies belonging to high society and ladies of questionable morals. Surely you have some idea of how they caught you so thoroughly?”

“Perhaps it was I who caught them,” he said with some amusement and with such arrogant superiority she wanted to slap him.

She settled with an inelegant shrug. “Unquestionably it was mutual.”

“And what do I get from this?”

“You get to make a dear friend the happiest of women.”

After a pulse of silence, he responded, “And that is all the incentive I need.”

A wide smile split her face, and he sucked in a harsh breath. Evie pushed out her hand for him to shake. He held her palm lightly. “Then we have a bargain. You will teach me how to kiss properly, in secret of course, how to flirt, and you will attend balls and dance with me so that he can be dreadfully jealous.”

Richard shook her hand. “I may be present at a few balls, I may dance with you, I may give you meaningful insight on how to attract this unmitigated idiot, but there will certainly be no kisses.”

It was something, Evie conceded grudgingly, but just not quite what she needed. “And why no kisses?”

The air tightened with an unexpected tension, and the pulse jumped in her throat.

“That would be too dangerous.”

“You have kissed me before.”

A powerful heat flared in the depth of his gaze. “That has no bearing on how we must go forward now. And those kisses were chaste.”
“Chaste? You’ve intrigued me, Richard, I quite thought at the time they were illicit and daring. Are you suggesting there is more?”

He narrowed his gaze in warning.

She pursed her lips. “You would prefer I seek someone else’s tuition for lessons on how to kiss properly?”

“Good Christ, I implied nothing of the sort.”

“Without lessons in the art of delicate seduction, I am certain I am to muck it up. The very idea is intolerable.”

“Evie…”

He swallowed, at an apparent loss of word as she moved to sit beside him. She quite liked ruffling the feathers of a man of the world like Richard. Acting on pure feminine instinct, she lifted the veil from her face and lightly kissed the firm side of his jaw. Her heart pounded an exhilarating yet terrifying tempo. When he didn’t shift from her tentative exploration, her anxiety lessened, and her curiosity increased. How far could she tempt him?


Other Books in the Series: 



ABOUT STACY REID

I am an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. I especially love romance and adore writing about people falling in love. I live a lot in the worlds I create and I actively speak to my characters (out loud). I have a warrior way “never give up on my dream.” When I am not writing, I spend a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese Anime and playing video games with my love. I also have a horrible weakness for Ice cream.



Book Tour & #Giveaway for Rebel Queen by David Temrick


Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for Rebel Queen by David Temrick.  Please leave a comment or question for David to let him know you stopped by.  You may enter his tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck! 

Rebel Queen
by David Temrick
Dragonkin Chronicles Book 1
Publisher: Amesdian Press
Genre: Fantasy




Cassandra has a problem, and it's only the first of many. Being raised as the youngest child in a family of great heroes would be a challenge for anyone. 

Until a few days ago, Cassandra was content with her role as a child of greatness. She was studious, spent most of her waking hours with her mother and other heads of state and at her father’s insistence, learned how to duel. As her siblings had before her, Cassandra knew she would likely be matched with a partner for political reasons and had long since accepted her role in the world.

That was, of course, before her mother died, and before her...transformation. Overnight, her soft pale skin sprouted gorgeous golden dragon scales.

Presented with a future she no longer recognizes, as the first of her kind, she must overcome a whole new set of challenges if she hopes to survive the unknown threat that comes from across the Careless Sea.

The Sakwa dragonkin are a dying race, fueled by a tribal system that failed them centuries ago but yet unable to adapt to a new way of life. In a desperate bid to keep the people focused on outside conflict, Jenya of the Toho has declared war on Cassandra's country. An ocean may separate the two cultures, but the Sakwa see the Seven Kingdoms as their opportunity for a new start; a new start they will willingly kill and die for.





Chapter 1

Assessment

It always seemed like the castle burst to life after hibernating for months and then after a few weeks of activity, everyone sat around moodily waiting for the rains to subside.

Draconis wrapped his enormous wings closer to his body as the storm’s ferocity intensified. At this elevation, the elder dragon need only spread his wings to be launched off of this mountaintop. The last of the spring storms were blowing with their usual bluster and Midsummer was fast approaching. All of the ice and snow had melted away, leaving large, lush patches of grass and wildflowers around him.

Soon the summer heat would be in full effect, which would have made Mina happy as her gardens would begin to blossom and grow. In the three years since her passing, her daughter Cassandra had taken up her mother’s gardening duties. The central courtyard had been converted into a large fruit and vegetable garden with flower beds scattered all over the palace grounds.

Dragon Hold was high up in the southeastern mountains of Vallius where the weather was clement year round, however the spring rains wouldn’t stop until well into summer. There were precious few weeks, as winter released its grasp and spring began to assert itself, when farmers and gardeners could get their seeds planted in time for the nourishing rain.

When the Dragon Host had first arrived in Amesdia, they had taken to tampering with the weather. Their goal had been to turn each country into a reflection of the dragons that chose to live there. This was ideal for the Draconic race; however it was an anathema to everyone else.

So, centuries ago, the Dragon Council had decided that nature had to be allowed to run its course. As a result, the dragon host focused on using their arts to take the pressure off of the magma chambers far below the surface of Terum in an attempt to make the area, and indeed the entire continent, more habitable.

Terum, as a result, had developed into a vibrant and productive farming country. Her people were robust, quick to laugh and opened their hearts and arms to the others when they were in need.

Oceana had once been a swampy mess of overgrown marshlands mixed with large swaths of cooled lava. With the intervention of the dragon host, most of the country was now above the water table. They were able to sow crops as well; the produce they grew had become the envy of the Seven Kingdoms. All of this had transpired before Tristan’s birth and yet Draconis remembered the details as sharply today as he did the flavor of the mountain goat he’d inhaled just this morning.

The winds began to die down and the rain stopped and the clouds began to break up as Draconis continued to be lost in thought. What troubled him today, and what had been troubling him for a fortnight, was Cassandra’s sudden transformation.

Sudden might not be the right word, but it seemed to be the only one that could capture the scope of the shock and awe his great-granddaughter caused when she walked into a room. Her eyes had possessed a violet tint since the night her mother had died, but two weeks ago after a rather brutal thunderstorm had destroyed the southern watch tower, she had come down from her room covered in golden dragon scales from head to toe.

He and two of his closest friends, Socolis the elder white dragon and Lesariu the elder gold, had spent days debating and examining Cassie’s transformation. At the time of her birth, both Mina and Tristan appeared to be two normal middle aged adults, despite being in their nineties. Their youngest child had grandchildren of his own and it was thought that their child bearing years had long since passed them by.

Yet, as Mina’s stomach expanded with her appetite, it had become clear that despite her age, Lesariu’s granddaughter was again with child. After Cassie had been born, 

Mina had begun to age alarmingly though. In the first five years, Mina looked every bit her age. By the time Cassie was ten, Mina’s hair had gone completely white and she was very nearly skin and bone.

Cassie was the spitting image of her mother in her youth and on more than one occasion Tristan had expressed concern that the curse the Gods had inflicted on him must surely have passed to his daughter. How he could be so dismissive about the gateway and so concerned about his daughter inheriting a curse he’d accepted always seemed to amuse Socolis, but he found humor in the strangest things.

Regardless, something had clearly happened to Mina, either during the pregnancy or afterwards. It was unclear as to what that had been, so their concerns had shifted to her daughter. It was undeniable that Cassie had intelligence and ability that far exceeded her age. At eleven, she could hold her own in debates with the adult ambassadors who frequently visited Dragon Hold.

What did cause no end of concern for Draconis though, were the possible ramifications of her appearance. The Orcs had been created by the mating of a dragon and an elf. Would Cassie remain Cassie, or would she somehow lose her mind as the orc hordes had lost theirs on their former home world of Fangoria?

The sun began to break through the clouds and Draconis was able to see more than a few feet in front of his face.

Looking north, he could see the distant lights of major cities, small towns that peppered the main roads and to the west; the Great Wall of Tarious. The wall towers were lit, as always. It was part of the early warning system set in place by Tristan decades ago. If under attack, the towers would dump pitch into their braziers which would create great plumes of thick green smoke to alert the Kingdom of invasion.

Eighty-Two years had passed since the mystical breach between Fangoria and Amesdia had been sealed and yet not a day passed that Draconis didn’t look in its direction. Tristan dismissed his grandfather’s concerns. Despite the doorway between worlds being breached on two occasions in as many millennia, he believed them to be wholly unrelated. Draconis didn’t believe in coincidence, every opening of the doorway solidified the pathway.

It had been a like number of years since any of the citizens of the Great Expanse had been seen remotely close to the wall. On occasion a trader would sail into one of the many Kingdom ports to trade goods, but rarely did they come armed beyond what would be expected of a merchant vessel.

Now, though, the new King of the Seven Kingdoms had publicly announced his plans to conquer and settle the Great Expanse once and for all. Andrew, Tristan’s great-grandson, was bold and determined to say the very least. Despite small skirmishes, the last eighty years had seen the longest period of peace in the history of Amesdia.

The King was now proposing to send a conquering force to pacify the region for colonization. The Expanse was largely infested with Orcs, mercenaries, and wild-men, but he was still proposing genocide. It was possible that the mercenaries and wild-men could be brought into the Kingdom as annexed citizens, however, in his experience, Orcs couldn’t be reasoned with.

Perhaps Draconis was getting sentimental in his old age, but he’d seen his fill of death long before the Dragon Host had ever arrived on Amesdia. Their former home world had been overrun by half-breeds turned to madness bent on the wholesale slaughter of the Draconic race. When they’d arrived in Amesdia, they’d sued for peace with the local warlords who would eventually carve out the Seven Kingdoms.

Nearly a thousand years ago, the humans had begun to tire of ceaselessly killing one another and banded together under the Vallious line of Kings. Each country was an entity unto itself, however, they all swore fealty to the King of Kings, who was now Andrew. New to the throne and possibly keen to prove himself the leader his grandfather (Tristan and Mina’s first son, Jonathan) had been.

While most regarded Draconis as the King of Dragons, he thought of himself as his own father had; their caretaker. He had made it clear to his kin that this war was not the responsibility of the Dragon Host to support.

Still, younglings being younglings, many were keen to support the descendent of Tristan and he had made clear his stance on this war. He was lending his full support to any action that would end the Orc threat to Amesdia.

Draconis didn’t blame his grandson for his anger and fear. Of all of the mortals of this world, Tristan understood more than any other the threat that Orcs presented both to the Draconic and mortal races. Tristan had spent the last eighty years building up relationships between humans, dwarves and elves. Conference upon conference had been held just below this mountain top, inside of Dragon Hold castle, between all four races to mend wounds.

Elves felt abandoned by Dragons, Dwarves felt betrayed by both, Humans were suspicious of anyone who didn’t look like them. The entire process had been long, more than a little contentious, and at times tedious in the extreme. Still, after years of talk, reconciliation and then education, at least in the Dragon Hold, all four races had an equal voice.

Ambassadors from all four major races were on hand and formed part of the Dragon Hold council along with Tristan and Draconis as the senior members. Over a decade ago, emissaries had been sent north to invite ambassadors from the giants, trolls, wild-men and others that populated the Great Expanse. Their efforts were rebuffed, which only served to strengthen the call to arms for northern invasion.

“Troubled?” A soft, familiar voice called as she landed behind him.

“Hmm?” Draconis replied.

“What’s on your mind, big brother?” Lesariu asked.

Draconis was forced to smile. He, Lesariu and Socolis had been crèche-mates as younglings and yet the two of them insisted on acting like he was older than they were.

“Cassandra. Tristan. This war, ” he began. “Take your pick.”

“Cassie,” she said with a wry grin.

He sighed and returned the smile.

“What if she loses her mind as the Orcs did?” He asked her.

“It’s been nearly three years since she first exhibited signs of a change. I’ve spent days with her, big brother, she’s fine,” Lesariu explained.

“She’s unique, and being unique is never easy,” Draconis observed as he looked out over the horizon.

“True, but she has her mothers’ fighting spirit,” Lesariu replied with a chuckle.

“That she does.” he agreed.

“Well, that’s settled,” she concluded.

Draconis scoffed in reply. He wasn’t entirely sure that it was settled. Cassandra would have a hard road ahead of her. Her life was already going to be challenging. Being a part of Tristan’s family was a lot to live up to and expectations were high from the general public. Tristan and Mina had never much cared which path in life their children chose; their primary concern had always been ensuring their happiness.
Cassandra’s parents had accomplished so much before their thirtieth Midsummer, and only Jonathan had managed to approach the level of their achievements. Added to the pressure of being a Vallious and sharing draconic heritage, Cassandra’s sudden change in appearance had completely set her apart from everyone. Even in Dragon Hold.

Thoughts of Dragon Hold immediately brought his grandson to mind.

“…and Tristan?” Lesariu prodded.

“He hasn’t been the same since Mina’s passing,” Draconis sighed as the heat of the sun broke up the spent rain clouds.

“None of us have, brother,” she observed.

It was true. Mina’s presence alone had made the castle into a home. Her loss had left a palpable absence in the halls. No one had expected the pregnancy and her alarming aging afterwards had driven that shock of her mortality home.

The distant boom of thunder signaled that another spring storm system was moving into the area.

“We’d better move inside, little sister,” Draconis sighed.

David has been writing for most of his life, though only began putting together full-length novels in 2008. His first two novels were distinctly fantasy, containing the usual fare of dragons, princes, swords and sorcery.

With "Daughter of Vengeance", he took leave of the more common tropes in fantasy and instead wrote a book predominantly from a female point of view. The story follows a young woman coming of age while apprenticed to a master assassin.

His strengths lie in compelling stories with a satisfying mix of action, dialogue and plot building. He doesn't believe in waxing philosophical to fill pages or fluff his word count, there will be not be entire paragraphs dedicated to the painfully long-winded description of a button. He also uses his extensive martial arts and marksmanship experience to create believable and easy to follow action.

Most genre fiction uses the genre to drive the plot, David believes that the genre should merely be used to supplement a great story. A mystery is just a mystery, but a Holmes mystery is infinitely more entertaining in his opinion. There are still inalienable requirements to any genre fiction and as a fan of the fantasy genre, he still loves to read and write within fantastical surroundings.





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