Bent Horizons

Doing a Little Author Stuff…

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This past weekend, I went with Jen to represent Witching Hour Publishing and the intrepid Ink Slingers Guild at an art walk (thanks to Wordier Than Thou for putting this on!).

It was very nice to get out, meet some new people, and be around books and authors. As you can see, we had an impressive array of our own books on display and for sale:

5 Ink Slingers Annual Anthologies,  including the most recent – 2016’s Serenity Rising,

The Guardians (Gargoyles Den Book One) by Lisa Barry,

My Home on Whore Island by Dalia Lance,

Klauden’s Ring by J.M. Paquette,

The first three books in the Guardians of the Path fantasy series by Nicole DragonBeck (yours truly),

and Waitress: a Memoir by Angel Woolery.

It was a little chilly, but Jen had a handy-dandy blanket she lent me, and our own very personal delivery service brought us hot chocolate and cheese quesadillas (thanks Remi!). We even got a little plug in for Stories My Friends Started – one can never have too many of those!

All in all, it was quite fun! I hope to see you at some point out there in the great wide world – I’ll remember to bring my gold pen and sign a book for you!

❤ DragonBeck

 

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Shout out to the Ink Slingers Guild

I want to take moment to tell a story about how I met some of the greatest people I have ever known.

I’ve been writing for about 12 years now. I sat down and wrote my first novel, longhand, on anything from to notebook paper, to flyers, to scraps of paper I found lying around and typed it into the computer on Saturdays, when I was fourteen years old (it was called The Three Mountains and the last time I looked at it, it needed some serious editing).

I have learned as a writer, you get these three questions.

1. What do you do? (or as a young person What would you like to do when you grow up?)

Writer: I write.

2. Oh, what do you write?

Writer: Fantasy (or genre of choice here).

3. Are you published?

Writer: …

I was mortally terrified of question #3, or more accurately, of the answer, which was an unfortunate “no”. In fact, I was so terrified that when I was  a younger writer, I would never tell people that I wrote.

I had the idea that I would like to go places with my writing, but I had no plan for that. Until I received a fateful text from my brother, telling me to talk to a woman he worked with. I recently went and found the first email I sent to her, on March 28, 2011 at 9:18 PM:

“Hi Lisa,
My name is Nicole.
I got your email address from my brother, (insert name), who works with you. He told me about this inksligersguild that he overheard you – or someone else at the office, I forget exactly which – talking about.
I checked out the website that he gave me, and it sounds awesome. I am a fiction writer myself and am very interested in finding out more about it!
If you could email me back with the details of what it is all about and what I would need to do to be a part of it, that would be really great.
Thanks very much,
Nicole.”

Yes, I did refer to it as “this inkslingersguild”. Lisa still saw fit to invite me to attend a meeting, and so I went to my first ISG meeting on 13 April 2011. Thusly, I was introduced to, and  subsequently inducted into the Ink Slingers Guild.

The Ink Slingers Guild, as described on the website, “is a group of fiction writers that provide each other support, inspiration and the occasional kick in the arse.”

We are awesome.

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(And we have matching shirts).

We get together every two weeks to go over our accomplishments (or conquests, if you want the real, insider lingo), check up on each other, and and get that kick in the arse, if required. Even if someone can’t come to the meeting for some reason or another, we make sure they get the words of the writing exercises, and there’s always Skype:

ISGG

We support each other in our writerly endeavors, with feedback, beta-reading, proofreading, or providing emotional support when reading aloud in front of real, live people.

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(Like the time we went to read some Stories My Friends Started at Wordier Than Thou.)

Before the Ink Slingers, I had some talent, passion, and a secret dream. Now I have two novels published, multiple short stories in seven anthologies, and a group of awesome friends. I can honestly say joining the Ink Slingers Guild literally changed my life.

So here’s to Lisa,  Courtenay, Rhiannon, Alanna, Erika (and Dalia), Jen, and Desi:

I’d like to say you guys are magnificent, amazing, and wondrous, and I love you all!

❤ ❤ ❤ DragonBeck

DragonBeck – 2015, a review

(I love this picture; it is tied for first place in my favorite photos of the year 2015.)

When one gets to the close of a year, a certain reflection on the past year is due. This is a look at 2015 (mostly in pictures).

It had been a busy year, and I’ve learned a lot about writing, editing and publishing books. I’ve been working diligently on my writing goals, using my cover as an author to achieve total world domination. I began my own dragon hoard of dragonish stuff, including my towel for when I go hitchhiking across the galaxy, pens, jewelry, cups, and bookends. I believe in this way I will preclude forgetting my name. I started blogging, and broke 100 followers on twitter (I’m hoping I look back on that statement some months or years from now and am able to laugh at how cute and naive I was when I was a young writer).

The biggest accomplishment came earlier in the year, when I released my first novel First Magyc and had an awesome party to celebrate (with color-coordinated decoration!!):

Decorations
(This is other photo tied for first place in the Greatest-DragonBeck-photo-of-2015 contest.)

I started reading at local events hosted by Wordier Than Thou, and commiserating about the nervous butterflies which accompany same with Alanna Cormier helped get over the pre-show jitters in a marvelous fashion:

ISG

Naturally there were many awesome ISG meetings, and yet I don’t think there could ever be enough of that particular brand of awesomeness:

ISG bw 02

Along the way I penned a few Stories My Friends Started, which was a lot of fun.

There was the book fair:

bookfair

and my short story “Blood Oath” published in the Ink Slingers Guild’s fourth annual anthology Bent Horizons:

antho

All in all, 2015 was a fantastic year; thank you to everyone who was a part of it. I am really very glad you were there to share it with me.

May the coming year bring abundant love and laughter, and as many good memories, good friends, and triumphs as there are stars in the sky, and a few dragons as well (the good kind) 😉

❤ DragonBeck

Final ISG Meeting of 2015

(or in other words “Where did the year go?”)

Yes, it is true. Last Wednesday was the Final ISG Meeting of 2015.

ISGG

We did our usual: drank tea and had a lot of fun. In amongst a few soppy moments, we looked over our progress of this last year towards total world domination, such as four of our members releasing novels [First Magyc by yours truly, Klauden’s Ring by JM Paquette, My Home on Whore Island by Dalia Lance, and The Guardians by Lisa Barry (no connection to my story 😉 )], and the release of  the fourth annual ISG anthology, Bent Horizons.

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Then we plotted out the final steps to achieving said domination in the upcoming year. All very exciting plots and plans, which I will let you in on in good time 🙂

We also did our writing exercises. I give you a doppelgänger, an accidental murder, and a strange food called pizza, all with a splash of surprise and magic. Please savour these.

Duplicity, yank, toenails.

Miranda stirred the bright vermilion potion, watching the white monkey’s
toenails dissolve with a hiss. Then she added the heart of a pheasant, two
phoenix eggs, and a pinch of stardust. Glancing at her worn spell-book resting
on the table beside the cauldron, the young witch went through the spell of
duplicity one last time, mentally checking off each step.
She had started the brew under a blue moon, adding the quartz and dragon’s blood
to spring water taken from the First Garden. It had simmered for a fortnight,
then she had carefully added one drop of summer sun each day for ten days. When
it glowed golden, the final ingredients were added.
Miranda looked down at the lump of shadow and dropped it into the cast-iron pot.
It fell heavier than she had expected something as light as a shadow should,
splashing her hand with the bubbling liquid and she yanked her hand away,
frantically rubbing it against her robes to remove any trace of the potion.
The potion itself swirled into an inky soup, then burst out into a bright silver
glow. The witch scooped out a ladle-ful, blew on it to cool it down, took a deep
breath, then downed it all in one gulp. After her head cleared and she was sure
the dizziness wouldn’t cause her to fall into something and break it, she looked
around.
Miranda found herself gazing into her own large green eyes, except the pupil was
milky-white and slitted, and when her double smiled, the teeth were sharp and
red as blood.
________________________________________________________
sink, wish, murder,

Jansen washed his hands, scrubbing hard and trying not to notice the reddish
water running out of the sink. If he had one wish, it would be to undo the
events of this night, so he could go back and do what had to be done and do it
right. It wasn’t supposed to end up like this.
A knock at the door made his heart start pounding again. He wasn’t ready to deal
with them yet. The knocking continued, echoing the sound of his heart as he
finished cleaning his hands, then started on his forearms, all the way to his
elbows. He took a towel and slowly dried himself, stalling for time. When the
knocking sounded as though it was really going to break the door in, he walked
over and opened it, putting on his most serene face.
Three of the ugliest faces in the kingdom stared back at him. The troll princes,
whose names Jansen could never remember, and he wouldn’t have been able to put
the names to the faces anyway, all tried to shove through the door at the same
time. Jansen sighed and sent a small prayer of thanks to whichever god had made
trolls so quarrelsome. They were so busy fighting among themselves that there
was still a chance that they wouldn’t notice what Jansen had done, thereby
saving him the trouble of adding them to the first murder of the night. Granted,
it had been an accident, but that wasn’t his way. Jansen looked up at the
largest troll, looming over the man in his own small welcome room, and blinked
slowly.
“Yes?” he said.
“What happened to Dersstern?” the troll growled. “We didn’t see him at the war
council.”
Jansen retracted his thankful prayer. It looked like there was going to be some
more washing up to do later this evening.
_____________________________________________________________
Pizza, humble, surprise,

Jadae bit into the strange food the strange man had given to her in his strange
house in the strange land she had found herself in on this very strange day.
“What did you say this was?” she said, looking at him as she chewed slowly and
carefully.
“Pizza!” he said with a happy grin. “Do you like it?”
Jadae considered. “It is hot,” she said at last. “What do you have to drink?” ”
“Oh, right!” the man said. “Try this!”
He handed her a glass of a strange liquid.
“What is this?”
“It is a surprise, but you’ll like it,” he hastened to assure her.
She took a very small sip. It bit her tongue, but was sweet, and tingled in her
nose. He burst out laughing at her expression.
“It’s Coke,” he explained.
“What is that?” she asked again.
“We don’t really know, but we just like to drink it,” he said. “Strange,” Jadae
muttered to herself.
She stood, the barely touched stuff he called food sitting on the plate. “I have
to return to my home now,” she said. “I can be delayed no further.”
“My humble abode isn’t that interesting to someone from a land of mystery and
magic?” he said, his face drooping. “No, it’s fine, I can understand that.”
Jadae shifted uncomfortably. She had no ideas of the customs or etiquette in
this land. All she knew was she had to get home.
“I offer great thanks,” she tried, putting on her most formal manner in hope
that he stop looking hurt. “But I really must go.”
She started for the door, placing her hand on the strange handle, but it shocked
her with a force that she did not expect at all. Magic. She turned to the man
who had found her, taken her in, and tried to help her. He was watching her with
a smile, but now a darkness in his eyes made him look sinister.
“You cannot leave now Jadae. You cannot leave now, or ever,” he said, his smile
widening, and the fairy creature shrank from the sound of her name on his lips.
_____________________________________________________________

I hope you heeded my words and savored those, because there will be no more writing exercises to share until 6 January 2016. If you did not heed my advice, feel free to go back and reread them.

In the intervening time, I will be writing, rewriting, and editing further books in the Guardians of the Path series, namely book two Ria’s Mark and book three (working title) Omens. Also, I will be devising a devious scheme to see The Force Awakens some time shortly after its release without getting trampled by mad Star Wars geeks and fans. I’m very excited about all of this!

I do promise to pop out every once in a while to say “Hi!” and perhaps add something else entertaining 🙂

Until then,

May the Force be with you!

❤ DragonBeck

Sunday – The Party

As promised, here is part II of the action-packed weekend of literary adventure and awesomeness!

SUNDAY

On Sunday, at 11:30 a.m., the members of the Ink Slingers Guild gathered together in the secret, underground lair and home of the Gargoyle Den Mother to celebrate the release of our fourth (fourth!!!) annual anthology, entitled Bent Horizons (available on Amazon.com) and another year of being weird and wonderful!

bent Horizons

This year ISG reached the milestone of 10 books published to date: 6 anthologies, 4 of which are available in both paperback and e-book, and 2 only in e-book, and four novels from members of the Ink Slingers Guild (Lisa Barry’s The Guardians, JM Paquette’s Klauden’s RingNicole DragonBeck’s First Magyc, and Dalia Lance’s My Home on Whore Island).

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It was a wonderful afternoon of food, friends and fun (not necessarily in that order). However, it was not all play and no work, as the first order of business was signing a mountain of books…

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…and of course the words were chosen for 2016’s anthology. I was quite impressed with the selection this year, truly words worthy of a writing group, and I am looking forward to getting them all into my story 😉

The first and second words were chosen by a margin of almost double, but the whole Guild and guests waited with bated breath as a four-way tie for word #3 was decided by a tense tiebreaker. The three chosen words were apothecary (mine!), succulent, and satin. 

words

Though I was completely exhausted at the end of the day, ready to do no more than collapse on the sofa for a good movie, I had a lovely time, and I have to say, this is a fantastic group of amazing people and talented writers, and I am so glad I found them. We have so much fun together, and I could not imagine life without said group. I am looking forward to another year, and many more, of slinging ink in their company.

I will keep you updated on upcoming releases and other exciting news from the Ink Slingers Guild, Witching Hour Publishing and yours truly!

Peace and love,

❤ DragonBeck

Saturday – Book Fair

Hello world 🙂

This weekend was packed with activity, and I am pleasantly surprised, pleased, and exhausted with the whole bit.

SATURDAY

On Saturday, the Ink Slingers Guild appeared at their first book fair.  Witching Hour Publishing had a table, as did the Ink Slingers Guild, adorned with a beautiful banner and many beautiful books.

The four ISG Anthologies, Dalia Lance’s My Home on Whore IslandJM Paquette’s Klauden’s Ring, my Guardians of the Path: First Magyc, and Lisa Barry’s The Guardians were displayed. We got some story starters for Stories my Friends Started, and had awesome giveaways.

bookfair

It was quite fun.  There were many lovely people that we got to meet and share the day with.  ISG made quite an impression with our awesomeness and our matching shirts.  Some of us even had matching expressions/cell phone habits, which were captured on camera below (I ❤ your face @authorELance).

erika and nicole

And there were cheese fries, the greatness of which was unparalleled, leading to the philosophical conclusion that it was really a shame everything in the universe wasn’t cheese fries, and what a waste of potential that is (I’m paraphrasing a little there, but you get the idea).

I am very much looking forward to more book fairs with the inimitable Ink Slingers and friends, because we’re really going to take over the world, in the very near future,

Peace and love,

Your-soon-to-be-beneficent-overlord

❤ DragonBeck

P.S. SUNDAY coming soon…

Exciting Things on the Bent Horizons

Hello world 🙂

So, at the previous meeting of the intrepid Ink Slingers Guild, we once again failed to do the writing exercise together. This is becoming a bad habit, but in view of all the exciting things taking place in the near past, present and future, we’re to be forgiven. For now.

So many things on the bent horizons, the first of which is the ISG’s annual anthology entitled – you guessed it – Bent Horizons. It will be released on November 1, 2015, but you can pre-order it here on Amazon.com in Kindle edition and paperback.

A taste of the stories featured:

• Beware the family vacations that land in you a strange hotel with a hottie.

• A secret organization attempts to recruit young men and women to fight an ancient war. When Shan is contacted by agents from Unit X, she is drawn into a world of intrigue and magic. But the more Shan learns, the more she realizes that one person’s truth is someone else’s lie, and in Unit X, even the secrets have secrets.

• Rory’s concerns about his wife’s new human body prove warranted when she trips and falls off a mountainside. As Rory strives to save her, Hannah shows that it isn’t just the body that makes the woman. She has a very skills of her own, despite her human handicap.

• When you work in HR the worst part of your job are the people. When Sarah starts her day with the worst of employees, and then dumps coffee on her office crush, what could possibly happen?

• How far would you go for revenge if the police couldn’t help? Max might be ten years old, but he knows exactly what to do to help his sister, Pella. Just because she can’t remember what happened isn’t going to stop him from getting justice?

• A beautiful muse, a psychotic artist. How far will he go for perfection, and can she give it to him?

• A gentleman immersed in the past, locked in grief, is drawn back toward the present by the vibrant light of a special lady. In a time when manners and reserve were the order of the day, what strange force brings them together?

• Paul lost his wife Ivy. Grief stricken and unable to function, he finds a friend in Molly. Can she help him find closure, or will she spin him further into himself?

• Ghirn, sheriff of Ruby Dust on Mars, catches an outlaw, saves a couple of humans from cannibalistic Dearndins and calms the ladies of The Pink House. All in a day’s work.

• Bastian loves his twin sister. In order to save her, he sets course to the Last Land. His ship is old and pieces are falling off, but he can fly anything. Will he win the race, and earn enough on one last run to rescue her?

• First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes life and questions, as one young couple risk unknown consequences in order to heat up the romance in their relationship.

Awesome, right?

And that’s not all. On November 7, Witching Hour Publishing and the Ink Slingers Guild will have tables at the First Annual Tampa Bay Book Fair.

The Ink Slingers themselves will be present, so come out and have some fun,  see us, talk to us, and we’ll entertain you and sign some books. 🙂

And three of the Ink Slingers, JM Paquette, Dalia Lance, and myself, have books coming out in the next couple months, which means bookmarks, release parties, and possibly signed-copy giveaways, so get ready for that awesomeness too!

Anyway, for those very good reasons, we were a little busier than usual at our last meeting – but we chose our words and were sent off to do our exercises (which I did) and I will be posting them shortly,

❤ ❤ DragonBeck

ISG Meeting and Anthology

Hello world 🙂

Exciting news cometh: the fourth Ink Slingers Anthology, entitled Bent Horizons, is on its way! Get ready for imminent and concentrated awesomeness!!

Partially due to that fact, last Wednesday’s meeting of the Ink Slingers Guild was not a normal one. Other reasons include: one, I brought chocolate chip cookie dough to Lisa’s house and made cookies fresh so the whole place smelled amazing; two, Erika brought a boat-load of books for the taking. It was as though Christmas had come early. I took some of the Writers of the Future anthologies, several of the Forgotten Realms novels, a collection of Douglas Adams stories including Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which I have been meaning to read for a long time, and some instructional books on writing Fantasy and Sci-fi by Orson Scott Card.

Three, and most important, Court skyped in and got with the authors about their submissions for this year’s anthology.  Meaning, this weekend I’ll be engaged in writerly things like conquests and rewrites 🙂

Which includes the sharing of the outcome of our biweekly writing exercises. All of us had to do our exercises solo this week, so at this exact moment, only I have ever laid eyes on the following:

Cankerous, Flustered, Treasure

Halley rushed around, putting everything in place, making sure everything was shiny, trying not to get flustered. It was common knowledge that dragons got, well…annoyed, when they were away from their treasure for any length of time, but Darcy was a special case.
Halley put the sapphires with the rubies, equally interspersed just like he like them, and just in time as a bellow came from the front entrance. Halley frowned. It sounded worse than usual.
“What’s the…”
She barely had time to get out of the way before Darcy came barreling in, a flurry of wings and claws messing up her perfectly placed gold doubloons and silver medallions. The dragon burrowed into the riches, still moaning.
“What’s the matter?” she finally got a chance to ask.
“I think it’s cankerous!” Darcy howled.
Halley sighed. “Let me look.”
Darcy rolled over, exposing his scaly underbelly. The delicate silver scales were flaking off in patches. Halley rolled her eyes.
“You’re shedding.”
“Dragons don’t shed,” Darcy sniffed.
“Then you’re dying of a horrible, slow, painful, dread disease,” Halley said. “It’s been nice knowing you. Can I have your stuff when you’ve passed on to the great beyond?”

Predator, Wound, Pushy.

He was being stalked, helpless prey as the cunning and lethal predator glided ever closer. His breath came faster, lungs burning as he ran, trying to escape the shadow that came relentlessly on. Carson woke from his dream, drenched in sweat. He lay in the dark, eyes closed, afraid to open them and find what he knew must be there. Tense, waiting, then he heard it. The soft scrape of claws on stone.
Whatever it was that was after him was still coming. Whatever it was that was watching over him had warned him in time once again. Carson rolled over and moved to a crouch, ears straining. The raspy breathing of his pursuer came from behind the rock ledge that Carson had collapsed on, too exhausted to continue.
Now he had no choice but to continue further up the treacherous mountain side, hoping against hope the whoever was guiding him with those dreams that were too real to be anything other than true knew what it was doing. But Carson was in no position to argue, beggars couldn’t be pushy or whatever that saying was. So he began to run up the mountain, hindered only slightly by the wound the creature had inflicted the first and last time it had caught Carson unawares, and the fist time Carson’s mysterious guardian angel had revealed itself. Sort of.
Carson pushed the thought from his mind. This was not the time to be distracted. He rounded the bend and ran into a sheer face of stone.

Have a delightful weekend, and I’ll be sure to let you know when Bent Horizons is available for purchase and your reading pleasure!

Until then,

Rock on!

❤ DragonBeck