Guardians of the Path

You can’t die twice

And the final exercise! Warning: ends on a cliff-hanger…#sorrynotsorry

whisper (also my word), forgetful, moist

The thought stopped Jedrin cold. Now he was going to have to rethink his entire
plan from a whole new perspective, wondering if his steps had been predicted and
planned on, or not. He spent several moments going over this, before he
remembered to stop himself. The witch had told him that death was forgetful, and
if he wanted to make sure his plan came to fruition, it was crucial that the
other man’s face remain clear in his mind.
Jedrin was just going to have to carry on with the plan, but he was going to be
more cautious. Cautious and intelligent, we’ll make a good pair, the other’s
voice whispered to him, and Jedrin smiled a savage smile. When he emerged fully
into the Overworld, into the moist air just after a storm, it became easier to
move. He floated, almost flew, and it was easy to find the other, as he had kept
the jewel with him, as Jedrin had known he would.
Jedrin watched the other man for a long time, savoring the imminent revenge, and
was surprised that when he tried to move forward, some invisible force held him
in place. He struggled, and it was that which drew the attention of the other
man, who came over and smiled the same cold smile he had when Jedrin died.
“I wondered when you were going to be turning up again,” he said, his voice very
polite.
Jedrin remained calm despite this small twist. He had a great advantage over the
other man – one couldn’t die twice.
“Are you very sure about that?” the man said, his eyes gleaming.

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On a slightly different note, I hope to have news regarding book four of the Guardians of the Path series very soon! The line edits are coming along, and I am working on a little project to get First Magyc ready to become an audio book – wish me luck!

❤ DragonBeck

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Update on Book IV: The Other World

I’m please to be able to report that line edits have commenced on book four, moving it along to that happy happy day where I get to share it with the world.

The tale grows ever more epic:

Here: In Demona, the Guardians go to the Dale, a place of old magyc locked away in past, in hopes of finding the Man of Tongues, a sorcerer of myth who they believe may have the power to send them across worlds. They get more than they bargain for, learn more than they asked for, and in the end, they must make a terrible choice: Aethsiths, or Ria?

There: in the Other World, Maria Westerfield’s past comes back to haunt her when one of her friends is murdered and a mysterious symbol she never thought she’d see again appears written in his blood. The Girl Who Came Back must figure out what to do before everyone she loves is destroyed by the things she thought only existed in dreams.

Everywhere: all those who wield magyc are drawn together to battle Demons, Wardens, and their own dark secrets to keep the Placer of Pieces and his Men in White from extinguishing the light of life called the Path. Assassins, Witches, princesses, Makers of Marks and even Death Himself all attempt to divert the fate of this world, but everything hangs on the choice of one girl in…

…The Other World
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I’ll probably be handing out treats like giveaways and sneak peaks, so be on the look out for those!

Until then,

May the Path keep you!

❤ DragonBeck

Misspelling

The last Ink Slingers Guild meeting was quite productive of greatness, of various kinds, which shall all be revealed in time. Book 4 of the Guardians of the Path series is being line-edited, so soon, soon, my pretties *sinister, Overlord cackle*.

Here’s a nice little piece of flash fiction for you to enjoy in the meantime. 🙂

sky, whip, banana,

He stood on the ramparts, watching the sky fall, great big chunks of blue and
black crashing down into the hills surrounding the fortress. The peasants
screamed and fled, but there was nothing they could do, really. Gordon looked
up, the spiderweb cracks spreading, streaking out like a whip, coming closer and
closer.
To the south, another vortex had opened up, obliterating the fabric of that part
of the world. The ground churned and heaved as the heavens rained down. Gordon,
in the eye of the storm, could only watch helplessly as whatever he’d set in
motion proceeded to destroy the world. “What on earth did you do, boy?” a
waspish voice called up.
Gordon turned to see the wild, white hair of Merlin floating just below the lip
of stone on the walkway. He hurried over, and saw the aged wizard clinging to
the ladder, fierce eyes staring at the havoc around them with not fear, but
indignation.
“What did you do?” he repeated.
“I don’t know,” Gordon said, wringing his hands. “I did everything that the
book said. “Obviously you didn’t, or else this wouldn’t be happening. Let me
see.” The wizard stuck his hand up, requesting the spell.
Gordon handed over the piece of parchment, and waited, both hoping he had done
everything right and that the wizard found something to correct whatever had
happened.
“Banana!” Merlin cried.
“What?”
“The word is supposed to be ‘banana’, you dolt!”
Gordon looked to where Merlin pointed his long, knobbly finger. Written in
Gordon’s precise, block hand, was the word “bandanna”.
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❤ DragonBeck

Sword (Continued)

The final writing exercise, wherein Alanna influences the outcome by giving me distressed looks (which I would flatter myself is the inspiration for her word).

And for anyone who would like to know what torumaline looks like: google is our friend!

distress (Alanna’s word), blue, torumaline,

Dorian paused, his distress muddling his thoughts, and he didn’t want to do the
wrong thing. There has to be a way, he told himself, stepping back for every
step Kira took towards him. At her throat, she wore the necklace with the
torumaline pendant that he had given her the day he went away and promised to
come back. There has to be a way. Leaves brushed his back and he altered his
path, the hedges full of fragrant blue flowers. Still Kira walked on, the dead
look in her eyes more haunting than anger or sadness. Then they were at the
wall. It was time. Dorian held the blade up, the silver shining brightly enough
to hurt his eyes, and he saw something that he had missed. Engraved in the
metal, so finely as to be invisible unless the sun shone directly on the metal,
was a pattern. No, Dorian saw as he looked closer, they were words, very old
words. He whispered them to himself, sounding them out like a child reading for
the first time, but the air heard what he said, and responded. A sudden gust of
wind swirled around them, lifting Kira’s dark hair and red dress. Clouds
gathered above them, grumbling with flashes of light and the wind grew stronger,
pulling leaves and twigs into the cyclone with Kira and Dorian at its eye,
pushing them closer together.

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And I may just be writing the ending, just because I want to 😉

❤ DragonBeck

Prior to the Split

The ISG meeting was a blast – I brought chocolate chip cookies, there was tea, and plenty of punny humor.

And in other news, I finished the rewrites on book IV, so expect some excerpts and other pre-release fun and games!

For anyone who wants more immediate gratification, here is the product of the first exercise of the evening:

Obsidian, prior (my word), raven.

She held the dagger at his throat, pressed against the life blood in his pulsing
artery, murder in her eyes. The soothing voice of the old man stayed her hand,
though it still trembled, and coaxed a drip of red from the young man on the
floor.
“It doesn’t have to be like this,” Old Darjen was saying, his blind eyes peering
over her shoulder.
“He has to pay for what he did,” Brenda ground out through gritted teeth.
“What he did?” Darjen asked. “What did he do? What could he do? He is barely ten
years old.” His voice had something hypnotic in it, and she couldn’t help it,
she had to look down at the tear-streaked face, filled with terror. He was just
a child. Brenda averted her eyes, but did not release the pressure on the knife.
“What his kind did, then,” she said.
“His kind? What kind is that? Does he look any different than you? Look, Brenda,
he has arms and legs and a nose just like you do.”
Brenda breathed hard. It was too difficult for her to encompass. It had always
been this way, hadn’t it? As if he read her thoughts, Darjen spoke.
“In the Before, prior to the split, the Obsidian and the Raven were one people,
Brenda. Look at him, you know it is true.”
Brenda looked down again, at the face that was so similar to hers, and the knife
fell from her fingers.
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❤ DragonBeck

Warmup to the Great Doom – 2nd Writing Exercise

On this last day of February (that’s 1/6 of the year gone already!) I give you the second ISG writing exercise.

I like this one for a number of reasons. First, I managed to get a dragon in there! Second, I managed to get “xenophobia” in as well – one of my favorite words. Third, the title amuses me 🙂

As a grammar note courtesy of Jen: as “warmup” is being used as a noun, it’s one word. When it’s used as an adjective, there’s a hyphen, and it becomes “warm-up”.

dragon-1578289_1280

Gargoyle, warmup (my word), doom,

“This is just a warmup to the great doom the overlord will unleash on the
world.”
Gredden tuned out the droning words and looked around at the gathered creatures.
They had come from all corners of the known world, unicorns and centaurs from
the south, gargoyles and goblins from the north, elves from the west, dwarves
and trolls from the east. Gredden was the only representative for men, and every
time he glanced at his fellow representatives he felt more and more inadequate
and useless.
“We must unify to protect ourselves,” the old centaur continued in his booming
baritone, the silver beard falling to his navel, his front hoof punctuating his
words. Grumbles greeted his last statement, as the proud races immediately threw
up figurative walls of distrust and xenophobia. It took a long time for the
centaur to restore order and a measure of quiet for him to continue speaking,
but as he opened his mouth, a shadow fell over the gathering.
Gredden looked up along with all assembled to behold the awesome and terrifying
sight of the gleaming scaled form of a red dragon coming in for a landing.
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One final word – I should be getting book four of Guardians of the Path back from my editor any day now, so I’m really looking forward to that! I’ll keep you updated on how that’s going, when it will be released, and maybe have a sneak peek or two for you!

❤ DragonBeck

Jimmy appears again…

Greetings world! I feel much more like my usual self after attending the Ink Slingers Guild meeting in the flesh on Wednesday! Lisa tempted me to the dark side with her spaghetti and garlic bread (delicious!) and my chocolate chip cookies went down well 🙂

Also, I heard rumors of the fourth book of Guardians of the Path, so stay tuned for confirmation of those rumors.

Here are the first two writing exercises. I dedicate these to Erika, for obvious reason. My word also came from the shirt she was wearing, so it’s fitting in more ways than one. Enjoy another death of Jimmy!

skull-1731927_1280

lap, oil, token,

Jimmy paid his token, and waited nervously for the hooded figure to examine it,
then wave him onto the boat. Jimmy gave a nod of thanks to the imposing figure,
though he didn’t know if it could see him from under the rotting black hood.
The boat wobbled when Jimmy stepped onto it, and for a moment he teetered,
afraid he was going to fall into the dark, oily water lapping the sides, but
someone grabbed his arm and pulled him to safety. Jimmy breathed a sigh of
relief, and looked to see who had rescued him.
It was a young woman, cradling a baby in her lap. She smiled at him, and Jimmy
swallowed a scream of fright, because that would’ve been impolite. Her flesh was
grey and rotting, and most of her teeth were gone. Scabs and running sores that
had yet to scab mottled what little of her skin remained. The baby was much the
same.
Jimmy swallowed, smiled back, and thanked the gods that the seats beside her
were taken. On one side was a man with a stump of a neck still weeping blood,
his head held carefully under his arm. On the other was a man blue and bloated,
a tendril of seaweed hanging out of his nose. The drowned man nodded to Jimmy as
he walked by, and Jimmy averted his eyes.
He tried not to look at anyone directly, so he wouldn’t have to smile or say
anything. He found a seat at the back of the boat, and sat, adjusting himself so
the spear in his side didn’t twist further in.
______________________________________________________________
goat (my word), gondola, max,

Jimmy stared at his knees, not really thinking of anything. The last thing he
remembered wasn’t too pleasant, so when the hazy pictures of battle popped into
his head, he tried to bury them under other things. I wonder if this is what a
gondola ride would be like, he mused. Death’s barge was nothing like an Italian
pleasure ride, but it helped take his mind off battles and screaming men.
He barely noticed when the boat drifted to a stop, or the thudding footsteps
coming his way, but when someone sat down next to him, he definitely noticed the
spear tear through what was left of his stomach and poke his liver.
“Sorry,” a high-pitched voice said. “Sorry. I’m – I’m just going to sit here.”
Jimmy looked up. It was a young boy. Several of his limbs looked like they were
broken, in multiple places. His neck was also slightly skew. He looked lost,
alone, and terrified. Jimmy took pity on him.
“Hi. What’s your name?”
“I’m Max,” the boy said, and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. “How much
longer?”
Jimmy looked around, then wished he hadn’t. “I’m not sure,” he
said in a kind voice. “The boats pretty full, so I don’t think it should be too
much further.” The boy started to cry, and Jimmy patted him awkwardly on the
shoulder, then stopped when the boy winced.
“I was chasing the stupid goat,” Max explained when he saw Jimmy look down at
the cuts and bruises on his arm. “I didn’t see the cliff.”

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And on that not, you can look forward to The Purge of Jimmy – the sequel to The Death of Jimmy – later this year, brought to you by the Ink Slingers Guild.

Until next time,

❤ DragonBeck

Doing a Little Author Stuff…

representin

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

 

Disguises

chain, math (my word, inspired by, you guessed it, Alanna), petticoat (had to look that one up)

gothic-1431655_1920

“What is this thing?” Trina grumbled as the mounds of fluffy white entrapments
were pulled over her head and down to her waist.
“They call it a petticoat. It goes over the knickers and under the skirt,” Berra
said as she thrust a pink monstrosity with too much lace at Trina.
Trina took it and held it out as far as she could, as if she could avoid the
humiliation if she didn’t let it touch her. She preferred chain mail and
leather. What had her life come to?
“Why are we doing this?” she asked in a petulant voice as Berra found a pair of
soft slippers, and something that looked like a tadpole, with a curved tail.
“Do the math,” Berra replied, her voice patient, though her wary eyes kept
darting to the door, fearing to be found out at any moment. “This is what people
wear in this realm. If we were to stand out, or look out of place, Lord
Blackthorn and his usurping thugs would have us in an instant. Instead, we have
to blend in and bide our time. Make friends, secure our position, and then, when
it suits us, we will make our move…”
“And cut out his still beating heart from his chest and send his head on a pick
to that ogre in fair form that sits on our father’s throne,” Trina finished with
relish.
“Yes, but don’t talk like that, I don’t think they’ll like it, and you have to
wear your hair like this, or they’ll be able to see your ears,” Berra had
started fussing with Trina’s blond tresses.
“What’s wrong with my ears?” Trina demanded as she managed to unfurl the tadpole
and found it to be some sort of lacy shield. “And what is this?”
“It’s called a parasol, and there’s nothing wrong with your ears,” Berra assured
her. “But have you seen what their ears look like here?”

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That’s all for now, folks! If you’re interested in reading more, check out the Stories My Friends Started site, and if you’re into a full-length fantasy novel, check out the Guardians of the Path series!

❤ DragonBeck

New Year’s Resolutions, 2017

So here we are yet again, at the birth of another year, and as it is our goals and dreams which pull us along through continuum of time, I shall endeavor to set forth mine for 2017.

I will, of course, carry over anything which I failed to get done in 2016, but I’m going to be more concise this year, as I want to have some time left to actually go out and do these things, not just write them down.

So, here goes:

  1. Write. A lot.
  2. Read. Not quite as much as I write, but at least some.
  3. Keep Erika happy with my quota of Stories My Friends Started (if you’d like to help me with this particular resolution, go to Storiesmyfriendsstarted.com, and give us a sentence to start!)
  4. Write/publish stories in the much-anticipated sequel to The Death of Jimmy – The Purge of Jimmy (coming soon).
  5. Write/publish stories in Super Useless (coming sooner).
  6. Get my 2017 anthology in on time and within the specified word count.
  7. Publish Book IV of the Guardians of the Path series.
  8. Write first draft of Book V of GOTP (and dare to hope it will be published at the end of the year).
  9. Write a novella series (or two).
  10. Savor the coffee. Let the Force flow through me…
  11. Spend lots of time with my family.
  12. Spend lots of time with my amazing companions in the Ink Slingers Guild, drinking tea, laughing, and being awesome.
  13. Be awesome in general.
  14. Spread the awesomeness.
  15. Bake yummy things.
  16. Make some good memories.
  17. Do something that I haven’t done before.
  18. Go somewhere new.
  19. Don’t spend too much time on the internet (very important).
  20. Find that dragon, and travel the world a-dragonback (from 2016).
  21. Take over the world (also from 2016).

And there you have it. Now it’s on the internet, and I can be held accountable for it come the end of the year. I doubt that will stave off the procrastination – alas, it is in the ink which flows through my veins 😉

I do wish you all a very happy, happy year in which you flourish and prosper beyond your dreams! I look forward to sharing it with you!

❤ ❤ ❤ DragonBeck