ISG anthology

The Man With The Wolf

I have innumerable excuse as to why this is posted over a month later than it was written. I’m not going to list them here because I can already feel the eye-rolls being directed at me. Instead, I will just say that I hope you enjoy this collection of Ink Slingers Guild writing exercises that form a neat little continuation:

blow, infatuated, streak,

Ever since she could remember, she had been infatuated with the stars. She would
sit for hours just watching the skies, with the glittering diamonds streaking
and falling. And then one day they were just gone. All of them. She went out
every night and waited for their brilliance to return, but all she had for
company was the chill wind blowing through an empty sky. The others were scared,
and set alight huge pyres to appease the gods, but the stars did not return. She
was not scared, but she was sad to lose her sparkling friends. For a long time,
she wondered where they had gone, and continued her nightly ritual though it was
a cold and lonely time without the stars. After a while, she no longer went out
every night, and then not every week. Finally, she no longer noticed the flat
black sky that was left when the sun disappeared behind the horizon, and her
childhood wonder never entered her thoughts. That all changed when the man with
the silver eyes arrived in the town, at his side a massive wolf.
__________________________________________________________________________
candle, black, wax

She made her way down to the tavern. The streets were rapidly emptying as
everyone scurried to their homes. She adjusted the basket of bread on her
shoulder, and went through the wide doors. Warm golden light and the smell of
ale greeted her, and she relaxed. Walking up to the counter, it was several
moments before she realized someone was watching her. It was several more before
she found him, sitting in the darkest corner, his eyes glittering like gems. A
single candle flickered in front of him, the wax oozing down the sides. She was
disconcerted when she saw it writing and looping on itself to form the likeness
of a beautiful flowering vine. “Do you like my work?” a voice issued from the
shadows. She averted her eyes, and dropped into a shallow curtsy more as a
reaction rather than a gesture of any respect. “I’m sure I don’t know what you
mean, sir,” she murmured, and though she was no longer looking in his direction,
she could plainly see the wax dripping into a perfectly normal puddle in the
saucer. “I’m sure you don’t,” the voice agreed. She turned to continue to the
bar to drop off the bread for dinner, and found herself confronted with a
massive black wolf, its golden eyes level with hers and a pink tongue lolling
from its mouth.
_________________________________________________________________________
telescope, stickler, beard

She swallowed, and edged to the side. The wolf’s eyes followed her, and when she
had almost made it around the the chair, when the wolf backed around and cut her
off. “Can you call him away?” she called to the man behind her. A sharp whistle
made the wolf pad past her and back to its master. “Come sit with me.” She
sighed. “I really don’t have time for small talk.” “Then we won’t talk small.
Sit.” Something in his voice couldn’t be argued with and she sat. His beard was
thick and neat, his face worn. The wolf sat with its head in his lap. An open
satchel on the table showed an array of impressive tools, a knife, a telescope,
a crystal ball, and other things that she didn’t recognize. “I’m sorry for the
informality, I’m not a stickler for pomp and circumstance,” he said, and
chuckled. “I suppose I’ve been out in the Wilds for too long to be fit company
for civilized folks.” “Whatever made you go out there?” she asked. “The question
is what made me come back,” he replied, the jovial expression falling from his
face.
___________________________________________________________

❤ DragonBeck

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So Much News…

Having gone radio dark for a month (all in the name of science), here are the updates I promised regarding the world of the Guardians of the Path and other fantastic realms:

I spent a couple weeks going over Book 1, First Magyc, and I am happy to announce that the second edition is now available on Amazon. I cleaned it up a bit, tightened things here and there, and stretched them out in other places. I added a bit to the epilogue, which I enjoyed and I hope you do to. I recently read The Last Gunslinger (Dark Tower, book I) and if Steven King can do a second edition of book one (right around the time the fourth book of that series was being released, if memory serves), I feel that gives me licence to do the same.

Book 4, The Other World, is up for presale (that announcement has been burning a hole in my pocket, but in the name of science, I couldn’t break my month-long abstinence).

I drew yet another map. It is a marvelous map that shows the rest of the Guardians of the Path series on one (rather large) sheet of paper. I did it in pretty colors, and right now it exists in three places: on my computer, on my wall, and on the phone of the person who was kind enough to help me transport the map into the digital realm (Though I’ve thought about asking them to delete it, I have no hope of getting them to do so – I have a sneaking suspicion they would just give me a look and whisper “it’s in the cloud”). I am not sure if I will release this map, or put it in a book. Perhaps in the tenth book. In any event, I am very proud of it, and it helped me get my thoughts in order for the next six books, and I hope, make the writing smooth and steady.

On that note, book 5 Wasteland, is coming along. The first draft is well begun (which, contrary to Aristotle, is not quite the same as half done, at least when talking about a novel). The tale becomes somewhat more complex during book 4, so I am hoping that book 5 will be released mid next year.

I have also been reading the Pendragon series (also ten books). It is an amazing story, and I am about halfway through – I’ve procured the last five books from the library, and trying not to devour them in place of sleep.

The Ink Slingers Guild has been busy as usual – we have three anthologies coming out between now and sometime in the near future – Super Useless, wherein superpowers that aren’t exactly super are discussed in chunks of 2,500 words or less, and The Purge of Jimmy, which is the sequel to The Death of Jimmy (available on Amazon Kindle for just 99¢), wherein more Jimmys (or is that Jimmies?) die and at least one loose end is tied up, and finally (the big one): the annual ISG anthology, my contribution to which is called “The Writer’s Trial” – a fun little piece about writers, devils, and talking cats that I wrote several years ago, and by several years, I mean over a decade. It shall see the light of day towards the end of the year.

Several other members of ISG are getting ready to publish novels, most imminently Alanna J. Rubin with Second Chances (a fun sci-fi, Jane Austen romance adventure mash-up), J. M. Paquette with her second novel Solyn’s Body (sequel to Klauden’s Ring)and Lisa Barry, with her second novel in the Gargoyles Den series, titled Rogue.

Our fantastic writing group will be making an appearance at MegaCon in Tampa Bay at the end of this month. Come find us in Artists’ Alley – we’re very friendly and entertaining, and more than happy to sign books, answer all manner of questions, and pose for pictures. I will be there on Sunday the 1st of October, most likely wearing a dragon shirt, or a Supernatural shirt.

Whew! That is a lot of activity. I’ll need another break after all that. Just kidding, a writer never gets a break. No rest for the wicked!

❤ ❤ ❤ 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

 

A look at 2016…

While 2017 is loading, I’m going to take a moment to have at 2016, and what I said I would get done (as delineated in my New Year’s Resolutions blog post):

1. Take over the world. (This is in progress, will update later, because you know what they say: if I told you…)

2. Smile a lot. ✓

3. Drink lots of coffee. ✓

4. Publish a novel. ✓ (and ✓ – I published two, Ria’s Mark and Omens, available on Amazon.)
GOTP_FirstMagyc_eBook_Final_Sm ria's mark omens_ebk_sm-2

5. Get my ISG anthology story in by the deadline. ✓

6. Write some Stories My Friends Started. ✓ (and you can read them here.)

7. Maybe publish two novels. ✓ (…what I said back there.)

8. Find and tame a dragon. (also I/P)

9. Travel the world a-dragonback. (See #8.)

10. Make magic. ✓

11. Write, every day. (Sort of every day. I wrote every day in spirit, so ✓.)

12. Read, when I get the chance. ✓✓ (I read a lot this year, Harry Potter #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5, and the Sword of Truth #3, #4, and #5. Highly recommend them all.)

13. Be awesome, always. ✓ ✓ ✓

14. Spread the awesomeness. ✓ (In the form of love, smiles, and cookies, @AuthorELance, @InkSligners2011.)

15. Treat myself once in a while. ✓ (I went to the movies, ate some chocolate, took a long, relaxing bath.)

16. See Star Wars. ✓ (first thing I got done, documented here.)

17. Try some new recipes. ✓ (Sneaked that in right at the last minute: I made white chocolate macadamia cookies for the first time yesterday 😉 )

18. Make new friends. ✓ (Irina, Brandon, Spencer, Gen, Jessica, Sally, to name a few.)

19. Eat good food. ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ (there are not enough ticks that I could put next to this.)

20. and chocolate! ✓ ✓ ✓

21. Do my part to help make the world a better place, before or after taking it over is fine. (I’d like to think my existence contributed positively to the world and the lives of at least some of the people in it, so ✓.)

***

Whew! That was a year –  and not that bad, really. I still have to find my dragon, but that was a pretty stiff target.

I hope everyone got to put at least a few ✓ ✓ ✓ on their list of conquests, resolutions, to-do list, or bucket list.

Now, I can’t just rest on my laurels, got to get started on my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017…stay tuned  for that 🙂

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the parties, toast to something worthwhile, and kiss the person of your dreams at midnight! For auld lang syne, peace and love,

❤ ❤ DragonBeck

ISG 5th Anniversary Edition Celebration

The incredible, indelible, and intrepid Ink Slingers Guild held our Annual Anthology Party to celebrate the 5th Anniversary Anthology Serenity Rising!

It was the most fun a writer could have: hanging out with amazing authors, eating a lot of food, signing books with amazing stories – one of which they wrote – and toasting and making speeches. Okay, I might be kidding on that last one a bit, but Lisa was brilliant (you can read the text of her speech at the beginning of the book) and I did manage to come up with something to add on the fly and off the cuff (how do I get myself into these things??) which amounted to I love you guys!

Highlights include, but are not limited to, cake:

isg-cake

And an awesome banner with balloons (and awesome people):

isg-party-me-no-demon-eyes

At the end, we chose the words for 2017, tryst, bludgeon, and bloodless (and the title, but that’s a secret to be revealed at a later time):

wordsd

You can look forward to reading those stories at the end of next year, and in the meantime, get your copy of the latest book of stories; each is an adventure, so sit back and enjoy as the Ink Slingers Guild take you to the Serenity Rising.

As always, more to come soon,

❤ ❤ ❤ DragonBeck

Cats and Ghosts, Monsters or Aliens

Hello there!

Time is moving along, as it does.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable All Hallow’s Eve  🙂

In just under a month, my third novel, Omens, will be published. I’ll be sending out another teaser in a few days here, and you can get the first two books in the Guardians of the Path series, First Magyc and Ria’s Mark on amazon.

In the meantime, here are the final two exercises from the last ISG meeting. Enjoy!

animal-17545_1920

cat, room, phalanx

Jemma attempted to get past the phalanx of cats waiting to be fed, but she
almost tripped over one of them, and an ear-splitting yowl informed her that she
had stepped on a paw or a tail. “It’s your own bloody fault!” she muttered,
sliding her feet across the floor to minimize casualties, and somehow made it
across the room to the where their food was kept. The bowls on the bench all had
names on them, but it hadn’t taken more than a day for Jemma to give up on
trying to give the cats the right bowl. They knew which was there however, so
she filled them, set them on the floor, and the cats wandered through until they
found the right one.
“That’s not really normal behavior for cats,” Jemma said to herself as she
watched the animals feasting. “Though I suppose for a person to have this many
cats isn’t really normal either.” She counted again – her deepest fear as that
she would misplace one, or one would run out the door. How would she explain
that to Mrs. Black when she returned from her holiday in Romania? “Only three
more days to go,” Jemma said, crossing her arms and smiling. “I can keep it
together for that long.”
The room went oddly quiet and she looked down to find all seventeen pairs of
feline eyes fixed on her, with what look disconcertingly like knowing smiles on
their faces.
___________________________________________________
handle, alien, whimper (my word)

He reached for the handle and was about to touch the metal when a whimper from
behind him stayed his hand. He looked around, and saw that Robbie had followed
him up the stairs.
“I told you to wait outside,” Harvard said.
Robbie shook his head fiercely and ran to Harvard’s side.
“Fine, but stay behind me,” Harvard ordered.
He opened the door and peered into the old bedroom. It looked as if it had been
unused for many years, white sheets covered the furniture, and Harvard imagined
shapes that could be ghosts, monsters, or aliens lurking underneath them.
“She said it was in here,” he muttered to himself, gripping Robbie’s hand
tightly. He took a tentative step into the room, looking left and right and
trying not to pay attention to the feeling that was telling him something was
going to come leaping out at him any second now.
“It was supposed to be in a box, but I don’t see any boxes, do you?” Harvard
asked, looking down at Robbie.
The small boy gave the room a quick glance and pointed with his free hand.
There, under a mirror whose cover had half fallen off revealing the smudged
glass, was not a box but a wooden chest. Harvard started towards it when the lid
shuddered, and opened.

_________________________________________________

For more awesome stories you can get your copy of the Ink Slingers Guild’s fifth annual anthology Serenity Rising in paperback and ebook on amazon.com 🙂

❤ DragonBeck

Doorways and Candles

Greetings world 🙂

The last ISG meeting was quite momentous as our fearless leader revealed the print book proof for our fifth – yes, that is five years running – anthology, entitled Serenity Rising (available on amazon.com ).  My banana bread went down well, so well, in fact, that fearless leader didn’t have a chance to have a piece before it was gone! We also had more newbies amongst us; at this rate, we’ll have an even ratio between men and women sometime before the year 2109 😉

Anyway, we are growing and succeeding and generally being awesome, and we’ll be entertaining you with more of our imagination and wordsmithing in the not-too-distant future (and shortly after that we’ll take over the world).

Here are the first two of my writing exercises from the meeting, intentionally unrelated, and the most major accomplishment: I remembered which words were mine!!

smoke-1232653_1280

futile (my word), candle, buffalo,

Handur sat on the rug and tried to stop being nervous but everything he did was
as futile as the last, and the butterflies in his stomach continued to writhe.
His head jerked up when someone entered the tent, and immediately sat up
straighter. The butterflies turned into stampeding buffalo, and his heart
thundered in his chest, loud enough – he was certain – to be heard.
The old woman carried a fat candle with a blue flame, the light from which made
her look like a creature from another world. Without a word, she sat down
opposite Handur and smiled at him.
“You look worried,” she commented in a voice like warm sandpaper.
Handur swallowed, and vacillated between admitting his terror and attempting to
appear composed. The woman searched his face for a moment longer, and her smile
widened.
“This won’t work if you attempt to mislead me, you know,” she reminded him.
Handur nodded, and clenched his jaw.
“Now, you have brought what I asked for?” she said.
He nodded again, and stretched out his hand. In his palm was the tooth of the
monster, the tooth he had pulled from the broken body under the rubble of what
used to be his home.
___________________________________________________________________
cramp, unconditionally, flickering

The fairy witch looked at him with cold, unflinching eyes, the spell scroll
gripped tightly in her hands.
“And the last thing necessary for this is that your intentions are pure,
unconditionally so,” she said, her voice thundering through the dark stone room.
Olivia knelt, her legs almost numb, and a cramp sticking up her side, but she
did not look away from the frightening gaze of the magic creature, and nodded.
At that precise moment her intentions could not have been purer. All she wanted
was Jonathan back, and she was prepared to do anything to have that happen,
including giving up the untouchable treasure of the Star Realm.
“Then it is done!” the witch cried, and the parchment burst into purple and
black flames, flickering around her body but not burning her.
Olivia however was consumed in pain that felt as though she had been tossed onto
a bonfire, the heat disintegrating her flesh to ashes. The only reason she knew
this wasn’t so was because the pain didn’t stop, it just went on and on. The
high voice of the witch chanting scraped over her ears, and just when she
thought she could take no more, the flames parted, revealing the doorway.
___________________________________________________________

Hope you enjoyed that!

For more awesome stories you can get your copy of the Ink Slingers Guild’s fifth annual anthology Serenity Rising in paperback and ebook on amazon.com 🙂

❤ DragonBeck

SERENITY RISING

And here it is folks, in all its awesomeness, now available in paperback as well: The Ink Slingers Guild presents Serenity Rising.

serentiy-rising

The collections of short stories are based on a writing exercise done at every ISG meeting. The exercise must include the chosen words. The words that were chosen this year were:  Apothecary, Satin, Succulent.

•Maggie Baker can’t think of anyone to ask to wear her corsage at this year’s First Days Celebration. After a visit from her fairy godmother, Maggie concocts her own Prince Charming, but when Charle arrives, things get more complicated than she bargained for.

•In a high stakes poker game, four players gamble with more than just money.

•After a childhood of coping with a drug addict parent and traveling with gypsies, Annika’s life has finally calmed down a little now that she’s operating her aunt’s fortune teller shop in absentia… when in walks Fenn, a tall dark and handsome piece of her past, to mess everything up and pour a little more magic onto the fire.

•Grayson Forsythe thought he had left his past behind, but unforeseen events force him to return home and assume the family title and responsibilities he never sought. Unexpectedly, reunited with a woman from his childhood, can she awaken his heart and help him claim a future he never knew he wanted?

•A monster loses a friend but finds love.

•An exciting adventure at sea turns dark when a storm veers Sarah and Molly off course without a sail or drinking water. Will they find aid on a lost island?

•Tasha is a celebrity. She has 11 potential mates when normally you only have 2-5. Christian has 10 and both have reality TV shows detailing every detail of their lives. Can they find “the one” before they are left with the Last Man on Earth?

•In the middle of the night Rachel Davenport is about to find out the things that you can see are not the things you should be afraid of.

•Brynn has seen crazy. She is a nurse in the psych ward so crazy makes up most of her day. Then she meets Jacob, a patient who sees “monsters”. What happens when what she thought as only delusion prove to be real?

You can get Serenity Rising here in paperback

and here in ebook on amazon.

Each story is an adventure, sit back and enjoy as the Ink Slingers Guild takes you to the Serenity Rising.

❤ DragonBeck

 

 

A Sort of Creepy Halloween Story

Hello world – I am rejoicing as the nice weather descends, at least in Florida, for a few short breaths 🙂

The last ISG meeting was very productive – let me see, we have our fifth annual anthology out any day now (with a bonus Halloween story!), the third novel in the Guardians of the Path series due out late November, the 23rd if memory serves, and several other exciting things in the cards and up our sleeves.

And in honor of the upcoming holiday, more by accident than design, all my writing exercises fit together for another nice little sort of creepy Halloween story. So, without further ado, enjoy!

jack-o-lantern-1679164_1920

(and once again I’ve forgotten which word was mine. I think it was in the second exercise.)

pumpkin, mere, frisky,

The wind was rather frisky, and it tried to get into his coat as it danced
through the graveyard. Alan shivered, and put his hands deeper into his pocket.
“I don’t think he’s coming,” he muttered to Henry. “We can go home now.”
Henry shook his head, eyes never leaving the misty surface of the mere.
Moonlight made faces in the grey swirls, and twice Alan thought that the old man
was there, but then the fog shifted and the apparition was gone. Alan shifted,
and fought the urge to shiver. He looked over at Henry, who was standing there
with grim determination, arms clasped around the biggest pumpkin they could
find.
Mr. Mcleary, who tended the graveyard, had promised them fifty dollars if they
brought him a pumpkin. In the daylight, that had sounded like a really good
idea, but at twilight on a cloudy night, more sinister thoughts began to plague
Alan.
“Henry, let’s just forget it,” he said suddenly and quite urgently. “Let’s go
home.”
Henry was going to shake his head again, but then his eyes widened. Alan turned
to see Mr. Mcleary emerging from the gloom. In his hand was a long silver knife.
____________________________________________________________
black, condescending, tingle

Alan didn’t notice himself move closer to Henry, or that he had removed his
hands from his pocket to grab Henry’s arm in a bone-crushing grip. The boys
stood there, frozen with fear, as Mr. Mcleary came towards them. He stopped, and
gestured with the knife. Alan moaned. The old man gave him a condescending
glare, and gestured with the knife again.
“Hand it over, then,” he called out, his voice low and raspy.
He had wild silver hair, and wore a long black jacket. Definitely serial killer
type Alan’s panicked mind gibbered at him. Mr. Mcleary grew impatient.
“Come on, come on, I don’t have all night,” he said.
Henry dropped the pumpkin, bent to retrieve it and walked towards the man with
hesitant steps. Alan was dragged along by his unwillingness to let go of Henry’s
arm.
“Are you crazy?” he muttered. Something sharp and acidic tingled in his nose.
Mr. Mcleary started and looked around.
“Hurry up boy!” he barked. “Unless you want them to get you!”
“What is he talking about?” Alan said.
“I think he might be talking about those,” Henry replied, nodding at the dark
disfigured shapes lurking behind the pale tombstones.

_________________________________________________________
gnash, whip, vent,

“What are those?” Alan cried out.
“Something that has never left anyone alive to name them,” Mr. Mcleary said.
“Now if you will please hand me that pumpkin, I’ll just get to work on saving
all our lives.”
Henry’s steps were much faster and more eager. Alan’s fingers had gone slack,
and he stood there, his arm falling limply to his side, eyes fixed on the
gruesome things coming towards them with gnashing teeth and whipping tails.
Before his heart stopped dead in his chest, Alan turned and stumbled after
Henry, who had delivered the orange gourd to Mr. Mcleary.
The strange old man was kneeling on the ground, silver knife flashing in the
pale moonlight. He used his hand to scoop out the insides, and threw the goopey
mess over his shoulder without a look. More swift slashes with the knife, and
then he reached into his coat and drew something out. He fitted it into the
pumpkin, and drew back, grinning. A glowing jack-o’-lantern grinned back at him,
venting bright light out of its crude yet strangely cheery mouth.
“What is that for?” Henry asked, his voice much calmer than Alan felt.
“That is to scare them off,” Mr. Mcleary said, rising to his feet. He was right
– the figures had stopped their advancement, contained by the flickering light.
“But it won’t hold them for long.”

 

Happy Halloween month! Be nice to the ghosts and goblins!

❤ DragonBeck

Behind the Mask

I wanted to take the whole cliff-hanger, dun-dun-DUN thing to a whole other level, so in a shocking, unprecedented event, I actually stopped AT THE BUZZER, and did not even bother to finish the sentence.

mask-715782_1920

drinking, cheese (my word), cruel

It could be considered cruel, this horrible human farce. He looked down at the glass of some bright, sparkly and entirely repulsive liquid he was pretending to be drinking, and tried not to gag. People stood and walked and danced, inebriated or not, and ate weird food like cheese crepes with olive relish, all the while laughing and talking inanely. He took in a deep breath, meaning to heave a sigh, then realized how that would look should any one see him. Standing there with his chest all puffed out, face slowly turning red as he tried to come up with a plan to release the breath in the most socially acceptable manner possible, he saw her. She was across the room, and wore one of the ridiculous masks like the others. Except she didn’t look like the others – something about the way she looked out from behind the elaborate feathered accessory on her face struck a chord in his chest and his heart fluttered. He relaxed, and breathed out, debating about whether propriety would allow him to approach her. All these customs about etiquette and interaction baffled him. Just when he thought it might be worth risking it…

_________________________________________

❤ DragonBeck