Omens

Disguises

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

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“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

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Omens teaser V – The Guardians Hall

The Guardians of the Path Omens, published by Witching Hour Publishing, IS TO BE RELEASED IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS! (I appologize for shouting, but it’s really very exciting for a writer to have a third novel out).

And here is the final bit for you to enjoy before the whole book comes out.

I have nothing to say about writing particularly, except possibly the most neglected write tip of all time: write. Write your heart out. Write at midnight. Write outside. Write listening to music (or not listening to musci) or drinking coffee (or not drinking coffee). Write what you’d like to read and have fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong, because trust me, writing is the easiest part of publishing a novel! Cheers 🙂

As they passed through the great doors, the chill of the rift made the hair on Jæyd’s arm stand on end, and the flute in her hand burned hotter, warming her flesh. Luca frowned and even Timo looked put out. The halls were silent and dusty.
“I have taken up residence in the East Wing,” Jæyd told them. “It is more intact than the rest.”
They nodded, glancing around at the tomblike interior, the air thick and pressing.
“How is the library?” Cedar asked suddenly.
Jæyd grimaced. “Only a little better than the Garden. Last I checked, the roof had caved in at the back, and the glass in the windows blew out. The elements have not been kind to the books. I am sorry.”
Cedar was disheartened by the news. The last project he had been working on before he was called away was the restoration of the grand library. Luca slapped him on the shoulder.
“I’m sorry too, but I am not as gullible as Chesco was, so I won’t be helping you haul those book about,” he told Cedar. “But I think the exercise will be good for you.”
He walked on ahead, ascending the stair with light steps, throwing open the double doors to the East Wing. The others crowded close behind him. Jæyd noted that he still smelled like peaches. The long passage was dim, the only light coming from tiny slits up close to the ceiling. Silver motes floated on paths of light.
“I think it would be more fitting to move to the Guardians’ Hall,” Cedar said, his face wistful and eager.
“That place is not so hospitable,” Jæyd warned. “And it holds bad memories.”
“Then let us air it out with good ones,” Timo’s deep voice chimed in from behind. “We should not delay in returning the Torch.”
“Very well,” Jæyd acquiesced, but for a reason unknown to her a heavy feeling settled in the pit of her stomach.
Her feet followed a path she did not recognize. The passages and stairways of the Crescent Temple had minds of their own sometimes. Jæyd never did remember coming this way, though she knew that she had been within the Guardians’ Hall many times. The way was unfamiliar but that did not matter. The Temple wanted her to find the way to the Guardians’ Hall, and so it took her there.
They crowded into the vast room through the narrow passage. When she stepped into the Guardians’ Hall and gazed at it stretching out in all directions, the breath caught in Jæyd’s throat. The walls and floor were blackened with Demon soot. Two sets of footprints were still in the dust on the floor from when Jæyd and Luca had come through here before going to meet Cedar in D’Ohera, lonely signs of life in a dead world. The columns were silent guardians in their own right.
“It’s so large,” S’Aris said, her head tilted back as she gazed at the ceiling. “In the writings at the Coven, it describes the Hall, but I’d never imagined it was so big.”
“Writings?” Jæyd inquired.
“Letters and such from V’Ronica,” the Witch explained. “And the journal she kept. The First Guardian sent it back with her effects, after she died.”
A moment of silence met her words as the Hall remembered the Witch V’Ronica and her deeds. Whispers of her voice flitted through the air, ghosts of her form danced among the shadows. Memories that were as tangible as the stone the Hall was built of passed through their minds, foreign and lonesome. The Guardians were accustomed to this, but the others were disquieted.
“Where did the Torch stand?” Berria asked, her voice strained.

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Look for Omens and more awesome books published by Witching Hour Publishing, available now and available soon (as in, tomorrow!).

❤ ❤ Dragonbeck

The Translator

The last ISG meeting was a load of fun, as usual. The table is getting too small – there was hardly enough room for my treats amongst the tea pot, the cups, and all the computers. But we managed somehow 🙂

Many great things are on the horizon as this year draws to a close (it’s the middle of November already!! Yikes!) and a new one opens before us. Most of it involves copious quantities of writing, so my news may be scarce and scrawny. Bear with me, and it will be worth it, I promise.

Here are the writing exercise from the meeting. A continuance was in order, as you’ll see. Enjoy!

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silky, petrify (my word), microwave,

Put under a red moon in the microwave door to the best silky. Beil looked down, and squinted at what he had just read. The others were staring at him with uncertain expressions.

“What was that?” Heidi asked, a polite frown on her face.

Haam was a more direct. “Are you sure you translated that correctly?” he demanded. “Give that to me.”

The much bigger man snatched the paper from Beil, who stood as if petrified. Beil watched Haam glare at the message, challenging it with his bright blue eyes to give up its secrets. One day, Beil told himself in a furious but silent voice, one day I’m going to prove that I’m of some use to this expedition.

He glanced around at the others in the group, and tried not to feel inferior and worthless. Heidi was a magnificent witch, whose spells could protect the whole group even if they were under goblin attack. Haam was the best warrior in the six realms, and was proficient in the sword, bow, and hammer, all of which he carried on his person. There was Dorn, the tracker, Yelda, the seer, and Jaim, the Guardian of the Talisman.

Then there was Beil, of no great talent and no apparent value. __________________________________________

dictator, roam, apple

Beil watched Haam continue to glare at the paper, feeling more and more irritated at the whole world as the big man just stood there without saying a word. Beil was more scared of Haam than he would be of any cruel dictator, but if this continued, they would be standing here for the next three days as the warrior refused to give in and refused to grant quarter.

“Um, Haam?” Beil stepped forward in timid steps. “I’ve had an idea…”

He stopped suddenly, starting at Haam. Beil expected the man’s eyes to be be roaming the paper, searching for clues in the writing, but they were fixed, glassy, and blank. A lump the size of an apple obstructed anything but a soft gurgle coming from Beil, but his terrified look and shaking finger alerted the others to the problem.

A scuffle ensued as Dorn and Jaim attempted to wrestle the paper from Haam’s frozen fingers, and Heidi cast spells of protection and exorcism, all to no avail. Somehow, in the middle of the ruckus, Beil managed to wriggle through and snatch the paper from the bigger man. At once the spell was broken, but it took a while for them to notice Haam was now fine, and that Beil was holding the paper.

“You shouldn’t be touching that,” Heidi warned. “And don’t look at it.”

“He’s fine,” Haam frowned. “And he was trying to read it for a very long time before.”

Despite the insult, Beil felt a sense of satisfaction. At last, some use.

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I’ve still got a few more sneak peeks lined up for book III of the Guardians of the Path, Omens,  now avaialble for pre-sale on amazon, and I’ll try to keep up the updates, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. No rest for the wicked, you know 😉

Until then,

Rock on!

❤ 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!

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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.
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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.

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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

MEETING OF EPICNEAS

I think the word that most accurately describes the Ink Slingers Guild meeting of last week is “epicneas”.

(If epicneas wasn’t a word before, it is now.) We had four people attend for the first time!! Lisa made raspberry shortcake, and had the foresight to have the second pot of tea brewing before the first one was all gone. All four new members participated in our writing exercise and read them aloud, so they get a round of applause for that. Hopefully we’ll see them back again!

In honor of all the awesomeness, I’m going to put all the awesomeness of writing exercise here.

And the first one: I was very pleased with myself for getting all the words in one sentence – a feat Alanna also achieved  🙂

spirit, streak, horse

Hanna kicked at the ground, and shouted a few choice curses at the grey skies.
If she thought that was going to get her out of this in-between place, she was
wrong. Her spirit-horse had spooked and bolted, and the last Hanna had seen of
it was a pale streak across the sky, reminiscent of a shooting star from home.
Thinking about home just made her want to cry, so she refrained, concentrating
instead on what she knew about the incorporeal land she was crazy enough to
attempt to traverse. This was the land between here and now, and there and then.
It was foggy, cloudy in the way that forgotten memories were, and if one wasn’t
careful, one could get very lost in here. Hanna shoved that fear far out of
sight, and looked at where she had been stranded.
It was a flat place, with giant, craggy rocks jutting up like broken teeth.
Sometimes it looked almost solid, and other times it faded before her eyes. She
remained alert, ready to jump away at the first sign that the ground under her
was going, as she racked her mind for a solution. Then it came to her, on a
faraway whisper, appearing as the ghost of a house sheltered in the shadow of a
nearby rock.
Perhaps the creator of this bit of in-between would be able to get me out, Hanna
thought, starting for the house and hoping it didn’t disappear as quickly as it
had come.
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On this one there was a brief discussion on what exactly was the definition of “honeypot” – I just decided it was easiest to use the literal one, mostly because I like honey.

honeypot, dark, exquisite,

For the first hour she wondered around the house, trying not to look too closely
at the dark gathering outside, blanketing the windows and hiding everything.
That didn’t take her mind off the fact that Josh was out there, in that, and
even if he called it an exquisite hub of magical energy, it was still dangerous.
So she boiled the kettle and made a cup of tea, emptied half the honeypot into
it, and went to sit in the loungeroom, moving the chair so she couldn’t see the
window. She was only halfway done with her tea when a frantic pounding at the
door made her scream and drop her cup. It shattered on the floor, and still she
sat frozen, the beating getting more desperate. The first rule of the dark kept
going around her head: Don’t open the doors, and don’t open the windows.
But this was the first time anything had ever tried to get in. Josh was a
brilliant wizard, and the wards he set up were strong. Nothing was going to get
past them, he had assured her. But the rule stands, just in case. The knocks
slowed, as if whatever was out there was losing stamina, growing weak from
exertion, or something else. There was a heavy thud against the door as
something fell into it, and a pleading scratch continued. She took deep breaths,
trying to calm her speeding heart, when a horrible thought occurred to her.
What if that was Josh outside, demanding to be let in?
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At last, I got to put in a word – with so many people there, I thought maybe I was going to forego that honor in this meeting.

purge, lovely (my word), laser,

Flit looked down at his final school paper one last time. He was sure there was
something missing, or something extra, that was going to earn him a big, fat,
FAIL, in all uppercase letters, in blood red ink, or even actual blood, across
the top of the paper.
He tried to purge the thought, but it kept growing, morphing into something
nightmares were made of and panic threatened to overwhelm him. Calm down, Flit
told himself, and saw his hand was shaking, clenched around the paper and
crumpling the one edge. He straightened it on his desk while thinking lovely
thoughts and telling himself positive uplifting things, like just because Mrs. T
was a witch, didn’t actually mean she cooked and ate small children. She wasn’t
that bad. If nothing else, Flit’s story would look like magic epic tales when
compared to Nel the Troll’s paper, because Nel’s vocabulary was limited to a
dozen words.
Then Flit looked down again. His story was about lasers and machines and things
called combustion engines and scanning devices. Would Mrs. T accept such
fantasy? He groaned and fell forward into the desk. He was so going to flunk
out. He could feel it.

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Hope you enjoyed that 🙂

Look for more exciting news about The Guardians of the Path, book III Omens coming soon!

❤ DragonBeck