Ria’s Mark

Meet The Authors

Hello everyone – happy Friday!

The Ink Slingers Guild are officially at Tampa Bay Megacon this weekend – we have a table in Artist Alley, and lots of fantastic books for you!!!

Let’s take a moment to get acquainted, shall we?

Lisa Barry:

“Writing and reading every minute she can, Lisa counts on her cats to keep her keyboard warm and on the countless gargoyles who stand guard throughout her house to ensure the safety of all those who enter with good intent. The gargoyles, even more importantly, listen carefully when Lisa reads to them aloud.

On a person note…besides having a deep admiration of gargoyles (who says they’re not real?), I love to read and write.  I collect gargoyles, I love music and can be heard driving up before I am seen, I’m a very picky eater (just ask my friends -eyes rolling-), I enjoy fishing and will catch them, clean them, cook them but won’t eat them or anything else out of the ocean.  I also believe in many fairy tale creatures, just haven’t knowingly met any yet.”

And she has a really cool tattoo.

  and coming soon…

Dalia Lance:

Dalia says “I have had a very interesting upbringing starting with growing up in Hollywood, CA. Never shy, I learned that if you are not willing to try something new you may let life simply pass you by. I love meeting people from all walks of life and these experiences inspire me on a daily basis. As a true friend once pointed out “You are never a complete waste, you can always be used as a bad example”. So what’s the worst that can happen?”

 

J. M. Pacquete:

JM Paquette writes cheesy vampire romance novels filled with action, adventure, intrigue, and sometimes slightly steamy sex scenes. She enjoys alliteration and puns of all kinds.

   

Alanna J. Rubin:

Miss Rubin says “I’m originally from Massachusetts. As a northerner, I never missed an opportunity to pick apples, carve pumpkins, or visit Salem to see the witches and haunted happenings. Now that I’m in Florida, not a day goes by when I don’t miss the changing colors of leaves, but I would never go back to having to shovel snow. As a fan of science fiction, paranormal, and romance…I find that individually they are fun,  however, I love them more when they’re mashed together. Often, when I am not writing my next adventure you’ll find me torn between watching a Jane Austen adaptation or hopping on the Tardis for an adventure in time and space.”

  

And yours truly, Nicole Dragonbeck:

I was born on the first day of a year-long eclipse of the sun, the thirteenth child of the Prince of Elves and an enchantress. As a small child I fell into a poisoned well and was horribly transformed by the toxic sludge seething in the deep darkness. I was fished out by a band of gypsies, who promised to feed and clothe me if I cooked and cleaned for them. They taught me to ride bareback and read palms, but I royally pissed off the leader by setting his wagon on fire and he cursed me with a great imagination and an equally great inability to tell the truth…and the rest is history.

  

I hope to see you at Megacon this weekend and get the chance to meet you in person!

❤ DragonBeck (and friends)

 

 

 

Advertisements

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?”

____________________________________________________________

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

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

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.

______________________________________________________

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

❤ ❤ Dragonbeck

Omens teaser IV – Jailbreak

The Guardians of the Path Omens, published by Witching Hour Publishing, is to be released on 23 November 2016.

As that’s only 4 days away…here’s the fourth little teaser.

Write-tip: a little humor in the diaolgue gives it an authentic feel. People tease and joke all the time, sometimes even in serious situations or other times when they shouldn’t, to relieve tension or to make out like they’re not scared when they are, but if you’re not writing a comedy, don’t over do it!

The Prisons of Balmar were smaller and cleaner than those of D’Ohera, but no less crowded. The Guardians were put into a general cell, a large, square space with a dirt floor. Their fellow inmates were in every condition, in fresh pressed tunics to grubby rags. Most of them were Old Races. Cedar’s heart went out to them as he wandered back and forth, kicking fruitlessly at the ground. After hours, he finally stopped. An hour later, he started pacing again.
“How long do you suppose we’re to wait?” Berria asked.
“You’ve never been in prison, have you?” Luca said, leaning against the bars, his arms crossed.
“Actually, I have,” Berria replied. “Thrice.”
“Well…” Luca began, and couldn’t think of a comeback. “Okay.”
“The answer to your question is as long as the Justice prefers,” Timo said. “Unfortunately we are at his mercy.”
“There are laws against indefinite detainment,” Jæyd said. “The Justice cannot rewrite the laws.”
“Of course he can,” Luca chirped. “What are we going to do about it?”
“What are we going to do about it?” Cedar said, spinning to face them, a fierce gleam in his eyes. “We can’t just wait here to rot.”
“They took our instruments and we’ve all tried to force the lock,” Luca said. “I even tried my lock pick, which should have worked. I think it’s something new the Scholars have rigged up.”
“Why do you have a lock pick?” S’Aris asked, her blue eyes wide with surprise.
“Everyone needs a lock pick,” Luca replied with a wink. “Unfortunately it’s not doing anything for me right now.”
“Guardians?”
Cedar, Luca, Jæyd and Timo flew to the bars. A goblin stood on the other side, a patch over one eye, half-breeches and leather vest stained orange. His white hair was pulled into a ponytail which hung in front of his pointed ear. A gold hoop glinted in the other.
“Who are you?” Jæyd asked.
The goblin bowed an overly elaborate bow. “Elan, at your service.”
“Odd name for a goblin,” Luca remarked.
“I can leave if you’d prefer to wait for someone with a more acceptable name,” Elan said and held up a shiny key. “Or I could let you out.”
“Let us out!” Cedar said immediately and a chorus of agreement came from behind him.
The goblin teased them for just a moment before obliging, holding the door open until all the prisoners had come out then locked it securely behind them. He noticed Luca staring at him with envious eyes. Elan chuckled and tucked the key into his vest.
“When you can get a Thaumaturgist and a Scholar to sit at the same table, they can make some wonderful magyc,” he said.
“Where can I get one of those?” Luca asked.
“What would a Guardian need with a Master Key?” Elan said.
“He might need it if he was stuck in a cell he couldn’t get out of,” Luca replied.
Elan grinned. “Perhaps we could talk later. But now, there is someone who wants to see you. Come with me.”

__________________________________________________________

Look for Omens and other great books by Witching Hour Publishing available now and coming soon!

❤ 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!

abstract-315468_1280

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.

___________________________________________

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

Omen teaser III – The Necrolatry

(Necrolatry: worship of the dead, Late Greek nekrolatreia, from Greek nekr-necr- + -latreia -latry; or the case of Guardians of the Path: the church devoted to Death and His work.)

The Guardians of the Path Omens, published by Witching Hour Publishing, is to be released on 23 November 2016.

Here’s the third excerpt from the third book of the series (Tesla would be happy).

Dividing a story into chapters can be a tricky part of writing. Is the chapter just part of a scene, a teaser so to speak? Does a full sequence with a beginning, a middle, and an end take place?

A guide-line I like to use for ending a chapter is don’t leave off at a stopping point. When the character falls asleep, or sits down to wait, or ends a conversation where they learn something they need to is not a good place to end, because it invites the reader to put down the book. They have some measure of satisfaction, and you want to leave them wanting more (i.e., a “page turner”) with a cliff-hanger. Some ways to do this could be having the protagonist round a corner and come face to face with something, have someone find something and then it does something unexpected, or what happens at the end of this excerpt, which is incidentally the end of a chapter of Omens:

Strong hands grabbed Ria’s arms and hauled her to her feet. A moment later the four of them were running across the courtyard and through the black doors that opened from within, spreading like arms to welcome them with an emotionless embrace. A thick carpet underfoot swallowed their footsteps, leaving them in silence as they hurried from the door.
Cold air raised the hair on Ria’s skin when the door swung shut with a click behind them. Inside, the air was crystal clear and made her eyes sting. Despite the lack of visible lighting, Ria could see with perfect clarity. A smell slithered into Ria with every breath, the smell of emptiness and silence which filled her head with space and an odd ringing.
Windows of black glass towered over them on either side, folding into each other, the facets of a liquid diamond. High above them Ria assumed there must be a ceiling of some sort though it was lost in the darkness. A Mark – a circle, one half black, the other half white – was seared onto every visible surface, carved into the end of the wooden pews, welded in the filigree over the windows.
“What’s that?” Ria asked.
“That is Death’s Mark,” Juff said, averting her eyes from the symbol on the wall.
Ria stared at it. The Guardian Luca Lorisson had explained to her briefly about the Prophecy of Aethsiths and Her Mark. This Mark was not a true Mark, she decided after a moment of thoughtful examination. A true Mark was written by its owner with the intent to write it, and that could be felt as easily as the Mark could be seen; Ria felt nothing from the Mark, no tingle of magyc, no undercurrent of golden music. It was a lie.
“Why do they put it everywhere?” she wondered aloud, her eyes sliding from the drapes framing the windows to the low benches cloaked in the shadows that clung to the walls, to the black columns at the side of the massive room.
“I don’t know,” Juff said, and gave her a frown. “Don’t speak so loudly.”
The door behind them opened, sending light chasing after the shadows. The nymphs froze, incandescent eyes wide.
“Here!” Juff said and gave them a shove towards a long black table draped with folds of shimmery cloth that appeared before them as though it had just been set down by a giant hand. A wreath of metal barbs as big as a swimming pool fashioned into Death’s Mark hung on the wall behind it.
They scurried behind the table. Ria peeked around and saw the blood-red uniforms outlined in sunlight. The Streetwardens hesitated outside, shifting and looking back and forth. Two black-robed figures appeared from within the Necrolatry, gliding towards the Streetwardens, who backed away. When the doors closed the figures disappeared into the darkness as if they had not even been there.
Ria’s breath caught in her throat when they reappeared in front of their hiding spot. Shaved heads and skin so pale it glowed made the figures seem insubstantial, like projections of light. Juff looked at Ria with wide eyes and the nymphs huddled together for support. Ria scooted over and peered around the folds of cloth.
The black figures conferred softly with their backs to Ria, gesturing at the door and the table. Ria ducked back as the nearest figure turned to look at the table. Moments of tense silence marched by to the erratic beating of Ria’s heart. Her senses would have her believe that the figures had gone away, that there was no one there, but Ria knew better.
A coldness pressed on her, squeezing tighter and tighter as she imagined the black robed figures stepping closer on silent feet. Ria turned her head very slightly to the left, saw Juff wide-eyed with fear, the two nymphs clutching each other and seeming to shrink in size as Ria watched.
None of them could do anything, they were trapped behind the altar. They would be discovered and the stark fear in Juff’s eyes was not giving any comforting ideas as to their fate. Ria had to do something before they were all discovered.
She could think of only one thing to do.

___________________________________________________

Doesn’t that make you want to find out what she does? 😉

Look for Omens and other great books published by Witching Hour Publishing coming 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

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