"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A pirating day

I'm still choosing a cover and refining the jacket copy for Peri's latest adventure, A MORE DEADLY UNION. Currently, I'm striving for a June release date, although I may push it out if necessary. I'm also planning a big, fat launch party. It's been awhile since I had one of those, but as my age advances, I feel the need to celebrate milestones.

Life is short. Celebrate the happy.

In the meantime, I'm still working on my girl pirate book. It's fun to write, because it's like Play-Doh, molding and massaging and creating whatever comes to mind. I'm not sure where the story might go, and the characters and their motivations keep getting stronger, and they reveal secrets to me the more I write them. 

So much so that my first chapter got scrapped, and I'm now writing it all in first-person because Lisette wants to tell this story. I don't know whether it's because she's nobility or just strong-willed, but she's a girl who will do anything to get to her goals, including narrating her own tale.

And then there are the dragons.

Here is the new first chapter of the current work. I hope it whets your appetite.

* * * * * *

When I was five years old, I saw a dragon kill my uncle. This would be unremarkable if dragons existed, but my entire family told me I had a wild imagination and dissuaded me from telling anyone else. For anyone I had told, they tsk-tsked and explained that, poor child, I was so traumatized by witnessing my uncle’s death, I had dreamed up a horrid beast to explain it to my wee five-year-old brain.

When you’re young, parents are always telling you the vegetable on your plate is really magic candy, and it’s midnight on New Year’s when the clock rings eight. You believe them because they are your parents and they are wise and you love them.

So when they said I must have been mistaken and frightened and there are no dragons, I tried to believe it was a knife and not talons that slashed my uncle’s throat, and it was a torch and not a beast’s breath setting fire to his body.

What my parents did not know, what I never told, was that after killing my uncle, the dragon came to me. His image is seared in my mind. He was the size of a horse, crimson and black, with a line of golden spikes down his back to his tail. His coat was not scaled, as the tapestries portrayed them, but silky and long, like luxurious fur.

As he sniffed me, his nostrils widened from narrow slits to rounds, and the crescents in his eyes glowed, matching the waning moon. His breath smelled of ashes, and he brought his tremendous talon to press me against the wall. My body quivered, waiting to be sliced into ribbons, but I faced him. His eyes drilled into mine, searching for something within me.

After some moments of what I can only describe as a combination of terror and excitement, he turned from me and flew away, with a cry that expressed both anguish and victory. Even if I could have forgotten the smell of his breath, the weight of his claw upon my breast, I could never forget that scream.

I am now on the eve of my 18th year, a grown woman, preparing to be a bride, and leaving behind my childhood dreams and fantasies. I must learn to stop looking for great beasts of fire and claw. Still, there is a corner of my heart that keeps watching, both fearing and hoping to see another.

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