Thanks to everyone who came out for the Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show. The Colorado Authors League and chairwoman Jodi Bowersocks did a great job with our booth. I was amazed at the number of people who strolled and marched and hurried by, almost everyone carrying bags overflowing with gifts.
It was huge. There were around 450 booths, and thousands of people attended. The line to get in before the opening each day stretched around the building.
I had a great time talking to people about my books.
“Red Dragon’s Keep is the story of a boy who must become a man, master the magic in his blood, learn to wield his Sword of Light, and prepare his home for the coming Demon War.”
“WindRunner is the story of the second son, who has to deal with his jealousy, envy, and fear that he won’t measure up to his brother, all while he is trying to cope with an arrogant WindRunner who demands his obedience.”
“DreamWalker will launch in Spring 2020.”
I sold lots of books.
Here’s an excerpt from “DreamWalker” ~
The Dragon’s Children Book 3
Something isn’t right.
Breanna Arach struggled to wake up.
A dirt path bordered by looming trees stretched before her. Darkness pressed in from either side of the narrow pathway. She could hear the skittering of creatures in the underbrush. An awful smell choked her, triggering her gag reflex.
She heard and felt the pounding of approaching hoofbeats. Dread squeezed her, shortened her breath, her heartbeat frantic. Shadows stretched ahead of whatever was coming down the path. She saw…
Breanna tore herself free of the dream, jerking upright with a shriek of fear.
Her heart hammered. She was panting. Sweat covered her face and body. She trembled with terror.
Eyes wide, she stared into nothing. The guttering glow of the embers in the fireplace at the end of her bed softened the darkness of her room. Her heart slowly returned to normal.
A dream. Just a dream.
Breanna swung her legs from under the quilt covering her bed to sit on its side. Her feet dangled above the floor. She put her elbows on her knees and dropped her head in her hands. She breathed slow and deep.
What am I going to do? she thought in anguish. This is the third dream this week! I have to find a way to control them!
She slid off the mattress to the floor with a sigh. The cold curled her toes. She slipped her feet into soft leather slippers and pulled her robe over her nightshift. She put another log on the fire. Leaving her Sword of Light in its scabbard on the stand beside her bed, she made her way from the family corridor to the small hearth in the kitchen keeping a cauldron of water hot through the night. The Dragon Tower was quiet, the only sound the cadence of the guards patrolling.
Pulling a mug from the shelf next to the fireplace, she spooned chamomile leaves from one of several containers holding various types of tea into its bottom. She ladled the water into the mug and shuffled to the table in front of the window looking out over the kitchen garden.
Breanna remembered helping Moirra, the Keep’s wisewoman, harvest the chamomile at the end of summer. She leaned over the cup and drew the scent of the tea deep into her lungs. The braid of her red-gold hair dangled down her chest, almost into the tea. Impatience tightened her mouth as she flipped it back over her shoulder. Stirring the leaves to hasten their steeping, she yawned mightily, her jaw cracking as she pulled in another huge breath.
“That’s attractive,” a voice commented from the arch into the kitchen.
Breanna jerked in surprise and swung to face the doorway.
“What are you doing up?” she demanded of Marta, her friend and weapons teacher.
“I heard your shriek,” the young woman told her. Long black hair framed her pale face, lying loose down to her waist. Tired half-opened blue eyes blinked slowly.
“Sorry I woke you,” Breanna told her, chagrin in her voice. She pulled the spoon from the tea to let the leaves settle to the bottom.
“That’s all right. I wasn’t sleeping well myself,” Marta said as she walked to the hearth and took a cup for herself. She scooped in black tea and poured hot water into the cup.
“Really? Why not?” Breanna asked. “What were you dreaming about?”
Marta joined her at the table in front of the window facing the kitchen garden. This deep into night, it only reflected the dim light in the kitchen.
“Just normal stuff. You know, Demons coming out of portals. Claws reaching out of rifts to grab me. Dragon fire burning me to a crisp. Stuff like that,” Marta told her, a crooked smile crossing her face, highlighting the dark circles under her eyes.
Breanna frowned. “You look awful. Have you talked to your mother? Maybe she can help.”
Marta brushed the suggestion aside with a flick of her fingers. “I’m fine. They’re just dreams about everything that’s happened.” She looked into her cup, avoiding Breanna’s gaze.
“Uh huh,” Breanna said. She took a sip from the cup. “I still think you need to tell your mother about them.”
“Why did you shriek?” Marta asked. Breanna knew she was deliberately changing the subject.
“Something was coming down the path I was on. I knew it was horrible. Just before it turned the corner so I could see it, I woke up.” Breanna swirled the liquid in her mug, a brooding glower on her face, the corners of her mouth turned down. “Well, I don’t care if you’re not going to talk to your mother. I’m going to find her in the morning and ask her if she can help me control my dreams. I wish Mother was here, or even Aeden. Something is going on. I can just feel it!”
Marta looked at her for many moments, a frown lowering her brows, lips thin. “Ok. I’ll go with you. Maybe she can help me, too.”
Breanna drank the last of her tea and stood up from the table. “I’m going back to bed and see if I can sleep. See you in the morning.” She left her empty cup on a table by the door.
A miasma of fear and rage reach out toward her as she opened the door to her room.
Breanna took an involuntary step back into the hall. Eyes narrowing with dangerous intent, jaw clenched, her anger surged. Sending a mental shout to SunWalker, Breanna rushed to the sword stand. Nothing answered her.
Shaken by that lack of contact, she grabbed up the Sword, stripping the scabbard from its blade.
Light flared as SunWalker awoke.
The pall of rage and fear vanished as if it had never been.
Someone bound me! SunWalker’s voice hissed in Breanna’s mind. Someone very powerful.
Breanna plopped onto the bed with a gasp of dismay. If she wasn’t safe in her own room with a Sword of Light, nowhere was safe.
How? How were you bound? Can you feel anything? Anything that will tell us who did this?
The Sword was silent for a short time. No. I feel the remnants of a spell. It is not from someone in the Keep. That much I can recognize. It triggered when you began to dream.
She slid the scabbard over SunWalker’s blade with slow precision and replaced the Sword on the stand. Breanna flinched as a log burning in the fireplace across the room popped, sending a shower of sparks up the chimney.
What can we do to keep this from happening again? Is there a counter-spell that we can use? Breanna was shaken to her core. She’d thought that the Sword was invincible.
Thomas, HellReaver, and the Dragon return today from the battle for Aos Si. We must ask them when they arrive, SunWalker responded.
Breanna’s mood brightened.
Oh good! I’m glad he’s coming back, she told SunWalker with a smile. I can’t wait to hear what happened at Aos Si. That dream was scary enough, thank you very much. If I never walk through a Dark Fey’s dreams again, it will be too soon. I knew Thomas needed to be there for us to win.
She lay back on the bed and pulled the quilts up over her body. The room was still cold despite the fire.
I shall remain on guard until they are here, SunWalker told her.
Breanna closed her eyes. She remembered the dream of a horde of Demons attacking the home of her aunt and uncle. She’s seen an army of Forest Lords marching toward the walls of Aos Si as she walked through the dreams of a deadly Dark Fey, a being from another world trapped in hers, bent on killing every human it could find. She’d seen her brother Owen leading a sweeping herd of WindRunners, as black as the ink spilled across a new page, coming to the aid of all. She drifted into dreamless sleep.
The light of the dawn sun made its way through the shutters covering Breanna’s windows and laid itself across her cheek. She stretched and yawned, pulling air deep into her lungs.
She sat up and swung herself out of bed. The clothes she’d worn yesterday were good enough. She pulled the much-patched tunic over her head and slid her legs into the trousers. She unbraided her hair and swept it into a tail at the back of her head, tying it with a strip of leather. Excitement spiked as she remembered that Thomas and Aeden were coming home. She shoved her feet into her boots, grabbed SunWalker and charged out of her room, slamming the door behind her.
She hurried through breakfast of oatmeal and a mug of cider. A cry from the watchtower was taken up by the guards on the wall. “Dragon!”
Breanna jogged through the great hall and out the double doors of the entry. She raised her hand to shield her eyes from blinding light of the rising sun, now shining over the ramparts of Red Dragon’s Keep, as she stood on the apron of the stairs that descended to the forecourt.
She pumped a fist over her head in happy celebration as the Red Dragon spiraled into the space between the wall and the Dragon Tower. Villagers and visitors coming through the gates scurried to the walls as wind from the Dragon’s wings pushed dust and small rocks across the ground.
Thomas sat between two of the spines that rose from the Dragon’s back. Her hind feet touched down first, then her front feet settling gently to the earth. Thomas unclipped the straps that attached to a piece of leather around the massive creature’s neck. He swung his right leg over the Dragon’s neck and slid down her left side to the ground along her leg. He pushed himself away from her and jogged toward Breanna.
The Dragon stretched out her long neck and roared. A whirlwind descended from the clear sky and spun faster and faster around her form. Aeden, daughter of the Dragon King, red hair lifted in a cloud around her head, walked toward them as it lifted away.
Breanna launched herself toward Thomas from the second stair. He caught her and swung her around, his mouth stretched in a broad grin. He set her back on her feet.
“I’m so glad you’re home. I want to hear all about the battle. Are Owen and Navar all right? What about Aunt Debra and Uncle Scott? Did the Forest Lords help? When will everyone arrive?” she demanded, almost in one breath. She slid to the ground.
“Whoa,” exclaimed Thomas. “Slow down. First, Mother, Father, and the Gobhlans are alive.”
“By the Three Gods!” Breanna shrieked, jumping up and down, a huge grin splitting her face.
Thomas laughed out loud. “They escaped from North Meall and found us with the Forest Lord Army. All of them have Swords of Light! Let’s go inside and I’ll tell you all about it.” He turned to Aeden. “Lady, would you join us?”
“Yes, I will,” she told him and gave each of them a grave nod. Then she grinned. “There is much to tell.” The three walked up the stairs and into the great hall.
Thomas tapped the shoulder of a skully wiping down a table. “Please find Gregory and Evan Gobhlan and have them meet us in the Library.” The man dropped his rag on the table and scuttled from the hall. Thomas turned to Breanna. “Has Cameron come back to the Keep?”
“No,” she told him. “We haven’t heard a thing. I’m going to find Marta. She should hear this too.”
“Tell her that her father made it and is on his way back,” Thomas shouted at her retreating back.
Breanna hurried out of the tower through the kitchen and made her way toward the fields. She knew Marta was already out in the training pen with the yearlings.
Copyright 2019 by Natli VanDerWerken