While I may have posted a bit about our home remodeling adventure, I am still working very hard on my creative projects.
I’m on track to have the romance novel about Daniella and Callen ready by this fall. Yes, the same Daniella from To Love a Prince. She needs her own happily-ever-after.
I finished my fourth round of revisions on this story and sent it to my editor and beta reader earlier this month. This is my first time using this editor, but I got her name from a blogger friend, so I am hopeful. My beta reader is amazing, and she’s done a better job than paid editors I’ve used.
I am both excited and nervous to hear back from them. It’s always hard to let your baby go. Yes, it’s not perfect. Yes, their honest critique will make it better. It’s still hard to hear, even if it’s needed changes.
While I’m waiting for their edits to come back, the short story I wrote about Sir Gabriel didn’t shake him out of my head. Rather, it wove him deeper into my thoughts. So, rather than work on the novel I’d been planning, he’s getting his own story. I’m 100 pages into it already, so it’s going to be a full length novel rather than a novella.
I’ve started to think of stories for Eli and Auburn’s children, but I’ve put those plot bunnies in a pen for now.
I think I will save them for a future series called the Sleeping Dragon or the Dragon Wakes.
I still have several more story ideas for future novels in the Knights of Valor series, and I’ve had more ideas for the the series I started that involves dragon brothers and their riders.
Ideas aren’t my issue, but time sure is! The day job is quieting down as we head into the summer months, so hopefully I will have more mental bandwidth for writing and editing.
My goal is to release one more book this year and three next year.
Yes, I put that in writing. Hold me to it!
We train them, we fear them, and we mother them. Dragons have captured our imaginations.
We all know the real reasons we all love Daenerys Targaryen: Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion.
So why do we love dragons so much? Here are six reasons.
6 Reasons We Love dragons.
1. Flying Mounts
Yes, you get to ride them. They might be as large as a house or the size of a mountain. Doesn’t matter. I can’t think of a cooler ride.
Dragons are frequently depicted as strong and powerful, much like the alpha male trope, just scalier. If you’re writing a D&D adventure, the dragon is always the final encounter. If you’re playing a video game, the dragon is that unbeatable end boss that an NPC can call a false deity with a straight face.
A dragon promises an epic story. Little things like armies do not slow them. They are the ultimate ally or the greatest foe. You can’t introduce a dragon into a story in a small way. There is nothing mightier than being the Dragonborn, or the Mother of Dragons, or the Dragon Rider.
Whether casting spells, deflecting them, or breathing fire, dragons are inherently creatures of magic. This feeds back into the power of point 2 above, but it’s more than that. There is nothing mundane or boring about a dragon.
Dragons play by their own rules. They are going to achieve their ends, even if it means centuries of manipulation. They are not bound by the concepts of good and evil as mere mortals are.
They may be an ancient force for good or for evil, but they usually possess an ancient wisdom and mysticism. Not much more romantic than that.
What do you think? Do you love dragons? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite ones?
Helena shivered as the cold spring breeze cut through her thin cloak. The scent of freshly tilled earth and young growing things filled the air. A time of rebirth. A time of blood sacrifice to keep the monster from devouring the calves, lambs and newly planted fields.
Even standing in the center of the crowd, Helena felt alone. Her mother had been sacrificed first, then her older sister had been taken by the blood lottery five years later. Her younger sister’s name had been called last spring.
No one stood up for them as most were happy it wasn’t their friends or family. And who would miss a poor washer woman and her impoverished children?
Helena suspected that the lottery was not random as it was supposed to be. It had been a long time since a merchant had been chosen and longer still that an aristocrat had.
The poor, the misfits, the criminals unfit for hard labor. Those were the ones that somehow were chosen time and time again. And she fit two of the three criteria. Helena assumed the only reason she hadn’t been chosen yet was Lord Lothar’s lustful interest in the washer girl who read books. But that shred of protection was gone when she’d refused to jump into his bed.
She’d take her chances with the rigged lottery.
Fear knotted her chest as she watched the sheriff roll out the silver basket filled with names. She knew, and yet, it was supposed to be a lottery…
She held her breath as the priest reached into the basket and drew out a name.
The crowd parted like a sea around her, afraid to get too close to the condemned woman. She swallowed back the fear. Time to join her mother and sisters in the great beyond.
Helena said nothing even as the guards swooped in and yanked her forward. Lothar leered down at her from the podium, a dark smile twisting his lips as they bound her arms behind her back. He sat back and watched as they dragged her through the streets toward the Tower of God.
Helena kept her face blank as her heart pounded against her ribs. She’d done the right thing rejecting Lothar. Her mother’s willingness to bed a nobleman and let him sire her three daughters had done nothing to protect any of them. Nothing to feed them. And the nobleman had been quite willing to sacrifice his illegitimate daughters when knowledge of them had become inconvenient.
Steadying her breathing, Helena said a prayer to Thalia. At least she wouldn’t have to worry about how she was going to eat tonight.
They reached the gleaming silver temple overlooking the jagged Dragon Cliffs. Helena had only a moment to take in the glorious windswept valley and tall peaks before the guards forced her up the almost endless flight of stairs to the top of the Tower of God. The icy wind tugged her mahogany hair from its braid, twisting the shining tendrils as they bound her to the pole.
A guard drew his dagger and sliced her wrist.
Helena yelped, watching her blood flow from the wound and drip down her hand and over her cloak. The only cloak she owned. Not that she would need it much longer.
The moment her blood touched the Tower of God, she heard it. A deep, low rumble that made her stomach climb into her throat.
The guards heard it too and raced back down the stairs.
Growing louder, the rumble filled her ears and shook the ground. The entire temple swayed, and had she not been bound to the pole, Helena would’ve tumbled onto the jagged rocks below.
A moment later she saw it. Her eyes saucered. As large as the temple itself, the silver dragon glittered in the afternoon sunlight as it glided through the cold air.
Before she could think, before she could offer another prayer to Thalia, it dived at her.
She closed her eyes and screamed.
But there was no pain. She opened her eyes, expecting to be dead, but instead she found herself soaring over forests and streams so fast that they disappeared beneath her in a panoply of color. A wave of nausea hit her, and she buried her face in her arm as she steadied her stomach.
Collecting herself, she took several slow breaths and looked up. A basket made out of strong but flexible reeds surrounded her and protected her from the dragon’s razor sharp claws. Was the beast taking her home to eat her? Or taking her as a meal for its children?
The dragon snorted above her, and Helena fell back against the basket.
I have no intention of eating you, and I have no children to feed you to.
There was bitterness in the words, and she looked up at the beast’s claws surrounding her.
“I can hear your thoughts?”
If I so wish it.
Helena said nothing and tried to keep her mind blank as she gazed down at the blur of landscape below them. The dragon’s flight felt effortless, yet they were crossing distances in minutes that should’ve taken hours.
At last his pace started to slow, and he spiraled upward. Helena clung to the sides of the basket. The dragon cleared the top of a mountain and descended into the valley below.
Lush, green, and full of life.
Given their altitude, it should have been snow-covered. Instead, fields were already sprouting, and orchards were in bloom. The rich scent played off the cold glacial smell of the dragon.
Another flap of his wings and they were gliding over towns and climbing towards a large castle that glittered like ice.
The dragon circled the castle then landed with a cat’s grace in the windswept courtyard. The doors to the castle opened and a group of revelers raced outside, their arms laden with flowers as they welcomed her.
Helena’s eyes widened and tears streamed down her cheeks as she saw her sisters and her mother running toward her.
“Am I dead?” Helena asked as she hugged her mother.
Her mother shook her head as she brushed away Helena’s tears. “This is Dragon Valley. Lord Ander brought us here, as he brought you.”
“I thought…” Helena glanced back at the massive silver dragon.
A blast of magic puffed her cloak, and where the dragon had been stood a man with silver hair and eyes bluer than the sky. A well dressed courtier hurried forward and draped an exquisite white cape over Ander’s shoulders.
“Let the feasting begin. The girl is hungry.” Oblivious to his nakedness, Ander left them as he strode into the castle.
“Still not the one,” Helena’s mother whispered. Looking down, she said a prayer.
“Not the one?” Helena asked.
Her mother hugged her. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s go enjoy the feast celebrating your arrival. We’ll have plenty of time to explain later.”
Dressed in a warm cape and clean clothes, Helena ate her fill for the first time in her life. Still not totally convinced this wasn’t heaven, she looked towards the glittering castle and wondered about the man that had given her a new life.
At least, it never ends well for me.
So, when we were at Home Depot of all places, and that come out of my daughter’s mouth, I knew I was really in trouble.
What had caught her attention? An eleven foot dragon. Yeah, she’s totally my kid.
I have to admit, she has good taste. But it looked HUGE in Home Depot. I couldn’t imagine how big it would be on our suburban front lawn.
Of course, she reminds me that we have no other decorations. Which, she’s not wrong. I don’t suppose the three little pumpkin walkway lights really count. I love watching the kids dress up at Halloween, but I hate anything macabre. You can keep your ghosts, skeletons and dead brides, thank you very much!
But she’s now at the age where she really wants to decorate for the holidays. Unlike my husband and I who were known to go without even a Christmas tree before we had kids.
I told her I’d think about it, hoping she’d forget. Of course she didn’t forget, and she reminded me about it for the next two weeks.
So, we went back to get the eleven foot dragon. When we got to Home Depot, the thing was sold out. Even the floor model was gone. This was back at the end of September, and I was shocked. A quick search with my phone showed no other Home Depots with guaranteed stock in the area. But I could still get it online.
So, I assuage my daughter’s crushing disappointment that she isn’t getting it that day with the fact that it will arrive in three to five days and we probably wouldn’t have had time to put it up that weekend anyway. She trudges back to the car, but at least I got her out of the store without a scene. There’s more than one reason why I do so much shopping online!.
The dragon arrived, my husband put it up for her, and she is now totally excited. So excited, in fact, that when she and her sister saw the dragon deflated the next morning on the way to school, they both were super insistent that I needed to “fix” the dragon.
Raising a pair of dragon lovers. Couldn’t be more proud!
Do you decorate for Halloween? If so, do you go all out, or were you like us with our three little pumpkins? Any of your neighbors go all out? What’s the best or worst display you’ve seen?
I’m looking for recommendations for good fantasy romance novels.
Okay, yes, I have a pile of Regency novels, but these aren’t my preferred genre. They are just easy to find.
I prefer high fantasy with elves, knights, dragons, wizards and the like. Though, at this point, I’ll take recommendations for anything.
Happily-ever-after is a must or it isn’t a romance novel.
I don’t care if it had graphic steamy scenes, but I’d prefer no graphic violence.
I’ll even take something that fits this as a beta-reader or advanced copy reader and give an honest review in return.