Monday, January 17, 2011

Have you ever met a baby Draecna?

I’m so excited to announce that ETERNITY’S MARK survived Round Three of Kensington Brava / RT Book Reviews Writing With the Stars Contest and has moved on to Round Four.

Four of us remain, doing our best to win your vote for Best Secondary Character. When they asked us to submit our excerpts, William was an easy choice. I fell in love with my little Draecna and I hope you do too. I’ve always loved dragons and my beloved Draecna’s in ETERNITY’S MARK have many dragon attributes. In case you haven’t been to RT’s site yet, here’s William’s description that’s battling for the win:

Bumbling and inquisitive as a big-footed pup, William won Hannah’s love the instant his shimmering green nose pushed through the shell. A wiggling bundle of iridescent scales topped with wings and horns, William’s likeness to the prints of the mythical dragons Hannah once studied is only contradicted by his newborn size. The first of the Draecna hatchlings released from the protective spell of his egg, William becomes the full-of-mischief, exasperating son Hannah never had. When he’s not providing the castle with Draecna flatulence to ignite into balls of fire, he continues to forget the wise admonition: “Never piss into the wind.” Under the tutelage of the elder Draecna’s, William struggles with learning the tenets of his race while waiting for the power of his first flame. When war breaks out, William matures quickly, protecting Hannah and unleashing his first blaze to avenge them all.

Below, you’ll find an excerpt from my story to help get you acquainted with William a bit better. If you’d like to help us survive Round Four, after you enjoy the excerpt – please pop over to RT’s site and give us your vote. There's also a place to leave a comment, if you like.  Here’s the link:

I know William appreciates your support – but not nearly as much as I do! *wink*


“He’s pissing on his feet again.” Gearlach nodded in William’s direction where he stood bouncing and peeing a healthy stream of steaming white urine all over his over-sized feet.

“William!” Taggart snapped at the young Draecna and barely jumped out of the line of fire as William swung around in answer to Taggart’s call. “Dammit, boy! How many times do I have to tell ye? Ye do not piss into the wind.” Gads, he’d forgotten how much energy it took keeping a young hatchling in line.

William shook off his feet and wiped them on the backs of his legs as he glanced up at Taggart with a sheepish grin. “Don’t tell Mother, ‘kay?”

“She is not your mother, William. She is the honored Guardian.” Gearlach flicked at William’s wing with a crooked claw as he nudged the hatchling’s tail with his toe. “Have ye not looked in any of the mirrors in the castle? She’s not got a single scale, claw or wing on her scrawny wee body. She’s pink and soft, while we’re hideous, scaly monsters. Or at least that’s what most humans on this side of the portal think.”

William kicked at Gearlach’s monstrous, three-toed feet and pounded on his over-sized belly. “She said I could call her Mama or Mother if I wanted. She told me ‘twas proper ‘cause she helped me to get borned out of my shell.”

“When do ye start your lessons with Septamus?” Taggart interrupted. The hatchling’s butchering of his native tongue made him want to cringe.

“Septamus said Gearlach’s got to unteach me his stuff first. He told me I’ve got to be more mannerly afore he’ll fool with me.” William beamed a snaggle-toothed grin at Taggart and puffed out his scaly chest with pride.

Cutting his gaze over at Gearlach, Taggart dreaded the answer to the question he was about to ask. Gearlach had found an adoring protégé in William and Gearlach had barely reached maturity himself. “What have you done to the boy, Gearlach?”

With a chuckle, Gearlach nudged William with his foot while he stripped a tree branch to scrape the residue of his lunch from between his teeth. “Go on, William. Show him what we can do.”

Bouncing up and down, William clapped his claws together and bounded around the clearing. “Ye know I am too young to make flames just yet, but Gearlach lets me help.”

This couldn’t be good. Anytime Gearlach dabbled with fire, it didn’t end well. It’s a wonder the two hadn’t annihilated the entire tip of Scotland. “Gearlach if ye hurt the little one in any way, Hannah will kill us all. Ye know how she feels about him, right?” Taggart glared at the grinning Draecna with a sense of dread. What the hell had he taught little William to do?

“Now, Taggart. Ye know I’d never hurt the lad! We’ve done it dozens of times. Haven’t we, William?” Gearlach tossed his tree branch toothpick aside and nodded to the smiling young Draecna.

“Oh, aye!” Bending over, William flipped his tail over to one side, took a deep breath and strained. His face turned a deeper shade of green as he squeaked out a peeling fart that lasted several long seconds. “Now, Gearlach!” he shouted.

With a gentle puff, Gearlach sparked the Draecna methane bubble into a roiling ball of flames. It exploded into a brilliant circle of blazing sparks that roiled its way into the sky.

Covering his face with his hands, Taggart shook his head, then raked his hands through his hair. He stared at the beaming Gearlach then glanced over at William who stood waiting for his critique. “You two have set our kind backward in civilization over a thousand years. Do not do that again or I will spell ye both so that neither one of ye can either fart or breath fire again for several centuries. Do ye both understand me?”

His lower lip quivering just below his nubby fangs, William sniffed and stared down at his feet. “Gearlach said it was…was funny and quite talented. He said none of the other Draecna’s could do it.”

“Aye, well. He was right about none of the other Draecna’s doing it.” Taggart folded his arms across his chest and fixed Gearlach with a threatening glare. He couldn’t imagine where the fool had come up with the idea although Gearlach held an obsessed fascination with his flame and any type of explosion. “I hold Gearlach responsible, William. But ye’re getting old enough now to realize what ye should and shouldna do. And I want ye to start spending a great deal more time with Septamus rather than Gearlach. He’s a much better influence upon ye. Do ye understand me?”

“Aye.” William nodded and cut his flickering golden eyes over at Gearlach as if silently accusing him of sending him straight to the gallows.