Archive for the ‘Excerpts’ Category

h1

Dragon Lyric: Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek!

May 22, 2017

As some of you know, I’m preparing to release another short story, a high fantasy tale called Dragon Lyric. It was originally part of the larger collection of shorts I’m compiling, but it grew to have a presence of its own that demanded to be shared individually.

Dragon Lyric releases a month from now, June 22nd!

Today I’m officially introducing it to the world: not just sharing what it’s about and a sneak excerpt, but also its gorgeous face cover – done by talented artist Julia Busko. 😀

First thing’s first!

About the story…

Her husband is a dragon. And the dragon is hungry.

Drawn by his allure, Theryn left everything behind to live with Roth in his mountain cave. But then her fiery-eyed husband transformed into something else: a monster of scales, claws, and wings. The dragon has only one use for her—to bear his dragon egg, now forming in her womb. After the egg is laid, she will be nothing but fresh meat.

But Theryn refuses to suffer the same fate as Roth’s former brides. For her own sake, and for the baby dragonshifter she carries, she must find a way to escape the monster, and break the enchantment of the dragon lyric.

And now for the cover…

Okay…

at long last…

the moment we’ve been waiting for…

Here…

it…

is…!

*squeeee* Look at that snarky dragon face!!

Julia captured Roth and Theryn so perfectly! I love the emotion she infuses into her art, and I’m very thankful to have this cover done by her. 🙂

And I can’t wait to share this story with all of you. It’s a tale of defiance and maternal courage, laced with dragonish snark, ferocity, and fire.

Here’s a tiny taste of the story within…

AN EXCERPT FROM “DRAGON LYRIC: A SHORT STORY”

by Bethany A. Jennings

The dragon rested his upper half on the end of the bed, and the entire bedframe creaked as though it would snap. His golden eyes smiled hungrily at her. You will have plenty of time to accept your fate – three whole weeks until the egg will be ready to lay. Did you know that you had dragonshifter blood in you?

She sat upright and gave him a sharp look. “That can’t be true.”

But it is! I see it in your eyes. I have searched for many generations to find a woman who can carry my young. We are a rare breed, almost gone from this land. I cannot find a true mate…alas, you only carry enough dragonshifter blood to form an egg.

“And after I do that for you, you are going to eat me?” she cried. “I thought you loved me. You wooed me! You showed me all the affection any man would show a woman. I left my family to live with you in a cave!

Your emotions are like morsels…the more I taste, the greater variety of flavor. I have tasted your trust, your passion, your affection. Now I taste your woe, anger, and fear. All the work merely makes my conquest more delicious, and the deeper I know you, the more control I have over you with my magic. The lightning of his laugh cracked through the chamber again. They say food tastes better when it’s prepared with love…

Theryn grabbed an iron candlestick off the bedside table and hurled it into the beast’s face.

Roth flicked it away with a swish of his massive foreleg. Try what you might. I am invincible. Seven furious fathers and brothers of my wives have come to make their revenge, and all have been destroyed. No wife has escaped me yet, either. You are a helpless, feeble woman. There is nothing for you to do but accept your fate, my dear – precious carrier of my egg – my love – my lunch.

Theryn grabbed fistfuls of the slick pillow and screamed a curse into the silk.

Hush, now…you must relax. All this worrying will do my egg no good. Roth’s huge, scaled form curled around the bed, head near Theryn’s face on one side, and tail swishing on the other. You have heard of dragonshifter magic since your youth, I am sure. Now you will feel it. Pride thrummed in his voice. I will sing you to sleep while I sing growth to my young. Dragonshifters may need a mother, but only their father can sing them the lyric they need to grow…

*

Dragon Lyric releases June 22, 2017. To be updated when it’s available, sign up for my brand new newsletter below!

The newsletter will contain updates on new releases, writing projects, and secret sneak peeks into upcoming #WIPjoy events and other exciting tidbits – it only goes out four times a year (and on rare special occasions) and I promise I will never spam you! 🙂

CLICK HERE to sign up for my quarterly newsletter!

*
What do you think of Julia’s beautiful cover? The excerpt? Do you like stories about good dragons or evil dragons better? I’d love to hear what you think! 😀

h1

#ILoveMyWIPBecause

October 13, 2015

I’m usually kind of timid about sharing about my work now that I’m an adult. (But what if people think I’m a showoff? Eeep!)

And I’m even more timid about sharing my old, amateur artwork. *gulp*

But just for once I am going to shout, “Who cares! I LOVE MY BOOK and I’m going to share it anyway!!” and boldly talk about this product of my creative passion, because I love it, and I think all writers should be in love with their works and have a passion for what they’re writing. 🙂

I was inspired by a hashtag that was going around Twitter the other day – #ILoveMyWIPBecause. Writers were sharing their favorite things about their works-in-progress.  I posted a few…but ultimately I thought it would be fun to go beyond 140 characters at a time, and instead post tiny snippets from the story to display each reason why.  (Also, one of my new Twitter friends asked if I had any excerpts on here, and I realized I really don’t share many of those!)

So here are a few snippets from my book that will hopefully be entertaining and intriguing. 🙂  Some of these are from the current draft and some from the one directly previous, since my current draft is incomplete.

For context, this is YA sci-fi…I like to call it portal sci-fi.

 

1. I love my WIP because of the adorable, close brother-sister friendship of my main characters, Kevin and CatherineCatherine concept sketch

“Are you done yet?” Kevin inquired. “I need to take my shower.”

“Yes, yes!” She swung away from the counter in mock drama. “Bathroom’s all yours. Good grief! Take it and welcome!”

“My humble thanks, milady.” He grinned, holding back the door so she could slip past him.

2. I love my WIP because of Thraunya, my snarky INTJ girl with a bionic arm (oh yeah, and she’s venomous too, in the very literal sense of the word…this snippet doesn’t do her justice) 😀

An old sketch of my character's metal arm.He straightened in his seat and met her clear green eyes in renewed determination. “Exactly. I’m all right, thanks. I’ll get over it.”

“Ah, I’m sure you will,” she said loftily, shutting her bag again. “I’m more concerned about the lasting ill effect of your pride.”

3. I love my WIP because…HETHS!

[The Heth] was huge, easily three times [Kevin’s] length if he included the tail, with a strong body as big around as a large barrel. Although shaped like a lizard in some ways, there was little reptilian about it. The ruff around its upper neck pulsed a little, laid back like a cautious dog’s ears, but as Kevin came closer it stiffened with interest, standing out to look a little more like the frill on a triceratops. The Heth’s fur was tawny with a reddish tinge, and it had a sharp snout and black eyes that shone with curiosity and evident friendliness.

Heth, saddled for two riders - drawn by me back in 2009.

4. I love my WIP because everyone’s keeping so many secrets (hehe)

“What’s eating you?” Catherine dribbled another cupful of batter onto the griddle.

Kevin ground the heel of his hand against his forehead, aching to speak the truth. This is my life now. He settled for a half-truth.

5. I love my WIP because I love writing action scenes

Heth and Rider, by Gary Kwapisz (I won a sketch from him awhile back)

Heth and Rider, by Gary Kwapisz (I won a sketch from him awhile back)

Kevin gave him no time to consider. Breathing through his teeth, he leapt onto a nearby rock and whipped his blade through the air, catching the Drivv across his bare ribs. The [Drivv’s] spear swung to meet it too late, but the haft gave Kevin a numbing blow across the shoulder. He was thrown off balance. One of his feet slipped off the edge of the rock into the deep water.

6. I love my WIP because…SQUEE, I just love my world!!

Here, the greenness could be both tasted and smelled. It almost hurt the sense of sight to look at it. The richness of the place seemed to permeate him, cleansing his lungs with every breath. Above the trees soared stark cliff faces, smooth like sandstone, but dusky purple, and streaked with other shades of the same color – hues that, being his mother’s favorites, reminded him strikingly of her.

Kraesinia's purple mountains.

Kraesinia’s purple mountains.

7. I love that I’ve finally unearthed Kevin’s true personality – he’s gone from pseudo-INFJ (influenced too much by my own personality) to a full-fledged ENTJ, and I love it

An old sketch I drew of Kevin.“Your father was a gun kind of guy.”

Kevin looked up in confusion.

Across the top of the box, Lieutenant Dianucci squinted at Kevin in the sunlight. “He liked the Jaicoss, the longer two-handed model. Used to grip the Heth with his knees and just shoot.” He raised his hands in a pantomime, pulling an invisible trigger that would have sent the blast through Kevin’s chest if the gun had been real. “Terrible shot, though. He was better with the blade – if he’d ever use it.”

Kevin bristled. What’s he getting at? “Well, so am I. But I didn’t join the army to replace my dad…sir.” Remembering the officer’s status too late, he tacked on the honorific as an afterthought. It sounded much more scathing than he intended.

Dianucci’s dark eyebrows pulled closer together. “Well, that’s good, since apparently they find him irreplaceable.” He turned and strode off into the crowd.

Kevin stared after him, forehead scrunched in confusion. “What’s his problem?” he muttered.

8. I love my WIP because teleporting is cool

Kevin studied his face in the dim mirror and took a deep breath. Learning at the Academy about the teleporting technology – and how it split your body at the atomic level and transported it from one world to the other – did not make him inclined to start the process again for himself.

He drew himself up, directed a thought to the teleporting chip, and pressed his finger to the hidden patch behind his ear.

The world seemed to split.

9. I love my WIP because of Uryaldis – who is awesome and funny and chill and intense (soooo ISTP) and has the weirdest name that I keep around anyway, because reasons 😀

Uryaldis Ryvoth“See, this is why you’re the rash youth, and I’m the age and experience,” [Uryaldis] said, nodding sagely at him.

“I notice you didn’t try very hard to dissuade me.” Kevin grinned. He dug his toes into a crack in the rock and groped for another good hold.

“I tried my best,” Uryaldis said with a mock sigh, “but you wouldn’t listen.”

10. I love my WIP because of the juxtapositions of the many settings: ordinary earth, harsh battlefields, glamorous palaces

Modern, everyday earth:

The house looked same as ever, except Mom’s front flowerbeds were wild patches of overgrown and dying plants, and the stucco walls were dirty, whipped by the dry, smoky winds of a rainless California summer.

Brutal warfare:

As she watched, a round blur of orange rose from the bottom of the mountain. It streaked over the upper valley, seeming to pick up speed as it came nearer and nearer to the transports. Riders shouted and ran. Heths fled. Like a flaming meteor, the spectacle ploughed into the ground and exploded with a violent crack. The sound of the explosion and its invisible touch rippled outward; she felt the heat of it lash her face as a flurry of dust and flame shot in all directions.

Glamorous palaces:

As the sky grew darker, the lights dimmed, and Kraesinia’s stars became more visible through the skylight. Most of the food was gone and the plates empty, and the servants brought out platters of fruit-filled pastries shaped like crescent moons. Conversation sank to a satisfied murmur.

The Nemerriss and Ryvoth Mansions

And finally, I love that my WIP because it has been in my heart for 10 years and counting, and has only gotten deeper and better. I can’t wait, cannot WAIT, to share it with everyone someday. 😀

More stuff about my book, if your interest is piqued:
The blurb is here.  For a more extended excerpt, see here.  For interviews with Kevin and Catherine, click their names.  And here is a fun post of haikus for each major character. 🙂
h1

Simmer Starters – April 10, 2015 (Plus an Excerpt From My Book!)

April 10, 2015

I don’t have many links today, but I’ve been doing lots of writing this week – hurray!  Down below the Simmer Starters I’m putting a short excerpt from my work-in-progress, for your interest and reading. 🙂

What it’s Like to Be Laughed at on the Internet (Amy Salloway) – A great reminder to all of us to consider first before we treat other human beings as laughingstocks!  “I treaded for 80 minutes, my typical time, and when I was done, there was still more House to partake in, so I changed back into my regular clothes, dragged a chair onto the treadmill, and kept watching.  And I should have known.  I should have realized.  The comedic gold, of this body, sitting in a chair on a treadmill, staring glassy-eyed up at a screen. … With everything I’ve lived through already, I should have been smarter.”

4 Lessons I Learned From My Readers (Kathrese McKee on Ralene Burke’s blog) – Good advice on writing and critique here.

10 Bits of Stellar Writing Advice from J.R.R. Tolkien (Jenny Hansen) – I’m not sure all of these are really from Tolkien, but there’s good advice here too!

Splickety Writing Contest – Fellow speculative fiction writers, here’s a great opportunity!  Enter this flash fiction science-fiction and fantasy contest for only $10, and at the very least you will receive a year’s subscription to their digital flash fiction magazine.  (That’s $2 less than their usual price, so basically by entering you can get a discount on a flash fiction magazine, if you like flash fic!)  Winners of the contest will get lots more!

*

Short Excerpt from The Trusted: Book One of the Kraesinia Trilogy,
by Bethany A. Jennings

This is, of course, a draft and not a finished product.  But here is a short snippet from the latest scene I wrote.  Kevin, the main character, has just encountered some Drivvs (the villains) for the very first time…

Kevin stopped Lunatic under a spreading tree as soon as they were far enough away from the Drivvs to feel safe. Uryaldis’s wound was a wide gash, but not too deep – the largest gauze patch in the med kit was not quite big enough to cover it entirely. Uryaldis sat stiffly on Lunatic’s back while Kevin wrapped the edges with smaller bandages.

As Kevin packed up the medical kit, the lid and bottom clattered, and he was forced to stop and still the shaking of his hands before he could shut it neatly.

“Now I know why they made you my Companion,” Uryaldis said, zipping up the front of his uniform.

“Why?” Kevin hoped he hadn’t noticed how badly his hands were trembling.

“Because you’re a lunatic, just like my Heth,” Uryaldis quipped.

Despite his stress, Kevin laughed. “Says the guy who was going to stay behind and fight off ten Drivvs by himself!”

“At least I had training. And a weapon.” A smile crinkled the corners of Uryaldis’s eyes.

“I didn’t have to have training to know my job.” Kevin clipped the pack to Lunatic’s saddle again. “We’re supposed to have each other’s backs.”

Uryaldis gave him a low, thankful nod. “I am not sure I would be alive if you hadn’t returned. I don’t know what would have happened. So I thank you.”

Anything…any one thing gone differently, and we could be dead now. All it takes is one shot aimed in just the right place, or one spear thrust, or one sword swing. All it takes is for me to make one mistake or miss one thing. Kevin’s head spun. This is the life I’m giving myself to. This is my life now.

He leaned into the Heth’s warm, fuzzy mane. Every part of him ached, and more than anything he wanted to collapse somewhere and sleep…sleep away the rest of this fear and pain and uncertainty, until it felt far enough away to ignore. But there were too many questions, and Lorekrez’s face was burned into his mind’s eye, as vivid as the scar on the Drivv’s temple……

Heth, saddled for two riders - drawn by me back in 2009.

Heth, saddled for two riding companions – drawn by me back in 2009.