Welcome to my stop on the Skydreamer blog tour. Always happy to have visitors, especially when I’ve got good news to share. I’ve managed to snag the first of a series of EXCLUSIVE excerpts from Ms. Winters’ just released New Adult Fantasy Romance, SKYDREAMER.
Before I get to the teaser, let me give you all the details about the novel, which released yesterday.
Blurb: For fire talent, Jaden Zarie, life is far from a fairy tale. Blisters from any contact with water, check. Sleeping in a shed behind your greedy Uncle’s house, check. Ex-boyfriend scouting the bar where you work for one-night stands every night, double check.
When Jaden sets off to secure a new life with her two sisters, winning a contest with a huge pile of gold on the line seems like a quick fix. Getting hitched to Draven Winterbourne, King of the Dragon-changers, and finding true love, was beyond anything she could have hoped for.
But a friend turned enemy threatens to take it all away. Jaden is thrust into an alternate universe and separated from her new husband and her sisters, she must summon up the courage to start over, alone, knowing she may never see any of them again.
Now, without further ado, here is your exclusive excerpt from SKYDREAMER…
“…The Contest is open to all women between the ages of twenty-one and thirty. Contestants are required to bring their own reagents. The use of Alchemy is strictly prohibited. Chance of winning twelve hundred gold per round is one in…”
Voices press in on me from every side. The week of constant traveling has done me in. All I want to do is hide in the vego and sleep. I don’t even care if we have enough for dinner tonight. I feel trapped by the chattering voices of the crowd mashed up with the officials on the Dais.
“I heard the King’s mother set up this contest herself. Talk about the ultimate mama’s boy. He has to be uglier than a troll if his mother has to marry him off this way,” someone suggested.
“… high possibility of death,” came a skeptical voice, “but with twelve hundred gold per round, everyone should enter.”
“Which one is Draven?” a shrill voice demands.
“Are you blind?” Came the reply. “He’s the one good looking one with the light brown hair. The one standing next to King Evrid.”
“You said he was ugly!”
It doesn’t matter who this Draven is. We are only here for Adania. If we win, every silver goes to her schooling. She’ll have a roof over her head and decent clothes. Nothing else matters.
My fingers sink back into the dark blue Legal Sphere I received earlier. The tiny ball settles into my palms with only a light sizzle and its message sounds inside my head.
All contestants will enter into an exclusive competition. The winner will win a one-year marriage with Draven Winterbourn, King of the Dragon-Changers. Iyardar Stone to choose the winner. In the event Draven Winterbourn does not agree with the Iyardar Stone, he has the right to veto said contestant and select one of his choosing from the remaining contestants. As stipulated, marriage duration will be one year, unless both parties—
“Is the Iyardar Stone a diamond, or a ruby?” I whisper to Isla. “And how does it choose a winner if it’s a rock?”
* * * *
Here’s where you can get your copy of SKYDREAMER (available in both Print and eBook formats)
About Sheryl Winters:
I never set out to be an author. Only a story teller. Some days I succeed better than others.
Ms. Winters Links:
Welcome to my stop on the Unholy Matrimony Blog Tour. 🙂
I’ll be sharing a short excerpt from the story with you, as soon as I give you all the details on Sonny Zae’s latest release.
The Adventures of Sonny the Scoundrel
by Sonny Zae
Genre: Fantasy Adventure/Romance; Humor
Keywords: Fantasy, Romantic Comedy, Adventure, Fairy Tale
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Description: Sonny is so handsome, he doesn’t need magic to get what he wants, except when he gets into trouble. And, he’ll do anything for love or money, except work. So, the thought of marriage represents the worst of all possible worlds, a danger he avoids at all costs.
His plans for getting rich the easy way—by stealing—go awry when he meets Ariella. She is not only lovely to look at, but just may be as slippery and greedy as he. Better still, she becomes highly stimulated at the prospect of helping him hijack a treasure.
But, in addition to helping him steal “goald”, the cunning Ariella might just steal his scoundrel heart.
“Why do you hate me?” I gasped.
“Hate you? Why, Sonny, dear, what makes you think I have anything in my heart for you except love—lust and love?” She leaned over my bare back and traced a fingernail up and over the curve of my rump, with her nail slicing open my skin, stretched tight as it was by the knotting of my leg muscles. “Is this not what you secretly desired? I shall hurt you in the most delicious ways, cause you to ache and throb all over, then give you the release you so fervently desire. Your cries of pleasure shall rip the very leaves off the trees, leaving a vast circle of barren branches around us, as if autumn had arrived very, very early.”
“Oh, yes, go on,” I urged, having difficulty in getting out the words. “Defoliate me!”
But Ariella paused, with one hand squeezing my right butt cheek like a great owl seizing a plump woodchuck, with only the tips of her sleek talons piercing my tender flesh. “What could I have done to give you even the slightest thought that I might dislike you?”
“What do you mean?” I hissed through clenched teeth, a string of drool stretching from my lips to the ground. “You drugged me and had me thrown into the stocks! You slipped enough potion into my ale to kill a wild stallion.”
“You have it wrong,” Ariella declared. “The only thing I added to your ale was a handful of crushed ever-ready leaf. It gives a man extraordinary … potency.” She gave me another squeeze as she talked, admiring the effect of the medicine. “I have long known of its power.”
“Do you have any more?”
“More?” She snorted in amusement. “I have a whole garden of ever-ready leaf.”
* * *
To help celebrate the release and blog tour, Roane Publishing is offering a giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift card and and e-Copy of Unholy Matrimony. To enter for your chance to win, click the link below.
Hello again and welcome back to the blog for another installment of Six Sentence Sunday. Thanks for stopping in 🙂
Today’s sample is from my current WIP, and what I hope will end up being my Nanowrimo project this year. The novel is a fantasy, and in this scene, Jyslin (Red) is letting the Lupine (wolf/human race) she just met, Domnu, know exactly how she feels about him. She doesn’t seem to be too intimidated, frankly. 😛
Hope you enjoy.
“Domnu,” he offered. “Name’s Domnu.”
She showed no sign she’d heard him. “I assure you I’m no damsel, and do not require any rescuing today.”
Domnu lifted his shoulders in a shrug. “Suit yourself, Red.”
As always, your thoughts or comments on the above excerpt are welcome and appreciated. Be sure to click the banner at the top of the post and visit the other blogs participating in this week’s Six Sentence Sunday.
Like the rest of the participants on the A to Z Blogging Challenge, it was tough to come up with an X word that would not be used by every other participating blog. Good thing I write fiction with historical elements or this would have been a really boring Xylophone post 😛
You may be wondering at this point, “What ‘s a Xebec?” and “Did she make that word up?”
The short answers are a ship, and no, I didn’t.
Let me elaborate a bit 🙂
From Wikipedia: A xebec ( /ˈziːbɛk/ or /zɨˈbɛk/), also spelled zebec, was a Mediterranean sailing ship that was used mostly for trading. It would have a long overhanging bowsprit and protruding mizzen mast. It also can refer to a small, fast vessel of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, used almost exclusively in the Mediterranean Sea.
Xebecs were similar to galleys used by Algerian Berber corsairs and Barbary pirates having both lateen sails and oars for propulsion. Early xebecs had two masts; later ones three. Xebecs featured a distinctive hull with pronounced overhanging bow and stern, and rarely displaced more than 200 tons, making them slightly smaller and with slightly fewer guns than frigates of the period.
The protagonist in Call of the Sea, Jashir, the notorious pirate, captains a Xebec.
From CALL OF THE SEA:
“Sails to the stern, Captain!”
The call from the crow’s nest jerked Daniel’s attention toward the topmast and the crewman pointing behind them.
Captain Winters lifted the spyglass, peered through it. “Lateen sails, no colors. Looks like a xebec.” Lowering the glass, his gaze swept to Daniel. “All hands at the ready.”
“All hands at the ready!” Daniel shouted across the deck of the brigantine. “Step handsomely, men!”
The Captain rested a hand on Daniel’s sleeve. “Take the helm, Daniel. I want you at the wheel if there’s to be a fight.”
Daniel nodded, looking to the man he’d grown to admire. “Aye, Captain.”
I bet you feel supremely educated now, don’t you? Okay, maybe not, but at least I managed to come up with a somewhat informative X day posting. Only two more letters to go (is that the finish line I see ahead?)
See you tomorrow 🙂
While I was pondering what to post today, I started to flip through my brain for words starting with V that would translate into a excerpt for you all from Call of the Sea — Then it hit me. Victory! what a great V word. Everyone likes winning.
So, with that in mind, I began to think on what scene I could share to illustrate the theme of VICTORY. The irony of this snipit is that it shows us that even though you can claim victory, sometimes you still don’t actually win. Below is an example of what I mean, brought to you by CALL OF THE SEA and Ellie Winters.
The ship drew closer.
A tingle started at the base of Ellie’s neck and trickled down her spine. The burning ember of familiarity sparked to life in her chest. Her heart froze when the vessel finally raised its colors. The brig flew the flags of Winters Shipping—The Siren’s Call.
Ellie dropped the spyglass and her hands grasped the rail, fingers curled so tight her knuckles whitened.
Papa! She took a deep breath, rolled the sudden tension from her shoulders, and called down to the deck. “She’s a friendly, Captain!” Was her father really aboard?
While the brig was her father’s first ship and his favorite, he did own a few others. Ellie scrambled for the spyglass, chest tight. With shaking fingers, she lifted it to her eye and searched the deck for her father. Would he even recognize her?
She sat back, gathered her knees to her chest and hugged them tight. Maybe I can just hide up here until they go away.
Ellie wrinkled her nose. She didn’t want that either. If she were brutally honest with herself, she wanted to see her father, missed him more than she cared to admit.
As The Siren’s Call drew closer, she was able to make out the shapes scrambling about the deck. The olive-skinned men with flowing pants and bare chests were not Papa’s crew. Her brow furrowed and her heart plummeted.
Ellie jumped to her feet and pointed across the waves. “Pirates, Captain!” Pulse hammering in her ears, Ellie climbed out of the crow’s nest and hurried down the rigging. “Pirates have taken The Siren’s Call!”
A panting Captain Harris reached Ellie as her feet touched the decking. Worry lines etched his forehead. “Ye sure, boy?”
Ellie nodded. “Positive, Captain.”
“Man the cannons! Prepare to come about!” Captain Harris withdrew his pistol, checked it with narrowed eyes before stuffing it back into his belt. He glanced at Ellie. “Arm yourself and get on the wheel, boy. Send Barry to me at the cannons.”
Ellie bobbed her head and bolted for the quarterdeck. Tendrils of panic wormed their way through her stomach. Where the hell is Papa?
Upon reaching the quarterdeck, Ellie fell to her knees and lifted the heavy chest lid. She grabbed her cutlass from inside and sheathed it at her hip. Slamming the lid shut again, she lurched to her feet. Ellie took the helm from Barry, sending him to the captain. Wrapping damp palms around the wheel, she turned her attention to the oncoming ship.
Their sloop would be no match for the heavy guns of The Siren’s Call. She’d have to outmaneuver them to have a chance. Ellie pulled hard on the wheel. The ship responded with a flap of canvas, swinging to port. Her eyes sought Captain Harris. The painful realization they were about to fire upon her father’s ship hit her with the force of a tidal wave.
Harris raised his sword.
Ellie held her breath. Please don’t let Papa be aboard.
“Fire all cannons!” Captain Harris swung his arm downward. The cannons answered his command with a deafening concussion. Smoke exploded from the ends.
Screams of both anger and pain mixed with the sound of splintering wood as the shots found purchase.
The muffled shout of “Fire!” rang from across the water. A second volley of guns rent the air. Gunpowder burned Ellie’s nostrils and stung her eyes. The quarterdeck stairway exploded to her right, a jagged chunk of wood grazing her shoulder and throwing her to the ground. Searing heat radiated down to her fingertips. Gritting her teeth, she crawled to the other side of the helm, pulled at the wheel’s smooth handles.
The Surf Runner veered hard to port.
Ellie scrambled to her feet.
“Reload the cannons!” Captain Harris’s voice carried to the helm. “Swing ’er about, Ellis!”
Ellie glanced over her shoulder, made a quick distance calculation. Her gaze swung up the rigging. She yanked on the steerage, eyes glued to the sails. Right on cue, the sheets of white canvas caught wind and snapped to attention. The ship sliced through the waves in a tight arc until The Surf Runner faced The Siren’s Call.
Taking a deep breath, Ellie clamped down on her apprehension and steeled herself for another pass.
Kismet has to be pretty close to one of my favorite words. Not only because its existence gives me plenty of writing fodder, but also because it means FATE — Fate… such a fickle and often used subject for writing fiction.
Okay, so topic selected: Kismet.
Now what? What about it? How do I make that one, powerful word into a posting topic?
A story excerpt that illustrates fate, maybe? CALL OF THE SEA is all about kismet… sorta, kinda.
So, without further ado, my take on Kismet:
He found the captain’s daughter about halfway to shore, gasping and choking as she reached for the star-laden sky. The look of terror in her stormy eyes stole his breath.
Daniel surged forward. He reached the girl just as she dipped below the surface. Clamping his mouth around the shoulder of her gown, he yanked her back up. He locked the garment in his teeth and rolled over until she lay on his chest facing the sky. A shiver of fear slid down his spine. She wasn’t gasping for air anymore.
With renewed urgency, Daniel swam for the shore, doing his best to keep her head above water as it lolled to the side. Her closed lids and quiet expression needled his chest. Please, God, don’t let her be dead.
He rode the crest of a wave to the coast. Sand scraped his back. Releasing his hold on the girl, he wriggled from beneath her lifeless form and flipped over. Waves rushed over her body, her parted lips stained purple.
Frantic, Daniel dragged her away from the water. His eyes swept the empty beach. With no other ready options, he closed his eyes and concentrated on his human body.
Soon, a familiar heat surged through him and his arms and legs began to tingle. His thick sealskin loosened to make room for the contortion of bone and ligament. Daniel grunted as his flippers and tail stretched and unfolded, becoming arms and legs. His fingers and knees dug into the wet sand as they formed, colored to pink flesh. He gasped for air as a wave of nausea washed over him. Once he could move without fear of passing out, Daniel turned back to the unconscious girl.
She wasn’t breathing.
With a cry of dismay, Daniel crawled to where she lay and pounded on her chest. She remained motionless, her face pale. He rolled her onto her stomach and beat the heel of his hand against her back.
She coughed, sending sparks of relief through him. Water burst past her lips in ragged choking gasps. Daniel stopped whacking at her, released his hold, and scrambled backward.
The girl’s entire body shook with the force of her gagging as she tried to expel the remaining water and suck life-giving air into her chest. She pushed herself up on hands and knees and retched into the sand. The girl inhaled deeply and twisted her head to look at Daniel. Her brow creased before her eyes lost their focus and rolled back in her head. The girl’s elbows buckled and she dropped to the sand with a whoosh.
Daniel scurried back to her side, eyes wide.
The steady rise and fall of her body told him she breathed.
He ran shaking fingers through his thick hair. “Thank God.”
“You dropped something.”
Daniel’s breath caught. He whipped his head toward the deep voice, eyes wide.
Captain Winters stood over him, Daniel’s discarded sealskin clenched in his large fist. Recognition narrowed his eyes. “Well, if it isn’t my new cabin boy.” A muscle in his jaw flexed. He flung the sealskin at Daniel. “Find some clothes, boy.”
Before Daniel could utter a response, Captain Winters stalked past him. He knelt beside his unconscious daughter and brushed a wet strand of sand-coated hair from her ashen cheek. He bent over the girl, listened to her chest for a few long moments. Releasing a relived sigh, he scooped her into his arms and stood up. Her head rolled against his shoulder as he spun about. Without so much as a backward glance at Daniel, the captain strode across the beach. His daughter’s little feet bounced with each angry step.
Pulse racing and body frozen by fear, Daniel clutched his skin to his chest. He knows I’m cursed. I’ll never work for him now. His mind conjured the image of his father, the hatred in his eyes the night he kicked Daniel out. What if the captain tells my secret? His throat closed.
A few yards away, Captain Winters stopped, glanced over his shoulder. The intensity of his gaze halted Daniel’s heartbeat. “I said get dressed, Daniel. When you’re done, come up to the house just over the ridge. It is time you and I had a little talk.”
Daniel shivered, but managed a slow nod. He swallowed the paralysis from his tongue and whispered, “Aye, Captain.”
Aren’t you dying to know what fate has in store for the girl and her wonderful selkie rescuer? Be sure to get your copy of CALL OF THE SEA to find out. 🙂
See you next time…
Hubris: Something I don’t have, but one of my characters sure does. #atozchallenge #blogging #writing
So, when I was staring at this blank page and trying like HECK (tossing in the H words, already :P) to figure out what I wanted to use for an H post, I tossed a tweet out to my “peeps” to see what words they could suggest to maybe get my brain firing on some ideas.
I had some fantastic suggestions, but in the end, decided to go with a word suggested by fellow author, Candice Bundy. I liked her reasoning — it’s a fun, underused word.
She has a point, eh? Great word. She is right — it’s rarely used. But, I shall take care of that little issue right now, by making it my H.
I guess we should start with a definition…
hu·bris [hyoo-bris] – Noun: excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.
Definitely not anything I suffer from, personally. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. But, you will be happy to know that I have a character in my debut novel, CALL OF THE SEA (preorder your copy today by clicking on the cover image to the left), who has hubris to spare — General McTavish.
Here is my example of hubris:
Ellie lifted her gaze to find General McTavish standing at the office entrance, dressed in full uniform. She craned to see if his armed guards followed, but he appeared to be alone.
A tingle of apprehension shuddered down her spine. She plastered on what she hoped was a friendly smile. “General, so good to see you again. To what do I owe the honor?”
McTavish sauntered into the office at a leisurely pace, taking time to inspect the shelves along the wall to the right of the door. He cocked his head, squinted at the binding of one of the books, straightened and swiveled about to face Ellie. “I wanted to stop by and offer my sincerest condolences on the death of your father. He was a loyal patriot and staunch supporter of our efforts against the Dutch.”
Warning chimes sounded in her head. “Thank you, General. I am humbled you would make a special trip here just to say so.” She didn’t buy it for a minute. He wanted something.
“I understand your father left his holdings to you. If you’ll pardon my saying so, I find that quite curious.” He rubbed his dimpled chin with a gloved hand. “Not many men would leave such substantial holdings in the care of a woman.”
Ellie prickled. “Aye, he did. My father was anything but typical, General.” She ruffled some papers about, trying to look busy. “Was there some business you wished to discuss?”
McTavish didn’t indicate he’d even heard her. “Running the family shipping business is not the sort of thing daughters generally aspire to, either. Most are content to stay at home caring for family and hearth. Quite unusual.”
Her ears grew hot. “I’m not like most daughters, General McTavish.” She wrapped herself in a cocoon of calm, leaned back in her chair. She offered him an icy glare. “Now, if I have sufficiently assuaged your curiosity, I really am quite busy.”
His lips twisted up in a cruel smirk. “Tell me, Miss Winters, where is your husband-to-be? I would expect him to be here to help you with all this,” he waved a lazy hand in the air, “tediousness.”
“Daniel is testifying before the magistrate in Truro, as you requested he do. He hasn’t yet returned.” The oddness of the general’s question planted a small seed of doubt in her head. Had Daniel lied about that, too?
“I see. Yes, I’d have expected him back before now. I’m sure all is well.” McTavish swung about and paced back toward the door. “I’m sure he’ll be along soon. He’s probably anxious to get back to you. I, for one, would not leave a flower such as yourself alone for too long.” He awarded her with a lusty sneer.
Ellie’s skin crawled and her stomach flip-flopped. “I’ll be sure to let him know you stopped by.” Now, go away. She sat upright in the chair, squaring her shoulders, and folded her hands neatly on the open ledger, hoping she gave off an air of cool confidence.
McTavish leaned, as if he meant to take a step in her direction. Instead, he cleared his throat and notched his chin up. “Yes, please do.” He cocked his head to the side, dark eyes boring into her.
She wanted to shrink beneath the desk until he left, but she held his gaze, heart hammering loudly.
“Good day, Miss Winters.” With that, the insufferable general was gone.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Do you know anyone with hubris issues? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
Thanks also to Candice Bundy for the great H suggestion!