Courting the Dragon – New Excerpt

Posted on January 30th 2018 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Sneak Peeks

For those of you who have been waiting patiently (or impatiently in some cases), here is a new sneak-peek excerpt from book two, Courting the Dragon.

As a reminder, anything posted is a draft, and therefore could be modified in the final published version. Please remember that this is my work, and I worked hard on it. Do not copy without expressed, written permission.

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The ballroom was a masterpiece of marble and granite. The vaulted ceilings, two stories high, glowed with reflected candlelight and reverberated with music and laughter. Between the enormous columns that held the ceiling aloft, tall windows and doors of expensive glass ringed three sides of the expansive room. Most of the doors, which led out into a private section of the palace grounds’ extensive gardens, were thrown wide open to relieve the oppressive heat of so many bodies.

Penelope had tried to find a quiet section of the garden to hole up in, thinking the outdoors would likely be deserted when all the excitement was inside. Most of the ladies wanted to be on the dance floor under the golden lights where their fancy dresses would be on display. Most of the male dandies weren’t much better, she admitted to herself ruefully.

Alas, that was not the case. The garden was doing an amazingly brisk business this evening as couples slipped off to find some space to get more intimately acquainted. After stumbling upon her third partially dressed pair of the evening, Penelope made her way back to the ballroom. Better to suffer the presence of her suitors than to feel the urge to scoop her own eyeballs out with a soup spoon. Or so she thought. She hadn’t taken three steps through the doors before two young men were asking her to dance. She declined demurely, but they followed her anyhow. She’d spent the better part of the last hour trying to rid herself of the hangers-on but had succeeded only in gaining a third.

A fourth voice interrupted the young lordlings’ chatter.

“May I have this dance, Your Highness?”

All three of her suitors rounded on the interloper with expressions of indignation, but Penelope smiled gratefully at him and held out her hand.

“I would be delighted, Your Grace.”

Salarath, in his Stellan persona, swept Penelope onto the dance floor and safely away from the stunned gazes of her admirers.

“Thank you,” she murmured as soon as they were out of earshot. The music was a pleasant dance of moderate speed that allowed for discussion and didn’t require Salarath to hold her too close. Still, a shiver of pleasure ran up her spine when his warm hand rested on her back.

“You looked like you could use a little help.”

“They are troublesome,” she admitted. “Since they know they have Father’s blessing they’re quite bold.”

“Who can blame them?” He paused to spin her around, continuing once she was back within his embrace. “It’s not every day they have a chance at the most beautiful woman in the kingdom.”

“Careful,” Penelope warned, a little smile on her lips. “It wouldn’t do for the Wizard Lord Stellan, Duke of Steelbourgh to be caught making lecherous advances on his goddaughter.”

Salarath snorted. “Perhaps I should have come as Stefan.”

“Father really would have turned you out.”

Warning: This does contain some minor spoilers. If you don’t want any part of the story spoiled, do not read any further.

(more…)

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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
Saving the Dragon is coming to Audiobook!

Posted on January 22nd 2018 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Audiobook, News, Sneak Peeks

This post is a follow-up to the announcement made on Saturday.

This spring, Saving the Dragon will be available as an audiobook through Audible, Amazon and iTunes. The exact release date is still forthcoming, but it should be sometime in April. Sooo… be sure to watch the blog, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter for updates! Stayed tuned for release details, pricing, and maaaybe even a give-away 😉

Saving the Dragon Audiobook Cover

Saving the Dragon Audiobook Cover

As I explained in my initial announcement video, this is a first for me, and the narrator, Hilary Dickinson. I’m so pleased that she was able to bring the characters to life for this exciting release. I hope you all will enjoy her performance as much as I have. This project absolutely would not be happening without her, so I wanted to give everyone a proper introduction.

Hilary currently resides in Georgia with her two cats, one dog, and six very fat goldfish. “Each is special in their own way (even the fat goldfish),” she says, “and bring me tremendous happiness.” She spends her days working for the Veteran and Military Crisis Hotline. In her spare time, she is an avid gamer, reader and all-around sci-fi/fantasy junkie. She decided to try audiobook narrating on the insistence of a friend, who clearly has excellent acoustic tastes.

Listen to a sneak peek here (but please bear in mind that this is just an early sample, and not from the finished audiobook)

Here is the video announcement to YouTube on Saturday.

 

 

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Courting the Dragon – Additional Sneak Peak

Posted on February 27th 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Sneak Peeks, Writing

As I’m working on the editing and revising I’m rediscovering scenes that just amuse me. So I’ve decided that I’ll share a few of them here (provided they don’t contain major spoilers). This scene is for the readers who enjoyed the character of Guy in Saving the Dragon just as much as I did. 🙂

As always, I wish to remind everyone that is my work and it belongs to me. No one else. You do not have the write to copy, use, abuse, or pass off my work as your own. You may of course share the link back to this blog post as many times as you like.

“You’re doing the right thing.”

Salarath’s hand dropped to his lap. He arched his neck to look around the back of his chair to the wall hiding the door to his horde. A small, metal dragon’s head stuck out of the middle of the map that appeared to hang from the illusionary wall. The head belonged to the horde’s guardian, who had randomly taken to calling himself Guy after encountering Penelope. Guy was, to put it in the simplest terms, a consciousness brought about through a complex series of enchant-ments. The spell forms that maintained and shaped the energy that allowed Guy to exist were one of Salarath’s greatest masterpieces. It had taken him three rather sleepless years to get it right. He might have reconsidered it if he’d known what a busybody Guy would become.

“And what makes you say that?”

“Well, you have been moping about for weeks,” the little dragon head said. “It’s clear you don’t really want to be out of your relationship with the little thief.”

“For the ten thousandth time, Penelope is not, was not, nor will ever be a thief. I specifically asked her to retrieve one of those books. It just slipped my mind to warn her about you.”

Guy managed to look hurt despite the fact that his dragonian features didn’t much lend themselves to human expression.

“It was nothing against you. I was a tad distracted, being locked up in my own dungeon and all.”

“Well, you could make it up to me.”

Salarath eyed the dragon head suspiciously.

“How?”

“You could give me a holiday.”

Whatever the wizard had expected Guy to say, that wasn’t it. His horde guardian wanted a holiday? Did magical constructs take holidays? How did Guy even know what a holiday was?

“I’ll still guard the horde,” Guy said quickly, afraid that Salarath’s stunned silence was actually concern for his riches. “I’d just like to get out a little. Maybe see a bird.”

“What is it with you and birds?”

“Well, I’ve seen their baths, it’s only right to want to see one of the creatures. Your lady told me they have wings.” Guy paused a moment. “What are wings, Your Grace?”

“They’re what birds have instead of arms so they can fly. That’s not the point! How am I supposed to give you a holiday? You’re part of the wall, for gods’ sakes!”

“How should I know? You’re the wizard.”

Salarath jerked himself around in his chair and slumped into the overstuffed back. Both hands scrubbed at the stubble growing on his cheeks as he pondered Guy’s request. If he let the guardian loose – if he could even manage it, that is – what sort of havoc would he wreck upon Steelbourgh in Salarath’s absence? The Ancestors only knew. He will-ingly turned his mind away from the horror of that prospect and on to the technical problem at hand. If he recreated the spell forms that maintained Guy’s consciousness on something mobile, could he safely move Guy from his place in the horde’s door to this other “body”? Or would he, by the act of moving the energy from the horde to the new vessel effectively kill Guy as he knew him and create a new consciousness? Furthermore, did he have a moral obligation to tell Guy that was a possibility? Did Guy qualify as a living creature? The implications of the whole situation were staggering.

“Should have put more thought into this before I created him,” the wizard muttered.

“What’s that?”

“Oh, nothing. Just trying to decide if you qualify as a living being or not.”

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