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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Mostly on Schedule

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

So, my blogging has been abhorrently lacking lately. Don’t worry though, I haven’t been slacking too-too much. Courting is still slated for release this summer, even if it kills me.

The problem I found though, as I was preparing for my NaNo group’s editing event today, is that my manuscript is… how shall I say it? Woefully disorganized. It currently lives in at least three different files, in various states of completion. The scenes are all jumbled round to the point where putting them in order is vaguely akin to doing a jigsaw puzzle. We’re supposed to bring our first 10,000 words to the event. I’m bringing my best guess at what my first 10,000 words are supposed to be.

This is okay though. Sure, the revision process that I’m currently starting (yeah, yeah, I know it’s the end of February, I should be finishing the first pass, not starting it) is going to be hell on Earth. That’s okay. Everything will be alright. In fact, the book will probably end up that much better for it, because I’m having to seriously re-evaluate and consider every chunk of text that I wrote (mainly because I have no freaking clue where each one is supposed to go). This forces me to re-examine my plot-line, my pacing, and how each of these scenes advances my goals. Should be fun, right?

And so, dear readers, I promise that Courting will be done by its summer release (actual date still pending). Hopefully by the end of next month I’ll be able to say definitively when that date will be. In the meantime, here’s a draft of the cover!

The Cover for Courting the Dragon

 

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Gotta Love November

Posted on November 4th 2015 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Writing

What is it about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? How is it that I can languish over 9000 words of a rough draft  for almost a year, yet in the space of two days in November I can magically crank out over 11,000?

Nothing changed. I don’t have any more or any less time to work on it. The plot didn’t suddenly become better or more interesting. My villain is still the same jerk I want to stab with a steak knife. And yet. And yet somehow the magic of the story I had thought long dead at the keyboard is once again alive and well.

There is something wonderful and invigorating about NaNoWriMo. Don’t ask me what it is, but it’s definitely there. Heck, I’m even writing blog posts again, and I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been on hiatus from that!

It could be the accountability of NaNoWriMo, both to yourself and to others. There’s just something about that little number on the top bar staring balefully at you that makes you want to make it bigger. There’s something immensely satisfying about watching the bars on the daily chart get taller. At least, I find it to be so. Then there’s your fellow writers. Sharing their counts with you and asking you about yours. Pushing you, encouraging you, making you insanely jealous when they reach 50k on the first day (*cough* Rose *cough*).

And it’s not just the word counts. There’s something powerful about the shared experience of doing something as crazy as writing 50,000 words in a month. Which I suppose really doesn’t seem like all that much at first. But when you think about all the other crap most of us have to do in a month. Work, school, karate, Thanksgiving, children, husbands, wives, pets, knitting club, watching the Browns loose… There’s a million other things for each of us that need doing just in the month of November alone.

Yet somehow we all find the time to band together at Panera or the library, or wherever else and write. And share. People from all sorts of different backgrounds, beliefs, politics, classes, races, genders (although I will say it seems the ladies do outnumber the men), and who knows what else are all tied together by this shared experience in November. And that’s pretty freakin’ cool if you ask me.

So as NaNoWriMo wears on I will continue to fight the good fight. Maybe Courting will get done this month. It’s certainly much further along than it was in October!

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The Foundling

Posted on August 9th 2015 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Writing

Camp NaNo came and went this year and, well, I didn’t get a whole lot done. Courting the Dragon has had me down a bit the last few months, so I took a break during camp to work on another idea I’ve had floating around my head. This one is titled The Foundling and the first three chapters of it are currently up on Inkitt where you can read them for free. I even went ahead and entered in into their “Hither and Thither” contest, so votes would be much appreciated.

The Foundling is the story of a woman named Unna who finds a baby on her doorstep that was left for her by a fae creature with a note admonishing her to treasure the precious gift. The woman raises the child as her own, cherishing the extraordinary baby girl. Unna’s life is once again turned upside down when her beloved daughter is kidnapped by the fae. The distraught mother will stop at nothing to get her daughter back, even if it means taking on the King of the Fair-folk himself.

For the time being I have turned my attention back to Courting the Dragon but the intention is to finish up The Foundling in the months following Courting’s release, which I expect to be sometime in the summer of 2016. I had hoped to release Courting this winter, but at this point it looks to be a longer ways off than that.

If you all would be so kind as to drop by Inkitt sometime this week and vote for The Foundling in the contest, I would be much obliged. I don’t expect to win, but it’d be sweet if we could get it up to the top twenty or so.

Cheers, y’all.

*Edit: Voting closes at 10pm PST tomorrow, Monday the 10th. So please vote before then

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New Sneak Peak

Posted on June 13th 2015 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: News, Writing

Long time no blog post, huh?

I would love to say that this is because I have been hard at work on the follow up to Saving the Dragon, but I’m not one for lying to my readers or myself. The truth is that life, as it has a way of doing, has been interfering with me on a fairly consistent basis since Saving’s release in April. I am happy to report that I have moved back to my hometown. There is little regret in moving out of Cleveland proper except perhaps that my commute is at least 10x longer

Now on the eve of (finally) moving my refrigerator into the new place I finally have the time to sit down and revisit the beginnings of the sequel to Saving the Dragon. The tentative title is “Courting the Dragon”, although I think leaving it as such may be a bit of a misnomer.

Please note that this preview is raw. It is unedited and subject to heavy revision as work on the story progresses. Please do not inundate me with remarks on grammar or spelling. Again, this is undedited.

I also 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 😉

Now, without further ado, here is the “sneak peak” of Courting that this blog post title promises.


 

“Father?”

Penelope stood in front of her father’s desk, hands clasped in front of her skirts, watching the emotions play across King Hulbyrd’s face as he reread the letter from the Academy of Mages. The letter, written by the Dean of Students, was a commendation for superior academic performance. Several more letters rested on the king’s desk. One was from the Head Librarian, thanking Penelope for her volunteer time. Another was also from the Dean of Students asking Penelope if she would mind taking a teaching role the following semester at the grammar school the Academy ran for mages’ children and orphans. Penelope had brought the letters with her during her visit home to Saleria during the summer recess. Despite attending the Academy for a over a year Penelope was still leery of her father’s change of heart and felt the need to continually prove herself. It had taken using magic to trick an evil witch into jumping off a cliff to convince her father that she belonged at the Academy in the first place.

Finally, Hulbyrd sat the letter down. He removed his reading glasses and sat them atop the folded parchment. Penelope fidgeted with the ring on her right hand as she watched her father pinch the bridge of his nose, an action she usually associated with his frustration with her. She twisted the ring. Like her attendance at the Academy the ring was an elephant in the room. Salarath, a dragon-wizard  usually known as Stellan or Stefan to most of the humans around him, had given it to her several months ago. It was actually a replacement for the original ring, which she’d lost in the evil-witch-cliff-jumping incident. The ring had very special properties. Like its predecessor, the ring could be used to travel between the wizard’s study in Steelbourgh Castle and Penelope’s room in the Salerian palace. Unlike the original ring this one could also be used to reach her room at the Academy of Mages.

“It seems you’ve become quite accomplished.”

“Yes, Father.”

“And you won’t considering staying home permanently?” (more…)

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