Dracones is up at Storm Moon Press and available for pre-order!
Definitely follow the link to check out the blurb for all the stories (which all sound so fucking shiny), but here is the one for mine:
Finally, in Lukos Heat, a mission of revenge sends the dragon Najlah into the mountains and into an unlikely partnership with the wolf shifter Barkus. And the closer they get to their quarry, the more they realize that nothing is as it appears.
And if you would like an excerpt of it, Emily at Sharing Links and Wisdom invited me to be a guest poster for her month-long birthday celebration. My post has excerpts for Lukos Heat and Backwoods Asylum (and giveaways), so drop by to read and say Happy Birthday to Emily ^___^
I am in very good company in this anthology, and cannot wait to read the other stories.
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Way to Your Heart is all wrapped up. Thanks again to all who played along and celebrated with us, and all the kinds words from authors and readers alike. You can still read all the posts if you’re so inclined. Sasha is coordinating the giveaways, and handing out prizes over the next few days :3
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Hannibal has premiered on NBC and I am so FUCKING OBSESSED. Mads Mikkelson is like my new true love, he is goddamn amazing as Hannibal, I can’t even. All of the actors are amazing, and the I love what they’ve done with Freddie and Bloom. Freddie especially, that’s an awesome genderbend so far. And the tension is so. much. worse. when you know what’s coming. I love it.
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On the writing front, sadly have fallen behind. I wound up with a bunch of editing and beta projects and I’m so busy with those I haven’t been able to write much. But it’s hardly a chore and all the stories I’ve read so far have been amazing.
When I do manage to write a couple hundred or so words here and there, I am actually bouncing between two: Of Last Resort and With Pride. They’re both set in the same verse (Princes of the Blood), and With Pride is set three years before Of Last Resort, so being able to work on them simultaneously is interesting and handy. Of Last Resort is the one with which peeps are already familiar, it will be replacing Dance Only for Me in August as my LT3 serial.
With Pride will be part of the LT3’s Proud to be a Vampire collection, and comes out in October. It’s still very rough, but excerpt below, and now I must get back to work. I hope everyone has a good week!
Kristof took the mug of ale that Ödön held out to him, grateful to have something to ward against the chill as they trudged through the unrelenting snow. “I smell goblins.”
“Scouts said there was a pack of them killed around here about a week or so ago. Even gods can’t get rid of that stench.” Ödön grimaced and gulped at his own ale. “Thankfully we’re not far off.” He nodded toward the looming dark shape in the distance, just visible through the snow.
Palace Guldbrandsen, seat of the royal family and the notorious Legion. Technically Kristof was part of that legion, being a paladin, but he’d always lived and served at home. His duty was to his mother, High Priestess of the Temple of the Sacred Heart, Lady of the High Reach of the North.
His brother was meant to have become Duke of Stehlmore; Kristof should have remained a paladin, protecting the family lands, marrying and siring children to help the line continue. He would not complain because he was only one man who had such a story to his name, but it bothered him all the same. He knew nothing of the Princes of the Blood save rumours that found their way to the Reach. He’d never had cause to meet one, as the Temple of the Sacred Heart managed quite well without them.
From all he had heard, they were arrogant, deviant, and far too aware of their overblown importance. And he was expected to marry one of them and devote the rest of his life to the bastard. Did anyone care that Kristof had his own life? A life he’d been expected to throw away as though it did not matter?
No, of course they did not, and so he trudged through the snow, the stench of goblin ruining the taste of good ale. He gulped his down quickly and handed the mug back. “Let us hope the stench remains our only problem. I’ve no desire to encounter goblins. Thank you for the ale. A warm fire and a barrel of that, I might almost achieve a good mood again.”
“Cheer up, lad,” Ödön said, clapping him on the back. “You’re a good sight wealthier and more powerful than you were a month ago and set to marry one of the most notorious figures in the kingdom. You’ll live in the palace like a prince yourself, and be part of the heart of the Legion. Only you could be sour-faced about all that.”
“I am grateful for the opportunities granted me by King and the Sacred Heart,” Kristof replied.
“You’d rather fuck a goblin.”
Kristof snorted. “I’m not that upset, believe me. I’d rather go celibate than see or smell another goblin.” Ödön cast him a look. “Oh, shut it,” Kristof said, and shoved him away. “I’d like to see you choose ‘fuck a goblin’ over literally anything else in the world.”
“I wouldn’t have to fuck one, because if somebody ordered me to marry a Prince of—”
“Goblins!” Someone behind them shrieked, before the sound was cut off with a sharp gasp and a wet, crunching sound.
Kristof let go of his horse’s reins and whipped around, drawing his sword and pulling his shield from his back. He raised it just in time to block the long, glinting, diamond-sharp claws that came slashing down at him. The stench of rot and offal filled the air, mingling with screams of pain and fear.
The goblin came at him again, claws gleaming like metal, melting snow making its purple-gray skin shine. Its teeth were yellow and black as it snarled and spit at him. Kristof blocked its rapid-fire strikes, stumbling back in the knee-deep snow, struggling to stay up and fervently hoping there wasn’t something behind him because he could barely keep up with what was in front.
His teeth practically rattled as the goblin came at him with added force. The screech of its claws down his shield made him shudder, but the move cost the goblin recovery time and that was all the chance Kristof needed to gain the offensive. He drove forward, slamming his shield into it and forcing it to stumble back and down, then lunged and stabbed his sword into its soft gut.
The smell that immediately followed made him want to throw up. Kristof yanked his sword out and stumbled away before he did so, turning around and plunging into the chaos to drive off the rest of the goblins.
Unfortunately, there were just too many, and the nasty little bastards were impervious to magic. “Fall back!” Kristof bellowed. “Did someone blow the horn?”
“I did,” a young-looking soldier said as he frantically wiped away the viscous, oily purple-red goblin blood covering most of his face. It was already turning red and blistering; poor bastard would be weeks recovering from goblin burn. They gathered with the remaining men in a tight circle. Kristof plunged his sword into the snow, stripped off the heavy glove on his right hand, and threw his arm into the sky, chanting the spell to cast a circle of protection. The goblins would eat through it quickly, but it would buy them a few minutes.
When it was cast, he retrieved his sword and faced the goblins already working on the circle, eating through it like acid on metal. Next to Kristof, the young man raised the distress horn to his lips and blew it again.
The notes of it had not even faded when they heard an answering cry, a voice that carried so loud and clear the speaker might have been right beside them. Kristof looked around—then saw them cresting the hill, two figures on roan horses, wearing dark red tunics emblazoned with a thorn and rune crest: Princes of the Blood.
After that, it was hard to follow them. They left their horses at the bottom of the hill and ran across the snow as though it were no more than grass, moving with such speed Kristof could not keep up with them. The goblins dropped like practice dummies, making wet, squelching sounds, the putrid smell of them overwhelming. He heard more than a few people throw up around him, barely managed to avoid it himself.
Stepping forward he broke the protective circle and waited as the princes approached. One was tall and broad, though still smaller than Kristof in stature. He had dark red hair, worn long and scattered with a handful of tiny braids. His eyes were the animal yellow common to all the princes, and his nose looked as though it had been broken more than a few times.
The other man was … tiny. He looked like a piskie, small and slight and pretty, pale red-blond hair like sugar floss around his head, skin damn near the color of the snow around them. Only the eyes fractured the piskie image, gleaming a feral yellow as they looked Kristof slowly up and down. The man knelt in the snow to scrub his sword clean, then rose smoothly and walked toward Kristof as he sheathed it. “Hail, Paladin. How are you and your men?”
Kristof looked around the field, where his men had been gutted and ripped. “How do you think, Highness?”
The second prince spoke, shooting the piskie prince a quelling look. “I am sorry we did not arrive sooner, your grace.”
“Grace is it?” Piskie asked, moving closer still, looking Kristof over again. He barely came up to Kristof’s chest, and he would be shorter still out of his boots. If he had even a third of Kristof’s weight, he would be astonished. It was like standing before a child playing at being his father—except no child had such dangerous eyes, or wore full armor that easily, seemed so coldly indifferent to the death that surrounded them.
Piskie reached up and grasped the collar of Kristof’s tunic, tugging him down. Whatever Kristof had expected, it was not the hot swipe of tongue across his left cheek. Only then did he realize that he had been cut at all. Lips fastened on his skin as Piskie sucked and licked all the blood away. Piskie abruptly released, and Kristof let go the breath he had not realized he’d been holding.
“Waste not, your grace,” Piskie said, throwing a smirk over his shoulder as he turned and walked away, barking orders to the soldiers on the hill, calling for bodies to be gathered and what remained of Kristof’s party to be escorted to Guldbrandsen Palace. Kristof glared after him. If that an example of the Princes of the Blood, he would be happy to give his title away to the first fool who offered to take it.
“Do not mind him, your grace.”
Kristof turned away from Piskie to regard the other prince. “At least half my men are dead, and most of our supplies have been damaged beyond repair, and all he does is—” He broke off, and lifted his still-ungloved hand to touch his cheek, still strangely warm where Piskie had licked it clean. “These men were my friends. He could pretend to care.”
“I promise he is not as callous as he can seem at first, your grace. But he is not my concern—you, and your people, are. I can only offer our most sincere condolences for your loss. I hope that the rest of your stay proves more propitious. We are honored to have you, for it has been many years since we’ve been graced with the presence of a Duke of Stehlmore.”