Big Heart, Little Braveries

I mentioned in my last post that I was working through some personal issues – how else? – by writing yet another sequel to “Big City, Little Magics”.

Since that post (*waves back to distant mid-July*), I am happy to report that:

1) I have bid farewell to a workplace I was more than ready to leave and gained temporary employment elsewhere. To leave the devil I knew was brave. To try my chances with the devil unknown, also brave. Plus the temp gig’s duties include making a lot of phone calls, and if that doesn’t take bravery, what does??

2) Five years after falling into obsession with the soundtrack – and fifteenish months after the heartbreak of our tickets to the show succumbing to the plague – Tirzah and I finally got to watch the musical “Hamilton” onstage. Strangely enough, allowing yourself to reach for a good time can take more bravery than you think. Not just the part where you have to find decent parking in San Francisco, either. The part where you have to make your heart big enough to hold old wounds and new joys together.

3) And oh yeah, I finished the story! A brave project to undertake, yet less scary to try than this series’ first installment. After all, with every little magical tale I create with these characters, the surer I am that it wasn’t a fluke – I’ve really rediscovered my writing.

Presenting my latest from the BCLM world:

*

Once upon a time, there was a road trip…

Farther back.

Once upon a time, there was a slaughter…

Farther.

Once upon a time, an unbearable goodbye…

Back.

Once upon a time, there was a monster…

*

Once upon a time, and again, and again,

Several times upon a time, there was a darkness.

And the dark contained a demon – or, perhaps, a deity…

Certainly, the dark contained a dragoness.

*

But ‘contained’ is not the word. Nothing kept in check about it,

Though she fought to hold herself controlled and tight.

Shadows leaking out the cracks, blackness creeping past the edges,

And we all know only wrongness shuns the light.

Right?

*

What if

Once and twice and thrice the monster reached across the times,

Claiming all the potent power of the inverse of the sun?

What if

Time could be rewritten through the act of self-alliance?

If the dragon truly saves herself in this one?

*

What would having that do?

Dream it true.

*

The Self-Construction of Couch” – now available to read (for free! Or for Ko-Fi tips, if it please ye) on Wattpad.com.

‘Til next we brave this life together,

~ Danielle

All Hail the Dragon King’s Shadow!

Chapter-by-Chapter-blog-tour-buttonOnce upon One More Day, author J. Keller Ford’s fun little tale of frozen time and a dragon of a rollercoaster shared the pages with me in a young-adult anthology. Fast-forward to this very day, when the dragons are literal, the book is a debut novel, and the proud author is getting herself a Release Day shout-out here on Ever On Word. Lords, Ladies, and Highnesses, may I present to you…

…a Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours production post…

InTheShadowRDC

In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford

Release Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

Seventeen-year-old Eric is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.

Sixteen-year-old David spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte.

Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he’s some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He’s supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who’s too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.

With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.

 

InTheShadowCover

Now Available!

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

And There’s a Giveaway!

– One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm! (US ONLY)

– Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford! (INT)

Enter here! (Contest ends June 17, 2016)

Not to Mention the Launch Party!

Facebook. 2pm – 10pm EDT. Drop by for games, guest authors, and giveaways!

Congrats, Jenny! May your new book-baby’s sales be dragon-sized. ;D

About the Author

J. Keller Ford

Keller Ford (known to all as Jenny) is a scribbler of Young Adult and New Adult speculative fiction. As a young Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights and wondrous magic that permeated her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, swimming, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. Jenny is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a quirky knight who was silly enough to marry her, and a menagerie of royal pets. Published works include short stories, The Amulet of Ormisez, Dragon Flight, and The Passing of Millie Hudson. IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is her debut novel and the first installment in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | InstagramPinterest |Goodreads

Altered

Hey, yo. Mostly just trying to keep myself together as I prep for the “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” summer release and my upcoming return to Germany. Meanwhile, though, I felt like gifting the dear ol’ blog with a bit of attention. So here – have one of those out-of-the-blue bits o’ fiction that sometimes spill out of my brain. I call it: “Altered”.

<<<>>>

“Dragon Mountain” by eddie-mendoza on deviantART
“Dragon Mountain” by eddie-mendoza on deviantART

Today, the dragon comes.

They’ve chained you to the altar stone and left you – this winter’s sacrifice. I can’t know if your shaking’s from dread or from cold.

Your eyes are wide and darting, searching for me. I told you I’d be here for you. I told you I’d see you freed. I am, and I will. I hope you can trust me, even if you can’t work out my hiding place.

My gaze moves between you and the sky. The sun’s dipping lower, the Cursed Mountain’s shadow stretching closer. As near as anyone can figure, the dragon’s roars never sound ‘til the shadow’s crossed the altar’s runes. We have minutes left.

I flex my grip on my sword, bought with every coin I had, plus a few more I saw no choice but to steal. It will be worth it, once the dragon’s slain. Once I’ve broken the hold the mountain’s had over our land for years longer than anyone’s sure of. Once you’re free to live your whole life long, and I’ll never again have to fear losing you to a monster.

Shadow and altar touch. You pull away, as far as you can, as far as your shackles allow. I turn away, my eyes on the mountain. Any moment now I’ll hear—

The roar. The air ripples with it. The power of the sound knocks me to the ground, and for the space of the breath I can’t take, I’m too scared to move. Because the roar came from too close.

It came from you.

When I can lift my head, I catch only the end of the change. The stone’s runes glowing unearthly-bright beneath you, you stretch and twist and thrash and grow. Another roar, riding from your throat on an eruption of flame. Somewhere within the sonic blast, I hear your scream of terror.

There never was a dragon. There were only the sacrifices, cursed upon the altar. What have we been doing?

Your alteration complete, your first chain breaks, the sharp sound shocking me out of stillness. I burst from my hiding place, sword drawn, calling your name the best I can with a voice scared half-worthless. Your eyes have finally found me, and they shine red, the pupils slitted like a snake’s.

You speak, your voice again somewhere inside the dragon’s.

“Please…” you say. You back away, your head dropped low on the end of your long neck, shimmering with scales. “Please. You promised.”

“To slay the dragon,” I say.

“To see me freed,” you plead. “And free I am, to be gone from this place. To discover the truth of what I have become. Will you let me go in peace? Or are you my champion only when I am powerless?”

My racing heart slows as, beat by beat, you make no move against me. At last, I swallow. Fill my lungs. Speak.

“You loved me when I was the stronger,” I say. “I will do no less for you now.” I plant my blade’s tip in the snow. “Fly, my friend.”

With the snap of your second chain, you raise your head. Your wings unfurl, starkly silhouetted against the twilight sky. Your tail sweeps around to rest before me, the ridges rising like a staircase up your spine. Your dragon voice rings out: “Fly with me.”

And so we rise together, our whole lives long awaiting.

<<<>>>

(Enjoyed what I wrote? There’s loads more where that came from! Browse the DEShipley catalogue, why dontcha.)

WINGS OF RENEWAL: The Cover Revealed

“We interrupt what would have been your regularly scheduled Interactive Theatre skit,” says Will Scarlet, “to bring you ‘Wings of Renewal: The Cover Revealed’!”

“Wait, what?” says Allyn-a-Dale.

Will shoves a three-ring script binder into the minstrel’s hands. “Just run with it.”

“O… kay…”

<<<>>>

Allyn/Narrator: The future is vibrant, hopeful, and filled with dragons.

[Gant-o’-the-Lute – eyes bright through reptilian contact lenses, resplendent in full-body make-up set to stun – glides over the stage on kite-like dragon wings with an exultant, musical roar.]

Allyn/Narrator: In WINGS OF RENEWAL, twenty-two authors explore the exciting new subgenre of solarpunk through the lens of these majestic creatures.

[A full-length triple mirror unfolds, with Will Scarlet in the center. His reflections appearing to multiply into forever, he raises a megaphone-like device to his mouth, likewise multiplying his voice into that of a small crowd.]

Will/Authors: We are the ninety-nine! Or, the twenty-two, anyway. Behold, our names and short story titles!

[A sweeping score singing from various speakers, a slideshow of the list projects onto the stage’s back curtain, reading as follows:

Brenda J. Pierson – Lost and Found
C.B. Carr – Summer Project
Cj Lehi – Deep Within the Corners of my Mind
Caitlin Nicoll – Glow
Caroline Bigaiski – The Dragon of Kou
Claudie Arseneault – One Last Sweet
Danny Mitchell – Dragon’s Oath
Diane Dubas – The Witch’s Son
Gemini Pond – Fighting Fire with Fire
J. Lee Elloris – The Last Guardian
Jeanne LG – The Stained Glass Dragon
Kat Lerner – Community Outreach with Reluctant Neighbors (alternatively, How to Avoid Cults)
Kimberly Kay and A. N. Gephart – Solarium
Lyssa Chiavari – Seven Years Among Dragons
M. Pax – Wings of the Guiding Suns
Marianne Drolet – The Shape of the Sun
Maura Lydon – Wanderer’s Dream
Megan Reynolds – Petrichor
Mindi Briar – Refuge
Sam Martin – Morelle and Vina
Stephanie Wagner – In the Hearts of Dragons
Tobias Wade – The Quantum Dragon

The music continuing on, the draconified Lute returns to resume his aerial dance, while Allyn wraps up the narration.]

Allyn/Narrator: Whether they irrigate dry terrain or serve as spaceships, are mythic beasts come to life or biomechanical creations of man, these dragons show us a world where renewable energy overcomes gas and oil, and cooperation replaces competition. If you love fantasy/sci-fi fusion, this is an anthology you do not want to miss! So hop on solar wings and follow us into futures that—for all their witches and dragons—are far more possible than they might seem.

Will: And now… the cover!

[The back curtain rises on the larger than life, full-spread cover art, then zooms in on the cover’s front, complete with text – all as seen below.]

Wings of Renewal, full-spread art

 

Wings of Renewal, front cover

Lute: Magnificent, no? [grins and breathes a jet of fire ]

<<<>>>

 “Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to editor Claudie Arseneault,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the information included in this anthology cover reveal production, and to Agata Jędrychowska for the creation of the cover art itself.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”