Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH Take 4

hump-day-hookBlood to Fire is with my editor now, I’m anxiously awaiting her feedback, and I’m working on cover art development with my fabulous publisher.

So, to keep myself from bouncing off the walls too much as I complete the final steps in producing my third novel, I will share another snippet from the book.

In this scene, Anne discovers that her friends and compatriots are striving to help her feel at home–even if it’s her first Christmas apart from her family:

I’m stunned at the magnitude of the changes to this space. It had been cozy in the way of the great New York library, with conversational groups of couches and chairs at the edges of a vast cavern holding an untold number of books. The ceiling is still lost to the shadows, but with the new rock formation and the massive tree we’re facing, all of a sudden I feel like Clara in The Nutcracker: a child dwarfed by wonder.

“How did this happen?”

“Do you like it? Did we get it right?” Ivan’s anxiety is transmitting though the tense hold he has on my waist.

“This is stupendous. When did you do it? How did you have the time to get this all in place in an afternoon? Were Vasily and Fyodor faking it?” The questions tumble out of me in an urgent stream. Then I shake myself. Where are my manners? “Thank you!”

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph (sorry, I can never leave it just at that!) of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HDH banner.

Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH Take 3

hump-day-hookI’ve started the critique and editorial process on Blood to Fire, and am getting more and more excited about sharing the final result with you in a few weeks. In the meantime, you get to make do with yet another snippet:

You ask so many questions at once it’s difficult to get a word in edgewise. Of course I know where other dragons are. We are here in the western edge of the Himmapan.

Seriously? That place is real?

If you would stop interrupting, I could finish answering your previous questions.

I’m all but vibrating in my urgency to understand how we could have landed in a mythical, mystical place, and lean in to show my close attention.

The mythical always has its basis in reality; in this part of the world, our separation from standard geography took place at about the same time as it did in the west, with the retreat of Avalon–and much the same effect. Magical creatures of great power can still make the transition, but it happens much more infrequently with the greatly reduced population of magic-bearers.

I could listen to this lecture all day, so creep closer and settle down. I notice Ivan, too, has wedged himself tight against me, with one wing unfurled across my back. For once, I don’t care whether he is acting possessive. Vasily and Fyodor have also rejoined us, and are fixated with rapt attention on Shr-Zen. I’m glad this time it’s not a voodoo transference, and vow to catalog all the sensory inputs to make sure I don’t miss any of the details.

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph (sorry, I can never leave it just at that!) of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HHH banner.

Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH … Reprise

hump-day-hookI’m plunking along on Blood to Fire, so you get another sneak peek this week:

“At some point soon, we’re going to have to take a trip in to Omsk. The Christmas market is a lot of fun, and it’s been forever since we’ve been to the banya together.”

I laugh. “You have either a cleanliness fetish or an obsession with secrecy. This is a dragon cave; how would the KGB even know to place bugs here.”

She lowers her eyebrows ominously. “You can never be sure of what the KGB has discovered. Remember, Natasha said her flight’s agreement was with the government, so there are documents somewhere. Which means there could have been an attempt to survey this space, too.”

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HHH banner.

Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH

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I’m getting so close to the end of book 2 of my Red Slaves series, it’s getting exciting. And since it has me in its claws, will be going to my editor in two weeks, and is coming out in a little more than a month… I thought it was time to start building some excitement about Anne’s ongoing story. She was a self-contained know-it-all in book 1, so she has a lot to learn in book 2, and there are some seriously fun scenes to write as I blow her mind time after time:

“This is going to be one of those culture clash things, where we have to agree to disagree. Again. I can’t imagine a time when being an individual isn’t more important to me than being part of any kind of group.”

“We will give you time. And we will create our own society. But you are no longer an American. You are my mate, the leader of our flight, and responsible for much greater destinies than were ever possible as a human.”

I mmph in an indeterminate response. If he thinks I’m going to cave on this one, he has another think coming. And why is it that these supernatural types always speak in such pretentious terms: Destiny? Life and Death? I don’t see anything as quite that important. Even if there are very few dragons left. Hundreds of species go extinct each year, and the likelihood that there is sufficient genetic diversity to make this or any future generation of dragons strong enough to continue or expand the race is small. Besides, I didn’t even know dragons were a reality until… recently? How long has it even been since Sam sent me on that fateful trip?

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HHH banner.

Hump Day Hook: Last Supper #HDH

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I took a break from Red Slaves last week and started something completely different. In the midst of seasonal family revelries, my head was someplace darker, and I started working on a new short story. This is planned to be one of several short stories that form part of a second go at a Katarr Kanticles Press anthology in 2013. The anthology is set around a horror theme, so this one has everything to do with the horror of changing family ties–with the paranormal twist I can’t seem to avoid in my writing.

Without further ado:

The afternoon sun streamed in the window and sparked rainbows off the cut crystal stemware. Lana wondered why her mother had been persuaded to go to all this trouble, when her father’s betrayal was still so fresh. He had presented his divorce decree and marriage certificate almost in the same breath, just a month before Thanksgiving. Lana suspected her mother still harbored hope that the strange woman now in her family’s midst was just a nightmare from which she could wake up.

At least Lana had been successful in enforcing the division of families. She sat by Henry and her mother in the kitchen, while the interloper and her adult children enjoyed the repast so carefully presented in the formal dining room. Lana had drawn the line at breaking bread in the same room as the woman who had convinced her father to cut his decades-old family ties.

Yet they were following all the old traditions: The 25-pound turkey was golden-brown and juicy; the cornbread stuffing paired perfectly with the giblet gravy; the sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes crying out for that topping too; the green beans with almond slivers; the Brussels sprouts with garlic and butter; the cranberry salad and jelly; and all the desserts. There would be the full complement of pies: Apple, cherry, pumpkin, and pecan–as well as the vanilla ice cream they had hand-cranked over the summer, during happier times. The tables would have groaned at their loads, had they not been divided between the rooms.

Henry and her mother were doing their best to carry on a normal conversation, but Lana was trapped in memories. She could see the marks on the door frame that showed how she and her sister had chased each other’s heights, until finally, in High School, Laney had surpassed her to become the willowy model that allowed her to travel in style to the exotic locales her photographers insisted she visit.

She could see the lighter patches on the wall where her mother’s collection of china plates from countries they had visited as a family were now missing–packed up and ready for the mover to arrive in the morning.

She measured the tall cabinets again in her mind’s eye, wondering if finally she might be tall enough to reach the top shelves.

If it weren’t for the full force of the traditions around this time of year, the room would be haunted by these echos of the past.

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HHH banner.

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