Friday, October 26, 2012

First Chapter of Serpentine Tongue

Coming Soon....

Title: Serpentine Tongue
Author: Kayden McLeod
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genre: Ménage
Life is full of choices. Siobhan thought she’d never see another Sidhe. Until a blue dragon the size of a small mountain falls into her life, wounded and ailing. When the beast turns into a man, Siobhan has a choice: heal him at the cost of exposing of her greatest secret, or let him die. Fallon and Dearg thought they’d spend their lives as Seelie Knights, but treachery of the heart brings a reviled fate crashing upon them. They’ve become the first dragon shifters in fae existence, and they have to trust Siobhan in order to survive. Now, she has to choose: Fallon, Dearg…or both?

Chapter One

Fallon pumped his legs, racing across the meadow under a halo of arrows poised for his back. The Seelie Queen’s archers claimed to be the strongest, faster, the best.
He was stronger, faster.
The Queen had no one to blame, but herself. She cursed him for his “serpentine tongue,” or so she’d once referred to the organ dominating his mouth. Once, she’d used the term as an endearment.  Now, she cursed him. Once upon a time, when they’d met in what he’d mistaken for love, turned out to be lust. Lust for power, greed and good, hard sex. No more.
Her loss, his gain. The truth had come out. For the better, anyway. Next time they’d met, he’d kill her. He possessed no other choice. His serpentine tongue had spoken the words proclaiming her impending death. Failure to keep his promise was to be foresworn from court, if not killed for being an oathbreaker by powers much greater than he.
The first mattered little to him. The second, well, he wasn’t so sure.
The Queen’s Knights, his brothers in arms, wove through the archers on their winged steeds, some of them attempting to ensure latter option.
“Fallon, halt!” Garbhan, Captain of the Queen’s Knights, barreled ahead of the others. He cried his plea over the thunderous legion of hooves. “If you stop this flight, I could speak to Druantia about a pardon.”
Fallon tossed his blue-black hair over one bare shoulder. He sneered. “Do not make promises you cannot keep. You might be fucking her royal highness, but she will not forgive this.”
Garbhan growled something lost to the wind. No matter. Fallon was disinterested in empty promises.
His lungs burned, his thighs screamed, tossing the shredded material of his breeches that hung precariously over his hips. He’d never cross the meadow, into the lush undergrowth of the forest. They’d catch him on their magickial steeds long before.
One way out for the likes of him.
He swallowed the bile that rose in his throat. He hated his enforced ability, but he’d have to use his other form. He jackknifed in mid-leap, snarling at the horses. Garbhan’s reared, kicking out his front legs. Fallon dodged the sharp slashes aimed for his chest.
“Where is Dearg?” Garbhan spat on the ground, as if to rid himself of the distaste of Fallon’s best friend. Nervously, he glanced at archers, who fell back while their Captain conversed. “At least let us bring him back, and I will allow you a full day’s head start.”
Fallon struggled to calm himself. The shift tearing through his body took far longer than it had last time, wasting precious seconds. “I do not know where he went after we left the castle. We went our separate ways.” Too close to a lie. The truth, they’d been forced apart.
Maghnus, always an overzealous guard, dropped from his Pegasus. “Silver tongued beast, tell the Captain of the Queen’s Knights where your fiend ran with his tail between his legs.”
“I cannot tell you, what I do not know,” Fallon wheezed through the burning fury inside his belly that knew no end. Oh, for Goddess’s sake! Why would the change not come upon him?
Maghnus swung his sword, slicing through Fallon’s ribs. His flesh split, a ripe melon under the blistering sun. He threw his head back and roared, the noise gaining volume and momentum, bleeding into a bellow that shook the trees ringing the meadow.
His eyes burned as his face elongated. His back arched, cracked. Size tripled, then that quadrupled.  He towered above them, half man, half beast as the minute changes reformed his body. At last, it was done.
His snout billowed steam. The Knights fell back, not knowing the secret of his form. Let them think he could blow fire.
“A dragon!” An archer squealed.
The Queen’s secret, for good or bad, had come to light. Fallon startled that the rumors had not yet filled every ear at the Seelie court. For he had been cursed in front of all the nobility. Gossipers and liars, the lot of them.
Garbhan cut the air with his sword, toward Maghnus. He showed not a care. Unlike the others, the Captain knew Fallon kept his wits, even as a dragon. “Have not a fear! This cretin had angered him.”
Fallon hesitated to kill his fellow Knights. They’d grown and trained together, fought for one another. The archers mattered not to him.
“That is a Sidhe no longer!” Maghnus stumbled back, as Fallon rose on his muscled hind legs. “This is what the Queen has done to him?”
“You were there, Maghnus.”
“He did not do this at court!”
Fallon spread his wings across the meadow. His long, thick neck curled over Maghnus, cutting him off from his peers. One crystalline triple iries complete with slit pupil caught the Knight’s.
He didn’t bother to perform a communication charm. His face said it all.
Cut me again, dullard. I shall bite your head clean from your shoulders.
The Knight shuddered, his sword falling to the ground. He’d wet himself, the reek pungent to his oversensitive sense of smell. Inside, Fallon wondered how he’d ever stomached the wretch. His death would be a mercy to his brothers. A true Knight hath no fear of any man or beast.
Blood gushed between them, running down Fallon’s metallic green chest. The shift had ripped open the wound, enlarged the serrated edges. Not the first time he’d been wounded in battle. Not the last either. He’s see this to be true.
Fallon whipped his barbed tail, colliding with Maghnus’ side, tearing through his armor. He tumbled through the air into three horses, including his own. He uttered a shattering roar, a gust of steam. The warriors scrambled, screaming “fire.”
How little they knew. Not even the Captain understood. Fallon was a water dragon. Ice, to the fire that was Dearg.
He leapt, and damned near fell back to the ground. Perhaps, his wounds surpassed his previous assessment. His limbs deadened, the bone structure of his wings threatened not to keep him airborne for longer than a minute or two. That’s all he needed.
Arrows flew, tiny sticks to a beast such as him. The beast barely felt them enter his hide.
The man was altogether a different story.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meanderings Of An Author

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. The last month or so has been insane! As many of you know, I recently became an American, and moved to the states to be with my husband. We drove from Vancouver, British Columbia, to New Orleans, Louisiana in about four days.

The drive took us through some states I never would’ve visited otherwise. We started out in Washington, then through Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and then through Louisiana. Though, I will admit, I slept through most of the places I’d really wanted to see. Though we did a tour of the Walmarts of America—no, not kidding. We went to quite a few through the drive. My dog can now “say” she has peed in more states than most other dogs could ever claim.

My dog and cat have basically adjusted, though the pup is unsure of the weather. The humidity change is hard on her, and it’s not even close to summer. The other three cats had no idea what to make of this strange animal that barks at them. They’ve set boundaries, and rarely cross them. Every day, they get better.

The move jostled me in many ways. Though I threw myself into the new routine, not having a day-time job is disconcerting. I feel guilty for sleeping in until nine. Or have the need to do something, and never feel like I’m doing enough. There are many things I miss from home. As the chameleon I have become, my colors change, I adapt. Over the past three weeks, the words have been returning to me, the drive to write, and draw. I even started painting again. Real, pencil and paint to canvas! Not graphic arts. I haven’t painted in years, and remembering techniques I’d thought I’d forgotten gives me a little bit of the “child with new toy” syndrome.

Since I arrived, and settled in, I’ve been writing a lot. The words just keep coming. I started out almost finishing the second draft of Jaguar, which right now is at 65K, much more than I thought the novel would be. I only had twenty pages to rewrite, to bring to light the ideas and depth of character development that had come to me. But my YA fantasy series written under Kinsey Knight has been plaguing me for months now. With only so little to go, I’d started rereading the Merry Gentry series, by Laurell K Hamilton last week. That was that. The final straw, so to speak. I had to go back to the Elemental books.

I started where I’d left off in book three, Elemental Air, and plugged out 10K in less than two days. The worst problem with doing this was, book two, Elemental Water was only about 20% completed. Granted, I knew the big events that happened, there was so much I didn’t know. So, yesterday, I started writing book two to hammer out some big details. Regardless, I’ve been flipping back and forth between the two, making dozens of pages of notes as I go.

Unfortunately, returning to this multi-book project (4-6 books in the Elemental, 2 in the Turbulent Angels, and 2 in Maeryn) I’m having second thoughts.

In the beginning of Elemental, I’d decided to write these books in first person, present tense. Now I’m wondering if that was the best choice. Yes, I love trying new techniques. However, how badly will this decision hurt me when it comes time to submit? I’ve experienced the downfalls of “thinking outside of the box” more than once in my career. And yes, after a lot of perseverance and stubbornness, this has paid off in spades. But being different in my writing style, resulting in the downfalls becomes trying after a while. On the other hand, I’ve never been one to adhere to mainstream ideals, just because it’s easier. Maybe this is just a phase of insecurities and dread for the rejections I will without a doubt receive, before I hit the golden ticket. Doesn’t really matter how thick an author’s skin grows. A constant string of “no’s” can be hard to stomach. I have to keep reminding myself of the bigger picture.

Eventually, one side of the argument will win out. Three years ago, I would’ve taken the harder path, without question. But, I’ve grown so much, as my writing and goals. I’ve done many things. Opened two companies, worked in different parts of the publishing industry. Now, my world has become focused on one goal, one that shines above the rest. I’ve trimmed the fat, seeing what I really want. To be an author. Funny, through the last year and a half, I’ve come full circle.

Happy Reading…

Kayden McLeod