I Love Dragons Giveaway!

February Fantasy Month Banner

Happy Valentine’s Day, fellow wanderers! What better way to celebrate being halfway through February is Fantasy month than with a giveaway? Especially a dragon-themed giveaway!

I Heart Dragons Covers

Whether fire-breathing or water-dwelling, winged or serpentine, dragons capture our imagination and take us to fantastic new worlds. For the month of February, nineteen dragon writers have gathered together to offer a collection worth sinking your teeth into. We’ve got dragons of all sizes, from friendly to fierce and everything in between. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them:

KW Front

King’s Warrior
by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

When Dark Warriors invade her country, it is up to Princess Kamarie to seek out the legendary king’s warrior and request his aid. The feisty princess has spent her life dreaming of adventure and is thrilled to be tasked with such a quest. There’s only one thing that can dampen the princess’s excitement: Oraeyn. The squire views his task of protecting the princess on her journey as an inglorious assignment and makes no attempt to hide his disappointment.

Despite a rocky start to their journey – in which Oraeyn throws the obnoxious princess in a river just to get her to call him by name – the travelers soon learn that they must depend upon one another if they are to locate the man they have been sent to find.

The adventure merely begins when they meet Brant: a warrior with a mysterious past. He joins their cause readily, his heart smoldering with a vendetta Kamarie cannot completely understand. But whether she trusts him or not, the hope of their world rests on the steel he wears at his side.

A Keeper's Tale Cover

A Keeper’s Tale: The Story of Tomkin and the Dragon
by JA Andrews

Regardless of his aspirations, the bookish, untrained young man is better suited to recording the deeds of heroes than being one himself. 

Which becomes an obvious problem when he finds himself clinging to a ledge above a sleeping dragon. And instead of wielding his family’s great sword with valor and skill, he drops it—onto the dragon.

The problem grows immeasurably worse when Tomkin himself falls off the ledge—also onto the dragon.

And his problem reaches its peak when Tomkin, after being captured, discovers a maiden locked in a tower. But this is no sweet damsel. Not only does she refuse to be rescued, she refuses to even admit she’s in distress.

It’s too bad for the people of Marshwell that Tomkin is the only thing standing – or falling – in the dragon’s way. 

Dragonfriend Cover

Dragon Friend
by Marc Secchia

Gold Award winner – 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards

Stabbed. Burned by a dragon. Abandoned for the windrocs to pick over. The traitor Ra’aba tried to silence Hualiama forever. But he reckoned without the strength of a dragonet’s paw, and the courage of a girl who refused to die.

Only an extraordinary friendship will save Hualiama’s beloved kingdom of Fra’anior and restore the King to the Onyx Throne. Flicker, the valiant dragonet. Hualiama, a foundling, adopted into the royal family. The power of a friendship which paid the ultimate price.

This is the tale of Hualiama Dragonfriend, and a love which became legend.

But Wait … There’s More!

Dragon Journal Photo

View the entire collection of 20 ebooks HERE, and enter to win them all for your hoard, along with your very own embossed leather dual dragons journal (pictured above).

The giveaway runs from Feb. 1-28. The winner will be notified by email on March 1.

Enter below and good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~ jenelle

Snippet Tag

February Fantasy Month Banner

Back in December, I was tagged to participate in The Snippet Tag. This is a tag created by Madeline over at Short and Snappy, a blogger I just really enjoy reading. Here are the rules:

  • Include the fancy-shmancy graphic somewhere in your post. (Or make your own, just so long as you include a link back to my blog.)
  • Answer all the questions, however you want to. Creative interpretation is key here! You can use the book you’re currently working on to answer the questions, or other books you’ve started or have written.
  • Tag 2-5 other bloggers.

Seems pretty simple, and you get the bonus of reading some snippets. Since my Number One Goal for this year is to be able to put Minstrel’s Call in your hands, dear Reader… I’m going to share snippets from the almost-finished product of that WIP. And, hey! Minstrel’s Call is a fantasy novel, so it fits with the month’s theme!

1. Share your most gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story:

Well, I’m not certain it’s the MOST gripping first line I’ve ever written… but I like it rather a lot.

Even in the midst of the darkness, there is always a shard of light if we will but search for it hard enough and believe in it strongly enough.

A Proverb of Emnolae

It was dawn when my brothers and I awoke for the first time. Brightness assailed my vision as I stared about, blinking in confusion and curiosity. I was aware of others around me, but my attention was drawn to a single presence that filled me with joy and awe. I glanced from side to side, exercising my new eyesight. A blinding light slashed across my vision and I immediately covered my eyes. I lifted my wings to my face. I was astonished to find that I possessed wings. I stared at them, blinking as they shielded me from the incredible brightness that had nearly stolen my newfound sight from me. My wings were a deep golden hue, with flecks of red and orange dancing through them. They were filled with moving energy and covered in feathers of flame that danced in dazzling, mesmerizing patterns. When I overcame the wonder of seeing my wings I found I could see through them, and now that my wings stood between myself and the source of the great light I could see clearly the one who had awoken me. His face was full of such power, compassion, and wisdom. With haste, I covered my feet as a sign of respect with another set of wings. It was then I discovered that I had a total of six wings. As I looked into his face, self-awareness and knowledge of who stood before me filled the core of my being. It was as if I had gone from infant to adult in the the strike of flint on steel. 

2. Share a snippet that literally just crushes your heart into a million feelsy little pieces.

Oh man, this is hard. There are so many in this book. But perhaps this one does so in the best way possible.

“I can smell snow in the air,” Leila’s voice held a hint of disbelief as she slipped into the trees to stand beside him. “But it is by far the wrong season for snow.”

“My brother twists everything,” Kiernan sighed. “I thought perhaps you had given up on me.”

“When you barely looked at me in Aom-igh I nearly did,” Leila admitted.

The rain beat steadily on the canopy of leaves above. The two figures, cloaked and nearly invisible among the trees stood wrapped in silence.

“It is not what you think,” Kiernan’s voice was hesitant. “There has never been…” he paused, then continued carefully, “anyone else.”

3. Share a snippet that makes you want to shout to the world that you’re SO. HAPPY!

This one. Definitely this one.

Suddenly his questions about the Minstrel seemed small and petty. Kiernan might wear a mask that Brant despised, but he surely had good reasons for doing so.

“You’re not so different from Kiernan anyway, you both have lived long enough to lose friends, too long, maybe. Perhaps that’s why the Minstrel wears a mask and keeps people at arm’s length, he too knows the pain of loving too much,” Brant gazed out the window thoughtfully, seeing nothing. “The time for doubting is past.” He did not realize that he was speaking his thoughts aloud until he heard an answering voice.

“Then you begin to understand.”

4. Share a snippet that gives a bit of insight into one of your most favorite characters ever.

Oh, that’s easy. And the nice thing is that this longer snippet gives you a lovely two-for-one as you get insights into both of my favorite characters ever!

Brant’s mouth pursed into a scowl at the mention of Kiernan.

“What is it about Kiernan that irritates you so?”

“What about him doesn’t irritate me?” Brant chuckled a little. “The man is a fool, a bumbling clown, and he couldn’t speak a clear sentence to save his life.”

Kaitryn looked at him askance. “But that’s not why you despise him. You’ve seen that the face he shows the world is not real. You’ve known him well enough to understand he is truly wise and strong and brave. It’s the mask you despise, not the man.”

Brant leaned his head back and looked up at the bright blue sky above him. “Perhaps,” he admitted. “I’ve been gaining an appreciation for Kiernan lately, though. You’re wrong, I don’t despise him. Maybe I did at first, but no more.”

“Then why does he make you so angry?”

“I’m not sure,” Brant admitted. “I’ve learned to respect the man behind the mask of the fool, but if he chooses to remain behind that mask, then what makes the man any different than the mask he wears? Besides, he enjoys irritating me. I’m starting to think Kiernan Kane hates me.” 

As he said the words, Brant winced at how childish he sounded. Even absent, Kiernan Kane seemed to bring the worst out in him, the childishness, the pettiness. He dug his fingers into the soft grass beneath him. He was glad Kaitryn was the only one to hear his confession.

Kaitryn blinked slowly. “Brant,” she spoke with quiet fervor, “you are the best friend Kiernan has, and he knows it.”

“What!” the word exploded from Brant and he jumped as if Kaitryn had kicked him. He laughed shortly. “I’m afraid that’s just wishful thinking, Kitry. Kiernan Kane barely has any use for me, he has made that clear on many occasions.”

Kaitryn crossed her arms and huffed. “I mean it. I don’t know why you can’t see it, but to everyone else it’s obvious that Kiernan sees you as an equal — in a way he regards no one else. He respects you, and I can tell you respect him too, grudgingly perhaps, but you do. I think Kiernan Kane is worried about you and maybe that’s why he keeps secrets… maybe he’s trying to protect you.”

Brant paused, staring off into the middle-distance of the garden, oblivious to the beauty surrounding him as he reflected on Kitry’s words. They pierced his heart, but he was not quite ready to fully embrace them.

5. Share a snippet that literally melts you into a puddle of adorable, squishy, OTP mush.

Hm. That’s a bit more difficult. Perhaps this one…

“There is so much I do not understand,” Leila faltered as she caught a glimpse of a strange loneliness in the Minstrel’s eyes, “when you speak to me I feel like a child. It… it unsettles me.”

“Then I will not speak,” Kiernan caught up Leila’s right hand in his own and raised it to his lips, his face alight. “Forgive me, dear one, I never meant to fall in love with you.” 

He pressed his lips to her hand and then backed away, melting into the shadows of the forest. Leila tried to follow him with her eyes, but the branches of the trees reached out and enfolded him in their embrace and she could not see where he had gone. She sighed and pulled her cloak closer about her shoulders. The wizardess — her thoughts awhirl with conflicting emotions — returned to her tent, a slim, graceful figure gliding through the misty rain. Sharp blue eyes watched as she made her way back across the camp to her tent. When she had passed through the doorway of her tent and disappeared from sight, Kiernan Kane sank down to the wet ground of the forest floor and desolately touched a string on his mandolin. The music of the string rang out into the night, an achingly sweet note that painted pictures of all the love a heart could hold and all the loss a heart could abide. 

6. Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like, “Yep, I wrote that beauty!”

Something that is new and different about Minstrel’s Call is that each chapter begins with a quote or snippet of its own that hints at the vast history of the world this series takes place within. Most of those snippets definitely qualify as the writing of which I am proudest. So I’ll give you a taste of a few of them – but I’m not going to tell you who said them… that, you’ll have to wait for the actual book to discover.

Without warning or sound, a beacon of light exploded into existence in the dark space that I had been watching so intently. A nebula of green and blue fire surrounded the beacon and then dissipated, even as the light dimmed and faded. Haeronymous was nudging me and I realized I had covered my eyes. I lowered my wings. The darkness had been replaced by a glowing orb of fire that blazed blue and pure.

And this one:

I never knew how the old man found me, nor why he chose me to travel with him in search of the ancient relic. I sometimes wonder if I just happened to be the only one available. I did not know how his actions would change my life, had I known, would I have gone with him anyway? Perhaps. There was a glint to his blue eyes I found compelling. It promised adventure, but warned that there might be no safe return. My soul leapt at the challenge. How could I refuse?

And then this one just makes me giggle

Eat me if thou must, good dragon, but please take me to where it is dry first!

7. Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.

Well, anytime Brant and Kiernan banter definitely has to make the list – and this is one of my all-time favorite moments:

“We will see far worse than this before the war is done,” Kiernan Kane said grimly as he rode up beside Brant on a tall silver mare.

Jemson glanced over and then gave the Minstrel a strange look. “Where did you…?” But the question went unasked as a sentry galloped up to Jemson and the king of Llycaelon began asking questions about the enemy they faced.

Kiernan nodded at his horse. “Not from Jemson’s stable,” he explained in a low whisper.

Brant uttered a short, barking laugh under his breath. “Thank you,” he managed, when he had gotten himself under control, “you have given my mind a different mystery to puzzle out than the horror that marches to our doorstep.”

Kiernan’s forehead wrinkled in consternation. “Neiaryel is an old friend,” he patted the mare’s neck gently, “she comes to me when I need her, when I need to be more than a simple, wandering minstrel with a gray mule and a brightly painted cart. There is no mystery in that.”

Brant laughed harder. “That was not the mystery, my friend. The mystery is why you are suddenly volunteering answers.”

8. Share a snippet that makes you feel like an evil genius for thinking up such a malevolent villain. (Mwa-ha-ha!)

I’m not going to share the entire scene, because: SPOILERS! but this is one that definitely makes me cackle villainously:

Zdeanak’s mocking voice rang out harshly. “You named me coward, but I have shown you to be exactly what you are: pathetic and weak!”

Kamarie stared up at the rogue dragon, aghast. He lifted his other claw high in the air as though to bring it down in a crushing blow against Brant, but then he sneered and hissed. With a final scornful laugh, Zdeanak leapt into the sky. The wind coming off his ebony wings gusted through the crowd and felt as cold as the icy fingers that had wrapped around their hearts. A woman screamed, a child sobbed, and the people who had come to see the trial rushed away from the square to return to their homes and lock their doors; for all the good it would do.

Zdeanak’s mocking voice came floating back on the wind, falling on their ears sharply, “And the Minstrel believed in you.”

9. Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.

Okay, I’m going to be super mean here…

A startling calm fell over Oraeyn. This was the end of his life. Regret over the failure of his mission bit at his heart. Sorrow that he would never see his wife again flowed through him. But he accepted that this was where his story would end, here in this frozen land. He fell to his knees. There was nothing he could do to avoid his fate, he lacked the strength to run or dodge the flames that were coming. He was so cold he thought vaguely that he might even welcome the heat of the dragon fire. A moment slowly passed, and then another, and then Oraeyn heard a strange choking noise and he cautiously opened one eye. The dragon was coughing and gurgling and dark blood dripped down from between his fangs. And then he saw a wound he had inflicted on the dragon’s throat and realized that since that injury, the dragon had not been able to breathe fire at all. This attempt had caused the wound to tear open inside the dragon’s throat and he was now in danger of drowning in his own blood. Oraeyn took a wary step closer to the dragon, knowing this could easily be a ruse. The dragon continued to cough and gurgle, the sound was horrible. Oraeyn took another step forward, and then the dragon struck.

The great claw slashed forward, talons glinting in the faint light of the dawn. Oraeyn had no time to move, no time to do anything except hope that Kamarie would be able to forgive him for leaving her behind. And then there was the sickening sound of blade meeting flesh and Oraeyn’s breath stopped. Oddly he noticed that there was no pain. 

10. Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters.

Not a lot of meetings occur in the final book in this series… but this one is rather… memorable.

“Wait.” Oraeyn said, the word bursting from the deepest part of who he was. “I am coming with you.”

Treyan tried to argue, “But, Sire, what if I am wrong? What if my brother was correct in cautioning me not to believe in fairy tales? What if these creatures are not guardians, but enemies filled with malice?”

“Well, young Treyan, each of those worries may prove true, but it will not be said that the king of Aom-igh sent a boy on a king’s errand. No more arguments, I’m coming.”

Together, the boy and the king stepped cautiously out of the tunnel. The creatures turned towards them, looming like apparitions of snow furies. Treyan ducked his head and bowed deeply at the waist.

“Honor in our hearts, clarity in our minds, and nobility throughout.”

Oraeyn mimicked the boy’s bow but remained silent, allowing Treyan to do the talking. The creatures regarded them silently.

“You know the ancient password,” the creature’s voice rumbled like an earthquake.

Whew! And those are my snippets for the great Snippet Tag! Many thanks to Madeline @ Short and Snappy for creating it and tagging me! It was great fun!

Now, to tag 2-5 other bloggers.

I tag:

1. H.L. Burke

2. Kendra @ Knitted By God’s Plan

3. Zachary Totah

4. J.L. Mbewe

No pressure to do it, of course, but I can attest that it is a very fun exercise. Also helped me find a few places that needed some help – as it was a different kind of perusing my text than I normally do.

And, of course, if anyone likes the look of this tag and wants to do it, consider yourself tagged!

Easy copy-pastable list of questions:

The Snippet Tag (created by Madeline J. Rose)

Rules:

-Include the fancy-shmancy graphic I included somewhere in your post. (Or make your own, just so long as you include a link back to my blog.)
-Answer all the questions, however you want to. Creative interpretation is key here! You can use the book you’re currently working on to answer the questions, or other books you’ve started or have written.
-Tag 2-5 other bloggers.

Questions:

1. Share your most gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story.
2. Share a snippet that literally just crushes your heart into a million feelsy little pieces.
3. Share a snippet that makes you want to shout to the world that you’re SO. HAPPY.
4. Share a snippet that gives a bit of insight into one of your most favorite characters ever.
5. Share a snippet that literally melts you into a puddle of adorable, squishy, OTP mush.
6. Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like yep, I wrote that beauty.
7. Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.
8. Share a snippet that makes you feel like an evil genius for thinking up such a malevolent villain (Mwa-ha-ha!)
9. Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.
10. Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters.

So, what do you think? Interested in reading Minstrel’s Call yet? Anything jump out at you that makes you absolutely unable to wait for this next and final installment of the Minstrel’s Song Series? What writing projects are you working on this year? Any big writing goals for 2017? I’d love to hear from you, dear Reader!

~ jenelle

Shipping Characters

February Fantasy Month Banner

I wasn’t going to post anything today… my plan was to give you the Fridays of the month off so you have time to go read the other posts that have been added to the linky list and maybe leave those bloggers some comments. So, after this week, I won’t be posting on Fridays in February.

However, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I suddenly had a question. It’s not necessarily the most important question, but I’m curious. I’m going to be gearing up to dive back into the final round of edits on Minstrel’s Call pretty soon here, and hopefully will have more information for you on the release date soon. Anyway… I had a question for you readers….

Who are the characters you “ship” in The Minstrel’s Song? Any “happily ever afters” you’re particularly hoping to find in the pages of the fourth and final book?

I’m not going to give anything away, mind – no worries! But I’m just genuinely curious, because sometimes we authors really don’t know what exactly our readers are thinking. Authors already know the outcomes, if there’s a romantic pairing to be made, we generally know beforehand who ends up with whom.

Anyway, a little fun Valentine’s Discussion for you. Because we can’t completely ignore Valentine’s Day… but we can add a fantastical twist to it!

Also, a picture of my littlest Valentines. Because… cuteness.

My Valentines

 

Happy Valentine’s, from my family to yours!

~ jenelle