Hey all… we’re just 40 days (and counting) away from my first major release in twenty months. I am thrilled to bring The Dragon Eater (Tharassas Cycle Book 1) to you, thanks to Steven Radecki and Water Dragon Publishing.
Each week I’ll share something special about the book, and an excerpt. This week, it’s some “concept” art of Raven I commissioned from the amazing L.J. Phillips.
In the first excerpt, you met Raven the thief (and titular Dragon Eater). In last week’s excerpt, I introduced Aik, Raven’s loyal friend (and inconveniently for a thief, part of the Gullton city Guard). Today, their friend Silya, an aspiring Hencha Queen who has a long history with our other two protagonists.
The cover reveal/preorder date is February 16th, and the book officially goes on sale on March 16th.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Read on for the blurb and an excerpt.
Raven’s a thief who just swallowed a dragon. A small one, but still …
Now he’s growing scales, the local fauna is acting strangely, and his world is shaking itself to pieces. And his familiar, Spin, is no help at all.
His best friend Aik has been pining for him for years, and things are coming to a head. A guardsman and a thief? That would be … messy. And there’s also Aik’s judgmental ex Silya, who hates Raven and is facing a magical coming- of-age problem of her own.
The unlikely trio must deal with strange beasts, alien artifacts, and a sentient silver sphere. If they don’t igure out what’s happening to Raven and the world around them, it might be the end of everything.
When events spin out of control with world-ending consequences, what’s a thief to do?
Excerpt – Meet Silya
She knelt among the hencha plants, the cowl of her purple robe pulled back, her knees sunk deep into the rich, loamy soil. Her hands were palms down, fingers resting lightly on the rough, reddish-purple leaves of one of the plants, tremors shaking her arms from holding the position so long.
Golden Tarsis was rising in the east, casting long shadows across the even rows of the hencha field, and a flurry of wisps floated past, bright blue sparks in the growing night.
The plants rustled all around her, restless, their leaves shivering although the night was warm. The sea winds off the Harkness were unusually dry this year, and the sisters had been whispering among themselves for months about the lack of precipitation. Some said prayers to the twins, Fre’Oss and Fri’Oss, for rain and crop fertility. Silya had no time for such nonsense.
She waited for something to happen. For the hencha to open themselves to her, to reach the deep connection her great, great grandmother had made with the semi-sentient plants. Some hint that she wasn’t wasting her time here.
That maybe, just maybe, she really was destined to be the next Hencha Queen — to have that vast, unknowable being form a communion with her, like it had with Queen Jas, and the sisters who had come after. Give me a clue.
The other initiates called her the Hencha Princess.
Silya snorted. Jealous puffer hens. They assumed that she’d be the next Hencha Queen because of her family. Never mind that her great grandmother had been adopted by Jas’Aya and Sera, so there was no blood connection. Or that all that had happened more than a century before.
Concentrate, Silya. What would it feel like, to be filled by a higher power? She took a deep breath, closing her eyes again and trying to center herself. Draw it in, hold it for five seconds, let it out. Repeat.
Something tickled her mind. It was teasing, almost playful.
A thrill ran through her, goose bumps raising on her arms. She focused on the sensation, allowing it room to come in.
Warmth washed over her, an alien presence that made her nose burn with a smell like charcoal. It grew in her mind, as if it was just becoming aware of her. There was a vast strength behind it, a pressure in the back of her skull like a dam about to break.
Her heart beat faster, suffusing her with joy. Her moment had come. The hencha were finally speaking to her —
She opened her eyes and looked around wildly, startled by the voice out of nowhere, ready to rip the spine out of whomever had interrupted her communion. Gods dammit. So close.
She knew that voice. Aiken Erio.
Her joy dissolved into anger. You shouldn’t be here. Not now. Especially not now, when the hencha had finally touched her mind for the first time.
She let go of the leaves reluctantly and stood, brushing the dirt off her knees angrily, looking around for her unwelcome visitor.
“Silya?” Aik called again.
“Over here,” she hissed. “Keep your voice down.” Fortunately, most of the other initiates were at dinner or doing chores, but she couldn’t let him stay. She’d find out what he wanted and shoo him off. Maybe the hencha would still be willing to talk to her when he was gone.