Calling the Dragons Home – Be sure to leave a review!
It’s happening, folks. My first story with Total-E-Bound, “Calling the Dragons Home” is coming out tomorrow. A story about the dangers of repression, a totalitarian state set in sword-and-sorcery fantasy medieval times, with magic, magicians, a dance, dreams, and dragons, of course. And in the midst of that, a figurehead Queen learning the power of her sexuality and the need for passions. It was a pleasure to write – a style that permitted a little bit of melodrama, which was fun – and I hope that you enjoy it as well. Here’s an early bit of steam from the story.
He did not wait for her to adjust to such a new experience. Syra – who had never kissed any man, and who would have only had one chaste kiss in her life, had she ever married – found herself drowning in him, opening her mouth to accept him as he sank into her, tasting her with strong, deliberate thrusts of his tongue. But although she felt as though she melted beneath him, she could not help but taste him as well, tangle with him until she swept her hands around the shape of his skull to bring him still closer. Quite unintentionally, her teeth closed on his lower lip in a rush of hunger, and she sucked on the flesh she caught until, again, he groaned.
… “Ever since you were born,” he murmured against her lips, “I sensed the deep reservoir of magic within you. To see it so restrained, first by the Edicts and then by the additional requirements of your position as Queen… You were the first person in three lifetimes with the potential to return Dragonsong to its former glory.”
There really isn’t much going on here in the erotica department, although I’m getting some of my other projects done. Total-E-Bound is putting out a series of public domain novels with all the naught bits included, called Clandestine Classics, and it’s apparently caused a fuss. I find it hard to get worked up, especially since most of the behind-the-scenes sexual encounters in classic literature were a product of modesty, not necessarily preference. Everyone knew what they were talking about and were all scandalized and nodding about it behind their fans. I always wanted to know what was going on, voyeur-reader that I am. Especially in Woman in White, evil!Fosco/Marian Halcombe FTW (I would probably ask to participate in Clandestine Classics if I got to do Woman in White, but it’s likely taken and I don’t have the time for it right now). As an avid fanficcer, I just can’t find it in me to be offended, and as a English major, I kind of want to tell people to calm the fuck down. It’s fun!
Mostly these days, I’m waiting. I’m waiting for my stories to come out, a few months in succession. I’m waiting for the edits for Winter Howl to cross my desk (and wondering whether I can balance a novel project with edits in a timely fashion). And I’m waiting for November to come along so that I can write the Winter Howl sequel.
The release of “Calling the Dragons Home” comes ever closer. I enjoy going back over it to bring you these snippets, and I hope you enjoy the little tastes.
“And how do you plan to help me?” Syra asked.
Gilian pulled himself away slightly so that he could caress her cheek with his palm. “I think you know how. Since the Great Renovation, such things have not been done out of love or passion but only of necessity. However, they have incredible power, which is why they have been so restricted by the Edicts. Your magic knows how it must be released, and I can guide you through what you do not know on your own. That is, my Queen, if you wish me to.”
In writing “Calling the Dragons Home,” I had to use romance conventions I’m not accustomed to using in most of my erotic short stories. In particular, a general sense of sexual innocence, although it was borne more out collective ignorance of the State and of repression rather than choice. Sometimes this ignorance was hard to work with: How do you write a person ignorant of sexual word and deed, someone who doesn’t even know arousal or how to describe it? How do you write with full erotic breadth about a sexually awakening woman who doesn’t even know what her body parts are, much less what can be done with them?
Even as she spoke, she knew she should call for the servants, who would notify the Enforcers again. Not only was she addressing someone to whom she was not allowed to speak, but he was in her bedroom, and no man but her father could enter the Queen’s bedroom. It was improper, indecent, indecorous, even dangerous. But somehow, all she could do was rest her head on her arms and meet his gaze, aware of several things at once — the gentle wave of her body from her neck, down her back and over her legs, the burn of pain against the cool cloth of her night linens, and the return of the heat to her face. But she could also sense a queer heat in her gaze as well, matched by the quiet, deliberate stillness of the man across the room.
Inspired by other bloggers, I thought I’d start sharing little bits and pieces of upcoming stories. They aren’t excerpts, per se, not that long. Just a few sentences. A tiny little spoonful to whet the appetite. Gets me excited, too, because it means it’s happening. It means something is coming.
From “Calling the Dragons Home” (Aug. 6, 2012):
Now, if I may ask for assistance from her venerable Majesty?” He turned and held out his hand, palm down. “A kiss, Your Majesty, to make the magic real.” His expression was closed, but those eyes — those odd, hazel eyes so framed by his distinguished brows — seemed to hold something of a dark mirth. Syra looked at that hand, then to her father, who firmly shook his head once.
She blinked, looked back to the magician, then lifted her hand from the arm of the chair to take his and bring it to her lips. Nothing but a brush, but she knew she was going to be corrected harshly for her impropriety. The heat was back in bloom in her cheeks, and she knew she could not hide it with everyone’s eyes on her.
My long short story “Calling the Dragons Home” is available for pre-order at Total-E-Bound. The e-book comes out Aug. 6, 2012.
Syra is Queen of the State, bound like every citizen by the Edicts of Detan – laws that ensure peace, but at the price of passion. Every aspect of life is controlled by these laws, encouraging moderation and repressing any excess of emotion. Magic, too, is forbidden except for simple parlor tricks.
The court magician, Gilian, reveals to her in secret that the State was once Dragonsong – a land of dragons and full of magic. The dragons were exiled and disappeared, and the magic was wiped out of the State, and with them all the accompanying pains and pleasures that make life worth living. Syra realises that the State has lasted too long in its lifeless existence; an existence that she knows is not enough.
With the help of Gilian, she vows to break free from the stifling State and rediscover the magic of passion in order to call the dragons home and resurrect Dragonsong.
I’m very pleased to share that my long short story “Calling the Dragons Home” has been accepted by Total-E-Bound for e-book publication. It’s release date is Aug. 6, which means I’ll have stories coming out August, September, and October, so that’s a good publishing year for me. :)
I’ve moaned about being a long story writer a couple of times on this blog. Even my short stories tend toward around 8k and up to 15k, if I give them all the room to breathe that I find appropriate. I originally started writing CTDH for the Thrones of Desire call for submissions. When it crossed 10k and I was still writing, I knew I had no hope of editing it down without losing very important parts of the story. In fact, working with my TEB editor, CTDH ended up growing rather than shrinking, which was a new experience for me.
Given its state as a long story around 13-14k words, it ended up in the limbo area of too long for a short story and too short for a novella, which meant that the odds of it ever being printed were limited. That was when I first started seriously looking into e-books.
Total-E-Bound has been wonderful to me so far, completely professional, answering all my questions and dealing with me as I navigated some of the aspects of publishing that I was worried about (since my only experience has been in anthologies thus far). I am really looking forward to working with them now with CTDH and possibly in the future. For novel-length stories, they do offer print books on occasion in addition to their e-books, which also encourages me, as I like both options.
As far as CTDH itself, I’ll cover the story more when we get closer to the release date. So, this fall is going to be a busy one for me, but it will probably also get more interesting for everyone involved. :) It’s a story that I’m proud of and that I enjoyed writing. Sword-and-sorcery fantasy doesn’t come naturally to me – so it’s kind of funny I’ve got two S&S fantasy short stories coming out this year – but I especially enjoyed the experience of world-building that it requires.
I recently finished all the edits with my editor – and she caught a couple truly hilarious mistypes I managed to miss during my read-throughs – so now we wait for the publishing side of things to work its magic. When I get a cover, I’ll be sure to share it.