We’re in the dusk time of year, looking back on the past and forward to the next. I hope your year is finishing off well and the next holds great promise. For me, while this year rolled well, I think 2015 will fly.

One is Come and Two Empty Thrones rolled out in 2014. I’m excited for 2015, as it will bring the release of two more books. A stand alone novel, Fire Above, will soar out in April of 2015. We the Three, the 3rd book in the Five in Circle Series, is lining up to take off in the summer of 2015.

(I’m hard at work on the fourth book in the Five in Circle series, so it might be complete and ready to release before 2015 is over, too. But the dragons don’t like to be pushed too hard, so, for now, I’ll just say two books in 2015.)

I’ve been focusing all my writing time on the novels, but I haven’t forgotten about you! So I’d like to share with you a taste of my newest book, Fire Above.

Fire Above, a grittier fantasy than the YA Five in Circle series, is about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first human-dragon war.

Note: I am sharing this with you even though the final rounds of edits aren’t complete. So please note that the final text might be slightly altered.

Without further ado, I present to you the prologue.

Fire Above
Prologue

The old slave watched his puppeted body open the door, ensuring his eyes never left the floor. The lord waiting on the other side of the door strode past him. Under the Queen’s control, the slave closed the door and stepped back to his place, keeping his true thoughts carefully hidden. Four lords and only one slave, a very special meeting.

The lord dropped to one knee, her blond hair falling forward as she bowed her head. “The plague spreads like wildfire, my Queen.”

Lounging on her pile of cushions, the Queen scowled. Fireballs pulsed, hovering in each corner of the room, casting shadows over her face. She glanced at the two other lords, the Queen’s Left and Right Hands, standing at her respective sides. The Hands shared a look, but said nothing.

The old slave kept his thoughts in control, despite the devastating news on the plague. His body was still puppeted by the Queen; his thoughts were what needed protecting. Even trained and practiced in separating his surface mind from his real thoughts, he knew this meeting would test his well-honed discipline.

Earlier, he’d imagined taking his heart, his essence, and putting it in a thick stone box, insulated and safe. He knew his duty and wouldn’t let anything jeopardize the gains he and others had sacrificed so much to get.

Finally, the Queen sighed and asked, “Is it really as bad as Earth and Water said?”

She shifted, and the slave felt his body move closer to her to arrange some cushions. He watched his old hands fluff, looking almost like someone else’s hands. The back pain he felt from stooping so far over stabbed him from far, far away. This body won’t take this for much longer, he thought. But don’t let it fail me quite yet.

“Yes, if not worse.” The kneeling lord licked her lips and raised her eyes up for just an instant. “Rumors are starting to fly, my Queen. I heard—”

“Nothing!” The Queen’s single word lashed out a moment before she flicked one clawed finger. A whip of fire shot out, smacking the lord across the face, knocking her to the floor. When the lord slowly rose to hands and knees, her blond hair had been burned off on one side, the skin red and blistering near it.

“I just thought you should know what is being said,” she started to explain.

Fool, the slave whispered to himself, deep in the shadows of his mind. Another lash of fire sent the lord sprawling, the other way this time. The smell of burned hair reached even to where the old slave hid.

“Do you think I don’t know as much as you?” the Queen hissed. “Get out. Get back to your post before I lose my temper.”

The slave felt his body trot clumsily to the door and open it so the lord could crawl out backwards. He felt his body shut the door and, coming back, pick up a tray with slabs of meat from the food table. He watched the meat slide in a bit of bright red blood as he held it out for the Queen to snatch. Her fangs ripped into it, gulping down chunks.

“That settles it,” she snarled. “I thought Water and Earth were just being paranoid.”

Her Right Hand had always been the braver of the two. “What is your plan?”

“Save us from starvation yet again, of course!” The Queen smirked, and then tapped her chin. “The hoof beast plague can only spread if there are beasts to spread it, right? Thus, I will order the slaughter of all the hoof beasts. And a moratorium on keeping any herds, even a single beast, for a solar cycle while we create a vaccine. Once we have the vaccine, we can find a wild herd or another species and vaccinate them. Problem solved. While we wait for that…”

In the hidden part of his mind, the slave reeled at the possible ramifications. If the lords don’t have beasts to eat anymore… As the Queen explained her plan, his worse fears crashed into him. He felt his heart crumble in its box, now its coffin.

But all that training and practice paid off. Even after the Queen gave him back control, his body held still and his surface thoughts stayed clear. Deep in his shadows, though, he huddled in a ball, rocking back and forth.

I must get my sons away from this death place. But he couldn’t think only of himself. His thoughts raced. If I have my sons carry the warning, I can save them and fulfill my duty to my people. It was a terrible risk, and he would surely be caught and killed, but there was no choice.

He fought to keep control as guilt wracked him anew. Oh, my sons, I am so sorry I ever brought you here!

*****

Just a taste to give you a sense of the flavor. I’ll definitely send more out as the launch draws closer.

Please share this with anyone you think might enjoy this upcoming fantasy novel!