In Christopher Kellen's Words: The Drafting Process

Today I’m hosting fantasy author Christopher Kellen on the topic of drafting. On March 1st he’s releasing his new novella, SORCERER’S BLOOD, lesson three in his Elements of Sorcery series.


So, I don’t often go into my own writing process, because I’ve found that it really is different for everyone. Every time someone says, “this is how you should write and it will work,” I’ve found that what they really mean is, “this is what works for me.”

However, that’s not to say that seeing how different people work can’t be helpful, so hopefully a little bit of insight into my personal process can help you get a handle on how a book like SORCERER’S BLOOD goes from a rough first draft to a polished novella in about 60 days.

When I write shorter works, I rarely outline. I’ll usually have some idea of the beginning and ending of the story in my head, but the in-between is generally hazy at best. My writing method could best be described as “discovery”—I do best when I don’t necessarily know everything that’s going to happen in advance. Sometimes I only know the beginning, and discover the rest as I go along.

For SORCERER’S BLOOD, all that I knew for certain when I sat down to write it was the opening scene. I had the visceral vision for a murder (which you can see on my guest blog stop at Daniel R. Marvello’s blog) and the fact that it was my POV character being murdered made for a really great image.

From there, the story developed organically. I knew who the background players were, thanks to some brainstorming that I’d done for a flash fiction piece last summer, which will actually be included with the new book). The actual plot, however, spun out as I went along. I knew the themes that I wanted to evoke (change, desperation, the measure of bravery) and I made sure that the story kept to those themes while maintaining my character’s voice.

One of the nice things about writing this particular series is that I’m hardly ever at a loss for words. The character of Edar Moncrief is particularly verbose; that is, he likes to talk. I find it pretty easy to get into his voice and spin story; the trick is to keep him moving forward, because without an impetus, he’d be happy to just sit around and talk forever.

Several times, throughout the course of drafting, something changed. Since I trained on NaNo (National Novel Writing Month), though, I made sure to write down the things that had been altered by the development of the story, but I didn’t let it slow me down. Instead, I pushed ahead to the conclusion, and once I was there, I went back and combed through to make sure all of it fit together.

This is the reason I don’t publish my first drafts. Well, that, and it’s terribly unprofessional!

The process is a bit different for longer works. I find that I do well for novel-length work if I at least have some kind of outline to work with, so that I remember where I am and where I’m going. It’s worked well for both my novel LEGACY (released June 2012) and my science-fiction thriller, SINS OF THE FATHER (released December 2012).

When I’m working with an outline, though, the finished product rarely looks anything like the outline. When I wrote LEGACY, entire scenes that were nowhere in my original thought process inserted themselves; and in SINS an entire sub-plot developed that I’d never foreseen. For me, though, it’s not writing if I’m not discovering something. If everything’s inevitable, I find it much harder to write, because it feels like it’s already been written.

Now, of course, this is just the way my mind works. I know several authors who can’t write at all without a thorough outline that mostly resembles the final product. I fully believe that if you’re looking to write, you should try several different approaches and find the one that works best for you. Writing isn’t something you can just start doing. It takes time and experimentation to figure out your process, to hone your plotting and prose skills, and to discover what stories you want to tell.

When you get there, your process will probably be entirely unique, just like the stories you create.


Christopher Kellen

Christopher Kellen is the best-selling author of SORCERER’S CODE, a novelette which tells the story of how the sorcerer Edar Moncrief originally encountered the Arbiter D’Arden Tal.

His heroes of literature are those who are fearless in telling stories that truly mean something to their readers. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and monstrous black dog.

 A proud member of the Genre Underground!



Christopher Kellen can be found online:

 On his Website and blog

on Twitter: @Eisengoth

and on Facebook


In Elizabeth Baxter's Words: The Last Priestess Character Interview

Today we’re celebrating the release of new epic fantasy novel, The Last Priestess, by Elizabeth Baxter. One of the characters from The Last Priestess, Leo, has popped over to join us. 


The Last Priestess


There is a name that is uttered only in whispers. The Songmaker. A ruthless rebel mage, he is bringing civil war to the once-peaceful kingdom of Amaury, enveloping all in a tide of violence. For Maegwin, a tormented priestess, the path forward lies in forgiving her temple’s enemies—but she dreams only of revenge. For Rovann, a loyal mage haunted by his failures, salvation might be found in the unthinkable: defying the very king he swore to protect. If they are to succeed they must form an unlikely alliance. For someone must stand against the Songmaker. Someone must save Amaury from his dark designs. But first, they’ll have to learn to trust each other.

And so a magical journey of darkness and redemption begins.



So, Leo, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Of course. Glad to be here! Honored indeed! My name is Leo March, the most famous minstrel in all Amaury. Don’t listen to those niggards who say I’m a bragging fool with no talent – they are just jealous. I spend my life wandering the land, entertaining the noble folk with my musical talent and fine wit! Although my job has become a lot harder since the civil war came. People don’t trust minstrels anymore – what with the Songmaker posing as one and singing people into death with his power. Damn selfish of the man, in my opinion. Why couldn’t he pose as a milk-maid or stable boy instead?

How did you become a minstrel?

I beg your pardon? Become a minstrel? You make it sound as though I chose this profession like a common worker. You don’t become a minstrel, you’re born a minstrel. It’s a gift, a talent, something deep inside. And like any good minstrel, I’m sharing my gift with the whole world!

You have some interesting companions in The Last Priestess. How did you meet?

Hmm. It was a little embarrassing to be honest. You know how I said it’s difficult being a minstrel at the moment? Well, this was brought home to me when I visited Angard, a town down in the south. I was hoping to make a bit of a name for myself – you know, a few songs here, a few tales there. But things didn’t quite turn out that way. Unbeknown to me, the Songmaker had called down a magestorm on the town. So when the locals saw me, they set on me, thinking I was the Songmaker! Can you believe it? Me, a rebel? Outrageous! Luckily, Maegwin and Rovann rescued me and we’ve been travelling together ever since.

Maegwin and Rovann? Who are they?

Maegwin is a priestess from somewhere down in the south. She doesn’t talk about it much but I think something bad might have happened to her. However, my tales and songs soon cheer her up! Rovann is a king’s man. I’m not sure he likes me. I get the impression he thinks I’m a bit of an idiot but I’ll soon win him over with my fine wit! We’re travelling to the capital where I will bowl them over with my singing talent! They’ll all soon be flocking to get a glimpse of the famous Leo March! But I think there’s more to Rovann than admits. I’ve not let on about my suspicions of course. I know how to keep a secret. But hopefully the mystery will be solved when we reach Tyrlindon (that’s the capital). Ah, mystery and adventure! What could be better than a minstrel’s life?


The Last Priestess is available from Amazon.


Elizabeth BaxterI’ve been a bookworm since I was five years old. The first book I ever read was about a boy going shopping with his mum. I picked it up from my brother’s bedroom floor and suddenly those strange shapes on the page made sense. I could read! Hallelujah! I was soon working my way steadily through the school library and it wasn’t long before I realized that stories about dragons, elves and great big talking lions were by far the most interesting. And that was it, my obsession with fantasy fiction was born.




You can connect with the author online at these locations:

On her Blog

On Twitter @smallblondhippy

On Goodreads


In Steven Vincent's Words: The Void of the First Draft

Cynthia and I did a guest post swap, and you can check out her article on character development over on my blog, True Knights.

When we look up into the night sky, we see a black void full of glittering stars. When we start writing a book… we have the whole black void thing, and that’s about it. Obviously, this is the hard part about writing.

But it doesn’t need to be hard. There are simple steps you can take to ensure your writing journey is a happy one, in which you do not get sucked into space and sort of… float around.

First off, you need to think what sort of storyline you want to write. Do not chase the market and write what is currently trending. Follow your heart, because if you don’t love it, nobody will like it.

Once you have a simple concept, you have to figure out what kinds of characters would be the best to carry out the story. Feel free to picture established characters; we all draw inspiration from somewhere; the important part is crafting inspiration into our own creations, rather than carbon copies.

At this point, you will begin what I call a tempering period. Simply put, you will go from the story to the characters, back and forth, developing each until the other needs to pick up the pace. Just like steel sharpens steel, your characters and your storyline will sharpen one another.

So you’ve got that, but let’s be clear; you haven’t even started the first draft of the book yet! What you have done is lay out the foundation, making the next step even easier.

And why do I say ‘even’ easier? Because the first draft always needs to be revisited, whether it be for spelling errors, adding new ideas, correcting certain flaws. Whatever. Keep it fresh in your mind that you will be back, no matter how good you do.

So! No pressure. As a writer, your first duty is like the first step I mentioned; follow your heart. Write what you want to, and if it gets boring or complicated, throw in some plot twists to spice things up. Don’t worry overly much about terms, names, one-liners; enjoy writing the story, and come later to smooth everything out.

Cover to cover seems like such a daunting task, but you’ll be surprised at how fast it flys by, and you’ll miss it once it’s all over… for a day, and then you’ll realize with editing and the new era of self-promotion, your book isn’t ‘leaving home’ anytime soon!



My name is Steven M. Vincent. As a kid, all I ever wanted to do was immerse myself in video games. They were 16-bit and not much for plot, but that prompted me to create my own stories. I guess you could say that’s where my storytelling began.

I started writing in mid 2009, and I’ll always remember the feeling of satisfaction I had when the story was completed. Still, it was only the beginning. I had a lot to learn; editing, how to contact agents, how to sell myself. And I’m still learning. I hope I always will be, because that’s what gives life meaning.

Agents didn’t work out, and that’s how I discovered the wonders of Kindle. The ease of self-publishing was very inviting, and though I knew it would be challenging, I took that path. Now my only goal is to bring my stories to the world, and pass on what I’ve learned along the way.



Praise for Fantasy Emotobook Lingering in the Woods

My emotobook, Lingering in the Woods, recently got two new reviews on Amazon.


“I stumbled upon this story after discovering Grit City Publications, and once I started reading it (on my Kindle) I could not stop. This is such a perfect story, in its length and its depth, I just have to praise it. Cynthia does a beautiful work of providing background knowledge as it is pertinent to the story and thus having not a single lull in the narrative. The pace is enthralling, the characters defined and the theme profound.

Oh! And there are images too! Surreal depictions by Loran Skinkis which, without giving away the story, fit perfectly in the emotional moment of the story where they are inserted.

I sincerely hope there is another installment to this story, as I would follow a series enthusiastically.”

-Georg Freese on Amazon


“In many books you can tell that the writer had to submit a certain number of words to editor requirements so they filled the story with useless fluff. This would be the complete opposite. The prose is very tight and every word and thought fulfills a vital need. The story involves the usual heroic archetypes but within the short space of 31 pages Cynthia manages to have them display multiple aspects. For example one ‘evil’ character also manifests significant sympathy from the reader.
I really, really hope she continues this setting and plot line!

If you’re still reading this then you should just buy her book now!”

-R. Jennings on Amazon


All I have to say is that reading both of them was one of the most humbling experiences this author has ever had. I am so glad that both readers found my book and enjoyed my story.

Reading List: Books Read in 2012

Here are all the books I read in 2012 and I don’t regret a single one of them.


Blameless-Gail Carriger

Heartless-Gail Carriger

Before they are Hanged-Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings-Joe Abercrombie

Available Dark-Elizabeth Hand

8/18 The Dragon Bone Chair-Tad Williams

12/2 The Stone of Farewell-Tad WIlliams

12/8 Timeless-Gail Carriger

12/30 To Green Angel Tower Part I-Tad Williams

I keep making resolutions to read more. This didn’t happen in 2012, though I think I am reading faster now. And the Tad Williams books should count for two–800 pages in those. Overall 2012 steamrolled me so I’m not going to hold it against myself. Next year, I’m looking at you 2013, will hopefully be better. For a little insurance on that, I’m going to do this a little different. I’m going to make a list of all the books I want to read and then cross them off as I do so.

This list will include a lot more indie and self published books, which I hopefully will be motivated to leave reviews for. Drop a comment if you have any suggestions on which I should read.

Wandering Around In Vanna Smythe's Words: Anniversary of the Veil Series



Characters in the Anniversary

of the Veil Series and Me




Writers are often asked whether they base their characters on themselves. I wholly admit to doing so. Though none of the characters in my fantasy series Anniversary of the Veil are exactly like me. When creating characters and formulating their reactions to the situations in the book, I look inward and discern how their individual personalities would react.

 So who are these main characters, and how do they resemble me?

Protector Kae: He is the main character and, in my opinion, the one most like me (even if he is a guy ;)) So, Kae is honest, truthful and just, but he’s also self-assured, confused and not altogether averse to breaking the rules a little from time to time. As his whole world topples around him, and as he finds himself possessing strange magical abilities, Kae has some trouble making sense of it all and find balance again in all the new knowledge.

Princess Issa: She is a daydreamer, though always keeps a grasp on reality.  I’m like that too. Issa is also a little spoilt and a bit selfish, but she has a good heart and does, truly, want the best for everyone around her. She does also want the best for herself though.

Head Priest Rhaldan: He’s an old man with a poor sense of humor and very little humility. He is also very set in his ways and has a hard time adapting to change. In some ways that’s me too, though I don’t like to admit it. Especially since Rhaldan is the villain 😉

First Captain Entan: In the series, Entan goes through quite a crisis on a personal level. He struggles with the choice between obeying orders on the one hand, and doing what is right on the other. We’ve all been in a similar situation, and so have I.

Keeper Alet: Hers is a similar choice to Entan’s though Alet’s is even more dire.  Alet has spent many years training to become a soldier, and this, coupled with personal loss, has made her rather cold and distant. In the story, she is put in a situation where she must face her emotions again. She is probably least like me of all the characters, since I am almost rarely able to keep my emotions in check with cold reason. Though, sometimes, I succeed.



More about the Anniversary of the Veil series:

Protector (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 1) is available now form Amazon and Smashwords

Decision Maker (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 2) Decision Maker is coming soon!


Find Vanna Smythe on the web:

Website and blog
Twitter: @Vanna_Smythe



Wandering Around Jamie Belanger's Words: Terran Shift Anthology Now Available

Terran Shift Anthology, Vol 1 Now Available

Last year Lost Luggage Studios had an idea to put together an anthology ebook of stories set exclusively in our Terran Shift universe. This is the result — seven stories from five authors, spanning the high-tech cyberpunk dystopia of the Bio-Tech Era to the Sol-Bect War Era:

The Berkutchi Trial by Alan Belanger
An American spy in Kazahkstan accidentally breaks local law and must win a berkutchi trial to get out alive.

Things Taken by Cynthia Ravinski
Only when you’ve put everything you have into obtaining your hopes and dreams do you find what you’ve really been after.

Handbook For A Better Society by Jamie Alan Belanger
A misguided man bases his utopia on a satirical novel.

The Unders by Timothy Lynch
The Landers and Unders are at war. The Landers just don’t know it yet.

Moroned by Paul J Belanger
Fortune favors the prepared. As for the unprepared, well…

Moon Sweepers by Alan Belanger
Youth on a moon base learn the dangers of regolith mining.

The Sol-Bect Setup by Paul J Belanger
In a missing chapter from The Sol-Bect War, Part 2, Peter McCabe visits the past to lay the groundwork for his future.

This ebook is currently available in the Amazon Kindle Store and will soon be available from all major ebook retailers.

I put together a comprehensive sample on the Lost Luggage Studios site that includes a short excerpt from each story. Read the sample here.


Jamie Alan Belanger earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida in Computer Science and worked for a small software company in Tampa for eight years before moving to Maine to pursue his own projects. He currently works for a company he started with his brother Paul, Lost Luggage Studios. His interests include computers, writing, photography, and designing worlds he’d rather live in.




Wandering Around in Tracy Falbe's Words-Rys Rising Series Complete

The Feel Real Fantasy Blog Tour celebrates the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe. Today’s stop introduces you to Demeda, princess of the Sabar’Uto Tribe and Handmaiden to the Goddess.

Age: 16 at beginning of epic
Physical appearance: dark skin, black hair, brown eyes, thin, average height
Special skills: Excellent singing voice, sneaky, willingness to use sex to advance her position
Magical items: Enchanted crystal orb that connects her to the Goddess, Onja.

Growing up in the royal palace of a powerful tribe gave Demeda many luxuries but no privileges. Her society is a strict patriarchy where women have no rights and must keep their faces covered. As a daughter of the King’s first wife, she accepts that her marriage will be arranged and strategically important to her family. But when she learns that she is to be wed to her tribe’s arch enemy as part of a peace deal, she becomes enraged, especially because she is to be the man’s fourth wife. Incensed by that insult, she refuses to cooperate but is beaten and drugged into submission.

During her journey to her wedding an unexpected fate intervenes. The outlaw Amar on a mission to interfere with the peace plan kidnaps Demeda and her brother. Although terrified, Demeda takes her opportunity to break free from her unwanted duties. She throws away her politically precious virginity and embarks upon the outlaw life.

The stakes are always high for Demeda as she tries to maintain the interest of Amar, whose favor is crucial to her survival. She’ll betray her tribe to please him. Eventually she encounters the powerful rys Onja who is asserting herself as the Goddess of all people. Demeda will become the loyal servant of Onja and attain the rank Handmaiden of the Goddess. Despite the prestige of this position, it remains a perilous duty for Demeda.

Author’s feelings about the character:

Demeda is born of my memories of being a teenager. She makes rash life-changing decisions driven by passion. She defies authority, especially parental authority. She constantly tries to escape the limited options open to her, but making a new role for herself is very difficult. She is vulnerable but ambitious. She is also a bit of a natural criminal, but she is not without a heart. As years go by, she gradually begins to accept the constraints of duty for the sake of others. All her transitions are painful but she rarely regrets what she has done.

And now and excerpt double feature:

From Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II

 Demeda prepared a cup of tea for herself. She was comfortable with her lack of remorse about the two villages that the Kelsurs had sacked already. They were out terrorizing a third village as she sipped tea with Amar. Returning to the land of her tribe had summoned few nostalgic feelings. She had grown up so cloistered that the land bore almost no familiarity to her. The rural districts of the Sabar’Uto Domain were as new to her as any other place.

Halfway through his cup, Amar set it aside and reclined with his hands behind his head. “Tell me everything you can about the royal palace in Chadenedra,” he said.

“Are we going there?” Demeda asked.

“I am,” he corrected.

Her disquiet fluttered on sleepy batwings in the back of her mind. “What do you need to know?” she said.

“Everything you can tell me,” Amar insisted.

“It would help if I knew what you mean to do,” Demeda stalled again.

Amar looked at her with the hard gaze of the Kez Overlord. She met those eyes that gleamed with life but guarded his soul. Demeda gathered her courage and said, “Are you going to kill my father?”

“That’s what you want isn’t it?” Amar said.

“I never said that,” Demeda whispered uncomfortably.

To sooth her, Amar said, “My intention is to impress upon him the need to be cooperative.”

Although not really reassured, Demeda accepted that she was going to aid Amar in every way that she could. Her wicked treachery would be no harder to live with than the cruel betrayal dressed up as duty that her family had inflicted on her.


 From New Religion: Rys Rising Book III

 Demeda reclined on her cushion, striking a sultry pose by second nature. She watched Urlen who was avoiding eye contact.

“What is this about?” she asked and gestured with her cup at the privacy he had drawn down around them.

He sighed as if disappointed and then confessed, “Demeda, I need your help.”

She sat up, excited. She loved it when she could be useful.

He said, “You know how Amar has commanded me to build our fortress, so I have been working to hire an architect.”

Demeda wilted, losing interest because the subject was boring.

Urlen continued, “I have brought a very highly esteemed architect here. His name is Pender Ruke, and I really want him to take on this project.”

“I’m sure he’ll do it,” Demeda said carelessly, trying to be encouraging. “With our Temulanka treasure you can certainly pay him as well as any king.”

“Well, yes, but a man as talented and respected as him can pick his projects. He does not have to design and build for just anyone who can pay, and he seems uninterested in working for the Kezanada,” Urlen explained, irked that his criminal status brought great power but not always respect.

Demeda frowned and said, “He should want to do it for the glory of Onja.”

“Onja has yet to fill the heart of every man with love for her,” Urlen said. “To tell the truth, he even ignored my invitation to work on our project. But he is the man I really want, so I had him brought here.” He twiddled his fingers with nervous guilt.

Demeda giggled, knowing what he meant. She found it amusing that scholarly Urlen had such sinister forces at his disposal. People often regretted underestimating him.

Shaking his head with regret, Urlen said, “So you can imagine that Pender Ruke is hardly in a good mood. I need your help to put him in a better mood.”

Demeda narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “How am I to put him in a better mood?” she demanded.

Urlen groped for an explanation, but she did not wait for his answer. She shook a finger at him and told him that she was not going to perform any common favors. “I am loyal to Amar,” she concluded proudly.

He scrambled to reassure her. “No, no. Not like that. If he wants physical favors, I’ll get other women for that, but I’m sure that your company alone would please him. Use your charms to entertain him, make him feel good about himself. You are a Sabar’Uto Princess and the Handmaiden of the Goddess. You are rare and beautiful. You are extraordinary! Show him that working for us will let him have a life like no one else can offer,” he explained, finding his eloquence.

Despite the flattery, Demeda frowned at him, unconvinced. “Just make him do it, Urlen. Tell him he’ll die if he doesn’t do it,” she suggested. She could not quite see why she needed to be bothered with Urlen’s little issues about hiring help.


Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience. 

Start reading Rys Rising for free, and enter the prize drawing.



In Marsha A. Moore's Words: The Enchanted Bookstore Legends

Let us wander around the words of Marsha A. Moore; she is here to guide us through the Enchanted Bookstore Legends.

 My new release, the third of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends, is an epic fantasy romance. Adalyra McCauley opens an enchanted book and confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save Dragonspeir from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. In Lost Volumes, the third book of the series, Lyra learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague at the hands of the Black Dragon. She doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra.

She puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.

In order to overpower his efforts, Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

The wizard’s assistants play big roles in this third book. For this reason, and because with Books One and Two, readers commented so much about them, they are featured on the cover of Lost Volumes. These secondary characters often bring laughter or encourage Lyra and Cullen to persevere.

Noba, the pseudodragon, is not a true dragon. His kind is much smaller, being only three feet long, including their tails. In my legends, serving as a wizard’s familiar is a typical role for this species in Dragonspeir. Noba has a heart of gold that melts people.

However, he surprises everyone when the group travels into the mysterious underground world of Terza. There, the lovable and naïve little dragon becomes a real star. Pseudodragons originated in that strange land, and Noba discovers the incredible strength of his heritage. He is not just a sweet pseudodragon wizard’s familiar, but also a powerful Matan, capable of altering the use of all magic in his presence as in this scene where Lyra, Cullen, Kenzo, and the bronze dragon, Yasqu, battle a fearsome scorpent, led by skeleton-people called Vizards.


A Wizard’s Familiar, Noba the Pseudodragon

“How do we use Noba?” Lyra asked, glancing down at him. If he could help, it was worth a try.

The familiar’s small muscles bunched and released while the pupils of his black eyes were open wide, sending out more light than before.

Lyra held a hand out to him. “Come here, Noba. We need your help.”

After Lesot and Angom released him, the pseudodragon hugged both forearms around Lyra’s leg.

“Go on. They’ll be afraid of whatever you do,” she said, giving him a gentle push between his wings.

He took a cautious step forward, brushing next to Cullen. Noba looked both ways along the main tunnel. His limbs twitched even more, his scales catching the light in ripples.

All eyes locked on the pseudodragon, and the battle halted. The scorpents froze, all but their tongues, which flicked more actively.

The Vizards hunched, and a few dropped lower, lying prostrated on their stomachs. Only the leader stood tall.

“Master, what is Noba needed to do?” the familiar asked.

“Use your instinct,” Cullen replied. “You will know what to do.”

Noba shook his head. “Don’t know.”

The head Vizard cackled. “You don’t know how to command your matan. We’ll show you—”

Before the leader finished, Cullen shot a powerball squarely at his chest.

Doubled in pain, the Vizard forced a skeletal arm upward, his wiry fingers twirling in the air as he sunk to the ground.

From that cue, the scorpents lunged at Yasqu, biting hard on his tail.

“Noba, wave your barb at them!” Lyra pleaded.

Instead of following her guidance, the familiar clung with legs, arms, and wings wrapped tightly around the side of his master’s leg.

Lyra shook her head, desperate to find of a way out of the situation. Surprisingly, her aura prickled in her fingertips without her command. Acting by instinct, she lifted her arms, and the electricity of her power crackled, jumping between her fingers like she’d never seen before. Vaporous threads of effluvial magic coursed toward her hands. Seeing the black magic channeling at her, Lyra jerked. Various shades of gray smoke, given off by different beings, comingled at the surface of her palm, as if fighting to enter.

Seeing their effluvium vanish into her hands, the Vizards cowered, despite the haunting grins plastered on their mask faces. A moment later, they blew new clouds from their pipes as fast as they could breathe, and the scorpents puffed a thick screen from their nostrils.

Lyra’s new ability matched their pace.

During this confusion, Yasqu whipped around and hurled long flames at the two new scorpents, searing wide burns along their necks and flanks.

The pair retaliated with teamwork, one in charge of maintaining the debilitating effluvial cloud while its partner attacked with open mouth and dripping fangs.

The bronze dragon took a serious hit, a deep bite at his shoulder that looked like it cut through his wing tendon. The main sail sagged lower than the one on his other side.

Kenzo soared to perch on a spine near Yasqu’s wound. With spread wings, the owl’s beak gaped and his face contorted as he tried his best to ward off another attack.

“Noba, you are my familiar and I command you—mico cauda hostes hostium!” Cullen’s voice carried above the din of roars, hisses, and groans. His hand glowed blue with his aura as it rested against the scales of the pseudodragon.

“Noba will serve Master.” With his barbed tail held high and no longer shaking, he walked deliberately into the midst of the battle. He stopped directly in front of the single scorpent. He tilted his head back and looked up at the beast nearly fifty times his size.

The scorpent watched, unable to move.

Noba’s tail whipped in a circle, and the tip glowed orange. Abruptly, he extended it forward, and a spark shot out like a missile at the beast’s chest.

The scorpent let out a guttural moan that shook the ground and echoed along the tunnel walls.


As you can see, pseudodragons are very good-natured. They are very playful and curious. Definitely fun to have around! So far, every reviewer has wanted one of their own! If you’re considering adopting one for your home, Lyra even found a way to teach Noba to use a kitty litter box. Her only problem was a language barrier, trying to find words for the job she wanted him to do with the box—a comical scene! However, Cullen didn’t find it so funny she had domesticated so much wildness out of his familiar. Despite being the Imperial Sorcerer of the land, his love for Lyra left him without much control over that decision. Love is very powerful!

If you’re worried about safety, pseudodragons can bite, but won’t unless provoked. However, their tails can be a hazard—barbed and poisonous. Noba often gets excited and forgets to watch his! But for Lyra and Cullen, having Noba around is always worth that small difficulty. I’d love to tell you more about Noba’s antics, but I don’t want to spoil the book for you. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the adventures of Noba, Kenzo, Lyra, and Cullen in Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three. 


Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Her creativity also spills into watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transforming into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Crazy about cycling, she usually passes the 1,000 mile mark yearly. She is learning kayaking and already addicted. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and that spiritual quest helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at new stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!



Find Marsha all over the Web:
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Magic Appreciation Tour

I’ve just joined the Fall Magic Appreciation Tour. For a taste of what you’ll be getting, read about the Summer tour here.

Starting September 1st, myself and several other Magical Fantasy authors will be teaming up to spread the magical word about our stories. Follow #MATour on twitter, and the Magic Appreciation Tour author Twiter list.

Follow my Tour:

September 4: Posting “It’s Might be Time to Try Something New” on The Vaetra Files with Daniel Marvello

September 11: Posting “On Networking” on The Unwritten with Misty Baker

September 14: Posting “Visuals, Imagery and Crafting Story from Dream” on The Active Voice with Becca Mills

September 18: Posting “Something New, Something Old ” on The Summer Sleeper with Will English

September 21: Posting Lingering in the Woods excerpt on Her Ladyship’s Quest with Tracy Falbe

September 26: Interviewed on the Importance of the Impossible by A.E. Marling

September 28: Posting “A Novelty Publishing Story” on The Novel Project with Roger Eschbacher

Discover your New Favorite Author

Do you enjoy reading stories about imaginary worlds that feature fantastic creatures and powerful sorcerers?

We do! All of the authors here at the Magic Appreciation Tour are as passionate about magical fantasy as you are. Our goal with this site is to help you find new books to read and learn about the authors who wrote them. We know how exciting it is to find a new author whose books you enjoy; we’re readers too.

Help Spread the Word

If you like what we are doing and want to help us succeed, the best thing you can do is tell others about us. One way to do that is to put an official Magic Appreciation Tour Badge on your blog or Web site. The Tour Badge is a small, square logo image that links to this page in a new browser window. If you are willing to help spread the word about the books and authors featured on this site, please visit our Tour Badge page and add a badge to your blog or Web site today!

I hope you are excited as I am about September!

Happy Reading 🙂