Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I've been focusing on my novel for the past two months to the exclusion of everything else. Feeling a bit burned out which shows in my struggles to write the past month. Today, I took a break and followed a path down a different road. I'm drawing on a lot of different sources in this bit of world building. One of the small press is rumored of having a call about dragons in the future and this could be leveraged into a short story or three. Pardon any spelling, rambles, etc... this is alpha draft material.


In the beginning there was only the Ur-Dragon. It waited and watched in the void. For what, it knew not, but did so all the same. Then came the soft ones, springing from the primal mass, oddly bent and not of the world. They fled to the far realms, finding comfort in remote places.

And still the Ur-Dragon waited and watched.

Then came the broken ones. Crawling and capering and writhing across the myriad dimensions. They called and cried and screamed as they tore and fought with one another. Tiring with the same sport, they fled to the darker spots, hiding away from the far realms and those strange denizens.

And still the Ur-Dragon waited and watched.

From the motes of light came the small gods, testing their strength and wits against the endless sea of nothing. They grew larger and took on forms both new and old. Newer gods came as the older ones faded or died, each generation different. Then they created the world.

And the Ur-Dragon stirred with interest for this was something new.

Upon this world they Gods sought to bring about smaller life, but lacked something to anchor it to the void. They fretted and cried and quarreled, while the Ur-Dragon gazed upon their work and saw the flaw.

“Little gods,” it spoke, “I will help you with your world, but I request a favor.”

His words caused the gods to quake for they knew not the source and stood in awe at the ancient being. “How can you help?”

“I will give you my body to build your world and it shall make it complete. All I request is that you allow my children to live upon the world without care.”

“If you can do this, then we agree,” they said after a great discussion.

“So it is agreed, so it shall be.” And the Ur-Dragon tore his body in two. From his blood and entrails sprang Tiamat and Baphomat. The Primal Dragons. They carried a fraction of their progenitors knowledge, knowing only the bargain and that the world came forth at its sacrifice. Thus, the gods claimed the land and air and water for their own and honored the Ur-Dragon's children.

The siblings traveled across the land and space, finding new things and celebrating life. Children sprang forth from, taking to whatever and wherever they felt. Many ignored the gods, considering them unimportant as they carved domains along side the mortal creations.

Wars broke out across creation as the Gods quarreled with each other, the Broken Ones, and the Soft Ones. Amid this, the dragons carried on, for their mandate came from an older power and none could gainsay them. In time, others sought their aid, turning to the Eldest for support. Good and evil sent emissaries to tip the balance in their favor.

Thus came the Sundering and the Plague of Dragons.

Walks-Brightly-In-The-Stars curried favor with Baphomat, enticing the male with stories of glory and being the first amid equals. Tekcgreljw'Gtkeial'tkeann or The Clever One spent centuries negotiating the favors of the dark realms and kept company with Tiamat, wooing her with words and wits and wiles. Neither could be convinced without support of the other, thus the emissaries were traded.

For all his goodness, Walks-Brightly considered the male form superior and looked down upon the female Eldest. His audience consisted of lectures and words that bordered just on the side of insulting. During one of the debates, Tiamat pointed out the angel was not male, nor female, thus his logic did not follow. To his credit, Walks-Brightly did what no one else had ever done before or since. He slapped the female Eldest.

Religious scholars all agree that Walks-Brightly didn't survive Tiamat's fury, nor did his entourage save a single, lowly Archon that prostrated itself on the floor and begged forgiveness for his master's stupidity. They also agree that Tiamat took off the demi-god's head with a single swipe and devoured it, consigning the immortal to a humiliating demise. What they don't agree upon is the assertion that the Eldest “shat down his neck and threw the body at the feet of demi-god's master.” This question is never asked of dragons, who find the topic amusing and infuriating.

The Clever One took audience with Baphomat engaging in debate and banter to show that not all glory is won by combat. That the brain held more power than any muscle. Thus a series of tricks and japes, culminating in a miscalculation by the demon. It gave the male Eldest a torc of silver, saying that it would enlighten him. Thinking that it was a symbol, Baphomat gave it to a favored servant who donned it. The electrical charge turned the mortal to dust in a flash, while barely tickling the now furious Eldest.

Visitors to the Platinum Citadel walk before a crystal column that encases The Clever One. Still alive after many thousands of years. First time visitors are kept in this room for an hour listening to the weeping of the insane demon as it begs for the occupants to ask the male Eldest for its freedom. An escort will explain the demon's crimes and should he/she be asked. The smart ignore the whispers and focus solely on their business. Those who plead the demon's case find themselves and their companions ejected from the realm with a warning never to come back. In some cases, the corpses are all that are dumped at the borders. Ambassadorial staff run a large betting pool on the chances of survival of first time visitors.

The confrontation between the two in the aftermath rocked the world. The siblings quarreled and bickered and finally fought. Many have sought the domain they shared, but do date none have found it or its ruins. Their conflict left nothing recognizable and even the Gods hid as the pair flattened mountains, diverted rivers, and quite literally remade the world. Too evenly matched, they would've fought to the death except for a congress of dragons asked them to stop. Twelve of the youngest, the newest litter, wept at the sight of their fight and plead for peace.

In that moment, the Eldest paused and looked upon the youngest and the ruins around them. Without another word, the siblings vanished to their private domains where they dwell to this day. Baphomat works on the side of good to bring order to the world, while Taimat supports chaos through the machinations of evil. Thus balance is restored to the world.

Thus ends the saga of the dragons...

But not quite...

The most learned of sages whisper that this is merely a ruse. That, over the millennium, the Eldest reconciled and reforged their bond thanks to the Youngest. Once a century, the pair conceives and births thirteen eggs. Twelve pearlescent globes and a solitary black one are laid in a nest, spending a decade in the care of the Youngest. In time, the twelve are given to other dragons to raise as their own, as the magic of the Eldest makes it so. In the ravings of Esdaur the White is the single passage that reads such:

“A black egg sits in the hollow of the earth, tended by nexus of elements. A century of incubation to birth forth the Primal. The child of the Eldest, not mortal or god or dragon. The dragons will claim the world to restore the promise while heaven and hell burn.”

Dragons scoff at these rumors and openly mock those who demand answers. Persistent inquiries end with a personal visit by a dragon or a flight should it require. More than one powerful priest or mage has found themselves besieged by demonic armies and hosts of angels seeking to silence them before they attract much more dire attention.

These are only musings and even the most learned of sage will deny knowing anything of such rumors.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fire and Frost Q&A

A look inside the minds of urban fantasy authors of "Under An Enchanted Skyline". We did a round robin on questions and here's the results. A reminder that there's only a week left before the collection disappears. It's a bargain for less then a buck. I'll be following up with links to other questions as they come in.

Some Urban Fantasy stories feature a divide between the people and creatures who use and know magic and the normal everyday humans. Do you think this affects how some characters respond to emergencies?

Doug Blakeslee: In Fire & Frost those that can use magic aren't afraid to rely on it in an emergency, provided there's no witnesses. Fae magic loves illusions, trickery, and subtle misdirection to avoid calling attention to itself. In the case of my protagonist, his usual response is very showy and not at all subtle. He uses it only when there's no witnesses or when someone else has used it first, such as in the climax of the story. That's something comes up when I'm working on stories, just what would normal people do when confronted by magic or something that's decidedly inhuman. Setting up those situations gives a more “realistic” feel to the story.

Jennifer Brozek: People with different skills respond to emergencies in different ways. An EMT will respond with the skills they have while a general office worker with no experience may panic. Those with magic or other supernatural abilities will use them when they are confronted with a crisis. The fun comes out when they must do something out of the ordinary to save a normal person, thus revealing themselves.

Erik Scott de Bie: Lady Vengeance is a little unexpected for someone whose powers are magic-based. You’d think she’d rely on her powers to solve all her problems, but the virtue of nearly thirty years as a superhero is experience with various other techniques, be they computers, diplomacy, or good ol’ bare-knuckled brawling (or frying pan-fu). Her opposite—Stardust—is a technical genius and big science nerd who absolutely hates magic, mostly because he can’t anticipate or grok it. He solves all his problems with science, and magical solutions don’t even occur to him. (That’s cheating!) The tensions and contrasts between my two principals is an important part of the story.
Phoebe Matthew: Weak magic runs through the Mudflat families and results in them covering for each other. The paranormal sunspinners would love to have a little magic. It would make their lives so much easier. Instead all they have is a normal everyday human to cover for them and yes, it affects their behavior. They have added more security devices to their home than ADT ever dreamed of.

Django Wexler: In John Golden, this divide doesn’t really exist – everyone knows about magic, at least a little. It operates on the same level that detailed technical knowledge does in the real world: most people know computers exist, and can use them, but when something goes badly wrong they have to call an expert. In the John Golden world, things going wrong can be a little bit more alarming, but the principle is basically the same.

Janine A. Southard: Everything that we are is reflected in what we do. Imagine a small emergency. For instance, they’re out of your mother’s favorite brand of orange juice when you go to the store for her. Are you the kind of person who calls her (because you know she doesn’t like texting) for other options? Or the kind who just grabs what’s on sale (because you know better than to disturb her)? Perhaps you text your sister, or tweet a request for advice, or skip the orange juice altogether.
With magic at your disposal in this scenario, you’d have a lot more options, and you’d probably be tempted to pick one. Why not transform the Florida’s Natural into Tropicana with your alchemical skills, or teleport to the grocery store on the other side of town? No problem. These sound much better than all of the above.

Cedar Blake: Well, that line’s pretty blurry in Dream Along the Edge. Rachel Cooper, my heroine, has a degree of paranormal ability, although whether that’s an innate part of who she is or whether it comes from her intimate association with her shapeshifting lover Heaven remains deliberately ambiguous. Her roommate Chalice, and the boy-toy Luke, obviously lack such abilities, and their jealousy plays a definite role in the tension between them all. As for emergencies, I think the ghost-net episode reveals just how much Rachel and Heaven have in common. Their abilities allow them to do what they do, and that “emergency” bonds them in ways no other situation could have done.