My Mom listens to my podcasts

At least, I think she does.


Nope, I'm fairly sure she does. She was even on one of them once.

Speaking of which, one of my various kooky schemes has been all about launching a new show called Pitch This Lit. What is it about? You guessed it, pitching lit. Not my lit though, no no. YOUR lit. Pitch This Lit is about two things: Pitching your books to agents and publishers (and how), and as another way for literary agents to find excellent stories to represent!


Why?


A couple of reasons. One has to do with spreading the word on how to pitch and query your books with class. We'll have industry experts and resources available so after you've finally written that book, you'll know what to do with it. Another has to do with VOICE. Representation is hard to get and even harder to continue. That's why we'll have literary agents, publishers, and other pros talking about what things are like on their end, what they're currently looking for, and insights into what's happening now in the book world.


So look for Pitch This Lit wherever you listen to podcasts in a few months! Don't worry, I'll flag you down when it's about to release :)


In other news, I recently released two new books!

One is a brand new full-length fantasy called Nameless. Here's a teaser (just for you):



Chapter One

Fire



Along a rocky shoreline, a stubborn little town jutted out upon a high hill. Beyond, light streamed across the sea stretched onwards into the south, hovering on the edge of the horizon. The sun glowed over the fair hills and rocks as giant leathery wings and manifold ripples of glittering scales rose from the beach below.

Breakfasssst.

The immense beast whirled and rushed overhead—and the wind howled with the dragon’s passing. Out of the beast’s maw, spouts of red flame erupted—followed by roaring challenge.

Over the town— the wooden town —the simple smells of another lazy Saturday’s breakfast blissfully wafted. Then, the air crackled with a sudden flash of fire, followed by the smell of char and copper. Townsfolk poured out of burning buildings, scrambling to stay together amid the smoke and burning thatch.

The drake landed and took a few gigantic steps backward, crushing a stable. Horses screamed and bolted into the nearby forest. Shots twanged from three giant archers, tall and grim. The arrows bit into the dragon like lightning bolts, but where they ought to have sunk deep, only single scale loosened and fell.

The dragon focused on a single fleeing figure who had stopped in her tracks. For a moment the marauding beast seemed surprised; the girl’s dark eyes caught the dragon’s undivided attention. Around them, the flames licked higher into the rosy morning sky.

“Impressive!” sneered the dragon sarcastically.

The girl whispered a word. A prayer, perhaps? The flames extinguished, and the air grew cold. Somewhere high above the rising smoke, the drake’s malevolent yellow eyes filled the gloom.

More bow-twangs echoed. The dragon rolled his eyes, unperturbed. “Welcome, little one, to my isssland. I do not believe we have met.”

Making a point to ignore the dragon’s hypnotic eyes, the girl squared her shoulders and planted her feet firmly into the soft springy turf of the village green, and waited. Silent.

“What, girl? No witty banter? No ringing challenge? Hmmm… Sssomething new perhapsss?”

More arrows zipped out of the rising sea fog, pitter-pattering against the dragon’s head. He blinked in annoyance, then swished his massive tail. Startled cries and crumbling masonry followed. The dragon arched his long neck and brought his snout level with the girl and sniffed.

His peppery breath stirred her hair, but she still didn’t blink, only inclined her head, as if she heard a voice far away.

“Hmmm… new indeed. You have a ssstrange sssmell. It isss almossst… yesss!” The huge cat eyes widened, “My, we haven’t had one of your kind for an age. No matter. Dessspite your strangeness and impertinent mannersss in interrupting my morning breakfassst entertainment, I imagine you’ll tassste fine just the sssame.”

The dragon loomed, mouth wide. Spellbound onlookers gasped with fear as the monstrous jaws lunged and snapped… and missed. The girl had sidestepped with idle grace. She pushed ruffled strands of auburn hair away from her earth-brown cheeks.

The dragon chuckled absurdly. “Well, not properly aged, for sssure…” he said licking his lips and coiling his long neck, “but tender enough, I’ll wager. Tell me, child, what isss your Name?”

One could almost hear the dragon’s hypnotic eyes whirling.

The girl blinked catlike, at things which only she could see. “I don’t have a name,” she muttered, looking down and away.

“More’sss the pity,” replied the salivating drake. “Familiesss can be sssimply monssstrousss, wouldn’t you agree?”

The girl shook her head and then stared directly into the dragon’s gaze. “I wouldn’t know. But I am sorry you feel that way, sir.”

The dragon strained his eyes, “Sssir?! Why, I don’t think I’ve ever been called that by my breakfassst before… Well, hmmm… polite and tasssty? Who would have thought?” the beast mused. “My my, thisss isss a morning for firsstsss.”

Behind them, along the tree line, villagers pleaded with the girl to run from the monster who now held her steady gaze.

“And what is your name, sir?” asked the girl mistily, dark eyes flashing.

The dragon only chortled. “Ass if I, I who firsst came to thessse far landsss, who firssst alone among my clutch saw the sssun rissse over the far-easst where the ground fadesss forever into the endlesss ssea. I, who heard the Great Ssilence and watched countlesss mortal kingdomss rissse and fall. Asss if I would tell you my Name. Little girl, True Namesss are far more valuable than hordesss of gold. You really ought to have paid more attention to your fairytalesss,” he said shaking his head. “Ah well, now I really ssimply mussst eat you. Farewell, odd child.” The drake then tensed his spiny neck and lunged once more… but halted in mid-motion.

The girl, still wide-eyed and gazing at unseen things, held up a small hand and laid it atop the dragon’s snout just as it descended. The drake froze, bewildered.

Noria, stop, please,” she spoke.

The dragon seized up, as if invisible bands encased him. “How… how do you know my True Na…”

With her other hand, the girl simply held a finger to her lips. “Shhh. I am speaking now.”

Immediately, the dragon’s mouth snapped shut.

The girl looked around and sighed. The smoke cleared, revealing a town in shambles. The sign swinging off the porch of the Hawk Creek Inn was one of the few things left unscathed by the dragon. The windmill still partially stood — leaning drunkenly against a stubborn pillar. The blacksmith’s house had been torn open, revealing a table with hot tea and breakfast still set, untouched. The town well roof lay next to a tall, weathered stone notched with old runes.

“Do you even realize how much work it’s going to take to clean up your mess?” she scolded. “Did you ever stop to appreciate how much work it takes for people like us to make a town function way out here on Lone Cape?” She walked right up to the invisibly-bound dragon and jabbed a small finger into his glittering breast. “Because I don’t think you do.” The girl thrust a hand towards the town’s weathered runestone, “Noria, tell me what that says.”

Noria glowered. After shaking his snout hesitantly, he replied, “No… I...” The drake struggled violently against the quiet command.

“Do you know why you will not read it?” the girl interrupted.

The dragon closed his jaws and huffed. Smoke curled up from his flaring nostrils.

Braver villagers crept back near where the girl and the dragon stood. “Girl,” the blacksmith called, “Get away from that monster! It’ll eat you… and then us!”

The girl ignored his warning, “You promised you’d care for us, Noria. You had a job to do. A simple one. And now…”

CCCCRRRACK.

The rune-covered stone, Hawk Creek’s Dragonstone, which had stood as an ageless testament, split asunder and toppled onto the village green.

“…You have broken your Word, Noria. You failed us. We are your people. This island was your island, and we were your people. For countless generations, we revered you and your kin. Now, these lands are no longer yours due to your breach of faith. You were supposed to protect us. Guide us. Care for us. For thousands of years, dragons have been the symbol of our people — our protectors and source of pride and strength… but now…”

The dragon’s eyes blazed. “I’ll eat you first, namelessss one!” he spat.

The girl sighed. Tears sprang to her eyes. “No. No you won’t, Noria. By your Claw, Word, and Deed, you banish yourself. These lands are now free. Be gone,” she commanded. “Until under some happier sun you relearn the true meaning of ruling well.”

“You can’t banish me, little one… I am Noria incarnate!”

She nodded. “You were Noria incarnate — a beautiful, fascinating land floating upon the western rim of the world. You were the spring sea mists and the winter gale. You were the high aspen groves untouched since the world’s creation. You were father and protector. You were healer and provider. You were many things, Noria… and perhaps you shall become them again, one day. Goodbye.”

The girl closed her eyes as she spoke her farewell. Deep inside, she heard inexpressible Words, and felt an ancient fire smolder in her belly. Easy as breathing, she instinctively sensed what to do. Concentrating on the ringing words in her mind, she focused each breath. Something like fire rose up her throat. As the words mixed with fire and escaped her mouth, the air rumbled in echoing obedience.

Without flash or bang, the dragon evaporated.

Then mild spring sunshine filtered down, warming the girl’s dark skin. When she looked up, Noria had vanished. A butterfly, golden and purple, fluttered lazily by; unperturbed by violence or destruction — carefree and happy to dance in the wind and sunshine unhindered. A faint, hopeful little smile peaked at the corners of the girl’s mouth. Then slowly, she turned around. The villager’s reactions varied. Some smiled with her… but others regarded her with a newfound wariness.

“Is he gone then?” called the tanner, as he carefully picked his way through the wreckage of his roof.

The girl nodded thoughtfully. “From this realm, at least.”

“How… how did you do that?” asked one of the archers, a giant who towered over the crowd of villagers.

She stowed her enormous bow next to a quiver as tall as the village tanner. The girl’s eyes glittered in amusement as if she knew the right thing to say, but she remained silent.

The giantess considered her carefully but reserved her comments.

“The Dragonstone! It… It’s broken!” cried a boy who was the son of one of the local fishermen. “It means she’s a Dragoncaller!”

“Hush Tav!” scolded his father. But even the weathered fisherman gave the girl an appraising look from underneath his bushy salt and pepper eyebrows. Tales of famous Dragoncallers from ages past were often the first stories the reach-folk learned. Nevertheless, to have an actual Dragoncaller standing among them was… well, quite frankly, it bordered on the ridiculous. Things like that didn’t just happen. And yet, their little scullery maid remained, sooty smock and all, right next to where a very real, very dangerous dragon had once menaced their town not a moment ago...



Read the rest in soft or hardback HERE, or you can read it in e-version HERE.

If you're in Albuquerque, you can also grab a physical copy at Organic Books off Central in Nob Hill!


Next post, I'll tease a bit about my second recently released book, my first-ever sci-fi, called Dark Around the Stars.

Until then,


Happy Reading!


- Ryan

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