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How to Kill a Dragon-chapter one!

How to Kill a Dragon-COMING April 2021!

The dragons are gathering, which can only mean one thing. Death.

Minx, a royal Fae has been tasked with saving her people. Problem is, the only way to do that is by slaying a dragon and bringing their hide back to Paddling Grounds. The magic that resides inside dragons is strong and without it her people will die.

Except Minx has never slayed a dragon, she hasn’t even ever seen one, but she knows where to find them. With help from her Faelyr, half fae and half tiger companion, Minx sets out to Talon Range.

Kaleb, the dragon heir to the Pyra clan isn’t looking for war. But then again no one has ever asked him what he wants. He has a duty and he will do whatever is needed to keep his people safe. Even if that means taking on the darkness himself.

When Kaleb and Minx come face to face, a battle erupts. Neither are giving up, neither will fail. Until they realize they share a common enemy and only together can they defeat them.

With a pull between them that is strictly forbidden, Minx and Kaleb find they are on their own and time is running out.

A fae, a dragon and a war neither are prepared for. The end of both species is near and only they can save each other.

Heir of Dragons book 1

Chapter One

Among the Fae, there was no hunter more capable or fighter more skilled than Minx. But as her father repeated his request, she still couldn’t seem to wrap her head around it. “The dragons… they’re gathering?” she asked.

Her father nodded solemnly. “It’s as I’ve told you. They’ve been spotted in the area recently. I’m afraid we’ll need one of their hides if we’re to keep the ward in place over Pandling Grounds and Heilo Lake.” He had knocked on her door just moments ago, interrupting an otherwise quiet afternoon, to bring her this mission. “It will be a difficult job,” he warned, “but I’m certain you can handle it. Who else can we rely on, if not you, our Dragon Hunter?” The gravity in his expression faded somewhat and he spared her an encouraging smile.

Minx had trained for many years, gaining a reputation among the Fae for her ferociousness and skill in battle; such was her expertise that she’d earned the title “Dragon Hunter”. But this would be her first time actually hunting down one of the Royal Dragons whose hides the denizens of Pandling Grounds utilized in their shield spell. Since the end of the Great Dragon Wars that took place many years ago, the monstrous things had been rarely seen, of course. To hear that these beasts were on the move again filled her with excitement—the excitement of one about to rise to a new challenge.

“So, after all this time they’re finally trespassing on our lands?” she asked, rising from the edge of her bed and taking up the bow she’d left sitting against the wall. In the corner, snoozing contentedly, was her Faelyr companion, Mau. She channeled her thoughts at the sleeping lyr, urging her awake. Time to get up, Mau. This is going to be a big hunt, unlike any other.

The enormous feline opened her eyes, outstretching her paws and loosing a yawn. Oh, what’s on the agenda this time around? asked the Faelyr telepathically.

It’s time for me to live up to my title, was Minx’s sole reply.

Mau’s bright eyes widened for an instant and she rose from the floor, striding over toward the bed. Is that so? The dragons are getting feisty, I see…

Her father watched as Minx looked over her weapon, checking its tension and inspecting the arrows in her quiver. His grey brows arched and he smoothed out the folds in his tunic, picking up one of the arrows himself and testing the sharpness of its head. “Do you have everything you need? If you need more arrows, perhaps a new bow, I’m sure we could arrange for—”

“I’ve got more than enough,” she assured him with a mischievous grin. Tying back her dark locks into something manageable, she moved to the chest of drawers and pulled her bracelets from the topmost, slipping them onto her wrists and taking care to polish the dull blue stones embedded in them. “To be honest, father, I’d feel like I was cheating if I prepared much more. This poor dragon won’t know what hit it.”

From the side of the bed, Mau offered a telepathic taunt. Now, don’t get too full of yourself—else you might get us both killed!

With great pride in his eyes, her father placed a hand on her shoulder and sized her up. “I know you’ll do well, my dear. You’re a royal, built for this kind of mission. I haven’t the least doubt of your abilities and I’m certain you’ll come through for us.” Wrapping her in an embrace, he gently added, “But do be careful. A father worries, after all.”

She returned his embrace, slinging a slender arm around him. “Of course, father. I’ll be back before you know it. Mau and I will see this through.” The loyal Faelyr padded over silently, pausing at her side.

“All right. I’ll be off, then.” Her father spared her one last look—a mix of paternal pride and nerves all at once—and then stepped out into the quiet afternoon.

Minx fastened the quiver of arrows to her back tightly and adjusted the straps of her calf-high boots. Taking her bow in one hand, she led the way to the door. All right, Mau. Let’s do this, she told her Faelyr companion. Let’s hunt a dragon. Everyone’s relying on us to get this done—and when we finish the job, our social standing is going to hit the roof.

It helps when your parents are on the Council, doesn’t it? offered Mau with a laugh.

Sure, my mother and father are on the Council, but that doesn’t mean I get everything handed to me. If anything, it means I have to work harder than everyone to show my worth. But when we’re through with this, there won’t be any doubt. I’ll have really earned the title of Dragon Hunter.

They passed through the door and across the platform built into the side of the tree which was their home. Across the canopy were countless other habitations, all of them built into the towering growths of Pan. These ancient, friendly trees, whose roots sometimes acted as pathways between the Fae in the sending and receiving of messages, were riddled with small homes, their occupants taking in the sun on freestanding decks or chatting with neighbors on adjacent limbs. Minx and Mau made their way down the narrow steps winding the length of the tree and arrived finally upon the forest floor. From there, they set out for the oldest tree in the forest; wise Winterlimb. It was beyond him that the steps into the city could be reached.

So, began Mau as they started past Winterlimb and into the city proper, what’s a Royal Dragon doing in the area? They haven’t been active in these parts for a long, long time…

Yes, the big ones haven’t been seen around here since the Great Dragon Wars, replied Minx. Some believed them to be extinct. Apparently, that’s not the case. I don’t know why this thing is poking around now of all times, but it’s a good thing, because we need its hide to keep the protection spell going. Without it, Pandling Grounds and Heilo Lake will be vulnerable.

They trekked past the city, hurrying into the wilds surrounding the bustling Pandling Trade Center. The Trade Center, where members of every race did business, had about it certain rules that all were required to abide by. A ban on all weaponry was at the top of the list. Not wishing to deal with the legal repercussions of toting around her bow within the Trade Center’s limits, Minx and Mau skirted the borders of the Trade Center and set off for the neighboring glades, marching through clusters of close-growing trees where they were bathed in shade. From there, they would be able to access the edges of the Pandling Grounds—where the dragon had allegedly been spotted.

It was a pleasant day, haunted by a fair breeze and the trademark scents of the warm season. The greenery all about them was pronounced, and as the leaves mingled with the sunlight the forest seemed to throb with a dream-like green. The boughs of old trees creaked lyrically with every gust of the wind, and through the canopy could be glimpsed knots of cottony clouds which crawled relentlessly across skies of blue. Minx couldn’t have asked for better conditions that this. It’s a perfect day for a hunt, she thought as they trudged through the underbrush. Wouldn’t you agree?

Mau didn’t reply, however.

No sooner had the pair broken through one wall of trees and entered a clearing toward the northern side of the Pandling Trade Center did they spy something baffling in the distance. Ordinarily this was a vast and empty space, populated only by travelers on their way in or out of the territory.

On this day, the plains were anything but empty.

Minx stood half-way in the shade, peering out into the distance where a great mob had assembled. What’s this? she wondered, studying the marching mass. Judging by the armaments of those marching, it appeared that a large army had assembled. An army bound for her home territory, where armed conflict was forbidden, was a dizzying sight. She scanned the throngs narrowly, and found among their ranks members of many races. There were Wuffs among them—Plurn and Krah, too. But what had brought this massive group to the Trade Center in the first place? I’ve got a bad feeling about this, she thought. Have you ever seen a force like this one descend on the Trade Center? Weapons aren’t allowed there—and I imagine they’ll frown upon armies, too…

Perhaps we should go and check it out, offered Mau, stepping out into the clearing. It’s not every day you see a swarm of that size headed for the Trade Center. Do you think they mean trouble?

Minx started into the distance. It’s possible…

Before they arrived within the limits of the Pandling Trade Center, Minx made certain to stash her weapons away, leaving them in a secure spot with Mau for a guardian. Unarmed, she passed into the Trade Center just in time to catch the various folk there, only moments ago engaged in trade, now looking out with concern at the approaching army. The advancing forces had not gone unnoticed by the Pan leadership, and several members of the Council—her own mother and father among them—were now starting through the town square in the interest of ascertaining the mob’s purpose.

Minx pushed her way through the crowd, joining her parents. “Hey!” she called out to her father. “I was just about to head out of the area when I saw this army marching for the Trade Center. Do you know who they are? What they want?”

Her father’s look was grim as he conversed quietly with other Council members. “No,” he said finally. “We don’t know what they want. But we’re going to find out.”

Within minutes, the army of Wuff, Plurn and Krah had arrived at the Trade Center gates. The mob was so large that their presence in the entryway all but blocked the movement of wagons in or out of the Trade Center.

The fox-like Wuffs looked to make up the bulk of the army. Though she had never seen such a thing herself, Minx had heard it said that their war parties could sometimes swell to over a thousand strong. Intelligent and not to be underestimated on the battlefield, the Wuff were an engineered race, created by audacious magic users in ages long passed. Just as Faelyrs, like Mau, were the offspring of the Fae and Lyr-shifters, so too were the Wuff born from the Fae and Fox. Unlike the Faelyrs however, Wuffs retained their humanoid forms, bearing only certain beast-like characteristics, such as tails, pointed ears and fur.

Then there were the Plurn. These ferocious creatures, a mixture of man, lion and tiger, operated in large prides not unlike their feline counterparts. Unlike the Wuffs, whose societies were matriarchal and centered around pods of women and children, the nomadic Plurn were ruled by vicious males with a perennial inclination toward war. They had a peace treaty with the Wuffs, but the savage power of the Plurn lurked always just beneath the surface.

Finally there were the Krah, who shuffled amidst the others with their scaly feet and sniffed at the air through serpentine nostrils. Though often terrifying to behold and given to violence, the lizard-like Krah were largely herbivores, and their territories expanded in keeping with their grazing needs. Agile and capable of climbing feats that no other race could hope to aspire to, the fearsome Krah also retained a treaty with the Wuffs.

Precisely what had drawn this melting pot of powerful warriors to the Trade Center was unclear, but to see them amassed in this way did not inspire peace or confidence in the onlookers. Instead, those who looked on at the army as they jammed up the gate, did so with palpable dread.

It was a Wuff—a lone female with long, silvery hair—who emerged from the mass of warriors and surveyed the members of the Council with a smirk. “Good day, citizens. Could someone possibly point me to the ones in charge of this Trading Center? You see,” she said, hiking a clawed thumb at the massive army to her back, “we have a long list of demands that need met.”

It was Minx’s mother that stepped forth, motioning to the other members of the Council. “You’ve come to speak to us, then? The Great Council? What is it that brings you here?” Hands at her sides, she took another step forward, silken robes flowing in the breeze. “This show of force is quite unnecessary. Need I remind you that weapons and combat of any kind are prohibited on Trade Center grounds?”

The Wuff vixen chuckled darkly, shaking her head. “Show of force? You haven’t seen anything yet.” Taking a step toward Minx’s mother, she went on, hands on her hips. “You see, we’re in a bit of a pinch. Our friends here, the Krah, are in need of more grazing lands. The Plurn have joined us today to ensure we can secure them from our dear friends the Fae.” She tapped at the ground with her clawed foot.

Minx’s mother frowned. “Well, I’m sorry to report we haven’t got any grazing lands to spare. You’ll have to go elsewhere.”

“No?” the Wuff feigned sadness, sporting an exaggerated frown. She turned to her fellows, singling out one of the nearby Krah. “You hear that? There’s nothing for you! I suppose you’ll have to starve!”

There was a burst of hissing, agitated speech from the masses of Krah.

“Come to think of it, there’s another thing we could use your help with,” continued the vixen. “My people and I need access to Heilo Lake.” She spared a sharp grin, the silvery fur on her arms bristling. She was clad in tight-fitting leather armor, with steel faulds and gauntlets for added protection. Her features were soft and youthful—cute, even—but spoiled by a bestial viciousness. The vixen was armed with a formidable longsword, and her war-like bearing told onlookers everything they needed to now about her skill with it. “Surely that won’t be a problem?”

At this, there arose hushed murmurings amongst the Council members. Minx’s mother looked to her husband, then locked the vixen in a steely gaze. “No one is allowed access to Heilo Lake.” Her tone was hard-edged, allowing no room for argument.

No one? Not even Valry of the Wuff?” asked the vixen, striking her breast with her fist.

“No one,” reiterated one of the other Council members. Leaning on a cane of corded wood, the elder statesman shook his head and set his feathery beard quaking. “You should leave this place. We will not be intimidated.”

Valry took a sudden step toward him, various of her skulk mates following after. “Oh, but you will be intimidated, old man. Here, round this one up,” she ordered a pair of tods at her side. The muscled Wuff warriors abruptly seized the old man and dragged him away from his fellow Council members, his cane falling to the ground and feeble cries on his lips.

For minutes now, Minx had been on the verge of stepping in. She couldn’t bear to sit idly by while this mob intimidated her own parents and threatened to intrude upon Heilo Lake. Had she been armed, she would have let the arrows fly—but with her weapon stashed outside the Trade Center with Mau, she knew she wouldn’t stand a chance against an entire army. Sensing her mounting anger, her father placed a hand on her shoulder, as if to say “keep calm”.

Minx’s mother stepped forth and picked up the older councilman’s cane, shooting daggers at Valry. “Unhand him immediately! This outrage will not go unpunished. Heilo Lake is ours alone, and we allow no one to access it. But surely you knew this before coming here with your army.”

Valry chuckled, nodding to another pair of tods waiting in the wings. “Grab this one, too. She’s being mouthy.” Without a word, the mighty Wuffs marched to either side of Minx’s mother and took her by the arms, dragging her back into the throng. “And take a few more. Wouldn’t want them to get lonely.” Tods came forth at once, taking hold of nearby Council members and pulling them away. Some in the army had brought chains with them, and these were fastened around the wrists of the captives—five or six in number before Valry was placated.

Minx’s anger had reached a boiling point. Panicked at seeing her mother pulled away in chains, she prepared to lash out—to fight off the army bare-handed, if necessary—but her father interceded before she could do so. “Please,” pleaded her father, approaching Valry, “reconsider. Release these hostages. There is no need for this. We cannot allow outsiders to access Heilo Lake, but surely we can negotiate on other fronts and find some way to—”

Valry silenced the Royal Fae with a savage kick, her leathery heel knocking the air from his lungs and sending him falling into Minx’s arms. “I’ll be very happy to reconsider—as soon as I get what I want, that is.” She bared her sharp teeth in a coquettish smile. “You refuse us access to your special lake, and you have no grazing lands for our friends the Krah. But we have something you want,” she mocked, taking up a lock of Minx’s mother’s dark hair and running it through her clawed fingers. “I propose a trade for these leaders of yours. Deliver us the hide of a Royal Dragon and we’ll return these prisoners safe and sound.”

“A dragon’s hide?” gasped Minx, helping her father to his feet. “But—”

“It’s my final offer,” spat the vixen. “We won’t leave here empty-handed. Either you deliver a precious dragon hide within a week, or we kill the hostages. It’s that simple.” She raised her right arm over her head and made a quick motion with her hand. At her signal the entire war party began to shift, slowly backing out of the Trade Center entrance. Before she disappeared back into the mass of Wuff, Plurn and Krah, Valry paused to size up the remaining Council members and other onlookers, their eyes wide with terror. “You have one week. Be thankful I’ve given you that long.”

Over the course of minutes, the war party marched from the Trade Center, dragging their hostages behind them. The Council members who’d been left behind now clustered together, exchanging panicked glances and despairing over the fate of those kidnapped. “A week? How can we hope to come up with a dragon’s hide within a week?” one of them asked.

“We already needed a dragon’s hide for ourselves! Without it, the warding spell will fail and our territories will be vulnerable! We can’t afford to just hand such a thing over to her,” muttered another.

“Father,” said Minx, watching the retreating army, “Mau is waiting nearby, with my bow. If we follow the army and find some high ground, I can take out that Wuff leader and rescue mother.” She knew it was a reckless plan before the words even left her lips, but she was possessed by a fiery anger. This insult was too great to bear, and her desire to save her mother overpowered her. “One shot. That’s all it will take. One good shot…”

“No,” he replied sharply, drawing her close with a tug of the arm. “No, don’t be rash. If you attack them, there’s every possibility they’ll overrun you. Your mother might even perish in the chaos. Don’t doubt the viciousness of the Wuff; Valry wasn’t lying when she threatened to kill the hostages. She’s given us a week to deliver the dragon hide. This will be the only way…”

“But, Father—!”

“I mean it,” he continued, taking her into his arms. “It would be reckless to try and fight an entire army with nothing but a bow—whether you’re Dragon Hunter or not.” He cleared his throat. “It’s true that we need a dragon’s hide for ourselves, but… the situation has changed. We must see to it that we can meet this unreasonable demand of Valry’s…”

“So…” Minx lowered her gaze, trying to swallow her anger. “So, we’re going to give them what they want? We’re… I’m… going to get them a dragon’s hide?”

Her father nodded. “Yes. And you cannot afford to fail. Your mother’s life, and the lives of the other hostages, depend on your success.”

Securing a dragon’s hide to ensure the continuation of the warding spell over Pandling Grounds had seemed a big job to her only moments ago. Now, she had to somehow secure two.

The stakes had gotten higher.

Much higher.


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Being the Suun- First Chapter!!

Being the Suun is out AND the completed trilogy that follows Frida Svand is available for preorder! Check out chapter one below!!


I caught the blazetaur’s horn on the blade of my sword with a loud, echoing clash. Birds stirred from the nearby trees. Their little black bodies lifted into the mist and disappeared.

The beast heaved its weight against me.

I dug in my heels, a scream of effort rising in my throat. Its beady black eyes—too small for its face—seemed to laugh at me. I could see why in the image reflected back at me. My dirt-smeared face, torn leather vest, leaves in my short, yellow hair. Yeah. I was a real terrifying opponent.

“Frida!” Estrid’s voice called across the clearing. She burst through the trees and ran toward me, stealing the blazetaur’s attention.

It released me.

I fell forward, narrowly avoiding being trampled by one massive foot.

It swung its barbed tail in a wide arc, moving faster than any creature its size had a right to.

“I almost had him.” I pushed myself to my feet and trailed behind the monster, taking useless swings with my sword at its armored backside.

The poisonous barbed tail struck out at Estrid.

She ducked and rolled.

The stinger stabbed into the trunk of a tree with a thunderous crack and stuck there. The soft spot at the base of its stinger was the creature’s only weak spot. Sever it, and the monster died. We’d learned that lesson the hard way in our three years on this blasted island.

Estrid rolled to a stop, covered in leaves and mud, and cursed. She would have preferred to be covered in blazetaur goo.

I reached her and grabbed her by the arm, pulling her to her feet.

The monster struggled to free itself from the tree, bellowing and thrashing about wildly. Its armored body slammed against nearby trees, cracking two of them in half.

“You found it.” Erik, our big brother, emerged from the tree line across the clearing.

The blazetaur turned and bellowed at him, yanking its tail from the tree.

Erik didn’t even flinch as he pulled out his sword. “I’m glad to see you saved it for me.” He raised his sword above his head, a smile on his dirty face.

It was his fault we were even here hunting this thing, and I was more than glad to let him have the glory.

But Estrid wasn’t. She and Erik were always competing. Sometimes it was cards. Sometimes women, and other times it was monsters. Who’d killed more blazetaurs? Who’d collected more shadebig body parts?

Maybe Erik was in the lead and that’s what possessed Estrid to take a running leap onto the beast’s swinging tail. She wasn’t close enough to the stinger. She dug her sword into a meaty crevice, causing the monster to flick its tail. Hard.

Erik’s eyes widened in surprise.

Estrid lost her grip and flew toward him.

He dropped his sword and made a valiant effort to catch her. They were almost the same size. Instead, she plowed into him like a boulder, sending both of them careening backward into a tree where they sat, stunned.

The blazetaur pawed the ground, raking a deep groove in the dirt.

Luckily, it seemed to have forgotten about me. Sometimes, as the youngest sister, it bothered me to be so forgettable that even the monsters on this blasted island ignored me. Other times, it was my greatest advantage. With my sword still in hand, I pulled my short-handled ax from my leather belt. I didn’t fight with a shield. They weren’t much use against monsters who could shatter them with one blow. But I was deadly with two blades.

As it drew its tail up to strike, I ran, taking long, quiet strides. My destination was a group of trees the monster had destroyed. The snapped trunks were positioned like a ramp. I hit them at full speed, slowing only slightly so as not to lose my balance. My eyes never left the tail. It was going to be close, but not impossible.

I didn’t pause when I reached the top, where I was level with the monster’s back. Instead, I leapt, feeling for a moment like a bird taking flight.

The tail passed just in front of me.

I hooked the blade of the ax around the stinger so I wouldn’t fall, and stabbed my sword into its tail, meeting flesh.

And then I was falling. Just me and the stinger and a stream of warm, red blazetaur blood. The ground rushed to meet me. I hit it hard, all of the air rushing out of me at once.

The black stinger landed beside me, its point inches from my face. I gasped, unable to catch my breath.

The blazetaur swayed dangerously above me.

Hands were on me then, Erik’s and Estrid’s. They grabbed my vest, pulling me to my feet, pounding on my back as we ran for cover. The two of them dragged me as I regained my bearings.

We made it to the trees just as the monster collapsed with a crash that shook the ground. Its rear end hit first, the once-dangerous tail limp and lifeless. Then its front legs gave out. And finally its head, with its fang-like incisors, plowed into the dirt mere feet from our hiding place.

We all stared at the body in silence for a moment.

Erik turned narrowed eyes on me. “Do you ever think before you act?”

“If I did, you’d both be dead.” I sheathed my sword and emerging back into the clearing. I kicked one of the blazetaur’s gaping nostrils. Nothing. I moved past it, avoiding spikes and horns, until I saw what I was looking for. The stinger and, beneath it, the wooden handle of my ax. My name was carved into it in Ahvoli runes by my father before he’d given it to me on my thirteenth birthday.

Bracing a foot on the blazetaur’s back for leverage, I tugged the ax free, careful not to touch the venom still leaking from the stinger.

Erik stood beside me, his eyes on my face. “I wish you wouldn’t be so foolish sometimes. Your life is worth ten of mine.” He clapped a hand on my shoulder. It was the closest to a “thank you” I would get from him.

“At least Luthair will be pleased.” Estrid still had her swords drawn. It was wise to keep weapons readily at hand here, below the veil.

I grimaced involuntarily at the name of our benefactor, the governor. Barepost was the only human settlement on the island continent of Bruhier. Stephan Luthair controlled everything—the mine, the trade, the transportation. And us. The Svand siblings owed him a debt, and Erik wouldn’t let us leave until it was paid.

“Without honor, we are no better than the monsters that plague the island,” Erik had said when I’d offered to sneak into Luthair’s lavish home on the ridge and bury my ax in his gut, putting an end to our servitude once and for all. And so I never had, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted every time I looked up from our tiny rooms above the pub to see lights glowing in his luxurious glass windows. But I would do anything for Erik, even if it meant spending the last three years hunting brutish monsters and kowtowing to an obnoxious governor.

He had sent us after this blazetaur before it could reach the plateau where Barepost was situated. We’d spent the last twenty-four hours tracking it, doing our best to survive attacks from the myriad of monsters that lived below the veil.

The first hour had seen Erik nearly strangled by a trithon, a nasty, three-headed snake that lived in the trees and liked to drop down on top of its unsuspecting victims. Not long after that, we’d startled a fire elk and it caught Estrid’s cloak on fire. Thankfully, she was unharmed, but her cloak lay in ashes somewhere on the forest floor. Part of our earnings from this job would have to go toward the purchase of a new one. Winters were unforgiving in Bruhier, and it looked like we would be here for another one.

I dropped the ax into my belt and turned to my brother. “Will he be happy?” I already knew the answer.

“Our job isn’t over yet.”

“It never is.”

But Erik, used to my complaining, just smiled. “This was a female blazetaur.”

Estrid and I raised our eyebrows at each other, not bothering to ask how he knew. Just as he was used to my complaining and Estrid’s arguments, we were used to him knowing things.

“So now we have to find the nest.” He stepped over the blazetaur’s lolling black tongue and disappeared back into the tree line.

Estrid and I scurried behind him.

We walked for a long time, following a path of trampled trees. Thunder rumbled overhead. Though we couldn’t see the veil of clouds from beneath the canopy of trees, I knew it would be grey and heavy with rain. I ran my hand along the trunk of a tree, tracing a deep groove that had almost certainly been made by a blazetaur horn. Estrid nodded at me approvingly. She was the best tracker of the three of us, but I wasn’t bad and was getting better with her tutelage.

The ground leveled out as we walked. We were heading farther down the mountainside, deeper into monster territory. I followed Estrid and Erik and kept my eyes open for threats, because that was what I always did. I’d killed for them countless times, and I would die for them if I had to. As the littlest sister, I was no one without the two of them.

When the rain started, it drowned out all other sounds, making our trek downhill even more dangerous even though the water couldn’t reach us through the canopy. We slipped our way down, one hill after another, until we finally emerged into a large clearing not unlike the one we had killed the blazetaur in. Fat drops of rain clung to my eyelashes, and I blinked them back, drawing my sword.

Erik placed his hand on my arm, telling me I didn’t need it. He pointed. I followed the line of his finger to a group of massive boulders bunched together in the middle of the clearing.

Not boulders, I realized with a start.


Three of them leaning together in the middle of a ring of toppled tree trunks. All of them taller than even Erik and wider than the three of us combined.

“The galestone won’t ignite in the rain.” Erik pulled the box of the volatile powder from inside his vest.

It was the only thing Luthair had given us before sending us down the mountain, one of his most valuable exports from the mine. He profited shamelessly from other countries at war, willing to send what they needed to destroy each other if the price was right.

Erik sat on a fallen log, returning the box and tinder to his vest for safekeeping while we waited for the rain to pass. I sat beside him while Estrid stood at the tree line, watching the nest as if she expected the eggs to hatch at any moment.

“I don’t remember rain like this in the Western March.” Here below the veil, it rained all the time, the forests steamy and muddy, the rivers constantly overflowing their banks.

“Maybe not,” he said, “but do you remember the snow? It was even worse. It would freeze your eyes closed and turn your toes black.”

“I miss the snow,” I said wistfully.

That drew a chuckle from somewhere deep in his throat.

It wasn’t the only thing I longed for. “I miss Dad.”

“I miss his soup,” Estrid chimed in.

Just the mention of the creamy dish loaded with lamb and pork and vegetables made my stomach grumble.

“Was that thunder?” Erik hit me in the shoulder lightly.

I hit him back, nearly sending him to the ground.

He caught himself and dusted off his hands. “I do forget you’re not so little anymore.”

“Just as you forget to feed me. You’re a rotten big brother.”

“We will eat.” Erik said, “Just as soon as we are done.”

The rain subsided soon after, leaving the ground in the clearing little more than churned mud. It sucked at our boots as we crossed to the nest and stood before the eggs. I rapped my knuckles on one shell, half-expecting to hear something stir inside in response. It remained still and quiet. My hand came away sticky with slime. I reached over and wiped it on Estrid’s sleeve. She batted me away.

It did not escape my notice that there were three eggs, that there would be three siblings. Would one be the leader, the other two constantly nipping at his heels? Would the youngest be reckless and impulsive, with the oldest constantly pulling her back from the edge while the middle sibling rolled her eyes and tried to reason with them both? There was a pang in my chest, but it was something I was used to ignoring.

“Do not feel bad.” Erik seemed to be reading my thoughts. “The hatchlings would fight to the death as soon as they emerged. Only one of them would have survived anyway.” He carefully pulled back the lid on the box of galestone.

“And we would have been sent to hunt it before too long. Why don’t you let me light it?” Estrid held a hand out for the flint.

Erik shooed us both away. “You and Frida take cover.”

We didn’t have any direct experience with galestone, but not long after we’d arrived in Barepost, there’d been an explosion in the mine. It had blown a hole in the mountainside.

For once, neither of us argued.

I followed Estrid into the forest at a fast clip, moving back up the mountain until we came to a rocky overhang.

“Here.” She pulled me down beside her so our backs were against the warm rock, situated between us and the clearing.

My legs burned with the effort of running uphill, but my breaths were steady and quiet as I listened for Erik.

“Should we go back for him?” I knew better, but I couldn’t help asking.

Estrid shook her head. “No. He’ll make it. He always does.”

I imagined him setting the charge, unrolling the line and sprinkling it with galestone. Striking the flint and dropping it, watching to make sure it caught, which would steal valuable time from his escape.

“He should be here.”

“He’s coming.”

Just then, he launched himself over the rock and pressed his body against ours. Taking his cue, Estrid and I ducked low and covered our ears, a ball of Svands.

The explosion rocked the ground and rang in my ears. Even this far away, dirt and debris flew over our hiding place. A jagged piece of grey, slimy shell hit the ground just in front of us, sticking into it like a blade.

Erik peeled himself away from us, his dirty face blank with shock.

“Well,” I said when the ringing had subsided. “Can we eat now?”

Our laughter followed us back up the hill to Barepost where a warm meal, a semi-comfortable bed, and a sleazy governor waited for our return.

Continue reading: https://www.amazon.com/Being-Suun-Legends-Fallen-Book-ebook/dp/B07QFYGP6M/

Chapter One of Dreamwalker!!

*4 days and counting*

Chapter One

“You can’t hold me back forever.” The gong had just rung, calling for reinforcements from our small town due to a skirmish.
And we had to sit here and prepare vegetables with the rest of the healers.
How could I be the only one who felt this was wrong?
“We have much to practice and learn.” Mother Ofburg raised a dark eyebrow at me as she worked away, snapping the ends off the peas. “Healing is our contribution to our people.”
It was easy for her to say. She’d been a healer for…. well, a long time. It wasn’t natural for me. “What if I don’t want to be like you?” I pointed at Noble, my best friend and fellow healer. “Or you?”
“One day, you will find peace and realize that you are a healer, not a fighter.” Mother Ofburg poured her plate of beans into a sack we’d be giving to the farmers whose crops had died overnight.
I shut my mouth, knowing nothing I’d said would change her mind. Mother Ofburg was a respected healer and leader in our small town. I was one of three apprentices in her care and quite possibly the worst.
No. I was the worst. I had no idea why she kept trying with me. From my botched spells to the time I burned the outhouse down on a full moon by accident. Magic didn’t flow through my veins. Fighting did.
The pounding of war drums thrilled me. I closed my eyes briefly for a moment, remembering my first time. My one and only fight.
The reason my parents sent me here.
I opened my eyes and glared at Mother Ofburg, a look so familiar to her she ignored it.
Her family had been healers for centuries. Her long grey hair was always pulled up in a bun, her face tanned and wrinkled from being outside. She pronounced every syllable slowly and clearly, so any misfit could understand.
I hated that. It made me feel slow.
Guilt washed over me as I slouched my shoulders in my seat. It was not Mother Ofburg’s fault I’d ended up here.
I averted my gaze toward Noble. He kept his head down and worked around my drama. He was handsome enough but had sworn his life to healing. No women for him, not even the questionable girls in town. But they loved the challenge. He kept the sides of his head shaved, and the top long and pulled back in a ponytail. His bright green eyes could pierce anyone. His dimples were his most adoring feature.
“Are you done pouting?” Mother Ofburg poured the last of her beans into a bag.
I stood, grabbing the bag. “Noble?”
He snubbed me and poured his beans into his sack.
I stood there and studied him. Had he ever thought of me as more than a sister-figure? I was pretty enough. Had my fair share of men and women who’d shown interest in me, but I’d never managed to find the one. I wasn’t thin like most girls. I practiced sword fighting in secret, deep in the woods, and it had kept me in good shape. My long auburn hair was the attribute I loved the most about myself. Though, my violet eyes drew the most attention.
“I’m ready.” Noble headed to the door.
I grabbed my sack and moved to catch up with him. “Noble, wait.” I shut the large wooden door behind us.
There was not a lot of money in healing. That wasn’t the purpose of being a healer, so we lived like most of the townspeople. Our homes built into the hills, covered in moss and grass. Some buildings were made from wood, but they leaked. It was much better to use clay and hay to reinforce the walls. Building into the hills also allowed us to remain hidden to creatures flying above.
Like the ur’gel, demons from the northern deserts.
“We have to meet Skyra,” The tone of his voice was irritable. “She’ll lead us to the farmers that need us most.”
When we’d commenced our apprenticeships, we’d both felt like we’d belonged somewhere else. But then he’d given up. He’d sworn his life to healing. That…. sure felt like giving up to me. I don’t know why I thought he’d understand my need.
“I’m sorry. Okay?” I caught up to him and grabbed his hand. I forced my energy into his palm to prove it. As a healer, he would be able to feel my emotions just from touching the heat that rose from my body. Sharing our energy had bonded us, unlike any relationship before. It was impossible to lie to another healer.
He pushed my hand away and shook his head as he walked on.
“I just wanted—” I tried to get him to understand how frustration sometimes overtook my common sense, but perhaps I had gone too far this time.
His shoulders drooped.
In defeat? Was he angry?
“I understand why you’re mad. I don’t understand why you won’t change the way you think.” He stopped and faced me, his eyes watery.
My stomach dropped. How insensitive could I be? He’d sworn his life to healing when he lost three brothers in battle. His parents had sent him to Mother Ofburg to preserve his line by becoming a healer. He’d been a great warrior in his day, or so the rumors were. I would never ask him, though. Being a healer wasn’t a step down by any means. It took many years of studying at the Healer’s Guild in Abrecem Secer before you could even become an apprentice. Noble could have chosen to heal in the battlefield as a battle walker but chose to work in a village.
I held up my hands in surrender. “No more talk of it.” I smiled and punched his arm, then turned and ran.
Noble paused for a moment and then chased after me.
Like old times.
We ran giggling. He never caught me, although he could have without even breaking a sweat. We ran past the Millers, the Gates, the Burns, until we reached the edge of town. We fell onto the soft grass under a tree to catch our breath as we waited for Skyra.
The beauty of our town in the spring always brought a smile to my face. The snow had melted, and all Rilyo’s bounties were in the process of growing again. The town itself was large and shared with humans and elves. We all tried to get along, but raiding occurred. While I liked the town and its people, I wouldn’t be here forever. The ache in my soul said otherwise.
“Can we just ban talking about fighting?” He leaned back on the grass and stretched.
“This isn’t going to be my life.” I lay next to him on my side. I thought of him as a brother but could appreciate his beauty.
“It’s better than dying.” He shifted his body so he faced me. His large hand reached toward my face to lift away the stray hairs that had fallen into my eyes.
“We can all die at any time.” I was grateful for his touch. Not being with family had left me hungry for hugs and physical comfort.
Noble didn’t respond. Instead, his gaze was distant.
Would he ever talk about them with me?
Probably not. “But today we feed the hungry.” I smiled at him, then flopped back on my back. Skyra wouldn’t be long. I wanted to soak in every second of not having to do anything but wait.
“Skyra is late. For once, I’m happy about that.” He smiled and joined me again, lying on his back.
We lay in silence, enjoying the soft breeze, smelling the blossoming flowers and calm in the woods. It was so peaceful we almost fell asleep.
We sensed Skyra’s energy before we caught sight of her. She was not only a bundle of energy but also the tallest person in town. An awkward combo.
“Wakey, wakey!” Skyra pounced on the ground at our feet.
Skyra worked for the Council Three. They ruled the Low Forest, and we often did work for them. They were investigating the crop failure. She had just won a leadership tournament and was now one of the most popular guides. There was something about her which made you want her on your side. I often confided in her and respected her opinion. She understood me.
“You’re late.” Noble rose to his feet in one leap.
“Come on, slackers. We have adventuring to do.” Skyra headed into the woods, and we followed.
“So, what are we walking into?” We’d only heard the rumors and questioned if it was as bad as it had been made out to be. What could destroy entire crops in one night?
“We’re coming up on the first farm.” Skyra crouched down and extended her arms out to stop us. She brought her finger to her lips, instructing us to remain quiet.
She removed the bow from her hip and notched an arrow.
I tried to see what she did. There was nothing there.
Noble’s eyes fixed on a spot ahead of us.
I leaned over and saw the branches move. What was it? A bandit? An animal?
A deer shot out.
Skyra released her arrow, and the deer fell to the ground. She moved to it and placed her hands on the animal, offering up the hunting prayers and ensuring it wasn’t suffering. Moments later, she swung the deer over her shoulder, and we moved on.
“Beatrice will be thankful. Her crops were hit the worst.” She carried the heavy deer with ease as we came across a clearing.
I stopped in my tracks, the view shocking. The field was filled with black soot. “Did it burn?”
“No. We have no idea what this is, and it just keeps growing.” Skyra headed toward the clay home.
I couldn’t even begin to imagine the devastation. “Beatrice Mulligan. We went to school together. Her father was killed in the war.” Her mother had found comfort elsewhere, but I kept that part to myself.
“She’s married now.” Skyra knocked on the door. “Happily, with child, and they have their own farm elsewhere. It’s safe for now.” After several moments, and no answer, she placed the deer next to the door. “Follow me.”
She walked past the small house to a wooden building.
“Anyone here?” Skyra yelled into the barn.
“Up here,” a man called back as he came down the ladder to greet us.
“Came to look things over.” Skyra stepped inside.
“You got those healers with you?”
Another thing I hated. People never used our names.
He set his pitchfork on the platform and leaned on it, looking at us. But he talked to Skyra even though we stood right there. “Mother Ofburg sent a boy looking for ‘em. They’re needed back right away.”
“I’ll get them there. You safe here? I brought your family meat.”
“I’ll never turn down meat. These old bones don’t get to hunt very often. Thank you for the offering.”
Skyra turned toward us and motioned with her head to follow her through the woods again.
We were quick on her tail. Worry gnawed at me. Some of our fighters had gone out. She was calling us back in. That meant there must be wounded members.
“I hope she’s ok.”
“The skirmish destroyed people and land,” Skyra shouted over her shoulder. “Multiple dead.”
“Where did it happen?” Noble’s voice was uneasy.
“Choked Valley.”
The muscles in Noble’s neck stiffened.
His hometown.
His pace picked up, and I tried my best to match it.
From my guess, it had been three years since he’d been back, even though it was not far.
“I hear you still want to fight?” Skyra changed the subject
It was not something I wanted the Council Three to know about. But I couldn’t lie to her. “I’m thinking about it.”
She snorted as we reached the edge of the woods outside Choked Valley.
As I looked down the stretch of land, the smoke from the charred trees and the burned houses irritated my nostrils. Few homes still stood, and those that did were badly damaged.
“Stick with your apprenticeship. You don’t want to see what I have to. You’re both on your own now. I’ll take care of the deliveries. Good luck”
We handed off our bags, eager to see the damage and destruction up close. Being a warrior was difficult, fighting every battle no questions asked, wondering who would make it back and who wouldn’t.
Skyra disappeared back into the woods.
Noble and I shared a look, then we both took off running toward the village. This time, he beat me. I was at least ten minutes longer getting back.
As soon as I entered the town square, my eyes were drawn to Noble, who was now on the ground, hugging his mother. Having never seen him cry before, I clutched my stomach with my shaky hands.
My anger stirred inside of me, and I never wanted to fight more. But for now, I had to stay and help heal these people. Right then and there, I vowed to myself I would avenge Noble and his family.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07M8DBLCN/
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamwalker-ja-culican/1130807791
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iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dreamwalker/id1438454551


I have another new series launching in 2019!!
Raise your hand if you’re ready to meet Asael Rel! She is a kick@ss, warrior mermaid… who just so happens to be a princess.
Get ready for the five book series, Tails of Valor.
AND get ready to meet my new coauthor Natasha Larry!!

WOW!! Thank you to all my readers!

This week some super amazing things happened….

  1. I signed my 5th foreign rights contract
  2. I broke into the 100’s rank on Amazon with Keeper of Dragons Book 1
  3. I broke into the top 50 authors rank on Amazon

None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for all of you. My readers are amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! And I have some HUGE plans for all of you in 2019!!! Make sure to keep an eye out!

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SWORD OF FIRE  by J.A. Culican

#YA #Fantasy #NewRelease


An unforgettable tale brimming with suspense, action and dragons.”– Through the Ashes will thrill fans of The Gender Game, Divergent & The Hunger Games.


Defenseless. Alone. Betrayed.

Bells is a poor fae who works on a farm outside the protections of the dragon city. When her family is attacked by trolls, she goes to the one person she knows can help her. But will he?

Peace. Death. Enough.


The dragons brought peace to the city and the surrounding area when they rose. Jaekob believes there is no reason for further dragon involvement. They’ve’ lost enough lives to this cause. They’ve done their fair share and owe the world nothing more.

But when the dark elves infect his city with a virus unlike anything he’s ever seen, he knows they need a solution. Now.

The sword of peace. Myth? Reality?

They’re about to find out.









J.A. Culican is a USA Today Bestselling author of the middle grade fantasy series Keeper of Dragons. Her first novel in the fictional series catapulted a trajectory of titles and awards, including top selling author on the USA Today bestsellers list and Amazon, and a rightfully earned spot as an international best seller. Additional accolades include Best Fantasy Book of 2016, Runner-up in Reality Bites Book Awards, and 1st place for Best Coming of Age Book from the Indie book Awards. 

J.A. Culican holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Niagara University, in which she has been teaching special education for over 11 years. She is also the president of the autism awareness non-profit Puzzle Peace United. J.A. Culican resides in Southern New Jersey with her husband and four young children.

Author Links

Website: www.jaculican.com
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15287808.J_A_Culican




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