Warriors: Book Two

Cover reveeeeeeaaaaal! I mean, okay, if you follow me on Instagram (@veroniquewrites) or Facebook, you’ve already seen it, but this is Warriors in its full-scale, beautiful glory! I’m working on it full steam (mostly editing at this point) and the feedback I’ve gotten for Pirates so far has been super encouraging. These characters are my characters and I’ve loved them for EVER and it’s kind of cool knowing that other people love them too.

Anyway, this is more of a reminder that you can actually totally get Warriors for free once it’s released in March (it was going to be February, but with Husband’s surgery and other life things the date was pushed back a little). Here’s how!

  1. Leave a review for Pirates on Amazon by February 28th
  2. Share your review on Facebook and tag my page in it so I know you’ve done it

That’s it! This isn’t a contest so if you do these two things you’re guaranteed to get the book.

Muuuuuuch much love
-V

Refugees

An excerpt from Pirates, available on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Kindle! Thank you all for your support, you have been absolutely incredible.
xxx
-Veronique

At the very top of the tallest guard tower in the Crystal City, surveying the vast lands that lay about the protected realm, stood a woman with raven black hair and skin as smooth and white as ivory. Small black jewels tipped two little fangs that reached slightly over her bottom lip, and a smooth black staff crowned with a mist-enveloped copper orb was in her right hand. Her dark robes, deep turquoise and amber, were in sharp contrast to the brightness of the city and its people.

In ages past, fear had surrounded her and her people, the Darkdwellers—or, as they had once been known, the Dragons, now ill and forced to dwell in human form. Since recent events, however, everyone knew Chiasa for who she really was: the immortal Dragon Queen, the leader of the purest race ever to have lived in Kirael.

And not only that, but she had proved over and over again her strength in battle, her bravery, and above all, her loyalty. The people of the Crystal City and of all the free kingdoms loved their own kings, but they loved and trusted her, too.

Now she stood and watched the main gate far down below, open wide and letting in a nearly constant trickle of all manner of people. Refugees. Most had come from far and wide, and some—more disturbingly—had come from not so very far at all.

Her eyes, deep aqua with flecks of gold and emerald, the only part of her once fair appearance that still remained, looked on with foreboding and sadness as more and more people entered the city. They carried small bundles, hurriedly packed, telling of what sort of attack had driven them from their homes.

Then a fragile, delicate looking figure sitting tall and straight on a great black steed caught her eye, riding at the head of some two hundred people, all on horseback, and a great many unsaddled horses who followed without leads or bridles.

At the sight of Adyah and her people, a stab of pain went through Chiasa’s heart. She had felt the battle in her spirit and had known that many of them had died, but to see them riding to the Crystal City under such a clear banner of defeat, when they had for thousands of years been nearly impossible to reach in their home in the mountains, brought it home to her that the evil they all faced was far greater than anything they had faced before.

“My lady,” said the Tower Captain behind her.

She turned to face him. “What is it?”

“Where will we tell the people to go? So many have come over the last few days that we have little room left to spare. Captain Eldaroth has not returned yet and we are not sure what to do.”

She looked back down at the river of refugees. “Have whoever is able take them into their homes. And open the palace to them as well—the King would gladly have done so, were he at home, and there are hundreds of empty chambers.”

“And what of the horses?”

Despite the gravity of the situation, Chiasa smiled a little. “Leave the horses and their people to Lady Adyah. They will not abide staying within the city walls, I am sure. They are far too wild for that.”

“Yes, my lady,” he said, bowing.

Not long after, Chiasa walked into the great throne room in the palace. It had been missing its King for a long time now, but the great crystal throne had not been empty. She, Adyah, and Adyah’s sister, Cahmeelle, had been taking turns ruling in his stead while he was off on his important mission. It was a bright room at the top of the shining spire that was the palace.

The walls were great glass windows, clear but strong as steel, reinforced with ancient spells, and from here Chiasa could see the whole city and the Barrier Plains all around it.
She found Adyah sitting on the edge of the long glass table which was used for councils and diplomatic meetings. There was a heavy air about her and she stared out at nothing in particular, watching the clouds go by, her face set in a hard, anguished expression.

Chiasa said nothing but simply went to sit beside her, waiting.

“It’s all gone,” Adyah said finally, in a broken voice which Chiasa had never heard from her before. “Everything is gone. My mountains—“ she broke off and swallowed her tears.
There was nothing else to say, or else too much, and so they sat in silence staring at the blue sky outside, as yet untouched by the shadow that threatened everything they held dear.

Pirates Now Available!

Ladies and gents, the time has come: the first book of the Shard Trilogy is out! Many of you have been following along with my Shard adventures for almost ten years, and now Pirates is ready. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited and only $2.99 in the Kindle store!

Warriors, book two in the trilogy, will be released in February. If you want to make sure you don’t miss the release, sign up for my author newsletter here! I also sometimes include special deals and offers that are exclusive to the newsletter and I promise not to spam you, so personally I think it’s worth it 🙂

And speaking of Warriors, here’s a way that you can get it for free when it comes out! I will send you a free eBook copy of it if you:

  1. Sign up for the email newsletter
  2. Leave an Amazon review for Pirates by February 15th, share it on Facebook, and tag my author page in it so I know

Thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement and I hope you’ll let me know what you think of the book! Love you all xxx

Day 23…and…Yeah

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So it’s Day 23. A lot of the past week’s writing has consisted of me staring at my laptop clicking between scenes and trying to figure out how on earth to proceed. The silly thing is that I know what needs to happen next, but the words aren’t flowing. Ah, well, it’s week 3 and that is usually par for the course around this time of November! The important thing is to keep pushing through, even if I know that I’m going to have to seriously rework these scenes later on. And a little candlelight doesn’t hurt to get the inspiration going again 🙂

On the bright side, I know that what comes after this next part is going to be incredibly fun to write and I’m stoked for that, and I should get there by tomorrow! NaNo, after all, is all about pushing through and getting the story out. With that said, I’m going to keep this short and just say that we can all do this! It’s the home stretch. So here are some snippets and I’m off to write a bit more for the day.

Snippet 1

The man ran as fast as he could, and the messenger trailed along after him, more out of terror of what was behind than out of obligation. And the man knew, he knew in his heart that it did not help how fast he ran or how soon he arrived, they were not ready. This might well be the last time he could see the light of day, and he could not even see it, for it was smothered in the smoke of hatred and evil and greed, and now perhaps he would die without having seen the sun one last time. But he tried to push these things from his mind, as he had had to do for weeks and weeks now, because it was too painful to think of how things had once been and how they were so terribly and unalterably changed now. He missed the clear skies and open seas and lush meadows and thick, quiet forests with only the sound of streams trickling through the undergrowth to disturb the silence. He missed the smell of fresh air. But he could not think of those things; not now. They were coming.

Snippet 2

“The warrior is here,” she said.
“We know that,” I said, “but how do you?”
Cahmeelle looked at me, her own expression now very somber and grave. “We found out through our own spies. But the important thing is that we found this out from Tsifira’s people, and that means that she knows. She may be here.”
Instinctively Anaru, Goulius, and I placed our hands on the hilts of our swords. It was second nature by now. “So you mean she could be here? In the Cape?”
“Yes. I have been here myself for weeks, waiting for you, since I did not know where you would be. I have laid low and tried not to make myself stand out, but I have been keeping an eye out for her and for the warrior. I have not seen either, but I can tell you that some of her servants are here. And Tsifira has no concern for secrecy; if she has sent some of her more powerful servants, they will not hesitate to use their powers if need be, and then the whole colony will be on us. We must be very, very careful and not draw attention to ourselves.”
Adyah and I exchanged guilty glances.
“What is it?” Cahmeelle asked anxiously. “What have you done?”

Day 18 and Thoughts

my writing buddy extraordinaire

Guys, it’s the 18th! We’re over halfway there! My writing companion Aragorn (look at that face) has now finally realized that he can’t actually type, so thankfully he is now content to simply watch me.

So, even though I’m way behind on my personal goal for the month and will probably not make it, that’s okay because a) I’ve now written 31,000 more words than I ever have in a month’s time, and b) I’ve actually been writing every day, even if it’s only 727 words like yesterday. The discipline of writing daily has always been a struggle for me, even during NaNoWriMo, so this is kind of a big deal. My recent search history also includes such fascinating tidbits as the Mary Celeste, black spiced rum recipes, pub crawl (I forgot to add the ‘wordcount‘ part to it), and how to make bumbo. Things always get interesting in November, and Google possibly now thinks that I’m an alcoholic who lives in a shack on the beach and sees sea monsters and pirates on a regular basis. My friend sent this to me on Pinterest and I find it rather fitting:

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 10.53.03 AM

I’m sure we can all relate! Anyway, my tip for the next portion of NaNo is this: Do not be afraid to write badly. Because, really, it might end up not being bad after all, or at the very least it might end up being salvageable. So don’t not write because you’re afraid it isn’t going to be pretty. Just write.

And now for some snippets.

Snippet 1: A man receives a message from Cahmeelle.

Just then the cry of a hawk lifted him out of the mire of this dark thoughts and he looked up to see the bird descending from the sky. He recognized it; the bird was Cahmeelle’s, and she used it often to send messages, especially urgent ones she did not want anyone else reading. The hawk landed on his shoulder and the two exchanged pleasantries, and then the man took the message from the hawk’s foot.
“Going,” it read in elegant script. “Danger.”
He frowned. What on earth did that mean? What sort of danger? He knew short messages were necessary, but for the love of all things, could she not embellish a little? “What does she mean?” he asked the bird.
“She would not say, my lord. She simply rolled up the message and told me I was to stay with you for a time.”
The man sighed. “Typical,” he muttered, increasing his pace. “And I suppose I am to simply guess, then? She must know that in these times she cannot be so vague.”
“Perhaps,” said the hawk very cautiously, “she was afraid.”
“Of what?”
“On my last flight back to her, I was nearly captured by one of Tsifira’s griffins. They patrol the skies looking for me. Perhaps she thought that Tsifira might get hold of the message somehow and did not want to divulge more than necessary.”
The man looked with some admiration at the bird. “You do not seem afraid.”
“Neither do you, my lord.”
The man smiled sadly and stroked the bird’s head. “Fools who hope against hope have no time for fear,” he replied.
“Quite so,” the bird agreed and then busied himself picking at his feathers.

Snippet 2: Elizabeth’s nightmares.

“It took you long enough,” said the horse.
Surprised, I stared at him. Had he spoken? Impossible.
“There is blood on your hands,” he remarked.
I looked down and saw that he was right; both of my hands were soaked in blood, dripping with it, and the ground soaked it up thirstily. Where was it coming from? I did not feel pain or appear to be wounded. But there seemed to be an endless supply of it.
Come back, the wind whispered, and the hair on the back of my neck raised as goosebumps covered my body. Come back. Come back, it begged mournfully. I gripped my sword more tightly instinctively and felt its power roll through my body, as though it were alive in and of itself. I looked down at it, frowning. It grew warm beneath my hand. Come back. What once was lost is restored. What once was stolen has been returned. Come back. Blood was bubbling up from the ground now, and it was as though veins beneath the earth had been opened up and they were bleeding profusely. I jumped to my feet and tried to get clear of it, but soon there were streams of it everywhere, flooding the clearing and rushing off into the forest with a sickening gurgling noise. Come back. Come back. I raised my sword and looked into the forest. Steeling myself, and ready for anything, I plunged ahead into the darkness, while the gentle wind grew ever more insistent. Come back. Come back…