***Coming As Soon As I Don't Hate the Current Draft***
I've been working hard on getting this draft right, and early feedback from both of my editors and my beta team says that it's finally hitting the mark. That's the good news.
The bad news is I'm not done. The new draft has two new viewpoint characters with their own storylines that affect everyone else's, lots left to get right, not to mention needing to complete editing, revision, and proofreading. I could try to rush this, but this story has already taken so long to get right that I'm especially not going to start trying to cut corners now. What does that mean?
It means I'm going to keep working with my beta team and my editors, but I'm going to postpone the launch. Please don't worry when Amazon cancels your pre-orders--you won't be charged--and I won't be putting up another preorder. Instead I'll keep you updated on progress and announce when the release is coming in my newsletter and on my social media pages.
My goal is early September, but my promise is not until it's ready. Thank you for your patience as I went through illness and traumatizing personal issues. I apologize for the wait, but it's my goal to deliver you a story that will be worth it.
Darkness stirs in the heart of Courdeval. And in the heart of its very king. But she’ll fight until her last breath to save them both.
After Jon’s near brush with death, Rielle couldn’t be happier when he awakens. As he resumes his duties and his normal life, however, it becomes clear he is changed--perhaps forever. There is a power in him, and a darkness, that threatens to consume him… for all time.
With the Order of Terra and the Tower of Magic now serving the Crown, Emaurria is stronger than ever, but the threats it now faces might lead to the kingdom’s undoing. Locked in open war against the Divinity of Magic, Emaurria is in grave danger and, worse, divided at its core. The Houses see opportunity in a withdrawn king, and Rielle, Brennan, and Olivia fight to keep stability as they try to reach Jon, while Leigh finds himself damned and looks for the strength to save himself before he can save the world from the Rift.
As the Houses and the war poke a sleeping dragon, they invite flames that could char Emaurria to mere glowing embers. Can Rielle and her friends reach Jon before it’s too late, or will he be lost to the darkness, and Emaurria to the flames of dragon fire?
If you like the fantasy romance of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the dark intrigue of the Black Jewels series, the epic adventure of Game of Thrones, and a heroine who never gives up, you'll love this romantic epic fantasy series.
Dive into a medieval world sensual and dark, full of magic and greed, love and blades, where factions vie for influence and there are no easy choices...
Divine’s flaming fire, it had worked. It had actually worked. The lifebond.
Rielle covered her mouth, holding her breath, while Jon stared at the massive four-poster bed’s canopy and shifted slightly beneath the red-and-gold silk coverlet. His chest rose and fell with ragged breaths, and he blinked sluggishly beneath a creased dark brow.
But he was alive. Praise the Divine, he was alive.
“Jon,” she whispered. She took his hand in hers and pressed his palm to her cheek. “You’re awake.”
He turned his head to her and narrowed his eyes, studying her for a long moment before he reached for her, pulling her into an embrace. A warm, close embrace, a thing she might’ve never had with him again but for the rare turn of good fortune that woke him.READ MORE
Wrapped in his arms, her face against his bare shoulder, her eyes watered and her lower lip trembled. She bit it, some futile attempt to keep the tears in. For three days, she hadn’t left his side, waiting for him to wake up, praying for it. She’d sat in a bedside chair until her legs had numbed, these quarters her home and he, her everything, while the sun had risen and set, risen and set, risen and set...
He was alive. Divine, after three days, he was finally back. Finally.
“Rielle,” he said, slowly, carefully, his voice a low rasp.
Water. He needed water.
Hastily, she grabbed the silver goblet and carafe on the nightstand and poured, then held it out to him encouragingly. “Let me help you.”
Although she offered him a hand, he shook his head. Bracing an elbow on the mattress, he sat up, frowning.
His fingers rubbed against the sheets, a fine linen, brushing it languidly. His nostrils flared as he breathed deep, closing his eyes for a long while before opening them anew. His gaze lingered on a sheer curtain swaying, a golden drawer pull, a bedpost carved with roses, as if seeing the world for the first time. She swallowed. As if coming back from the dead.
He took the offered goblet, peering down at the unsettled surface of the water reflecting his countenance, and with a shake of his head, proceeded to drain its contents. As he did, he looked out the window toward the city’s crimson roofs and squinted. After three days of fever, he had to be exhausted.
She tucked her hair behind her ear and licked her lip. “How do you feel?”
His fingers curled tighter around the silver goblet, and he took a deep breath. In and out.
“I feel strong,” he replied solemnly, then handed her the empty goblet. “Stronger than I have ever felt.” With wide eyes, he scrutinized his arm, flexing and turning over his hand.
It was the lifebond—it had to be—but she didn’t feel any weaker herself. Yet she’d managed to supplement his life force with hers? Somehow it was even more miraculous than she and Olivia had hoped for, then.
Her eyes didn’t lie, but she could still scarcely believe them… He was awake. Alive. Back. And this fullness inside of her responded, somehow bigger than her body, reaching out to him. Everything she had in her heart... and somehow more.
She climbed into bed and knelt next to him, following his line of sight to the gray autumn skies above Courdeval. “It’s been quiet ever since the battle. But everyone’s been on edge, nervous. Now that you’ve awoken, things will settle down.”
The entire coast was rebuilding after being decimated by Vazzana, including—disproportionately—so many homes. No thanks to Kieran’s choice to abandon the city in favor of defending the palace.
Doubtless Jon would make that right, but in this moment, the last thing she wanted to do was pile on.
She took his hand again, and the warmth of it… had changed. Before the fever had broken, his skin had been hot, but now… maybe not as much, but the fever’s heat still remained. “Your temperature,” she breathed. “Are you sure you’re—”
“Do you love me, Rielle?” he asked, turning abruptly to her and holding her gaze with a steely intensity.
He’d asked so boldly once before, the night of Spiritseve, when he’d confessed his royal lineage and reaffirmed his feelings for her. Her heart had swelled at it then, and it did again at the thought now.
She huffed, drawing in her chin. “With all my heart. What kind of question is that?”
Those steely eyes sparked, his palm stroking roughly against hers, and his gaze lowered to her lips and lingered. A corner of his mouth curled up, and it was all she could do to stay in her own skin as he leaned in and kissed her.
His kiss was gentle at first, soft, and he shifted closer, smoothing his hands over her hair and down its length with a dimpled smile. “Have you been here all this time?”
Her cheeks warmed. “I—of course—”
He rubbed his thumb across her lower lip, watching it with a glimmer of amusement. “I have great plans for this kingdom. Radical plans, even, to ensure its strength and security. Will you help me achieve them, Rielle?”
Eyes barely open after three days, and he was already thinking about work. Yes, that was Jon all right.
“Of course,” she breathed with a laugh, “but you’ve only just awoken. You should be resting. Don’t you want—”
He held a finger to her lips, halting her words. “Of course I want,” he said with a mischievous smile. “But there’s work to be done, and it won’t wait.” With a last grin, he pulled aside the coverlet and climbed out of bed, heading straight to the washbasin.
Frowning, she rose hesitantly. “And this work needs to be done right this minute?” she asked, while he washed up. “Aren’t you hungry? Or tired at all? And what about your heart? Shouldn’t we check with Olivia to see—”
“I can feel it. My heart is fine,” he said over his shoulder with a laugh. “I don’t need a healer to confirm that. And we’ll have dinner together later. Anything else?” he challenged playfully, holding her gaze as he raised an eyebrow.
Her mouth fell open, but she shook her head, and he returned to washing and dressing.
She pressed her lips together and poured herself a goblet of water. Nothing about the lifebond? They hadn’t even discussed it yet, but didn’t he feel it? And what about the Dragon King? What had happened in those last moments of his consciousness?
She sipped her water slowly. Maybe now wasn’t the best time to ask him to relive his near-death experience. He’d tell her in his own time.
But this work he referred to—he’d called it radical. What exactly did he have in mind?
Booted footsteps approached her from behind, and Jon’s palms grasped her shoulders before sliding down her upper arms, imparting his warmth.
“I’ll see you tonight,” he said softly, then lightly kissed her cheek.
As she turned to him, he stepped away, fastening the last of the toggles on an intricate black-and-gold doublet.
She followed a few steps after him. “Are you going to meet with Olivia and let her know you’re all right at least? Or the Grands?”
He laughed under his breath. “I’m going to call a meeting of Parliament. It’s time we declared war on the Divinity of Magic.”
War? They were still smarting from the attack on Courdeval.
She left the bedchamber, but the door to the hallway closed. He’d just woken up and was already decided on this? Had something happened before he’d lost consciousness to convince him of this course?
Emaurria wasn’t ready for all-out war. Not even slightly. The Crown’s control over the Tower and the Order was still so new, barely tested. Kieran, now Lord Sage of Emaurria, seemed to defy anything he believed she supported.
And while Jon had centralized the kingdom’s power domestically, Emaurria’s lack of alliances was still a problem. Should the balance of power tilt—or, Divine forbid, topple—there would be no one else to turn to. Samanta Vota would win.
Jon wouldn’t let that happen, and neither would she. One of the Grands would convince him.
And if not, then when he returned tonight, she would.COLLAPSE
About a month ago [March 2019], I wasn't happy with the state of The Dragon King. For about two decades, I've simmered on the world of Blade and Rose, and Rielle's story. And I knew this book, similarly to By Dark Deeds, was going to be a difficult draft. Amazon's policies allowed me to postpone the release one month, and I did that, assuring myself that one month would be all I'd need to bring the book to order. I was the author, the book was the book, and what I said goes... right?
Wrong. The book grabbed me by the collar, shook me hard, and told me there was one boss of this book, and it was not me.
I've had a good year and change of being an author and producing at the rate I plan for. I tell myself I'll write X pages or words, and it happens. It happened so well and so reliably that I took it for granted, and now, with my ninth(?) publication, there's a wrench in the gear, and it turns out I'm not the machine I thought I was, or a machine at all.
What does this mean, dear readers? Well, for one, Bright of the Moon is still releasing as planned. The Witch of the Lake series is still releasing as planned, but for the time being, The Dragon King will no longer be available for preorder. It will be released sometime this year (hopefully in the next couple of months), after extensive revision, critique, and editing, once I am happy with it and can be confident you will be, too. It's against my nature to not set a date, but I don't want to set a firm date and not know for certain that it'll be ready. So it could be May, or it could be July.
I know this isn't good news, but I will do my best to keep you updated so you are the FIRST to know when it does release.
From the bottom of my heart, I apologize. This is completely my sole responsibility and my failure, but I hope you will pick up the book when it does release and know it's only gone out with my complete confidence.
That said, I do have something special for you. Two things, actually. They won't make up for this, but I hope they'll be something for you to enjoy and bring a smile to your face.
#1: The long-requested and long-awaited Character List. If you aren't caught up to Queen of the Shining Sea and Blood of the Wolf, please don't read it yet as it will contain spoilers. But if you want a quick refresher of who everyone is and where, this is it!
#2: The first five chapters of the current draft of The Dragon King. They are subject to change, but if you've been waiting for a taste of what happens next, here it is. 🙂