Friday, June 21, 2013

Dragonstone by Paula Millhouse: Guest Post and Excerpt

 




Hi Laurie,
 

Thanks for hosting Dragonstone on your blog today. You really host some amazing books here. I love your site. I’ve invited Mia Ansgar and Kort Elias with me from Dragonstone for an interview.  Mia, where’s Kort?
 

Mia looks toward the window with nervous tension written all over her lovely face. She tucks a strand of long blonde hair behind her ears, and her green eyes dart back to me, then up at the window. “Kort should be here any minute. He’s trying to get Magnus settled outside.”
 

I snap my head toward the window. “Magnus, the dragonlet? He’s only three days old, right?”
 

Mia nods, and tries to keep from wringing her hands. “You said Laurie had some questions to ask us, right Paula?”
 

I give her my full attention. She looks lovely in her purple dress. “Yes. I did. Tell us a little about yourself, Mia. How did you come to discover a baby dragon?”
 

“Magnus found me. Well, that’s what Kort said, anyway.”
 

I nod, and jot down some notes in my journal. “Kort is a prince from the land of Chalvaren, right? An Elven Prince?” I look up pointedly at Mia. She adjusts her hair, and tries to cover her ears. It doesn’t really work. It’s painfully clear that Mia is an elf as well. I look at my notes. “Another question, then. Who’s your favorite author?”
 

Green eyes stare at me with curiosity, and Mia smiles. Before she can answer, a blood-curdling scream imitating a roar rattles the windows. Mia leaps to her feet, and we collide on our way to the window. “Oh my goodness,” she says. “Look at that…”
 

I stare out the window, and my mouth drops open. Magnus, a black dragon about the size of a Clydesdale, has toppled Kort onto his behind. Kort, handsome and blonde, holds a leather bridle in his hands. Magnus apparently isn’t having any of it. “Is he going to eat him?” I ask.
 

Mia laughs nervously. “I hope not. If you’ll excuse me, I think my Prince needs me to help him with dragon training. Gotta run!”
 

“But what about our interview with Laurie…?”
 

Before I finish the sentence, Mia slips outside to intervene in the chaos. I watch from the relative safety of the window. Kort stands up. Magnus sees Mia coming, and spreads his wings wide, toppling Kort again.  Kort proceeds to shout obscenities, and thrusts the bridle in the air. I feel a smile tickling my face.
 

I watch them. Mia takes the bridle from Kort’s hands, and Magnus eases to her side for a simple pat, nuzzling her, his amber eyes wide with appreciation. She slips the bridle over his snout, and he stands tall and proud beside her. I chuckle as I realize the real story is happening right before my eyes.


Thanks so much for stopping by today and giving us this amazing glimpse into your world.  It's been wonderful meeting you, Paula and Mia.  Give my love to Kort! He'll have his hands full with Magnus, looks like! (I watch Mia...  Mia and Magnus look so cute together!)





Dragonstone

Prequel to A Kingdom of Chalvaren Romance

Paula Millhouse

Genre: Fantasy Romance


Date of Publication: May 12, 2013

ISBN: 9781938876288

ASIN: B00CRMRWPK

 
Number of pages: 39

Word Count: 15,630






Book Description:



Elf prince Kort Elias journeys to a new world in search of a stolen royal dragon egg and discovers a lost elven princess, a prophecy, and danger; and only true love--and an erotic magic he's never experienced--will set them free.


 
 

Great. First royal dragon egg stolen from Chalvaren in ten thousand years and the damn thing’s already hatched.” Kort Elias grimaced and stared at the remnants of the Aurora eggshell. When he crouched down and touched the enormous object—he could have easily crawled inside—it crumbled to dust in his hands. “Worse, it’s been at least a day, maybe two.”
A thieving mercenary had brought the egg here to this planet of humans, one dimension hop away from Chalvaren, and Kort had required a wizard’s help to teleport in pursuit. The queen his mother forbade him to give chase, but when Kort discovered the double-crosser took the egg from the royal hatchery, Queen Elissabet’s edict paled before the need to recover the dragonlet. Also, ignoring his mother’s wishes was a lifelong sport at which Kort particularly excelled.
He picked up three black dragon scales, smelled them, manipulated them in his fingers then held the fragile scales up to the sunlight. They were translucent, iridescent…baby dragon scales. His grimace became a frown. Poor thing. All alone in a strange world with no other dragons to coach him, to show him what to eat, how to fly, how to roar, how to be what he was. Kort’s heart hitched. He’d tracked the thief for well over a week, but he was clearly too late. He was seeing the fallout of his mother’s bad decision-making.
“Damn you, Elissabet!” He shook his fist at the sky. “Look at what you’ve conjured up with your ridiculous legend, mother.” No treasure, just a lost little dragon.
“At least he’s eaten.” Kort’s eyes ranged to the remains of the mercenary. Without proper handling, without a first feast available right outside his eggshell, the hatchling had devoured his abductor. Served the bastard right. Before stealing the egg, the larcenous mercenary had filled the queen’s head with stories and romantic notions, claimed he had intelligence on the whereabouts of Chalvaren’s mythological treasure, the Dragonstone. The fist-sized amethyst was valuable beyond means, and a prophecy of peace accompanied it. Kort doubted the thing existed, but even if it did, the mercenary wasn’t man enough to return it. Clearly.
Kort stood up and surveyed the scene, fingering the dragon scales, noticing their smooth texture. “Where’d you go little one?”
The wooded forest around him held similarities to his home world in the types of trees, brush and rocks. Kort heard water running somewhere off in the distance. Good. The dragon would find it and drink. Small winged fowl fluttered about the sky, in the bushes, searching for food, calling to their kind. Insects hummed and a breeze blew. The sun shone brightly in the midmorning sky. The major difference here? No dragons.
When his mother paid the mercenary to locate the Dragonstone of Chalvaren she’d surely had no idea he would double-cross her, but really, how better to find a treasure than with a dragon? Dragons had affinity for all things valuable. Unfortunately for the mercenary, the only treasure here was the one he’d brought with him…and that treasure had turned on him.
Kort shook his head and laughed wryly. Dragon-wrangling took a special touch. Most men failed because they had no idea what the hell they were doing. He knew dragons, and dragons responded to his gentle, firm hand. It was women who were dangerous, women like his mother, what with their manipulations and imaginations. He did his best to stay away from them, though that drove Queen Elissabet insane. He preferred the company of dragons. No deception, no worries. Just straightforward danger.
Ruling Chalvaren meant danger, too, or at the very least the hard life of a soldier, a warrior, a dragon wrangler. Though the palace was his for the taking, Kort had focused on building up his kingdom’s defenses. He left the gold brocade suits and comforts to his younger brothers, and while his father King Elias insisted Kort attend his mother’s parties on major holidays—something he tried his best to get out of—Kort had no heart for softness. He had yet even to choose a future queen. Perhaps he never would. His heart belonged to dragons, and he only felt at home with his bow strapped to his back, a quiver full of arrows, and a mighty beast flying beneath him.
Magnus. That was this dragon’s name, or it would be when the beast was found. Recovering the Aurora was imperative. Prophecy foretold of a dragon named Magnus leading the winged guard on Chalvaren, and if the beast remained missing the other dragons would surely revolt. Lucan Brix the wizard had told Kort as much.
Kort’s aura flared blue around him, and he began tracking the Aurora through the forest. As he walked he recalled more of what the wizard said. After a half-mile, he smirked down at the tracks. “Magnus. Sworn protector of Chalvaren, an Aurora-class dragon gifted with the ability to breathe both fire and acid at maturity—and with flight from birth. So, why is he walking?”
He laughed, but then sadness gripped Kort. The dragon was only a few days old. The little guy was lost, wandering all alone, and he hadn’t figured things out yet. Kort would not rest until he had the dragonlet safe beside him.
He knelt down and placed his hand beside the dragon tracks. Three times the spread of his large hand, the youngling’s print indicated he’d already grown. A new worry flooded Kort’s heart. He had to find Magnus, but he also had to figure out a way to get them both back home. The wizard’s teleportation amulet had disintegrated along with half his clothes. But, surely magic existed on this plane; the wizard had alluded to it. If not, Kort would be stranded.
In time, he supposed, Magnus could help him find that magic, as dragons were attuned to the arcane. But Kort didn’t want to spend years waiting for the creature to develop that ability, and this was all predicated on the possibility he could find the beast, keep him safe, hidden and fed. A tall task.
The ring on his third finger glinted in the sunlight, casting his family’s royal crest back at him, and Kort glowered at it. Getting back to Chalvaren and his adoring mother would prove an interesting task. But as he rose and strode forward in pursuit of his charge, Kort remembered one last point that lifted his heart.
“Speech. This dragon will be gifted with the power of speech.”
Ha. That would be the day. A talking dragon would be rare indeed. Almost as rare as one who demonstrated loyalty without being broken. Or a woman who demonstrated as much. When he found that, perhaps he’d let his mother marry him off.




About the Author:

Paula Millhouse grew up in Savannah, Georgia where Spanish moss whispers tales in breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, and the Intracoastal Waterway. As a child Paula soaked in the sunshine and heritage of cobblestones, pirate lore, and stories steeped in savory mysteries of the south. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal chapter, the Mystery/Suspense chapter (Kiss of Death), and a member of Savvy Authors.

In the southern tradition of storytellers, she loves sharing the lives of her characters with readers, and following her muse on the quest for happily-ever-afters in thrilling romantic fiction.

She lives with her husband at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with their pack and pride of furry babies.



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1 comment:

Paula Millhouse said...

Happy Friday, Laurie!

Wow, your site if filled with awesome stories, and I'm tickled pink to see DRAGONSTONE among them.

Mia and Kort really do have their hands full with Magnus - that dragon's headstrong.

Hope your readers enter the giveaway, and I hope everyone enjoys the story.