Special Sneak Peek: Dreamwalker

The release is looming closer!  And to give you a taste, here’s an excerpt I hope you enjoy.

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Lexa’s eyes snapped open at the barest touch of a cold steel’s sharp edge against her neck. She reached behind and grabbed a collar, swinging its bearer over her shoulder. The man in black rolled to his feet with ease, an intrigued grin on his face. Lexa stared at him in surprise and uncertainty—she had never met another person in the dreamscape before.

“You’re quick,” he remarked with strange satisfaction.

Lexa narrowed her eyes and circled him like a wary lioness. “Who are you?” He sidestepped to match her movements. His all black get-up, from his simple shirt down to his somewhat faded boots, gave him the look of a poor pirate, though not as filthy. Long, light-colored hair tied at the nape of his neck framed rugged features and a sharp jaw line. A slight accent colored his voice, but was too diluted to tell its origin.

“And rather attractive.” He took a moment to look her up and down, his brows lifting in appreciation. “I’ve heard there was another walking the dreamscape. You’re much more appealing than I expected.”

Lexa cocked her head to the side. “Wait till I draw blood.”

“Ooh, feisty, too,” he said while waggling the knife in his hand. “At the moment, I’m the one who’s armed.”

She smirked. “At the moment.”

Lexa raised her arms into a defensive stance and dealt him a swift sidekick to the face. Her boot connected with his jaw and knocked him back. His arms shot out to break his fall and the knife fell into a clump of grass. Still leaning over, he kicked at Lexa’s leg, sending her to her knees. He jumped to his feet again and bounced on his toes as though he found this an entertaining workout. Lexa glowered at him. Rolling onto her hip, she swung her legs around to knock his out from under him. He landed on his back with a grunt, and she arched her leg down to jam her heel on his throat.

He caught her foot, softening the blow, and still he didn’t lose his haughty grin. Around a cough, he smiled and said, “You must tell me your name.”

She snorted in disgust and tried to pull her leg back, but he held fast and yanked her toward him. They both rolled, grappling with each other and laying in well-aimed strikes. Lexa’s elbow brushed the knife lying in the grass and she grabbed it, slashing at his chest. He rolled into a crouch out of reach. Both combatants were breathing heavily from the exertion, but neither lost their air of confidence.

The man got to his feet and backed away. “It was nice meeting you, my lady. I’m sure I’ll have your name soon.”

“Not if you always give up this easily.” Lexa took two steps forward.

He laughed and pressed a hand to his chest. “We’ve only just met. Let’s not rush things.” He bowed with a flourish and tipped an imaginary hat. “And for your pleasure, I am called Dirk.”

Lexa hurled the knife at him, but he vanished into the waking world. It struck the wall before melting into mist.

~~~

Watch for Dreamwalker, out June 30th.  Two dreamwalkers: one a devout soldier, the other a rogue assassin. Last one standing wins.

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Cetus the Sea Dragon

Cetus, derived from Ketos, is the Latin name given to multiple sea monsters that appear in Greek mythology, from a serpentine dragon to a blubbering whale monster.

There are two primary tales regarding this creature, and though they feature different characters, the stories are quite similar.  In the first, Queen Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter, Andromeda, was more beautiful than any of the Nereides, sea nymphs that made up Poseidon’s retinue.  As punishment, Poseidon sent the sea monster, Cetus, to ravage the land.  In order to appease the sea-god, Andromeda was left on the rocks as a sacrificial offering to the sea dragon.  Luckily, Perseus was returning from slaying Medusa, and he swooped in on Pegasus to save the girl, slaying the dragon by turning it to stone.

In the second, very similar tale, Poseidon had hidden in human form and helped King Laomedon build the walls of Troy.  When the king refused to pay Poseidon for his help, the sea-god sent Cetus as punishment.  Again, it was decided that the only way to get rid of the monster was to offer the king’s daughter as a sacrifice.  (It never bodes well for princesses, does it?)  This time, the hero Hercules swoops in to save the day and slays the beast.

Cetus can also be found amongst the constellations, though his form in the stars is that of the gigantic whale monster.  He lies in the region of the sky where several other water-related constellations are, such as Aquarius and Pisces.

In the movie Clash of the Titans, Cetus is interpreted as the Kraken, an even more massive whale of a monster.

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In Elemental Magic, Cetus is more serpentine like the dragons in the first two pictures.  He’s also quite intelligent, the last of his kind tucked away under a spell until an evil alchemist releases him.

The silhouette against the backdrop of stars was tall and thin, at least compared to the width of a whale. That wasn’t to say it wasn’t incredibly large. It loomed at least seven feet over the top of the ship. Keenan swept the spotlight over it, and I caught a flash of teeth bared in a menacing sneer and bright, blue-green scales. Eyes glowered gold with the reflection of the light.

No. Freakin’. Way.

And, just as in the above tales, poor Cetus is forced to follow orders and wreak havoc along the coast.  I won’t tell you what happens to him though.  You’ll have to read the book.  😉

Do you have a favorite interpretation of Cetus?  If you saw the new Clash of the Titans, how’d you like the Kraken?  With the hero stories being so similar, are you for Perseus or Hercules?