Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dragon & Hawk excerpt (PG) and a Contest!

Once more into the excerpt bin... This time from Book One, which started it all: Dragon & Hawk, published by Champagne Books in both ebook and print.
Contest after the excerpt...

Evan Jones and his brothers came to the hostile Arizona Territory to start new lives--and found three very different, strong women who taught them the meaning of courage and love...
     Slowly, as days passed, Evan recovered. "Come walk," she said, and dragged him down the stairs. He looked at steep streets snaking around the hills and paused, intimidated. Unsure.
     "Día por día," she encouraged him with a smile. "Each day, and so each step, as it comes." She walked with him, patient, turning to go back when his eyes showed too much pain.
     Reyna admired his determination. Little was said on those first excursions, all his effort concentrated on getting from here to there and back. But one morning, he looked up from watching one foot go in front of the other, surprised at the variety of familiar surroundings, and started to talk during their strolls...
     They walked a little farther through Bisbee each day, exchanging stories of their cultures. One muggy August morning, she told him of Cochise, Great Chief of the Nide. The county had been restructured and named to honor him only a few years before. "Nide, The People is what they
call themselves," she said. "'Apachu' is a Zuni word for 'enemy.' You could have no fiercer foe than to betray the Nide."
     "Ah," he said, "The same could be said of Dreigiau—Dragons of Cymru."
     "Dragons?" She turned quickly to him, concerned.
     "Heard then of dragons, have you?"
     Reyna slowly nodded. "Nide Creation legend tells of Dragón Viejo—Old Dragon. A vile, baby-eating monster. Wise—and extremely evil."
     "Welsh dragons aren't evil—well then, some were, mind. All were fierce, though—breathed fire, ate huge herds of sheep—oh, and the occasional maiden or baby now and then." Evan laughed at her astonished, worried look. "'Tis myth, Señora, just stories. But the symbol of Cymru is the Red Dragon. That actually came from the Romans, mind you now, but another tale says two dragons—one red, one white—fought a duel to determine who would rule the land. The Red Dragon won, for it was born of the valleys of Cymru—that's Wales—and loved the land so deeply it would
rather die than live under the rule of the White."
     Evan lifted his chin, proud. "So the people of Wales are known by the Red Dragon, for we too are fierce and love our land deeply. Not evil, is it then? Wherever there are Cymry—that's Welshmen—well, there Dragons be."
     She recalled Nide legend, and inwardly trembled. "Eres tú dragón. You are Dragon."
     He smiled. "Certain sure. Dw i'n waed coch cyfan Cymro—I'm pureblood Welsh."
     Her heart stopped, flipped, beat again. She was unsure if it was because his totem was terrifying, or because his eyes were bright, his smile mesmerizing. He spoke, but she didn't hear his words for the pounding in her ears. She couldn't catch her breath.
     His bemused smile gleamed. "Señora, the story. What happened? The dragon?"
     "Old Dragon ate every baby Woman had," Reyna said, distracted. "She found a way at last to hide her last son, teach him magic until he grew big enough to hunt. The Boy tricked Old Dragon, killed him with four arrows. Old Dragon fell down a huge cañon, his bones now the boulders at the feet of the mountains." She blinked, shook her head, trying to dispel her uneasiness.
     He watched her closely, and it unnerved her. "Señora? I upset you with talk of dragons?"
     She forced a smile. "No, of course not." She didn't want to tell him Dragón Viejo had been the fiercest enemy of her totem, Halcón. Hawk. No. His spirit guide couldn't be malicious Old Dragon, not Evan. No, I refuse to believe it. Dragons of his land must be different creatures than the Ancient

CONTEST: What do you think your animal spirit guide would be? Some people are Rabbits, quick and careful to watch from the shadows. Some are Bear, calm but fierce when protecting their own. Leave your comment about your animal totem here with your email address [email(AT)whatever(DOT)com] and I will draw a name at random at 9:00PM Pacific time-- the lucky winner will receive a free PDF of Out of Forgotten Ashes tomorrow morning! I'll announce the winner as my final post. Good Luck!



Shadow said...

Hmm. Good question. I think my spirit animal guide is the bear. Im quite and shy. I like to keep to myself but if one of my family members are threatened, my temper starts to show. I found this great site that tells about spirit guides. Here it is, if your interested:
Thanks for sharing and for the awesome giveaway!

Jude Johnson said...

Thank you, Shadow.
Many different cultures adopted animal spirit totems. In my research, I found that each Native American tribe has its own interpretation of each animal's spirit characteristics; for consistency I used the Chiricahua Apache interpretations throughout this series.

Congratulations! Check your email first thing Monday morning for your PDF of Out Of Forgotten Ashes!