Revelling in Reveals

In case you missed it on Facebook, this week has turned into Cover Reveal week here on My Random Muse. Tomorrow, prepare to turn up the heat with Keri Lake’s smokin’ hot cover for Logan’s story: Soul Resurrected. Her second Sons of Wrath book. Saturday I’ll be joining in on the cover reveal for Mara Valderran’s Heirs of War. These two ladies are fantastic authors so make sure you get their books on your TBR list and check back in fall as I join both of them on their Blog tours.

As I write this, it’s slightly after 5:00 p.m. Tuesday evening and the temp is 91 degrees with a dew point of 66 degrees. I’m relatively cool in my dungeon, but having come in from outside not too long ago, I have sweat trickling down places it just doesn’t belong. I’m cranky and formulating a headache. Needless to say, this kind of weather and I DO NOT, let me repeat, DO FREAKING NOT get along.

In honor of that, and in anticipation of seasons I prefer over those with heat and humidity, I’ve decided to share the first 8 + 28 sentences of Fortune Favors the Cold, the short story I’m working on for an anthology submission the end of October. It began as an entry in a Best Opening Contest. It wouldn’t leave me alone, so, of course, I decided to start playing with it. And, of course, 1700 words later I have no friggin’ idea where it’s headed. *sigh*

The sound of wings . . .

Branson cringed beneath the rush of air, ducking his head. They’d spotted it soaring along the ridgeline three nights past; though in reality it had been here much longer. Probably since early spring. It hadn’t come close until now, waiting until high winter when the pass couldn’t be negotiated without the will of the gods in your pocket.

Waited until it could take its time with them.

And Branson — he’d drawn the short straw. Always did have damn bad luck. It’s how he’d gotten stuck in this gods forsaken hell hole in the first place.

Bits of ice peppered Branson’s face as the beast landed. With a noise like banners snapping in the breeze, it furled those huge, crimson wings against its back.

The color of blood on snow, Branson thought. My blood, likely.

They locked gazes. Branson sighed, turned his head and spit. “Let’s get it done, then.”

He flexed his chilled fingers on the frosty grip of his sword and wiped his chin with the back of his hand. Damn the gates of hell, he hated the cold. Gods alone knew why he had listened to Joorysh.

Because you’re a greedy rat bastard and he knows it. Played on your love of a challenge and the lure of gold, didn’t he? And what did you get for it? A broken leg that still pains you, a winter in the frozen underbelly of the world, and now —

“It’s not my idea, this,” he said to the beast. Not that it would help. The thing had no ears that he could see. Then again, he’d a hard time seeing past the wicked long fangs in a head the size of a supply wagon, and claws that gouged the ice-covered rock beneath its feet.

Of all the ways death could come, Branson had always considered evisceration to be about the worst. Not like he hadn’t been threatened with it before. Usually those times when he’d found himself chained to a wall in some damp, fetid, cesspit of a prison. Each time Hermares, god of thieves, assassins, and fools, had seen fit to deliver him to freedom. Each time he’d made Joorysh pay in either coin or hide. Once in both because the saving hadn’t come until they’d dragged Branson out into the square stripped to the waist and tied out.

He preferred never to come that close again.

He frowned and cocked an eye toward the low, dull grey sky. Hermares himself wouldn’t venture here even for the King of Fools.

Hopefully that frigid snip will help you cool down if you’re in any place enveloped in this infernal heat. Now, on to take a peek at what the other WIPpeteers have to offer this week. Remember,SeanBeanWIPpet

To join the fun, simply post a bit of your current WIP or new beginning, that corresponds to that Wednesday’s date. Then share your link in the linkie thingie. You can usually find some of us WIPpeteers slinging Tweets around with #WIPpeteers

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  1. This hooked me as soon as I started reading and finished up wanting more. Who is this character, this King of Fools? 🙂

  2. Oh this is lovely! I see why it wouldn’t leave you alone!!! I love a wintery setting. And love this: “The color of blood on snow, Branson thought. My blood, likely.” Oh keep going!!! Great start!!!

    • Branson has such a way about him. A bit of a pessimist at times, but also a realist. I kept going right up until I hit a wall. Now I have to figure out what happens next.

  3. Great excerpt Kathi. I’m feeling sorry for poor Branson. Hope he doesn’t get his stomach ripped open etc! Urg! 😉

  4. Well that scene definitely cooled me down and was a welcome relief from a warm muggy day over here in the UK. Branson’s not so happy though, seems he’s been through quite a lot. I really enjoyed this extract – the wintry setting adds moodiness and atmosphere and I love the sense of danger when the beast lands.

  5. I love the mythology and faith that’s being woven into this. It always makes it seem so much more real and the characters rounder.

  6. Great descriptions! Hopefully Hermare is able to come to Branson’s aide again before the dragon takes a bite out of him (at least, I’m assuming it’s a dragon…)

  7. Branson DOES have a way about him and I see him clearly as hero material though he might suffer some pessimism. I like that his character has numerous facets to it to build the story. I like his personality.

  8. Wow, you weren’t exaggerating about him getting the short straw! Yikes!

  9. Seems to me that Branson is a tad too introspective for his “impending evisceration”… I like what he’s thinking. I like the setup, but for me, this piece feels too introspective for an opening of a short story. If you’re planning a larger piece, I can see it working since it alludes to a lot of back story that sounds fun to delve into.

    • Good points, Eden, and I flip both ways on it. I’ve read some really great short stories that start out in a similar vein, and then some that just never got to the point and felt more like a chapter of something bigger.

      • I guess it all comes down to “what you do with it”, because… as you point out, there are good shorts that start this way too. It just feels longer to me. (of course, that shouldn’t discount my obsession with longer fiction. 😀 )

  10. *grumpy face* I could have done without the reminder that 5 months of winter are around the corner, thanks very much. 😛

    I like it so far! In spite of Joorysh’s self-deprecating thoughts, I imagine we can expect a lovely battle scene when you release the story. Something about the way he consistently bites off more than he can chew but somehow comes up on top reminds me of someone. Let’s see now… who could it be? 😉

    • I have no clue who that would remind you of. *cough* Um . . . certainly no one I know. Hee, hee. And sorry for the cold weather reminder, but I actually prefer fall and winter temps to these hot humid days.

      • *sigh* So does my snow bunny child. She’s been hoping for winter since break-up. Beloved and I have no idea how in the world we spawned one, but we know she’s ours. We were both there.

  11. I agree with Adrian’s thoughts earlier on, I love how you play mythology and faith into the character, especially a god of thieves delivering him into him. Aw come on, that God needs some cooling too after a hot, hot summer! I want Hermares to rescue the King of Fools. Oh…hmm… well, that WOULD make it a short story, wouldn’t it? 😉

    • “delivering him into him.” Yeah… I reread that, and obviously I had walked away for a second. A more clearly worded sentence would be “delivering him into freedom.”

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