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Naming your burden will give you some control over it. But a think you will not name has power over you, instead. The Tale of the Drakanox.
A snippet from The Tale of the Drakanox, by Deby Fredericks

Here’s a little taste of what I’ve been writing. Tisha, as usual, comes up with deep philosophical thoughts.


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It isn’t as nice as making a sale, but this week I actually got in on a submission window for a publication I’ve been really interested in. Here’s hoping!

Today’s character is new to the Minstrels of Skaythe series. I wasn’t expecting her, but my philosophy is to try and incorporate every idea that comes in the first draft. If it ends up not being important, then I’ll trim it later. Anyhow, I realized early in The Tale of the Drakanox that Countess Ar-Torix, from The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh, wasn’t going to be traipsing around Skaythe in person. She needed a minion.

This is where Nyette comes in.


“An explanation that explains nothing,” Ar-Torix mused. “Now why would Meven feel the need to defend herself, if she has done nothing wrong? This requires further exploration.”

“Shall I send for your horse, Countess?” Hurth asked.

Pearls gleamed in the countess’ hair as she considered. “Not yet. If this is some sort of trick, I’ll not rush into it. Ar-Selviss.”

The instructor quickly stopped the match and bowed. “My lady?”

Ar-Torix went on, “I believe it was Nyette who won the bout just now. In your opinion, is she ready for a different sort of challenge?”

“An excellent suggestion, my lady.” Ar-Selviss smiled obsequiously. “The arena does not always prepare our students for conditions in the field.”

The student in question was already on her feet. She was tall, and Shonn had the impression of an athletic build beneath the stiff brown robe. Black, curly hair fell to her shoulders, where it was cut off in a straight, hard line. Two dainty hairpins, shaped as butterflies, held it away from her face.

“Command me, Countess!” she cried.

“No need to get so excited.” Ar-Torix laughed, a silvery sound that drew every man’s eye to her. “I merely need you to venture into Fang Marsh along with my friend from the water-folk. Examine the ice wall with a mage’s eye, and report back to me. Simplicity.”

“I will make it so.” Nyette’s gaze was intense, in contrast to the childish note of the butterfly pins.

“Yes, yes.” Ar-Torix looked past her and signaled Ar-Selviss to begin the next match. It may have been Shonn’s imagination, but he thought the countess didn’t want too much attention on a younger woman. Not that she needed to worry, as alluring as she was.

Hurth tapped Shonn’s shoulder, breaking Ar-Torix’s spell. “Come on.”

Reluctantly, he tore his eyes away from the temptation of the countess and followed Hurth back into the stuffy building. Nyette stopped in the reception area, where a narrow staircase led upward.

“I’m going to pack a few things,” she announced in a brittle imitation of Ar-Torix’s confident tone. Hunter-guards at the counter looked around at those words. To Shonn, she said, “I assume you don’t want a troop of them escorting me.”

“No,” he immediately agreed. One passenger might fit on his raft, but not a bunch of them. “We’ll want to move quietly through the swamp.”

Wryly, Hurth asked, “Shall I explain that to them?”

“I’d appreciate it.” Nyette hurried up the steps.

“This is more than I had planned on,” Shonn complained, but Hurth was already walking away.


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I’m still on vacation, but I’ve scheduled another teaser for you. This character is from Prisoners of the Wailing Tower.


Flames roared and leaped, as if they would join with the lowering sun. It was a farmer’s hut that burned, the thatched roofing a ready food for the blaze. Just short of the flames’ reach, Ar-Lizelle glared down at the body that lay at her feet. Her former prisoner was still shaved bald, scorch marks crossing the clothing he’d stolen to hide himself among the population. A perpetual grin of madness split the stubbled face.

It hadn’t been an easy fight. The fugitive’s madness gave him wild power. However, Ar-Lizelle had been warden of the Larder, Dar-Gothull’s prison for insane mages. She knew how to deal with the likes of him. Haafeth had died choking, her fire whip snaked about this throat. Not once did he stop laughing.

That was no surprise. Haafeth had been closer to madness as any of the escaped prisoners. Ar-Lizelle had no remorse for his death. The list of his crimes was long even before the peasant farmer he murdered, and the widow he had been terrorizing when Ar-Lizelle caught up with him. It was Haafeth who set their roof on fire, a futile attempt at distraction.

No, her only regret was that she had learned nothing about the whereabouts of the other prisoners who escaped on that horrible day.

Ar-Lizelle clenched her fists, controlling her fury. After years of patient work, monitoring reports and questioning new prisoners, she’d finally had the chance to capture her disloyal younger sister. Lorrah had left their father to die. Worse, she had become a renegade, working against the mages who rightfully ruled over Skaythe. But the hunt’s promised ending was merely a ruse. Lorrah had lured Ar-Lizelle out of the Larder, and while she was gone, a bunch of fake hunter-guards had broken all the prisoners out.

Disgraced by the failure of her security, Ar-Lizelle now lived on borrowed time. Countess Ar-Khoreen of Yergha, where the Larder was located, had made it clear that she must bring those fugitives back, or otherwise deal with them. If she failed, she would be cast into the Larder herself, as a prisoner.

Ar-Lizelle stood rigid, gazing at the flames without seeing them. A ghastly creature haunted the Larder, a revenant with slashing octopus arms paired to a human face. That creature called itself a Devourer. And what did it devour? Mages.

No. No, that fate must not be hers.

“Well, that’s one down,” a man joked behind her.

“Only nine to go,” his fellow agreed.

“Are you keeping score?” She whirled to glower at them, screeching in her high voice, “Do you think this is some sort of game?”

“No, Warden,” Endole hastily replied. He and Groff saluted.

By Ar-Khoreen’s order, only two of the prison guards had come with her on this hunt. The others remained with Captain Morthem, who held the Larder for her return. If she survived to return.

“Let’s go,” she snarled, and turned away.



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I’m on vacation, but here’s another teaser for you. This character is one you might recognize from The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh. Enjoy!


The mage’s tower was deceptively quiet, showing no lights. You could think no one was there. That was the way they wanted it. He shrugged a little, irritated, and jerked around to watch the sun’s last rays creep up the brown rocks that crowned the hills beyond the Fang Marsh.

That tower had been empty for a long time, but it was Addith’s domain now. Shonn remembered how he had worked to help her settle in. Her and the boy she’d said was a foundling. The surly brat never had taken to Shonn. Despite the kid’s interference, he’d almost gotten to her. Shonn grinned a little, remembering the hunger of her kiss. It wouldn’t have been much longer before he laid her down in the sand…

Unfortunately, Addith was never who she said she was. The water clan she claimed probably didn’t even exist. Her real name was Meven, and she was a runaway mage. He’d seen her throwing ice chunks around, when that mudmaw took a strike at the boy. Then the kid lit himself on fire, too. He was a mageling that she tried to train, while they both hid from the regime in the depths of the marsh.

Mages were dangerous, crazy, never to be trusted. Shonn had tried to hide his reaction, but Meven had turned cold and he’d known it was over between them. There was never really a choice, anyway. He’d had to report to the countess’s guards. If Countess Ar-Torix thought the water folk were in league with a rogue mage, she might destroy Otter and everyone aboard her.

That’s what Shonn had told his parents, and the others who protested that he’d turned against one of the water folk. To himself, he could admit the truth. He’d suspected about Meven, and he’d been toying with her, part of the same boredom that still scratched between his shoulder blades. If he won her trust, he could gather more information, something to trade with the city guards. He could even have blackmailed her, forced her to lie with him, or made use of her in some other way. To what purpose, he still wasn’t certain. It had only seemed like a good thing to have a mage at his command.

He could have done it, if not for that brat of hers wandering carelessly on the bank. But the mudmaw’s attack had made it clear the boy would always come first. It grated on his ego to be second best.

Meven’s parting words were clear: “I don’t want to see you again.” Unfortunately for Meven, hers was not the final word. Countess Ar-Torix had made it clear that she still wanted Shonn to be an informant. He had to be sneaky, given his parents’ disapproval, but maybe he’d have another chance at the ice witch after all.

With a final scowl, Shonn turned away from his thwarted vision. The setting sun cast muted pink and gold rays to reflect from the placid waters around the landing. Fish jumped, raising rings of brighter water. As the water became warmer than the air, mists began to creep over the lotus pools and among the dark mangroves. Frogs and crickets and other night creatures raised their shimmering chorus.

A flickering light caught his eye. Shonn glanced over, expecting to see fireflies or a last ray of sunlight on the far hilltops. Instead, a glow appeared brighter among the rocks. It swelled brighter, and then a brief flash. Yellow light streaked down the slope, with sparks trailed behind it, like coals falling from a fire. Shonn blinked. It moved so fast! Was it coming closer?

He heard no sound of hooves or wheels. No flames rose from that spot. The golden streak, soft and vaguely shaped, curved to follow a pale ribbon across the land. Whatever it was, it followed the old silvery scar that crossed the plain beyond the marsh.

The silence was eerie. There should have been a whistling of wind, or some other noise. Shonn heard nothing. After a moment’s staring, he stamped his sandaled foot vigorously on the roof where he stood.

“Oberim, Kannat!” he called to his father and uncle.

Muffled steps came from below, and the houseboat shifted slightly as the two men emerged from the main cabin. Shonn pointed at the mysterious object gliding ever closer.

“Do you see it?”

“Huh,” answered Oberim.

The three men watched in silence. Whatever it was moved swiftly and steadily, stretched out to twice the length of Otter. In a way, it resembled a cloud of mist lit golden by morning sun. There was no sun to light it, and yet it still glowed.

Uncle Kannat murmured, “What moves it? There is no wind.”

“What moves it,” Shonn retorted. “What is it?”

The angle changed as the creature got closer. There were hints of solid form within the mass. Two branching antlers, a wolf’s head with tousled mane, followed by a long body like an eel’s. Yet any shape dissolved almost before he could identify it.

Then it was past, following the curve of the ancient track that went straight across the marsh. By now, other family streaming out of the cabin, crowding to the rail. Soft murmurs of confusion and dismay came up to the cabin roof, where Shonn stood.

“Have you ever seen something like that?” Oberim asked his brother.

“No, but we know where it’s going,” Shonn replied, hiding his glee with grim certainty. “That path leads to the mage tower.”



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Yes, here’s another taste of my work in progress, The Tale of the Drakanox. Duessa and her friends, who were broken out of the Larder in Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, are finding out exactly why they were rescued.


     “Oh, I think we know the price,” Duessa predicted with grim certainty.
     “Do tell,” came a cool voice from just beside the wagon. Sergeant Zathi, who commanded Badger Squad, reined her sorrel in beside Lorrah’s chestnut. Duessa’s throat tightened with nerves, this was no time to back down.
     “You’re hunter-guards, but you’ve left your post,” she started.
     Zathi parried the accusation. “Hunter-guards don’t have permanent posts. That’s come in handy recently.”
     Her calm was discomfiting. Duessa kept on, “You’re still warriors who serve Dar-Gothull. You must have something planned. It’s a trap, or…” Zathi’s expression said that was wrong. She pushed on. “Then we’re all headed to meet up with your army. You brought us along to fight on your side.”
     “Because we’d be grateful, or something,” Bettain added bitterly.
     Duessa felt as irritated as Bettain when they all sort of chuckled. “I wish we had an army,” said one of the women. It might be Keerin.
     Another one smiled. “If only.” Was her name Giniver?
     Zathi hesitated, when admitted, “Alemin is correct. We’re not as organized as it may appear.”
     The three former prisoners exchanged glances of anger and dismay. “You broke us out, but you don’t have a plan?” Duessa accused.
     “We needed to get Alemin out. We couldn’t leave him there,” Lorrah hastily explained. “But then —”
     “I learned that Dar-Gothull uses the Larder to feed off the mages inside,” Alemin carried on. “So if he’s ever going to be overthrown, we had to take his food away.”
     “To weaken him, we had to let all of you out,” Zathi affirmed.
     “Wait.” Duessa pressed her hands to her temples, shocked by the words. “Weaken him?” Her dark eyes darted, from brown face to brown face, and rested on Alemin’s mild gaze. “This is one of your jokes.”
     “No,” he answered. “I know it’s a lot…”
     “You want to overthrow Dar-Gothull?” Bettain was aghast, yet impressed. Elldri listened, round-eyed. “What, with the six of you?”
     “Seven,” Lorrah corrected.
     “Eight,” Alemin said.
     “That’s … not better,” Duessa choked. However, strange she had ever thought Alemin was, this was far beyond it. “You’re insane! He’s Dar-Gothull. He has the whole regime and all the counts, the temple priests, the hunter-guards, the…” She trailed off, finding herself momentarily unable to breathe.
     “There are more of us,” Alemin went on, soothingly. “We had to split up when one of our friends got a prophecy that he would be captured…”
     “A prophecy?” Duessa shrieked. That was worse than nothing!
     “We were supposed to meet up again after six months,” Alemin continued. “Right now, that’s what we’re doing. I have a sense of another one of our friends. We’re trying to find her.”
     “While avoiding my sister,” Lorrah added grimly.
     “And we’re getting the hell away from the Larder,” one of the others added, cheeky.
     “No. No,” Duessa insisted. “You just want us for canon fodder.”
     “We need allies,” Zathi corrected, irritably.
     “Yeah, no kidding,” Bettain laughed rudely.
     “We don’t have a plan because it’s impossible to make a plan before we know who supports us,” Giniver added from the other side of the wagon.
     “Really, you’re going to try this?” Duessa’s eyes pleaded with Alemin to say no, it was all just tavern talk. The guardswomen were silent for a moment, and then every one of them nodded. “Yes.” “Yeah, sure.” “What, you want to live like this forever?”
     “It’s time,” Zathi said firmly. “Dar-Gothull’s reign has distorted everything. It has to end.”



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A snippet from Prisoners of the Wailing Tower.

One fun snippet was not enough, so here’s another little taste from Prisoners of the Wailing Tower.

What do you think?



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A snippet from Prisoners of the Wailing Tower

Today I’m just sharing a snippet from my forthcoming novella, Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. It’s the fifth in my Minstrels of Skaythe series.

Hope you like it!



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Last time, Alden kindly said that he was going to preserve my quote about the power of stories to bring about change. So I made it into an image.

You’re welcome!


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The words need not be perfect in order for your story to be great.

Believe it or not, this quote is from a conversation at work. A friend was telling me she wants to write a letter to a family member she’s been estranged from, but she isn’t good at putting words on the page. I encouraged her to write the letter anyway. I don’t know if she will, but I hope so.


Anyway, I have a couple of new followers here on Wyrmflight, so welcome to my fantasy world! I’m always interested to know what attracted your attention. If you have a question or suggestion about what you’d like to hear from me, by all means share!


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Creativity is a muscle. It gets flabby when you don’t use it.

Am I right?


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