Excerpt – “Emberling” by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, from the anthology, Dragon’s Lure, Dark Quest Books
In the morning twilight, the ember oaks still glowed the faint red of banked coals where the sap ran close to the surface. Sleepy and confused, six-year-old Camirel clutched the pouch newly hung about her neck as she followed Papi and Mam through the forest. All around them a pack of embrils, giant dragon-like lizards that lived in their valley, kept pace, houghing and growling in agitation.
“I don’t want to go with Ro’fo,” Cami muttered. Her voice trembled and she fought against the frown tugging at her face. She was frightened and she did not understand. Today was her birthday. They were to have breakfast in the garden. Mam and Papi were to tell her stories all morning long. Instead they hurried through the forest. She stopped and stared up at her parents. “Please, I don’t want to leave.” Tears brimmed in eyes the color of coal ash but did not fall. She could not keep her lip from quivering.
Papi stopped, but did not turn. Instead he stood with his legs braced and a thicket scythe clutched in both hands as if he were ready to clear saplings. His shoulders shook. Mam spun around and knelt before Cami, face red and swollen and her eyes bright, but dry. “You must, my little emberling…you must. Brother Rolfo is waiting for you so you must hurry…the brethren do not wait well.”
Mam worried her lip and her gaze darted among the trees and back. “Camirel, I need you to trust me, I need you to go for a while so I’ll know you’re safe.”
Cami lost her battle with the frown. “I’m safe here. The dragon will keep us safe.”
Her father tensed but did not turn.
“You know there are no more dragons.” Mam’s words were both bitter and sorrowful.
“Then you’ll keep me safe with your magic.”
Her mother groaned and Papi glanced over his shoulder, looking fiercer than even the embrils. “We have no time for this, Bayel…Listen to your mother, child, now.”
Mam shushed him and took Cami’s hands, unfolding them from the pouch. “It is like our secret paintings,” she said, her face gone pale, her voice strained, “the way we hide special things in the picture so only certain people can find them…do you understand?”
Cami liked painting with Mam, but she still did not understand and shook her head, her frown deepening. One tear escaped down her cheek.
“We must hide you, daughter. You are one of the special things. Draigbyr is not secret anymore, so now you go to Mabet, where only the right people may find you.”
Here There Be Dragons!
What is the deal with virgins?
Why would a dragon want to swallow the moon?
Is a bed of treasure really to be desired?
At long last, a collection that delves into the lore on what lures a dragon. We bring you nineteen tempting tales of draconic wonder—along with the lyrics to two classic and much-beloved songs—certain to broaden your understanding of these legendary creatures that have fascinated mankind throughout time and across cultures.
Trek across a dragon’s dream space in C.E. Murphy’s Perchance to Dream…Take wing in Misty Massey’s Flying Away Home…and the burning question in Vonnie Winslow Crist’s Weathermaker…got milk? Everything you wanted to know about dragons, but no one has survived to ask…
With stories by John Grant, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Patrick Thomas, James Chambers, Misty Massey, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike Penncavage, C.E. Murphy, Hildy Silverman, Bernie Mojzes, Randy Farran, C.J. Henderson, Claire Stephens McMurray, Robert E. Waters, D.C. Wilson, Jean Marie Ward,
Keith R.A. DeCandido, Anna Yardney, Jeffrey Lyman, James Daniel Ross, and David B. Coe, this is a tome you are sure to treasure!
Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over fifteen years. Her works include the urban fantasies, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She has edited the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, and No Longer Dreams, and has contributed to numerous other anthologies and collections, including Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, Space Pirates, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and New Blood.
She is a member of The Garden State Horror Writers, the New Jersey Authors Network, and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.
Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more about her work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com or www.badassfaeries.com.