Today I am so pleased to welcome Alexis Hall to Joyfully Jay. Alexis has come to talk to us about his latest release, Sand and Ruin and Gold. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Alexis a big welcome!
Hello, and welcome to my fourth ever blog tour (I really do have to stop counting), celebrating Riptide Publishing’s release of Sand and Ruin and Gold.Yay! Thank you so much to Jay for joyfully hosting me. And, to you, dear reader, for stopping by. If you’d like to come with me and keep me company on my virtual wanderings, you can find a full listing of when and where I am here on Riptide’s tour page.
I’m trying something a little different with this blog tour. Since Sand and Ruin and Gold is a short story, and I tend to feel that explaining short stories takes the fun out of them, instead I’m going to be posting, well, a completely different story. It’s set in the same world so I guess you could call it a kind of spiritual sibling. If you like it, you’ll probably like Ruin. If you don’t … then … um … you probably won’t. Sorry.
This is Part 2. Part 1 was posted by Smart Girls Love SciFi on the 22nd you’ll be able to find Part 3 over at the Prism Book Alliance on the 25th. If you get story lost (not that all those who wander are lost) you can catch up on the RP tour page which, once again, is here, or you can swing by my blog where I’ll be attempting to keep track of everything.
Oh, and there’s a giveaway. Nothing very dramatic I’m afraid, as I don’t have any mermaids in my possession right now, but if you want to enter the Rafflecopter below, I’d be delighted to offer a book from my backlist, in either hard or soft copy.
Draconitas Part 2
“If you’re not careful,” snapped the yellow-eyed man, “I’m going to start taking this lack of enthusiasm personally.”
“You’ve just told me there’s no meaning to anything, and that you’re planning to rape and murder me. How much enthusiasm are you expecting?”
“Well, my gosh.” His brightly burning, inhuman eyes widened. “I said I’d fuck you. I didn’t say it would be without your consent. Haven’t you looked at me? I’m glorious. I have to beat them off with sticks.” He sighed. “It’s just we’re currently at low ebb of sticks, and people to beat them off with.”
“So, if I don’t want you, you won’t . . . take me?”
“If,” retorted the yellow-eyed man. “If.”
“And the, ah, eating thing?”
“What a spoilsport you are. But all right. If—and, once again I do mean if—you can avoid boring me into conniptions, and you’re terribly, terribly nice about my treasure, I won’t shred your flesh and drink your blood and crunch upon your bones. How’s that?”
The dragon was watching him expectantly, so the prince felt obliged to say that it seemed a reasonable compromise.
“Am I not magnanimous?” Now the yellow-eyed man was all smiles. “Am I not generous and kind and wondrous?” He paused, scowling suddenly. “You know, while my resources are inexhaustible, it’s still more fun when you do it.”
A jet of steam seared the still air. “Incipient conniption warning. Praise me, you clueless lummox.”
“Oh! Um . . . yes. You are, indeed, generous and . . . kind, and—”
“Yes, yes, I know I am. I just said I was. Try a different word. Or better still, several of them, in a pleasing order.”
The prince very much did not wish the suffer the consequences of a conniption, but he was neither accustomed to articulating his thoughts, nor having someone to articulate them to.
“I’m waiting,” said yellow-eyed man.
“I . . . I have not skill enough your worth to sing,” he blurted out. “For we which now behold these present days, have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.”
“Bravo.” The dragon clapped his hands, nails clicking together. “I’m deducting a point for lack of originality, but I respect your taste. Not entirely untalented, that one – though he had some significant flaws as an artist.”
“Well, he barely wrote about dragons for one thing. It was all boys and kings with him. Shall we go?”
“Yes.” If endearing himself to a monster was his only hope of survival, then that was what the prince would do. It seemed no more ludicrous, just then, than allowing himself to be chained up in a temple—no, a folly—to prove his suitability as a ruler. “But one more question?”
“Is it about me?”
It hadn’t been. “Of course, oh magnificent one.”
“Go on then.”
“Do you,” asked the prince, thinking quickly, “have a name?”
“I have as many as there are stars. And how I am known among my people, you could not vocalise.”
“Is there a translation?”
“Not exactly. Our language is not limited by linearity the way yours is. We are named, in a sense, from the entirety of ourselves. And, as I have told you I am wildly admired. I suppose—” the yellow-eyed man blushed prettily, and entirely falsely “—I suppose some close approximation of the simplest idea of what I am among my kind might be . . . Surpassing Fair. Yes. That will do nicely. If you wish, you may call me Surpassing Fair.”
“It suits you.” The prince felt himself getting warm and awkward. He was not used to this kind of talk. “You are very beautiful.”
“Yes. Yes, I am.” The dragon let out an odd sound, rich and languorous, full of pleasure. He arched his spine, running his fingers through his hair, his body all serpentine lines and subtle definition, undeniably sensuous. “How I adore flattery. It is the basest of manipulations, but it still feels so good. But, come, my lair is some way to the north, and it will be dark before long. That will not trouble me, but you may be eaten by grue.”
He set off down the hill, and after a bewildered moment, the prince hurried after him. “We’re walking? I thought you would . . . I don’t know . . . sweep me up in your talons and fly.”
Surpassing Fair gave him an unreadable look. “The truth is, love, I’m . . . well . . . I’m old. That kind of drama is for dragons who have known fewer moments. And the last time I did it, I accidentally ate someone while scratching my nose. Do you want to risk it?”
“I’m happy to walk.” The prince fell into step beside the dragon. “Just how old are you, anyway?”
“That’s a very rude question, you know.”
“But it’s about you.”
Surpassing Fair smiled, but it faded swiftly enough that the prince feared conniptions. However, the dragon only shrugged, cast him a swift glance from pale eyes, and said softly, “As old as all things.”
Once upon a time . . . that’s how the old stories always begin.
Once upon a time there was a king of a fallen kingdom. He was just and he was beloved. Or so the numbers said. One day, he gathered together the greatest, wisest minds in all the land—not sorcerers, but scientists—and he bade them fashion him a son. A prince. A perfect prince to embody his father’s legacy.
The scientists each brought the prince a gift: beauty, strength, ambition, intellect, pride. But they must have forgotten something because when he saw the mermaids dance at the Cirque de la Mer, he ran away to join them.
For a year, he trained them, performed with them, thought he was happy. For a year he thought he was free. But then Nerites came: A merman who refused to be tamed. A captive from another kingdom. A beast in a glass cage.
The old stories always end with happy ever after. But this isn’t one of the old stories. This is a story of princes and monsters.
You can read an excerpt and, y’know, cough, buy the book if you want at Riptide Publishing.
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the twenty-first century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car. He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.
Alexis has a tour wide giveaway going on for one of his backlist books. Enter through the Rafflecopter link below.
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