Monthly Archives: August 2016

IMAGINE THIS: Faeries and Families

FaeryUn-2x3One of the first stories I ever wrote was based on the idea of a family curse (?) passed from grandmother to granddaughter down through the ages. It skipped every other generation, so the mother of the next to inherit had no idea about what was happening, but her mother did! I sold that very first story (Deirdre’s Dragon) to an online magazine…my first sale! But that initial story didn’t quench my thirst for the idea. I needed a larger format. A novel! And so, my first novel FAERY UNEXPECTED was born 😀

I still love these characters and may eventually find my way back to Claire’s world and discover just exactly what happened next. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy meeting Claire in these opening pages…

FAMILIES ARE GREAT, but there are times when they stink. I mean, I love my mom and dad, but wouldn’t you think they’d at least have asked me if I wanted to spend a month on the French Riviera with them? Honestly! I could’ve made arrangements to go, even studied while sunning in the south of France. The first few weeks of high school aren’t that important. But the parents refused to listen to reason. Instead, they arranged for Gran — Mom’s decidedly weird mother who never went anywhere without her even weirder toy dragon — to stay with me while Mom and Dad defected to Europe to laze in the sun. I figured by the time I survived the first week, I’d have earned a vacation of my own.

What a rip. I’d been searching for a solution to my high school dilemma, and they’d handed me the answer and then snatched it away, all in the space of a two minute conversation. Man! My first day at Jefferson High was racing down on me and I still didn’t have a concrete plan for leaving the middle school nerd behind. I didn’t need to be the most popular girl at school, but I definitely wanted to improve my social standing.

In middle school I’d been a dork, and Danielle, the cheerleader-from-hell, teased me mercilessly about my good grades, happy family, and that stupid book report on fairies I’d done in seventh grade. Hello, I’d done my Shakespearean research, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, anyone? But that didn’t matter. She called me ‘Fairy Clairey’ for the rest of middle school. Even got her friends in on it. Made me sound like a complete idiot.

For a whole, shining minute I’d had my answer — before my parents ripped it away by uninviting me on their little European jaunt — but if I closed my eyes I could still picture the beautiful vision: me swaggering through the front doors of Jefferson High three weeks into the first term; my usually pallid skin crisp from a month of sun and sea; my unruly mop of short, curly black hair fashionably styled in the latest Paris do; my outfit straight off a tres chic fashion runway… Danielle would have a cow, and I’d be the reigning queen of the class. I might even have a chance at getting a boyfriend.

But no. Instead I got stuck with crazy Gran and her bizarre stories of dragons and centaurs and the magical adventures of her childhood. Gag!

So here I sat on the first day of September at Portland International Airport with my parents, waiting for Gran to show up. I stared out the window, watching her jet unload. I leaned my forehead against the glass and listened to my parents’ quiet conversation.

“Relax, Emily,” said Dad, a tall square man sporting thick glasses and a warm smile. “She can’t get lost. Everyone from the concourse channels past this waiting area. We won’t miss her.”

I glanced at my parents, but kept my forehead against the cool glass. Mom was dressed in creased gray wool slacks, ice blue blouse and a gray cardigan embroidered with small birds and vining leaves. She smiled and tucked a strand of dark brown hair behind her ear. “I know, but it’s hard not to worry. I just can’t get over feeling like I should’ve gone to get her. She’s so helpless without Daddy. He did everything for her when he was alive…she never even had to fill the car with gas.”

“Yes, he was old-school to the core,” Dad agreed. “But I think he underestimated your mother. Don’t make the same mistake, Em. Deirdre is tougher than you give her credit for.”

A flash of golden light out of the corner of my eye made me glance back at Gran’s jet. For a moment, I swear I saw something hovering over the plane. More than simple heat haze rising from the tarmac, something shimmered in the air above the airplane, like a window into another world. I blinked, and it disappeared. But the green-blue after image burned behind my eyelids…a castle in the sky.

Great. Just the thought of Gran’s stories and I was already getting all stressed out and weird. Give her a month and my elevator wouldn’t go all the way to the top.

I used to love having Gran visit, but that was before I grew up and realized she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. What little kid wouldn’t love a grandmother who told them dragons were real and made them believe they could ride the wind on the back of an awesome, intelligent beast? Every kid wants to believe in magic.

I scootched lower in my seat, found a cooler bit of window for my cheek, and tried to convince myself that it wouldn’t be so bad having Gran around for a month. I’d be at school all day during the week. I’d just have to make sure I had plenty of invitations for sleep-overs on the weekends. My birthday might pose a problem, though. What if she decided to throw me a party?

Oh. My. Gawd. I could just imagine what my friends would say if Gran started telling dragon stories. I’d have to head her off. Maybe let it slip that my heart’s desire would be dinner and a movie…just us girls!

I didn’t have time to hatch a better plan because Gran came striding purposefully around the corner. My heart thumped, and I jumped to my feet. She might be weird, but she was family.

“Gran,” I shouted above the general din of other sons and daughters, grandkids and friends calling to their loved ones.

“Here, Mother,” called Mom. “We’re over here!”

“Deirdre,” boomed Dad, visibly restraining himself. I knew he itched to grab her carry-on luggage out of her hands, but couldn’t do anything until she moved past the security barrier.

And then she sailed through the gate and we hugged and tugged, a mass of flailing arms and clutching fingers, until we managed to bob out of the stream of excited humanity into our own quiet pool of reunion.

“Claire! Look at you,” cried Gran, breaking from the jubilant tangle to hold me at arm’s length. “You’re practically a grown woman.

“You’ve blossomed, my dear,” she said with a wink. “But I’m pleased to see you haven’t overblown.”

Well! Nice to know my understated cleavage pleased someone.

“You look wonderful, too, Gran,” I said with a forced smile. She did. If you liked the psychedelic look of the sixties crossed with demented dandelion. Gran sported a cheese orange rain poncho, lime green rubber boots, short, wiry gray hair that sprang from her head with no discernible style or direction, and Roddy, the ever-present two-foot long toy dragon attached to her shoulder on his Velcro perch. But her eyes sparkled merrily and her smile illuminated the dreary waiting area.

My frosty welcome melted and I hugged her with genuine appreciation. After all, blood is blood. She might be a dingbat, but she was my dingbat, and I loved her.

“We’re going to have the best month of your life,” she whispered in my ear. “Just you wait and see!”

“Peter, if you’ll get my bag,” Gran said, taking charge. “Claire, bring Roddy, please, and Emily, tell me all your news!” She disentangled herself from me, dropped the toy dragon in my abruptly empty arms, grabbed Mom by the elbow and headed for baggage claim, her head close to Mom’s.

Dad and I exchanged glances, shrugged, and carried out our assigned tasks. I held the toy dragon up to my face and stared into his beady green eyes. “Okay, Roddy,” I said, only half teasing. “Here’s the deal. You stay out of my way and I won’t accidentally knock you into the trash compactor.”

Dad laughed, grabbed Gran’s rolling duffle in one hand and dropped the other on my shoulder.

“You’re going to be fine, Claire. Just fine.”

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Fire of the Covenant on SALE

60% OFF – In preparation for the arrival of Betrayal of the Covenant, second book in the Dragon-Called series, I am offering the Kindle version of the first book in the series, Fire of the Covenant, at a reduced price – $1.99 (Reg. $4.99). The limited time discount will run from 15 August – 30 September, 2016. Get this first book in the epic series at an unbelievable sale price – never before discounted. Purchase at Amazon at this link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GY7A3WI/

4.8 Stars for Fire of the Covenant (Amazon)

Five Star
Don’t Miss This One!!
“As intricately woven as Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ and mystically enchanting as Rawling’s ‘Harry Potter’, Peter Cruikshank’s first novel is an amazing read. His style is so clear and the characters so real that I felt I was reading in living color. It is an encompassing tale of magic,and majesty, of dragons and adventure, that has a magnetic grip on the reader. It left me anxiously awaiting the sequel, a feeling I haven’t experienced since Jean Auel’s ‘Clan of the Cave Bear.'”

~Ed Kilpatrick

Cover for Fire of the Covenant - large web size

You have been dragon-called to read this book
“Peter Cruikshank’s Fire of the Covenant (Dragon called legend, book 1) is an outstanding debut novel that is sure to appeal to epic fantasy lovers of all ages.”

“It’s the story of Princess Willoe – who is much happier with a sword in her hand than socialising with the ladies at court; and her twin brother Prince Rowyn – who would rather be studying in his uncle Brom’s tower than swinging a sword on the training ground.”

“Unfortunately for the twins their grandfather, the King of Cainwen, has other ideas for them with Willoe to be married off and Rowyn to take up the life of a man-at-arms.”

“But there is something special about these siblings and the King isn’t the only one who has plans for their future. Pursued by the priests of a religious order who would use the twins’ talents to dominate the world, Willoe and Rowyn come to learn of a covenant made by one of their ancestors with the King of the dragons – and the heartbreaking role they have to play in it.”

“Or do they?”

“Fire of the Covenant contains all the elements you’d expect from a classic epic fantasy romp with more battles, magic, elves, dwarves (or dwarf-like creatures), dragons and deities than you can poke a sword at. And while there is plenty of action and intrigue to keep readers turning the pages, the real strength of the story lies in its characters.”

“Cruikshank has crafted some wonderful characters to fill his well-realised world, with likeable protagonists, deplorable villains and a supporting cast that are full of surprises. I found myself caring about these characters and wanting to know more about them as the story unfolded.”

“Fire of the Covenant kept me engaged right to the very last page and had me craving the next book in the series. Highly recommended.”

~Dave Kearney

Cover Reveal: Betrayal of the Covenant

I am happy to share with our readers the cover for the upcoming Betrayal of the Covenant, the second book in the Dragon-Called series. Join twins, Willoe and Rowyn on an epic tale of coming of age, the passion of love and sacrifice, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness, and an adventure that encompasses the known world of Saoghal. Meet Elfs, the little Tinks, the ferocious Kata-henis ridden by the Elfs, and more Fantasy creatures – including DRAGONS!

REVISED LOGO cover for Betrayal of the Covenant - web-friendly - 120ppi

Tracked by minions of the evil Shin-il priest, the Dragon-Called Twins, Rowyn and Willoe, journey on a quest to the Hoarfrost Mountains.  Lands rife with dangers, including Sköll Wolves and Ice Giants, and may hide more than just the sought-after Sword and Staff. Devices created by dragons that are rumored to control the Others and the Fire Within, while preventing one of the twins from dying to satisfy the Covenant.

The key to opposing the Shin-il priests and taking back Taran lies in an all-out assault on Tierran’s Wall – built to be impregnable. Sellswords, Blood Stalkers and Shades, creatures as much dead as alive, will do anything to prevent the twins from succeeding. Unexpected allies may provide the help they need to overcome these obstacles, but an unimaginable betrayal may end the Covenant and destroy the twins’ ability to defeat the Great Evil, the Olcas Mogwai.

Cover for Fire of the Covenant - web-friendly - 120ppiCheckout Fire of the Covenant, the first book in the Dragon-Called series. Currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and many other sites.

Legend says a Covenant between an ancient race of dragons and a Halfling King vanquished a relentless evil. More than a thousand years later, the evil has returned, better prepared and hungering for vengeance. When the legacy falls to the twins Willoe and Rowyn, sixteen-year-old descendants of the mythical king, they struggle with the truth they discover behind the Covenant’s deadly cost.

With the aid of their cousins Aeron and Casandra, the twins must learn to wield the power of the Dragon’s Fire that flows through their veins to defeat the minions of the great evil, even though success may require the greatest of sacrifices.

In a story with a host of characters and multiple story lines, Fire of the Covenant begins an epic adventure of self-discovery, the passion of love and sacrifice, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness.

As intricately woven as Martin’s “Game of Thrones” and mystically enchanting as Rowling’s “Harry Potter”, Peter Cruikshank’s first novel is an amazing read. His style is so clear and the characters so real that I felt I was reading in living color. It is an encompassing tale of magic, of majesty, and of dragons and adventure that has a magnetic grip on the reader. It left me anxiously awaiting the sequel, a feeling I haven’t experienced since Jean Auel’s “Clan of the Cave Bear.” – Amazon Review

4.8 Stars for Fire of the Covenant

Five Star

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