As many of you know, this book began as a play that my sister, a friend, and I wanted to perform, based on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, though we had to make changes for casting and prop reasons, so our play was going to be titled The Giraffe, The Witch, and the Tunnel Tube.
It gets points for being even more of a mouthful than the original, but then my mother told me to exchange the Snow Witch for a Lady Dragon, so it became The Giraffe, the Dragon, and the Tunnel Tube. I then decided that that WAS too much of a mouthful, and shortened it to The Giraffe and the Dragon.
Then I decided that was a stupid title, and called it The Five Queens instead. This is, I think, the stupidest title change I made, because, honestly, if I were to see a book titled The Giraffe and the Dragon, I'd pick it up with NO QUESTIONS about what the book might be about. But this was also the book where I exchanged the Giraffe for a Jaguar, so...
That lasted until I changed the plot in the next draft to include love interests for the five girls - now it was The Dragon's Return, because, um, it was now a sequel to Alphego's Hill, and about what happened after the Lady Dragon returned to Rizkaland. I really liked it, because it fit the book on several levels, and it lasted until only recently, when I decided to change the title to fit better with Water Princess, Fire Prince.
So what is it?
Aw, you know me, I'm not going to give it to you just like that. Have a bunch of inspiration pins specific to this book!
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Annnnd, how 'bout a snippet?
“You will never believe who came by our house today!” Quena announced.
“You won’t believe who came to ours,” Ashna countered.
But Quena just shook her head. “Oh, Ashna. You’re the Bookdaughter. Everyone comes to your house.”
Ashna sighed. The Doorkeeper wasn’t just anyone, but still, Quena had a point. More people came to visit the Bookholder for advice than a herdsman in a cabin in the corner of a wood. “So who came to see you?” she asked.
Quena glanced about the room, then leaned closer, prompting Ashna to do the same. Even so, it was several moments before she whispered, “Queen Amber.”
Ashna jerked back, and her eyes went wide. “The Lady Dragon?”
Quena nodded. “Yes, she was here.” Then she shook her head, clearly amused by Ashna’s shock. “Oh, she’s not like the legends at all. Well, perhaps she was, but she’s not anymore. She was so nice. She shared her food with us, told us wonderful stories about herself, even offered Marno a job at her castle.”
“I hope he turned her down!” cried Ashna, aghast.
“Well, he’s still considering yea or nay,” Quena admitted. “But honestly, she’s not as evil as the legends portray. Indeed, you know how it’s suddenly taken a turn for the cooler – even though it’s not yet autumn?”
Ashna slowly nodded.
“It’s her doing. She used her magic to help us.” Quena leaned forward.
“Did she tell you that? Quena, think! She could be lying! Saying what you want to hear to sway opinion in her direction.”
“Or she could be telling the truth,” said Quena. “Look, she admits that she was less than nice to Klarand – but she says that she feels completely differently about Rizkaland. She says she wants to bring us back hope – and you know full well that that’s something that the people have been sorely lacking of late.”
“Tickling your ears…” Ashna whispered.
“I mean, you and your parents do your best,” Quena continued, oblivious. “But even that doesn’t make up for the neglect of the kings and queens…”
“They do their best, too!” Ashna cut in.
Quena gave her a pointed look. “Do they? What have they done to help us through our droughts? Our terrible winters?”
“Everything they can,” said Ashna. “You don’t sit through the long hours of counsel meetings where they search through solutions to impossible problems. They can’t magically produce food, you know.”
“But Amber can! And she has corrected the winds to bring us cooler weather, and shorter winters. She can do more, so much more than just sit in long council meetings where nothing is decided, much less done.”
“Alphego chose the kings and queens, do you question His wisdom?”
Quena was silent a moment, and Ashna almost thought she had brought sense back to her friend’s head. Then she shook her head. “But what if their time is done? He did promise Amber the rule of Rizkaland.”
“Quena, listen to yourself – this is the Lady Dragon we’re talking about!”
“Aren’t you the one who’s so quick to say ‘do not judge’?”
Ashna stood up and paced the room, her thoughts jumbling through her head. “But she’s the Lady Dragon – her record is in the Legends – Legends I have memorized. She turns people to ice for fun. Who does that?”
“It has been a thousand years since she left her island. That is surely enough time for her to have changed.”
Ashna shook her head. “When I read the prophecy of her coming to Rizkaland, I’ve always pictured her as the fiery dragon that terrorized Klarand in the legends. But this…”
“So who came to see you?” Quena asked, clearly taking delight in Ashna’s conflict. “Klarand’s handsome young prince? A delegate from Rintae Island?”“No,” said Ashna, slowly bringing her thoughts back together. “It was the Doorkeeper.”
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Free Books! Currently, the following books are free:
Giveaways! I have two. The first is a rafflecopter giveaway with the prize being a signed physical copy of Water Princess, Fire Prince and a bottle of Citrus Bliss, which is a essential oil blend of about seven citruses and vanilla extract - and as readers of Water Princess, Fire Prince know, that's the smell of warm bathwater in Rizkaland.
The other prize is for the person who leaves the MOST comments during this tour, be they here on my blog, on my posts for the tour - including the countdown posts I was doing last week - or on the interviews and reviews and such on other blogs. (And yes, you can comment multiple times on the same post, but there must be someone else commenting between your comments, or you must be replying. And constructive comments, please. Don't be commenting just to be commenting, or I won't count it.) I'm not entirely certain what this giveaway's prize will be, but I'm kinda leaning towards a chance to Alpha read book two. If so, if there's a tie, then I'll award the prize to both people who tie.
a Rafflecopter giveaway