Some of you have asked me why Here Be Dragons is taking so long to reach publication. Part of the answer is that it’s a big book! I wanted to give you a peek today at what will be in the book, and a glimpse at the process that’s taking the time.
The table of contents for Here Be Dragons looks like this right now:
1. The Books
- The World of Dragonfire
- Kiss of Fire
- Kiss of Fury
- Kiss of Fate
- Winter Kiss
- Harmonia’s Kiss
- Whisper Kiss
- Darkfire Kiss
- Ember’s Kiss
- Kiss of Danger
- Kiss of Darkness
- Kiss of Destiny
- Serpent’s Kiss
- Firestorm Forever
2. Glossary of Terms
3. List of Characters
4. Family Trees
- The Byzantine Line
- The Caledonian Line
- The Caledonian Line II
- The Line of the Cantor
- The Celtic Line
- The Dragon Legion
- The Line of the Drakkir I
- The Line of the Drakkir II
- The Eastern Line
- The Hibernian Line
- The Roman Line I
- The Roman Line II
- The Line of the Smith
5. The Interviews
- Quinn on hereditary roles
- Donovan on Pyr vs. Slayer
- Erik on the Pyr
- Delaney on the Dragon’s Blood Elixir
- Niall on affinities
- Rafferty on the firestorm
6. Harmonia’s Kiss
Right now, the book is about 190,000 words and I’m still compiling. Firestorm Forever, in contrast, is 211,000 words and is 612 pages in trade paperback. Here Be Dragons is getting close to that size, but will be a bit smaller.
I had started this world guide myself, and then hired someone with experience in compiling other world guides to take over and finish it. Her contribution took almost a year, for a whole bunch of reasons, and she focused on compiling chapter-by-chapter summaries of the books. These are great, but I wanted a character list and a glossary, too. That’s what I’ve been working on.
For example, here’s my original listing for Marco, the Sleeper:
Marcus Maximus aka Marco (the Sleeper)—The nephew of the Slayer Magnus Montmorency and ward of Rafferty’s grandfather, Pwyll. When Magnus murdered his brother Maximilian because that Pyr had a firestorm, Maximilian’s mate and infant son were taken into protective care by Rafferty’s grandfather. The boy was enchanted to sleep until the darkfire burned, in order to hide him from Magnus. The Sleeper awakens in Darkfire Kiss. Marco is particularly tranquil and observant, and has the ability to both control and anticipate darkfire. Marco has his firestorm with Jacelyn in Firestorm Forever.
I intended for this to be fleshed out with his role over the series, each time he appeared. The world guide compiler added these details:
Black with blue-green shimmer in dragon form
Affinities: Fire and air
First appears in Darkfire Kiss, Ch. 19 (though is seen “sleeping” prior to that)
That’s great, but still a lot less than I’d hoped. Here’s Marco’s current entry in the world guide, which does still need to be edited – I’ll format the excerpts so they look different from the main text:
Marcus Maximus aka Marco (the Sleeper)—The nephew of the Slayer Magnus Montmorency, son of Maximilian and Cornelia, and ward of Rafferty’s grandfather, Pwyll. When Magnus murdered his brother Maximilian out of jealousy for that Pyr’s firestorm, Cornelia and her infant son were taken into protective care by Rafferty’s grandfather. The boy was enchanted to sleep until the darkfire was released, in order to hide him from Magnus, and has been hidden at Bardsey Island by Rafferty. Pwyll used the power of darkfire to cast his spell over Marcus, and trapped the rest of the darkfire within three quartz crystals.
At the beginning of Darkfire Kiss, Chen shatters one of the three darkfire crystals and looses the darkfire. The Sleeper stirs in his sleep and the darkfire burns brighter in the crystal in Rafferty’s hoard, indicating his state. When Magnus abducts Melissa, he tries to barter with Rafferty, offering her life in exchange for the Sleeper. They fight instead and the fight moves to the refuge after Jorge locates the Sleeper and attacks. When Magnus is killed and Jorge trapped, Donovan carries the Sleeper to safety, only to have the Sleeper follow the darkfire to Rafferty’s lair in London. He awakens at the end of that book when Rafferty uses the darkfire crystal to rouse him. He can see the dead and talk to them, because he sees Pwyll in Rafferty’s home and facilitates a reunion between the two.
Marco is particularly tranquil and observant, and has the ability to both control and anticipate darkfire. He has dark hair and dark eyes. In dragon form, he is black with a blue-green shimmer, evocative of his bond with darkfire. His affinities are for fire and air. The Pyr find him enigmatic. The darkfire Marco commands gives him the ability to spontaneously manifest in other locations; he shows a tendency to suddenly appear when needed that hints at foresight, though it’s not clear whether Marco or the darkfire has the ability to anticipate the future.
In Flashfire, Marco manifests in Lorenzo’s car, asking that Pyr to surrender the darkfire crystal in his possession. Lorenzo admits that it’s gone (Drake has claimed it) but Lorenzo goes to the house to be sure. En route, he taunts Lorenzo with the word Diavolo, proving that he can read Lorenzo’s thoughts, a skill Lorenzo finds troubling.
It was a point of pride that he never lost control, but he had lost control in the theater.
And he’d threatened JP in old-speak.
Lorenzo frowned and accelerated, telling himself that it wouldn’t happen again.
“Yes, it will,” Marco murmured beside him.
Lorenzo glanced at his companion in wary surprise. Had he heard Lorenzo’s thoughts?
“I did,” Marco supplied, with a serenity that annoyed Lorenzo. “Again. It’s the legacy of the darkfire, I think. I can hear the thoughts of all the Pyr.”
Marco also reveals that Lorenzo’s father was involved in the disappearance of the crystal. He collects the pieces of Chen’s brand, acknowledging the darkfire linked to them, and disappears. Marco attends the repair of Lorenzo’s scale in Venice.
In Ember’s Kiss, Marco appears when Liz is battling Chen, shooting the Slayer with the darkfire crystal. He gives the darkfire crystal to Liz, whose powers as a Firedaughter are shown by her ability to use the crystal as a weapon. He advises her to embrace her powers and help Brandon. She uses the crystal to defeat Chen on their next battle.
In Serpent’s Kiss, Marco collects a prophecy from Sara, manifesting suddenly in the home she shares with Quinn. He appears to Lorenzo in Venice when Jorge is suggesting an alliance to Lorenzo in old-speak. Marco simultaneously suggests that he and Lorenzo form the alliance of five Pyr mentioned in Sara’s prophecy, including Erik, Thorolf and Brandon. He guards Cassie and Antonio while Lorenzo meets Jorge. Marco retrieves the darkfire crystal from Liz, appearing in the bedroom of Liz and Brandon’s sons during the night. He later reveals to the Pyr that Chen has a brother and uses the darkfire to help Niall in his Dreamwalking, giving him a glimpse into Chen’s lair. He breaks the crystal, releasing the darkfire, knowing it will free Lee. He waits in a market in Bangkok, ultimately finding Lee and escorting him to the other Pyr. Marco attends the repair of Thorolf’s scale at Angkor, appearing after the other Pyr are gathered in a flicker of darkfire.
In Firestorm Forever, Marco has his firestorm with Jacelyn. He meets her originally because of her interest in hunting dragons, having followed the darkfire’s urge to move into the same building in Seattle, and is the first to recognize her link with Nathaniel. He gives her Sigmund’s book—which he stole from Erik’s hoard. He also has stolen the last darkfire crystal, the one that Drake returned to Erik at the end of Kiss of Danger, because there’s a spark of darkfire in it again. The theft convinces Erik that Marco is turning against the Pyr. Marco receives the prophecy while he dreams in his apartment and writes it on the wall.
Jac sees both the prophecy and the crystal when she visits him, and joins Marco when he goes to Easter Island. There’s a strong attraction between them and they’re intimate. But Marco is horrified when Jac seizes the darkfire crystal and injures his mentor and friend, Rafferty. He abandons her to help Rafferty, which only makes it possible for Jorge to forge an alliance with Jac. The Pyr assume that Marco fired the crystal and abducted Rafferty, which reinforces the idea that he is betraying them. In fact, he takes Rafferty to Sloane, using the ability to spontaneously manifest elsewhere given to him by the darkfire, in order to see Rafferty healed and also to disguise his identity. (Rafferty is in dragon form but so badly injured that Marco knows he will rotate between forms, in front of a large crowd of people and television crews.)
Marco feels betrayed by the darkfire and refuses to help Sloane with the Cantor’s song, which Sloane hopes will draw the darkfire out of Rafferty’s body. He returns to Easter Island, argues with Jac, then finds her with Jorge. Even though he doesn’t trust her, she’s still a treasure of the earth, so he remains to defend her without her knowledge, breathing dragonsmoke around the hotel where she sleeps. When he returns to Seattle, he finds Jorge in his apartment. Jorge is stealing Sigmund’s book and has burned a spell spiral in the floor like Chen’s. Marco is trapped by the spell and has his energy drained by Jorge’s dragonsmoke, while Jorge escapes with the book.
I like that Jac rattles Marco, who has always been very composed and serene. She infuriates him and challenges his assumptions, even undermining his intuitive faith in darkfire. I think she’s good for him. Interestingly, while Marco lies ill in his apartment, Jac senses his protective presence. She even thinks she sees him one night when she wins a dart game at a local bar in Seattle. The darkfire rouses Marco during the second eclipse in Firestorm Forever, healing him, regaining his trust and giving him the power to go to Jac. She’s in Australia, hunting dragons, as arranged by Jorge. The pair reconcile and are intimate again before their firestorm sparks. His identity as a Pyr is revealed to Jac—who has read Sigmund’s book and recognizes the firestorm for what it is—and she flees, even as he feels compelled to shift to his dragon form.
Jac stumbles into Jorge’s clutches, and she realizes that he’s Slayer just before the dragonfight begins. Marco defends Jac and they fight together, until Jorge snares a wounded Marco in his dragonsmoke, draining his energy. Jorge also rips one of Marco’s dragon scales free. Marco asks for the Elixir, hoping that Jorge will take him to his lair and he’ll have the chance to trick the Slayer. Brandon hears his entreaty, which enforces the conviction of the Pyr that Marco intends to change sides, just before Jorge, Marco and Jac disappear. (Liz argues with Brandon about this, as she remains convinced of Marco’s integrity.) Once in Jorge’s lair, Marco feigns unconsciousness while Jac pumps the Slayer for information. Jorge is suspicious, though, and breaks Marco’s lost scale. The pair fight and Marco uses dragonsmoke to drain Jorge’s strength, building his own power so that they can escape the lair. With Jac’s help—she shoves a burning candle in Jorge’s eye and encourages Marco to put the Dracontias in his mouth—they escape the lair, leaving it burning with Jorge wounded on the floor.
When they manifest at the Holiday Inn in Virginia, near Sam’s house, Marco knows that the darkfire—which helped him move through space—intends for them to take the Dracontias to Sam. He’d thought that Rafferty would need it to heal, but trusts the darkfire. Jac insists that she won’t consummate the firestorm without being sure that her son will have a father, and Marco takes that as a challenge to win her heart.
“Good. It means the darkfire is working for and against us.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That darkfire has governed my life and darkfire has its sparks in my firestorm, too. Think about it: you’re the least likely candidate to be the destined mate of a Pyr. What are the odds of my having a firestorm with the one mortal woman on the planet sworn to wipe my kind from the face of the earth?”
“Pretty long, I’d think.”
“More than long. It’s completely improbable. It defies expectation and challenges assumptions, both yours and mine.” He seemed to find this reassuring.
“Like darkfire does,” Jac said and Marco nodded.
“Darkfire pushes and pulls, inverts situations and challenges us to see things in new ways. Like the way you fought Jorge and the Slayers. Like the way we both excite and get at each other. Darkfire is lighting our firestorm and making both of us reconsider what we believe to be true.”
“But that doesn’t change everything. I’m still not going to have your son.”
Marco smiled the smile of a man accepting a challenge. He turned a glittering glance on Jac, one that reminded her of what he was and also what they’d done before, one that dissolved her resistance and put her body on his side. The flames of the firestorm seemed to sizzle with greater heat.
“Which only means that I’m going to have to change your mind,” he murmured and Jac knew it wasn’t going to be as hard for him to succeed as she might have hoped.
—from Firestorm Forever
With Marco’s encouragement, Jac tells him about Nathaniel and about her own history. He tells her that he thought Pwyll was his grandfather—obviously this was clarified when he awakened in Darkfire Kiss and met Rafferty. (There is a continuity error in the original edition of Firestorm Forever: Marco tells Jac that he’s been enchanted for “fourteen or fifteen hundred years”. This is impossible, as he was born in 1055, so it’s been corrected to “over a thousand years” in the new edition.) When Jac takes the Dracontias to Sam, Marco retrieves the darkfire crystal from Sloane’s home. He can’t separate it from Rafferty, who needs its healing power, so he takes both of them. (Rafferty is in his salamander form.) Melissa witnesses this, which adds to the Pyr doubts of Marco’s intentions. Marco and Jac then restore Rafferty with the heat of their firestorm. Rafferty then tactfully leaves, having the energy to spontaneously manifest elsewhere. Marco and Jac resolve to wait until the end of the Dragon’s Tail War before satisfying the firestorm, then are attacked by one of the Boris clones.
This clone of Boris offers Marco a deal, suggesting that they become partners, use Jorge to make a new batch of the Elixer, triumph over the Pyr and rule the Slayers together. Marco agrees, although he plans to betray the clone. He believes that the alliance will give him the inside information to ensure Erik’s survival. Marco turns on the clone when Erik is cornered and Erik sees Marco’s blood run red, which convinces him of Marco’s loyalties. Jac helps Eileen and Zoë escape, and also destroys the clone with the darkfire crystal. Marco offers the heat of the firestorm to heal Erik’s wounds and the leader of the Pyr accepts. Marco loses a scale at this moment and Jac confesses her love to him after she catches it, because she knows what it means. They retreat to satisfy their firestorm in private.
For the final battle, Marco joins Donovan, Erik, Lorenzo and Quinn at Quinn’s home to defend Erik in the inevitable attack by clones. He uses the darkfire crystal as a weapon until it goes dark. When the antidote to the Elixir is spilled, Marco goes to Sloane at Machu Picchu to get more. He takes two syringes, empties one into a Slayer brought to him by Rafferty, then returns to Michigan in time to innoculate the last clone. Erik sends him to check on the other two battles, and he witnesses the spark of Sloane’s firestorm. He spontaneously manifests with Sloane, taking Sloane closer to his mate, and they end up at Quinn’s place in Michigan. Sloane follows the spark from there. (Sam is in Ann Arbor.) Marco and Jac buy Sam’s house in California, becoming Sam and Sloane’s neighbors. Marco’s missing scale is repaired at the ceremony at Erik’s lair in Chicago and he participates in the Pyr’s last televised appearance, the darkfire indicating that his firestorm will burn forever.
Here Be Dragons will be published on January 14. (There will be a new Amazon link on that day.) Have you reserved your copy yet?