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Seeking Representation

The Dragon's Daughter

Book 1 of the Spark Series

The Deets:

YA/Emerging Adult 

Contemporary Fantasy 

65,000 Words

Super-Short Pitch: 18 Year old Raina must discover why magic has suddenly arrived in her small southern town, what secrets her family has been hiding, and ultimately save her family and the world from a group of people who claim to be dragons in human form. 

Back Cover Blurb

The summer before senior year, 18 year old Raina begins a 24 hour adventure that will change her forever. Things begin normally enough; she goes to Wal-Mart to buy shampoo, only to meet a pot-head who can fly. From there things get really weird. She meets a hot guy who tells her he’s a dragon in human form and that her family is in mortal danger.

Why are the hot ones always crazy?

Things go from bad to worse when she’s forced to kidnap her former bully to help save her family. From there, life gets ever more complicated as Raina sorts through the series of events and layers of secrets that turn her life upside down.

Raina is poised to stumble into a world that has been carefully hidden, and what she thought was a big joke is becoming uncomfortably real. In the end, the lives of everybody she cares about comes down to how she decides to right an ancient wrong. History and present converge in a combustible mix of characters and the Dragon’s Daughter is the spark that could create a new world and set fire to the old one.

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First Five Pages

“The human race reveres stories of brave men because bravery is a rarity among them. Likewise, they spin cautionary tales of brave women because bravery is more often found in the female heart. And, of a truth, there is nothing more dangerous to a cowardly man than a courageous woman. Weak hands can always destroy a weak heart. ~Haipatikani , First Matron,  High Priestess of The Flame, Dragon of the Second Age. 






 

Chapter One

 

     He was just over my left shoulder, near the back wall, floating along above the maxi pads.  His Wal-Mart vest was open and draping down beneath him like a kind of weird cape.  A millisecond after I noticed his form above me, I heard his friendly voice say, “Hey Raina!” 

     I threw a bottle of shampoo at him. I didn’t mean to. It was reflex.  I mean, there I was, holding a bottle of JoJoba Hydrating Shampoo in one hand and Coconut Nourishing Shampoo in the other, trying to decide which one to drop into my cart when I caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye.

     Without even comprehending what the hell was going on, I screamed like he was trying to murder me and chucked the coconut Shampoo at him.  Despite the label that touted extreme protection and “the most nourishment available”, I don’t think he felt either protected or nourished because he hollered like I threw a grenade at his head.  Hearing his shriek and watching him plummet back to earth, caused me to scream all over again. 

     By this point I realized who the heck I had just assaulted.  It was Jeremiah Dobbs who was flying. And technically, in my defense, the shampoo didn’t even hit him, it sailed passed him, sending packages of sanitary pads cascading to the floor in a softly flooding avalanche. But my improvised projectile had obviously frightened him badly enough to cause a crash landing.  His arms flailed around in circles and he hit the floor still shrieking.  His body hit the shelves with a dull thud and even more maxis dumped down on his prone form. 

     I froze for a second, my hands over my gaping mouth, my heart still hammering in my chest. Had I killed him? I finally puffed out a breath and dropped my hands when I saw him shrug off a box of overnights with wings and blink at me with owlish eyes.  

    “What the hell?” he asked me.

     “Ah?!” was all I managed to huff out, but I gestured to him and the air above where he’d been floating along like a parade balloon.

     “Oh. Yeah, that.”  He grinned at me then held out a hand, “help me up.  I think I broke a rib or something.”

I approached him cautiously, but this was Jeremiah.  I knew him.  A year ahead of me, he had already graduated and was working here in the electronics department full time. He wasn’t a psycho serial killer. The most illegal thing he did was pot.  Granted he did a lot of it for as long as I’d known him. But what? Was he going to grab me and fly away now?  Ha!  I chuckled nervously and reached out a hand to help him up. 

     “Sorry for, you know… the shampoo.”  I wasn’t entirely sure what I was apologizing for. But there was a hell of a mess in the isle.  And with both of us screaming I wondered how we hadn’t drawn a crowd. 

     “It’s all good.”  Jeremiah said upon standing, his same loopy grin in place. “I shouldn’t sneak up on people.”

     “Yeah.” I agreed, hoping he would get around to telling me how in the sweet fancy Moses he was in the air.

     “I haven’t really been able to land right yet.” He told me with a laugh.

    “Is that so?”  This was getting awkward. 

    “Yeah.  I already knocked over a shelf in the toy department.”

     What was I supposed to say to that?  So I merely  nodded.

    “Maybe I should try a water landing next. Probably safer.”

     Shit. This guy.  I was going to have to just blurt it out. “How were you flying Jer?”

    “What?  Oh.  No clue!”

    “What?”

     “Yeah.  I was reaching for the top shelf.  Tippy toes.”  Here he did a kind of Michael Jackson move, knees bent, to stand quickly on his toes, “To stock some stuff. And then all of a sudden, I was top shelf high!”  He laughed deeply, and happily, like he hadn’t a care in the world.

    “Ah.” I took a step back.  

    “And pretty soon, I figured out how to fly.”

    “Just like that?” The question kind of rolled off my tongue when I opened my mouth.  I should have just walked away or something. 

    “Just like that!”  Jeremiah’s smile was wide and would have been captivating had he not been batshit crazy.  And apparently….capable of flight.  Was there a gas leak in Wal-Mart?  

     He just stood there grinning at me, like I was supposed to say something else. 

     Were we both hallucinating right now?  Shit.  Fresh air!  That’s what I needed.  

     “I gotta go Jer.  It was good seeing you.  Good luck, you know.  With your landings.”

     “See you, Raina girl!” he yelled.  

     I was walking away as quickly as humanly possible when I watched Jeremiah soar above my head again, faster this time, heading Lord knew were.  I tried to make my feet go double time and only managed to squeak my sneakers on the linoleum. I looked down and swore. The store radio station started playing a Dolly Parton Song I recognized. Working 9 to 5. I took a deep breath. Jeremiah was probably just playing a prank or something. But still.

     I scurried along the isles making my way to the exit when heard somebody yell in a rather desperate, masculine voice “UNSHRINK IT!” I couldn’t immediately locate the voice but I did see two employees with a fire extinguisher trying to… what the actual…? I paused to take in the scene.  They were trying to put out a man’s hands. They would extinguish them, only to have them ignite again.  Bursting through clods of foam like lava in a fourth grade science fair.  The man, for his part, seemed rather put out…  his lined face could only be described as beleaguered as he stood there, holding out his wrists like he was about to be cuffed. His shaggy, grey head tilted to the side, as the accumulated foam ran down his Mr. Rogers-esqu blue sweater.  He was a Norman Rockwell caricature. I wanted to snap a picture; catch the glint of fire as it came tumbling out like a toddler jumps awake, full of unrestrained joy, rolling into the world, unstoppable.  But the man glanced at me. And as hypnotized as I’d been by watching his hands ignite, I was repulsed by that glare. There wasn’t literal fire in his eyes or anything. But there was something angry. I suppose being constantly doused in foam might fill a person with simmering death-rage. Or… maybe I imagined seeing it. I just know, my pulse rate was going faster and my breathing was starting to sound like I’d been running. 

     Plus, there was the verbal fight beyond “burning man” that was pulling my ever drifting attention. My heart was hammering inside my ribs, but my mind was overactive too. I couldn’t entirely process all this Alice in Wonder-Mart stuff fast enough. 

     But at least I could see now why nobody cared about the commotion Jeremiah and I had caused.  A flying employee only melted into the madness surrounding us all.

     And melted was a good analogy since it seems Mr. Red Right Hand had started a fire in greeting cards. I could see the scorch marks on the ceiling.  And smell the smoke, the stench of burnt paper.  The sprinkler system had somehow not gone off. I took a moment to wonder why.  But the bigger question was the gaping empty space, outlined by a trail of dust and grime where shelves used to be. The actual isle of greeting cards was gone.  There was, however, a hysterical woman crying, standing where they should have been.  Her cheerful yellow top, white capri pants and ponytail said “Soccer mom” to me.            Next to her a man with a name badge on his starched white button-up, was still occasionally screaming at her to “UNSHRINK” something.  Part of me wanted to step in and make a joke about men and size obsession to cut the tension but this was some adult business I knew nothing about.  Against my better judgement, I got closer.  Circling wide to avoid the man covered in fire retardant foam, I slipped around the other side to sneak ever closer to the woman.  I could hear her sobbing to the manager.  Her voice tiny. 

     “I don’t know what I did.” She wailed.  

     “We can both see what you did!”  the manager insisted!
       She shoved something at him, “Well, you take it!”

       “I DON’T WANT IT!” he boomed, “How will I convince corporate that this little thing used to be an actual greeting card display?”

      “I don’t know!”  She finally yelled back, her voice a study of frustration.  She dropped the item and it clattered to the floor.

     It looked like a toy shelf of greeting cards,.  But a burnt shelf, little singed doll sized cards now lay scattered by their feet. I tilted my head as it occurred to me...  Bet the tiny fire had been easy to put out.  

     Wait!.  What was I thinking?  The longer I stayed in here, the less oxygen got to my brain.  And I needed my brain thank you very much.  I gave the woman one last pitying glance and a silent hope she got the heck out too. She was a grown woman. She should know what to do, right?

     I resumed my hustle to the exit. This was going to make one heck of a news story when it broke!

People of Wal-Mart go even more batshit than usual. News at eleven. 

      I made it all the way to the cash registers when something exploded in the rear of the store. I don’t know what. But it was big. I screamed like it was Armageddon and hit the floor like it was a school shooter drill. The floor was disgusting. Just dirty. Gross. I immediately regretted my impulse decision to live. 

To Request more of the book or for  questions, please e-mail mrskugler@yahoo.com

What helps TDD stand out

* Physically Disabled MC who isn't "magically cured" and who is comfortable navigating the world with her disability.

* Strong female MC and female supporting character. Their friendship enables them to succeed when failure would otherwise result.

*The young adults face situations in which there are no clear answers and for which there are real consequences. You win some. You lose some. 

The themes of this work are: Betrayal, belonging, and a f$#^&*( long look at the true nature of love. 

Enjoy

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