Dragon Wine Book 1: Shatterwing by Donna Maree Hanson is free in e-book for a short time. As part of spreading the word about Shatterwing Donna is doing a blog tour and offering a give away of a hard copy of Shatterwing. Winners will be drawn from people who share this post during the blog tour. So share away to win!
Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.
Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.
The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.
There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.
Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.
This excerpt is from when Prince Brill newly arrived at the vineyards sees his first set of dragons up close.
* * *
Their argument was suspended when a familiar deep rhythmic whoosh approached, growing increasingly louder. Salinda’s gaze flicked upward and ranged over the sky. “Quick, into the hut. The hatchlings are coming.”
“Hatchlings?” Brill panted as he joined her in the shelter. He looked at her with mouth agape. “You mean—dragon hatchlings?” He peered out the doorway and eased back, his body quaking with fear.
“Have you not seen a dragon before?” she asked as she glimpsed the underside of a sizable hatchling, its mauve and gray scales glistening fluidly in the light as the creature passed overhead. She caught sight of two others.
“Yes, a couple . . . maybe.” He regarded her with his pale face and brilliant blue eyes.
She jerked her chin in the direction the dragons flew. “These hatchings would be at least three years old,” she replied. “The vineyard is in their path as they leave the hatchery and head to the plains to feed.”
The dragon hatchlings screeched, the sound lifting the hairs on Salinda’s arms and blanking her ears so she felt deaf. Then hissing, wet-sounding thuds smacked against the ground nearby making Salinda jump as Brill sucked in a cry.
“What’s that?” he asked, his voice strained
Salinda measured him with a look. “It’s their droppings. They fertilize the soil as they pass overhead.”
Brill’s nose wrinkled in distaste. “Dragon wine grown in dragon shit. That’s a new concept.”
Salinda nodded. “Yes—and as they haven’t dropped a load for a while, I need to make use of it.” She leaned out of the shelter and scanned the sky and the surrounding vines. “Come with me. We must be quick.”
Brill limped out of the shelter and gaped when she shoved gloves at him, and then a long-handled stone scoop. “Put them on,” she said, nodding at the gloves as she slid on her own sand-encrusted gauntlets and grabbed her shovel.
“This is heavy,” he said, sagging.
Ignoring him, she bolted down the nearest vine row, yelling over her shoulder. “Quick!” He followed after her, but the heavy chains bound to arm and foot slipped and dragged, nearly tripping him several times. Because he lagged behind, it was a few minutes before he came up and stood beside her, panting. Already, she was shovelling out a portion of a large, still steaming pat and separating it into little piles. A trail of smaller mounds littered the vine row.
“What are you doing?” he said, grimacing. “That’s revolting.”
“No time to talk now, young prince. Separate this dung into smaller piles like I’m doing. Don’t let it touch your skin.”
After hesitating for a few moments to study her method, he inserted his scoop. A gush of sulphur-tainted gas nearly sent him reeling. Salinda heard him cough. She was used to it and knew when to hold her breath and shut her eyes. He could barely lift the full scoop, but he tried. Salinda knew his injuries were impeding him, but sympathy wouldn’t help his situation.
“We must dilute the dragon dung before it sets. Then we have to layer it along the bases of the vines. It is nutrient rich and the fumes help keep disease at bay.”
Brill stood with shoulders drooping, letting his scoop fall to the ground at his feet. “When do we do that?”
The three hatchlings had left seven large pats within a trail of smaller clumps. Salinda made some mental calculations. “By the time we finish breaking them up it will be too dark. We’ll have to begin the mixing at first light. It will take all of tomorrow at least.”
“A whole day.” Brill groaned as he bent to pick up his scoop and began forming another pile. “How long have you been doing this?”
“Just over ten years.”
About the author:
Donna Maree Hanson is a Canberra-based writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She also writes paranormal romance under a pseudonym. She has had about twenty speculative fiction short stories published in various small press and ezines since 2001. In January 2013, her first longer work,Rayessa & the Space Pirates, a young-adult, science fiction adventure romance, was published with Harlequin’s digital imprint, Escape. In 2006, she won a Varuna Long Lines Fellowship for her novel in progress, Dragon Wine, which is now to be published by Pan Macmillan’s Momentum imprint asShatterwing and Skywatcher. Donna is also active in the science fiction fan community, having run two National Science Fiction conventions in Canberra.