The sun is barely up and so am I. 🙂 If I were more awake, I’d be able to develop a joke out of that. As it is, I’m going to stick with what I came here to do. This happy, if still pretty dark, Sunday morning, we have the fabulous D. Jackson Leigh here with us. She has a new book called Dragon Horse War: The Calling. Yeah, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
If you’re interested, and you should be, you can read an excerpt HERE.
Those Darn Dragon Horses
by D. Jackson Leigh
When Jael, the First Warrior in Dragon Horse War: The Calling, tries to prepare Alyssa to meet her first dragon horse, she explains that most legends are born from a grain of truth. Tales of great dragons generally are considered to have originated from early human exposure to a large reptile species that was exaggerated greatly with each retelling.
So, my grain of truth is that dragon horses come from an actual breed of horse, the Akhal-Teke. The breed is the national emblem of Turkmenistan, and is known for its intelligence, speed, endurance and, most of all, the unique metallic sheen to its hide.
Their unusual glittering appearance and their greyhound-sleek bodies made them perfect candidates for dragon horses. All they needed were wings.
One of my favorite possessions as a kid, was a large picture book about the mythological flying horse, Pegasus. At least, I’m pretty sure there was a story inside. I honestly only remember staring for hours at the huge watercolor painting of a rearing winged white horse that was the cover art and imaging what it would be like to fly on that horse.
But, even then, I wondered why an animal of hide and hair would have wings with feathers. So, my dragon horses have the wings of a bat, glittering hide stretched between long finger-like bones.
Dragon horses have some interesting traits.
They are normal horses during daylight hours and transform into dragon horses at dusk. When they transform, wings sprout from their shoulders, and a line of bony spikes form along their necks and from their forehead to their nose. Their eyes transform from round to elliptical red slits, and they breathe fire.
They eat rocks. To enhance their fire-breathing ability, they need to ingest quantities of sulfur and phosphorus, so they seek out rocks that contain those minerals. The dragon horse warriors feed their bonded steeds “fire rocks” which are basically phosphorus compressed into hard rock-like pellets. That gives their dragon horses an edge over wild dragon horses, because their fire is hotter and more pure.
They think in pictures. They are intelligent, but still animals. So, they have trouble concentrating on one subject. Their bonded warrior communicates with them telepathically and has to learn to filter out things like “fly biting my neck” or “need to poop” from whatever conversation they’re having. They can communicate only with each other and their bonded warrior. Although it’s not necessary, their bond and communication link is enhanced when the warrior and dragon horse press their foreheads together.
They have a sense of humor. In the second book, which I’m still writing, Jael’s dragon horse, Specter, pokes fun when her warrior receives an affectionate send-off from Alyssa by pursing his big horsey lips for a goodbye kiss from Alyssa, too.
Dragon horses also come with some “small print.”
Only human pyros possessing a particular gene are capable of bonding with a dragon horse, and the window for bonding is small. The bonding candidate must approach the dragon horse they feel calling to them during the few minutes it takes for the animal to transform, grab the horse’s ears and press their foreheads together to bond minds during the transformation. If the dragon ascends before the bond is forged, the human will likely be burned to a cinder.
Being bonded to a dragon horse is both awesome and a nuisance.
You get to fly. That’s awesome. But the bond is so strong, that being apart is difficult for both human and animal. After more than a couple of days, the dragon horse is likely to come looking for his bonded and incinerate anything or anybody in his way. It can be a nuisance to plan your life around your dragon horse bond.
You’re both pyros and can have a great time putting on the most terrific fire displays. That’s awesome. But you can’t show anybody else, because dragon horses are a secret. That’s a nuisance.
Your dragon horse will play and fly with you all night. That’s awesome. You still have to function during the day, so you never get enough sleep. That’s a nuisance.
He needs to live someplace remote where he won’t be detected by the general public. Hope you didn’t love the city life.
When he gets the breeding fever (even worse if you have a mare), the bond extends that need to you. That can be awesome. Except that you’re living in the sticks because of his need for secrecy. That can be a real nuisance. Hope there’s some randy farm girl or boy nearby. Or, a really understanding mate.
Want to learn more about dragon horses? Take a chance on “Dragon Horse War: The Calling,” I think you’ll enjoy the ride.
D. Jackson Leigh
When is war justified to preserve peace?
Society has evolved into one collective belief that celebrates diversity. Luxury credits are earned and spent only after the world population is fed and educated. But when catastrophic weather kills thousands and destroys crops, people begin to look for answers among ancient legends of guilt, retribution, and a vengeful deity.
Jael, seasoned commander of a latent cell of dragon horse warriors, understands what Alyssa, an alluring young priestess, doesn’t—words won’t be enough to quell the violent sect preying on the population’s fear and hunger. As their conflicting ideologies threaten to jeopardize their mission, Alyssa and Jael realize their growing attraction and entwined destiny might be more formidable than the enemy they have been called upon to defeat.
D. Jackson Leigh grew up barefoot and happy, swimming in farm ponds and riding rude ponies in rural Georgia. Her passion for writing led her to a career in journalism and North Carolina where she edits breaking news at night and writes lesbian romance stories by day.
She is the winner of a 2010 Alice B. Lavender Award for Noteworthy Accomplishment, a 2013 Golden Crown Literary Society Award for paranormal romance, and was a finalist in LGBT erotic romance in the 2013 Rainbow Awards.