Mark of the Dragon
by JW Troemner
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Rosario Hernandez doesn't ask for much. She'd like to sleep on a bed instead of a sidewalk, to know where her next meal is coming from, and maybe, if she's really feeling optimistic, to get a girlfriend. More than anything, though, she wants her best friend Arkay to not murder anyone— because Arkay is a dragon, claws and all, and she has a penchant for vigilante justice. When Arkay's latest escapade goes sour, Rosario gets stuck with a stolen van and a cooler full of human organs. Now they're on the run, and it's not just the cops who want answers. The owner of the cooler is still out there, and they want to replace what they've lost— by any means necessary.
“What have ya got there?” Raimo asked when his inspection reached the back of the van.
“No clue,” I said, coming around front. “The guy we got this from said he was delivering something.”
“Like what, a case of beer?” He tipped the box back a few inches, and it made a wet gravelly sound. “It looks like a cooler.”
“Must have been some excellent beer,” I said, tapping the padlock that sealed the lid. “You don’t get ice boxes like this at Walmart.”
An excited grin crossed Raimo’s face. “Let’s find out, shall we? Give me a second.” He vanished into the garage and came out with what I could only describe as a murder weapon. “Watch your fingers, Hiccup.”
This wasn’t a friendly little set of bolt cutters. It had wicked blades nearly as long as “Isn’t that a bit excessive?” I asked.
“I know, right?” he squealed. “I just got her in. Isn’t she gorgeous? I’m going to call her Matilda.”
“Ooh, did Raimo get a new toy?” Arkay called from inside. “I wanna see!” She bounded out to join us, bits of moisture still dripping down from her damp hair.
The padlock could probably have been pulled off with a solid pull, but Raimo caught the remaining sliver of metal between Matilda’s jaws with an almost dainty twist. Another roar, and the pieces fell away.
“All right,” Arkay said, taking the lid with both hands. “Let’s see what we’ve got here.”
Matilda hit the floor with a solid thunk as Raimo stumbled back. “Jesus Christ!”
It took me a moment longer to make sense of the metallic, meaty smell and the sudden flash of red.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
JW Troemner was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States, where she lives with her partner in a house full of pets. Most days she can be found gazing longingly at sinkholes and abandoned buildings.
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bRaRF5
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H8GI5HS
Interview with JW Troemner
As a kid did you write or make up stories?
All the time!
When I was really little, I had my older brother convinced that I was a space alien who had snuck to earth while on a field trip. I’ve got to say, researching was a whole lot easier when I was five—my brother was really into science, so he’d look up all sorts of interesting plants and animals and ask me if I’d seen anything like it on my space adventure, usually answered with “oh my gosh, yes! How did you know?” He wound up charting my entire “journey” all over the world.
I kept insisting on that one for months before I finally gave it up and moved on to something else.
Where does most of your character inspiration come from?
Usually I’ll pick one particular image or idea that the character evokes and explore as much as I can of that idea. When I was writing Fext, I had a very clear image in my head of a Russian ballerina, so I immersed myself in all things ballet while writing her. After I refined the character a few times, very little of the original dancer was left, but she retained a lot of a ballerina’s discipline and elegance, and an utter refusal to put up with anybody else’s ineptitude.
Do some qualities of your characters come from real people?
I’m one of those people who thinks every character is a really exaggerated facet of the person who wrote them, or at least someone they know. Arkay got a lot of my anger and Rosario got a lot of my mother’s compassion (and my personal ineptitude with sports), but the most specific example was based on someone I never met personally. The character of Mike Jones was inspired by Maurice Young (http://www.tedxindianapolis.com/speakers/maurice-young/ or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgZZ7r-AR3A ), a major advocate for the homeless and the mayor of the Irish Hill homeless camp in Indianapolis before it was destroyed.
What was the inspiration for your book?
The story actually started out as more or less of a thought experiment. During commercial breaks in my TV shows, or between chapters of whatever book I was reading, I would mentally plot out how it was probably going to end, and how it could potentially end.
A lot of times, that potential manifested as an outside character asking the heroes some basic questions, like why they hadn’t bothered actually talking to the obviously sentient monster, or why they insisted on using flashlights when they had a phone right there, and if they were going to dedicate their lives to hunting superpowered monsters, why hadn’t they bothered investing in a decent health insurance plan? Eventually that voice of snarky reason became Arkay, and the story formed around her.
What is your favorite spot to write?
I wish I could say the coffee shops around town, because there’s a ton of amazing ones in my area and I’d love to spend all the time in the world in them. But for the life of me, I can never manage it. People seem to take an open laptop as an invitation to ask what I’m writing about and then start in-depth conversations. It’s lots of fun, but I never get anything written!
Thankfully, I’ve got an office at home that’s quiet and people-free. And the best part is that there’s usually a dog keeping my feet warm as I type.
What advice would you give budding writers?
The process of writing is going to be different from writer to writer—sometimes even from writing session to writing session—and any writing advice you get from somebody else might not work for you (or it might one day and not the next). Don’t sweat it, and don’t try to force a process that doesn’t actually work for you. Keep trying different things until you find something that does.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
JW Troemner will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.