#SPFBO 6 – Saturday Snapshots : Excerpt – Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  Whilst the competition is taking part I’d like to post excerpts from some of the books that have entered the contest.  If you’d like to make use of this space to post a teaser to entice readers then let me know in the comments (and, if you’ve made contact but I’ve not replied, please try me again, I missed a whole bunch of comments that went into spam).

Today’s teaser comes from one of the books in my fourth batch : Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez:

** Excerpt **

The spotlight fell on the announcer in the center ring. His magically-amplified voice boomed through the tent like thunder. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, for our final performance this evening, Strickland’s Circus is proud to present a thrilling spectacle unlike any you’ve seen before.” He paused for a few moments as if to let the audience soak in his words. “Everyone give a warm welcome to the fearless queen of the center ring and her extraordinary winged beasts. I present to you, Grace Hawkins!”

He dragged out the vowels of the name as the crowd broke into applause. A young woman in a short red dress with glittering gold accents entered the ring. Contrary to the popular bobbed style of the times, her long hair flowed free behind her like a dark cape. She flashed a radiant smile at the audience and raised both hands in a wave, then turned around and signaled to the four black-clad men standing just at the edge of the lit area. They stepped forward into the light, and a wave of gasps rippled through the crowd.

Harvey sucked in a breath of his own and watched in awe as two griffins and a dragon were led into the ring. An actual dragon! He hadn’t seen a dragon in any circus for decades, much less one as magnificent as this. The beast’s body was roughly the size of one of the elephants that had performed earlier in the night, though with her tail and long neck, she was considerably longer and not quite as bulky. Orange, brown, and cream-colored scales covered her entire body, and each of her toes ended in a giant, hooked claw that could tear a man open in seconds. Thick ropes—presumably enchanted—bound her wings at her sides to keep her from flying off, but Harvey could imagine how powerful and majestic they might be spread out to their full span.

He looked down at his companion. The boy was equally mesmerized, if perhaps for other reasons besides sheer enjoyment of the spectacle. Harvey could practically see the cogs turning in his mind, plotting, scheming. It made him nauseous, but he shook the feeling off as he again turned his attention to the center ring.

The trainer ran the beautiful creatures through a series of increasingly-complex tricks. The griffins leapfrogged over each other in an almost complete circle around the ring, then took turns flying through a metal hoop the dragon held in its jaws. When they weren’t performing some trick, they stood regally, eagle eyes surveying the crowd like predators considering their next meal. Their cat-like tails lashed back and forth, and occasionally, they tucked their heads to preen the feathers on their chests and wings.

The trainer placed three metal stools in the center of the ring and directed each beast to stand on one. The center stool looked much too small for the dragon to perch on, but she somehow managed to balance there with ease. All three animals then stood up on their hind legs and clawed at the air before them as if to catch the applause of the delighted crowd.

Harvey smiled in spite of himself. Such magnificent creatures. Seeing a dragon this close made the whole night worthwhile. Or it would have, were it not for his unfortunate part in the events that were sure to come.

***ends***

Here’s a link to the book’s Amazon page

A link to the author’s page is here.

And, finally, here’s the description for the book plus the cover:

CalicoLadies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the Most Fantastic Show on Earth…

Three years ago, the Ban changed everything, outlawing certain forms of magic and bringing about the rise of powerful crime syndicates. Now, speakeasies in every city sell illegal charms and jinxes, and bootleggers traffic restricted potion ingredients across the country. But even in this changing world, the magic of the circus still acts as a wondrous escape and provides entertainment for all.​

Jake Strickland owns one such circus, inherited after an accident ended his career as a rodeo dragon rider. He also inherited the circus’ financial troubles, but since the show became his, he’s slowly managed to turn it into a profitable business once more. Or at least, that’s what he thought.

When a dangerous mobster comes to collect an old debt, Jake resorts to desperate measures to get the money before a strict deadline. With lives and livelihoods at stake, he battles the clock, his responsibilities to the circus, and a longstanding personal grudge that has festered for years. Can he pay back the mob before it’s too late?

 

My thanks to the author for submitting an excerpt.

If any other entrants would like to post an excerpt let me know in the comments 😀

 

8 Responses to “#SPFBO 6 – Saturday Snapshots : Excerpt – Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez”

  1. Tammy

    This is an intriguing excerpt and definitely makes me want to know more😁

  2. sjhigbee

    This one sounds different! Thank you for featuring it, Lynn:))

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really like the concept and the cover is just ace.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Speakeasies for magic, not alcohol… Sounds fun!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I love the sound of this one and the cover is great too.
      Lynn 😀

  4. waytoofantasy

    Sounds intriguing! I think the cover for this one is interesting as well. Thanks for sharing!

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