MARK OF THE DRAGON
by JW Troemner
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.
~Buy MARK OF THE DRAGON on Amazon.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JW
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’ve always loved making up and telling stories. There was a ridiculously long period in middle school where I’d go everywhere with a notebook that had a pen tied to it, so I could spend every free moment writing. Eventually I realized that I had more passion for writing than I did for anything else.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
That’s such a weird thing to think about, because the first several books in my series take place in the world (more or less) as we know it, in cities where I live or where I’ve spent a decent amount of time. All those neighborhoods full of foreclosures are based on the routes I walk every day, and the abandoned buildings and factories are based on places in my zip code. And walking through them, it isn’t all that hard to picture zombies and demons lurking in the shadows (or maybe a dragon making up its mind to come save you from the things that go bump in the night).
I think more than anything else, though, I’d like to attend one of Rosario’s all-monster potluck parties. Because seriously, where else are you going to see an encantado, a were-hyena, and a wendigo at the same party?
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
A lot of cultures have stories about a shapeshifter that lures people to their deaths, but my favorite is the legend of La Tunda from Colombia and Ecuador. The best part? No matter how well it can shapeshift the rest of its body, it can always be identified by its wooden leg, which is shaped like a milinillo… essentially a big stirring stick for beverages. It’s just such a particular detail, I can’t help but wonder where it came from originally.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Arkay and Rosario, totally. Rosario would be great for conversation, and Arkay would be the one dancing on the table with total strangers halfway through the evening.
-What do you enjoy reading in your free time?
I absolutely love it, though these days I actually get a lot of my fix from audiobooks because I can do that while running cooking or walking the dogs or running errands. These days I have a hard time sitting down to read without getting anxious about lost writing time.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I think straight-up mystery novels. I have nothing but respect for the people who write them, just from having to balance so many clues and false leads and fit it all into a regular structure. If I tried it, I think I’d spend the entire writing process stressing about whether I’d made the mystery too easy or altogether impossible to solve.
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.
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JW Troemner will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway