The Drache Girl: My Own Review

The Drache Girl (New Cover)Well, you knew it was coming, since I’m reading through Senta and the Steel Dragon.  This is my own review of The Drache Girl by yours truly.

This was my favorite of the original three parts of the story and I still like it.  It’s not my favorite now though.  That place belongs to The Dark and Forbidding Land and The Young Sorceress, the two newer additions to the series.

The Drache Girl has a sort of “Harry Potteresque” feel to it, because it’s about adolescents and their friendships and problems.  The Sorceress and her Lovers has an adolescent as a main character, but because it’s not Senta, it doesn’t have quite the same impact.

If you would like to check out The Drache Girl.  Pick it up at Smashwords by following this link.  Use coupons code: CB79W to get it for just 99 cents– that’s 2.00 off– now until 410-15.  Thanks and happy reading.

Magic Battles: The Drache Girl

The Drache Girl (New Cover)“I’ve been waiting quite a while for you, sorceress.” He smiled broadly, his thin-lipped mouth seeming abnormally wide across his heavy jaw line.

“I’m not a sorceress. I’m just a little girl and you should leave me alone.”

“Ah, I know that game.” He pulled the horn-rimmed spectacles from his upturned nose and wiped first his eyes and then the lenses with a handkerchief, replacing the glasses on his face and the handkerchief in his pocket. “You make three statements. One is true and the other two are lies. Then I have to guess which is true. Right?   Then I will have to say, you are a little girl.”

Senta crossed her arms and rocked back onto the heels of her shoes.

“My turn,” said the wizard. “My name is Smedley Bassington. I was born in Natine, Mirsanna. I know nothing about magic.”

“That’s too easy,” said Senta. “Smedley.”

“You should say Mr. Bassington. After all, I am your elder. One mustn’t be rude.”

“Okay, this one is harder,” replied Senta. “I’m going to have to say, number two, you are my elder.”

Bassington took a step forward, and then another.

“Uuthanum,” said Senta, waving her hand.

“Uuthanum,” said Bassington, waving his hand in an almost identical motion.

It might have seemed as though the two were exchanging some kind of secret greeting. In actuality, Senta had cast an invisible protective barrier between them. Bassington had dispelled the magic, destroying the barrier.

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you, the chosen apprentice of the most powerful sorceress in the world. That is, after I found out Zurfina was here. I had no idea where she had gotten to. Here I was, checking out that idiot and his machine, and instead I find the two of you.”

“I think that’s too many statements,” said Senta.

He stopped in the middle of the road about five feet away from her. A little wisp of wind whipped his short graying hair.

“Did she leave you here alone to take care of yourself? That’s just what she does, you know? She’s totally unreliable.”

“Are you allowed to use questions?” asked Senta, thinking to herself that this wizard did indeed seem to have her guardian pegged.

“Let’s not play that game,” said Bassington. “Let’s play something a little better suited to our unique abilities.”

He held out his hand, waist high, palm down and said. “Maiius Uuthanum nejor.”

Red smoke rose up from the ground just below his hand. It swirled and coalesced into a shape. The shape became a wolf. Its red eyes seemed to glow and the hair on its back and shoulders stood up as it bared its dripping fangs and snarled at Senta. She held out her own hand, palm pointed down.

“Maiius Uuthanum,” she said.

Green smoke rose from the ground below her hand, swirling around in a little cloud, finally billowing away to reveal a velociraptor with bright green and red feathers.

“A bird?” said Bassington, derisively.

The wolf lunged forward, snapping its teeth. The velociraptor clamped its long jaw shut on the wolf’s snout, and grasped its head in its front claws. The huge curved claw on the velociraptor’s hind foot slid down the canine’s belly, slicing it open and spilling steaming entrails out onto the gravel. A moment later, in a swirl of multihued smoke, both creatures disappeared again.

“Prestus Uuthanum,” said Bassington, placing his right palm on his chest, and casting a spell of protection on his own body.

“Uuthanum uusteros pestor,” said Senta, spreading her arms out wide. She seemed to split down the center as she stepped both right and left at the same time. Where there had been one twelve-year-old girl a moment ago, there were now four twelve year old girls who looked exactly the same.

The wizard waved his hand and said. “Ariana Uuthanum sembor.” All four Sentas found themselves stuck in a mass of giant, sticky spider webs.

One of the blond girls fell down. One of them pulled vainly at the webbing. The third picked up a rock from the ground and threw it with all of her might at Bassington hitting him just above the temple. The fourth waved her hand, saying the magic word “uuthanum”, and dispelling the webs. The girl who had pulled at the webbing helped the fallen girl stand up, and then the two of them merged together. The other two girls merged into her, and once again, there was only one Senta.

“Uuthanum uusteros vadia,” said Bassington and he disappeared.

Senta stood there for a moment, and then out of the corner of her eye, she saw several pieces of gravel shift on the ground to her left. She pointed her finger in the direction.

“Uuthanum Regnum,” she said.

A ray of colorful, sparkling light sprayed from her fingertip in the direction she pointed. Bassington cried out in surprise and reappeared, though he didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects of the spell, which usually left its victims covered in painful rashes.

“Erros Uuthanum tijiia,” he said.

A huge spectral hand, more than five feet across, appeared in the air in front of Senta. The middle finger was bent back beneath the thumb, and then flicked Senta in the chest. She fell backwards onto her bottom, crunching her bustle, and sliding several feet across the gravel road. She struggled to suck in a breath.

“Time to say ‘uncle’, don’t you think?” Bassington crossed his arms.

Senta tilted her head back and at last managed to pull some air into her lungs. The wizard waited.

“Well?” he said, finally.

“The sky is purple,” said Senta. “My dress is orange, and my dragon is going to bite your head off.”

Bassington stared for only a moment at Senta’s blue dress, before diving out of the way, just as Bessemer landed with a huge whomp right where he had been standing.

“Maiius Uuthanum nejor paj!” shouted Bassington, pointing toward the dragon, and then turned and ran north up the road as fast as he could.

Red smoke erupted just in front of Bessemer. As it dissipated, it revealed a huge shaggy man-like creature, covered in white hair and more than seven feet tall. Senta had never seen a gharhast ape before except in books, but she recognized one now that she saw it. The ape bared a set of incredibly long fangs, and yelling out a tremendous roar, jumped onto the dragon. Two very human looking hands grabbed the dragon around the neck as the ape attempted to dig its fangs into Bessemer’s neck. The steel colored scales remained impenetrable, though a startled look was visible in the dragon’s eyes.

The Drache Girl – $2.99 for nook!

The Drache Girl (New Cover)More than three years have passed since the colonists arrived in Birmisia, and Port Dechantagne is a thriving colony, with the railway line almost complete. Twelve year old sorceress’s apprentice Senta Bly, Police Constable Saba Colbshallow, and former maid Yuah Dechantagne must deal with wizards, prejudice, steam carriages, boys riding dinosaurs, and the mysterious activities of the lizardmen.

Find it on your nook tablet, or follow this link.

The Drache Girl – $2.99 at ‘txtr

The Drache Girl (New Cover)More than three years have passed since the colonists arrived in Birmisia, and Port Dechantagne is a thriving colony, with the railway line almost complete. Twelve year old sorceress’s apprentice Senta Bly, Police Constable Saba Colbshallow, and former maid Yuah Dechantagne must deal with wizards, prejudice, steam carriages, boys riding dinosaurs, and the mysterious activities of the lizardmen.

Follow this link to purchase The Drache Girl in ePub format at ‘txtr.


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The Drache Girl – Now Available in Paperback

The Drache Girl (New Cover)More than three years have passed since the colonists arrived in Birmisia, and Port Dechantagne is a thriving colony, with the railway line almost complete. Twelve year old sorceress’s apprentice Senta Bly, Police Constable Saba Colbshallow, and former maid Yuah Dechantagne must deal with wizards, prejudice, steam carriages, boys riding dinosaurs, and the mysterious activities of the lizardmen.

The Drache Girl, book three in the Senta and the Steel Dragon story is now available in paperback for $5.99.  You can purchase yours now by following this link.  The Drache Girl is also available in ebook format at Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and wherever fine ebooks are sold.

New Cover for The Drache Girl

The Drache Girl (New Cover)

We can’t very well have new covers for the other Senta books and miss everyone’s favorite.  In alignment with the other books in the series, The Drache Girl has a new cover. Fear not.  It is still full of teen angst and uncertaintly, dinosaurs, wizards, and butter tin biscuits.  If you haven’t read it, now is a great time to check it out.  Find it wherever fine ebooks are sold.

50% Off Books for Read an Ebook Week

March 2-8 is Read an Ebook Week and during this week you can get the following books at 50% off– only at Smashwords.  Follow the links and use the coupon code REW50.

The Dark and Forbidding Land

The Dark and Forbidding Land

The Drache Girl

The Drache Girl

Blood Trade

Blood Trade

The Young Sorceress

The Young Sorceress

The Two Dragons

The Two Dragons (New Cover)

The Drache Girl: Ssissiatok

The Drache GirlSsissiatok (Cissy) was a character that I originally created for The Drache Girl.  When I went back and wrote Brechalon, I inserted a little scene for her and then when I wrote The Dark and Forbidding Land, I gave her a nice juicy part.  I really enjoyed writing her– so much so, that I created a whole new bunch of lizzie characters in The Young Sorceress and the other books that are now a big part of The Sorceress and her Lovers.

Here is a scene from the Drache Girl, showing the everyday interaction between human (Yuah) and lizzie (Cissy).

Yuah spent the remainder of the day in the most rewarding and pleasant role that she had ever had—that of mother.  She scarcely paid any attention to the comings and goings of Iolanthe and the other members of the household.  She cuddled and hugged.  She played peek-a-boo.  She dismissed Cissy when she checked in at three.  She skipped both tea and dinner, having a snack brought up to the nursery.  Finally that evening, she dressed Augie in his pajamas, and put him to bed.  Before she retired to her own room, which was just on the other side of the wall from Augie’s crib, she crossed to the bed on the opposite side of the nursery and kissed an already sleeping Iolana on the forehead.

Yuah’s own bedroom was the type of room that she had dreamt of having as a child.  Of course, growing up as a servant in the Dechantagne household, she had seen such rooms many times.  Wallpaper with an intricate pattern of pink roses between golden bars covered all the walls, reaching from the golden pattern on the ceiling to the gold floral carpeting on the floor.  Pink lace curtains on both the windows matched the pink lace draped above the big brass bed and above the large oval mirror of the vanity.  The intricately wrought bedstead matched both the small brass chair in front of the vanity and the small stand in the corner which held the wash basin and pitcher.  Cissy followed her into the room and stood quietly by as Yuah removed her new dress.

Though Cissy, like all the reptilian aborigines was referred to as a lizardman or a lizzie, she was in fact a female of the species.  Her silly little skirt was the primary indicator of that fact, for most humans remained ignorant of how to determine gender among their cold-blooded neighbors.  It also, like the medallions worn by the male lizardmen, indicated to the local militia and the new police department that she was in the permanent employ of human colonists, and so was allowed the freedom to stay within the confines of the colony overnight, unlike the laborers at the dock or those working on the streets.  She was slightly less than six feet in height, several inches taller than Yuah.  The skin of her face was a deep forest green which continued down her back, punctuated with darker stripes just below her shoulders.  Beneath her long powerful jaw, on her dewlap, and extending down her front, it was a lighter, pale green.  Cissy, like Tisson and Sirrek, and unlike most of the twenty or so other lizardmen on the property, had been working for the household for almost two years, earning Iolanthe’s trust and her husband’s too, for what it mattered.  Cissy even seemed to have won over Terrence, and that was saying something.

When Yuah had taken off her dress and handed it to Cissy to be hung up, she then turned and held on to the brass bedstead, so the reptilian maid could unlace her Prudence Plus maternal bust form corset.  Stepping out of that and the rest of her underclothes, she put on her nightdress and sat at the vanity to comb her long brown hair, while Cissy put the corset away in the closet and put all the rest down the laundry chute in the hallway. 

“I think that will be all, Cissy,” said Yuah.

“Yes.”  The maid turned and exited the room, her long, armored tail, the tip of which was about a foot off the ground, seemed to stay long after she had made her way through the doorway.  Back in Greater Brechalon, servants were required to respond with a “yes, miss” or a “yes, ma’am”, but the locals were unable to comply with this necessity having for all practical purposes, no lips.  They were quite capable of “yes, sir” but the royal governor had decided that having no form of address at all was preferable to a masculine one for the ladies.

Climbing beneath the blankets of her large bed, Yuah felt more alone than at any time of the day.  Her husband had been gone for almost eight months.  When he had left, her pregnancy was only beginning to show.  Now a beautiful young son lay in the room next door, having never seen, nor been seen by his father.  It was a long journey to Brech—almost two months travel time each direction.  So eight months was not an unreasonable time to be gone.  On the other hand, eight months was long enough to make clear that Terrence wasn’t breaking any records in an effort to return home.

The next morning, Cissy was again present to help Yuah get dressed.  Today she decided on a teal dress which featured a very tight bodice and a plunging back.  The butterfly sleeves of white lace matched waves of lace which trailed down in layers over the smooth satin skirt.  A very large white bow accentuated the bustle, and tiny white bow-shaped beads ran in a single line down the front, from the relatively high neckline, all the way to the floor.  She chose long white gloves to accentuate the dress and a matching teal hat, shallow with a very wide brim, trimmed in blue, yellow, and white flowers.  By the time she had finished her makeup, Cissy had dressed Augie and taking her son in her arms, Yuah made her way down the sweeping staircase and into the dining room.

The Drache Girl: Professor Merced Calliere

The Drache GirlProfessor Merced Calliere is an important supporting character in the first half of Senta and the Steel Dragon.  He appears more in book 1 and 3, but has smaller parts in books 0 and 2.  Here is the professor withe the rest of the family at breakfast in The Drache Girl.  I named him Merced after the river and so decided that his nickname would be Mercy.  Calliere is a made up name too.

Yuah thought she had made it up early this morning, but everyone was already seated at the long dining table.  Professor Merced Calliere, dressed in a white summer suit that his wife had no doubt purchased for him, sat at the head of the table and was already scooping forkfuls of eggs and sausages to his mouth.  At the opposite end of the table, his wife, the royal governor, sipped her morning tea.  The bright red dress she wore was clean in style and far simpler in cut than Yuah’s teal dress.  It featured no lace or brocade or beading what-so-ever, but the material which covered Iolanthe from the top of the neck to the wrists and down to the floor was so smooth, and so fine, that Yuah would have bet it cost a fortune, and was probably imported all the way from Forlond. 

Each side of the table had four place settings, though for breakfast, not all of them were filled.  Yuah took her place to Iolanthe’s right.  The two seats to her right were empty.  At the far end, next to her father, and perched on a stack of books in her chair was little Iolana.  The pretty little girl, dressed in bright pink, had her blond hair carefully curled into dozens of tiny ringlets, which framed her aquamarine eyes, tiny freckled nose, and bow-shaped mouth.  Directly across from Yuah sat Mrs. Colbshallow.  A handsome, though rather worn woman in her late forties, Mrs. Colbshallow had been the family cook for the Dechantagne household.  Having journeyed to the new world, she found herself in the rather queer position of being a human servant in a land where servants were lizardmen.  Since she clearly was above the level of the lizzies, she had sort of automatically assumed the place of family member.  While she was still in charge of all the meals, she only engaged in the actual work of the kitchen when it suited her.  Next to her was her son Saba, in a neatly pressed blue police uniform, with large brass buttons.  The lanky boy who had been a step-n-fetchit for the Dechantagne home had grown to a handsome six foot three nineteen year old.  His thick blond hair and flashing moss green eyes were a welcome sight for most girls in Port Dechantagne.  Though he lived in a small house down the road, he often took meals with his mother.  Next to him was another empty seat, and then next to that, to the professor’s right was seated Macy Godwin.  Another staff member elevated to family, Mrs. Godwin had served as a governess and head maid at the Dechantagne family home in Shopton.  Now nearing sixty, Mrs. Godwin had settled in to serve as the grizzled aunt neither the Dechantagne nor the Calliere family had.

One of the lizardman waiters placed a plate of eggs, sausages, black pudding, baked beans, sliced tomatoes, and toast in front of Yuah.  Balancing Augie in the crook of her left arm, she picked up her fork and used the side of it to cut the eggs into bite sized pieces.  The local lack of chickens did nothing to lessen the humans’ appetite for eggs and the local countryside obliged.  There were many birds in Birmisia, as well as dinosaurs, and quite a few animals that seemed to fall somewhere in between the two groups.  Wild eggs had proven to be the most abundant food source offered by the new land.  Early on, the colonists had scavenged them for themselves, but this had given way to trading with the local lizardman tribes for them.  Now, with the exception of manual labor, eggs were the largest source of wealth for the reptilians.

“I believe there is something wrong with your dress, dear,” said Mrs. Godwin.

“Oh?” said Yuah.

“Yes, it’s missing the back.”

“Perhaps you have it on backwards,” offered Mrs. Colbshallow.

“I happen to know that both of you saw this dress at Mrs. Bratihn’s,” said Yuah.  “You’ve just been waiting until I wore it so you could play at being blinkered old ladies.”

“It does show rather a lot of skin, for a day dress,” said Iolanthe.

“Backs are all in, in Brech,” said Yuah.

“I think it looks very nice,” said the professor.

“Oh shut up,” snapped Iolanthe.

The Drache Girl: Amadea Jindra

The Drache GirlHey, finally a character I haven’t already written about.  Amadea Jindra is one of two women that Radley Staff becomes involved with (in the looser sense of that word) while on the ship to Birmisia.  Other than book 0, in which she makes a very brief appearance, Miss  Jindra appears only in this book of the series so far.  Amadea’s first name I made up as a female version of Amadeus– as in Mozart.  I don’t know if it actually is a name or not.  Here she arrives in Birmisia to be met (sort of) by Zurfina.

Stepping out of the S.S. Arrow’s mid-deck hatch and onto the gangplank, Radley Staff looked around at the peninsula on which Port Dechantagne was built.  He was amazed at the growth of the little colony.  When he had left, a little more than three years ago, it was nothing but a few barracks buildings in a clearing in the woods.  Now it was a real town.  From where he stood, he could see hundreds of buildings, warehouses, apartment blocks, businesses, and the rooftops of more building off between the redwoods.  A large, dark cloud hung amid the white clouds, formed by hundreds of fireplaces and stoves.  The smell of wood smoke overcame the smell of the seashore.  He stopped for a moment and enjoyed the scene.  Someone behind him cleared her throat.  He turned around to find Miss Jindra, in a shimmering white and teal day dress with waves of white ruffles down the front.  She wore a matching teal hat with a lace veil and carried a parasol, though she seemed unlikely to need one.

“I’m sorry,” he said.  “I didn’t mean to hold you up.”

“That’s quite all right, Mr. Staff.  I’m surprised you haven’t debarked yet.”

“I waited to avoid the rush.”

“I’m afraid I was expecting more,” she said, looking with a raised brow at the nearby buildings.

He followed her gaze.

“Really?  I was thinking just the opposite.”

He turned back around to face her and started.  Miss Jindra was just where she had been, but a second woman stood directly behind her—a woman who hadn’t been there only a second before.  Though her hairstyle was different, Staff remembered the charcoal circled grey eyes and the wry smile.  He had thought he remembered her scandalous dress too, but what she had on now went beyond the bounds of decency.  Black leather covered only the lower half of her breasts, leaving her two star tattoos clearly visible.  The dress reached down only to the top of her thighs.  Two thick straps attached to a tight leather collar, which seemed to be holding the whole thing up.  Forget fitting a corset beneath this ensemble.  One would have been hard pressed to fit a piece of lace in there.

“Well, Lieutenant Staff, I do declare,” said Zurfina in her unforgettable sultry voice.

“That’s Mr. Staff,” he corrected.

Miss Jindra spun around, getting a piece of her voluminous dress caught on a spur of the railing.  There was a loud ripping sound as a four-inch tear was opened in the beautiful teal cloth.

“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear,” said Zurfina, placing a hand on each of Miss Jindra’s shoulders.  Looking around the olive-skinned woman’s head, she said in a loud whisper.  “Too long a dress.  Bound to happen sooner or later.”

“What exactly do you want, Zurfina?” asked Staff.  “I’m flattered, but surprised that you came to meet me.”

“Oh you are a pretty boy, but it’s your friend I’m here for.”

“Miss Jindra?”

Miss Jindra started to speak.  “I don’t…”

“Don’t spoil the moment,” said Zurfina, placing a finger on the woman’s mouth.

“Perhaps I could bring her around to your home later,” said Staff.

Zurfina flashed him a smile that was only slightly more than a smirk.  Then suddenly she was gone.  Miss Jindra, her voluminous white and teal dress with matching teal hat and her parasol, were gone too.  There was nothing to indicate that anyone had ever stood on the gangplank behind him, except for a single teal colored thread, clinging to a spur in the railing.

For a moment, Staff thought about finding Miss Jindra and rescuing her.  On the other hand, she had never expressed a need or a desire for his protection.  He didn’t really know her all that well.  She was only a dinner companion, assigned by the ship’s purser at that.  And it was not as if he had any knowledge of how to deal with a sorceress or knew Zurfina’s address.  So he shrugged and continued down the gangplank, across the dock, and into the street beyond.