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The Dragon's Son - An Update & Discount Book!

Updated: Feb 14



Greetings, everyone! Kathryn Fogleman-White has once again commandeered F.P. Spirit's blog.

In case you missed my previous takeover, you can catch up on it in THIS BLOG POST from last year. Since then, I've been hard at work on rewriting The Dragon's Son, and I'm pleased to announce that I'm nearing completion! Today, I'm excited to share another scene from The Dragon's Son and discuss the differences between the new and old versions.


In this upcoming scene, I reintroduce the main character, Keegan, after a significant passage of time in his life. Using the perspective of a random old man at the well, we witness Keegan's arrival into town on his magnificent horse.

Now, with more writing experience under my belt, I can't help but notice several areas in this scene that require improvement. The dialogue feels flat, the characters lack depth, and overall, the scene falls short of its potential. Additionally, the old man in the scene is a character that we only see briefly once more in the entire book. I realize that using the perspective of a one-off character doesn't serve the story well—it neither advances the plot nor reveals any significant insights to the reader.


I'll let you read the original scene before we delve into the revised version, so you can judge for yourself:


 

An elderly man stood from spreading hay in the village barn and straightened his back with a grimace. He wiped his sweaty brow then stiffly walked outside into the open air. He breathed in deeply, stretched his back, and then walked to the water well. He pulled out a bucket of water, grabbed the dipper, and took a long drink of the cool water. When he was done, he wiped his mouth and prepared to dump the remaining water from the bucket into the well when he noticed a rider coming toward the village atop a most magnificent horse. The elderly man stood straight and watched with curiosity as the horse and rider approached.

The horse seemed to be made of gold and jewels. It had the most superb golden coat, shiny and sleek, and a white mane and tail. As the horse moved, its coat glimmered and sparkled in the sun. The horse was truly brilliant. The old man was surprised to see that the magnificent horse wore no wonderful saddle but only a plain, faded blanket. The rider was a young man of fair countenance. His hair was dark brown and hung a little below his shoulders, which were square and muscular. His posture was straight and calm, and his eyes glanced at objects around him, clearly taking in his surroundings, giving him a sort of cautious but confident air. He wore a threadbare brown shirt, tattered black vest, leather pants, and scuffed boots. A sword in a weather beaten scabbard haunted his left side, and his left hand rested on it gently.

This engrossed the elderly man very much. He was most pleased when the young rider angled his horse toward the well, and he was certain that his curiosity would soon be sated.

The young rider smiled at the elderly man as he came up to the well. “Good day, sir,” he greeted the elderly man as he slid off of his horse and patted it on the neck. “May I and my horse drink from this well?” he asked with a slight bow.

“Yes, please drink till you are satisfied,” the elderly man said with a return bow. The young man

grabbed the bucket and dumped the remaining water into the watering trough. His horse licked its lips

and began to drink of the water gratefully. The young man stroked his horse’s neck for a moment then

let the bucket fall back into the well. As soon as the bucket filled with water, he began to reel it back in.

“This is a truly wonderful animal that you have here,” the elderly man said as he gently patted the horse’s neck.

The young man pulled the bucket up onto the side of the well and reached for the dipper. “Yes, he is a wonderful companion,” he answered as he put the dipper of water to his lips. When he finished

drinking, the young man poured more water into the trough for his horse and patted it on the neck

again. “His name is Ardor,” he remarked with pride behind his voice.

Hearing his name, the horse raised his head from the water trough and nibbled at his rider’s shirt. The young man chuckled and patted Ardor again. “He is the best traveling companion that I could have,” the young man stated. “I watched as his mother gave birth to him, and I wiped the blood from his nose. I watched him grow. He and I have been through a lot together.” He stroked his horse across the forehead lovingly and fluffed the long white bangs that hung over the horse's merry brown eyes.

“It seems that he has served you well,” the elderly man said. “I have never seen a horse like him,” he added as he began to walk around the horse looking it over with a keen, well-trained eye. “He is a strong, well-built fellow. Better than King Orwin’s horses. I should know; I worked in the King’s stables for a time. I was the chief horse master,” the elderly man said with a smile, memories flooding his eyes. “He is an unusual color for a horse. Whose stables was he foaled in? Who was his sire and dam?” the elderly man asked, looking up at the young man.

The young man looked his elder in the eye with a smile shining in his own eyes. “He was born in the wild to an unknown mare and stallion,” he answered.

The elderly man’s expression turned to shock. “This magnificent animal--in the wild?” he asked. The younger man nodded and laughed then seemed to dismiss the subject. He patted his horse again and poured the remaining water from the bucket into the well. Suddenly, a cow bawled, and there was loud clatter in the nearby barn followed by a brown cow bolting out of the barn doors. A young milkmaid charged out after the cow but stopped once out of the barn door and flopped onto the

ground rubbing her ankle painfully.

“Curse you, you old cow,” the young lady yelled after the running cow. She shook her fist then stood up and slowly started to limp the way that the creature had taken.

“I will fetch it for you!” the young man said as he flipped up onto his horse and began galloping after the bucking cow. It did not take him long to come up alongside the cow where he reached down and grasped the animal’s rope. His horse turned and cut the cow off from its course, directing it back

toward the little village. When the cow had settled down, the young man and his horse began to lead

the beast back to the village peacefully.

The young woman patiently stood and stared as the young man brought the cow up to her. The elderly man came up to her side with an amazed and excited expression. “I must say, that was amazing

horsemanship, sire!” the elderly man said enthusiastically.

“Thank you. My father taught me expert horsemanship. I was only doing what needed done,” the

young man said and smiled at the young lady. She had beautiful emerald eyes, fair skin, and golden

hair, which was partially hidden under a head covering. She wore a simple white chemise with a brown surcoat that laced up the sides and a long brown leather belt--the typical attire of a farm maid.

“Would you like me to tie the cow in the barn for you?” the young man asked politely.

The lass reached up and took the rope from him with a smile. “No, thank you, sir. I shall do it myself,” she answered. As she took the rope from the young man, a strange silver ring with a red stone on his finger caught her attention, and she let her eyes linger on it for a moment before turning and leading the cow back toward the barn.

“Very well...” the young man said. He watched as the girl led the cow away, then he turned back to the elderly man. “I thank you for your kind hospitality,” he said with a nod of his head.

“It was my pleasure and the village’s pleasure. You may come back any time you please,” replied the

elderly man.

“Thank you. I will keep that in mind,” said the young man. “May I know your name kind, sir?” he asked.

“Certainly! I am Geoff, at your service,” said the elderly man, bowing.

“No, please! It is I who am at your service, Master Geoff!” the young man laughed. “I will remember your kindness.” The young man inclined his head then turned and began to ride down the road, southbound.

Geoff watched as horse and rider leisurely began to walk away, then he started and slapped his hand to his forehead. “Wait! May I have the pleasure of knowing your name before you leave?” Geoff called out.

The young man turned his horse around and smiled. “I am Keegan,” he answered then turned again and trotted away without another word.


 

Now, I believe you'll see several positive alterations in this fresh scene, which should be quite evident. The entirety of this revamped chapter turned out delightfully charming and has easily become one of my favorites!

The most significant change was opting for the perspective of our main character's romantic interest, Erewhon. In the original version you just perused, she served as the milkmaid, but the revelation of her identity doesn't occur until a couple of chapters later—a sad rookie oversight! Erewhon appears multiple times throughout the book, and the reader even delves into her thoughts. Therefore, this chapter presented a missed opportunity to acquaint readers with her early on... until now, that is! Additionally, rewriting this scene from Erewhon's viewpoint introduces readers to her younger sister, who makes numerous appearances throughout the book. Through Erewhon's perspective, readers also gain insights into Keegan's character and get a visual sense of his appearance.

I'll leave you to peruse the changes and judge for yourself. Feel free to drop a comment letting me know your thoughts on the revisions!



 

“Erewhon! Please hurry! I need my hair braided right now. Braided with these flowers.”

Erewhon peaked out from behind the dressing curtain at her little sister. 

 “I’m barely awake, Annaka, nor dressed. Give me a moment.” She ducked back behind the dressing curtain and smiled when she heard her younger sister huff.

“I’ve been waiting for five minutes now.”

Erewhon pulled a gray woolen pinafore over her underdress, flipping her long golden hair over her shoulders, “What’s the hurry? The milk cow isn’t that anxious to see you.” She wrapped a worn leather belt around her waist.

 “You know exactly what my hurry is!” Annaka stamped her foot on the floor. “And, I’m sorry, but I’m not helping you milk that cow. She’s mean and crazy.” There was a slight pause, followed by a sigh “I promised I would meet Mara at her house and walk her to town.”

Erewhon stepped out from behind the curtain and narrowed her green eyes at her sister.

The thin, gangly girl’s cheeks reddened the slightest, her big blue eyes fluttering with a coy smile. “Her older brother, Geoffrey, might be there.” The fourteen year old twisted the toe of her shoe on the floor, tucking a bouquet of flowers behind her back.

Erewhon rolled her eyes, despite the smile creeping onto her face. She stepped forward and grabbed Annaka by the shoulders, spinning her around. “Well, we wouldn’t want to keep Mara waiting, would we?” 

Erewhon expertly tied Annaka’s auburn locks into an assortment of twists, weaving them all together with a few flowers into one long, thick braid.

“There. Fit for a proper princess, if you ask me. Now, run along. Don’t disappoint Mara… or Geoffrey.” She laughed as Annaka wrapped her into a big hug, then dashed out the door of their humble cabin.

Erewhon pulled her own blonde wavy hair back, tucking it into a headscarf while she nibbled on the warm breakfast porridge Annaka had cooked for them. Once finished, she grabbed a bowl full of scraps off the table and an empty bucket sitting by the door before stepping outside into the fresh morning air. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. 

The loud bellow of a cow made her sigh, twisting her lips into a frown.

“Demanded bright and early, as usual,” she growled under her breath.

Several chickens charged across the middle of the small village toward her door, all clucking expectantly. She turned the bowl of scraps upside down, dumping an assortment of food crumbs on the ground for the chickens to eat and scratch. She set the bowl down by the door, then sauntered toward a large community barn at the edge of town.

Erewhon glanced around at the handful of houses that made up the tiny village, waving at a few other ladies as they too left their homes to do morning chores.

Her walking pace slowed when she heard an unfamiliar horse whinny. She glanced over her shoulder at the road running through the middle of town, suddenly going wide eyed. She blinked, her mouth hanging open.

Trotting down the road, directly for town, was the most beautiful horse she had ever seen. His coat was bright gold and glittered in the morning light like diamonds. His long mane and tail were pure white and flowed through the air like delicate strands of spider silk. A simple horsehair bridle encircled his nose, and a plain sheepskin bareback pad lay over his back. 

Her eyes eventually shifted up to the rider.

He appeared to be in his mid-twenties, his attire as simple as his mount’s - a patched ivory colored shirt under a black vest with simple leather pants and worn boots. It was his face, however, that caught Erewhon’s eye.

A sharp, masculine jaw and tanned complexion perfectly offset burning blue eyes. His dark brown hair flowed freely in wild layers around his face, just barely brushing his shoulders. The young man was brawny like a farmer, even though a bright sword hung at his side.

He angled his horse for the well at the center of town and smiled kindly at one of the patrons standing there. His smile was dazzling. It brightened his whole face with a light that shone from within, making his blue eyes dance.

Having forgotten what she was doing, a shock ran through Erewhon when she slammed into the side of the barn. She stumbled backwards, tripping over her feet before falling onto her bum. 

She cringed and shot a quick glance over her shoulder. A few patrons standing around the well turned to stare at her quizzically. She quickly got to her feet, swinging the barn door open and scrambled inside, out of sight.

“Stupid girl,” she admonished herself over and over again, dropping the bucket and resting her hands over her burning cheeks. 

She started and rested a hand over her quaking heart when the cow bellowed behind her impatiently. “Oh, do be quiet, you beast. I’ll milk you in just a moment.”

When she’d had time to calm down, she opened the door a crack and peered out.

The stranger had stopped at the well and dismounted. He shook hands with one of the older men before hoisting a water bucket from the well. He poured its contents into a trough for his horse, smiling and answering the numerous questions the patrons.

Once again, Erewhon was taken by his smile.

A loud snort was the only warning Erewhon had before something slammed into her from behind, punching her past the door and barreling over the top of her.

“You… despicable… bovine!” she screamed, knowing exactly what it was that had accosted her. She sat up, blinking dust out of her eyes only to see the cow charge past the well and down the road out of town. 

Erewhon got to her feet, stumbled a short distance, then cringed, barely able to catch her balance as her right ankle gave out under her. She grabbed a nearby hitching post, leaning against it for support. She lifted the hem of her skirt just the slightest, looking down at her throbbing ankle. She tested her weight on it, sucking in a breath as she did. Thankfully, she could move it and put weight on it. It was just very painful.

Erewhon looked up and was surprised to watch the stranger flip onto his horse and, without a word, gallop after the cow. His horse pulled up alongside the bawling animal in no time, then leaned sideways, snatching the cow’s rope. He sat up and leaned back, bringing both animals to a gradual halt. He turned the horse and cow in a couple of circles to settle them before turning back toward town, tugging the cow home.

Erewhon stared, dumbfounded, as the young stranger led the cow to her. As he approached, they locked eyes for a moment. Erewhon’s heart jumped in her chest as his deep blue eyes looked into hers. She shifted her gaze down, suddenly aware that her dress was filthy and her head scarf disheveled. She tried to inconspicuously adjust her hair and dust her skirts off before taking a deep breath and looking back up at the stranger. To her surprise, he smiled at her – that same genuine, kind smile that brightened his whole face.

A smile crawled across her lips as her heart fluttered.

He drew his horse to a halt before her, and the two of them stared at each other for a moment.

“Um…” he looked to the side at the cow, “Do you want the despicable beast in the barn?” He looked back at Erewhon, his smile turning into a smirk, those blue eyes dancing with amusement.

Erewhon shook herself, her smile disappearing as she remembered losing her temper with the animal. “Oh, I just called her that… I meant… I wasn’t really… no. I’ll do it. Thank you.” She pushed her shoulders back and raised her chin, then took a halting step forward and held her hand out for the rope. She clamped her teeth together and mentally slapped herself for stammering like a fool. She was usually much more poised.

The stranger’s expression turned to one of concern, “You’re limping.”

“It’s normal.” Erewhon paused, mentally slapping herself again. “I mean, it’s normal for the cow to behave like this. I’m used to handling her. I’ll be fine.”

As he passed the rope into her hands, her eye was drawn to a silver ring on his forefinger. A brilliant red gem sat in the center and gold dragons caressed it on either side. It was a lovely ring fit for a king.

Erewhon looked back at the young man, her eyes passing over his simple attire. His hands were calloused, his skin tanned and rough, and his hair wild and shaggy. His appearance wasn’t what she would call noble or kingly. In fact, he seemed as common as her. How did he have such a fine ring?

The young man dismounted, taking his horse by the reins. He stared at her for a moment, then reached out for her face, suddenly pausing, as if catching himself.

Her heart raced inside her chest until he lowered his hand.

“You have something… here…” He motioned to the right side of his face, then at hers, grimacing.

“Oh.” Erewhon reached up and wiped her hand over a thick layer of dust, her cheek and skin stinging with pain under her hand. She was probably going to have a giant bruise there tomorrow. She imagined it was red and starting to swell already.

Erewhon cleared her throat and looked down at her feet. The stranger did the same.

“Thank you for catching the cow.” She said, keeping her gaze down.

“Glad to help. Seems like the cantankerous type.”

Erewhon smiled, “That is her most prevailing quality.”

A voice sounded behind them. “That was excellent horsemanship, sir!” 

Erewhon almost breathed a sigh of relief when the older man approached, drawing the stranger’s attention away.

“Your steed simply glided through the air and heeded your every command. You say he wasn’t born in a king’s stable?”

“Born wild,” the stranger replied with a shake of his head. 

“Wild? He doesn’t look like a Gilidar Ocean Pony. Where is the herd you captured him from?”

The stranger’s face darkened a little, and one eye squinted. “North, in the Frontier.”

Erewhon frowned, looking the horse over. He looked dainty, with a small nose and hooves, perfectly white mane and a sparkling golden coat. She was no expert, but she’d seen wild horses from the north. They were stocky ponies with shaggy, dull coats and sour temperaments. The horse she was staring at was certainly no wild pony. He was too beautiful and too tame. Something wasn’t adding up.

“Those northern ponies have really shaped up into fine horses, haven’t they?” She regretted letting the words fly past her mouth as soon as the stranger raised a single eyebrow and smirked at her.

The golden horse pushed his nose forward and nudged his rider in the side with a soft nicker. The stranger smiled and wrapped his arm over the horse’s neck, hugging him.

“Help! She’s going to kill me!” 

The sudden cry drew everyone’s attention to the other side of the village. A boy charged down the road, covered in mud, holding onto the left side of his pants that were torn from the belt down to the ankle.

Running behind him were two girls. The furthest one was laughing uncontrollably, stumbling as she ran, while the closest one was covered from head to toe in a thick layer of brown mud.

“I’ll make you wish you were never born, pig licker!” she yelled before stopping and throwing three well aimed rocks at the boy’s head.

“Ow! Ouch! Somebody make her stop! She’s gonna kill me!” He let go of his pants and dashed across the village, past Erewhon, the cow, and the stranger, and into the barn, slamming the door shut.

Erewhon’s breath froze in her chest as she watched the mud covered girl approach them. Though she was unrecognizable for the thick layer of mud and filth covering her hair, face, arms, and clothes, Erewhon instinctively knew it was Annaka. 

As the young girl charged past them, the putrid stench of pig feces burned the inside of everyone’s noses, making them all gag and take several steps back with watering eyes. 

The girl ran up to the barn door and grabbed the latch, tugging against it for a moment. When it refused to open, she shrieked and stomped her feet, then started slamming her fists against the door.

“I’ll get you, Geoffrey! You had best sleep with one eye open, you prat! I’m going to put a spiders nest in your bed and gypsum laxative in your water! Then I’m going to turn your own pigs against you, and we will rise up and start a rebellion against your putrid tyranny and burn you at the stake – naked!” .

Erewhon’s mouth fell open in shock. “Annaka!”

The mud covered girl spun around, the vicious snarl on her face melting away to one of surprise.

“Oh…” she put a muddy finger up to her now brown lips, “I didn’t know we had… company.”

The stranger threw his head back with a loud laugh. The old man joined in, and Annaka put her hands up to her mouth, giggling.

Erewhon felt a fire leap into her cheeks, the heat of embarrassment crawling up her back. 

“Those were well delivered insults, young lady.” the stranger said when he had caught his breath.

Annaka executed a perfect curtsy, “Thank you, sir. I try my best.”

Erewhon took a deep breath and cleared her throat. “They were hardly lady-like, and it’s not something you should be proud of.”

Annaka looked at Erewhon, then down at her filth covered skirts, then back up at Erewhon. “Well, I tried to look lady-like this morning, but that toad-eater played a mean trick on me! Since he doesn’t appreciate me being lady-like, I might as well become his worst nightmare!” She crossed her arms, raising her chin defiantly. 

Erewhon sighed and glanced at the stranger, forcing an apologetic smile onto her face.

Annaka glanced at the stranger, then at Erewhon, a sly smirk creeping onto her lips. She dropped her arms and put her hands behind her back coyly. “Of course you’re right, Erewhon. You try to set a good example for me as a big sister - kind, proper, and hard working. I guess the other ladies of the village are right: a fine young man of your own would help you keep me in line.”

An involuntary gasp escaped Erewhon. She was certain her heart stopped and she was going to die.

The old man had a sudden coughing fit. The stranger chuckled as he turned and quickly mounted his horse.

“Oh, won’t you stay for supper?” Annaka pleaded as he turned his steed around.

Erewhon glared at her sister, then peered up at him. She was surprised to see him give a genuine smile to the younger girl.

“Sorry. Can’t. Got a lot of miles to cover.” He turned his gaze to Erewhon and his expression softened, “But… maybe I’ll find my way back someday.”

Erewhon’s heart leapt in her chest and her jaw went slack, “You… you would want to come back after all this?”

“Just say yes!” Annaka hissed behind her.

The stranger arched an eyebrow at Annaka, trying to wipe away the smile growing on his lips.

Erewhon swiped her hand at her sister, her mind reeling as the stranger merely stared at her with a soft smile. “If you feel inclined to visit our humble town again, then by all means, please do. Forgive me if I hope your next visit isn’t quite so adventurous, though.”

His smile grew and he dipped his chin in a nod before turning his horse and trotting away.

Annaka wrapped her mud caked fingers around Erewhon’s arm, jumping up and down. “He’s handsome! What’s his name?” 

Erewhon blinked, then gasped and took a step forward, “Wait, sir! May I have your name?”

He halted his horse and peered over his shoulder, his blue eyes fixing on her with a keen intensity. “Keegan.” With a snort, his horse continued down the road at a brisk trot.

“Oh! He’s so cute!” Annaka squealed, “I hope he comes back soon!”

Erewhon smiled softly and whispered under her breath. “Till next we meet… Keegan.”


 

If you're interested in snagging the original book while it's still available, you can grab it for just $0.99 or read it on Kindle Unlimited. (Quick heads up: This is an Amazon Affiliate link, so purchasing the book not only supports me, but also earns me points for recommending it to you!)

Grab your copy of The Dragon's Son HERE!


Big thanks to F.P. for having me! I hope you all enjoyed the update and another glimpse into the revisions of The Dragon's Son. For instant updates on when the revised edition hits the shelves, make sure to follow me on Amazon! They'll keep you posted on new book releases and sales!


As I see myself out the virtual door, I will leave you with some fanart of Keegan and Erewhon (known as "Keewhon" by fans) accompanied by a beautiful cover of the song "Wicked Game"



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