Book Talk: Waterdragon Watching

I rush down the ramp to the dock girding Elan-Sia, a tier city drilled into the midst of the glimmering delta. The river and sea are brilliant with luminescence, a sheet of liquid light that draws my eyes.

Kevin’s been waiting for me to talk about my new book, Catling’s Bane, and I’m late. But I have an excellent reason. “Guess what?” I catch my breath as I join him. “Instead of Book Talk, we’re going waterdragon watching!”

“Waterdragon watching?” He props his hands on his hips.

“Can you believe it?” I’m giddy at the thought. “While browsing the first-tier markets, I happened to mention that the heiress is in my book. The next thing I know, she’s offered to take us sailing. I couldn’t very well deny her, could I?”

“Is that her?” Kevin gestures toward the city, and I swing around. Lelaine-Elan, the heiress to the Ellegean throne, approaches with her escort of guards. She appears younger than her seventeen years, petite and pink-cheeked with a fall of blond ringlets. Her jacket brushes her boots, and she’s wearing an azure underdress with a wide belt.

We face her and bow. “Our respects, Heiress.” I point a sideways thumb at my friend. “This is Kevin Cooper.”

“A pleasure.” Lelaine dips her chin. “Shall we depart?” She doesn’t wait for a reply, so we clomp down the royal pier behind her. I imagine we’re taking one of the large cutters or ferries, but she climbs down into a single-masted catboat. I give Kev a nervous smile, and when he shrugs, we clamber aboard. A guard hands down a heap of blankets.

“We won’t travel far beyond the breakwater,” Lelaine informs the guard, and when he retreats, she hauls up the sails. Kev stows the blankets, and I stare at the alien sea. “Is there anything I can do, Heiress?”

“Tell me about your book.” She cleats the stays and sits by the tiller. “I’ll manage the boat, and Kevin shall scout for waterdragons. I’m in no hurry to return to my duties, so if we wish, we may wrap ourselves in wool for a nighttime view of the sea. It’s lovely, brighter than the moons.”

Kev grins at the idea while I’m rethinking our adventure. The boat’s dinky, and I forgot my Dramamine. Too late to back out, I hold on as the balmy wind catches the sail, and the catboat glides from the pier.

We cut a smooth wake out of the delta’s harbor, taking the luminescent swells in stride. I proceed to give her the gist of her role in Catling’s Bane. “You’re a clever ruler who faces a world of intrigue. The high wards and the Shiplord plot for your throne; yet, you have a hidden weapon in Catling.”

Lelaine smiles knowingly, her ringlets blowing across her face. “That’s one reason I love the sea. There’s no intrigue, no vying for power, no manipulation, and few responsibilities beyond minding the sail.”

“That’s a huge ship,” Kev says, and I follow his gaze. A double-masted dragnet leans almost broadside to the wind with a heading intended to intimidate if not intercept us.

“Cull Tarr.” Lelaine frowns. “I’m tacking; watch your heads.” She pushes the tiller to port, and the boat veers into the wind. The sail luffs and then snaps taut, the boom swinging to starboard.

“You’re aiming for them,” I point out in case she hadn’t noticed.

“For a moment.” Lelaine inches the tiller. “They can’t turn as quickly. We’ll sail by them, tack, and aim for the harbor, I hope.”

“They’re arrogant,” Kev says as the sleek fighting ship veers toward us.

Lelaine steers farther to starboard, slowing our speed but forcing the bigger ship into a tighter turn.

“Waterdragons!” Kev points, steps up to the mast, and holds tight. Four sleek shapes undulate through the sea toward us, each larger than our boat. “They’re gigantic!”

I clutch the gunwale. “What do they eat?”

“Fish,” Lelaine giggles. “Hang on. We’re going to get wet.”

I yelp as the creatures divide and flank the catboat, two to each side. Pleated fins soar out of the waves and fan over the mast, first one, then another, streams of luminescence thrown to the sunlight. Cold sea drenches the boat. Kevin hoots and the waterdragons dive. Two horned heads burst from the swells, blowing spray from their long snouts. They sink when a third waterdragon rears, its opalescent scales slick with light. Then the four roll, wings arcing through the air, spray glittering in diamond clouds.

Lelaine grabs my hand as the boat bucks and sways. She smiles at my wide eyes. Kev clings to the mast, laughing like a lunatic. The waterdragons curl their tails. Wide flukes slap the surface, and they sink below the foamy waves.

The catboat rocks and the sail luffs, the sheet forgotten. Lelaine grabs the line and tiller, and the Cull Tarr ship sails on. Her hair dripping into her eyes, she shivers and smiles. “Saved by waterdragons.”

Soaking wet, Kev steps down from the mast and breaks out the wool blankets. He tosses one to me and wraps another around the heiress’s shoulders before donning his own.

Lelaine sails into the delta. We climb the tiers of Elan-Sia and join her for a hearty meal. Still swaddled in blankets, Kev and I share a bottle of wine with the future ruler of Ellegeance, satisfied with our adventure and the tier-bound view of the three moons gracing the glittering Cull Sea.


Thanks so much, Kevin, for the invite to Book Talk!

Link to D. Wallace Peach’s Blog – Myths of the Mirror

Catling’s Bane:   US,    UK,    Global Link



  1. Thank you. That was a lot of fun to read, and a very strong enticement to read the book. It helps that I’m a sailor and love exploring and finding new adventures on the sea. Though I don’t think I would be prepared for waterdragons, who are probably happiest in the kinds of worlds you create anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Margaret. It was a fun way to introduce the book. I don’t have a lot of seafaring in this series, though there is some. My Dragon Soul series (books 2-4) takes place on an archipelago, so lots of shipboard adventure there. And… more dragons. Ha ha. Have a great week!

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  2. You’ve reeled us all in with another fabulous story. I now totally believe in water dragons. Because of my seasickness, the only time I get on the water is on the ferry from Marin County to San Francisco. Huge pelicans fly overhead and have convinced me that at night they become flying dragons, so I have no doubt that they compete for the fish with the nocturnal water dragons too. 💙

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    • I get seasick on ponds, Pam. So as much as I’d like to get out on the ocean, it takes a bit of preparation, and I always feel a little queasy. I’d love to go waterdragon watching or whale watching, or pelican watching! Ha ha. Thanks for the comment, and happy writing. 🙂

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  3. You didn’t notice me, but I was peeking out from under that other blanket that appeared to have been strewn haphazardly over that crate at the back. I snickered quietly when you all got wet, though it was a small price you paid for a full-on view of the water dragon show (I only saw bits and pieces from my hide-out).

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      • I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but … since we’re all oath breakers anyway … I influenced the pier guards and the rest of you aboard with a touch of apathy when you seemed to be turning my way, along with a good dose of curiosity and interest when you looked away. But the latter two were more enhancements of what you were already feeling, rather than straightforward manipulations.

        You understand, I’m sure.

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  4. This is very creative Diana and I enjoyed sailing with you and Kevin, thanks for taking us along your fantastic book tour…for a change, your dragons didn’t scare me! 🙂 My best wishes for your new book.

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  5. Excellent read. Soooo imaginative. Love that top photo too and going water dragon watching sounds utterly magical. It’s a very visual post, or maybe it’s the thought of Kev clinging to the mast laughing like a lunatic. 😀

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  6. Thanks for the wonderful adventure, Diana. Never dreamed I’d be on the high seas with two beautiful women watching for water dragons 🐉 😃

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  7. Diana, this is just wonderful!! I felt I was with you and Kevin on the boat trip, watching the gigantic waterdragons! The most magical original book introduction post which was a joy to read this morning! Happy Sailing and you deserve that wine! 😀❤️

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