Table of Contents


The Book

Raven’s a thief who just swallowed a dragon. A small one, sure, but now his arms are growing scales, the local wildlife is acting up, and his snarky AI familiar is no help whatsoever.

Raven’s best friend Aik is a guardsman carrying a torch for the thief. A pickpocket and a guard? Never going to happen. And Aik’s ex-fiancé Silya, an initiate priestess in the midst of a magical crisis, hates Raven with the heat of a thousand suns.

This unlikely team must work together to face strange beasts, alien artifacts, and a world-altering threat. If they don’t figure out what to do soon, it might just be the end of everything.

Things are about to get messy.


The Series

The Tharassas Cycle is a four book sci-fantasy series set on the recently colonized world of Tharassas. When humans first arrived on planet, they thought they were alone until the hencha mind made itself known. But now a new threat has arisen to challenge both humankind and their new allies on this alien world.

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Spin’s voice echoed in his ear. “This is a bad idea, boss.”

“Shush,” Raven whispered to his familiar.

He needed to concentrate. Cheek and jowl against the smooth cobblestones, he held his breath and prayed to the gods that no one had seen him duck under the sea master’s ornate carriage. The setting sun cast long shadows from a pair of boots so close to his face that the dust and leather made him want to sneeze. Their owner was deep in conversation with the sea master, the hem of her fine mur silk trousers barely visible. The two women’s voices were hushed, and he could only make out the occasional word.

Raven rubbed the old burn scar on his cheek absently, wishing they would go away.

“Seriously, boss. I’m not from this world, and even I know it’s a bad idea to steal from the sea master.”

Though only he could hear Spin’s voice, Raven wished the little silver ay-eye would just shut up.

The hencha cloth-wrapped package in the carriage above was calling to him. He’d wanted it since he’d first seen it through the open door. No, needed it. Like he needed air, even though he had no idea what was inside. He scratched the back of his hand hard to distract himself from its disturbing pull.

An inthym popped its head out of the sewer grate in front of him, sniffing the air. Raven glared at the little white rodent, willing it to go away. Instead, the cursed thing nibbled at his nose.

Raven sneezed, then covered his mouth. He held his breath, staring at the boots. Don’t let them hear me.

A shiny silver feeler poked out of his shirt pocket, emitting a golden glow that illuminated the cobblestones underneath him. “Boss, you all right?” Spin’s whisper had that sarcastic edge he often used when he was annoyed. “Your heart rate is elevated.”

“Be. Quiet.” Raven gritted his teeth. Spin had the worst sense of timing.

The woman — one of the guard, maybe? — and the sea master stepped away, their voices fading into the distance.

Raven said a quick prayer of thanks to Jor’Oss, the goddess of wild luck, and flicked the inthym back into the sewer. “Shoo!”

He popped his head out from under the carriage to take a quick look around. There was no one between him and the squat gray Sea Guild headquarters. It was time. Grab it and go.

He reached into the luxurious carriage — a host of mur beetles must have spent years spinning all the red silk that lined the interior — and snagged the package. He hoped it was the treasury payment for the week. If so, it should hold enough coin to feed an orphanage for a month, and he knew just the one. “Got it.”

“Good. Now get us out of here.”

A strange tingling surged through his hand. Raven frowned.

Must have pinched a nerve or something.

Ignoring it, he stuck the package under his arm, slipped around the carriage, and set off down Gullton’s main thoroughfare. He walked as casually as he could, hoping no one would notice the missing package until he was long gone.

“We clear?”

Spin’s feeler blinked red. “No. Run! They’ve seen you.”

Raven ran.

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Exclusive Excerpt

The Dragon Eater Excerpt – Aik

Aik followed him over a pile of rubble that nearly cut the tunnel in two, taking care not to further damage his uniform. “Don’t you ever get lonely down here?”

The question caught him off-guard. “Not really. I like it. No demands. No authority.” No complications.

His friend was lucky. He still had a home and family up above. Well, a mother who loved him, anyhow. Mamma, what would you think of me now? He shoved his jealousy and the familiar pain into the ever-growing pile of things he didn’t want to think about.

The burbling sound of water ahead snapped him out of it — it always made him feel welcome. This was his place, and no one else’s. “Come on. We’re almost there.” Raven licked his fingers, extinguished the candle, and dropped it into his pocket. The tunnel opened into a broad natural cavern, well-lit by the soft blue glow of the walls — a glorious collection of stalactites and stalagmites that formed fantastical columns and rows of dragon’s teeth. The tension in his shoulders eased. Home sweet home.

Once a calm cathedral of water and stone, the grand space was now Raven’s personal lair. He’d filled it with objects collected from the world above, shiny things that caught his attention and made it feel homier, including antiques from Old Earth. There were pots and pans, ancient ceramic vases, gears and jewelry and even books — not so many of those, but they were the most precious of all.

Aik looked around, taking in the piles that covered the floor and the layers of things that hung from the black-rock pillars. “Still messy as a gully bird’s nest.” He reached out to touch the dark stone wall, his fingers eclipsing the glow from the cracks. “This place would be beautiful without all your junk.”

Raven saw it through Aik’s eyes and forced a smile. “It was empty and lonely when I found it.” The night I ran away from Mim Aza. And Jimey. “All this junk makes it feel like home.” He moved a stack of leather-bound journals out of the way with his boot, making room for Aik to reach his “bed”— a collection of pillows and blankets piled up in one corner of the cavern between two thick black columns.

Aik stared at him. “Sorry. I’m just tense. I shouldn’t be here.” He looked pointedly at the bundle in Raven’s hand. “Should we get to it?”

Raven’s heart skipped a beat, and then it sunk in. The package. “You can leave whenever you want. No one’s keeping you here.” He felt the tug of whatever was inside again. He was dying to open it to see the sea master’s treasure.

Aik glared at him. “You invited me, remember?” He picked up a silver-framed mirror from the flat top of a broken stalagmite which formed a narrow table. “What’s this?”

“Give that to me.” He snatched it out of Aik’s hands, and immediately regretted his harsh tone. “Sorry, it was my mother’s. It’s one of the few things I have left of her.” He glanced at himself in the mirror and frowned at the grime on his face and the faded scar across his right cheek. He did the best he could to wipe off the dirt with the back of his hand and then set the mirror down reverently.

“And this bit of junk?” Aik held up a piece of metal engraved with the words “Spin Diver.”

Raven forced himself to set the package down on his bed, ignoring its siren call. “That’s from the last Run. I found it out at the edge of Landfield.” Along with Spin.

Aik snorted. “You really believe that nonsense? Spaceships and angels and faraway planets? What are you, six years old?” Aik’s mocking grin made Raven’s stomach clench.

“Of course I do. My mother told me all about it — her grandfather was there when it crashed.” Raven’s nostrils flared. “You’ve seen the fountain in Landfield, right?”

“Yeah, I’ve seen it. Just a bit of artistic wreckage — it doesn’t prove anything.” He dropped the metal fragment with a clang. “I mean, it just seems fantastic, doesn’t it? That we all came from another world? Fairy tales for children.” He bit his lip. “Silya believes it too. That we all came here in some flitter from another star. It’s ridiculous.”

“A starship. Not a flitter.” Should I tell him about Spin? Raven pushed that thought away. No good would come of it.

He sank down onto one of his favorite cushions, stolen from a Market Day booth the year before — a deep royal blue embroidered with golden thread, probably meant for the household of one of the rich merchants who lived on the slopes of Heaven’s Reach along the northern edge of the Heartland. His hand strayed toward the package, moving of its own accord. Angrily he pulled it back. He wanted to open it so badly. Perversely, that made him not want to do it.

“Starship, flitter, it’s all the same.” Aik picked up a metal spiral, shiny and silver, encrusted with strange red things that might have been gems, or glass. “What’s this?”

“I don’t know … I found a few of them down here in the tunnels. I call them artifacts.” He scowled at Aik. “You gonna pick through all of my things?”

Aik’s cheeks turned a bright red. “Right. Sorry.” He sank down on the bed, too close for comfort, his arm brushing Raven’s. He put a hand on Raven’s knee, sending a shiver up his leg. “I worry about you, all alone like this.” He looked around the cluttered cavern, making it clear that like this really meant in this trash heap.

Raven lifted Aik’s wandering hand and set it firmly on his friend’s lap, acutely aware of his proximity. Of what he really wanted.

It irked him that Aik didn’t believe in Earth. He’d seen a hundred things to convince him that the legend was real, but some people had their heads stuck in the sand. He hated that Aik was one of them.

Still, there was a way he could distract Aik and convince him about Earth, if he dared. Risky, but he trusted Aik.



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Scott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

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