That's it. No fretting, no obsessive email checking, no wondering about when, or if, I'm going to receive any replies. I block anything query-related from my mind unless I actually get a response (usually it's a generic rejection note), which frees me to concentrate on my newer projects. Good system to preserve one's sanity while looking for ways to publish one's novel.
And here is another excerpt from Tales of Silverbell Wood:
“Another dwarf!” exclaimed Adros, none too happily.
The stranger gave a crooked half-smile. “Yes,” he said, “a dwarf – but none like your companions,” he gestured at Thwayne, Freyder and Vynn. “I was born at the village, to a mother and father as tall as any of the local peasants… but a quirk of nature made me the way I am,” he waved in the direction of his abnormally short legs.
“So you are a local?” Prince Darin said. “Freyder, lower that bow.”
Freyder obeyed, but reluctantly. “You sure?” he said. “This one has seen us. One arrow will silence him for good.”
“We will hear what he has to say. What is your name, stranger?”
“I’m Oster Marshfield, more commonly known as,” the young man scowled, “Short Osty in these parts.”
“Alright, then, Oster,” Adros said, “Why did you follow us?”
“I overheard you at the inn,” Oster said. “You talked about dragons. You wanted to find them, but you didn’t want any guide. At first I thought that’s because you don’t want to share any of the treasure. I know better now, though,” he eyed the group with sincere fascination. “I have never seen anything like you before,” he added, not taking his eyes off the unicorns.
Buttercup neighed in dismay. “Anyone like us, if you please!” she snapped.
“And what did you mean to gain by creeping after us in this manner?” Prince Darin demanded, crossing his arms on his chest and frowning.
“Well,” Oster said, “I thought I might convince you to use a guide after all. Nobody knows these mountains better than me. My legs might be short, but I walk well and climb like a monkey.”
The companions exchanged glances. “What do you think?” Prince Darin addressed everybody. “Can we trust him?”
“As he’s here, we might as well make use of him,” Thwayne said. “We can always push him off a cliff once we don’t need him anymore.”
“Is that what passes for gratitude at Underwood?” Adros said with disgust. “Will you swear you won’t tell anybody about us?” he demanded from Oster.
“If I told, who would believe me?” Oster said reasonably. “Now, my old Ma always says curiosity will be the death of me, especially my mixin’ up with complete strangers. But I’d sure love to go with you. Nobody is the village is brave enough to go looking for dragons.”
“Don’t expect mounds of gold,” Tolimar said warningly.
“Oh, I’m not,” Oster assured him. “I know nobody can promise that. But if there is treasure… I’ve heard about dragons’ hoards. One is enough to make a hundred people rich for a lifetime.”
Loriel quelled him with a look. “Not all dragons hoard gold and gems,” she said, “Did you know that? Some actually prefer different things – like unusual rocks and shells, for example. Or pinecones.”
Oster’s face fell slightly. It was plain he didn’t think much of facing a dragon only to discover a lair full of pinecones. “Well, that would be disappointing,” he said. “But we won’t know until we try, will we?”