A Week with the Dragon Eaters – M Harold Page

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Character questions (choose from):

*Who are you? M Harold Page – Martin Harold Page, but I share that name with an English folk singer and a French YA writer, hence the M.

Where are you from? (Tell us about it) Edinburgh, Scotland. The place is like a year-round SF Con, with writers underfoot in the bars, and oddly dressed people coming and going carrying poorly concealed medieval weapons – I once spotted a part-time Viking on my street; he had a daneaxe wrapped in brown paper and parcel tape.

*Tell us about dragons in your world. Big, scary, [spoiler redacted].

What is the political system of your world? 17th-18th century mixed. The city where the action happens is probably a republic run by guilds. However, one character is a duchess and actually rules a duchy, and the protagonist comes from the Godless Delta where they practice radical democracy.

Do you have a family? Yes. Wife, son, daughter, all geeks. 11-year-old son fights my friends at Warhammer. 7-year-old daughter is a dab hand at Halo.

What is the best way to kill a dragon? Technology and guile. Beowulf used an iron shield and – ultimately- relied on a henchman to injure the thing. Siegfried used a Vietcong-style network of trenches to attack from beneath. Tristram attacked from horseback and out of ambush. Some Vikings I read about killed a Russian dragon by feeding it the salted leg of a giant, then – after it had drunk so much water it couldn’t move – whacking it with axes. Very few legendary heroes go up against a dragon man-to-dragon, because that would be stupid.

Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero? No. I’m just a mild mannered urban swordsman and dad. A hero is somebody who takes responsibility for doing what needs to be done when the doing is nasty and dangerous.

What is the technology level of your world? 1700s style Steampunk. I am particularly proud that my dirigible runs on a gunpowder engine – these were real things. Go check Wikipedia.

Where do dragons come from? [Spoiler Redacted]

Are there other such monsters in your world? Not sure. I’ll have to write another one and find out.

Author questions (choose from):

*Who are you? SEE ABOVE ANSWER

Why did you choose this world/era to write in? It was my first published fantasy story, so I wanted to try out all the tropes. That meant a world where both dirigibles and sword fights existed.

How much research did you need for your story? A little! I had to find a viable engine for my  dirigible.

A lot! in the sense that I’ve spent years reading about history, industrialisation etc etc. I guess any story reflects all the research the author has ever done on anything.

Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? This was my second time – I have a story in Crusader Kings II: Tales of Treachery. It’s much harder than writing a novel because there’s less space. I think of it as trying to choreograph a cavalry battle in a sheep pen.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Plotter. I even wrote a book on how to do it. However, plotting is just a more efficient way of pantsing and involves a lot of visualisation.

What other novels/short stories have you written? You can buy several of my books on Amazon, including three Historical Adventures tying to Paradox Interactive video games plus one Foreworld SideQuest. My two most recent books are:

Shieldwall: Barbarians! in which a young Jutish prince must lead his unreliable warband into the teeth of Attila the Hun’s invasion of Roman Gaul.

Storyteller Tools: Outline from vision to finished novel without losing the magic which pretty much does what it says on the tin. I wrote four novels to order in just over a year; this is how I did it.

What book(s) are you currently reading? I’ve been reading a lot of Edmond Hamilton, largely forgotten but hugely influential Space Opera writer of the mid C20th.

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I have a sword scar.

Author website/blog

Author website: www.mharoldpage.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/M-Harold-Page/e/B00FLZP9VY

Foreworld Author Page: http://foreworld.com/the-authors/m-harold-page/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MHaroldPage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mharoldpage

I blog at heroic fiction magazine site: www.blackgate.com11143231_897184103657050_5318210832294606375_o

A Week with the Dragon Eaters – William Hiles

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Today I welcome William Hiles for Heroika Week.

Character questions:

*Who are you? Captain Jackson Turner.

Why are you embarking on this quest? Revenge. For the killing of my men. For the devastation wrought by the beast.

Where are you from? (Tell us about it.) From Morgantown, Western Virginia. Though my family were farmers and shop keepers, I managed an appointment to West Point, where I was eventually commissioned as an officer in the United States Army.

*Tell us about dragons in your world. One exists. I don’t know why. I don’t know how.  All I care about is killing it.

Do you have a family? I lost my family, a wife and child, to cholera many years ago.

Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero? No. What is a hero? That’s for others to decide. For me, it’s a matter of duty. To your men (or family). To yourself.

What is the technology level of your world? Mid-19th Century.

 

Author questions (choose from):

*Who are you? William Hiles

How do you define a hero? Someone who does what needs to be done, no matter the risk, for the benefit of others. Someone who performs a selfless action. Ordinary people who proceed with grace under extraordinary circumstances.

Why did you choose this world/era to write in? I’m a history nut. I love the challenges of bringing the past to life. I have a very special connection to military history, especially that of the United States.

Give us a couple of lines about your characters. Brave men who take a stand against an unimaginable horror, far beyond that of ordinary war. Former enemies, forced together for survival, who become brothers in a soul-searing crucible.

Heroika: The Dragon Eaters is a dark heroic fantasy – how do you define that genre? Dark heroic fantasy, to me, is a story of ordinary people, faced by extraordinary challenges, in a landscape that seemingly offers only obstacles or heartache. And yet despite this, these people rise to the challenges, overcome the obstacles, and ultimately succeed in bringing hope or peace or some fitting resolution to the story—even at the cost of their own lives.

How much research did you need for your story? Not much actually, having been a student of the era for many years.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Mostly pantser. How a story ends is usually what I need to know before I begin, everything else is a journey to that end.

What other novels/short stories have you written? Early in my career I had quite a few stories in small press magazines. However, most of my output in recent years has been articles relating to my work (video games). I’m now getting back to writing more fiction.

What book(s) are you currently reading? War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America’s First Frontier by John F. Ross

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I’ve kept a list of books I’ve read since I was 12 years old. I have over 1600 books on the list.

Tidbit:

This can be a Dragon-Eater recipe, interesting info about the world in which your story takes place, historical info, or somesuch.

Red Rain is set during and after a real American Civil War battle.  The first land battle of the Civil War, in fact, fought in the vicinity of Philippi, Virginia (now West Virginia) on June 3. 1861. Writer Ambrose Bierce did serve in this battle.

 

Author website/blog: http://williamhiles.blogspot.com/

Twitter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WJHiles

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10943148-william-hiles

Amazon page:

Bio:

William Hiles, is a former magazine editor, game designer, writer and artist, living in Round Rock, Texas, with his wife, son, and a menagerie of pets. He likes to ramble on about history, cooking, art, and writing. Although he has been accused of living in the past, he does not write with a mere quill. It has to be an Australian Black Swan quill.

 

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A Week with the Dragon Eaters – Travis Ludvigson

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Today I welcome Travis Ludvigson and his character Ogier the Dane

Character questions:

*Who are you? Ogier the Dane

Why are you embarking on this quest? To support my commander and friend, Roland (and because the emperor Charlemagne has commanded it).

Where are you from? (Tell us about it) I hail from the land of the Danes, a place filled with mighty warriors, skilled craftsman and breathtaking fjords. I left my lands to seek out adventure and riches in foreign lands.

*Tell us about dragons in your world Dragons are a very serious threat. The dragon Nidhhog lives beneath the world tree, Ygdrassil, constantly gnawing at the roots, while Jorgumander, the world serpent, lurks in the depths of the sea, waiting for Ragnarok, when it will be free to do battle with the gods. Dragons are powerful creatures covered in armour-like scales and wielding wickedly sharp claws and teeth.

What is the best way to kill a dragon? If you kill the brain, you kill the beast. Of course, to do so, you must get past its claws, tail, teeth and flame and strike up close and personal. But what warrior doesn’t dream of facing such a challenge? It will be either a mighty victory or a glorious death.

Author questions:

*Who are you? Travis Ludvigson

How do you define a hero? Someone who puts their life on the line for another. Being heroic is about seeing someone in trouble and trying to help them, regardless of danger, recognition or reward.

Why did you choose this world/era to write in? The time of Charlemagne was full of warriors (Franks, Saxons, Danes, Norse, Saracens, etc), battles between religions, and a belief in dragons and the like was still prevalent amongst the populace.

Give us a couple of lines about your characters. Roland is one of the greatest fighters of his time. He is both a talented fighter as well as an inspiring leader who commands the respect of friends and foes alike.

Ogier the Dane is a massive warrior who serves Roland because he feels a kinship with him and admires his skills and leadership. But Ogier is a legend in his own rite. Statues of Ogier the Dane still grace the Danish landscape and it is said that when Denmark is in danger, Ogier will rise from his throne and draw his sword to protect the land.

Heroika: The Dragon Eaters is a dark heroic fantasy – how do you define that genre? This is heroic fantasy without the shiny, decorative armour and maidens in silk waiting in the highest tower for rescue. It is filled with sweat and blood stained leather, battle notched blades, terrible creatures and true, raw emotion.

What other novels/short stories have you written? Yare’ Darkness Bound and Iron Song are novels in the Nephilim Chronicles (I am currently working on the third book in the series). The first is urban/supernatural fantasy and the second is historical fantasy.

Unrelenting is a dark, urban fantasy novella.

What book(s) are you currently reading? I am currently reading The Bone Sword by Walter Rhein and The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu.

I also recently read Schade of Night by JP Wilder.

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I broke my nose in a full contact Muay Thai championship (although I still won the fight with a third round TKO).

Tidbit:

The indestructible sword, Durendal, wielding by Roland, is one of the most famous swords in history; second only to King Arthur’s Excalibur. The eternal sword is said to be embedded in the stone wall of the Chapelle de Notre-Dame in Rocamadour, France, where it can be seen today.

Author website/blog:

http://norseman73.wix.com/land-of-the-norseman

https://landofthenorse.wordpress.com

Twitter:

@TravisLudvigson

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/travisludvigsonauthor

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4272358.Travis_Ludvigson

Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Travis-Ludvigson/e/B00BNASEIG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1430185761&sr=8-1

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A Week with the Dragon Eaters – Walter Rhein

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Today for Dragon Eaters Week I’d like to Welcome Walter Rhein and his character Aquila.

Character Questions

*Who are you? I am Aquila of Oyos, the all-king, the scourge of man. This world is mine and the creatures that scuttle and crawl across the charred surface do so at my indulgence. I will bear no slight, not from a dragon, and certainly not from a man. The immortal law is that the ancient wyrms must not slaughter one another, but I know well that the laws, even the most ancient laws, were only ever meant as binding to the lesser creatures.

Where are you from? This is a young world, still hot from creation. Rivers of liquid stone pool into glorious and glowing molten ponds. When I stretch my wings and fly, the night air is hot beneath my wings. The heavier elements bubble to the surface, and can be taken in claw and set upon the topmost peaks where they cool into a bed almost worthy of my repose.

*Tell us about dragons in your world. We are the dominant creatures. It is a dragon world and I am the king. All other life is there only for my sustenance or entertainment.

What is the best way to kill a dragon? Ahhh, that’s the secret isn’t it? Do you think I am so foolish that I would reveal such a thing here? That, the most revered knowledge of our species. My official answer is that there is no way to kill a dragon. We are immortal, we are all-powerful, we are gods. That having been said, I do know a few tricks which have proven useful when my brothers and sisters have overstepped their position.

Where do dragons come from? Dragons pre-date the universe. We are the fragments of the first creator that took nothing and forged it by force of will into creation. In the resulting explosion of that first magnificent, defiant act of creation, the dragon form was instilled into the very fabric of reality. We are the mirror image of immortality, dominance and perfection. The darkness of the night is our eternal shadow, the glimmer of the stars is the reflection of our collective, beating hearts.

Author questions

*Who are you? I am Walter Rhein, the author of the fantasy novels “The Reader of Acheron,” and “The Bone Sword.” I’m also the author of a humorous travel memoir about cross-country ski racing titled “Beyond Birkie Fever.” I am published with Perseid and Harren Press and maintain a blog at HeroicFantasyWriters.com as well as operate the accompanying Facebook Group. I have a book coming out in a few months about 10 years spent living in Peru, and can be reached at: walterrhein@gmail.com.

How do you define a hero? A hero is a criminal with a good public relations team.

Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? Heroika is a little different because it’s not quite a shared world anthology, although there were a set of very general ground rules to follow. I was in the middle of writing the sequel to “The Reader of Acheron” when this anthology opportunity came up. At first I wasn’t going to participate because I was so busy with “Reader 2,” but I found myself daydreaming about the project and stumbled upon an idea. It was really relaxing to take a break from the larger thematic arcs of the novel I was working on and just crank out a self-contained story. I’m glad that Janet liked it and included it in Heroika.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I used to be a pantser but I’m moving more and more towards being a plotter. It’s good to have a general idea where you want to go in a story, but your chapters have to also have that spontaneous feel. There always have to be room for movement in case your characters decide to take you places you hadn’t anticipated. That should happen because it means you’re being true to how you’ve defined your characters (when that starts happening, the books write themselves). Sometimes it can be a bit unruly to end a novel the way you anticipated, but if you can’t find a solution it might mean that the ending you hoped for isn’t within the make up of your protagonists.

How important is the fantasy genre to our society? I think it’s very important because you can get away with so much. Fantasy also allows you to make social comments that would be dangerous if you tried to say them in other genres. I’m actually a strong believer that fantasy is the dominant genre of literature. People don’t realize how many of the greatest works of literature can actually be labelled as fantasy (I could apply the label to just about anything).

Tidbit: Aquila of Oyos contains some characters with names that might be familiar from Greek and Roman mythology. That’s not an accident.

Author website/blog

HeroicFantasyWriters.com

Twitter

@swordreaver

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/wrhein

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4221284.Walter_Rhein

Amazon page:  http://www.amazon.com/Walter-Rhein/e/B008Z6RIOC

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A Week with the Dragon Eaters – Seth Lindberg

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Day 3 of the Dragon Eaters Week brings us Seth Lindberg

*Who are you? Seth (S.E.) Lindberg. I live near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing my skills as a scientist & artist to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword and Sorcery genre, spurred me to write graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors: Dyscrasia FictionI co-moderate a Goodreads- Sword & Sorcery Group and invite you to participate.

 *Tell us about dragons in your world; and please share some lore/myths from it. There is just one dragon in the Legacy of the Great Dragon.  Therein, the Father of Alchemy entombs his source of magic, the Great Dragon.  Many think of medieval chemists and occult witchcraft of the 1500’s as being the origin of alchemy.  Indeed there was a popularization ~1500 with the teachings of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.  Peeling back the onion of myths and history, we learn that alchemists professed knowledge having come through the Greek god Hermes; hence the lore of alchemy is often referred to the Hermetic Tradition.

One of the earliest known hermetic scripts is the Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus.  Within that, a tale is told of Hermes being confronted with a vision of the otherworldly entity called Pymander, who takes the shape of a “Great Dragon” to reveal divine secrets.  Digging into history more, one learns that Hermes is a reboot of the Egyptian deity Thoth (who was called by Greeks as Hermes Trismegistus).  According to Greek and Egyptian myth, Thoth was able to see into the world of the dead and pass his learnings to the living.  The other most known script of the Hermetic Tradition is the Emerald Tablet’s engravings; the original stone has long since been lost, but translations and recordings have persisted over centuries.  Even Sir Isaac Newton was fascinated with the Tablet and made his own translation readily available (presented below answers).

Legacy of the Great Dragon fictionalizes the Hermetic Tradition, presenting the “Divine Pymander–Great Dragon” as being the sun-eating Apep serpent of Egyptian antiquity (a dragon who ate the sun each day from under the horizon, in the underworld).

How do you define a hero?  Heroes take many forms; “good “ones seek to help humanity even at the expense of their own lives, property, or family.  If there is a hero in Legacy of the Great Dragon it is Thoth who strives to maintain learning while seeking the divine.  He is posited as a non-violent hero/protagonist.  His antagonists include Horus and Set who wish to use alchemy in war.

Tidbit:

Other Heroika authors will be sharing “Dragon-Eater recipes” in this post series. Keeping in mind that the Emerald Tablet is thought to be a recipe for transmuting the natural, to artificial, to the divine—we share it instead.  Below is Sir Isaac Newton’s translation; it is not a recipe for eating dragons—rather it is a recipe provided by a Great Dragon:

‘Tis true without lying, certain & most true.

That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing

And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.

The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.

The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.

Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.

Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.

It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.

By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world

And thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.

Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.

So was the world created

From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means is here in this.

Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world

That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.

Links Galore:

S E Lindberg Author-Reviewer Blog

S E Lindberg – Amazon Author Page

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S E Lindberg on Goodreads

Dyscrasia Fiction – Facebook

S E Lindberg – Twitter

A Week with the Dragon Eaters – Cas Peace

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Welcome to Cas Peace and her character, another of the Dragon Eaters.

*Who are you? My name is Jorj and I am a veteran of the Crusades. I am a simple knight who followed his lord to the Holy Land to help liberate the City of God. We were told that this was our holy duty, that we would be venerated in heaven should we die in God’s service. But the evil I saw done there in God’s name repulsed me, tarnishing my faith and staining my soul. In shame I returned across the sea, my “holy duty” left undone. Now I am but a simple knight again, albeit with unquiet soul.

Why are you embarking on this quest? I was approached by a representative of the southern peoples of Britain, a people oppressed by the druids who once protected them. I heard disquieting facts that led me to believe the druids had harnessed a fell beast — a wyrm — and were using the demon’s power to increase their hold over the southern countryside. The king refused to help his people, who were growing desperate. I prayed, and my god sent me a sign. I hope to redeem my worth, and  my soul, by banishing the wyrm back to the netherworld.

*Tell us about dragons in your world. There have been many dragons and wyrms that have oppressed the British peoples. We have had so-called “true” dragons; that is, four-legged, two-winged monsters that could breathe fire. These are the toughest challenges for any dragon-slayer or knight and have been the bane of many a stout heart. Such creatures are much sought-out as their tendency is to hoard gold, ever the tempter of men. Many a reluctant dragon-slayer has been persuaded to the hunt by the lure of dragon gold. Some have even obtained that prize.

Fiercer even than the true dragon is the wyrm — serpentlike and tricksy, they hide in holes and their poisoned breath kills all around them. The blood of these demons can render anything bathed in it impervious to fire; even a man, so the legend goes. Brave — or foolhardy! — and damned, is the soul who captures a wyrm and drinks its blood.

And those in the land of the western Celt tell tales of a beast called a gwiber, a lesser sort of wyrm that drinks milk and can be placated by an offering of milk. A common snake that drinks the milk of a nursing woman may transform into a gwiber.

Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero? I do not see myself as a hero, although the peoples of southern Britain would doubtless say I am. To them, who had not the knowledge, nor skill, nor courage to fight the demon, I am a hero who saved them from oppression and death when no one else could. Their vision of a hero would doubtless be the knight on fiery steed who charges into battle with sword aloft, fierce of mien and doughty of hand, careless for the safety of self. To me, a hero is an ordinary person who performs extraordinary deeds for altruistic reasons — either for protection, or maybe to uphold some higher, noble cause. But does that, then, not refute my own assertion that I am not a hero? Yes, I answered the call to aid the defenseless peoples of southern Britain, and yes, I employed my skills as a knight and the might of my arm, and put myself in harm’s way. But I failed my God in the Holy Land, I allowed myself to be tainted by the evil I saw around me, and so forfeited the right to be a servant of my faith. I will begin again, and work my way up toward the Light, toward a state where I might, some time in the future if God is good, be worthy of the title of Hero.

Are there other such monsters in your world? Definitely. Medieval Britain is full of monsters.  There are reports of all kinds of dragons and wyrms, including the Afanc and the Nwyvre, both water dragons. There are beasties such as the kelpie, which inhabits the waters and lochs of Scotland and appears as either a horse or a hoofed human; there is the Demon of Dartmoor, a legendary black beast reported to be either a huge cat or some kind of monstrous dog; Cernunnos, sometimes called Herne the Hunter or the god of the Wild Hunt, a manlike creature with the antlers of a great stag; there is the rather disgusting alp-luachra, a newtlike creature which crawls down sleepers’ throats to eat some of their last meal; Gwyllgi, the terrifying Welsh dog of darkness; Dearg-Due, an Irish vampiress; there are also Hell Hounds, boggarts, ghouls, and fiends of many shapes and sizes. Britain has a history rich in such monsters.

Author questions :

*Who are you? I am Cas Peace, a Brit who loves to write fantasy novels. I live in Hampshire, in southern Britain, with my husband and two rescue dogs, Milly and Milo. I trained as a horse-riding instructor back in the 1970s and ’80s, and owned my own Welsh cob, which I used for carriage driving as well as riding. I used to compete in cross-country carriage trials and carriage-dressage. Now I’m a full-time author, editor and proofreader. I’m also a folk singer/songwriter, and have written unique folk-style songs to accompany each of the nine novels in my triple-trilogy fantasy series, Artesans of Albia. My other hobbies include country walking, growing cacti, working in stained glass, singing in my local church choir, and playing the bodhran.

Why did you choose this world/era to write in? I’ve always been fascinated by dragons, and of course, England’s patron saint, George, was one of the most famous dragon-slayers ever. I grew up seeing pub signs with George and the dragon on them, and became more fascinated since I learned that George wasn’t actually English! He was born in Lydda, Syria Palaestina, and served in the Roman army. He died a Christian martyr, hence his being adopted as England’s saint. Although there is a school of thought that believes it was another George entirely who was the basis for England’s saint. Whatever the truth behind the historical figure, I decided to base my Dragon Eater story on George, and make him a veteran of the Crusades, as it’s said that the legend of him slaying a dragon was brought back by Crusaders. Also, I’m interested in how the druids shaped their world and thought it’d be neat to combine the two into one story.

Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? I’ve written short stories before and had a few published, but I’ve never been part of an anthology or tried to write to someone else’s direction. I found it quite liberating in a way, because I didn’t have to come up with the actual premise; I merely had to decide how to interpret it, and that was the fun part. Also, I was well within my comfort zone with the genre of HEROIKA. I really enjoyed it and would definitely do it again.

Writing for an anthology differs from writing a novel in that you (obviously!) have constraints on your final word count. This means that although your story must still have a clear plot and structure, you must condense the action and be sharp and concise. I think that writing a successful short story is a separate art form from writing a novel, and both art forms must be learned and practiced in order to get them right. Often, writers are better at one form than the other — it’s rare to find someone equally skilled at both. They do exist, of course, and I would love to think I could eventually be thought of as a writer who can produce shorts as enjoyable as my novels. Time will tell!

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m definitely a panster, which is why I’m not sure if I’ll ever make a really good short story writer. I believe that careful planning is much more important in a short story, whereas I really like to get my teeth into an idea and simply let my pen and imagination hold hands and run away with each other. I dislike putting constraints on my characters, my emotions, or my dialogue as I write, and prefer to just scribble down what comes into my head. Then, once I feel comfortable that I have something worth working on, I will edit and hone and cut and edit some more to make my ramblings into some kind of sense. When I first began writing my Artesans of Albia series, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never written a novel before (much less an entire series!) and had no intention of showing it to anyone or trying to get it published. That idea came much later, after I’d summoned the courage to let someone read it and been told I ought to offer it to a publisher. The ideas for the series came thick and fast while I was writing, too fast, sometimes, for me to get them down. Nothing was planned, nothing thought out, and if I got stuck I only had to go dog walking or let my mind wander for the solution to pop into my head. I found it kind of scary —that feeling of being taken over by something I had no control over. Scary and wonderful and exciting all at once. I doubt I’d get those feelings were I to try to plan a novel, so I guess I’ll just have to wait an see if it ever happens again!

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I don’t like rainbows. Actually, I’m not too happy about anything odd in the sky. Weird clouds and colors freak me out, especially when we lived in Italy and wind-blown Saharan sand turned the sky and air blood-red for a day. I hardly went outdoors, it was so spooky!

Tidbit:

Recipe: Dragú with wyrmicelli pasta.

Ingredients:

A good quality cooking oil

1lb extremely lean, minced dragon meat

1 red onion

1 garlic clove (the softneck variety ‘silverdragonskin’ is best)

1 carrot (‘drakeheart’ has good color and flavor)

1 celery stick

Handful of mushrooms (black dragonback are best, if you can get them)

Half a pint of meat stock

Tomatoes

One large glass of warm, spiced dragon blood

Large pinch of Artemisia dracunculus

Pinch of salt.

Fresh wyrmicelli pasta

Method:

Heat the oil, add the dragon meat and cook until brown. Add the onion and garlic, fry for 3 minutes. Add the carrot and celery. Add the mushrooms and Artemisia dracunculus, then add the stock. Once mixed, stir in the glass of spiced dragon blood. Bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Cook the wyrmicelli until nicely al dente. Turn onto a plate and top with the dragú mix. Sprinkle with gorgon zola cheese and enjoy!

Author website/blog: http://www.caspeace.com   http://www.peacewrites.blogspot.co.uk

Twitter: @CasPeace1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cas.peace   https://www.facebook.com/artesansofalbia?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4180597.Cas_Peace

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Cas-Peace/e/B0098KMASI

A Week with The Dragon Eaters – Joe Bonnadona

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Welcome to the first post in Dragon Eaters Week. Please welcome fantasy and science fiction author Joe Bonnadona.

The Dragon’s Horde, appears in Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters, the brand-new, shared-theme anthology of Heroic Fiction created and edited by Janet Morris (c), and published by Perseid Press.

*Who are you? My name is Vadreo. I am a Gluriahan warrior, a Warhand of Thoon Wolf. My blood is the blood of the Dragon Eaters of old.

Why are you embarking on this quest? Our foes, the Draakonim, must be destroyed before they destroy my people.

Where are you from? (Tell us about it) I was born in the Bloodland of K’Thoon Morai. This is the land to which my people, the Gluriah, fled hundreds of years ago when the Vuladraakoi, the Mountain Dragons destroyed our homeland, our ancestral of K’Shar Wovay. The realm of my people is rich in forests and farmland, fresh water, hills, mountains, and to the south-east, a vast and barren desert. The Gluriah are farmers and fishermen, craftsmen and artisans, hunters and warriors.  

*Tell us about dragons in your world. The last dragon was slain nearly five centuries ago. According to legend, they demanded tribute from my people — not in gold, silver or jewels, but in human flesh, the taste of which they craved. They spat fire and ruled the skies for thousands of years before the Dragon Eaters tracked their queen to her lair and destroyed her almost five-hundred years ago. But the dragonmen the great dragons bred to serve them, the Draakonim, have survived, have bred and multiplied over the centuries.

What is the political system of your world? Very simple. While each thoon has a council of elders, we are governed by our chiefs. Warhands like me serve our chiefs, but at Klibberhelm Keep, one Warlord is in total command.

What is the best way to kill a dragon? As I have already told you, the last dragon was slain almost five centuries ago. But it is said that a dragon’s head must be cut off, or only certain weapons can slay a dragon, or the queen must be destroyed in her own fire. Much of what once was known has now been lost to us.

Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero? I am no hero. I am but a simple warrior who has volunteered to defend the frontier against the continuous raids by the Draakonim. The dragonmen come down from the north to raid into our lands, murdering our men and women, and stealing our children for whatever unholy rituals they observe. Warriors from Thoon Wolf — what you would call my clan and my tribe — have joined with other thoons to man Klibberhelm Keep, the fortress that guards Klibber Pass through the Bluecloak Mountains, to protect our lands and our people. We wage an ongoing war against the Draakonim, and in keeping with the tradition of the Dragon Eaters, we eat the flesh of the Draaks in order to gain their strength and ferocity in battle. “To know one’s enemy, one must eat one’s enemy.” Thus, we are now the Draak Eaters.

What is the technology level of your world? In my youth, twenty years ago, I journeyed my homeland to see the world, to fight with the Wandering Swords and the Rogue Blades, both fabled bands of mercenaries.I have seen such weapons as the catapult used in battle, and have even personally used a crossbow. But my people do not use such weapons yet. The sword, the spear, the axe, and the longbow are our preferred weapons. The Draakonim use weapons made of bone and flint, wood and crystal and stone, although some will use weapons ripped from the hands of our dead.

Where do dragons come from? There is no lore or knowledge that tells us the true origins of the Vuladraakoi. All we now know is that they came from out of the north, from the Warheart Mountains far beyond the lands of K’Shar Wovay, the Gluriahan ancestral homeland that is now called the Ashlands.

Are there other such monsters in your world? Besides the Draakonim, there are the spiderworms of the Semoory Desert. In my travels I have discovered that my world is filled with monsters of all shapes, sizes and breeds. But the worst monster of all is Man.

 Author questions (choose from):

*Who are you? Joe Bonadonna — writer and former musician.

How do you define a hero? A hero, to me, works and fights for a cause greater than him or her. Heroes do all they can to protect and nurture, to provide and care for their family and friends; without regard for their own lives, they serve their country. Heroes fight for those who cannot defend themselves; they stand as the shield that protects us, preserving our freedoms and our lives. The cemeteries are filled with heroes.

Why did you choose this world/era to write in? Tanyime is the world of my legacy character, Dorgo the Dowser. It is a world I began to explore over 40 years ago, and it is more familiar to me than the real world. My story, The Dragon’s Horde, is set in another part of Dorgo’s world, east of where he operates.

Give us a couple of lines about your characters. Vadreo is a no-nonsense warrior, loyal to his calling as a Draak Eater. Marriage and a family are things he gave up so he could dedicate his life in service at Klibberhelm Keep, defending the Twelve Thoons of the Gluriah. He has sacrificed love and wealth, and a lot of the happiness that the world can offer a man, in order to serve his people.

Shadumé is a Shuranho priestess of the neighbouring Vangi nation. She invades this man’s world of Draak Eaters, and is a highly-skilled and well–trained warrior in her own right. Although she is a grim woman, she is not without a macabre sense of humour. She is quite educated and very intelligent. But more than that . . . she possesses knowledge the Draak Eaters do not have, knowledge that has long been lost to them — and she is the one who has the answers to the riddle of men, dragons and Draakonim.

Heroika: The Dragon Eaters is a dark heroic fantasy – how do you define that genre? For me, dark fantasy is more serious in nature, more adult. The worlds of dark fantasy are hard and cruel, and often without much hope. It’s more cynical than other genres, and has more in common with film noir motion pictures than sword and sorcery, or epic/heroic fantasy. To me, the heroes in dark fantasy stories are often a bit tattered and worn; their motives are often suspect, as you’re not sure which side they are on — and usually it’s their own. And you’re never sure if they will survive. I don’t usually write dark fantasy, although my stories of Dorgo the Dowser are rooted in film noir

Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? Yes, I’ve written for several anthologies: Griots: Sisters of the Spear; Sinbad: The New Voyages; Azieran Presents: Artifacts and Relics — Extreme Sword and Sorcery; and the shared-universe of the Heroes in Hell series.  The difference between writing a novel and writing short stories or novellas for anthologies are many: length, theme, style, etc. When writing a novel, you are writing according to the rules of your own universe. But when you write for anthologies, especially those with a shared-theme or shared-universe, you must abide by whatever rules have been laid out beforehand. It can be a difficult challenge, and at the same time a lot of fun. It’s also very rewarding when you succeed. For instance, I don’t find the rules of the Heroes in Hell series to be restrictive: quite the contrary . . . I find them quite liberating and have had no problem letting my imagination run free. I also find that shared-theme anthologies, such as Heroika: The Dragon Eaters are less “labour-intensive” than a shared-universe, although still requiring research and the hard work of sitting down and writing. For Heroes in Hell, for instance, I first choose my historical characters and then research their lives. For shared-theme or basic anthologies, I first work on my idea, doing what research is needed and then build on my fictional characters. While I prefer writing character-oriented, as opposed to plot-oriented stories, each story is different and has its own needs and requirements. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I can be both. It depends on the story. If the characters are really “talking to me” then I just hold on and write by the “skin of my fingers.” Sometimes, as in the case of many Dorgo the Dowser stories, which are often little puzzles or mysteries, I have to do a lot of outlining and plotting in advance.

What other novels/short stories have you written? I have written three novels — Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser (heroic fantasy), and Three Against The Stars (space opera); and a sword and sorcery pirate novel, Waters of Darkness (with David C. Smith.)  I have written Blood of the Lion for Griots: Sisters of the Spear; The Book of Echoes, for Azieran: Artifacts and Relics; Sinbad and the Golden Fleece, for Sinbad: The New Voyages, Vol 4; and We the Furious, and Undertaker’s Holiday (with Shebat Legion) for Poets in Hell. I have some other short stories to be published soon, but can’t speak of those right now.

What book(s) are you currently reading? I’m rereading a number of Raymond Chandler’s short stories, and will probably reread a few westerns and a vampire novel or two as I try to figure out what to write next.

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I’m going slightly mad….

Author website/blog:  http://tinyurl.com/p6n7005

Twitter

Facebook:  (Bonadonna’s Bookshelf) http://tinyurl.com/nfo4xd3

(My personal Facebook page) http://tinyurl.com/onqj4wz

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/olwj589

Amazon page: http://tinyurl.com/ptng7nb

Trailer and art by Roy Mauritsen

A Week with the Dragon Eaters

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I am delighted to announce the forthcoming release of Heroika: The Dragon Eaters (c) Perseid Press. This heroic fiction anthology features seventeen authors whose work ranges from fantasy romance, dark fantasy, historical, science-fiction, dystopian and the acclaimed Sacred Band books, and much more. This is not a cuddly book, this is not a book for the faint of heart. This is a book filled with heroes from past, present and future, from alternate worlds and possible-Earth. Blood, courage, death, life, love, sacrifice and, of course, dragons fill the pages in this roaring collection.

To celebrate the release on 25th May some of the writers and their characters are due to visit my blog….

Welcome to a week with the Dragon Eaters, heroes all.

Trailer and art by Roy Mauritsen

Trailer by Catalina Egan

Exciting new release, HEROIKA 1, coming 25th of May!

eranamage:

A great collection of heroic fiction against the deadliest of foes.

Originally posted on AUTHOR JENNIFER LOISKE:

I prefer my dragons alive, yet I have a soft spot for heroes and beasts. So yes, I couldn’t resist but pre-ordered HEROIKA 1! Seventeen authors writing about dragons! How awesome is that!

11143231_897184103657050_5318210832294606375_oBlurb of HEROIKA 1:

The art of dragon killing:

Dragons have been eating humans for centuries. Now heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe. Learn how to hunt, kill, and eat the wild dragon. Never before has revenge tasted so good. A literary feast for the bloody-minded.

In Janet Morris’ anthology on the art of dragon killing, seventeen writers bring you so close to dragons you can smell their fetid breath. Tales for the bold among you.

HEROIKA 1 — DRAGON EATERS, an anthology of heroic fiction edited by Janet Morris, features original stories by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, S. E. Lindberg, Jack William Finley, Travis Ludvigson, Tom Barczak, J. P. Wilder, Joe Bonadonna, Milton Davis…

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Author Interview Eighty Nine – Bret James Stewart

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Welcome to Bret James Stewart

Where are you from and where do you live now? I am from and currently live in Brevard, North Carolina, a small town near Asheville, in the western mountains of the state.  It’s a great place to live with lots of hiking and other outdoor activities.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I am an eclectic writer and work in various genres.  I particularly love fantasy and poetry, especially fantasy poetry!  I write non-fiction and fiction, poetry, plays, and role-playing game material, so I have a wide spectrum of things going.  Currently, I have a fantasy novel out entitled The Dragon’s Lullaby.  Later this year, I will release a book entitled Codex Rosmanicus:  Twelve Tales of Enchantment compiled by Jaren the Traveller.  It is a mixture of short stories, poems, and a play, all of which are fantasy themed.  Much of my non-fiction is hiking trail related.  My company, Blue Ridge Hiker, has a website, and I write almost all the material for it.

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere.  The only thing I have not yet been able to work myself into inspiration with is poetry.  If I start working with something else, I can generally write long enough to gain inspiration.  Fortunately, because I write in various genres, I am usually inspired in one or more of them at any given time.  Also, as I immerse myself in my work and the work of other authors and artists, I tend to be in an inspired or nearly-inspired state all the time.  I live in that middle world between the real world or men and the realm of the fantastic, thank God, so I rarely feel mundane.  If I do, I can work on something routine or technical such as editing until I am again inspired.

Are your characters based on real people? Yes and no.  Certain characteristics of real people are incorporated into some of my characters.  This is a normal procedure I would imagine most authors use.  This adds an important element of realism to the descriptions and actions of the character.  Other times, though, my characters are not based on anyone in particular.  It just depends on what I am doing.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No.  But this is an intriguing idea…

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Sometimes.  As I mentioned before, I write in various genres, and some of my works are designed to convey a message.  For example, I am a Christian minister, and some of my works in this genre are written to convey some sort of spiritual and/or environmental message.  Other works are created to convey an idea or what might be called a philosophical point.  Others are written merely for entertainment and contain no conscious message.

Is it important?  Again, sometimes.  It is very important in books designed to convey one or more messages.  However, I do not think it is necessary that a book contain a message as I think that simple entertainment is sufficient reason to write a work.  That said, I think a work of any length is going to contain some sort of message that crept in, if only subconsciously, on the part of the author.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? The Dragon’s Lullaby is available as an e-book and print.  It will be available in audio form, too.  I do not have it in large print, predominantly because I’ve never thought about that before.  I would imagine large print will be a no-go as the e-book has adjustable font and the audio won’t need it.  Only those buying a print book who would also want large print would matter, and I imagine this segment of the market would be too small to justify doing it.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit.  I edit as I go and periodically thereafter, generally using a milepost of some sort such as a word count or chapter.  I find this helps me focus as I am distracted by errors.  This also results in a very clean manuscript.  For works longer than a short story, I also use a professional editor as you skim over some errors in your own work because you know what you’re trying to say and your mind puts the pieces together.  A fresh set of eyes also involves a different set of values, opinions, and ideas.  Professional editing is expensive, but it is well worth the price.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes.  Probably around one-quarter of the books I read are self-published.  The ratio would be higher except I read a lot of classics, and I am in school earning my Masters of Divinity, so I read several (text)books each semester for my classwork.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? Sometimes.  I read the reviews more for non-fiction than I do for fiction to get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the material.  Fiction is much more a matter of opinion, so I am less interested in reviews that are opinions.  Still, I do sometimes use them, especially if they offer comparisons to other authors or works.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? My favourite traditionally published author is J.R.R. Tolkien, but he’s everybody’s favourite.  I also like Poe’s stuff and Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles.  I like the English Romantic and Victorian poets such as Tennyson, Keats, and Coleridge.  My favourite self-published author is Bret James Stewart!  Seriously, I like the work of Karen-Ann Stewart, who writes New Adult Romance, Kay Iscah’s Seventh Night and related books, and The Labyrinth Wall by Emilyann Girdner. I think all three of these ladies have a fine career ahead of them.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I am torn over this one.  Many, many authors claim that you must give away some books to get reviews in order to get your works out there and help you sell books.  Others (the minority, it seems) claim that giving away books is basically senseless.  I tend to think it is a bad idea.  I have not yet given away any books, running on the theory that reviews, etc. will come organically.  I have not had enough time to test this theory out, so I have no idea as to its accuracy.

Do you have any pets? I currently have one feline companion, Petit-Leon le Chronicleer du Fay.  We read and write, sing and dance, and hang out.  We’re buds.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

My website:   http://www.bretjamesstewart.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bretjamesstewartauthor

Tsu:  https://www.tsu.co/BretJamesStewart

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Lullaby-Bret-James-Stewart/dp/0692333711/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430351764&sr=8-1&keywords=bret+james+stewart

Smashwords:   https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/530989

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-dragon-s-lullaby

Blue Ridge Hiker: http://www.blueridgehiker.com/

The_Dragon's_Lullaby_Cover_for_Kindle

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