Book Spotlight and New Release- Dragon Moon – Fantasy

Dragon Moon Release!! JULIE NICHOLLS

 

Hey peeps!! I’m happy to announce that my latest Young Adult Fantasy, Dragon Moon is available for pre order at the fabulously low price of 99c! This is a huge saving, and from Thursday 13th October, the price will be $3.45 so get it while it’s on offer!

Save the dragons, unite the races, no sweat.

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I’m nineteen and wish I had a clue about my future. Instead of my own bed, this morning I woke in the strange land of Lur Neval. My name is Scarlett, but the Nevalese call me Dragon Mage. Seems it’s my job to preserve the all-important dragons and oh, while I’m here, bring peace to the warring clans. Piece of cake if I can outwit Madoc, the manipulative, evil seer who wants every dragon destroyed. Whatever it takes, I’m here to fulfill my destiny under the light of the Dragon Moon.

 

Buy Links

Amazon UK goo.gl/HolHgO

Amazon USA goo.gl/WXyIdl

Kobo goo.gl/TMrKcV

Smashwords goo.gl/jQszpx

Nook/B&N goo.gl/utlgGe

iBooks goo.gl/66Jbwu

 

Don’t forget it’s available at the ridiculous price of 99c until release day which is 13th October, 2016

Go get it!

Fantasy….it’s everywhere – part 2 – St George and the Dragon

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Following on from my previous post about the pervasiveness of fantasy I have been thinking about this a lot. I am British, and Britain has a very rich heritage of myth and folklore; we have dragons, we have knights who slay them, we have mythical kings and magic swords, we have monsters inhabiting Scottish Lochs, we have fairies, pixies and ghosts aplenty, we have heroes and antiheroes.  Yet many people scoff at fantasy, thinking it is simply elves, dwarves or similar; a genre read by geeks and nerds. Well yes, in part it is, but fantasy and folklore have been with us from the dawn of time in one form or another.

Let’s look at one of the best known English myths – that of St George and the Dragon.

Most accounts claim St George was born in Cappadocia, in what is now Turkey, of Darian origin. He enlisted in the Roman army, and quickly achieved a reputation for his physical strength bravery, loyalty and courage and he achieved a rank of Tribunus Militum, in charge of over 1000 men. He was martyred during the reign Emperor Diocletian in 303 AD in Lydda, Palestine, for refusing to persecute Christians, when Diocletion brought in edicts against what was then a reasonably small but vociferous sect. Including the burning of churches, the destruction of holy scriptures and the execution of Christians. George defended the Christians and their faith and was imprisoned, tortured and executed. There are various accounts of is martyrdom, some claiming it took seven years as God restored him to life three times. His fame was carried as far as Russia, with his head was carried to Rome.   His emblem of the red cross on a white background was carried on the tabards and shields of crusader knights. It is also the flag of England and forms the red cross part of the Union Flag of Great Britain. St George is the patron saint of England, taking the role from St Edward the Confessor who is now often forgotten. His tomb attracted pilgrims, and his fame spread when Richard the Lionheart introduced his military cult to England during the crusades and the Battle of Acre, before this his cult appeared in Byzantium.  John Cabot carried his emblem to Newfoundland and both Sir Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake flew his standard. It was also carried by the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower.

Jacobus de Voragine in his Golden Legends (13th Century) speaks of him in Silene in Libya. Another 10th Century account places St George in the fictional area of Lasia, ruled by a tyrannical emperor called Silinus. The area had a lake, inhabited by a venomous dragon, local inhabitants would feed it sheep to keep it passive, and then when these failed to satisfy it, children were chosen at random. One day the lottery fell on the king’s daughter, the king offers half his kingdom if his daughter was spared. This is an idea which appears in other mythology – the king – unable to defeat a monster offers his daughter and riches to a hero. St George, the knight, happened to be passing and wounding the dragon with his lance (and with God’s blessing)  then capturing the dragon with the princess’s girdle allowed it to be led by the noble lady to the city gates, where St George converted them to Christianity and duly slew the dragon.

In some accounts he was the son of an English Lord, Lord Albert of Coventry and his mother died in childbirth. The babe was stolen by a ‘wild-woman’ of the woods (possibly a witch or gypsy) but he eventually outwits her and becomes a knight. Of course after the slaying of the dragon and rescue of the princess he married the maiden, returned to England and lived happily ever after… Although as with many legends another version states he faces a second dragon, in Warwickshire, kills it but subsequently dies of its poison.

Of course this is a religious myth, and many would say not fantasy as such – the dragon represents evil, and those who slay them champions of Christianity. He is also believed to have protected horses from witchcraft – one should hang a flint with a hole over the stable door with verse depicting him vanquishing a hag. But there is more than religious allegory, he epitomised courtly and chivalrous values; he was a warrior, saviour of damsels in distress and vanquisher of monsters.  And some would say religion uses elements we class as fantasy, and ideas which appear in religion appear in myth and folklore. The two are intertwined. The more magical elements of the myth probably appeared after the Reformation, with the overtly Christian inferences stripped out by the Protestants and the more romantic elements of the story take the fore.

His heart (allegedly) lies in Windsor and was a favoured relic of King Henry V, who invoked him at the siege of Agincourt (1415), where the English were victorious against the French, but later kings have claimed his protection and as the patron saint of England his influence is firmly entrenched.   There are other local English myths – including one in an Essex village where a dragon (probably a crocodile escaped from the king’s menagerie) was killed by a local nobleman – one Sir George Marney.    The Uffington White Horse, in Berkshire, England (an ancient white chalk horse cut into the landscape) has a dragon myth.  There is a hill named Dragon Hill, is claimed by Thomas Hughes in his book The Scouring of the White Horse (1859) to have been the site of the slaying of the dragon by ‘King George’. The bare patch is supposed to be where the blood of the dragon spilled, nothing will grow. Hughes cites another region, Aller in Somerset, where a shepherd tells of a hill which saw the death of the dragon and the burial of its slayer. The horse at Uffington is itself curious being linked with Alfred the Great, (878 AD) Hengist the Anglo Saxon leader, Celtic (100BC) but in fact has been in existence since the Bronze Age – around 1000BCE. Brinsop in Herefordshire also claims ownership of St George – its parish church has a medieval carving of the deed being done. The dragon apparently residing in the local ‘Dragon’s Well’ and the next village being known as Wormsley – ‘worm’ or ‘wyrm’ being an alternate word for dragon.

http://www.royalsocietyofstgeorge.com/history_of_st_george.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dragons_in_mythology_and_folklore

http://www.sacred-texts.com/lcr/fsca/fsca16.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George_and_the_Dragon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Legend

More about other British dragons, warrior kings, magic swords, monsters, ghostly and iconic horses and myths from the folklore rich Isles of Britain next time.

Author Interview Number Twelve – J D Hallowell – Fantasy Author

dragon fate cover 3 working (2)Dragon Blade - J.D. Hallowell (2)

Welcome to J.D. Hallowell.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a mid-50s-ish father and husband who’s been fortunate enough to have lived an interesting and active life. I’ve had one fantasy series, War of the Blades, published, and I have several other fantasy and SF projects in the works. I like to keep many irons in the fire at once, and I hate to be bored, so I’ve worked at an eclectic collection of jobs, including automotive mechanic, cowboy, photographer, psychiatric tech, paralegal assistant, massage therapist, bouncer, and medical billing clerk. I studied martial arts for over 30 years. I’ve been a soldier and an emergency medical technician, and I served as the chief of a volunteer ambulance squad. I was a diamond courier for a while, and later owned a working kennel where I trained dogs for law enforcement as well as personal protection, and most recently, I’ve trained one service dog, for myself. I don’t get around much now (I’ve been shot, stabbed, blown up, bludgeoned, poisoned, and even had harsh language directed toward me, if you can believe it, and it takes its toll), but I write whenever I can. I have pretty wide-ranging interests and hobbies, including, but not limited to, history, archery, paleontology, cooking, RPGs (the games, not the weapons) and making jewelry. I live on the Space Coast of Florida with my wife, my son, and my Great Dane service dog, until I can convince the rest of my family and friends to move to Arizona.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.

All of my published work so far is epic/heroic fantasy. I have two books, Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade, out right now, with two more books set in the same universe, Dragon Home and Dragon Justice, scheduled for release this year.

Where can readers find your book?

Both Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade are available as e-books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. Dragon Fate is available in trade paperback through most major retailers. It is also available as an e-book through Google Play.

How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write?

I have been telling stories with my friends since I was very young – about five years old. I started writing my stories down around the time I was ten. Looking back, it surprises me more than a little that I went to the effort of writing at that point. I’m severely dyslexic, which made writing a fairly serious challenge prior to recent developments in technology, and while I always dreamed of being an author, I didn’t get really serious about it until much later in life.

As for why I write fantasy, well, the short answer would have to be that when the stories in your head involve talking dragons, it’s not really a hard decision.

The long answer would be that fantasy offers a huge degree of freedom to the writer, as well as the challenge of creating a believable, internally consistent universe, and I enjoy both of those aspects. As a reader, one of the reasons that I love fantasy is that feeling of being transported to another world, and that experience is something I want to be able to give to the people who read my books.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences?

Like any other author, I’ve probably been influenced in one way or another by everything I’ve ever read or experienced, and I’m sure that there are a lot of things that have affected me profoundly in ways that I am not even aware of. I was part of the first generation that grew up watching television, so some of my first heroes were people and characters like The Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, John Wayne, Jack Lalane, and Vic Morrow’s Sgt. Saunders. If I started to list authors whose work I admire, we’d have a very long and eclectic list. I’m sure that one of the things that influenced me is that I come from a family of storytellers. My family doesn’t give advice or comment on anything straight out; they tell you a story and let you figure it out, or not. A lot of the conversation in my house growing up really consisted of sharing stories, and I can’t imagine that that didn’t shape me.

Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one?

There have been a lot of different positive experiences that have come out of my writing. I’ve enjoyed the actual act of writing my books immensely, and it’s been wonderful to be able to share them with my family as they take shape, and then share them with other readers. Hearing from people all over the world who have read my books and enjoyed them has been amazing. I’ve learned a great deal from the whole process, and one of the most positive things that it’s done for me is to help me be more open to accepting criticism and feedback. One of the negative things that’s come out of it is having to put up with internet trolls.

With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why?

Yes, I still publish in print. A lot of the world still hasn’t converted to e-books, and I want anyone who wants to read them to have access to my books. While it’s true that an e-book never has to go “out of print”, there are also issues with e-books being somewhat ephemeral: once a format is no longer supported, then the book essentially disappears. Print books are one way of ensuring that if they have any interest, my grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, if I ever have any, will still be able to read my books. Dragon Fate is already available in a print edition, and Dragon Blade will be coming out in print shortly. Print editions are planned for everything I have in the publishing pipeline.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write?

No. I like to have quiet. I want to be able to pay attention to what is in my head, not what’s going on around me.

Books are important; why is this the case? What can a book provide that, say, a video game cannot?

Books give you the opportunity to exercise your imagination in ways that visual media do not. As a reader, you take the text as a framework and create your own world. Every reader’s imagined world is different. With film and video games, you are limited to what the filmmakers or programmers could imagine. You have much less freedom to create an experience that is completely your own.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?

 People pay me to tell them about my imaginary friends.

Links for Dragon Fate:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Fate-War-Blades-ebook/dp/B006OT9IKO

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Fate-War-Blades-ebook/dp/B006OT9IKO

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-fate-jd-hallowell/1112501378?ean=9780979393594

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9780979393532

Links for Dragon Blade:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Blade-War-Blades-ebook/dp/B00AS5N0DQ

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Blade-War-Blades-ebook/dp/B00AS5N0DQ

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-blade-jd-hallowell/1114021362?ean=2940016140698

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9780979393587

 

Review of Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade by J D Hallowell – Fantasy

Dragon Fate (4 star)  is the debut novel from fantasy author J D Hallowell. This heroic fantasy begins with the ex-soldier Delno assisting a pregnant dragon, neither a safe nor easy task. Set in a vivid world where Dragon Riders are revered, if mysterious, Delno suddenly find the quiet life  he wanted turned upside down by the baby dragon to whom he is bonded and suddenly he is embroiled in intrigue, politics, murder and even a fight to save himself and the dragons. He is also gifted with a Dragon Blade by the dying dragon he helps, a rare and powerful item indeed.

There is a lot of info, but I found the relationship between the dragons and the riders enchanting. It is complex, each complementing the other, it is also very close, so much so that one cannot live without the other.  The first half of the book at least is the building of the relationships, the well described and well thought out maturing of Geneva, the dragon, even to dragon anatomy.

The actual adventure, which leads into book 2 (Dragon Blades) doesn’t really start in earnest until the later part of book 1 but as a set up for the world, the characters and the complexities it is really very good. There is also the burgeoning relationship between Delno and the fiesty female Rider Rita, which certainly is not an easy one in many ways.

There were a few technical issues, but for me they did not detract overmuch from the story.

Dragon Blades (5 stars!)is the second installment and this one I really couldn’t put down, I actually stayed up very late trying to finish as the adventure was so enthralling.

Delno and his friends must convince other Riders and even wild dragons to unite to thwart the machinations which will lead to war.

The battle scenes in both books  I found exciting and entertaining and certainly there was a good deal of both death and danger.

I am not sure if it was the author’s intention but I found a distinct environmental message within the story about use of the land and resources and the danger of greed and bad land management. This is well done and provoked thought and reflection.

I will certainly recommend these books as a good dragon/fantasy read and will look out for anything else this author writes.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15829015-dragon-fate

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Fate-War-Blades-ebook/dp/B006OT9IKO

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17162767-dragon-blade

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Blade-War-Blades-ebook/dp/B00AS5N0DQ

The Dragon Within

Good Reads Indie Book club Fantasy read for April 2013 and well worth it!

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15733312-the-dragon-within

4 star Goodreads rating.

Firstly I would like to say I really enjoyed the story. The pace was quite fast and the world interesting and intriguing. The characters were a lot of fun, all had their own agenda and there were a number of twists I did not expect, especially with the character Reaper. The MFC was interesting; at once young, naive and at the same time, powerful, ancient and misunderstood. There were the requisite hateable characters and those who were simply trying to survive. Although there were quite a distinct good guys and bad guys even then the lines were blurred and mistakes and petty differences were often close to the surface, especially towards the end. The relationship between the characters was entertaining, funny, sad, complex and angry sometimes all at once.

There were dragons, which of course are great! The history of the dragons, their relationships to the other races and the lore of the world were interesting and well handled. The character of Enthor was very intriguing, leaving more questions unanswered about his past and his motives.

The magic was handled well, with good descriptions of the spells and effects and the fear the use of magic had on the characters, including those wielding it was interesting.

So why not 5 stars?
I did find the shifting points of view slightly confusing in places, although mostly it was done well I do find it hard to manage and the jumping around sometimes made it hard to keep track. (Well for someone with a brain as tiny as mine.)

There were also a number of editing issues, but that said I believe the author will be rectifying those in a re-release.

Overall – good story and good read, will be looking out for the follow up.