Adventures in Marketing – Bundle Rabbit II – Heroic Tales #Fantasy

You may remember my previous post about Bundle Rabbit – the online book bundling service. I now have The Light Beyond the Storm – Book I featured in a forthcoming bundle. Heroic Tales features 19 tales of fantasy and heroes, brave deeds and daring adventures.

Heroic Tales - Bundle Rabbit

Synopsis

Imagine: you are seated about a blazing campfire, you and the other bards.  Tales of Achilles, Beowulf, Alexander, Odysseus, Conan, Tarzan, Joan of Arc and other heroes are told, along with new ones that carry on with the Jungian archetypes so central to our very nature.  Men and women who brave the unnatural, the fantastic, and the plain weird.

Without the circle of firelight, shapes of menace and strangeness stalk horrifically, but the heroic tales hearten us, and strengthen the entire tribe in both body and spirit to continue the battle of good and right, against the strange and evil.  We all have the need, deep within us, for Heroic Tales!

It’s quite a mix of tales from Jay Bowers, Stefon Mears, N.W. Moors and Jerusha Moors, Michael Kingswood, Carl S. Plumer, J. D. Brink, Louisa Swann, Xina M Uhl, Robert Jeschonek, Blaze Ward, Douglas Smith, Robert Jeschonek, Perry A Wilson, Debbie Mumford and Leslie Claire Walker.  For details of each book please check out the Bundle (as we will be overrun with links).
Table of Contents
1. “A Barbarian in Chicago” by Simon Stanton
2. “Lair of the Wulf” by Simon Stanton
3. “With a Broken Sword” by Stefon Mears
4. “Icarus Rising” by N.W. Moors
5. “Lee and the Monkey Idol” by Jay Bowers
6. “Glimmer Vale” by Michael Kingswood
7. “Afterlife” by Jay Bowers
8. “Shadows of Death” by Carl S. Plumer
9. “The Quest” by J. D. Brink
10. “The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I” by A. L. Butcher
11. “The Girl with the Candy Cane Legs” by Louisa Swann
12. “Necropolis” by Xina M Uhl
13. “The Sword That Spoke” by Robert Jeschonek
14. “The Forestal” by Blaze Ward
15. “The Wolf at the End of the World” by Douglas Smith
16. “The Wife Who Never Was” by Robert Jeschonek
17. “Family” by P. A. Wilson
18. “Witchling” by Debbie Mumford
19. “Faery Tales: Volume 1” by Leslie Claire Walker

It’s due out 11th July – on Bundle Rabbit, Kobo, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 19 books for less than $5 – now that is a bargain right there!

BundleRabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/heroic-tales

Heroic Tales on Kobo

Heroic Tales on Barnes and Noble

Heroic Tales on I-books

Heroic Tales on Amazon.co.uk

Heroic Tales on Amazon.com

 

Heroic Tales - Fan set.pngHopefully there should be some forthcoming interviews with authors and characters for this bundle – so keep your eyes peeled for those.

 

 

Greek and Roman Mythology – Course – Review

Greek and Roman Mythology – Coursera

Greek and Roman mythology is fascinating, in many ways it is at the core of many Western traditional stories.  Even today we are enchanted by such tales of heroes, monsters, errant gods, and the goings on of those far removed and yet ever close. Hercules, Odysseus, the Trojan horse, Oedipus, and much more. The terms have fallen into modern usages – An odyssey denoting an epic journey, a Herculean task, a Trojan horse for a gift which is not all it seems.  Such tales spawned others – and in many ways influence modern heroic fiction.

I’ve studied Classics in the past – although it was more for the historical perspective and so this course really appealed.  I’ve also studied with Coursera – an online organisation which offers courses from a variety of sources, including the University of Pennsylvania who provide this particular course.

Myths intrigue me, I read a lot of mythic fiction, and write it too in my Tales of Erana series.

https://www.coursera.org/course/mythology

This is what the Coursera site says about the course ‘Myths are traditional stories that have endured over a long time. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? This course will investigate these questions through a variety of topics, including the creation of the universe, the relationship between gods and mortals, human nature, religion, the family, sex, love, madness, and death.’ (Coursera Website)

Does the course deliver? Yes it does. The tutor Peter Stuck is engaging, obviously knows his subject and is enthusiastic. The course is presented through a combination of videos, reading materials, quizzes, two essays and some discussion forums. The course recommends 10 hours a week of study – in truth it’s probably slightly more as some of the reading is quite long.

The subjects covered range from how the myths were perceived, the notion of pietas (duty, honour, loyalty) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pietas to religion, to food, to concept of the hero, what it meant to be a man in that society, the notion of how to treat one’s guests (or not) and familial ties. The reading includes The Odyssey – possibly THE epic adventure of antiquity and one of my first introductions to ancient Greek literature during my Diploma in Classics – so this was a very welcome re-read; The Aeneid – the tale of Aeneas and the struggle of the survivors of Troy and their quest for a new homeland – which lead (apparently) to the founding of Rome. Julius Caesar and Augustus traced their ancestry back to Aeneas and through him back to his immortal mother Venus; to the Oresteia (the tragic tale of Agamemnon after he returns from Troy); Oedipus the King (the tragic play so famous in which fate and prophecy play such a terrible role). Plus several more.

The video lectures made me think about some of the books in a new way, by focusing on aspects I may not have initially seen, and seeing the greater whole of the stories. Homer was incredibly influential and the later works often copy (or attempt to) his style and incredible narrative versatility. The books cover a period far removed from ideals and ideas of today, yet still something resonates – the challenge, the struggle and the emotions of the characters, the fight to be something more, and in some cases to survive. Of course much is different – Hesiod’s Theogony is not favourable to women, there are of course slaves in these societies, the gods are many and walk with humans, often begetting offspring in one form or another, and playing with the lives of mortals, ritual is important and there is violence – a lot of it. Actually that’s not so different from today and for much the same reasons – greed, honour, territory, religion etc.

These are not books for the faint hearted, or for those who are shocked by violence, sex, double crossing, murder, betrayal and such like. Themes in fact which tend to pervade our media – watch any soap opera and these themes are there in abundance. The influence of these authors and their work is monumental and this course helps to show why. Why this works need to be preserved and celebrated and why these cultures are so important to our own. These books are real heroic fiction, they are at the core of heroes and monsters, and of fantasy as we know it.

So, you ask, is it expensive? No it’s free. You can pay a small fee and get a certificate of completion (assuming you’ve done all the quizzes to an acceptable standard and one of the assignments) but it can be completed simply for the pleasure of it.

Is there anything I didn’t like? I did find the workload quite heavy – with work, writing, and family life commitments can be difficult to find the time and energy to put it but others may find that easier. I also didn’t use the forums much, although that was personal choice.

The course does not require any prior experience in the subject (but it helps) and assumes a level of literacy and intelligence in order to discuss and appreciate the themes and topics.

Would I recommend this? Yes, without a doubt to anyone interested in mythology, Greek and Roman literature or religion, fans of heroic fiction, and historians of the period.

#Mythology #Coursera #HeroicFiction #Fantasy #GreekandRoman

A Week with the Dragon Eaters – Chris Morris

Today I welcome author, singer and songwriter Chris Morris and his character.

Character questions:

*I am Tarhunt the Storm God of the Hittites and the Hurri lands.

Why are you embarking on this quest? The dragon Illuyankas brought me battle and vanquished me, eating my heart and my eyes.  From that day on, I planned revenge, and now I will take it, using my own children, now grown,  to triumph over this dragon who eats the children of our country.

Where are you from? I live in the heavens, but my main temples are in Nerik and Hattusas

*Tell us about dragons in your world. This dragon Illuyankas demands human children for sacrifice.  He is a dragon of the sea, and sometimes he mates with human women.

Do you have a family? I begot upon the daughter of a poor man and a goddess  a  son named Sarruma, through whom I will avenge myself upon the dragon Illuyankas. And also I begat a daughter, to help me lay low this dragon and stop him and his family from eating Hattian children.

What is the best way to kill a dragon? To kill such a dragon, even a god must go carefully.  I will smite him with my lightnings, and overcome him with my lightnings. I will strike the sea, and it will arise to my purpose.  I will summon the storms, and they will come to aid me. When he is weak I will pierce his eyes with my trident. I will make the sea boil with my wrath, and the dragon will die of my rage.

Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero?

To be a god, one must be a hero.  One must heed the peoples of the lands, and bring good things upon them.  I bring the thunder, the lightnings, the rain to nourish beasts and crops. I fight beside my people when they war, striking down their enemies and even their gods.  I summon the rain and the wind and all weather.  In the Hatti lands, where we have 1,000 gods, I rule them all. For the sake of my peoples, I call the other gods to aid me and together we fight great battles.

Author questions: I am Christopher Crosby Morris, writer, narrator, and musician. I have been a defense policy analyst and futurist.

How do you define a hero? A hero is one who serves a cause greater than the self.

Why did you choose this era to write in? This anthology needed to start with a dragon from earliest days of myth. I chose the Hittite and Hurrian Illuyankas myth because it may well be the earliest battle of god and dragon ever told.

Give us a couple of lines about your characters.The narrator of my story is Kella, the actual narrator of one of tablets that record a variant of the Illuyankas myth. In my story Kella, high priest of Nerik, in the north of Hatti, tells a first-hand account of the second battle between the dragon and the storm god.  The hero of this tale is the storm god himself, Tarhunt, who begets two children specifically to help him defeat the dragon who previously had eaten his heart and his eyes. There is another variant of this story, in which Tarhunt’s daughter and her human lover get the dragon drunk and tie him up so that the gods can come down and slay him, but that is not the variant we tell. In our story, although the storm god’s daughter has a role, he himself fights this rich and predatory dragon…  and if I tell you more, I’ll give away the story’s ending.

Heroika: The Dragon Eaters is a dark heroic fantasy – how do you define that genre? Dark heroic fantasy was once called simply heroic fiction or mythology – which is always dark, always allegorical, and usually carries a moral whose value is shown in the story. For me, heroic fiction is any tale in which a character strives to put aside his personal well-being in search of a solution to problems greater than his own.

How much research did you need for your story? My wife, Janet Morris, and I have spent many years reading and researching Ancient Near Eastern myth and legend, some of mankind’s earliest stories. But researching in detail the myth of Illuyankas required not only a deep familiarity with the various versions of the story, but enough command of the early texts to be able to create a single version out of several.

Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? I have written for a number of shared universes, including Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell universe, Bob Asprin and Lynn Abbey’s Thieves’ world universe, C.J. Cherryh’s Merovingen Universe, and more.  I actually enjoy the challenges of working in a shared cosmos. I’ve also written stand-alone short stories, another different form. A novel allows you time to work with more layers of story than does a short story, in which space is very limited.  In a short story, you must know everything about the “past” of the characters, but not tell all, only the climax. So compression of the most radical sort is needed for a short piece of fiction which must have a beginning, middle, and end in a confined space.

What other novels/short stories have you written? With Janet Morris, I have written a number of novels:  The Sacred Band is my favorite, with its grand canvas and heroic ethos. I have also co-written The Fish, the Fighters and the Song-girl, Outpassage, The 40-Minute War, Threshold, Trust Territory, The Stalk, The Little Helliad, M.E.D.U.S.A, and other novels, including several by pseudonyms.

Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. Recently, I came to the craft of narration, and found that it allows me to mix my musical, technical, and prose skills in a new and most satisfying way.  I have just finished narrating The Sacred Band for Perseid Press, available on Audible.com, and am just in the final stages of producing I, the Sun for Perseid Press, which will be released on Audible.com for Perseid Press.

Tidbit: My favorite recipe for dragon meat is simply to brush it with olive oil and vinegar and cook it over an open fire for about two hours, or until the skin is black and the scales fall off.

Author website/blog:  sacredbander.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.c.morris.7?fref=ts

Amazon page:  http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Morris/e/B008L41JNO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_2

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A Week with the Dragon Eaters – William Hiles

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

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 – Seth Lindberg

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

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

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

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

https://animoto.com/play/tqPbkRgzwuxATnM76KRqHQ

Trailer by Catalina Egan

Heroika: Dragon Eaters – Heroic Fiction/Fantasy/Myth – New Release

heroika revised 1

Image (c) Perseid Press

Heroika: Dragon Eaters is the exciting new shared universe from Perseid Press.

Heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe.
HEROIKA — DRAGON EATERS is an anthology of heroic fiction edited by Janet Morris and featuring original stories by S. E. Lindberg, Jack William Finley, Travis Ludvigson, Tom Barczak, J. P. Wilder, Joe Bonadonna, Milton Davis, Alexandra Butcher, William Hiles, M Harold Page, Walter Rhein, Cas Peace, Beth Waggoner Patterson, Bruce Durham, Mark Finn:Heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe: the Father of Alchemy entombs his own magic; dragons must not kill dragons; even a patron saint struggles when confronted by the mighty Wyght Worm; Hunting dragons, getting there is half the battle; mankind’s fate lies in a man, a child, and a dragon; holy warriors write their legend in the blood of dragons; the love of the innocent meets a dragon’s heart; one dragon hunter finds out the truth about feeding on dragon’s blood; one woman and two wolverines seek a dragon’s egg; cross the water and stop a new plague of dragons before it’s too late; bounty hunters pit their dirigible against a dragon and a flying castle; seven enemies unite to kill an ancient legend; In the bayou stews more than storm and alligators; remnants of the human race face their ultimate challenge in the bleak Arctic; when dinosaurs return, a squad of Rangers goes from dragon hunters to hunted.

In this anthology of monsters, magic, courage and heroes who are the bravest of the brave the outcome of each story is far from certain. Who will live to fight again? Whose blood will spill? Whose legend will be heard in song and tale? Who gets to feast on the losers?  A diverse yet shared set of tales, from writers of fantasy, heroic fiction, historical fiction and mythic tales come together to bring you an eclectic medley of mischief.

Due for release on May 25th 2015 Heroika: Dragon Eaters is available for pre-order on Amazon now.
Coming soon exclusively on the Library of Erana – a week with the Dragon Eaters. Learn about the tales, the writers and their creations and maybe even learn how to cook dragon should you be fortunate enough to kill one.  Winners eat the losers!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/HEROIKA-DRAGON-S-E-Lindberg-ebook/dp/B00VFVCQRS/

Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/HEROIKA-1-Dragon-Eaters/dp/0986414034/ 

Paperback US http://www.amazon.com/HEROIKA-1-Dragon-Eaters/dp/0986414034/

A Good Reads Giveaway is running until July 21st.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dragon Eaters by Janet E. Morris

Dragon Eaters

by Janet E. Morris

Giveaway ends July 21, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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