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Archive for April, 2015

Knuckers are an English variety of dragon who live in pools and ponds called knucker holes. Like most dragons, they are predatory and have voracious appetites.

Legend tells there was a knucker hole near the town of Lyminster, West Sussex. A knucker made its lair in the depths. The knucker wasn’t the largest or smartest dragon in the world, but it still caused plenty of trouble. It kept eating the local sheep and cattle, and when those became few, people were afraid they would be next on the menu!

In desperation, the mayor called for a hardy warrior to get rid of this menace. What he got was a farmer’s son named Jim Pulk. Jim’s plan was to bake a huge Sussex pie — like a pot pie, with meat and vegetables and a crust of mashed potatoes — with a special spice of lethal poison.

Pulk made his deadly feast and took it to the knucker hole in a horse drawn cart. He left it and ran off to hide. Moments later, the knucker burst from the water and gobbled it all up — horse, cart, pie and all! But soon it began to shudder, and then it dropped down dead. Pulk came out of his hiding place and cut off the knucker’s head with a scythe, as proof of his success.

Returning to Lyminster, Pulk celebrated his victory at the Six Bells Inn. He regaled his comrades with the tale of his clever victory over the beast. But then he suddenly shuddered. He fell to the floor and soon breathed his last.

It seemed some of the knucker’s blood was still on Pulk’s glove after he cut its head off. When he wiped his mouth after drinking, he inadvertently poisoned himself. Thus the knucker avenged its own death!

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Last one — I promise.

Q: Why did the dragon fly over the mountain?

A: She wanted a peak experience.

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Q: Why did the dragon fly over the mountain?

A: Wanderlust.

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Q: Why did the dragon fly over the mountain?

A: To see what he could see.

Q: What did the dragon see?

A: The other side of the mountain. (Duh)

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Q: Why did the dragon fly over the mountain?

A: It would take too long to dig under the mountain.

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I mentioned last month that a story of mine will be in Sky Warrior’s anthology, The Dragon’s Hoard. What I didn’t say then (because contracts hadn’t been signed) is that I’m also going to edit an anthology for them! This will be my first anthology ever, and I’m excited about learning a new side of the industry.

The tentative title is Wee Folk and Wise, and it’s about fairies. As the guidelines say, “Fairies. Big fairies and little fairies. Ugly fairies and pretty fairies. Wise fairies and silly fairies. Sweet fairies and scary fairies. Tell us your story about fairies, 2000-6500 words.”

I know several writers follow my blog, so if you’re interested in submitting or just following the process, we have a Facebook group, Wee Folk Anthology. Ask, and ye shall be added to the group.

On a related note, I’m figuring out how to publish a short story on Twitter as my spring break project. Any advice on apps to use in scheduling the tweets? I’d love to hear from you. Or if you want to get the story, follow me @DebyFredericks.

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Years ago, when George R. R. Martin was a respected writer but not yet world famous, he penned a short story called “The Ice Dragon” for an anthology edited by Orson Scott Card. Dragons of Light was published in 1980 by Ace Science Fiction. Later, as Martin’s reputation grew, the short story was published as a YA fantasy. It’s now been re-released in a new edition from Tor Teen, with lavish illustration by Luis Royo.

The tale involves a young girl named Adara who is a “winter child” with immunity to cold and sensitivity to heat. She shares a close bond with the title creature, an ice dragon, who she loves as much as her neighbors fear it. There are family complications with her uncle, who is a dragon rider fighting in a war. Adara is still a young girl when the battle lines reach her home.

The story is a bit slight — it was a short story first, after all — but the writing is masterful and the illustrations are lovely. The whole certainly has the grand ring of classic fantasy. Allegedly this story takes place in Westeros, the setting of Martin’s magnum opus, A Song of Ice and Fire, although there’s little to directly connect it. The tone is gentler here, as well. Personally, I enjoyed that, though fans of said opus may be a bit disappointed.

In my judgment, because of the lighter touch, this work actually is more suited to middle graders than teens. But if parents were wanting to introduce kids to Martin’s body of work, this is the perfect entry point.

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