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Archive for March, 2016

Greetings, mortals. It is I, Cazarluun the Majestic, Guardian of Venge Hill and Defender of the Light. As a true dragon*, I shall enlighten you on the nature of the constellations.

Mortals have given various names to those figures drawn by the stars. They are a hobjob, frankly, of humans, animals and fantastic beasts, all tossed upward with no rhyme or reason. Allow me to explain that there is, in fact, a solemn story written in the heavens.

Let us begin with what you call “Cepheus,” a supposed king among humans. Look carefully at the shape, flat on one end and pointed on the other. You will see, as we dragons do, that this is The Egg, and it lies at the center of our most sacred legend.

Near The Egg is a longer, twisting shape called “Draco” by humans. In this case, you’re very close. Mother Dragon is her name, and she keeps watch to protect her precious egg against any who would harm it.

Beyond The Egg is what you call “Cygnus the Swan.” To us this is The Heron, Mother Dragon’s trusted companion. Finally, you have dubbed another extended constellation as “Hydra.” In fact, this is Father Dragon, hunting food for his beloved mate.

As the story tells, many animals had heard that Mother Dragon was guarding a great treasure. They thought it was gold or a talisman of power. In fact, it was far more precious — it was The Egg. Mother Dragon did her best to drive them away, but there were too many of them. She grew exhausted by her efforts. The Heron flew to find Father Dragon, who returned just in time to stop the greedy animals from stealing The Egg.

Be grateful, mortals, that I have shared such wisdom with you. 

* Cazarluun is another dragon character who appears in Lucy D. Ford’s forthcoming short story collection.

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Hello, everyone! I’m off to the Democratic Caucus this morning, but here’s an entertaining piece from one of my favorite blogs, Ducks and Chickens.

Ducks and Chickens

Hagrid has always been one of my favorite Harry Potter characters.  Even though he is clumsy, and a bit goofy, his heart is always in the right place.  Everyone needs a Hagrid in their life.  Since I’ve gotten geese, I’ve been thinking about him a lot.  He loves all these magical creatures, and doesn’t see them the same way as everyone else.  Other people think of them as mean and super dangerous.  Hagrid just wants to understand them, take care of them, and have them as companions.  Everyday I feel more like Hagrid, and it’s not just because I’m clumsy.

Remember when Hagrid wanted a dragon, and won an egg in a bar bet?  He was excited, and doing everything he could for Norbert, while Harry and his friends looked on in horror.  If Malfoy hadn’t seen the illegal baby dragon, I bet Hagrid would have him still.  You know…

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Humans of many cultures have looked to the night sky and found pictures among the stars, then spun tales of who or what these constellations represent. But those stories are all from the human perspective. Today I have a special guest, an actual dragon,* to share a dragon’s version of these star-stories.

Yes, hello. I am Tetheus, a sea dragon from the land of Aerde, and I’ve come to correct your silly human notions about the constellations. We sea dragons were swimming the deeps of Aerde for centuries before any of your kind put a canoe in the water. We know a thing or two.

Let’s start with some of the figures most commonly labeled as human. There’s the one you call “Orion the Hunter.” We dragons known it as The Knight, a warning of human aggression against dragons.

There’s another you call “Hercules,” a hero who slew the monstrous Hydra. Really? Just look at those arms and legs flailing — he’s obviously running for his life. That’s why we dragons know him as The Peasant.

Finally, there’s “Andromeda,” who’s allegedly being sacrificed — to a sea dragon, of all things. (I’ll have you know we sea dragons only eat fish!) In our telling, this is The Witch. Witches are often victims of human superstition. They think they’re sacrificing witches to us sea dragons, but we have found them to be excellent and faithful allies.

Well, that’s enough for now. Come back in a day or two, after my nap, and I’ll share more of our star-stories.

* Tetheus is a character in “The Dragon Stone,” one of the short stories in Lucy D. Ford’s upcoming collection.

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Today I’m sharing an advance review by a young reader. It appeared in the blog of a friend, Jennifer M. Eaton. Her son reviewed the book, Dragons Vs. Drones, by Wesley King. Just the title makes me want this book, and a review straight from the audience is great to hear.

Check it out here.

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Here’s a fun debut novel that mashes up Chinese folklore, urban fantasy, comic book heroes and martial arts adventure in a lively package. The main character is Missy Masters, street magician and descendant of a famous super-hero, Mr. Mystic. Good old grandpa has been missing for a while when Missy suddenly inherits his powers. She can control shadows and travel through a mysterious Shadow Realm inhabited by demonic beings who really want a yummy human snack.

Missy attempts to take up her grandfather’s name and career, but discovers  how difficult the life can be. After barely escaping a super-battle, she heads out to China in hopes of finding the immortal dragon who once trained her grandfather. She does, and then becomes embroiled in the complicated dynamics of a dragon court where the most powerful beings have very little use for humans.

The plot braids together two stories, “then” (her years in China) and “now,” her life since returning to San Francisco. There’s plenty to enjoy in the martial-arts battles, scary-cool creatures from Chinese myth, a slightly scary super-hero organization, and the race to save the world from an evil dragon, Lung Di.

It’s a fun read, with lots of banter, moderate violence and sex. If you like urban fantasy or martial arts, this one is worth checking out.

 

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Giant dragon statues seem to be a thing in Britain these days. Another large advertising sculpture was unveiled at Caerphilly Castle in Wales on March 1st. In this installation, the head, claws and wingtips of a big red dragon appear to emerge from the moat of the picturesque Medieval castle. With golden glass eyes and steam wafting from the nostrils, it’s a truly amazing sight.

The pieces were made by Wild Creations, a prop maker based in Cardiff. It took about six weeks to model, mold the fiberglass, and paint the set. The same company also created an installation at Cardiff Castle last year, which appears to show a giant rugby ball embedded in the castle wall.

It’s all part of Cadw’s Historic Adventures, a tourism campaign aimed at promoting visits to Wales’ historic castles. If it wasn’t on the far side of an ocean, it would sure work on me!

Check out the full article, with progress photos, here.

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I’m so glad I went on my ramble last week about dragons, zombies and dystopian fiction. I got much more response than usual. Thanks to all who commented, even if you disagreed with my theories about apocalyptic fiction.

To update my self-publishing plans, I have been reading and studying the process, figuring out which stories to present, who the audience will be, and so on. My budget and schedule are slowly coming together. My plan at the moment is to publish ten of Lucy D. Ford’s fantasy short stories. Half of them were in my podcast, The Dragon King, back in 2012. The others are newer and have a slightly more contemporary tone. It should be a great collection for kids in 4th to 6th grades, or adults who enjoy the fairy-tale style.

After setting up this blog post, I’ll start inquiring about cover and interior art. I’ve gotten to know a number of illustrators during my years involved with SF clubs and conventions, so it will be fun to get in touch with a few old friends. As I always say, stay tuned for more information.

After all this, I can’t stand to leave you dragonless, so here’s a fun news story from Britain. It appeared that a gigantic dragon skull had washed up on a Dorset beach in 2013. Charmouth Beach is on the famous “Jurassic coast,” where many dinosaur fossils have been unearthed.

Alas, the dragon skull turned out to be… an advertising sculpture! It seems one of Britain’s media streaming companies, BlinkBox, was about to release the third season of Game of Thrones. I’ve been searching around to see if the sculpture still exists, and where it might be now. If anyone has the information, I’d love to hear from you.

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