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Archive for December, 2016

It’s 3:30 p.m. as I write this, and already the pop and boom of fireworks echo across the town. Yep, we’re getting ready to celebrate 2017. That brings me to the annual ritual of setting resolutions for the new year.

What makes it tough for me is that a lot of common resolutions involve things I already do. Write every day. Blog regularly. Work my social media. Make appearances. Support my groups, specifically SCBWI and SpoCon. Keep watching my diet.

So those don’t really seem like resolutions. They’re not goals so much as maintenance. So after casting about, I have three resolutions related to my writing, and one personal resolution.

1) Write at least 15 chapters on a totally new novel. It always takes me at least 1-1/2 years for a new first draft, so a whole novel would not be realistic, but 15 chapters will be a good chunk of one.

2) Write at least 4 short stories during the year, and market them to young readers. Novels tend to take up all my time, but I need to keep up with the other stuff, too.

3) Self-publish my second short story collection, this one by Deby Fredericks.

And the personal one, 4) Be more of a dragon in defending my political views, while remaining courteous. Dragons are powerful, after all. So powerful that rudeness diminishes them. The amount of fake news, gas lighting, and just plain lies have really become intolerable, but while confronting the dishonesty, more rudeness only muddies the waters. So I’m going to be practicing phrases such as “we weren’t talking about (insert inflammatory topic) so I’m not sure why you decided to go there” and “please stop being rude to my friends.”

A tough one, I know. Wish me luck!

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Whoa, really? I’ve been blogging for five years? Who’da thought I could find things to say about dragons for five whole years? But I did. So… I guess I’ll just keep it up.

Since this is my anniversary time, I’ve been looking over the stats that WordPress so kindly offers. In 2016 I was able to be pretty consistent with my twice-weekly schedule. Most every Wednesday and Saturday saw a post. I’m not always able to get posts up by 10:00 am, as I want to, but you can’t win them all.

At the start of 2016, I had 157 followers. Now I have 207. That’s 50 more new friends. Hi, everyone! *waving madly* I hope you all enjoy the blog. If you’re curious about something dragonish, I’ll be happy to take questions in the comments.

Speaking of comments, my top commenters in 2016 have been  Craig Boyack and David Lee Summers. They both are fellow writers with some fine blogs of their own. I hope you’ll check them out. Now, what about the other 205 of you? Not that I’m hinting or anything, but I always love getting comments!

My subject matter this year has remained a mix of folklore and myths, book and movie reviews, weird science and funny stuff, all featuring dragons. By far the most popular posts are the ones around Asian dragon lore, such as The Four Dragons and The Dragon’s Pearl. These are perpetual favorites. However, I had the most fun when I blogged about hoaxes such as the alleged “pickled dragon fetus” that turned out to be a publicity stunt.

See you Saturday, when I’ll talk about resolutions for 2017.

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Through silver skies
The snow it flies —
And so do I!

To my in-laws’ house, that is. Happy holidays!

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It’s been a good while since I covered this topic, but here’s an awe-inspiring statue of a dragon located at Wat Sampran Temple in Thailand. What I love is how it doesn’t just stand or sit majestically, but dynamically climbs and wraps itself around the tower.

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Wat Sampran is a striking symbol for modern Thailand. It’s huge and splashy, visible for miles around, a sure draw for tourists. Yet it is also a working temple where Buddhist monks study and worship. Every part of it is based on Buddhist traditions. To quote the tourism website Life SE Asian Magazine:

“…80 meters high as the age of the Buddha, There are 16 storey … as heaven 16 heavens. … About the red color. The Chinese believe that red Color of bringing fortune.  Thai people believe The color of sacrifice and unity. …

“Dragons is meaning represent the strong, ascendancy high very halo are resolute, courage. Antique Chinese person used as a symbol of the Emperor. Dragon is entwined a the building the Buddhist monk from 1 story to 16 storey is meaning to The circulation of the low perspective to high perspective bores by take 108 with preaching by 108 monks to the nirvana in the heaven. Green dragon scales, gold bars is a peacefulness as a shade of the trees. Fins and tail of the dragon is the compulsion,  poised to go the right direction and is a weapon for protect dangerous. Legs, fingers and nails dragon is moving towards the direction of greatness and captured, the braced, firmly without falling.”

Despite the struggle with English language, there’s a poetic grandeur to this description. Wat Sampran is definitely on my “I want to go there someday” list.

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And cymbals crash as the door flies open. Ta-da! Aunt Ursula’s Atlas is here.

So I’m super-excited, in my stoic way. After years of searching out markets for my retro fantasy short stories, I’ve taken the leap to self-publish a collection. It’s a little bit scary, but mostly fun, to bring out a book on my own initiative.

 

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Cover illustration by Margaret Organ-Kean.

On a high shelf, in a hidden library,
There is a book of unknown wonders.

Open its pages. Explore mysterious lands.
See for yourself what lies within
Aunt Ursula’s Atlas.

So what’s inside?

Dragons, of course! And a unicorn. Some witches. A dryad. A dwarf. Thrilling adventures and hard lessons to learn. All this for $3.99.

Eleven short stories for middle grades — that is, grades 4 to 6. Half are in the fairy tale style you might remember from my podcast, The Dragon King. The others are an assortment of fantasy styles.

Where can you get this wondrous-ness?

Right now, it’s available only as an e-book. Trade paperback is in the works. It’s in Apple, Kindle and Epub formats, through a variety of outlets. I hope you’ll follow your favorite link and give it a try.

General purchase hub (links to Apple, Nook, Kobo, 24 Symbols, Inktera). Others soon to be available include Page Foundry, Scribd and Tolino.

And, of course, Amazon.

Not exactly a purchase link, but here’s Goodreads as well.

One last thing

Reviews! If you do buy the book, I sure could use some reviews. I’ll be contacting a few friends about specific publicity, but any one of you could add it to wish lists, mark it to-be-read, and otherwise help spread the joy.

Thanks for being so awesome!

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A young girl and her dragon friend embark on a fantastic quest in this Asian-styled adventure for middle readers. Author Lin draws upon her own Chinese heritage to create this sweet story with a mythic flair.

Fruitless Mountain gets its name from a harsh reality: the rocky land bears little fruit, so that the villagers must struggle for survival. Minli works hard along side her parents every day. Hungry nights are softened by her father’s thrilling tales from legend and myth. Meanwhile, her mother regards it all as a useless fancy, and scolds her husband for filling their daughter’s head with dreams.

On impulse, Minli brings home a pretty goldfish as a pet, but Mother sighs bitterly over one more mouth to feed. Realizing her mistake, Minli goes to release her pet in a nearby river. But this is no ordinary goldfish. With her pure faith and trust in the tales her father told her, Minli sets off to bring happiness to her family.

The text in some ways is deceptively simple, and many of the characters have little dimension beyond their roles. And yet, the threads of several stories are woven together so cleverly, it’s hard the grudge anything. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon won a number of awards, including a Newberry Honor. It’s easy to see why.

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Jack Frost standing guard,
Blizzard blowing fierce and hard.
Dragon flies away.

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