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Archive for August, 2018

BabyDragons

Halloween Dragons

Beware the dragons of Halloween? Yes! It appears that dragons will be a hot theme for Halloween in 2018. A couple of friends texted me over the weekend when they spotted a wall projector that puts swirling dragons on your wall. Cool! I ran over to take a look.

Not only was the wall projector there, they also had a couple of other draconic displays. These ones are baby hatchlings with squealing and flashing eyes. There was also a larger animated dragon skeleton with moving head and flashing eyes. (The flashing eyes are always a thing with these animated displays). I tried to get a picture, but there were so many on the shelf that you couldn’t pick one out from the others.

Just one more reason to look forward to Halloween!


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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Qilin are a creature of Asian mythology with a proud history of their own, although in the U. S. they are often identified either as a smaller dragon species or an exotic variety of unicorn. If you want to think about hierarchies, most Asian legend ranked them in the top three, along with the dragon and the phoenix.

Qilins do have distinctly dragon-like features. The head, particularly, is that of a dragon, with antlers and mane. The body is scaled, but resembles that of a large animal such as a horse, ox or deer. It always has cloven hooves. Different cultures and times have added other features such as a lion’s tail, carp whiskers, flaming mane, or a single horn rather than two antlers. Like dragons, most Qilin have golden or jeweled scales. However, as nature spirits they can take on any color that matches their dwelling place.

In folklore, Qilin were nature spirits and residents of the celestial domain. Some tales had them as pets/companions of gods and goddesses, and they would come to Earth on divine business. Their nature was peaceful and gentle. It was said they hovered or flew at all times, to avoid crushing even a single blade of grass. Qilin would never eat meat. Their voice was said to sound like bells or chimes, and it was extremely lucky to hear them speak.

Qilin had a supernatural instinct to seek out truth and purity. They were called on as judges in some stories, because they would always know who was telling the truth. Qilin would only visit the domain of a wise and benevolent ruler. Just one thing could provoke their wrath — to see the wicked inflict harm on a righteous person. If this happened, watch out! Qilin would show their dragonish side by breathing flame or summon the elements to punish the offender!

Some scholars have suggested that Qilin were created as an effort to explain giraffes. Indeed, several modern Asian languages use qilin as the name for the giraffe. Historic documents do show that these animals were imported from Africa to China in the past. However, if you look at the artistic depictions of Qilin, they lack the long neck that is a hallmark of giraffe anatomy.

Many cultures throughout Asian have told tales of Qilin by different names. Japanese know them as Kirin, Koreans as Girin, Thais as Gilin, and Vietmanese as Ky Lan. They are associated with both Buddhism and Taoism teachings.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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Near the end of July, I finished the first draft of a fantasy novella, The Tower in the Mist. Just yesterday, I put the finishing touches on the second draft. It’s 75 pages (single spaced) and just under 32,000 words. What’s it about? As usual, I’ve come up with a rich tale that is difficult to categorize. On Twitter I called it a “Dystopian Swords & Sorcery with an Amazonian-type main character. Plus a lost civilization, giant badger and dragon that takes the form of poisoned mist.”

It’s Dystopian because the characters are living under the Evil Empire of the Wizard King, Dar-Gothull. Its Swords and Sorcery because half the POV is a group of hunter-guards who round up rebellious mages. Also, most mages are evil, which is a hallmark of Swords and Sorcery. The hunter-guards are all women, hence the Amazonian tag. The other POV is a rebel mage who seeks to overthrow Dar-Gothull by nonviolent means. Is there even a category for that?

One interesting thing to share is that I didn’t set out to write about a group of Amazonian women. My first pages had a woman mage being the one who aspired to change the world with kindness. She had been captured by a group of male warriors. It didn’t take me long to realize that a group of men trained by an Evil Empire would rape this woman viciously and often. This was something I just didn’t want to get into — and I’m always telling other writers that you don’t have to put anything in your story that you don’t want to do.

So I flipped their genders. A male mage, Keilos, was captured by female hunter-guards. Immediately the characters sprang to life. Zathi, the tough woman who had fought many battles, both physical and political, to pick her own troop. Keilos, the mage who clung to his ideals in a situation that forced him to compromise every principle. Will they all end up as grist in the mill of the Evil Empire? Hopefully, a lot of people other than myself will want to read about this.

Other things that happened over the summer: directing programs for SpoCon and a web site revamp. I’ve previously mentioned SpoCon as the insane juggling act of speakers and topics, rooms and schedules. I’m happy to say that everything went very well. A few speakers cancelled due to illness, but I was able to get replacements. A wonderful time was had by all. We may not have had enough people attending to break even, though. It depends if the hotel decides to be jerks about their contract.

During SpoCon, my husband got a good picture of me wearing a Wonder Woman tiara, which was my costume for Saturday. I’ve been using that to update my portraits all over the Web. I also re-did my web site, something I do every two to three years. You can check it out here: www.debyfredericks.com.

With all this going on, the end of summer comes as something of a surprise. I’m a school staffer, so I’ll be going back to work next week. Currently my schedule is split between two buildings, 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon. I’ve been interviewing in hopes of getting a full day somewhere, but right now my day is still split. It’s kind of a pain.

How about the rest of you — written anything good lately?


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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Komodo dragons are probably the most famous Real Dragons (TM) in the world. Even for a ten-foot-long critter, they have an outsized reputation. It seems that a lot of tourists go all the way to Indonesia for good look.

According to this article from Smithsonian Magazine in 2013, some of them remember, a little too late, that these are dragons we’re talking about. Be warned — some of the accounts are fairly gruesome.


 

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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IMG_20180812_061909090Last weekend was the convention I mentioned, SpoCon. It was just as amazing as I had hoped. As predicted, I encountered a number of dragons there. This one was hand drawn by one of the hotel workers, just for our convention!

There was one guy going around in a “furry” dragon suit that was quite remarkable. I couldn’t believe he wore that in the middle of August. Unfortunately, the picture I took of him didn’t turn out.

I must confess that my own costume was almost completely dragonless. My husband gave me a Wonder Woman tiara for our anniversary, and I put a costume together. Bear in mind, I’m not nearly athletic enough to wear Wonder Woman’s actual costume. Mine was more Amazonian mother-of-the-bride than warrior. The necklace I wore with it included four Asian dragons.

There was also a major trend of resin sculptures this year. Two different artists had sculptures in the art show, including numerous dragons. The detail was incredible, down to individual scales and whiskers. The painting was equally amazing, with colorful patterns and very life-like eyes. Sizes ranged from a few inches in diameter to a foot or more. Very cool and a lot of work!

For anti-piracy reasons, photography was not allowed in the art show, but both artists have online galleries. So go ahead and check them out, James Humble and David Lee Pancake.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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Appearing Near You?

I’ve been invited to speak by Idaho Writers League, a North-Idaho-based group for published and aspiring writers. My topic: “Magic in all its forms and disguises.” I’ll be speaking for perhaps 45 minutes and then taking questions and discussing with the audience.

This is on Thursday, August 16th, 6:30 pm. The location is Schmidt Hall, Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Rd, in Coeur d’Alene, ID. I don’t think there’s a fee.

The timing is a little tight, since it comes right after SpoCon, but I plan to focus intensely and put together a really great, informative presentation on magic in fantasy. If anyone happens to be in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday, I’d love to see you there.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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This coming weekend is SpoCon, the annual science fiction convention in my home town. I’m volunteering there as Director of Programming. It’s a year-round thing, really, as I recruit speakers and gather ideas for panels and other events during the weekend. At times, I’m called upon to really BE a dragon as people want to come at the last minute and demand time in the schedule, or they can’t come and I have to find alternative panelists, or they want to know why I didn’t know something that nobody ever told me. It’s stressful, but I really feel good about this year’s convention.

The reason I mention this is that many of you following my blog are writers and artists, or you aspire to be. So I want to recommend that if there’s a local SF convention near you, you ought to be attending. In addition to the technical skills and emotional endurance required for writing, making connections with other writers and artists is a huge benefit.

At SF conventions, you can make friends who encourage you after rejections. You can get work critiqued. You can listen in while older writers and artists talk shop. Some conventions are more juried than others, but the chances are you can get on a few panels. That helps you develop your publicity skills and builds credit with an audience that you are, in fact, a Real Writer/Artist.

The weekends do cost money. There can be travel, lodging, and other expenses even if your membership is comped for doing panels. Think of it as an investment in yourself and your career.

Plus, there will be dragons everywhere! In the art show, in the dealers room, in the games, in the costumes… Who doesn’t want to go see some dragons?


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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