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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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Todd Lockwood is well known as a fantasy illustrator, but it turns out he’s also a talented writer. The Summer Dragon is the first volume of his series, The Evertide. Based on its exploration of seasons and political fortunes, I suspect future books will feature dragons associated with autumn, winter and spring.

Certainly this is an ambitious work, nearly 500 pages in trade paperback. It combines a coming of age story with religious philosophy, political machinations and grisly warfare against arcane horrors. All this juxtaposed with domestic scenes of life raising dragons. Quite a tapestry!

One of the most interesting things here is the detailed life cycle and descriptions of the dragons, both aerie-bred and wilding. These are not mere animals, but intelligent beings with a limited ability to communicate with their human friends. Baby dragons, or qits, are bonded with human riders in a complicated series of rituals, including matched tattoos on dragons and riders. There is some emotional/empathic connection, although not to the extent as in series like Dragonriders of Pern. 

The main character, Maia, is a teenaged girl who was born and raised in a dragon aerie. She and her brother, Darian, are both of age to receive dragons of their own. However, the aforementioned war against arcane horrors isn’t going well. They are crushed to learn that neither of them will be getting a dragon this season — the empire they serve demands every qit for the war. As they struggle with this decision, both siblings witness an amazing vision: the mystical Summer Dragon, Getig, appears before them! A powerful omen, but of what?

This visitation spurs the plot into its complex web of loyalty and betrayal. The dominant Rasaal faith views Maia and Darian as heretics to be crushed, but they still need the family’s aerie to breed more dragons. Thus the priests cast layers of deception to get what they want. Lockwood drew this out very well.

I was a bit more frustrated with the main characters. Maia is very typical of protagonists in these stories, a downtrodden youth who gets blamed for everything by her overly stern father. Darian is her closest friend, yet he’s all too happy to let her take the blame for shared mistakes, even when people get seriously hurt. After Getig’s visitation, he’s equally happy to take the credit and rewards while Maia is ignored. Near the end of the book, he’s furious that she doesn’t trust him. Gosh, why could that be?

Maia herself is brave and follows her heart toward what she believes Getig is telling her. She speaks her mind when the adults stand fumbling. Yet, even after a harrowing experience, she continues to sneak off alone and get into more trouble. Miraculously, every escapade reveals some new important discovery. Then she wonders why those overly stern adults don’t want to trust her, either.

Yes, Maia and Darian are both kids. But they’re in a world where you’re expected to grow up fast. What else does it mean to be “of age?” I felt like all parties at times were being intentionally blind in order to keep the plot going. There were also some running battle scenes, which were effectively told but went on longer than necessary. Less is more, as they say.

So is this Game of Thrones with dragons? Maybe. (Although nobody ever got into a torrid sexual affair, so perhaps it would be Games of Thrones with dragons and a PG rating.) I did enjoy this book and will look for more of Maia’s adventures.


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

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Dragonfang is the sword of a Marvel superhero known as the Valkyrie. I first recall this character as part of supergroup called The Defenders, in comics I read during the 1980s. The spirit of a Norse valkyrie, Brunhilde — yes, from Wagner’s operas — possessed an ordinary woman, Barbara Norriss, and struggled to fit into her mundane life while also battling evil as the Valkyrie.

Dragonfang was an extraordinary weapon, forged in the same foundry as Thor’s famous hammer, Mjolnir. Dragonfang, however, was quite distinct. Among its extraordinary features: a) it could never be destroyed, b) it could absorb magical attacks, and c) it could disrupt magical barriers.

According to Asgardian lore, Dragonfang could only be held and used by one of the fabled valkyries. Occasionally, other mighty women such as the goddesses Sif have been able to wield this blade.

As with many comic book items, Dragonfang’s origins are somewhat muddled. Initially, it was stated that the Ancient One, mentor of Dr. Strange, had Dragonfang in his keeping along with many other relics. The blade had been created from an actual dragon fang by one of the Ancient One’s predecessors. When the Valkyrie had to give up her magic sword, Dr. Strange offered her Dragonfang as a replacement.

However, in the Valkyrie’s movie debut, Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Thor refers to the weapon as “a dragonfang,” implying that each valkyrie had her own personal Dragonfang. Seeing the weapon, Thor knows at once that this unnamed woman must be an Asgardian in hiding.

The Valkyrie was never one of Marvel’s most successful characters, in large part because she was little more than a girl version of Thor. (This was long before anyone dreamed of actually letting a woman carry Mjolnir, as Jane Foster did in the remarkable Thor comic books between 2015 and 2018). At least she got to ride around on a winged horse rather than being dragged through the skies by her hammer!


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

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Here’s another teaser from Wyrmflight, A Hoard of Dragon Lore. Because I know you’ll never get tired of them. Also because I have a cold and even reading about dragons can’t get me energized today.


The Order of the Dragon (February 9, 2017)

The Order of the Dragon was a faux-chivalric order of knighthood active in Eastern Europe during the early 1400s. I say a faux order because the Age of Chivalry was pretty well over by then. Orders of Knighthood had been most active during the Crusades (roughly 1095-1291). Founding a chivalric order in 1408 was akin to modern Americans organizing ourselves according to the legends of the Wild West.

And here I shall refrain from snarky comments about the current political affairs of the United States.

The Order of the Dragon was founded by Sigismund, King of Hungary and Croatia. Like the European political leaders during the Crusades, Sigismund was under threat by the expansion of the Ottoman Turks into Eastern Europe. His reign (1387-1437) was turbulent with both internal and external strife. The Order of the Dragon allowed him to identify a core of supporters who he could count on in his various battles.


Pretty cool, eh? Look for Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

 

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Here’s another teaser from my e-book, Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore. It was especially exciting to learn that Native Hawai’ian tradition included a type of dragon called the mo’o that was connected with their ancestral dead. I hope you’ll enjoy this tidbit from 2014.


Mo’o, Hawai’i’s Ghost Dragons (December 2, 2014)

Did you know Hawai’ian mythology includes dragons? Until a few days ago, I didn’t either!

Native Hawai’ian people are part of an extended cultural family generally known as Polynesians, who explored and colonized all over the South Pacific from New Zealand to Rapa Nui (a.k.a. Easter Island) and of course to Hawai’i. It’s believed that Polynesian culture spread from somewhere in Southeast Asia, possibly around Malaysia, and so the Hawai’ian dragons share some features with other Asian dragons. Yet they also have their own unique origins.

Mo’o are great water spirits who can change form between that of a water dragon and a human woman. There are male mo’o, but the majority are female. They dwelt in pools and ponds as well as in caves. Mo’o had power over weather and dangerous waves (tsunami), and other magical powers as well. They are described as twenty to thirty feet long, jet black, and shining in the water.

Because fresh water is one of the most precious resources in the island environment, the mo’o who guarded these pools were worshiped along with the other nature deities of Hawai’ian lore. Every pond capable of providing fish had its own altar dedicated to the mo’o who defended it. Local people burned fires and made offerings of awa (a drink made from the kava plant) in the belief that a mo’o who was well cared for would provide plenty of clean water and fish to the community. Likewise a neglected mo’o could become vicious and spiteful.


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

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Wyrmflight

I’m so excited to tell you that my latest book is out. Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore collects my favorite posts from the first six years of this very blog. It came in just over 500 pages in trade paperback — the size of a real novel!

Just like a novel, it’s packed with great stories, amazing characters, battles, drama, laughter, and many, many dragons. Unless you’ve been following me the entire time since 2012, I know you’ll find something new and surprising.

The book is available in all e-book formats for $4.99 and trade paperback for $17.99 U. S. dollars. Some formats take longer in processing than others, but by the time you read this, it should all be set up.

Please check out the book’s hub on Draft 2 Digital, where you can purchase from your favorite e-bookstore. That is, any except Amazon, which wants to be special and have its own book hub. By the time you see this post, it will all be set up.

You can also visit my author page at Draft 2 Digital. This shows all my e-books. You know, just in case you missed one. Amazon, again wanting to be special, has its own author page.

Now, my one request. Reviews are more precious than any dragon’s gold. If you buy the book and like it, please do leave a review. And tell all your friends!


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

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I’m in the final days of preparing Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore for publication. This is the frustrating part, where every T has to be crossed and every I has to be dotted. It all has to be right, so my book doesn’t look like something a lame amateur spit out.

I had hoped to be done by now. I wanted to be giving you the big, exciting announcement today. But I’m being hung up by some sort of technical bug. The software for formatting the print book keeps inserting blank pages at the end of paragraphs. I’ve corrected this three times and the blank pages reappear in the same places. I wish I could send a flight of flaming dragons!

Hmmm, maybe that wouldn’t be helpful. But if anyone knows what might be causing this, I’d love your suggestions.

Anyhow, here’s a snippet from one of my favorite posts, back in 2014 — Number Five Lucky Dragon.


 

As Hallowe’en approaches, I bring you a true horror story from the cold war. Daigo Fukuryu Maru was a humble Japanese fishing vessel that set out from Yaizu to catch tuna in January of 1954. Its name translates roughly as “Number Five Lucky Dragon,” a cruel irony in light of the ship’s fate. Daigo Fukuryu Maru ran into engine trouble almost immediately. Near Midway Island, it snagged its lines on a coral reef and lost nearly half of them. The young captain, Hisakichi Tsutsui, refused to return to port without something to show for it. He headed south, toward the Marshall Islands.

By the end of February, 1954, Daigo Fukuryu Maru was fishing near Bikini Atoll. Yes, THAT Bikini Atoll. Supplies were running low, and they planned to fish one more day before heading back to port. None of the crew had any idea that the U. S. Government had established an exclusion zone around Bikini Atoll because they were planning a Hydrogen bomb test. The hapless vessel was outside the exclusion zone, but that was little consolation after the fact.

At 6:45 a.m., a tremendous flash drew the crew up to the deck. It looked like the sun was rising in the west. “Bridge, sky and sea burst into view, painted in flaming sunset colors,” recalled crewman Matakichi Oishi. What the stunned crew witnessed was the detonation of Castle Bravo, a new type of nuclear weapon that worked a little too well. The blast had been expected to yield 6 kilotons; the actual yield was closer to 15. It was the greatest human-caused explosion to date, and the consequences were devastating.

Well, I hope this piques your interest for Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore! Which will be coming soon, I swear it!


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

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