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Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

Digby Dragon is a cute animated show for pre-schoolers. It’s produced by the British studio Blue Zoo Productions and airs in the U. S. on the cable channel, Nick Jr. It’s been airing in the U. K. since 2014, but was only introduced to the U. S. last year.

Digby is a young dragon growing up in the fantasy land of Applecross Wood. He’s surrounded by friends, who include a fairy girl named Fizzy Izzy and a talking squirrel called Cheeky Chips. They often go up against some mildly naughty trolls and less friendly woodland creatures. Since it’s a British production, they all have charming accents (at least to American ears).

The action in the 20-minute episodes is fairly basic. Plots seem to deal as much with social challenges (taking turns) as with solving problems or fending off the trolls. Older viewers will find the show slow and overly simplistic. Still, if you have kids or grandkids of the appropriate age, it’s worth a look.

Sample episodes and a few supporting games are available on Digby’s site on Nick Jr, right here.

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Remember those two giant dragon sculptures installed at Caerphilly Castle in March? It seems they have been doing what comes naturally… Now a giant nest has appeared, with eggs! Just in time for Easter, visitors can take part in an egg hunt and also see why Dwynwen is being so affectionate with Dewi.

Okay, it’s a little cheesy. The nest looks more like something a bird would build, and it’s hard to see how two disembodied heads would incubate the eggs. But, since April the Giraffe has finally dropped her calf, this gives all us dragon fans a baby watch of our own.

Stay tuned!

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Just a few of my books:

Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, Lucy D. Ford’s short story collection

Masters of Air & Fire, Lucy D. Ford’s middle-grade novel

The Grimhold Wolf, my gothic werewolf fantasy, and my epic fantasy, The Seven Exalted Orders.

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That’s right — I have a new project in the works. The Weight of Their Souls, the swords and sorcery novelette that I podcast back in 2013, will soon be available as a 99-cent e-book. Cover art will be by Diana Harlan Stein. She’s an old acquaintance from Pern fandom, and I’m excited to bring her in on this project.

While Diana’s hard at work, I’m doing behind-the-scenes setup through Bowker, Draft 2 Digital and Kindle. Once art is complete I should be able to drop it in, and viola! My next book should be out around May 1st.

Here’s the blurb:  The epic war is over, the great Enemy destroyed. A ragtag band of survivors tries to make their way home, only to discover there were survivors on the other side, too. And even a lesser evil from that vicious host can still be lethal. It’s swords against sorcery with more than just their lives on the line. The travelers, who barely know each other, must summon the courage to face one more battle.

Those of you who’ve helped out with swapping reviews and blog appearances in the past, I hope you’ll support me again. Reviews, signal-boosting, it all helps.

And, don’t forget my other books!

Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, Lucy D. Ford’s short story collection

Masters of Air & Fire, Lucy D. Ford’s middle-grade novel

The Grimhold Wolf, my gothic werewolf fantasy, and my epic fantasy, The Seven Exalted Orders.

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From the dawn of time, the dragon has been the ultimate monster. Always lurking, looking for a virgin maiden to devour. I decided to play with this trope when I wrote my short story, “The Dragon Stone.”

You know the setup, right? A young woman, accused of witchcraft, is dragged to the stake. She must die for her evil ways! In the village of Terncliff, they have a Dragon Stone where witches are offered to the sea dragon, as payment for their crimes. Although young Aldrina is a witch, she has never hurt anyone. And when the sea dragon comes — let’s just say, the outcome isn’t what the villagers were expecting.

You can read the full story, “The Dragon Stone,” in my collection, Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, at fine e-booksellers everywhere.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Aunt-Ursulas-Atlas-Fairy-Tales-ebook/dp/B01N0RIQSS

Other formats: https://www.books2read.com/u/bxg6qP

Or in paperback: https://www.createspace.com/6939815

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I’ve been investigating Welsh folklore the past week or so, due to a short story I’m writing. As part of that, I discovered a pair of large dragon sculptures being unveiled for St. David’s Day.

St. David’s Day is the national holiday of Wales, celebrated on March 1st each year. St. David was born in Wales and died there on March 1, 589. The anniversary is celebrated by wearing daffodils and leeks, meals featuring traditional foods such as rarebit, and wearing the national costume. For women, this includes a wool skirt and bodice called a bedgown, with a scarf over the shoulders and neck, and a distinctive hat somewhat like a stovepipe hat but narrower toward the top. Men wear a more generic outfit of breeches and waistcoat.

In recent decades, celebrations include parades and other festivities. Which brings us to the dragons. In 2016, the heritage organization Cadw unveiled a giant-sized dragon sculpture complete with steam jets. “Dewi” attracted crowds all over Wales. This year, Dewi has a new friend, a female dragon named “Dwynwen.” Dwynwen is more lavender compared to Dewi’s red. Both are sculpted out of fiberglass.

The pair are shown “cwtching,” or cuddling, at Caernarfon Castle. They will be there all March and then begin their tour of Wales. You can see images and watch a pair of short videos here.

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One of my big finds in 2016 was Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine. It’s part small press, part blog, part art catalog, and all-around fantasy paradise.

Editor Kate Wolford does an amazing job of collecting contemporary short stories for her bi-monthly electronic magazine. There’s a theme list, with each issue always based on a traditional fairy tale. Those of you who write should definitely take a look at her submission guidelines. I always enjoy the stories and look forward to new issues.

Once or twice a week, her blog highlights classic 20th Century artists whose work shaped the popular image of fairy tales. This is something I especially enjoy, because the visual aspect has been a key driver of the genre. These days, we might think of fairy tales and music, since Disney’s approach of doing fairy tale musicals has become dominant. However, it’s the artists of 100 years ago who really brought fairy tales into the form we most think of. I enjoy seeing the less common images Wolford discovers.

Although the emphasis isn’t specifically on dragons, they do often turn up in fairy tales. So if you enjoy traditional folk stories and fairy lore, take a look at Enchanted Conversations. I know you’ll enjoy what you find there.

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Recently I came across an interesting blog about The Technical Aspects of Writing Dragons. How could I resist such a topic? It was written by Whitney Carter and published on The Writer’s Path. You should check it out. I’ll wait…

Doo dee doo doo, doo dee doo… (That’s the Jeopardy theme, if you couldn’t tell.)

Carter does a good job of breaking down the variety of dragons found in legend in her section on dragons, drakes, wyrms and wyverns. If you’ve been following Wyrmflight for a while, you probably know the sub-categories of dragons go even farther than that. Sea serpents, for instance, are aquatic rather than flying. Drakainas and Nagas are human/serpent hybrids. And then there are the mundane creatures that are just named after dragons: Komodo dragons, leafy sea dragons, dragon salamanders and dragon trees. Dragon space ships. Dragon sunglasses. You get the idea.

I do quibble a bit with her mention of colored dragons being evil and metallic dragons being good. This, actually, is not from traditional folklore at all. It comes from Dungeons and Dragons, the role-playing game. Obviously D&D was a huge success and its trappings have had a lot of influence in entertainment. Still, to me, D&D just doesn’t have the stature of myth where so many dragons were born.

Carter goes on to talk about life cycles (breeding, growth, aging) but I think you should read her blog and see where you agree or disagree. Any number of creative writers can take the same subject matter and all end up someplace really different. That’s the fun of it.

What stuck with me, as far as the technicality of writing dragons, is that your basic decision is between a) choosing a legend and basing your dragons on that, or b) totally making it up for yourself. Both options have their advantages. In choosing an existing legend or mythology, your potential readers may already know the tale and are likely to be comfortable with it. You can get on with the rest of your story, knowing the readers are with you on who or what a dragon is.

There isn’t a lot of surprise, though, since the underlying legend is already known. By making up your own variety of dragons, you have the option to surprise your readers and keep them intrigued. There is a bit more work involved, but if a story catches on, you might even add a new scale to the body of dragon lore.

Personally, I have used both approaches depending on the story. In my middle-grade novel, Masters of Air & Fire, I created a new type of dragon, complete with family structure and life cycles. But in my short story collection, Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, I have different dragons in different stories. “The Dragon King” and “The Dragon’s Ghost” feature fairly typical European dragons, while the sea dragon from “The Dragon Stone” is more unique.

When you’re writing dragons, do you adapt from legends or make up your own? I’m interested to hear what you think.

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