Posts Tagged ‘dragons’

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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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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Here’s another selection from my latest book, Wyrmflight, a Hoard of Dragon Lore. Enjoy!

Sea Monsters! Part 3

Over centuries, ship’s captains and residents reported sighting a sea monster near Cape Ann and Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts. The earliest known report dates to 1638; the most recent was in 1962. In some cases, English settlers wanted to attack the creature, but Native Americans pleaded with them not to make it angry.

The most active period for the Gloucester Serpent was in 1817, when more than 100 people reported seeing it over a month’s time. Every one of them described it as a sea serpent. Some said it had a horse’s head with a great horn projecting out. Others said it was a turtle’s head with huge eyes and a horn. The creature was said to be between 80 and 100 feet long. Its scaly body was jointed all the way down, so it could turn back upon itself at any point. Some witnesses said it could coil itself up like a cable. Others compared it to a row of floats on a net, or a set of casks.

What was it? Nobody knew! Bear in mind, Gloucester was a center of the fishing industry. The people of the town certainly should have been able to identify what they were looking at. This time, people did try to kill it, but their musket balls had no effect.

Nevertheless, this visitation created enormous interest. Newspapers did many articles, and the New England Linnaean Society (a natural history organization) appointed a committee to gather facts about the sea serpent. They proposed a scientific name, Scoliophis atlanticus. Without a specimen for study, little more could be done.

Still, the Gloucester Serpent remains one of the best documented cryptid events in North American history.

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

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Caught on film, that is. Sea Dragons are those cute little fish, cousins of the seahorse, who disguise themselves with elaborate fins that mimic the appearance of seaweed. For decades, scientists believed there were two species of Sea Dragons, the Common or Weedy Sea Dragon and the more flamboyant Leafy Sea Dragon.

A team including Greg Rouse, Josefin Stiller and Nerida Wilson was studying sea dragons at the Scripps Institution in San Diego, CA. Stiller realized that one specimen had been mistakenly identified. The preserved fish, from Australia, was not a Weedy Sea Dragon at all. It was red rather than brown and didn’t have the ornate fins.

This was something new. Together, Stiller and Wilson went through other Australian fish collections and found three more specimens. One of these was nearly 100 years old. Rouse’s team presented the Ruby Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea) to the world in 2015, and began making plans to study them in the wild.

In 2017, the expedition yielded results! This article in the New York Times included footage of Ruby Sea Dragons at home in the sea. According to this account, Rouse’s team of researchers spent several days searching for their elusive quarry. Only on the very last day did they achieve their goal.

Because even a 9-inch-long dragon is sneaky like that.

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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Gulden Draak, the beer I featured in my last post, is actually named after a statue in the city of Ghent, where the brewer, Van Steenberge, is located. Here is the epic tale of that statue.

The Gulden Draak (“golden dragon”) was created for King Sigurd Magnusson of Norway. It was allegedly a figurehead on his Viking longboat. King Sigurd I (1090 – 1130 C. E.) was also known as Sigurd the Crusader because he personally led the Norwegian Crusade of 1107 – 1110 C. E.  On the way back from this crusade, he made several state visits, including one in Constantinople. There he gifted his personal longboat to Emperor Alexios I. The Gulden Draak was removed from the ship and placed atop the dome of the Aya Sophia cathedral.

There it remained for several decades, until Count Baldwin IX of Flanders (1172 – 1205 C. E.) assisted in the conquest of Constantinople as part of the Fourth Crusade (1202 – 1204 C. E.). The Byzantine Empire was repurposed as The Latin Empire, with Baldwin crowned as Emperor in 1205 C. E. Naturally, due to Baldwin’s success, much wealth flowed back to Flanders. One of the pieces returned to Europe was the Gulden Draak.

Initially, the statue was housed in the city-state of Bruges (modern-day Netherlands). However, Bruges later went to war with the rival city-state of Ghent. After a final battle in 1382 C. E, the victorious Ghentese took the Gulden Draak home with them. There it was installed on top of their Belfry, or city hall, where many important documents were stored. The Gulden Draak would protect these documents while acting as an emblem of Ghentese power and independence.

After all its travels, the Gulden Draak had finally found a forever home.

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

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