Posts Tagged ‘dragons’

I’ve been sharing my process as I go through revisions on my children’s short story, “The Lonely Dragon.” Here is the second draft, and probably the last I’ll be showing you. It’s time to finish this thing up and let my lonely dragon fly to some publishers.

The Lonely Dragon, by Lucy D. Ford

A very long time ago, there was a dragon who lived high in the Skyclaw Mountains. Her silver scales barely shimmered, her lush mane was ragged, and her sharp horns had become blunt. Yes, the dragon was very old. She was also very lonely.

Sometimes people from the valleys down below would climb the rugged peaks and creep into her lair. They wanted to steal from her hoard. The dragon didn’t really mind. If she heard the sly crish-crish of footsteps, she would quickly set a trap.

Once the thieves were caught, they would tremble and cry. They thought the dragon was going to punish them. But as she grew older, the dragon had also grown wise. All she did was bring a pot of tea and ask about the goings-on in the valleys. Sometimes the people told her their problems, and she gave them good advice. When the tea pot was empty, the dragon would let them go back to their homes.

After a while, people stopped sneaking up the mountain to steal from the dragon. They just came to talk to her. She told them tales from long ago, and if they spoke about their problems, she still gave them good advice. Even mighty rulers came to seek the dragon’s wisdom.

Once, the dragon learned that two kings were about to send their armies to war. She invited them both to have tea with her. Instead of fighting, they signed a treaty. The dragon was glad that all the soldiers got to stay home with their families.

She was still very old, but she wasn’t lonely any more.

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A snippet from “The Dragon Stone”

Here is my latest snippet, which happens to include one of my all-time favorite lines: “Keep screaming. These people just love the screaming.” (This line must be read with heavy sarcasm.)

The line is from my short story, “The Dragon Stone,” which is included in my collection, Aunt Ursula’s Atlas. (It’s my featured book, over there on the right.)

In this story, I was playing with the idea of a maiden tied to a rock. The villagers had accused her of witchcraft. But instead of attacking her, the dragon came to rescue her. I was also playing with the idea of an alliance between dragons and witches. (I really need to follow up on that some day.)

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Do you like dragons? How about beer? Then I have the perfect board game for you!

Dragon Brew is a board game where you plan your estate, cultivate the grain, quest for rare ingredients, and so forth. Meanwhile, unpredictable events try to break down what you’ve built. The endgame is a brewing contest, judged by the Dragon Keeper. What is the Dragon Keeper looking for in a great beer? Those conditions change, so successive games can have surprising outcomes.

Full disclosure — I have not played this game, so I cannot attest to any quirks in the rules. I have it ordered for a certain someone, though. I’m hoping it will be here in time for Christmas. Full review to come, anyhow.

Now, as an F.Y.I, my next post would be on Wednesday, the day after Christmas. I am skipping that to play with whatever new toys I receive. Or more likely, to inhale the new books. Cheers, and I’ll read you again in a week!

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

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The best known incident involving a U-2 is from 1960. Pilot Francis Gary Powers took off from Pakistan with the intention of photographing  several Soviet installations while heading for Norway. Their starting date of May 1 was a serious miscalculation, however. May Day was a huge holiday in the Soviet Union. Civilian flights were grounded to allow for military demonstration flights. The U-2 stood out in this environment. It was immediately tracked by Soviet air forces. 

Due to its high altitude, the U-2 could not be attacked directly by fighter planes. Instead, a missile brought it down. Powers ejected, but chose not to use a “poison pill” in his possession. He was captured alive. The U-2 itself was not as badly damaged as military planners had expected given a crash from such altitude. This allowed the Soviets to recover and study the wreckage, advancing their own aircraft technology. 

The C. I. A. fell back on their cover story, that the pilot had lost consciousness due to a failure of the oxygen system. After allowing the U. S. to release this information, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev revealed the truth. This was a huge embarrassment to the United States both internally and internationally. It derailed a major diplomatic conference, two weeks later, and may eventually have led to the ouster of Khrushchev by hard-liners who thought he had been too conciliatory toward the U. S. In America, C. I. A. director Allen Dulles was excoriated at a major Congressional hearing.

As for the pilot, Powers followed his orders and cooperated with Soviet authorities. He was convicted of espionage and served time in prison before being released in 1962. Many in the U. S. blamed Powers for not using his “poison pill” after being shot down. However, it appears Powers’ orders were not explicitly that he should commit suicide. Several U-2 pilots had been killed in crashes during development and testing, so whoever wrote the orders must have considered it impossible for Powers to walk away from a crash. 

It just goes to show, you should never underestimate a Dragon Lady and her rider.

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

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Back in 2017, I posted about a comic book character named The Dragon Lady. Now it turns out there was also a jet named “Dragon Lady” from around the same era. 

The U-2 “Dragon Lady” was designed and built by Lockheed Martin corporation beginning in the mid-1950s. U. S. military leaders wanted to improve their ability to conduct aerial surveillance on enemies such as the Soviet Union and China. Flying at high altitudes, the U-2 was able to capture highly detailed images (within the technical capabilities of the era) of foreign installations throughout the Cold War.

The first model, the U-2A, went into service in 1956. They have proven to be a durable and useful craft. The Dragon Lady is still in service today, with the U-2S having been upgraded in 2012. 

The U-2 was operated under direction of the Central Intelligence Agency, and thus the Dragon Lady was little known to the public. Each surveillance flight was carefully planned, with a cover story in case of discovery. There was some disagreement about this, with civilian aviation experts advising to be honest if the flights were found out. However, the C. I. A. followed its instinct and went ahead using cover stories. 

This practice had serious repercussions when a U-2 got busted. Literally. Check back on Wednesday to learn more.

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

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I was Christmas shopping and spotted this charming dragon hiding among a variety pack of hot sauces. The brand is called Dragon’s Breath. Mmmm, yummy!

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

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Fire and Heist, by Sarah Beth Durst, is a YA book featuring people who can assume draconic form — or maybe it’s the reverse. They get up to some mischief while trying to blend among ordinary humans. 

I recently read a review by Teri Polen on her blog, Books and Such. Rather than steal her thunder, I thought I’d link to her post, so here’s the link. Polen is a prolific reviewer, and I highly recommend her blog. Go ahead and check it out!

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

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These are a variety of dragon rumored to dwell in the Alps of Switzerland and France. They were long, lean, and loved jewelry more than any other sort of treasure for their hoards. Tales say that they were always adorned with as much gold and gems as they could physically wear. They neither liked nor disliked humans — except for those who tried to steal from them.

The vouivre had a weakness, though: they were blind. As part of their finery, each one wore a splendid tiara of pearls or gold, with a blood-red jewel on its forehead. These jewels were enchanted to allow them to see. The gem’s radiance was so brilliant that the dragons seemed to be wrapped in fire. Whenever they flew by, people thought it was a shooting star coming to earth. 

Vouivre were well aware of their vulnerability. They only went out to bathe once or twice a year, since they must remove their jewelry and that would temporarily blind them. In some areas, it was said the vouivre only bathed on Christmas Eve. In other places, they thought it was on Easter Sunday. The dragons were clever, you see, and they took their baths at a time when most Christian folk would be at mass.

News of such a great treasure got around, all the same. Everyone wanted a chance at the dragon’s hoard. Tales abound of this person or that who found a vouivre’s bathing place and lay in wait to spear them while they were blind. Or they lured the dragon into an oven and killed it that way. (It would have to be quite a big oven!)

Others tried to skip the battle and just make off with the vouivre’s treasure while it was away. Woe to them if the beast returned sooner than expected! These unfortunate souls were never heard from again.

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 fun picture book for your young dragon lover. Author/artist James Mayhew published through Chicken House in 2003.

It seems there  is a brave and handsome knight who hopes to catch the eye of a spirited princess. Surely the best way to impress her is to defeat a dragon in single combat. The only problem? There are no dragons left in the kingdom. He sets off to search.

This book has a slightly subversive tone, as you see the knight search right by some dragons hidden in the artwork. Then, when a dragon actually does show up to threaten the kingdom, the knight won’t face it without just the right armor and sword. 

Adult readers will probably guess the outcome from the title. Kids may or may not get the point about action being more important than appearance. I personally found the book clever, although the final page irritated me. The princess randomly marries someone other than the tardy knight; why? Her marriage is irrelevant to the point of the book and perpetuates a stereotype that girls can’t be happy when independent. But at least the dragon lives happily ever after!

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 a dragon joke, courtesy of my dad. It’s an oldie-but-goodie, as they say.

Q: Where does dragon milk come from?

A: From cows with very short legs!

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

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