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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy writer’

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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As I was flying home from a Thanksgiving visit, I looked up at the ceiling of the airplane and was struck by the shapes I saw.

Doesn’t that straight line look like a backbone? And don’t those curves off the side look like ribs? 

I thought to myself, I am flying inside a dragon! Doesn’t it look like that?

No?

Guess it’s just me, then.


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_20181001_112457395_HDRHere’s another “dragon of Hallowe’en” photo for your collection. It was an animated dragon, with wing action and roaring sound effects.

This house is right by the school where I work. The home owners set up a “Harry Potter House” that was open on Hallowe’en. It was an elaborate production, with several tents and cardboard towers, but this photo shows the dragon best.

I didn’t actually get to go, since the school isn’t close to where I live, but it was fun to see this dragon presiding over a fantastic seasonal community.


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’ll be out and about this weekend, at Lake City Comicon. It’s a one day comic convention in Coeur d’Alene, ID. This will be their first year, but they’re associated with Lilac City Comicon, which has been going for a few years now. My role is to sit at a book table and accost… I mean, strike up conversations with all passers-by.

Lake City Comicon will be at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. My table is in the Jacklin Building. We’re open from 10 am to 4 pm. If you’re in the area and love comic stuff, it would be a great chance to meet up.


Now, I can’t just drop the Voodoo theme I’ve had going for the past few posts, so here’s a re-blog of a post from a few years back.

Dragonwort (May 21, 2016)

Here’s a truly spectacular flower that will amaze and… well, maybe not delight you. To be honest, it’s kind of stinky.

Dracunculus vulgaris is native to Mediterranean regions from Greece and the Aegean Islands to the Balkans parts of Anatolia. It’s been known since ancient times and has a number of names: Voodoo Lily, Black Arum, Black Dragon, Snake Lily, and so on. Because it is so showy, it has been transplanted to yards and botanical gardens all around the world.

The plant has just a few big, jagged leaves, with the blossom reaching up to 2 meters tall. The single petal is scooped, somewhat like a calla lily, and deep red or purple. At the center is a prominent spadix, which is black. The flower’s sexual organs are deep inside the base of the flower and emit a “perfume” that smells much like rotting meat. Flies and other insects are drawn to the scent and crawl through a narrow gap to the chamber where the actual flowers are. Unable to escape, the insects are forced to crawl back and forth over the flowers, thus pollinating them.

When enough of the flowers are fertilized, the petals wither. This allows the flies to escape and perhaps carry pollen to another flower of the same species.


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

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St. Leonard’s Forest is a region of The Weald, an ancient forest located in what is now Sussex, England. Legends say that many dragons once lived in this deep, wild forest. It must have been good habitat for them, with many hiding places and deer to feed upon.

The forest became associated with Saint Leonard of Limousin (485-559 C. E.), who ran a monastery nearby. During the last years of his life, he lived in the forest as a hermit. Saint Leonard wasn’t too old to have a few adventures, though! So many dragons were coming out of the Weald to attack the countryside that the people begged this holy man for help. Saint Leonard went in answer to their pleas. He fought the dragons, and patches of lily-of-the-valley sprang up where his blood flowed.

Saint Leonard was believed to have killed the last of their breed in the Weald. However, there may have been survivors. Dragon sightings were recorded in St. Leonard’s Wood as late as 1614 C. E.


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

 

 

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Will you bear with me while I mix politics and the writing life for a bit? Normally I confine myself to dragon lore here at Wyrmflight, but I’ve experienced a moment of “total recall” that made me do some thinking.

Anyone living in the U. S. (and probably people outside our borders, as well) is aware of the confirmation fight over a supreme court nomination. The nominee has been accused of sexual assault. This comes amid the two-year-and-growing Me Too movement, where women are speaking up about their experiences with sexual harassment or assault. Powerful men are being accused years after the events occurred.

Against this background, I picked up a book given to me by a friend over the summer. Dragon Tales is an anthology from 1983, collecting stories that feature dragons. It’s edited by two revered figures, Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg. The authors are luminaries like Orson Scott Card, Gordon R. Dickson, Anne McCaffrey, Gregory Benford, and Dean Koontz. The editors made an effort to find work by early fantasists such as L. Frank Baum, and there were even a pair of women authors I hadn’t heard of before.

Imagine my surprise when the very first story included a sexual assault. A woman is pinned against the wall and kissed, despite her saying she doesn’t want this. It turns out she’s a dragon cursed into the form of a woman. Neat trick! But instead of punishing the fool who laid hands on her, she decides to help him get revenge on some guy he doesn’t like. Wha—?

Later, we see relentless bullying of a retarded man… for which the victim is persuaded to blame himself. We see barmaids equated with whores. Several tales use women as mere pawns, captured by dragons to serve as bait. One of these characters is so shocked by her experience that she becomes nearly mindless, yet apparently lives happily ever after. (“She is a mirror in which her husband can see himself.” This is what we call a Happily Ever After?)

In the most egregious case, a young woman sorceress is hounded by a stronger male sorcerer who sends an invisible incubus to grope and molest her. Ultimately this ends in her being raped while out-of-body fighting her persecutor. After winning, she is determined to summon that incubus again. But it’s not because she intends to punish him. Apparently she regrets missing out on the complete rape experience. WHA—???

When I finished the book, I told my husband I wanted to have a strong drink while taking a hot shower. Because fantasy is my beloved genre. It’s what I read and what I write, and I couldn’t believe the roots of it were buried in such filth. How could I not know this?

What made me really sad was to realize that, actually, I did know it. I read stories like these when I was in high school and bitched to my friends about the sexism. There was a terrible plot arc in the Avengers comic book, where Ms. Marvel (now known as Captain Marvel) was brainwashed and raped and had a baby in a matter of days. The rest of her team thought the baby was adorable and couldn’t understand why Ms. Marvel was so upset. I remember reading an interview with Anne McCaffrey, one of my early idols, who spoke of being asked to write soft-core porn for the SF magazines of the 1960s and ’70s. And she did write it, because the editors paid her well.

I guess I was oblivious, because I still read fantasy and comic books. And time went on. Until I read that anthology, I was able to forget how bad it was.

Now, the whole Sad Puppy debacle appears in a starkly different light. I thought they were all just obnoxious jerks. This anthology reminds me that when they say they want to get back to “the good old days of science fiction,” this is what they mean: women as pawns, women as whores, women who like being raped.

No. No. No. You assholes. No.

Things have gotten better, at least to some extent. Editors are more aware of demeaning content and have begun to avoid it. Certain factions may still think it’s funny to mock trigger warnings, but the warnings are there because they’re needed.

Do we, as a genre, still have miles to go before trigger warnings are no longer needed? Undoubtedly. But we who write fantasy really have come a long way since 1983.

If only certain judges and senators could say the same.


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

 

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