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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy writer’

Do lake monsters take sabaticals? It appears that they do. In May, a Nessie sighting was reported on Loch Ness, after an absence of 8 months. The last previous sighting was in August of 2016.

Rob Jones, a tourist from Wales, recorded a strange object while visiting the mystical lake. It moved in front of a boat, then disappeared from view. You can view the images here at The Mirror’s website.

The cynic in me thinks the “strange object” looks a lot like a navigational buoy, the type installed to warn of submerged hazards. It’s claimed that the object moved in front of a boat, but if you look at the foliage on the lake shore, it’s clear that the object is stationary. Only the boat is moving.

What really interests me is the second half of the coverage. The Mirror interviewed a man who keeps a web site where anyone can report Nessie sightings. Gary Campbell once experienced a sighting himself. His search for information led him to establish his web site, The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register.

Over the years, hundreds of reports have been cataloged. With the popularity of smart phones and similar devices, more and more photos and videos have been uploaded. Although most are quickly explained, Campbell is able to maintain something of an online journal around Nessie’s supposed activities. This is how we know that Nessie had “been away” for 8 months.

Even cryptids can’t escape the paparazzi!


A few of my other books:

Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, Lucy D. Ford’s short story collection and Masters of Air & Fire, her middle-grade novel.

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

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Dragons are famous for having vast hoards of treasure, but sometimes I wonder why. If knights are always trying to kill you and take your treasure, why would you even bother with that? Surely a dragon could have a quieter, more secure life without a hoard.

Based on legends and contemporary fiction, here are some reasons that dragons keep hoards.

  1. Pure greed. Some dragons, such as Fafnir, are created in a contest to claim an accursed treasure.
  2. Pride. Dragons often seem to relish the high status of owning a huge treasure. Smaug, in The Hobbit, would represent these dragons.
  3. Nutrition. In some books, dragon parents collect coins and other metal pieces, and feed them to their young. The minerals help baby dragons grow their near-invulnerable scales. E. E. Knight’s Age of Fire series is a good example.
  4. Preservation. Dragons who gather tomes and manuscripts might be dedicated to saving knowledge of the ancient past. They may also find that having a hobby helps them they stay alert and active over the decades.
  5. Obsession. In a few books, such as Jessica Day George’s Dragon Slippers, all dragons are born with an irresistible urge to collect. They don’t all gather the same things, though. In George’s book, the main dragon character has an enormous collection of shoes.
  6. Remembrance. A long-lived dragon might save mementos from lost civilizations or friends in their past. More aggressive dragons could keep trophies from their victories against various enemies.
  7. Hunting Lure. In my short story, Hoard, a dragon named Carnisha keeps a hoard in order to attract looters. She then feeds them to her babies.

I’m sure there are more reasons. Why do you think dragons gather hoards?


A few of my other books:

Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, Lucy D. Ford’s short story collection and Masters of Air & Fire, her middle-grade novel.

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

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I know you’ve always wondered about this, so I asked some of my own fictional dragons for their opinions.

“What do you think virgins are?” asked Lythiskar, Mystik of Yabble. “Although some dragons prefer princesses as pets.”

Yriatt of Hawkwing House* was also open to the idea of keeping pets. “An older, sedentary dragon could benefit from a pet such as a griffin or roc. Flying with your pet can help maintain wing strength and aerial balance.”

Other dragons weren’t sold on the idea.

“I would never keep a pet that might steal from me,” answered Grenandus of Lollitaine.*

According to Tetheus,* the sea dragon, “Any pet would have to be sturdy enough to keep up with me. Perhaps a larger seal or a whale. Unfortunately, those animals also make the best meals.”

“As a spirit, I find it difficult to connect with transitory beings such as humans or animals,” said Cazarluun,* Spectral Guardian of Venge Hill.

Carnisha, Queen of the Cragmaws,* laughed at the suggestion. “I have a brood of hatchlings! There is no time for pets.”

*Yriatt is a major character in my fantasy novel, Too Many Princes. Grenandus, Tetheus and Cazarluun appear in my short story collection, Aunt Ursula’s Atlas. Carnisha is featured in The Dragon’s Hoard anthology.

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My featured book for May and June is Too Many Princes, published in 2007 by Dragon Moon Press. Of all my novels to date, Too Many Princes features dragons in the most prominent role.

These dragons are long-lived, though not truly immortal. In addition to their terrifying physical attributes as dragons, they have great magical powers. Among the most important to the story, they can change their shape at will. However, there’s a catch.

The dragons’ curving horns are the seat of their power, so they can’t change the horns without risking their power. Thus, although they can impersonate humans, there must be some way to hide their horns or their true identity as dragons will be plain to see.

Some dragons regard humans as friends, to be nurtured. Others view them as chattel to be conquered. You’ll meet both sorts in Too Many Princes.

At ten years old, this book is out of print. However, I have a few copies in my personal inventory if you’re interested. To whet your appetite, here’s a brief excerpt that introduces one of the principal dragon characters, Yriatt.

She seemed to be another Urulai, clad in a brown leather dress, but her garment was stitched with some shiny stuff, and she wore a fabulous head-dress of two great, twisted dragon horns. Sheer veils fell behind it and passed beneath her chin. Those horns and her night-dark hair were draped with beads and fine chains that winked as she moved. She had an angular face, not beautiful but arresting. Her eyes were the deep gray of wet slate. 

“Welcome.” Her voice was deep for a woman’s and her Cruthan was perfect. Like her attendants, she gave no smile of greeting, but remained stern and calm. “I am Yriatt, mistress of Hawkwing House.”

Eagerly, Lottres began, “I am Lottres of Crutham, and…”

The woman interrupted his fawning. “I know.”


A few of 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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The hundred-headed dragon, Ladon, had been ordered to lurk in the Garden of the Hesperides by Hera, queen of the Greek gods. His task: prevent any intruders from stealing the golden apples, which bestowed immortality. However, during these days, the demi-god Hercules had offended Hera and been assigned to do ten great labors as penance. The arbiter of the labors was Eurystheus, a devout follower of Hera. In order to delay Hercules completing his penance, Eurystheus declared that two of the ten tasks (killing the Hydra and cleaning the Augean Stables) were void. Hercules would have to do two more.

As the eleventh task, Eurystheus demanded that Hercules bring him the golden apples of the Hesperides. That’s right — in order to appease Hera, Hercules had to steal something from her garden! (What a great idea. Thanks so much, Eurystheus.)

Hercules set off on his journey. After several trials just to find the Garden of the Hesperides, Hercules received advice from the tortured god Prometheus. Prometheus said that the Hesperides were daughters of the god Atlas, who held up the Earth and sky. Because of this, Ladon would not challenge him if he went to pick the apples.

Hercules traveled on and found Atlas, groaning under the weight of his immense burden. He offered to hold the Earth if Atlas would do him this favor. Atlas immediately agreed. He went to the garden, probably had a nice visit with his daughters, and came back with the golden apples.

However, Atlas enjoyed being free. He wanted to extend the time a little longer. So, Atlas offered to take the golden apples to Eurystheus in Hercules’s place. Hercules knew that Eurystheus probably wouldn’t count this task if someone else brought him the prize. He pretended to agree, but asked that Atlas take his burden back long enough for Hercules to fold his cloak and make a pad for his shoulders. Atlas put the apples down and lifted up the Earth. Whereupon, Hercules grabbed the apples and ran off, leaving Atlas with his original task of holding up the earth and sky.

All of this means that Ladon has a great distinction. He is the only magical beast to have survived an encounter with Hercules!


A few of 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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What’s a dragon without a treasure to guard? (Still pretty scary, if you ask me.) Yet many tales do involve treasures watched over by dragons. In this case, the dragon guards the greatest prize of all: immortality!

The people of ancient Greece believed that a magical garden existed far, far to the west. It was home to the Hesperides, a group of nymphs who embodied the glory of the setting sun. In addition to adorning the sky with wonderful sunsets, the Hesperides had responsibility for Hera’s apple orchard.

Eons before, Hera had received a golden apple from her mother, Gaia, as a gift on her wedding day. This marvelous fruit could bestow eternal life upon anyone who ate it. Hera planted the seeds of the golden apple in her garden and assigned the Hesperides to cultivate the trees. Each tree bore golden apples as its fruit.

Such a treasure naturally attracted would-be thieves. The Hesperides were vigilant and never lost a single apple. However, it seems they sometimes indulged themselves and ate a few of the prized fruit. Hera decided to beef up security by adding a dragon to the mix.

Ladon was his name. He was the offspring of two monstrous Titans, Typhon and Echidna. Among his siblings? The dreaded Hydra. Like his father, Ladon had 100 heads and spoke 100 languages, but the one he spoke best was that of terror and pain.  Many mortals tried to sneak into the garden and purloin a golden apple. None returned to tell of it.

A few of the gods were able to gain access, however. It’s said that Eris, goddess of discord, used one of the golden apples to start a quarrel among Hera, Athena and Aphrodite that ultimately led to the Trojan War. It’s also said that the proud warrior maid, Atalanta, was thrown off her stride by a lure of golden apples. These had been provided by Aphrodite to her suitor, Hippomenes.

Come back on Saturday for more of Ladon’s legend.


A few of 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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I’ve been regaling you with tales of the sirrush, a dragon of Babylonian lore. Unlike many dragon tales, the sirrush dwells in a zone of intersection between history and legend. Documents exist from the era that can confirm or deny details about this dragon. One of these is a text from the Book of Daniel.

Daniel, of course, is a famous Biblical prophet. His mission was to throw down idols and expose what, to him, were false gods. Since Babylon was the world’s great power of the time, Daniel went after their pantheon.

In those days, priests of the god Baal housed a sirrush in one of their temples. They worshiped the dragon, believing this was their god personified on Earth. Upon seeing the sirrush, Daniel declared this was nothing but a beast. The priests of Baal were insulted. They challenged him to prove his words. Daniel baked barley cakes, but secretly poisoned them with pitch, hair and tar. When these were fed to the sirrush, it caused the creature to swell up and burst!

Naturally, the priests were even more furious. They demanded justice from their king. This led to Daniel’s stint in the den of lions, from which the prophet miraculously emerged unharmed. The king was suitably impressed that Daniel’s god had protected him. He had the priests of Baal thrown into the lion’s den instead, where they were instantly killed.


A few of 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.

Read Full Post »

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