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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Near the end of July, I finished the first draft of a fantasy novella, The Tower in the Mist. Just yesterday, I put the finishing touches on the second draft. It’s 75 pages (single spaced) and just under 32,000 words. What’s it about? As usual, I’ve come up with a rich tale that is difficult to categorize. On Twitter I called it a “Dystopian Swords & Sorcery with an Amazonian-type main character. Plus a lost civilization, giant badger and dragon that takes the form of poisoned mist.”

It’s Dystopian because the characters are living under the Evil Empire of the Wizard King, Dar-Gothull. Its Swords and Sorcery because half the POV is a group of hunter-guards who round up rebellious mages. Also, most mages are evil, which is a hallmark of Swords and Sorcery. The hunter-guards are all women, hence the Amazonian tag. The other POV is a rebel mage who seeks to overthrow Dar-Gothull by nonviolent means. Is there even a category for that?

One interesting thing to share is that I didn’t set out to write about a group of Amazonian women. My first pages had a woman mage being the one who aspired to change the world with kindness. She had been captured by a group of male warriors. It didn’t take me long to realize that a group of men trained by an Evil Empire would rape this woman viciously and often. This was something I just didn’t want to get into — and I’m always telling other writers that you don’t have to put anything in your story that you don’t want to do.

So I flipped their genders. A male mage, Keilos, was captured by female hunter-guards. Immediately the characters sprang to life. Zathi, the tough woman who had fought many battles, both physical and political, to pick her own troop. Keilos, the mage who clung to his ideals in a situation that forced him to compromise every principle. Will they all end up as grist in the mill of the Evil Empire? Hopefully, a lot of people other than myself will want to read about this.

Other things that happened over the summer: directing programs for SpoCon and a web site revamp. I’ve previously mentioned SpoCon as the insane juggling act of speakers and topics, rooms and schedules. I’m happy to say that everything went very well. A few speakers cancelled due to illness, but I was able to get replacements. A wonderful time was had by all. We may not have had enough people attending to break even, though. It depends if the hotel decides to be jerks about their contract.

During SpoCon, my husband got a good picture of me wearing a Wonder Woman tiara, which was my costume for Saturday. I’ve been using that to update my portraits all over the Web. I also re-did my web site, something I do every two to three years. You can check it out here: www.debyfredericks.com.

With all this going on, the end of summer comes as something of a surprise. I’m a school staffer, so I’ll be going back to work next week. Currently my schedule is split between two buildings, 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon. I’ve been interviewing in hopes of getting a full day somewhere, but right now my day is still split. It’s kind of a pain.

How about the rest of you — written anything good lately?


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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I’m in the final days of preparing Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore for publication. This is the frustrating part, where every T has to be crossed and every I has to be dotted. It all has to be right, so my book doesn’t look like something a lame amateur spit out.

I had hoped to be done by now. I wanted to be giving you the big, exciting announcement today. But I’m being hung up by some sort of technical bug. The software for formatting the print book keeps inserting blank pages at the end of paragraphs. I’ve corrected this three times and the blank pages reappear in the same places. I wish I could send a flight of flaming dragons!

Hmmm, maybe that wouldn’t be helpful. But if anyone knows what might be causing this, I’d love your suggestions.

Anyhow, here’s a snippet from one of my favorite posts, back in 2014 — Number Five Lucky Dragon.


 

As Hallowe’en approaches, I bring you a true horror story from the cold war. Daigo Fukuryu Maru was a humble Japanese fishing vessel that set out from Yaizu to catch tuna in January of 1954. Its name translates roughly as “Number Five Lucky Dragon,” a cruel irony in light of the ship’s fate. Daigo Fukuryu Maru ran into engine trouble almost immediately. Near Midway Island, it snagged its lines on a coral reef and lost nearly half of them. The young captain, Hisakichi Tsutsui, refused to return to port without something to show for it. He headed south, toward the Marshall Islands.

By the end of February, 1954, Daigo Fukuryu Maru was fishing near Bikini Atoll. Yes, THAT Bikini Atoll. Supplies were running low, and they planned to fish one more day before heading back to port. None of the crew had any idea that the U. S. Government had established an exclusion zone around Bikini Atoll because they were planning a Hydrogen bomb test. The hapless vessel was outside the exclusion zone, but that was little consolation after the fact.

At 6:45 a.m., a tremendous flash drew the crew up to the deck. It looked like the sun was rising in the west. “Bridge, sky and sea burst into view, painted in flaming sunset colors,” recalled crewman Matakichi Oishi. What the stunned crew witnessed was the detonation of Castle Bravo, a new type of nuclear weapon that worked a little too well. The blast had been expected to yield 6 kilotons; the actual yield was closer to 15. It was the greatest human-caused explosion to date, and the consequences were devastating.

Well, I hope this piques your interest for Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore! Which will be coming soon, I swear it!


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The amphiptere (pronounced am-fit-ear) is a sub-type of the European dragon. It may also be called an amphithere or amphitere. This creature has a snakelike body with a long tail and wings, but no other limbs. Thus it is somewhat the opposite of a lindworm, which has two legs and often is shown without wings.

At times, these dragons are referred to as a hybrid of serpents with some other creature. They may be shown with bird-like, feathered wings or with bat-like, leathery ones. It may simply depend on the artist’s inspiration.

There is no mention of any breath weapon, and I haven’t found any stories that specify a legend around an amphiptere. So these dragons may be mainly based in heraldry, where dragons were fairly common. People who wanted to use a dragon in their arms had to look for variations in order to be accepted.


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Back in my days with Pern fandom, we had endless discussions of dragon size. There was a set hierarchy, with green dragons the smallest, blue and brown dragons getting bigger, and bronze and golds being largest of all. With this progression in mind, fans tried to determine how big the dragons actually were so our stories would be consistent.

In the Pern novels, their dragons were genetically created from a smaller species, the fire-lizard. They were engineered to become progressively larger until they stopped at a pre-determined size. However, due to circumstances in the novels, the dragons of Benden Weyr became genetically isolated and grew to significantly greater sizes.

Just what was that optimal size? Sources in the books stated that several Benden dragons, including Ramoth, Mnementh and Canth, were larger than the expected size. At 45 meters, Ramoth was the largest Pernese dragon ever known. Other dragons would have scaled progressively smaller.

The debate among fans arose because 45 meters translates to 147.6 feet — the size of a passenger jet! This size seems extreme, even for a fantasy creature. How much would such a dragon eat? What space would it need for its personal weyr, and what would be the required area for a Weyr of 300 or more dragons? How could even a well-intentioned dragon avoid harming the relatively tiny humans around it?

Oddly enough, this issue may have sprung from an editing mishap. Pernese dragon measurements are sometimes given in meters, as common in Europe, but sometimes given in feet, as common in the U. S. However, the number wasn’t changed during editing. So a 45-foot-long Ramoth suddenly ballooned to 147 feet when converted to metric!

Just for fun, here’s a post from the blog Dragon Calling, which estimated the size of various dragons in video games and movies. The author used media dragons because still images give a good idea of comparative sizes between the human and dragon characters.


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I’m happy to share another dragon tale today. Dragonboy is a short film, recently featured by author J. Keller Ford on her blog, YA Chit Chat. It just might be the cutest thing you’ll see today. Check it out here!

This animated short was made by a group of film students. Like “The Optometrist and the Dragon,” a short story I shared last week, it takes a fresh and engaging look at that age-old triangle between dragon, princess, and knight.


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Rather than just asking what a group of dragons should be called, it might be better to ask if there would ever be a group of dragons. After all, you seldom find dragon groups in traditional stories and myths. Dragons such as Fafnir and Hydra are distinct individuals, so dreaded and powerful that nothing more is needed for them to be an effective monster. Not to mention that these dragons are fiercely jealous. How likely is it that they’d allow another dragon near their territory and/or hoard?

There are a few names, though, that might capture the danger of many dragons coming together. A “plague,” a “swarm,” even an “invasion.” Interesting that these come from insect groups — locusts, bees or ants, and roaches.

If the dragons in question are of the more intelligent and noble variety, perhaps they would be known as a “council.” Intelligent but evil dragons might form a “congress” or “parliament,” especially if they spend a lot of their time in ferocious arguments.

Well, what do you think? Is a group of dragons a “plague” or a “council?”


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