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Posts Tagged ‘kids’s books’

Forgive my tardiness. My computer has become very slothful of late. However, I do have a consolation prize: the trailer for my latest novel, Masters of Air & Fire! I can’t wait to share it with all of you first.

Just click here, and enjoy!

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My final post of 2014 will be a recap of my stories and works in progress, because everyone knows New Years Eve is all about recaps. Or was it kneecaps?

Anyway!

For me, this was one of those years when a bunch of stuff I had written over a long period of time all found homes at once. They are starting to come out through the end of 2014 and into 2015. First up is The Complete Guide to Writing for Young Adults (Vol. 1), from Dragon Moon Press. I wrote a chapter, not the whole thing! Gabrielle Harbowy, the editor here, was also the editor for my 2012 novel, The Necromancer’s Bones.

I mentioned in my last post that I started Wyrmflight to support my middle grade fantasy, Masters of Air & Fire. And I’ve been crowing that finally the novel will be published by Sky Warrior Books. Joyce Reynolds Ward edited. The expected release date is February 1, 2015. No purchase links yet — stay tuned.

I’ve completed edits with David Lee Summers on a gothic werewolf fantasy, The Grimhold Wolf. No release date yet. I’m also in early discussions about editing an anthology for Sky Warrior in 2015 or 2016. And once I clear my head from Silver Marsh (see below), I’ll begin work on a sequel to The Seven Exalted Orders.

The last half of 2014 has been devoted to finishing Silver Marsh, another YA fantasy. During this time I’ve also been inspired (sometimes by comments on Wyrmflight) to produce a pair of short stories featuring our favorite creatures. “On Dragonwings” is about a young man who gains enough courage to forge a path despite his parents’ objections. “The Dragon’s Ghost” is about a dwarf woman whose average-sized husband is abducted by evil dwarves and she sets out to rescue him (with a bit of help from the being in the title). These short stories are out on submission, along with a few others of mine.

Plus, there’s a new story I’ve just started working on. Literally, yesterday, I started working on it. It doesn’t even have a title yet, but the POV character is a dragon. What can I say? They’re my obsession.

The last thing coming up in early 2015 is RadCon, a science fiction convention that I’ve been attending for years in Pasco, WA. The author guest of honor is Jim C. Hines, and I’m looking forward to sitting on panels with him. I know most of you who follow Wyrmflight aren’t in the region, but someday I hope to meet you, too.

Finally, a big cheer to all of you who consistently comment and mention me in your blogs. David Summers, Nila White, Nicola Alter, Shannon Thompson, Laura Palmer, Jennifer Eaton and M. Q. Allen. You guys are the best. Happy 2015, everybody!

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Yes, it is Wyrmflight’s anniversary. I started this blog on December 27, 2011. My intention was to build on and support a podcast I was doing called Masters of Air & Fire. This is a middle grade fantasy novel I had written and marketed, but couldn’t find a home for. But since I find it obnoxious when authors talk about nothing but themselves, I decided Wyrmflight should include all facets of dragons in myth, modern storytelling, and even a few in real life. Sometimes I get very in-depth and philosophical. Other times it’s short and silly.

Now three years have gone by. I’m always afraid that I’ll run out of dragons to talk about, but so far so good. I’m certainly not the only one who likes dragons. I keep finding them on display in public places or used as the name of some interesting creature or product. Although my goal was to connect with kids who might enjoy Masters of Air & Fire, my core readership has become adult fantasy readers and writers. Some of you have become good friends and we all cheer each other on.

I know some writers find blogging to be a burden after a while. It takes too much time from actual writing, or they don’t achieve what they had hoped for. For me, Wyrmflight has been so great and rewarding that I could never dream of giving it up. This is my thanks to all of you who fly with me on the wings of dragons.

My next post will be on New Year’s Eve. I’ll review what I wrote this year, and what publications are due out soon. (Including Masters of Air & Fire, at long last!) For now, I’ll leave you with a reprise of my very first post from 2011.

WHY THE DRAGON?

Why am I writing a blog about dragons? Because they’re so cool, of course.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved stories with dragons in them. They’re so big and tough. They can breathe fire. They can fly! (Didn’t you always want to fly?)

Okay, I was never so into the maiden-eating thing, being a maiden myself. Putting that aside… what’s not to like?

All over the world, people have legends about dragons. Some are fearsome monsters. Some are wise nature spirits. Some can change their form and walk among humans. Some have an intimate bond with riders, sharing all their joys and fears, defending the people they love.

Dragons are beautiful and terrible. They touch something deep inside me. That’s why I can’t stop reading about them. Now that I’m a writer, those dragons keep finding their way into my stories, too.

Now I would like to hear from you readers, especially from kids. What do you love about dragons, and what makes you keep reading about them?

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Levine, author of the Newberry Honor book, Ella Enchanted, brings us a middle grade fantasy full of mystery, magic, and a few tart observations of human nature. For those of you who think she’s strictly a light-weight author, think again!

There’s a classic fairy-tale feel as Elodie, a country girl, sets off to seek her fortune. She heads to the big city, Two Castles, where her parents want her to apprentice as a weaver. Elodie has her own ideas. She wants to be a mansioner (an actress). Almost from the start, fate goes against her. Her money is stolen, and the mansioner doesn’t need any more apprentices. However, someone else has their own ideas about Elodie’s future.

That someone is Meenore, the dragon whose lair is set on the outskirts of Two Castles. Levine gives us an unique, inscrutable dragon here, yet with all the fun touches you’d expect from this author. For example, Elodie doesn’t know if her new “masteress” is a male or female dragon. This information is too personal to be bandied about, so all dragons are referred to as IT. Meenore is shrewd, exacting, fastidious, yet also generous. Relatively young and friendless, IT too has ambitions that have been denied. While Meenore spends ITs days in menial chores such as toasting cheese sandwiches and lighting blacksmith’s forges, ITs dream is to use ITs intellect and become a famous detective.

To say more would give away too much, so let me turn to the setting. Two Castles is so named, because there are two castles. One, in town, belongs to the despicable King Grenville and his daughter, Princess Renn. The other is home to an ogre, Jonty Um. Despite his fearsome reputation, Jonty Um is well mannered and his servants are devoted, while the locals barely hide their hatred for “Greedy Grenny.” Here, to me, was one of the most telling contrast, that the “normal” people in Two Castles are wary, thieving, deceptive, while the so-called monster is honorable and kind to all.

The story features a host of other interesting characters and draws on several traditional fairy tales, most notably “Puss in Boots.” Through it all, Elodie grows confident enough to choose her own path of loyalty and danger. In terms of subject matter, this book is solidly for middle grades (grades 4-6), with all violence occurring off-stage and only a hint of romance. However, I think kids up to 15 can enjoy this book with its fresh ideas and sense of humor. A Tale of Two Castles is highly recommended.

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Q: Why did the dragon cross the road?

A: Siri told him to.

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Look what my publisher sent me! Isn’t it amazing?

Cover to the MG fantasy novel, Masters of Air & Fire

Cover to the MG fantasy novel, Masters of Air & Fire

This is the cover to my middle-grade fantasy novel, the one I podcasted three years ago because I was so sure it would never be published. It’s also the reason I started this very blog you’re reading right now.

What’s it about? Well, DRAGONS! (You knew that, I’m sure.) Specifically, three young wyrmlings who are torn from their home and struggle to stay together in a world dominated by alien beings called “humans.” Orlik wants to avoid them. Romik wants to make friends. And Yazka has darker designs.

So far I don’t have a release date from Sky Warrior. Rest assured, I’ll announce prices and such the moment I get them. As with my previous novel there, the initial publication will be e-book only. I hope you’ll all consider it as a gift for your favorite young people this year.

Just For Fun

Q: Why did the dragon cross the road?

A: The airport was on the other side.

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I’m writing on three projects over this weekend, but I want to give a friendly roar to a few new followers: Nicola Alter, Dan Davis, Daniel Casey and Ashlee McNichol. I hope my blog will keep you interested and entertained.

Speaking of that, here’s a dragon joke for you.

Q: Why did the dragon cross the road?
A: Tasty sheep on the other side.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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A few weeks ago, I mentioned Tale of Dragons, an online game where you adopt dragon eggs and feed them by clicking. I’ve been playing steadily and now I’m back to report.

As I suspected, Tale of Dragons is not extremely exciting. But, it isn’t necessarily as slow moving as I had thought it would be. For one thing, my daughter Cora, who is 16, came into the room and saw my lair. That was it, she had to play, too. So she and I have been comparing dragons and strategies during summer break. That adds something special for me.

Thanks to Cora, I’ve discovered that some of the limitations in the rules I had read were incorrect. You aren’t bound to just 5 dragons per lair; I currently have 9 with no in-game notices telling me to expand my quarters. Cora must have 20 by now.

However, the rule that each dragon can only level up once per day seems firm. This must be intended to keep players from rushing through too fast. It hasn’t bothered me, but it could frustrate some players.

Of course, the more dragons you get, the longer it takes to feed and level them up. I suppose if you have too many dragons you could abandon some, or if they turn out to be a type that you didn’t want, you likewise can give them away. Cora has done this a few times, as she has certain themes going on. I haven’t abandoned one yet.

As with many online games, there are exclusive items (gold scales) that you have to buy with real money. Unlike most online games, they don’t flaunt the exclusive items or send spam e-mails urging you to buy more scales.

In sum, Tale of Dragons is low pressure and the baby dragons are cute. I’ll keep going a while longer.

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As a follow up to my recent post about the TV show Dragon Tales, I’ve heard there’s also a TV show based on How to Train Your Dragon, the hit dragon movie from a few summers ago. The news came from Princess of Dragons’ blog. I won’t reblog, because that seems like cheating to me, but you can read her post here.

This leads me to a couple more dragons coming out on screen this summer. Actually, some are already out. Movies I haven’t seen yet, but plan to see:

1) Godzilla. Technically not a dragon, but the eleven-year-old in me can’t get enough of guys in rubber suits stomping through cities. Okay, it’s not a rubber suit any more, it’s CGI. But how can I ignore a breath weapon like that?

2) Maleficent. I’m not sure whether Angelina Jolie’s title character turns into a dragon during this movie. I hope so! When Maleficent did her dragon turn at the end of Sleeping Beauty, it really set the place on fire for me. (Ha ha.) Besides, the rest of the fairies in that movie were so inane. Even as a young child, I knew there was something wrong with them.

Fairies and dragons should never be treated as silly!

3) How To Train Your Dragon 2. The first movie was so good (even though some of the dragons were silly) that I’m almost afraid to try the second one. How can a sequel compare? Maybe it doesn’t have to, because there will be dragons. Lots and lots of dragons.

I also still wish to see the latest X-men movie. But that’s a different blog post. What about all of you — got any good dragon movies to recommend?

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With a simple title like “Dragon Tales,” perhaps it isn’t surprising that it’s been used more than once. After covering the Dav Pilkey easy reader by that name, I also cast my mind back to a television show that once aired on PBS. Like the Pilkey book, Dragon Tales was aimed at younger kids. It “definitely” showed a sweeter and softer side of dragons. (If your kids ever watched the show, you’ll get that joke.)

The show’s roots are in a series of loosely connected paintings by artist Ron Rodecker. TV producer Jim Coane spotted the whimsical watercolors and worked with Rodecker and various writers to develop the show as Dragon Tales. The show aired on PBS Kids beginning in fall of 1999. Episodes were generated through the 2004-2005 season, and re-runs continued until 2010.

In a Narnia-like opening episode, Emmy (age 6) and her little brother Max (age 4) move into their new house and discover a dragon scale in a secret hiding place. With the scale is a simple rhyme. When Emmy reads it, she and Max are transported to the magical kingdom of Dragon Land. There they discover that other human children have visited the dragons before but the visits eventually stopped. The dragons have been waiting and hoping for more human friends to find them.

The two kids soon make friends with some dragon kids who are roughly the same ages, and the show is on. Together they travel Dragon Land solving problems like sibling rivalry, facing one’s fears, losing a contest gracefully, etc. They often help out various cute and entertaining characters like the Giant of Nod and the cloud dragon Polly Nimbus. There’s even a mentoring dragon school teacher named Quetzal.

As I mentioned, it’s all very sweet. Older kids will no doubt gag at the silly characters and simple plots. It’s a great fit for kids in the target age, with little overt language-learning compared to shows like Dora the Explorer, which aired around the same time. If you’d like your little ones to grow up as fantasy fans, episodes are easily found on the Internet or your local video shop.

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