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Posts Tagged ‘Real-Life Dragons’

Recently my local newspaper caught my attention with travel coverage about the site of a Dragon crash. Dragons? Tell me more!

The XB-28 “Dragon” was an experimental high-altitude bomber briefly developed by the U. S. during World War II. The design work was done by North American Aviation. It was based on their earlier, successful design for the B-25 Mitchell bomber.

Several trial craft were flown in 1942 and ’43, and the tests were considered quite successful. However, military planners determined that high-altitude bombing would not be as useful in the Pacific arena as it had been in Europe. Weather conditions in the Pacific did not allow accurate bombing runs, and this would lead to wasted ammunition and other resources. Thus the XB-28 was never put into production.

The crash site mentioned in the travel article is a relic from one of the test runs. In January of 1943, a crew was flying from (probably) Twin Falls, ID to Tacoma, WA. They encountered a winter storm in the mountains. Ice built up on the wings and forced a controlled crash. The pilot spotted Loon Lake, north of Boise, and used its frozen surface as a runway. It was still a rough landing. All eight crewmen survived, although one was badly injured. They pulled together a shelter using wreckage and forest material, and hunkered down to await rescue.

The radio was no longer working after the crash, meaning that the Air Force didn’t know where they were. Search planes flew without success. After a few freezing-cold and hungry days, three of the strongest crewmen set off on foot to look for help. These three hiked forty miles over two weeks until they reached a ranger station and reported the situation. In the meantime, however, the five other crewmen had already been rescued. A bush pilot passing by had spotted the wreckage. The men who hiked out must have been frustrated, but they certainly were heroic and deserve to be called dragon riders.

The plane’s wreckage was left where it lay. It remains on the shores of Loon Lake, in the Payette National Forest. Today you can view it after a hike of ten miles round trip, starting at nearby Payette Lake.


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

 

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Leather_Dragon

Leather Dragon created by Betsy Mott of Quicksilver Fantasies. Photo by Deby Fredericks.

Here is the latest addition to my personal dragon menagerie. My husband got it for me last month at SpoCon.

The dragon is hand sewn from leather by my good friend Betsy Mott. The dimensions are approximately 5″ from nose to tail and 8″ across the wings. You can sort of see the iridescent paint on the wings, as well.


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

 

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Komodo dragons are probably the most famous Real Dragons (TM) in the world. Even for a ten-foot-long critter, they have an outsized reputation. It seems that a lot of tourists go all the way to Indonesia for good look.

According to this article from Smithsonian Magazine in 2013, some of them remember, a little too late, that these are dragons we’re talking about. Be warned — some of the accounts are fairly gruesome.


 

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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Caught on film, that is. Sea Dragons are those cute little fish, cousins of the seahorse, who disguise themselves with elaborate fins that mimic the appearance of seaweed. For decades, scientists believed there were two species of Sea Dragons, the Common or Weedy Sea Dragon and the more flamboyant Leafy Sea Dragon.

A team including Greg Rouse, Josefin Stiller and Nerida Wilson was studying sea dragons at the Scripps Institution in San Diego, CA. Stiller realized that one specimen had been mistakenly identified. The preserved fish, from Australia, was not a Weedy Sea Dragon at all. It was red rather than brown and didn’t have the ornate fins.

This was something new. Together, Stiller and Wilson went through other Australian fish collections and found three more specimens. One of these was nearly 100 years old. Rouse’s team presented the Ruby Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea) to the world in 2015, and began making plans to study them in the wild.

In 2017, the expedition yielded results! This article in the New York Times included footage of Ruby Sea Dragons at home in the sea. According to this account, Rouse’s team of researchers spent several days searching for their elusive quarry. Only on the very last day did they achieve their goal.

Because even a 9-inch-long dragon is sneaky like that.


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

 

 

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Gulden Draak, the beer I featured in my last post, is actually named after a statue in the city of Ghent, where the brewer, Van Steenberge, is located. Here is the epic tale of that statue.

The Gulden Draak (“golden dragon”) was created for King Sigurd Magnusson of Norway. It was allegedly a figurehead on his Viking longboat. King Sigurd I (1090 – 1130 C. E.) was also known as Sigurd the Crusader because he personally led the Norwegian Crusade of 1107 – 1110 C. E.  On the way back from this crusade, he made several state visits, including one in Constantinople. There he gifted his personal longboat to Emperor Alexios I. The Gulden Draak was removed from the ship and placed atop the dome of the Aya Sophia cathedral.

There it remained for several decades, until Count Baldwin IX of Flanders (1172 – 1205 C. E.) assisted in the conquest of Constantinople as part of the Fourth Crusade (1202 – 1204 C. E.). The Byzantine Empire was repurposed as The Latin Empire, with Baldwin crowned as Emperor in 1205 C. E. Naturally, due to Baldwin’s success, much wealth flowed back to Flanders. One of the pieces returned to Europe was the Gulden Draak.

Initially, the statue was housed in the city-state of Bruges (modern-day Netherlands). However, Bruges later went to war with the rival city-state of Ghent. After a final battle in 1382 C. E, the victorious Ghentese took the Gulden Draak home with them. There it was installed on top of their Belfry, or city hall, where many important documents were stored. The Gulden Draak would protect these documents while acting as an emblem of Ghentese power and independence.

After all its travels, the Gulden Draak had finally found a forever home.


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_20180716_072515692I’ve already met several beer-bottle dragons. There’s Dragon’s Breath from Bayern Brewery, and Dragon’s Milk from New Holland Brewing. Now my son brought home Gulden Draak, an imported beer from Van Steenberge in Belgium.

The reflections make it a bit hard to see, but this dragon is outlined with rivets. To me, this gives it a distinctive Steamunk vibe.


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

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