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Posts Tagged ‘YA fantasy’

As planned, I read my short story, “Transformation,” at Fall Folk Festival, along with a couple of selections from Aunt Ursula’s Atlas. The crowd was tiny, but we had a great discussion about “Transformation.”

When I began work on this story, I was riffing on the idea that a witch’s spells would start randomly coming apart. But as it developed, there was a really interesting dynamic between the witch, Madame Cariyu, and the village of Yoreville.

You have that sort of traditional hostility from the village priest, while at the same time it seemed that many of the residents were turning to Cariyu for help on a regular basis. It might seem like they exploited her magic, threatening to expose her “evil ways,” yet Cariyu may have been threatening them, as well. She did the favors they asked of her, knowing that she had a long list of clients she could expose as having consorted with a witch.

How important was the witch to her village? For one thing, her name is pronounced like “carry you.” That might be a hint. Plus, there’s that demon statue up on the hill. In any case, I hope you all enjoyed the story.


Coming up, I have a sort of blog tour in support of Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts. It starts Saturday, November 16, on the blog of David Lee Summers. Then on Wednesday, November 20th, I’m visiting Charles Yallowitz on his blog, Legends of Windemere. Next up is the Loveshade Family Blog on Saturday, November 23rd. I’m also planning a stint on C. S. Boyack’s Lisa Burton Radio, but that one isn’t scheduled yet.


Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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Fire and Heist, by Sarah Beth Durst, is a YA book featuring people who can assume draconic form — or maybe it’s the reverse. They get up to some mischief while trying to blend among ordinary humans. 

I recently read a review by Teri Polen on her blog, Books and Such. Rather than steal her thunder, I thought I’d link to her post, so here’s the link. Polen is a prolific reviewer, and I highly recommend her blog. Go ahead and check it out!


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

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bane of the dragon kingThis is part two of my blog visit from author J. Keller Ford. The subject: her wicked dragon king, Einar.


When talking with Deby the other day about my new book, Bane of the Dragon King, as well as the complete trilogy, she asked me an interesting question: Was Einar (the protagonist dragon) born into power or did he acquire his title through other means?

This question excited me as it was the first time anyone had asked the question and it is the first time I’ve been able to devote my time to just talking about Einar, which is just way too cool for words.

Einar was found as an egg by the young prince of Berg while on a hunting excursion with his father. He was forbidden to keep it, but as young children often do, he disobeyed his father and snuck the egg into the stables at the castle. Within a couple of weeks, the egg hatched, and the prince named him Einar, which means ‘alone’ and ‘warrior’. As Einar grew, he became disgruntled with the way he was treated and kept hidden. His demands on the young prince became so immense that the young man couldn’t keep up with them all, so Einar killed him and began to kill others within the kingdom who refused to serve him. By the time the dragon was two-years-old, he’d killed off everyone in the kingdom who challenged him and turned them into shadowmorths, his army of human souls transformed through the powers bestowed upon him as a Timberlake Smoothback dragon into killing shadow creatures.

Over the years, other skills and powers of a Timberlake Smoothback emerged, and Einar was able to infiltrate and take over other realms and kingdoms, thus proclaiming himself as the Dragon King. Attempts to capture him and kill him were thwarted at every turn. Now, two hundred years later, Einar the Dragon King comes face to face with the only ones who have the power to kill him once and for all. The battle for Hirth, for Fallhollow, and for all the universe has begun. I hope you take the journey to find out who wins!


J. Keller Ford is a scribbler of speculative fiction and YA tales. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and toured the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind, and oozes out in sweeping tails of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, screaming on roller coasters, and traveling. She is a mom of four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a menagerie of royal pets, and her own quirky knight who was brave enough to marry her.

Jenny is the author of The Chronicles of Fallhollow series. The first two books, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, and Rage of the Dragon King, are currently available. For more information about her books and to sign up for her newsletter, please visit www.j-keller-ford.com.


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

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bane of the dragon kingJ. Keller Ford has been a blogging friend of mine for years now. We’ve supported and encouraged each other, and I’m always excited to hear she has a new publication. This very week, she releases Bane of the Dragon King. This is the finale of her YA fantasy series, Chronicles of Fallhollow.

Now she has kindly offered to visit Wyrmflight and tell us about the dragons she created for her stories. Take it away, Jenny!


Let’s face it. There are not enough dragons in Young Adult fiction. If I had anything to do with it, there would be one lurking about in every YA fantasy novel. I suppose that’s why I put so many different dragons in my series of books, The Chronicles of Fallhollow.

I enjoyed writing all the dragons in my books. The first ones the reader stumbles upon are the palindrakes. These are smallish green dragons, roughly the size of an eagle, and are messengers of the forest. They are kind, curious and gentle and pretty blend in well with their surroundings.

The next dragon the reader meets is a somewhat small dragon named Mirith. He is a mix between a mountain-dwelling, fire-breathing Timberlake Smoothback and an Opernicus, a desert dragon. He is short, and stocky with autumn colored scales, a head like a bird’s, and a mane of autumn colored feathers. He is an ice-breather and a lightning thrower. Even though he appears brutish, he really is a sweetheart, once you get to know him.

The third dragon is the villain, Einar, the Dragon King. He is an immense (think twice the size of Smaug), with scales as black as midnight dipped in liquid amethyst. He’s the epitome of evil.

The last dragons we see are the beautiful, white/silver peaceful Edryd dragons of the Silver Isles. They are wise, gentle and appear as white clouds streaking through the night sky. They are enemies of Einar and play an important role in the final novel in the trilogy, Bane of the Dragon King, releasing November 13.

And that’s it. Those are all my dragons. I hope you read the books to find out more, and please feel free to reach out to me with questions. I love talking dragons and I would love to hear from all the dragon fans out there.

Thank you for hosting me today, Deby. You’re the best. Hugs to all.


J. Keller Ford is a scribbler of speculative fiction and YA tales. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and toured the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind, and oozes out in sweeping tails of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, screaming on roller coasters, and traveling. She is a mom of four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a menagerie of royal pets, and her own quirky knight who was brave enough to marry her.

Jenny is the author of The Chronicles of Fallhollow series. The first two books, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, and Rage of the Dragon King, are currently available. For more information about her books and to sign up for her newsletter, please visit www.j-keller-ford.com.


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

Read Full Post »

In line with Fairy Dragons, which I mentioned last week, there is a whole sub-genre of books that feature baby dragons. Some of these are juvenile novels where a youth protagonist cares for one or more baby dragons. The emphasis here is on compassionate kids taking care of beasts that their parents regard as dangerous and terrifying.

One example is Susan Fletcher’s Dragon Chronicles series: Dragon’s Milk (1989), Flight of the Dragon Kyn (1993), Flight of the Dove (1996) and Ancient, Strange and Lovely (2010). A did a series review a while back. A more recent series is Dragon Slippers, by Jessica Day George: Dragon Slippers (2006), Dragon Flight (2008), and Dragon Spear (2009). Here’s my review.

Sometimes the main character is a young dragon, as with the graphic novel series, Dragonbreath (started in 2009) by Ursula Vernon.

And how could I forget Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider series? I really need to get to those books some day.

There’s also a category of picture books featuring dragon characters. Sometimes there is an actual baby dragon, but more often a child character is coping with draconic behavior. Some that I’ve reviewed are Dragons Love Tacos (2012) by Adam Rubin, and Dragon Was Terrible (2016) by Kelly DiPucchio.

I’d suspect these are intended for fantasy-loving parents who want to introduce the genre to their young children. So if you have kids or grandkids, by all means go on a “dragon hunt” in your local bookstore or library. You never know what you’ll find!


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

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I’ve been talking about the Questing Beast, a dragon-like monster from Arthurian lore. This creature continues to feature in modern works, as well.

In The Once and Future King, T. H. White created his own legend of King Pellinore and the Questing Beast. Here, Pellinore is more of a comic figure who never finds more of the dragon than its droppings. A friend persuades Pellinore to give up his hopeless pursuit. After a while, though, Pellinore learns that the Beast is pining away from loneliness now that the chase is over. The hunter nurses his former nemesis back to health and gives it a head start before once again setting off on his eternal quest.

The Questing Beast has also been featured in T.V. shows such as Merlin. In this telling, the Beast is associated with the Old Religion, a faction opposed to Merlin and Arthur. The dragon’s venom is so powerful that nothing can cure it. Once bitten, death is assured. In the first-season finale, Le Morte d’Arthur, Arthur is bitten and Merlin desperately seeks aid from Nimueh,  leader of the Old Religion. Turns out, there is one way to save the Questing Beast’s prey. The victim can be spared if another person is willing to sacrifice their own life. There’s a lot of hot-potatoing as the price for Arthur’s salvation gets passed from person to person. You can read a full synopsis here.

All these events take place in a mythical version of Britain, but it seems the Questing Beast may even have made its way to the Americas. Residents of the Republic of Molossia, a self-declared micronation located in Nevada, USA, claim to have found fossil evidence of the Questing Beast. There is a hoofprint-shaped indentation on their landmark, Helicopter Rock. The residents claim this is a track left by the Questing Beast as it leapt to escape King Pellinore.

It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good dragon down.

 

 


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 best known dragon of Arthurian lore, the Questing Beast is a creature that contradicts itself. It is described as a hideous mongrel with a snake’s head and neck, leopard’s body, hindquarters of a lion, and deer hooves instead of paws. Even stranger is the noise that accompanies the Questing Beast wherever it goes. When it is nearby, you can hear a constant growling and barking as of many hunting hounds. Some legends say that the Beast actually did swallow a pack of hounds and they are still barking inside its belly!

In the Middle Ages, questing was another word for the cry of hounds following a scent. Indeed, its name in French is the Beast Glatisant, which refers to the baying of a pack of hounds. So, calling it a Questing Beast is something of a joke. For further irony, the Questing Beast doesn’t seem to be questing for anything. Instead, various characters take it as their quest to slay the Questing Beast.

This dragon’s initial appearance in Arthurian lore is when King Arthur wakes from a nightmare and beholds this bizarre animal with its noisy ambiance. It seems Arthur had spent a night of passion with a woman named Morgause (a.k.a. Morgan Le Fey), not knowing she was his sister. Their son, Mordred, was destined to destroy everything Arthur tried to build. The Questing Beast’s arrival is believed to be harbinger of this doom.

Arthur chose not to pursue the Beast, but soon after he was approached by another knight. King Pellinore explained that it was his family’s curse to endlessly pursue the Questing Beast. Arthur consulted his wizard, Merlin, who divined the dragon’s origins. A princess had once been tempted by the Devil to lust after her own brother. Through Satan’s machinations, the brother was killed, and their child was born twisted by his mother’s crimes. Perhaps King Pellinore was descended from the same royal family. This could explain his oath to destroy the Beast.

A separate story describes the Questing Beast quite differently. In this version, Sir Percival encounters the Beast while searching for the Holy Grail. What Percival sees is a small animal, pure white and beautiful to behold. The barking still accompanies it, except when the Beast pauses to drink from a pool. Some have suggested the Questing Beast represents Christ guiding Sir Percival on his quest. However, evil forces are tearing the Beast apart from inside. This could refer to Jews, who follow the Old Testament instead of Christ’s teachings, or it could just mean all those rude people who insist on talking during mass.

In yet another variation, the Questing Beast is hunted by Sir Palmades, a Saracen knight who wants to win the affection of Queen Isolde of Cornwall. I was kind of surprised to learn there had been a Saracen knight in Arthurian lore. Ultimately Sir Palmades converts to Christianity and puts his hopeless love aside.

And those are just the Medieval variations on the Questing Beast! Check back on Saturday for the more contemporary versions of this ancient dragon.


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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