About Writing Dragons

It has taken me a long, long time to write about dragons in a serious way. Which is funny, because I’ve always loved dragons.

I remember reading a German children’s book that has dragons in it. Ugly, nasty, dirty and altogether unpleasant dragons. (Jim Knopf und Lukas, der Lokomotivführer, by Michael Ende). Actually, there is one exception to that but she doesn’t get much screen time – I won’t say more because of spoilers.

Then Pern happened to me when I was an exchange student. I spent much of my free time translating Dragon Flight into German… And that set the standard rather high. Of course, I imagined my very own dragon, with her own name. Who didn’t?

Also, most dragons in Dungeons and Dragons are … bad news. I actually played a character once who developed dragon characteristics – there was a half-dragon player set in 3E, if I remember correctly. Sadly, that game didn’t go very far, and the group dissolved soon after that.

So dragons have always been on my mind, but it has taken me until now to actually tell a story about them. Maybe it’s because I decided that the Pern dragons are not going anywhere anymore. Or maybe I finally wanted to create my own take.

Dorelle's Journey

Dorelle’s Journey

You see, “my” dragons are a little like Pern dragons. They speak in their riders’ minds. They don’t go between, though. And their wings are covered in down, like dinosaurs, while the bodies are covered in scales. I kinda liked that idea, so it’ll stay. Oh, and they can shift color, which is rather neat, too. And different.

Sadly, most of the dragons are treated like animals, or flying horses. Only a few people are aware enough – or not indoctrinated enough – to recognize their intelligence and loyalty.

My hero, Dorelle, grew up in a fishing village and thus was not taught as a child that dragons had to be dominated and rigidly controlled in order to be safe. Instead, her dragon Mashira became her best friend.

That’s why Dorelle did the unthinkable when Mashira was threatened with death. She deserted.

You can already preorder the tale of what Dorelle and Mashira went through on their journey, and find out why they chose to return, after all. And it’ll go live on February 24th, together with a print edition.

“Dorelle’s Journey” on Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.de

And there will be more. I’m calling this The Cloud Lands Saga.

Because I discovered I love writing dragons.

Your Turn:
Which is your favorite dragon? And if you’re really daring … what’s your Pern dragon’s name? (Mine was Marianth.)

Image Source: Blue Harvest Creative

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Books I enjoyed in 2014

Reading

Reading

I’ve been thinking about what to write at the beginning of a new year. I could talk about projects, about plans and characters that I love … but there is plenty of time to do so later.

So I decided to make a list of books that really touched me in 2014. That’s not going to be easy because I don’t usually take notes about books. (Here’s a thought: A book journal, jotting down a few ideas about every book I read…)

I’m excluding non-fiction (of which I read a lot, being a coach and therapist in my other life), since this is the blog of a fiction writer.

Anyway, here we go, in no particular order as I dig through my Kindle:

The Mage Winds Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey

Reading these books early in 2014 was like revisiting an old friend, with new adventures. I enjoy Valdemar a lot, and these tales were nice, entertaining and soothing. There was some brooding, but not near as much as in the Vanyel trilogy. Also, much less heartbreak. ( And it was kind of nice to learn something new about Vanyel, too.) I was at a point where I needed soothing and entertaining more than dark. Weiterlesen

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Flash Friday: The Summoning

Well, demons are the favorite playthings of some summoners. Not all of them, as you can see.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carefully, Daron drew the pentacle with holy chalk. Then he lit the candles one by one, closing the circle with the calling of the four elements.

With two deep breaths, he centered himself before starting the incantation.

“I call thee, Svarog,
for the might of the fire
for the power of the game
for the will of the desire
for the aim of the flame.”

The air flickered around him. Power moved on a larger scale than he ever expected. A flicker of fear stole over him, and he brushed it away.

“I call thee, Svarog,
for the roar of the fire
for the …”

Something moved. He whirled. A flickering spark flew up from the pentacle, followed by a larger one. Daron cringed as the pentacle on the floor filled with fire. Flames roared up, and he took a step back. One candle fell, breaking the circle. As fire engulfed him and seared his body, a voice entered his gibbering mind.

“YOU CALLED?”

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Flash Friday: My Friend

boat

Boat

Water had always been my friend. Until today. Today, it had become my enemy. Alone in the sea, my boat sinking to the bottom, I knew that water would kill me. It was just a matter of time.

For now, it still carried me. Floating on my back, I stared up at the sky. The sun was setting. Already, I could feel the cold creeping into my body and started to shiver. The sky turned purple, then dark blue. Stars sparkled in a final salute.

I caught the moon rising above the waves when the shivering gradually ceased. In a part of my mind, I knew the end was near. Yet it was nice to just lie here in peace, being gently rocked by long waves. I drifted into sleep, didn’t even fight when water covered my face. I just allowed myself to slip under.

It was so easy.

I blinked, fully awake again. The water around me was alive, vibrating with color and energy. It took me a while to understand, but then I laughed. Oh, yes, water was my element, and now I had become a part of it.

I smiled and rose through my new world.

Your Turn:
What do you think happened?

Image source: F. Moebius

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Flash Friday: Alchemist’s Dream

alchemist

Alchemist

He was so close. The residue in the glass had gleamed in such a way he knew making gold was in his grasp. Once again he mixed fluids, heated them gently, stirred them diligently. This time, he would add one more ingredient.

It had taken a lot of negotiation with the thieves’ guild before they agreed to get it. In the end, he promised a year’s supply of that gray powder he had discovered. They used it to blow open locks, a weapon that had all traders paying the guild so their coffers would be spared. He had given that task to his new apprentice. Let the fool grind charcoal and sulfur, and mix it with saltpeter. He was meant for better things.

Very gently, he lowered the glass back into the flames, gave it a final shake. The concoction welled up again, and a golden shimmer began to coat the glass. His heart beating with glee, he lifted the glass high. Finally!

“Master!” The scream was followed by rapidly retreating footsteps.

What…?

Before he could finish the thought, a huge explosion shattered the laboratory, tore apart the walls and smashed all hopes of ever finding the alchemist’s dream.

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Flash Friday: Perfect Murder

Mudman

Mudman

The mud moved, heaved and bubbled. Parts of it solidified, grew, rose from the murky depth. Round bulbs elongated, turned into a head, and arms. The creature rose further, stretched into the air and finally stood on its own two legs, dripping mud, still shifting in details. Eyes opened, the nose twitched, the mouth heaved, lips stretched, molded into place, finally split to show misshapen teeth. They gleamed strangely bright in the dark, brown face.

“You called?”

I shuddered, forced my thoughts back to the task at hand. “Yes. I ask you to do my bidding.”

“So be it, Master.”

Triumph, sudden, and bright. “Seek out my sister. Kill her.”

“Yes, Master.”

“When she is dead, return here and dissolve back into the puddle.”

“Yes, Master. It will be done.”

I walked away, careful not to get any of the mud on my shoes. So easy. And CSI wouldn’t have a clue.

Your Turn:
What do you think? Would CSI solve this one?

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Flash Friday: Gryphon Harvest

grpyphon

Attempted Gryphon

(Yep, it’s Saturday. These things happen. Posting a story anyway.)

It was hot in the steppe. High buttes reached up to the sky, dotting the steppe. Selina had come to climb up to the top of one. Only here did gryphons nest. Now was the right time for the harvest, as they set on their nests, warming their eggs.

Carefully, Selina clawed her way up the sheer walls of the butte the gryphons had chosen this year. It took her several hours of exertion to reach the top. After a short rest, she crept towards the gryphon nest. The mother gryphon was crooning to her eggs, even as she turned them. Selina smiled, it was good to see them breeding well.

She pulled on the leather hood which would keep her safe from bites before crawling into the nest itself. Calming the mother with soft croons of her own, she went for her prize.

A little later, she stood at the edge of the butte, opening up the gliding wings which would take her safely off the butte. She had tucked three golden gryphon wing feathers into her belt. The molting mother gryphon would never miss them, but they would gain her enough coin to last until the next harvest.

Your Turn:

What do you think?

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Flash Friday: Mage Wars

Bad guys coming

Bad guys coming

I couldn’t believe my eyes when Mom threw our bedding into the big wagon, while Dad hitched the horses to it in great haste.

“But… but it’s summer. We don’t travel in summer.” I gestured towards the fields.

“We do now.” He looked east and winced. His face paled. “Get Mara and jump in. Don’t stop for anything else. The mages are almost here.”

“How do you know?”

“I can feel their spells. Now run!”

I ran and picked up my little sister. As soon as I had lifted Mara to the seat, and hauled myself up, he shook the rains, and the horses pulled out.

I crawled past my mother who had curled up on our bedding, stumbled over a few packages and made my way to the rear end of the wagon.

“We can’t let the mages catch Dad.” Mom sobbed quietly.

“I’m casting a small hiding spell, darling. The farm will distract them, so they won’t notice.”

I looked back at the little farm house that I had called home for several years now. A fireball descended on it and exploded in dark red flames.

“We’ll return in fall,” Dad promised. “The mages will be gone then.”

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Flash Friday: The Halfwit

Bad stuff

Bad stuff happening

“Rain!” his high voice wailed.

“But, Dayda, the rain season is over. See, the sky is blue.”

“Bad rain!” Dayda looked frantic. I didn’t know what to do with him. He was the family halfwit, and today he was in my care.

“Dayda, shall we have a picknick in the forest?”

He nodded eagerly. “Pack food. Bad rain coming!”

Sighing, I packed bread, fruit and some cold meats. We would find water in the forest.

“Everyone come!”

“No, Dayda, they have work to do.”

He threw a screaming fit.

“Shall we go or not?”

A little later, he was pulling me through the forest. He only stopped when we had climbed the tall hill behind our village.

“Bad rain”, he sobbed and pointed. A huge black cloud stood there, with lightning flashing through it. Thunder rumbled, so loud it shook the earth.

Then the rain started. Ash fell from the sky, followed by rocks. Dayda curled up on the ground, whimpering. I stared in horror, when a foul smelling flood of mud rolled through the fields and covered my village with everyone living there. I sank to the ground, shaking.

If only we had listened to the halfwit.

Image Source: F. Moebius

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Flash Friday: The Winner takes All

Mage

Mage

This final duel would determine who would become archmage of Tsaranval. Both Saniral and Ysanna had proven their might as mages, but only one of them could rule this realm. Saniral won the draw of first strike. Ysanna simply smoothed her gown, tossed back her jet-black hair and created the circle that would protect the audience from their magic.

Saniral blasted off with an impressive fire ball, tinged in purple and violett. Ysanna countered with an icestorm. The shards tinkled sweetly as they fell.

The audience yelled with glee. This was exactly what they had been waiting for.

In the next round Ysanna summoned a gigantic eagle that dove at Saniral with a wild screech. Saniral just shook his head, then made a gesture. A magic word transformed the eagle into a swarm of tiny flies that engulfed Ysanna. Grinning, he turned to the audience.

“I have won. Ysanna can’t fight anymore.” A heartbeat later, a rock hit his skull at high speed and he slumped to the ground, unconscious. The flies disappeared.

“Who has won now?” Ysanna smiled sweetly and daintily stepped over her fallen adversary.

“Archmage Ysanna!,” was the overwhelming response.

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