Hello everyone! Today I get to talk about fantastic books with DRAGONS!! I LOVE dragons!! As a heads up, I’m using my trusty iPhone app to work on this post, so PLEASE let me know if any links don’t work, or if there are any boo boos. Hurricane Isaac *grumbles* has caused a little chaos for me, so I’ve been a little more nuts! 🙂 I’m thinking this is gunna be a new normal. BUT anyways, we are talking goodies, so let
YOU CAN SEE ALL OF THE TOUR AND OTHER HOSTS here
Resa Nelson’s 4-book Dragonslayer series:
Synopsis for The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1)
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover–the dragonslayer–disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.
Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.
Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much…or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?
Synopsis for The Iron Maiden (Book 2)
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it’s her duty. She’d rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?
Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer’s sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.
In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn’t a decision she can make just once. It’s a decision she must make every day.
Synopsis for The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)
In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route–until she’s bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.
Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane’s mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.
Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She’s convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she’s convinced it must hold before it’s too late.
And now I’d like to welcome the author for an interview! Welcome!!
Maghon: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
Resa: For as long as I can remember, I always made up stories to entertain myself. When I was in the 2nd grade, my teacher gave a group assignment to re-tell and draw big pictures to illustrate a well-known children’s story. My group did The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens. Doing the art was fun, but I really loved the writing. That’s when I decided I wanted to write books.
Maghon: What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
Resa: My first published novel is The Dragonslayer’s Sword, and the catalyst was an upsetting experience: I was proposition by a co-worker – a married man with two children! I was horrified because I had trusted him as a colleague and friend only to realize I’d given him far more credit than he deserved. I wrote a short story called “The Dragonslayer’s Sword” about a female blacksmith who is propositioned by a new dragonslayer, and that dragonslayer is responsible for protecting everyone she cares about. Writing that story was my way of working through my hurt feelings. When it was published in a magazine, the reader response was so strong that I decided to turn it into a novel if I could come up with an idea worthy of a novel – and that took 8 years just to come up with the idea! I ended up writing two short stories in my Dragonslayer world, and I’ve put them in a “mini” ebook that I’m giving away so people can sample my work for free to see if they like it. There’s no cost or obligation, and everyone is welcome to download it at http://www.resanelson.com/files.
Maghon: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Resa: I always write based on things I’ve experienced or witnessed or have studied. For example, many years ago I was at the airport waiting for a flight, and a very dramatic event unfolded. No one was physically hurt, but the event to this day is one of the most chilling things I’ve ever seen. It didn’t happen to me, but I saw it happen. I was part of a crowd that witnessed it. I consider that to be part of my life experience, and I’ll include it in a novel someday – and that’s why I’m not giving any details about what happened! I feel very strongly that if I see something happen in a public setting (as opposed to something that happens in a private setting or someone telling me something in confidence), it’s mine.
Maghon: How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?
Resa: Every death has to have meaning. When minor characters die, it’s typically to serve the big picture, meaning, the overall story. But when an important character dies, it’s to make other major characters think about what they believe they know to be true and reconsider it. It’s like a slap in the face that wakes them up and makes them think. So when I choose a character who’s going to die, it’s for a very specific reason, and I choose the character who is the best fit.
Maghon: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Resa: Yes. Right now I’m very impressed with Eoghain Hamilton, whose first book (A Celtic Darkness) is a collection of short stories. His work relies very much on mood and atmosphere. He’s from Ireland and draws a lot on his own experience and the Irish culture and belief in ghosts. He’s a horror writer, but not like a writer like Stephen King. Hamilton’s work isn’t graphic – there’s really not any blood and gore. It’s all about suspense and anticipation. He reminds me of classic writers like Edgar Allen Poe and Shirley Jackson.
Maghon: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Resa: No. I like it the way it is.
Maghon: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Resa: I’ve been working at my craft my entire life, and writing is as important to me as breathing. I’m constantly working to become the best writer I can be, but that’s part of the fun. So any challenges are part of the joy of being a writer.
Maghon: What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
Resa: I’m reading a couple of books. One is a mainstream novel set in New Hampshire called “See You ‘Round the Square” by Berry & Croft. The other is technically nonfiction. It’s about an American family living in Germany just as the Nazis were coming into power, and it’s by Eric Larson. I rarely read fantasy because I don’t want to be influenced by other fantasy writers. Most of the time I read mystery/thrillers.
Maghon: Who designed the covers? And do you help with them?
Resa: The owners of my publishing house work with their art director and an artist to design the covers. Every time one of my novels is accepted, I have the opportunity to toss out ideas for cover art. I usually try to come up with two or three different ideas, and then they’ll all take those ideas and work with them. For my standalone novel (Our Lady of the Absolute), I threw out a bunch of images but didn’t have a specific idea for a cover. That book is about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt, so I mentioned that Isis plays a major role in the novel and it might be a good idea to include her on the cover. And I said it might be nice to have a pyramid and maybe the desert and maybe the Eye of Horus, which is also very important in the story. I’m still in awe of the cover they designed.
Maghon: Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
Resa: I always learn something when I write a novel, which is one of the best benefits of being a writer. Sometimes I learn about the craft of writing, because the best way for me to learn is by doing. But sometimes I learn about life or about myself. I learned a lot from writing Book 2 (The Iron Maiden) in my Dragonslayer series. For that series I did a lot of research about the Middle Ages. When I was getting ready to write Book 2, I was learning about women in medieval times and how they were perceived as having less value than some animals. That tells me that women weren’t perceived as human beings but as animals, which was pretty disturbing. When I wrote the villainous characters, my goal was to write from their point of view to show how they perceived their world and why. While I was doing this, I started thinking about how we shape our opinions based on what we learn from our families and how much strength and courage it takes to form your own opinions if you disagree with your family’s opinions. I thought about how this perception of women has been handed down through families for hundreds of years and how women’s freedom is a pretty new concept. The process changed me. I used to feel disdain for people who think women are “less than” men, but now I feel sorry for those people. The experience of researching and writing The Iron Maiden made me more compassionate.
Maghon: If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
Resa: I feel a real kinship with Astrid. She goes through a lot in the Dragonslayer series, but she’s always thinking and doesn’t give up.
Maghon: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Resa: Thank you! I’m so grateful to anyone who is willing to take a chance on me and my novels. My goal is to pull readers into my worlds and make the experience as real and exciting as possible. So I’m thrilled when anyone is willing to take that ride with me.
And now I’d like to welcome the main character over!! Welcome!! 🙂
Thanks for being here Astrid!! I am so happy to meet you and grateful that you could make it. I know you are so busy!
Astrid: Thank you for your invitation. I am happy to meet you, too!
Maghon: Tell me a little about youself so I can share it with everyone…
Astrid: I live in Guell, which is a wonderful village in the Northlands. Guell is close to a place where dragons like to breed, so most of the time we’re safe from brigands and thieves and anyone else who might harm us. I have a lovely cottage and smithery. I love being a blacksmith more than anything I could ever imagine. And I’m blessed to have good people in my life.
Maghon: When you were younger, I know it was so hard for you with your scars. How happy were you when you learned how to disguise them?
Astrid: Changing my skin changed everything. Except for Temple (the man who bought me) and my sweetheart DiStephan, no one in Guell ever knew about my scars because children are to be heard and not seen. So I stayed hidden in Temple’s smithery and no one saw me until I became old enough to have the power to look the way I want. I didn’t want people to be afraid or sickened by the way I looked. I’m happy I could spare them that.
Maghon: I know you were scared at first, but you grew to love Temple. What is your most sacred memory of him, other than him teaching you to blacksmith?
Astrid: The day he first bought me. That night he stayed in his cottage and I slept in the smithery by the anvil. I had never been so happy! I thought I heard him sniffling but knew it couldn’t be possible because he was such a big and strong man. But now I think he was crying and thinking back to all the things that happened I think I know why.
Maghon: Before the child seller sold you to Temple, how did you cope with life? I know you would hide, but how exactly did you go on everyday?
Astrid: It was very difficult and very painful. I have some very faint memories of being happy when I was very, very young, but what I remember most is being kept in a cage with a dragon and trying to stay alive.
Maghon: What did Temple mean to you and what he’s taught you?
Astrid: Temple meant everything to me. He gave me knowledge and taught me how to be a blacksmith. That means I can make my own way instead of having to depend on someone else. He gave me my life.
Maghon: How did you feel when you first saw DiStephan and knew that he was ok with you and your scars?
Astrid: I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think anything like that could be possible.
Maghon: Would you have searched the world and back forever until you found DiStephan?
Astrid: I wanted to, but how could I abandon my friends and all the people who need me?
Maghon: Now that you know where DiStephan is, how do you feel about?
Astrid: I don’t think I’m used to it yet. I feel happy and sad at the same time.
Maghon: I know you love DiStephan, but what if you meet someone who could give you what he couldn’t?
Astrid: That is so difficult to think about. Just thinking about it makes me feel confused. Maybe someday I’ll know, but I don’t think that day is today.
Maghon: Would you want to fall in love again, knowing what you know now?
Astrid: Maybe. I’m not sure yet.
Maghon: Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello! I am honored to have you here. I do hope we can meet again and I absolutely cannot wait for you to continue your journeys so I can read all about them!!! 🙂
Astrid: Thank you so much for inviting me! But I should go … I think I smell the presence of a dragon in the distance… be careful and please stay safe!
Thank you so much!! And now here’s my review:
I was browsing goodreads one day and saw the cover for the first book, and thought it looked like a great read, so I added it to my to be read pile 🙂 and then, not a week or two later, I’m opening an email from the author asking if I’d like to be part of this tour. I almost said no, with my life being crazy lately- BUT I’M SO GLAD I DID!!! This book is so good!
There’s so many good things about this book, and the writing is at the top of that list! I want to call it formal, but that’s only because my brain is lacking a better word. Its so flawless and consistent and effortless. I felt like I was transported into that era of time. And the plot!! Way to give me so many surprises! Just when you think you found the bad guy, WHAM, you get another surprise! I loved this whole book!
Astrid is a great character. With all the bad things she’s had happen, she still finds it in her to be loyal, and loving, an determined! She’s a great hero, even if she doesn’t believe she is. AND TEMPLE!! He’s my hero! He bought Astrid as a slave but treated her like a daughter. He had so much to give, so much more than teaching a skill. He will always be missed. And DiStephan…. Awww I had such high hopes for him, but I think we’ll have to see where the future goes.
In the end, Astrid finds out some things from her last and I was so surprised! I cannot wait to continue this journey with the next book!! I would recommend this book to dragon loving, sword fans who like Dark Ages era, epic fantasy readers. I LOVED IT!
4.5 PAWS FROM ME!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.
Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine’s first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer’s Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa’s standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it “a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended.”
Resa lives in Massachusetts.
You can stalk the author here:
Resa’s website: http://www.resanelson.com
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories: http://www.resanelson.com/files
GoodReads giveaway: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at: http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
First, I wanna apologize, if you saw this post via email, half of the content was missing. Something went wrong and I lost half of the post. I’ll blame it on Hurricane Isaac.
Next, I wanna say thank you so much to Ms Resa and Astrid for stopping by and being guest! I wish everyone good luck with the giveaway- see the link above- and happy reading my gators!! 🙂