Why are you embarking on this quest? Revenge. For the killing of my men. For the devastation wrought by the beast.
Where are you from? (Tell us about it.) From Morgantown, Western Virginia. Though my family were farmers and shop keepers, I managed an appointment to West Point, where I was eventually commissioned as an officer in the United States Army.
*Tell us about dragons in your world. One exists. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. All I care about is killing it.
Do you have a family? I lost my family, a wife and child, to cholera many years ago.
Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero? No. What is a hero? That’s for others to decide. For me, it’s a matter of duty. To your men (or family). To yourself.
What is the technology level of your world? Mid-19th Century.
*Who are you? William Hiles
How do you define a hero? Someone who does what needs to be done, no matter the risk, for the benefit of others. Someone who performs a selfless action. Ordinary people who proceed with grace under extraordinary circumstances.
Why did you choose this world/era to write in? I’m a history nut. I love the challenges of bringing the past to life. I have a very special connection to military history, especially that of the United States.
Give us a couple of lines about your characters. Brave men who take a stand against an unimaginable horror, far beyond that of ordinary war. Former enemies, forced together for survival, who become brothers in a soul-searing crucible.
Heroika: The Dragon Eaters is a dark heroic fantasy – how do you define that genre? Dark heroic fantasy, to me, is a story of ordinary people, faced by extraordinary challenges, in a landscape that seemingly offers only obstacles or heartache. And yet despite this, these people rise to the challenges, overcome the obstacles, and ultimately succeed in bringing hope or peace or some fitting resolution to the story—even at the cost of their own lives.
How much research did you need for your story? Not much actually, having been a student of the era for many years.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Mostly pantser. How a story ends is usually what I need to know before I begin, everything else is a journey to that end.
What other novels/short stories have you written? Early in my career I had quite a few stories in small press magazines. However, most of my output in recent years has been articles relating to my work (video games). I’m now getting back to writing more fiction.
What book(s) are you currently reading? War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America’s First Frontier by John F. Ross
Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I’ve kept a list of books I’ve read since I was 12 years old. I have over 1600 books on the list.
Red Rain is set during and after a real American Civil War battle. The first land battle of the Civil War, in fact, fought in the vicinity of Philippi, Virginia (now West Virginia) on June 3. 1861. Writer Ambrose Bierce did serve in this battle.
William Hiles, is a former magazine editor, game designer, writer and artist, living in Round Rock, Texas, with his wife, son, and a menagerie of pets. He likes to ramble on about history, cooking, art, and writing. Although he has been accused of living in the past, he does not write with a mere quill. It has to be an Australian Black Swan quill.
Today I welcome Travis Ludvigson and his character Ogier the Dane
*Who are you? Ogier the Dane
Why are you embarking on this quest? To support my commander and friend, Roland (and because the emperor Charlemagne has commanded it).
Where are you from? (Tell us about it) I hail from the land of the Danes, a place filled with mighty warriors, skilled craftsman and breathtaking fjords. I left my lands to seek out adventure and riches in foreign lands.
*Tell us about dragons in your world Dragons are a very serious threat. The dragon Nidhhog lives beneath the world tree, Ygdrassil, constantly gnawing at the roots, while Jorgumander, the world serpent, lurks in the depths of the sea, waiting for Ragnarok, when it will be free to do battle with the gods. Dragons are powerful creatures covered in armour-like scales and wielding wickedly sharp claws and teeth.
What is the best way to kill a dragon? If you kill the brain, you kill the beast. Of course, to do so, you must get past its claws, tail, teeth and flame and strike up close and personal. But what warrior doesn’t dream of facing such a challenge? It will be either a mighty victory or a glorious death.
*Who are you? Travis Ludvigson
How do you define a hero? Someone who puts their life on the line for another. Being heroic is about seeing someone in trouble and trying to help them, regardless of danger, recognition or reward.
Why did you choose this world/era to write in? The time of Charlemagne was full of warriors (Franks, Saxons, Danes, Norse, Saracens, etc), battles between religions, and a belief in dragons and the like was still prevalent amongst the populace.
Give us a couple of lines about your characters. Roland is one of the greatest fighters of his time. He is both a talented fighter as well as an inspiring leader who commands the respect of friends and foes alike.
Ogier the Dane is a massive warrior who serves Roland because he feels a kinship with him and admires his skills and leadership. But Ogier is a legend in his own rite. Statues of Ogier the Dane still grace the Danish landscape and it is said that when Denmark is in danger, Ogier will rise from his throne and draw his sword to protect the land.
Heroika: The Dragon Eaters is a dark heroic fantasy – how do you define that genre? This is heroic fantasy without the shiny, decorative armour and maidens in silk waiting in the highest tower for rescue. It is filled with sweat and blood stained leather, battle notched blades, terrible creatures and true, raw emotion.
What other novels/short stories have you written? Yare’ Darkness Bound and Iron Song are novels in the Nephilim Chronicles (I am currently working on the third book in the series). The first is urban/supernatural fantasy and the second is historical fantasy.
Unrelenting is a dark, urban fantasy novella.
What book(s) are you currently reading? I am currently reading The Bone Sword by Walter Rhein and The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu.
I also recently read Schade of Night by JP Wilder.
Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I broke my nose in a full contact Muay Thai championship (although I still won the fight with a third round TKO).
The indestructible sword, Durendal, wielding by Roland, is one of the most famous swords in history; second only to King Arthur’s Excalibur. The eternal sword is said to be embedded in the stone wall of the Chapelle de Notre-Dame in Rocamadour, France, where it can be seen today.
Today for Dragon Eaters Week I’d like to Welcome Walter Rhein and his character Aquila.
*Who are you? I am Aquila of Oyos, the all-king, the scourge of man. This world is mine and the creatures that scuttle and crawl across the charred surface do so at my indulgence. I will bear no slight, not from a dragon, and certainly not from a man. The immortal law is that the ancient wyrms must not slaughter one another, but I know well that the laws, even the most ancient laws, were only ever meant as binding to the lesser creatures.
Where are you from? This is a young world, still hot from creation. Rivers of liquid stone pool into glorious and glowing molten ponds. When I stretch my wings and fly, the night air is hot beneath my wings. The heavier elements bubble to the surface, and can be taken in claw and set upon the topmost peaks where they cool into a bed almost worthy of my repose.
*Tell us about dragons in your world. We are the dominant creatures. It is a dragon world and I am the king. All other life is there only for my sustenance or entertainment.
What is the best way to kill a dragon? Ahhh, that’s the secret isn’t it? Do you think I am so foolish that I would reveal such a thing here? That, the most revered knowledge of our species. My official answer is that there is no way to kill a dragon. We are immortal, we are all-powerful, we are gods. That having been said, I do know a few tricks which have proven useful when my brothers and sisters have overstepped their position.
Where do dragons come from? Dragons pre-date the universe. We are the fragments of the first creator that took nothing and forged it by force of will into creation. In the resulting explosion of that first magnificent, defiant act of creation, the dragon form was instilled into the very fabric of reality. We are the mirror image of immortality, dominance and perfection. The darkness of the night is our eternal shadow, the glimmer of the stars is the reflection of our collective, beating hearts.
*Who are you? I am Walter Rhein, the author of the fantasy novels “The Reader of Acheron,” and “The Bone Sword.” I’m also the author of a humorous travel memoir about cross-country ski racing titled “Beyond Birkie Fever.” I am published with Perseid and Harren Press and maintain a blog at HeroicFantasyWriters.com as well as operate the accompanying Facebook Group. I have a book coming out in a few months about 10 years spent living in Peru, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you define a hero? A hero is a criminal with a good public relations team.
Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? Heroika is a little different because it’s not quite a shared world anthology, although there were a set of very general ground rules to follow. I was in the middle of writing the sequel to “The Reader of Acheron” when this anthology opportunity came up. At first I wasn’t going to participate because I was so busy with “Reader 2,” but I found myself daydreaming about the project and stumbled upon an idea. It was really relaxing to take a break from the larger thematic arcs of the novel I was working on and just crank out a self-contained story. I’m glad that Janet liked it and included it in Heroika.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I used to be a pantser but I’m moving more and more towards being a plotter. It’s good to have a general idea where you want to go in a story, but your chapters have to also have that spontaneous feel. There always have to be room for movement in case your characters decide to take you places you hadn’t anticipated. That should happen because it means you’re being true to how you’ve defined your characters (when that starts happening, the books write themselves). Sometimes it can be a bit unruly to end a novel the way you anticipated, but if you can’t find a solution it might mean that the ending you hoped for isn’t within the make up of your protagonists.
How important is the fantasy genre to our society? I think it’s very important because you can get away with so much. Fantasy also allows you to make social comments that would be dangerous if you tried to say them in other genres. I’m actually a strong believer that fantasy is the dominant genre of literature. People don’t realize how many of the greatest works of literature can actually be labelled as fantasy (I could apply the label to just about anything).
Tidbit: Aquila of Oyos contains some characters with names that might be familiar from Greek and Roman mythology. That’s not an accident.
Day 3 of the Dragon Eaters Week brings us Seth Lindberg
*Who are you? Seth (S.E.) Lindberg. I live near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing my skills as a scientist & artist to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword and Sorcery genre, spurred me to writegraphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors: Dyscrasia Fiction. I co-moderate a Goodreads- Sword & Sorcery Group and invite you to participate.
*Tell us about dragons in your world; and please share some lore/myths from it. There is just one dragon in the Legacy of the Great Dragon. Therein, the Father of Alchemy entombs his source of magic, the Great Dragon. Many think of medieval chemists and occult witchcraft of the 1500’s as being the origin of alchemy. Indeed there was a popularization ~1500 with the teachings of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. Peeling back the onion of myths and history, we learn that alchemists professed knowledge having come through the Greek god Hermes; hence the lore of alchemy is often referred to the Hermetic Tradition.
One of the earliest known hermetic scripts is the Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus. Within that, a tale is told of Hermes being confronted with a vision of the otherworldly entity called Pymander, who takes the shape of a “Great Dragon” to reveal divine secrets. Digging into history more, one learns that Hermes is a reboot of the Egyptian deity Thoth (who was called by Greeks as Hermes Trismegistus). According to Greek and Egyptian myth, Thoth was able to see into the world of the dead and pass his learnings to the living. The other most known script of the Hermetic Tradition is the Emerald Tablet’s engravings; the original stone has long since been lost, but translations and recordings have persisted over centuries. Even Sir Isaac Newton was fascinated with the Tablet and made his own translation readily available (presented below answers).
Legacy of the Great Dragon fictionalizes the Hermetic Tradition, presenting the “Divine Pymander–Great Dragon” as being the sun-eating Apep serpent of Egyptian antiquity (a dragon who ate the sun each day from under the horizon, in the underworld).
How do you define a hero? Heroes take many forms; “good “ones seek to help humanity even at the expense of their own lives, property, or family. If there is a hero in Legacy of the Great Dragon it is Thoth who strives to maintain learning while seeking the divine. He is posited as a non-violent hero/protagonist. His antagonists include Horus and Set who wish to use alchemy in war.
Other Heroika authors will be sharing “Dragon-Eater recipes” in this post series. Keeping in mind that the Emerald Tablet is thought to be a recipe for transmuting the natural, to artificial, to the divine—we share it instead. Below is Sir Isaac Newton’s translation; it is not a recipe for eating dragons—rather it is a recipe provided by a Great Dragon:
‘Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing
And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
And thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
So was the world created
From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means is here in this.
Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.
Reblogged from https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/a-week-with-the-dragon-eaters-cas-peace/ (with thanks to Alex Butcher).
Welcome to Cas Peace and her character, another of the Dragon Eaters.
*Who are you? My name is Jorj and I am a veteran of the Crusades. I am a simple knight who followed his lord to the Holy Land to help liberate the City of God. We were told that this was our holy duty, that we would be venerated in heaven should we die in God’s service. But the evil I saw done there in God’s name repulsed me, tarnishing my faith and staining my soul. In shame I returned across the sea, my “holy duty” left undone. Now I am but a simple knight again, albeit with unquiet soul.
Why are you embarking on this quest? I was approached by a representative of the southern peoples of Britain, a people oppressed by the druids who once protected them. I heard disquieting facts that led me to believe the druids had harnessed a fell beast — a wyrm — and were using the demon’s power to increase their hold over the southern countryside. The king refused to help his people, who were growing desperate. I prayed, and my god sent me a sign. I hope to redeem my worth, and my soul, by banishing the wyrm back to the netherworld.
*Tell us about dragons in your world. There have been many dragons and wyrms that have oppressed the British peoples. We have had so-called “true” dragons; that is, four-legged, two-winged monsters that could breathe fire. These are the toughest challenges for any dragon-slayer or knight and have been the bane of many a stout heart. Such creatures are much sought-out as their tendency is to hoard gold, ever the tempter of men. Many a reluctant dragon-slayer has been persuaded to the hunt by the lure of dragon gold. Some have even obtained that prize.
Fiercer even than the true dragon is the wyrm — serpentlike and tricksy, they hide in holes and their poisoned breath kills all around them. The blood of these demons can render anything bathed in it impervious to fire; even a man, so the legend goes. Brave — or foolhardy! — and damned, is the soul who captures a wyrm and drinks its blood.
And those in the land of the western Celt tell tales of a beast called a gwiber, a lesser sort of wyrm that drinks milk and can be placated by an offering of milk. A common snake that drinks the milk of a nursing woman may transform into a gwiber.
Do you see yourself as a hero? What is a hero? I do not see myself as a hero, although the peoples of southern Britain would doubtless say I am. To them, who had not the knowledge, nor skill, nor courage to fight the demon, I am a hero who saved them from oppression and death when no one else could. Their vision of a hero would doubtless be the knight on fiery steed who charges into battle with sword aloft, fierce of mien and doughty of hand, careless for the safety of self. To me, a hero is an ordinary person who performs extraordinary deeds for altruistic reasons — either for protection, or maybe to uphold some higher, noble cause. But does that, then, not refute my own assertion that I am not a hero? Yes, I answered the call to aid the defenseless peoples of southern Britain, and yes, I employed my skills as a knight and the might of my arm, and put myself in harm’s way. But I failed my God in the Holy Land, I allowed myself to be tainted by the evil I saw around me, and so forfeited the right to be a servant of my faith. I will begin again, and work my way up toward the Light, toward a state where I might, some time in the future if God is good, be worthy of the title of Hero.
Are there other such monsters in your world? Definitely. Medieval Britain is full of monsters. There are reports of all kinds of dragons and wyrms, including the Afanc and the Nwyvre, both water dragons. There are beasties such as the kelpie, which inhabits the waters and lochs of Scotland and appears as either a horse or a hoofed human; there is the Demon of Dartmoor, a legendary black beast reported to be either a huge cat or some kind of monstrous dog; Cernunnos, sometimes called Herne the Hunter or the god of the Wild Hunt, a manlike creature with the antlers of a great stag; there is the rather disgusting alp-luachra, a newtlike creature which crawls down sleepers’ throats to eat some of their last meal; Gwyllgi, the terrifying Welsh dog of darkness; Dearg-Due, an Irish vampiress; there are also Hell Hounds, boggarts, ghouls, and fiends of many shapes and sizes. Britain has a history rich in such monsters.
Author questions :
*Who are you? I am Cas Peace, a Brit who loves to write fantasy novels. I live in Hampshire, in southern Britain, with my husband and two rescue dogs, Milly and Milo. I trained as a horse-riding instructor back in the 1970s and ’80s, and owned my own Welsh cob, which I used for carriage driving as well as riding. I used to compete in cross-country carriage trials and carriage-dressage. Now I’m a full-time author, editor and proofreader. I’m also a folk singer/songwriter, and have written unique folk-style songs to accompany each of the nine novels in my triple-trilogy fantasy series, Artesans of Albia. My other hobbies include country walking, growing cacti, working in stained glass, singing in my local church choir, and playing the bodhran.
Why did you choose this world/era to write in? I’ve always been fascinated by dragons, and of course, England’s patron saint, George, was one of the most famous dragon-slayers ever. I grew up seeing pub signs with George and the dragon on them, and became more fascinated since I learned that George wasn’t actually English! He was born in Lydda, Syria Palaestina, and served in the Roman army. He died a Christian martyr, hence his being adopted as England’s saint. Although there is a school of thought that believes it was another George entirely who was the basis for England’s saint. Whatever the truth behind the historical figure, I decided to base my Dragon Eater story on George, and make him a veteran of the Crusades, as it’s said that the legend of him slaying a dragon was brought back by Crusaders. Also, I’m interested in how the druids shaped their world and thought it’d be neat to combine the two into one story.
Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? I’ve written short stories before and had a few published, but I’ve never been part of an anthology or tried to write to someone else’s direction. I found it quite liberating in a way, because I didn’t have to come up with the actual premise; I merely had to decide how to interpret it, and that was the fun part. Also, I was well within my comfort zone with the genre of HEROIKA. I really enjoyed it and would definitely do it again.
Writing for an anthology differs from writing a novel in that you (obviously!) have constraints on your final word count. This means that although your story must still have a clear plot and structure, you must condense the action and be sharp and concise. I think that writing a successful short story is a separate art form from writing a novel, and both art forms must be learned and practiced in order to get them right. Often, writers are better at one form than the other — it’s rare to find someone equally skilled at both. They do exist, of course, and I would love to think I could eventually be thought of as a writer who can produce shorts as enjoyable as my novels. Time will tell!
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m definitely a panster, which is why I’m not sure if I’ll ever make a really good short story writer. I believe that careful planning is much more important in a short story, whereas I really like to get my teeth into an idea and simply let my pen and imagination hold hands and run away with each other. I dislike putting constraints on my characters, my emotions, or my dialogue as I write, and prefer to just scribble down what comes into my head. Then, once I feel comfortable that I have something worth working on, I will edit and hone and cut and edit some more to make my ramblings into some kind of sense. When I first began writing my Artesans of Albia series, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never written a novel before (much less an entire series!) and had no intention of showing it to anyone or trying to get it published. That idea came much later, after I’d summoned the courage to let someone read it and been told I ought to offer it to a publisher. The ideas for the series came thick and fast while I was writing, too fast, sometimes, for me to get them down. Nothing was planned, nothing thought out, and if I got stuck I only had to go dog walking or let my mind wander for the solution to pop into my head. I found it kind of scary —that feeling of being taken over by something I had no control over. Scary and wonderful and exciting all at once. I doubt I’d get those feelings were I to try to plan a novel, so I guess I’ll just have to wait an see if it ever happens again!
Tell us one unusual fact about yourself. I don’t like rainbows. Actually, I’m not too happy about anything odd in the sky. Weird clouds and colors freak me out, especially when we lived in Italy and wind-blown Saharan sand turned the sky and air blood-red for a day. I hardly went outdoors, it was so spooky!
Recipe: Dragú with wyrmicelli pasta.
A good quality cooking oil
1lb extremely lean, minced dragon meat
1 red onion
1 garlic clove (the softneck variety ‘silverdragonskin’ is best)
1 carrot (‘drakeheart’ has good color and flavor)
1 celery stick
Handful of mushrooms (black dragonback are best, if you can get them)
Half a pint of meat stock
One large glass of warm, spiced dragon blood
Large pinch of Artemisia dracunculus
Pinch of salt.
Fresh wyrmicelli pasta
Heat the oil, add the dragon meat and cook until brown. Add the onion and garlic, fry for 3 minutes. Add the carrot and celery. Add the mushrooms andArtemisia dracunculus, then add the stock. Once mixed, stir in the glass of spiced dragon blood. Bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Cook the wyrmicelli until nicely al dente. Turn onto a plate and top with the dragú mix. Sprinkle with gorgon zola cheese and enjoy!