Friday, November 19, 2010
The Woman Who Loved Dragons...
Makes for a good title huh? Meet Sandy Lender author of PROBLEMS ON LEDORA and dragon lover extraordinaire. Welcome, Sandy. Please tell us about dragons.
For Problems on Eldora Prime, I made up some different dragons than the ones I have in the fantasy world of Onweald in my Choices series with ArcheBooks Publishing. This was a whole new galaxy, a whole new planet, a whole new set of rules, and a whole new type of dragon. For Problems on Eldora Prime, I put dragons in space. As bizarre as it sounds, it worked out.
First of all, I didn’t need funky space suits or ridiculous capsules. This isn’t some spoof on Star Wars or whatever. I put the dragons in the cargo hold of the Instigator—a ship that wasn’t supposed to have them on board in the first place. Conflict. So the dragons are these big ol’ reptiles from a foreign moon taken out of their comfort zone and flung into a scary position. They’re freaked and dangerous. More conflict. The first thing the reader sees them do is barbeque somebody. (which is pretty cool when you’re talking about dragons)
To have a good story, you can’t have five cranky dragons torching everybody that gets within breathing range, though. These dragons are intelligent beings. They work together to solve problems, to figure things out. There’s an obvious alpha male and an obvious weak youngster (who is totally cute). There’s a pecking order, as there is in any clan. They know they need to work with the humans onboard the Instigator if everybody (dragons included) are going to survive the new environment of Eldora Prime.
These dragons don’t speak, but they can communicate effectively enough through body language and action. I mean, if a dragon snarls at you, something in the immediate vicinity needs to change, right? There’s one “bad guy” in particular in Problems on Eldora Prime who gets on the dragons’ bad side and they abandon him when they’re helping the other humans escape some nasty zombie-like creatures. That’s a clear communication: “We don’t like you.”
Overall, writing with dragons is exhilarating. Your characters get to experience something mythical. Sometimes they get to fly with a dragon. Sometimes they get impaled by a dragon’s claw… Whatever your dragons have in store for them, it’s going to be interesting because big flying reptiles have a mystery about them that’s fascinating to write about—and read about—no matter what world you place them in. I’m thrilled that they fit in space!
“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”
Thanks, Sandy that was great. How about a blurb and excerpt?
Problems on Eldora Prime
When 17-year-old pilot Khiry Okerson crashes on Eldora Prime, alarms still ring in her ears. She might have solved one problem, but she courts more danger than she realizes when she liberates some unexpected hostages on a foreign planet. Will the dragons she releases become her allies? It’s more likely they’ll join the inhabitants of this unforgiving world to hunt terraformers and the Instigator’s dwindling crew.
Khiry must find a way off this rock and into the United Society for Peace and Strength’s good graces. She’s got a capable marksman on her team in the handsome and renown Kor, but Khiry still wonders how her people can escape with a captain’s treason on her hands and a political leader’s sister in her care—care she can’t guarantee.
“They’re bringing out a phase canon!” Khiry announced. She pointed to the front bank of windows as if no one would know where to look. As if she didn’t speak to someone three years her senior, she ordered, “Kor, you better power up something if we’re not planning a quick surrender.”
“Why are we not off the moon?” Marlon demanded.
“Why are you not telling me what’s on board?” she demanded back.
“It’s none of your pegging business. Now get us off the ground before I have Trane fire you out the airlock.”
Khiry pulled another lever and slammed her hand down on a button with the words “fuel mix” etched below it. “I’ll try again. Let’s hope we don’t shake apart on the platform.”
She looked back at Gibson, who cringed as if he’d been hit. For a security chief, he didn’t display much bravado clinging to the doorway with white knuckles. He stared wide-eyed out the window as if he expected a plasma bolt to crash through and spang him. Khiry wondered if he was about to run away into the depths of the ship.
Over the complaint of the ship’s engines, she heard the familiar whir of the Instigator’s phase canon power up. Kor was fast. She spared a glance from her controls to him. The young man’s stoic presence set her at ease for some reason.
The high-pitched beep, double beep, beep sounded on Khiry’s console. She didn’t even glance at the red light this time. Too many fingers were needed to trouble-shoot this lift-off. Better to pretend their communications were down anyway.
“Is that USPS?” Kor asked.
“Mind your business,” Marlon snapped. “Target that phase canon. Spang it.”
“Aye, Captain. And you’ll speak at my trial?”
“We’ll get no trials,” Khiry muttered under her breath. “This gets wetter by the minute.” She knew no good could come of this day.
Whatever her personal opinions on the United Society for Peace and Strength or its Presidente Lamahl Endh back on Earth, she didn’t condone treason. To ignore a direct request to power down and submit to an investigation bordered on treason. Spanging an Authority Customs Investigation team? That didn’t just cross the line. That jumped up and down on the line while thumbing your nose and mooning someone pretty high up the chain of command—possibly Presidente Lamahl Endh himself.
Marlon leaned over her console again. He flipped the switch to speak to Red in engineering. “When you get us enough energy to get off this rock, start fixing things. My ship’s falling apart around my ears.”
“When?” the tinny female voice sassed back. “You mean if, right?”
“Make it happen!” He neglected to flip the toggle back before stepping to his space behind the stations, watching ACI vehicles move toward his vessel.
“Why are we still on the ground?”
As if she heard his furious question, the ship slowly began to rise. She shook and shuddered, screaming and wailing as if every bolt and weld would fly apart from the strain. Despite the thrust of the engines, the rise was maddeningly slow. The ACI vehicles on the moon’s surface backed away from the enormous energy and heat. Sound became all anyone knew.
Sound rattled their teeth. Sound joined the shudder of the ship to bang their brains against their skulls. Khiry closed her eyes against the pain of it, praying to God that they’d break atmosphere without falling back to the moon’s surface.
“This is gonna be a short trip,” she heard Red shout over the communications link.