Welcome! Since Jo and I are both in the just released Dragon Lovers anthology, along with Karen Harbaugh and Barbara Samuel, we decided that this shall be officially Dragon Month on the blog. But don’t worry—it won’t be all dragons, all the time. <G> Not all Wenches are draconaphiles, being that we’re a diverse lot.
All of the writers in DL will be here to talk about our stories, plus at the end of the month Jo will also interview Shana Abé, a most excellent writer of dragonish historicals. (No less that two people said I had to read her Smoke Thief. So I did. <g>)
Dragon Lovers should be hitting bookstores this weekend. It’s a handsome trade paperback from NAL, and I will be giving a copy away to one of the people who comment on this post between now and midnight Saturday. (But in the spirit of Mercury retrograde, the lucky winner will have to wait until I get my author’s copies!)
The four of us in this anthology had done the Faery Magic collection several years ago, and it was tremendous fun creatively as we developed our world together. Two stories were Georgian and two Regency, and little wisps from one story would touch another.
This new anthology came about because we wanted to work together again. Jo gets the credit—every now and then she’d suggest we do another anthology. We’d kick around a few ideas—as I recall, ghosts were a possibility, and a medieval tourney—but nothing clicked until someone suggested dragons. (I forget who came up with the idea, except that it wasn’t me.)
Click! All four of us were attending a lovely Ninc conference in Santa Fe, so one morning we went out to breakfast at a place that served blue corn pancakes, and laid our dragon plans.
In this anthology, the stories are all completely different and unrelated, and all the more fun for it. Jo’s story, “The Dragon and the Virgin Princess,” develops an interesting fantasy world that really needs to be revisited in the future. My “The Dragon and the Dark Knight” is a vaguely medieval Britain with a knight going off to slay a dragon, rescue a maiden, and win a great reward—until the tradition gets turned upside down. Karen Harbaugh uses her Japanese heritage to spin a marvelously original tale, “Anna and the King of Dragons,” while Barbara Samuel’s “Dragon Feathers,” the only contemporary novella, is equally original. As a reader, I just loved these stories!
But then, I have a fondness for dragons. I have several little dragons around my office, and a great Balinese dragon guards the entrance to my office. I was chatting with a habitué of this site and mentioned that Dragon Lovers would be out soon. The habitué was pleased. I mentioned that a dragon was really just a serpent with legs and she said, “EEEUUUWWWW, don’t go there!” It’s amazing what a difference legs make. <G>
I don’t remember where I originally got the idea for “The Dragon and the Dark Knight,” but it was in the back of my mind for a long time, and belongs to my favorite class of ideas: a subversion of a traditional story. I filed it on the mental shelf called “fantasy ideas” for years. I used a Komodo dragon in my historical, The Bartered Bride, but it wasn’t like having a real dragon.
Even when I started writing novels with fantasy elements, my dragon story idea just wasn’t big enough for a whole novel. So when this anthology concept was proposed, I was delighted. My idea was novella sized, and finally I had a home for my contrarian dragon!
Karen Harbaugh built a website four our projects: http://fourinspired.com/ We will be doing any more anthologies in the future? Stay tuned….
This fine dragon and cat was drawn by an artist friend of Jo’s, Stephanie Ann Johanson. For more of her work: http://www.neo-opsis.ca/art My thanks to her letting me using this bemused kitty!
Mary Jo, wishing you all dragon days and dreamy knights