Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Location: Misbehaving in Candlelight

Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Dragon Goes to DragonCon
Or...where else would I be this weekend?

In honor of the largest fantasy convention in the southwest region of our country (and, yes, I recognize that the world wide web reaches everywhere, but, dudes, I've lived in the USA for 36 of the 37 years of my life...I can't help that I'm stuck in the "this is my country" mode of thinking), I'm posting about my trip before I leave.

Not only have I slacked off on the Word of the Day and grammar stuff around here lately, I'm going to totally blow it off for a whole weekend! Bwuahahaha! Deal!

He he. I'll be back Tuesday morning and will make some sort of attempt to return the blog to normalcy for all ya'll writer types who look for writing info and author interviews (see the one with Karina Fabian in the next post below) and all that good stuff. I'm covering DragonCon for FantasyBookSpot.com so I'll have pictures and info that we can cross-post, so there'll be exciting news to share there. I'm also being "shadowed" by a fantastic gal who'll do a story about li'l ol' me for a couple of sites if I've got my facts straight, and I'll have that information to share with you when I get back, so don't lose track of Today the Dragon Wins. (You know that "favorite" feature your computer has? Yeah...that would be a good feature to employ for Tuesday morning...)

Have a great weekend, everyone! And if you're attending DragonCon, stop by my dealer table - A98 - and say hello! You can pick up a copy of Choices Meant for Gods there. (Or you can grab one of the last three copies at Amazon.com. My publisher's site has oodles...http://www.archebooks.com/BookIDX/Indexes/Fantasy/CMG/CMGDesc.htm. OH! And I guess Barnes and Noble.com has it in stock, but I never remember to push that site...) Buy it wherever you want to. People like it. :)

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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We Have the Interview at Last
Or...please join a dragon in welcoming author Karina Fabian to the blog today

Back on August 11, we tried to get the interview on here, but Karina was experiencing technology meltdown. I'm pleased to report that she's still sane and somewhat stable, and as she wraps up her tour for her sci-fi anthology Infinite Space Infinite God, here's what interesting goodies she has for visitors to The Dragon!

The Dragon: You and your husband Rob are listed as the editors of Infinite Space Infinite God. Is that because you compiled information and put the book together, or did a group or sci-fi association compile the information for the two of you to edit?

Karina: Oh, no--this work was all Rob's and mine. We put out the word, took in the stories, evaluated, worked with authors on edits, organized it, wrote introductions and found a publisher.

The Dragon: You mentioned that you and your husband sought the publisher for Infinite Space Infinite God. Can you share with visitors to The Dragon how long that process took?

Karina: We started the anthology "on spec" for a publisher who, in the end, didn't want to take a chance on science fiction. It took us two years to find a publisher. We do love Twilight Times, though.

The Dragon: Did you start with an agent?

Karina: No, and we still don't have an agent. It wasn't necessary for this book, since we're working with a mid-level press and had a book with a very targeted audience (at least as far as most publisehrs see it.) I am looking for one for my more generic fantasy, however. Having an agent opens doors that my trilogy needs.

The Dragon: Do you have any tricks of the trade that you'd recommend to visitors today for landing an agent or landing a publisher with or without an agent? And, obviously, you could speak from a sci-fi angle or a publishing angle in general with your background.

Karina: No tricks--just research the agent or publisher and give them what they want. Twilight Times, for instance, has a specific package they want, including a pretty concise market plan. I did a lot of research to put it together. I do think having a market plan in mind gives you an edge in getting published, especially with presses outside the really big conglomerates. Having a market plan helps you sell more books even with the big publishers.

The Dragon: Did the original publisher or anyone like that offer suggestions of authors to include in the anthology?

Karina: No. Rob and I did the entire thing ourselves. For Infinite Space, Infinite God II, however, Lida (our publisher) wants to participate in selection. We're cool with that.

The Dragon: Once stories started coming in, did any one or two in particular stand out as, not so much your favorites, because I don't want to put you on the spot here, but as particularly interesting or particularly memorable you for? And why?

Karina: Naturally, they all impressed us, but off the top of my head: "Hopkins' Well" had a unique take on teleporters that I adored. "Brother Jubal" is simply beautiful and literary. "Mask of the Ferret" has an incredible scene in that you feel like you're on the bridge as the ship takes off--right down to the slang. "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" is wonderfully organized around the stations of the cross.

The Dragon: Your bio shows you're very active in church activities and marketing groups, and I've seen you all over the internet and chat boards for months prior to the book's release next week. How do you find time to be a mom, run all your blogs, keep all your children corralled, and write as prolifically as you do?

Karina: First, I have great kids who are both independent and able to help each other while Mom does stuff. Second, I multitask in a big way--exercising, cooking, cleaning...all are done while I'm on the computer. Finally, I am a perpetual motion machine and don't sleep as much as I probably should! I also allow a lot of typos in casual Internet writing. (grin and shrug). On the down side, the house is never as clean as I like and we eat way too much junk food--something I intend to work on this year.

The Dragon: Lastly, could you tell visitors today how to get a copy of your new book? I'm sure they'll remember to come back and leave Karina a question to answer!

Karina: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ to order directly OR You can order from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. You can also order it by asking at your favorite bookstore. ISBN 978-1-933353-62-3. (You can also ask your librarian to order one--Ingrams or Baker and Taylor supply them.)

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Writers Guide
Carpe Diem, Kids

I know all ya'll visitors have seen this quote before (I believe I've posted it here at The Dragon before). But as I drain my checking account to attend DragonCon this weekend (I fly out this afternoon) for the grand purpose of promoting the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods and the name Sandy Lender as a new fantasy author, I thought this concept was ideal. And all of us writers should be living by it (if we aren't already):

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO-HOO, what a ride!

The quote is typically listed as anonymous when you find it, but I've seen it attributed to Erma Bombeck. Everybody have a fantastic weekend and check back Tuesday morning for pictures and highlights from DragonCon!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Monday, August 27, 2007




It's A Great Interview for the Book!
Or...go visit EM's site

If you check out EM Sky's site, you can witness my slow spiral into insanity. Yes, as I prepare for my trip to DragonCon in Atlanta at the end of this week, what better way to introduce folks to the Fantasy Author Sandy Lender and her leading man Nigel Taiman than with an interview at Mind Unbound? Check it out and pick up your copy of the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods at either the Amazon site or the publisher's site so you can get it personalized when you stop by my booth at DragonCon this Labor Day weekend. I look forward to meeting you at the Night at Bree or at my dealer table (under the ArcheBooks Publishing label) any ol' time!

Here's the link for the cool interview (very fun): http://www.mindunbound.com/blog/2007/08/interview_with_sandy_lender_an.html

Here's the link to order your copy of Choices Meant for Gods from the publisher's site (Amazon is running low on copies again, although I guess you could order it at Barnes & Noble): http://www.archebooks.com/BookIDX/Indexes/Fantasy/CMG/CMGDesc.htm

See you everywhere!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pam Oslie Talks About Your Colors
Or...join The Dragon in welcoming Author Pam Oslie to discuss color auras and her book Love Colors

As regular visitors to The Dragon know, my epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods is steeped in symbolism and hidden meanings. One of the elements I enjoyed playing with was the use of color. My main character and fabulous heroine, Amanda Chariss Derdriu, carries an amethyst on her cheekbone, high up near the corner of her right eye, that she was born with. (Nigel discusses this over at his blog this morning at http://sandylender.blogspot.com.) No one seems to know how this inorganic matter was fused to Chariss...but of course it was placed there by the gods...it has rich symbolic meaning. After talking with Pam Oslie, author of the wonderful guidebook Love Colors, writers and researchers alike, as well as your everyday reader, can find rich symbolic meaning in the colors that influence their daily lives.

Pam was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions I had about not just her book, but the color aura concept. I'm sure you visitors will think of more, and Pam will be checking in today to answer those for you.

Enjoy!

The Dragon: Good morning, Pam, and welcome to The Dragon. This is a site for writers, so I want to ask you a couple of writing and publishing questions before I delve into the book Love Colors, if you don’t mind. Most of the visitors at The Dragon and writers that I speak with on a regular basis are fiction writers, so I'm intrigued to have a non-fiction writer here today. Could you tell my visitors how your credentials helped you in finding either your agent or your publisher when it came time to get your works Life Colors, Make Your Dreams Come True and, just this year, Love Colors published?

Pamala Oslie: I’m not sure I would say that I have official “credentials” that helped me find my publishers. I’m a psychic who can also see and sense auras. These abilities enabled me to write about the personality type of each of the different aura colors. I wrote about each aura personality, sent off the manuscript to six different publishers, and received offers from three of them. I met with the editors of New World Library, then accurately described each of their aura colors and what that revealed about their personalities, which convinced them I knew what I was talking about. I accepted their contract and declined the other two.

The Dragon: After reading your blog and visiting your website, I know that your seminar attendees (and I hesitate to call someone a client because the word sounds so sterile and formal when it's someone you're trying to help) provide a world of anecdotal information that could be used in preparing a manuscript. Do you find it tempting to use their anecdotes in your writing? In the book Love Colors: a new approach to love, relationships, and auras, I didn't see examples of specific people (with real names or otherwise) being exploited, and found that refreshing; but I'd like to hear your philosophy on the use of stories from seminar attendees or "clients" who have had success using color therapy or seeking out a complementary-color partner.

Pamala Oslie: Typically what happens is many people are so excited by their experiences, they volunteer to share their stories with others. They are so happy, they want others to know what is possible and how they too can create a happy and fulfilling life for themselves. Most of my books are filled with tools and information aimed at helping people to find their own answers and create their own fulfilling lives. I only use other people’s stories if, first, those people are comfortable sharing, and second, I feel the example will inspire others or help others learn how to do it for themselves. Some people are better at remembering and learning from stories; while others prefer to just hear the information and apply it to their own lives. I include both styles to help both types of people.

The Dragon: On to the book! In Love Colors, you provide an extensive self-test to help the reader determine his or her colors. First: how did you select these statements for these tests? This looks like a list that must have taken an intense amount of research to put together. Obviously there are categories that are common to each color, but even within common categories each one has specific aspects that are not common to the other colors that you would have to stop and consider as you assigned a value to it to determine how much of that color's attributes could be present in a person.

Pamala Oslie: Designing the self-test did take a lot of thought. Thank you for recognizing that. It can be very challenging to compress all the personality qualities for each color into one short list of questions – and to ask the questions in the right way. Words can be so powerful and can have so many individual interpretations. (In addition, you can ask anyone who uses personality tests like the Myers-Briggs test how challenging it can be to get people to answer the questions accurately – people don’t always have a clear perception of themselves.) And you’re right - many of the color personalities have similar qualities and traits, so developing a list of questions to distinguish them from one another can be delicate. I have worked with these different aura color personalities for so many years that I know the qualities intimately. Even with this carefully thought-out attempt to ask all the right questions, people can still believe they are a life color that is not really their life color, but it is a color in the outer bands of their aura. They think, for example, they are a Green life color, when in reality they are a Violet. It is common for sensitive Yellows to think they are Crystals. In short, my editor and I did the best we could to carefully choose the best questions.

The Dragon: Second: How often do you find people coming up with very strong values/numbers in more than one color after taking the test? (I had very high values in violet and green and fairly high values in red and yellow. The violet and green seem to go hand-in-hand, all things considered, but mixing in the red and yellow made me step back and wonder if I'm not going insane sometime in the near future…)

Pamala Oslie: Well I hope you don’t go insane. (You’re funny.) It’s actually very common for people to test high on more than one color. Actually most people do have two life colors, and they have also added a strong third color into the outer bands of their aura so they will relate to that color’s qualities. It is common, as I said, for many Violets to think they are Greens because their personalities are so similar. I explain in my book Life Colors that to decide which of the two is your true life color- Violet or Green - look at the motive behind your drive to accomplish or to make money. That is where you will find the difference between the two colors. Reds and Yellows can also have similar qualities – they are both very physical. However, Reds typically have hot tempers and often a need to be in control, while Yellows – who are often stubborn – typically love to laugh and are usually more easy-going than a Red. Usually people learn to tell them apart when they read more about each color in my books.

The Dragon: Is it possible (or even wise/advised) to try to influence your color aura? This will probably answer or lead into my next question, but is it possible to influence your love color so you complement your life partner's color?

Pamala Oslie: I believe anything is possible. However, I don’t believe it’s a good idea to work against or suppress your natural life colors – they reflect your true personality and the theme and life purpose you’ve chosen for this lifetime. You’ll most likely always feel something is wrong if you suppress or try to alter your true colors. There are too many people who have been raised to suppress their natural personality – to be other than who they really are in order to please others or fit into society. Rather than change their life colors, I prefer to encourage people to live the “in-power” or positive qualities of their true life colors so they can live their dreams and feel a sense of fulfillment. In my book, I do show people how to add other colors into the outer bands of their aura – so they can add the qualities of that color personality. For example if someone wants to make more money then they can learn to add more green in their aura to help them become more driven or organized. Or if they want to lighten up and have more fun in their lives, they can learn to add more yellow into their aura.

The Dragon: Is it possible for a person's love colors to change over time? And do you think that's why people see changes in their life partners?

Pamala Oslie: I believe in “free will” so yes, it is possible for people to change their love colors (also called “life colors”) In the twenty-four years of doing this work, however, I’ve only seen a handful of people actually change their original life colors. More likely, the true reason people seem to change - is those people finally have allowed their true nature to arise.

The Dragon: As you travel to give seminars and share this information with audiences around the country, do you find most people accepting of the concept? It seems logical to me that different people will have different aspects of their personality based on what's in their makeup, what's in their aura, what's in their soul, what they're attracted to based on the aura of the person they're walking up to, etc., but not everyone is open-minded.

Pamala Oslie: You’re right. The majority of people who attend my seminars or bookstore presentations are open to these types of topics. And they do usually have the aura colors that are naturally interested in spiritual and consciousness concepts. I am finding more and more people interested these days though – even many Tans are coming for private sessions or calling into my radio show. When I began this work years ago, my clientele was mostly women. Now about 40% of the people who come to see me are men. Obviously things are changing.

The Dragon: Just a comment now: I wish that I had had your book when writing my novel, Choices Meant for Gods. I got lucky when I selected violet for my main character, Amanda Chariss, a Protector, because the research I sought was sort of "all over the place," as you're probably aware. Now that I have your book, Love Colors, in my library, it is an invaluable resource as I move forward in my writing career. It's probably going to come in handy if I ever decide to date again, too, but, I want you to know, you have a guidebook here that every writer I know should have on his or her research/resource shelf in the writing library! Could you share with my visitors how to get a copy of Love Colors for themselves?

Pamala Oslie: Thank you for your kind comments. How fun that understanding the different aura color personalities will help you with character development. That is a great way to use this tool. I have heard from people in many different careers – teachers, counselors, performers, health practitioners, business people, even financial advisors – that knowing people’s aura colors and therefore their personality styles has really helped them work with the people in their work and in their lives. People can get Love Colors on my web site www.auracolors.com , also on www.amazon.com , or in most bookstores.

The Dragon: Pam, thank you so much for stopping by The Dragon. I'm sure my visitors have learned some new tips from you today that they're thankful for, and I certainly appreciate you sharing some insight here. I wish you the best of success with Love Colors and with your seminars!

Pamala Oslie: Thank you so much for inviting me to your site….and for the great work you are doing!Have fun on your life journey and writing your books!

Visitors are invited to leave comments and ask questions through the comment link below. Pam and Sandy will be checking in during the day to respond.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Dragon Welcomes Pam Oslie in the Morning
Or...stop in to hear how personality and color go hand in hand

Tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 23, The Dragon welcomes Pam Oslie for a wonderful interview in which she discusses her book Love Colors. I encourage all ya'll to be here for that. Pam will be checking in during the day to answer your questions, not just mine!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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DURANIES UNITE!

Or...I'm putting together a killer contest for Duranies only

If you're a Duran Duran fan, you should have already read the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods by fantasy author Sandy Lender because...well...because it's laced with stuff you're going to love. And you true Duranies will understand the significance of everything in the photo here, too. Anyway, the photo is courtesy of Diane and it has yours truly in New York...being silly, of course.

So watch this spot for the contest announcement this weekend. And read the book again. If you don't already own Choices Meant for Gods, eegads, get thee to Amazon and correct the situation! Visit http://www.amazon.com/Choices-Meant-Gods-Sandy-Lender/dp/1595071652/ref=dp_return_2/002-3163519-8684042?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books to order your copy. But put a little hustle on it because they're down to five copies (again). Don't fret a lot - they've ordered more, but if you want to get yours in time to deal with this oh-so-clever Duranie contest...you know...

Woo-hoo!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Sunday, August 19, 2007


Lots o' Announcements Tonight!
Or...The Dragon has stuff to tell you
One evening, Sandy Lender was bemoaning the fact that, as a new fantasy author with a new epic fantasy novel, she didn't have a lot of good pictures to post here at Today the Dragon Wins. (Yes, that sentence was engineered for search engine optimization.) So I posted something to the effect that the picture you see here was probably getting a little old and I needed to figure out a way to get more, different, fun, exciting images. My friend and fellow author Jamieson Wolf, whom all ya'll should be familiar with by now and who has his first in-print novel available over at http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Mirror-Jamieson-Wolf/dp/0974053775/ref=dp_return_1/105-8001163-2859664?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books&qid=1187578781&sr=1-1, suggested I have a photo contest. Folks should send in pictures of themselves reading Choices Meant for Gods.

Dude. I was all over that idea.

The results are two contest winners. One that I randomly selected from the Duran Duran 2001 Close Up tour hat and one that I selected as the "most creative." Please join me in congratulating the winners listed in the posts below.

Also, Mr. Wolf prepared a book trailer for Choices Meant for Gods that can be viewed on YouTube (and could be viewed here if I could do the whole linking thing on Blogger, eh?). That contest concluded yesterday and the winner is also listed in her own special post below.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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The Randomly-Drawn Photo Contest Winner
Or...congratulations to Danelle Petrasky

I laughed when I drew this name. Those of you out there in cyberspace who don't already know me can just wonder why. Those of you who DO know me, including Danelle, know exactly why I'm laughing. But she's the winner of the Choices Meant for Gods Randomly-Drawn Photo Contest. Yay! And congratulations to this graphic artist extraordinaire. You'll notice in the picture that she's taking a break from graphic design to pose for her winning shot.

I'll have to ask her if she wants the spa stuff from Arcana's bathing room or if I can take her to lunch this week...

Congratulations, Danelle!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Creative Photo Contest Winner

Or...congratulations to Laura Crawford

It just doesn't get any more creative than this. Laura staged a "reading" photo at a print shop. That's a press way back there behind her. How cool is that? So, you see? Choices Meant for Gods is so great that even the press people have to stop their jobs to read it.

Congratulations to Laura for sending in the most creative image for the Choices Meant for Gods Photo Contest, brought to you by the Always-Thinking Jamieson Wolf. I'll be sending out spa goodies from Arcana's bathing rooms to Miss Laura this week. Thank you for participating, Laura!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Book Trailer Contest Winner
Or...Congratulations to Tara Manderino

The Dragon would like to congratulate Tara Manderino for her participation in the Choices Meant for Gods Book Trailer Contest. Tara gave the trailer a five-star review and left an uplifting comment for Jamieson Wolf, the creator of the cinematic masterpiece that is "How to Breed Dragons".

Woo-hoo, Tara!!

She wins the coo-el dragon bowie knife that she can wear around her neck to ward off would-be sorcerers and the like. I'll be shipping that out shortly. Yay. And if I had a digital camera (yes, I know, I live in the dark ages) I'd post a picture of the nifty thing here. It's a cool-lookin' dragon. I also have one in the basket o' Choices Meant for Gods goodies that I'm donating to the cause at DragonCon, but they seem to have lost interest in auctioning something from an unknown author, so who knows what we'll do with that. I might just have a drawing at my table in the dealer room. How does that sound to all of you out there?

Tara, you rock. Everyone, you can see the trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFg0kW_T-3g.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Dragon Welcomes Ellen Weisberg

Or...meet an inspiring author at The Dragon today


Ellen Weisberg's career revolved involved around radio broadcasting until she developed oromandibular dystonia, a Parkinson’s-like disorder. She suddenly had to face not just the pain and difficulty of losing her conversational speech for an indeterminate length of time, She suddenly was faced with loss of her one creative outlet. After trying a series of Western medicine treatments, including anticholinergic drugs, she eventually found great relief for her dystonia in an acupuncture protocol used to treat Parkinson's disease.

To try to keep her mind off of the physical discomfort of the condition, its social impact, and the uncertainty of not knowing if and when the affliction would eventually lift, she began channeling her energies into two old passions: writing and illustrating. The outcomes were her multiple publications, including her newest release, Gathering Roses, which she's joined us to discuss today.

The Dragon: The novel Gathering Roses features a leading lady who is described as "a little bit of every woman who has ever lived." Now that's a good marketing statement for capturing audience, but could you describe Lori Solomon in your words? As her author, could you tell us what you think of Lori and what she means to you?


Ellen Weisberg: The main character, Lori Solomon, generally suffers from low self-esteem that she traces back to interactions she had with peers early on. She finds herself drawn to those who remind her of those who had rejected her. She is also drawn to those with more or less of a free-spirited side to them; those who are very different from the shy and inhibited person Lori believes she has always been and still is. Her pursuit of love seems to be more than not a subconscious attempt to seek a kind of acceptance that will translate into the positive validation she obviously is still missing. To me, Lori’s the quintessential underdog, and someone that even the most confident and successful among us could likely relate to on some level. I think it’s hard--if not impossible--to go through life without some kind of bout of self-doubt, struggle for self-renewal or brush with self-destruction at one point or another. This passage might help illustrate who Lori Solomon is in Gathering Roses:

It was hard for Lori to envision herself as anything other than the fish-skinned, algae-infested, bog spawn creature from Hell her peers had convinced her she was and always would be. And not being able to see herself differently from how others had once seen her, she was left to wonder who in his right mind would want her? And how could she realistically be expected to want anyone in return who obviously wasn’t in his right mind? She chose to believe what they led her to believe about herself, and she allowed their unmitigated attacks on the already deformed spine of her soul to contribute to her eventual emergence as somewhat of a broken spirit.

Here’s another passage from the book that I think makes this point: Nick Warren was a physical and spiritual embodiment of every boy in Lori’s life that had left her longing for more. Around him she could smell the same thick, pungent odor of danger that she could sense with the rest, musky pheromones flaring her nostrils and moistening her mouth and continuing to make her crave more. He was her past literally coming back to haunt her. Except unlike her real past that left her feeling hollow and disillusioned, Nick teased her with the notion of finally filling that echoing void within.

The Dragon: When I'm interviewed, many people ask me if my heroine, Chariss, is an autobiographical character, and I give a resounding "no way". She's too good to be based on me. But let me ask that question of you. Do you feel there are elements of Lori Solomon that you pulled from yourself? Are there elements of you that you slid into her character? And how do you feel those elements contribute to her "driven, neurotic, intelligent, insecure, talented" nature?


Ellen Weisberg: Most of the characters in Gathering Roses, with the exception of Nick Warren, are amalgams of two, three, and sometimes even four different people I’ve been friends with. Many of Lori’s perceptions, interpretations, doubts, and desires were inspired by late night phone conversations with girlfriends of mine that I could all too well relate to. That having been said, though, there are definitely elements of Lori that I pulled from myself… with no one else to blame. There are actual experiences that I had that snaked their way into and throughout the story, although the time line’s been (strongly) tinkered with. I personally wish I wasn’t as neurotic and insecure as Lori, but the psychiatric community would probably beg to differ, as that’s what’s helping keep them in business. And I’ve heard there’s a fine line between being “driven/intelligent/talented” and needing to channel inordinate amounts of anxiety and nervous energy into something that won’t cause irreparable damage to the biosphere.


The Dragon: The marketing material for Gathering Roses mentions substance abuse and at least one character, Nick, with a sexual appetite. Would you classify this novel as an adult novel for those reasons? What other themes or plot devices do you feel make this a mature novel?

Ellen Weisberg: Yes, I would classify this novel as general adult fiction, because while the characters were made to be young, the underlying themes are those that I feel the average adult could relate to. There’s Lori’s friend, Rutherford, who divulges his true feelings about himself to Lori at times, yet is more inclined to resort to womanizing and self-medicating with food, drugs and alcohol to escape what he doesn’t want to face up to. Lori’s friend, Angela, shares with the other characters a poor self-perception that she attributes mostly to conflicts encountered with her parents and peers. Like Rutherford, Angela shares an addictive personality, overindulging in food and alcohol. She is preoccupied with her physical appearance and her level of attractiveness to the opposite sex. Yet Angela’s character is more complex than the others in that she exhibits some characteristics of borderline personality disorder. Her moods are unstable, and her relationships are invariably intense and erratic, with a tendency to romanticize and undervalue others in rapid succession. And Nick Warren gives Gathering Roses an extra dimension of depth distinguishing it from other novels regarding women’s self-esteem and relationship issues.

Many of the tensions arising between Lori and Nick are due to their very different personalities and lifestyles: Lori is introverted and studious, while Nick is nonconformist and free-spirited. However, the conflicts are more so due to the fact that Nick-as the story unfolds-is living his life in a way that many of us don’t. He buries his fears in a façade that consists of trying to get as much out of life as he can in the short amount of time he knows he has. Emotional attachments and the stresses and annoyances that often come as part of the package will only get in his way of living his life the way he wants to live it. His push-pull, seemingly emotionally detached way of dealing with people is difficult for Lori to understand, as she is blinded by her own demons. She internalizes his behavior as a kind of subtle rejection, not understanding that the underlying mortality issue is to a large extent fueling his behavior. So again, yes, the themes and subplots in Gathering Roses are mature and a far cry from what you would see in paperback bring-to-the-beach-to-escape chick-lit, and probably wouldn’t go over well with the parents of anyone under the age of 18. Although that isn’t to say that the content might not be appropriate for the parents themselves!


The Dragon: Did you find it difficult to write characters and scenes that led Lori astray? Nick and the others seem to be devices that literally stump her as she should be getting on the "right track," yet they're so far off track that they derail her…somewhat deliberately.


Ellen Weisberg: Much of what I wrote about was based on real-life conversations and events. The content wasn’t challenging, since it was mostly there for the taking. What was challenging was putting everything together so that there was flow and continuity (this is where the fictionalization of the story really came into play). Similar to what happened to me in real life during the course of knowing the people who inspired the characters, I think the people in Lori’s life get her wheels in motion and force her to look more closely at everyone and everything. Lori wouldn’t have the chance to learn and grow if she took the antics of her friends too much to heart and didn’t question where all of it was coming from. This is especially true for Lori’s relationship with Nick, which is difficult from the beginning to the end. His transient acceptance placates her for only as long as the acceptance lasts, and his rejection validates her innermost fears. Yet, agonizing as the ride may be, it forces Lori to look more deeply into herself and to better understand the source of the pain inside of her that’s driving her to seek out yet more pain.

This passage, I think, illustrates this point: The pure, dense, black and white reasoning Lori knew from when she was a child had somehow over the years turned gray and pixilated. She thought she knew what she needed to get through life, to get through life in a “path of least resistance” kind of way. Yet there was also the question of what she wanted. What she believed she wanted was not at all the same thing as what she needed. What she believed she needed seemed to be all she was expected to have. And all she was expected to have just didn’t seem to be enough.

Knowing Nick gets Lori more in touch with the complex person she really is, and will likely continue to be.

Here’s another illustrative passage: She wondered how her cravings got to be so complex, so difficult to fulfill in a simple, straightforward way. Whether it was what she was doing or whom she was doing, she seemed to have the same forces tugging at her in opposing directions. She wanted serenity and stability, yet she didn’t want boredom. She wanted mystery and excitement, yet she didn’t want trouble. She wanted to live her life like there was no tomorrow, experience all there was to experience and not feel the least bit of regret for not doing what she wanted. At the same time, she didn’t want to regret having done what she wanted because it in the end was not the right thing to do.


The Dragon: Now, Today the Dragon Wins is a site that primarily speaks to other writers, so I'd like to ask you a few questions about your writing process and about you as a writer. I understand that you worked through a terribly painful time in your life by writing. It's been said, and I fully ascribe to this theory, that creators like us writers are at our most creative when we're in pain. Would you be willing to share with visitors to The Dragon today what inspired you during the writing of Gathering Roses?


Ellen Weisberg: I started writing the book a number of years ago, and what it began as was something completely different from what it eventually ended up being. The manuscript was lifted up and dusted off when I started getting involved in radio broadcasting. While my professional training is in research, I did part-time board operation and voice-overs for a few years-more or less for fun. I started meeting all of these very interesting and colorful people along the way, and found myself gradually accumulating material that prompted me to start writing again. The person who initially trained me on the mixing board was the person who inspired the character “Nick.” Again, while the timing of actual events is helter-skelter in the book and liberties were taken as to what details were included or excluded or modified for dramatic effect, the person behind the Nick character really did have a heart condition when I met him and ended up dying at an early age. He had known that I was writing the book, had asked me from time to time to read passages to him, and joked about how he would be entitled to profits should the story eventually be published and sell. The very last time I saw him, I did get to show him a contract that I was offered by a literary agent. I figure that at least I got the chance to make him aware that I was trying to do something with it.


The Dragon: Is that what prompted you to decide the proceeds from the sales from Gathering Roses would be donated to charities?


Ellen Weisberg: Yes. Personal proceeds for Gathering Roses are going to the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.


The Dragon: Why did you select The American Heart Association and The American Red Cross specifically?


Ellen Weisberg: My friend had a heart transplant. He believed in raising awareness of the importance of organ donation and blood drives, and so I feel these would be organizations he’d want to see supported.


The Dragon: I'm intrigued to learn that you have a short story in the fantasy genre. Will you tell visitors about it and where it's available?


Ellen Weisberg: The story is called “Fruit of the Vine,” and it has been published in the February/March issue of PKA’s Advocate. “Fruit of the Vine” is a short fantasy for elementary school-aged readers. It tells of Justin, a sensitive, introspective boy whose physical features and personality make him a convenient target for many of his cruel peers. One night he wakes to find he has “traveled” to a mysterious island, where he meets several of its inhabitants. Despite his desperation to find out where he is and, more importantly, how to get home, he becomes involved in the plight of Irvino, a creature who is ostracized on this island much in the way that Justin is in his own world. The story ends with a twist as Justin, in helping Irvino in his plight, ends up accomplishing much more. “Fruit of the Vine” is therefore meant not only for the grade school aged fantasy reader, but also anyone interested in the important topic of bullies, and also how altruistic qualities develop in children.


Here is some information about PKA’s Advocate:
ADVOCATE, PKA’S PUBLICATION: 1881 Little Westkill Rd., Prattsville, NY 12468. Bi-monthly advocates good writing and art by publishing fiction and nonfiction stories (to 1,500 words), poetry (any length), illustration and photos by newcomers. "We wish to give an opportunity to be published to those not earning a living as writers," says publisher Patricia Keller. TIP: Well written horse stories, poetry, B&W art and photos are needed. Submit complete middle grade and YA mss. Acquires first rts. Pays with contributor copies.


The Dragon: Ellen, it's been a pleasure to speak with you today, and I'm delighted that you stopped by The Dragon. I'm sure my visitors will have additional questions for you throughout the day, and I invite you to stop in again later on to see what they've come up with. Thank you for your time!

To order a copy of Gathering Roses, visit one of these pages…and don't forget to ask your questions of Ellen!
http://www.amazon.com/Gathering-Roses-E-Weisberg/dp/1847471188/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-7412865-2009630?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174576041&sr=1-1
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781847471185&itm=5

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Word of the Day
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Vituperate (transitive verb) — to revile; to rail against something in a severe or abusive manner; to berate someone or something abusively (from Latin vituperare – with a long mark over the a)

Word in a Sentence: In the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, Julette deals vituperatively with her husband when she realizes he has chosen one of their children to rule when he steps down from his throne.

Your turn! Have you any abusive sentences to share today?

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Choose the Correct Contest Entry
Or...at least they're all having fun...
To enter the Choices Meant for Gods Photo Contest, you merely need to have a friend take a picture of you reading the epic fantasy novel by Fantasy Author Sandy Lender. Now...in the pictures here, Isis and Mars are certainly being creative with their undergarments (and The Dragon is actually the one taking the photo...imagine...). But neither of them is reading anything...
Kelly, on the other hand, is happily reading away like a good contest participant! Follow her example and send your jpgs to KoraTaiman@yahoo.com before the end of the day Saturday, August 18! And win win win...
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Word of the Day
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Innuendo (noun) — a hint; a subtle remark; an oblique implication in expression (from Latin innuendo – with a long mark over the o – and didn't you expect it to be French?)

Word in a Sentence: In the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, Nigel Taiman tosses mildly inappropriate innuendoes at Chariss from time to time, mainly to see her blush.

Your turn! Have you any subtle sentences to share today?

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Enter the Choices Meant for Gods Photo Contest Before Saturday's Deadline!
Or...something to do on your lunch break

If you want to win the coo-el prizes I've got stashed in the corner of my writing den, you've got to get your pictures to me before the end of the day Saturday, August 18. Note the perfect photo contest image here where Ursula is reading the epic fantasy novel from Fantasy Author Sandy Lender (yes, you can pick out those SEO sentences by now, can't you, folks?).

So get clickin'!

If you don't already own the novel, wow, I don't know...you can get rush delivery from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Choices-Meant-Gods-Sandy-Lender/dp/1595071652/ref=cm_cd_t_h_dp_i/104-9089752-5140754. Or, if you live in Muskogee, Oklahoma, there's a Waldenbooks in the mall that's got a couple on the shelf. There are a few on the shelf in the Barnes & Noble in Naples, Florida, as well...

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Author Interview This Thursday
Or...The Dragon welcomes Ellen Weisberg

Watch this spot Thursday (day after tomorrow!) for an interview with the inspiring Ellen Weisberg as she talks about her new novel Gathering Roses.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Word of the Day
(It's back! By popular demand - well, okay, a couple people were bugging me about it - we're bringing back the Word of the Day! Woo-hoo! And today, Jamieson, if you're following along at home, today is all for you, my villain.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Seethe (verb) — to be agitated greatly, to be excited violently, to churn and roil and foam up (from Old English seothan – with a long mark over the e)

Word in a Sentence: In the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, Godric Taiman seethes like a petulant child when Master Rothahn taunts and antagonizes him.

Your turn! Where's Jeni to show/remind all ya'll how this is done? Give me your best shot at a good seething sentence, all you writers out there!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Science Reality
Or...consider your audience when gleaning your inspiration from space

It occurred to me while watching the happenings of the current space shuttle mission that history will teach us nothing. And I'm not just channeling a fantastic Sting song. Consider for a moment how our nation grieved when Columbia exploded across the morning sky and we lost her crew in what should have been a routine homecoming. . . Routine.

Today I sit here thinking how ridiculous it seems to hear that NASA might deem it necessary to send its astronauts out to repair the 3.5-inch-long and 2-inch-wide gash on Endeavor's belly this week. They might consider that important enough to repair. This isn't science fiction where Jean luc Picard can tell Data to raise a shield and wrap the ship in protective energy to get through reentry. Last I heard, NASA hadn't integrated Asgaard shielding technology in our space program. This is reality where, just a few short years ago, one of our few ships actually flew apart because of this problem and our people died.

And now we have the problem again.

And there's a civilian on board.

When you're experiencing temperatures of up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit during reentry and have the added joy of not-so-friendly gases pounding your shell, you don't want a hull breach. And therein lies my point of this post for writers. How many of you reading along at home knew that the atmosphere exposes our astronauts to temperatures of 2,300 degrees? Come on. Give me honesty. You knew it was pretty darn hot, but did you know the actual numbers?

How about the gases up there? Can you name them? (I'm a fantasy author. I make up this stuff for the worlds I create, but I can tell you right now that we've got about 0.9% argon, about 0.03% carbon dioxide, about 0.002% methane, 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Now, I had to look up the percentages in a couple places to be sure, but we speculative fiction writers just have to carry around bizarre knowledge.) But I'm getting off track. Here's the point: Every one of you knew what a hull breach was. Why? It's on every sci-fi space show you've ever watched. Farscape, Firefly, Star Trek (all of them), Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, etc. "Hull breach" is in our vernacular. Your audience will recognize it in a heartbeat. You can use it without worry. You can have a character shout, "Ohmigod, Captain, we've got a hull breach on deck 8!" and your audience will feel the tension. (Of course, there better be some great context or that's going to be pretty cheesy dialogue...)

What else are you giving your audience, though? Let's say you're writing sci-fi and you're listing the gases the crew is plummeting through. I can guarantee you someone out there besides me knows them all. And if you mess one up, that reader will be verrrrry disappointed in you. You'll knock him or her right out of your tense and full-of-action scene if you mess up that detail and pull him or her out of the story. He'll sit back in his comfy reading chair and think, "wait a minute, why is so-n-so choking on radon?" If they're plummeting through earth's atmosphere, give them an overdose of methane, give them a pocket of carbon dioxide, but don't go crazy and toss in something that oozes up out of the ground and doesn't occur up there. Unless this is post-globally-warmed Earth and something apocalyptic has happened. Then all bets are off...

Lessons? You want to do your homework; research your topic so your writing is accurate and worthy of your audience's intelligence level. They're paying attention, you know. Also, you want to keep in mind that not all of them are on that higher sci-fi level. Everybody knows what a hull breach is, but not everybody knows that argon makes up approximately 0.9% of our breathable atmosphere. Not everybody knows you get smacked with 2,300 degrees of searing carbon dioxide (and other stuff) upon reentry to that atmosphere. So you've got the interesting job of writing for a wide group, haven't you? But that's half the fun of this job! Admit it! (Try making up a new language and introducing it in the midst of a war-and-romantic-plot-development fantasy sometime...My publisher's going to shoot me.)

In the meantime, I ask you to pray and/or send positive thoughts for our astronauts on the current mission at the space station. They're placing new beams on the station and doing what astronauts do. Barbara Morgan is the teacher who was Christa McAuliffe's backup for the mission in 1986, so she's up there now living her dream. I wish her well and offer my congratulations. As a fantasy writer who is living my own dream of being published at the moment, I feel the rush! Of course, I'm not hanging off a space station risking my life...

To Barbara, Charles Hobaugh, Rick Mastracchio and Dave Williams of the Endeavor crew, we wish you well this week and hope you get home safely.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Dragon Will Host Another Author Some Day
Or...poor Karina is lost in cyberspace...

In all seriousness, we're supposed to be bringing you a fabulous interview with sci-fi author Karina Fabian today. Key words there: supposed to be. But, true to form, technology is thwarting this poor lady. Now, unlike past authors I've tried to host here, she's doing her tour on her own, so she knows what she's doing. She's not only aware that she's being hosted here today, she actually responded to my first round of questions. We're on a roll. Unfortunately, she's traveling and her computer imploded. Died. Gave up the ghost. I can totally empathize. You all remember my internet meltdown in the middle of my tour? Eegads. Stressful. If it weren't for that fiasco, my tour would have been a piece of cake...exhausting, yes, but a piece of cake.

So let me share with you some information about Karina and her new release, due out August 15 from Twilight Times, so you all are prepared and ready with your questions for when we get the rest of this interview "togethah" and posted.

First, Karina and her husband Rob are the editors of the new science fiction anthology Infinite Space Infinite God, a collection of short stories that make you think and speak to your faith. The book began with one publisher that decided mid-stream not to pursue something in sci-fi. (How annoying is that!?) But Karina is not one to be daunted. She's got an Eppie under her belt, for Pete's sake! So she shopped it around and, voila! Twilight Times is the lucky winner that gets to reap the rewards of affiliation with a gal who's been published in Asimov's, Eternal Night and Aberrations.

Now that should have you stoked and ready for her interview! And it should have you ready to read a first chapter over at http://fromthestart.wordpress.com, all of which will be done, available and announced ad nauseum just as soon as my friend gets the computer demons vanquished!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How to Find Stuff You Like
Or...The Dragon started another blog in her spare time

Color me insane, but I decided all you readers out there deserved a repository of book goodness where you could glean in an instant what fabulous new fiction, non-fiction and poetry was available for your reading pleasure. Thus was born From the Start at http://fromthestart.wordpress.com.

If you visit that site, you'll see that it's only just begun. I encourage you to bookmark it, favorite it, set it up on automatic feed (RSS, Baby), so you can check in on the new works authors will make available to you there. As authors provide me their first chapters (hence the title From the Start), I will post them in a non-linear fashion, splattering the site with various genres from young adult to slasher/horror/thriller. It will all be there. I know because the samples are already pouring in.

Visit http://fromthestart.wordpress.com often. Now, of course, visit AFTER you've picked up your copy of the fabulous Choices Meant for Gods by yours truly...You can grab that little number at http://www.amazon.com/Choices-Meant-Gods-Sandy-Lender/dp/1595071652/ref=cm_cd_t_h_dp_i/104-9089752-5140754.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Writers Guide
Inspiration from...well...the toilet

It's not what you think. We haven't had a Writer's Guide here at The Dragon for a while, and what better way to serve up some inspiration than sharing a bathroom story? Imagine.

For those of you who have been following Nigel's blog over at http://sandylender.blogspot.com/, you're aware that "someone" has recently left my home (sing your praises to the Lord, come on everybody, stand up and sing one more hallelujah). Upon his departure, I scoured his bathroom. I haven't been in it since. So this evening, I be-bop in there to find, voila, a frog in the toilet.

I wondered how long the poor thing had been in there because he looked kinda skinny.

So I catch the frog, which, of course, wasn't thrilled to be ousted, and tossed him out into the swamp. I return to said interior room and, well, I check out the bizarre mold-lookin' stuff he (or perhaps she?) had left behind. I think I'm going to have tadpoles.

Tadpoles in the toilet.

Now there's a great selling point. Maybe prospective house buyers will just NOT lift the lid in there...

But don't frog eggs need sunlight? And shouldn't there have been TWO frogs for these eggs to be fertilized? You know...a boy frog?

So there's your inspiration for the evening. Write up somethin' about frogs or tadpoles or bizarre things hanging out in your bathroom. It at least inspired a Writer's Guide for me. ;)

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Choices Meant for Gods Gets

An Hysterical Top 10

Or...more good press for The Dragon

Check out EM Sky's post yesterday about the top 10 things she learned from reading Sandy Lender's epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods at http://blog.mindunbound.com/. You'll laugh. You'll cry. It'll become a part of you. And let me just add this...


#11: Always be kind to fledgling dragons that you catch spying on you. You never know when you'll need him/her later in life...

You can pick up Choices Meant for Gods at your favorite book store, or at Amazon.com, by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Choices-Meant-Gods-Sandy-Lender/dp/1595071652/ref=dp_return_2/002-3163519-8684042?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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