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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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, February 14, 2008

A Valentine's Day Wish
Or...The Dragon gets sappy

As a fantasy author, I escape into worlds (plural) that I create with characters (plural) who populate my brain on a fairly regular basis to create entertainment for others. I figure I've done a pretty decent job of this so far because I get threatening messages demanding the release of Book II in the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy and I get guilt trips from friends when they don't get short stories with their Christmas presents.

So you could say I spend a great deal of time in "other worlds".

I've never felt the need to give those other worlds some sort of trumped-up holiday for expressing love. Because we have Valentine's Day here in our society, I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity to focus on love thoughts for a few moments today, with writers in mind.

First of all, since joining the realm of published authors, I've learned a great deal about the nuances of the romance genre. For instance, you can't just state that you're a romance writer and be done with it. There are many levels and types of romance. (I'm a fantasy author. But there are dark fantasy authors, as well. You see?) There are paranormal romance authors, erotica authors, gay and lesbian romance authors, historical romance authors and the list goes on. The distinctions are made because there are as many different types of romance (or fantasy) readers as there are writers. This same layering of the genre has developed in horror, mystery, etc. It gives the reader very specific categories to select merchandise from.

It also makes things freaking confusing. I mean, does the average romance reader know what speculative fiction romance is? If you say, "this novel is a paranormal historical romance?" is the reader going to understand that there's a ghost trying to get it on with a lady from the 1820s? Or a werewolf...whatever the case may be. I have a difficult enough time telling the old people in the town where I live what "fantasy" is. Just straight-up fantasy. Nevermind that what I write is epic fantasy. :) When they give me a confused, furrowed-brow stare, I usually say, "like Harry Potter that your grandchildren read," and I get the "O" of understanding with the supporting noise. But I don't go on with that audience member to say, "but mine is more like Tolkein" because we're going to lose that "O" and be back to the furrowed brow of confusion.

Now, within my current fantasy trilogy, there is romance. But romance is not the focus of Choices Meant for Gods or its sequels. (No matter how hard Nigel Taiman - or his fans - pushes for the theme.) Yes, he and his leading lady take center stage and their relationship is something I have enjoyed writing, but the world I've built for them and the war they're in is the story. (Despite Nigel's insistence that their love is what drives it to completion.) The focus of Choices Meant for Gods is love. Love of country, love of one's gods (yeah, it's plural in that society), love of one's family, love of one's mentor, and, yes, love of one's betrothed. If it wasn't for love, what would be the point of fighting to save anyone?

So for this Valentine's Day, I'd like to say that Jamieson Wolf's message from yesterday's interview is fabulous. Love can move mountains. And I'll just add that love can win wars. Love can tame dragons. Love can sway the balance of power in an unbalanced society. Love can save people. We'll have to wait and see if all of that works out in the heroine's favor by the end of the trilogy, because, as you can see by today's Word of the Day, Chariss doesn't believe in love.

For the rest of us, I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you spend it with friends or family or someone coo-el and close to you.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to fall in love."
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