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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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Oh-So-Appropriate Death of a Brown Widow Spider on Halloween
Or…The Dragon had to kill an evil beast

Know thy enemy.
First and foremost rule of warfare: know thy enemy. For me, the enemy is spiders. (Also panthers with black fur.) Spiders cause a very real central nervous system reaction in me. Those of you who have followed this blog a long time may remember the day I discovered a mouse-sized wolf spider scurrying along the roof of the passenger side of my Saturn while I was driving. Needless to say, I did not continue driving for more than two or three seconds after emitting an ear-piercing scream in the spider’s general direction…

So today, imagine the neighbors’ entertainment at seeing me do the spider dance (in my Chariss costume because I’d just come from a book signing for Choices Meant for Kings) outside the new car…upon finding not just a freaking brown widow tucked in the passenger doorframe but also three of her egg sacs. I was beside myself. Now, keep in mind I didn’t realize she was a brown widow at first. All I knew was a pretty big spider was tucked up inside the frame with some webbing and these spiky looking sacs that I KNEW I’d seen before…somewhere…

Half a can of Raid later…

She came out of her hiding spot when I soaked her, the web and the eggs with Raid. That’s when I got a good look at the body and the striped legs. Evil, I tell you.

I thought it entirely appropriate for a Halloween blog. Evil spiders that are twice as potent as a black widow hanging out in my car, waiting for their egg sacs to open and release their millions of tiny evil babies into my vehicle is a horror movie in the making as far as I’m concerned. And I stopped it before it went into filming. Bwuahahahahaha.

Happy Halloween!
“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Or...The Dragon will be drinking celebratory wine this evening

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to invite an oncologist to Saturday's book signing. Yes, today I handed one of my lovely 4/C postcard/flyers to Dr. Mark Moskowitz of the Florida Cancer Specialists and invited him to my book signing Saturday morning at B&N. He seemed delighted. But why on earth was I hob-nobbing with an oncologist, you ask? Why, to have him inform me that I am still healthy and cancer-free!


I have kicked the butt of Hodgkin's Disease and don't have to do any more of this scanning business until April. Hooray! And anyone who would like to shake my doctor's hand may do so Saturday, Halloween morning, during picture-taking and candy-eating and monster-talking at the Barnes & Noble at 41 and Pine Ridge in Naples. I'm there from 10 a.m. to noon to sign books and hang out with all of you.

"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let's Answer a Few Blogging Questions
Or...The Dragon addresses some items we didn't have time for at Saturday's workshop

We covered a lot of ground at the Gulf Coast Writer's Association blogging workshop Saturday. After the three-hour class, several folks had questions specific to their blogs to go over with me and we were lucky enough to discuss those before we had to leave the facility. Here are a few Q&As that folks had written down and turned in for me.

Don't forget to check out the post below with links to new blogs developed Saturday. We'd all appreciate visits and comments to help get some networking underway.

1. Bob Bair, e-mail me privately with your password and I'll help you get that template fixed. Something's happened!

2. If you discover that someone already has a blog with your blog's title/name, you might not want to pick something too similar to it. That person's marketing efforts have driven traffic to their URL. You would have to work twice as hard as you typically would to differentiate yourself from that existing/established blog. Go ahead and think of something else that still conveys your idea but gets away from the existing wording. For instance, there is already a Lakes Park Gardeners blog in existence. If you want to create something similar, maybe you could call yourselves horticulturists...maybe Lakes Park Flora? You get the idea.

3. How often you check or update your blog depends on how much time you have and what sort of schedule you want to get your visitors used to. Consistency and quality are key.

4. Many bloggers make money with their blogs by selling ad space. I advise caution in this area just because ads can clog up your page/template, making your site unsightly. When someone loads your blog for the first time, you don't want them to say "eew." Another way to make money is to sell posts. You write and post an article about someone or someone's product and they pay a set dollar amount for the service. (Remember our discussion of FTC rules and make sure you're up-front with your readership concerning payment for anything you're promoting on your site.) Writers will sometimes pay to place posts they've written on your blog. Typically, folks will only pay to appear on your site if you've developed a large following with active discussions. That's where our "traffic" talk comes in!

5. When typing the tags at the end of your blog post, remember to be in "Edit HTML" mode Also, you will always do this in the post window here in Blogger. Something I do to minimize the tags' appearance or their effect on visitors/readers is make them a size smaller than the rest of the text in my post. The simplest way to do this is to go into "Edit HTML," type up your tags, go back to "Compose" mode, highlight all that tag text, click on the "tT" icon in the toolbar and select "small" or "smallest." This is just my preference and not mandatory by any means.

If you have other questions, lob 'em at me. Friends in my blogging network visit here frequently and will be happy to chime in to help folks new to this excellent networking tool.

"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Welcome Some New Blogging Networkers

Or...The Dragon invites you to network with new blogs

This afternoon, I conducted a workshop for the Gulf Coast Writers Association at Edison State College in which 30 or so folks built blogs (many of them for the first time) and learned some skills for attracting attention to their blogs. I'd like to invite you to visit these blogs, leave comments, and encourage these networkers.
For those of you who participated in the workshop today, thank you so much for your time and attention. I think we had a lively and productive discussion and got some good work accomplished. Sure, Blogger gave us a minor nightmare there at the outset, but life got better and we now have the following list of fabulous blogs to check into. I encourage everyone to click on as many of these links as you can make time for and leave comments (remember the code for boldfacing?). A few of these blog addresses, unfortunately, just didn't work. I did some clever spelling in the Blogger searches, but just wasn't successful. So if you see your blog name here (or if what we have is a Web site) without a link, type your URL for me in the comments and I'll edit this post to get it included.

Also, there were a couple of questions we didn't have time to get to at the end of the workshop. I have those on your notecards here and will address them in a post tomorrow evening. A huge thank-you to fellow author Robert Dean Bair who took photos during the afternoon.

These are in no particular order.

Crafting and Sewing with Carol
Collage Art
That's My Story
Kids and Dogs
Simple Pleasures
Peace At Lambeth Bridge
Lakes Park Gardeners
BIS on Systems
Sun fun Solar life
Grandparents For Great Textbooks

If you run out of time, just come on back to this post to visit some of these networkers/bloggers any ol' time! They'll appreciate the leg up and any networking ideas you'd like to suggest in their comments. (Note: the comment link is just below this post. Click and it will open the text window in which you type your message to me.)

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

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Something to do Halloween Morning
Or...The Dragon invites you to Barnes & Noble signing

Where: Barnes & Noble, Waterside Shops
Location: 41 & Pine Ridge, Naples, Florida
When: Oct. 31, 10 a.m. to noon
Who: Fantasy Author Sandy Lender
What: Get your autographed copies of Choices Meant for Kings! (and other Sandy Lender titles, too)

If you were planning to attend the signing at the B&N in Ft. Myers in November, we've had a postponement, so make your holiday shopping plans early...
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Promotion Tip!
Or...The Dragon suggests innovative places to sell books

Back when I first signed on with ArcheBooks Publishing, Bob Gelinas suggested authors should find innovative places to sell books. Of course you want your titles to be in book stores because book browers and buyers go into book stores to buy them there. But you're competing against a lot of other titles there.

So today I dropped off a few copies of Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings at a defensive weapons shop that sells fantasy swords and medieval weapons. Great placement. And guess what? My book is the only one in that shop so there's no book competition.

What genre do you write in? Science Fiction? How about approaching a shop that sells rocket kits? I bet they don't have too many sci fi novels on the shelf. Try a consignment deal with the owner. Do you write naughty romance? Try an adult toy shop. Do you write sweet romance? Maybe approach an employee-owned card shop. The possibilities are endless when you start thinking about innovative places to approach.

If you're in South Florida and you find yourself traveling along I-75, I invite you to take the Bonita Beach Rd. exit to the Flamingo Island Fleamarket where Mr. Tony's defensive weapons shop is located at R-76. He has cool knives and daggers and is ordering in a few more fantasy swords now that season is coming in. (It's a South Florida thing.) And! Now he has copies of Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings by Fantasy Author Sandy Lender at prices below Amazon.

"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Does it Matter Who Follows You?
Or…The Dragon recommends careful online social networking

As many of you know, I completed a month-long online book tour in June. During that tour, I garnered a lot of attention at Twitter for the first ever Tweeterview with my good author friend Jamieson Wolf. During the week leading up to the Tweeterview, which you can read in its entirety at a special blog site, and in the weeks after, I found a plethora of twitterers lining up to follow me. That’s fantastic! More followers means more friends in the cyber world. It also means more flow of information and more folks to announce the release of Choices Meant for Kings to.

Some of those twitterers were not the type I want following me. Now, some marketers would look at that statement and think I’m insane. A follower is a follower is a follower, right? I don’t think so. Anyone looking at my profile and seeing that twitterers with names including “boobs” or “nasty” or “hire my body” or other less-clean examples would start to wonder just what kind of content I was providing to attract such clientele.

I don’t provide content that would attract such clientele. Nor do I wish to provide such content.

So when a twitterer with a questionable name links to me, I check into the situation to see if I should block that person from following me. If the name (or profile photo) is only marginably questionable, I’ll take a quick peek at his or her profile to give him or her the benefit of the doubt. A quick judgment call later and I either block or move on. It takes something eye-catching or downright intriguing to get me to follow back because, frankly, I have no time in my life. You have to offer some pretty interesting-to-me content for me to follow you on twitter. (or be a real-life friend or member of Duran Duran)
“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Global Climate Change and Sea Turtle Conservation
Or…The Dragon wonders where the turtles will nest

As a participating blogger in Blog Action Day 2009, I get to write on whatever global climate change topic comes to mind. For me, that hits on conservation issues. Recycling and reusing products cuts down on fossil fuel consumption and original materials being removed from the environment. Easy equation.

Despite our collective best efforts, I’m pretty sure Planet Earth is doomed to repeat a cycle that some scientists believe she’s been going through since her birth. Ice age—thaw—ice age—thaw. You get the picture. Personally, I don’t think the earth is as old as those carbon-dating scientists claim it is, but that’s another argument for another day. What we have here is this idea that the earth has, for millions of years, gone through a cycle that humans would be pretty doggone arrogant to assume they can up-n-change. We should recognize that our industrial revolution has added to the rate of temperature-rise in the past few decades, but we shouldn’t lose track of the fact that the temperature-rise was in effect because it’s part of the planet’s lifecycle.

So let’s say ice melts, polar bears drown, and waters rise. Where do the sea turtles go to build their nests? I’m assuming Florida will go under (as mentioned in my short story info posted below/earlier this week). Various islands where sea turtles nest will go under. Because sea turtles are near and dear to my heart, this is where my worries rest. In the images posted today, you see a couple of hatchling loggerhead sea turtles making a dry-run for the Gulf of Mexico. We waited until dark to do the real thing so fish out in the water were less likely to snack on them. But these little turtles (if they’re girls and if they survive the insane odds stacked against them) will return to Bonita Beach in 20 or so years looking for a place to lay their eggs. What will they find? What will their offspring find 20 years after that?

(For information on sea turtle nesting behavior and hatchling releases, please visit
“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Global Climate Change in My Fiction

Or…The Dragon preps for Thursday’s blog action day

I don’t make big sweeping political statements in my fantasy fiction. My stories are meant to take you OUT of reality and off to some place more enjoyable where your worries are out of your mind. (I encourage you to check out the book descriptions of Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings on Amazon to see what I mean.)

In preparation for Oct. 15th’s Blog Action Day 2009 concerning Global Climate Change, in which I’ll be participating, I wanted to talk about one short story where I did include a wee bit of real-world worries. But, true to form, I put a fantasy twist on them. I decided to pretend the world’s global temperature had risen higher than scientists predicted and the ocean waters had engulfed more landmass than even our best conspiracy theorists and paranoid schizophrenics dreamt. I envisioned Florida and New Zealand completely under water. (Most of Hawaii and Japan as well, of course.) You get the picture.

What’s rather silly is I put this concept in what we editors refer to as an “info-dump” that the editor of Winter’s Night magazine rightfully deleted from the beginning of my story “A Legacy Protected.” Oops. So the sweeping generalization that we’re doomed got removed from my fiction even when I had finally included it. Funny. Probably saved me from myself. Richard Bray, Editor Extraordinaire, I bow.

So here’s the beginning/opening paragraphs to “A Legacy Protected” in all their backstory/info-dumping glory. I hope you enjoy their paranoid feel and pick up your copy of Winter’s Night magazine where the remainder of the story, sans global warming concept, is published.
A Legacy Protected (deleted graphs)
By Sandy Lender

His family’s money came from a boy’s idea at the beach. Jack Gantry the First had looked up at his nanny during a summer vacation and asked, “What’s going to happen to these buildings when the water rises?”

“What do you mean, dear?”

“When the water rises,” he gestured to the Atlantic Ocean creeping up the shoreline toward them, “all the buildings will be under it. Someone should move them.”

Jack’s exotic nanny bestowed on him the special smile that moms know how to bless their sons with. It was the kind of smile that inspires one little boy to become an astronaut while inspiring another to seek a cure for cancer. In young Jack’s case, the curve of her chocolate lips inspired him to figure out how much weight a pulley could hold.

“Tell me about that,” Nanny Lyddy encouraged him.

She started him thinking about booms and lifts and cranes until he came up with the idea that would revolutionize the beachfronts of the world—wherever they formed in the future. It took a decade after he’d graduated from a technical school to get the first prototype built, and another decade to get the scientists, developers, and media analysts all singing from the same sheet of music. When everything came together, his idea won him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jack Gantry the First had stood on a stage in Oslo wishing he’d kept in touch with his nanny. He believed the teacher and protector who had fed the idea should’ve been in the audience to see him accept the award, and, when his great grandson John was old enough to appreciate the whole story, he told him so.

The odd twist in the Gantry story hit when something as simple as a co-ed threatening John with sexual harassment accusations, which could be neither proved nor disproved, put the family’s fortune in jeopardy in the early 2090s. The Gantries had weathered that storm with the help of a rising young legal aid who now served as the CEO’s administrative assistant.

John Gantry the Fourth stood in his overly metallic office contemplating his great grand-dad, the family fortune, and the eleventh hour savior on the afternoon before his wedding. He always thought it strange the way Ms. Tesker had given up a blossoming legal career to become, essentially, his secretary. Sure, Gantry Family Ltd. was huge and the position wasn’t one to sneeze at, but, still, there was a certain level of prestige in being a lawyer in New Tampa. What was the attraction to being a secretary, whether it was for the Gantry Family or not?

The buzzer on his phone let him know Ms. Tesker needed his attention.

He turned from the picture window overlooking the imaginary line above the Florida Shelf where the Atlantic Ocean met the Gulf of Mexico. What a lovely image he turned from. Inside his office, almost everything was sterile and gray recycled metal with monitors and panels and functional bits. Almost everything—he was young and brash enough to include a warm brown leather couch and a wood-paneled liquor cabinet. They stood out like neon signs of youth. They seemed to announce: “This CEO is too young to be in charge. He’s only 35. Feel free to take advantage of him and his company.” Staying on task, he pressed a green button that flashed at him from the glass top of his desk.
Again, if you’d like to read the rest of the story, without this history part, grab your inaugural edition of Winter’s Night magazine. There are 84 pages of excellently edited and well-written fantasy shorts waiting for you. And please visit here Thursday to comment on Blog Action Day 2009’s theme of Global Climate Change.
“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”
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Friday, October 09, 2009

New Fantasy Magazine with Fantasy Author Sandy Lender
Or...The Dragon has some new reading material to tell you about

Do you enjoy short stories? Editor Richard Bray has assembled the innaugural issue of Winter's Night magazine for your fantasy reading pleasure. You can order the print version or eZine at Lulu. Either way, it's 84 pages of excellent editing, well-told fantasy adventure tales, and family-friendly entertainment. Fantasy Author Sandy Lender's short story A Legacy Protected was selected to be included in this first issue so fans should pick up this fun little treat! Other authors include the well-known Judith W. Huey, who also provided the remarkable cover art, Todd Diel, Bruce Bretthauer, KateMarie Collins, and more.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
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Thursday, October 01, 2009

World’s Coolest Christmas Gift from a Writer Contest
Or…The Dragon offers to write a personal novella for one lucky reader

During the month of November, Fantasy Author Sandy Lender will write a short novel…to your specifications. I’m participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I want to make the fruits of my labor special for one lucky reader of mine. If you’re an established fan of Fantasy Author Sandy Lender, you know what a treat this will be. (Go ahead and say so in the comment field.)

Here’s what you win:
Sandy Lender writes a novella (20,000 to 50,000 words) in the genre of your choice, with your specifications as outlined on Sandy’s spec sheet, during the month of November. She will print up the novel and, if you wish, gift-wrap it for a Christmas present. She will mail it to the destination of your choice during the first week of December so there’s plenty of time for Christmas delivery.

Here’s how you enter:
From Oct. 1 through Oct. 24, visit,,, Barnes &, or a local book store to purchase a copy of either of Sandy’s hardcover novels Choices Meant for Gods (2007) OR Choices Meant for Kings (2009). (These lovely hardcovers make great Christmas presents themselves…) Once you’ve completed your transaction, forward a copy of the receipt to sandy_lender at yahoo dot com with “Christmas Novel Contest” in the subject line. Sandy will draw the lucky winner from the pool o’ receipts on Sunday, Oct. 25, and contact that person by e-mail that day. (Yes, you may enter the contest more than once. Like if you buy CMFG and realize you’ve JUST GOT to read CMFK before you lose your mind figuring out “what happens next?”, send that receipt to me by midnight of Oct. 24. Or if you have 17 people on your Christmas list who need to read CMFK, by all means, send me 17 receipts. It’s e-mail so you’re not paying postage.)

Here’s how you give your specs once you’ve won:
On Sunday, Oct. 25, Sandy will send the congratulations message to the lucky winner along with a questionnaire. That questionnaire will ask you to select your short novel/novella’s genre as well as your main character’s defining qualities and name. You can see the questionnaire below. Please note that it allows you to specify whether this novel is for you or a gift for a friend. The winner MUST return this questionnaire to Sandy by Nov. 1, so start thinking about your specifications now. Wow…what kind of novel would YOU ask a traditionally published author to write you for Christmas?

Remember the rules? 1) Buy one of the hardcovers online. 2) Forward the receipt to Sandy at sandy_lender at yahoo dot com. 3) Start thinking now of your specs for the examples below. 4) Watch your e-mail Sunday, Oct. 25.

“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”
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Excerpts From The Specification Sheet for
The Sandy Lender Christmas Novella Contest

Will this book be for you? ______ Or a gift for a friend? ______
Will the friend be a main character in the book? _____ Or am I just writing it for him/her?
Will YOU be a main character in the book? _____
Please answer the following questions for the person who will be receiving the book as a gift (whether that’s you or a friend).
Favorite type of music:
Favorite movie of all time:
Dogs or Cats?
Favorite “room” at a museum:
Do you have any objections to violence in your novel?
Would this character be afraid of snakes?
Favorite genre from these choices:
___ fantasy ___ sci-fi ___ horror
___ suspense/thriller ___ paranormal
Preferred rating for your novel from these choices:
____ PG ____ PG-13
What one thing are you deathly afraid of and that I should avoid putting in the novel?

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