Stick a Fork in it – Fantasy Novel Edition

The draft of the Chinese-inspired fantasy novel is done. I have a cover located. I need a title.

The plot: A dragon, Count Chang, finds a girl he thinks is the Chosen One, a human of the old blood who carries the magical power needed to heal a sick river and to convince the humans to stop making things worse. Leesan, being the youngest daughter of a foreign family, has absolutely no desire to take on any responsibility or to think for herself, let alone learn magic. The other dragons, including the Western King, need her to act, lest the Great Sky Emperor, king of the gods, lose his patience with them and sort things out himself, remaking the world and punishing the dragons in the process. Count Chang just wants the glory of having found the person who can fix the problem, not the responsibility for actually working to solve things.

No one gets what they want, as you can imagine.

Some title ideas include:

Lord Chang and the River

Healing the Great River

The Dragon and the Land

The Curse of the Yellow Hills

Pearl’s Daughter

Any of these sound better than others? Any suggestions for something else?


Languages and Stories

No, not how fancy or plain, active voice or passive. Alien languages and non-English in my fiction, and why I do it.

I seem to have a knack for learning foreign languages. I catch inflections and accents easily, to the extent that I speak German with a Bavarian-Austrian accent rather than American. Having the ability to recognize patterns helps immensely, and my long span of musical adventures also helps, because I pick out phrases and sounds very quickly. This overflows into my writing, as long-time readers know. Continue reading

Put Castle Here

When you do something regularly for a while, or when your final exam grade depends on learning how to see and evaluate certain terrain and aquatic features, you develop a bit of skill. If your survival depends on reading the landscape properly, the learning curve is a lot steeper. And if you are exposed to something, even though you are not trying to learn how to read the land, after a while you start doing it. I can’t not evaluate a stream as I walk past it. And I can’t go through rolling or mountainous countryside without mentally adding strong points, choke-points, and castles. Continue reading

The Drachental

Where is the Drachental? Does it really exist, or is it merely a figment of the author’s imagination? What about Schloß Hohen-Drachenburg?

The answer is “yes.” Joschka von Hohen-Drachenburg’s territory is based on several real places, but if you were to get a map of the Tyrol and Salzkammergut, you would not find it. There are fortress-houses in the region, and elsewhere in the Alps, that look like Schloß Hohen-Drachenburg, but none are “the” place. Continue reading

There’s Food in my Fiction!

People in my books and stories eat a lot. It’s not because I’m especially fascinated by food ways, although chocolate does intrigue me. So many variations, so little time…

Ahem. Sorry.

No, my characters spend a lot of time around the table, or thinking about edibles, because that’s how life seems to work. To my knowledge, nothing can survive without taking in energy, be it through chemoautotrophy, or noshing on plankton, or photosynthesis, or eating a slower critter. Humans, and Staré, and Rada, and True-Dragons, are no different. And it is interesting to see what works and what doesn’t. And how that can affect a story. Continue reading

Ignorance and Bliss: A Historical Precedent

Note: This piece is about adult topics. I’ve tried to keep it PG-13 or better, and I’d appreciate the comments’ section staying clean. Thank you.

Readers of yesterday’s excerpt, and this week’s chapter, will wonder how any young woman could be so completely unaware of “the ways of man and maid.” Surely that is pure fiction, overdone for the purposes of plot. No one could be kept in the dark about the facts of life so completely once they reached physical maturity, could they?

Yes, they could, and were, into the Twentieth Century. And going back to the 1600s. Something I’d thought was overdone Victorian prudery happened all across northern Europe well before Victoria was crowned in England. Continue reading