Archive for June, 2009

Dragons and writing

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I have a new series coming out this fall. Castle- the fall to Domum, is the first book and deals with a medieval world where dragons exist.  As I worked out the plot of the story, it became evident that I needed to include dragons. That led to some serious thinking about them.

I wanted this fantasy story to fit within the realms of science, and I tried my best to make everything reasonable and at least scientifically plausible. That is when I had to look at dragons carefully. First, what are they? Reptile, mammal or some other kind of animal? Most drawings have them with a scale like skin, though others have put feathers on them. Another important feature is that they fly and this led me to a couple of conclusions. For a large creature to fly, it would have a fast metabolism. The wings have to cover a large surface area to lift the body and that also implies the bones would have to be strong, but light. The closest example I could think of were pterosaur. Those ancient (and fortunately extinct) reptiles had very light bodies attached to large wings. They also, like dragons, possessed a scaly skin.

So to me, dragons are more reptile than mammal, but had to be warm blooded to sustain the energy needed for flight. That energy meant dragons had to be meat eaters. Energy to carry a large body does not come eating grass. There is an obvious difference between reptiles and dragons; reptiles have only four limbs while dragons possess an additional pair of wings. It could be dragons were an evolutionary diversion from dinosaurs that accounted for the wings. Regardless, in my story, dragons were real creatures that for a brief time were able to cross over to Earth but were unable to survive.

The last feature of dragons that really concerned me was the fire from a dragon’s mouth. I tried to come ways for this to happen but it just doesn’t work. Rather annoying after I managed to figure out the rest of the dragon. Even if I assume it could hold in its lungs, or some special sac, an explosive gas (hydrogen or maybe methane) it would be one very short blast and then be over with until it could manufacture more. My solution was to have the dragons twin glands inside its mouth. Each gland would contain a chemical, and when mixed with the other, would create a corrosive mist that would make the victim feel as if its skin was on fire.

There you have it. My solution to having a plausible dragon. By the way, because they are predators, I also made the dragons smart. I also decided to have more than one type of dragon. Large, solitary ones and other smaller types, including some that could hunt in packs. I hope you like my creation of dragons.

Great weekend

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Weekends are for having fun and Laurie and I did. For the first time in a long time we had a barbecue in our backyard with a bunch of friends. Our good neighbours, Carolyn and Lloyd, are moving. We invited other neighbours over to say good-bye to them, though we hope they will come back and visit occasionally.  That was Friday. On Saturday we went to a wedding reception on the north side of Edmonton. Julie and Ian were married in Mexico and had a celebration back here. Great couple; we wish them success. Today, I’m going to try to catch up on some paperwork. Not fun, but it has to be done.

I wrote a short story a couple of years ago and it was picked up by a magazine. Yareah Magazine is going to now publish it in their first book. I rather excited about that; they have a great publication and I’m pleased to be included in that.

On Saturday, June 20th, I will be doing a book signing at the Chapters Store located on Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona. I will have two books there and I hope some of drop by to say hello. Starbucks is located inside Chapters, by the way (hint, hint), and writers need coffee to survive.

Have agreat week

Jack

Almost writing again

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I guess I’m not used to working full time any more. The past few weeks have been busy with the wine business and at the end of the day I’m too tired to write. Well, I suppose I could force myself to write but that’s not the way to make a story interesting.

My wife Laurie is managing her dragon boat team, so she she’s on the water a couple evenings each week. I go down to river valley too. I can’t paddle- my neck and shoulder are still too stiff- but I do take long walks along the paths. I listen to music and relax, coming up with all kinds of stories to write about. Unfortunately, they stay in my head and never make it to paper.

However, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have the first part of a new series coming out this summer and while that means going over the edits, it also means I will get involved more with writing. I’m hopeful my writing will be back on schedule before the month is over.

Have a great summer

Jack