Monday, August 20, 2012

Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons...

... for your are crunchy and good with ketsup!
 Welcome to The Dragonslayer Series 
Blog Hop!
Resa Nelson's 4-book Dragonslayer series:
Synopsis for The Dragonslayer's Sword (Book 1)
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.
Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.
Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

Synopsis for The Iron Maiden (Book 2)
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it's her duty. She'd rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?
Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer's sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.
In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn't a decision she can make just once. It's a decision she must make every day.

Synopsis for The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)
In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.

Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.

Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.

Book 4 will be published in November 2012
Hang on to your bootstraps because I have some questions for you...

Why did you steer away from magic and go for more of a species specific mythology behind the world of your fantasy?
Everything I write is organic.  No pesticides!  (Just kidding.)  What I really mean is that when I write, I draw from my own life, my own experiences, my own belief system, my own opinions, my own world view, and so on.  I think there’s a lot we don’t know about the world.  I think there are a lot of unexplained things that happen in our world that have scientific or rational explanations, and we just haven’t discovered those explanations yet.  My main character Astrid is a lot like me in that she believes there are perfectly good explanations for things that other people believe to be magic.

Did you ever, at some point while writing book one, just stop and think, "Poor Astrid!" She really got the short end of the stick, didn't she?

That’s a great question, Alana – no one has asked me that before!  What you just described is how I felt before I started writing Book 1!  This all began as a short story that was published and got a lot of positive reader feedback, which made me think about turning the short story into a novel.  But I will only write a novel if I come up with an idea that I love with my whole heart and that I feel excited about.  So for 8 years I kept coming up with ideas for a novel about Astrid, but the ideas were never good enough.  I’d think, “Oh, that’s too boring.”  Or “So what?  Who cares?”  Or “This seems ridiculous.  I’d never believe that story.”  Finally, after 8 years of thinking about different ideas for the novel, I came up with an idea that made me feel excited about writing it.  When I started thinking about how all the events would affect Astrid, I literally started crying.  This time, I thought, “How can I do such horrible things to Astrid?  This is terrible!  How can I be so awful to my poor character?”  That’s the moment when I knew I’d come up with a novel that was worth writing.

Having read your background, have you ever used any of the blacksmith techniques that you wrote about?

That’s another great question – yes!  First, all the details of fire and blacksmithing tools and slag and the way iron turns different colors all comes from my experience with blacksmithing.  More specifically, one time in my blacksmithing course, the assignment was to make a pair of tongs.  The goal was to make one tong in one class and the other tong in the next class and then rivet them together.  My first tong came out perfectly, and I was excited about the next class and finishing the assignment.  But in the next class, for some reason nothing went right.  My fire acted weird, and it wasn’t heating the iron the way I expected it to.  I had a hard time getting the iron up to the right heat for hammering – it kept coming out the fire too cold.  I got really annoyed and thought, “I’ll show you, you stupid fire!  I’ll leave the iron in extra long to get it up to heat.”  I ended up leaving the iron in the fire so long that when I pulled it out, the iron glowed white-yellow and threw off sparks, which means the iron is ruined and should be thrown away.  I felt devastated because it ruined my entire project and I walked away without a pair tongs.  But when writing Book 1, I needed a scene where Astrid was having a bad day at the forge.  If you read the beginning of Chapter 4, that’s all from the experience I just described.  Astrid is making a dagger blade instead of a pair of tongs, but everything else is exactly what happened to me.

Do you use music, or pictures, or any type of multi-media when writing your books?
(Like to keep your descriptions straight of characters, or pictures of the area, or music for mood...etc.)

When I start a new series or standalone novel, I make “character cards.”  For each important character, I start with an index card and write the character name at the top of the card.  I flip through stacks of old issues of Entertainment Weekly magazines and look for an actor who matches the character I have in mind.  In a nutshell, I cast each character as if I’m making a movie instead of writing a novel.  When I find an actor that matches the character, I cut out the photo and tape it onto the card.  Then I write a few words about the character on the card.  I put all the character cards in a stack and keep them next to my computer.  Every time I write, I pull out the characters in the scene and put the cards where I can see them while I’m writing.  I also play the soundtrack from a movie (The Mystery of Rampo) because it’s like a bridge that I walk across from reality into the world of the novel I’m writing.

Your Favorite Quote? (From any source.)

That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

Any specific sources of inspiration for your writing?
Everything comes out of my own life and my own experiences.  And my own opinions.  I’m extremely opinionated, but I don’t want to force my opinions on anyone else.  I just want to have the freedom to have my own opinions and write about them.


(I have a pretty good guess at the answer, but still have to ask:)
Gandalf or Dumbledore?


Is there always room for Jello?

As long as it’s chocolate

Favorite Bumper Sticker Slogan? 

The only one I can think of is “If you can read this, you’re too close.” 

If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

The front row, right behind the orchestra pit

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?


What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?

It’s all material
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for
Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer's Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
Resa lives in Massachusetts.

Resa's website: 
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:
GoodReads giveaway:
Facebook page:!/
Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871 ResaNelson
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at:
php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
athr_dp_pel_1 c/resa-nelson  

1 comment:

  1. Can't believe I missed this series! have added to my TBR list and will be checking it out soon. Astrid sounds like my kind of heroine.