Tag Archives: dragons

Guest Post ~ Why do we love Fantasy?


A 9′ by 3′ original oil by Dianne used for the covers of her trilogy.

My friend and colleague, Dianne Lynn Gardner agreed to visit today.  She is deep a project that will bring her beloved Realm to the screen. It has been quite a journey.  After writing Ian’s Realm, a trilogy, and then expanding the story to include two more books due to be published, she fell in love with the idea of bringing the Realm to the screen. To have something worthwhile to show, you have to know how to build a world other people want to visit!

Please welcome Dianne Lynn Gardner during one of her short stays here with us in the reality of the the Pacific Northwest.

From Dianne:

It’s not enough to lay on the grass, dandelions by your ear bouncing under the weight of a bumble bee, clover blossoms tickling your toes, as you stare at the white puffs of moisture changing shapes against the blue. No. It’s not enough to just lay there and listen to the breeze as you absorb the warmth of the day. You aren’t satisfied until you squint at the clouds and see the shape of a giant lizard morph into a dragon, and then as moments pass the formation becomes a butterfly stretching its wings over you, hovering between you and that burning star you call the sun. Soon it dissipates into nothing again. A cloud again. The shadow that had shielded you, gone.

Your imagination took you into a portal of time. For a few moments you weren’t really on your front lawn. Cars didn’t drive by, airplanes didn’t fly over your house. The phone didn’t ring. In fact, in the fantasy world you just left those things didn’t exist. Your stay was ever so brief. Completely harmless. But you were there.

Some people choose to stay longer.

Though it’s my opinion that all fiction is fantasy because it was made up in the mind of the author, the genre has a skeleton more exclusively defined. Speak the word fantasy and castles and battles fought with broadswords and bow manifest in the mind’s eye.


There are other kinds of worlds and the more imaginative author will seek to find different scenery to entertain the reader.

Two questions. How and Why?

“How” is left to the artist who paints a dream. It could be a combination of places the author loves. Maybe there were fields where he once walked. Perhaps in his childhood he remembers a house at the end of the street that had a basement unexplored. Sometimes a forest is so dark and deep he might remember hearing voices screaming from its core. Many memories and imaginings can dream up a fantasy world, and to build that universe in detail is an art. An exciting journey, with endless possibilities. All one needs to do is squint a little as though looking at the clouds, and pretend.


Stories such as Through the Looking Glass, the Wizard of Oz, Narnia, Lord of the Rings and many other fantasies take their main characters into worlds with incredible obstacles to overcome. Those obstacles represent trials common to us here in the real world. Good- versus-evil-type trials. In a fantasy story, magnifying the consequences of wrong choices, and glorifying the triumphs of perseverance, loyalty, courage and honor prompts the reader to consider issues they are facing in reality. In some way, those prompts can help to influence decision making — hopefully for the better.

This is why we love fairy tales, dragons, castles, princesses and knights. It takes us away from this world, if only for a while. And the really good stories give us something to bring back.

Dianne has just released the third in the Ian’s Realm Trilogy, Rubies and Robbers. 

Also check out Deception Peak (book 1) and Dragon Shield (book 2)

Visit her at her website http://www.gardnersart.com/ where all things Realm are explored!


Filed under My Bookshelf ~ Fiction

30 Cubed – The North Winds


Post number 8 – 647 words give or take.

I have a bit of a twist tonight.  I had committed to blog for a friend of mine and to tell about a book of her’s that has just been released.  It is the second in a series and I love the story.  I asked her permission and instead of breaking away from my challenge, I chose to write a bit of fan fiction.  I hope you enjoy.

Long ago on the edge of remembered history, when men were learning to depend more upon their knowledge than their faith, the forces that gave birth to this strange creature saw that reason would one day reign. Unlike many tales that made this growth somehow evil, it was looked on as a coming of age for the species, a time to step out of superstition and fear and into a waiting universe of wondrous things to discover. A time when the avalanche of knowledge was but a trickle on the slopes of the human mind.

Yes, it was a very good thing if, and only if, the race could survive the transition. The ancients looked ahead to see the centuries of war, starvation, disease, and waste. They saw the evil in misapplied technology and misunderstood universal truths. They saw, and understood, that the process of growing could be the end of the race. So they pondered on ways to preserve the old knowledge while the new knowledge grew. Ways to catch the ear of those that would listen and guide them to preserve a path, to temper the knowledge with wisdom, to lead humanity to its potential. And so it was that the North Wind was born.


Meinolf was walking the moonlit shore hand in hand with the woman he had taken as his own. She was with child and for this one night only the two of them knew it. Meinolf was the village sage, his wife a healer. They had spent the day learning what they could about the sex of the child and something of his future. Through means now falling from favor, they had cast the lots to see something of the burdens and the joys they would face in raising him to manhood. They saw pain and great loss. But they also saw true wisdom and a heart well-tuned to the North Wind. This child, like his father before him, would be a leader. Meinolf and Sunngifu returned to the village and prepared for a day of feasting.

At his appointed time, Vilfred entered the world. He was a serious child, playing quietly in his own world and watching the creatures of the forest. Learning their ways and what their actions might tell him. He would often climb the cliffs near the village and listen for hours to hear songs of the North Wind. He knew there were changes coming about in his world. He had learned these things from one of the last wizards of Taikus, Kaempie. And he had listened, and watched.

One chill morning he sat on his perch and watched the pirate ships sail into the harbor of Menek. As always, he dreamed of one day setting these cousins of his free from both their dragon master and the pirates that plagued them. But the North Winds counselled patience. Whispering in his ear the constant refrain that “man cannot another man set free.” As he watched the ships being unloaded, he felt the change as the dragon far above him began to stir. Something was quite different this time. There was a new force in the North Lands. Vilfred stood and stretched. His time had come.

Little Shield so bold and bright
Bring the soldiers brave to fight
And their maidens singing songs
To cheer them, cheer them, cheer them on… (Dragon Shield)


NOTE: There you have it – the prelude to Ian’s Realm, a series of fantasy novels by Dianne Lynn Gardner. Written for young adults they are captivating at any age. As her main character, Ian, comes of age, a whole world learns the lessons of balancing faith with wisdom, the costs of freedom, and the greater cost of keeping it.

Dragon Shield and the tale of the wizard Meneka. Re-edited, re-mastered and re-released by Rara Avis, an imprint of PDMI Publsihing, LLC


Filed under My Fiction - Very Short Fiction

Dragons and Magic and Songs in the Wind

DeceptionsmToday we shall do something a bit on the lighter side of things.  Way back in March I posted a bit about how a writer finds a path between showing passion for their subject without getting pushy with the reader.  If you are truly passionate, you want to share the things you love so much and not overwhelm someone and chase them away.  I had asked Dianne Gardner to share a bit of her style in the process of writing her series, Ian’s Realm.  That article can be found here.

Well, here we are many months later and Dianne has become a fast friend and we’ve managed to get mixed up together in a number of projects.  I have read all of her books and novellas with the exception of Cassandra’s Castle.  Never fear, I have an advance copy sitting on my computer.

I find the series absorbing and rollicking good fun.  In fact, Ian kept me company into the wee hours of the morning during a recent hospital stay.  Add to a great story a truly talented artist and you have an irresistible mix. I have been invited to be one of Ian’s stops as Dianne showcases her anniversary edition of Deception Peak.  The book has undergone a complete remake with its new publisher, PDMI Publishing, LLC. Re-edited, re-mastered cover, maps, character reference charts and other great things make this not only a great story; it’s a collector’s item!  My duty in the ceremonies is to let Dianne talk a bit about what the future holds for Ian’s Realm.

My vision for the series!

When I began the Ian’s Realm Saga, the goal was to complete the three-book story arc and get it published. Simple undertaking (not!). Once the trilogy was completed something unsettle remained inside of me though, as if I hadn’t really written the whole story. There just wasn’t enough magic. The history was missing. And there wasn’t enough explained about the Meneks or the Kaemperns and their cults. Hence A Tale of the Four Wizards took shape, and a very loveable character named Silvio emerged. What happened to the old wizard in that first short story couldn’t be the end, and it wasn’t. You see him make a cameo appearance in The Dragon Shield (edited after the short stories were completed). There was more!

After Rubies and Robbers, I personally didn’t want to leave the Realm. I already missed Ian. But of course, I’ve already introduced plenty of dynamic personalities to carry on. Fast forward a few years and we have Ian’s daughter Cassandra.

Her story came from some real life events that occurred not long ago. I was helping a friend do some interesting research on her family tree which branched into Portuguese royalty at the turn of the century. The more I researched the more I got sidetracked until I discovered the last king of Portugal, Manuel II. Such a compelling story, I needed to write this young king into one of my characters and so enters Martim of Cassandra’s Castle. Cassie is one of my favorite tales and I’m not sure why.

Having had so much fun filming The Dragon Shield , it was time to make a trailer for Cassandra’s Castle, though the book won’t be out for a while. Our crew filmed at Fort Worden State park and Manresa Castle here in WA, and everyone was so excited about working together, we vowed to make a movie.

When I say crew I’m talking about a group of very talented, and experienced people. You can meet them on my website.

Currently, we’re writing the script, and making plans. I’m not sure how long the movie will take to film but we’re working toward that being our goal.

As far as other visions for the series? Anything! Like a piece of artwork I want to sculpt this story into 3D with audio and music (note the lovely music that Lexa Rose wrote with the lyrics to the songs of the Realm), audio narrative, a Boxed Set, a large coffee table edition with full color illustrations and gold leaf. We’ll see where this takes us, but it’s a project!

And that’s my friend, Dianne!  Full of never-ending energy and ever-growing ideas.  She left one thing out though, I really, really want to see Xylon and Promise dolls out by next Christmas…you’ll have to read to learn why.

So far the series includes: Deception Peak, Dragon Shield (scheduled to be re-released), Rubies and Robbers (also scheduled to be re-released), and four novellas about the wizards.  In process is Diary of a Conjurer and Cassandra’s Castle.

Now, for all the places you can find Ian, Abbi, and Dianne:

Ian’s Realm, the blog

Dianne’s Art Site (there is some amazing fine art here, folks).

Ian on Facebook

To Twitter to Dianne

And for goodness sake!  Don’t forget the launch party!


Filed under My Bookshelf ~ Fiction, Stuff about Writing ~ Tips and Tools