Interview with Alexa Piper
Assistant Editor Laura Harvey sat down with author Alexa Piper to talk about why we write romance, favorite book boyfriends, and her upcoming projects. We've been lucky enough to publish Alexa's stories in DEMONS, IMPS, AND INCUBI and THE NAUGHTY LIST, and we published her erotic short fiction collection LUMINOUS DREAMS last fall.
LH: Describe yourself in three sentences.
AP: Morning is not my favorite time of the day for waking, but I love meeting sunrise from the other edge of the day. I read all the Harry Potter books and know to find my way to Neverland. I can describe pretty much anyone in a nice neat paragraph, but with answering this question I'm having trouble.
LH: You're stranded on an island with a book boyfriend. Who is he?
AP: What? I get only one? I guess I'd go with a certain Viking vampire from Shreveport. (Thank you, Charlaine Harris!) The best part is, I'd only be stranded with this guy if I wanted to be. I think. The other best part is, I'd really want to be stranded with this guy!
LH: What is something you wish everyone knew about writing romance?
AP: It's not always easy to keep track of limbs and trains of thoughts. The characters' limbs and trains of thoughts!
LH: What do you love about paranormal romance, in particular?
AP: It offers so many more possibilities, and it allows for certain genres that are full of sexual tension to begin with to go the whole way. I'm thinking about vampires for example, but it really doesn't stop there. The paranormal element means that the world building can really go hand in hand with how the characters interact, and that's quite cool.
LH:What was your favorite story/character to write in Luminous Dreams?
AP: Ah! Easy. The one that went to the underworld and came back. My editor for the collection, Cori Vidae probably also knows my favorite scene to write in that particular story!
LH: What are you working on now?
AP: I'm working on a few stand alone stories that are roughly related to Luminous Dreams, and I'll be sure to give the witchy twins from Luminous Dreams some more exploring to do somewhere down the line.
LH: Why write romance?
AP: Why anyone would choose to write romance may be self-explanatory for some, but others might not quite get it: romance, that’s like, porn, just as a book? Why would anyone write that? So go some people's thought. Let’s address that.
Well, first off, romance writing is not like porn, at least in most cases it’s not and shouldn’t be. It may be worth mentioning here that the readership of romance is predominantly female (although I have heard favorable things from male readers too.) And while porn can be fun, it’s the tension between characters, between people, that I think sets romance apart. And, of course, a romance novel or story you read is still a piece of written fiction at the end of the day, which means it comes with all the parts that make a tale worth telling, such as plot, great characters, and, of course, tension.
Tension should be present in any piece of writing. Every short story, every novel, every movie, every fairy tale needs tension to keep us reading, listening, watching. Because without tension, why bother? The thing with romance is that it looks at two (potential) lovers and shows the tension developing, rising, and finally culminating quite carnally, which is how romantic relationships tend to work in real life. (And even if they don’t, it’s certainly the reality we hope for!)
Speaking of fairy tales, by the way, many of those have romance and carnality written between the lines, some more, some less direct (think Rapunzel or Red Riding Hood.) Love, both the emotional state and the physical expression, are a part of being human, and that is why we romance writers chose to write about it.
But that’s not all. Romance writing is fun, of course, just about as much fun as reading romance is. It’s like a little daydream captured on paper, that daydream you may have on the subway when you see that gorgeous guy sitting just across from you (your daydream may be different, but c’mon, you know the one!). Personally, I like creating and then writing about my characters! It’s fun to see them develop and explore. It’s also fun to write the sex scenes (in case you were wondering), even though it can be a little challenging to keep track of how and where the relevant body parts moved.
Finally, let's talk about why anyone would want to read that smut. It's one of these questions that I think is best answered with another question: why not? Why should romance readers feel the need to hide the cover of their books when they read in public? Writers may be concerned with style and story elements, but reading is all about the joy of the reader, and if you like your summer read steamy, go for it and enjoy!
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt Clue: Measures
What's this? See the rules and prizes here.
Alexa Piper enjoys writing, romance, and the paranormal. This said, becoming a paranormal romance writer seemed perfectly reasonable, but for Alexa, it is more than that; it's fun. Alexa’s work has appeared in the Red Moon Romance anthology Demons, Imps, and Incubi and The Naughty List. Luminous Dreams is Alexa's first collection, and she hopes her readers will have as much fun reading it as she had writing it. Check out Alexa’s online home (alexapiper.com) for all things related to her writing and be sure to follow her on Twitter @prowlingpiper.
Omega Rising Blog Tour Roundup
Anna Kyle made quite the rounds in the blog tour for her new sexy shapeshifter romance OMEGA RISING. Click through the links below to find out everything you ever wanted to know about Anna's writing process, the suggested playlist for OMEGA RISING, and why authors need dogs in their lives. Have you read OMEGA RISING yet? We would love to know what you thought about it! Please leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever you discuss books online.
Erzabet’s Enchantments -- Interview and Excerpt
Indie Book Fairy -- Interview
Randi Perrin -- Interview
Dea Poirier — Guest Post from Anna -- I call Shenanagains
Foreplay and Fangs — Guest Post from Anna -- Thank you for letting me rant…
Writing, Shadows, and Two Imps -- Interview
Books on Fire -- Excerpt
Night Owl Reviews — Guest Post from Anna -- Questions Readers Ask
Room with Books — Guest Post from Anna -- Top 10 Reasons Authors Need Dogs
Torie James -- Interview
Books and More — Guest Post from Anna -- Daily Author Rituals
The Book Mistress -- Anna Kyle Blog Tour
Em Shotwell -- Excerpt and Review
Cynthia Bloggs — Excerpts
Shelli Rosewarne — Interview with Anna
Jen DeLuca -- Playlist for Omega Rising
Romancing the Book -- Interview with Anna
Romance Reviews Today -- Interview with Anna
Want your blog to be included in future blog tours or cover reveals? Contact our Publicity Manager!
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt Clue: Doghouse
What's this? See the rules and prizes for the scavenger hunt here.
What did author Sara Dobie Bauer do to celebrate Bite Somebody’s book birthday?
Guest Post by Sara Dobie Bauer
Now that my novel has been born, people keep asking what I did yesterday to celebrate Bite Somebody’s official release. Well, here’s sort of what the day looked like.
7 AM: Put in my vampire teeth and talk like Count von Count (“One cup of coffee, two cups of coffee, huh, huh, huh…”) until my husband tells me to stop.
8 AM: Bow to my Benedict Cumberbatch altar.
I’m kidding, I don’t have one of those.
Pfft. Psh. What?
STOP STARING AT ME!
9 AM: Watch Pretty Woman and cheer when Julia Roberts tells off the mean shop ladies.
11 AM: Tell a woman at the grocery store that my book came out today. Grin like a serial killer until she runs away screaming, which saves me a lot of time in line, actually. Oh, and buy kale for smoothies.
1 PM: Put my vampire teeth back in. (“Three cups of coffee, huh, huh, huh…”) Greet the mailman.
3 PM: Obsessively check Twitter and Facebook because I just know Anne Rice is going to be unable to stop telling all her friends about Bite Somebody.
4 PM: Realize I haven’t eaten all day.
5 PM: Pour myself a huge rum punch (“It’s beachy, bitch!”) and sit on the back porch. Pretend to watch a sunset over the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, my dogs eat grass and chase a herd of deer because I actually live in Ohio.
7 PM: Call my mom, let out an ear-shattering scream, and hang up. She understands.
9 PM: Suddenly realize that the Bite Somebody sequel is A Thing and that some day soon, I’ll be doing this day all over again but hopefully in a pair of black patent leather Louboutins because I’m worth it.
11 PM: Put on my red shoes and dance the blues. Under the moonlight. This serious moonlight.
2 AM: Wake from a dream about Freddie Mercury and realize I have a Facebook release party.
Come join us tonight on Facebook from 7 to 10 PM where I’ll be giving away a free copy of Bite Somebody and some other fun trinkets.
And if you haven’t bought your copy of Bite Somebody yet, I know some vampires who’ll be paying you a visit. That wasn’t a threat. They’re really cool, and they like margaritas.
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt Clue: Tiki
What's this? See the rules and prizes for the scavenger hunt here.
Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model, and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She spends most days at home in her pajamas as a book nerd and sex-pert for SheKnows.com. Her short story, “Don’t Ball the Boss,” was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize, inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she would really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is also the author of Wolf Among Sheep, Life without Harry, and Forever Dead. Read more at http://SaraDobieBauer.com or find her on Twitter @SaraDobie.
Do you like beaches, vampires, and 80s movies? Then you're going to love the new paranormal romance BITE SOMEBODY by Sara Dobie Bauer. It's here, and it's ready for you to sink your teeth into, in ebook or in paperback.
Where to Buy:
Amazon Kindle UK
Amazon Kindle Canada
Barnes and Noble
OmniLit/All Romance eBooks
World Weaver Press
World Weaver Press
Or ask your local bookstore or library to order it!
See what others are saying about BITE SOMEBODY:
“Bite Somebody is the Pretty in Pink of vampire stories; fun, self-consciously retro, and not afraid to be goofy. Sara Dobie Bauer knows how to keep a reader smiling.”
“I devoured this book (no pun intended) in one greedy sitting. It is gripping, it is funny, and OH MY GOD, it is sexy. Celia Merkin is a fabulous heroine, vulnerable and steely in equal measure, and Ian is a proper dreamboat. I just loved this. Sara Dobie Bauer’s next book will be on my must-read list.”
“Bite Somebody is sexy, funny, and A-positively alive with colorful characters. Celia is perfectly imperfect and insecure; adorable sexy human, Ian, sparkles more than any undead ever could; and Imogene is the kind of bad-influence friend we all need in our lives. Bursting with tasty giggles, devilish guffaws, and swoony sighs, Bite Somebody is an absolute pleasure to sink your teeth into.”
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt Clue: Dawn
What's this? See the rules and prizes here.
Interview with Tiffany Reisz
World Weaver Press Assistant Editor Cori Vidae snags a few spare moments with superstar author Tiffany Reisz. We were lucky enough to include Tiffany's story "A Christmas Maggie" in the anthology THE NAUGHTY LIST.
Summer of Romance Scavenger Hunt clue below the interview!
CV: Thank you so much for taking time to do this interview, Tiffany. I especially appreciate it because I know you are deep, deep in writing mode these days. What are you working on?
TR: Edits! This month is editing month. I’ll have edits to do on two books — One Hot December and The Night Mark. One Hot December is the third in my holiday Harlequin Blaze trilogy out this December. The Night Mark is a time travel romance that’ll be out next March. I think March? Either March or May. One of the M-months.
CV: It's not all work and no play though, right? What are you doing to enjoy the summertime?
TR: This summer I’m going to spend as much time as I can out on our new deck. This being the Pacific Northwest, that could amount to about six months. It’s June 14th today and I got caught in a hailstorm. Last week it was almost 100 degrees. It’s weird over here on the Left Coast, my friends. Very weird.
CV: I've noticed that you write a lot of holiday books and stories, with Christmas seeming to be your favourite. Do you prefer winter over summer, or is it just those holidays that especially resonate with you?
TR: I love, love, love a good Christmas romance. They’re my favorite to write and my favorite to read. Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday as well, although Halloween is a close second. But summer is my favorite season by far. I love swimming and warm nights with the windows open.
CV: In your story in The Naughty List, "A Christmas Maggie", Anya and Daniel also seem especially fond of that holiday. I haven't read enough other stories of yours with them to know — how do they feel about summertime?
TR: If you read the story that takes place before “A Christmas Maggie,” you’ll get to see that Anya and Daniel fall in love during the summer. So summer will always be special for them.
CV: Any chance we might find a steamy summer romance from Tiffany Reisz under our Christmas trees some year?
TR: My latest novel, The Bourbon Thief, is a steamy southern gothic set during summer in Kentucky and South Carolina. And next year my time travel romance The Night Mark is also set in summer. I suppose you can ask for them for Christmas but why wait?
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt Clue: Maggie
What's This? See the rules and prizes for the Scavenger Hunt here.
Tiffany Reisz is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Original Sinners series for Mira Books (Harlequin/Mills & Boon). Tiffany's books inhabit a sexy shadowy world where romance, erotica and literature meet and do immoral and possibly illegal things to each other. She describes her genre as "literary friction," a term she stole from her main character, who gets in trouble almost as often as the author herself.
She lives in Oregon. If she couldn't write, she would die.
One of the best things about being an editor is that I get to read awesome books before almost anyone else. I've just finished reading the third book in Rebecca Roland's SHARDS OF HISTORY series, which we'll be bringing out in mid-2017, and oof. The way she wraps up this trilogy is brilliant. This series has everything. You want fantasy with dragons, magic, and epic battles? Check. You want fantasy that's unequivocally feminist, has diverse characters, and pulls no punches about the hardships of colonialism? Check all that as well.
SHARDS OF HISTORY is epic fantasy in a world that resembles the American Southwest, with a matriarchal pueblo-style culture that's protected from the more European-style"Maddions" by a magical barrier that surrounds their valley. They share that valley with winged wolf-creatures called Jeguduns, whom they are forbidden to go near. But our heroine, Malia, dares to help a Jegudun when she finds one injured, and learns these creatures are not at all what she was taught. She risks exile and death to pursue the truth that will save her people from the Maddions and their dragons.
FRACTURED DAYS continues Malia's story as she struggles with the damage done to her memory by the magic she learned to use in SHARDS, and realizes she will have to go deep into the heart of enemy territory to find a solution. But it also shows us how the Maddion culture is fracturing from the inside out. Their leader seeks a shape changer who may be able to cure an illness ravaging them, and Chanwa, wife of the Maddions' leader, leads a secret resistance against their patriarchy.
I'm not telling you much about the third book — you'll just have to wait until 2017 — but the whole thing comes to a head with the help of some fascinating unlikely alliances. It is action-packed, but also proves that physical strength is not the only way to resolve a conflict.
I love these books so much. More people need to read these books. So I'm giving you a deal on them.
From Friday June 17, 2016 to Tuesday June 21, 2016, the SHARDS OF HISTORY series will be discounted. This includes SHARDS OF HISTORY (Book 1), FRACTURED DAYS (Book 2), and THE KING OF ASH AND BONE (a collection which includes a story in the SHARDS OF HISTORY universe).
SHARDS OF HISTORY ebook: $0.99 at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, & the World Weaver Press online store
SHARDS OF HISTORY paperback: $9.99 + shipping at the World Weaver Press online store only
FRACTURED DAYS ebook: $2.99 at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, & the World Weaver Press online store
FRACTURED DAYS paperback: $9.99 + shipping at the World Weaver Press online store only
THE KING OF ASH AND BONES AND OTHER STORIES ebook: $0.99 at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, & the World Weaver Press online store
If you've read them, please let me know your thoughts by leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or by tweeting to @worldweaver_wwp. I'd love to know what you think of Roland's fantasy world.
Here's what some reviewers have said:
“Shards of History and its sequel, Fractured Days, are terrifically entertaining reads from beginning to end clearly establishing and demonstrating author Rebecca Roland’s consummate skills as an original and entertaining storyteller that will leave her enthusiastic readers looking forward to more novels featuring Malia and her world. Very highly recommended as enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections.”
“One of the most beautifully written novels I have ever read. Suspenseful, entrapping, and simply … well, let’s just say that Shards of History reminds us of why we love books in the first place. 5 out of 5 stars!”
We are thrilled to announce the table of contents for COVALENT BONDS, an anthology of geek romance edited by Trysh Thompson, forthcoming from World Weaver Press February 14, 2017.
The Hacked Match by Wendy Sparrow
Issues by Jeremiah Murphy
Addie-cted by Charlotte M. Ray
Spoilers by Marie Piper
Rogue Trip by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Critical Hit by Cori Vidae
Classification of Nerd by Mara Malins
Better Than Chocolate by Tellulah Darling
Girl Meets Grammarian by G.G. Andrew
Want to be among the first to see the cover art for COVALENT BONDS? Join our cover reveal team! For now, here's the cover copy to whet your appetite even more.
Covalent bonds aren’t just about atoms sharing electron pairs anymore—it’s about the electricity that happens when you pair two geeks together. This anthology celebrates geeks of all kinds (enthusiasts, be it for comics, Dr. Who, movies, gaming, computers, or even grammar), and allows them to step out of their traditional supporting roles and into the shoes of the romantic lead. Forget the old stereotypes: geeks are sexy.
Add Covalent Bonds to your Goodreads To-Read shelf today!
Trysh Thompson (World Weaver Press Assistant Editor) is a technical writer by day and by night, she’s a superhero who goes by the name “Mom.” In the past, she was a journalist and a movie critic for a small paper (yes, Virginia, they do still exist). For fun, she watches anything with Gordon Ramsay, writes, reads, and tries desperately to sing (alas, the tone-deaf fairy visited her early in life). A die-hard Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan, careful what you say around her in March.
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt Clue: Midnight
What's this? See the rules and prizes for the scavenger hunt here.
Meet the Newest WWP Authors
We are thrilled to introduce the two newest members of the World Weaver Press family: Meg Pontecorvo and K. Bird Lincoln. Keep an eye out over the next couple of months for exciting news about these authors and their forthcoming books.
A writer and artist dedicated to multiple genres, Meg Pontecorvo earned an MFA in Poetry Writing from Washington University in St. Louis and is a 2010 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Meg has published a novelette, “Grounded,” in Asimov’s, and her artwork in collage and pen has been featured in experimental video performances in the Bay Area. A native of Philadelphia, she grew up in the Midwest and now shares a small apartment with her partner and cats in San Francisco, where she cooks in a tech-free kitchen.
Meg Pontecorvo's science fiction novella MURDER IN THE GENERATIVE KITCHEN will be available from World Weaver Press later in 2016. Add it to your Goodreads to-read shelf today!
K. Bird Lincoln is an ESL professional and writer living on the windswept Minnesota Prairie with family and a huge addiction to frou-frou coffee. Also dark chocolate — without which, the world is a howling void. Originally from Cleveland, she has spent more years living on the edges of the Pacific Ocean than in the Midwest. Her speculative short stories are published in various online & paper publications such as Strange Horizons. Her first novel, Tiger Lily, a medieval Japanese fantasy, is available from Amazon. She also writes tasty speculative and YA fiction reviews under the name K. Bird at Goodreads.com.
K. Bird Lincoln's Japanese-inspired urban fantasy novel DREAM EATER will be available from World Weaver Press in early 2017. Add it to your Goodreads to-read shelf today!
Interview with Wendy Sparrow
World Weaver Press Assistant Editor Trysh Thompson interviews author Wendy Sparrow. We've been lucky enough to feature Wendy's stories in FAR ORBIT, FAR ORBIT APOGEE, THE NAUGHTY LIST, and the forthcoming COVALENT BONDS. (Stay tuned for full COVALENT BONDS Table of Contents reveal next week.)
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt clue below the interview!
TT: You have a tendency to slip a little romance into everything, including the Far Orbit anthologies. Tell me about how that went over with the anthologist, Bascomb James?
WS: Bascomb is so awesome. This has been the most hilarious experience ever with him. When I made it in to the first Far Orbit, he didn’t catch that it was a romance. Seriously. Somehow, someway, that slipped under his radar, and I felt like I’d pulled off the greatest con in the history of writing. I could add to “science fiction author” to my romance author bio. With the second Far Orbit I made it in, someone commented to him that it was good to include more diversity and mentioned that he’d included a romance. He wasn’t sure what they were referring to because I’d done it again! I knew that I wouldn’t manage it a third time, though. When he started taking submissions for his military science fiction anthology, my submitted blatant romance was prefaced with a near apology. His acceptance was basically chagrined. I pictured him slowly and methodically banging his head against a wall after hitting send. I’d done it three times. The hat trick! I’m not saying I’m a pioneer or anything, but I have made science-fiction anthologies safe for romance authors everywhere, so, yeah, maybe I am. (I’m kidding, of course, there are some fantastic science-fiction romance authors out there…who aren’t pulling a long con on poor Bascomb.)
TT: You’re on vacation, on a chaise on the beach and the kids are occupied (hey, perfect world, right?)—what are you reading?
WS: I binge-read like nobody’s business but I also read according to my mood and I’m drawn to certain tropes. Generally, Suspense is my go-to genre, but I love flawed or uniquely challenged heroes and heroines. I maintain a list of romances on my blog of books with “perfectly flawed” characters in them. I have a ton of books that fall into that category on my Kindle waiting for me to have a spare minute.
TT: Where do you draw your inspiration for your romantic leads?
WS: I’ve been with my husband for nearly nineteen years and his support has really helped me find the romance in everything. I think romance is easier to see when you’re living a love story. I’ve pulled inspiration for romance characters from news stories before. I’ve come up with elaborate romances from eavesdropping while in restaurants. Most of my stories begin with a challenging “what if” scenario. What if I wrote a contemporary Cyrano de Bergerac story—what would be the hero’s challenge? (Berg is an amputee in "Lip Service.") What if I wrote a story about Father Time’s son—how out of touch with reality would he be? (Explored in all the Servants of Fate novellas.) I like to challenge myself to push the envelope and find love for people who don’t necessarily feel they deserve or want a happily-ever-after.
TT: Of all your romantic leads, who is your favorite and why?
WS: Ahhhhhhh. I hate you a little. Picking a favorite romantic lead? Are you kidding me? A favorite? It changes so much because when I write or revise, I go in deep with that character. Also, I’m assuming you want a published lead. Probably my most lasting favorite is Travis from Crazy Over You. He’s attracted to and romancing a heroine with PTSD and deep psychological issues and, at one point, he screws up royally, and he recognizes it. He crawls through mental broken glass trying to find her in order to grovel. Also, he’s a genius…and I love a genius. (Both literally and figuratively.)
TT: What future romance-y things can we expect from Wendy Sparrow?
WS: Other than romance novellas, I’m shifting my focus to Young Adult for 2016 and 2017, but I do have adult romance novellas coming out in anthologies and on their own this year and next. They’ll be both contemporary and paranormal romances. And, of course, I slid another romance into a hard science-fiction anthology.
Summer of Romance Blog Scavenger Hunt Clue: Time
What's This? See the rules and prizes for the Scavenger Hunt here.
Wendy Sparrow’s childhood as a military brat instilled in her a wanderlust to travel, but with the possibility of bugs, lost luggage, germs, a lack of parking, she just prefers the cleaner and safer visits to exciting places in her stories. It has very little to do with her obsessive compulsive disorder—maybe. She is a passionate advocate both online and in her community for the welfare of autistic children. In addition to writing, she enjoys painting and sketching, spending time with her two quirky kids, and running with her dog. Her wonderful husband makes sure she has the geeky, tech aspects of her stories just right. She can often be found on Twitter where she will strike up a conversation with anyone she happens across.
Rebecca Roland discusses some of the mechanics of the mainstay of fantasy aerial warfare: fighting from dragonback. From Pern to the invading Maddion of her own Shards of History series.
When I came up with the Maddion, I kept thinking of a militaristic society devoted to their dragons. As readers can see in Fractured Days, the Maddion live in mountains in an area that can only be reached by air. Dragons are crucial to their way of life for transportation, warfare, and hunting. They are as ingrained in the Maddion culture as horses are in many real-world cultures.
How does a person fight from dragonback?
First, a warrior would need a special saddle that would hold him firmly in place and be comfortable for rider/dragon at the same time. The last thing a person needs when he's hundreds of feet in the air doing complicated maneuvers is to fear falling. The saddle also has to be comfortable for the dragon (they have nasty ways of letting you know they disapprove), and it has to hold a warrior's weapons (the Maddion favor automatic crossbows and axes).
Second, the Maddion end up spread out when they're on dragons, even when flying in formation. They need a way to communicate so they can coordinate attacks, change plans, or glean information from scouts. I attended a Texas A&M bonfire/practice yell a few years ago when they came to play the UNM Lobos in football. It was an… enlightening experience, to say the least. But one of the things the Aggie yell-leaders do is make signals before a cheer to let the crowd know what's coming up. I thought something like that would work well for the Maddion, and so they use a variety of large arm and hand gestures to communicate, passing the message back from the group's leader to the very last man in the formation.
As for imagining the actual fight scenes, I admit that I borrowed an idea from George Lucas. As far as I know, World War II aerial dog fights inspired his own space-based fight scenes, and so I watched some footage to get an idea of what a large, human-guided, airborne creature could be capable of. I also utilized what I know of large birds of prey and how they maneuver while hunting. After I wrote the battle scene, I went back over it several times to make sure it was consistent and that the angles worked.
Other authors have tackled the logistics of humans fighting from dragonback. In Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, humans communicate with their dragons telepathically, and their queen is able to communicate with any dragon anywhere on the planet. This makes passing orders instantaneous and convenient.
Another series that utilizes fighting from dragonback is Naomi Novik's alternate history series beginning with His Majesty's Dragon. In this version of the Napoleonic Wars, the European forces have dragons. The dragons are large enough in some cases that they can support entire crews, complete with tents and supplies. For this, the dragons are outfitted with elaborate harnesses that the crew members attach themselves to using carabiners. Dragons are able to speak aloud, and are quite intelligent. They are so huge, however, that it's nearly impossible to speak from one beast to the other, especially when engaged in battle. So the aviators use flags as well as speaking trumpets to make their wishes understood. By the way, the battle scenes in this book are absolutely some of the coolest I've read in a while. And yes, I am an action junkie when it comes to both novels and movies.
It's fascinating to see how some of the same things crop up in stories about dragon riding, and yet there's room enough for plenty of originality as well. I can see how Novik's dragons and riders were influenced, in part, by McCaffrey's. Although it had been a while since I'd read McCaffrey, my own dragon riders were influenced by her as well, along with my long-standing interest in Genghis Khan.
Rebecca Roland is the author of the Shards of History series, The Necromancer's Inheritance series, and The King of Ash and Bones, and Other Stories. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Nature, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Stupefying Stories, Plasma Frequency, and Every Day Fiction, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. You can find out more about her and her work at rebeccaroland.net, her blog Spice of Life, or follow her on Twitter @rebecca_roland. Read all the high flying details of the Maddion invasion by dragonback in her debut novel Shards of History, and its sequel Fractured Days.
World Weaver Press
Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.