Character Update

another Kurnan

KURNAN Kirrillson

lives in Fossarelick, in the middle of the Veiled Valley of Dragonwolder. We meet him when Seerlana, a secret dragon-rider, finds him, a fearful boy hiding in his family’s cottage loft.   She introduces him to the copper dragon Isabella and they hit it off.  He becomes her friend and soon  her rider.

Not only does he learn to ride a dragon, but he shares thoughts with the Copper, persuades her to join the cause against a monstrous evil called the Malevir, and rides her into battle against the beast conjured by the Malevir to destroy the dragons. Kurnan and Isabella are among the first to confront this beast when it arrives at a lodge where all its intended victims are sheltering.

Isabella’s strategies bury the beast (temporarily) and give the valley folk time to hide. Kurnan falls off his dragon as Isabella twists and turns to outmaneuver the beast just as it is spewing venom. The poison chokes Kurnan and knocks him out. At this point it looks like he is dying.

He remains in a mostly comatose state for the duration of the novel. Nevertheless, the various remedies he receives are keeping him alive for…Book II! Image borrowed from



Where Do Characters Come From?


Where Do Characters Come From?
Written works in the fantasy genre often depend on magical creatures, which drive their narratives and draw the reader into an otherworldly setting. Malevir: Dragons Return and its sequel Where Dragons Follow offer up dragons, sprites, goblins, giants, and powerful incarnate forces–either benevolent or malevolent—as well as animals that have magical abilities of their own.
Whenever an author in this genre creates an original world, she faces many challenges. Archetypes and subsequent variations on many magical and mythical creatures impose characteristics and behaviors to which a writer might feel obliged to defer. The collective imagination of every culture demands conformity. Hence, dragons are fierce, mercurial, fire-breathing, and dangerous in Western culture; yet, in contrast, dragons in Chinese culture symbolize power, strength and good fortune. The latter command respect while the former, like Smaug in The Hobbit are feared and antagonized. The dragons of the Veiled Valley meet neither criterion. They act rather as allies and benefactors, supporting the valley’s human settlers and their magical friends. They are the Malevir’s chief challengers and foes.
My sprites, whom I have dubbed Loblin (an individual sprite is a Lobli), are another example of breaking with tradition. They resemble brownies—helpful and performing chores for the humans to whom they are attached by affection as much as by duty—but I have given them unique powers, related to musical charms and to communication skills. Only 18 inches high, with speckled green skin and clothing in many shades of brown, Loblin pass unnoticed by humans if they so choose, but they remain alert to any call for help from their human charges. The Loblin, in turn, owe their lives and safety to a giant named Rocánonom whose magical powers and origins are the subject of another blog on where I elaborate one of the three giants I have imagined for this series.
And what is the Malevir? The first novel of the Malevir trilogy might persuade the reader that this creature is a two-headed basilisk with frightening powers of its own. Where Dragons Follow will disabuse the reader of that concept. The Malevir will emerge as a greater foe than even the dragons could imagine. Only the power of the Mystic Scintilla, a radiant source of benevolence, might be able to oppose the Malevir and defeat it; and only much more tradition-flouting narrative from yours truly will reveal the outcome.

Meet the Author and Her Characters


On Sept. 2014 I started working with Mill City Press to publish a fantasy adventure novel. As you see from the title, it’s a dragon tale that takes place in an original otherworldly setting. The story germinated for quite a while and now I am committed to its characters so much that I am 7,000 words into the book’s sequel, as of February, 2016.

The need to record my stories began in my childhood. I can remember the pleasure I felt writing them down on my Olivetti portable typewriter as soon as I mastered enough typing skills in Miss Purifoy’s 8th grade class (never forgot “The quick brown fox jumped over the fence to greet the lazy poodle” but that darn ‘x’ still forces me to hunt and peck).  Puppeteer that I am at heart, I have a strong storyteller gene. I hope it is turned on full-strength so that many more stories emerge from the vault of my imagination in the years to come.

Several adolescents propel the narrative in Malevir: Dragons Return. Nnylf, Azile, Alana, and Kurnan continue their adventures in the sequel. Kurnan, especially, has lived through some hard times and suffers greatly. I’m not inserting a spoiler by telling you that his troubles will challenge his young friends as they struggle to help him. The giant Rocanonom, topic of another blog (Backstory: Rocánonom the Giant) plays an important role in this story, which, as it unrolls, reveals more of the Malevir’s true nature. If you haven’t met these characters yet, you can buy your own copy in paperback or ebook on my website, Happy reading.

Did that Dragon Call My Name?

copper dragon

I am used to imagining the ways that dragons think and respond to  humans, to change, and to challenges. For years, I studied dragon lore and felt the need to write my own story about them, which I did; and while a novel about the dragons that inhabit my mind has been published, I am still writing. Why? Because I have more to say; I have just begun to tell their story. Aurykk, the golden dragon, is calling my name and I answer, but not without feeling some anxiety and hesitation.

Recently, a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association, Andrew Reynolds, posted a blog entry that summarized responses to a question he threw out to the membership: Why [do] we write? His post: “[W]hen the question popped up as part of a discussion about writing among a group of writers I am associated with online, I thought it might be a good idea to see what motivated my fellow writers.” Andrew elicited many writers’ interesting responses, which he published in his January 9, 2015 post. The answers to his question varied, but essentially they recognized that all of the writers needed to write.

I used to think that once I completed and published Malevir: Dragons Return I would feel I’d done it, tried it, liked it, would feel satisfied and move on; but now more than ever I, too, need to keep on writing. Ten thousand words into a second novel, I am committed to another long work, but in many ways, I enjoy the process of writing a blog post more. Here’s why:

A blog is shorter. My most recent novel has more than 400 pages, not including illustrations and glossary.

A blog is pithier. The sentences and paragraphs work at honing one idea. My novels have several themes, like loyalty, finding courage, and cooperation that contrast with themes of fear-mongering, deceit, and oppression.

Blogs focus on the writer, her processes, or her observations and as food blogger and author, David Lebovitz has said so well, blogs are about giving–to the reader. A blog is out there, immediately available to readers (if they choose to read it and, better yet, if they deign to comment on it). The process of publishing a book is long and arduous, at least the first time around.

Novels often explore a set of characters in depth, be they heroes or monsters, and describe their context, their motivations, and their choices as they drive the narrative.

Setting aside time to write a blog post gives me an excuse to put off working on that new novel. When Aurykk calls, I could wad cotton into my ears, say, “nah-nah-nah,” and ignore his trumpeting. That wouldn’t be right. I need to listen to him and write his story, without fear or hesitation. I have learned that much from dragons.