Sunday, 30 April 2017

Dragon Whispering with Parkhead Primary......West Calder Midlothian


Telling the story with illustrations...


The Winter Joust re-enactment
Getting the knights into armour and on their dragons
half the class supporting a knight


Dragon drawing...




Me next - a knight has been defeated.  Time for someone else to take to the lists...
originally posted 2011

Saturday, 29 April 2017

A Brilliant Book


The Dragon Whisper is a book all fantasy lovers should read, set in a land where there is a raging war between the hobgoblins and the dragon masters. All fabulous creatures known appear in this book from dwarves to dragons to hobgoblins. Lucinda Hare made Quenelda a very unique life like character with her temper and love for dragons, it made her seem so real and I doubt there has ever been a character like her.
Quenelda has a magical bond with dragons she can talk to them in her thoughts and her dream is to fight in the war against the hobgoblins but Root on the other hand his greatest wish is to stay as far away from dragons as possible, but when Root becomes Quenelda's esquire, sparks begin to fly...
I thoroughly recommend that you read this book but although it was a brilliant book I do think Lucinda Hare did try to put too many things into it meaning it could become a bit confusing.
Alice, aged 11

Waterstone's Richmond Junior Review Club

Friday, 28 April 2017

Monday, 24 April 2017

Finding my inner Dragon Whisperer by Helena Gibney of OneKind


A whirlwind. That is the only way I can think to describe adequately the presence of the fascinating, energetic, gifted Lucinda Hare, author of children's fantasy novel The Dragon Whisperer - a book which has recently been taking the already saturated and hard-to-break fantasy novel genre by storm.

Having heard that The Dragon Whisperer was something of an allegory about human relationships with animals, I decided recently to have a read of it. Then I found out that the author is a fan of ours, and, much to my surprise and delight, I had even had conversations with her on Facebook without realising it. It turns out she's passionate about the idea of OneKind, and feels that OneKind world is the kind of world her stories stand for. So, next thing I know, we're emailing, and she's coming in to meet us.

And what a force this woman is. Having grown up among the hunting set in rural Scotland, she, like myself in fact, has been battling the contradictions of the wildlife-loving and wildlife-decimating rural cliques since childhood. She rejected the values she was expected to grow up with, and embraced the animal kingdom with an unconditional compassion I don't think I've ever quite seen before. This lady takes in the rejects and strays that no-one else wants, and her house is overrun with numerous beautifully cared for and deeply loved dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ex-battery hens... You name it, one probably lives in Lucinda's house. Her every last penny goes on vet’s bills.

She recounts story after story to me of each of her companions, and I get a true sense not only of these animals' hilarious individual quirks and personalities, but also of her deep love and respect for them all. And it is these creatures, these personalities and friends, who inspired her to write the book, as a tribute to the incredible relationship between human and animal, and as a plea to us all to respect the animals with whom we share this world. So, what of the book?

Well, don't get me wrong, I loved Harry Potter, but fantasy novels aren't usually my thing. My preference is to recline with a glass of red and some Virginia Woolf and unwittingly lull myself into a mild depression of an evening. However, this book really caught my attention. Just like the author (I should have known) the story is a whirlwind; it swept me into an entrancing world which was, yes, fantastical, but also strangely recognisable. I recognised myself in the leading character, a young girl who is the eponymous 'Dragon Whisperer', and I recognised our world, the real world, in the fantasy land I found on those pages.

The fact that the leading character is a girl appealed to the aforementioned Virginia Woolf in me. Not in a clichéd, 'gutsy girl goes out and kicks ass against all expectations' way, but in a genuine way: this girl, Quenelda is her name, is living the day-to-day challenges of being a little bit different, challenging the norms, and having to exceed all expectations to prove her worth.

But not only must she prove herself, she must also convince the doubting others around her of the worth of the beloved creatures all around them: the dragons. The dragons represent all the Earth's animals in so many ways; Lucinda herself even told me that each dragon is based on one of her own numerous animal companions. These dragons, seen merely as dangerous yet useful tools by many of the book's characters, are individuals, each with their quirks, feelings, desires.

The story, in much the same way that it doesn't over-romanticise the everyday trials of the female protagonist, doesn't over-romanticise the realities of sharing the world with dragons either. Like all animals, these dragons have distinct personalities and would prefer to live their own way. They can be grumpy, dangerous, unpredictable – just like humans, in fact. But all that is needed to overcome the volatile dragons is simple respect, patience and compassion. All that we need to do to live and work and share this world with animals is to build a relationship with them, like we would with any human.

Quenelda has the gift of being able to talk to the dragons, and I spent much of my time reading this book fantasising about what the world would be like if animals could only speak to us. But Lucinda believes very strongly that they do. Anyone who's ever had a relationship with any kind of animal knows that they communicate. Maybe we're just not listening hard enough.

Lucinda has already finished her next book, and I'm genuinely excited. What I'm also excited about is the multitude of ideas that Lucinda has for ways in which we can work together to spread the message to kids that animals have feelings and personalities. Lets show these kids a world where respect for animals is no fantasy.


Helena Gibney was a fundraiser for OneKind which exists to end cruelty to Scotland's wildlife, pets, and other animals through campaigns, research & education.


First posted 2011

Sunday, 23 April 2017

I Found Your Dog Today

As you know animal rescue, adoption and protection has been at the heart of my entire life.   I have a large rescued furry family: because people still breed and buy, because too many will not neuter and spay, because too many are abandoned, because people who do not care for animals nonetheless have them.  For a nation of animal lovers cruelty and neglect and abandonment are still common in the UK, and many are blind to that knowledge.  We have laws to prosecute those who do all these things, but sometimes neglect and abandonment are done out of ignorance.   And animals die.  There are millions and millions of homeless and abandoned street animals who suffer profoundly by our hand. Just one story....and I defy you not to weep.  

I found your dog today. No, he has not been adopted by anyone. Most of us who live out here own as many dogs as we want, those who do not own dogs do so because they choose not to. I know you hoped he would find a good home when you left him out here, but he did not. When I first saw him he was miles from the nearest house and he was alone, thirsty, thin and limping from a burr in his paw.


How I wish I could have been you as I stood before him. To see his tail wag and his eyes brighten as he bounded into your arms, knowing you would find him, knowing you had not forgotten him. To see the forgiveness in his eyes for the suffering and pain he had known in his never-ending quest to find you... but I was not you. And despite all my persuasion, his eyes see a stranger. He did not trust. He would not come. He turned and continued his journey; one he was sure would bring him to you.

He does not understand you are not looking for him. He only knows you are not there, he only knows he must find you. This is more important than food or water or the stranger who can give him these things. Persuasion and pursuit seemed futile;

I did not even know his name. I drove home, filled a bucket with water and a bowl with food and returned to where we had met. I could see no sign of him, but I left my offering under the tree where he had sought shelter from the sun and a chance to rest.

You see, he is not of the desert. When you domesticated him, you took away any instinct of survival out here. His purpose demands that he travel during the day. He doesn't know that the sun and heat will claim his life. He only knows that he has to find you.

I waited hoping he would return to the tree; hoping my gift would build an element of trust so I might bring him home, remove the burr from his paw, give him a cool place to lie and help him understand that the part of his life with you is now over. He did not return that morning and at dusk the water and food were still there untouched. And I worried. You must understand that many people would not attempt to help your dog. Some would run him off, others would call the county and the fate you thought you saved him from would be preempted by his suffering for days without food or water. I returned again before dark. I did not see him. I went again early the next morning only to find the food and water still untouched. If only you were here to call his name. Your voice is so familiar to him.

I began pursuit in the direction he had taken yesterday, doubt overshadowing my hope of finding him. His search for you was desperate, it could take him many miles in 24 hours. It is hours later and a good distance from where we first met, but I have found your dog.

His thirst has stopped, it is no longer a torment to him. His hunger has disappeared, he no longer aches. The burrs in his paws bother him no more. Your dog has been set free from his burdens, you see, your dog has died. I kneel next to him and I curse you for not being here yesterday so I could see the glow, if just for a moment, in those now vacant eyes. I pray that his journey has taken him to that place I think you hoped he would find.

If only you knew what he went through to reach it... and I agonize, for I know, that were he to awaken at this moment, and (if) I were to be you, his eyes would sparkle with recognition and his tail would wag with forgiveness.

What can you do?

************

Don't breed or buy while others die.
Spay & neuter
Adopt one by one
until there are none
never abandon an animal
take it to a none kill shelter or rescue

**********






Friday, 21 April 2017

Childhood Artwork ~ Lord of the Rings


I have drawn for as long as I can remember.  Birthday and Christmas presents were invariably pads of paper, pens or paints.   At age 11 years I discovered Lord of the Rings, a book that changed my life; it is still my favourite book in the world  (George RR Martin has become a similar adult passion).   I left behind George Armstrong Custer, Chief Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, Erwin Rommel and the Desert Corps, Rome and the warriors of Greece, for Lord of the Rings. It combined everything I was passionate about; history...the Anglo Saxons and their Middle Earth (the horse lords of Rohan), the Nordic Sagas with Gandalf and Gimli and their runes (the dwarves).   This is a Boromir defending the Hobbits; an original childhood drawing but tidied up...  Sagas, legends and fairy tales...all brought together for the first time by Tolkien....I wish I had met him.  I have worn out three copies till they fell apart....he created a world I still live in and love...






Thursday, 20 April 2017

If you talk to the animals...

Once again child hood inspiration came from Native American beliefs...many like myself know we can talk to animals.  It harks back to a time when mankind's survival depended upon rhythms of nature and all its myriad creatures.  Each and every species has a language of its own, and learning to talk to animals can change your life.  All of us have that ability. Sadly, mankind has a long way to go to return to that realisation that all things are inextricably interconnected.  We ignore and exploit the natural world and its gifts to our peril.  'Just animals' is used as justification for the most appalling exploitation and cruelty towards sentient creatures.   I talk to animals, and so not surprisingly, Quenelda talks to dragons...they are not 'just animals'.  This underlying theme plays a growing role in The Dragonsdome Chronicles.

If you talk to the animals...

 

If you talk to the animals
they will talk with you
and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them
you will not know them,
and what you do not know you will fear.
What one fears one destroys.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Characteristics of Sabretooth Battledragons


Can you tell a Sabretooth from a Spitting Adder? Would you know a battledragon when you see one, or would it be too late by the time you did? All that would be left would be a greasy pyramid of ash on the floor! Ooops!

If he is going to be one of Dragondome's esquires, Root has a lot to learn about Sabretooths and Two Gulps & You're Gone in particular. Tangnost is going to test him and some other young esquires next week. Quester has given his friend a list of the battledragon's characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and has explained how the SDS deploy them. How many of the list below do you already know? And no looking at The Dragon Whisperer!
  • Sabretooths are cave dragons
  • They are coloured from gorse-yellow through to flaming red tail
  • They are of stocky build and have small but powerful wings
  • They have huge incisors - all the better to eat you with...
  • They can flame up to fifty strides
  • Their hide is scaled like a snake rather than armoured
  • They have huge hind feet with six sharp talons to mash and crush hobgoblins. You can hear the thunder of their feet as they approach

Sabretooths are used to hunt hobgoblins in their caves, driving them up and out into the waiting maws of the SDS Dragon Lords on their Imperial Blacks. They can carry two up, a pilot/rider and a bowman. With their stocky powerful build and small powerful wings, Sabretooths are ideal for manoeuvring in confined spaces. But, on the downside, because of their stubby wings they cannot fly very far or very fast, and are often transported on battlegalleons or on the backs of Imperial Blacks. Their scales can stop an arrow but not a cleaver or spear thrust so they have to wear additional heavy dragon armour. And as everyone knows, Sabretooths are *very* temperamental and difficult to handle. Only experienced esquires and above are allowed to handle and groom them.

So...would you like to become one of Tangnost's apprentices at Dragonsdome?

Monday, 10 April 2017

A Magical Name....


Have you thought about where your surname came from?   When you write fantasy you think a lot about names; making them up is far harder than you can imagine!   But your own name may be just as interesting. For a passionate animal lover and activist I am blessed with the magical name Hare; hares have a long history in nature, poetry, history, folklore, art, gods and magic.  I will come back to the role of the hare in Celtic culture, and the affinity of early peoples with nature and all its creatures. 
Here is just one example, a poem about the witch-hare by Walter De La Mare which has meaning for me, because when I walked the fields and woods as a child, I sometimes saw leverets lying still in the furrowed fields at autumn......magical....






THE HARE 
In the black furrow of a field
I saw an old witch-hare this night;
And she cocked her lissome ear,
And she eyed the moon so bright,
And she nibbled o' the green;
And I whispered 'Whsst! witch-hare,'
Away like a ghostie o'er the field
She fled, and left the moonlight there.

Walter de la Mare


Hare Preservation Trust 


some more beautiful fan artwork...

Keep the artwork coming....






Friday, 7 April 2017

Harrier dragons inspired by Harrier Jump Jets

Ok, you know from the Dragonsdome Chronicles that the SDS is inspired by the British SAS and the dragons by RAF and American fighter jets and bombers, The high end military technology and jagon the SDS deploy is meshed with a medieval world, bringing something totally new to the fantasy genre.   Not everyone is into the SDS and their battles, so I keep the battles short, but which aircraft inspired which dragon?  Where did the inspiration come from for my personal favourite: Harrier dragons, good at hovering, deployed by the SDS in S&R?  From the world's first vertical take off fighter, originally developed by UK manufacturer Hawker Siddely in the 1960s.


Believe it or not the RAF have controversially mothballed this fabulous jump jet following a defense review in 2010, but the US Marines are still operating the AV 8B.  This above is a US Navy photo of an AV Harrier assigned to a Marine Attack Squadron 542 preparing to take off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan.  This photo of RAF fighters en route to the USA.


When I was very young the Royal Navy conducted a major war exercise out on the River Forth.  Our house was up on a cliff with an unimpeded view.  Harrier jump jets passed overhead every day.  We used to wave at the pilots.  There is no other fighter jet to match the Harrier.  Vectored thrust means they can take off vertically, they can go backwards, they can just stop in mid-air. A Harrier came over the sea towards the cliffs out of sight and then rose up into view right in front of us.  It was just awesome. I've been passionate about this aircraft ever since, watching it in action over the Falklands, seeing a formation display with helicopters where the harrier was going backwards.  For years we went to RAF Leuchars open day, where I watched their displays and stood in a queue mostly made up of boys, so I could sit in the cockpit.  I also knew someone working on the Harrier's Blue Fox radar, and met some Indian pilots who would fly the Harrier. I have Harrier decals on my motorcycle helmet.  But where did the name Harrier come from?  And apart from the attributes of a jump jet, what would a Harrier dragon looks like?  Where did Hawker Siddely get their inspiration from?  From our harrier hawk birds of prey of course ~ they are magnificent...hovering above their prey....so in the end my harrier dragons are inspired by harrier birds of prey...I'll come back to them in another blog..





There are two generations and four variants of the Harrier ~ the Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR1 and GR3 followed by the British Aerospace FRS1 Sea Harrier which fought in the Falklands, the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier and the British Aerospace Harrier II






    Monday, 3 April 2017

    Thistledown crossed the rainbow bridge in my arms today killed by FIP

    She is only four and a half years young
    we fought it but lost
    She crossed the rainbow bridge to join Ptarmigan (on left)
    who also was killed by fip 3 years ago aged two years young
    She was under the care of the Royal Dick Vet 
    fip one of the most hateful and insidious killers of young cats globally 
    it attacks young cats with compromised immune systems
    all my street cats have had to battle just to survive and
    that makes them high risk
    there is no cure for this virus


    my first photo of Thistledown when she was first rescued from the streets of Bucharest.  The damage to her eyes is obvious





    Thursday, 30 March 2017

    Ок, время для некоторых русских драконов ...


    ОК, пришло время нам было несколько русских драконов, не так ли? Я скоро начну соревнование для иллюстраций для Волшебников Глен, так что будем надеяться, что у нас есть русские записи

    Wednesday, 29 March 2017

    USA Finding Wonderland YA Blog ~ reviews ~ Recommended for Fans Of...: The Lord of the Rings. No, seriously. Also, fans of the Eragon series, the Harry Potter book, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series, Cornelia Funke's Igraine the Brave, Sherwood Smith's Wren to the Rescue series, Patricia Wrede's Dealing With Dragons series, and etc., ad infinitum. will find something here to love.

    WCOB Wednesday: The Dragonsdome Chronicles

    It's time for another Wicked Cool Wednesday!

    The book I'll chat about today comes by its "overlooked" status by virtue of the fact that it came out in 2009 - not sure if there was a time difference to when the novel came out in the US vs. the UK, but it's out, and it's been out, and I haven't heard a word about it. I know very well that some of the fantasy fans in the room would really love this one, so here goes:



    Y'know, it's not every day that I turn the pages of a book of high fantasy for the middle grade audiences.

    For some reason, books of high fantasy in general seem to be a dying breed. Add in the age factor, and you've got tumbleweeds rolling across the plains -- high fantasy seems to be written with gamers and guys in mind, not middle grade kids, or girls.

    Reader Gut Reaction: Our title is The Dragon Whisperer, by Lucinda Hare.

    This book is classic high fantasy. It's got language -- it doesn't stint on those rich descriptive details, full of vivid colors, sounds, and smells. It's got unspeakable evil, and a just war. It's got heroes and heroines, queens and quislings, traitors and tacticians and ... it's like reading a middle grade version of Lord of the Rings, but with hobgoblins, gnomes, dwarves, and ...prejudice.

    Eh, what's that, you ask? Yes, prejudice. Actually, there's a bit of that in the most classic of high fantasy novels, the LOTR series. You'll recall - elves wafting around being superior to dwarves, dwarves believing themselves to be superior to hobbits. The Dragon Whisperer adds human beings, which means there's hardcore issues between people. It's all dealt with - subtly. Which is A Good Thing.

    There are Evil Beings in this book - there are questionable people, of course, and there are hobgoblins, which are a bit inhuman, which is helpful in differentiating Good Guys from Bad Guys. They're also kept away from the reader, so though we see their movements, we're only given to understand what's going on, a little at the time. The periodic visits to their settlement definitely up the dread factor, as the reader realizes there's Trouble Afoot before the heroine.

    Overall, the story arc is good - the characters grow and change, and there's plenty of room for a sequel, yet the story episode is tied together sufficiently.

    Concerning Character: Our heroine, Quenelda DeWinter is eleven, and human. She loves her father, her dashing half-brother, Darcy, and the battledragons which protect the kingdom. She has always wanted to fly with her father, who is the commander of the Stealth Dragon Services (SDS), and the Queen's champion, though her brother has shown a complete disinterest in the greater dragons, and prefers the pomp and ceremony of the unicorn guard.

    The kingdom is at war with the hobgoblins, and it has been brutal. There has been much death, and many dragons have been sacrificed to the cause. Quenelda is unlike other girls her age, and wants to do something about it. The trouble is, with her flights of fancy and dreams of glory, no one takes her seriously. There has never been a girl in the SDS. Ever.

    The war has left gnome Root Oakley without a family or a place. Because of his father's valor on behalf of the Queen, he has gone from being an apprentice dragonmaster for the dwarf, Tangnost, to being the esquire of Earl DeWinter's daughter. It was bad enough working around hippogriffs (squee!), griffins, unicorns, and lesser dragons, cleaning their tack, scooping up their poo, and caring for their fodder, but now he's expected to go near a battledragon -- and fly after the Earl's daughter?! She hates him! And, there have never been gnomes who ride dragons. Ever.

    You see the problem...

    Recommended for Fans Of...: The Lord of the Rings. No, seriously. Also, fans of the Eragon series, the Harry Potter book, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series, Cornelia Funke's Igraine the Brave, Sherwood Smith's Wren to the Rescue series, Patricia Wrede's Dealing With Dragons series, and etc., ad infinitum. will find something here to love.
    Themes & Things:I've already mentioned the theme of prejudice - who we like and why is subtly put forth as an idea, and embroidered upon. Are there right "people" to like, and wrong ones? Does it matter who someone's mother was, or if they don't know? Readers will find themselves indignant at some of Quenelda's unthinking assumptions, and learn along with her how much it hurts to be on the receiving end of an assumption. The other clear theme in this book is friendship, trust, and Doing The Thing You Think You Cannot Do. Too young, too small, too weak, too scared, too hurt, too shy -- none of that matters when Right needs to be done. Real heroines and heroes have to suck it up, and step up to the plate.

    Despite the myriad details going on in the books dealing with Treachery and Dark Forces, that friendship comes through as a clean and bright thing... much like in books about a boy wizard, which means this series will be doubly endearing to many.

    Authorial Asides: As previously mentioned, this is Lucinda Hare's first book. A creative writer and illustrator, this Scotswoman was introduced to Tolkien at the age of eleven, and her love for that history, legend, and fantasy seriously informs this book, in a tribute kind of way that is a touch derivative, but respectful, and provides an entry into the genre for younger readers. Hare slips readers deftly into her world, and confidently pilots them through a bewildering array of names and cultures and makes it all seem easy. Through her skill, I was able to read the book in one sitting, and discover the glossary after I finished reading it.

    Amusingly, the one word which wasn't defined that I had to have a moment's thought over was haar -- which I then realized I knew. It's a word that means a yellowy thick sea fog, in Scots English. I've heard that one before!

    As previously stated, this book came out in 2009. A sequel, Flight to Dragon's Isle followed just last year, and is already highly sought after (there's a bit of a line) at the library (which is where I got this copy, FCC, thanks).


    You can find THE DRAGON WHISPERER, and its sequel, at an independent bookstore near you!
    Originally posted Aug 3rd 2011

    Tuesday, 28 March 2017

    Кто-нибудь может дать нам наш первый русский обзор «Шепчущего дракона»?

    Кто-нибудь может дать нам наш первый русский обзор «Шепчущего дракона»?  Или любое произведение искусства? Нет русских драконов?

    Monday, 27 March 2017

    Привет российским читателям ....


    Привет российским читателям ....Lucinda

    Thursday, 23 March 2017

    Writing Support Team

    Well, like any author where there are not enough hours in the day, support staff are essential.  I've just updated their profiles on my web pages so do take a look...

    http://www.dragonsdome.co.uk/support-team

    The Big Black Dog
    Bracken
    Nugget
    Pixel
    Pawsome Pumpkin
    Dusk
    Thistledown
    Feisty
    Horrible Haggis
    Whisky
    Mischief
    Squirrel Nutkin

    Who is your favourite?  Needless to say their characters are often the inspiration behind the dragon's.

    Wednesday, 22 March 2017

    Blogs to come...

    Black Holes &  Dark Matter & their inspiration for Maelstrom Magic & the Abyss

    Stealth bombers, fighter jets and attack helicopters that inspired SDS battledragon breeds and their characteristics..

    Saturday, 18 March 2017

    Rhymes and Riddles in Fantasy

    Once very popular games (before the days of TV, computers and mobiles phones), riddles and rhymes are still an essential part of fantasy.  Whom amongst us did not delight in cracking the code of Tolkien's dwarf runes?   I still remember doing that with a pencil and a dog eared copy of the Hobbit.  Riddles challenge both the story's characters, and their readers.  Who cracks them first?  Who can foresee where the story is taking them?

    Rhymes are difficult for me as I never know where the story is taking me until I finish the book.  But I love them, and the challenge of creating rhyming riddles is as rewarding as finding the answers.  So here is a teaser from The Sorcerers Glen for which I hope to find a traditional publisher soon.


    For those who wish to come and go
    Through hidden door you must bow low
    Beneath both tree and mountain high
    To where the water meets the sky
    The Dragon's breath will point the way
    And wither then, well who can say?
    But should you seek forbidden gold
    Beware the guardian of old...
    So mortal man you must beware
    Of stepping in the dragon's lair.

    Thursday, 16 March 2017

    Map of the Seven Sea Kingdoms


    Original draft...a few details have changed since then!  Can you spot
    some of the similarities?






    Saturday, 11 March 2017

    Life as a Scottish Author

    I spent most of my childhood wandering woods and beaches in East Lothian in Scotland watching the wildlife and dreaming. There were deer and foxes, pheasant and hares. Being a passionate animal lover I knew there used to be wolves and bears and beavers, and if they no longer existed, then I imagined them. I used to gaze across from Johnny the Elf’s Wood towards Dirleton castle, imagining Edward I besieging it, and later Cromwell’s forces taking it by storm. The very name Archerfield evoked the past; I grew up where the archers from the castle used to practice! As a student on an elderly BSA motorbike, I went pretty much everywhere else from Orkney to the Scottish Borders, camping in Glen Coe in the snow, and exploring countless ruined castles, mostly in the rain. I never needed to look further than my own childhood for ideas as an author – there is a wealth of Scottish history to plunder for inspiration.So it’s no surprise that the Dragonsdome chronicles are set in the Seven Sea Kingdoms, inspired by the Celtic sea kingdoms of old. Observant readers will have noticed that the map at the beginning of The Dragon Whisperer is modelled on Scotland, and yes, not exactly, the geography is not always the same, but you can spot the similarities between the Western Isles and the Westering Isles, the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Midges, Glen More and the Never Ending Glen, the Cairngorms and the Brimstones. The first two books are set in The Sorcerers Glen at the heart of the kingdoms, on the Black Isle and Dragon Isle, dark volcanic islands that rise out of a deep sea loch: but the third in the series, Dragon Lords Rising, takes us out into the wider world beyond the Brimstones and the Old Wall (yes, you guessed, Hadrian’s Wall, the northern frontier of the Romans in Britain) to the Ice Isles in the north. Just like Scotland there is magic and mystery, there are thistle dragons and honey tablets…what more could an author want?

    Tuesday, 7 March 2017

    Review of The Dragon Whisperer ~ This is a beautifully turned tale that will appeal to young adults and old, alike

    This is a beautifully turned tale that will appeal to young adults and old, alike. Dragons and vampires seem to be "the thing" at the moment, and it's all too easy for the idea to become stale, but Lucinda Hare keeps the story fresh and alive - replete then, with heroes, villains, dragons, hobgoblins, dwarves, sorcerers and a plot that defies you to put down the book (with only one copy in the house I had a daily fight on my hands to keep hold of it). I loved the way the dragons were named (indian style - "Two Gulps and You're Gone"!) and Root the Gnome injects some good humour into the plot. It's also beautifully illustrated by David "Peter Pan in Scarlet" Wyatt, who does an excellent job as usual. Lucinda Hare though, is an equally talented artist, and I do wonder why she did not do the illustrations herself, her work is beautiful. This book has everything you could ask for really, so if you're still reading this, I gotta ask - "What are you doing!!?? Place "The Dragon Whisperer" into your shopping cart, click "Purchase" and make yourself comfortable by the letterbox `til this tumbles into your lap - it's well worth the wait!"

    ***** 5 star review
    Steve S, South Wales
    Amazon

    Friday, 3 March 2017

    Romanian review of IMBLANZITORUL DRAGONILOR (The Dragon Whisperer)



    Bono va recomanda o lectura irezistibila despre prietenia dintre noi, oamenii, si animalele care, ca si noi, au personalitate si sentimente. Dragonii, care sunt priviti ca unelte periculoase dar utile de catre majoritatea personajelor cartii, au diverse trairi si dorinte. Eroina principala, domnita Quenelda, vrea sa ii convinga pe cei din jurul sau ca aceste creaturi sunt minunate si merita tot respectul si dragostea noastra. Dragonii sunt, de fapt, un simbol al tuturor arina si Bono ♥ nimalelor pamantului si copiii, dar si adultii, invata de aici ca poate exista o lume unde respectul pentru animalelor este o realitate. Lectura placuta!! 

    Monday, 27 February 2017

    Hobgoblins ~ fiction or history?



    Sir Hugo Mandrake is the darkly charming Grand Master of the Sorcerers Guild.  In the Dragonsdome Chronicles this Warlock betrays his kindred and allies with the hobgoblins.  Fact or fiction?  History or fantasy?

    I was brought up in East Lothian to the east of Edinburgh in Scotland.    East Lothian is steeped in history; Roman, Saxon, Norman and medieval mingled with ballads, myth and legends.   There are many castles: Dunbar, Tantallon, Hailes, and Dirleton, and one not so well known because little of it remains ~ Yester Castle.  The original stone keep , a thick walled tower like that of the Tower of London, the heart of all Norman castles, was built around 1267.  It's now a ruin in the woods close to the village of Gifford, south of Haddington.  My Sir Hugo DeMandrake (yes, name inspired by the Normans) might well be Sir Hugo de Giffard, known as the Wizard of Yester...a powerful warlock and necromancer.  Sir Hugo was a grandson of the first Laird of Yester, and served as guardian to the young Alexander III of Scotland. Sound familiar?  And whereas Sir Hugo DeMandrake twisted dragons using baleful maelstrom magic in the dungeons to summon his army of hobgoblins, so Sir Hugo was said to exercise sorcery in the under croft, commanding an army of hobgoblins who built the castle for him. Named the Goblin Ha' or Goblin Hall as a result, the subterranean hall is about 37 feet long with a high vaulted roof and is dug into the original motte, or mound that surrounded the bailey, the defensive wall.   Early maps call it the Hobgoblin Ha'.   The local pub in Gifford where I had lunch today, is called the Goblin Ha'.  Fantasy or fact?  You decide!


    Hugo de Giffard was immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in Marmion as a wizard and the founder of Goblin Ha ~ 

    'A clerk could tell what years have flown since Alexander filled our throne third monarch of that warlike name, and eke the time when here he came to seek Sir Hugo, then our lord: A braver never drew a sword, a wiser never, at the hour of midnight, spoke the word of power; the same, that ancient records call the founder of Goblin hall"----"Lord Gifford deep beneath the ground heard Alexander's bugle sound, and tarried not his garb to change, but, in his wizard habit strange, came forth, —, a quaint and fearful sight: His mantle lined with fox-skins white; His high and wrinkled forehead bore a pointed cap, such as of yore Pharaoh's Magi wore; His shoes were marked with cross and spell, upon his breast a pentacle"----"and in his hand a naked sword without a guard'.  1808.

    Wednesday, 22 February 2017

    Colourful Fan Artwork....all the colours of the rainbow...


    Drawing dragons is magical...because the only limit is your imagination!  Unlike other animals dragons can be any shape or size or colour you want it to be!  There is not a person on the planet who could not create a dragon of their own and it doesn't matter one whit if you think you cannot draw...yes you can!  Have some fun and give it a go.

    Dragons from the Dragonsdome Chronicles you might like to draw ~

    Dancing with Dragons ~ our protagonist...you have to read a few of the books before you first see her morphing into dragon form

    Two Gulps & You're Gone

    Two Gulps Too Many

    Chasing the Stars

    Stormcracker Thundercloud




    Sunday, 19 February 2017

    FIP

    Prayers and love please for my girl Thistledown on the right who has been diagnosed with fip.  She is four and a half, four of those years with me.  I am learning to fear this insidious fatal disease appearing from nowhere to steal my family from me.  I thought at four she would be safe.   She is a rescued Romanian street cat.   Ptarmigan on the left died from the same three years ago.  He was two. FIP occurs when Feline Enteric Coronavirus which all cats have, mutates.  Triggers are stress, and most of my rescues simply by dint of being rescued street cats, have all had a difficult start to life, and so are vulnerable.  Those of us who rescue and adopt street cats dread this diagnosis.  You feel so helpless.  You search for something, anything, that everyone else has overlooked.  How can you accept you can do nothing for your beloved feline?   How can you accept they die young?  They already had to fight to survive.  Thistledown is under the care of the Royal Dick Vet School of Veterinary Studies who are treating her with experimental polyprenyl immunostimulant; but its success has been with cats with dry fip, and hers is evolving.  It's not fair. I love my beautiful girl, she is too young to cross the bridge.



    Thursday, 16 February 2017

    In This Last Dance of Dragons...

    Two Gulps & You're Gone's death from poison 
    Quenelda (Dancing with Dragons is what the dragons call her) holds his head as he dies, then tries to follow the sabretooth into death.


    In this last dance of dragons
    Our three hearts beat as one
    For I must dance without you
    for my time is nearly done

    In this last dance with dragons
    I will fly with you no more
    I will never feel the wind 
    beneath us as we soar

    In this last dance of dragons
    I grieve to say goodbye
    For I will not be with you
    as you spread your wings and fly

    In this last dance of dragons
    you know I'll wait for you 
    For surely as the sun sets
    You must dance with dragons too...

    Tuesday, 14 February 2017

    The Road Not Taken review of The Dragon Whisperer

    Lucinda Hare’s debut novel, The Dragon Whisperer, follows Quenelda, daughter of the Earl Rufus DeWinter, commander of the SDS (Stealth Dragon Services). Her greatest wish is to follow her father’s footsteps as a battledragon commander, instead of a court life of unwieldy skirts and gossip. She has an odd affinity for dragon husbandry, and can coax even the most crotchety battledragon to allow her near enough to care for its injuries. The roostmaster, Tagnarost, sees her skill and allows her to aid in caring for the dragons, and it soon becomes a way of life for her.
    However, as winter approaches, the battle against the hobgoblins grows dire. More and more dragons are lost in battle, and esquires cannot be trained fast enough to take to the skies.
    Quenelda’s father, the Earl DeWinter finally realizes how adept, but snobbish Quenelda is about flying. Since she has flown as a child, she scoffs at those esquires who do not have a natural talent for flying. The Earl makes a deal with Quenelda: she may have her very own battledragon, as long as she can teach Root, a gnome esquire, to fly. It just so happens that Root not only has a fear of dragons, but he is completely inept. Slowly an unlikely friendship blooms and together Quenelda and Root must unravel a conspiracy designed to strike at the very heart of the SDS itself.
    The Dragon Whisperer is a completely entrancing children’s tale. Every spare moment I had I searched out this book so that I could continue reading. I love that our young protagonist is a girl, and the prejudices she encounters reflect many a young girl’s dream to break into a male dominated industry. Quenelda’s character is refreshing since she too is flawed, and over the course of the book begins to overcome her personal biases. Ms. Hare does an excellent job balancing her world of fierce dragons and rabid hobgoblins with a more whimsical side, such as naming Quenelda’s battledragon Two Gulps and You’re Gone.
    The sequel, Dragon Isle will be published in 2010. Quenelda’s special talents hint at a much larger destiny for her, and I’m guessing we will see our slowly maturing heroine overcome ever more drastic situations with Root’s help. The Dragon Whisperer is an excellent debut novel, and can be enjoyed by all ages!
    Review by The Road Not Taken
    originally posted 2010

    Sunday, 5 February 2017

    The Seeds of Inspiration

    I've often said that animals in general and our rescued animals in particular provide much of the inspiration behind The Dragonsdome Chronicles. Well, who knows, but there may be a point in the story where Quenelda and Root have to raise some orphaned baby dragons because I have weaned four tiny little orphaned wood mice. One of my cats brought in a mouse which got away into a large bedroom. I confidently set my humane trap with all sorts of tasty tid-bits only to find it empty day after day. Then finally I found out why. My little mouse had given birth to four little babies under a dresser, chewing an impressive piece of expensive rug into pieces to make a nice warm nest. The mother sadly died, leaving me with the task of raising four baby mice who have not been weaned and were yet to even open their eyes. This is a very difficult task as previous experience has taught me, And it's also a very emotional task because you form an incredible bond with a baby whose first sight is you. Losing them is heartbreaking. Each time you learn more, gain more experience, get more advice. They were fed Esbilac (a milk substitute) on the end of a fine paint brush every two hours. After around three weeks I progressed to apple, budgie seeds and brown bread soaked in water, They just cuddled up in their nest of wool rug in a towel over a warm hot water bottle and didn't move until their next feed. These babies grew strong enough and big enough to be released out into the hay shed in the rabbit garden - where the cats don't go because the rabbits are a bit scary! Feeding them every few hours 24/7 meant my contact lens were so dried out I could hardly see the keyboard when I first posted this story!

    Wednesday, 1 February 2017

    Hours of the day...well it could be so boring couldn't it?

    Well, hours of the day are so boring aren't they?   The mere ticking of time...  Our months and days are named after gods and emperors....

    Monday ~ moon's day
    Tuesday ~ Tiu's day ~ Middle English tiwesday or tewesday Old English tiwesdag Tiu's day
    Wednesday ~ Woden's day  (Nordic)
    Thursday ~ Thor's day (Nordic)
    Friday ~ Freya's day (Nordic)
    Saturday ~ Saturn's day (Roman)
    Sunday ~ Sun's day

    But how about the hours of the day?  Well, once again I return to Native American culture for inspiration, and decided to give the hours proper names and characteristics ~ so here we go ~ some are creatures of our world, and others creatures of the Fifth Dimension the world of The Dragonsdome Chronicles.  If you created your own names what would they be?

    Howling Wolf ~ 1
    Stealthy Lynx ~ 2
    Dozy Hedgehog ~ 3
    Tawny Owl ~ 4
    Yawning Dormouse ~ 5
    Strutting Cockerel ~ 6
    Blackbird ~ 7
    Stroppy Capercaillie ~ 8
    Cross~eyed Squirrel ~ 9
    Eager Beaver ~ 10
    Irritated Bumblebee ~ 11
    Soaring Osprey ~ noon

    Inquisitive Stoat ~ 1
    Stalking WildCat ~ 2
    Blue Spotted Earwig ~ 3
    Grumpy Badger ~ 4
    Wild Boar ~ 5
    Very Plump Ptarmigan ~ 6
    Sabre-toothed Rabbit ~ 7
    Giant Slug ~ 8
    Hunting Fox ~ 9
    Black Bear ~ 10
    Creeping Lynx ~ 11
    The Witching Hour ~ midnight

    for the inquisitive ~

    January ~ Named after the Roman god of beginnings and endings Janus (the month Januarius)
    February ~ The name comes either from the old-Italian god Februus or else from februa, signifying the festivals of purification celebrated in Rome during this month.
    March ~ ~ This is the first month of the Roman year. It is named after the Roman god of war, Mars
    April ~ Called Aprilis, from aperire, "to open". Possible because it is the month in which the buds begin to open
    May ~ The third month of the Roman calendar. The name probably comes from Maiesta, the Roman goddess of honor and reverence
    June ~ The fourth month was named in honor of Juno. However, the name might also come from iuniores (young men; juniors) as opposed to maiores (grown men; majors) for May, the two months being dedicated to young and old men
    July ~ It was the month in which Julius Caesar was born, and named Julius in his honor in 44 BCE, the year of his assassination. Also called Quintilis (fifth month)
    August ~ Originally this month was called Sextilis (from sextus, "six"), but the name was later changed in honor of the first of the Roman emperors, Augustus (because several fortunate events of his life occurred during this month
    September ~ The name comes from septem, "seven"
    October ~ The name comes from octo, "eight"
    November ~ The name comes from novem, "nine"
    December ~ The name comes from decem, "ten"



    Monday, 30 January 2017

    Native American inspiration for the months/moons of the year


    Again some readers asking....so for those of you who haven't read this...

    Where did I get inspiration for the months/moons of the year? Well, there was a time not so long ago when mankind’s very survival was tied to the rhythms of nature and the changing of the seasons, and thus time was measured by the cycle of the full moon. Full moons dominate the sky and have attracted unique names of their own that reflect those seasons. In this modern day and age of high rise cities, the Internet, cars and planes, it is all too easy to lose touch with nature, and to forget that we are intrinsically connected to the Earth, and it to us. But blizzards, floods and famine, bush fires, tsunamis and earthquakes have shown how nature can overwhelm us and render much of our defenses, planning and technology redundant. What then must it have been like for our ancestors? No heating save the wood you have cut over summer. No food save that which you have harvested or hunted. No running water. No transport, no computers, no mobile phones. All the things we take for granted did not exist not so long ago. This too is the world of The Seven Sea Kingdoms, a medieval world of soaring mountains and deep sea lochs. Yes there is magic, but like technology, it has its limits. How can a even a mighty Imperial Black battledragon fly in a howling blizzard? So, how do you measure time in such a primordial world?

    Ever since I was a child I have been inspired by Native American cultures and their affinity with nature, so I have borrowed their names for full moons below, with some alternative names in brackets; but this personal choice reflects only a fraction of the many tribal variants such as Abenaki, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Comanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Mohawk, Potawatomi and Shoshoni that exist. Those in bold print represent those adopted by the American Indian Association.
    The Dragonsdome Chronicles: Moons

    January Wolf Moon (Snow Moon)
    February Snow Moon (Hunger Moon)
    March Sap Moon (Maple Sugar Moon / Crow Moon)
    April Sprouting Grass Moon ( Frog Moon / Wild Goose Moon)
    May Corn Planting Moon (Flower Moon)
    June Hot Moon (Strawberry Moon / Rose Moon)
    July Thunder Moon (Blood Moon / Buck Moon)
    August Grain Moon (Moon of the Green Corn)
    September Harvest Moon
    October Hunters Moon (Moon of the Falling Leaves)
    November Frost Moon (Beaver Moon)
    December Long Nights Moon (Cold Moon)

    Tuesday, 24 January 2017

    The Story Continues...

    Quenelda's brother Darcy does not want to fight in the SDS.  He wants to remain in the Household Cavalry Light Unicorn Brigade.  He has no natural talent flying dragons. So when out of bravado he chooses to fly one of his father's battlegriffs, he soon gets into difficulties.  Spurred by cruelty his hippogriff takes the hand off one of his friends before bolting.   
    Without thinking, Quenelda calls on the sabretooth battledragon Two Gulps & You're Gone, and running up a wing as he sweeps past her, with no bridle or saddle, she rescues her brother.   The scene is set for future tragedy....

    Sunday, 22 January 2017

    The Story Begins.....


    Root, son of the SDS Commander's scout, killed by hobgoblins in the tunnels of the Howling Glen, is appointed esquire to his wayward daughter Quenelda, who can out fly any boy of her age.  But poor Root is petrified of dragons.  All he can see is an assortment of tails, talons and teeth. So here he is in the sabretooth battledragon roosts. Its hot.  The air stinks of sulfurous brimstone.   Sabretooths are notoriously highly strung and temperamental.  So why does Quenelda think she can treat Two Gulps & Your're Gone's broken tail?  Reluctant Root has to put on roost armour so that he won't be reduced to a pile of ash! But why is Quenelda not wearing any?



    Saturday, 21 January 2017

    Dragonsdome Chronicles Limited Edition Prints

    Three limited edition Giclée Doodled BooksThree limited edition Giclée Fine Art prints from The Dragonsdome Chronicles are now available from my web site


    Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble from book two: Flight to Dragon Isle. It is limited to 300 prints.

    Food? Quenelda with a baby Sabretooth Two Gulps Too Many is also taken from Flight to Dragon Isle. It is limited to 350 prints.

    Root on the Wooden Dragon depicts the hapless Root being trained to be Quenelda's esquire from The Dragon Whisperer. It is limited to 300 prints.

    All three images are printed on Somerset Velvet Enhanced archival paper accredited by the Fine Art Trade Guild. Each print is numbered and signed by the artist. Prints are A3 in size.
    Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble is a foretaste of things to come in book two: Flight to Dragon Isle. It is limited to 300 prints.




    Thursday, 19 January 2017

    Internet down ~ BT not at their best at all....

    Hello everyone,

    My internet has been down now for 11 days!!!  and BT are not going to get a second engineer out until Monday ~ a total of 15 days so please forgive the lack of posts, normal service will be resumed the minute I get my broadband back.  I have been on and off over a few days at a friends for an hour or two but I have so much to catch up with!

    Check back next week and with luck I'll be back!

    Saturday, 31 December 2016

    Learn to fly a Dragon ~ the wooden dragon ~



    Training to be an esquire.  It is essential for all newly appointed esquires learn to fly so that in theory, they can keep up with Quenelda, the Earl's wild wayward daughter. A long list of boys who thought they could out fly her, have ended up in the loch, tangled in a tree, or the infirmary.  But Root's father has died saving the fortress in the Howling Glen, and the SDS Commander promised that he would take care of his only remaining son.  Root knows nothing about dragons save that they are an assortment of tails, teeth and talons so is this a wise move?  The Earl gives his daughter a challenge ~ teach Root to fly before the famous Winter Jousts or she would be left at home.  If he fails to learn like all his predecessors, Quenelda would only have herself to blame.  Is Quenelda up to the challenge?  Is Root able to overcome his fear of dragons?

    The wooden dragon is really tough. About the size of a sabretooth, it is suspended in the center of the training amphitheater by chains. Ropes are threaded through eyelets and the wooden dragon can be spun on its post, the wings and tail can be raised up and down, the head and tail back and forwards.   Up Down Up Down Up Down goes the dragon. Root is the first gnome to be raised to esquire, but not only that, he is appointed to be Quenelda's esquire, a stepping stone for all those with ambitions to fame and fortune.  They are determined to make this upstart commoner fail.  Ooooooh... round spins the dragon...  oops, there goes breakfast!

    Would be dragon riders have to wear a heavy padded jacket, helmet and gloves because they get knocked black and blue trying to keep in the saddle while all the esquires do their very best to throw you. As for those splinters - well a trip to the infirmary is inevitable and embarassing!

    Not for the fainthearted, and certainly not for those who get airsick. Poor Root! Do you want to fly? Would you be tough enough to brave the wooden dragon, or would you keep your feet firmly on the ground? Get buckled into the safety harness and give it a go...don't forget your sick bag.