Editor’s Corner: 101.2


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Shawn MacKENZIE:

What goes around comes around. Thanks to The Secret Keeper for reissuing my Editor’s Corner posts…Hope they are helpful.

Originally posted on the secret keeper:

Scribe smallElements of Style: A Guide to Wowing on the Literary Runway

Let us now praise little books.

Well, one particular little book.

I don’t know when I got my first copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. The fluid fiction of memory tells me it was in my distant tweeny past, around the time I decided to be a writer. That original volume, spine-cracked and finger-stained, has been swallowed by the years, replaced and swallowed again. And, no matter how many pages I’ve written myself or edited for others, time after time, I still take EofS’s current, dog-eared incarnation from the shelf and go back to basics.

For, like all art, writing begins as a craft and any craft takes time and work to learn well. Before we graduate to the swish-and-swirl aspects of literary style, to voice and hue, meter and pitch, we need to…

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Thoughts On Writing – Susan Sontag [Series Pt 4]


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Shawn MacKENZIE:

Wise words from a brilliant woman. One may not always agree with Sontag, but one can never say she’s uninteresting.

Originally posted on the secret keeper:

a writer's word new 14th june 2014Thoughts on Writing

A Multiple Part Series – Part # 4

“Think With Words—Not Ideas”

by Susan Sontag

Post by Jennifer Kiley

Post Sunday 16th November 2014

susan sontag photo for series

The solution to a problem — a story that you are unable to finish — is the problem. It isn’t as if the problem is one thing and the solution something else. The problem, properly understood = the solution. Instead of trying to hide or efface what limits the story, capitalize on that very limitation. State it, rail against it.

*       *       *

Talking like touching
Writing like punching somebody

*       *       *

To be a great writer:
know everything about adjectives and punctuation (rhythm)
have moral intelligence — which creates true authority in a writer

*       *       *

‘Idea’ as method of instant transport away from direct experience, carrying a tiny suitcase.
‘Idea’ as a means of miniaturizing experience…

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Dragon books give-a-way winner, with Shawn MacKenzie


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Shawn MacKENZIE:

And we have a winner! Congrats, Sue Heavenrich! Thank you, Karen, for your labors and everyone who dropped by and took a chance for Dragons.

Originally posted on Karen R. Sanderson's Blog:

red-dragon[1]The winner of last week’s Dragon books give-a-way…

Sue Heavenrich

Congratulations, Sue!

Shawn MacKenzie will contact you to arrange delivery of

Dragons for Beginners and The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook.

Sue’s blog

You might like some of Sue’s science posts on her blog Archimedes’ Notebook – “hands-on science exploration for children and their parents.”

From Sue’s blog…

Things to Do in FallIMG_0799

plant daffodils and lilies

watch maples turn red

collect acorns

pick apples

find glow-in-the-dark mushrooms

plant garlic

follow woolly bear caterpillars

map monarch migration

star gaze

make leaf printsIMG_0813

hunt for insect galls

do bark rubbings

walk like a fox

make a nature wreath

collect flower seeds

make a compost pile

rake leaves into a pile and jump in

collect every color of leaf

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Dragons, Books, Thanks…


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A big “Thank You!” to Karen Sanderson – Word Shark par excellence – for so generously doing a Dragon Books giveaway via her blog. If you haven’t checked out The Word Shark, I urge you to do so, asap.cropped-thewordshark_header-02

And a big “Thank You!” to everyone who dropped by and left a comment! The lucky winner will be announced on the 15th. (With proper draconic fanfare, of course!)

Temeraire novel illustration - sandra.deviantart

I will keep you posted!

Dragon books give-a-way, with Shawn MacKenzie

Shawn MacKENZIE:

A second chance for Dragon lovers….

Originally posted on Karen R. Sanderson's Blog:

red-dragon[1]Do you know I’m a fan of Dragons? I’m a Welshman after all.

But since I met Shawn MacKenzie, I’ve become a Dragon fanatic. Shawn blogs about Dragons at MacKenzie’s Dragon’s Nest.

Quotes from her books, published by Llewellyn –

From Dragons for Beginners9780738730455[1]

In Wales, land of many Dragons, there is a saying: Y gwir yn erbyn y bydd! “Truth against the world!” And nothing imparts truth like a tête-à-tête with a Dragon. It is an experience guaranteed to beat back the darkest night like Dragonfire, and to remind us that, across leagues and eons, Dragons remain the one universal, familiar bit of magic we carry with us. And in return they carry our awe.

In the end, the fight for Dragons is a fight for ourselves, and it is our very need that keeps them with us. From the smallest house dragon to the grandest emerald…

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It’s Your Voice – Use It!


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Some people think gaining and keeping power is more important than the right to vote.

They would try to stop you, to intimidate you, to thwart American sufferage wherever and however they can.

They would silence your voice.

Don’t let them. VOTE. And take a friend.



All Hallows and Book Givings…


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It’s a wrap for another Month of the Dragon.


As we nurse Halloween tummy aches and struggle to get our sugar-high Dragons down off the ceiling, I want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s celebrations. Dragonfire streaked the October skies and Dragonsong rang out across the continents.dragon

Now it is All Hallows Day and I have the pleasure to announce this year’s winner of the MotD Book Giveaway!

Congratulations to Karen Sanderson! Your copies of  Dragons for Beginners and The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook will be on their way tout de suite!

9780738730455             DKH


Now, it may be November but do keep the Dragon spirit alive. I hope to see you all back here for MotD 2015!

And next week, those of you in the States…

Don’t forget to VOTE!

Samhain – When Dragons Fly….


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It’s Samhain – Halloween – and Month of the Dragon 2014 is at an end. I want to thank everyone who has joined in with words and pictures and an abundance of draconic energy.dragon-chinafantasy-Milky-Way-night-moon-stars-flight-smoke-wallpaper MotD gets better – spreads the appreciation of Dragons further – every year, which warms the cockles of all of us here at WAFDE. And I hope between now and midnight you’ll drop by, leave a comment, and insure that your name is in the hat for signed copies of Dragons for Beginners and The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook.  9780738730455DKH








For Dragons, sidhe, and all other creatures who cavort with the strange or go bump in the night, Samhain is as close to a holy day as it gets.


Of course, at WAFDE, October 31 is a time for tricks and treats and baelfires blazing against the coming winter darkness.__halloween_dragon___by_dinopharaoh-d31lqz1

But it is also a day for looking fore and back, for embracing both the future and the past. With the barrier between this life and the next paper-thin, on this one night even those disposed to disbelief find themselves surprised by Dragons at every turn. Thus another generation of dracophiles is born.nature-dragon-3

While welcoming new-opened eyes, we also look into the darkness and celebrate the lives of Dragons past, of those who have gone before.the_wise_green_dragon_o_ka_fee_by_rubisfirenos-d4xrdp5

In the spirit of these great creatures – and as a final story from the weyrs, I offer a tale of Dragon’s End from The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook.

There is an island in the middle of the Sacred Sea. On this island grows a Great Rowan Tree, its branches aching upwards, lost in the clouds. Round the tree, tails entwined, sleep six Dragon Guardians, one from each corner of the Dragon World. When a Dragon has reached her end of days, she makes her way to the Island of the Great Tree. With fire and fang and the roar of a thousand-thousand wings, the Guardians honor her centuries of passions lived and send her on her way, up through silvered boughs to the Kingdom of the Eternal Dragon.

Non-Dragon types insist this is just a pretty fiction, of course. And yet…

zz-h…Set in the crystal waters of Lake Baikal is the island of Olkhon. On the island grows an ancient rowan tree. ‘Round the tree dwell the six Enchantments of the Weyr of the Eternal Dragon.

There is always truth in Dragon lore.

When the day comes – as it will – that the well-worn nest long filled with a Mountain of Wonder lies empty, you will feel the earth sigh and know it is the poorer for her passing. Hold tight to the memories of shared years and blazing passions, to her spirit filled with the thunder of a million stars.

Imagine her soaring strong across the Sacred Sea.

Hear in your heart the roar of the thousand-thousand.

Then… let her go.


And come next Samhain, open your soul - welcome her spirit home.abstracts_dragons_1200x800i


A Dragon-Blessed Samhain to you all!


AAD-Week: Dragons, Habitat Loss, and Mischief in the Night…


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Rocky Dragon - Dawn Delver

Rocky Dragon – Dawn Delver

Month of the Dragon is almost over and with it Adopt-A-Dragon Week. (Not that you can’t adopt a Dragon at any time; and we hope you will.)

While the more fortunate Dragons round the world are getting ready to raise a little hell tonight, there are others who are just hanging on by their talon tips. They are confronted by habitat loss and urban sprawl, by industry polluting the fishing waters and smogging up the skies. Dragons may live in balance with the world, but they are also great big fiery creatures who can’t help but need a lot of room over which to roam. Back a Dragon into a corner and you get a stressed out, unhappy Dragon.


With that in mind, today we’re highlighting some of the weyrs most affected by recent human encroachment.


In the remnants of the once-vast rain forests of Madagascar, between the Mania River and the Parc National de Isalo, lies Mahatahotra Anjely: the weyr of the Terrible Angels. Until recently little was known about the Malagasy Dragons. They were only occasionally glimpsed above the canopy, or playing with lemurs at dusk, and otherwise kept to themselves. When deforestation threatened the indigenous fauna of the island, the Dragons rose to the occasion and started buzzing the lumbermen and generally throwing draconic spanners into the works. It has helped some, though not enough.

The green on the weyr’s banner is in remembrance of forests lost, and in hopes of forests yet to be restored. The orange and red are shades of the evening sky when the sun sets over the Mozambique Channel. The Dragon biting his tail is a symbol of the eternity of Dragon and Earth, no matter what.


Dragons are frequently driven to distraction by the foolish ways of humans, and none more so than the Enchantments of Depsang Weyr. Situated high in India’s Depsang Plains, the weyr overlooks the oft-bloodied mountains of Kashmir. From the days of bandits assaulting caravans on the Saser-La road to the sanguinary exchanges of more recent years, they have watched and waited for the indigenous peoples to come to their senses. Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse over time. Still they wait. It is an advantage of draconic longevity, being able to outlast much of our human stupidity.

This patience is evident in the Depsang Weyr standard. A centred Dragon sits, waiting, beneath a mountain sun blazing across a tri-color field. It is of note that the Karakalpak people of Uzbekistan use the same tri-color field on their flag – a link to a shared history, perhaps, along the trade routes of yore.


The Dragons of San Long – or Three Dragon – Weyr in central China are as close to urbanites as any in the modern world. Given the population of China, this is not exactly a surprise. Located on the outskirts of the historic city of Shashi in Hubei Province, the weyr dates back to the splendor of the Tang Dynasty. The Dragons are very conscious of their heritage; they’ve been known to lord it over younger weyrs to great effect. No one knows yet how construction of the Three Gorges Dam will impact the Dragons, but speculation is it won’t be good.

Red, white, and black, the flag displays the three Dragons in the weyr’s name, two curvaceous creatures on the red side panels, and, in the centre pale on a sable roundel, the pictograph for Dragon.


Within sight of the fading snows on Mount Kilimanjaro one finds the weyr known as the Mountains of the Moon. Somewhat isolated by virtue of their location, the Dragons are, none the less, quite a gregarious bunch. Though staying away from the human problems in the region, they have been known to assist in anti-poaching efforts. It has been suggested that, if Dian Fossey had asked for their help with the gorillas, things might not have turned out as badly as they did.

The Mountains of the Moon Weyr celebrates one of the much-maligned pseudo-Dragons, the morose Bi-Polar Equator Jumper, who would certainly have gone extinct were it not for the weyr’s efforts. A B-PEJ is on the pale of jungle green and a compass to help him on his travels is placed front and centre on the tri-color fesses beside him.


Of the known South American weyrs, the northernmost is found in the western foothills of the Columbian Andes, Cuesta de los Tímido Dragónes – Hill of the Shy Dragons. With soil enriched by the activities of the Ring of Fire, the weyr’s environs are rain-forest lush and home to a wide variety of cohabitants, everyone from humans, bears, and monkeys, to serpents, hummingbirds, and colorful little frogs. The Dragons feel quite at home. Why then “Shy Dragons?” This epithet comes from the habit the weyr Dragons have of flocking together – a most impressive sight. Safety in numbers, taunt those who know no better. “As you wish,” the Dragons reply unoffended. The truth is, they are just a very social lot, and find that flocking like the other winged creatures is the best way not to spook the whole neighborhood.

The weyr’s bandera shows a gaggle of seven small Dragons crossing a white field. A blue sky Dragon dancing on purple-on-blue stars urges them into the sky.


Long before the Japanese moved north from Honshu, long even before the Ainu moved south from Sakhalin, the snow macaques and cranes and foxes of Hokkaido shared their home with the Dragons of Iyoype Usor – Treasure Lagoon. The weyr is not on a true lagoon, more of a great geothermal pool in the mountains north of Sapporo, and the only treasure about are the Dragons themselves. Still, a name is what it is.

Though associating freely with the island’s indigenous creatures, the Dragons are cool, some might even say aloof, when it comes to interacting with people. The Olympics encroaching on their space in 1972 didn’t help matters: too much modern brouhaha disturbing their hot-spring mediations.

The Usor banner begins with a field of warm, earthen brown. A blue and white Dragon, all coolness and long-life, prances between two blue stars, reminders that, as the Weyr inhabitants say, “We are all star stuff, even Dragons.”


Deep in the rain forest of Brazil, where Boto dolphins swim with river otters and macaws light up the skies by the hundreds, the Japura flows into the Amazon. It branches through the underbrush forming what amounts to an inland island weyr: Consoles dos Dragones Real – the Island of the Royal Dragons. Descendents of members of the Second Migration, the Royal Dragons adapted quickly to their dense forest environment. They became smaller, leaner, more agile. They shed their heavy scales in favor of lighter, more leathern integuments. Even their diet changed to include more vegetation and nuts. In short, they turned into perfect rainforest denizens, able to move about through underbrush or canopy, not bothered by the steamy climate of their new home. Now they are busy making sure humans do not destroy that home. At the current rate of Amazon deforestation, this is not an easy task.

The standard of Consoles dos Dragones Real is deep forest green with diagonals of river blue. At its centre, a crown tops a Dragon head erased on an ebon roundel.

As you head out tonight with your Dragons for a little pre-Halloween mischief, Keep a good thought for all the pinched and harassed Dragons of the world. Surely there can be room enough for us all.

I end with a cautionary plea: make sure your Dragons only get up to a little mischief this October 30th. No wholesale destruction or mayhem. We don’t want all the positive PR we’ve been doing all year negated in a puff of ill-placed Dragonfire.


AAD Week: Planet Out of Whack, Dragons in Need….


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Not every threat to Dragons comes at the tip of a sword or in the belly of a bomb. In fact, today, one of the greatest risks to their survival is one they share with the rest of us: climate change.

Unlike certain politicians who shall remain nameless, Dragons don’t need doctorates in climatology to know that we are in real trouble. Dragons have been around for a very long time. They have survived natural extinction level events, big freezes and global thaws, floods, droughts, and years without summers.5

They have watched and listened to the world around them, and their extensive knowledge puts them in a unique position vis-à-vis what has been happening over the past century. They know, for example, that what the planet is currently experiencing is not part of a natural cycle. They know that melting icecaps, rising sea levels, acid rain, holes in the ozone, and the accompanying loss of species, great and small, is a result of industrialization, over population, and the arrogance of one species (Homo sapiens) who believe they can use the world as they wish without negative consequences.climate_change_0

In time, Dragons on every continent will hurt from what we have been doing to our shared home. Right now, the weyrs most impacted are in the polar and boreal regions where glaciers are melting at an alarming rate and the wildlife who rely on them – and the Dragons who rely on the wildlife – are threatened. climateChange

For your Adopt-A-Dragon Week consideration:


On the shores of the Greater Saimaa Lake in eastern Finland is one of the world’s most northern Dragon habitats, Lohikäärme Weyr. Here the Dragons nest in the sheer cliffs rising above the water – reminders of the last Ice Age when they shared the land with great mammoths and woolly rhinos. Now they cavort with the inland seals during long summer days and spin wild tales during the deep winter nights.

The Weyr’s banner is a study in blue and black with a frosty Finnish Dragon at the centre of a radiant sable sun.



The virtually unpopulated expanse of Canada’s Southampton Island is the perfect home to nesting Lesser Snow Geese and Canadian Frost Dragons. Frost Dragons are New World relatives of the Nordic Snow Dragons who came to the Americas following the Second Migration. A little smaller than their European kin, they are ideally suited to the environment of Southampton Island and Hudson Bay. They are also very protective of the many birds who use the isle as refuge and breeding grounds. The Weyr is named for the indigenous people of the area who, though now extinct, welcomed the Dragons in centuries past.

The Weyr’s flag shows an argent Dragon on a sable harpoon with six falling ermine/snowflakes, all set on a field of evening purple.


In the northern latitudes of Eastern Russia, not more than an afternoon’s Dragon flight from the Arctic Circle, the Penzhina River flows through Siberia into the Sea of Okhotsk. There, at the river’s mouth on the mainland side of the Kamchatka Peninsula, is Penzhina Weyr.

The Dragons of Penzhina like to think of themselves as hybrid beings: a lot of European Ice Dragon mingled with a little Oriental Sky Dragon. Though there is a lack of empirical evidence for their claim, the Dragons do display rather whimsical inter-species temperaments. They guard their neighbour bears and Unicorns and make snow Dragons well into May.

These capricious Dragons are represented by a black standard burning with two suns – one large and bright with Dragon fire, and one smaller, balanced by the yin/yang of the World Tree.


The glaciers and mountains of Alaska are a northern Dragon’s delight. Tonrar Pass Weyr is situated in the mountains southwest of Denali National Park. Like the land around it, it is one of the most expansive Weyrs in the world, embracing mountains, lakes, acres and acres of sub-arctic scrub, and woodlands. Sheltered from the bitterest of Alaska’s weather, it is home not only to Dragons, but also bears, caribou, marmots, wolves, and a variety of birds, nesting or simply passing through.

Until the advent of WAFDE and UNECESCO, the Dragons of Tonrar Pass spent much of their time keeping mineral hounds and oilmen at bay. Now they are protected, as is the wilderness around them, and they can devote their time to other pursuits – like stargazing.

Their flag is purple and white charged with a nonet of stars and a fiery sable Dragon.

If there is one beam of light in this dreary scenario, it is that Dragons have survived worse. Solace for them. If we don’t wake up soon, we may not be so fortunate.


**In the tradition of Month of the Dragon, everyone who leaves a comment here at Dragon’s Nest has their name go into a hat. At the end of the month, a name will be drawn and the winner will receive signed copies of my books, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook and Dragons for Beginners (both from Llewellyn Worldwide). Hope everyone is feeling lucky!



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