Tag: Matthew Perry (Illustrator)

+Blog Book Tour+ The Top Ten Dragon Favourites of Jackie Gamber {author of} my beloved Leland Dragon series!

Posted Wednesday, 10 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

If you are a regular reader of mine or a frequent visitor, you might have noticed I have always been quite eager to host and devour the Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber! I was first introduced to this wicked fantasy series last Autumn, whereupon I read Redheart – a story that set my world afire for the Leland Province and the dragons who nestled into my heart! I have even created a #DragonFiction tag on Twitter to help promote my booklove for dragons as much as to help encourage others to spread the joy of dragons in fiction! I regular converse on the chatter channels of #FantasyChat & #CreatureChat meeting up with like-minded souls who appreciate dragons, gryphons, and all the lovely characters who enchant our minds & hearts in the fantasy realms. I’ll admit I’ve learnt quite a heap from my fellow chatters!

When the Trilogy tour came along for Jackie Gamber, I *knew!* I wanted to be a part of the continued celebration of a series I know I will be re-reading quite a heap in the years to come! The multi-layers knitted into her world-building and the strong characters, both dragon and human make the story and the series evolve inside your mind as you read it; each time discovering something that hadn’t affected you the time before. On Sunday, I will be talking about each of the three stories within the trilogy and my overall recollections of the series as a whole.

Today, I happily invited Ms. Gamber to share her Top Favourite Dragons, which would have been quite keen if I had been able to post this on Tuesday as scheduled as Tuesdays are *always!* wicked happy for Top Ten Tuesday lists! Forgive the slight delay, my migraine would not allow this to appear sooner!

“Top Ten Dragon Favorites by Jackie Gamber”

Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Since I’ve been a genre girl as long as I can remember, and since writing the Leland Dragon series, lots of folks ask me, “Why?” And more specifically, “Why dragons?”

The quick answer is, “Why not?” The longer version is a something along the lines of, “I don’t know.”

What I do know is that the road to the Leland Dragon Series has been paved by dragons that have come before, that have either influenced me a great deal, or enhanced my enjoyment because they are dragon-related. I’ve compiled a list of them, as the top dragon-related goodies I have personally enjoyed over the years.

1.  Book:My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett,
Random House Children’s Book.

This is very likely the book that started it all, for me. I have cherished this book since I first laid hands on it as a child. The version still on my bookshelf, worn and loved, is the Weekly Reader Book Club edition, copyright 1948.

 2.  Movie:Pete’s Dragon”, 1977.

If I could hug a movie, it would be this one. I think it was my first introduction to the concept of a friendly dragon. It seemed logical at the time to think of a dragon as lovable, and I wanted one of my very own to love. No doubt, this movie made an impression.

I share a joy of Pete’s Dragon as this was one of my favourite motion pictures whilst  I was growing up as I simply loved how you could have a dragon as a best friend! I had the same sentiments truly; as I never created the concept that dragons were inherently cruel hearted nor evil; I always felt that although there are bad dragons, there were more good dragons out there to befriend, love, and welcome into my world!

 3.  Movie:Dragonslayer”, 1981.

I’m not against bad guy dragons, however. This film has a bad dragon. Much of what I enjoy is more than just the dragon, though, such as a clever maiden trying to disqualify herself for a dangerous lottery by…no longer being a maiden, if you know what I mean. How is she the first girl to think of this?

 4.  Book:The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende.

This is a German book, translated and published in English in 1983. I love the concept of the ‘never ending story’ in the book, which is impossible to duplicate in the movie. Read the book!

Read More

Divider

Posted Wednesday, 10 September, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Folklore and Mythology, Motion Picture Inter-related to Bookish Topic, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Tomorrow Comes Media, Top Ten Tuesday, YA Fantasy

+Blog Book Tour+ Reclamation by Jackie Gamber {Book No. 3 of the Leland Dragons series} Dragon Fiction at its best!

Posted Saturday, 8 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Reclaimation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Published By: Seventh Star Press, 19 December 2013
Official Author Websites: Twitter Site
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Leland Dragons Official Website
Artist Page: Matthew Perry @ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio

Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 270

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was simply overjoyed with happiness when I first learnt “Reclamation” was going to release and have its own blog tour! I wasn’t a book blogger when “Redheart” and “Sela” made their rounds through the bookish blogosphere, but I was thankful I could become introduced to “Redheart” and this lovely dragon series all the same in Autumn 2013! I was selected to be a tour stop through Tomorrow Comes Media.  I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Anxious to Read the Exciting Conclusion:

After emerging from the ending of Sela, where all of Dragonkind was on the verge of war, my heart was warm from the realisation that Sela had the ability to transcend the harbinations of ill-thoughts towards both dragons and humans simply by being true to herself. She was of both species and she could live in harmony inside her skin knowing of her heritage. The journey she took was just as important as the revelation revealed inside of Jastin Artmitage, and its their combined path towards freedom from primal fear and desolation that endeavoured to believe the concluding arm of this trilogy of dragon fiction would leave me ruminative and pensive for quite a long while yet to come! My mind is always flickering with afterthoughts from reading the Leland Dragon series, mostly as the characters who are entrenched in the drama encourage your mind to ponder the greater picture of what is happening to them. The whole of the arc rather than merely seeing the individual struggles.

My heart still flutters back to the very beginning, when I first became invested into the lives of Kallon and Riza, as it was the singular moment I had realised that there is truly a niche inside dragon fiction which has captured my heart! I was struck by the breadth of the world-building as much as the genuine dialogue of how dragons live, work, and interact with not only their kind but with the humans who live on the fringes of their societies. Not everything was always roses, mind you, but it was a bit like gathering an insider’s glimpse into a world you never expected to have such an intimate portrait of! As I walked further into their realm, I started to see the similarities and the differences between their culture and the humans they were always afeared to become close too.

And, even though I had resolved this is a trilogy without the hope of a story to be revealed down the road inside this world I’ve hinged my heart too, its with trepidation that I picked up Reclamation! Worried I was not yet ready to let go!

Life gives us trials that we do not even realise we can overcome, much less face until they are presented. Is this why you entitled it “Reclamation”? You reclaimed your gift as your characters reclaimed their home? observation from Jackie Gamber’s Reclamation tour interview by Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story

About the Author | Jackie Gamber

Jackie Gamber

As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series!

Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.

All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.

Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.

Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.

War is here.

The stakes?

Perhaps the whole world.

 

On the footsteps of war:

Reclamation by Jackie Gamber | Illustration
Leesa & Jastin attempting escape into Murk Forest
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

As I mentioned in my review of Sela, Gamber has this keen sensibility of bringing the reader full circle through her Leland Dragon series, to where each ending of one installment of the trilogy is a transition into the next! I was not disappointed whilst picking up Reclamation in finding only a few days had passed since the exit of the characters fleeing Riddess Castle! War is bursting onto the page, lit aflame by the re-surging presence of Fordan Blackclaw the villainous dragon of Redheart whose strength to overturn order in exchange for pure chaos is in part due to his comrade in arms Fane Whitetail! Of whom I have rarely mentioned because his motivations are even more vile than his leader; of whom he’d prefer to overtake if given the chance! A mutiny within an insurrection to ensure his own desires for Esra Province and Dragonkind is playing out through the war which has been brought on by ill choices of those who were too blind to see what was encroaching into their lives by those who only acted to deceive!

Keenly written into the opening chapters is the apathy of disinterest amongst the Dragon Counsel to even consider taking action at the first murmurings of war. I appreciated this angle because I think for a lot of wars which erupt out of the shadows of peace, there are those who will always feel indifferent towards change. Towards standing up for what is right no matter the cost of the discourse to follow verse turning the other cheek and hoping for their problems to dematerialise as easily as they were formed.

The theory of time’s fragile fabric knitted together with the internal clockwork of their known world’s pulsebeat was refreshing as it insinuates that all action has its consequences on a higher plane. A bit how in our own realm of living within the sphere of Earth is jolted and disintegrated by industrialism and shifting powers. There is an internal balance to how a living sphere of a world can function and thrive. The more outside influences which disrupt the habitat and makeup of that sphere’s natural origins, the more precarious the situation can grow! We are meant to be caretakers and caregivers of the land bestowed to us, rather than the bullied force of brutality and harshness the land and environs flinch and shirk away from once our presence is known.

My Review of Reclamation:

Reclamation by Jackie Gamber | Ilustration
Jastin Armitage & Kallon Redheart
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Reclamation by definition is the act of reclaiming what was once considered lost yet in its origins of Latin, it’s an exclamation of force against what has been done against you. The two main provinces in the Leland Dragons series are Esra & Leland, yet there is another lesser known area called Murk Forest, which is as elusive to the reader as the Rage Desert; as previously revealed in Sela. As I started to entrench myself into the action of the heated scenes of flight for both Jastin & Leesa, my mind wondered how far the Redheart clan and those who stood with them would have to go to find resolution and peace?!

Fane Whitetail meets his match in Ela Greenscale, who is a defector from Leland Province to aide Blackclaw’s pursuit of ill-willed control over the provinces. In Ela, Whitetail’s equal on levels he never considered, he starts to see that he is not alone in wanting to pursue a path few would understand and the majority would balk against. Whitetail’s true nature and how he identifies his perception of self is explored whilst giving the reader more pause about his principles. Sela is caught in-between the past and the present whilst resolving the future she hopes everyone will be courageous enough to embrace. Her key role is truly the unlocking of the New Age of a new Kind of existence. I tip-toed around this revelation in my review of Sela, as I wanted the element of surprise to be a kiss of joy to the reader. However, without disclosing how Sela is uniquely different from her Kind, I can say, the strength she has within her I believe truly surprises herself at times. She’s a quiet girl with extraordinary gifts who doesn’t always believe in herself the way in which she should. Her heart guides her but at times, it’s the mistrust of her instincts which lead her on a path towards embracing self-confidence.

Drell on the other hand is starting to pull the pieces of his ancestry together whilst embracing the fact his future truly lies in where he finds himself the most at home. He was raised in the Rage Desert yet bourne of Leland ancestry, where he has only just become familiar of. His only connection to Blackclaw is by appearance and blood relation, as where his father’s heart is blackened, Drell’s is empathic.

The morale fiber of dragon culture and the dignity of the humans who live near them is underscored by the inability to see each other as equals rather than as nemesis’s. Each species has always attempted to live without the other interfering into their lives but the true measure of their growth is if they can transcend their fears and walk into an era of contractual peace. Working together rather than against each other, with full acceptance and support.

I loved the exploration of Murkens within Murk Forest, because Gamber has such a gentle hand in giving you reason to draw a breath of pause whilst drinking in the more fantastical elements of her narrative! The Murkens by definition are shapeshifters, but it’s how they are presented that delighted me the most! They are as akin to the natural world as the dragons, living in a quandary of a balance that even they do not fully understand. There is always a hidden depth to the story, which I appreciate more than I may even let on! My mind is always rampant to explore the wholeness of the trilogy whilst caught up in one of the installments!

Gamber forces you to look internally and introspectively as you read her stories, especially in regards to prejudicial inclinations which can do the most harm if they are not seen for what they are. Jastin Armitage’s character goes through the most catalytic changes over the score of the saga. He is the classic hero whose soul was entrapped by rage and prejudice without the foundation of understanding what prompted his innermost hatred. She explores the depth of his character’s ability to emerge out of the darkness and back into a path towards the Light. For me, this is one of the quintessential elements she stitched into the fabric of the Leland Dragons series. To not only present war but to take the harder road as a writer to endeavour to uncover what provoked it from all sides, angles, and hearts. War doesn’t begin on the battlefield afterall, nor does war end in battle.

Peace is always obtainable through forgiveness and love, but it’s how we get to the bridge of acceptance that truly tests the measure of what we can evolve to embrace.

An appreciator of ‘dragon fiction’:

Ever since I was a young child who couldn’t rent a copy of “Pete’s Dragon” enough times to satisfy her need to visit the world in which a kind-hearted dragon resided, I am a girl who always appreciated the connection between humans and dragons. There is a unique bond that sparks inside us when we are innocent and young, towards the animals and creatures who are just out of focus from our view such as dragons, unicorns, fairies, and wood nymphs. The enchanted realms which are coaxed out of our imaginative hearts and the spirit of the unknown being just outside grasp of our reach is what endears us the most to fantasy and the literature which alights their stories into our memories. I always wanted to seek out dragon fiction stories, but part of me was always on the fence knowing if I would find the kind of dragon I could warm up too, like I had whilst watching “Pete’s Dragon”. Redheart & the Leland Dragons series proved that this was not only plausible but possible!

I started an open discussion on my review of “Redheart”, seeking to inspire an on-going conversation about dragons and the literary worlds in which writers have left them behind for us to seek out and find. One day I hope the discussion can get started, but until then, I am seeking dragons as a solo project. I’m looking specifically for writers like Gamber who infuse their narratives with more than mere warfare and darkness, but the transitional arc of true growth, understanding, and enlightenment to where whether you are dragon bourne or humantiscially tethered, you can find a story which ignites the magic and the passion for dragons!

I am an appreciator of dragon fiction who cannot wait to get her hands on the next novel and author who betwitches her fever for devouring more stories! Join with me on Twitter using the hashtag I accidentally created which is featured below! Let us converse, discuss, and discover together!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Join the celebration as you amble through the tour!

{ converse via: #LelandDragons, #7thStar & #dragonfiction }

Virtual Road Map for “Reclamation” Blog Tour:

Reclamation Tour by Tomorrow Comes Media

Be sure to visit of Jackie Gamber’s posts showcased on JLAS:

Previously, Jorie reviewed “Redheart” (Book 1 of Leland Dragons)
interviewed Ms. Gamber soon thereafter. Before featuring a Character Post from Reclamation’s tour, and a second interview with Ms. Gamber specifically geared towards the Leland Dragons series. She also reviewed “Sela” (Book 2 of Leland Dragons) ahead of posting “Reclamation”.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events page!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Reclamation” by Matthew Perry, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Gamber, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
Divider

Posted Saturday, 8 March, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dragon Fiction, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Tomorrow Comes Media, Warfare & Power Realignment, YA Fantasy

+Book Review+ Sela by Jackie Gamber {Book No. 2 of the Leland Dragon series} A dragon series etched on my heart.

Posted Friday, 7 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Sela | Book 2 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Published By: Seventh Star Press, 27 March, 2012
Official Author Websites: Twitter Site
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Leland Dragons Official Website
Artist Page: Matthew Perry
@ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio

Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 308

Genre(s): Fiction | Young Adult Fantasy |

| Dragon Fiction | High Fantasy |

{ converse via: #LelandDragons, #7thStar & #dragonfiction }

 Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: Whilst signing up to participate in the much-anticipated blog tour for “Reclamation” the third book in the Leland Dragon series, through Tomorrow Comes Media;  I requested receiving “Sela” in order to read the series in sequence.  I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press, without obligation to post a review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read: Ever since I left the world of Redheart, I have ached to return to the Leland Province and resume the story where I had left off at the conclusion of the first installment of a trilogy still in the making. It’s the type of story whose world-building scope pulls you into its heart and allows time to dissolve behind you and away from you. You long to know more about the characters, both good and bad you’ve become acquainted with due to the journey you’ve taken with them throughout Redheart‘s debut! I knew it would be possible to read Reclamation without Sela, but a part of me felt it was crucial not to break the continuity of this particular dragon fiction series as it might in effect change my perception and interaction with the characters within the bookend conclusion! I am thankful that I was given a chance to resume through Sela before arriving at the series finale and conclusion!

I had hoped to re-read Redheart, prior to reading both Sela & Reclamation, however, a severe cold and pollen allergy compounded my misery to where I could not pick up any books nor read even one chapter of these dear books until the very week I had re-scheduled my review for the Reclamation Tour! Therefore, in order to help my mind and heart re-adjust back into the rhythm Gamber created, I backtracked to Chapter Forty-Nine in Redheart before proceeding!

About the Author | Jackie Gamber

Jackie Gamber

As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award-winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

Book Synopsis:

Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland’s mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that’s not all.

Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds.

In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland’s Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back.

Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, marriage and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no human or dragon unaffected.

In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Sela: Dragon or Human?
Reclamation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Sela being lifted by her father Kallon Redheart; whilst Drell hides below in the forest hidden from view
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

I must confess the cover-art for Sela did originally have me questioning the merits of Riza and Kallon’s daughter being either dragon OR human as the image eludes to a possible paradox between the two versions. As I entered this chapter of the Leland Dragons series, I was happily confronted with a character that had me twitching with excitement, as Sela is as much as a spitfire as her mother as she is a determined spirit like her father! She is the perfect blend of her parents passions and abilities. Seeing Orman Thistleby step in as her guardian Uncle was a pure delight as well! Sela’s struggle for understanding her identity and the manner in which her body changed brought me back to her mother’s journey, where nothing was quite as it seemed but everything was aligning in the way it was meant to be. The hardest struggles in anyone’s life is the acceptance of the circumstances that we cannot readily understand or see how those moments can help define who we are meant to become.

Each time I read a passage where Sela was attempting to sort out her ‘humanness’ reminded me fondly of other fantastical stories where a character wanted either to be more human or less, depending on their point of view of human behaviour and action. Seeing her sketched out as an artist felt fitting because it would make sense that the daughter Redheart would see the world through artistic eyes. She would be given the gift of seeing the beauty in everything rather than being caught in the fear of living in the moment of uncertainty.

My Review of Sela:
Reclamation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Sela flees the raging storm of the Rage Desert; having been brought there to perish for a crime she didn’t commit
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Time has passed a bit quicker than I had hoped in the Leland Province, as Sela the daughter of Kallon & Riza Redheart is already well on her way to being an independent and spirited young lady. Her struggles with understanding the human side of her ancestry is fitting, as part of what endeared me to Redheart was the ability of seeing Gamber’s empathy for exploring the inner crisis of who we are verse our perception of who we are. The undercurrents of which I enjoyed in the first part of this trilogy because it gave a layer of depth to both Kallon and Riza. In the opening chapters, we are not only entranced with young Sela’s plight as a human, but are on the fringes of understanding the full scope of young Brownwing’s daughter’s son (Drell), who in this installment has been cast to the Desert Dragons rather than having taken residence amongst his peers in the Leland mountains.

I appreciate the slow etching of the story to fill in the density of hours as I drink in the gaps between my last visit and now. So much has changed for the dragons and the humans, but a lot has remained the same. There is still a definitive disconnect between the two species, as much as there is an insurrection for containment and control of power. The words which are infused to bring us back into the natural raw beauty of the Leland mountains made me hungry for walking amongst my own natural environs. The longer one takes away from the bond they share with the natural world, the more one’s spirit needs rejuvenation! In this way, I could understand fully the aching Sela felt each time she was pulled quite forcibly to exit the mountains of her home.

Gladdis is first introduced whilst Sela is escorted to the castle for the sorting for the Venur’s marriage ceremony. I like her spunky personality as she rolls with the punches life hands her. Gladdis is the type of instantaneous friend you hope to find whilst caught up in a sea of intrigue! She is the perfect companion for Sela, due to the fact she too has a rebel streak inside her and doesn’t yet know of her true destiny. The fact she hails from the same village as Sela’s mother is kismet. Her inability to understand the plight of dragons and their fight for freedom from being hunted tests the merits of how strong their friendship can truly bond.

Jastin Armitage makes his appearance in this story as a begruffled and aging dragon hunter, jaded beyond repair with a chip on his shoulder whilst caught up in his brother-in-law’s schemes. The fact his heart can still be stirred by memories of Riza is quite encouraging because by all other accounts it would appear he has preferred to be a hermit and recluse, keeping away from society and icing over his heart. His character was the most intriguing to me because he was always torn between conventional standards and the will of his own soul.

Sela | Book 2 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Orman Thistleby seeking an advantage of truth within the crystal as he makes his way to Riddess Castle
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Destiny isn’t always an easy thing to reconcile. Following your heart and listening to both reason and instinctive murmurings inside your own soul is tempered by the lives of others who are drawn onto your path. What once would appear quite clear to pursue as far as yielding to your own desires, might grow complicated once others are entreated alongside you. Such is the case with Sela, finding her world wrapped around the delicacies of insurrection by proxy default of a man bent on revenge intermixed with greed. The Venur’s only motivation towards marrying a Leland woman is to reclaim the territory of both Esra and Leland Province to fill his own selfish desire for ultimate power and wealth. Yet she is drawn into his sinister plan by the misguided magical interference of a wizard who loses her confidence as soon as Orman Thistleby is within a whisper of a breath from her. Layce is the kind of wizard you feel pity for rather than spite.

Adversaries of the past have a funny way of coming back into your life when you’d rather continue to move forward and away from past transgressions. Blackclaw was one of the most vile and villainous characters I have come across in recent years, and aptly plays the part of a coal-hearted dragon whose scales of pitch black match his inside conscience. Blackclaw is a stealthy calculating adversary of whom Kallon Redheart had every right to fear.  The joy of reading the Leland Dragons series is being a step ahead and behind where the center heart of the story is leading you. Just as you’ve thought you’ve sorted out how everything will start to unfold and ebb back into its natural rhythm you’re thrown for an unexpected revelation you didn’t quite see coming, yet felt somehow could be plausible. When Sela first met Bannon, I felt a hitching inside of me. I could not quite put my finger on what made myself twitch with anticipation but as the chapters shifted forward a beautiful surprise was awaiting me! Drell’s own history and place in Dragonkind kept me glued to the page, as I wanted to see exactly how he differed from his father by the influence of his mother.

In order to examine the heart of your adversary you  have to first question the motives of your own. For Jastin Armitage his inner demons overshadowed the truth he was unwilling to see until it was nearly too late to forgive. Blindness through ignorance is one of the greatest strife’s of all, because it is only through willingness to see what we have blocked out of view of our inner spirit that can give us the freedom from what binds us. True redemption can only be achieved through the purity of one’s remorse.

The best stories are the ones in which the writer endeavours us to draw pensive at the conclusion of the story, and allow the embers of the text re-ignite inside our minds. Turnt over and over until the light of their hidden truths and etchings of character frailties wash over us with a renewed sense of understanding. I love the depth of the Leland Dragon series for it gives such a hearty rendering of the choices we make, not only as citizens of a country or province, but the choices our leaders make which have a direct effect on those who live in their kingdoms. This is a universal story which is not tethered nor limited to dragons. The only limitations are those of the reader who might not want to see what is left behind in the annuls of the dragon’s histories presented in the trilogy.

A compliment on continuity:

Gamber does a wonderful job at fusing together the continuity of the story from the ending chapters of Redheart to the beginnings of Sela! Whilst reading about how the library of the dragon scrolls came into being through the graceful design of Riza, gave me the impression that everything that had been left unresolved in the first book, would re-emerge and transform before my eyes in the second! I love when writers give such a hearty second installment as though we had never actually left the world in which the story resides! We simply pick up where we left off, re-attach ourselves into the fabric of the timescape, and slowly hope for the best resolutions for the characters who are already beloved, as much as the newer characters we are just forming an acquaintance!

I love the architecture of the settings as well, as Gamber uses old techniques of aged wood and carvings to paint the setting in which everything takes place with an ancient feeling of familiarity. Even in Esra Province whilst trapped inside the Venur’s castle compound, there is a rich history lit aflame inside the cavernous walls and passageways. I loved the insertion of both hidden from view entryways and the sunken from sight secret passages. It was always a dream of mine to have a bevy of secret passages inside of a home, so this always plays into the dream of my own yearnings!

And, the way in whichGamber chooses to have the forest and smells of the woods resonate on the tips of your nose, makes you want to abandon the book for a short spell whilst digging your toes into the earth right outside your own window!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Previously, Jorie reviewed “Redheart” (Book 1 of Leland Dragons) and
interviewed Ms. Gamber soon thereafter. Before featuring a Character Post from Reclamation’s tour, and a second interview with Ms. Gamber specifically geared towards the Leland Dragons series.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting:
Seventh Star Presson my Bookish Events page!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Sela” and illustrations by Matthew Perry, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Gamber, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission.  Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Divider

Posted Friday, 7 March, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Dragon Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, High Fantasy, Seventh Star Press, Supernatural Fiction, YA Fantasy

+SSP Week+ Author Guest Post “On writing Ave within the Fires of Eden series” by Stephen Zimmer

Posted Monday, 10 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 4 Comments

Guest Post by ParajunkeeProposed Topic for Stephen Zimmer How did you create the world of Ave initially and did you foresee Ave being shaped into a full-on series? What is the back-story of the research you discovered as you went along &/or what were your methods of deciding the texture of the world? Was there a key moment which left the impression of which direction Ave was heading? How did everything evolve forward past conception of the idea?

The Chronicles of Ave
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

As you might recognise, I asked Mr. Zimmer to return to Jorie Loves A Story by featuring an Author Guest Post to discover the early days of conceiving the idea for “Ave” the world in which the “Fires of Eden” series resides. I previously reviewed the “Chronicles of Ave: Volume 1” (the first anthology of the series) which served as my unorthodox introduction to the series! As you will see from that particular post, I was most intrigued by what I found inside! So much so, that it has led me to reading “Crown of Vengeance” of which will be brought to life in a review going live on Wednesday! Be sure to drop back to see my recollections! I also had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Zimmer whilst participating in the Chronicles of Ave blog tour! Blessedly for those of you who are already wrapped up inside this world, there are many more stories yet to be revealed! Let us now yield to Zimmer who will provide the ‘genesis’ of how Ave was first created.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Genesis of Ave

Ave is in my heart and has been from the beginning of the road of its genesis that began in the early 1990’s. The origin of this story and how it has grown comes from one of my own personal fantasies. I’ve always imagined and dreamed of what it would be like to go through the wardrobe, to use a Narnia reference, and enter a fantastical world such as the one found in my books.

The entire story involving Ave really did begin on that simple, singular premise, and the idea of an ensemble of characters, all with different backgrounds and circumstances, going into a new world moved it forward as far as a concept for an epic fantasy series. The question of why they are pulled into that world, and what their part is within it, led me to what became the core plot of the series. Before I started writing the first page, I knew the ultimate destination of the series.

I’ve always been drawn to the medieval period, especially the earlier period, including the so-called Dark Ages (I say this as there were a lot of places that continued on a course of progress, from the Byzantines to China, to name a couple). As such, Ave takes on a medieval texture, with a modest presence of magic, as I didn’t want magical or supernatural elements to be too overwhelming in this series (though both play a significant part).

Ave grew into my own personal playground, as far as having everything I would love to see in a fantasy world. It has a full range of cultures , lands, and geographies, with many inspired by historical periods in our own world, and some that are entirely inventive.

One of the challenges of writing this series has been making sure the organic realism of the fully original cultures like the Trogens and Unguhur resonate just as strongly as the ones reflecting a historical inspiration, like the Saxans, Midragard, Avanor, and others. They all need to have the same kind of depth and comprehensive portrayal.

With the historically inspired cultures, I wanted to be sure that there was a strong presence of societies and cultures not commonly reflected in epic fantasy. Readers will see that right from Book One, Crown of Vengeance, when they discover the Five Realms and the five tribes that comprise it. Based upon the Iroquois, the Five Realms and the story of the tribal people within it are a major part of the series.

To bring cultures like the Five Realms to life, research has become a very important aspect of this series. Interestingly enough, in the late 1990’s, when I had the first version of what would become Crown of Vengeance done, one of the biggest reasons I did not try to get an editor or publisher at that time was that I realized that I had not done enough in the area of research to give the books the kind of depth and organic realism that they deserved. It led to several years of immersion into research and rewrites, but at the end of that road I ended up with a book that I was confident in taking onward.

The extended research also honed my thinking and perspective when it came to developing an original culture like the Trogens. Subtle touches about their culture, beliefs, and history added a full dimension to my depiction of them, where before they were coming off as more fantastical than real. In ultimate effect, engaging in serious levels of research developed my thinking process, in a way that truly strengthened this series.

Writing a large-scale series such as this, one that has the kind of depth where I can do short story collections right alongside it, does require some structure, but at the same time I leave myself open to new ideas and adventures that can crop up during the writing of a new title. Having an idea of the core plot of the series, and its ultimate destination, keeps it on a track so that it does not drift or derail into a problematic situation.

Yet at the same time, Ave is truly a playground, and all manner of new creatures, lands, characters, and sub plots can emerge at any given time, and I do want to take advantage of those opportunities. The last thing I wanted to do was box myself in without any flexibility during the process.

I think this is what has led me to using a multi-threaded character-focused style for the Fires in Eden Series. Having multiple story threads does add some complexity to the series, but I also feel it adds a lot of texture and added dimension too. There are layers, there are all sorts of seeds being planted for future payoffs, and for the reader I give a trove of material to enjoy and savor with this kind of depth.

Granted, not all readers may enjoy this approach, and want something more simplistic and linear, but to use a rock band metaphor, there are those who like a more complex and layered musical act like Rush, and those who like a simpler and more straightforward act like ACDC, and there are those who like both. As a reader (and as a rock fan!) I happen to like both complex and straightforward approaches, being in the mood for one or the other at given times. Hopefully, the readers that like the kind of scope I offer will find their way to the world of Ave.

For those that do enjoy this, I have an entire world to explore, one that is being unveiled gradually in the series and in the short stories of the Chronicles of Ave collection. There is so much more ahead and I invite readers along for the grand adventure!

You can follow Stephen Zimmer’s continuous journey with Ave and other stories at: Stephen Zimmer’s website & blog.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Honestly, I knew a lot of thought had gone into Ave, from the moment I first stepped inside its dimension of space and time, it felt as though every inch of Ave had been thought about with care! You have a way of bringing the reader into Ave unaware of its origins and its history, by making the world itself accessible and visually stimulating! As those are what staid with me after I put down the Chronicles! I was quite curious what your method of process would be for creating the multi-layered universe in which Ave resides, and in this lovely Guest Post you have given myself and my readers alike something hearty to ponder! I knew too, there would be hidden depths to the reasonings behind why you elected to create certain classes of people in Ave as much as why there were certain names being used to express who they were. I love how you were studying ancient civilisations in order to have Ave thrive in the past way possible! And, the inclusion of using the Middle Ages as a staging arena for the world itself I think was a classic move on your part to give your world a rooting in our own timeline of reflection. It was especially a time where the world saw the most growth, change, and enlightenment coming out of a period of unrest, uncertainty, and ignorance.

As a writer of whom appreciates writing serial fiction herself, I can understand why you wanted to create a world in which would be limitless in regards to where to expand the threads of Ave’s tapestry and as far as how far you could take your audience! It’s always a lovely gesture to become so well acquainted with your own created world that you can see extensions of the original plot passages igniting new ones down the road! I must confess, although I see my own writings in full view of where I want them to go, I have not yet formulated the fullness of the worlds therein. As in reference of seeing the final destinations of where the characters and the story itself will be ultimately going towards. I give you credit for being able to focus on Ave in a way that befits the benefit of having such a clarity of mind in its creation! I, perhaps, might yield to the fact that my writings have been percolating for the better part of twenty years and have been writ at different intervals of time therein. One of these days I’d love to see everything fall together in a way that will honour my own story.

Your essay here on how Ave knitted together, I think will give all writers (regardless of genre preference) a lot of hope in what they will achieve in their own goals once the bones of what they want to write is out in the open. I can understand what you meant about the difference preferences of readers, where some might prefer the depth vs the low-key approach of subtle nudging, but I for one, tend to choose the complexities of a well-plotted story when I want to soak into epic sagas because it’s the layers in which I get caught up inside which bring me the most joy! They also provide endless hours of reading bliss in order to see how all the connections of lead and supporting cast make off in the installments that follow suit! I always get a kick out of remembering the wholeness of whom is residing in these wicked fantasy stories, because sometimes its nice when the layout is not limited to a cluster of a few but held together with the fullness of an army!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This Seventh Star Press focus week was brought together with the help of Tomorrow Comes Media, of which I am a blog tour hostess and book reviewer. To keep up to speed with which authors and books I will be featuring on Jorie Loves A Story in the near future via Tomorrow Comes Media, please check out my Bookish Events! Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.

This marks my fifth post in contribution of:

2014 SciFi Experience
(“Strength and Honor” by Stephan Martiniere, used with the artist’s permission)

You can follow along on the official Sci-Fi Experience site!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

{SOURCES: The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience was granted permission to use the artwork by Stephen Martiniere in their official badge for all participants to show their solidarity during the event! The Chronicles of Ave: Volume One cover art provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. I requested an Author Guest Post on the topic of writing the back-story of Ave’s creation and received the essay direct from the author Stephen Zimmer. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog News badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Divider

Posted Monday, 10 February, 2014 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Heroic Bloodshed, Heroic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Seventh Star Press, Seventh Star Press Week, Sword & Scorcery, The Sci-Fi Experience, The Writers Life