Tag Archives: Dragons for Beginners

Here there be dragon lovers. And a dragon collector.

IMG_1148Dragon Lovers 

Recently, Shawn MacKenzie, of MacKenzie’s Dragons Nest, recognized me as a lover of dragons. Heck, who isn’t? You can see that post at Dragon Loyalty Claimed and Freely Given.

And, though I do love Word Sharks, I have to admit, in my heart beats a dragon.IMG_1150

Though the award carries with it a certain responsibility (name other dragon lovers, share five things that people might not know about me), I don’t like rules. The only other true dragon lover I know is Shawn. And I don’t really like to talk about me.
ShawIMG_1433n knows I love dragons – that’s one of the reasons we were drawn to each other. Another reason…Shawn is a fantastic writer, and I figured if I glommed onto her, I might learn something. Same thing goes for editing – she’s a more skilled editor than I am.

I am not only a dragon lover, I’m a dragon collector. Throughout this post you will see the general dragon theme of my new post-flood apartment. Yes, here there be dragons. Lots of them.

As I said, I don’t like to talk about myself. Not much.IMG_1724

But did you know that I learned American Sign Language while I worked at the New Mexico School for the Deaf?

Did you know that, at 57 y.o., I started to IMG_1364take tap dance lessons? Loving it!

Did you know that I have one entire bookshelf dedicated to foreign language dictionaries and books about writing and editing and grammar and punctuation?IMG_1656

Did you know that I have a collection of limericks (given to me by my beloved Aunt Ang) so raunchy I can’t read them in mixed company? Heck, I can’t even read them out loud in my own company, they are that raunchy. Though Ang and I used to read them to each other while we cackled like demented hens.IMG_1654

Did you know that Mom and Ang harped and harped on me to “Look it up?”IMG_0005

Enough about me.

Shawn’s wonderful books, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook and Dragons for Beginners, can be found at Llewellyn.com.

IMG_1656I thank Shawn for the honor of being her #1 Dragon Lover. And I apologize for not following the rules to the letter.

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

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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Dragon books give-a-way, with Shawn MacKenzie

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 Queen, Dragons are the sinew that binds us to Earth, to the mystical, and to each other. They are the joy and truth—the inspiration, even—of the universe. We hold on to them, we thrive; we let them go, we die.

It is simple. Without their glory and grandeur, their supernal nobility lifting our eyes, we would still be struggling to see beyond the next hill, not looking to the stars.

From The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook – 9780738727851[1]

Once you cut through the layers of archaic spin, the fact remains that we don’t particularly pique their appetites. If Dragons want something that tastes like chicken, they go for the real thing.

There will always be people who cling to what is safe and familiar, who look at Dragons and see only monsters to fear and slay. The fault, dear reader, is not in our Dragons but in ourselves.

It’s up to us to change. We did it before, we can do it again. It is up to us – Dragons and Dragon lovers alike – to keep the flames of magic, the songs of Dragons, alive.

Here, There Be Dragons, standing with us, alone in one place together. And when we are gone, a Dragon will be here still, shouting to the Universe: I am!

***

During Shawn’s MONTH OF THE DRAGON in October, I commented on every post. Not because I wanted to win her books – I have both Dragon books already – but just ‘cause I love her MOTD posts.575204_384488221601463_987865384_n[1]

I said if I won, I’d gift my prize to someone else. And I won! 

Now for the re-gifting give-away – one rule

You have to go to one of Shawn’s MOTD posts and make a comment. You should read a few of her blogs, but even if you cheat a little and don’t read the blog, you’ll be treated to some of the most fantastic Dragon art you’ll ever see.

Deadline – post a comment on one of Shawn’s blogs by November 10th at midnight. Winner will be announced November 15th.

The prizes – signed copies of both

Dragons for Beginners & The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook

Here are just a few of Shawn’s Month of the Dragon posts –

Adopt a Dragon Week 2 – Adopt a dragon, AAD

Habitat Loss and Mischief in the Night – Dragons of Madagascar, India, and China, et al

AAD Week – Planet Out of Whack, Dragons in Need – With Dragon flags of the world, Finland, Canada, Russia

AAD Week – Near Eastern Dragons, The Hatchlings of War – With more Dragon flags of the world, Persia, Petra, Egypt

Kid-friendly Dragons and Their Tales – Where Shawn shares some her favorite dragon tales. Did you know How to Train Your Dragon started as a book?

St. Francis Knew Best – Kiss a Dragon Day – “Also, keep plenty of lip balm on hand…”

Keeping the Dragon Fires Burning, Safely – “And be sure to have your insurance premiums current, just in case.”

247795_10152178844815504_1949566387_n[1]

So go to one of Shawn’s blogs and

make a comment and be entered to win

Dragons for Beginners and The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook.

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You Are Your Words, by Shawn MacKenzie

URYourWordsIn the course of this human’s daily events, once I begin to feel the dream-webs lift from my mind, I brew a fresh pot of tea, play with the cats, and allow my thoughts to mosey along paths both cosmological and mundane, reasoned and stochastic. The other day, I started thinking about words.

Magical, mystical, wickedly creative, oh, the glorious power of words and we who wield them.

“In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.”

But this is not just a Judeo-Christian notion. The Popol Vuh – or Mayan Book of Creation – speaks of how Sovereign Plumed Serpent and Heart of Sky came together at the beginning of time.

“…And then came his [Heart of Sky’s] word, he came to Sovereign Plumed Serpent, here in the blackness, in the early dawn…. they joined their words, their thoughts….And then the earth arose because of them, it was simply their word that brought it forth….”

Now this notion (naturally) draws me down a whimsically syllogistic rabbit hole: The Word is divine; the divine create with words. Writers create with words; writers are divine.2008-the-girl-in-the-wood

Hey, makes sense to me.

Ok, we writers may not be divine, but we do cloak ourselves in Creator’s motley as comfortably as jeans and broadcloth. Mind blowing for gods to shape the universe in the round of a word, yet that’s what we do every day.  Out of the chaos of random thought, the void of the blank page, we create whole worlds and the beings who live in them. Earthsea, Darkover, Yoknapatawpha County, OZ and East Egg, Wonderland and Wessex – the list of literary terrae nova are legion. Even places we think we know, like Richard Wright’s Chicago or Edith Wharton’s New York, are, in authorial hands, transformed into alien landscapes ripe for exploration.

And so we string one word after another, counting our hours from phrase to sentence to paragraph to tome. We weave tales of myth and wonder and supernal genesis. For words are creative. With them we name things and by naming them bring them into being. They are active, breathing life into those named things, making them romp and fly and do handsprings through the treetops. They are descriptive, coloring and shaping the world it might be recognized and marveled at in all its beauty and strangeness. And that is without even touching upon the mind and heart, the emotional power of words. The power that reaches out across our inherent aloneness and makes people feel and think and remember, even change their lives.

Complex stuff. God stuff.

book-sculpture3Which brings me to a story. More memoir than fancy (though there are tangential Dragons); just a little something I thought I’d share.

Two years ago my book, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook, was making its way into print. In anticipation of this event, my publisher invited me to the Book Expo of America in New York. Sign some ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), generate book buzz, and spend two days in Gotham with all stripe of book folk – authors, publishers, agents, librarians. Commercialism be damned, for a writer, what could be more delicious?

Not to mention the swag!

A convention neophyte, I was quite unprepared for the booty laid out like Smaug’s hoard, just there for the taking. From simple promotional bookmarks and house totes, to signed copies of the year’s (hopefully) hottest titles, one was limited only by one’s interests, greed, and in the case of acquiring a major author’s John (or Jane) Hancock, no small amount of stamina. Even though I was hobbling about on a broken leg at the time, I returned home with several bags – now weekly filled with groceries – and a far from shabby passel of books. For all that, my favorite BEA keepsake was from the folks at the American Heritage Dictionary of English Language: a modest white 6” x 4” oval magnet, adorned in black Arial with the deceptively simple gnome:

You Are

Your Words

Every morning since, I rub the sleep from my eyes and focus on this reminder of how I am defined by the words in my life. They are my tools, my paint and canvas, soil and seeds. I shape them, play with them, with luck make them croon like armadillos and pirouette on the wings of a damselfly They represent me to the world, my ideas and dreams. I am responsible for them, in all their beauty or ugliness.

I am my words; my words are me.

As logophile, whimsical scribe, exacting editor, wielder of words.

As a writer.

I give you my word.

***

Shawn MacKENZIEAbout the Author:

Shawn MacKenzie is the author of The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2011), and Dragons for Beginners (Llewellyn, 2012), she is an editor and writer of sci-fi/fantasy. Her fiction has been published in Southshire Pepper-Pot, 2010 Skyline Review, and as a winner of the 2010 Shires Press Award for Short Stories. Shawn is an avid student of myth, religion, philosophy, and animals, real and imaginary, great and small.

Ramblings can be found at MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest and on her blog.

9780738727851[1]9780738730455[1]

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