The Christmas Dragon/
by Ruthanne Reid
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*The Christmas Dragon*
All Katie Lin wants is to get away from her family: from the magic, from the mayhem, and from the never-ending war.
Unfortunately, someone has other ideas, and sends her a box. A box that jumps.
The tiny fire hazard inside may just force her back to Wales – and right into the path of a dragon war, the Crow King, and at least one reluctant elf prince. Sometimes, running away just doesn’t work as planned.
Need help? You probably shouldn’t ask Grey.
A runaway Unseelie prince, Grey feeds on love – a commodity he conjures via music and magic in late-night Manhattan. It’s a sweet gig, if lonely, and Grey is almost sure the dire warnings he was given about New York in December won’t come true.
Then a monster from his childhood attacks in the middle of the night, and everything changes.
He survived, but he’s marked, and more monsters are coming for him and everyone who survived. Grey has no plans to be a hero but fate doesn’t care what he wants. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you aren’t the one pulling the strings.
Excerpt from The Christmas Dragon:
Boxes are not supposed to jump. It’s a law somewhere, I think. Maybe Guyana. Apparently not in New Hampshire, because the box kept jumping.
I sat in my idling car, puffs of exhaust rising in my rear-view mirror, and stared at the uncoordinated box-dance. It was wrapped in the loveliest paper, too, which was a shame, because bouncing on my boot-scraper had roughened all the corners and torn one edge. The bow was big and purple and covered in small green somethings. I wasn’t close enough to make them out.
I didn’t want to be close enough to make them out.
If I didn’t do something soon, the neighbors would notice. The box probably hadn’t been jumping all morning, or there’d be a crowd. Or maybe it was already on YouTube. I didn’t know.
So much for a safe, boring life among the Ever-Dying. New Hampshire, you have failed me.
I turned off the car. Time to go see what invaded my (mostly) magic-free space.
1) I want to start off with the basics, (It’s a two part question), and so how long have you been writing? And second when did you realize this was what you wanted to do professionally?
I fail to break this mold: I’ve been writing all my life. However, I somehow failed to figure out that you could do this writing thing as a job, or I’d have gone for a degree in creative writing. I didn’t know, so I went for music instead.
I can’t say it was the biggest mistake of my life because music is how I met my husband. Even better, my husband is the one who encouraged me to finally write for real. Earning the wrong degree meant marrying the right man who helped me do this writing thing as a job. Tada!
2) I am sure that you have heard this question before; how do you come up with your ideas? And what is your writing schedule like?
Ideas are WEIRD. They just fall on my head, unbidden. Sometimes they come from songs, like one of my newest short stories. It sprang from Lead Me Home by Jamie Commons, played on loop, and is about a sentient Dream saying goodbye to his favorite dreamer.
As for what my writing schedule is… well, it’s not really on a schedule. Life is crazy; we tend to be spontaneous, so free hours are unpredictable. It’s not so bad, however. My brain works a little like flickering lightbulb, so unpredictable is effective. I sort of startle it into creating.
3) What are your current literary works? Any sneak peeks?
Aside from The Christmas Dragon and Strings, I currently have a dark science-fantasy out called The Sundered, which explores the questions of what makes a life valuable and just how much its sacrifice is worth. In the works is Notte, an epic science-fantasy covering 15,000 years and following a man made to be a monster – a man who instead becomes the father of an entire new species.
6) What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
Notte, in fact. It’s enormous. It’s intimidating. It covers more generations and cultures than seems sane. I absolutely love it, and I think others will, too.
7) What is the story behind this great series?
It actually goes back to something I did as a child. I called it “mix-up stories,” and it was my response to the attempt by those around me to insist we play in one universe. Why couldn’t I combine Transformers and GI Joe and JEM and The Jungle Book? I wanted to, so I did.
Among the Mythos is essentially that, only all grown up. I love magic; I love science. I love history and archeology and space travel, so I put it all in there. Elves? Definitely. Aliens? Why not? It’s tons of fun, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turning out.
8) Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published?
Fanart! Somehow, my little stories have inspired people to do fanart, and that is the greatest compliment to me. My favorite stories all inspired me to write fan-works; that something I created can do that for others is a treat beyond compare.
9) What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. I like to quote Ira Glass on this (the video is here, if you haven’t seen it yet: http://youtu.be/PbC4gqZGPSY ). We get into creative work because we have good taste, but for the first few years, what we create just isn’t that good. THAT’S OKAY. It’s normal. The way to get past it is to keep creating, keep writing, and eventually, what you produce will line up with your taste.
10) If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
That’s a hard question. Would I have to be little old me in whatever world that was, or could I be a special character? Could I have powers? Would I be squished as the supervillain flew by?
I suppose right at this second, the one book I’d aim for is one of the Narnia ones, specifically to meet Aslan. Bizarre, I know, but see, it wouldn’t matter to Aslan if I were “special” or not. That’s a beautiful thing.
11) If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Stubborn As Hell and Too Shy to Talk About It.
12) What is your favorite scene in the book and why do you love it?
In The Christmas Dragon, the scene in the Crow King’s castle with the exploding birds. I just really feel Katie in that moment; everything is so over-the-top ridiculous that she’s about ready to start hitting things with a hammer, and I can’t help but find it funny.
In Strings, it’s the end, where Grey has to stand up to what he thought was his friend and save everybody, and it costs him. Grey is just not hero material; that he managed to be one in that moment is deeply significant.
13) What are your views regarding Indie vs. Traditional publishing; and do you have any predictions regarding the continuance of the E-Pub boom?
I think there’s room for both, depending on what’s being written. Traditional publishing is going to need to change, and soon, but there are young agents and editors slowly working toward those needed changes. Indie publishing – which I do – is incredibly rewarding, but limited without the backing of a company.
There are pros and cons in either camp, but I think the important thing to remember is people still read. They’ll get their stories however they have to. In fact, it’s a funny question to ask because I don’t think readers even think about this. They care about the book they get – the quality, whether it’s a good story, whether the characters tug their heart strings. They couldn’t care less who produced it, and I think once big publishers figure that out, they’ll be willing to make more (needed) compromises.
14) Future projects?
Notte, which is an absolutely huge project. Here’s the quick info: “Cursed to become a weapon to destroy mankind, Notte has a long path ahead of him. He was designed to be infectious, and designed to be violent, but his creators forgot one thing: they forgot to remove his soul.”
15) Any collaboration? If so, who?
Not yet, though I’d love to do it.
16) How do you juggle your many responsibilities?
By dropping things every once in a while! I’m still learning how to say “no.”
17) What do you do when you want to relax, let hair down?
I read. Yeah, I know, more words? Really? Yep. Reading is just about my favorite thing to do.
18) What’s next?
Marketing: This blog tour, naturally. My biggest goal is to finish Notte, and then explore my options. Publishing changes so quickly these days that it feels foolish to make a concrete plan for this when I don’t know what will be available in a few months.
Strategies: Being myself. The best sales I’ve made have not been when I was trying to promote, but just jabbering away on Twitter, or helping other writers out.
Techniques: I’m not even sure what this refers to. I write with Scrivener and Word, if that helps.
Platforms (What works best for you?): Twitter and Amazon are my two best selling-tools so far.
Advice: Don’t quit, like I said. Make your writing as good as it can be, and then move on to the next project. Don’t get stuck!
Fun Stuff: Did I mention I love popcorn? That popcorn is my favorite food? That I would eat it every day if I dared? Also (and unrelated), I have cats, which I also love, but are not for eating.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? This isn’t that unusual, but I write best with music. I suppose it comes from growing up on movies, but appropriate music can move a scene along like nobody’s business.
Hobbies: Photography! I love to take pictures.
Strangest location to write: Oh, I have a good one. In our recent move, the movers somehow broke all our furniture. End result: mattress on the floor in the living room, which thereby became bed, table, sofa, everything. That’s where I wrote for nearly a month.
Research (How/where/ and how much): Tons. It’s part of wanting my fantasy-world to have an authentic feel. There needs to be JUST enough truth in it for it to fly.
Craziest research trip: When I was in college, my choir went to the UK. Scotland is a place I’d always wanted to see, and visiting in in person just cemented that love.
Playlist: I have a lot of them. They’re scattered all over (8tracks, Grooveshark, and more), but my current favorites can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2BlPvO67GbySjeYXKmElKg/playlists
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Indie author Ruthanne Reid writes about elves, aliens, vampires, and space-travel with equal abandon. She is the author of the series Among the Mythos, and believes good stories should be shared. Subscribe to her free email newsletter for free books and more at http://amongthemythos.com.
You can connect with her on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ruthannereid), Facebook (http://facebook.com/mythos), or Tumblr (http://ruthannereid.tumblr.com), where she looks at too many kittens and Avengers blogs.
Ruthanne’s love of magic, urban environments, and deep space birthed a strange world with undercurrents of faith, magic, villainy, and heroism (along with swords and lasers, on occasion). Among the Mythos showcases aliens with all-too-human feelings, entire societies on the decline due to greed and fear, protagonists who might actually be the bad guys (or vice-versa), and endings every bit as messy as the world that creates them.
Ruthanne knows from experience that endings are messy. No matter how exotic the setting, how many limbs the characters have or what (if any) genders, the problems and questions addressed by a good story are very real, and that’s why they have power. If she has a theme, it is this: keep fighting, and keep pushing toward hope, because the struggle is worth the finish-line.
Buy Links for The Christmas Dragon:
Buy Links for Strings: