But when you've fallen off your dragon at two thousand feet, you're probably going to be, all the same. And if you're a trainee dragonrider, you'll be afraid sooner. A lot sooner.
For Gaile Ashworthey and her fellow students, getting into the course at the Dragon Research Centre had been easy, even if some had travelled half-way across the galaxy to do so. Who didn't want to be a rider. To soar through the sky on their very own dragon?
There's unfortunately one major drawback. Gaile suffers from terrible vertigo and gets dizzy even on the first rung of a ladder. Nor is "teamwork" one of her specialities.
That wouldn't be so bad if "team" wasn't the very definition of a dragon and rider or that it's up to the dragon to choose their partner, and they're notoriously difficult creatures to impress.
But when, after the latest setback, Gaile decides to track down the "Ghost" she ends up setting off a chain of events that'll show that being Strong, Courageous and Tall isn't the only way to prove your worth...
Do you love dragons? Are you between 9 and 90 years old?
Whether you've arrived after a long and arduous journey across the lands unknown or you've been as close as a simple click away, welcome to you all.
Here you'll find the science fantasy novel "Academia Draconia" eagerly awaiting the chance to sweep you away to worlds beyond. There's only one rule to continue on this journey - vigilance. You never know what might hide around the next corner - a hungry dragon or a tasty treat.
"Academia Draconia" is a science-fantasy (as opposed to a straight SF or Fantasy) novel set in the vast Seven Stars Universe.
Aside from the dreaded question of "what is the book about" where my mind will, always and without fail, go completely blank and result in some incomprehensible gibberish from my end - there is also its close kin "who is your target demography? Who should be picking this up and reading it?"
Let's see if we can define both of those a little better.
Q What is the book about?
A The simplest, literary, way to describe the major theme, I think, would be; as a "Coming of age" + a little bit of a "Journey of discovery" story.
A The simplest, everyday, way would be to think of it as "How to train your dragon - in space and without the vikings". Only in our case, it really should be "how to train your rider" instead ;-)
Thank you, Cressida, finally, for the first time in my life, I have something to actually compare one of my stories with rather than rambling on trying to describe the plot in detail and get horribly lost and completely loose my audience. And yes, that happens.
Q Who should/could read this?
A Do you love dragons? Are you between 9 and 90 years old?Do you love dragons in all their shapes and sizes. Good. Then this book is for you. As for your age, well, I've always been a firm believer in that a good story is a good story, end of story. Real Life tends to not be quite that simple though, so in terms of difficulty and reading levels; if you have no trouble with the reading of, or the contents in, the later books in the Harry Potter series, then you should have no difficulty with either of those in this book.
So far so good, Tam thought. Whatever sigh of relief he had been about to breathe stuck in his throat though as, at speed, something shot over them, catching them all in the downdraft.
Looked like they might not have to wait so long after all.
Tam shaded his eyes and narrowed them as the dragon turned out of the sun. Oh drat, he thought. Not him. Anyone but him...
The dragon executed a complex stalled roll and landed heavily a bit further away, still moving. It slowed down into a brisk trot while coming towards them.
A trotting dragon covered an awful lot of ground ... fast.
'Guys... I don't think he's gonna stop...' someone called out, sending the group scattering, eager to get out of the way.
'My turn,' Jim cried out, already running towards the rapidly approaching red. Compared to the blue that had just departed, this one was several classes above her, both in size and weight and, judging from the way they moved, experience.
Without either of them slowing down, Jim grabbed on to the rope being trailed from the saddle and, using their opposing momentum, half swung, half climbed into the saddle far above.
With the ease of a trick-rider performing their favourite stunt, there was only the briefest of heartbeats before a loud 'Yeaaaah!' echoed over them. The paler wings of the large dragon flexed and, having never actually come to a stop, it launched itself back into the air - following up with a barrel roll the moment they were clear of the platform.
'Yahooo!' the new rider cried out, exhilaration in his voice.
'Jim! I said no antics,' Tam shouted after the rapidly disappearing pair.
This was exactly what he was supposed to be here to prevent. Typical. Trust Bloodbringer to throw a spanner in the wheels. They should have named him "Fool" instead ... or "Bloody Stupid", yes, that'd suit him, Tam fumed. Those two must have been planning that little stunt for ages.
He turned stern eyes on the rest of them, who were clearly awed judging by their expressions.
'Did you see that?'
'Yeah ... awesome.'
'Think I could try that too?'
Who are you?
Aside from the mad, scribbling, muse-chasing personage that every writer and author down the history has been, you mean?
What can I say? I've been writing my whole life.
A little while ago, when relocating from Scotland to Sweden, I decided to take the plunge and do what I've always wanted to do; set up a publishing company of my very own and actually DO something about that multitude of characters and stories that populate my imagination (not to mention my notebooks, random napkins with unintelligible scribbles on them and so forth).
For now DQ is small (everything has to start somewhere, I mean, even the mightiest dragon comes from a tiny egg) and I do pretty much everything around here, but I hope it'll one day grow into something that'll be able to publish other authors too. For with books is where my heart truly lies.
Q Is "Academia Draconia" your first book?
A Short answer: no. Long answer: Not per-se. I self-published two books back when self-publishing was young and green (well, younger and greener anyway) and me as well. They were called "Dawn of the Winds" and "Wolf's Bane" and I imagine that the deposit copies with the National Library of Scotland are the only ones left out there in public.
Q There's a different name on the book than in the kickstarter bio, why?
A That'd be because while publisher and author happens to be the same person, I use a nom-de-plume for writing. For one thing, I do hope, one day, to be able to publish others and it wouldn't make any sense (not to mention be outright wrong) to do it under my own name - but, more importantly, have you tried pronouncing my given name? Loudspeaker announcements, for instance, not fun. Now, imagine sticking that on a book?
Who has been involved?
Now, I might run DQ as a solo operation, but to bring a book to life in a good way, you really need more than one person. So come and meet the main creative cast involved in this little endeavour at different points along the way.
This'd be me; Author, Publisher, Mad Chaser of Muses at Three AM in the Morning and so on and so forth...
Ashley's the epitome of the eagle-eyed editor without whom no writer should be without. No errors shall escape her sight!
Juliane is the talented artist behind the wonderful cover art of "Academia Draconia" who never ceases to amaze me every time she picks up a brush.
Mesteno drew the lovely character interpretations and if you think those are nice, you should see her real works ...
Now, for something that I hope will amuse you as much as it does me (and if this doesn't show that we're living in a much smaller and connected world than ever before, I don't know what would :-)
ScribeCat lives in Canada and Nightpark in Germany. Mesteno's in Romania and DragonQuill recently relocated from Scotland to Sweden. The printer/bookbinder is located in France and the printers of the rewards can be found in Holland and Sweden respectively. And, of course, let's not forget Kickstarter; representing the US. Quite the international bunch, wouldn't you say?
- The Book. All 454 pages of it in hardback. Signed, linen bound and with gold spine-text that's lovely enough in book terms, but this one also comes bound in a dust jacket for extra protection (though that jacket really should be protected in its own right, don't you think?) and will look right at home on any bookshelf, anywhere, anytime.
- The E-book. For those who prefer to build their library in the digital realm.
A sticker featuring the most mischievous and devious dragonling that's ever graced a book's pages; any book. Do not feed after midnight.
Art print. At 21 x 15 cm this print of the dust jacket is small enough to stick almost anywhere (and it'll fit snugly inside the covers of the book for extra protection on its journey to you, as well - no "death by postman" for it) yet big enough to have lots and lots of detail.
Bookmarks. At 14 x 5 cm they're the perfect size for a pocket book (if you, like me, don't like them bending when you shove the book into the nearest bag, back-pack etc). They and are a bit redder than their art print cousins above. More of a sunset vibe than a sunrise one. They come plain or with a silk band adornment - mostly blue, but I do have some other colours as well. There's a limited number of these.
Mousepads. Originally, I got myself one of these because my mouse kept snagging on the old one (excuse me, ancient one) and I have a serious soft spot for the character featured, but it turned out so well, I thought, why not share it? It's very supple and has a lovely colour - especially considering the absorbency of the material. It's about 23 x 19.5 cm.
SIGNED Art prints. A limited number of art prints come signed by Nightpark herself. These will be shipped down to Germany and back before joining their books and then be sent on to you as a complete package.
Art prints - the red version. Remember the bookmarks? This is the art print version. They're lovely in their own right, just not what I wanted - but if you like stronger colours and more of a wow factor, then these are for you. There's only a limited number and they're only available as an add-on (unless they prove to be really popular, in which case I'll make a tier for them/you).
- Faux leather-bound edition. Yes, you heard (excuse me, read) that right. An edition of AD, bound in faux leather, with a silk bookmark and a metal adornment. The first three will come with the metal dragon shown in the image below, the other two with a metal leaf or branch. It also still comes with the original dustcover (as that's loose), so you'll still get that lovely cover art to enjoy and protect your book.
Now, here's the fun part. Because I make these myself (the binding that is, not the materials involved. If I did, we'd be here until next century or so), there are a few choices available.
There are three different covers to choose from.
- Dark brown: This fake leather is very robust and heavy, lending a wonderful old-fashioned tome type of feel to the book.
- Dark green: Same as above, just a different colour.
- Tin: With a metallic sheen, it's wonderfully supple and thin, I can make some nice relief adornments with this. It's also light and easy to work with.
- Metal adornments: The first three will come with the dragon showed in the picture above (unless you specifically tell me you'd rather not have it, but, come on, it's a dragon...) and the two remaining ones with a metal leaf or branch - unless I can lay my paws on some more dragons (which was one of those lucky 'stumble across the last in a shop' kind of finds).
Please note, I'm a complete amateur when it comes to leather book-binding but on the upside, you'll get something handcrafted by the author and since I'm doing one of these for my own copy (the one on the image above is the proof copy of the book as most of my shelf-adorning friends still haven't been unpacked from the move yet) I thought it'd be nice to share if others enjoyed these as well. I'll keep hunting for nice materials to work with (moving from a capital city to the countryside, that's easier said than done. While I love the internet, these things really are easier to buy when you can touch them and tell if they're right for you). These three faux leathers are all vinyl+textile based - so if I find something new that I think would be interesting, I'll make sure to update this.
Every physical item other than the faux leather-bound tome and the signed art prints are available as add-ons (whether you'd like an extra copy of the book for xmas or just another bookmark, I'll try to accommodate everyone). Just double-check with me first before you add anything for any changes in pledge amounts and/or postage.
What hides behind this? Well, we'll just have to wait and see, won't we? ;-) There could be interesting ones; cute ones; funny ones or even epic ones - let's see which will be released upon the world, shall we :-) and, in the meantime...
Stretchgoal #1 150% ☺☺UNLOCKED☺☺
We've reached this so soooooon!! It's incredible. Well, it is for me anyway *makes happy noises*.
Since we didn't just reach 150% but we funded early too, I'll write something a little extra special, just for backers. Ever felt like you wanted to take a peek behind the scene and see what the characters of a story get up to when they're not working? This'll be your chance to do just that.
And rather than just going with what I would think would be fun, I'll even let all of you choose what type of scene you'd prefer the most (in the backer survey) from a number of options.
I don't know about you - but I'm excited about this (since I never know what my characters will get up to, writing for me is quite the adventure.
Stretchgoal #2 250% ☺☺UNLOCKED☺☺
Wow, 200% was just passed by 300% at something approaching lightspeed. One of those "blink and you'll miss it" moments, it's best countered by a stretchgoal that is nice and solid and not likely to escape any time soon.
So, I'll add the names, and the acknowledgements that go with them, of every marvellous person who has helped bring this project about to the book's webpage (since the book itself is already proofed and approved for printing) lest no one forget who made this all possible. YOU! (unless, of course, you'd rather I didn't, I'll make sure to ask in the survey).
Stretchgoal #3 ☺☺UNLOCKED☺☺
Well, that went fast. Just when I think you guys can't surprise me any more you go an do just that.
To celebrate. Everyone gets a copy of the lovely wallpaper I made for myself of AD (several sizes to fit several types of monitors) and I hope you all love it as much as I do.
Stretchgoal #4 ☺☺LOCKED☺☺
Risks and challenges
The first thing that comes to mind are potential delays. Careful planning has, hopefully, made these possibilities minimal, but there’s always a chance they might go awry regardless (best laid plans and all that).
Saying that, the first proof of the hardback has already been printed and the revised version is inbound any day now. So what might any delay be then? There are two things that come to mind: Issues with the printing process at the printers themselves (which I can do very little about) and the ever famous shipping and postal delays (don't we all just love them?). A month should be plenty of time for the books to be printed, shipped to DQ, repackaged along with any treats and goodies, and then placed in the tender care of the postal service to, hopefully, arrive promptly at their destinations around the world.
There is a small amount of the rewards already printed (I always check the quality of any goodies offered 'before' offering them, hence why a few things were nixed this time around) and any additional numbers needed should take little time to process, but, again - shipping and printing delays can occur as non of the printing occurs in-house.
The kickstarter goal has also been set deliberately low so that there should be no trouble meeting it and therefor not, by some random stroke of bad luck, leave a lot of backers looking forward to their draconic new friends, emptyhanded by not funding this little venture.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)