WHY I LOVE THE DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES

If you are a regular reader then I'm sure you are already aware, but I'm in the middle of writing my first fantasy novel called Then a Penguin Walked In.

You weren't aware? Well, good news, you can read it while I write it, just go HERE.

Anyway, I have great love for the fantasy genre. In fact, you could say that I cut my reading teeth on fantasy. I mean, from age twelve all the way up through my early thirties, fantasy books were pretty much the only thing I read (apart from Douglas Adams, Stephen King, and the occasional Star Wars book).Yet, to be honest, I don't read much of it anymore.

But then, last summer, I began to get the kernels of an idea for Then a Penguin Walked In, and it got me all nostalgic for the books of my youth. So I've been trying, since then, to go back and read all those old books I'd read many times before. But here's the thing, I'd gotten rid of most of those books long, long ago. So it took a bit of doing, and the local library, to track some of this stuff down . . . and I've barely touched the surface.

However, what I started with was all three books from the Dragonlance Chronicles, and I got them on audio. So, to celebrate my first foray into the genre that got me started reading, I thought it would be fun to go back and visit those old tales, and then talk about them here.

I mean, these books were a huge part of my life from almost 20 years. They are a big part of who I am and how I write. So how about I share the love.


Full disclosure: Though I am a writer, when it comes to collecting my thoughts on the books I love, and then putting those thoughts down on paper, well, I've never been able to fully articulate that love in any kind of adequate fashion. Certainly not in a way that truly speaks to the passion I have for these books, and believe me, any book I talk about here, I have great love for.

So please keep that in mind as you go further.

Now, most lovers of fantasy will probably tell you that they got into the genre through Lord of the Rings. Not all of them, but most . . . at least most of those I've talked to over the years.

While I was aware of the Lord of the Rings when I first started reading novels for pleasure (the 1977 Rankin and Bass Hobbit animated movie being a big favorite of mine), I was introduced to the fantasy genre through Dungeons and Dragons.

More specifically, the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

Technically, I'd read the Hobbit (thanks to that Rankin and Bass cartoon) a few times before really diving in whole hog on this whole love for reading thing, but we'll get to that one later.

But in essence, the Dragonlance Chronicles were my Lord of the Rings. It was the series that made me want to read more, and then more, and then more and more and more.

The Dragonlance Chronicles are made up of three books: Dragons of Autumn Twilight published in November of 1984, Dragons of Winter Night published in July of 1985, and Dragons of Spring Dawning published in September of 1985.

My older brother, who was the D&D guy in the house, bought the books back when they were coming out, and in a fit of kindness, allowed me to read them.

Well, I was hooked. Here was a band of characters, some friends, some strangers, who are thrown together simply by being the in the wrong place at the wrong time, and due to a certain set of circumstances, find that it's up to them to go out and save the world of Krynn, the fantasy world where all of the Dragonlance stories take place.

Among our heroes you had the frail young wizard who walked the line between good and evil, his muscle-packed twin bother who would do anything for him, a noble knight, an aging irascible dwarf, a lovable Kender who didn't mean to steal everything in site (though he always did), a beautiful barbarian cleric and the barbarian warrior who loved her as much as she loved him, an elven princess who left the comfort of home for love, and the half elf that led them all.

During the series our band of heroes fight monsters and goblins and dragon men and dragons and evil spirits and all the stuff that made a fan of movies like Dragonslayer, Conan the Destroyer, Krull, and the Beastmaster very nearly swoon in sword swinging pleasure.

I mean, let's face it, my hungry early teen brain fell in love.

Caramon Majere is may favorite character in the series. I've always drifted toward the strong guy, be it fantasy novels or superhero teams. But Caramon was more than just the thick-headed muscle man. His compassion for his twin brother showed that beyond his joy at bashing monsters, he had a big heart.

Tasselhof Burfoot, the kleptomaniac Kender, is also one of my favorites. Not only do I sway toward the strong guy, I also enjoy the small agile archetype as well. Plus, Tasselhof was a laugh riot, especially when teamed up with Flint the dwarf or Fizban the absent minded wizard.

Tasselhof is also of a race unique to the world of Krynn. Basically, take a hobbit, slim him/her down, give them normal feet, and make them thieves who don't consider what they do as "stealing" but "finding what someone must have dropped", add in a supernatural ability to feel no fear, and you have the Kender. They are the nuisance race on Krynn that you can't help but love.


The copies my brother owned were the copies pictured above with the Larry Elmore covers. I still have the first one, though the cover has since come off.

Larry Elmore was the man as far as I was concerned when it came to fantasy book covers, and later in life I had a hard time picking up books that didn't have covers like his. Being a fan of comics as well, I loved seeing a fully fleshed out image of the characters I was reading about on the cover of the book.

After the Dragonlance Chronicles came the Dragonlance Tales, then there was the Meetings Sextet, Heroes, Heroes II, and so forth and so on.

Dragonlance then led me to the Forgotten Realms and the crap ton of books written by R. A. Salvatore that featured a dark elf gone good by the name of Drizzt Do'Urden.

To tease what's coming up next, I have the entire Belgariad and Malloreon by David Eddings to talk about. Then the Hobbit. I also have the Icewind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore on deck to read, as well as the greatest fantasy comic of all time, ElfQuest.




**Dragonlance logo artwork by BANESBOX

READ AN EBOOK WEEK MEANS FREE BOOKS!



This week is Read an Ebook Week over at Smashwords. That means, this week only, you have access to a crap ton of ebooks at deep discounts, and many of them are free.

Mine, for example, are free.

Yeah, that's right, FREE!

Holliday's Gold, the Walrus of Death, and the Church of Minos are all free this week only, and only at Smashwords.

Just click the links below and use the coupon code SFREE. It's just that easy!

Click here to get Holliday's Gold for free using the coupon code SFREE

Click here to get the Walrus of Death for free using the coupon code SFREE

Click here to get the Church of Minos for free using the coupon code SFREE


Tell all your friends!


MEET LUNA LOVEGOOD RONALDO ORR

Just after Christmas, we had a new addition to the Orr family.

She has been named Luna Lovegood Ronaldo Orr.



She's a wacky little hamster who enjoys moving her bedding about, running for ten minutes strectches in her wheel into the wee hours of the night, and twitching her nose at such tremendous speeds that I've often thought of hooking up a few cables to her and powering the house.

Plus, she has this cute little heart shape in her fur.


THE COMING OF THE PIÑATA

I'm sure I've talked about this before, but I'm working on a comic with my good friend, artist Harold C. Jennett III.

If you've ever clicked any of the tabs above, you'd know that the two of us have collaborated before on the web comic Our Adventure Continues. If you didn't know that, click the link and read through what we have up there, because there could possibly be more coming along at some point. But that's not what this is about.

No, this is about The Mighty Piñata.

Harold has been working away at the pages and frankly, I can't wait to show this thing to everyone because I think it's going to be something pretty darn great.

In the meantime, he put together some teaser art and I wanted to share it with y'all.

So, here it is.


WHY I LOVE HUMAN DISASTER BY MIKAL KHILL

I just finished listening to Mikal kHill's newest release, Human Disaster. Twice, actually . . . in a row.

Having done so, I wanted to share my thoughts.

Now, I've probably said this before, but when it come to reviewing something, be it a television show, movie, comic, album, or book, I'm not very good at it. I know what I love, I'm just not all that great of explaining why I love it. But I'm going to do my best here. Just know this one simple fact. Human Disaster is a great album and I am a big fan of Mikal KHill.

And there's a reason I'm a fan . . . dude can write.


Before I get into the LP, for those not aware of who Mikal kHill is, here's his bio from Bandcamp:

I make nerdcore rap about videogames, zombies, and feeling bad.

Co-creator of the Browncoats Mixtape & Slytherin Mixtape with Adam WarRock. 1/4th of NOFRIENDS. Founder of the ThoughtCriminals.

Straight from the gate, track one, Badlands, the beat booms out of my ear buds and I can't help but bob my head.

The beat/music is a big thing for me. I mean, you can have great lyrics, you can rhyme with the best of them, but if you're doing all that on top of weak beats then I'm never going to hear word one.

I don't know if he writes all the beats and music himself, but Mikal kHill has some of the best beats in the business. I mean, maybe it's my ear buds, but this album straight up thunders in my ears.

Take track five, Daddy Works. The beat is simple, but elegant. It proves what I've been saying for a long time (not here, but I have been saying it): Less is more. Not always, you have to do it right, and Mikal kHill does it spot on with this track.

And the lyrics? Well, I'll use Daddy Works again. I'm a father of three, and I work two jobs, meaning I'm not around as much as I'd like. Daddy Works hits me on so many levels and the song makes me want to jump in my car and speed home.

Another track that stands out to me is Spent our Lives on Fire featuring Tribe One. This one may very well be my favorite song on the album.

A common theme of Nerdcore rap is sharing the spotlight. Meaning, guest rappers and/or singers. And Human Disaster has it's fair share.

Tribe One, Ceschi Ramos, cecilnick of Autocorrect, Sulfur, Clara Bizna$$, Shane Hall, and RUUNE all send some time with Mikal kHill on this LP. Tribe One and Sulfur are two of my favorite Mikal kHill colaborators. The others, I'm encountering for the first time on this album, but I'm going to be keeping an eye out for them.

So there it is, my thoughts on Human Disaster. Why do I love it? Because it hits all my buttons for rap: Great lyrics, rhymes, flows, beats, and music.

If you're a fan of rap music, you should check out Human Disaster.

You can preview it here by clicking this link.

Or just click the album cover: