Monday, December 10, 2012

BIR2012: The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson - Guest Post & GIveaway


My Last book I chose that I love is The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson!  This is the third book in a series.  Resa agreed to do a guest post! Don't forget to check out the BIR schedule!!  And here's Resa Nelson!
****About the Book****
The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson
Published Date: May 2012
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: YA

The Story: In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon.
Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.
Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them. Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world.
Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.
****Guest post****

Deciding When One Book Becomes a Series by Resa Nelson
 
I never meant to write a series. It happened by accident. Or maybe a twist of fate.
Many years ago I wrote a short story called “The Dragonslayer's Sword” about a female blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, and that story was published in Science Fiction Age magazine. Like many authors, writing helps me work through my problems, and I'd written this story after a co-worker (a married man with two young children) propositioned me. I thought my co-worker and I had been friends only to realize he had ulterior motives, so I ended up feeling horrified, betrayed, and duped. I felt good after writing the story and even better after I sold it and saw it in print! I moved forward, assuming that story was done and I'd never have any reason to think about it again.

A couple of years later, Science Fiction Age ran a Readers Top 10 poll and asked their subscribers to name the story they'd enjoyed the most. I paid no attention. After all, the survey required people to fill in the blank, which meant they had to remember the title. I assumed that after two years no one would remember my story, much less the title!

I was wrong.

My story placed 2nd in the Top 10 Stories. That's the first thing that caught my attention. Next, my editor forwarded a letter from a bookstore manager who wanted to know how to buy my novel, saying that customers kept coming into his store wanting to buy my Dragonslayer novel - but I hadn't written a novel, only a short story!

If those two things hadn't happened - placing 2nd in the Readers Top 10 poll and getting the letter from the bookstore owner - I never would have the short story into a novel. And once I started writing that novel (also called The Dragonslayer's Sword), I began to realize the world I'd created was rich enough and the story complex enough to support two or three more books. Here's why.
Some of my characters are shapeshifters. Editors and readers have told me I'm doing something with shapeshifting they've never seen before: shapeshifting is all about emotion and perception. For example, if someone is kind to you and you have the warm fuzzies toward them, your feelings will make that person look more attractive immediately. The opposite is true: negative feelings toward others make them look ugly on the spot.

I didn't want to create a world where people run around changing the way everyone else looks. So there's an unwritten law that you always have the right to change yourself, but you don't have the right to change other people. That means my characters have to hold their feelings to themselves to prevent them from having an impact on others. This law dovetails with what I wanted to do thematically. My main character Astrid is chewed up and spit out by a dragon when she's a little girl, which leaves her entire body covered in scars. What Astrid learns in Book 1 is that she must decide who she is before she can stand up inside her own skin. As I began working with this theme (the idea that everyone has the power to choose what kind of person they are), I wanted to explore it on a deeper level and in different ways. I also began to suspect there was more to shapeshifting than I first believed.

More than anything else, the dragons in Book 1 sealed the deal of my deciding to turn one book into a series. There are two types of dragons in my Dragonslayer world. One is an overgrown lizard that's as dangerous as a grizzly bear. It's important to kill these lizards because they kill people and destroy crops. The other type of dragon is intelligent and can take the shape of either a dragon or a mortal. My main character Astrid encounters these shapeshifting dragons in Book 1 and is the only mortal who knows they exist. Everyone else assumes all dragons are dangerous and must be killed. At the end of Book 1, I didn't feel ready to reveal my secrets about shapeshifting dragons. I knew the big story about these dragons, and I didn't want to rush through it. It made more sense for me to keep writing about Astrid and send her on different kinds of adventures that would change her opinions and the way she sees the world and the people who live in it.

In other words, I knew Astrid needed to change before she would be able to understand the shapeshifting dragons and what they want from her.

Deciding to turn my short story into a novel happened because the people who read it wanted a novel.  Deciding to turn one book into a four-book series happened because I saw the potential to delve deeper into the Dragonslayer world, characters, and theme. Writing this series has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I've learned a lot from it. The irony is that I now see the potential for a spin-off Dragonslayer series! So who knows … there may be even more to the story.

You can read my original Dragonslayer short story (plus a second short story I wrote in the same world) in a free mini ebook called Dragonslayer Stories. It's a simple download at http://www.resanelson.com/files -- there's no information gathering or obligation.

****Giveaway****

Resa and her publisher have both contributed a book.  One a copy of her first book: The Dragonslayer's Sword signed.  And the other a copy of The Stone of Darkness!  Open to US residents.  And winner must respond within 48hrs.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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