Watch out dragons... Here be Aaron!

Aaron Gray and the Dragon War Is now available as a book and ebook.

Aaron is a brat, which is understandable after everything he's been through. He also sees dragons when he hums, which isn't understandable by anyone, ever. He soon gets sucked into the dragons' dangerous war, where his only defences are his embarrassingly magical fingernails, and a fierce, ten-year-old girl.

Available everywhere across the world! Check out goodreads / amazon uk / amazon us / barnes & noble / book depository or your favourite book or ebook retailer.

Friday, 28 April 2017

I've been interviewed!

I've been interviewed on Margaret Egrot's excellent blog, "Writing and Breathing". Margaret is a fellow Coventry author (we met at Coventry Writer's Group) and together we're going to conquer the world of child protection related fiction!



Do pop over and have a read of the whole interview, and thank you, Margaret, for your insightful questions.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Letter to Mr Gray

A letter that was sent during the first few chapters of Aaron Gray and the Dragon War

I imagine Mrs Seeger's going to have a bad day when he turns up to the office.



Monday, 24 April 2017

St George

Let me start by saying that I don't condone the killing of dragons in any way. But since I covered St David's Day I thought it only fair to tell the story of St George, the dragon killer.


The Saint George story dates back at least as long ago as the 13th century, where it was included in a book all about saints known as the Golden Legend. That story was all in Latin though, so it wasn't that easy to understand. Instead, here's my version.

A long long time ago, there lived a soldier called George. He was probably born in Turkey but nobody's quite sure, but one day he turned up in a village that had a dragon in it.

Nobody really liked this dragon. It flew around, destroying the countryside and eating what it could. The villagers realised they could stop it doing too much damage if they kept it fed, so they fed it two sheep every day. This was fine, except they soon ran out of sheep.

What do you do when you run out of sheep? Send up some pigs? Horses? Some other animals? Presumably the village was still eating something, so they could easily have sent something else to the dragon. But no, for some reason the village decided to send the dragon a human child to eat. Every day, a different child, chosen at random. They pretty much held a raffle, "And today's winner is eight-year0old Daniel from the farmer's cottage. Your prize is a one-way trip to somewhere hot. That's right, the dragon's mouth!"

Nobody knows how the dragon felt about the change in his diet, but it ate the kids anyway. I don't know what would have happened when they ran out of kids, maybe try cabbages? Or the elderly? Anyway one day it got really bad because the local princess won the raffle (Villages in those days all had a princess in them). The king decided enough was enough now that his own daughter was going to be eaten, and promised to marry her off to anyone who could kill the dragon. Luckily this was the same day that George came into town.

According to the story in the Golden legend, he didn't just ride up and kill the dragon. First, he asked the princess for the garter that was holding up one of her tights and stuck it around the dragon's neck. The dragon was so embarrassed about wearing the princess's underwear that it obediently followed George into the village.

By the time the dragon had got to the village it was getting a bit tetchy, and the villagers were a little bit scared that they were all about to get toasted. At this point George could have killed the dragon, but he held out a little bit longer.

"I could kill the dragon," he said, "Or I could set it free and let it have a village barbecue. If you want me to kill it then you all need to become Christians"

"But we thought religion was a personal choice," shouted the villagers.

"No it isn't, become Christians or I'll murder you at dragonpoint" said George.

"Oh alright then" said the villagers, and George killed the dragon. Then he was made a saint because of all the Christians he had made.

THE END.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The best reviews are from the kids!

Just to share this lovely review that I got on Amazon:



Hooray! Aaron Gray and the Dragon War is a children's book that actual ten-year-olds actually enjoy. And ten-year-old boys too, who are traditionally a tough crowd to please! 

This makes me very happy!

In answer to your question, I know what's going to happen in book two and have written lots of notes about it. In May I'm going to sit down and carefully turn it into a proper story. Then I need to edit it a million times and get it ready for publishing. I think it's going to all be ready for you to read it in October 2018, which isn't that long at all when you think about it.

In the meantime, there are short stories and other things related to Breveny every Wednesday on this blog, plus other stuff every Monday and Friday. You're welcome to have a look!

Best wishes

David


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

An update on Hilary Hobgoblin

Hilary Hobgoblin is still enjoying his second adventure on twitter (At least I hope he is, he's a moody old thing so it's hard to tell!) He went to see Cecil the dragon and arrived shortly after Alec and the kids had left on their adventures. I would imagine he's going to stay a few steps behind them, and see all the messes they're leaving behind. Do pop over and have a look at Brevenynews! - I think he'd probably like a few more followers.

Monday, 17 April 2017

La Tanière du Dragon

In the fluffy fairytale land of Disneyland Paris is a bright pink fairytale castle. But underneath that castle, is the bestest animatronic dragon ever made!



Here's some of my favourite facts about this dragon. Most information is stolen from https://www.designingdisney.com/content/designing-fantasyland-dragon-lair if you want to know more.

1) It's big!

The dragon measures 89 feet from head to toe, and when it was built it was the world's largest animatronic figure.

2) It's friends with Merlin

Although the castle at Disneyland Paris is known as Sleeping Beauty's, the official story is that she shares it with Merlin (which is why there's Merlin themed stores on the lower level). Merlin and the dragon met one day and didn't realise they were supposed to be enemies, they made friends and the dragon moved into the cellar.

3) It moves when it's asleep too!

The tail and feet move when the dragon is asleep. Just like a cat or a dog.

4) New technology was needed to build the dragon and its lair

Disney not only developed animatronics generally and made this dragon possible, but also designed a new system to make the caves smokey without poisoning or smoking out the guests. The resultant smoke machines are the size of four sugar cubes.

5) I call him Cecil.

If you don't know why, then you obviously haven't read Aaron Gray and the Dragon War!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Guest Bloggers Needed!

I would like to take a moment to offer you an exciting opportunity!

In May I'll be busy finishing the first draft of Breveny book 2, Aaron Gray and the <cough cough cough cough>, which means I'll have less time to keep the blog updated. Therefore if you have anything you would like to say to the thousands of people who visit my blog each month (no seriously, there are thousands. I don't understand why either.) then now is your chance.

Usually the blog updates three times a week. Mondays are usually to do with real life things that are kind of related to Breveny. For example dragons across the world or in other books, interesting things about children in care, that kind of thing, so if you want to share something interesting that you know, then Monday is your day. Wednesday is usually additional information to do with Breveny itself, so this is when I post quizzes and stories and other tit-bits. Friday is when I respond to things that have happened, messages I've been sent, or ask for your help with things.

I'm not wedded to this format, so if you have anything you want to talk about, then please do get in touch!

David

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Short Story Excerpt: CCTV

Another Short Scene from another angle of Aaron Gray and the Dragon War... I thought we'd pay another visit to Mrs Seeger.

“You can’t find him?” Mrs Seeger’s hands were shaking so much she could feel the phone vibrating against her ear. “But he always goes into town, that’s how we knew he was…”

She couldn’t bring herself to say the word “safe”. Aaron wasn’t safe. He was missing. Properly missing.

“I know,” the staff member from the care home said, using the same false calm voice that Mrs Seeger used when trying to reassure panicking parents. “But we’ll find him. He was seen catching the bus straight after he left here, and we’ve asked the bus company for their CCTV so we can see where he got off.”

“Right, so who’s at the bus company?”

“I was just going down now, I’m meeting the police there in half an hour.”

“Okay, good. So what have the police said so far?”

“Not much. They seem to think it’s normal behaviour for Aaron, but they’re keeping a lookout.

Mrs Seeger could hear her voice raising. “It’s not normal behaviour for Aaron. I mean sure he’s ran away before but he’s never disappeared. We’ve always been able to find him.”

“I know. I’ll let you know more when I’ve seen the CCTV.”

“No you won’t. I’m coming too. I’ll meet you outside the bus office.”

Mrs Seeger put down the phone before the staff member could object. She drove to the main office of the bus company as quickly as she could and arrived at the same time as the police officer. The care home staff member arrived twenty minutes later, carrying a take-away coffee cup. They went inside, and after brief introductions were shown to a room with a colour TV screen. They watched in silence, the only sounds being a nearby computer and the slurp of take-away coffee.

Mrs Seeger watched the screen as Aaron calmly boarded the bus, chatting to a young girl about the same age as him, with shoulder length brown hair and large blue eyes. Later some slightly older children boarded the bus, and Mrs Seeger could see Aaron tense. She wondered if they had anything to do with his disappearance. A few moments later Aaron was laughing and opening the bus window. The screen appeared to skip slightly and Aaron and the girl vanished.

“Wait. What happened there? Can we rewind?” Mrs Seeger found a rewind button on the console in front of her and watched again as the two children vanished. “Are we missing some video?”

“No. Look at the timestamp,” said the police officer. It’s all there, and none of the other passengers have moved.

“So what, they just vanished then?” snapped Mrs Seeger.

“No… Well I don’t know, but we’ll find out.” The policeman paused the video. “At any rate we know their whereabouts up until this point, and we know that they were last seen at…” He pointed at the view out of the bus window. “...the theatre fountain. I’ll go over there and see if anyone’s seen anything.”

Monday, 10 April 2017

Book Recommendation: One for the Pern geeks

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the book series that got me hooked on dragons in the first place, "The Dragonriders of Pern" series. Imagine my delight several years ago when my friend told me about "The Dragonlover's guide to Pern"  Basically you know that Harry Potter encyclopedia that JK Rowling's always rumoured to be writing? Well this is the equivalent for the Pern books.


It's amazing! It has recipes for "Klah" (their version of coffee), loads of fascinating facts about the world they live in, and thankfully (as this blog tends to focus on dragons) loads of stuff on the dragons of Pern. For example - Here's a dragon's skeletal structure:


And examples of dragons by other objects to give some idea of their size:



Now it's worth noting that the dragons in the Pern series are officially genetically modified animals from the future, rather than your traditional mythological dragons, but they're still amazing and worth knowing about!


Friday, 7 April 2017

A plea for reviews

Dear everyone who has read Aaron Gray and the Dragon War,

Please please please can you leave the book a review, either on Amazon or Goodreads (or even both)? I really can't emphasise how important this is for me as an author.

Both Amazon and Goodreads use their customer reviews to decide whether to recommend particular books to other people, and when I try to get other bookstores to stock the book, the first thing they do is check what people think of it online, so you can see the awesome power that's in your hands right now that could make the book a success.

You don't have to write much, just give it a rating and say something like "I liked it". If you want to write more then of course that would be amazing, and I'll feature exciting reviews and messages in the usual Friday blog slot.

I have some great comments to share over the next few weeks, but I'll stop there for today.

Thanks

David


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Where in Breveny should you live?

I've made a quiz!

https://uquiz.com/b4HfKk?p=83421

Welcome to Breveny Estate Agents. We are committed to finding the perfect place for you to live in the magical world of Breveny....

Do take the quiz and let me know where you end up :)

Monday, 3 April 2017

Disneyland Paris has a new dragon!

Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. As part of the celebrations, they have an awesome new parade with an awesome new FIREBREATHING STEAMPUNK DRAGON!


A similar dragon already exists in Orlando's magic kingdom, but this one's subtly different and matches the Discoveryland steampunk theme a bit more closely.

The dragon is known as "The Dragon of Malefic" and fits with the story of Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent, a natural fit for Disneyland Paris as it contains Sleeping Beauty's Castle. There's also a second dragon beneath the castle, which I will blog about in 2 weeks' time.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

April Fools Day Post: An Important April Announcement!

April Fool's Day Post 2017


Now that it's finally April, I can announce an exciting collaboration between me and Coventry City Council. Introducing....

The Brand New and Exciting "Breveny World" Water Park!!



As part of Coventry's bid for City of Culture in 2021, all new developments are being given a literary theme. As I'm a Coventry author, I was approached to see whether I wanted the new waterpark to be themed around Breveny, the magical world from Aaron Gray and the Dragon War.

 Daisy O'Parfoll, Spokeswoman for the Department of Leisure and Culture, said:

"We are excited to give our new waterpark a theme that is both local, playful and magical. Aaron Gray and the Dragon War is a classic novel for a new generation, and we have the same high hopes for our waterpark. We look forward to sharing more information as plans progress."
Attractions will include:

Aaron and Julia's Sky Fall

Experience what it was like for Aaron and Julia to arrive in Breveny. Begin in what looks like the back of a bus before plummetting through a flume into the new world below. The flume itself will be the same green colour as Cecil the dragon, and the exit pool will be in dragon dung brown


The Taciton Tunnel

Based on the forest full of sleeping trees in the novel, this is a long and twisted waterslide leading safely to the exit pool. Don't make a noise though as this will "wake up" the water jets and make the ride much more turbulent! 

The Flame of Arboris

Just like the flame of Arboris the dragon, this flume is quick, precise and will be over before you know it.

Gertrude's Revenge

Gertrude has gone back to the entrance tunnel to celebration village, but oh no! The middle section of the tunnel is missing! Can you navigate the missing part and make it to safety?

Mestor Mayhem

This ride has two parts. Firstly there is a gentle chute leading into a dark, water-filled cavern. Spooky music plays to emulate the Mestor Caves in the novel. Can you find the exit and slide to safety, or will the water jets firing at you from the ceiling impede your progress? Watch out for vampire sprites!

The Calmat Spa

Calmat is where the residents of Breveny go to unwind. You can do the same with our hot tub, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.

The Naiad Party Pool

One for the tiny tots! Play in our party pool with the Naiads and see if you can control the water with your magical fingernails!


So that's it! Keep an eye out for further announcements, including how they're going to include the ghost zombies from book two!



 Further information about Coventry's exciting new waterpark can be found at http://www.coventry.gov.uk/news/article/1630/city_centre_water_park_designs_unveiled.