Some of my Favorite Authors…

This is a list of some of my favorite authors.

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Here is a list of a few of my favorite authors. (This list is included at the beginning of Rise of the Dragon.)

  • Homer

Yes, the ancient poet. I first started reading his epic poems in my English classes over the Greek Mythology unit. I found The Odyssey very fun to read. This led me to read The Iliad.

If you have just little knowledge about the world of Elsov, you should have heard about nymphs. In an earlier blog, I have mentioned that Elsovian nymphs differ from those from Greek Mythology, but it was because of Homer and his poems that gave me the idea of nymphs. There are also other creatures I will later reveal that have Greek roots. (Have the Minotaur in mind.)

  • William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s work is loved and hated alike. Some people enjoy watching his plays while others cannot even manage to utter such foul language from the breath of thine heart. I am among those who enjoy Shakespeare’s work.

  • Edgar Allen Poe

Here is a name notorious for horror. As a matter of fact, I have mixed feelings for his work. I wouldn’t say The Black Cat and The Cask of Amontillado are scary, they are just disturbing and I wouldn’t say they are my favorite to read. So why is Poe on my grand list of influenced authors if I don’t really enjoy his stories? It’s the style of Poe’s writing that adds spice to the story. Just his choice of words create the eerie atmosphere.

  • Ted Geisel

This author is better known as Dr. Suess. These are wonderful stories that takes the reader to a new and odd world. And not only that, the reader loves this world. His stories flow with imagery and, of course, rhyme. What I like about Dr. Suess the most is the moral he has in each story. Not only do you cross a world of rhyme, you are taught a good lesson. You can find such morals in The SneetchesThe Butter Battle Book, and I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew. A great story is one that has a moral.

  • Brian Jacques

No other book series has brought me to writing more than the author of Redwall. This series centers around a Medieval abbey inhabited by mice, squirrels, badgers, and other animals. This abbey is called Redwall. I had a great time reading about Matthias or Martin the Warrior battling against rats and weasels. Redwall is a big series, but once you finish a book, you’ll want to read the next.

Honorable Mentions to J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Richard Adams, and Daniel P. Mannix

Common Moments in the Genre of Fantasy

When a book series has too many cliches, it becomes boring and has little to no point to read it.

Every genre of literature has its list of cliches. We often think of cliches as overused moments or settings in books. To a high degree, this is true, especially in some fantasy series. But there are cliches in every series. In fact, it’s necessary to have one or two cliches in a series. Even The Tales of Draco has its fair share of elements common to its genre. It’s when a series has too many cliches it becomes boring and has little to no point to read it.

If you ever decide to write a fantasy story, don’t be scared to add in one or two cliches. Give the readers something they like and are familiar to. After that, change things up a bit. Make your story unique; that’s what makes it worth reading. A great story is one that stands out.

I once began reading a book series that I wanted to read for a long time. After a quarter of the way in, I already knew how the ending was going to be like and what each of the characters’ fates were going to be. This wasn’t because I was exposed to the ending, it was because the story-line was very similar to other works. Luckily the book managed to stay interesting enough for me to finish. If you do happen to write in the fantasy realm, it’s okay to be inspired by other works. Don’t try to recreate the old work, make your own work be based on the old. There have been many authors who have influenced my writing, and I want it to be shown in my own writing. In the end, it’s up to the reader to determine whether the book is boring or not.

Just remember… if you are writing, add a few cliches here and there. It will give your story something the reader likes, but make your writing your own. That is the best way to get new readers into your work.

The Many Creatures of Elsov and Beyond…

What’s a good fantasy series without mythical and mysterious creatures?

What’s a good fantasy series without mythical and mysterious creatures? One thing I really enjoy writing about are the different creatures, whether they are familiar in our culture like dwarves and dragons or creatures many have not heard before like grøls. In this blog, I will show you what some of these creatures are and why they were created. One thing is for sure: the best source of information about these creatures is the appendix at the end of Rise of the Dragon.
First of all, we’ll talk about dragons. In my previous blog, I discussed the appearances of dragons. So why does The Tales of Draco follow a dragon as the protagonist? There are many reasons. If you have read books or seen movies about dragons, they are secondary characters or the main antagonist. I thought a story with a dragon as the main character would make the story unique. Another reason why I chose Jacob to be a dragon is because of his internal struggles. Jacob’s breed is evil, making him have evil traits like his short temper. Jacob represents the internal war we all face. Confucius once said that men are naturally evil. However, we can overcome this evil, just like Jacob is able to. He may be a black dragon, but he doesn’t have to live like a black dragon. This internal war symbolism also arises in the main villain of the series. It’s not Triathra, but I won’t say any more.
If you have read Rise of the Dragon, you may have noticed that dwarves also play a big role. They are the hostile Monolegions led by a sorcerer. These dwarves are not as short as one may think. The average height for a Monolegion is about four feet. The Monolegions also wear Viking-style clothing with horned helmets. Now you may have seen Gustav Malmström’s depiction of the horned helmet worn by the Vikings. In fact, the Norse raiders never worn such helmets. It was the Monolegions who lived the same area who did. Yes, the Monolegions were enemies to Jacob and Clipper, but there are also good dwarves. They will be seen later. These dwarves are quite friendly and they dress more formally than their Monolegion counterpart. As I have said, the sorcerer is the Monolegion leader. Sorcerers are basically hostile wizards. With the right magical relic, they can be very dangerous.
Now we get to a race of people that is unique to The Tales of Draco. They are the grøls. As I have mentioned many times in the past, grøls look much like garden gnomes. Most are short, stocky, and jolly. And let’s not forget their “Yip!” when they are excited. The reason why I decided to have grøls on the mystical land of Elsov is for Jacob to find something eccentric in the strange world. This world is new to us as it is to Jacob. We people are not used to short, stubby figures living in houses inside trees. It’s odd to us. Grøls are the symbols that remind us that Elsov is a strange world and that there can be magic and mystery there.
            Finally, we start diving into the origins of Greek Mythology. If you ever read Greek myths, you are likely familiar with nymphs. In Greek Mythology, nymphs are the spirits of nature and are generally in the form of young maidens. The nymphs in The Tales of Draco are different than this. Nymphs are about the same height as dwarves, but a few inches shorter. They are excellent in war and battle strategy. Also unlike the nymphs of Greek Mythology, the nymphs of Elsov can be male and female, not just female. Their colonies are high in the trees. This gives newcomers the thought that nymphs are one with nature, hence the legend of the nature spirit.
            These are the creatures and people mentioned in the first book, but they are not the only creatures that will be mentioned in series. In the sequel, you’ll know more about elves, kangrui, goblins, unitaurs, and more. I really enjoyed writing about these creatures and I hope in The Tales of Draco: The Six Pieces, the creatures will dazzle you as much as the ones in the first book did.

What makes a dragon?

One may ask what a dragon looks like in The Tales of Draco.

One may ask what a dragon looks like in The Tales of Draco. The best source of information is in the appendix in Rise of the Dragon.

Pages 554-555 from The Tales of Draco: Rise of the Dragon:

“Dragons can be found mostly on Elsov, but one or two are known to occasionally wander to the human world. They usually live in caves or pits in the ground. Most dragons are around seven to eleven feet long from nose to tail, and stand at about four to five feet tall on all four feet (excluding folded wings). Other dragons have been rumored to be much bigger. Dragons have long snouts and are covered in heavily armored scales that can only be slightly damaged by constant strong stabbing by a normal blade or heavily damaged by a special enchanted blade. The average-sized dragon will have about a thirteen to eighteen foot wingspan and can fly at great speeds. They are also excellent swimmers and are able to hold their breath for a long time. They are omnivores but mostly eat meat, often seafood and land mammals. They breathe fire and spit a hallucinogenic venom. When filled with adrenaline, they are able lift very heavy objects using their horns (an astonishing one to two tons maximum). Most dragons have two sharp but smooth horns made of keratin and are about a foot and a half long. They are long and straight with pointed tips that come out from above each ear. Dragons tend to charge enemies larger than they are. Despite the presence of long and sharp claws, dragons have fingers to lift any objects. Not a common believed fact, but they are actually very intelligent. Without fire or brute strength, they have the ability to find complex solutions out of any spontaneous stickler. Some dragons can even speak with human intellect. If they are able to speak, their language depends on their place of origin. Each dragon has his or her own unique color of scales and other personal qualities. This gives limited opportunity to know the identity of a dragon if you see one.

 

The appendix practically sums up what you need to know. In the upcoming sequel, The Tales of Draco: The Six Pieces, there is more information about what the color of scales on a dragon mean. There can be brightscaled and darkscaled dragons, but I won’t say any more.

It’s revealed in the appendix that dragons are about seven to eleven feet long. That’s only an average length. Some dragons can be bigger. One dragon not yet revealed (but has been referenced in Rise of the Dragon) is much bigger. When Jacob and Clipper turn into dragons, they are about the size of a mix between a black bear and a grizzly bear. Both their wingspans are about sixteen feet from tip to tip. With their size, they can still squeeze through doorways if they fold their wings.

The novel describes what Jacob and Clipper look like as dragons. Clipper has wine-red scales and a white underside. His horns are smooth and white. Clipper is well known for his sabered teeth that reach below his chin and his four-toed foot. He lost his fifth toe when he was still a human on Komodo Island (mentioned in Chapter I). Jacob has black scales and also has a white underside. Even though Jacob does not have sabered teeth like Clipper, his teeth are still dangerously long and sharp. Jacob’s horns are light brown.

Dragons in The Tales of Draco bear a European resemblance, but also hav some Asian influence. In our world, dragons are seen differently in each region. When I wanted to right about dragons, I didn’t want to focus on a single depiction. I thought mixing every depiction would make dragons more believable. However, the dragons in The Tales of Draco are just a few of many dragons in our wide selection of literature. How are dragons in other book series similar or different from Jacob and Clipper?

Music and Writing

Is music a help or hinder when writing?

For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for music. Whether it be the rhythm tickling the eardrum or the mood of the song that can make anyone happy or sad, listening to music can be either help or hinder when writing.

When writing or revising in The Tales of Draco, I usually listen to classical or cultural music. Most often I would listen to the soundtrack from the video game series Civilization. I love the concentration each track gives me. The sweet peaceful English theme, I Vow to Thee; My Country, can help me paint the picture of the colorful Pearl Forest at night as Jacob searches for the nymphs. The war version of the Indonesian theme, Udan Mas, can intensify the scene where Jacob and Clipper stumble across the dwarves on Komodo Island. Other music that I listen to are from the Age of Empires series, the theme song for National Treasure, the beautiful music by Enya, or the upbeat pieces by Mannheim Steamroller.

Now one may ask how music is able to play such a role to many authors. Well, music is like a story, except that it is in sound rather than words. Many authors will listen to music to move them forward. When I was writing an early chapter in an upcoming sequel to The Tales of Draco, I was creating a scene where Jacob and Clipper are battling a Minotaur-like monster. While I was molding this scene together, I was listening to Spanish war music. The way the castanets and harmonic violins played, this musical piece practically wrote the scene for me. Music inspires people, and the reason why authors write stories is because they are inspired. While listening to the theme song for Star Trek, for example, a science fiction author can find it easier to shape out the way the weary ship drifted closer and closer to the violet surface of the alien planet.

As music can be a great help, it can also be distracting. It’s really hard for me to write a wonderful scene in the fjords of Elsov when I’m listening to Crocodile Rock by Elton John (though the song alone is fun to listen to). The music that I’m usually careful with are the ones with lyrics. Of course many songs with lyrics can work, I often prefer orchestral pieces. That’s just my opinion, however. If you ever want to listen to music while writing, try to listen to a song you would think is helpful to you, not me. If it does, embrace it. Let it inspire you. If it is too distracting, try something else. It’s better to write in silence than in distraction.

If you want to listen to my favorite music when I work in The Tales of Draco, you can visit the playlists on my Youtube channel, Jordan B. Jolley. They are… Civilization Overture: Music That’s Good For Writing and Other Music That’s Good For Writing. The music in those playlists have helped me a lot. Of course it won’t satisfy everybody. We are all different. Whatever music helps you write, listen to it.

–  Jordan B. Jolley

Event Recap: Conley’s Books and Music with Christopher Paolini

There will be more events, book signings, and school/library visits. Visit The Tales of Draco facebook page for more information on future book events or visit my youtube channel to view past events.

This wasn’t my first book signing, but it was my most memorable. The event was at Conley’s Books and Music in the town of Livingston, Montana. This was going to be my first signing outside Southern Idaho or Northern Utah. Before the signing was scheduled, I was looking at different bookstores and libraries across the state of Montana. Our family tried to schedule events, whether it be a signing or presentation. We searched in Billings, Bozeman, White Hall, Dillon, and Livingston. I was rejected at every bookstore and library except for Conley’s Books and Music, who happily agreed to arrange a simple book signing. There it was, I finally had an event scheduled.

When our family arrived in Livingston, we had plenty of time for lunch and to set everything up for the event. We had a small table just outside the store. I thought that being outside was a great idea to grab attention. I had posters set up, a copy of my book on display, and my laptop was playing the music I often listened to while writing. The first few minutes of the signing was okay. I would sit on the bench and greet any passers-by with a friendly “How are you doing?” or “Good day.” I had coloring pages of Jacob and Reno that I would give to younger children. The illustrator for Rise of the Dragon’s cover (and my sister), Marissa Durfee would accompany me in an effort to attract more people. I managed to sell a few books at the very beginning, but most people would simply walk by with no interest.

Attendance to the signing grew when I was visited by Christopher Paolini, the author of The Inheritance Cycle. I was aware that he lived near Livingston and I had sent him a letter of invitation about a week before the signing. I was quite excited when he arrived. Like The Tales of DracoInheritance was a fantasy series involving dragons. Mr. Paolini was at the bookstore for nearly an hour. He gave me information about his experience when he wrote Eragon and valuable advice in writing and presenting. One good piece of advice that he gave me was my performance at the signing. I shouldn’t sit down and wait for people to come. I should attract them like a vendor for a game booth at a carnival. Mr. Paolini was very polite and he even purchased a signed copy of Rise of the Dragon. When he left, I decided to use his advice. I talked to any passer-by rather than expect them to talk to me. Many Inheritance fans purchased signed copies of Rise of the Dragon and appeared to be excited to read it. Though Mr. Paolini took much of my time, I would have not sold as many books had he not attended.

I am very grateful for all the support from Christopher Paolini and Conley’s Books and Music. This was my most successful book signing to date. I learned so much. My fresh advice to other new authors is to take the extra step to get people interested in your book.

There will be more events, book signings, and school/library visits. Visit The Tales of Draco facebook page for more information on future book events or visit my youtube channel to view past events.

          –   Jordan B. Jolley

Welcome to the official site for The Tales of Draco.

Pearl Forest . . .
“It was a quest I had to venture to know why I was loved here in this strange world. But it did not feel strange. It felt like I was home. As I began my adventure, I was all alone, but I did not mind. The meadows were so peaceful. Once in a while I would hold perfectly still and just listen to the birds singing and the nearby forest inhabitants scurrying through the underbrush. But the feeling of joy seemed to dissipate as I covered more ground. The peaceful ambience died away and silence engulfed the atmosphere.”

The Tales of Draco is a new fantasy adventure series. It’s an epic story about dragons, dwarves, and other creatures you may or may not have heard of. This website features news and information about The Tales of Draco. You can find updates on upcoming sequels or where the author, Jordan B. Jolley will be visiting.

Join Jacob Draco, Clipper, and the rest of the characters as they battle hideous monsters, travel to familiar and strange regions alike, and defeat the advancing forces of evil. The first book in the series is Rise of the Dragon. When you read this tale, you will find magic and adventure in this world and the world of Elsov, the mystical continent far away.