Monday, February 11, 2013

Making of the Dragon Shield By Dianne Lynn Gardner

The Dragon Shield  
If you visit my blog you will know, since the beginning of my writing career I’ve spent a lot of my time researching elements of my stories through the world around me.

Whereas my characters are first created in my mind, and usually on my couch as I outline, or at my desk on my computer, or sometimes in my art studio, I’m amazed when I meet their twins in real life!

I’ll be doing brief interviews of these people at so you can see their involvement in my stories. Just mentioning names here would do them an injustice. But I do want to tell a little about how I sought to bring some authenticity to The Dragon Shield.

In the story, the people of the northern lands live in yurts. When I went to visit my friends the Odekirks to do a photo shoot for my illustrations (they modeled for both Ian and Alex in the story) they offered to set up their Mongolion Yurt having made all the elements of by hand. On my blog is a step-by-step demo of setting it up. I’ll just include a finished photo here.
Ian and a boy from the real world named Brad find themselves take captive at one point in the story. They’re brought to a yurt in the foothills of Deception Peak.

They hiked over dry, rocky terrain for the entire day. Fortunately clouds had formed, allowing them some relief from the sun.  Just before dusk they arrived at a small yurt nestled in the brush.
Ian was led inside. Brad stumbled into the yurt behind him filthy from the journey. He trembled and fell on the sheepskin bed that lay on the floor, hiding his face in the blankets.
“Is Vilfred still your Sage?” Ian asked the men, “Is Amleth your leader?” One of the men untied the rope that bound him, and Ian rubbed his swollen wrists. He searched their eyes, anxious for news of his friends.
 “Until we know who you are and your purpose here, we can’t answer your questions,” his captor said.
“You’re Kaemperns, aren’t you?”
The man didn’t speak, but Ian recognized the clothing and the men’s complexion as that of the Northern tribe.
He eyed Brad burying his head in the sheepskin. I guess we do look pretty suspicious, if not pathetic.
Ian cleared his throat. “I know we appear to be trespassing, but that’s not really the case. You see I’ve been here before. I know some of your people. If Amleth is still your chief, if he’s still around, please give him a message. Tell him Ian has returned.”
Their eyes grew wide, their faces paled and they exchanged glances.
“You recognize my name, then?”
“We’ve heard the name.”
 “Well, that’s good. Amleth has too.”
The men proceeded to unarm him.
“Take that to Amleth,” Ian said, as they took his sheath from his belt. His voice was a bit shakier than he would have liked. “Show him my sword. It’s from a different world. He’ll know it’s mine.”
They took his bow off his shoulder and his quiver from his back.
“There’s not a bow around here that looks like that. Amleth will know where it comes from.” Ian watched with remorse as they gathered his things in their arms. But when they unfastened his armor from around his chest, it was all he could do to hold back his rage.
“This is my Dad’s armor,” he protested.
They said nothing as they unfastened the leather ties and pulled the metal chest guard away.  He wanted to lash out at them but held back. If he were going to be accepted, he had to remain calm. This was a test, that’s all. They were testing to see if he was a friend.
Everything will be resolved when I talk to Amleth. 
With the weaponry in hand, one of his captors knelt over and picked up the shield that lay by Brad’s bed.
“Hey,” Bran protested and jumped to his feet.
“Brad.” Ian said.  His eyes stopped the boy.
Ian shook his head. The man who held the shield asked. “What’s this?” After inspecting the shield, his comrade turned to Ian.
“You’re free to move about in this camp; eat, make a fire and stay warm. But you are under guard, and if you flee, we will find you. A second chance at leniency will be much harder to achieve.”
Ian nodded. “I have no plans of escaping. This is my destination.”
The men stepped out of the yurt with Ian and Brad’s belongings. When their footsteps could no longer be heard, Brad sat up.
“Let’s go,” he said.
Ian frowned at him. “We’re not going anywhere.”
“Are you crazy? We’re prisoners. We have to escape. That’s what prisoners do. You’ve got the remote. Click it and we’ll be gone. They’ll never find us.”
“What are you thinking? This isn’t a game.” Ian said “Is that what you think? That this is some kind of video game or something?”
Brad’s stare was blank.
“I’m here on a mission.  Why you’re here is a puzzle I’ve yet to solve. You came here uninvited. You actually have no business being here.”

Ian's Realm: The Dragon Shield

As a young man, Ian returns to the Realm to help his friends, and to fight against the tyranny that has befallen them. But the Realm is a different place, the forest is dying, the Kaemperns have lost the shield that protected them from the dragon, and Ian has a hard time proving his allegiance when trouble follows him through the portal. His struggle to do right buries him in confusion, and he must fight his own will to prove his integrity.

“The Dragon Shield is packed to the rafters with incident and peril. Ian’s resolve is tested like never before, the camaraderie of his supporters and their combined efforts will keep the reader engrossed…There is a constant battle being waged between hope and despair and you are never quite sure how things will develop. By the novels end I felt that things were only just beginning for Ian and I wanted more – a mark of Gardner’s skill as a storyteller.” Review from the Independent Review UK Daniel Cann.


Author BioDianne Lynn Gardner
Young Adult Fantasy-Adventure Fiction

Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest, Olalla Washington. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers and she is an award-winning artist.

Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life. 

Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she shares both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing as a way to not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.
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