Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beginnings Blog Fest - Preparing the Dragon Cave




The main chamber of the Dragon Cave buzzes with the voices of one hundred and fifty dwarves summoned by their sire. That’s me, Father Dragon; red, big, deep gaze, and fluffy blue and yellow mane – absolutely debonair. Yeah, humble too. This is the Beginnings Blogfest hosted by L.G. Keltner but I won’t tell you about my early years. I will save that for another time. But come along, the dwarves must hear as well.
The dwarves are busy unpacking big boxes that arrived at the Dragon Cave this morning.
“Gather around, everyone!” I command. My minions quickly obey but they are noisy. They can sense something unusual is going to happen. My voice thunders in the vaulted ceiling of the chamber. “My ninja muse has left me a message.”
Total silence. They know my muse is challenging and that she laughs at the face of fear; my fear. They also know my dragon pride laughs at her laughter.
“She left it written on a shuriken she conveniently misplaced on my favorite sitting spot.” My hawk gaze searches for any snickering gestures. “I’ll return it in an appropriate manner, but in the meantime we have a new challenge.”
A popping sound makes me turn to the right, where four dwarves are trying to figure out how to connect battery powered lights enough for a Broadway stage.
“Are we playing the Phantom of the Opera?” Sessin asks, trying to keep his brunette braided moustache from entangling with the already entangled cables. He wears a welding mask instead of his chef hat ever since his beard caught fire in the kitchen because of my muse’s mischief.
I shake my head. “No. We are doing our first talk-show or is it a write-show?"

“We’re doing Oprah?” Pancholin asks. The Cave handyman with the Pancho Villa type of moustache  rests his hands on his multipocket belt.

Not sure if he’s about to take out the metal polisher or the insecticide, I keep my tone steady. “We are opening the Dragon Cave for main characters of published books to come and tell people about their adventures.”
Shocked murmurs precede gasps and exclamations that go in crescendo into multiple questions and doubts. Who is coming? How can we do this? Where would the show take place? When?

“But Sire, no stranger has been allowed in the Dragon Cave before.” Tassin’s voice comes through his thick curled up silver mustache like the grumbling of an Old English Shepherd. My dwarf task master also resembles one. “Besides, we know nothing of show business.”
Sessin nods in agreement with his father. “Not to mention we are not very good with technology and modern gizmos.”
“And shows need an audience.” Pancholin’s nervousness is evident in his need to polish something, be it the gold coins or Sessin’s welding mask. “What if nobody comes? What if something goes wrong and they don’t like it? What if there is a short circuit and everything explodes in our face?”
“The ninja muse is setting you up, Sire.” Tassin snorts. “With all due respect, beware her ideas don’t make a fool of you.”
I straighten up and spread my wings proudly. “What have I told you? The bright side of having a fear is that it feels darn good when you overcome it. Challenges are meant to be difficult. Otherwise they would not qualify as such. Beginnings are scary because they are full of uncertainties about the future. The unknown waits ahead and we can only see one step at a time. But what did Mayans teach us?”
“Not to write calendars on small stones?” Pancholin suggests.
“No, but I’ll remember that one!” My encouraging smile doesn’t falter. “Each beginning involves an end, but it is not the end of the world. If anything, it involves the end of our fear to try something new. It is one thousand times better to try something and fail than to let our fears defeat us even before starting. We shall not kill creativity, neither for fear of failure nor dread of success. We will do this and if we go down in flames. . .” I pause with my fist up. My dwarves seem taller. “At least we will have a hot experience.” 
I chuckle at my own sense of humor. My dwarves grin.
“We promise to do our best, Sire.” Tassin taps his fist on his chest. “What is your bidding?”
“Milin has the broadest shoulders. He’ll be in charge of the camera. Pancholin will be the director. You, Tassin, will be the producer. Choose someone for the lights. Sessin will make sure to get what’s needed. The rest of the dwarves will be the audience. Prepare everything for some drills. The interview is taking place tomorrow.”
“Yes, Sire!” Their soldier-like answer loses effect when I catch Tassin whispering. “What is a producer?”
Milin, his silent nephew, shrugs and looks at the big camera as if he were pondering on poking it with a stick. I roll my eyes.
“Our guest’s name is Darq.” I give Tassin an envelope with several pictures. Dwarves crowd around him. Several comments of appreciation arise over Darq’s beauty.
“Will she stay for long?” Pancholin’s smile is the broadest I’ve seen in the last years.
“My cousin and I will fix a feast for her.” Sessin slides an arm around Milin. “Fish 'a la Tikin-Xic', coffee in a crock pot, tepache and tequila.”
Milin claps his hands, excited. Sessin goes on. “We’ll give her a basket of exotic fruits, cookies, and royal chocolate.” He wags his eyebrows at Milin and asks with a cocky grin. “A foot massage, señorita?”
A mild smoking always manages to bring my minions back to their senses. “No foot massage and no flirting with my guest. Darq is married to a fleet commander and bonded to a robot. Not to mention her security team is a group of mysterious men in black with shiny blasters who will make sure she returns undefiled. Quit the nonsense and get ready for rehearsal.”
***
An hour has elapsed and I am trying not to squint at all the battery-powered lights illuminating my lair for this on-air, Internet blog. I feel my mustache quiver a second before I grin into the video camera being held on Milin's broad shoulder. Pancholin’s signal and a green light twinkling "on air" are my cues.
Welcome! And thank you for joining me, your host, for "Under the Fireworks," a writerly spot for protagonists to tell us about their adventures— and misadventures.”
Tassin, sitting on a rock at my right, holds a placard copy of Jewels of the Sky's cover.
“Give me a close-up!” Pancholin yells, disturbing my concentration.
Milin takes two steps forward…

…and then he rolls down the mound he was perched on.
“Don’t walk closer. Use the zoom, you moron!” Pancholin scowls while Sessin runs to help his cousin back to his feet.
I count to ten and shift a little to the right. I think I sat on my wing. We try again. “The name of my first vict— I mean guest— to the Dragon Cave, is Darq. She is among the best starfighter pilots in the universe of Jewels of the Sky, a fantasy-science fiction adventure novel I read in less than a week. The book's author, Catherine E. McLean, managed to successfully take me to where no other dragon has traveled before. I wanted to return the favor. That is why I asked Catherine to invite Darq to where no other Wysotti has ever been before— the Mayan Riviera.”
Dwarves quarreling over Darq’s picture and arguing who gets to pick her up from the airport and be her tour guide distracts me. 

“Do you mind?” I snarl. “We’re trying to do something here!” I wonder how fitting Willy Wonka's Oompa-loompas or Dr. Gru’s yellow minions would be for a red dragon.
Pancholin gives me the cue.
I flash my Dragon’s Sonrisa Especial. “After reading Jewels of the Sky, I thought Darq should see the land and people which were at the heart of the curse that affected the destiny of all the Wysotti and, specifically, Darq’s own heritage and life. And since Darq had come to Earth, visiting Catherine as a "cultural ambassador," I contacted the usual authorities...”
I hear the throttled engine sound of Tassin’s chuckles by my side. “Sire?”
“WHAT?” The inner heat tells me I’m getting redder than I already am .
He raises the end of a cable. “Milin forgot to plug in the camera after he fell.”
Under my glare, Sessin darts to plug the camera in for his cousin. My ears twitch with annoyance, but my smile returns when the camera is ready. “Where was I? Ah, yes! Darq is pretty and young, which might not be the best combination when a human comes to visit a dragon whose favorite snacks include such delicacies. But Darq is quite the heroine. She is not afraid of death. Actually, her motto seems to be ‘today is as good as any day to die in a fight.’”
I hear murmuring around but I force myself to keep my attention on the lens. “Besides, Darq likes being rather unpredictable— which reminds me of my own muse's predilections. Last, but not least, my own grandfather taught me it is not polite to eat one's guests, especially if said guests have outstanding fighting skills. Being a Wysotti Indian warrior, Darq can be stunning in more ways than one. My invitation now goes to you, dear reader, to come back tomorrow to meet this wonderful character in the pilot episode of ‘Under the Fireworks with Father Dragon’. As a gift to the audience, Darq is giving away free eBook downloads of Jewels of the Sky today and tomorrow only, at Amazon.com.
“Give me a close-up of the book cover.” Pancholin instructs Milin. 

“Don’t walk…!” Everyone shouts at once.
Too late. Milin rolls down the mound and I smack my paw on my brow. I hear a loud crackling. The lights blink and go off.
“I think we need both help and luck to pull this off, Sire.” Tassin sits on a rock.
“Send a smoke signal to Sir Jeff. He's an expert at troubleshooting.” I stand up and go back to my quartz chamber. “I will light another candle to the Ancestors. This is just the beginning.”

36 comments:

  1. What a fun entry, and a great way to promote good books! You have a great group of helpers there. Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

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    1. I loved your blogfest idea! Congratulations on your first year :)

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  2. Very original! The minions might need a little more training though.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I'm working on that. :)

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  3. Happy 2013! Best of luck this year!

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  4. Every writer should have minions. I feel so deprived. Fun post, Al!

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    1. Don't worry, Julie. You can always borrow some of mine. They are not very efficient but they are fun for sure. :)

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  5. First thing I find in my e-mails this morning is a cryptic post from Darq with this blog address. So, I go and read the post. Ohmygod, Darq told me she was doing an interview with a dragon, but she thought there were only a handful of dwarf attendants, not a hundred and fifty of them. Maybe I better e-mail her and tell her to pack her rodgun, an emergency first aid kit, a flashlight (with fresh batteries), and a fire extinguisher. Make that two fire extinguishers. Maybe three . . .

    PS--All aside, Father Dragon, this is a great post, and your fantastic idea of a dragon interviewing a book's character (in the persona of a doll) is very different, informative, and fun. I can't wait until tomorrow and see what Darq does and has to say to you.

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    1. Fire extinguishers in a fire dragon cave. Why I didn't think about that before, hahaha. Thank you for accepting, Catherine! :)

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  6. Al...excellent post. You've got a great deal of creativity flowing through those braincells. Good trait for a writer!

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I'll pass it on to the ninja muse. She doesn't believe I have braincells at all, hahaha.

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  7. What a creative post! Loved reading it. So nice to meet you, Al! :)

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    1. Thanks for dropping by. Nice to meet you too. :)

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  8. Wonderfully creative post! I wouldn't mind having a few minions, but I'm glad I didn't find a shuriken in my sitting spot this morning.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful writing!

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    1. It's just the way with my writing muse. I am wondering where all this will lead to. Thanks for your comment! :)

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  9. Thanks for a great, creative post and the eBook!

    I am going to have to come back here and see more of your blog.

    --
    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

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    1. Thank you. I do hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. And welcome to the Dragon Cave! :)

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  10. It was exciting when the Dwarves started gathering around. Great to meet you and your dragon.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Nice to meet you too. :)

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  11. i love minions! great story & awesome way to tell it!

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    1. Thank you Tara. Feel free to come often and you'll get to know them more. :) Thanks for visiting.

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  12. I love dwarfs...have you seen the new Hobbit movie? Very cool dwarfs :-). Love your story :-)

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    1. Oh, yes! I loved the movie but my outsourcing company won't give me dwarves with the Thorin look. I've got more of Muppet looking type of dwarves. But then again someone said if I would have not been born, Jim Henson would have created me. :)

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  13. I love minions!! Sorry the production of your show didn't go according to plan though.

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    1. Not to loose hope yet. I'm sure it will be better tomorrow! :)

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  14. "But what did Mayans teach us?”
    “Not to write calendars on small stones?” Pancholin suggests.
    “No, but I’ll remember that one!”

    ROTFLOL! What an adorably fun post - and a very clever way to promote someone's book! I dig the idea of main characters doing an interview! If this isn't already a feature of your blog, I hope it becomes one! :-)

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    1. Thank you Mina. It's a pilot but if people welcomes it, then we're set. :)Let's see what happens tomorrow.

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  15. haha...what an absolutely awesome entry. Very creative and cool. I need to get some dwarves.

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    1. I have one hundred and fifty. I think you can pick some but as you can see they need training. :) Thank you for your comments.

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  16. Dude. You have a vivid imagination.
    Great post. :)

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    1. Thanks Melisa. Good you dropped by. :)

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  17. I am happy beyond words to see how well this post was received and to read so many adoring comments on your creativity. It's something I've known, acknowledged and admired about you for quite a while. Very nicely done, Al!

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    1. And there are no words to thank you for your help but still... Thank you!

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  18. You're a crack-up! Love your stories :)

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