Tag Archives: literary underworld

Literary Underworld Ramblings

Literary Underworld Blog Tour

“Going to Try with a Little Help from My Friends”

by Jackie Gamber, author of Book I and II of the Leland Dragon Series

Sometimes, we don’t have enough oomph, on our own, to meet life’s challenges. But having friends, the right kind of friends, who have walked the walk with us, and talked the talk with us, can be the stop-gap between the challenge and our weakness. Sometimes seeing the fight in the eyes of a comrade, and knowing their belief in us, can be motivation to dig down a little deeper to find just enough strength to give it another try.

Writers need those sorts of friends as much as anyone. Maybe more (but I might be biased). The writing industry is a tough one, made even more challenging by the upheaval of digital and electronic technologies meeting the granite of “the way it’s always been.” That’s another thing writers have in common with everyone: we adapt or die.

In this third installment of my “Friends” blog series for the Literary Underworld blog tour, I give a tip of my hat to my friend and writer ally, D.A. Adams, for hosting me today!

You may be asking yourself “What is the Literary Underworld?” It’s a website and bookstore unlike the kind you might be familiar with. Literary Underworld is a place where you can buy books directly from the authors who write them! In this way, your purchases help support authors, small presses, artists and other creative folks during these especially trying times. And it’s a group of people linking elbows, sharing space, and urging each other on; like the best kind of friends.

As for me, I write the kind of stories I like to read. Science fiction, fantasy, the dark, psychological sort of scary, and all the ways those can blend. I’ve been published as poetry, flash fiction, novellas, and novel-length, in professional online and print venues. I’ve also been an award-winning publisher and editor. Currently, I’m writing Book III of the Leland Dragon Series (Seventh Star Press) and a steampunk fantasy novel (New Babel Books). Due out soon is an issue of Shroud Magazine I edited entitled “Scary Psyches”.

But it was in writing and researching the first book in the Leland Dragon Series, Redheart, that I was made aware of the plight of dragons in our modern times. Media hasn’t been kind to them. Books, movies and news articles sell better, of course, with a dark spin on these introverted, mysterious creatures.

We have more in common with these misunderstood creatures than we realize.  The human condition applies to them, as much as us.

In my involvement with FODERP (Friends of Dragon Equality and Rights Protection), I’ve had the honor of meeting many wonderful dragons from around the globe, and to become a spokesperson for outreach and awareness. I’d like to share some of the most common questions people ask me about dragons, with answers to help de-mystify and clarify true information.

How big are dragons, really?

The largest dragon order, the Squamata Fortuna has been recorded to be as long as 88 feet and 165 tons. This is nearly the size of a blue whale, the largest known mammal. However, a more common size of dragon is roughly half that, with the smallest, Squamata Illfortuna, weighing it at only 10 pounds, known as the common garden dragon.

What do dragons eat?

Dragons are omnivores, like humans. This means they eat plants, but not necessarily all plants. They can’t digest some substances in grains. They also eat meat, which is a bulk of their diet, and, in particular, pork.  They’ve also been known to eat a handful of Good ‘n Plenty®, which are fat-free.

Are they intelligent?

Dragons have been determined by scientists to meet the general criteria of intelligence which is “the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.” Furthermore, a typical dragon brain weighs in at about 6.8 kg, whereas a human brain weighs around 1.5 kg. If that isn’t enough informational support, we might also keep in mind that dragons have never been known to blow off their own paw by holding a cherry bomb or to hold a bullet in their teeth and whack it with a hammer just “to see what will happen”.(see http://www.darwinawards.com/)

I hope by sharing these questions and answers with you I have helped shed light on dragons, and piqued interest in discovering more about them. After all, dragons are people, too. They need friends, just like the rest of us.

Be sure to stop by the Literary Underworld today at http://www.literaryunderworld.com/ and check it out! And use this special discount code to do your shopping for yourself and your friends:


Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of “Redheart” and “Sela”, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series, now available! For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at:





Literary Underworld Ramblings

If this writing doesn’t work out, maybe Shrews and I can become a pro wrestling tag team.

In an effort to raise awareness of our consortium of writers at the Literary Underworld, we’re offering guest blog appearances on the craft of writing.  Today, Steven Shrewsbury invades the Ramblings with his ideas on violence in writing.  If you haven’t read any of his work, please check out his books at http://www.literaryunderworld.com/  Use this code LUBLOGTOUR  and receive a special discount on your purchase.  Thanks for supporting independent authors.  Without further ado, here’s Shrews:


I’m author Steven Shrewsbury and I’m filling in today. Let’s talk violence.

I’ve been told that my sword & sorcery works and horror novels are too violent. Some say the violence is extreme and shouldn’t be put in such close quarters where sexual situations just occurred, much less dialogue with God or demons. My usual answer to these statements is, “Ever read the Bible?”

Now, my work could never be confused with Biblical scripts, but I mention this to let the reader know they might need to grow a pair. Okay, it’s only a story. It cannot hurt the reader. Much. Yes, sometimes violence one reads can stay with a casual reader, an act so revolting or crazy it pops up in the mind later at work or during dinner. Fine. While that isn’t what I go for, to gross out or make the smashed potatoes hit the wall via projectile vomiting, I do desire to entertain and tell a story that might last in the mind. One might say, “That Shrews, he goes to far.” However others say, “That Shrews, I bet he’s a crazy bastard. I bet he’s fun to have a beer with.” It’s the latter. Trust me. Most days, anyhow.

That said, even a writer who likes to sling the entrails and mix up heads on bodies after decapitations feels that tempering the violence is a good idea. If the story degenerates into describing battles or an act of murder over and over with such vapid detail, at times, one will wonder if the writer penned it with his pants around his ankles. It’s my natural inclination to use humor (albeit dark at times) along with the violence and spread it out as the story unfolds, but also to make it credible. I’m not using Green Lantern Rings or powers endowed by a Yellow Sun, but usually iron and steel. Things bend and break under such force and usually, its more fun to describe the will behind the steel that made such an incision.

Real life is screwier than fiction, I’ve heard tell. I’ve never been in a sword fight in my life, and I bet that’d be pretty scary to face down a man (or woman) who has been. That is reality, not pulling a blade and making a mess. The person behind the instrument can invoke bravery or cowardice.

What one will do in a given situation, that is interesting. Wouldn’t one want to run? Sure. Would we really stand and fight if given the chance? Maybe. I love to relate the story of the hero in Robert E. Howard’s “The HOOVED THING” for it is set against the usual H.P. Lovecraft setting: New England, unspeakable horror, a monster out to get us all. This time, though, the main guy isn’t an erudite man from Mass who will commit suicide rather than face the ultimate horror. The lead character in Howard’s tale (shockingly) is a strapping Texan who grabs from a curio cabinet a sword blessed by a saint (lucky!!!) and decides, screw it, I must fight this thing or it will kill everyone else. Do or die, gung ho! The line “Fear can become so intense it defeats itself.” What courage. What a guy. What balls. Ya gotta root for that fella and hope YOU have that kind of stones in such a case. It isn’t high art, but it makes the point, literally.

Is violence bad? Sure. It hurts. Emotional scars run pretty deep, and might last longer than the Vicoden can ebb away a broken limb. Frankly, I’ll say what many might not want to: Violence is good for a story, and it makes it more interesting if used properly. Forget S&S or horror, but pure action or thrillers, a fight breaks out or the weapon is drawn, the game is afoot like a motherf—okay, I already did a blog on foul language in fiction, so I digress.

So temper the violence, folks, and try to entertain. Many can do it. Now, I’m off to try and figure out how to write a vampire work without bloodshed or lots of violence. Dunno if that can be done, but I hear racks of books are being sold by authors penning vampy romances, apparently writing with condoms over their heads. Wish me luck. What will come out will probably be a really blood-soaked, brutally real look at the genre, but I promise you this: It won’t be boring and the only sparkling with be the glisten off the blood pooling on the floor tiles in waning candlelight.

Cheers from Central IL

Steven Shrewsbury