Monday, September 10, 2012

The Stone Of Darkness Blog Tour and Guest Post!

I am excited today to bring you a very special guest post by the author of the Dragonslayer series, Rae Nelson!
Rae is here today to talk a little bit about the series and the latest release, The Stone Of Darkness!

Synopsis for The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1)

For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.
Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.
Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

Synopsis for The Iron Maiden (Book 2)

Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it’s her duty. She’d rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?
Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer’s sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.
In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn’t a decision she can make just once. It’s a decision she must make every day.

Synopsis for The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)

In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.

Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.

Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.

Book 4 will be published in November 2012

Guest Post:
How I Came Up with the Idea for My Dragonslayer Series and Characters

By Resa Nelson

Everything that I write is somehow related to my own life experience and opinions.  My 4-book Dragonslayer series began as a short story that I wrote because I had an experience where my feelings were hurt and I felt deeply betrayed.  It all started at a job I had many years ago.  I thought I had a good working relationship with one of my co-workers.  But after I had known him for a year, he propositioned me.  I felt shocked and devastated because he was married and had two young children.  It was obvious to me that he just wanted some fun, not caring that he would be hurting his family and treating me like a thing he simply wanted to use.

Even worse, the company where I worked did not have a good track record with regard to women who reported being harassed.  Based on what I knew about the company, I had good reason to suspect that things would not go well if I reported the incident, especially because my co-worker had a very powerful job and I didn’t, although I liked my job and wanted to keep it.  I had good reason to believe he would lie, blame me, and I might be the one to get fired.  So I handled the situation by putting a wall of ice between me and the man who had propositioned me.  I didn’t acknowledge his presence unless it was necessary and work-related.  I was icy but polite toward him at all times.  It worked, and he left me alone, probably moving on to his next target.  But I felt icky.

That’s when I wrote a short story called “The Dragonslayer’s Sword.”  I wanted to write about the imbalance of power that women often face and how sometimes they have to figure out how to deal with a situation because it might cost too much to deal with it directly.  My main character, Astrid, is based on how I felt after being propositioned.  She’s a pacifist, and she wants to treat all people with the same fairness.  I wanted to put her in a position where the man who propositions her has good reason to think he can manipulate her.  That’s why Astrid is a blacksmith who makes swords and other weapons for dragonslayers.  Her job is to make sure the dragonslayer is well armed at all times.  If he isn’t, the lives of everyone he protects are at risk.  I wanted Astrid to feel the weight of an entire village on her shoulders.

The dragonslayer who propositions her is Taddeo, a dragonslayer who is recently hired by the village.  I did this because I didn’t want Astrid to have known him for a long time.  I wanted a stranger who would come in acting like he get can anything he wants just because he has great power and leverage as a dragonslayer.  In other words, if he doesn’t get what he wants, he can just walk away and leave the village unprotected from dragons, which would put Astrid and everyone she loves in danger.

That made me wonder who had been protecting Astrid’s village all these years.  I decided the village dragonslayer was also Astrid’s sweetheart, DiStephan, and he has inexplicably gone missing.  That’s why the village hires Taddeo.  No one knows why DiStephan has vanished without a word, but Astrid thinks she’s at fault.  I did this to make her situation even more difficult.  She’s not just being propositioned – she also feels guilty and believes she’s brought this situation upon herself.  Even worse, she’s keeping a secret:  the last time she saw her sweetheart DiStephan, she saw him kill tiny, newly-hatched dragons.  Even though she knows his job is to slay dragons – and even though she makes the weapons to help him do this – she’s still a pacifist.  Astrid can’t bear to see anything killed, much less helpless creatures.  She believes her reaction to seeing DiStephan kill baby dragons has driven him away.

I also wanted to write about how being propositioned made me feel.  So I decided my characters would be shapeshifters but that shapeshifting would work based on how you perceive yourself and other people.  So whenever you see someone’s inner beauty, your thoughts have the power to make them physically more beautiful – and vice versa.  However, there’s an unwritten law that says you always have the right to change yourself, but you don’t have the right to change others.  Villagers hold their thoughts and feelings close in order to respect the way everyone looks.  When Taddeo propositions Astrid, he breaks this law.  He stares at Astrid’s body and his thoughts changes her body into what he wants her to look like.

Poor Astrid!  She has so much to deal with all because I had a bad experience and needed to write about it.  But she’s a tough cookie and always figures out what she needs to do.  The good news is that the short story was published and I wrote a second short story in my Dragonslayer world.  The reader response was so strong that I decided to expand those stories into a novel.  And once I started writing the novel, I realized it could be a series.  All from a bad experience at work!

Everyone is welcome to download a “mini” ebook of my two Dragonslayer short stories to sample the Dragonslayer world and see if you like it.  There’s no cost or obligation, and you can download at

About the Author:

Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
Resa lives in Massachusetts.

Thank you again for being here today Rae and good luck with the rest of your tour!!

Also as part of the tour Rae has offered up free copies of her short stories, links to them can be found at the end of the post!!

Resa Nelson’s links:
Resa’s website:  
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:
GoodReads giveaway:
Facebook page:!/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at: (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble: (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)


  1. What a horrible experience! But YAY that it was something you could use and turn into something positive- a whole series of books! I like when an author uses real life experiences in a book, even if it's turned into something else by the end. It makes it just a bit more real. These books sound really good though, if my TBR wasn't so out of hand I'd definitely want to give them a shot! I'll be keeping them in mind for the future though.

  2. I completely can relate about having a crazy TBR pile!

    Thanks for stopping by Candace!

  3. wow what a story. So glad she turned it around, Thanks for sharing!