Monday, January 21, 2013

Guest Post: Resa Nelson

Please welcome Resa Nelson to Fantasy Book Chick

How My Dragonslayer Series Came About by Resa Nelson
Before any of my novels were published, I got my start as a short story writer.  My stories were published in fantasy, science fiction, and horror magazines and anthologies.  Many years ago I thought I was done with one short story (called “The Dragonslayer's Sword”) as soon as it was published in Science Fiction Age magazine.

I had no idea that it would evolve into a 4-book fantasy series.

Like much of my work, I wrote “The Dragonslayer's Sword” to deal with an experience in my life that upset me.  I often write to work through my problems and my feelings.  I had been propositioned by a married man who had two young children, which left me feeling like a thing, not a human being.  I decided to write a story about a woman who experienced something similar, but I wanted her to feel the weight of the world on her shoulders.  So in my short story, she's a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers.  When the local dragonslayer (who is also her sweetheart) goes missing without explanation, a foreigner steps in to fill his shoes.  It's this foreign dragonslayer who propositions my female blacksmith, Astrid.  He makes it clear that if she doesn't do as he asks, he'll walk away and leave her village at risk.  She knows people might die if she rejects this dragonslayer, and in the short story she comes up with a unique solution to her problem that works in an unexpected way.
Two years after my story was published, it ranked 2nd in that magazine's Readers Top Ten Poll.  My editor also forwarded a letter he'd received from a B. Dalton bookstore manager who said customers kept coming into his store wanting to buy my Dragonslayer novel but he couldn't figure out how to order it for them.

That's because I hadn't written a Dragonslayer novel.  I'd only written the short story.  But I realized that I should seriously consider turning the short story into a book.

At the same time, I decided that I would only do so if I came up with an idea that I felt was worth turning into a novel.  I never want to waste my readers' time.  Instead, I want them to enjoy my books and feel they're worth the time to read.

I spent several years mulling over different ideas for turning the short story into a novel but didn't like any of them.  I even tried turning one idea into a screenplay, but it didn't work at all.  So I gave up on the idea.

One summer I thought about it once more.  I've always been a huge fan of Viking culture, and I began to wonder what it would be like if the story took place in a Viking-like world.  I'd traveled in Scandinavia and began thinking about some of the things I'd seen and learned while traveling.  I decided to read Beowulf and began to wonder what would happen if Beowulf had left behind a family and children when he died.  What if Beowulf had a granddaughter who never knew he'd existed?  And what if the story of Beowulf wasn't quite what we think it is?

All of these ideas came crashing together.  I began to see the story and what would happen to Astrid.  I cried, thinking, “How can I let such horrible things happen to her?”

That's when I knew I had an idea worth writing.  While writing the novel version of The Dragonslayer's Sword, I realized there was so much going on in the story and in the world I'd created that it wouldn't fit in one book.  So the short story that became a novel turned into a four-book series.

If you'd like to sample my work for free, you can download a free “mini” ebook called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website at  It includes the original short story version of “The Dragonslayer's Sword.”  No cost, no obligation, nothing to sign up for, no information gathering.  I like giving away samples of my work so you can decide for yourself whether you like it or not.  

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.

Synopsis for The Dragon's Egg (Book 4)
In the fourth and final book of the Dragonslayer series, Mandulane's army is poised to attack the Northlands in the name of a powerful god, but in truth Mandulane is using the act of spreading this new faith as a way to disguise his own personal greed and hunger for power.
Astrid has succeeded in warning her beloved country of imminent danger, and the Northlanders scramble to set up a clever defense, never realizing a spy in their midst is poised to take critical information directly to Mandulane.
After sacrificing herself in order to set her brother Drageen free for the sake of protecting the Northlands, Astrid finds herself controlled by the stone of light.  Although it forces her path of destiny, Astrid learns she must make one final choice about who she wants to be.
Most important of all, her new sweetheart Trep encounters a dragon that entrusts him with the care of a dragon's egg.  Trep embraces a dangerous journey and accepts the duty of protecting the unhatched dragon, knowing that its safety could impact the fate of the entire world.

A little about Resa...
Resa Nelson's 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, which also includes The Iron Maiden (Book 2), The Stone of Darkness (Book 3), and The Dragon's Egg (Book 4).
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."
She 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.
Resa lives in Massachusetts.  Visit her website at

Where you can connect with Resa and purchase her books... 

Resa's website: 

Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:

Twitter:  @ResaNelson

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 comment:

  1. Resa .. Sorry I have not had time to read your book (if it's up in Indonesia?). but I'd love to see the cover.