Sea Dragon Riders of Fire book 6 is live, completing the Riders of Fire series! I absolutely love this cover from Christian Bentulan. He’s done a beautiful job. I’m so excited to let this story swim out into the wide world. So far, feedback from my readers has been great, and I hope you enjoy Sea Dragon too!
Many readers asked what happened to Ithsar, the assassin whose fingers Ezaara had healed when she was being held captive by Ashewar, the chief prophetess—Ithsar’s mother in the Robandi Desert.
Due to their questions, Sea Dragon was born. The story has grown, also encompassing another young girl who hadn’t been seen since since she made her debut in Dragon Hero (all those moons ago). The two girls strike up a friendship, with remarkable results, and as those of you who’ve read Dragon War will know, Ithsar is able to help turn the tide of battle. (Sea pun intended).
Sea Dragon fleshes out some details that have been omitted from Ezaara’s adventures as the new Queen’s Rider, and concludes the war against Zens, rounding up some threads that readers may not have realized I’d deliberately left hanging. But wait, Riders of Fire isn’t over yet!
Riders of Fire Dragon Masters is an exciting new series that features the events leading up to Ezaara’s birth. Some of these books were originally planned as books 7-9 of the Riders of Fire series, however, new readers may like to read these adventures in chronological order. Splitting out the prequels into a separate series allows people to do this.
Here are the two series below, so you can see the gorgeous covers. I’m excited about working on the new stores for Riders of Fire Dragon Masters and hope you’re looking forward to reading them.
YA epic fantasy adventure. Series link here.
Book 1: Ezaara
Book 2: Dragon Hero
Book 3: Dragon Rift
Book 4: Dragon Strike
Book 5: Dragon War
Book 6: Sea Dragon
Riders of Fire Dragon Masters
YA epic fantasy adventure:
Book 1: Anakisha’s Dragon
Book 2: Dragon Mage
Book 3: Dragon Spy
Book 4: Dragon Healer
Riders of Fire Dragons
These prequels, can be read in any order:
1. Bronze Dragon (free novelette)
2. Ruby Dragon (short story)
3. Silver Dragon – free novelette only available here.
These are shorter stories about how many of the dragons and riders found each other. I hope to expand on this series as time permits.
A big thank you to my readers. Your energy and enthusiasm for my stories keeps me writing. I love your emails, messages and having fun with you on social media. It’s wonderful knowing you’re waiting for my stories! If you’d like to hang out in my Facebook group and have fun, pop over here.
By the blazing Robandi desert sun, YOU did it again!
We got 1005 Sea Dragon names!
Ithsar, the Robandi assassin, applauds you! I recently published a request for names for some minor characters in my latest novel, Sea Dragon, Riders of Fire book 6. My readers are so awesome! I was thrilled when I received 1005 suggestions! I love your enthusiasm, your willingness to be part of my writing world, and the brilliant names you come up with. I wish I had more characters and dragons for them.
On the other hand, I’m thankful I don’t have to write 1005 characters in my adventures! So, thank you everyone for participating.
Riders of Fire has been keeping me busy for years! And there’s more to come… I’ve recently made changes to the series order, so the Riders of Fire stories stay within their own timelines and don’t jump back and forth too much.
Books 1-5 follow Ezaara, Roberto and the whole team of riders of fire, the brave young dragon riders who fight against Commander Zens and his cloned tharuk monsters intent on enslaving people and destroying Dragons’ Realm.
Book 6, Sea Dragon, is Ithsar’s story. Ithsar is the Robandi assassin we met in Ezaara, book 1. I’d originally planned to put Sea Dragon at the end of the series, but, because it ties in with Ezaara’s story, it’s better to have Sea Dragon straight after the conclusion of Dragon War.
I’ve had many fans and readers asking for prequels about their favorite characters, so:
Book 7 is now Dragon Healer, a prequel to Ezaara, which shows us how Ezaara’s parents, Marlies and Hans, met and the struggles and battles they went through that culminated in them fleeing Dragons’ Hold to have Ezaara and her twin brother Tomaaz.
Book 8, Dragon Mage, also a prequel, shows us how Master Giddi, by following his heart, broke Dragons’ Realm and unleashed devastation upon the land. I’ve had many fans asking for more about Giddi.
Book 9… is a surprise prequel I have tucked up my sleeve. I’m hoping it will also see the light of day, but I need to plot it fully before I announce the title!
Book 7-9 are especially challenging because they don’t occur sequentially. There are timeline overlaps and common events in these books. In order to ensure these books are seamless, I’ll need to plot all of them at once — a monumental task.
Book 1: Ezaara
Book 2: Dragon Hero
Book 3: Dragon Rift
Book 4: Dragon Strike
Book 5: Dragon War
Book 6: Sea Dragon
Book 7: Dragon Healer
Book 8: Dragon Mage
Book 9: tbc – surprise!!!
My free Riders of Fire prequel novelettes are available here.
Bronze Dragon – Hans & Handel
Silver Dragon – Marlies & Liesar
Adventures in Dragon’s Realm for younger readers:
Attack on Dragons’ Realm (same world as Riders of Fire, a prequel for 10-12 yea olds) Dragons’ Realm, A You Say Which Way Adventure – Winner 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award, Best Youth Novel (interactive fiction with humor, for all ages)
I’m currently in the USA! Yes, this is a big deal. Although I’ve been around the world many times, and even lived in Switzerland for years, most of my international travel was before I had kids. And man, did I have kids … lots of them.
So coming to the 20books Vegas indie author conference was amazing. I’m still overseas so my internet connection isn’t always brilliant, so I’m posting a few photos here and will put more up when I get home.
Meet me this week – Salt Lake City
By the way, if you’re in Salt Lake City, I’m meeting readers and writers tomorrow night, Tuesday 19 November, at Hatch’s cafe at 7pm, 376 East, 8th Avenue.
If you’re a friend, email me and I’ll let you know where I’m seeing friends tonight, Monday 18 November. That goes for anyone I’ve met in New Zealand or Switzerland over the years.
Okay, onto 20books Vegas!
Mal Cooper who writes as M D Cooper and I had a great time as dragons. Although Mal does look particularly fierce here, she has a great sense of humor and is hilarious fun, as well as being a NY Times best-selling author with her sci-fi world Aeon 14. If you check out this book, you’ll see the ‘cat suit’ Mal is wearing on the front cover. We call them jump suits in NZ or latex paint-ons, but hey, I’m in the States right now, so cat suits they are!
Dragons don’t always have to be fierce…
I met a fellow rainbow-haired dragon too, a Brit living in Aussie! Tony Slater’s partner, Rue – or is it Roo after kangaroos? – and I had lots of fun while Tony captivated us with hilarious tales of his travels. Everything he writes is humorous, even his sci-fi and travel books, so hanging with them was fun.
I was surprised to find out that everything was about authors at 20books Vegas. Even the menu. But Jeff Kohanek and I tucked right in, in true dragon style, and ate Eric T Knight for dinner!
I have squagillions of photos yet to post, but I’m staying in Salt Lake City at a friend’s house, so I can’t work all day (like I have the last 3 days!). I’ll pop the photos up over the next couple pf weeks and keep you up with the antics of a thousands of authors in Vegas. And no, it was not about gambling – and all about books!
They’re reading Riders of Fire here! And here! And there!
I recently ran a contest for my Riders of Fire readers. Here are the results. Meet my readers from around the world.
Our Riders of Fire readers grand prize winners are Zach and Cherish
Cherish is from Madrid, Iowa USA, and loves Ezaara. She says, “The Riders of Fire books are original and they pull you in!” She sent some lovely photos of her having fun with dragons, a trainee dragon rider, swords and magic! Scroll down to see more of Cherish!
Cherish’s A2 poster of Dragons’ Realm is being flown by dragon post to her doorstep!
Zach has many aliases, including Zach the Shark, because he gobbles up so many books and is always prowling the waters of Amazon looking for more! (If you didn’t realize Amazon was a sea, it is now! I claim poetic license). He helps run a Discord Server for readers in his spare time, loves gaming and is a valiant Rider of Fire, leading the troops against Commander Zens!
When asked what he likes about Riders of Fire, Zachary tells us, “I love the dragons, fast paced feel. You do not fear having loss or darkness, and of course your overall creativity.”
Wow, that’s cool and totally unexpected. Thanks, Zach.
I’m hoping the dragons don’t freeze their wings off flying up to Canada to drop Zach’s Dragons’ Realm poster to him. (I’m also hoping the sharks don’t eat them, but don’t tell Zach that!)
The following readers have won lanyards which are in dragons’ saddlebags, winging their way to their doors.
Christine Steffens in Minnesota loves all things dragons and even has some pets that like to steal her e-reader and read about their fellow dragons. Look at this cutie!
Christine’s wee dragonet even matches the color scheme for Bronze Dragon, which is quite a feat! I wonder if the dragon is a chameleon, changing color depending on what book its holding.
When asked what she loves about Riders of Fire, Christine says, “Dragons, of course!”
Yeah, I get that!
Andrew loves dragons too (surprise!) and owns a super-sized copy of Dragon Hero which he’s proudly cradling above. He’s a Dragon Hero himself, out crusading against tharuks and battling evil.
Originally from Australia, he’s now at home in Ohio where it’s rumored that dragons are plentiful and there are many tharuks to fight. He loves audio books and e-books!
Andrew says, “I love the connection between dragons and their riders, and not just in your books, but others as well. Especially when the dragons are good and not evil. Can’t wait for the next in the series.”
The words of a true dragon hero! Go Andrew!
Cherish’s daughter is also a fan of dragons and got into the spirit of things. I don’t usually publish kids’ names on my blog. But here she is, armed with her sword, a trusty dragon at her side, and a great book to read!
Way to go!
Ina was in a playful colorful mood and tried out Zaarusha’s rainbow colors while riding dragons!
I love this attitude of experimentation and the bright upbeat colors that every dragon rider should wear as a warning that we will triumph over evil tharuks and the darkness of Commander Zens’ Death Valley!
Ina says Riders of Fire is “Intense and mystifying.”
Well, in this photo, I think Ina is too!
When asked what he likes about Riders of Fire, Richard Goodrum sent me this photo, with the simple statement, “Dragons!”
I asked him if he had any further comments, and he said, “Dragons!”
I think that says it all! He’s obviously fiercely loyal to a species that has a special place in our hearts!
Deb lives in the USA and loves Riders of Fire. She’s an e-book, print book and Audible fan and has the books in all three mediums! That’s pretty awesome.
Rumor has it that she’s writing books of her own, but not about dragons. Hey, it doesn’t always have to be about dragons! Good luck, Deb.
More Riders of Fire readers
In January this year, I had a surprise when someone called me out of the blue and wanted to visit! Elena and Alisha devour all the books in their local library and often make recommendations to the librarians, who are happy to order titles they like.
It’s cool to know that Riders of Fire even has a home in Crockett!
If you live in Crockett, Texas, feel free to take my books out of the local library. Also feel free to recommend them to your own library!
And yes, we three do actually have eyes. It was just a bright sunny Wellington day!
More Riders of Fire readers’ comments
Some readers didn’t have photos, or experienced technical glitches when uploading, but wanted to let me know what they thought of the series. Here are their comments.
Sherryl Taylor of Eugene, USA, says, “I LOVE LOVE LOVE DRAGONS. Have loved them since I was a kid. Now I’m a 66 year old kid!”
I know young adult fiction appeals to readers of all ages. I’ve had a kid of 9 years old write to me about my books and also pensioners in their late eighties who enjoy a dragonback adventure as much as teens do!
Stuart McClements of Bellshill says, “I like all things fantasy and horror!”
Although I don’t write stirct horror, I do have a couple of dark short stories about dragons that haven’t been widely published (in magazines or out-of-print anthologies). They may hit the light of day as soon as I have a good cover. So hang in there, Stuart, and you may get fantasy dragons with a tinge of horror!
Gene Mallard of Lilburn, Georgia, loves the covers of Riders of Fire.
A special thank you to Christian Bentulan, my amazing cover designer! He really has helped this series come to life.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in sharing their love of Riders of Fire.
We’re lucky to have the fabulous Caitlin Davies onboard as narrator. Caitlin, an award-wining narrator and actress, has narrated many books in various genres. I discovered her when listening to Lindsay Buroker’s Dragon Blood series and Alisha Klapheke’s Fate of Dragons. She has a great voice and excellent narration. I hope you enjoy her rendition of the first three Riders of Fire books.
As you can imagine, Caitlin and I have had fun with my pronunciation guide. I created MP3 files, using my fantastic New Zealand accent to pronounce all the fantasy names in the series. It’s been great emailing each other and gaining insight into the narration process. Seeing Caitlin discover Dragons’ Realm and our courageous dragon riders and dragons was fun. It was quite an adventure, especially my rendition of growly, snarly tharuks, some of whom only speak broken English. Despite my weird kiwi accent, I know she’s done justice to the characters. I hope you enjoy listening to Riders of Fire. Now you can enjoy your favorite series out walking, doing housework or working, anywhere at any time.
Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received a plea from a young New Zealander to research psychics and dragons. She responded, returning the $5 the child had enclosed, and asked whether those fire-breathing mind-reading dragons actually wore suits!
Jacinda’ s cameo in Ezaara
Jacinda Ardern has a cameo in Ezaara, Riders of Fire, book 1. First, I have to explain that New Zealand is a tiny country. We all joke that we know each other, live in each other’s pockets and that there are only 3 degrees of separation here in our country.
When I lived in Switzerland, we played a game whenever I ran into a kiwi over there. We’d ask those around us to set their stopwatches and I’d ask rapid-fire questions about the new person until we found someone that we both knew. We usually managed to do that within a minute. Under 60 seconds most times. The longest it ever took was 90 seconds. The Swiss were astounded. Yeah, I can talk fast — and used to be able to think faster than I spoke! Anyway, the point is that I know Jacinda Ardern and met her and her sister Louise years ago. The last time I saw her was a few years ago for afternoon tea at parliament.
When she was appointed leader of the Labour Party, shortly before she was elected Prime Minister, I was working on Ezaara, so I named a character after her. Jacinda has a small role in Ezaara, but who knows…? Maybe in Dragon Strike it’ll be time for her to become a hero in her corner of the world, the way Jacinda Ardren is for many New Zealanders today… I’ll have to see where the plot takes me.
I’ve been meaning to send Jacinda the books, and Louise has given me a nudge, so it’s probably time to pack them up and ship them across the city to her office. I doubt she’ll have time to read them yet (so many parliamentary reports to get through), but why not?
The telepathic bond between dragons and humans is a fantasy trope that readers enjoy. Imagine having someone who understands your every thought and dream. Who can feel your emotions and desires instantly. Who can carry through the skies on their back, traversing lake-studded meadows, and soaring over snowy peaks and arid deserts.
Someone powerful enough to destroy enemies with fire. Or to toast your marshmallows on a wintry night, their scales glinting in the firelight. Someone fierce and loyal and brave and true.
Someone who loves you with devotion, but understands your weaknesses and your good intentions, even when you mess up. Someone stronger than monsters, wiser than humans, and older than the hills, yet with a strength and majesty that defies age.
Someone whose wingspan dwarfs houses. Someone who can shelter and protect you better than any house.
That’s the fascination of dragons. Perhaps, if Victoria finds a benefactor for her dragon research, Jacinda Ardern’s next international trip could be on dragonback.
I’d like to announce the winner of the Name a Spider contest that I ran on Facebook back in March! I had meant to announce the results along time ago, but was neck-deep in edits for Dragon Rift, my latest book. Then I launched Dragon Rift at Armageddon, and life went crazy with Easter and visitors and running my writing business and publishing the NZ Youth Laureate Award winners, and suddenly… its’ May!
I mean, May? How did that happen?
The Challenge was:
I need a cool fantasy name for a venomous spider as big as a dinner plate. Any ideas?
What I’m looking for is a fantasy species name, so a fantasy name that shows it’s a huge, dangerous spider. i.e.: a species name – bitten by a/an xxx spider. This is for Dragon Rift, the 3rd book in Riders of Fire, a dragon rider medieval fantasy series… go for it! I’ll name you and call out your genius in my acknowledgements!!
You all came up with such fantastic names! Now I’ll have to write another novel full of awesome spider characters. That’s the problem with being a writer: thousands of book ideas and not enough time to write them all!
There were over 80 entries, so I had a lot of clever names to choose from.
The Winner :
Susan Minot: Gargantula ?
Sue’s name is in the acknowledgements of Dragon Rift. As a bonus, I’ll send her a copy of the paperback. And although gargantulas are only mentioned once in Dragon Rift, I’m sure they’ll skitter across the pages of Dragon Strike, Riders of Fire book 4, due out later this year.
I loved everyone’s ideas. I was torn in a few different directions, but ultimately I wanted the species to sound big and venomous. Here are some of my favourite suggestions. Some made me laugh, some gave me the creeps, some were fascinating. See what you think:
Ava Fairhall: Mix and match with these: Shield crawler, or
colossal harvestman, or
disc spinner, or
Virginia Taylor: Michael
Bronwyn Norman: Venomous maxima, but people call it ‘Carol’
Natasha Kenyon: TEmperor
Zelda Tufue Dahya: Aracknidus Giganticus (Hail came up with that! He has been a Spiderman fan since he was 2yrs old)
Eric Corrington: Peteroid Parkernid
Ryan Mcfadden: a Ceramihumngi. I took the word for large and the start of the word Ceramic seen as as large as a dinner plate…
Tania Torea: Ingensaranea Literally two Latin words meaning huge spider Or Ragnoenorme
Peter Friend: Troll Hands – named after their supposed resemblance to those of mythical (or are they?) eight-fingered trolls, or so parents tell their children…
Nicky Curran: Zorboct.
Silvia Brown: Plato, means plate in Spanish and is the first thing that came to mind so I am sticking with it. Plus wasnt that the name of an Ancient Greek philosopher as well? A philosophical ceramic spider!!!
Martin Riesen: What kind of a name are you looking for? A pet? (Fred), More funny? (Spidermax). Medieval? Arachnia Tantus
Simon Voysey: Skitters
Meg Jolly: Empress Widow?
Jean E. Lane: The “Freakindead” spider.
Matt Whitaker Jeff. Or Dave.
Kevin Maclean: Tarantula morbidius…
Moya Bawden: Tantunab – Sanskrit
Gary Freedman: Puppy
Adam Roberts: Arachadonis. Spider with a six pack…
Adam Roberts: Arachadonis Rex. Front legs are too small to do anything useful…
Adam Roberts: Terran Chulla.
Eric Corrington: Aralob.
Deryn Pittar: Archnia gigantus
Wow, you made it to the end of that humongous list of scary spiders. Just for being brave, here’s a reward. Enjoy this fascinating video.
If the venomous spiders haven;t put you off Riders of Fire, feel free to pick up a copy here. Your next wild adventure is waiting.
It’s been a while since I received my Storylines Notable Book Awards for Ezaara and Dragon Hero — for excellence in young adult fiction. I was absolutely thrilled to be among such distinguished company with my roaring dragons! Although I posted on Facebook and told my readers about it in my Riders of Fire newsletter, I haven’t had the opportunity to update my blog for ages.
The awards ceremony took place in Auckland. As well as awarding Notable Book Awards to young adult authors, there were awards for picture books, junior fiction (middle-grade novels or chapter books), books in Te Reo Maori, and non-fiction.
On the way to the Notable Book Awards
I manged to snap a selfie while waiting for my minibus to the awards. In case you’re wondering, I don’t constantly change the colour of my hair. I do it twice a year (it takes hours) and it just fades to all sorts of shades in between.
I’m no good at selfies, but hey, everyone’s nose needs to look a little bigger, right? I heard that photo recognition software has been updated to take into account that selfies produce enormous noses!!
Young Adult Fiction
One of the highlights of being at the Storylines Margaret Mahy and National Awards Day was seeing many NZ authors I hadn’t caught up with for ages. Here’s a shot from the Storylines NZ website of the authors whose books won awards in the young adult category.
Mandy Hager (far right) won the Margaret Mahy Medal, and gave the keynote talk, which I loved. Mandy has so many New Zealand books awards that her pile must be taller than me. It was great to catch up with her and hear her views about writing for teens.
“This, to me, is the definition of a great book, words that implant themselves in the heart of the recipient and become a part of them. Stories with power — be that the power to move, to challenge, to console, to excite, to anger, to motivate, to laugh, to cry, or to really truly think.”
— Mandy Hager
Another highlight of the day was seeing the heart surgeon who operated on one of my tiny premature twins, saving my baby’s life back in 2001. Alan Kerr was there for the launch of his son-in-law’s book. We just happened to sit next to each other. I tell you, New Zealand is such a small place. Wherever you go, you end up knowing people.
To top off the evening, I went out to dinner with an old friend from my university days. It had been 20 years since I’d caught up with Grant Hand and we had fabulous time, laughing way too loud and sharing our sad and good memories with each other. It’s amazing how you can pick up with an old friend right where you left off, even after years.
My awards also featured in the last ever edition of The Wellingtonian. Thanks to journalist Jamie Adams for all his tireless work, covering community news for years, and for this final shout out, in his article Dragon Books Prove a Flaming Success.
My Readers are Orsum — Kiwi for Awesome!
Many of the authors on the Storylines Notable Books List have been published by large publishing houses — Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Walker Books, Allen & Unwin or Harper Collins — or by NZ medium-sized publishing houses such as Gecko Press, Upstart Press, Huia, Duck Creek Press or Potton & Burton, so I was thrilled that my books received awards and this level of national recognition.
Having said that, above any awards, I prize the emails I receive from my readers across the world who are touched by Riders of Fire and Ezaara’s adventures. Thank you for sharing your reading journey with me. Thanks for committing the time to enjoy my work. And thanks for letting me get to know you. It’s a privilege. You rock!