Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest - Nancy Lee Badger

Good morning all! Please welcome award winning author Nancy Lee Badger who will be discussing the intricacies of creating a story that combines dragons and...well, take a look. It's pretty interesting!

Read on to find out how to enter her giveaway.
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Doing It Different with Paranormal Romance
by Nancy Lee Badger, author of SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON

Nancy Lee Badger is an award-winning author whose Scottish paranormal romance, Dragon In The Mist, was recently awarded a 2012 Readers Choice Award in the Silken Sands Self-Published STARS Contest. With a family history touched by the tragedy of the American Civil War, Nancy’s visit to a famous battleground inspired her to take a few facts and ‘do it different’ to create the paranormal romance, Southern Fried Dragon, which was released Feb. 2, 2012.


Thanks for having me today, Lynda. About a year ago, I noticed that my local newspaper was filled with articles on the Civil War, which in turn intrigued my writer persona. Stories of local battle reenactments, and the discovery of Civil War artifacts, were all due to the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. I was especially attracted to a possible story idea by the descriptions of the men who fought during the war’s first battle at Fort Sumter from April 12 to April 14, 1861.

When the idea for a paranormal story rose up during a visit to the Fort Sumter National Monument, I worried that my idea would make a mockery of something as tragic as war. As the mother of an army soldier, I would never write a story that belittles war and its effects on soldiers or citizens. How could I possibly write a romantic story with a happy conclusion while thrilling my readers with the paranormal?

Would readers relate to a Scottish dragon as my heroine? Would they enjoy the way I describe Charleston Harbor, the surrounding fortifications, and Fort Sumter itself? Or, would they recoil when the battle begins? Would my readers choose sides and root for my hero wearing blue, or for the southern militia bombarding his fort with cannonballs?

The paranormal aspect was born of my love for ‘doing it different’. Could I have written a straight romance instead of adding a dragon who takes on the life of a newly departed serving girl? When Fort Sumter is surrendered and the Federal officers are allowed to leave aboard a ship bound for New York what if I had made their parting bittersweet? I wanted something different; a magical and uplifting story where my heroine follows his ship from the air.

I have peppered references to actual events throughout the story. Let’s face it…readers want historical facts to sound true. I base the entire story on fact, but twist the storyline just enough to evoke the paranormal. Could I have set the story on another planet and given my readers the same feel for my characters? I do not think so because, at least for my American readers, the Civil War is still fresh in our memories. It began April 12th 1861 in and around beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, and tore a very young country in two. Yet, the country has grown together as one people.

Many have asked me how in the world did I come up with the idea to add a Scottish dragon, of all things, to a story primarily situated under the shadow of coming war in the American south? Those who know me know that I have always adored anything Scottish. Dragons, too. I wrote Dragon’s Curse after reading stories about two things; a massacre of a Scottish island’s villagers, and another Scottish island’s huge caves. Dragons love caves, and I made my hero a survivor of the massacre. Different? You bet!

I wrote Dragon In the Mist after reading an article about European dragons. Did you know that the Loch Ness Monster is considered a wingless dragon? Making my heroine the Loch Ness dragon who finds a way to gain human form in order to fall in love came to me in part due to my love of Scotland. Again, I did it different.

I have never visited Scotland, but I read books, explore the internet, and ask questions. Research is a big part of writing. Sometimes it is dull, sometimes it is fun, and sometimes it is eye opening. I had never visited Charleston before coming up with the plot for Southern Fried Dragon, but once there I knew I wanted to write a story that included Fort Sumter. Actually, I knew the moment I stepped off the boat, ventured through the Sally Port, and walked the decimated Parade Ground. Piles of brick, shattered stonewalls, and quiet cannons facing the sea drove me to snap pictures, jot down notes, and think up an angle. Since even a dragon would love to live in the grand city of Charleston, I decided my Scottish dragon-turned-serving girl would, too.

A year later, I published Southern Fried Dragon. We, as a nation. are commemorating the 151st Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. I assume the next few years will produce more local news stories filled with memories of the four-year-long conflict. A particularly disturbing recent article mentioned how the tally of those who died during the war might be too low. They say over 800,000 men may have perished during the four year conflict. I know from personal family history the tragedy of some of those lost lives. As a writer—especially of historical paranormal romance—it is my duty to recreate a story based on fact that readers want to read, including a happy ending.

Is it difficult? Sometimes. Will it make a good book that will sell? Maybe, but I have discovered that I write what comes to me. I throw a little of me into each and every word. Research can be fun and entertaining and I suggest new writers get out of their office, and see the world. Do it different and see what you can come up with!




Amid cannon fire, and the threat of Civil War, love and trust will find a way.
Dru Little flew away from her home in a cave beneath a Scottish Island to end her lonely existence and find companionship across the sea. Her journey in late 1860 has led her to the modern American city of Charleston, South Carolina. Hiding her true self, she takes over the life of a serving girl and enjoys the hard life working in a tavern near the wharves. She has no idea that her life will turn upside down in a dark alley the moment a handsome soldier saves her life.
Lieutenant Shaw Stenhouse has his own worries. Southern secessionists are talking up a storm in Charleston. His fellow Federal soldiers are suddenly at risk from the community they are here to protect. The possibility of civil war takes a backseat when he saves a comely lass from drunken sailors. A good deed and a stolen kiss put a smile on his face until the threat of war becomes a reality. Their instant attraction proves disastrous when Dru spots her former lover, the Black Dragon, working for General Beauregard and the southern troops. As the clandestine group plans their attack on Fort Sumter, and Shaw’s soldiers, she takes to the sky.
Dru fights against the threat of detection, while she fears losing Shaw’s love. What will he do when he finds out that she is a powerful Scottish dragon Hell-bent on carrying him to safety? When Shaw discovers her hiding inside the heavily guarded fortress, thoughts of espionage—and worse—catapult the two lovers into danger from many sides.
When her former lover threatens Shaw, Dru must decide which is more important: protecting another of her kind, now nearly extinct, or protecting the human male, the man she has come to love.

EXCERPT
The thought made her lips tremble, itching to taste him. Not as dinner, of course, but as the human male standing before her. When he gazed down at his feet, then back at her mouth, she’d smiled. The weird longing to kiss him senseless was out-of-place in their situation. She planned to pass through this human existence until something better came along. Dru had no need for sexual entanglements.
Not tonight, anyway.
“I feel I’m a’keepin’ ye from yer duties, sir.”
“If they come back—”
“Fear not, sir. I will not remain outside this night. Where are ye’ headed?”
“Across the harbor, to Fort Moultrie. I am part of the 1st U. S. Artillery regiment. I travel by boat once a week to the Charleston docks for supplies.” He turned and gazed toward the end of the alley facing the harbor. “My men are waiting…” 
When he turned back to face her, Dru tossed her loosened hair over one shoulder and couldn’t help giggling when his eyes tracked the movement. “Maggie needs this flour.”
“Maggie?” he croaked, as he stepped closer.
The young man sounded like he needed a stiff drink. Too bad the inn’s dining hall had closed for the night. His scent washed over her anew. Salt, sea, and male. Human male, a new scent she was beginning to like.


Southern Fried Dragon
Author:  Nancy Lee Badger
Genre: Paranormal Historical
Length: 30,000 Word Novella
Amazon ASIN: B0074CX7SE

More About Nancy

 Nancy loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of dirks and broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. Nancy lives the dream. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. She and her family continue to volunteer at the New Hampshire Highland Games each fall. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Multi-published, she also writes contemporary and romantic suspense as Nancy Lennea.
Twitter @NLBadger

GIVEAWAY
Nancy’s earlier release, Dragon In The Mist, was honored as a 2012 Readers Choice Award recipient when it won 1st Place in the Silken Sands Self-Published STARS Literary Contest. One lucky person who leaves a comment will win a Dragon In The Mist ebook!   Please include your email address with your comment so you can be reached.





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--Lynda Again,
   That's it for today. Make sure you leave a comment with your email addy to enter Nancy's drawing. Good luck!
   
    Have a Blessed Day!

13 comments:

Nancy said...

Thanks for having me today!

Stephanie said...

What a great twist! I love the concept. Are both books part of a series and are you planning to add more? I'd love to learn more about them. Thanks for sharing today.

Stephanie
DragonStar1974 (AT) aol.com

Pauline B Jones said...

What an unexpected twist to a story about the civil war! I applaud you doing it your way. congrats on the awards and the release!

chey said...

I like the sound of these books!
chey127 at hotmail dot com

bn100 said...

Congratulations! I enjoyed the post. The book sounds very interesting.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Christy McKee said...

Nancy,

I like your special "twist" that offers readers a unique perspective in your story. I appreciate your commitment to honoring our soldiers, past and present.

Congratulations of the Reader's Choice Award.

Christy McKee

Nancy said...

Stephanie, these are not part of a series. The only correlation between DRAGON IN THE MIST, SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON, and DRAGON'S CURSE is that I use Scottish dragons as one of my main characters. DITM actually takes place in the present. SFD takes place in 1861. DC takes place in 1590's.

Sandy L. Rowland said...

I love how you came up with this! The creative musings of your mind amaze me. Excellent post and excerpt!
Best success to you on a terrific read.

Nancy said...

Sandy, sometimes I cannot keep up with my mind when it comes to plots, which is why I write in a variety of genres. I am a voracious reader, too.

Anonymous said...

I love all of Nancy's books and have been a fan for years. Always exciting and keeps me reading cover to cover (well, since they are ebooks, you know what I mean!). Kim

Nancy said...

...and the winner is...Sandy L. Rowland! Congrats! Please contact me at nancy@nancyleebadger.com

Anonymous said...

I loved your characters, Dru and Shawn. Using Fort Sumter as a background was an inspirational idea.

Jennifer (JC Page) said...

Congrats with the release and love your work!! Hope you keep them coming...you have such a brillant mind...JC