Sunday, 25 March 2012

This week's word is: UPLIFTING

Hello, dragon fans.  Oh, boy.  What a week it's been in the den.  Last Monday morning, the author woke up with a cough.  Not a nasty cough or a ribcage rattling cough just...a cough that seemed to have no end to it.  He went to the bathroom, where he coughed again and managed to hack up a pea-sized lump of green gunko.  Gretel looked at it and reeled back sharply.  One word left her mouth - dragonpox.

By midday, our hero was feeling wuzzlier than a sock.  Mrs Author pointed straight to the stairs.  "Bed," she said.  "But...?" he protested.  "I've got things to do."  But you don't argue with one of Mrs Author's glares.  Off to bed he went ... where he stayed for the next four days.

The author is not a good patient.  He moans, he grumbles, he pushes the bed clothes around a lot.  Fair enough, for two of his days confined to bed he was pretty feverish and could barely unscrew the top from a bottle of water.  It's when the boredom kicks in that he gets unbearable.  Then you'd gladly break a plate over his head, trust me!

On the fifth day, it all changed.  He was feeling well enough to get dressed and sit on the bed rather than in it, and Mrs Author let him have his laptop.  This meant he could tweet, read a manuscript, answer email.  It was during the latter activity that he came across two messages that not only uplifted him, but also put his week into perspective.

I watched him reading the first of the messages and saw a tear filming in his eye.  I immediately fluttered over.  "What's the matter?" I asked.  "Read this," he said.  "It's from the mom of a little girl called Lauren."  I put on my spectacles and read the following,

I thought you might enjoy hearing about my daughter, Lauren, whose life you have touched in a profound way through your dragon series. In August of 2010 she was diagnosed with lymphoma. It took us 5 months to figure out what was wrong with her and she is currently in the maintenance phase of a two year treatment plan. I'm telling you this because during the most difficult phase of her treatment she stumbled across The Fire Within and was instantly hooked! She has devoured every single one of the dragon series book and is anxiously awaiting The Fire Ascending. She even spent hours upon hours creating her own clay dragon complete with a clay doughnut, pillow and teddy bear! Unfortunately, the accessories that went with the dragon were not made with the type of clay that can be baked so they melted in the oven (oops!) but the dragon survived and is proudly displayed in her room. I just want to say thank you so much for sharing your imagination and gift of writing with us - your books helped my precious girl forget for a while the needles, drugs, hair loss... all of the nastiness that goes with cancer, and escape to the world of the Pennykettle's and the magic of Wayward Crescent (and beyond!).

Brilliant letter, eh? I looked at the author and he looked at me and said, "Here's me whinging all week about nothing in particular while this brave girl is fighting off a dreadful illness."  I nodded and blew a quiet smoke ring.  That's the power of dragon auma, for you.

So it was rather fitting that one of the next messages we read worked like a tonic for us.  This one came from a long time fan called Clarissa who, wait for it, has READ The Fire Ascending.  How she got hold of the book, we don't know.  Sometimes the author's publisher will do a deal with a book club which allows the club to have the book exclusively a week or two in advance of official publication.  Whatever, Clarissa had it, and she'd read it, and she LIKED it.  A lot.  Here are a few small quotes from her message:

I stayed up all through the night reading it. It was amazing.
Your series is so unlike any other, seriously. I can't... I can't... it's rendered me speechless.
The way you tie everything in together so smoothly is incredible. It's like you've created your own genre!
You are seriously one fearless writer. There were so many ideas in the story and you made it work together. I would be scared witless. Scared that it would descend into a pile of unintelligible mush.
Cool, eh?  We really liked the line about creating your own genre.  Wouldn't that be something?
Don't worry all you disappointed fans reading that, we are speeding towards the UK release date of APRIL 5th.  It's just eleven days away.  Very soon, you'll all be able to send us your emails or tweets about the book, or post your reviews online etc.
Finally this week.  No snippet, but another lovely drawing sent in by a fan.  Many of you have been inspired by Thoran and the watch story.  Here's Lindsey's take on it.  Love the colours, Lindsey.  Until next time.  Happy reading.  Hrrr!

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