Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

20 Days to go and we need your support!

Hey guys. This is just an update about my Sponsume campaign that I have running for Legacy of the Dragonkin. So far I have managed to raise £170 of my overall target - but we're not quite there yet. I want to say a huge thanks to those who have sponsored me so far and to those who have shared my link or retweeted it, etc, but with just 20 days to go, I need a bit more help if I am going to reach my target.

 

To remind you of the project that I have current going, here is the video and link to the Sponsume page.

 

 

Legacy of the Dragonkin Campaign

 

It would be a HUGE help if you guys could help me get the word out about this campaign so that we can raise the funds for it. Remember, all funds made from this will go towards the artwork and printing costs of the book, as well as other publicity materials. Not only that, but there are lots of presents available for you if you do it!

 

What I'd love would be if you guys could share this blog, retweet it, or just give it a little mention on your FB, blog, etc, just to spread the word about it a little more. If you'd like to donate money towards it that would be great. Every little helps. And just remember, even though the money is mentioned in British Pounds, you can donate in any currency as far as I'm aware. I am trying to push this as much as possible in the hope that I can make Legacy of the Dragonkin as good a novel as possible.

 

Once again a huge thanks to those who have supported this so far - let's see if we can hit our target!

 

Thanks a lot and have a great week!

 

 

Regards

Pandragon

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The Tribe's Bride Blog Tour - The Inspiration behind the story

 

A huge apology for this going up so late - I had this all ready to go but had an emergency come up at the last minute. Damn those best laid plans of mice and men!

 

Anyway, without further ado, today I am proud to have a special guest post from author R. E Butler, author of the novel The Tribe's Bride. A brief synopsis from Amazons is below.

 

 

When a university job interview goes south, Carrie Wade isn’t certain that she’ll ever find work in her field of ancient Native American Culture. Knowing the only job waiting for her is waitressing at a coffee-house, Carrie indulges in a post-disappointment shopping trip. An old necklace in an antique store window catches her eye and she immediately feels as if she cannot walk away without owning it. The very last thing she needs to do is squander her savings by investing in a necklace that may have, at one time, belonged to one of the tribes she studied…but she can’t help herself.

 

When she tries on the precious necklace at home, she passes out and wakes up in the tent of the necklace’s original owners, three Native American tribesmen from the late 1600s. Will she be able to get back home to the future or will she find out that the one place she was always meant to be was back in time as the tribe’s bride?

 

This novella contains m/f/m/m interaction, three handsome brothers that will do anything for each other and their woman, and a magical necklace that brings them all together.

 

 

I'm pleased to now introduce R.E. Butler, who has prepared a special talk about the inspirations behind her book. It's a very informative look into the creation of this book and I think you'll find it interesting.

 

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I’ve always been intrigued by Native Americans and cultures that use ceremonies as part of their way of life.  A few months ago, I had been reading some time-travel books, but I had not read any about a modern woman being transported back to a Native America tribe.  There’s a quote attributed to novelist Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  So the original inspiration for the book, The Tribe’s Bride, was to write what I hadn’t been able to find:  take a modern woman and, with a little bit of magic, plunk her down in the 1600s with a Native American tribe and see what happens.
 
For the backdrop, I chose a remote, fictional mountain range and filled it with wildlife. I love the mountains.  Even though I call the shore my home now, my family and I lived in California for several years and I could see the Coastal Mountains from my kitchen window.  There’s something magical about mountains, knowing they’ve been around forever, so using one as the setting for the historical part of the book seemed like the best choice.
I wanted my heroine to be strong-willed and intelligent, and the heroes to be the sorts of men that readers could imagine being trapped in just such a scenario with.  I wanted Carrie to be ambitious, sweet, friendly, and a little lonely.  For the men, I knew I would have a group of three brothers who were separated from their tribe and looking at a lifetime of loneliness, which drove them to use a magical necklace to find their bride.  I laid out a list of characteristics of what Carrie’s perfect husband would be like, and then chose the strongest ones to assign to the men.  I built the men up, digging into their history to find out why they behaved the way they did. I love getting to know my characters and finding out their back-stories.
 
Everything about the book is fictional, from the name of the Native American tribe to the mountain range they call home.  But what wasn’t fictional, were the details that went into creating the world they lived in.  Even fictional stories need to be plausible, so I began to research climate, plants and animals from around that time, and with the help of my editor, I also found out some amazing things about what the people from that time period would know - everything from basic hygiene to making salt.
 
While my original inspiration came from wanting to create a book I was unable to find already written, slowly that idea morphed until I was writing the book because I wanted to know what happened to Carrie and the tribe.  Could a woman from 2012 be happy back then?  If you were going to be transported into a time when technology didn’t exist, what would you miss most?  Carrie became a complex and amazing character, the brothers became worthy heroes, and I enjoyed writing every word of the story, and I hope my readers enjoy it, too!
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And just like before, our good friends at Page Turner Book Tours are offering a special competition as part of this tour. Please check out this link for details.
 
Page Turner Book Tours is fronted by the face behind Read2Review Kate. Page Turner Book Tours has been put together to help promote authors and give something back to the writing world. Kate has put together a team of incredibly talented people to help with the project by incorporating their individual skills into making new, fresh and exciting promotional plans that we hope you agree are amazing. If you would like to book a tour with Page Turner Book Tours please check out their tour packages . If you would like to become a tour host with  Page Turner Book Tours please check out their Tour Host page. You wont be disappointed!
 
 

Make sure to leave your comments below and don't forget to check out the competition.

 
 

Regards

Pandragon

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Why I like Wrestling

I was hoping to have something Olympic related for my blog today – but, er, as you can see, that failed miserably. And seeing as, on today of all days, people probably wouldn’t be interested in reading a blog about writing tips or a review of some kind, I tried to think of something to do with sports that may be appropriate. Luckily, at the last minute, I had an idea!

 

This may not be entirely related to the Olympics – but wrestling IS an Olympic event, so technically this works. So today I’m gonna talk a little bit about a “sport” that I have been interested in for as long as I can remember. From Wrestlings humble beginnings as a carnival event – Wrestling has pretty much become a worldwide phenomenon, with Wrestlers being looked up to as gods and goddesses and respected every bit as much as Footballers or other sports personality (just to clarify, when I say Football, I’m talking about Soccer for you US readers).

 

 

When I was young, my parents did EVERYTHING they could to stop me and my brother watching Professional Wrestling – mainly because they thought it was too violent. Luckily, we used to spend a lot of time round our Nan’s house and she was a little more open to the stuff we could watch. So every Saturday, whilst both our parents were at work, we used to go round to our Nan’s and watch a lot of TV – Wrestling being one of them. At the time we used to watch WWE (or, as it was known then, WWF), during the “Glory Days” of Hulk Hogan, Jake the Snake Roberts, Ultimate Warrior, Bret the Hitman Hart and (to this day one of my favourite wrestlers of all time) The Undertaker.

 

Even though I was too young to know that Wrestling is all a show (what, you didn’t think it was REAL did you?) I still enjoyed it. I loved the over the top characters and their personalities, the battles of Good Versus Evil (or Faces and Heels as are known in the wrestling world), the twisting storylines, the cheesy acting – it was all great to me! To this day, I see Wrestling as a form of live action Comic Book and all the characters are Superheroes and Supervillains come to life.

 

As the years went on, and as we became older, our parents became more open about me and my brother watching Wrestling and Wrestling also changed. Gone were the days of Hulk Hogan, the Warrior and Bret Hart and in came in Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, HHH, Brock Lesnar – characters that were darker than the previous heroes, but still entertaining to watch. With the invention of ECW, Wrestling became a lot more violent and bloodier, introducing “Hardcore” matches that would end up with tables, chairs and other objects being used as weapons. These often led to blood being spilled, bringing back times of Roman Gladiators. In many ways, Wrestling is very much like Gladiatorial battles – both are intended to put on a show as a way of the crowd to vent their violent frustrations and entertain them at the same time.

 

Now, a lot of people that don’t follow Wrestling automatically say “oh it’s so fake.” My answer to that is WRONG! Fake is not the word I’d use – choreographed is what I would say. Yes, we all know that the matches are planned out and that the moves they do aren’t actually hurting them as much as they make it out to be. But I actually saw a program of how they “faked” the moves once and here is the thing. The moves they do are real – but the reactions are, somewhat exaggerated (they call this “selling the move”). Most of the moves revolve around learning where to land and how to fall – so there is a lot of quick thinking and timing involved. And they go through a LOT of agony to learn how to do these moves. Some of them are dangerous and, if they get it wrong, they will be carried out in a stretcher – or even killed!

 

I get so angry when people refer to Wrestling as “fake”, because Wrestlers do actually have to go through a lot of training to pull these moves off and they DO get injured. Some examples include the Wrestler Darren Drozdov, an up and coming Wrestler during the nineties that had his neck injured during a match and is now paralysed from the neck down (although I heard that he does have some feeling in his upper body now). Wrestler Psycho Sid once attempted a flying kick from the top turnbuckle and broke his leg mid match. Most recently, TNA Wrestler Jesse Sorrenson had his neck broken during a match and he may be out for a whole year now. And let’s not forget legendary Mick Foley, who was once thrown off the top of a cage during a fight with the Undertaker (in what I still say was one of the greatest Hell in the Cell matches of all time) and then later on, thrown THROUGH the cage! And yet he STILL got up and fought!

 

That is why I will always defend Wrestling when anyone says it’s fake. Because people DO get hurt and sometimes injuries have lasting consequences long into their career. In April 2011, popular Wrestler Edge had to retire from Wrestling at 37 due to several injuries he had picked up over the course of his career – that was a heartbreaking moment. So I dare anyone to say Wrestling is fake before trying it for themselves.

 

Despite the risks, I still love to watch Wrestling. These days I watch less of WWE and more of the independent circles (such as TNA Wrestling and some Japanese federations). My favourite types of matches are high-flying (or X-Division) matches that involve people flying through the air and crashing on their opponents  - or anything to do with steel cages. In fact, a lot of my favourite Wrestlers these days are high flyers (Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Rob Van Dam, James Storm and Austin Aries), but I will always remember the classic Wrestlers that got me into Wrestling in the first place. I still have respect for the Hulk Hogan’s, The Undertakers, The Stone Colds, The Rocks and even the Ric Flairs. I’ve been to a few Wrestling events and I have been fortunate enough to see Ric Flair, Sting and Hulk Hogan in action – a magical event for me knowing that I grew up watching these guys fight it out.

 

So yeah, I know Wrestling is cheesy and somewhat silly – but when I watch Wrestling I like to shut my brain off and just enjoy it for the thrill it is. It’s the same as if you’re reading a Comic about your favourite superhero – you know it’s not real, but you let your suspension of disbelief go and just enjoy the ride. It may not be sport in the traditional sense, but it’s still entertainment and that’s why I and millions like me, watch it.

 

And that’s the bottom line. If you smell, what the Pandragon is cooking!

 

Enjoy the Olympics everyone!

 

 

Regards

Pandragon

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Above image is copyright TNA Wrestling. Used for illustration purposes.

Pandragon Reviews - Just to clarify...

Hi folks, todays blog is just to clear up a few things in regards to the reviews I am doing. As most of you will probably know, I stopped accepting reviews for my blog about a month or so back. This was because I was inundated with TONS of authors asking for a review of their work. In actual fact I never expected to get such a huge response - but I was quite flattered by this in a way. Unforunately, this also meant that I had a lot of books to read and review. Not that I'm complaining - I love discovering new authors after all.

 

Problem is that, since I stop accepting reviews, I've had a few emails from other authors that have tried some "back door" methods to try and get a review from me, even using threats in some cases! I decided to address some of the issues raised in these emails in this blog and try to answer some questions. NOTE: This is not intended to be an attack on any particular author or person who has contacted me, I just feel that a few things need to be clarified and explained.

 

 

When will you be accepting reviews again?

 

Sadly, at this moment, I can't say for sure. Whilst I did recommend a time, please be advised that this can change. Remember, I am reading these books in my spare time and I can't always guarantee I'll have lots of spare time (baring in mind I'm also writing and promoting my own work). So at present I cannot guarantee a time of when I'll be able to accept books for review again - but I am aiming to get through my current backlog at least before the year is out. I do try and read at least two books at once so I will hopefully get my backlog done quicker this way.

 

 

Can you contact me when you're reviewing again?

 

Unfortunately not. My time is limited enough as it is so I cannot really advise each author indivdually to let them know when I'm reviewing again. I'll make an announcement on my blog when I am.

 

 

I know your not accepting reviews, but here's my book anyway...

 

It never ceases to amaze me how many authors try this even though I clearly say I'm not accepting books for review. So if I say that I am not accepting books for review, don't bother trying to pitch your book to me. You'll just be wasting your time.

 

In actual fact, I got some grief from a publisher that contacted me recently (who shall remain nameless) asking if I'd be interested in reviewing their up coming book by some author I've never heard of. When I told them no, they got really angry with me and made out that this book was going to be the next Harry Potter or whatever!

 

Here's the thing - I don't care if I get contacted by a first time author, a colleage graduate, or J.K Rowling herself - I treat ALL authors the same, regardless of their popularity. This means that I will NOT drop everything just to review the latest big hit. Sure, I might miss out some great publicity, but what about those other books that are waiting to be reviewed? Do I just forget them? Sorry, I don't work that way. Bottom line, if I am not accepting reviews - don't email me asking for a review!

 

 

My book is only a short story (20 pages long), surely you can review that in just a few minutes? Why don't I submit that to you?

 

I've had at least three authors try this out on me whilst I'm in my "no submission" period. And I say the same to all of them. I review the books I get sent in the order that I receive them, not by their length. If I were to review all the "short" books first, then it means those with a longer novel may feel victimised. Therefore, in the interest of fairness, I review all books in the order I receive them. This means that some authors may be waiting a few months for a review of a ten page story - but that's the way I (and indeed most reviewers) do things. I won't let any book jump the que. So sorry, but everyone will just have to be patient and wait.

 

 

Why don't you review non-fiction?

 

Even when I was accepting reviews, I always turned down any book that was non-fiction (or at least what I considered as non-fiction). One guy got quite upset about this and thought I was being "racist to non-ficiton". His words, not mine (how can you be racist to books anyway?)

 

Maybe I should explain. See, with a fiction book, I have plenty I can review. Characters, story, writing style, pace, etc. In a fiction novel, everyone has their own ideas of what makes a good story and I can use this to make my own mind up as to whether I like a book or not. With non-fiction, well, I can't really do that. It's hard to explain, but I'll try to use a couple of examples.

 

Supposing someone asked me to review a cook book for example, detailling recepies for a healthy new diet. How do I review that? I know nothing about diety advice (in fact I'm probably one of the unhealthiest people you'll meet in terms of food), so I can't exactly say "no this is wrong?" Or what if it was a non-fiction history book talking about the rise of the Roman Empire. It's historical fact - I can't exactly argue with that. At the best, all I could do is talk about the spelling and typo issues - and no one wants to read a review about that?

 

So really, the only reason I don't review non-fiction is that I don't think I'd be able to give it a fair review. It's not that I have anything against non-fiction, I just don't really think I can review it. That's not to say I won't review a fiction novel based on a historical event (as that is still a story in its own way), but non-fiction isn't something that I can't review at the moment.

 

 

Why are you taking so long to review my book?

 

Thankfully, most authors that have submitted a book for me to review are aware of my backlog and have been very patient. But a few authors (again I won't name anyone in particular) have been on my case, asking when the review is going to come.

 

Let me just reiterate something - I review these books by MYSELF! Unlike some review sites, I don't have a dedicated team to help me review my books - it's just me. And I don't get paid for this, so this is something that I do in my leisure time. I am only just one man and I can only review so many books at once. Also, when I review a book, I don't just read it - I try and analyse it and take it in as I go along. This means that I can take a little longer to read a book than normal. Of course, I also enjoy reading them (and have done so far), but I have two minds when I'm reviewing - a reviewer and a reader.

 

Also, don't forget, I myself am an author and have submitted my books to a number of reviewers - many of which are taking ages to do a review for me. Do I constantly harrass them? No, because I know that they will get round to me when they are ready and don't need me pressuring them every five minutes.

 

So I ask politely - PLEASE don't send me constant emails asking when the review is going to be done as all that will do is just delay me getting back to my reading if I have to answer them. Please bare with me and I will get to you when I can. However, if you really can't afford to wait, please just email me and I'll cancel your review. I don't like cancelling reviews, but if you really cannot afford to wait then please let me know.

 

To those authors who have been patient with me, I appreciate your support and apologise for the delay. I promise that I will get to all of you guys in turn.

 

 

If you don't have the resources, then you shouldn't be reviewing to begin with

 

This was an actual response from a guy that I turned a review down, after explaining to him the backlog. Well, thanks a lot for your kind words - you can rest assured that I will NEVER read or review any of your books again, Jackass!

 

I decided to review books to help promote indie authors. I'm not doing this for money, nor for fame. I'm doing my reviews so that authors can have a place to go for their books to be reviewed and it will be fair and honest. I would think that any writer would be glad of an opportunity to have a review at no charge. So for this guy to say this to me, I find that incredibly insulting. Maybe HE should try becoming a book reviewer and seeing how far he gets before he's swamped with requests!

 

Maybe in the future, I could find some more reviewers to help me - but for the moment I don't think that is something I can do without offering payment. I know that I could charge for reviews - but I made a choice not to because, frankly, I don't believe that you should pay someone for a review. Maybe there are special services that I could offer in the future, but for the time being, I will not charge any author that seeks a review from me.

 

I do what I do to help fellow authors - not for financial gain. I can make money from my books sales (or my job), this is a little something that I do on the side. I also do it for the love of reviewing books and discovering new authors, as I'm sure that any author does. So there!

 

 

Hopefully this blog didn't come across as a rant - I just had to get a few things off my chest. I hope that helps and let me assure you, I do intend to accept reviews in the future and I am currently looking into ideas to get a review for each book I have as soon as possible. I don't want to keep any author waiting for longer than they have to and I promise that all of you that have a book with me WILL get a review one way or the other.

 

Oh, and just to clear things up - I'm not moaning about the backlog in any way - in fact I am looking forward to reading EVERY book that has been submitted to me and will be sure to have a review for it asap.

 

Thanks for reading guys. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments.

 

 

Regards

Pandragon

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My Review of The Dark Knight Rises

 

And so, one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year (and possibly this decade) reaches our screen. It has been five years since The Dark Knight left us astounded and awestruck by its powerful drama and dark atmosphere – everything a Batman story should have. Many wondered if Chris Nolan could replicate the same power with the next Batman film and have been holding their breath for a long time for this moment.

 

I’m not going to mention anything about the recent tragedy in Colorado regarding this film, as I’m sure we don’t need to be reminded of it. Instead, I’m just gonna talk about my feelings about this film. I must admit I did have some trepidation about the movie at first, given that the third films in trilogy movies – superhero ones especially – are usually the weakest. Spider-man 3 for instance was an overly convoluted mess of a story and X-Men The Last Stand was little more than a popcorn movie that substituted too much action for story. And those are just a few examples. I prayed that I would be wrong on this one as I do love the new Batman movies of late.

 

Thankfully, as with Avengers, I was not left disappointed. To quote what I said once I left the cinema “There are no levels of awesomeness to describe how awesome this film is!” And I mean it. Even at the end of the film, everyone in the cinema gave a standing ovation and cheer (although I think that was just because we needed to get some feelings back in our backside. It IS a long film after all). And it is well deserved! This movie is excellent and a worthy successor to The Dark Knight.

 

First thing I liked was the way that the story tied into themes that were carried over from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. This made it feel like a continuation of the story rather than a completely different story, which was great. I really don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but let’s just say that the League of Shadows make a return in this one – and boy do they make a return!

 

Christian Bale gives his best performance yet as Batman/Bruce Wayne, a man that has been broken both physically and mentally. Some of his performances even bring up shades of Mickey Rouke’s The Wrestler. This is a man that is trying to escape from his past, but is forever haunted by it. In the end, he has no choice but to don the Batman suit again – except this time may be his last. There is a real sense of desperation in Bruce’s character and I will admit, there were plenty of times when I thought, “How the hell will he get out of this one?” Sadly, Michael Caine’s Alfred kinda gets pushed to the back in this one and you do miss him. But he has some great moments in the film, including a very tearful scene at the end.

 

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (never officially referred to as Catwoman in the film, but we all know she is) is possibly the most exciting of the new characters to watch. She’s feisty, sexy, kick ass and very likeable – but at the same time vulnerable and Bruce kinda shows her a different side to life. In many ways they help each other. If Hathaway doesn’t get some kind of award for her performance then heads will roll. I think that she could have even had a film of her own and it will still be awesome. She’s a great female lead and I think everyone will like her. The other supporting character to mention is Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In many ways a young Bruce Wayne, Blake follows the ethics and ideals that Batman stood for and becomes a valiant fighter in the battle to save Gotham. In fact, once you discover his real name, fans of Batman will no doubt get a chuckle.

 

Now onto the villain, which is one of the things I was looking forward to – the overpowering monster that is Bane. One of the things I hated about the film Batman and Robin was how they screwed this character up. In the comics, Bane was one of the first villains to overpower Batman and even cripple him, and yet in that film they made him a stupid thug. Thankfully, Nolan treats Bane with the respect he deserves. Bane is an overpowering force, able to challenge Batman physically – but he also has brains as well as brawns and brings Gotham to his knees. Tom Hardy plays the role and he does a great job, making Bane a seemingly unstoppable force and a seemingly impossible challenge to overcome. Couple of things I didn’t like – I didn’t like the idea that they removed his “venom” powers (a chemical that gives him superhuman strength) and his voice was a little bit muffled at times. In fact, he sounded a little too much like Sean Connery for my liking. But as a villain, he was still threatening – and I LOVED the little tribute to Knightfall where Bane lifted Batman above his head and broke his back.

 

Much like The Dark Knight, the tone of the film will probably split movie-goers down the middle. Like the previous film, The Dark Knight Rises is extremely dark and even depressing in places. At least in The Dark Knight, we had the Joker to add in some comedy (albeit dark comedy), but there aren’t many laughs in this film. The ending especially is one of those “get the hankies ready” moments and even during the film it feels quite sad. The middle act especially brought out images of a dictatorship government taking over and oppressing the people. But for a Batman film, it was perfect. Batman the character has always been about darkness and struggling to overcome that very darkness that threatened to consume Bruce Wayne’s soul. Only through struggling through darkness can we appreciate the light – that has always been the theme of Batman and will continue to be so for years to come.

 

So to sum up, is this film good? No. Is this film excellent? No? Is this film awesome? Hell yes! It’s one of those few films that deserves all the hype it got. It not only continues the story of Batman, but completes in a way that feels satisfying and natural. Is it the best of the Chris Nolan’s Batmans? You’ll just have to decide that for yourself. Batman shows that superhero stories can have real drama and don’t always have to be over the top and cheesy. And with a viral trailer of The Man of Steel (produced by Chris Nolan and directed by Zach Snyder) now doing the rounds across the internet, maybe DC are stepping their game up to show that Marvel aren’t necessarily the leader when it comes to the superhero genre anymore.

 

 

Regards

Pandragon

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