Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tour: Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson (Guest Post!)

Hello all.
Welcome to my stop on "The Stone of Darkness" tour!
The author, Resa Nelson, is a dream to work with
and this series is fantastic.
Let's find out more, shall we?

Title: The Dragonslayer's Sword (Dragonslayer #1)
Author: Resa Nelson
Synopsis: 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?

Title: The Iron Maiden (Dragonslayer #2)
Author: Resa Nelson
Synopsis: 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.

Title: Stone of Darkness (Dragonslayer #3)
Author: Resa Nelson
Synopsis: 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.
And now, a fabulous guest post from Resa Nelson!! 

How Readers’ Feedback Inspired Me to Turn a Short Story into a 4-Book Series
by Resa Nelson

One of the most important things I’ve learned as an author is how useful feedback from readers can be.  My 4-book Dragonslayer series started out as a short story called “The Dragonslayer’s Sword” that was published in Science Fiction Age magazine.  I never meant for it to become a novel, much less four novels.  It happened because I listened to my readers. 
After my Dragonslayer short story was published, a couple of unusual things happened.  First, the magazine asked their readers to choose their favorite story published during the magazine’s first two years.  I never dreamed anyone would choose my story.  After all, it had been published in the first issue, two years before the readers were surveyed.  How could anyone remember my story after two years?  I was shocked when the short story version of “The Dragonslayer’s Sword” ranked 2nd in the Readers Top Ten poll.  Next, my editor received a letter from a B. Dalton bookstore manager saying that people kept coming into the store wanting to buy my Dragonslayer novel but he couldn’t figure out how to order it.  That’s because I hadn’t written a novel.  I’d only written the short story!
Clearly, all of my readers were smarter than me because they saw something in the story I couldn’t see.  I decided I’d write a Dragonslayer novel only if I could figure out what my readers knew that I didn’t and if I came up with an idea that I loved with my whole heart for expanding the story.  Otherwise, I’d be wasting everyone’s time, including my readers’ time and my time. 
I spent years thinking about it.  I’d come up with an idea, think about it for a while, and finally decide it wasn’t good enough.  I needed an idea I felt excited about.  Something that would make me look forward to writing each chapter from beginning to end.  A story full of twists and turns and surprises.  After all, if I get bored while I’m writing a novel, my readers are probably going to get bored, too, and I never want that to happen!
Then one day I started thinking about how much I’ve always loved Viking culture.  I’d always assumed I’d write short stories and probably a novel based on the Viking era.  For that reason, I’d already traveled to Iceland, where I went to a lot of places mentioned in the Icelandic sagas.  I’d gone horseback riding on an Icelandic horse, the same kind of horse that Vikings in Iceland rode.  I love the Icelandic landscape and taken lots of photos.
Suddenly, I started thinking about a story I’d heard about when I was in Iceland.  I might have heard it on a tour or maybe read about it at a museum.  It was a true story that happened hundreds of years ago in Iceland, and I’d never forgotten it.  For some reason, I thought, What if something like that happened to my hero, Astrid?
I felt excited and began to see all kinds of possibilities for what could happen in the story.  Then I remembered another true story I’d heard in Iceland.  It had nothing to do with the first one – they were incidents that had happened centuries apart.  But again I could see how something similar could happen to Astrid and how exciting it would be.
I started crying because I love Astrid and felt horrible about making the story so difficult for her.  That’s when I knew I’d finally come up with a good idea.  If I had such a strong reaction to this idea, maybe my readers would feel the same way!  Originally, I thought it would be just one book, but once I began writing I saw a much bigger story and turned it into a 4-book series.
And all because of positive reader feedback!  If readers hadn’t voted for my story in the magazine’s poll and if they hadn’t gone into bookstores asking for my work, I never would have written the first Dragonslayer novel, much less an entire 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 that first short story and a second one that I wrote later and that was published in the same magazine.  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 it’s right for you.  

And now would you like to meet the Author?

Resa Nelson 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.
Her 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. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
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."
Resa lives in Massachusetts.

Here is how to contact her!

GoodReads giveaway:
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:

Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble: (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)

NOTE: I got the first two books in the series read, but figured this post was long enough without posting them too. But, don't worry. I will be posting them in the future!
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