Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Jane Austen's Dragons Series Tour ~ Maria Grace ~ Giveaway!

Hello, Friends! Today, I have the lovely Maria Grace visiting with us celebrating the release of Netherfield: Rogue Dragon the third book in the Jane Austen's Dragons series!

The World of Jane Austen’s Dragons: At the very beginning, Uther Pendragon

How is it even remotely possible that the world of Pride and Prejudice could make any sense with dragons? Stay with me a moment and I’ll show you how.

You’re rolling your eyes at me, I know it, but give me a chance and hear me out. If you take a glance at English mythology, it is full of dragons. Seriously, they are everywhere. Don’t believe me, here’s just a partial list: the Lambton Worm, the Dragon of Mordiford, the Dragon of Unsworth, the Dragon of Wantly, the Dragon of Longwitton, the Dragon of Loschy Hill, the Bisterne Dragon, the Worm of Linton, the Stoor Worm, the Sockburn Worm (or Wyvern), Blue Ben, and the Lyminster Knucker.

Even the father of fabled King Arthur has a dragon connection. King Uther Pendragon was said to have seen a dragon-shaped comet that inspired the dragons that graced the standards he carried. With dragons are just about everywhere in English myth, it seems likely that Jane Austen herself was familiar with many of these dragon legends.

I am a fan of ‘mash-up’ works that bring together two (or even more) disparate genres or works to create something fresh and new. So these dragons called out to be a part of Austen’s classic work. The question then came down to how.

It seemed I needed to go back to medieval days and figure out why the dragons were hanging out in England in the first place. Enter Uther Pendragon.

[Just a side note: One of the fascinating—and crazy-making—aspects of mythology is the number of different accounts of the same story. Since until the early modern era, tales relied on oral tradition for transmission, each teller would craft a slightly different version of the story, making finding the ‘real’ story nearly impossible.]

The best known version of Uther’s story comes from Geoffrey's Historia Regum Britanniae (1136). Uther is the youngest son of King of Britannia, Constantine III upon whose death, Constans, his eldest son succeeds to the throne. Constans is murdered by an advisor Vortigern, who seizes the throne. Uther and his other brother, Aurelius, flee to Brittany, where they grow safely into adulthood. As adults, Aurelius and Uther return to Britannia, where Aurelius kills Vortigern and becomes king.

Under Aurelius’ reign, Uther helps Merlin bring the stones of Stonehenge from Ireland to Britain. Later, while Aurelius is too ill for battle, Uther leads his army against Vortigern's son and his Saxon allies. On the way to the battle, Uther sees the dragon-shaped comet, which Merlin interprets as a sign of Aurelius's death and Uther's glorious future. Uther wins the battle, but returns to find that Aurelius has been poisoned. Uther becomes king and adopts the use of a golden dragon as his standard.

More intrigue follows with Uther falling in love with the wife of his retainer, the Duke of Cornwall, magical assistance from Merlin, possible shape shifting and the like, to provide Uther access to the Igerna, the Duke’s wife. The stories varied, but typically ended with the death of the Duke, and the birth of Uther’s son, Arthur by Igerna some months later.

While all the variations in the variations occasionally made me want to beat my head against the wall, and scream “What’s the REAL story?” they but it did lead me to an interesting line of thinking: What if…. (A word of caution, when a writer says “what if”, it might be a good time to politely excuse yourself…)

So, what if Uther Pendragon was embroiled in battle not just with the Saxons, but with dragons as well and he saw not a comet as most stories suggested, but a real dragon who could speak with him? Would not others have heard it too? Wait, no—what if the dragons had a way of hiding in plain sight that only a select few people could see through and Uther was one of those and made peace with dragonkind …  Hmmm … dragons and kings, that makes for some very interesting possibilities …

Suddenly I saw a world, hundreds of years removed from medieval England, where mankind and dragonkind could coexist, governed by the Blue Order, an organization founded by Uther Pendragon himself, on human and dragon partnership, dedicated to protecting the safety and interests of both species while keeping the dragons secret from the very large segment of the human population with hearing insufficient to detect dragon voices.

The world was so clear and vivid, my inner Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy just couldn’t stay away. Before I knew it, Pride and Prejudice became the context for an urgent crisis amongst the dragons of the Blue Order, a new series: Jane Austen’s Dragons, now complete with the release of Netherfield: Rogue Dragon.

So I present for you, what Pride and Prejudice might have been had Jane Austen known about the Blue Order.

If you’re not totally hooked, here’s a preview of Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon, to give you a taste of this world: http://randombitsoffascination.com/2016/10/03/pemberley-mr-darcys-dragon-ch-1/

What do you think about dragons and Jane Austen? 

Book Blurb: 

Elizabeth Bennet thought she was prepared to do anything to make the Dragon Conclave accept her beloved young dragon, Pemberley, into the Blue Order, but she had not anticipated it would leave her banished from her ancestral home and betrothed to none other than Mr. Darcy. But before Elizabeth and Darcy wed, they must find a dangerous rogue dragon before it provokes a war amongst the dragons and brings the fragile peace between dragons and mankind to a catastrophic end.   
Nothing written in the annals of dragon lore has prepared Elizabeth to manage a dragon not governed by the Blue Order. Dragons have always loved her, but this one finds her arrogant, selfish and insensitive to others. With only her instincts to guide her, she must convince the rogue of her good intentions before the Blue Order loses patience and decides on more drastic measures.   

Called away to the other side of the kingdom, trying to settle the dragons' unrest, Darcy learns the nature of the force poisoning the rogue dragon against Elizabeth. One nearer and dearer than they could have imagined. 

Can Elizabeth and Darcy convince with rogue dragon to cooperate before darker forces turn it against them, without destroying the fragile bonds uniting the couple?

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FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

About the Author

Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing. 

She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is has blogged six years on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.

Connect with Maria Grace

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Maria Grace is generously giving away a copy of her book! For a chance to win, fill out the Rafflecopter below! And please, leave a comment here! 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fascinating! I appreciate all the research you put into dragons before venturing into writing the books! And I love that brought the two worlds together in this series! I'm going to have to add this series to my TBR list! 

Thank you so much for visiting here at So Little Time..., Maria Grace! Congratulations on the release of Netherfield: Rogue Dragon

So, friends, as Maria Grace asked, what do you think about dragons and Jane Austen? 

1 comment:

  1. These have been a lot of fun to read! You have also left a number (haha) of nice plot strings in the 3rd novel which you could follow up if you so desired. I do notice things.


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