Extra! Extra! Get Yer Dragonswarm Here!

Click to embiggen cramazingness!

That’s right, y’all. My friend and fellow writer Aaron Pogue‘s fantasy novel The Dragonswarm is officially out and ready for you to purchase on Kindle for only $4.99.

The Dragonswarm is the second novel in Aaron’s Dragonprince Trilogy. Here is the review I posted on Amazon just a little while ago:

I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Pogue’s first fantasy novel, Taming Fire. It’s a great story of flawed hero, dangerous quests, magic, dragons, romance, and there’s even a psychotic wizard. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Unless you’re talking about Taming Fire‘s sequel, The Dragonswarm, in which case it gets *lots* better: doubly flawed hero, perilous quests, ever-deeper magic, MONSTER DRAGONS, romance with a solid female lead, and a psychotic wizard who gets his (sort of).

In Dragonswarm, Pogue has taken his Taming-Fire-craft and honed it by a factor of 10. Or maybe 20. At any rate, this novel has everything I look for in a great, epic fantasy yarn. Daven, its main character, grows as an individual in story context and develops as a character in trilogy context. He meets challenges I don’t expect, and he faces them in ways I don’t expect. That’s powerful page-turner magic right there! THE DRAGONSWARM is my new favorite Pogue novel, and I look forward to getting my hands on the paperback.

So hop on over and buy your copy of The Dragonswarm on Kindle for $4.99!

Oh, and if you haven’t yet, buy and read Taming Fire on Kindle for just 99 cents.

Happy reading!

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The Dragonswarm cover art oil painting by Yours Writerly; trade dress by Amy Nickerson Design.

Chicken. Headless. Editing. You’ll wanna see this.

People are starting to wonder about me, I know. Where’s Courtney? Why hasn’t she been around Twitter? Where are her cramazing blog posts? What’s she been up to?

Well, my dear inklings, I have been up to exactly one thing:

EDITING.

Specifically, I’ve been editing:

  • Joshua Unruh‘s first TEEN Agents novel,
  • Aaron Pogue‘s next fantasy novel, The Dragonswarm,
  • my own unfinished, low sci-fi NaNoWriMo novel Elevator People (working title)
  • and my own short story “Out of the Darkness” for next month’s short story collection A Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1, Winter Issue.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am one of those really weird people who loves loves loves editing. I am one of those weird people who thinks editing is fun. But really…right now…after having done nothing writerly except edit for a week before I caught the Plague *and* since I recovered from the Plague last week….

I.
Am.
Spent.

And I feel like this:

If you need me, I’ll be cleaning my house and complaining that I’m not working on my unfinished, low sci-fi NaNoWriMo novel Elevator People (working title). ; )

P.S. Just for the record, I love the works I’ve been editing. : )
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What about you, love? What’s got you running around like decapitated barnyard fowl?

35 Hours ‘Til the End!

You! Yes, YOU! Diligent, lovely reader of my blog! I have an opportunity for you. Trust me, you don’t wanna miss this.

Whatsit?

It’s a Kickstarter.

What’s a Kickstarter?

Well, it’s a starter the operates by a downward kick….

Wait. No, we’re not talking motorcycles here. We’re talking Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects.

Artists get to present their projects.
Beautiful people like you get to help bring those projects to life.

My friend and fellow writer, Aaron Pogue has a best-selling indie fantasy novel: Taming Fire. It’s a fun, rollicking adventure story of magic and dragons and love and redemption and some surprisingly gritty moments that make ya think.

The Dragonswarm is the sequel to Taming Fire, and lemme tell ya, this book is gonna be a read-and-a-half. I’m helping to edit it right now, and it’s so epic-fantasy-yummy, it’s addictive.

What would you say to throwing a few bucks at The Dragonswarm to help get this novel into your happy reader hands? Aaron’s got a Dragonswarm Kickstarter just for you!

Here’s what Aaron has to tell you about it:

The goal of the campaign is to pay the production costs of publishing an indie novel. I won’t beg and plead with you to share your hard-earned money, because I’ll be publishing this book even if the campaign isn’t funded. I’ve been covering the costs myself for more than a year now.

No, this campaign (and every one that will follow) is an opportunity for those of you who want to be a part of it.

For those of you who want to see me (or any of our other writers) getting to be a full-time writer instead of holding down a day job to pay the bills.

For those of you who want to support a community that creates art as a thing of worth (not a thing of commercial value).

In short, if you want to help me keep doing what I’m doing, KickStarter gives me an easy way to accept your support. And it lets me respond with some very cool rewards. If you want, you can just look it as a way to pre-order your signed copy of The Dragonswarm, sent straight to your door.

Did you catch the part about rewards? Oh yeah. There are rewards. And they’re all book-related. (And some of them involve this [by lil ol’me!].)

So click on over to Aaron’s Kickstarter, watch the video, and help make some cramazing art.

And hurry! The Kickstarter ends in only 35 hours!

Support the artists to support the arts.

The Consortium

The One Where I Paint Dragons

This is not a dragon. This is a smoked turkey. If you can roll it, you can smoke it.

Hiya inklings! I’d intended to post this before I left town for Thanksgiving, but what with last-minute arrangements for household felines as well as the babying of a raw turkey, said intended blogpost did not happen.

(By the way, this year’s Thanksgiving celebration took place at a KOA Campground in Lubbock, Texas. Ed smoked the turkey, and the rest of the meal prep happened on the stove and 1ft² countertop in an RV. We washed the dishes in two pans of hot water on a picnic table. My Thanksgiving in an Army mess hall has now been bumped from 1st place to 2nd in the Most Unique Thanksgiving Memory category.)

It’s worth noting that I had three posts in mind to write before I left. As you might have noticed, none of them happened. So you’ll be hearing from me several times this week. This might or might not flip your bangerang switch. If it does, please do let me know. I get excited about people getting excited about my blog.

If it doesn’t, just don’t bogart my bangerang. We’ll all be happier.

So. The one post I wanted to write concerns this:

The Dragonswarm by Courtney Cantrell, design by Aaron Pogue.

This, my lovelies, is the cover art I painted for Aaron Pogue‘s upcoming fantasy novel The Dragonswarm (December 2011!). If you wanna know what the title refers to, all you gotta do is click the image to embiggen.

To date, this is the best dragon painting I’ve ever done. It’s water-miscible* oils on canvas, 30in. x 40in. I should’ve counted my hours; I forgot to. But I worked on this for the better part of 6 weeks.

If you were guessing, you might guess that the crimson dragon was my greatest challenge. Indeed, that dude was not easy. He started life as the outline of a dragon flying in at a completely different angle…and, because I didn’t have time to paint for a week or so, he dried that way. When I came back to him and decided I’d done him all wrong**, I had to paint over the part I’d messed up. Which meant mixing paint to match the background. Which wasn’t easy. And blerg.

But.

If you were guessing, you’d be wrong. Because the teensy dragons were actually the greater challenge. Do you have any idea how hard it is to render dozens of tiny little dragons in variegated flying formations with oil paint? I’m willing to bet you don’t. Because I didn’t. Strangling Aaron ; ) wasn’t an option, so I girded up my loins (ooh la la) and got ‘er done.

When done, I sat back and heaved many sighs of relief and hmmm’d much satisfaction to myself. Accepting the challenge had me fluttery with nerves. Meeting the challenge had me from warm-fuzzy to hot-glowy. This painting was FUN. And the best part is that once I was finished, I didn’t want to strangle Aaron anymore.*** Yay, everybody wins!

Amy of Amy Nickerson Design is working on the trade dress. She did the trade dress for my novels, too. She pretty much rocks.

Another of my dragon paintings adorns Aaron’s first fantasy novel, Taming Fire. Taming Fire is a bestseller at Amazon, having sold 30,000 copies since its June 2011 release. It’s spent over 100 days on the Top 100 Best Sellers in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I like to think my art had even just a little something to do with that. ; )

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*Water-miscible oils are oil paints (and linseed oil) that have been chemically altered to bond with water. Regular oils require me to use more toxic stuff like turpentine or turpenoid. I *like* not breathing toxins. Oxygen is kinda my friend.

**TWSS. *gigglesnort*

***Concerning the strangling-of-Aaron desire, I might be exaggerating for dramatic blogging purposes.