Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Five Random Questions for Vern

This is from an interview with Sally Franklin Christie on her blog,

1.  If God appeared to you in a series of vivid and moving dreams and told you to leave everything behind, travel alone to the Red Sea and become a fisherman, what would you do?

Are you kidding?  Caraparavalenciana is right by the Red Sea.  I’d be going home!

2.  How close and warm is your family?  Do you feel your childhood was happier than most people’s?

Dragons are androgynous, created at the beginning of time and immortal, so we don’t have families like most species think of them.   My “family” is a drove of dragons.  We would meet every couple centuries or so, hunt together, dance, fight (sometimes, they’re the same thing), and gripe about the humans.  I didn’t have a childhood; or I’m still in it; or I’m merely choosing to have one.  Depends on who you talk to and how much I’m enjoying my day.

3.  Does the fact that you’ve not done something before increase or decrease its appeal to you?

Increase, definitely.  Being immortal gives you a taste for novelty…and plenty of time to learn from mistakes.

4.  Do you feel you have much impact on the lives of people you come into contact with?

I have saved both the Faerie and Mundane worlds so often, I’ve developed a pay scale for it.  (Not that Grace always lets me extort that kind of money.)  So, yeah.  Big impact. Colossal impact.  But I’m a dragon.  Did you expect anything less?

5.  If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one unique ability or quality, what would it be?

Chew gum.  I tried it once, but I had to use six entire packs and then it stuck to my teeth.  You can only imagine the time I had trying to get a dentist  to clean them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An interview with Vern concerning food

First appeared in Jaleta Clegg's blog, Far Edge of Normal (

Hi, Vern. I hear you are quite the private investigator. What case was your favorite? (plug his books here if you want)

My favorite?  How about the ones where I’m not hurt, embarrassed, or lose something valuable—and I get well paid in the end?  *sigh* Those, unfortunately, don’t make interesting reading.

Karina chose to write one of the most embarrassing, annoying cases for her first DragonEye, PI novel. We were “volunteered” to babysit a bunch of Faerie at a Mensa convention.  Okay, it was a convention; we didn’t expect the all the Magicals to behave, but to declare war on Florida?  Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem won the 2010 INDIE award for best fantasy, so apparently, you Mundanes enjoy reading about me being annoyed. 

Thus encouraged, Karina has novelized the case where we take on a Norse goddess who wants to destroy the world—your world—in hopes it will get her husband out of Helheim.  (It’s a Norse thing.)  I actually had a lot of fun on this case, which almost made up for iron poisoning, nearly being eaten by a giant board game, and getting shrunk to the size of a Great Dane.  Live and Let Fly comes out in April from MuseItUp.

Does being large, red, scaly, and a dragon help or do you find people are prejudiced against dragons?

I am a superior species, top of the food chain.  I command respect from all sentients (intellectually challenged knights notwithstanding).  Of course, that was in Faerie.  Here, in the Mundane, I spent the first few years just trying to convince people that I had not eaten their cats, did not need rabies shots, and, yes, I was better “housetrained” than aforementioned intellectually challenged knights.  Things are better now, but I’d just like to mention that the government still refuses to consider dragons as “persons,” and I still cannot get a green card. 

Coyote the Trickster God has a green card, and I cannot get one.  Where is the justice in that?

I've heard rumors that dragons eat virgins. Is that still true or are you enlightened now?

The only enlightentment needed is for the humans.  Let’s do the math:  two-ton omnivore…  125-pound adrenalin-filled waif dripping tears and snot? Or 1200-pound dairy cow, milk included? Honestly, virgin meals are kind of like French Haute Cuisine—looks good, not exactly filling.  Plus, dealing with the heroes was a pain.  Give me a nice juicy bovine instead.

I was just starting to get the humans in my territory trained up to this fact when St. George decided to use me in God’s ineffable plans.  One thing I will say about the Mundane world:  when you get a take-out order wrong, you usually apologize and offer a discount on the next meal.

What about Hostess products? At our house, we call them politically correct virgins because they're untouched by human hands.
*snort*  I like that.  Unfortunately, I’d probably get in trouble if I used that phrase.  When a dragon mentions virgins, people automatically get the wrong idea.

I don’t like chocolate, and the individual wrappings are a lot of work for what’s, to me, a tiny reward.  I’d rather pry a knight out of his armor.  However, when I was bored and truly desperate for food, I did come across an entire gross of Twinkies in the back of my lair.  (The lair is an old warehouse of some crazy packrat who upon death, donated it complete with contents to the local parish, who sold it to me.)  I spent two days just opening plastic wrap and eating Twinkies.  The next day and a half, I pretty much slept.  Too much sugar, even for my metabolism.

Are you into health food? What would constitute a good meal for a dragon?

After the Great Twinkie Feast, I’ve been a little more careful about what (or at least how much) Mundane food I put in my gullet.  Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy the variety of cuisine I’ve found in Los Lagos.  Natura, who owns a restaurant that does theme buffets, is always good for giving me the leftovers.  Love Indian nights!  Of course, nothing beats Rosa’s chili.  She always adds extra Bhut Jolokia pepper sauce for me.  Closest thing to breathing fire you can get. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What the characters were doing between Magic, Mensa and Mayhem and Live and Let Fly

VERN:  We came home from Florida to discover the roof had a leak.

SISTER GRACE:  Aye, that bad, but more importantly, we spent the next several months working with the US government and the Elvish tribes over the problem with scanatine-flavored drinks.

VERN:  Could have done it in two weeks if we'd just let the elves drink some.

Grace:  Vern!

VERN:  Just saying there are times when a hyped-up brain and an accelerated time sense could come in handy.  We spent a lot of time doing work we didn't get paid for--work that could have fixed the hole in the roof.  We found all kinds of drips after that hailstorm in September…

HEATHER HASKEL (aka RHODA DAKOTA):  September!  That's when I got my first letter from Charlie.  Why did it take you so long to write, honey-bunchkins?

CHARLIE WILMOT:  My love, a big music star like you, interested in a herald from a small duchy?  It was too much to hope for.  If the duchess hadn't pushed me, I hate to think--

HEATHER:  We might never have met.  I'm going to thank her again.

VERN:  …and all my bedding got soaked.  Took forever to dry.  Some of it got ruined…

SISTER GRACE:  It was a difficult winter, but at least it kept the Despredatores at home.  Things were rather peaceful.

VERN:  Which is bad for business.  We didn't get the loan for the roof.

HEATHER:  Stan, what about you?

RAKNESS, STAN RAKNESS:  Sorry.  Classified.

SISTER GRACE:  The parish came and helped us fix it.  It was a wonderful Christmas present.

VERN:  Yeah--out in 30-degree weather, breathing fire on the roof like some kind of draconian welding torch.  Did I mention that I'm a warm-climate dragon?  Bad enough we had to deal with the snow--

CHARLIE:  And you wrote that song for me at Christmas--and it made #1.  I was in heaven for a week because you'd said you loved me.

HEATHER: (giggle) It was the only way I could; my parents were so worried about us, even if we hadn't met yet.  But that Valentine's Day--

CHARLIE:  Best day of my life.

SISTER GRACE:  And the Christian Brothers bought that lot in Territory.  It'll be good to have a Catholic school there.  Especially with that Real Humans gang in town now.  (Sigh)  They're going to be trouble, 'tis a fact.

RAKNESS, STAN RAKNESS:  In fact, I can neither confirm nor deny I was in the country…

VERN:  Come March, that windstorm blew off the repairs and I had to go flying after it.

HEATHER:  That's when I signed the contract for Live and Let Fly.  I was so excited, but the best part was being in Los Lagos, nearer my Charlie.  Then that paparazzi caught us kissing and we went public with our courtship!

CHARLIE:  One moment of indiscretion.  I don't regret it at all.

SISTER GRACE:  I think Gloria was asking about what cases we handled over the past couple of years.

RAKNESS, STAN RAKNESS:  Sorry.  If I told you, I'd have to kill you.  National security, you know.

VERN:  What did we do?  I just remember battling the drips.  Lots of drips.  

SISTER GRACE:  Yes, the roof had deteriorated.

VERN:  Yeah, the drips in the roof, too.  That was one good thing that came out of Live and Let Fly.  We got a new roof.  I love that roof.

SISTER GRACE:  Aye, me, too.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Apologia on Extortion, An Acceptable Dragon Practice

There are some people who will read Live and Let Fly and may come to the conclusion that I’m selfish.  After all, the world was in peril, bad guys were on the loose, and I was holding out for a bonus.  A big bonus.  Well, all I can say is, those people are right—if I were human. 
But let’s face it; dragons have different standards.

Before I start, let me define apologia:  a defense of one’s opinions or actions.  It is not an apology.  I am not the least sorry for holding back information from my temporary employers while some evil overlord no doubt moved forward on her diabolical scheme.  I will, however, be glad to explain why.  Here’s the scene in question:
Mordash just leaned forward, his hand out, his eyes glinting. "I'll have our people analyze these—"
Grace started to hand him the files.
I set my large paw between them. "Not so fast. There's one very important detail we're missing," I said. I pulled out of my pocket one of the most important tools in the private investigator's repertoire.
The receipt book.
"What're you doing?" Mustache Mordash asked as I took out my small inkpot, opened the lid and dipped my writing claw into it.
"Our rescue was strictly an independent operation, remember?" I tossed Rakness a dark look but spoke reasonably enough. "So any information we might have acquired on said operation would be our own—"
"You mean to sell this information to us? I thought we were trying to protect this country; both our worlds, for that matter. What kind of patriot are you?"
I looked at him like he was a stupid mortal and didn't mention that I wasn't a citizen of the United States—or any nation, come to think of it. "Funny thing about saving the world," I mused. "It always manages to get un-saved. Kind of wrecks the job satisfaction factor. Philanthropy, though... Grace, how much did the Christian Brothers say they needed to start that school in Territory?"
Grace's eyes lit up. "Well, seven hundred fifty thousand, but the diocese and FlintCorp are contributing."
"Right. Some kind of matching funds deal." Even though I had already done the calculations in my head, I wrote them down. Dramatic effect. Very important.
Mustache blanched. "Are you out of your minds? You said yourself the forces of evil could be rising—"
"Exactly. Which is why a morally-based education for the underprivileged youth is so important. Now if we consider operating expenses for the first year..."
Mustache glowered. "And if the information you 'hypothetically acquired' is useless?"
"Then I'll be glad to negotiate a discount the next time you hand us a mission and some commercially available tech toys and abandon us at twenty thousand feet." I ripped off the top copy with a flourish and handed it to Mustache. He looked from my hand to Grace's, but she'd already returned the thumb drives to her sleeve pockets. He snatched the bill out of my claw.
"Let me make some calls," he growled. He spun his chair around, dismissing us.

#1. Dragons are immortal.  I tend to have a long-term view of things, having seen the extinction of the dinosaurs (known as The End of the Biggie Sized Meal, as far as I was concerned), and the rise and fall of empires.  Even if I hadn’t succeeded, things would have been chaos for awhile, but hey, the world recovers.  Been there, seen that.

#2  Dragons are confident.  I was on the case—me, Vern.  I defeated Quetzalcoatl when I was barely the size of a Labrador, and without any help from secret government agencies.  If I hadn’t given them the information, I still knew it, and they could have just followed me.  Might have been easier, come to think of it.

#3  Dragons are treasure seekers.  Thanks to St. George, I don’t get to enjoy treasure anymore, however.  In fact, I life in a dump of a warehouse on the bad side of Los Lagos, Colorado, with (at the time) a leaky roof and no hoard.  Since raiding museums and banks is frowned upon, I get my jollies where I can.

#4 The money went to a good cause.  The school I helped fund with BILE’s money is almost finished.  I can’t collect treasure, so I go for good deeds, nowadays.

#5  I was ticked off.  Not the best of reasons, but angry dragons are dangerous; better to get my satisfaction by extorting some extra cash from my employer than to flame his desk, don’t you agree?

Incidentally, I didn’t want to do this blog.  I’ve got my hands full training up an apprentice superhero.  So I held out until Karina offered me a half a lamb to do this.  Bribery, or simple payment for services?

Decide what you want.  I’ve got a veal lunch waiting.