Kaden the Dragon: A Guest Post by Maya Starling

Please welcome my new friend Maya, here to tell us about her beautiful dragon!


“She was the girl who longed for the freedom of the dragon, and he was the dragon who longed to be a man.”

 One of the main characters in book one of the Dragons Awaken Trilogy, Dragon’s Treasure, is, of course, a dragon. The whole idea for the book was born with him.

I feel sorry for dragons. They are mostly featured as evil creatures—monsters really—or as creatures the “chosen one” gets to ride, or even just as a bit part in a plain dragon-shifter romance. That, or I have been reading the wrong books. Mind you, there are excellent exceptions, but only a few in the whole sea of literature featuring dragons.

As a gamer and lover of all things geek and fantasy, it was a given that there would be a dragon featured in my story. Kaden’s appearance was inspired by the artwork of Ben Wotten’s Blue Dragon.

Kaden is a magnificent dragon, with dark blue, silky scales, and a golden underside. Dark charcoal horns and amber-colored eyes grace his body. He has a scar over his left eye, cutting through his brow.

I wanted to give my dragon a different kind of story. Why does the knight always have to save the maiden from the dragon? Why wouldn’t she prefer the dragon to the monster that is the knight? Why not switch roles, give a twist to that old trope and maybe sprinkle it with some Beauty and the Beast elements?

Those were the main questions that started Kaden’s story. And, don’t worry, the main question for the second book was: Why wouldn’t the maiden save herself?

I like playing with tropes and stereotypes, trying to write the “what if” and “why not” stories.

That is how Kaden was thought-born. Since I’m a pantser when it comes to writing, I let Kaden tell me his history throughout both books.

Once a human, Kaden was cursed to be a dragon with a penchant to permanently borrow and hoard other’s possessions. In his cave, you can find anything from gold and jewelry to crates filled with pants, half torn wagons, and even a chimney.

He once “borrowed” a horse, but it didn’t turn out well, as much as he enjoyed finally having some company. He wasn’t cruel of heart, so he let the horse escape.

He learned not to “borrow” stuff from old women—nay, hags! They are tenacious and will beat you with a cane for your attempt, no matter how big and deadly you are.

Being a dragon wasn’t all about the drawbacks. He saved a young girl’s life once from a fire. Lucky for him, fire does him no harm.

And he would never tire of flying. It was exhilarating. He will never forget when he first spread his wings and took flight, as awkward as it was—and drunken-looking. The view, the freedom… the vastness of the sky above and the earth below… the experience entranced him.

But, as the years passed, he tired of the loneliness. He missed the human connection, affection, and even touch. The rare encounters with humans ended up with Kaden defending his life against wanderlusting adventurers and trying to save their lives, too. He had to take some, though. And their spilt blood will forever lay heavy on his soul.

Depressed and weary, he secluded himself on a mountain, in a dreary cave, away from the people, and away from life.

Until, one day, a young woman chased by wolves stumbled into his cave.

She was the one to turn his destiny around. She was the one to bring light to his darkness, and she was the one that brought him the salvation of death and rebirth.


Follow Maya at these links, or purchase her books:

http://www.mayastarling.com * Twitter * Facebook

Dragon’s Treasure (book 1)


Dragon’s Prize (book 2)


Ode to a Side Character: A Guest Post by Hannah Steenbock

Hello again, and welcome to a new series here on menyoral.com, about everybody’s favorite thing — characters! My first guest is the lovely and kind Hannah Steenbock, here to talk about a side character from The Cloud Lands Saga, Debesh.


When I first met Debesh, he was just one of five Wing Commanders in a tactical meeting. All I knew about him then was that my villain was attracted to him and he wasn’t averse to her attention, which was exactly what I needed.

He was just someone to use for a subplot, to explore dragon culture in my world, and to provide a nice distraction from killing kraken and decimating dragons in fights. Back then, I didn’t even bother to come up with his hair color or much of a description.

But when the trap sprang and Debesh and his dragon Vandranen were abducted in a vile plot… I discovered how much courage and determination this man really had. You see, in the story, the evil dragon controls both her rider and Vandranen, and through him, Debesh. He can just hang on to the ride.

And yet, the brave Wing Commander fights back as much as he can, by leaving secret messages and by resisting the evil dragon at every turn. I do put him through hell, I hurt him a lot, and I even get him raped. And in the end, it’s only through his determination, endless courage, and some good luck that the evil plot fails.

I won’t say more about the story itself, because I’ve re-launched the book with Debesh’s tale. Kraken War is book #2 in The Cloud Lands Saga.

Debesh totally earned my admiration while writing the stories of The Cloud Lands Saga, because he held up strong through everything I threw at him, which was a lot. And even after all this, he is still true to himself, a good man at heart, a gentle man and a caring man.

He recently gained his hair color and a bit more of a body image – in answer to the new cover. When my friend suggested a person as focus, we had been searching for Prince Orlen, the male MC of my stories about The Cloud Lands. But when I saw her draft, I immediately knew she had found Debesh. And he spoke to my heart again.

It makes me happy to say that Debesh will return in the fourth book of my series (release planned for end of March), where he will spend much time with one of the main characters of the series. And once again, he’ll prove to be a man of integrity, honesty and courage. He has become pivotal for the future of the Cloud Lands, even, and he has absolutely earned his position there.

This is not the first time I experience such a scenario. Sometimes, side characters can move in and become much, much more than just a throw-away name or a plot point. And I love it when that happens. I love it when they show up and cling to the story by sheer grit. When they demand attention from me, and give a story more depth and show me more of their world.

I’d like to encourage you to pay attention to your side characters. I’m sure they have a story to tell, if you but ask them.


Hannah Steenbock is a German writer of Speculative Fiction. She uses both her native German and English as languages for her tales, as she loves English and tends to think in that language when plotting Fantasy.

After finishing university with a degree in English and Spanish, she lives and works in Kiel, the northernmost state capital of Germany. Her other pastimes include working as a therapist, riding horses, strolling along beaches, talking with trees, and devouring as many stories as time allows.

Read more on her website: www.hannah-steenbock.de

Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HannahSteenbock

She occasionally even tweets: www.twitter.com/FirleF


And take a look at this gorgeous cover, featuring Debesh!


Sir Santo Puglia

Santo’s a Menyoral character. He first appears in Hard Luck and has a slightly larger role in The Service. He wasn’t in the third book, and he won’t be in the fourth. (Jury’s out on #5.)

He’s one of Vandis’s closest friends. I knew that from the beginning. I had this mental character-picture, I mean a picture of his character, not a portrait. I was thinking of a youth pastor who honestly enjoyed his work; Santo loves taking and training Squires, working with young people from Brightwater in particular (all his Squires have been young men from Brightwater). The more I asked myself how that kind of person would act, the more I liked Santo.

The problem was, he wouldn’t talk to me directly, which I say with the writerly conceit that characters “speak to” me. (Some people say they do, but for the most part they don’t to me — literally anyway.)  I couldn’t figure out where he’d come from apart from “Brightwater,” or anything about his background.

You might have noticed he’s got the same name as Puglia Fountain. Yes, he’s from the same family as the Conte, in the direct line — but unless something goes horribly wrong, he won’t inherit the title. He’s the fourth son of the family, a spare in every way.

Expect to learn more about Santo soonish.


Wallace MacNair

Wallace is one of my favorite characters in Menyoral. He began as sort of an offhand thing, but now he’s turned into a really important figure. He first appears in The Service as Evan Grady’s friendly, overweight Squire, and as a young Knight in Live Free or Die. (Yeah, yeah, spoiler, but you’d sort of know looking at him anyway.)

The thing about Wallace (a.k.a. Wally, but only if you’re Evan) you might not have considered is that he’s actually several months younger than Dingus is. He doesn’t look it, because his adoptive family is Bearded (Rothganar dwarves), and has encouraged him since he was small to grow a beard — not that it’s come in until recently. They’re terribly insular, but when the matriarch of clan MacNair found a blond baby on a hillside, they couldn’t leave him to die. Instead they brought him underground, and when eleven years later a passing Knight took shelter in one of their caves, let him go again.

Wallace is much loved at home, and much missed, but he never really fit in, and that’s why Dingus starts to trust him — but the two don’t know each other very well. Both are in for a surprise when I finally finish Hard Time.

(If you’re a regular reader of the blog you might remember a previous Snippet Sunday on the subject, and you can find that here. If you want to see a piece of Live Free or Die, take a look here.)

Sir Dingus P. Xavier

People laugh at Dingus’s name, in story and out of it.

They’re supposed to.

You’re supposed to underestimate him until it’s too late.

Dingus began life as my husband’s first Dungeons and Dragons character. He used to be shorter, he was a ranger/barbarian, and he had my husband’s snarky charm. I looked at him and said to myself, I must torture him. Because, honestly, I have always been a writer.

I started out with a short story, meant as a gift, and I guess I didn’t think of stopping until it was too late. I wrote part of what I thought it would eventually be as my senior thesis, and if you know who I am, please, please do not look it up. It was terrible. Present tense? What was I thinking?

Slowly, but also before I’d turned around, Rothganar grew up around Dingus. Really, after a little while, you don’t even notice the name, or at least, I don’t. Objectively I know it’s silly, but I love him so well it doesn’t matter anymore.

I could go on a lot about what Dingus is supposed to mean, supposed to be. I could spend at least six thousand more words about where he comes from. I could talk about my future plans and rub my hands together, cackling evilly. So far he’s gone from scared, sad boy to bad-ass protector of adorable monkey babies. We’ll see how far he can go. ❤

Oh. And the “P” stands for Parsifal.