Howdy, Musers. I’ve got something special for you today. Resa Nelson, author of the Dragonslayer series, is here to talk about how she learned to use a sword. So grab a glass of wine, ale, cider or you’re favorite drink and learn how to wield a sword like a Dragonslayer.
Welcome to Fictitious Musings, Resa.
How I Learned How to Use Swords when I wrote My Dragonslayer Series
by Resa Nelson
The main character in my 4-book Dragonslayer series is Astrid, a female blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers. I wanted to learn as much as I could about blacksmithing and also about medieval weapons. I took a course in blacksmithing, which I wrote about earlier in this blog tour. I thought it would be more difficult to learn about medieval weapons, but I was in for a big surprise!
I live in New England, and I thought that if there’s any place in the country where I could learn about medieval weapons, it would probably be in my own backyard. I did an internet search and discovered that a museum not far from where I live offers courses where you can learn how to use swords the same way they were used hundreds of years ago by knights! I signed up for a course and was immediately hooked. I took a few more courses, joined the museum’s sword guild, and volunteered to become a weapons demonstrator at the museum.
Being a weapons demonstrator was a great experience. My sword guild partner and I gave demonstrations at the museum on a regular basis for a few years. We’d give a choreographed demonstration of what a real sword fight might have looked like hundreds of years ago, using steel practice swords that had blunt tips and edges. We then went through the fight in slow motion and explained every blow and defensive move.
I don’t consider myself an expert in using swords, but I gained a lot of experience and insight. Volunteering and giving demonstrations allowed the information I learned to really sink in and become part of my every-day life. It also gave me easy and immediate access to some of the foremost experts in the world. I asked a lot of questions about a lot of things, and the answers I received shaped my ideas for characters and plot ideas for the books in my Dragonslayer series.
I also had a lot of interaction with our audiences, who had great questions and comments. This allowed me to learn even more because I’d often have to go to someone else to get answers to those questions. The entire experience deepened my knowledge and appreciation of swords and other medieval weapons.
My experience had a minimal impact on Book 1 (The Dragonslayer’s Sword), but that changed when I wrote Book 2, The Iron Maiden. All of a sudden, years of experience with the sword guild and having volunteered as a weapons demonstrator made a difference. It had an impact on new characters I created. It had an even bigger impact on the way I developed a relationship between my main character Astrid and a foreigner she meets. It gave me ideas for some of the most important events that happen in Book 2. When I think about the book as a whole, I can’t imagine how I could have written it without the research I’d done and especially my experience as a volunteer.
If you’d like to sample my work for free, you can download a free “mini” ebook called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website at http://www.resanelson.com/files. 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 you like it or not.
Resa Nelson’s 4-book Dragonslayer series:
Synopsis for The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1)
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?
Synopsis for The Iron Maiden (Book 2)
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.
In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn’t a decision she can make just once. It’s a decision she must make every day.
Synopsis for The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)
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.
Book 4 will be published in November 2012
Stalk Resa like there’s no tomorrow.
Giveaways & Freebies:
Want to read Resa’s books now? No worries! Visit one of the links below and hook yourself up with awesome reads.
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at: http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)