British Accents and Excellent Novels

Click here to hear about me chat very excitedly about the novel I am currently writing. Also, I am writing a completely separate novel for NaNoWrimo. My username there is simply gabrielpenn, so be sure to find me and check out my stuff!

Do dragons exist in your setting?


What do dragons look like?
>Are there different types/subspecies of dragons, or is there only one?
>>If there are different subspecies, what are the similarities? Why are they all dragons instead of being classified as different species?
>How large do dragons get when fully grown?
>What size are they when they’re babies?
>What is the general shape of a dragon?
>>Short and fat?
>>Long and skinny?
>How many legs do they have?
>Do they have wings?
>>How many sets?
>Do they have horns?
>>Are their claws for digging or for tearing?
>What does their face look like?
>What shape are their teeth?
>>Or do they have beaks?
>Do they have feathers or scales?
>>>What do they have instead?

How strong are dragons naturally?
>Can they do anything to increase their strength?
>What does their hide protect them against?
>>The heat?
>>The cold?
>>Scrapes from rocks?
>>Animal attacks?
>>Is their hide strong enough to protect against human weapons?
>>>How strong would the weapon have to be to penetrate the dragon’s hide?
>Can dragons fly?
>>How high? (Remember that air gets thinner and colder at higher altitudes.)
>Can dragons swim?
>>How long?
>>How deep? (Remember that water gets more pressurized and colder at lower depths.)
>Can dragons breathe out fire?
>>Can they breathe out something else?
>>>Does this happen every time they exhale, or do they have to consciously decide to do it?
>>>Are there any times when they can’t?
>>>>Above certain altitudes?
>>>>When they’re tired or malnourished?
>>>>When they’re juvenile?

What do dragons eat?
>If they can breathe fire, do they cook their food first?
>Where are dragons located on the food chain?
>>Are they apex predators, or are they derpy little lizard babies that get eaten by bears and condors?

Where do dragons live?
>Do they live mostly by themselves, or in family units?
>How much space do they take to nest in?
>How much territory to they claim as their own outside the nest?

Do dragons hoard things?
>What kinds of things?
>Do they like shiny things?
>>Do they like worthless things too, as long as their shiny, or can they tell the value of an item?
>>>Is this dependent on the individual dragon in question?
>>>Does it depend on the dragon’s age?
>>>The dragon’s subspecies?
>Where do dragons keep their hoard?
>>Do they keep it in a back room?
>>Do they use it as a bed?
>>>How do they not damage the items with their weight?

Can dragons use magic?
>Can dragons shift into a humanoid form?
>>For how long?
>>How often?
>>What determines what their human form will look like?

How intelligent are dragons?
>Do they have their own names?
>Do they have rulers?
>Do they have a culture of their own?
>>How far apart do dragons have to be before there are noticeable regional differences?
>Do dragons have a sense of humor?
>If dragons aren’t intelligent, can they be/have they been domesticated?
>>Can they be trained?
>How do dragons communicate?
>Are dragons antagonistic towards humanoids?
>>Any specifically, or all of them?
>>If not, will they allow humanoids or others to ride on their backs?
>Are dragons antagonistic toward other dragons?
>>Only ones they aren’t related to?
>>Only ones from other subspecies?
>>Only ones that trespass?
>>Only to ones from different regions?
>>Only to ones with different politics?
>>To ones that smell bad?

Are dragons more reptilian or mammalian? Keep in mind that if they are mammalian, the females will have mammary glands.

How do dragons reproduce?
>Are they live births?
>Do they hang out in a pouch for a while afterwards, like kangaroos?
>Are they up and about almost immediately, like horses?
>Are they pretty useless, like human babies?
>Do they hatch from eggs?

A good source for these sorts of things. I came up with something similar for the noggards in Dark Soldier.

A Beautiful Mess

After reading a post on what should be seen more in YA novels, I realize that mine doesn’t really make sense. And yet, it still works together somehow. So for the new fans who haven’t heard this, the Dark Veil saga (coming 2016) includes:

  • Asian dragons and camouflaging wyverns
  • Griffins (whatever happened to those anyway?)
  • “Shadow of the Colossus”-sized monsters
  • A non-white main character (There are white people in the book, just not as much, as they’re in a tropical region)
  • A plot that doesn’t involve saving the entire planet from a god-like force
  • Cultures based off medieval Italy, Ancient Egypt and Russia
  • A blend of steampunk and fantasy (a.k.a. elves with guns)
  • Elves with guns
  • In case you missed it, elves with guns
  • Judaism-based mythology
  • A lot of politics and next to no actual physical battles
  • Characters that use weapons other than swords (lots of them)
  • Consistent fourth-wall breaking

There’s way more that I could put, but nobody would read it. But I’m curious to see how the fans react to all this. Because it’s a beautiful mess. Still trying to find a few YA fantasy publishers, and we’ll see how it goes from there.

(Featured image is promo art from Shadow of the Colossus)

Looking Forward [novel blog]

What can you expect from the Dark Veil series? Check this new blog to find out!

Telescopes are probably not going to be a weapon.

I can’t think of an actually decent post so I’m just going to run with this.

What am I looking forward to most about my book? Because the fact of the matter is I have most of the series planned out at this point. Yes, I’m one of those outlining sort of people, I like to have things planned out well in advance. I already know how book four ends. But that’s not really the point of this blog – this…

View On WordPress

More Book Updates!

Things get epic as the deadline to getting the second draft done gets closer. So, things are changing, and I’m going to tell you some of them.

1. Dragons are officially no longer in the series. For a fantasy writer, maybe this seems pretty weird, but it’s true! I decided I wanted to change things up quite a bit, and so while we are going to have winged lizard-like creatures, they most certainly are not dragons. It’s very likely they’re not even going to breathe fire. However, they are going to be able to change their colors. And they are called noggards. Yes, I’m not always very creative.

2. Familiars will now be in the series! No, they aren’t reporting to the devil, but they’re there! They can communicate and practice some basic magics. You won’t see much of them in the first books, but they definitely play a part in book 2 and 3 as of right now. And the first one is going to be a froad, which is a lot like a toad, and somewhat like a frog, but mostly like a chameleon.

3. We are way closer to getting the teaser trailer done. After many months of searching, we finally found an actor in the New York area, and we weren’t even looking for one at the time! We were going to do it all by animation, but it looks like God had other plans. His name is Sonny, and he may just become our face of evil. And from what I heard, he is super pumped to be doing this. But now I feel bad about him only being seen for about twenty seconds. I feel like he needs to do more. We shall see.

4. The main country of the book is now by the water. This means the mountains may no longer be mountains. They may just be really big hills. In fact, this country may even be a peninsula. This means there could be some epic fights on the water. No, there ARE going to be epic fights on the water. Pirates are in order.

And that’s really it. I haven’t come up with anything terribly exciting otherwise. Have a good weekend!







So I made a little size chart of Dragons of Middle-Earth

I think these are right but if anyone has quotes or anything to indicate something different, send them my way and I’ll fix it.

I love this because you realize that all the ego stroking in The Hobbit is Smaug trying to cover up that he’s a tiny, tiny dragon. Smaug the magnificent? impenetrable? Chiefest and greatest of calamities? More like Smaug the small and annoying.

Holy mother of god…how did Ancalagon the Black not destroy ALL of Middle Earth???

this gives me an immeasurable amount of anxiety

One word…Eagles


…..and Earendil

I Love You Guys!

I don’t even know what I’m doing, but apparently I somehow got a record amount of views from not even posting a blog. That was totally awesome. You guys are awesome! (I use guys as a collective term, you ladies are guys in my mind, too. I refer to males as dudes.)

So I decided in my happiness to make a blog about happiness, and the random things that make me happy. These are not tiered, they’re just a list.

  • Jesus lizards (because running on water is cool)
  • Jesus (as I don’t think its a problem to be proud of your religion, as long as you’re not a punk about it! 🙂 )
  • Munchkin cats
  • The Internet
  • Cupcakes
  • Gory Horror Movies (c-c-combo breaker!)
  • Fire!! 😀
  • Anime
  • Friends who try to understand even if they don’t fully
  • Cheese sauce (I PUT IT ON EVERYTHING)
  • did I mention Christmas?
  • Neon
  • Jiujitsu
  • Dragons
  • More fire! 😀
  • Chimeras
  • Bonfires (separate, I swear)
  • Tacos!
  • Food in general
  • Family

And that’s about all I can think of off the top of my head right now. Ending on a very strange note, I have come up with a super-new creature for the novel (see the Facebook for more info) called Togs and Froads. Yes, they do look like frogs and toads, but I also mixed in a little fantasy and a little chameleon too. So they can perch on shoulders, have longer tails, and can camouflage. Seems good to me! And have some weird as heck noises that they make. What are your opinions?!

Good evening, my friends! Be excellent to each other!

Big ‘n Bad Beasts

I’ve decided today to do a very writer-centric blog today. So here we go, a little talk on one of my favorite things in fantasy writing – the creatures.

I think one of the most important things in fantasy writing is thing that make it a clear fantasy piece. That clear thing is more often than not the creatures of that particular world. The main go-tos for this are typically things like unicorns, dragons, and other animals or humanoids (like elves) that we already know don’t exist in the real world. Do not worry, I am not going to claim that there is a serious problem with writing in creatures that have already been seen before. Really, if we write any humanoid creatures at all including humans, we are putting in something seen before. My point is simply this: never, ever underestimate your own creativity.

One of the great marks of a good fantasy series is the ability to make a convincing world. While it is certainly interesting to have known fantasy creatures, or even lesser known fantasy creatures, always remember that this is your world. You have power here. You are the god of your own paper universe. So while you are more than capable of using other people blueprints, never feel you need to follow them exactly. Is it cool to have fire-breathing flying creatures? Yes. Is it cool to have dragons? Yes. But nobody ever said they needed to look like an exact replica of Smaug from Lord of the Rings, or Daenerys’ dragons from Game of Thrones. In fact, if you want to make them look like a giant flying fire-breathing squirrel and still call it a dragon, you are more than welcome to do so, although it probably won’t be as intimidating. There are really no rules here.

Fear me, morals!!
Fear me, mortals!!

Really, someone should bring back the Wyvern. Maybe it’s not as elegant looking, but heck, it is awesome.

Furthermore, don’t be scared to deviate completely from all past fantasies and make your own completely unique creature. A good example is the slime from the Final Fantasy series. Who would think that a giant piece of sentient goop would be an interesting enemy? Yet somehow, not only did they run with it, but they have appeared in almost every version of the game since. They’ve even shown up in multiple other franchises, including one where they are the main characters. With that in mind, never be afraid to make up your own creatures, no matter how dumb they may sound in your brain.

A note regarding creating creatures… if you plan to make a hybrid, choose creatures of similar environments. Even in nature this seems to be the case. A platypus is the best example. It is clearly its own separate creature, yet looks like the mixture of a beaver and a duck. Both of those creatures live both in and out of the water, and therefore the mixture of the two does the same. Yet it also has its own style. Do the same with your creatures. While it may look interesting to mix two totally different creatures of completely different environments, it probably won’t help them exist as a creature. That is, unless you have one really whacked out environment that it lives in. Think of what exists in the environment that makes it look that way. Animals basically use every piece of their body for something, it’s up to you what to do with it.

This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.

Still, don’t worry too much about how it looks. Just because it sounds weird doesn’t necessarily means it doesn’t work. Heck, I once had a creature in the series that was a created by mixing and matching pieces of a gorilla, a mountain goat and an elephant! It turned out totally awesome.

Don’t worry, a lot of these work for your more humanoid creatures. That’s how cat-people came to be, and most everybody loves them. Although, strangely, you never see platypus-people, or giraffe-people, or even dog-people. Am I the only one that sees the potential here?

That’s all I have for today, go forth and make epic fantasy worlds with epic fantasy creatures!