William King Posted November 26, 2018 Report Share Posted November 26, 2018 Tears of the Dragon Boy by Ricky Synopsis:A boy is changed by his world's storm, increasingly becoming dragon-like. When he and his brother are outlawed and his parents are killed, can he face down the people accusing them, to win justice, or will he give in to the urges of his inner dragon? Book link (Read it here): Tears of the Dragon Boy Reader comments:I do not have words to express my feelings. The sorrow of the loss, the anger at the injustice, the sour taste of revenge, and at the very end, the exhilaration of the happy ending. It gives us so many mixed emotions. As much as i hate to cry at stories, this one made me do it, and do it in a big way. it's really a beautiful story, with more then enough action to keep me interested. This is one that i also strongly recommend. What a great story! ... I fell asleep at my laptop last night and just finished this morning. A great read and I look forward to a sequel! Bravo! and well written. I enjoyed this very much and loved the ending. This was a wonderful story. I'm glad you had the inspiration to write it. Extract: “They’re coming,” Malageth said to them both. At this Mantu and Bimeny both stood and started looking around. “Not this moment,” Malageth said, “but rest assured, they will come and when they do, you can’t be here. They can’t let this go. They will bring guard from the other provinces. And no one is going to believe you, if you tell them why you killed Gandoo. No one knows how many they have killed to hide their dirty little secrets.” Malageth said, looking at the horizon as if to see torch fire at any time. “Let them come,” Bimeny said with determined purpose. “I’ll just take care of them the same way that I took care of Gandoo and the guard.” “Bimeny, when they come back, they will come with legions. They will shoot you before you would even have a chance to take flight. Or they would hold a knife to my throat to make you give up.” Malageth explained. “Where will we go?” Bimeny asked her, taking her hand loosely. Looking into his eyes she lovingly said, “I can’t leave Reentu. You and Mantu will have to go alone.” Review by Adam. A 14 year old younger brother to the hunk of the elder - he who is to go through the big coming of age event which seals his entire future - inadvertently gets too close to the action and.....well you see the title of the story, right? Ricky has here masterfully crafted a mid-sized story if, were it in print, I'd be buying copies as stocking-fillers this coming Christmas for any children for whom I am due to buy gifts and who are aged between 11 and 14. The tale has just that right balance of adventure, fantasy, the success of right over evil, and those moments of sadness. The title character is Bimeny, who together with his girlfriend - who leads a strong female character cast throughout the saga - shares a wickedly dry sense of humour. Tears of the Dragon Boy is seemingly set in a fantasy world with strong resemblances to Europe of the 10th/11th centuries. The author builds his story and the various moments of crisis with panache, keeping his readers on the edge of their seats and rooting for their heroes throughout. Ricky chooses character names well, making up new ones with alliterative skill. In the same way, whilst creating his make-believe boys and girls, he made them believable by not only giving them seemingly fantastic powers, but allowing them human errors too. So Bimeny, in a flight of anger wants perfectly normal revenge:"He wanted them to see their child killed before their very eyes so they would know the pain that he felt,"(sic) As in so many stories, I felt that this one was front loaded, that is the early chapters were far more detailed than the last few. It was almost as if Ricky had become bored with his own creation and wanted to get it over and done. A strong ending is often something lacking in stories today; they tend to go out with a fizzle rather than a bang. Perhaps that is what the author intended, however. Further, there were a few cases where the story would have benefited from a touch of good editing, but then I am a bit of a grammar freak. But writing a mediaeval story and mentioning a balaclava is a trifle anachronistic! Honestly, though, Tears is a dream of a tale which I have already emailed to all my contacts as a MUST READ and, for children over 11, as the best story I have yet reviewed for Castle Roland. Ricky, ***** Adam INTERVIEW First up, thank you for agreeing to take part. Mostly these author interviews are focused on the book that's been reviewed and a little on you yourself as an author. Straight off your career as a writer of fiction sticks out as being a little different. What I mean, is that you had a large handicap to overcome, namely your dyslexia. Do you think this first book was the beginning of triumphing over that difficulty? It was very well received and won readers choice back in 2015. Well it didn't happen until I was around 50 years old so I think I had developed work arounds for most things in life. What I also didn't mention is that what I wrote took 3 years to edit into something worth reading and it took the help of some really great people. Until I wrote TOTDB I was not at all well-read. I'm embarrassed to say the number of books I read by choice was less than my fingers. When someone would ask if I had read . . . I'd stop them and tell them that if it wasn't written on the back of a Wheaties box I probably never read it. That has all changed now with text to speech I am a voracious reader. You have written a number of books, not just this one. So having found a way to write, despite your drawbacks, why stop in 2015? I’m presuming you did stop. I haven’t looked at all your writing, but I did see that back then you said, you had only one unfinished book. That book was TIC, and it never did get finished. What happened? The short answer is life. But that would not be the complete answer. In truth, I spent several years mentoring a young man who had been through a series of nightmarish events. I grew to love him as a son. And it was the kind of hell most people would not live through. He became my everyday concern for a long time. For a very long period it was a task to just keep him alive. When you exist in that constant concern and fear, it's hard to be creative. I'm happy to say he survived it. He got the proper mindset and turned 18. He started a new life and is living it. So I've been writing short stories to try and revive that writing spirit. I'm getting back into the spirit of it. I've actually written a bit of the sequel to TOTDB. But don't look for anything anytime soon. Okay, looking at Tears of the Dragon Boy, I’m not sure too many authors would quote Hamlet, “But therein lies the rub!” in their opening chapter. It’s not after all a common expression. Does this indicate you are a well educated individual who studied Shakespeare and English literature, or it just popped out? ROTFLMGAO! Uhm, no. High Screwl drop out, got a GED in the army. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid. I went on to be a video engineer and traveled the world. I'm a journeyman glazier, did purchasing for a multimillion dollar technology company, spent 23 years as a licensed private investigator. But higher education was not in my resume. I owe that to my mother. She was a very unique woman. We were dirt poor but mom spent a lot of time teaching us that poor was just money. Knowledge was where the real power was. By ten years old I had been to just about every kind of church you could imagine. JUST to learn about them. Even went to a Chinese green tea mass. (The green tea sucked I might add. But hey, I was 10.) Our teachers told us we were unusual kids because we could speak a little on almost any subject. She would dissect commercials asking us things like, what DIDN'T they say. Or it says it's only this much per month but how many months? When we came home from school we never knew what we would hear. Tchaikovsky, Jim Neighbors, Tex Ritter, The Beatles. You never knew. The oldest brother was the Shakespearean fanatic. So I probably got it from him. I think some of it is from our DNA. I had two older brothers and an older sister. All of them brilliant. The oldest spoke 26 languages and wrote 24, the other two were only spoken languages. The next brother, broke the genetic code for gerbils when he was 14. It revolutionized science because back then gerbils were imported only for labs and this gave them the ability to create identical lab animals. My sister can build an empire out of peanut shells. She was brilliant in business. Then there was me. By the time she got to me, she just ran out of genes. I guess you have some method for coming up with the character names, or perhaps you just invent something that sounds like it might work. Elder Gandoo sounds awfully like a version of Gandalf? How did you find all these character names? An interesting question. When you write other world fantasies you have to have rules to structure your world with. These rules sustain the bubble of disbelief for the reader. Mine had very few. Things like how time was measured, how direction was indicated. And names. Bill or George would be too grounding. And I did have some basic rules for names. Elder Gandoo was not at all magical and certainly wasn't derived from Gandalf. I like to think the characters chose their own names. I did find the dialogue seemed at times to be out of character, out of context. Let me explain, the setting , background, descriptions, and character names, all conjure a medieval epoch fantasy, but the dialogue often reverts to modern Americanisms. Example: Man, I’ve seen it and it ain’t pretty. I’m glad I’m not in your shoes. You have any kids?” Mantu asked. You also use “pops” etc. Were you aware of this? What do you think now, in hindsight? Nope. Missed that completely. There are certain colloquialisms that just flow and aren't too grounding. Of course that is if you're American. But hey, it's the first thing I ever wrote! If that's the worst you found then I'm completely happy. The story is, I found, quite gruesome. There is a lot of bloodshed and burning people slowly and painfully to death. In one way it reminded me of those fairy tales I got read to me as a child, Hans Christian Andersen etc., they gave me nightmares. I guess I’d have to rate this story age 11 and upwards. What are your own thoughts on the gruesome aspect of your story? I agree with the age range. In fact I would put it at 12 or 13 depending on the maturity of the child. I didn't so much write the story as let the characters do it. I did have moments of pause. But then I glanced over and saw the video games my own son was playing and threw my concerns out the window. I did try and temper the gore a little though. Getting back to you as a writer. You said, I think, you had this story in your head a long time, spoke to your wife about writing it, and she told you to go do it, that she would read it. Not quite the response you were looking for, but it kicked off your career. Did your wife play any further part in your writing? Negative. She would often be found snooping over my shoulder but never said a word. Of course when I started to write it I was almost in a trance trying to type it as fast as the characters gave it too me. I marathoned it into existence. Was it just that prompt from your wife, or what else inspired you to overcome your handicap and get it written? A great achievement. An easy answer that one. I woke up one morning with the story in my head. The characters would not leave me alone until I wrote it. You have to understand that I did not plan to write a story and even the rules of the world came to me from the characters as I was writing it. And it was not written and rewritten. There were no "drafts". There was the story written and then the editing to make it coherent. I did not revise any scenes. I have no idea where the impetus for the story came from. I was certainly not inspired by anything I read because I did not read! It can’t, I would think, be all entirely your imagination, but there most likely are things, books, films, etc., which have influenced you putting the story together. Was it your imagination that decided dragons gorged themselves on horses? What external sources influenced the story? The characters wrote the story. I just wrote down what they said. Didn't you notice that it's almost entirely dialog? Like I said, I went from just going to write down the story outline and give it to a ghost writer, somebody that could write. The next thing I knew, I was looking at 469 pages of story. I didn't stop writing until I couldn't keep my eyes open or had to go do a show someplace. I even wrote on my breaks in the shows I was doing. I was obsessed. I was convinced the only way to free up those few remaining brain cells that were still shaking hands together was to write it and get it out of my head. This was your first book. I have to ask you this question: the story is not a gay story, there are no gay characters. This is not a criticism, but why publish on a gay story site? I wasn't out to the world then and I didn't KNOW about online literature. When I found out that there was gay literature online I was on it like a pack of cub scouts on a pack of skittles. And most everything else I've written are either true stories about my boys or gay fiction. A funny story here, After TOTDB my son, then 15ish I think was always rushing over to my computer to see what I was working on. I would always task out to something else when I saw him coming. Finally it was becoming a challenge. He would try and sneak up and I would close my computer. Finally I had enough and I had just written Roll Call, I think. I printed out a few pages and waited for him. He showed up and I handed him the pages. They were rather graphically written. My son is absolutely straight. I asked him to critique this author. He read, and said, "The guy is a great author. He's very . . . descript. It's not my kind of story but it's well written." I said, "Thank you. I wrote it." And that's how I came out to my son. I had published it online on a couple other sites that were of mixed types, gay and straight. Saber Peak was one of those. When it merged with CR, it was just brought in. It is the reason that photos are now on the site. They saw the awesome cover art that Jordan Patchak was kind enough to do for me and they said "We HAVE to have this" And there you are. You went on to publish this book on Amazon under the name John Odom (the link is highlighted for readers), how successful was the book in print and as an ebook? Would you encourage other authors to self-publish? John Odom is my real name. I used the pen name Ricky in honor of the boy I first had a crush on. I've sold some. But unless you are going to spend the time or money to market it the people will never know to look for it. And it was a pain in the ass understanding what format to use. I guess finally I need to find out if you will ever continue to write and perhaps finish that book TIC? Yes, I have to get back into the mindset. I know how TIC goes but I have to get my head back into it. I am doing shorts and even trying my hand at a little bit in the RU world with the story Arthur. I'm working to get back to being creative because I love writing. Thanks once again for taking time out to share your experiences about writing with us. As a footnote for those of you who have been following these book reviews and author interviews, this is the final one. We may perhaps be back with something else in the New Year, who knows? From myself, William King and our team, Adam, Mark, and Jay, cheerio for now. ebook and paperback Tears of the Dragon Boy is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon (click link below). Tears of the Dragon Boy on Amazon - ebook and paperback. 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