Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Iron Maiden Blog Tour

Welcome to The Iron Maiden Blog Tour! Resa Nelson, author of The Dragonslayer Series has stopped by with a guest post, author bio and information about her books…

The floor is yours Resa!

How Research Led Me to Take a Leap of Faith
by Resa Nelson
Doing research for my 4-book Dragonslayer series included library research in lots of different areas, plus physical research – I took a course in blacksmithing and courses to learn historically accurate ways to use medieval weapons because my main character is a female blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers. 

When I’m writing a novel or short story, I’ve learned it’s important to follow my intuition.  I depend on it all the time.  I also depend on my intuition when I do research.  I begin by thinking logically.  For example, for my Dragonslayer series it seemed obvious that it would be a good idea to read up on history (focusing on the Middle Ages), weapons, blacksmithing, and accounts of people who reported seeing dragons through history.  I also searched for ways to do physical research to expand my research experience.  By following my instincts, step-by-step, I ended up in at an event that influenced me so much that it changed the ending of Book 1, which had a long-reaching impact on the entire series.

It began when I started reading books about medieval weapons.  Most of the books were excruciatingly boring, but a few stood out as exciting and engaging.  These books were written by Ewart Oakeshott and had been published decades ago.  Oakeshott’s enthusiasm for weapons infected me.  As I read his books, his passion jumped off the page and made me feel excited about weapons, too.  I admired his ability to share his passion about weapons through his writing.  My intuition piped up and wondered if he might still be alive.

So I went to the Internet and did a search for him.  I was happy to discover he was scheduled to speak at an international seminar about medieval and Renaissance weapons in just a few months’ time!  My first thought was that I didn’t have enough money in my budget to go.  After all, the seminar was being held in England, and I live in the United States.  When I added up the airfare, hotel, and other expenses, I didn’t see where the money could come from.

At that time I was a freelance journalist.  The next day one of my editors contacted me and gave me two new assignments, which came as a complete surprise.  I figured out what I’d be making from these assignments – it was exactly the amount I needed to go to the seminar in England.  But there was another obstacle in my way.  I’d been called for jury duty and had to put in a request to postpone it.

While waiting to hear if my request to postpone jury duty would be accepted, I contacted the seminar organizer, told him my situation, and he worked with me to make temporary arrangements in case I could come to the seminar.

Happily, I received approval to postpone jury duty – I was free to go to England!  But there was one more obstacle lurking around the corner.  I went online to book a flight and found one that would work.  But I had problems with online payment – the site wasn’t accepting my method of payment.  After a while I figured out what the problem was and how to fix it.  But by that time someone else had bought the airline ticket I’d wanted.  Even worse, when I searched for new flights, all of the ones I could afford had been snapped up.  Only ridiculously expensive tickets were left.  I felt angry and heartbroken.  Why were there so many things blocking my decision to go to the weapons seminar in England when my intuition kept telling me not to give up and to find a way to get there?  It seemed impossible.  I gave up on the idea of going.

My intuition piped up one more time.  A new thought occurred to me:  why not try the same website early the next morning?  Although I still felt convinced there was no way I could get to England, I set my alarm to go off at 5:00 am.  I dragged myself out of bed, started my computer, and went to the same website to look for a new flight.  Imagine my surprise when I found exactly the flight I wanted at an even better price than what I’d found the day before!  I immediately bought it.

Paying attention to my intuition is one of the most important things I do in life.  But I’m also a believer in not giving up.  After all, as a writer my job is to throw obstacles and problems at my characters all the time – my characters learn and grow from figuring out how to get around obstacles and solve problems.  The obstacles and problems I encounter in my own life help me learn and grow – and give me inspiration for the obstacles and problems I create for my characters!

During this blog tour I’m telling lots of stories about the research I’ve done for my Dragonslayer series.  You can find out where I’ve been and where I’m going next by checking my website, my Facebook page, or following me on Twitter.

If you’d like to sample my work for free, you can download a free “mini” ebook called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website.  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. 

You also can enter to win a copy of the first two books in my series, which I’ll give away at the end of this tour on Feb. 14.  To enter, just send email to ResaBonusGifts@aol.com.  (I won’t keep your email address – this just makes it easier for me to keep track of entries.)  I’m also doing a book giveaway on GoodReads, so you can enter to win there.


Synopsis for The Dragonslayer’s Sword [The Dragonslayer Series #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?

See my review here!

Synopsis for The Iron Maiden [The Dragonslayer Series #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.

See my review here!


About Resa
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award, the highest honor in science fiction and fantasy. It was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in a 4-book series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was recently published. Book 3 is scheduled for publication in Summer 2012.

Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."

In real life, Resa is a fan of chocolate, travel, summer, museums, ballet, movies, and Broadway musicals (her favorites are Les Miserables and Wicked).  She lives in Massachusetts.


- Website – Resa Nelson
- FREE “mini” ebook – Dragonslayer short stories
- Goodreads giveaway – enter here
- Facebook page
- Follow Resa on Twitter
- Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press here (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10) – how freaking cool is that?!
- Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10), Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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