The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner is epic urban fantasy at its finest.
There is magic beneath the mundane and in The Dragon in the Garden, Siobhan Orsini witnesses it all. No lie can fool her, no glamour or illusion can cloud her Sight. She sees through them all and wishes she could close her eyes. Returning to face her past, Siobhan inherits her grandparents’ house in California’s wine country. She encounters a talking dragon, a hot fallen angel, a demon lord, a Valkyrie, and, oh yes, her ex-boyfriend. And that is just in the first twenty-four hours.
It’s time to find out why she has this power.
Siobhan seeks out the Oracle and learns that only her Sight can help mankind navigate the travails of an ancient war. Our world is the prize in a battle between the dragons, who would defend us, and Lucifer’s fallen angels, who seek to take the Earth for themselves. Using her gift, she will have to make a choice that will decide humanity’s future.
Sounds good, yeah?
I’m really digging epic urban fantasy as a thing here lately and it’s good to see some classic tropes show up. Also, who doesn’t love dragons and all those other mythical creatures? Siobhan herself is a breath of fresh air, a strong female character that you can root for and admire. Overall, this is some really good writing, a great story, and a great buy. It would be well worth your time and money if you’re a fan of the genre. Don’t forget to read the lessons learned message from Erika below. It’s insightful and has a lot of good tips.
Author’s Spotlight: Erika Gardner
Erika is a sixth generation San Franciscan of Irish descent. She attended the University of California at Davis and completed degrees in Medieval History and Biological Sciences. A lifelong lover of books and a scribbler of many tales from a young age (her first story was completed at age five) she turned to writing full-time in 2011.
On a personal level, she loves spicy food, twilight, dark chocolate (with sea salt-yum!) and nickel slots at Vegas. Erika lives for a time with friends, a nice glass of red wine, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” & “Doctor Who” and good conversation. Her favorite things to do are running, cooking, reading, needlework, gardening… and of course, writing. Erika’s music of choice is heavy metal. To pick her out in a lineup you should know that she is very short, fairly loud, and has dark eyebrows. The rest, as her hero Anne McCaffrey once said in her bio, “is subject to change without notice”.
Erika resides in Northern California with her incredibly hot husband, their three amazing kids, and their chocolate Labrador named Selkie. To reach Erika regarding her books, wine recommendations, or to debate which Iron Maiden album is the best (clearly, it’s Brave New World)
Lessons Learned When Writing The Dragon in The Garden
So, just when I think I’m starting to figure things out, the other shoe invariably drops. It happens every dang time. Honestly, it’s not such bad thing. It’s good to shake things up. Dragon was the second book that I completed. The first was an epic fantasy that I have been forced to shove into a drawer. It’s crap. Well, it’s crap with glimmers. But I digress.
The Dragon in The Garden was the first book that I finished and thought, huh, we might have something here. Of course, that’s a common enough experience for writers in the first flush of typing “The End” (not that we usually do that, but you get the idea). Probably because getting that first draft done just feels so darn good. Then reality sets in and we see that the gargantuan amount of work still to be done. Which coincidentally was something I learned writing Dragon…
- You aren’t done when you think you’re done. In fact, it would be best if YOU do not make the judgment call as to when to start sending out your precious manuscript. No, leave that decision to your critique group and your beta readers. They’ll tell you when you are ready. Don’t rush it.
- Critique hurts. It’s okay to cry. I say that because you just might. I did.
- Critique is good. It is necessary. Take it and be grateful for. The fact that these people cared enough to take time from their busy (and everyone is busy) schedules to help with your dog and pony show is precious. Do not squander their time and efforts on your behalf. The work will be better.
- Bacon can make almost anything better. Unless you’re a vegetarian. Hopefully, then tofu bacon makes everything better. I wouldn’t know. I won’t touch the stuff. Because there exists real BACON.
- If bacon won’t work, there’s always wine. Or… the two together. Sometimes you need to double down.
- Agents, editors? They are just people. Some are kind, some are callous, but they are all mere flesh and put on their ass-less chaps one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.
- It’s okay to hear voices in your head. It’s part of the creative process. Just… don’t believe everything that they tell you.
- The hardest thing you will do is to write your synopsis. You’ll hate it. Likely it won’t be your best work. That’s okay, most people hate them, too. But it’s another hoop you must jump through, so jump, little froggy, jump!
- You WILL be rejected. That’s not an if, it’s a WHEN. Likely you’ll be rejected a lot. It will suck. Please see points #4 and #5. Feel free to email me. I’ll talk you off the ledge.
- You’ll want to quit. DON’T!!! That’s it, you can’t quit. PERIOD.
So, those are my pearls of wisdom. They may seem self-explanatory, obvious, as plain as the Italian nose on my Irish face. Yet, there’s a difference between hearing them and feeling them, really coming to grips with knowing them.
Now that you know my big life secrets… wanna know what I wrote about? It’s a fairy tale for adults who don’t want to grow up. Who says we really have to anyway? Enjoy!
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