Anna Questerly

Anna Questerly
Bookseller and bibliophile turned author, Anna Questerly writes medieval fiction and fairy tales for smart kids and young hearts. For adults, she creates Utopian fantasy as A.J. Questerly.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Swordsmith and the Dragon continued

He heard Olivia’s call “Papa!” from deep within the cave. Relief flooded through him when he heard her voice. He had to climb over the massive horde of Kliban’s treasure to reach her. He called to her as he slipped on golden coins and stumbled over rubies and emeralds big enough to hold in two hands.
When he finally made it to the peak, he slid down the other side and found Olivia huddled in a dark recess in the back of the cave. Ham realized with repulsion that Olivia had not been the first child the dragon had stolen. For there were piles of small bones littering the floor around them.
He hugged her to him and stroked her hair. “Papa’s here,” he murmured to her. The poor child must not have eaten in all that time; he could feel her bones through her dress. “We’re getting out of here and going home to Mama.”
Just as they started back up the mountainous heap of treasure, Ham heard the unmistakable sound of Kliban’s leathery wings beating against the wind. He gently sat Olivia back into the corner and with his finger to his lips told her to be quiet. He dug himself a hole in the treasure and climbed in feet first so he could still see his daughter.
He grunted softly as the dragon’s weight settled on the mound. He listened as the dragon ate whatever it was that he had captured. He heard the bones crack and the smack of Kliban’s mouth as the dragon gnawed on some poor unfortunate beast.
More to come on my next posting...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Swordsmith and the Dragon continued

Ham took the rope from his pack and attached it to a strong pine growing near the top of the mountain. He strapped the sword to his back and started climbing down to the lair. He hoped he could get in and out with Olivia before Kliban returned.
He could smell the sulphurous odor of the dragon’s dung and knew he was getting close to the entrance. He hated to think of his sweet little Olivia trapped in here for so long but he hoped with all of his heart, that he would find her still trapped. He jumped down into the mouth of the cave. He waited while his eyes adjusted to the gloom and his nose became accustomed to the strong odor of the dragon’s lair.
He stepped further inside, calling for Olivia. His voice echoed from every direction for the cave was immense; its ceiling disappeared up into darkness. The dragon’s treasure was staggering; it laid piled high and ran the entire width of the cave. Thin shafts of sunlight filtered through the foul air, to pick out certain jewels or coins upon which it would sparkle and dance.
More to come on my next posting...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Swordsmith and the Dragon continued

Without wasting an instant Ham ran to his cottage, grabbed his largest sword, mounted his horse and took off after the dragon. He followed the great worm until he could no longer see it. At the next village, he stopped and questioned the villagers.
He questioned everyone he met about where the dragon’s lair might be hidden. None knew, but they all pointed toward the west. After an exhausted, but restless sleep, Ham purchased a few supplies and set off west to find Olivia.
He traveled for days and days, hardly resting. He passed through farms, towns and villages and asked everyone he met where the dragon slept. No one could tell him, but they all pointed him even further west. At the foot of a tall mountain reaching up almost into the clouds, he set his horse free, for there was no way the horse could climb this height.
He climbed over two smaller mountains which sat at the foot of the great mountain and when he had finally scaled the summit of the highest peak, he rested and looked out over the valley below just in time to see the green scaly back of Kliban as he left his lair. The dragon’s lair lay hidden in a crevice on the other side of the mountain. It was situated up high enough that climbing up from the valley below would have been impossible. For unlike the side of the mountain Ham had clambered up, this side was a sharp, jagged cliff face. Stay tuned for the continuation of The Swordsmith and the Dragon...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Swordsmith and the Dragon continued

The villagers cowered; none dared answer the enraged beast. Kliban raised his head to the sky, opened his mouth and spewed forth a stream of flames. “Where isss my gold?” he roared again.
Finally, Ham, the swordsmith, stepped forward and answered with a deep, respectful bow, “Your greatness, we have had a hard year,” he began to explain.
But Kliban cut him short. “I don’t care about your petty excusessss, I want my gold.”
“We have no gold,” Ham told the dragon.
“Then I’ll take thisssss,” the great beast hissed as he flapped his mighty wings and rose into the sky, dipping down just long enough to pluck Olivia from Constance’s arms. Constance tried to hold on, but the dragon was too quick. She could hear Olivia's screams as the dragon flew away.
More to come...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Swordsmith and the Dragon continued

Each of them gathered what they could spare and awaited the arrival of Kliban. They did not have to wait long. That very night the villagers all awoke when Kliban's terrible breath lit up the night sky with flames. As he roared at the pitiful offering, the people trembled in fear in their homes.
With a snarl, Kliban gathered up the paltry offering the villagers had left for him and took wing, vowing to return in the morning for the rest of his due.
Dragons are fearsome enough creatures at night, but if you have ever seen one in the full light of day, you know why the villagers shuddered with terror when they saw Kliban the next morning.
Sunlight glinted off his green scales, his long undulating body twisted and coiled as he flew into the village. His immense talons gouged the earth when he landed. He stretched his long neck majestically and as his slitted eyes razed the village with a piercing glare, he hissed, “Where isss my gold?”
The villagers cowered; none dared answer the enraged beast. Kliban raised his head to the sky, opened his mouth and spewed forth a stream of flames. “Where isss my gold?” he roared again.

Stay tuned for more on my next posting...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Swordsmith and the Dragon

Back when the world was younger and dragons still prevailed, there was a peaceful village and in the village lived a swordsmith with his wife, Constance, and their little daughter, Olivia. The young family lived in a small cottage and although they were poor, they were very happy together.
This had been a tough year for the entire village. The harvest had been meager and there had not been as many travelers through the village as there had been in previous years. The King’s men had even lowered the taxes they collected which came as a welcome relief to all.
Still, the people were very worried. Kliban the dragon was due to appear and he never reduced the fealty tax he required from the villagers. They knew that if they paid the dragon what he expected, they would starve through the winter.

My Favorite Fairy Tale

Has to be Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves; I love stories where the hero wins by cleverness rather than goodness. Perhaps it's because the goody-two-shoes mentality in many stories is boring to me. Give me a character who uses their mind and can figure out ways around practically anything and I'm hooked; that was one of the reasons I loved Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth so much. I hope I was able to bring that same trait to my characters in my stories, although I did allow the virtuous to win on occasion. You be the next blog will give you a sample of one of the fairy tales from my book.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time...I believe these to be the four most magical words in the English language; these words instantly transport us to far away lands. Lands where we might meet dragons, witches, princesses or beings we cannot yet imagine. These words create limitless possibilities the moment they are spoken or read. Is it just me or do those words still send a delightful shiver down your backbone too?
I still get that same tingle when I settle down with a new book to read; as I open the cover I’m sure, I mentally insert the words, Once upon a time, because writers always seem to forget to include them at the beginning of their stories these days.
In fact, I don’t think those words have been used to begin a book in over a hundred years. I may be wrong about that; if you know of any, please feel free to add it to the comments. Are fairy tales out of style? Perhaps it’s time to reawaken their power?
I started writing fairy tales last summer and enjoyed it so much that I’m still writing them today-the truth is, I can’t stop; it’s now become an obsession, taken over a large part of my life and now they have somehow turned themselves into a book!
As part of my research for my book, I’ve been rereading the old fairy tales and I can now say with confidence, I am a fairy tale expert. Let me know your questions or thoughts; I want this blog to be about anything related to reading, writing or telling fairy tales and I will welcome all comments.
Which is your all time favorite tale? I’ll tell you mine in my next posting.