Never Deal with Dragons
Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it’s her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her “typical” day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him.
Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he’s been sent by North America’s reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she’ll be stuck with Trian as a partner.
As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.
Meet Lorenda Christensen
Lorenda is the wife of one, mother of two, and accountant for many. She was born in Arkansas and was immediately smuggled across the border into a small Oklahoma town nestled in the Ozark Mountains. Lorenda was a past resident of Bangalore, India, and is a current resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is not a neat person. Or even a somewhat tidy person. Okay – she is a completely filthy and disgusting failure at all things housekeeping. She also kills plants, but not on purpose.
Jillian: How often to you get lost in a story?
Lorenda: As often as conceivably possible. I haven’t read in paper since we made the move to India in 2010, but I have a reading app on every device that will hold one. And I use them a lot. Just ask my husband, who has—on more than one occasion—had to request that I dim the screen of the iPad/iPhone/Kindle so he can get some sleep.
Jillian: Describe your favorite kind of hero to read/write?
Lorenda: I adore uptight, private alphas for my reading pleasure. You know the type--Darcy from P&P, Barrons from Fever, Alex from Wicked Becomes You—all of these guys are completely different people, but none of them like to sit down and spill their emotions into the first attentive ear. And most important, all of them have Agency with a capital A. They are absolutely confident of their place in the world, and nothing—save the heroine—can tell them what to do. There’s something twisted inside me; I like to see men forced to confront the question, “do I love this woman enough to do something completely foreign and share my deepest thoughts and feelings?”
As for what I write, my heroes also have a dash of the alpha in them. But Never Deal with Dragons and the other two books in the trilogy are written in first person. In my opinion, first person is exponentially harder to write private alpha heroes without them coming off as completely rude, chauvanistic pigs. (And okay, KMM managed it with Barrons, but she had five books in the Fever series, and even then Barrons took over the first person narrative for a chapter or two, so IMO it doesn’t count ) So yeah, my heroes are a little more in touch and open with their feelings, but I don’t think they’ll ever be mistaken for a woman. (I mean seriously, look at the chest on that cover! It’s all male, baby!)
Jillian: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
Lorenda: Oh, story-telling is definitely easier. This is probably against the author’s code (send me a copy if such a thing exists), but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I hate writing. With a passion eclipsed only by my hate of lima beans. The first draft is the most heineous form of torture known to man, and I dread facing it each and every time I sit down at the keyboard. Because nothing comes out on the paper the way I see it in my head, and the blinking cursor taunts me with feelings of inadequecy all day long.
But the greatest feeling in the world? Getting that stupid draft on the paper. Because then? Everything is fixable. And eventually, those slight glimmers of the fantastic story in my head start showing up on paper. I’ve convinced this is why authors “polish” their stories…because I know I’m done when that story is as bright and shiny and full-color as the voices in my head told me it could be.
Jillian: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Lorenda: I’m always perplexed when author’s talk about their writing soundtracks, because I absolutely cannot write with any sort of structured noise in the background. The hum of a busy coffee shop? No problem. The screaming of little children as they beat each other over a shared love of the same toy? So long as they aren’t in the same room with me and the husband is home, I’m fine. But music, for me, is the equivilant of having someone shout in my ear while I’m trying to concentrate.
But story ideas? Oh yeah, music is perfect for this. All it takes is a certain phrase, and I have another I need to wrestle out of my head and onto the page. Usually slow, melancholy stuff trips my mental “story” trigger, so I like the Eva Cassidys, John Mayers, and Nora Jones of the world. (Though lately “Cups” by Anna Kendrick has been a frequent replay on the phone.)
Jillian: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Lorenda: Drink. Just kidding. Usually I go outside and try to soak up some sun and revel in the fact that I’m allowed outside. I’ve tried to write on my patio with the laptop, but even with elaborate shade-systems, the glare of the light on my screen drives me batty. So when I’m finally finished (or even finished with the first draft) I go outside, lay out a blanket, and enjoy fresh air.
We’ll see whether that practice continues now that the temperatures are trending closer to snow than a heat wave.
Jillian: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Lorenda: I do read my reviews. I consider myself to have a very thick skin, and I’ve been lucky—so far—not to have any reviews that focus on me as a person instead of my book as a product. Will I feel the same if someone decides to start saying I’m stupid, as opposed to my book or my characters being stupid? Maybe. I’ll let you know.
Have there been people who didn’t like my writing? Of course. But most reviewers have been very good to mention in their reviews the reasons for their lower ratings. Never Deal with Dragons has received a lot of comments about what fun the beginning of the story was, and how disappointed they were in the ending/follow through. And you know what? They were right. The tone changed throughout the book.
Does that mean I need to go back into my current WIP and make sure and add “funny bits?” No. But it does give me one more to-do on my editing check list…review for tone consistency. Whether I’m going for funny or serious, high tension or laughs, I need to check and make sure I have an overall plan for the book as a whole.
For me, each and every review helps me hone my craft, and discover what type of an author I aim to be. Because I can’t strive toward a goal without first defining one.
Jillian: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Lorenda: Ha! I laughed out loud at this question, because—like most new authors—I can’t resist checking my sales every once in a while. And my children were delighted when I told my husband that I think I’ve sold enough that I’ll have enough money to actually open a “vacation” savings account at our bank. Those $100-$200 minimum balances can be a killer. In ten years or so, we’re going to Disneyland, baby!
All jokes aside, finishing my first, full draft of a book was the greatest feeling of accomplishment I’ve ever experienced. My husband is a runner, and he’s always wanted to try one of those Ironman Triathlons, just to see if he could do it. For me, writing a book was my triathlon. Reading peaked my interest, those first few horrible chapters and critique groups were my physical training, the RWA® Golden Heart® Award was the qualifying round, and Never Deal with Dragons was the real deal. I am so proud to be able to say I did it. And that sense of worth has translated into all parts of my life. I’m harder to intimidate. Put me in the middle of the wilderness with nothing but a canteen and bowie knife, ‘cause I’m a writer, y’all!
Lorenda has a question for commenters: Speaking of Disneyworld, what’s your favorite Disney movie?
Lorenda is giving away a digital copy of Never Deal with Dragons to a lucky commenter. She will send a giftcard from the online store of the winner's choice. If the store doesn’t offer gifting, they will get a .pdf or .epub file. Be sure to leave your e-mail contact information to be included in the raffle.
For more information about Lorenda's latest release:
I’m on Twitter! @Lorendac
And Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/authorlorendachristensen
And even have a website of my own! http://lorendac.com/
***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.