Dragons and Characters’ Inner Conflicts with Anna Steffl and Giveaway!

And the Allegiance tour rolls on! Today, Lee over at She Wolf Reads has a review, and also there’s a spotlight at Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews–you can enter for the tour prizes at both sites.

As for Preternatura, which I realized no longer appears anywhere on this blog–gotta fix that– join me in welcoming author Anna Steffl today. Anna is the author of The Solace Trilogy. The first book, Seeking Solace, was published on February 1. The second, Solace Shattered, was published on May 30. The third book in the trilogy, Solace Arisen, will be published on September 1. The Solace Trilogy is published by evenSo Press.

With her ever-patient family, the impatient Anna Steffl lives in Athens, Georgia, home of the New World gods of football and alternative music. [Even though I live in arch-rival Auburn, I will refrain from commenting since she writes about dragons and I know how much you all love dragons.] She has held a string of wildly unrelated jobs, from frying chicken to one that required applying for a Department of Defense security clearance. Anna is a past president of Georgia Romance Writers and a Golden Heart finalist. You can learn more about Anna by visiting her website, on Facebook and by following her on Twitter.


ABOUT SEEKING SOLACE: The first book in the Solace trilogy follows Arvana, the only Solacian capable of seeing the Blue Eye’s revelations, as she reluctantly leaves her cloistered refuge to seek a champion to wield a relic against the resurrected draeden. The obvious champion is the charismatic Prince Chane Lerouge, who possesses the one remaining sword the ancestors used to end the Reckoning. But the unknown warrior, Captain Degarius, unrelentingly pursues a rumored lake monster with a blade whispered to be blessed. Will Arvana’s mission earn her the elusive solace she seeks or spiral her heart—and the world—into a second Reckoning if she chooses the wrong man? Downplaying magic in favor of romance and fantasy, Arvana’s adventure boasts strong characters in an immersive, realistic new realm.


In an act of fidelity, Paulus’s blessed sword falls into undeserving hands.
By tests of strength, endurance and mercy, a champion proves worthy of the Blue Eye.
Though Arvana serves her penance by choosing a champion, the pure joy of a shacra evades her until a forbidden moment of tenderness. But will a single kiss endanger the fate of the world and destroy her heart’s longing for solace?

solace arisen

The Scyon releases the powers of Hell to bring forth a second Reckoning that will overturn world order.
Two fugitive outcasts reluctantly embark on an impossible quest. Armed with only a single blessed sword, a dangerous relic, and the remnants of a shattered love…

And now, let’s hear from Anna…

There Be Draeden
By Anna Steffl

I’d wager a thousand gold crowns that dragons have lurked in the caves of the human imagination as long as humans have had imaginations. Every major culture brings them to life through every form of art. Chinese dragon dance, anyone? They are big creatures and embody big ideas like evil, power, control of the elements, and luck.

But I like my dragons in books because though they still are big idea beasts,solace photo no matter how detailed the writer’s description, they are still subject to my imagination. And any author with half a wit uses the dragon as symbolism of a hero’s interior conflict. In books, dragons are personal. They are the ones who most closely resemble the first imagined dragons, beings built inside a single mind to answer a soul’s question. Why do storms rage and flood my house? Why did a fire destroy my crops? Why is the emperor so much more powerful than I am? Why is my neighbor luckier than I am? Where do the ugly and frightful things come from? How do I explain the things beyond my control?

I write dragons, but call them draeden because that’s how the fantasy thing rolls. While developing the two dragons in my Solace trilogy, they seemed to spring out of nowhere, but now looking at how the novels works, at my characters’ (and my own) internal and external challenges, I can clearly see how these beasts came to be more than monsters to be slain.
Seraph is the draeden of Seeking Solace, book I of the trilogy. You meet him as a baby draeden in a huge cast iron pot. He’s being transported to a lake where he can grow big and strong so he can do typical take-over-the-world stuff. This draeden is part snake, part fish and reeks of sulfur. The hero, Degarius, isn’t all that fond of snakes. Their cold bodies seem unnatural. The irony is that Degarius has adopted a cold, hardened exterior that isn’t natural to him.


As for the fish aspect of the draeden—I’m terrified of fish. Even guppies. I take a Xanax to wade into clear ocean water. Forget about lakes. So what do I do? I make Degarius fight both our fears in a lake. Seraph is big and scary. Imagine the thing in the photo a hundred times bigger. Yeah, that rationalizes my fish phobia. Fish ARE big, scary and could bite me in half. Enough about my crazy phobia. Degarius’s battle with Seraph isn’t his true test. He’s not coming face to face with what he fears most, only with his own cold exterior.

As far as the villain who brought Seraph to life, the creature represents how a bad soul-mate relationship can poison a person. The villain parts of the book are really weird, trust me, and I’m not sure I want to really know what they mean.

Megreth, of Solace Shattered, is more of a usual fire-breathing dragon. He is born of the villain’s past brush with fire coupled with his lust for power and revenge. Megreth is the one who burns away the last bit of our heroine Arvana’s life as a nun, a vocation she accepted to try to escape the blame she places on herself for a tragedy tied to her youthful desires. Megreth is the one Degarius, without his cold shell of protection, must fight.

In Solace Arisen, the last book, there is a third draeden. I won’t name it or explain its bizarre origin and spoil the surprise, but I will say it battles Arvana with the thing she fears most—her past. She has hung on to it, unwittingly nurturing it into a powerful dragon that consumes her from within. I think we are all intimately acquainted with those private dragons and how damnably hard they are to defeat. I know I am.

That was lots of talk about dragons, draeden, or whatever you call them. When I think about my story, though, I know it isn’t about dragons. It is about love– all the things love isn’t, all the ways love can go wrong, and what I hope is a touching way it can go right though there be draeden swimming in strange waters, dipping from the cloud-heavy sky, and gnawing at the heart.

What’s your personal relationship with dragons? Do you keep your own or just borrow them from authors? Comment for a chance to win the complete Solace ebook trilogy. The last book won’t be released until September, but I have to do something special because it isn’t everyday a writer gets to be on @Preturnatura. Plus, I mentioned a mystery creature that shows up in book III, and I’m terrible at keeping secrets.

Finally, thank you Suzanne for the opportunity to meet your fans. I know why they love you!

If you would like to purchase a copy of one or all of the books in The Solace trilogy, click on one of the links below:
Seeking Solace (Solace Trilogy #1)
Solace Shattered (Solace Trilogy #2)
Solace Arisen (Solace Trilogy #3) (preorder)

Thank you for dropping by today, Anna! Dragons are always one of our favorite subjects around here. And what a great giveaway: an ecopy of all three books in The Solace trilogy. If you would like to be entered for your chance to win, leave a comment answering Anna’s question and perhaps good ol’ random.org will make you a winner!

30 thoughts on “Dragons and Characters’ Inner Conflicts with Anna Steffl and Giveaway!

  1. I like reading about dragons but don’t think I have a personal relationship with them.

    • Oh Sandy, I bet you do have a dragon…you just call it something else. We all have those things in our lives that we’re afraid to face because of fear or dread. I just like to put mine in dragon costumes and fight them on the page 🙂

  2. I love reading books with dragons. I think it started when I read Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. I have terrible imagination so I’m happy & grateful for wonderful authors who give me the enjoyment of theirs.

    • Linda, I think Anne McCaffrey is the mistress of all dragons. She’s amazing. And, I think you’re not giving yourself credit. It takes imagination to invest in a fantasy world. Not everyone can do it.

  3. Absolutely love dragon stories! Pern was my introduction, then Melanie Rawn. Now Thea Harrison and. G.A. Aiken and Katie MacAlister have written humorous stories about these great beasts. Your stories look intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I loved your interview. And your books look/sound amazing. I can’t think of any dragons I may have at the moment, but I slayed the dragon when I left my ex and divorced him!

    • Karen, I am grinning at your comment. Best. Dragon. Ever! Relationship dragons are the toughest ones because of how long you harbor them and all the tentacles they have.

  5. I love dragons! I guess Pern was my first dragon book series too. I am working on slaying my own dragons in real life and I much prefer the fictional ones.

    • Hi Bonnie. Sorry I went to bed early last night. Fighting dragons is hard work, but we’re all heros and can do it 🙂 But yes, I’d rather read about the fictional ones, too.

  6. this sounds fantastic! I love how you incorporated such “human” traits to personify your dragons 🙂 I like to “borrow” from the authors. Their imagination and creations are so much better than mine! Congrats on the series!

    • Hi Erin..part of the personification stuff came subconsciously. Then, when I realized what I was doing, I exploited it 🙂 It is so strange how things that work on many levels find their way mystically into your work. I’m sure your imagination is just wonderful. The thing about about authors is that they take of tiny idea from the imagination and then work it to death. At that point, it is hardly imagination anymore and more like a slave to our purpose.

  7. Dragon stories are so fun! I’ve been wanting to read more books involving them…and dragon shifter stories. Thanks for the chance to win these awesome books!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

    • Woohoo, Mary! It is liberating and something you do without the benefit of a weapon (well, most of the time). I think that’s why I had my heroine face the dragon with nothing really except her inward strength. I want to show how powerful people are on the inside. You don’t have to be a she-man to be strong.

  8. Dragon books are my favourite!!! I borrow Dragons from the authors because I could never make one up myself!!! I did imagine one that was ruby red and who’s name is Ember. She is ferocious but loyal. That’s as far as I got with her though!

    • Nat, you just need to invite Ember into your house and spend a bit more time with her. She’ll start talking to you. I promise. You can’t spend time with someone without getting to know them.

    • Timitra, authors love to have their dragons borrowed–and we don’t expect them back 🙂 You can even resurrect them and keep them alive after us nasty authors kill them.

  9. Dragons are wonderful beings and my celebration of them is with both borrowing and keeping. I keep waiting for the little pewter lovely to come to life – who knows could happen 🙂 Thank you for sharing this intriguing series with us today.

    • Denise, do you collect pewter dragons? They are really cool. I’m scared to even start collecting them because I know I’d get carried away and have ten million of them. Imagine if they ALL came to life at once. That could be a fun short story.

  10. As a Wiccan I see Dragons as the Elementals – Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Spirit. They protect us but they also censure us when we knock the balance of nature out.

    As a Writer I am fascinated with the whole idea that these creatures, based on humankind’s imagination of what dinosaurs were like, could have actually existed. I feel that they would have been as sentient as we are, with their own language and society.

    I’ve been a Dragon Lover since I was little – it started with my Dad singing me “Puff the Magic Dragon” and has continued through Tolkien, Pern, Weis & Hickman – practically every book about dragons is in my collection. I love Terry Pratchett’s version – the Noble Dragons that only exist in a high magical field by those with enough imagination to make them real; and the Swamp Dragons who are more like an explosive lizard with wings.

    My Writer’s Muse is a Dragon – a blue and purple fluffy one called “Puff”. He gives me all sorts of ideas about dragons. In my Sword & Sorcery stories I haven’t got many, but in one SF story, I have a race of dragons that transform into human shape, much like a werewolf would. I have yet to write the Dragon story I *really* want to write…

    • Kira, how wonderful to have had a lifetime of dragons! Long live Puff! They really are magical to have survived and thrived for so many ages and through so many cultures–and in your heart.

      I wish the dragons I write were a little nicer 🙂 I’m into that whole low fantasy thing where the supernatural intruding into the world is always a scary thing. But, there are many books left to write…and always room for more dragons. Please write the dragon story you REALLY want to write.

  11. Mostly, I just borrow them from authors, but I do have a couple of Beanie dragons.

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