I’m publishing a new short story this week called, “The Drunken Dragon.”
The titles for all of the “Petunia’s Peculiar Particulars” series are what are called “alliterations.” For those who are not in the know on grammar, an alliteration is a phrase or sentence, in which the first sound in two or more words in a sentence are similar. So, “baby boy” is an alliteration.
The title for “The Drunken Dragon” came to me like all of the other titles for the series. Last January, I finally got time to sit in my office and write for an entire day. I sat at my white board with a dry erase pen in my hand and I wrote out twelve alliterations. As time has passed, I’ve crossed some of these off board. Still, most remain and each have story concepts behind them.
None of those concepts has ever struck me quite so personally as that of Elvis, my drunken dragon protagonist. I first started thinking of Elvis not long after my aunt passed away suddenly from a drug overdose. My aunt and I were not particularly close. Her drug addiction kept us apart, but on those occasions when we did speak, we connected. She understood my crazy love for my crazy dogs. She shared my passion for animals. We always said, “I love ya!” every time we hung up the phone. It hurt so much to know that I would never get to say that to her again.
When my heart started to heal after we lost her, I realized that there was a tiny voice inside me and that tiny voice, grew to a roar. Elvis actually came to me first of all of the cast of the Petunia’s series. He demanded to be heard and his story had to be told. At first, I wasn’t even sure what he was. I did a lot of free-writing before I figured out that Elvis was a dragon.
Dragons, for me, have always been a source of pure fantasy. They are everything I would ever want a dog to be. Human level intelligence is often attributed to dragons in fantasy fiction and they have the freedom of flight and the power to truly defend themselves from the fiercest foes. In my mind’s eye, dragons can also change their shape to hide among a human population and a dragon just would not be a dragon without at least some small homage to Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” which is where I first encountered a dragon in fiction.
Other dragons have grown in my heart since then, but most particularly Ruth and Ramoth from Anne McCaffrey’s “The Dragonriders of Pern” trilogy. There will also always be a fondness in my heart for a boy that Jane Yolen called “Jakken” and his love for his stolen infant dragon, “Heart’s Blood.”
Elvis is very different from all of these, but there is something at his center that reminds me of them. There is a part of who he is that speaks to all of those dragons that I have loved so much since I was a girl. I think that my aunt would really like Elvis. She would love his story and his friends and the adventures that he has waiting for him. I do feel that Elvis is not a one story dragon.
It’s just that, for now, one story will have to do.