Monday, 7 March 2016

Spotlight on Dirt by C.C. Hogan



The Series:

Dirt is a fantasy epic set in the world of Dirt. The story, spread over several books, spans over a thousand years and tells the story of dragons and humans as they try to make sense of their world and break free from the constant trickle of tyrants and dictators determined to rule countries for their own benefit and to hell with anyone else.


Book One -Synopsis:


Dirt is a land, much like many, filled with people who simply want to get to the end of their day without being hungry, cold or frightened. And, like so many lands, the majority never see their wish fulfilled.

Johnson Farthing is a man in his late teenage years who has been an orphan since young. He lives with his younger sister in a tiny, dilapidated apartment, surviving by working long hours on thankless jobs and even then, only with the help of friends. When he awakes one morning to discover that his sister has been taken by slavers, he must chase across the world on the back of a beautiful Sea Dragon and in the company of a strange man who claims to be a magician.

So begins an epic adventure that will take Farthing and his new found friends across an ocean and a continent.

But this is just the start of the tale, and soon new found friends will find themselves plunged into a terrible war as ordinary people become heroes and fight for the freedom and the future of both humans and dragons.

The people of Dirt are like the people of our own world - they love, they cry and they laugh. This is not a tale of kings and queens, but a tale of diggers and cheese makers, taverns and beer, fun and war.

And most of all, it is the story of people, human and dragon, searching for freedom and a home.





Dirt is available on

Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Inktera | Kobo | Smashwords | Createspace | Scribd


**Free at most stores


Excerpt:

“How do we stay on?” Farthing had been told the story of the saddle and Geezen had made him promise to never suggest such a thing, even in jest, but the dragon’s back looked dangerous and exposed without some sort of harness.
“Well, there are two ways,” the dragon said archly. “You can sit in a basket like some baby while I carry it though I may accidently drop it if I get sleepy. Or you can sit on my back and hang on for dear life!”
“You can sleep while you are flying?” Farthing was amazed and more than a touch concerned.
“Oh, yes, every dragon can do it. Of course I can’t!” she yelled at him. “I would fall out of the bloody sky!”
“We need to start,” Weasel said with none of his usual humour. He was clean with a new robe (Farthing and Barkles had ceremoniously burned his old one) and was tying a soft bag around his shoulders. He walked up to the dragon, bowed his head slightly and asked formally, “Fren-Eirol, may I ride?” It was the old, almost forgotten formality that had existed in the Sea Dragon community before his saddle stunt. The dragon blinked in surprise and dropped her shoulder and a wing.
“You may ride, but ride as one who knows how to fly with grace,” she replied formally. Weasel nodded and lightly stepped up onto the strong wing and sat gently on her mid back. Farthing hesitated, unsure what to do. The dragon leaned down to him and whispered.
“Say as he said, but don’t worry, we’ll only do this once.” Farthing was not sure he understood, but he did as was asked. Giving a very awkward bow, he spoke the same words.
“Fren-Eirol, may I ride?”
“You may ride, but ride as one who knows how to fly with grace,” she replied formally once again. He looked uncertain what to do next and gingerly tried to step up on her wing, afraid he might hurt her.
“Oh, the gods, we will be here all day!” the dragon exclaimed and she grabbed his belt with her teeth and flung him over her shoulders onto his stomach.




"Driven by amazing characters, this is definitely an epic fantasy in the making. Sit back, relax and travel to the world called Dirt. Well-written, fabulous dialogue, inspiring and creatively mesmerizing, C.C. Hogan is creating a strong platform for more in this epic series." - Tome Tender





Guest post by Be-Elin:


Be-Elin (bay-AY-lin) is one of the dragons from Ponack in the Sand Hills of Bind.



Growing up in Ponack

Be-Elin, one of the Draig yr Anialr, desert dragons, gives a small insight into life as a young dragon in the mountain town of Ponack.


When young, I was very aware that those of us in Ponack, in the far north-east of the continent of Bind, lived a very different life to many dragons across Dirt. Relationships between dragons and humans had slowly declined over several thousand years and most communities had little to do with each other. Many villages of Draig Mynyth Coh, Red Mountain Dragons, had isolated themselves completely. Not us in Ponack.

I should describe my hometown, for it is unusual. The entire eastern third of the vast continent of Bind is an arid region of desert known as the Eastern Plains where rain is a very infrequent visitor. Unlike the rest of the continent, there are no defined countries, as such, but just autonomous communities who are often not very friendly to each other.

Ponack was built on the side of Mount To-Pon in an area called The Sand Hills which sits in the far north. Though still painfully dry much of the year, The Sand Hills is served by several small rivers flowing down from the North Hoar Ridge and is home to many tiny villages of both humans and dragons. Being one of the most northerly regions of Dirt, it can be very cold, especially in the winter, but the warm winds that blow in from the Missing Sea take away the worst of the chill, which is a relief.

The town itself is cut into the very fabric of the mountain, and many of the rider's houses are like tiny, warm caves, just enough for one rider and the occasional visiting friend. There are larger houses too, but even when not cut into the mountainside, these are built from the same sandstone. Visitors often complain that with everything, including the dragons, a light sandy colour, getting lost in the town is far too easy.

The dragons live on the other side of the mountain from the riders and we build our large houses of wood and canvas up and down the hills and cliffs. It is windy on the east side, but this suits us as it makes taking off much easier.

"Be-Elin! Give me a hand will you!" Mab-Abin is my brother. Dragons are not big on family relationships. We live hundreds of years which can make getting on with family members a strain, so our families are usually made up of our friends; those we choose rather than those we are lumbered with. Not my family, of course. My mother, Fren-Otina, had four children and did everything she could to keep us together.
"Why? What's your problem?" I am not into waking up in any sort of hurry at any time of day, and having some useless male draig yell at me from outside of my cosy house is not the best way to get on my good side, brother or not.
"I come with beer!"
On the other hand… "Be right with you."
Dragons do not wear clothes, we don't see the point, but we Draig yr Anialr do wear hides to help our riders and to protect ourselves when people throw sharp things at us. We cut as easily as any other creature. Mab-Abin was wearing his thickest hides and as I staggered out into the light I could see why.
"Four barrels?"
"Been down to the Bain Hills."
"That is three hundred leagues! Please don't tell me you have carried those barrels the entire way."
"I won't then. Oh, Mab-Hevvin sends love and kisses."
I chuckled and grinned. Hevvin was a hundred years older than me and three times my size, but he had the most wonderful singing voice and the softest, most huggable face ever.
"So, you have been to the Bain Hills. Well, I am not complaining; this is the best beer on Dirt."
"True, but unless you help untie it from my hides, It is going to be stuck on my back. I can't reach the ropes."
"Idiot dragon." I made him lie flat and then struggled with Hevvin's tight knots.
"Use your teeth, sis."
"I am trying! Is this Mab-Hevvin's own brew?"
"Yes, nice and aged. We bought loads of it for the pub, but one of these is just for you, me and Be-Tonini."
"You are going very soft on that girl."
"Yeah, well some of us are less keen on working our way through the entire dragon population."
"What can I say? I get bored easily!"
I managed to untie two of the barrels and, leaving one safely in my house, we took the others up to the Hen-Thyn Tavern, the "Old Man."

The dragons and riders of Ponack are a sociable bunch. When a dragon decides to pair with a rider, a human, the relationship that grows between them is unbelievably strong. It is a platonic love affair, in many ways, and the trust between the two is complete. Obviously, both of us will have our proper lovers and even be married, in the case of humans, but the rider-dragon relationship is a special and separate thing. So much so, that when a dragon's rider dies, they will rarely pair with another, at least not for many years.

This strong relationship underpinned everything in Ponack and nowhere was that more apparent than at the Hen-Thyn. The Tavern sat towards the peak of the mountain and all paths in the town seemed to lead inexorably towards this warm nest. Inside it was a single large open space filled with long tables lit with whale oil lamps and tall candles. Down one wall ran a long bar behind which sat the barrels of our favourite wheat beer. The servers would pour the frothing potion into large flagons which they would rush to the tables as fast as they could, or bring them outside onto the broad terrace where the dragons would use the flagons like mugs. We often roasted goats and sheep out on the terrace, bound tightly in herbs and stuffed with garlic and then shared them with our human friends, cutting thick slices to be wrapped up in flat breads, while we draig chomped our way through whole legs.

Everything was shared; friendship, beer and news. We shared in love and grief, swapped stories, the naughtier the better, wished each other well and would do everything to keep Ponack strong.

The dragons and riders of Ponack earned our keep by helping to protect some of the smaller tribes of humans across the plains, especially the wondrous, nomadic Pharsil-Hin. These dark-skinned warriors, often seven feet tall, were incredible archers, using bows that could shoot twice as far as our riders' longbows. But despite being fearsome warriors, they were few in number, and they and their families were vulnerable to attack when travelling across the Eastern Plains. So we would escort them when needed.

But Ponack was not all about the riders. Many humans did not ride and led far more ordinary lives as farmers or blacksmiths and many dragons did not carry riders at all, but lived in the small communities, working with their human friends. The town and villages were run by a council of humans and dragons, but the riders and those dragons who wore the hides, we were under the command of the Dragon Leader. In my day, it was a man called Eofin who was the rider of Be-Inua, one of my closest friends.

"Be-Elin, just shut up for once!"
"What?"
"You chatted constantly for the entire four-hour scouting mission this afternoon."
"Why is that a problem, Inua?" I said with a yawn. I had been enjoying my evening nap before my brother had turned up.
"We were meant to be working, not hearing a running commentary about your brother's love life!"
"What you been telling them?" Mab-Abin landed on the wall having delivered the last of the barrels to the back of the tavern.
"Not much."
"Inua?"
"Oh, just the usual, Abin. How you and Be-Tonini keep disappearing to the coast together. How you and Be-Tonini have been sharing goat stew. How you and Be-Tonini have been taking walks over the hills. We have even heard how you and Be-Tonini have been buying rugs for her house."
Now, I know I can go on a bit too much at times, but I really am very fond of my brother and I thought it completely out of order how he flipped me onto my belly and stood on my head.
"That is all private, sister! You can't go telling everyone."
"Well, you know me. If people ask, I tell them."
"Did you all ask?" Mab-Abin demanded of the dragons perched round the terrace.
"No," they all answered.
"Well, I thought they did," I whimpered.

In my defence, there is something fundamentally different about dragons, something that is very different from humans; dragons don't lie. Alright, we can keep secrets (most of us), we can even be misleading from time to time, but we will never sit down and say something is pink when it is obviously blue. We just do not think in that way. Don't get me wrong, I know what lying is, I just don't know how to do it. It doesn't make sense to me and if something doesn't make sense, I cannot work my way through it. It goes further than that; I know humans lie about everything, given half a chance, but I cannot work whether someone is lying or not unless I know what the truth is. Stupid, some people say, but I would much rather risk a beating from my little brother because I don't know when to shut up than be someone who can deceive and hurt so easily. Oh, yes. Us dragons can be hurt, and hurt deeply.

Dragons cannot fly when very young. Our wings and the muscles on our backs develop slower than the rest of us, so though while in our teens we can hop and glide a short way, it is not until our twenties that we can learn to fly properly; older for some.

If you are a dragon who wants to carry a rider, then learning becomes a lot more complicated. When a human learns to ride a horse, they also learn to control the horse. Horses, like humans, are land based animals and they are rather restricted as to how they can move. Dragons fly and if you have ever watched a bird, you will know that flying entails a lot of twisting and turning that would throw a rider halfway across the sky. So, in Ponack, all young dragons when they first learn to fly also learn to fly in such a way so that a rider is kept safe. Mostly, this just means that when we change direction, we must do so in such a way as to pin the rider to our back, not the opposite. I suppose we could tie riders on like Mab-Abin's barrels of beer, but riders need to be able to move around, use their bows and turn backwards when scouting so this would be impractical.

"You've killed another one." I frowned at my younger brother. Mab-Abin is twenty years younger than me and when he first learnt to fly I was in my forties and had spent ten years scouting across the plains. I hadn't yet chosen a rider to pair with officially as I was really too young, most dragons don't choose in their first century, but I had carried riders frequently.
"How do you know?"
"Have you seen how the dummy is hanging from your back?"
Mab-Abin peaked over his shoulder at the stuffed human dummy which was being throttled by the hide straps. "How did that happen?"
"That is my point, brother! You are meant to know how these things happen. I know I always say that my job is to fly and it is the riders job to stay on, but there are limits to the trick. You are very good at twisting and turning, Abin, but you are also ten times as strong as even the Pharsil-Hin. If you had a human on your back during that last manoeuvre, you would have pulled their arms out of their sockets."
Mab-Abin sat down with a thump. "I am never going to get this right, Elin."
"Yes, you will, mate." I put a wing over his back and pulled him close. "You haven't been flying that long and this is not easy to learn. You are one of the faster dragons, which makes it harder."
"Not like Mab-Intuan and Mab-Onin."
"Don't compare yourself with them, brother. You know they are bigger than the rest of us and have that different wing shape. And to be honest, the two are completely mad. I am not sure either will ever take a rider full time; they would have to be someone very special."
"Or equally as mad?"
"Probably both. Now, let's put that sack on your back again. I will not tie it on this time and we will just go for a long, really high flight. Nice and flat and easy. Alright?"
"Alright, sis."

The two of us headed into the sky slowly and quietly, Mab-Abin making sure the sacking dummy stayed centre on his back the whole time. He did it too, and later he would become one of the best and most powerful of the dragons of Ponack.

And me? Well, my life would never be simple and it would be full of heartbreak and the agony of war. But despite that, I am always proud that I never learned to shut up and always remembered how to be silly. It has kept me sane.

But then, that is what being a dragon of Ponack is all about.






Other books available in series 1:


Bloody Dirt -Book Two
Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Inktera | Kobo | Smashwords | Createspace | Scribd

The Fight for Dirt -Book Three
Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Inktera | Kobo | Smashwords | Createspace | Scribd

Hope & Mistry's Tale -The Sequel to series 1
Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Inktera | Kobo | Smashwords | Createspace | Scribd

Yona and the Beast -Short Stories from The World of Dirt (**Free at most stores)
Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Inktera | Kobo | Smashwords | Scribd




Stop by again on March 26th when C.C. Hogan will be joining me for an interview.






2 comments :

  1. Thanks for the spotlight opportunity! Very special :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You, and Be-Elin, are very welcome :)

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