Male Gaze in Fantasy Novels: Authentic Characters or Problematic Writing? — Realms of My Mind

Interesting question and worth a good read. What are your thoughts? To read this post in its entirety click the link below. Comment, like, and follow my blog for other curated thoughts from amazing fantasy writers.

We’ve all seen it before: boy on a quest to save the world sees a girl and is instantly captivated by her beauty and falls in love. It’s a trope as old as “skin as white as snow, lips as red as roses.” Now I enjoy a charismatic hero and have no problem with a […]

Male Gaze in Fantasy Novels: Authentic Characters or Problematic Writing? — Realms of My Mind

Fall of the Drjeen – Book excerpt

Chapter 1

The third moon, Espee, light as an orange mist and hovering as if it had no care perched at the quarter-angle above the lower settlement. It’s crest slowly dropped along the jagged silhouette peaks of the Varn Mountains. The peaks glowed white as the rising sun announced its presence far away before ascending the valley.

Shakja was in no mood to hurry her time, knowing she was already destined to be late. The farms can wait, she thought to herself as the thick callus of her feet trudged forward through her hut. The doorway was open and in the light of the morning, her scales shimmered effervescent colors of blue, yellow and green hues. She was by all classifications stunning. Her body was lanky, yet her muscled neck perched her head tall as if she was beyond her caste. Her deep blue eyes penetrated the surrounding huts—thousands of them—nearly piled one upon the other as the lower caste was seemingly a breeding ground of fertility; always growing.

Despite the nature of her physical looks, no matter how often she stared into the reflective Third Moon Lake, she couldn’t shake the fact that among the Drjeen, beauty was second to caste. Her hut was only big enough for her to walk with care. She could not expand her wings without damaging the walls made from the leaves of Gilli fruit and patched with swamp root. Sometimes she wondered if she would not be more protected from the elements by simply laying outside and allowing the vastness of her wings to cover her like shade. She knew better though, and while she sat low on the Drjeen standard, there were lower; those who actually did use their damaged wings as a home. It was not a place she would choose to be.

Shakja’s hut was only a few leaps from the Third Moon Lake, one of the two largest farm camps within the Eastern Continent. “It is better to be the highest of the low than the lowest of the low,” her friend Salett whispered to Shakja only a few nightly turns ago. “True,” Shakja replied, “But, I would still prefer to be the lowest of the high than the highest of the low.”

Salett smiled, knowing that with either case, wishing was no way of changing what was predestined.

As the moon fell toward the horizon it kicked up the pull of waves sending a fresh and welcome breeze across the broad scales on Shakja’s chest. She stepped fully from her hut and took in the expanse of beauty. The misty reflection of the moon mingled with the morning rise of yellows and oranges. A pink swath of clouds subtly speckled the sky and Shakja couldn’t imagine a place anywhere in the world that was as beautiful. Salett would be arriving at the farm by now and Shakja relented that her tardiness would lend her another task befitting more of the brutish broad-shouldered male than her slender frame. Still, it was worth it.

With a long-drawn sigh, Shakja unfurled her expansive wings and revealing the full lightness of her underbelly which was covered in curved and equally as impressive scales. She bent her head back, allowing her thick protective spine to stretch taut along the skin of her forehead and running sharp and straight along her back and down to the upper third of her muscular tail. As her wings took in the morning light, replenishing her energy she could feel the pumping of blood filling the three primary arteries stretched along the fullness of each wing and coming together at the single clawed-finger where the upper and lower wings met. As her wings were stretched, she allowed her three-fingered taloned-hands to crack at the joints and drop from the underside of her shoulders. She was careful to not allow her sharply-taloned thumbs to scratch or cut through the leathery strength of her wing. She could not turn her mind from the number of Drjeen who injured their own wings during the morning energy-stretch. One would think a Drjeen should be more cautious. In all her forty years Shakja proudly showed her unmarred underwings as a testament to her flawless detail in all endeavors.

Two Drjeen flew a mere fifty lengths from her, both broad and strong. The second looked in Shakja’s direction, dipping low to show his interest. Shakja wondered if she was showing the perfectly tri-angled projection of her head, or if her two horns were radiating the morning light. The frilled webbing of her ears began to shutter as she took in the vibration from the second male. Indeed, she thought, he’s interested. I should remember his vibration for the next morning flight.

Understanding that even she could not dally too long, Shakja lowered herself on her mighty haunches and with a great burst of strength, she pumped her wide and narrow wings engulfing the surrounding air to force her own violent draft which propelled her upward over a hundred lengths. At her pinnacle she allowed her wings to hold the wind and she glided effortlessly downward and swooped into an elegant line of direction toward the farms. Her speed was renowned and within moments she would feel the exciting vibration of the second male one more time as she passed him and dozens more on her way forward and to the base of the Varn Mountains.

The Third Moon was already touching the jagged peaks ahead as Shakja descended a few lengths. She ominously took note of the lush greenery off to her strong-side flank. While beautiful, it also represented a place Shakja had no interest in being banished. She’d heard the stories. The banished lose everything; all possessions and contact with family and friends. While formidable in her own right, a Drjeen without weapons or the strength of comrades was a mere rodent to the heinous creatures lurking amid the forest. Those few who survived banishment would face the strict law of absence where no Drjeen were allowed to acknowledge the banished Drjeen’s existence. They walked as ghosts.

She shook away the deathly vibrations playing on her outer scales as the warmth of the sun began to fuel her strength. Soon, the blur of land below her turned into an expansive growth of green, red and yellow vegetation. Orchards of Gilli trees were off to her weak flank and ahead countless units of the farm. She spotted her foreman, Gradjn, and even from her distance could see he was in a mood. She dropped her elevation to thirty lengths and re-positioned her flight, angling toward the foreman’s hut. The hut sat in the center of the main courtyard. She adjusted her wings to grip the oncoming air allowing her to change from flight to land. Suddenly her wings sprung out flat, grabbing the oncoming winds. Her muscles flexed and head jerked back sharply as she came to a sudden mid-air stop allowing her to land erect on the sandy floor below and within feet of her foreman.

Shakja tried to count the number of times she’d been late, realizing she was still three times short of banishment. She’d never been so close, but she also knew Gradjn, while likely upset, had an affinity for her.

“You’re late!” He barked before he’d fully spun around to face her. “Again…” He shook his broad neck and Shakja could see the full pulsing veins pumping through his closed wings. Not good. She did not forget that banishment could come at any time and whether a favorite or not, her foreman had a job to do and that always came first.

“I’m sorry my master,” she quickly sputtered, dropping her shoulders as if to embrace being struck by the whip at his side.

He looked at her, “Very well. Go clean the Daken pens.”

“Yes, sir,” she nodded, not looking up at him. She quickly scurried off to the Daken pens hoping that she’d curried favor enough to not see him again for the rest of the day. Besides, there were worse places to work than the Daken pens.

Book three of the Blue Star Series is coming in July 2020. If you need a quick refresher you can buy books one and two below.

Fall of the Drjeen
Birth of the Drajeen

Night of the Dragon (book review) a perfect ending to an amazing series — The Everlasting Library

I am the author of the Blue Star Series, and my third book, Rise of the Drajeen, will be coming out in July 2020. I spend each morning reading through blogs looking for unique insight into the world of writing. I do this both for myself and for those I’m blessed enjoy spending time with me.

My blog presents a mix of blog posts supporting my work, providing humble guidance, and curated writings of other writers and inspiring posts.

Today I would like to share a book review I found on “Night of the Dragon.” This is a definite add to my steaduly growing reading list.

Please click on the link below to read the book review in its entirety, like, comment, and follow my blog for more great insight from amazing writers and artists.

Hola amigos! I hope you are all doing fabulous! I’m at a point in lockdown where I’m so bored, I end up doing a ton of workouts which is brilliant because it’s actually a positive use of my time?! even though i ache all over ugh Today I am going to be reviewing the brilliant […]

Night of the Dragon (book review)// ft. a perfect ending to an amazing series — The Everlasting Library

Common Fiction Writing Mistakes — Nicholas C. Rossis

I love seeing posts about writing mistakes as much as I love reading inspiring stories and writing advice. This was an article I found during my morning blog reading. Nicholas C. Rossis took these mistakes he agreed with from two other blogs and provided his insight. Please click below to read the entire article, and if you are interested in more content like this please take the time to comment on this post, like, and follow my blog.

I came across a nice thread on Quora (here and here) about common mistakes in fiction. I am sharing here the ones that I agreed with. I found particularly interesting to see which mistakes different people mentioned, as many of them contradicted each other. This makes perfect sense to me: reading is a highly personal […]

Common Fiction Writing Mistakes — Nicholas C. Rossis

Why do people write fiction? by Frank J. Fleming — According To Hoyt

I really enjoyed this short article. To be fare, I didn’t realize how much of my life and beliefs into my books, until reading here. Time to re-evaluate myself. Please read by clicking the link below, and if you love this kind of content, I’d love for a follow, comment, and like.

Why do people write fiction? by Frank J. Fleming For one reason only: It’s a great medium to indoctrinate people with your political views. An author only feels like he’s done a good job with his story if the reader either goes away having the correct views or becomes very angry that the author made […]

Why do people write fiction? by Frank J. Fleming — According To Hoyt

Rise of the Drajeen – Cover Tease

Hey Everyone!

I’m very excited to announce that I am almost done with the third book in the Blue Star Series, “Rise of the Drajeen”.

When I first began writing about the planet Jeen I had not envisioned a series of books. My first thoughts were a stand-alone book, but here we are on number three. Will there be a fourth? I guess that is to be determined, but the stories sure are popping about in my head.

In the coming weeks, I will share excerpts from “Rise of the Drajeen,” but for now, I hope you will be satisfied with the cover (minus back text).

The Drjeen have split into two races, one to the east and one to the west. The inevitability of a great war is on the horizon, but can the Drajeen defend their new territory before the ruthless Daejeen wipe them from the planet? I guess you’ll have to see.

Haven’t read book one or two? Binge read before “Rise of the Drajeen” comes out in July 2020.

What studying literature teaches us about writing novels — Uninspired Writers

As I focus on my third novel in the “Blue Star Series” I find that I am curating more blog posts than I am writing. This is because there are so many posts out there. For me, there are few posts better than those which help you find inspiration, or dig deeper into the world around us. In this post by M.L. Davis, we find how turning to literature is a great way find your writing style, or develop your abilities.

Please click on the link below to read the entire article at Uninspired Writers.

If this is the type of curated content you’d like to see on my site, please like, share, and follow. I’d love to hear more about your inspiration or how you develop yourself into becoming a better writer.

Learning is important to all writers. And the exciting thing is that we learn all the time. Every word we write, every word we read, brings us more understanding and knowledge and skill. It is a game of practice and discovery, being a writer. I’m a uni student, and in studying English Literature and Creative […]

What studying literature teaches us about writing novels — Uninspired Writers

What is Fantasy?

I was listening in on a conversation the other day (six months ago) and one person made a comment that they were reading Neil Gaiman’s, Stardust. If you haven’t read, I highly suggest. If you don’t think you’ll get to it, check out the 2007 film of the same name. The other person responded, “Oh, I love science fiction too.”

That’s really what got my attention. As far as I knew Neil Gaiman wrote fantasy novels. Since then, my ears have been open and have on at least two other times heard a similar statement confusing science fiction and fantasy, or lumping the two into a single category.

So, with a little research (Thanks blog) I was able to find the sub-genre’s of fantasy novels. But, to first distinguish fantasy and science fiction from theirselves entirely I will first list the 14 genres of literature.

  • Literary Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Thriller
  • Horror
  • Historical
  • Romance
  • Western
  • Bilsdugsroman
  • Speculative fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Dystopian
  • Science Fiction
  • Magical Realism
  • Realist Literature

While some of geners above can be sub-genres of another such as Magical Realism and Fantasy, these genres are also unto themselves, Fantasy and Science fiction being seperate.

The fantasy genre is not a result of reality or scientific fact. Fantasy is a genre with hundreds of sub-genres. And since fantasy is a pure product of the imagination the list of sub-genre’s continues to grow. At it’s core fantasy novels include either magical elements or the supernatural. Science fiction may be fiction, but is focused on a fundamental of science.

Again, shouting out to Masterclass, here is a list of essential fantasy sub-genres. To read more on each one you can go to this link.

  • High or epic fantasy
  • low fantasy
  • Magical realism
  • Sword and Sorcery
  • Dark fantasy
  • Fables
  • Fairy tales
  • Superhero

The sub-genre list of fantasy is huge. I’ve come across a couple lists that have dozens of sub-genres and am pretty sure I saw a list in the hundreds in a book once.

So, the next time someone tells you fantasy and science fiction are the same, you can either be “that guy” and correct them, or gently hold your secret in your pocket like you would marbles, chewed bubble gum, and love letters you never quite had the courage to give to your secret crush.

About me

I am a fantasy writer who spends much of my daydreaming up worlds of nefarious dragons. I would love if you take the time to read my novels which you can find below. I love reviews, so please take a moment to leave a review. 


Fall of the Drjeen
Birth of the Drajeen

Dissecting Shakja: Servitude to the most powerful Drajeen

Fall of the Drjeen

When I began writing Fall of the Drjeen I had considered a single novel. However, as the stories evolved it became clear that Fall of the Drjeen was only the first book of the series. As characters come and go, one stability is that of Shakja. In servitude of the lower settlement, slaving in farm fields and raising the daken, Shakja was beautiful, strong-willed, and intelligent. However, she was also victim of her birth being born of the lowest class.

It took a blue asteroid to change all of that as hierarchy became irrelevant in her new world. Despite spending her time under the will of others, when she became second only to the queen, she exposed something most Drjeen had never seen before – humility.

The humility that Shakja displays through the first two books, Fall of the Drjeen and Rise of the Drajeen, is what makes her my favorite character. She has the natural abilities, the strength, and even the mystical powers of the Ancients, yet she uses them for good rather than evil.

While Shakja may not go down as the most powerful Drajeen to use her skills for good, she will certainly go down in history as the most beloved and first. She showed an entire race how to use their abilities for good, the arching all for one and one for all approach to a successful civilization. And that is exactly what is happening in the third book (to be released later this year), but will the success of the Drajeen last? It’s unknown, really, I have no idea.

Shakja has created a utopian society. But, is she strong enough to survive it?

You tell me!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Shakja and the Blue Star book series. I’d love to see your Amazon reviews, and like and follow if you want to see more about the planet of Jeen.

About me

I am a fantasy writer who spends much of my daydreaming up worlds of nefarious dragons. I would love if you take the time to read my novels which you can find below. I love reviews, so please take a moment to leave a review. 


Fall of the Drjeen
Birth of the Drajeen

Anne McCaffery – my inspiration

I can’t yet say I am at the level of writing as pioneer female fantasy writer Anne McCaffery, but she certainly sparked my interest in dragon lore. Anne may be best known for her Pern novels and they’ve fully gripped me. I dreamt of writing a single novel decades ago, but as I worked and my mind wouldn’t release me from my interest, I found that a single novel is now three, with Rise of the Daejeen being released later in 2020. But, the story of Shakja, Shook, Queen Amanna, and Aput doesn’t end there. In each novel I find myself creating and falling in love with new characters, such as the young Indra, which propel new story-lines forward and new novels being summarized in my fodler of ideas.

To think, this all started with a pioneer in the fantasy writing industry and someone I aspire to be. Thank you Anne McCaffery.

If you would like to learn more about Anne check out this interview I found with Anne McCaffery nearly 20 years ago.

And for a list of Anne McCaffery books you can go here.

About me

I am a fantasy writer who spends much of my daydreaming up worlds of nefarious dragons. I would love if you take the time to read my novels which you can find below. I love reviews, so please take a moment to leave a review. 


Fall of the Drjeen
Birth of the Drajeen

5 reasons I love writing about dragons

In my Blue Star series, it becomes evident early on that I enjoy writing about humanoid dragons who are the main inhabitants of the three-mooned planet Jeen.

But, what is it about dragons that I love so much? Well, first off, while I am no longer a flight instructor, I still can’t help but feel a love for flight, being thousands of feet above the world. Perhaps it’s the solitude, or maybe even the heavy shuffling wind as it rocks my Cessna gently, providing a doldrum of sound, similar, yet thicker than sitting next to a floor fan.

Undeniably this is a feeling that I will always hold close to me.

But, whether I am writing or reading an Anne McCaffery novel, I find that my excitement grows and my obsession lingers. So, why do I love writing about dragons? Here are five reasons:

They’re cruel

I want to preface this by saying I am not cruel. But much like an erotica novelist lives vicariously through her characters I do with mine. To be fair, most dragons, whether Drjeen, Drajeen, or Daejeen (especially the Drajeen) are not cruel at all. However, the elites tend to be nefarious, and in the third book, Rise of the Daejeen, slated to come out midyear-2020, you will have the opportunity to see the full length of their malicious behavior. Backstabbing twists in the Daejeen ranks leaves no one safe, especially their own. Jeen is a “dragon eat dragon” world – quite literally.

Dragons can also be enlightening

In the Fall of the Drjeen we find a world that is on the brink of extinction as a “star” is plummeting toward the planet of Jeen. What happens is an organic split of good and evil, where rank and hierarchy no longer exists. But, the enlightened ones seemingly prevail or at least survive to create a new race of dragon called the Drajeen. As in the second book Birth of the Drajeen, they discover new abilities and the curious experience of one for all and all for one (thank you Alexandre Dumas), they find that a path together is an enlightened one. An enlightened race of dragons may not be as dramatic as a nefarious race, but in the Blue Star series, I have the benefit of pitting one against the other.


In my first book, Fall of the Drjeen, I begin in an early stage of dragon evolution. In fact, many live in wooden huts in the lower kingdom without the ability to fly. However, they are still powerful. From thunderous wing bursts to the daken riders, I love the strength of dragons.

Ancient wisdom exists

In the Fall of the Drjeen the ill are moved to the Cavern of the Ancients. Little does anyone know, the cavern would be a host of mysticism only spoken of in seemingly forgotten – or destroyed – history. The Cavern of the Ancients opens the reader up to a split between good and evil and how ancient wisdom will play a role in future books.

Epic stories

I like to keep my stories short, focusing on multiple plotlines that evolve into something powerful and forward-looking in the end. The stories end with a thought of promise, though much like the Star Wars Saga you never know if good or evil will pull through in the end. That is why hope is necessary. Where many stories I read, or movies I watch with dragons have a single dragon or even a small weyr or thunder of dragons I don’t find many books pitting entire races of dragons against each other. So, rather than a single dragon destroying a human or troll army, the Drajeen, and Daejeen must destroy each other because they cannot exist together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on dragons, your fantasy writing, or my books. You can find links to my books above or on my books page. As always, subscribers to Kindle Unlimited can read my books for free.

Best wishes and keep reading and writing.

*Sarah Cathey is the author of the fantasy novel Blue Star series which takes place on the three-mooned planet of Jeen. Her first two books released in 2019 have quickly garnered a following of devote readers and Sarah hopes that book three, Rise of the Daejeen, to be released mid-2020, will solidify herself in the fantasy realm of dragon novelists.

About me

I am a fantasy writer who spends much of my daydreaming up worlds of nefarious dragons. I would love if you take the time to read my novels which you can find below. I love reviews, so please take a moment to leave a review. 


Fall of the Drjeen
Birth of the Drajeen

Fall of the Drjeen, fantasy book free on Kindle April 1-4.

Lovers of fantasy join us on a journey into a new fantasy novel series and the book, Fall of the Drjeen.

I’m excited to join the Cafe Legacy free book campaign and in the next couple weeks will offer both series books – Fall of the Drjeen and Birth of the Drajeen – free of charge for Kindle. Fall of the Drjeen will be available free on Kindle from April 1 to April 4, 2020. As with all of my books, I also offers books free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

“A blue star emerged over the planet of Jeen tossing chaos into a hierarchical world of castes. The Drjeen royalty are torn: flee, or stay… Or, does life no longer matter? How long will the lower settlement stay subservient as the royals follow ancient and secretive traditions of betrayal, assassination, and ego. Can a low-caste Drjeen and the most lauded warrior of the daken riders save the remnants of a civilization destined to be changed forever?Join Shakja and Shook as they journey into the Fall of the Drjeen.”

Fall of the Drjeen is my first novel and combines my two career experiences of veternary technician and flight instructor to step into the world of novelist. This series has been on my mind for decades and in 2019 began it’s own epic journey.

As with all books offered for free (or even paid for) author’s love reviews. So, after reading Fall of the Drjeen please take the time to leave an Amazon review.

If you have questions or would like a signed copy of one of my books you can contact Sarah Cathey here.

Why Everything Matters in a Novel – Guest Post by Jody Mabry

For a new writer, this can be a punch to the gut. What do you mean people don’t want to know the Ozark Mountains are the third oldest mountain range in the world? A quick, unnecessary fact: the one about the Ozarks was mine 15 years ago. Trimming down is easily one of the most difficult tasks any writer faces. However, with a few clues on what you should keep and what you shouldn’t, you should be on your way to trimming that 300,000-word epic about a little girl and her dog into something more readable.

Description is good, as long as it continues to move the story forward. Fun facts are not always in this category. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying, no fun facts should be in your book—ever. Show us what the person looks like through narrative and dialogue. And guess what? You do not have to vomit description all over the readers. Some of the best descriptors are those that go unnoticed like gently dropped bread crumbs along the journey.

Your character should not pick up a book, to simply pick it up and then put it down. Your character should have an explicit meaning in everything they do. For example, if your character picks up a book, they sure better be using that book for something in the short future. Is your character going to knock someone over the head with it to escape from a tower? Will they write their phone number in it, and hand the book to a lover? Will they pen a secret code on page 201 that unlocks a safe? If your character is not doing something to move the story forward, then they should not do it.

If your character has a flashback, the flashback should make sense to the story, and be used in the story. If you are talking about your grandfather and use a flashback to say how he always turns the TV off every time someone in the room talks, then that should have meaning in the story. While it may be a good description of your grandfather’s dislike of people talking during the Cubs game, unless he does this in your story, and it is a big part of your grandfather’s role in the story, it would be best to leave it out.

Don’t allude to things and think you are mysterious. A mystery has well-placed clues, often placed well enough that you didn’t even know the clue was there. Leaving the reader with a statement such as, “My buddy Richie left town without speaking a word…I wouldn’t find out until many years later why he did.” If you say this, you better mention why Richie left town pretty darn quick. If you don’t your reader will start to try and figure it out, and what they imagine will likely be crazier than what you have happen, which will lead to disappointment. The other problem with these statements is that there is potential you, your editor, and publisher miss the fact that you never actually did tell the reader why Richie left town. That’s alright, readers will catch it for you, they always do… and after your book is published.

Just remember, even the smallest detail has to push that story forward. Don’t try to show off how many facts you memorized in college, or how good you are at Trivial Pursuit. The reader just wants a good story.

The Blue Star Series

The Blue Star Series was not intended to be a series at all. Rather it evolved, much like the Drjeen from a single species into something much more.

I first began thinking of the planet Jeen when I was in middle school and as I got older I would sketch and scribble the occasional note. Though it wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that the story really began to come to life.

Like many writers we pull from our own experiences to develop fascinating stories. For me, and my early career as a veterinarian as well as my latter career as a flight instructor it seemed only natural that I created a world of creatures that could fly. Or, perhaps it was this world I’d been dreaming of for decades that led me to my careers.

However it came, I find myself no longer jotting notes, but rather putting story to paper. The Blue Star Series follows the lives of a humanoid-dragon type creature on the planet Jeen. There are of course similarities between the human race and that of the Jeen, however where they have significant advances in the sciences, they still follow a caste-like system and are ruled by archaic governance.

When a “blue star,” an asteroid comes close to striking the planet fear envelopes all Drjeen forcing a massive forced migration into the cavern of the ancients. Those who exist outside the caverns and those who live inside the caverns evolve over time. This culminates into a clash of a new age of Jeen and one that will forever change their world.