When my short story collection The Deadlands: And Other Stories comes out in five weeks (along with Gidion’s Blood), it will include a character very familiar to the followers of this blog. Before he became better known as the Grumpy Dragon, Windsor started as a character in my web comic The Wildcat’s Lair. Windsor was a special agent with the International Bureau of Draconic Affairs who worked in the London office until a series of shenanigans in a storyline known as “Lost in London” led to him being assigned to my home in Richmond.Windsor was also partnered with a rather dimwitted dragon named Kensington (who also got transferred to the “Colonies”). I quickly fell in love with these two dragons, but especially Windsor. I started thinking about what life might have been like for Windsor and Kensington while working for the IBDA in London, and this eventually led to one of my goofiest short stories ever, The Big Sneeze.
A lot of the dragons from my web comic joined Windsor in his first literary adventure. That included the bad guy of the story, a dragon nicknamed the Dug, the world’s most infamous hoarder. Myth tells us dragons all hoard, but the Dug takes his hoarding to criminal levels, creating all sorts of trouble throughout the world. In The Big Sneeze, he sets his sights on pharmaceuticals, specifically all of the allergy medicine in England. This might not seem all that dangerous, but when those same medications also prevent thousands of dragons with allergies from spontaneously sneezing flames that could turn London to ashes, that’s when Windsor and his partner Kensington come into play.
I try to work humor into all of my writing, even the darkest stuff (sometimes, especially in those stories!), but The Big Sneeze was the first time I went for the laughs in the entire tale. Windsor’s glass-half-empty demeanor also makes for a great first person narrative and even adds a slight noir feel to things.
I enjoyed writing with Windsor so much that The Big Sneeze wouldn’t be the last time I did it. My short story collection will include a second adventure with Windsor and Kensington entitled Dracarge. I’ll reveal what that story is about as we get closer to the collection’s release on August 11th.