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Dragonkin: Awakening - Following over-the-Top Kickstarter Campaign, Teacher's Uplifting YA Fantasy Novel Launches with a Roar

‘Dragonkin: Awakening’ fuses Rowling-esque high fantasy with a bold message of finding inner strength and triumphing through perseverance. While the project was almost abandoned by author A.Z. Rowland due to a busy teaching schedule and other book publishing commitments, an enthusiastic Kickstarter campaign has finally seen the book funded, completed and into the hands of those who have wanted to read it for almost a decade.


Bally, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/20/2014 -- While most people are only too happy to leave their work at the office at 5 o’clock, community college professor A.Z. Rowland’s passion for creative writing keeps her tapping at her keyboard long after hours. Having written six non-fiction and two children’s books, Rowland’s latest creation is the first novel she has had published – and it’s already garnering five-star reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘Dragonkin: Awakening’ is book one in the ‘Chronicles of the Dragonkin’ series – a project almost abandoned by the author a hundred pages short of ‘The End,’ but saved by the power of crowdfunding.

“This is bold and vivid Young Adult Fantasy that entices readers to travel between Earth and a parallel world. The narrative itself has been in development for nine years, but my teaching schedule and my commitment to fulfill three nonfiction book contracts to Inner Traditions made it difficult for me to give Dragonkin: Awakening the time and attention needed to bring it to completion. Inspired by a friend who sought crowdfunding for a creative project, I posted the book on Kickstarter last summer and was stunned when I ended up exceeding my fundraising goal. Final revisions, editing, beta reading, proofreading, and manuscript formatting for digital publication took more than six months, but happily, the novel is now on the market,” says Rowland, whose early work experience included some years in the editorial department of Rodale Press’s Book Division.

Synopsis of ‘Dragonkin: Awakening’:

‘Dragonkin: Awakening’ is a young adult fantasy novel that tells the story of a handful of people who are awakened out of ordinary awareness and inexorably drawn into a battle to save a world very like our own, but with one important difference – dragons are real and have a long-established role as servants and protectors of mankind. When Chandry Kaye hears a dragon’s blood-curdling roar over the sound of her flute, when Marco Bellini sees the image he is sketching change before his eyes from a single dragon in flight to a pair of dragons fighting each other to the death, and when Kate Hastings glances through her shop window to view the soccer game in progress in the park and sees a gored dragon, lying slain, in the far distance, each is compelled to go the scene and to offer whatever help they can. Others join them – Jack Striker, a soldier’s son, and Alice Bauman, a runaway. They are met by Andrew Crispin, a high school physics teacher and a regular traveler between our world and Aerth, where he serves as a second generation Keeper of a Dragon Key and a friend of the dragons in the lair under attack. Mr. Crispin invites those who have gathered to follow him through the portal between the worlds – and so the adventure begins.

As the author explains, she gives her readers far more than just a story.

“There’s a very thought-provoking element to this book that makes it of value to readers in all age groups. If our protagonists are to achieve the impossible, they must find their inner strengths, accept their unique vision and face enemies head-on. These are all vital life lessons that readers can relate to their own experiences and challenges,” Rowland adds.

Early reviews for the book have been overwhelmingly positive. Reader reviewer Fred Even praises the book for its “strong third person narrative [that] deftly portrays a cast of lovingly defined characters with crystal clarity while seamlessly advancing a fantasy plot that appeals to the ten year old or the adult. Like Harry Potter, there is an imaginative contemporary setting where good and evil wage war. Like The Hunger Games there is a strong theme of fighting against injustice. Like Anne of Green Gables there are scenes of pure charm and civility. And it all comes together making you want to read the second book, for love of the characters as much as to know what comes next.”

Another reader reviewer, Judi Taylor comments, “Take a moment and ask yourself what it might be like if dragons existed in the park down the street from you.” In fact, the author says she had great fun imagining just that. She has set much of the story in locations familiar to her from years as a resident of southeastern Pennsylvania, but has used the locations in a fictional way. Pottstown’s Memorial Park features a portal to a parallel world. Reading’s Pagoda on Mt. Penn marks one corner of a magical shield. A retired commercial airline pilot spots dragons in the night sky over the high-speed commuter highway, Route 422, and can scarcely believe the evidence of his eyes. Rowland says that imagining something magical occurring in these familiar places and along these well-traveled routes has kept her smiling – and she hopes that the book will have the same effect on readers.

‘Dragonkin: Awakening’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1kC1zxV.

For more information and to read/her samples from the book, visit: http://www.dragonkinawakening.com.

About A.Z. Rowland, in her own words:
“Most people know me as a Reiki teacher and practitioner. My website, http://www.traditionalreiki.com, has allowed me to connect to many people who are interested in learning about Reiki hands-on healing and energy medicine.

Yet in my role as a Reiki teacher and practitioner, I have really come to appreciate that being healthy and happy requires more of us than just spiritual pathwork. My love of writing -- and my interest in healing -- both go back to when I was a child.

As much as I love writing about Reiki and educating people about this amazingly gentle and effective healing practice through my nonfiction books, I also (still) love writing poetry, sketching out the dialogue for a script, and escaping into the story world of a novel.

I have been writing Dragonkin: Awakening since 2005, in between Intuitive Reiki for Our Times, Reiki for the Heart and Soul, and The Complete Book of Traditional Reiki. This has helped bring healing, balance, and joy to me -- and I hope that it will have as positive an effect on the readers who discover this book, too.”