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Twenty-year-old dragon fantasy novel published as e-book, paperback

Conyers resident Ginger Wages, who writes under the pen name of Virginia Chandler, recently published, "The Last Dragon of the North," she co-wrote with her brother Tony Wages, known as author Tony Chandler.

Conyers resident Ginger Wages, who writes under the pen name of Virginia Chandler, recently published, "The Last Dragon of the North," she co-wrote with her brother Tony Wages, known as author Tony Chandler.

After reading the novel "Jurassic Park," and going to see the movie, Ginger Wages and her brother Tony Wages, discussed the idea of writing a book involving a tyrannosaurus rex.

Being fans of science fiction/fantasy, the siblings changed the dinosaur into a dragon and pit the fierce creature against the other most powerful predator on earth -- humans.

"We figured, if you could write a believable book about dinosaurs, you could write a believable book about dragons, without magic or wizards," said Wages.

Over the following months, their book, "The Last Dragon of the North" (then called "Red Dragon, Green Dragon") took shape -- only to lie dormant for almost two decades.

Now, thanks to the development of e-books, "The Last Dragon" has reawakened and is available for the public to enjoy.

Double Dragon Publishing released the book in November, both in electronic form and paperback.

Wages, who writes under the pen name Virginia Chandler, said her brother, known as the author Tony Chandler, had published three books already with Double Dragon and the company requested more. Tony submitted "The Last Dragon of the North" he and his sister had written so many years ago.

"I got very lucky," said Ginger Wages of the book's publication.

The story is a fantasy only in so far as it involves dragons, said Wages. There is no magic or wizardy incorporated into the tale, she said, and the dragon-versus-man plot is similar to any other beast-against-man story.

The book is set in fifth century England where dragons are a problem because as predators they kill livestock and humans. To keep the beasts at bay, there are hunters whose specialty is killing the dragons.

One such dragon hunter is a young British man. In his travels, he comes across a band of Norse dragon hunters who are pursuing a Green dragon, a species thought to be extinct. The quest is too much for the young dragon hunter to resist and he joins the Norse group on their adventure.

"We didn't make it like a movie, but it's pretty much a roller coaster ride," Wages said. "We set it up in the first few chapters and then it takes off."

Wages and her brother wrote the story together, each taking turns crafting chapters. Their styles proved so similar that sometimes Wages had trouble remembering which chapters she had written.

The brother and sister team tried to get the book published but earned only rejection slips. The novel sat on a computer disc for 20 years until Double Dragon requested another book from Tony Wages.

After additional editing, Double Dragon accepted the story and so far sales are progressing, said Wages, with "The Last Dragon of the North" earning the No. 3 spot on www.fictionwise.com, an e-book site, during the holidays.

The book is marketed mostly through Facebook and a blog, new endeavors for the 47-year-old Wages. While social media doesn't necessarily increase sales, she said, it does provide an author with exposure not possible back in 1992 when she and her brother first wrote the book.

"It's really quite astounding how that works," Wages said.

Wages grew up the daughter of a military father, moving frequently but finally settling in the Atlanta area in 1979. The youngest of three children, Wages said her older brother exposed her to writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

"He had good taste and I got introduced to the classics at a young age," she said.

Wages, who received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Georgia, worked for 10 years as a technical writer before becoming an English teacher at Heritage High School in 2005. She left her teaching job last year to write full-time.

A Conyers resident, Wages is working on another book, a prose sequel to "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," an Arthurian story which dates back to the 12th century. The book is set to be published in November by Double Dragon.

"Writing, for me, has always been a therapeutic outlet; that's probably why I've stuck with it," Wages said.Writing an entire novel is "daunting," she said, and even when a person has the discipline for such a project, he must be ready to edit it several times.

"It's a birthing process. It takes a while and you have to be patient," she said.

"The Last Dragon of the North" may be purchased as an e-book or paperback online at www.double-dragon-ebooks.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, www.fictionwise.com, www.goodreads.com or www.apple.com.

To learn more about author Virginia Chandler, visit http://virginiachandler.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/chandlerdragons.