Guest Blog: One Flew Through the Dragon Heart (Favan & Flew, Book #1)

Guest Blog: One Flew Through the Dragon Heart (Favan & Flew, Book #1)

A Recipe for Writing

Some people are hard to please.

I’m thinking of this today, specifically, because I’ve just dropped my kids off at school and I am definitely not missing them today after all the kerfuffle that went down this morning.

Darling Daughter wants mac and cheese for lunch. Refuses to eat meat (what child is this??) and hates all vegetables except for French fries, but only wants McDonald’s French fries. Darling Son wants two chocolate milk boxes. Two!? Why? Only yesterday, he brought home the wrap I’d lovingly made, even letting the banana peppers he likes fall into a smiley face pattern before I rolled it up and cut it in half.

I think of all the times that I, as a kid, during my family’s Sunday dinners, sent back my food at Olive Garden because “there’s too much sauce” (although, in all fairness, they seem excessively generous) and I want to weep, gnashing my teeth as I call out for forgiveness for my fickle, flighty ways.

So I shuffled my kids out into the van while I lectured them on why they should be grateful for anything at all (after packing the emergency Lunchables my husband and I usually save for Fridays), drove them to school like a responsible madwoman, and then vowed I would never again do anything that required so much appeasement. This is how the Hitlers of the world are allowed to thrive, are they not?!

Then, thankfully, by the grace of God, it was finally time to get work on my writing.

And now I can only laugh-cry, because this recourse through hell is sidelined on my way to heaven.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But it’s so true that I write like Monet painted and like a baker bakes—my own way.

So, if you’ve never heard of me, here’s a recipe you can peruse to see if I might be a good fit for your book-taste-buds:

My Basic Book Recipe:

  1. 3 pounds of the finest cuts of imagination. You might want to write that superhero-spaceship-zombie-takeover-romance, but a leaner “meat” of a story stays true to itself and blossoms with the right seasonings. (Reminder: Too much meat will get you Story Jambalaya, and you’ve never successfully made Cajun food in your kitchen, so doing it in a book will likely blow up in your face … and you don’t like Jambalaya anyway.)
  2. 1 cup of blood: Adding one’s own blood adds a unique flavor, but add sparingly; there’s no need to overpower the other ingredients, unless we’re finally going to give in and write that vampire novel fans are always requesting.
  3. 2 buckets of tears. Add generously, because you know you’re going to do it anyway.
    1. Anxious Tears: Add more to burn more calories.
    2. Depression: Add less to avoid strange looks from family and concerned texts from your mother.
  4. ½ cup sweat. Adds a little saltiness to the taste, bringing the “feels” to life for the reader. Also reminds me to take a shower, which as a mother I forget to do more often than I should.
  5. 4 cups of balanced humor. There are nine different ways to be funny, and I need all 10 to be happy.
    1. ¾ teaspoon of inappropriate humor. Be sure to mix it in well, so the easily-offended audience won’t even notice it, and the dark-humored crowds will nod in approval while you refuse to answer questions regarding the matter. For assistance: re: Disney, Dreamworks, Bugs Bunny.
  6. A buttload of good characterization. Not to go all Hannibal meets Soylent-Green, but make sure the characters are fleshed out, no matter how little their former lives matter. NOTE: Some may require pounding, in order to soften them. Others may need to be thrown in raw, for extra sensitivity.
  7. A handful of trouble. Remember: The best kind is always the worst kind, and the smallest problems can yield the largest returns.
  8. Some nuts.***Optional, but sometimes necessary. Sometimes nuts can be healthy!
  9. A barrel of irony. Who doesn’t love being surprised in the worse possible ways?
  10. 1 gallon of secret “moral broccoli.” Harry Potter had “moral fiber,” and we all know that was the real reason for the bubbles in the lake. The best bits of morality are ground up finely and mixed in with all the sweet feels and salty conflict. The moral broccoli won’t put a bad taste in the reader’s mouth, and it’ll easily pass through them in a manner which only makes sense hours after consumption.

Additional dressings and seasonings.***Varies by intended genre, but can be mixed up for fun. Use at your own discretion, overuse at your peril.

    1. Dragons: Always good to help bake the story, but be sure not to overcook. They don’t always like that, and when they do, they might be encourage to return the favor.
    2. Magic: Food is always magical, but magic-magic is a good second.
    3. True love and sexual tension: Because good writing is like good sex; you need good romance to set the tone for a cathartic experience. But keep it clean. Those characters are your imaginary kids, and you don’t want to have your real kids ask you where those particular bits of inspiration come from—ever.
    4. Family dysfunction: Nothing is more comforting than knowing your family is just as weird and plagued by problems as you are, and nothing is more irritating than all of them reminding you of that—except when they make your problems worse, of course. For added spice, make it intentional. For more added spice, make it unintentional but character is terrible for hating them for it.

Bake at 1000 degrees. For extra heat, tell other people you’re writing a book and they’ll be sure to breathe down your neck about it in a “good way” that makes your sadistic perfectionism gleefully cackles while your work burns.

Also Needed: A good theme that ties everything together. What’s the point in making the book equivalent of a cupcake and having no party ready to present it? (There’s a reason no one shows up with Halloween cupcakes on Valentine’s Day!)

Ideally served at room temperature, accompanied by a cat, a comfy set of PJs, and a blanket. Also a cup of mocha and a candy bar.

NOTE: I’m not 100% sure my books are Gluten-free. That stuff is everywhere!

If you’re a fan of steampunk and romance, and you thought my recipe might have something fun for you, please check out my upcoming novel, One Flew Through the Dragon Heart.

C. S. JOHNSON is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at


  1. Great article and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is truly the best place {to ask} but do you folks have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thanks :) online marketing strategies


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