World-building: Common Mistakes in Speculative Fiction – Guest Post by, Diana Peach…

Just in case you didn’t get your fill of World-building, I’m over at The Story Reading Ape’s blog with another installment. Swing on by if you want to learn about what can go wrong! Happy November!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

World-building is a balancing act between alien complexity and Earth’s familiarity. If authors make characters and settings too alien, they risk confusing readers and interrupting the reading experience. But the other side of the coin – applying Earth qualities, standards, and cultural norms to non-Earth planets and societies – isn’t any better.

We’re so used to Earth and the way we live and behave, our customs, values, and social rules that they become invisible to us. They become the “givens” of human life, and often, we attribute them to other non-Earth worlds and cultures. Our ways of life are rooted in thousands of years of history. Other planets have different historical trajectories that produce alternate ways of life that feel normal to the characters.

Here are seven things to look out for when world-building:

Your society doesn’t “function”

Did you ever read a book where none of the characters work…

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Dark Fey Trilogy: Breaking Into the Light

Cynthia Morgan has a new book and offered to share an excerpt. Beautiful covers!

A Brief Excerpt from book three of the Dark Fey Trilogy….

“Ye’ shoul’ no enter th’ demesne of th’ Reviled unarmed, ‘ealer.”  Bryth and Mardan agreed emphatically, but Gairynzvl shook his head; gazing with comprehension and even greater respect at his friend.

“He cannot represent Peace armed.”  Smiling at his friends with candid esteem, Evondair raised his hand to cover his heart as he bowed to them with closed eyes and wings furled inward in a sign of profound respect; then he turned for the mountain. Stepping briskly through the snow as he spread his wings wide, he utilized several powerful wing beats to ascend into the increasingly furious snowfall as all gazes raised to watch him disappear into the tempest.

Rising into the roiling atmosphere, his friends and fellow Fey of the Light vanished almost instantly amid the turbulence of buffeting snow.  Although he realized it would obscure him from visible sight, Evondair straightaway questioned his decision to seek out the enemy while cloaked in the effects of the blinding storm where he could neither see nor hear anything other than the storm itself.  The only thing he could rely upon was his in-born precise sense of direction, which all Fey possessed, and the indistinct sense of Nunvaret’s presence he now Knew.  The Demonfey Captain was not yet on the Jyndari side of the portal, but the moment he crossed over the Healer would become aware of him.  Until he did, Evondair would wait, perched atop the mountain like a raptor poised to descend upon his prey.

Without forewarning, a gale of wind pummeled against him, ruffling his feathers erratically and sending the Healer tumbling downward steeply toward the rocky base of the mountain.  Reflexively, his wings beat furiously to correct his momentum, but his senses were muddled by the unexpected plummet and for several moments he had no idea how close he was to his destination. Laboring to keep his place, he searched the grayish-white tempest below hoping to reorient himself with some marker of landscape, but only obscurity met his viridian gaze.  The wind intensified, as if intent upon evicting him from the sky, and the effort required to remain aloft quickly became too great.

Descending cautiously, Evondair listened with dread as the sounds of tramping boots and creaking armaments became audible over the howl of the storm.  A strident horn call from the direction of Lyyshara indicated the Fey of the Light were aware of the Reviled crossing into their realm and an echo of discordant bugles returned.  Beating his wings powerfully in search of a landing place, Evondair’s gaze pierced the blustering whiteout until he suddenly saw granite only inches below him and mere seconds before he would have crashed into the rocky outcropping.  His boots slid upon the frozen, snow-covered ledge, sending a shower of rocks tumbling downward as he sought purchase; then he folded his wings and crouched down, grasping the rock beneath his feet with his hands to steady himself against the wind. Then he stared downward into the squall and waited.

Echoes of voices whipped round him like autumn leaves spiraling upon the wind, though they were disjointed and unintelligible. A terrifying growl of united Dlalth voices bolstering for battle ascended from the swirling vagueness below and, from the distance, the scattered sounds of a lyrical intonation broken by the ferocity of the storm drifted on the air. Evondair recognized the Celebrae petition recited by all Fey of the Light before entering into dangerous situations and, without hesitation, he repeated it inwardly.

Vrynnoth chae Luxonyth guildynn, braechanyth Luxonythchaera vornae tywylucht.

May the Light that guides vary not and cast its brightness over this darkness. 

Out of the swirling shadows of snow and nighttide, a voice unexpectedly filled his mind so piercing it caused him to flinch backward and shake his head.

May it guide indeed, Healer.”

*******

Breaking into the Light relates the inspiration of Hope and the power of forgiveness through a tale that is brutally beautiful.

The Reviled are the enemy; merciless, untrustworthy.  They embody brutality and devastation.  The Fey of the Light have lived with these truths for millennia.  Daring to think otherwise invites tragedy.

Gairynzvl was a Reviled Fey and lived the riotous life of all Dark Ones; yet now he is rescuing younglings from the darkness.  The actions taken by him and his band of Liberators are fulfilling Ancient Prophecies and proving long-accepted beliefs to be inaccurate. Those who have lived in the Light all their lives, who enjoyed the luxuries of abundance, are suddenly faced with unavoidable questions.

How is Peace achieved?  Can Light unite with Darkness?

Will the Fey of the Light sacrifice everything to achieve that which seems impossible or will they turn their heads and ignore the shadows weeping all around them?

You can find the Dark Fey Trilogy on Amazon/Kindle here:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075SDP8VL

Discover more about Dark Fey at its official website: https://allthingsdarkfey.wixsite.com/feyandmusings

*******

Meet the Author: Cynthia Morgan

Cynthia A. Morgan is an award-winning author; columnist for the national magazine Fresh LifeStyle, and a member of the Poetry Society of America and Artists for Peace. Creator of the mythical realm of Jyndari and author of the epic fantasy Dark Fey Trilogy, Morgan’s powerful story relates how the power of Hope, Acceptance and Forgiveness can change the world, when Positive Action is taken to create change. The only way to achieve Peace is to become Peace.

Morgan is also the author of the popular blog Booknvolume where her over 17K followers are regularly treated to Morgan’s own brand of poetry, English Sonnets, musings about life, personal recipes, photography, book reviews and more.

Some of her other interests includes a deep love for animals and the environment. She is passionate about music and theatre; is frequently heard laughing; and finds the mysteries of ancient times, spirituality, and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos intriguing. Morgan Believes in the power of Love, Hope and Forgiveness, all of which is reflected in her lyrically elegant writing style.

You can find Morgan through social media in the following places:

Readers Favorite 5-Star Review (1) 

Readers Favorite 5-Star Review (2)  

Blog / website: booknvolume.com
All Things Dark Fey Website 
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
GoodReads
Creativia Author Page 

World-building: From Imagination to Reality – Guest Post by, Diana Peach…

For those fans and writers of speculative fiction – here’s another dive into worldbuilding! I had the great pleasure of guest posting on The Story Reading Ape’s blog earlier this month. If you missed the post and are all broken up about it (ha ha) here’s Part II. 😀

(Some of you are so lovely to leave comments at both sites. Please, no need, unless not doing so gives you hives; your time is way too precious. I do check both and reply at both. Hugs.)

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

World-building is an important part of any writer’s preparation, and the speculative genres offer some wildly fun opportunities. There are no boundaries. The imagination is unleashed. The setting of the story can be as “fantastic” as the writer desires.

But fantastic also has to be relatable and plausible.

Relatability is a must when it comes to the main character(s). If a reader can’t relate on some emotional level to the protagonist, a book is going to struggle. Why do I mention this with world-building? Because in speculative fiction some or all of the characters may not be human.

There are no limits to alien design from physical features to intelligence to social and cultural norms, and writers can stretch those limits to create some unusual encounters and conflicts. Aliens that completely baffle us are fine, but rarely are they protagonist(s). The main character(s) needs to possess some “human” emotional content…

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Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters

My first children’s book is out in print. During my writing break over the summer, I tried my hand at illustration. It was hard and I learned a lot. I have a whole new respect for professional illustrators! You are amazing.

Thank you to all the authors who offered their feedback on the text (a simpler print and no italics). I realize it looks small in these images, but I did order proofs of the book (twice) and the actual size works fine.

I published this through Createspace, and it was a (grizzly) bear dealing with the images. Took me days and days and days to get the dpi right.

I was never going to subject myself to the agent-seeking process again, but I did, rather lamely, send queries to 7 agents in August. No takers, naturally, and I didn’t care a whit. This book was written for fun, illustrated for fun, and published for fun.

I hope you enjoy a few peeks at the illustrations.  And, of course, it has a happy ending.

Only in Print: USA, UK, Canada

Grumpy Ana Goblyn is sour, dour, and cranky. Her lips droop in a frown. She’s bored with every place and person in her friendly town. With the help of her father, she builds a spaceship and travels to a soggy planet where she meets her perfect monster playmates. But there’s a problem! The monsters see her grouchy frown and think she’s a monster. In this children’s space adventure, Ana discovers that her attitude affects her happiness, and she can change it if she chooses.

 

Book Review: Catling’s Bane (The Rose Shield Book 1)

Rob, at IARTICHOKEU Book Reviews was wonderfully kind to read and review Catling’s Bane. With the millions of great books out there, it’s an honor I’m thankful for. Gotta love the book bloggers and share the good news. Thank you, Rob. 😀

iArtichokeu's Book Reviews

61czHDIautLTitle: Catling’s Bane (The Rose Shield Book 1)

Author: D. Wallace Peach

Length310 pages

Amazon

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

When I finished this book, instead of instantly knowing what was going to write about in my review, I pretty much turned caveman mode and felt like rushing to all my friends, grabbing them each by the arms and yelling “THIS BOOK. YOU ALL READ. MUST. NOW!”


5starMy Rating: 5 Lit Fireflies

I absolutely LOVED this book! I’ve been pretty busy as of last month, because of some medical healing issues, and was unable to read for long periods of time. I did however read this book every chance I was free, and only this book. In a way I am grateful for the long progress, because I got to savor every beautiful and exciting moment this book had to offer. Instead of binge reading…

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Soul Swallower – new series WIP

I think that’s the name of the series. I like the alliteration anyway. Better than Soul Gulper.

Perhaps you remember the character Raze from one of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts. Well, he’s back with a series of his own.

I don’t have too much to share yet, but here’s a brief peek at the act of swallowing a soul:

***

When the others retired, Raze sat by the hearth, its flames dwindling to scarlet embers. His grief for Briyon unearthed old ghosts, his mother among them, an ageless portrait suspended in the gallery of his mind. Not so his memories of Mirelle. Those lingered with infinite fluidity, entangled with visions of the past and dreams of a future that would never be.

Six years had shuffled by since her death, five since he’d joined Briyon at the freehold, and no lever had proved long or strong enough to pry her from his heart. Loneliness invaded his body so deeply it punched the breath from his lungs and sapped the strength from his back, and no hoping and wishing could bring those people back. A twenty-one he was master of the freehold, a tired soul, angry at a world he couldn’t control.

He turned the pendant over in his hand, keenly aware of its delicate beauty. The white soulstone had transformed, no longer solid but translucent with pale wisps of color swirling like morning mist. Copper wire the breadth of a strand of hair coiled around it, holding a round sliver of peridot in place with a final twist of two tiny leaves. It glowed with a soft light, indicating the presence of a soul. A soul he loved.

With great care, he unhooked the copper leaves, unwound the wire, and removed the green gem that capped a small hole. Inside, an iridescent sphere resembling a pearl shone with a brilliance that startled him. Were all souls so bright? He didn’t know; this was his first. He rolled it into his hand. Would he swallow it? Did he want what Briyon offered? Was there anything to fear?

The pearl of light glowed in his palm, offering no insight. He placed it back into the pendant. No need to choose; no decision pressed him to act with haste. The round gem refitted, he coiled the wires, paused, and then uncoiled them. In one fluid motion, he uncapped the pendant, tipped the sphere into his mouth, and swallowed.

A rush of heat streamed from his belly, up through his heart into his head and down his limbs to his fingers and toes. His body trembled, the sensation alien, but not frightening, and not long lived, for it subsided as quickly as it had overtaken him. Eyes closed, he accepted Briyon’s soul. In the quiet of night, he exhaled a long breath, crept to bed, and dreamed another man’s dreams.

World-building: Settings for all Genres – Guest Post by, Diana Peach…

I had the great pleasure of guest-posting with Chris, The Story Reading Ape on the writerly topic of world-building – something I can talk about until I’m plumb out of breath. 🙂 Hop over if you’re interested. Happy Weekend!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

As a fantasy/science-fiction writer, I’ve stacked up a bit of experience with world-building that I’ve wanted to share, and The Story-Reading Ape’s blog is the perfect venue.

Now don’t run away if you don’t write speculative fiction. Clearly, world-building is a key part of bringing fantasy and science-fiction stories to life, but it plays a role in all fiction, and in some non-fiction as well.

Setting as Character

Most of us probably agree that the physical places within our stories need to feel authentic. But if we create them as mere backdrops to the action, we’re missing an opportunity to enrich our readers’ experiences. In great fiction, setting plays a role in the story. It’s changeable, a help, a hindrance, a metaphor, a mood, possibly even a character in the drama.

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson is a proponent of the idea of setting-as-character and builds a “character profile” of the…

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