Monthly Archives: July 2013

WOTI 7-7-7 Challenge: Artifacts

Wow, have we ever had a lot of fantastic excerpts from many talented authors! Our last one is from Josh Langston, co-author of the Druid Series of books, brought to you by EDGE publishing. To learn more about Josh, check out his website. The final book of the Druids series, Warriors, will be available next week.

This excerpt, from the tentatively titled, Artifacts, is set in 14,000BC somewhere near the present day Savannah river in Georgia.

Meadow clumped along, her gait slow, awkward, and painful. If only her left leg had been the same length as her right, her life would have been vastly different. Nothing would be the same; her father might even still be alive, and if that had happened, there would be no Bear Killer to taunt her in the daytime and abuse her at night.

One day he would go too far, and she would find a way to kill him. That thought often occupied her mind while she tended the clan’s vegetables. If only she could find a poisonous plant that tasted good–something no one would recognize. She would gladly pamper such a thing and prepare it for his final meal.

The thought made her smile.

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Thus ends our 7-7-7 challenge! I’d like to thank everyone who contributed excerpts – believe me, nothing can be scarier then submitting something out of context and I think everyone who was asked not only participated, but seemed to have fun doing i. So next Wednesday, I’ll have my normal column back – I’m not going to say when we’re going to do a feature like this again, but I can rest assured that if you are enjoying hearing from a variety of different authors, to check us out every Thursday, as that’s when we feature guests who write considerably different stories from the broad spectrum that makes up science-fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal.

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Character Generated Plot

Today I’m wrapping up my George R. R. Martin series of posts. Next week I will be beginning a new series, called Storybuilder Inc., a fun, interactive module where I’ll build a story in stages to demonstrate my story production method. Stay tuned.



A book with a stunning plot is the kind that keeps the story alive long after you’ve read it. What is remarkable in George R. R. Martin’s writing is that this plot relies wholly on human drama. It is created by characters, first and foremost. Even stunning things like the walking dead and sorcery are not as intriguing as the characters whose conflicts are as richly layered as the most intricate of spells. In a genre where anything is possible, it shows a great deal of restraint and literary sophistication to build an epic set in a fantastic world primarily on the drama of humans.

And it shows remarkable insight into what truly makes life interesting: the world is rich and wonderful, but it is the journey through it and the translation of experience that makes it richer. Each life has a story, and it is connected to the story of other lives; altogether, these stories create themes and conflict, rich moments worthy of being captured.

Jon and Tyrion are two such characters through whom Martin exemplifies this. Their journeys began together, but even though by Dance with Dragons they have moved apart, Martin reminds us of their parallels by doing subtle things like sometimes placing their chapters back to back. Both characters live beneath the shadow of their father and both have grown up as outcasts. As Jon Snow makes his stand as Lord Commander, Tyrion rides a pig and makes a different sort of stand as he comforts a girl in a way that doesn’t involve his baser instincts.

Martin follows these characters as their life paths diverge, taking them into an unknown as fearful as the external world and its threats. Jon Snow makes his daring move by opposing the factions within the Night’s Watch, and as he does so, his stand against the rising army of undead becomes less significant than his need to prove his worth, to prove he can be an honorable man like his father; as Tyrion restrains Penny from her kisses, we see in him a desire, even if it is small and as fleeting as the tempest that brought them together, to live a different life, to be the son his father told him he’d never be.

Martin treats his characters as real, writes them like their story is true—every sentence, every word. This is just one of the reasons I could read this tale again and again and still find richness hidden in it. It has the intangible feel of experience, where greater depth is always lurking, waiting to be found.


(Based on a series of posts at Following the Footsteps of the Masters, a blog devoted to the things that make epic fantasy great)


Want to read more by Graeme? Check out The Pact, the first story in a dark epic fantasy series, now available for KoboKindle, and other ebook formats.

You can follow Graeme on Twitter (@GraemeBrownWpg) or on his blog, Fantasy Writing Journey, and if you like learning about a unique word each day, come check out Graemeophones

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Abomination 777 Challenge Post

Our 7, 7, 7 challenge continues here on the WOTI blog! Today I am posting 7 lines from page 7 of one of my latest works in progress, a fantasy novel called Abomination (the sequel to Watcher).

Last Hope’s king was finally going to seek vengeance against Forest End, and Eric was going to be vital in that endeavor.  King Acheron said so himself.  But Eric was not feeling quite himself since his visit with the king.  He was no longer alone inside his mind, and it was all he could do to keep from driving a spike through his own temple, just to get the other out.

“Don’t take it out on us, Eric.  It’s Acheron who’s to blame.  He’s the one who’s used us as a guinea pig.”

“Don’t say ‘us.’  There is no ‘us.’  There is only me.”

I am finishing up my final revisions on this one, and hope to submit it to my editor soon. Like my fan page on Facebook for updates!

Tag, Josh Langston, you’re it! Our 7, 7, 7 challenge is almost over. We’re hoping some of you will carry on with the challenge starting in August.



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WOTI 7-7-7 Challenge – The Price We Paid

Kathleen Kern is a guest of our blog. She works for the human rights organization, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and has served on assignments in Haiti, the West Bank, Chiapas, Colombia, and with Indigenous communities in North America. Her first novel, Where Such Unmaking Reigns, was a finalist for Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize and won the PeaceWriting award from the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology.

In her new work in progress, a dystopian novel The Price We Paid, the protagonist, a political dissident and philandering husband Islam Goldberg-Jones, is writing his way toward redemption. After three decades of incarceration for a crime he did not commit, he works on his prison memoir. The novel takes place in 2073.

Here are the lines 7-14 from p.77 of The Price we Paid.

My first years in prison, I probably replayed the food at that dinner as often as I replayed sexual encounters in my head. The way the turkey glistened and the skin crackled when you bit into it (it was basted inbutter—-almost everything had butter in it from the Webers’ cows. In my world, that amount of butter represented a half a week’s salary.) How the texture of the whipped potatoes and whipped sweet potatoes were two entirely different sorts of smooth, and how the skins of the cranberries prickled perfectly against the roof of the mouth in contrast to those smoothnesses.

Kathleen is still shlepping the novel around to agents. Her webpage:

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Celia Breslin’s – 7-7-7 Challenge – The Vampire Code

Hi Everyone!
Happy to be here with my WOTI pals to share a snippet of my WiP, The Vampire Code, for their 7-7-7 Challenge. This urban fantasy short story is a prequel to my recent urban fantasy romance release, HAVEN.

The story opens in May, three months prior to the start of Haven. A naughty, newbie vampire has attacked Carina. Jonas delivers swift and painful punishment for the transgression. But…not on page seven. There, we catch Jonas in a moment of reflection…

* * *

His mind flashed to her as a little girl. He almost cracked a rare smile at the memory of her dark ringlets bouncing around her snow-white face as she bounded up to greet him every night with the same request.
“Let’s fly, Jonas! C’mon!” she’d insist, beguiling him with her dark eyes, arms uplifted in excited anticipation.
And he had acquiesced every time. I could deny her nothing.
 He, the most feared vampire of the Tranquilli cosca, her father’s left hand and third in command of the fiercest vampires in existence, Jonas the Executioner…brought to his knees by a child.

* * *

The Vampire Code will release October, 2013 from Champagne Books. HAVEN is available now, also from Champagne Books.
For more info, visit my Web site:

Happy reading!


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JA Garland – 777 for July 26th

So I have been tagged today!
Here is my 7 lines, from page 77, starting at line 7,
from Moon Marked, an urban fantasy novel:

Unimpressed, Lelibea’s painted red mouth turned down, marring her otherwise impeccable high-powered,
lawyer image. She crossed a shapely leg over the other, and leaned back much farther than I’d think her fashionably
tight, pin striped dress suit would allow.
“Only if it involves me.” I swaggered casually across the kitchen floor and opened a cupboard, the first likely
prospect for a glass.
“Your pack Alpha seems to think you need representation for the unsanctioned murder of Tara Sobrantes.”
Unsanctioned? She’s on the Para Bounty Directory.”

Now, I tag author Celia Breslin next!



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Guest Interview & Giveaway with Susan Stec

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Thanks so much to Susan Stec for being our guest today. Susan is the author of the Grateful Undead series, the Dark and Deadly Novella series, and is here today to talk about her YA fantasy, The Other F Word. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook copy of this fun fae story!

Susan, if you could pick any fantasy world to live in, which would it be and why?

I have two choices:

I’d like to be a pixie and live among the fae. I love to laugh, and being a pixie trickster, all full of pesky fun, would be so amusing, especially since most humans would not be able to see me. I might let them hear me giggle, though. Still, it might be fun to let them see me, but you have to believe to see the fae, and then it’s just a wonder-filled second that is, later, usually explained away as something else.

My second choice would be to feel the forest as a shape shifter–probably a wolf—nose to the ground, taking up the hunt and being able to run, all lean, muscled, and agile, with an ability to scent my prey and stealthily follow. Roll on the ground, swim in a pond, and prance along a riverbed with no human inhibitions. Wild animals have a strong passion for the basics in life. I think werewolves take that passion with them into the real world.

What makes the fantasy world in your novel different from the regular world?

The setting is in Wandermere, a humanized fairy world where faelings are allowed to dress, live, and basically adapt any type of behavior from the other side of the portal. The plan was to acclimate two very special faelings to the behaviors of humans, enabling them to better interact in that world. But not everything on the fairy side of the portal is what it appears. The elders of Wandermere soon learn the other children, the ones they’ve deemed unimportant, have created a nightmare that will cause the extinction of their race and the death of the two Marked and Fated to save it.

What inspired this book?

I’ve always loved fairies; had dreams of the small wicked or helpful creatures running wild in our woods, lakes, homes, and gardens. I’d like to think they put the luck in our lucky situations, like being in the right place at the right time; or those karma kickbacks for our not so smart moves. Heck, I bet they’re responsible for missing socks in the dryer or misplaced keys, might even be why our cats get all wonky, jump, hiss and swipe at thin air for no apparent reason. Yep, very well could be fairies that create unexplained surprises or mini nightmares.

One day I was turning the pages of one of my Brian Frond or Judy Allen illustration books, can’t remember which, both are awesome, and I pondered the question, “What if fairies decided to dress and act like humans?” 

The visuals made me laugh. Come on! How funny would a one inch fairy with wings, wearing jeans, a tee shirt and tennis shoes, rocking to an mp3 player, or texting on an iPhone be? Especially if they displayed some major attitude. As I began to write, I visualized the kids driving butterflies, centipedes, or other bugs to school, and the most unpopular girl getting stuck with a big ugly dragonfly that was not only directionally challenged, but ate other bug vehicles. From there I thought about a buzz (rave) where the popular kids meet to dance, and I wondered what would happen if someone spiked the honey and fairies began to disappear. That’s when a plot started to form.

What’s your process like when it comes to world-building? Any tips for other fantasy authors?

Research! Research! Research! And add as much as you can about what you know or have experienced.

With this book, I revisited a great deal of folk lore and myth, researched Disney movies, teen books, slang, and fads over the years. I wanted to create dialogue with unique slang and actions that could be peppered with myth, kid’s entertainment and human traits. I also wanted to bring bugs into my world; bug jargon, bug vehicles, and bug insults. I researched insects in Florida because my portal from the fairy world would lead into an area in Florida that I was familiar with. I mentally adapted everything to size, like an ordinary oak tree and what it would be like to live inside the tree, how a hollow would look from the inside out. What it would be like to be small enough to live in and around cypress knees on the edge of the water. How it would feel to drive a dragonfly, sit on a palmetto bush covered in Spanish moss, or skim mosquito larvae from a pond.

Tell us what The Other F Word is about in 25 words or less:

A fairy girl deals with intolerance, forbidden attraction, friendships, betrayal, and her race’s expectations.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Twitter: @suesan0814

This month we’re doing the 7,7,7 challenge on the WOTI blog, would you like to participate?

Here are three sections from The Grateful Undead Series:

pg77, line 7 from Blood Sweat and Demon Tears: “And someone put some duct-tape across her mouth,” Warren ordered.

pg 7 line 7 Gator Baitin’: Christopher actually offed her, and then turned me. That won him a seat on our team of vamp-animal extinguishers.

Page 7 line 7 They’re so Vein: JoAnn’s eyes jumped to the mirror. She screeched and turned around in her seat. “You…you… you have big teeth! What the?

Great snippets, Susan! Thanks so much for being here. And now, tag, JA Garland, you’re next for the 7,7,7 challenge! Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Other F Word.


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WOTI 7-7-7 Challenge: Tombstone Blues

Taking a break from my regular column, joining us today is Chadwick Ginther, who is helping us with our 7-7-7 challenge and sharing with us 7 lines from page 7 of Tombstone Blues, the second book in the Thunder Road Trilogy brought to you by Ravenstone Press.

Tombstone Blues

           Whirling away from Ted, the elf spun his spear in a broad arc.  Ted wouldn’t exactly call the elf human.  A shade over five foot with slender, sinewy arms and legs, the elf was mostly naked.  Tattooed runes formed three linked triangles, pointing downward, bright against  his too-white skin.  His ears tapered to slight points and his hair flapped unbound like a matador’s cloak.

He moved with inhuman speed.  That shouldn’t have surprised Ted, but it did.  The spear darted.  Ted hopped back on instinct.  

            An instinct I’ll have to overcome if I want to get my hands on the little shit.
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Up Next for the 7-7-7 Challenge is Susan Stec!

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Description that Counts

It is rare in a book that an author can keep every sentence alive until the very finish, but Martin doesn’t lose a beat yet, even after three consecutive books whose word counts hover around 400,000. Every chapter opens with a hook, like a new story that pulls you in until its finish, and every chapter, like a story, has its own structure and unique twists, a sequence of disparate moments that are full of meaning.

Martin’s descriptions are rich not just because they are so vivid, but because they are well chosen. In chapters about submission, snow and fickle flames are meaningful elements, and Martin uses them well to highlight his themes. In Dance with Dragons, Theon walks once more in a castle he once grew up in, a place that he ruined, and he himself is a ruin. Asha is captive, marching alongside a man whose vanity is deep as her brother’s, and Daenerys continues to deny herself, even when confronted with a pact that was sealed when she was a girl in Braavos.  The snow falls and Martin’s words flicker beneath it with resound to suit a much deeper purpose.

Perhaps that is his secret.  It is a general no-no for any writer to overdescribe, yet Martin’s epic would be spoiled if he held back.  He has opened up the veil to a world with themes as deep as the detail in the richest of paintings.  Full of characters, vignettes, and powerful moments rooted in emotions that linger, his prose breathe life into fictitious realism that is unforgettable.

As a writer, I know what it means to try and make every word count.  It’s damn hard, and involves a lot of rewriting.  One learns not to rush this process; I am not a fan of quick drafts that demand fixing.  Words shape themselves like paints from an artists brush, and they must be chosen carefully, stroke by stroke.  Martin does this, making every word, and thus every description, count.

And this is the difference between stories that live for a season and stories that live forever.

(Based on a series of posts at Following the Footsteps of the Masters, a blog devoted to the things that make epic fantasy great)


Want to read more by Graeme? Check out The Pact, the first story in a dark epic fantasy series, now available for KoboKindle, and other ebook formats.

You can follow Graeme on Twitter (@GraemeBrownWpg) or on his blog, Fantasy Writing Journey, and if you like learning about a unique word each day, come check out Graemeophones

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WOTI 7-7-7 Challenge: Guardians

Today’s Guest Poster sharing in on the 7-7-7 challenge is a friend of mine, who has been working on this novel for about a year now. She also writes regency under the name Catherine Dove, but this title is a fantasy work-in-progress about a rag-tag group of rangers. You can learn more about Kathy Anne Trueman at her blog.

The Guardians

They were different, and therefore disliked, even despised. And because they couldn’t disguise their dangerous natures, no matter how well they behaved they were instinctively feared, which strengthened the animosity toward them. Even the name “Guardian” was unknown; among the ordinary citizens of Talvadda they were called The Crows, a nickname taken from their black cloaks.

They were more often in Ambertree than any other town because in Ambertree was The Dancing Bear, the one place where they could find any kind of a welcome. Lar Iskop was the owner of the Bear, an inn which boasted the biggest tavern and best beer and ale in the region. He had no reason to fear any falling off of custom by befriending the Guardians, and, an amazingly discreet man, he was among the very few who knew their mission, so they always had a place to stay, to eat and drink and sleep, when they came so far south.

Cloud turned the horse up a street a block from The Dancing Bear and approached the inn from the rear.

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Up Next in the 7-7-7 Challenge is Chadwick Ginther!

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