World Building or World Changing

Today’s guest post is from Jessica Aspen, author of The Dark Huntsman, Book One in the Tales Of The Black Court trilogy.

When authors create new worlds from scratch they are able to create vocabulary words, new animals, and world-rules without offending anyone, but what about when authors use traditional well known fantasy creatures but change the rules?

Ever pick up a book and are wowed by the creative amazing world that the author has created? From making vampires sparkle to making motorcycles fly authors are taking our classic fantasy lore and making it better, bolder, and just plain different. How does an author take a classic tale and change it up so that it will be its own world and yet be believable to a fantasy audience? Because let’s face it, fantasy readers are picky. They’ve read it all from Tolkien to fairytales and they know their stuff. So how does an author stay true to their theme and make it their own?

First of all authors need to know their world. If their elves are tall and warrior like, they’d better be consistent and not make them tall in one chapter and small in another. And if they do, they need to explain it. Savvy fantasy fans know that there can be trolls that talk in one world and trolls that are so stupid they do nothing but grunt and growl in another world, but if it happens at the same time in the same world, you had better have a good reason for it.

I’ve done this in my upcoming fantasy romance trilogy, Tales of the Black Court. I’m working within a Tolkienesque world, but it’s not Tolkien. My world is our modern world, with warring clans of what we humans call elves, but they call themselves elvatians. Like many fae they live in Underhill, but are able to cross through time and space to new worlds through portals. Do you see how that works? I’ve kept the word elves, but I’ve changed their universe, their skills, even their history. It’s fresh and new and different so as a reader you want to learn more, but it stays close enough to the boundaries of what elves would do in other stories to not make you take a total leap of faith into unknown territory.

A skilled author brings the reader with them, looking out for speed bumps in their world building. Something that jars the reader out of their imagination and back into the real world and makes them say “Hey! Wait a minute!” No author wants that. We want for our readers what they want for themselves: to stay cocooned within the storyline. To never want to put the book down, so that when the book is over all the reader wants is book two in the series.

That’s the goal, anyway. That’s why we take well known creatures and tales that we know and love and twist them with our imaginations until they form a new shining story with its own world, magic, and rules. Rules that eventually the readers know better than we do and can possibly become new classics for a new generation.

Coming September, 2013:

The Dark Huntsman, book one in the fantasy romance series, Tales of the Black Court

Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.

 Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her, a witch’s murder. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.

 As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest, making a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he gambles more than his freedom…he risks his heart.

Excerpt from The Dark Huntsman by Jessica Aspen 

 A sudden light burned into Logan’s face and his eyes flinched shut. He forced his shaking arm up and hid behind it as he tried to remember where he was. Cold seeped into his aching body from the uneven stone floor as he stayed under his arm and hid from the torchlight, staggered at the realization that he was alive. Weak, wobbly, and defenseless. But alive.

A heavy hobnailed boot kicked him in the side. “Here ‘e is sir.”

He groaned and curled into a ball, peering up through long matted and tangled hair at a heavyset chuckling troll with only one working eye. “I got ‘im out of the hole yesterday, but ‘e’s still not in good shape.” Another rusty laugh came from the troll. “But I guess that’s to be expected after fifteen year’n the hole.”

Fifteen years. Had it been so long?

Logan barely heard the troll’s dissertation on oubliettes, prisoners, and rates of death. Had he been in hibernieth, the Elvetian form of stasis, for fifteen years? What had happened to his friends and family? What had happened to the prince between now and the day their world had collapsed? The day he’d been stuffed into his tiny damp prison?

He pushed up on burning arms, collapsing in a panting heap. The troll laughed and kicked him again. Logan lay on the hard stone mentally apologizing to his clan and liege for his weaknesses. He had no strength to face whatever death was to come. His fate was sealed.

“Is this the best you could do?” A sharp male voice cut into Logan’s ears, too used to the sound of silence. “He doesn’t even look like a lord, let an alone the murderous Huntsman. The queen thinks he’s a fricking miracle worker.”

“Nope. No way.” Another chuckle wheezed out. “If you send me down a healer, might be we could get ‘im fixed up by afternoon, good as new. Then the queen can do with ‘im as she likes.”

“Hmph” came from beyond the glare of the torches. Then a sigh.  “All right. I’ll send someone. Fix him up.” The voice curled in disgust. “And be sure to wash him. He reeks.”

“Yes sir.” The troll dragged Logan across the floor by one arm. He hummed a tuneless something that screeched into Logan’s ears but couldn’t cover the sound of Logan’s shoulder joint popping out of place.

Pain ripped through him. He struggled to stay conscious and ignore the excruciating messages shrieking in his arm from being hauled like a sack of grain along the rough floor. The troll dropped him on the stones, paused and opened an iron bound door. Logan tried to make his stiff muscles work, managing only to scrape and bang his limbs on the doorframe as the troll seized him and shoved him into the cell. He landed hard, his face grinding into the slimy stones. Curling instinctively into a ball, he managed to protect his gut from the last hard kick of the troll’s boot landing on his dislocated shoulder. His lungs seized up, his vision went black, and his head exploded into bright white stars.

The cell door clanged shut.

He sucked in slow aching breaths as the heavy footsteps receded down the corridor and reminded himself that he’d be out soon. And then he’d face the queen.

Fifteen years in this hell hole and the bitch thought he’d bow to her wishes.

He worked at unclenching his muscles. First his fists, then his jaw. Then each sore and aching muscle until he could sit up, his left arm hanging at an awkward angle. He guessed he wasn’t as ready to die as he’d thought. His body might be in terrible shape, but his mind was still sharp. He’d do what he had to do. Kill, cheat, steal. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t crossed lines before. But this time…

This time he would take down the Faerie Queen of the Black Court. No matter the price he paid. He reached up with his right arm, got a good grip on his left triceps and pulled. The shoulder ground and popped back into place, and Logan passed out from the pain.

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jessicaaspenJessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies.

The best place to find Jessica during the week is online at

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Author web links:

Discover Little Red Riding Wolf, Jessica Aspen’s spicy new adult novella, book one in the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods Series

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Passion in Print, and All Romance.




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5 responses to “World Building or World Changing

  1. Thanks for having me on as your guest today. I had a fun time writing about how I build a new world from the framework of the classics. 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Style and Substance of Switching Series | JessicaAspenWrites

  3. Oh, Jessica! I am so regretting all the times I teased my son when we went over a wooden footbridge on our way to visit the ducks. Trip-trap, trip-trap!

  4. Pingback: Dark Romance | Fiction Online by Ana Calin

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