Tag Archives: Champagne Books

Can You Believe That?

The title is apt on two levels. It was the original title to this article, which talks a bit about how I developed the world for The Healer, but it’s also a nice gasp at my audacity in recycling material.

I apologize if you read this on one of the forums our gang posted to back in February. I don’t usually repost something that’s already out there, but I figured many of our readers here are new and frankly, after pushing out more than 12000 words on my latest tome in the last three days, my brain has gone dry with regards to genius tips on How To Write.

What I need to do is refill the mental well. Without further ado, here’s a shortlist on how I topped it up in the first place:

~*~

I should have acknowledged two unknowing contributors to The Healer: Stephanie Bryant, author of 30 Days Of World Building exercises associated with Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and Conrad Phillip Kottak, author of Anthropology: The Exploration Of Human Diversity.

Stephanie’s brief lessons encourage you to look at aspects the average writer (me, for instance) doesn’t consider when developing a story setting, particularly when said writer usually writes contemporaries. Full disclosure: I don’t read a ton of fantasy. I’ll read anything with a great romance and I follow some of my favorite authors wherever they go—although not too dark—but The Healer was a departure for me as far as writing goes. My worst nightmare was that purists would point and laugh at the author trying to write a fantasy.

Stephanie saved me by forcing me to look at layers of economy, politics, recent history, cataclysmic events, sky, land, resources, religion, language…

And then dear Conrad stepped in, or rather, my husband rescued Conrad’s text book from a garage sale and I said, “Why on earth would you buy that?” He said, “It might be interesting.” I rolled my eyes and ignored it until I needed it.

At which point I opened it and learned that humans are kind of predictable in the way our civilizations evolve from hunter-gatherer tribes to chiefdoms to fiefdoms, all with common hierarchy types and pretty soon you have a King and the only entity that can be higher than a King is, of course, a god.

Interestingly enough, the looser the organization, ie, nomadic tribes, the closer and less defined their gods are, like in the water and the trees and the wind. The Greeks and Romans were pretty complex and they had quite a cast of thousands with their belief system. Their gods and goddesses had specific jobs to oversee: war, harvest, the underworld. Same goes for the Egyptians and Aztecs.

Belief systems are all about explaining the world to ourselves. (Why does the sun rise? Why did my child die?) By the time a civilization reaches empire stage, they tend to have a single god that is eternal and omnipotent.

Fascinated by this, I decided to have three distinct cultures in each of these stages: the Shotes are highly evolved and expanding under the will of their single god, Whirla. The Kerfs are agrarian, wanting their gods of harvest and fertility to keep them safe and fed. The Alvians I made tribal, no real belief system because they’re in tune with nature.

I forgot to mention John Vaillant in my acknowledgements above. He wrote The Golden Spruce, which I read in Book Club a few years ago. In it, he talks about the Hawaiians having songs that belong to a particular tribe in exactly the way we accept ownership of land. The Haida people of The Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida’gwaii) have stories that only one tribe may tell. It’s like trespassing. (Or pirating against copyright, I suppose.)

This was such an interesting perspective, I had to touch on it with my healers. You see, the Alvians are as human as the rest of us, and began growing jealous when one tribe had stronger healers than another. To defuse infighting when marriages were arranged that tied up the strongest lineages, they began to broker mating deals.

Alvian customs don’t allow them to marry and Athadia is meant to rejuvenate her race by making herself available to the best Alvian men she can find. This goes directly against the way Vaun was raised. Conflict! I love conflict.

Finding a workaround taxed my tiny brain and none of my unknowing mentors stepped in to help. Luckily, Fate had a plan.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Dani's World, Uncategorized

Laws Of The Land

The Healer came about accidentally, and I guess was inspired by character—Vaun, to be precise. I had an image of a primitive Celtic-like warrior leaping off a cliff and I went from there.

Of course he dropped into the fray immediately and of course there was a woman involved because I’m all about the romance. But I quickly stalled, not knowing what kind of book I was writing. Highland historicals were popular, but that sounded like a lot of research for someone with little kids and very little writing time. Plus, my heroine had just started healing the wounds of the men who were fighting so…yeah, I had something else on my hands.

handssm

It sounds like a cheat to just make up a fake world, and yes, I was looking for a shortcut, but I quickly realized it’s not as easy as it seems. For starters, you still need rules that govern the world, similar to our irrefutable physical laws like gravity.

So right away, I was forced to decide whether the heroine heals involuntarily, in which case she can’t control who she heals and therefore neither can I. (What a pain.) Or is it voluntary, in which case she could withhold her power—so why is she valued as a slave and why are they using her to heal themselves in the middle of the opening battle scene?

I settled on making the healing a conscious effort, a skill that it takes practice to hone and govern, and because Athadia is very learned and powerful, she takes vows to make herself stronger. Therefore she is compelled to heal anyone who wishes it—and she can’t heal anyone who refuses. Haha, now I had some plot control.

The vows became very convenient since breaking them weakens the Alvians. And Vaun, being a half-blood with no awareness of his talent was a lot of fun to develop.

The ability to heal is actually the only fantasy element in my story—aside from the ore that also acts on the strength of their gift. But there were still a million and one decisions in terms of geography, culture, level of technology (I chose medieval—historicals are still popular, wink!) and politics.

Fortunately, the one thing I didn’t have to invent from scratch was the romantic conflict. Seems no matter what kind of world humanoids populate, they manage to carry emotional baggage that prevents them from falling in love without a few travails along the way.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dani's World, Uncategorized

The Fantasy Folk Visit LR Cafe TODAY

lrcritasmgoldj

The Fantasy Folk are visiting Love Romances Café TODAY (Friday, May 3rd). There’ll be plenty of talk, blurbs and excerpts, giveaways, publishing interviews (Champagne’s Senior Editor and the Executive Assistant to the Publisher), recipes, a free Champagne Cookbook for download, and a few special author posts.

Click the icon above to join the Love Romances Café Yahoo Group to participate in the Fantasy Folks’ Day at the Café. See you there!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

World Building, Vampires, The Aegis, and Release Day

the aegis ecoverThe Aegis, my vampire paranormal will be released today by Champagne Books. Since the villains are common – VAMPIRES – world building involved balancing the vampire villains with a group of heroes who hunt them. Both exist in the mundane world as we know it, but are governed by certain rules – like invitations to enter someone’s home. Everyone has his or her own ideas about vampires. Even about whether vampires are evil or not. I mean, really, somebody sucking your blood out of your living body doesn’t make for good friends.

My Light Warriors, all of them gorgeous and practically immortal, battle the evil vampires, who are not-so-gorgeous and smell like road kill. Of course, it’s a romance, so the heroine is a beauty who has no idea about her heritage as a vampire hunter, especially one who occasionally sprouts fangs herself. Melinda is surrounded by folks who know what’s going on with her as she prepares to take her place at her lifemate’s side, except, of course, Melinda herself. The humor of her situation is balanced by the danger that surrounds her and the Light Warrior who has pledged to protect her until she can become his Shield Bearer.

Check out the cover by Petra and blurb for The Aegis. Click the cover or HERE to read an excerpt or buy.

DividerJ

Melinda Kildare, antiquarian and rare book dealer extraordinaire, returns to her shop after an estate sale with a massive, sealed barrel. Too late, she discovers that the Aegis medallion that traps her head-first in the bottom of the barrel is the bait used by a family of vampires to capture and enslave women of power.

Light Warrior Damian Sinclair who has battled the Dark Ones for centuries answers Melinda’s call—the Call of a lifemate. While protecting her from the Dark Ones who pursue her relentlessly, he introduces her to passion, love, and her heritage as a Shield Bearer of the Light.

Will they find happiness as they unite to fight the Dark Ones or fall victims to the Dark forces ranged against them?

out_of_the_darkness_300siRita






“Celebrating Romance Across the Ages”
ritabay.com with Rita Bay’s Blog

“The Aegis” Champagne Books, April, 2013
“Her Teddy Bare” Champagne’s Carnal Passions, May, 2013
“Search & Rescue” Secret Cravings, July, 2013
“Finding Eve” Champagne Books, September, 2013
“Into the Lyons’ Den” Champagne Books, 2012
“His Obsession” Siren BookStrand, 2012
“His Desire” Siren BookStrand, 2012

3 Comments

Filed under Rita's World