Tag Archives: Fantasy

Hello, my name is Dori

I have the short-term memory of Dori. I have trouble keeping my own kids’ names straight. How on Earth did I manage to write two fantasy novels? Seriously, I’m asking.

Think about it – with a fantasy novel, you have to create a whole new world with a history, cultures, geography, government. And all this is just the setting, you also have to keep characters and story arcs straight.

I have talked to other fantasy writers, seen interviews. Many keep binders with detailed maps, character profiles, history and legend outlines. Yeah, I should do that.

In real life I’m a planner. I like to have goals. I like to make lists and cross things off as I accomplish them. I like to know what’s in store. But in my writing life – it doesn’t work that way. I can make all the plot plans I want, in the end my characters run the show. I’ve learned it’s best to go where they lead rather than try to fight them.

So how are all these characters, story arcs, history, geography, and cultures all fitting together in a cohesive story? The universal search function in Word certainly helps. Can’t remember if the soldier, Duncan, has a beard or not? Run his name & I can find his every reference in my manuscript. Best function ever.

And I do keep notes, sketch maps. They’re scribbled in chicken scratch on old envelopes and various other scraps of paper, crammed into a dilapidated journal, but they’re there if I ever need to refer to them.

But mostly I think my characters must know what they’re doing. The pictures in my head play out, the pieces fit together, and the result is an entertaining story that takes the reader to a whole new world. The magic of imagination.

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Go Go Nano!

I’ve been a terrible WOTI member lately. I blame the fact I have a multiple personality disorder writing-wise. (Don’t we all, I hear you say.)

In this case I’m talking about what I choose to write. Back before I  published, out of a certain frustration with the industry, I began writing whatever I darned well pleased. One of those manuscripts was The Healer, which has landed me here, with this wonderful group.

Most of my other work is contemporary romance for Harlequin which has kept me crazy busy lately and thus unable to pursue the fantasy writing I also love.

I would be thrilled if I could say, “But that’s okay, I’m writing one for Nano.” For those of you who haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month, where writers accept the challenge (for bragging rights and the satisfaction of a completed manuscript) to complete a fifty-thousand word novel in the month of November.

I think you can also do one in April. You know what? You can do one whenever you want. The word Nano is a commonly accepted, writing-related noun these days. Eg. “I’m doing a mini Nano until I finish this book.”

Sadly, I’m not doing any kind of Nano at this time, but I did want to cheer on those who are and point to the upper left of this post as a brass ring  NaNoWriMongers can reach for.

The Healer is a lot longer than fifty thousand words. (Um, 120 plus, I think. Yeah, you get your money’s worth on that one.) But it sat on my hard drive in bits and pieces for a long time until I gritted my teeth and finished it one snowbound November about six years ago.

Today it is a 2014 Epic eBook Awards Finalist and–even though I can’t take any credit–happens to also be a Finalist in their Ariana cover contest as well. The genius cover artist, Petra Kay, would probably have other awards without my taking up the Nano challenge, but she wouldn’t have this particular one, so maybe I can take a little credit.

What I’m really saying is, if you happen to be one of those keeners who took up the challenge this year and are now a week in and your courage is flagging… Hydrate, eat something healthy, do some jumping jacks in the cool, fresh air, then get thee back to thy writing desk.

Great things can happen, I promise you. At the very least, you will have finished a book and let me tell you, that in itself is enormously satisfying.

Go Go Nano!

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Shared Whispers – Dani Collins

I admit it, I completely dropped the ball on my post. It’s been insanely busy at the day job and last night, Thursday, when I got home from work and had a few hours, I made the executive decision to spend them with my husband. If I had entered my office, I would have seen my giant note that said, WOTI BLOG. As it was, I got up this morning and went straight to work and the company golf tourney. Blog, sadly, was overlooked.

However, I’ve been longing for my turn to talk about how I was roped into doing the Shared Whisper project. Mike Davis, a fellow author at Champagne Books, suggested this theme for an anthology. It was an opportunity to showcase author voices, provide a sample of our work, and the idea was to offer it as a KDP Select title, for free, simply as a promotional tool.

All of the stories are full, original stories, not excerpts that demand you buy the book to find out what happens. I didn’t have any books out yet when I wrote my contribution and it seemed like a wonderful way to reach readers. (Still seems like it.)

After we did our ninety day stint with KDP Select, Mike–who is a Godsend–sent it along to Champagne Books, who snapped it up. This was very heartening as, even though I don’t expect to make a mint of my one-sixteen of the profits, I believe their improved distribution will help us find our readers.

As for my actual contribution, I agonized when writing it. I’ve never written shorter formats than fifty thousand words and this was more like twenty. I wanted this story to evoke something of The Healer but it was due to come out with Champagne at the time and Shared Whispers was an independent project. That meant I couldn’t parasitically adapt the exact world of The Healer for my short story.

I came up with Saratta. And Magi and Vilander. It was fun! Not nearly enough room to explore all that I wanted of their world and characters, but someday I hope to get back to it.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll visit their troubled country and enjoy it enough to consider purchasing The Healer, which is the kind of world building and character development I wish I could have accomplished with Heart Of A Rebel.

Here’s a quick excerpt from Heart Of A Rebel:

Vilander found his arms going around Magi’s womanly shape, pulling her close as he absorbed that he was inordinately glad to see her.  Despite the chaos the bird had caused, he’d been gripped by an urge to laugh from the moment she had walked in.  She looked the same as he remembered, only mature and prettier.

Her breath clouded against his neck in a suppressed sob and his happiness took a dip into something disturbing.  It had been a long time since he’d held a woman and she was receptive and warm and smelled clean and sweet.  Her hair tickled his jaw in the way only a woman’s could do.  Her breasts flattened on his chest, making him want to cup and test their weight and seek the hardened tips with his thumb and mouth.  Her skirts tangled his legs while her limbs trustingly parted for his own.  It was too much to bear.

He ground his teeth against his natural reaction.  He didn’t have time for a tryst.

And she wasn’t the kind who welcomed them.

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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.

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Being Evil

Some of my favorite characters to write are the evil ones. I’m not sure what that says about me, but it’s true.

Evil characters are often driven in their purpose, and so it’s pretty easy to figure out how they will handle any given situation. They will do whatever it takes to attain their goal and they don’t usually get hung up on the moral implications that might make a ‘normal’ character waver.

What really makes writing villains interesting is coming up with their back story. What makes them so evil? Nothing boring, that’s for sure. I think the best villains are the ones that have a good reason for doing what they do. Magneto tries to dominate regular humans because they have mistreated mutants for decades. Luke in the Percy Jackson series betrays the gods because his father, Hermes, abandoned him and his mentally ill mother. The evil ambassador in my fantasy series plots to take over the world because he feels his people are superior intellectually and spiritually. They’re evil, but they give you something to think about.

There’s also something cathartic about playing the villain. If I’m in a really rotten mood, I can just put on my villain suit, cackle wickedly, and behave badly (on paper, that is). I do this and diabolical dialogue and plots come easily. So do murder scenes, which is a bit unsettling.

Should I really be good at describing the sound a bat makes when it hits a person’s skull full swing? What made me think of that serial killer’s twisted M.O.? How long before the FBI comes knocking at my door for researching how car bombs are made? Sometimes I feel like I need a shower (and a lawyer) after writing in a bad guy’s point of view.

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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!

http://www.facebook.com/AudraMiddletonAuthor/

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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Olga Godim’s 777 Challenge

Here are 7 lines from page 7, starting at line 7 of my fantasy novel Almost Adept. Actually, there are 9 lines, because my writer’s inner self wouldn’t allow me to cut a paragraph in midstream, but that’s a small technical detail. Don’t mind it.

The novel is scheduled for release from Burst Champagne in January 2014.

The story follows the adventures of a young mage Eriale. In the beginning of the story, she turns an obnoxious young man Gordin, who attempted to rape her, into a muttonhead (head only). Now she is in trouble.

Books never betrayed her. They were friends. She understood them. Unlike some conniving, bleating sheep. Her breathing shortened at the memory. Blast Gordin anyway! He had caused her to lose control, and now she was in deep shit.
As always, magic rushed in, soothing her agitation, placating her jumbled thoughts. Like a living creature, it sought an outlet, as yet unshaped into a spell but full and vivid; a cloud of sparkling energy. Eriale was always more comfortable with magic than with people. She often landed in trouble because of her magic too. Now she shaped the magic into a flock of illusionary winged sheep and released them into the evening sky outside the window. The sheep flew away, their wings pumping furiously.
“Ha!” she said and yanked her attention back to her problem.

I tag Kathy Trueman for the next 777 post.

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The Healer 7,7,7 Challenge

We’re cooking along with our 7,7,7 challenge, but I have to admit I’ve lost track of who tagged me in.

Also, I’m cheating. My next fantasy project is still in my head so my snippet is from p.7 of The Healer. Vaun has discovered a camp of Shote traders. They appear to have one of his Kerf women captive.

For a Kerf, however, all men would fight. And if she happened to belong to one of the families wavering between Shote and Kerf loyalty, her return would draw her people closer to his. Yes, they needed to free her, but after nightfall. He and Chador would do it. A raid it would be, but a stealthy one.

Below, the Shotes shuffled over the loose red stones, creating flat beds, coming to the woman for their meal and making remarks in lewd tones. 

You can find buy links off my website here and I believe I’m tagging R.J. Hore for the next 7,7,7.

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Welcome to Our Worlds of the Imagination & Happy Holiday

Welcome to Worlds of the Imagination, the home of the Fantasy Folk, a group of authors who read, write, and love scifi/fantasy. Tomorrow, we begin regular posts on our new blog. Those posts will reflect our various interests. As the author of fantasy worlds filled with vampires, Light Warriors, shapeshifters, and mythological figures, I’m interested in world building, mythology, culture, and history, especially the more risqué aspects you won’t find in a history book. Mondays are mine. Please visit often (the FOLLOW icon in the left column) and comment when you’re here. Click on our name icons to visit our webpages or on our book covers to read an excerpt or buy. Until tomorrow, a bit about Easter.

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In the Christian religion, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter for western Christians occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Easter is a major Christian holiday that is celebrated through religious services and traditions that have evolved over the centuries.

One tradition is the exchange of cards with Easter symbols and messages. My ancestors, packrats all, must have saved every card they ever received. I plan to share some of their vintage postcards occasionally. The Easter card above dates to about 1910. The cards were filled with Christian symbols. Eggs have been a symbol of spring since ancient, pre-Christian times. An egg is also a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ arose from the dead. A chick, soon to hatch out of the egg, also symbolizes new life or re-birth. The lambs represent Jesus, “the Lamb of God.” The child leading the lamb is also a symbol of new life.  For a risqué Easter card, check out my webpage HERE. Ignore the trashy bling on my webpage – I have a book release tomorrow

Tomorrow, My first Monday post—The Aegis.

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

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