Monthly Archives: January 2013

Angel of worldbuilding! Guest blogger Viki Lyn – plus a chance to WIN Sins of Lust.

Standard

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Viki Lyn, author of a series of contemporary and paranormal m/m hits including Out of Bounds, Last Chance, Fighting Chance, and her amazing new fantasy release, Sins of Lust.  For a chance to WIN a copy of Sins of Lust all you need to do is leave a comment, remembering to include your email when prompted (emails will not be displayed.) Over to Viki!

***

Sins of Lust 200Last year, I received a request from Ellora’s Cave to submit a story. I was thrilled but didn’t have anything to submit. The editor was kind enough to leave the invitation opened ended, which gave me freedom to write something fresh and new. I’ve been toying with writing about angels and demons, but like most of my paranormals, I wanted a twist. I went a few months without any idea what to write when suddenly a thought came to me: What if an archangel broke one of God’s commandments? How would he be punished for his sin? So when Thou shall not kill popped into my mind, I had to go with it.

My angel world consists of the Hierarchia, seven of God’s archangels that form the ruling body of heaven. Razi-el and Uri-el are part of this political body and also soul mates. When Razi-el kills to save Uri-el from a demon, he has to be punished. Not even an archangel can break God’s law and get away with it.

The story begins with his punishment – the Cleansing – which strips an angel of his wings. If the angel gives into his bloodlust, he’s cast into Hell but if he controls it, he becomes a Protector – a being that kills for angels. The kicker – the angel not only loses wings but his memories, including his name.

As above, so below – this is a famous Hermetic saying that I incorporated into my story. The issues you find on Earth, you find thriving in the heavenly cities, and sometimes, even inside the Hierarchia. There is prejudice, social divisions, rigid laws that at times don’t seem fair. Not everything is as it seems on the surface. Just like life here on our planet.

Since this story has so many imaginary terms and word usage, I wanted readers to feel comfortable with the settings. So I chose a classical feel for the heavens. I have an affinity for Greek and Roman architecture, having traveled to these places. Caelestia is mapped out similar to the Seven Hills of Rome. I also have a scene where Uri-el and Izar travel to Egypt. I was able to incorporate a temple on an island that I had visited a few years ago. Many descriptions in this book are derived from my travel experiences.

Here’s a link to SoL glossary of terms.

This was a fun story to write with its mystery and intrigue and lots of sexy angst and hot sex. Yep, lots of sex because I wrote it for the Cave! I’ll leave you with a blurb and excerpt, and don’t forget to post a comment for a chance to win Sins of Lust!

Blurb:

Thou shall not kill.

For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.

As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.

Scroll on for an exciting excerpt!

Read the rest of this entry

Training the Eye

Standard

2013-01-14 Ancient_Greek_Lol_Cats_by_Typthis

There’s a common misperception that fantasy is about the imprecise, the ephemeral, the unknowable, and therefore the usual rules of writing and art do not apply.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, in fantasy, one must be more precise in order to create a plausible otherworld.

That’s all well and good, and many, many articles and books talk about worldbuilding with an emphasis on how to create fantasy worlds that capture readers’ imaginations.  But how do we develop that precision?

In learning to draw, the phrase “training the eye” refers to learning how to see so that one can reproduce what one sees.  The student learns concepts such as negative space (it is sometimes easier to draw the outlines of what isn’t there in order to get at what is there) as well as light and shadow.  In writing, we can learn to hone our descriptive skills in much the same way.

Close your eyes and imagine a room in your home.  It matters less which room, than that the room actually exists.  Now, imagine you are standing in the doorway of your room and look to the left.  In slow motion, look around the room in clockwise direction, slowly enough that you see everything in your mind’s eye.  Then look up at the ceiling, then down at the floor.

Set a digital timer or the one on your cell phone for five minutes.  Now, take out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil and quickly, working off the top of your head, write down a list of everything you see.  Keep going until the timer stops; if you forget anything, just jump forward from where your eyes are currently and write down the next thing you do remember.  Try to keep the pen moving for the entire five minutes.

Try this same exercise tomorrow.  See what’s different about your memory the 2nd time around.  Then try a different room.

Next, write a one page narrative using this room.  Write it from the point of view of a character entering it for the first time.  Maybe they’re there to buy the house.  Maybe they’re an alien or a foreign creature who happened on the house.  Maybe they’re a dog or cat.  Whatever the case, use details from your list to salt and pepper your description.

The more realistic details you can put into your scenes, the more real they’ll feel to the reader.  This exercise segues well into creating a world that doesn’t really exist.  The more clearly you can see the otherworld in your mind, the more details you can put down on paper, the better able to season your description you will be.


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora

Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
Team Blogs: Nightlight | The Writers Retreat Blog | Beyond the Veil | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out “Taking a Chance“, part of the Charity Sips 2012 to benefit NOH8, available from Torquere Books.
Watch for COOK LIKE A WRITER, coming February 2013 from the Guerrilla Chicks.
Watch for TIGER TIGER, coming July, 2013, from Samhain Publishing.

Slash is nothing new- Arthurian romance and tragedy

Standard
Slash is nothing new- Arthurian romance and tragedy

The Arthurian legends came about because of an interesting fusion of Southern French cultural values and Celtic/Welsh legends mixed in with a vernacular history of Wales after the fall of Rome, all stewed together in the interesting melting-pot of late 11th century Brittany. French and English writers in the 12th century added onto that inheritance from the folk culture of Brittany/Wales, creating the first true novels in Western literature.

A character called Galehaut shows up in the early versions, especially in the anonymously-written Lancelot-Grail, but he is increasingly sanitized, and then completely erased from later versions of the story.

Galehaut is the Lord of the Stranger’s Isles. He is the son of a great king and a giantess. This only gives him a small advantage in height and strength, and does not show otherwise, although he has conquered more than thirty other kingdoms since taking the crown.

When the story starts he has begun the invasion of Camelot, and he sees Lancelot fighting incognito on the battlefield. Immediately, Galehaut stops the war to find out who this knight is. It is, in fact, love at first sight. He realizes that Lancelot cannot love him, but he abandons everything to be beside him, even acting as chaperone when the great knight and the queen go on romantic assignations. Foolishly, Arthur believes that having a third party along will stop any improper relations.

Lancelot is beloved and desired by all. Arthur, when asked by Galehaut what he would do for his companion, says that he would share anything with Lancelot, except, of course, the queen. Making himself into the ultimate patsy. One of the other knights, by the name of Gauvain (who was a womanizer in the medieval literature) then says, ‘If God were to give me all the health I desire, I would want to be the fairest damsel in the world, in robust good health, as long as he loved me above all others, just as I would love him’.

If anyone reading the story had somehow missed the erotic gay subtext up until then… they probably got it after that one.

In the end, though, Galehaut does what all tragic heroes do… he hears that the one he loves above all has died (even though Lancelot is still fine), and wastes away until he is dead himself. Lancelot doesn’t spend a lot of time mourning this fact, and instead devotes himself completely to Guinevere, which of course hastens the downfall of the kingdom. You really have to wonder if Camelot would have done better if Lancelot had decided to go for Galehaut instead… Then Arthur would have had two legendary knights at his disposal when trouble came, instead of none.

After Arthur is gravely wounded, Guinevere goes to a convent and becomes a nun, telling Lancelot that she will never see him again. Lancelot goes to a monastery. When Lancelot dies he asks to be buried beside his truest friend and companion… Galehaut. Not Guinevere.

Galehaut eventually gets the moral and physical victory, although at great cost to himself. However, if you look at it, nobody really had a great time- not Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Lancelot, or any of the cast and crew of Camelot.

The funny thing is, medieval writers spent a LOT of time saying ‘Oh, these knights love each other MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD! But, they’re not gay. NO!’

I wonder if then, as now, there was a tendency to ship your favourite characters. It seems to be built right into the literature.

The picture featured here shows Lancelot and Guinevere kissing across Galehaut’s lap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Brittany

http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/TourArtGen.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galehaut

And, for your listening pleasure- Mordred’s Lullaby, by the ever-talented Heather Dale