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

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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!

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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

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Training the Eye

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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

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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

Guest post by Kevin Klehr

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Welcome to Kevin Klehr, whose first novel has just come out from a pro publisher, after having been picked up by them from the self-published version. He’s here to talk about the journey from self to pro publishing:

From Self-Published to Book Deal

 

 

About ten years ago I started writing a fantasy novel on Thursday nights, as that was the only free time I had (My partner, Warren, had started playing tennis on those nights).

It was handwritten in a journal and called Staging Life. I had written about five chapters when a friend bought me a ‘How to Write’ book for my birthday.

The first paragraph of this How To book clearly told me that if I was writing without my plot being clearly laid out, to stop right away! I made a chapter by chapter story outline, but this totally killed the creative process. The journal was then left in the bottom drawer.

Several years later a young man captured our hearts (no, not in the way you’re thinking). He was charming, charismatic, and just needed a little help in learning to love himself as a gay man. Warren secretly lent him my unfinished manuscript, which he returned to me enthusiastically. He demanded I finish it. So I did. Within months a novella was born.

The first draft was taken to an assessor who loved my style of writing, but pointed out some major flaws. Like the main character in The Great Gatsby, my protagonists watched drama unfold around them, but were not directly affected. Secondly, she thought that the love interest between my two main characters which happened out of the blue in the last chapter, should be the main focus of the whole novel.

Thirdly, she didn’t like my first chapter. A fantasy telling of Warwick and Allan’s life up to the point to which they die. She found two problems with this. Firstly, the real world was as fanciful as the Afterlife. No clear distinction between the two realities. Secondly, she made me realise that how they died should be one of the mysteries that should be told in flashback. Keep the audience guessing!

One thing she did like was the fact that my main character was sometimes inappropriate in social circumstances. She told me to make this his main personality flaw and pointed me toward Joe Keenan’s My Blue Heaven. In her words she said ‘turn up the ‘tude’.’ This was very good advice.

I kept using her as my assessor for two more drafts, finally taking the novella to novel length. Eight drafts later my self-published novel was finally born (after many many rejection letters from publishers).

Along the way there were two mistakes I made that might be worth mentioning for young players. The first I didn’t go through with, but it’s so important to note.

One publisher was interested in my book. When I looked over the contract, one thing that stood out was my lack of control over my own copyright. I’ve worked in broadcast media, so copyright law is something I know a bit about. In this contract, not only did they want exclusive world rights, they also wanted me to write to them and seek their permission if I wanted to write anything in the future. Plus, only they would have the right to end the contract, even if I desperately wanted to.

A lawyer also pointed out that their payment of royalties was far below the industry standard. Once I asked this publisher a few questions, they dropped the publishing deal like a hot potato.

My second mistake was using a different assessor for one of my drafts. One publisher (in fact, many) loved my writing style but not the uncommercial nature of my book. They suggested a few ideas on making the plot more sellable, after only reading the first chapter. So I decided to use them to assess my novel (as a backdoor way of getting them to read the whole manuscript).

This is my mistake – I rewrote the book taking on their ideas, but those ideas didn’t really work in the context of the whole story. My partner suggested that I simply should have sent the most recent draft, but I was desperate for a publishing deal. Five hundred dollars later they criticised the novel in its new form, making me wish I’d listened to my husband.

Even my psychic (don’t laugh, she’s extremely good) looked at me sternly while we were talking about something completely different, and asked “What did I do with that woman!” She was referring to my original assessor. I said that I was just getting another opinion to which she replied “She understands what you’re writing about!”

 

The book was out for three months from late September 2010, but I had problems getting local bookstores in Australia to stock it, as it was too costly for them to import from the UK. This is where fate stepped in. I researched self-publishing companies in the US, but also stumbled across a couple of publishing houses who hadn’t had the chance to reject my novel. One of them was Charles River Press.

 

It was Sunday. I was home alone. I read my email. There was a complimentary message from a publishing house that liked my first chapter and wanted to know if I wanted a publishing deal. I stared at the laptop screen and said “Hell, yes!” (I actually used another word for ‘Hell’, but you get the idea). Within two days I had a contract to sign.

 

For the first three months of 2012 I stripped back my over-written style; deleted scenes and added fresh plot twists, under the guidance of my assigned editor. I was unemployed at the time, so this was my 9 to 5 gig each working day.

 

Another tip for writers – trust your editor. When her first suggestions were emailed to me, I wanted to scream. “She doesn’t get the book!” I complained to my husband. But as I read the reworked novel to myself over three days, I realised she was right in her advice.

 

This has been a long process. Maybe eight years. I’ve both grown as a person and learned a lot along the way.

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Acid Ants, Emperor Nero, and Dark Space – interview and giveaway with Lisa Henry!

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Crossposted from kayberrisford.com

I’m thrilled to welcome Lisa Henry, author of m/m smash hits Tribute and The Island. Lisa’s been kind enough to answer some questions about her amazing new books, writing damaged and desperate characters, and the joys and pitfalls of living in the tropics – namely, Brisbane, Aus!

Q. You have two new books out, both of which I can’t wait to HeIsWorthy_600x400read! Please tell us a bit about them.

He Is Worthy is part of Riptide Publishing’s Warriors of Rome series. And here’s the blurb:

Rome, 68 A.D. Novius Senna is one of the most feared men in Rome. He’s part of the emperor’s inner circle at a time when being Nero’s friend is almost as dangerous as being his enemy. Senna knows that better men than he have been sacrificed to Nero’s madness — he’s the one who tells them to fall on their swords. He hates what he’s become to keep his family safe. He hates Nero more.

Aenor is a newly-enslaved Bructeri trader, brutalised and humiliated for Nero’s entertainment. He’s homesick and frightened, but not entirely cowed. He’s also exactly what Senna has been looking for: a slave strong enough to help him assassinate Nero.

It’s suicide, but it’s worth it. Senna yearns to rid Rome of a tyrant, and nothing short of death will bring him peace for his crimes. Aenor hungers for revenge, and dying is his only escape from Rome’s tyranny. They have nothing left to lose, except the one thing they never expected to find–each other.

Straight from the Roman Empire to a space station! My latest release is LH_Dark Space_coverinDark Space, from Loose Id.

Brady Garrett needs to go home. Brady’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. Brady is angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.

Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless — the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.

Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.

Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.

Q. Okay, so broadly generalizing, Dark Space is sci-fi, He is Worthy is historical, The Island is contemporary, and Tribute is fantasy. So you’re awesomely flexible – *g*! Which, if any, was your fave genre to write and do any themes unite all Lisa Henry books?

This is like asking me my favourite colour. Or movie. Or song. Give me half an hour and I’ll give you an entirely different answer. Or twelve entirely different answers. That’s the best thing about being a writer. You’re allowed to go wherever your imagination wants.

I love historical, but it’s a challenge to write. There is a lot of research and fact checking involved, so it usually takes longer to get right. Also, with m/m romance there is a very fine line between wanting to stay true to historical attitudes, and wanting your guys to get an HEA. Not in all societies and cultures, certainly, but I’ve read a lot of historical stuff lately where there are public displays of affection that just don’t seem like they would have occurred when there was a risk of arrest, public shame, or even worse.

Fantasy is great because all the world building is your own, and there isn’t much research to do. If you want to have flying cars and dinosaurs in the same story, go for it!

The same goes for sci-fi. I tried to make Dark Space “realistic” in the sense that I don’t think there’s any technology in there that seems that weird. And the stuff that is — the alien stuff — scares the hell out of the humans. Dark Space is not really about pew-pew aliens and space ships. Space was just the perfect setting because it’s vast and claustrophobic at the same time. I would love to write a space opera though, because those seem like fun!

Contemporary is much lighter on the research than historical. Also, I like that it gives me a chance to be a bit patriotic and throw some Aussie boys into the mix which I hadn’t been able to do before The Island. And, I have to say, the thing I loved best about The Island was that my editor let me keep this exchange between my Australian and my American, despite that fact that I bet a huge chunk of people didn’t get the cricket reference:

“At least when we have a world series, we’re not the only country in it.”

“The World Series was named after a newspaper. At least we don’t play for ashes!”

If anything unites all my books, I guess it’s that I love writing about damaged and desperate characters. If they’re not damaged and desperate at the start of one of my books, they sure as hell will be by the end. I think that to really understand what a character is made of, you have to tear him apart first.

Hmm. That seemed less brutal in my head. But I promise I’m a nice person in real life.

Q. You once told me you’re a history nerd – yay! Did you have LH_Tribute_coverlgfun with the research for He is Worthy – oh, and how about Tribute? When I was reading and loving that one, I had some pretty vivid images from various ancient civilizations in my mind. Were any particularly inspiring?

I didn’t have to do too much research for He Is Worthy actually, since I absolutely love Ancient Rome and devour anything I can read on the subject. When I found out that Riptide wanted Roman stories it was like Christmas for me. Holy hell! Yes, I must do that!

Nero has always fascinated me. He was an absolute monster, but in some respects he’s like a child star. Surrounded by sycophants, spoiled rotten since childhood, a pushy stage mother, nobody ever tells him no…you know it’s going to end badly. I think it’s sometimes tempting to feel sorry for Nero, before you remember that a lot of innocent people died in a lot of hideous ways because of him. Everything that happens in He Is Worthy — the dressing up like a wild animal to attack slaves, the human torches, the castration of his “favourite” — comes from historical accounts.

With He Is Worthy, I had to do a quick refresher on dates and places and historical characters, but I think my knowledge of the period is fairly solid. I hope it is. At least nobody’s pointed out any clangers yet.

With Tribute I worked off a late Roman Empire vibe for Segasa, the warlord’s city. And Kynon was very much from the fantasy stock-standard feudal system. I wanted to mix it up a bit and have a clash of cultures. Also, it was fun to invent a society that was all high and mighty about political freedoms and philosophy on one hand, and horribly cruel on the other hand. Which I guess brings us back to the Roman influence again.

I think the main lesson from history is that it’s cruel. You don’t have to look very far back at all to see how inhumane most of humanity has been. The Romans had a saying: homo homini lupus. Man is a wolf to man. I don’t think much has changed.

Lisa's resident possum!

Lisa’s resident possum!

Q. You live in Australia! I love Australia with a passion and hope to go back next year, but I’m still going to ask the stock question first: what’s the weather like today, and do you have any giant spiders that eat people?

Oh my god. This heat is killing me! My house is like an oven at the moment, and the air conditioning is not even helping. My house used to be cooler than this, but two years ago Cyclone Yasi knocked down a bunch of trees — it’s okay, they landed on my neighbour’s roof, not mine — and now that side of the house cops the full sun in the afternoon. It is currently 1.30 pm, and 32 desires Celsius — that’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit according to my iPhone. Which would be okay if it got cooler at night. But tonight the temperate will drop to all of 26 degrees. That’s 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually the wet season has started by now, but so far we’ve had no rain at all to cool us down. On the plus side, that means no mosquitos.

I am not aware of any giant spiders that eat people. However, when I go to the beach I do swim in a net because of the danger of marine stingers. Those’ll kill you. And there are crocodiles. Those’ll kill you as well. And one of the most deadly snakes in the world — the taipan — is from this corner of the world. And, you guessed it, those’ll kill you. On a slightly less deadly note, when I first moved to North Queensland as a teenager, we had this lovely tree in our front yard that was just begging to be climbed…

Have you ever heard of green ants? They are also known as weaver ants, and they swarm you in seconds and start biting. With acid. They bite you with acid. So there I was on the footpath, screaming and frantically taking my clothes off when the postman arrived… Welcome to the tropics.

Q. According to your Loose Id bio you live in a house with too many pets. I’m going to pout and sulk now, because I live in cramped, wet England in a tiny flat that cost the earth, with room for only mould and moths as pets (my beloved moggy lives at my parents.) Make me even more jealous by tell us all about your animal friends, please!

I have an old yellow lab called Cleo, and three cats: Simba, Sam and Grub, all rescue animals. The plan for next year is to get chickens, not so much for the eggs, but just because chickens seem like fun!

My house is also infested with geckoes that live behind picture frames and come out at night to eat mosquitos, and possums who keep breaking in through the shutters to steal things, You’d think with a dog and three cats in the house that they’d be cautious, but apparently not. I’ve taken to keeping my bread and bananas in the microwave. I got home from night work the other night to find one perched above my bedroom door. People always tell you not to pick wild animals up. I think the fact that they hardly struggle anymore just goes to show that whether I like it or not they’re almost domesticated.

Oh, and there is a green tree frog who lives in the toilet. His name is Fidel Bonaventure Jumping-Castle . The second. We’ve reached an understanding now: I don’t scream when I see him, and he doesn’t try to get away when I relocate him to the windowsill every day.

Q. I was recently chatting with another LI author, and we agreed LH_Island_coverinthat in some ways writing has got harder since we got published. In other words, I wrote Bound for the Forest for myself, and it was great fun. Ever since then, I’ve been fretting about what the world thinks and wants. Is this experience familiar to you – and either way, any tips on keeping calm and carrying on?

Wait, we were supposed to keep calm? I’ve been freaking out this whole time.

This is absolutely true though. Your first book is your “I wonder if I can write a book” book. But then you get this thing called an audience, and that’s when the stage fright kicks in. Although I panicked most after The Island, which was my second book. So many people loved it so much for the twist, that I spent a long time worrying that I wouldn’t be able to live up to that again.

I think the solution is to keep doing what got us here in the first place — write what you would want to read. That’s all you can do, I think. Unless someone’s told you something different. Have they? Because I want to know the secret as well

Q. What can we forward to from the pen of Lisa Henry in 2013?

At the moment I’m co-writing a book with the awesome J.A. Rock. It’s been fun co-writing with someone. We got that first draft written in four weeks — we absolutely powered our way through it — and then it took another six to think up a title. And I wish I could tell you I was kidding about that. But we’re editing away now, and hopefully something will come of it.

I’m also working on an untitled (of course, because we know I suck at titles) contemporary set in Australia — yay! — about a Samoan-Australian police officer who is in love with the very damaged guy he rescued from a bad situation when the guy was still a teenager. Now, after years have passed and just when they might be at a place where they can act on their feelings, the past is going to come back and bite them in a big way. Except, being a total pantser, I haven’t figured any actual plot points yet…

There might also be another historical on the horizon, set in Wyoming in 1870. Cowboys, and bondage! Not that the two have to go together, but isn’t it so much fun when they do?

And I mentioned space opera, right? Because I have a very persistent plot bunny bouncing around in my brain going: “They’d be like the Borgias! But in space!” And you know I can’t ignore that forever! :)

Giveaway time!

To say thanks to Kay for hosting me on her blog, I’ll be giving away a copy of my latest ebook Dark Space. All you need to do is leave a comment, and in a week I will have a monkey draw a name out of a hat. The monkey is my eight-year-old nephew. His name is Tom. Last week he ate a gecko egg because he thought it was a lolly. He gets embarrassed whenever I tell that story, so of course I repeat it wherever I can.

You can buy He Is Worthy at Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or ARe.

You can buy Dark Space at Loose Id, Amazon, or ARe.And you can find my blog here. Or catch up with me on Twitter, or Goodreads.

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Thanks so much Lisa, I LOVE reading about damaged and desperate characters so no complaints here, and as a Brit, I even got the Ashes joke–honest! I’m glad I’m not the only one with a wildlife infested flat, but your frogs and possums win hands down over my moths, harvester spiders, and the occasional woodmouse! And ours don’t have such cool names.

So excited for ALL your WIPs!

Thanks to everyone who dropped by, and don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the draw to win Dark Space. Tom might pick you! :)

Fantasy Holiday Worldbuilding

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2012-12-10 post

I think one of the harder parts of worldbuilding is the development of a distinct cosmogony. George Lucas talked about that in reference to the philosophy in Star Wars. While it was based on Taoism, he said, it wasn’t enough of a philosophy to guide life. I can see what he means, from having written a couple new worlds. It’s difficult to create a fully-formed philosophy for a new culture, just as it’s a challenge to understand our current cultures and their varied expressions of religion.

On Persis, the planet where our novel Emerald Fire takes place, Rachel and I talked a lot about whether or not to have religion play a part and, if so, how large of one. For example, what does a funeral look like? Funerals and weddings are visible expressions of religion and their traditions are as varied as there are cultures on the planet. Did we want to do that on our planet? What religions did the settlers follow?

In the case of Persis, we decided to sidestep the whole issue and make them mostly Unitarian Universalist, with a visible similarity to Zen practices. This allowed us to have a priesthood that is under the radar and discrete. We do have Fundamentalists, in the Diggertowns, but their religion is more about being secretive than being religious. Other than that, we don’t have religion playing a large part in our world at all.

In a piece we’re working on, called Fear Not, we developed an entire cosmogony that is central to the plot. The creation myth has a direct effect on the plot because our characters were given their shifter forms by the goddess. Two goddesses, sisters, met two gods, brothers. The sisters both fell in love with the same brother and the one sister grew jealous of her sister’s love. The creatures they created started to war with each other, driven to it by the anger of their deity. The heroes were given their powerful animal shifter shapes by their patron deity in order to make more effective war. Religion is central to the culture in this story.

Each author resolves the situation in their own way for their stories. What are your favorite stories involving mythology? If you could create a world, what religion(s) would you give your characters?

Resources

“Philosophy and Religion in Star Wars,” Wikipedia entry, Accessed 12/09/2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_and_religion_in_Star_Wars

 


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

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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 TIGER TIGER, coming July, 2013, from Samhain Publishing.