Author Interview — Peter Blakely-Novis

library-419254_1920Today we’re giving a warm welcome to author Peter Blakely-Novis. Read on to learn about this exciting author.

  1. What would you like to tell us about yourself? My name is Peter Blakey-Novis, and I’m based in a small town on the southern coast of England. Although I’ve enjoyed writing as a hobby for as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until February 2017 that I released my first book. I’m fairly new to it all and am learning a lot as I go! I also co-run Indie Writers Review, a monthly digital magazine featuring book reviews, short stories, poetry etc.
  2. What genres do your writings fall under? What age group? Quite a mix, actually. I started out writing a novel, which is a femme fatale thriller along the lines of Fatal Attraction. This book (The Broken Doll) has a sequel which was released in August 2017. I have also written two collections of short horror stories, and at the other end of the spectrum, have a children’s book out which was co-authored by, and stars, my daughter.
  3. When and why did your start writing? I had an idea for a story back in March of 2016, which kept playing on my mind. I wrote a little when I had a bit of spare time, with no real thought as to what I’d do with it if I ever finished it! It came along slowly to begin with, until I needed minor surgery and was bed-bound for a few weeks. With little else to do I cracked on with the story and the end of it began to appear in the not-too-distant future.
  4. What other goals do you have for yourself? How do they fit with your writing?Writing has been a great way for me to get ideas out there, and has given me a real sense of accomplishment and pride. I’ve always been very wary of how I’m perceived by other people, and it took a lot of courage to show my work to others, but the feedback has been better than I could have imagined, and that helps build confidence in what I do.
  5. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? Reading is just as important as the writing, so I get through a couple of books a week. Aside from that, life is pretty busy with four children.
  6. What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral? My two novels are purely fictitious, perhaps a life-lesson in how fragile relationships can be when someone from outside decides to try and destroy it. The horror stories that I have written cover a range of sub-genres – some are creepy ghost stories, there’s one from the POV of a serial killer, and others are simply about people and their fears.
  7. Which of your characters is your favorite and why? Probably Ella, the antagonist from The Broken Doll. She was the most fun to write, anyway. Despite the trouble she causes, you can’t help pitying her a little, and wishing you could somehow save her.
  8. Which of your characters is your least favorite and why? I’m quite fond of all three of the main characters in The Broken Doll books, but there are quite a few despicable minor characters. I’d say Maggie, from book one, isn’t a person I’d like to hang around with.
  9. What genre is your favorite to read? I mostly read horror, much more so since writing my own. I’m keen on collections of short stories more than full-length novels, but I’m usually happy to read almost anything.
  10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? I would have been better prepared! I didn’t even look at what to do with the first book until it was almost finished. I knew nothing about self-publishing, or where to promote it. As a result, sales have been much better in the months following that first release, once I had a better idea of what I was doing.
  11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? Social media is now the only way that I promote, through my pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The novels have had good reviews, and I share these in book-related Facebook groups. I have tried paid advertising on Facebook and Amazon but it didn’t seem worthwhile. My horror books actually sell better than the novels, but I am involved in a number of horror-specific book groups, and learned how important it is to promote other peoples work just as much as your own. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have received some fantastic reviews on a number of blogs, as well as in Scream Fix magazine. For the children’s book, selling in person far outweighs online sales, so I attend school events such as summer and Christmas fairs.
  12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? All of my books are self-published, although I have had a few stories included in other anthologies, so I am able to put a book out there myself without the fear of rejection from a traditional publisher.
  13. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I currently have a few projects on the go. One is (probably) going to be a novella, about a young woman to kills someone but can’t remember doing so. It deals with some mental health issues and PTSD in particular. I have a few stories completed ready for my next collection of horrors, and I’m expecting that to be ready around June. I also have another horror book planned for later in the year, around novella length, but quite different to most books. My daughter is keen to release another children’s book, but I’m holding off until we have recouped the money spent on the illustrations!
  14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?The two novels are entirely fictitious, but a number of the landmarks in the books are easily recognized as being around my home town. The characters are not based on real people, although the main characters are quite similar to myself and my wife. Some of the horror stories are rooted in some past experience, for example Opened Up is a medical horror about an infestation, inspired by the surgery I had on my foot. There is one called Embrace the Darkness, which features a creature that I did have nightmares about when I was a child. So, although not ‘true stories’, they are partly based on real events.
  15. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? In the second Broken Doll book, something happens to one of the main characters. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it seemed inevitable from my point of view, yet I knew it would really affect the readers. It was a difficult chapter to write, but was the best fit for the story, and gave the whole tale a change of direction.
  16. How did you come up with the title? The Broken Doll refers to Ella, the seductive femme fatale. The title seemed to fit well, balancing her physical beauty with the fact she was severely damaged inside. Titles for the horror collections were simply enough; I chose my favourite short story and used that, hence they are called Embrace the Darkness and other short stories, and Tunnels and other short stories.
  17. What project are you working on now? As I mentioned earlier, I have a few projects on the go. The next for release though will be another collection of shorts.
  18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I’ve been very fortunate with the reviews I’ve received, with more than 90% of them being 4 or 5 stars. I did receive a 1 star review for The Broken Doll, although with no details written as to why. I happen to know the person that left it, which made it quite hurtful, but I managed to ignore it and focus on the good reviews. My favourite review described the Broken Doll as ‘incredibly well-written, an intense, gripping, and emotionally stirring read’ and featured on a blog.
  19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Keep at it! Get the book finished, check it over as many times as you can stand to, get other people you trust to read it before going public, and take on board any feedback – both positive and otherwise.
  20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Two years ago I never would have dreamed I’d be doing what I am now, so I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am to everyone that has taken the time to read my work, to those who have given me advice and helped promote my books, and an extra big thanks to those who take a moment to leave a review, or to recommend one of my books to their friends. It really does mean so much, and it keeps me motivated to put out more stories.
  21. Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? For the last four years my wife and I have been running a catering business. Unfortunately, my wife became ill at the start of 2017, and we had to close the business. Although financially challenging, this has given us the time to focus on getting my books out there. My wife was able to train as a graphic designer and together we began Red Cape Publishing, an umbrella for not only my books, but the magazine Indie Writers Review, the upcoming horror book subscription service Boxes of Blood, as well as her design work.
  22. If you could visit any time period, which one would it be? It would be a tough decision between the 1920s and the 1950s, there is something exciting about the clothing and music in those times.
  23. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? I’m keen to visit Japan, New Zealand, and Iceland. They are definitely my top three countries whenever that becomes possible. We enjoy city breaks, and visited Venice last year, with Budapest being next on the list.
  24. Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I haven’t travelled all that much, I don’t feel. Of course being in England, Europe is close enough for short breaks, and I’ve been to Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece. Out of these, going on a mountain safari day in Portugal with my eldest, and riding the gondola in Venice, are my fondest memories.
  25. Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? Both, I guess. My wife would definitely prefer me to be in a suit permanently, but once winter is out of the way I’m usually in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt!
  26. If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be? I’d have to take my daughter and visit SpongeBob Squarepants.
  27. If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be? Strangely, the first thing that came to mind was Water World, the Kevin Costner film. I do love being near the sea, so perhaps messing about on boats all day wouldn’t be too bad?!
  28. What’s your favorite comfort food? Pizza, with a variety of meats and plenty of jalapeno.
  29. If there was one food you could get rid of, which one would it be? Celery, no need for that ever!
  30. Who’s your favorite superhero? Deadpool appeals to my sense of humour, so probably him. Although I have enjoyed the more recent Batman movies.
  31. What’s your favorite holiday? Why is that one special to you? Christmas is the only real celebration that we do, and I’ve never really been that keen on it! That said, last Christmas we managed to go away for a few days, and we had a really great time so I may be starting to enjoy it more.
  32. What historical figure inspires you most? Anyone who has stood up for human rights, whether that be defying the Nazis, opposing racism and segregation in the second half of last century, as well as those that do so today. Most of these people have names we wouldn’t recognize, but have helped so many people – that’s something that is very inspiring.
  33. If you had to have a mythological creature as a pet, which one would it be? My daughter’s obsessed with unicorns at the moment, so if there was a way of getting a mythological creature it would have to be that (or I’d never hear the end of it!)
  34. What was your favorite stuffed animal as a child? Does this toy show up in your writing? I had a stuffed dog, imaginatively called Doggy, which apparently was bought just before I was born. He’s seen better days, but I still have him (actually my youngest does).
  35. What author would you most like to meet? If I had to pick, I’d probably say Stieg Larsson. I have a special hardback set of the Millennium Trilogy, and thought they were incredible. I’d also really like the opportunity to meet up with some of the fantastic Indie authors that I connect with online, but geographically we are quite spread out across the globe.
  36. You get to bring one of your characters into the real world. Which one is it and why? What do you hope to accomplish through your relationship with this character? It would have to be Ella from The Broken Doll. As I mentioned, there is an impulse to help her. However, there would be a risk, of course, as she is both unstable and dangerous.
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Gwennyth, Book Two

Aradia's Secret Cover with BookIt’s been a while since the release of Aradia’s Secret, and I’m finally getting started on book two. I’d welcome any opinions on the beginning below. (It’s unedited.)

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

As I stood at the end of the dock at the edge of the void, a ship appeared from the gray, hulking and dark. For a moment, I was aghast. I’d thought the captain to be without honor or concern for others, yet the ship loomed before me and made for the dock. I called to Vonner, who lurked just inside the trees, and he approached with some trepidation. I could understand that, for the last time Vonner had been on the ship he’d been a prisoner, kept chained at my request. How the captain would treat him now, I couldn’t say.

      The ship docked, and the gang plank fell. The thud shook the pier, and I stumbled. Vonner grabbed my arm to keep me on my feet, and we waited, breath held, for someone to speak. 

     “Ahoy!”

     It was the captain. He stood tall against the lights of the ship, and my heart leapt at his presence. 

     “Captain?” I called. “It’s good to see you.”

     The man made his way down the plank but stopped just short of stepping into the pier. I didn’t mind. Legend said the island was haunted, a place not visited by normal folk, and I knew the captain feared what might lurk in the depths of the forest.

     “Don’t get all misty-eyed on me,” the captain replied. “Business had me in this area, or I wouldn’t have bothered. If’n you still got coin, I can offer passage back to civilization.”

     I tried to keep the grin off my face and the relief out of my voice as I accepted his offer. Vonner and I had few possessions, so it was only a matter of a quick run back to Aradia’s cottage to grab our packs. In less than an hour, we were on board the ship and headed back into the void.

 

Author Spotlight — Michael Keyton

Today we’re welcoming author Michael Keyton. Read on to see what he has to say.

Tales from the Murenger, print 180 dpi‘Tales From The Murenger: Stories to darken the soul’ is collection of the weird and dark, its title inspired by one of Newport’s oldest pubs, likely the oldest with its origins in the C15th.

Most of the stories have been previously published in various British and American anthologies; in fact the first story, Mr Nousel’s Mirror’ was included in anthologist, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the year for 2011, along with works by Stephen King and Jack Ketchum.

With the various copyrights having reverted back to me I pondered how best to make them earn me a little more money. There was no problem in putting them together in a single collection, for they all had a central motif: every story was set in or around Newport and for good reason.

Newport, or my version of it, has become my ‘Arkham’ the Welsh equivalent of HP Lovecraft’s sinister creation. My Newport is a dark, seedy and magical city, the unimaginable just around the next corner . . . or the corner after that. So far no one has objected to the depiction. Perhaps they agree that ‘dark and seedy’ suggests fertility, and there’s no doubt Newport is magical, if you know where to look. Mind you, with cannibalism, seductive cats, rats where you don’t want them to be, and houses that possess more than your body, you may think twice before visiting the place.

The one problem I did have was choosing a name for the book. Tales from Newport . . . No, perhaps not; Tales from the Transporter Bridge . . . no — but I was getting there. I needed an icon, something everyone in the area would recognise, something once seen you immediately think – ghosts; something smelling of . . . beer. Good beer.

The Murenger immediately came to mind – which is not really surprising. I’ve been drinking there on and off for over thirty years. And what you see on the front cover is pretty much what you see on the street, though I can’t guarantee the ghostly smoke. After that it was a marriage made in heaven. Rob, ‘Mine host’ has a savvy media presence and the relationship became symbiotic—Rob marketing the book and me marketing his pub.

I suppose the point of this short piece – other than ‘selling’ a book – is if you have something on your hard-drive gathering dust, something that has previously been sold but you think deserves a fresh audience—go for it. The other equally important point is the need to think of a marketing angle. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – especially those conjured up by three or four pints – speaking of which, the kindle version at £2.35 is cheaper than a Murenger Pint of Sam Smiths, the paperback at £5 is about the price of a pint in London.

http://tinyurl.com/zs9vkpk

It’s Not Our World–Flora and Fauna

Grevared Vintage

I was fortunate enough to be able to talk with Jesper Schmidt of Fane of Fantasy on flora and fauna in fantasy world building. (Don’t judge. I’ve never done anything like that before.) One of the things we discussed was making sure the world made sense.

Now, while I agree that a fantasy world needs to make sense within itself, I don’t think it has to make sense in relation to our world. For example, trees growing in a place that’s always winter. That doesn’t work for our world, as even the harshest climates with flora thaw for at least a few weeks out of the year. However, in another world, this might be normal. The plants, animals, and people don’t have to follow the natural patterns we see in our own because it isn’t our world.

Take Grevared, for example. The entire world exists in a void space without celestial bodies. The plots of land are flat, and it’s perfectly possible to fall off the world. The world is able to exist because the gods take an active part in keeping it going. This isn’t something that’s necessarily discussed in the books, other than a mention here and there, but it’s how the world functions. The ‘normal’ laws as we perceive them from our world don’t always apply. Therefore, there may be plants and animals in places where they wouldn’t exist in our world.

I think it’s important that, as readers, we bear this in mind when we enter a world not our own. Sure, we want the world to make sense, but if all fantasy worlds are nothing more than mirrors of the world in which we live, then what’s the point of having a fantasy world at all? I know my love of fantasy comes, in part, from being able to go somewhere else, somewhere those pesky laws that limit our daily existence don’t always apply. I love being able to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride.

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

Author Spotlight – Fiona Hogan

author new picToday we’re shining the spotlight on author Fiona Hogan. Check out her great books below.

About the Author

Fiona Hogan is a writer, blogger, poet and editor living in beautiful County Laois in the midlands of Ireland. She is an Indie author and has four books published on Amazon – The Lights Went Out and Other Stories and What Happened in Dingle under the name Fiona Cooke Hogan, and Death Comes Calling and The Nightmare under her horror name of F B Hogan.

 

Let’s Connect

Find out about Fiona’s books on her Amazon Author Page

She writes about her work, nature, family life and anything that takes her fancy on her blog – Unusual Fiction

You can find her on Twitter and her writing page Fiona Cooke Hogan

She is also an editor and proofreader at The Editing Hub

Her editing page is  facebook – The Editing Hub

 

Books

paperbackThe Lights Went Out and Other Stories

An eclectic mix of flash fiction, short and longer stories. At times humorous, eerie and poignant; a mother burdened by financial troubles shares her problem with a stranger, a young couples’ journey to the airport takes a strange turn, a wedding anniversary in Dingle goes from bad to worse, a small dog is forced to change his ways, and a vampire hiding out in suburbia just wants to be left alone. Dip your toes into this quirky collection and find your favourite.

 

 

what happened in dingle coverWhat Happened in Dingle

Dingle was the place of their honeymoon. Ruth and Neil are back to celebrate a milestone in their marriage, their twentieth anniversary. Enjoy this funny, pub crawl of a tale set in the wilds of beautiful County Kerry.

 

 

 

death comes calling book coverDeath Comes Calling

Death comes calling and decides to stay. A selection of dark fiction for lovers of gothic horror. Pull the shutters and bolt the door. Keep the fire burning and the candles lit. Something is coming. Listen for the knock at the door but whatever you do, don’t let it in.

 

 

UnlucckyThe Nightmare

Seven cleverly crafted tales of gothic and contemporary horror to keep you awake at night. Ghosts and devils fight for a corner in this creepy collection of dark fiction, from the imagination of the author who brought you Death Comes Calling. Do you dare?

 

 

 

 

From the author who brought you Death Comes Calling (1)

Crazy Journey

Path to Victory BookThe past few years have been a bit hectic, and I think I fell into writing as much to preserve my sanity as any other reason. Now that things have settled down, and I have a schedule that doesn’t kill me, I’ve embarked on a plan to rewrite and re-release The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III. I have to say that I’m much happier with the new versions of the stories.

Book one, now titled Path to Victory, (Thank you to a seven-year-old reader of the original for suggesting it.) will release on June 19, 2018. The first three chapters are available to read on my website, and I’ve almost finished the rewrite of book two, Tainted Victory.

Tainted Victory BookI know a lot of people don’t like rewriting books, but I’ve found this to be quite enjoyable. I’ve been able to explore Ethan’s character and the world of Grevared much more than when I was first writing the stories. While I won’t rewrite the two adult books, Wolf in the Shadow and Aradia’s Secret, (mostly because they’ve already been done a couple of times), I think redoing Ethan will give me a better handle on the other books in the Gwennyth Grimsbane series and (okay, let’s not hold our breaths here) on the trilogy that started the world to start with (it takes place twenty years after Wolf in the Shadow).

Path's End BookThanks to those who’ve stuck by this crazy ride so far. I hope you’ll continue to do so.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

Author Spotlight – T. L. Shively

20170527_123517Let’s give a warm welcome to author T. L. Shively. Check out her exciting series below.

About the Author

My name is T.L. Shively. I am a wife and mother along with being a YA Fantasy author. I have always loved fantasy. I love comics, games, and anything that takes me to a place where I have never been. The characters in my book series were created when I was nine years old and have stayed with me my whole life. It took me a long time to bring their story out for everyone to read, but I am very glad I did. The Guardians have become a very big part of my life, and I hope that everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

I have two books published, working on book three in the series and a short story as well. I look forward to August where I will be attending an author signing event in Frankenmuth, MI with both my books and other surprises.

IMG_20170527_140042483The Guardians are seven teenagers who discover powers and a destiny that keeps changing on them. Descendants of Gods who are supposed to be sleeping and yet still manage to interfere with the lives of their children’s children. Join them on their journey as they discover who they truly are.

Let’s Connect

Facebook profile page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013421624985

Facebook like page: https://www.facebook.com/T.L.Shively/

Website: https://tlshivelyblog.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TL_Shively

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16066240.T_L_Shively

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/tlshively

1The Secret Sanctuary book links:

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9K2SID UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M9K2SID CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01M9K2SID AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01M9K2SID DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01M9K2SID

 

 

 

coverThe Town That Time Forgot book links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B8QX7TW

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-town-that-time-forgot

 

New Release–Corridors of the Mind

Corridors of the Mind RedThanks to all those who’ve made purchases recently. I appreciate the support.

I’m pleased to announce that Corridors of the Mind, an anthology of my horror short stories, is available as of June 1, 2018.

 

 

The human mind is filled with twists and turns that many fear to traverse. Buried within its depths lie deep secrets and hidden strengths that only come forth through necessity. Some thoughts are better left in those lonely grave, the cellars where even dreams dare not invade.

Travel these corridors, these lonely places, and walk where others fear to tread.

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D65ZNM4

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/830194

 Amber has no idea why her grandfather left her his house.

Is what Amy sees in the eyes of others real, or is it her own madness?

When Hannah buys a simple music box for her doll making, she gets more than she bargained for.

Ol’ Jeb thinks he’s gonna get room and board for free.

Jill loves to research folklore until she finds out that some things are best left in the past.

Victoria longs to know what’s behind the locked door. (Read for free on my website.)

 

Author Spotlight – J. S. Frankel

Today we’re welcoming author J. S. Frankel. Check out his work below.

About the Author

J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up there, receiving his tertiary education from the University of Toronto and graduating with a double major in English Literature and Political Science.

After working at Gray Coach Lines for a grand total of three years, he came to Japan at the age of twenty-six and has been there ever since, teaching English to any and all students who enter his hallowed school of learning.

In 1997, he married Akiko Koike. He, his wife and his two children, Kai and Ray, currently reside in Osaka. His hobbies include weight training, watching movies when his writing schedule allows, and listening to various kinds of music.

His novels, all for the YA set, include Twisted, Lindsay Versus the Marauders and it’s sequels, Lindsay, Jo, and the Tree of Forever, and Lindsay, Jo and the Well of Nevermore, all courtesy of Regal Crest Enterprises. He has also written the Catnip series (five novels), Mr. Taxi, The Titans of Ardana and its sequel, The Titans of Ardana 2: Battlefield, along with Picture (Im)perfect and more novels, courtesy of DevineDestinies.com.

Future projects for Devine Destinies include the final novel in the Titans trilogy, the final novel in the Just Another Quiet… trilogy, The Undernet, the re-release of Star Maps, and more. He is also the author of The Menagerie and The Nightmare Crew trilogy, all courtesy of Finch Books.

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessSFrankel

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JS-Frankel-AUTHOR-1458667077729037/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4859674.J_S_Frankel

 

THEUNDERNET2AZRAEL

In the depths of the Undernet, finding the light is an almost impossible task.

Milt Edwards, survivor of an incident that almost claimed his life six months previously, is back. He and his girlfriend, Roberta (Robbie) Jones, suffer from PTSD, attend counseling sessions, and try to work through their mental anguish.

Nothing helps, but then a friend of Milt’s is killed by the same person who designed the Undernet–Azrael. Milt faces his fears, once again joins forces with the FBI in order to find out and stop Azrael, and he is paired with a rookie agent, Nasraana Shaksy, an American Muslim who has her own battles to fight.

Together, they stumble upon a child trafficking ring, and Milt comes face to face with monsters of the worst kind–those who walk around in everyday society. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Azrael begins, and Milt soon learns who the predator is, and who is the prey.

Find it on Amazon

Devine Destinies. http://www.devinedestinies.com/978-1-4874-1922-6-azrael/?search=Azrael&sub_category=1

Amazon: ISBN:978-1-4874-1922-6

 

 

Building Your Own World

Land's EndThere’s an entire universe out there, and we’ve only explored a little bit of it. However, our imaginations are rich with other worlds, even if we can’t hop on a ship and visit them in the ‘real’ world. Below are just a few things to consider when creating your own fictional world. It isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, but it’s a place to get started if you’re unsure of where to begin.

 

Culture

We have a world full of various cultures and languages, and there’s nothing wrong with borrowing a bit from existing cultures to populate your world. However, your cultures need to have their own elements as well. For example, a culture based on Ancient Greece could have a king as the ruling body, or, perhaps, they have a railroad or electricity. It’s also perfectly acceptable to blend cultures to come up with something unique.

Grevared has a number of human cultures as well as cultures for other species. They’re all different in some way, but there are also similarities. Why? Because when cultures encounter each other, they share. For example, the demons of Jitradena have a strict set of civil laws and an Academe, in part because of their contact with others. Those of Pistofficle maintain a more demonic-type culture where death in the streets is common. Since visitors are at risk just by entering the city, Pistofficle has had far less contact with others, so the influence is much less.

 

Religion

Most cultures have some kind of belief system, even if that system posits that deities don’t exist. Much like with cultures, there are plenty of religions and mythologies from which to create one, or several, for your world. Do a bit of research and take what you need to create a belief structure your characters can follow. This will also give you the opportunity to explore various holidays, though not all celebrations have to stem from religion.

Grevared has several religions. In the Xaggarene Empire, the Arcana Maximus worships the snake goddess Inyokamor. As the Arcana Maximus keeps itself involved in the politics of the empire, it’s the predominant religion and plays a role in creating and enforcing government policies. While the Arcana exists in the other countries, it isn’t as powerful, and other beliefs stand equal to it.

 

Government

Everything from a small village to a globe-covering empire needs some form of government, even if it’s only reason is to be torn down. Think about your culture and base your government on the needs and beliefs of the people. Determine if your government is benign or oppressive. How do the people fair under its rule? Are there social programs? Is there one group that’s suppressed more than others? What is allowed and forbidden within the realm? These are just a few things to consider.

In Grevared, government differs according to country and no two are exactly alike. Again, remember that cultures that interact are going to share, so there’s nothing wrong with some crossover.

 

Currency and Trade

Currency isn’t necessarily a big deal when it comes to creating a world unless you plan to use it in your story. For those who don’t want to create a currency, something like ‘coin’ works just fine. However, it does give the world a touch of realism to give the currency its own name.

Trade, on the other hand, matters a bit more. Most countries have some form of economic relationship with other countries. With differing climates and land forms, it’s almost impossible for any but the largest countries to produce everything they need themselves. Even then, there’s some benefit to trading with others. Consider the technological and agricultural traits of each country in your world to determine what a country might have that others want. This also gives the opportunity to introduce large-scale conflict in the story.

An example of this in Grevared is the country of Corleon. This country is known for its horses, and the animals are its chief commodity. They run wild through the plains, and they’re used in almost every capacity imaginable.

 

Education

We hear a lot about education in the modern world, and fictional worlds are no different. This doesn’t mean that your world must have a public education system or a string of universities, but there needs to be some way for the common people to gain the knowledge they need to survive. Is it an apprentice system? Are children taught at home by their parents? Are there village schools? Not all of your countries have to use the same system, and it will give a bit of diversity to your world if they don’t.

Magic and Technology

Some fictional worlds thrive on magic, while others are more focused on technology. A lot of worlds use both. There’s no law that says these systems must be codified, but it’s something to consider if you plan to use them in your world. Is there a magical guild or school? Is magic something common, or are there only a few who practice it? Is it accepted or shunned? Do people travel by railroad? Are there spaceships? These are some questions to get you started thinking about the magic and technology in your world.

To give an example, in Grevared, railroads are present in almost all countries. However, the Xaggarene Empire embraces technology and somewhat shuns magic, while E’ma Thalas embraces magic and shuns technology.

 

Races

Who populates your world? Are they humans, elves, aliens, talking zebras? That’s entirely up to you. Spend some time thinking about it, and if you choose to add other races to your populace, there are many legends from all over the world that can help you learn a bit about the ones you’re considering. Research into folklore can help you bring a race to life and give them that certain something that sets them apart from all others.

In Grevared, humans live along side angels, demons, elves, and dwarves among others. Each species has its own set of traditions, but they’ve interacted in many instances, so there are things among them that are shared. Take, for example, the demons of Jitradena mentioned above. While they are still very much demons, much of their violent nature is held in check until certain celebrations. Other races aren’t really welcomed to Jitradena, but they do visit, and they aren’t harmed. Mostly.

 

Flora and Fauna

Plants and animals are a large part of just about any world. Look out your window and see what kinds are right outside. They aren’t there just for our pleasure; they also provide food and materials for clothing and shelter. This is something to consider when creating your own world. Even if it’s a world that is entirely urban, the people still have to eat, and there must be some means of cleaning the air (which is the function of plants). Furniture has to be made out of something, as do homes. Consider how this is done to determine what kinds of flora and fauna are needed.

In the world of Grevared, there are some recognizable animals. Cats roam, and dogs (called n’kitas) are faithful companions. The country of Corleon is known for its horses, but a similar creature, called an elecon, is common in E’ma Thalas. Chocolate (kokolat) is known to all lands, but the assaberry has no ‘real’ world equivalent. The same is true of the spitmoller, a small creature that lives in sewers and tunnels, or the ghighet, a pest creature that can also be a pet.

Plants and animals unique to your world can give it a feel and reality of its own that separates it from our world. Even changing the colors of common animals can help to distinguish your world from ours.

Maps

One of the best ways to get to know your world is to make a map. Campaign Cartographer is a good software for mapmaking but drawing it out yourself is also rewarding. I enjoy doing both, even though my artistic skills leave a lot to be desired.

Making a map gives you a chance to get to know all the little places your characters visit and determine the best types of agriculture, culture, etc. to use for each place. It helps you see the weather patterns and how the land affects all other aspects of life. It also gives you a way to see the world in front of you, to help it become more ‘real.’

 

Building a world of your own can be a rewarding experience, whether you share it with others or not. It’s a way to explore the depths of your imagination and create a place you can visit whenever you desire. It also opens opportunities for research and learning about other cultures and beliefs.

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