Random Thought – Folklore

2017052295133200_2 (2)I had a strange dream the other night that got me thinking about the story of “Hansel and Gretel”. Nothing serious, mind you, just the prevalence of these tales in our culture, in all cultures, really.

One of the things that’s always fascinated me about folklore and religion is the similarities between cultures that weren’t supposed to be in contact with each other. It’s always made me wonder how so many different people in so many different places could come up with the same thing at around the same time period. Don’t get me wrong, I understand Jung’s idea of archetypes and the collective unconscious and the universality of human experience. After all, we are all born, live, and die. We have to come to terms with ourselves and learn to live in the world on our own. I get that.

What’s always fascinated me is the amount of similarity and the desire of humans to pass on lessons through stories and analogy. I mean, when I’m trying to get my kids to understand something, I don’t couch it in metaphor and euphemism. I say it plainly. We do the same thing when talking about our day at work or teaching history, in some respects at least.

Why then the need for these tales? We know they serve a purpose outside of entertainment. Many of these tales allow children a glimpse into the adult world long before they experience it themselves. They allow us to meet fear in a form that isn’t as frightening, and children who are read fairy tales generally have an easier time with reading and comprehension. There’s something basic about them that speaks across time and culture to that place within us that makes us all human beings.

But who first thought them? Who crafted these marvelous glimpses into long ago that are so powerful we’re still rewriting them today? Was it an ancient family seated around a fire after a day of hunting? Was it a mother desperate to give hope to a sick child? Was it a sibling offering comfort to the younger ones in times of trouble?

I would love to create a time machine and travel back to that distant time just to watch this phenomena unfold, to meet the richness of culture and experience the connection that allowed the same thoughts, and plots, to arise on opposite sides of the world.

I suppose these are odd thoughts, and they definitely ramble, but I’ve spent the day making snow to decorate with, and I’ve had plenty of time for wandering thoughts.

I hope all have a wonderful holiday week and season.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

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Whew! That’s Over. Now What?

Business Card FrontThings have been a bit hectic lately, so writing has been on the back burner. Now that the holidays are upon us, I’m not so sure things will slow down, but I have hope.

Now that the weather’s cooling down and the leaves are changing, I find myself more motivated and more creative. The problem comes with deciding where to focus my time and energy. Do I want to continue with Grevared? I have a ton of stories in the works and more ideas in my noggin’. Do I want to get started on the YA modern fantasy that’s whirling around in my head? Right now, there are two stories, mostly fully formed, written in a notebook. Do I want to work on the horror stories that come unbidden into my dreams? And, boy, did I have a doozy last night. Or do I want to focus on building my proofreading business? I can do this for others, but making sure my own stuff is free of typos is another thing all together. Or do I want to abandon all of that and return to researching folklore and mythology? It’s not like we’ve figured it all out yet.

Business Card1Mostly, it’s a matter of time management and organization, but I think it would be easier to petition the Universe for a few more hours in the day. But would that help? I’m not sure. I have no doubt I’ll figure it out when my mind has had a little time to slow down and consider a bit. Until then, I’ll keep on keeping on and do what I can when I can and hope the results are something others want to read.

At the end of the day, it’s the joy that comes from doing it, the journey rather than the destination, that matters.

Best wishes,

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

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Void Serpent: From The Flora and Fauna of the Lands of Grevared by Inquisitor Mylar Massengill

Void Serpent Hand ColoredAppearance: It has a dragon-like head and a serpentine body with no legs or wings. Most have horns on the head, though this can vary. Void serpents often grow to be several hundred feet long, and they have the strength to destroy a ship. Mating rituals are unknown, for no one has ever seen this activity. It is believed that the females lay eggs, but this has not been definitively determined. Void serpents also possess the ability to spit fire, though they are rarely seen to do so. They attack without provocation, and their population numbers are unknown.

Habitat: Void serpents live in the void. There is no other known habitat.

Diet: It is believed that the void serpent lives primarily on other void creatures, though just what these creatures are is still largely unknown. However, the serpents will eat those on the ships they attack.

Threat: The void serpent is extremely dangerous.

 

Notes: There is a legend, though I can’t vouch for its veracity, about demon creatures called Serpent Riders. It is said these beings have tamed the void serpents and use them to travel the void. I don’t believe in this legend, however, for there are none who can survive the chaotic energy in the void.

 

Creating Fantasy Food

Ginger Cakes

Food is a vital part of life. It’s a major component in social interaction. It’s expressive of culture. And, let’s face it, we have to eat to live.

The characters in fantasy worlds are no different. They have to eat, and what they eat depends on where they live, their economic status, their culture, their personal preferences, and what time of year it is. Just like in our world.

The easiest way to create fantasy foods is to take something from our world and change the name of the dish or some of the ingredients. Easy-peasy.

However, if you’re more adventurous, you can create recipes for your world. These can be anything from typical meals to holiday delights. Mix ingredients you’ve never considered and have fun with it. Some of the dishes will be awesomely yummy, while others might be…well…more appropriate for the demons.

This was one of the things I enjoyed most about creating Grevared. There was an entire world full of different cultures, with a plethora of plants and animals that don’t exist in our world, to play with. The trick was finding our world equivalents for what I wanted to do.

IMG_20161220_175455

Tips for Creating Fantasy Food

  1. Decide what grows and lives in your world. I know this sounds like common sense, but knowing what plants and animals exist in your world and deciding on their ‘our world’ equivalent is important. For example, the assaberry is a common fruit all over Grevared. It’s used in Yuletide cooking, drinks, and candies. But what is it? My description of the plant is “common in all parts of Grevared except the Shizzuria Wasteland, the assaberry has small, bluish-green leaves and deep maroon berries. It has a sweet taste and is used in baking and pies.” Now, a raspberry would probably work, but I want something else. I’m still working on the ‘something else’, but there are several combinations I’m considering.
  2. Explore and expand. Fantasy food doesn’t have to be restricted to baked goods, though, for me, that’s what’s easiest. Creating main dishes is even more fun. Take talakilkonna tail, for instance. (A talakilkonna is an eight-foot-tall bipedal turtle-like creature common to the Sea of Sands in Moirena.) This is a dish favored by the demons, so it’s taking some thought. I want it to be edible, but, at the same time, not something your average human is going to pick up to munch on. I have some ideas for this, too, but getting the primary ingredient is proving difficult. I’m hoping to locate what I need soon.
  3. Be consistent with what’s available to your characters. Empire Delight is a cake made from a pudding base with typical Christmas spices added to it, while Rada’ke Cakes are made with pancake mix. While there’s nothing strange (to us) about the ingredients, I chose things that would mirror the cultures that created the dishes. The Xaggarene Empire is somewhat technologically advanced with strong trade and plenty of variety, while the Shizzuria Wasteland is frozen and supplies are limited. That being the case, Empire Delight is a three layer cake, while Rada’ke cakes are simple desserts made with few ingredients.
  4. Know the culture that created the dish. This is extremely important if you want to keep your cultures consistent. A people based primarily in the desert is going to have a much more limited diet than those who live in the forest. Likewise, those in cities with restaurants and markets are going to have access to ingredients that those in small towns won’t. Those with a religious background that forbids meat or alcohol aren’t likely to indulge in those foods.
  5. Have a strong stomach and an expanded grocery budget. Not all recipes will work, so having a strong stomach may be required. I discovered this with Melon Peckers and Nutty Fluffies. I still haven’t figured them out. And while breaking your budget on ingredients isn’t a necessity, you will have to purchase things to experiment with.

Creating fantasy food is one of the most enjoyable parts of creating a fantasy world, and it can add depth to the world you’re creating. If you’re one of those who likes to play in the kitchen, it can also give you more insight into the world and cultures that you’re bringing to life. Not to mention that it can improve your cooking skills.

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

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.

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

 

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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Author Spotlight – Linda Strader

promo 1Today we’re shining the spotlight on author Linda Strader. Find out about her new release below.

 

 

About the Author

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Strader moved to Prescott, Arizona with her family in 1972. In 1976, she became one of the first women on a U.S. Forest Service fire crew in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

 Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage is her first book, scheduled for publication on May 1st, 2018 by Bedazzled Ink Publishing. She is currently working on a prequel.

 

SummersofFire-HiResAbout the Book

Linda Strader is one of the first women hired on a fire crew with the U.S. Forest Service. A naïve twenty-year-old in the mid 1970s, she discovers fighting wildfires is challenging—but in a man’s world, they become only one of the challenges she faces. Battling fire is exhilarating, yet exhausting; the discrimination real and sometimes in her face.

Summers of Fire is an Arizona to Alaska adventure story that honestly recounts the seven years she ventures into the heart of fires that scorch the land, vibrant friendships that fire the soul, and deep love that ends in devastating heartbreak.

In addition to writing, Ms. Strader is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist. She currently lives in the same area where her Forest Service career began.

Connect with the Author

Blog: https://summersoffirebook.blogspot.com/

Publisher: http://binkbooks.bedazzledink.com/

Amazon:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518614536&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520767588&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader