Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

Current List of Hosting Blogs
1: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
2: Andi’s Book Reviews
3: Pressed Leaf Publishing
4: fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews
5: Rose and Beps Blog
6: Brooke Blogs
7: Gin’s Book Notes
8: Readers Writers Connect
9: Linda Nightingale…Wordsmith
10: Sandra’s Blog
11: A to Z Reviews
12: Writer Wonderland
13: The Write to Read
14: Welcome to My World of Dreams
15: It’s Raining Books
16: Straight from the Library
17: Long and Short Reviews
18: Booker Like a Hooker
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Fantasy Literature: The Scope of World-building

This is another post on world-building. I wish to explore in a little more detail what I mean by scope when it comes to fantasy literature. Basically, I want to draw the distinction between a fantasy world, a fantasy universe, and a fantasy cosmos.

 

A fantasy world is the smallest subset of the three. It’s basically a single world where action in a story takes place. Most fantasy novels use primarily one such world be it Krynn, Middle-Earth, or what-have-you. This is where the bulk of the action takes place. Battles are fought, lives are lost, and the course of history is determined within the confines of this single world. In other words, a fantasy world usually provides the setting for a piece of fantasy literature. But setting can only be understood relative to our own real world experiences. It is natural to picture a fantasy world much like Earth, just being one on which magic works (usually). Because of this, the question can be raised on how the world fits into the universe. Is it a planet, like Earth, orbiting a sun in a separate solar system? In fantasy literature this is only a minor consideration, because it is fantasy. I’ve read numerous books where there were suns, and moons, and stars surrounding the fantasy world in question. However, the structure of a fantasy universe need not parallel our own. For example, the world upon which the action takes place need not be spherical. It could be flat. Ships might sail to the ocean’s edge and fall off.  In such a case, perhaps the notion of “universe” loses its meaning. After all, if the world is flat, it just might extend to infinity and be its own self-contained universe. Regardless, it is difficult to understand how travel from one world to another world in such a universe might be possible. It seems to be the case that everything is geared to and focused on this one world, not its existence in a larger universe. Indeed, in this case, the universe as a whole is superfluous. Why, then, have a moon or stars or even a sun?

 

A similar issue concerns the cosmos. By cosmos I mean the totality of everything (by universe I just mean that which is contiguous in space) which would include planes like Heaven and Hell. So, perhaps the better term is multiverse. Anyway, one must take similar considerations when trying to place your fantasy world in a multiverse. How does it relate? What are the other planes that impact upon your world? Minimally, there is usually a paradise like Heaven, and a place of horror like Hell. The influence of these may be limited to shaping the religions of your world, or there could be more involved interactions. Perhaps demons or angels regularly visit your world and have machinations of dire import. Or perhaps they are not so awe-inspiring and are simply elves from a parallel fairyland. In any event, the choice is up to you, but structuring the relationship between world, universe, and multiverse is a critical step in world-building.

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

Current List of Hosting Blogs
1: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
2: Andi’s Book Reviews
3: Pressed Leaf Publishing
4: fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews
5: Rose and Beps Blog
6: Brooke Blogs
7: Gin’s Book Notes
8: Readers Writers Connect
9: Linda Nightingale…Wordsmith
10: Sandra’s Blog
11: A to Z Reviews
12: Writer Wonderland
13: The Write to Read
14: Welcome to My World of Dreams
15: It’s Raining Books
16: Straight from the Library
17: Long and Short Reviews
18: Booker Like a Hooker
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Fantasy Literature: Number of Characters and Perspectives

I’ve been reading Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series. I finished Book II, King of Thorns, a ways back. You can read the review for Prince of Thorns here. And King of Thorns here. They are good books. I’ve enjoyed them, even though the main character is largely evil. However, while reading them I noticed a flaw or weakness about which I will write today. Basically, he’s got too many characters and only one perspective. The main character is Jorg Ancrath who is on the path to become Emperor of the Broken kingdom. The only perspective (other than diary entries) in the book is his. And that’s fine, as far as it goes. But the point I’m making, is that when you have only one point-of-view character, you should limit the number of supporting characters as well. I think he’s had over a dozen, and I, personally, can’t keep them all straight.

 

There are a few exceptionally distinctive ones, like the two leucrotta, his love interest, and his major antagonists in the book who I could follow with ease, but the rest of his Road Brothers pretty much blended together. After two books, only one or two really stuck out in my mind. The problem is, of course, that he had too many of them. One or two of them are killed off every couple chapters or so, but since there are so many of them it doesn’t have a great impact. The books are still great, but I just feel this weakness is worth expounding upon.

 

Clearly, the number of characters an author can successfully juggle is a function of the number of pages in the book. If you are writing a two hundred page novel, you’re going to have far less leeway than in a seven hundred page behemoth. That should be obvious. But I want to further point out, that the number of characters is also limited by the number of point-of-view characters you have. First of all, jumping into the head of a second character makes that character all the more real; it fleshes them out more fully by describing their thoughts and actions from their point-of-view. Jumping into a third, does likewise. Additionally, the characters each of these relates to will also be fleshed out more fully, through the actions they take with respect to the new point-of-view character and their respective relationships. For example, a secondary character might have a parent or sibling, and that relationship will help fix those characters in mind. Remaining in a single point-of-view character limits such considerations to that character alone. I would say that for one character, you’ll probably be able to swing maybe five to seven supporting characters successfully. Beyond that, the attachment the reader feels to additional characters will become more tenuous.

 

Oh, and obviously, the number of point-of-view characters is limited by the length of the book.

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

Current List of Hosting Blogs
1: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
2: Andi’s Book Reviews
3: Pressed Leaf Publishing
4: fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews
5: Rose and Beps Blog
6: Brooke Blogs
7: Gin’s Book Notes
8: Readers Writers Connect
9: Linda Nightingale…Wordsmith
10: Sandra’s Blog
11: A to Z Reviews
12: Writer Wonderland
13: The Write to Read
14: Welcome to My World of Dreams
15: It’s Raining Books
16: Straight from the Library
17: Long and Short Reviews
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Of Dragons, Love, and Poison

I know, I know, I know … I’m in the middle of releasing “The Children of Lubrochius” so I should probably keep my eye on one target at a time. But I couldn’t resist. This week I uploaded a collection of three short stories to both Amazon and Smashwords. The title of the collection is “Of Dragons, Love, and Poison.” I kind of dig that title. Here’s a look at the cover:

OfDragonsFINALCorrected

And here’s some of the backcopy for each short story:

Of Dragons, Love, and Poison: The king’s daughter and her younger brother have vanished and the warrior Thrigon is tasked with finding them. Can he unravel the web of lies and dark magic surrounding their abduction? Or will he find himself a victim to the same power that claimed them?

The Red Archer: Return to the land of Athron in this exciting tale that pits the world’s greatest archer against a master thief.

Fate Unchained: In this tale, a young prince is denied his birthright by an inauspicious augury. Now an adult, the young prince must confront his younger brother for the crown of the kingdom and its ultimate fate.

 

So, if you like my writing, feel free to purchase a copy and write a review. I’d be very grateful. The collection can be found here on Smashwords and Amazon.

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

Current List of Hosting Blogs
1: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
2: Andi’s Book Reviews
3: Pressed Leaf Publishing
4: fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews
5: Rose and Beps Blog
6: Brooke Blogs
7: Gin’s Book Notes
8: Readers Writers Connect
9: Linda Nightingale…Wordsmith
10: Sandra’s Blog
11: A to Z Reviews
12: Writer Wonderland
13: The Write to Read
14: Welcome to My World of Dreams
15: It’s Raining Books
16: Straight from the Library
17: Long and Short Reviews
18:
19:
20:
21:
22:
23:
24:
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Movie Review: Robocop (2014) (3 1/2 *’s)

Robocop is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name. I don’t remember enough of the original movie to compare the two. All I remember was that it was pretty gory. This one wasn’t as gory, I think; it went the way of action-packed instead. Joel Kinnamon plays the lead character, Alex Murphy, a cop mangled by a car bomb and placed in a mechanical suit to survive. The film also stars Samuel Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton. Michael Keaton plays the bad guy, the evil exec of Omnicorp, Raymond Sellars. Gary Oldman plays Sellars’ brilliant scientist/henchman, Dr. Dennett Norton, who is constantly at odds with the Robocop program on moral grounds. And Samuel Jackson plays a newsman, Pat Novak, host of the program “The Novak Element” (I heard that the Novak Element was supposed to poke fun at The O’Reilly Factor of Fox News … if so, it did a poor job, but it was fine for the purposes of the movie).

 

Anyway, Alex Murphy is mauled by a car bomb and placed in the Robocop suit. Well, it’s really not a suit; it’s everything but his lungs, heart, and head, just about. Murphy has some difficulty adapting (imagine that!), but soon he settles into his new role as the Robocop; a marriage between man and machine in the pursuit of justice. Also of interest is the growing tension between Dr. Dennett Norton and Raymond Sellars. Sellars keeps making demands of Norton that push him just a little farther down the road to corruption, and each time Norton bends, until finally, he will bend no more. It makes for an interesting development. The Robocop character doesn’t really develop any more beyond the point of accepting his new role in life, but he does change (he kind of goes through a loop). Due to electrochemical manipulation, he becomes more robotic, but that, too, in time changes, although we are left to guess at the mechanism behind that (it is suggested that it is the soul or something not understood behind the change). Regardless, the movie roughly follows the same trajectory as the original with a similar climax. It is different because it explores in more depth the way that Alex Murphy deals with his new life as Robocop.

 

Strengths: the acting was fine, the plot was decent, and the action was good. Also, the special effects were superb, but that’s Hollywood these days. Weaknesses: I can’t think of any major weaknesses, although I kind of get tired of the big bad business exec motif that Hollywood keeps putting out. At least in the original, if I recall correctly, the bad guy was #2 and the #1 guy was not a villain. Anyway, that’s a tiny complaint, hardly worthy of mention.

 

In the end, I’ll give Robocop three and a half out of five stars.

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

Current List of Hosting Blogs
1: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
2: Andi’s Book Reviews
3: Pressed Leaf Publishing
4: fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews
5: Rose and Beps Blog
6: Brooke Blogs
7: Gin’s Book Notes
8: Readers Writers Connect
9: Linda Nightingale…Wordsmith
10: Sandra’s Blog
11: A to Z Reviews
12: Writer Wonderland
13:
14:
15:
16:
17:
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Fantasy World-Building: Magic Systems

One task a fantasy writer faces during the process of world-building for his world is developing a coherent magic system. I use ‘coherent’ with a grain of salt, for what is magic but something that doesn’t exist in our own world that does not follow the normal rules of logic and science. Still, most fantasy writers today would argue that a good fantasy magic system is one that follows its  own inherent and consistent set of rules, much like science does. In a way, a fantasy writer’s magic system is his or her own “parallel science.” The purpose of any magic, be it a spell or potion or something altogether different, is to accomplish some end more quickly and efficiently than normal means allow. In that regard, it is similar in function to technology. Indeed, I believe it was Arthur C. Clarke who said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Why is this so? What is the connection between the two? Basically, both provide either a shortcut for a mundane effect or, even more intriguing, the only possible means for something more spectacular. You wish to dig a hole? Technology gives you a shovel and then later a shovel truck (if that’s what it’s called—can’t seem to recall a more technical name); magic gives you a snap of the fingers and the deed is done. Magic also allows other feats, some of which might be deemed impossible—at least, as far as our current level of technology allows. Teleportation, demonic summoning, fireball … all these are outside the normal scope of the mundane. Actually, a fireball could be managed with technology, and teleportation is, I think, currently being studied and developed, but demonic summoning, at least, is not on the radar anytime soon (we’d need proof of demons first).

 

Basically, current thinking is that the best magic systems are those that adhere to and follow rules. That way, they don’t provide an “easy fix” if the writer happens to write himself into a corner. If the magic system is clearly delineated, he can’t just summon up some random spell to get his character out of a fix. The magic system will not allow that if it has rules and, most importantly, limitations. That said, I’m not sure I agree. Some days I do. But some days I feel very contrarian: who are we to say that some enterprising author cannot develop a magic system that defies easy encapsulation? Perhaps, it embodies pure randomness or is the “system without a system” or something else equally provocative and mysterious. I leave to some enterprising writer to buck the trend and do so.