Book Of The Month – A Thousand Rooms – by Helen Jones @AuthorHelenJ

It’s the first day of the new year and what better way to start than as a featured guest over at Hugh’s Views and News! Hugh has chosen my book, A Thousand Rooms, as his book of the month (yay!), and so I dropped by to talk a little more about the story. Thanks for having me, Hugh!
And, as a reminder, if you like short stories with bite, check out Hugh’s new release, Glimpses. He’s even running a giveaway for an Amazon £100 Gift Card! Visit his site for more details…

Hugh's Views & News  

A very warm welcome to Helen Jones whose book, A Thousand Rooms, is this month’s book of the month.

Over to you, Helen…

Well, I must say I’m completely thrilled to have been invited over to Hugh’s blog. It’s lovely to be he– what’s that, Hugh? 

Right, of course. I’m here to talk about my latest release, A Thousand Rooms, which Hugh has very kindly chosen as his ‘Book Recommendation of the Month.’

What’s the name of the book?

A Thousand Rooms.

Helen Jones's latest book - A Thousand Rooms The latest book from Helen Jones – A Thousand Rooms

Tell us a little about the story and the characters.

It’s centred around the main protagonist, Katie. She’s thirty-two, single, and used to work in advertising. She’s also dead. Hit by a car while texting, now left to wander the streets of Sydney alone, a lost soul. No angels appear, no long-lost loved ones – everything is just how it…

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Guest Post with Author Kate M. Colby #Desertera

perf5.250x8.000.inddToday I’m very pleased to welcome author (and author-y friend!) Kate M. Colby to my blog. Kate has just released The Courtesan’s Avenger, the second book in her Desertera series (and if you haven’t read her first book, The Cogmsith’s Daughter, get yourselves a copy now!). Set in the steampunk world of Desertera, The Courtesan’s Avenger is a tale of murder, intrigue and justice – I can’t wait to read it 🙂

Today, Kate’s written an excellent post about character motivation, something she feels is key to good story-telling. There’s a lot of useful information here, so read through and let us know what you think in the comments. Take it away, Kate!

As an author, the question I get asked more than any other is: “What advice do you have for aspiring writers?” or some variation of it. With the release of my second novel, The Courtesan’s Avenger, I finally feel like I’m in a place to offer some solid advice (without feeling like an imposter!). So, here it is: if I had
to give just one tip to budding writers, it would be to give your characters, both major and minor, a strong motivation.

Why? Because every person (or magical being or animal) you meet has a goal that drives them, influences their actions, and shapes their personality and worldview. Even a motivation as simple as getting through the work day, or as pure as surviving an apocalypse, can have huge impact on a character’s part in a story. For me, motivation is the core of a character and absolutely essential to creating well-rounded, complex, and relatable individuals. It’s also an aspect of my writing on which I really pride myself and I always love to see mentioned in reviews.

In my first novel, The Cogsmith’s Daughter, Aya Cogsmith is driven by revenge. More than anything, she wants to obtain justice for her wrongly executed father and resume her rightful place as heir to his workshop and trade. Aya’s vengeance is the guiding light of the novel and the vessel that influences her decisions (and therefore the plot). The goal makes her relatable to readers – who hasn’t felt wronged before? – and also leads to mistakes and stumbling points that give her further depth.

The sequel, The Courtesan’s Avenger, features a new leading lady with a similar motivation. Dellwyn Rutt wants to obtain justice for a fellow courtesan who has been murdered. However, unlike Aya, Dellwyn’s motives are not self-interested. She simply wants to see a wrong made right. Therefore, the path she takes is entirely different and far less dangerous. Instead of political turmoil, Dellwyn must face conflicts in her own sense of morality, strained friendships, and her inability to fully trust others.

Keep in mind, motivation shouldn’t be exclusive to your main and supporting characters. Know the motivation of everyone in your world. In The Cogsmith’s Daughter, there’s a scene in which Aya goes to a bakery. It’s early morning; the baker has been up since before dawn baking. She wants to get rid of Aya as quickly as possible, but she also wants to show a little kindness to the crestfallen young woman.

Because I know these short-term goals, I can express them through the baker’s actions and words. Will the reader identify them exactly? Maybe, maybe not. But the baker seems all the more real for having these goals.

On a similar note, feel free to give characters secret motivations. For example, Dellwyn’s employer has intimate connections to two of the other employees that I never tell the readers. These affect her aspirations for their careers, what she expects of them, and how she treats them. If I told the readers the full truth of these relationships, there would be a “lightbulb moment,” and the relationships would take on even greater depth. As it is, the employer’s motivations remain appropriately hidden (They’re not key to the plot, after all!), but her relationships to those two employees are complex, interesting, and feel real.

Motivation can make or break a character. It gives readers a way to empathize with, love, or love-to-loathe a character and creates a necessary depth within the character and story. In the case of minor characters, motivation is a simple way to take them from “good” to “great.” If you like character-driven novels (particularly starring strong females), complex relationships, expansive worldbuilding, and a dash of intrigue and romance, I think you’ll like my novels. If you liked the tips in this article, you’ll probably
like what I have to offer on my blog. Links to all this and more below.

Before I sign off, I want to extend a huge thank you to Helen Jones for hosting me. I really appreciate your authorly friendship and the opportunity to share more about my novels and writing process with your readers. If anyone reading hasn’t read Helen’s Ambeth series (What are you waiting for?!), I highly recommend it. It’s another great example of complex, motivated characters.

Wow! Thanks, Kate 🙂 So, what do you think? Like Kate, I agree that knowing the motivation of every character, even the minor ones, is key to presenting a well-rounded story. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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kate-m-colby

Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. Her first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk fantasy novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

 

Book links:

The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1)

The Courtesan’s Avenger (Desertera #2)

Social links:

Website – http://www.katemcolby.com

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/katemcolby

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/authorkatemcolby

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/katemcolby

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/katemcolby

Tumblr – https://katemcolby.tumblr.com

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/katemcolby

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/katemcolby

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+KateMColby

Short Stories and The Experimental Notebook II – A Visit from C.S. Boyack

Craig BoyackToday I’m delighted to welcome Craig Boyack, author, blogging friend and mastermind behind Lisa Burton (I hope Lisa won’t mind me saying that). Craig is a tireless promoter of bloggers and writers across the blogosphere, plus posts plenty of entertaining content, so hop on over to his blog and check it out.

Today Craig is visiting to talk about his latest release, The Experimental Notebook of C.S.Boyack II, now available on Amazon. It’s a collection of short stories, and a follow up to his successful Experimental Notebook I. Here, Craig talks a little bit about the reasoning behind releasing a collection of short stories, and makes some excellent points. In fact, I’m feeling a little inspired myself… Take it away, Craig!

Thanks for inviting me over today. I’m touring around with my new book, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. This is a collection of fifteen short stories and micro-fiction of a speculative nature. You will find some science fiction, some paranormal, and one that might pass as fantasy. This is the second collection of short form stories, as you might guess from the title. Since they are stand alone tales, there is no requirement to read the previous one first. They are both priced at 99¢, so you might want to anyway. (I hope.)

My Muse sends me ideas all the time. They always have some interest, but I used to discard them if they wouldn’t carry a novel. On rare occasion, I might weave something into a novel, but it felt incorrect somehow.

I created yet another living document, and started keeping the ideas. Now, whenever I get stuck on a larger plot point, or I simply don’t have time to work on the novel, I hammer away at short stories.

This poses the question of what to do with them. At first I thought maybe I should use them as blog posts, but there were a lot of them. Then I noticed some people marketing them on Amazon. Some of the early examples were one short story for 99¢. This seemed a little off to me, so I kept observing.

Some authors were writing a short story to drive sales of a novel they’d published. That seemed like a really good idea. I read a few of these and the various prequels felt like they were on to something.

I’m not willing to write out backstory and sell it separately from my novels. Then I had the idea of bundling my short fiction together and offering a volume for 99¢. This felt like a better deal to me, and I occasionally buy a short story magazine, so it was familiar too. This is where the first Experimental Notebook came from.

The first one sold so well, that it was worth doing again. I will always write short form, but there is a certain effort that goes into publishing and promoting. As long as people keep reading them, I’ll keep releasing them.

I decided these volumes needed a theme so they seemed familiar somehow. The first cover had an alchemy wheel, and I decided to repeat that by using two on the new release. If I ever release a third one, it will have three wheels, and so on.

Ex NB Cover IIThis time you get fifteen stories, an excerpt from my newest novel The Playground, and a revisit with an old friend for those of you who enjoyed Will O’ the Wisp. I like writing the characters from my novels into short stories after the fact. This way it isn’t backstory, it’s more of a where-are-they-now kind of visit.

I’d appreciate you checking it out, and it’s free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

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Craig Boyack
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.
I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.
I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Guest Post: Legends Of Windermere Author Charles Yallowitz on Character Sacrifice

Today Charles Yallowitz is stopping by with a post on the idea of sacrifice in story-telling, and how to make it effective. As a story element, sacrifice needs to be handled carefully, and Charles makes some excellent points on how to do so while keeping the reader engaged. Take it away, Charles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

A big thank you to Helen for having me for a guest post to help promote my newest release, Legends of Windemere: Tribe of the Snow Tiger. This is the 10th installment of this fantasy series and the stakes are going to be pretty high for several characters. A core aspect of the story involves the concept of sacrifice and how far a person is willing to go for either a person or a belief. Turns out that this is a very debatable topic among authors and people in general because everyone has different views on sacrificing. In fact, I’ve seen some pretty big arguments on if it’s even a sensible decision.

One of the biggest hurdles with a sacrifice is to convey to others that it is worth doing. Most times this is a crucial part of a story too, which means a lot is depending on the scene. This is an act that you cannot take back and the character might not even live to see the associated positive/negative outcomes. As an author, you really need to think about writing a sacrifice scene and make sure it is the best decision for the story and character. Most importantly, you need to have it be believable. If a reader feels that the character dying to save the others is a fool and the sacrifice was pointless then you could lose them for the rest of the story.

That risk is a big part of why I’ve heard some authors try to steer clear of them. Personally, I like writing those scenes, but I’m careful to make sure they have impact. I’ve also learned that what hits me hard could miss the mark on someone else. The reason for this is because a reader and author may be working off different interpretations of the character motives, personalities, and the concept of sacrifice in general. This is human nature since you have some people who would jump in the way of a moving car to save a child and others who would simply upload the accident on YouTube. Yes, it does come down to morality and how much weight a person puts
on sacrificial gestures.

One thing I’ve noticed is that you can put this spectrum into your characters as well, which can help connect to a variety of readers. For example, say a supporting hero sacrifices himself to allow the others to escape a dungeon with the weapon needed to defeat the main villain. If you have every survivor act the same toward the sacrifice then you can alienate a reader who thinks differently. So have some be angry, others be sad, and even one or two that thinks the deceased was a fool. Try to run even a small gamut of emotions because that is what can bring the scene home. An act of sacrifice is really defined by the impact it has on the rest of the story instead of how amazing it was in the moment.

So, what can you do to make a sacrifice scene work?

1. Relax and let it flow naturally. You don’t’ want to force something like this to happen. It might even reveal itself to be unnecessary.

2. Foreshadowing isn’t necessary, but it shouldn’t be ignored. Some readers don’t like the unexpected shock scene, so putting in even a single clue can help soften the blow. This is especially true if the sacrifice is being done by a favored hero.

3. Think ahead to make sure the sacrifice has an impact on the story. In the previous
scenario, the ultimate weapon not working means that hero died in vain. Might be funny or exciting, but you weaken that earlier scene. So consider the pros and cons of
minimizing something that is typical an emotional moment.

4. Focus more on the aftermath than the actual death. If a character dies then it should
change the mental and emotional dynamic of those they were connected to. For example, the Fellowship showed sadness and crumbled after Gandalf died. It became a driving force in a way. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Chiaotzu self-destructing against Nappa in Dragonball Z. The attack didn’t work and then his friend did a similar sacrifice with the same result and let’s just say DBZ is rather infamous for the failed sacrifice maneuver.

5. Finally, you really do need for there to be consequences both good and bad. I know I
keeping pointing at the death sacrifice, but that is the most common. Still, giving up a
belief system, a loved one, a future, or anything has two sides. One is that it should help
the heroes (or villains if they’re on that side) continue on their path, which is the good
part. The other is that it causes pain. Reader and author have to remember that this is the giving up of something precious. A feeling of loss is probably more important than any other result.

Now, I’ve said all this from my own opinion, which means some may disagree. That’s the
challenge with this topic because it works off what we may do or how we would judge those who sacrifice. So, it’s really a concept that I find better to discuss than dictate because it’s just so different for every person. In other words, feel free to voice your opinion on sacrifices in the comments and let’s see how many angles we can look at this from.


Thank you, Charles, for an excellent and thought-provoking article. So what do you think? Have you ever read a story where a character’s sacrifice has put you off reading the rest? Or where it’s resonated so strongly you can’t stop reading? Or have you written a sacrifice scene of your own? Looking forward to the comments 🙂

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning?  Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure?  Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere!  Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

New Release – Charles Yallowitz Legends of Windermere – Tribe of the Snow Tiger

Now Available on Amazon for Pre-Order!
Coming to your Kindle on June 1st!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Timoran Wrath has a shameful secret that is about to see the light of day.

The noble barbarian has always been a constant source of strength and wisdom for his beloved friends. His loyalty has been unwavering and they know that he would never hesitate to lay down his life for them. Even in their darkest hour, the champions know that Timoran will come through and fight to the bitter end. Now they must return the favor as he reunites with his tribe and willingly faces the executioner’s blade.

Is it possible that the honorable Timoran was nothing more than an illusion?

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List too!

Excerpt: The Snow Tiger

“The snow is too bright and level for me to see anything clearly,” the barbarian growls. The sound of shuffling and mild cursing draws his attention to Nyx who has sunk up to her nose in snow. “What are you doing, fire sprite?”

Nyx shivers while squinting into the distance, her eyes coated in bronze energy. “The reason you can’t see anything might be because you’re too tall. I’m trying to see if there’s anything that breaks the level ground. My eyes are enhanced right now, but I don’t . . . wait a second . . . I think there’s something buried out there. A beast of some kind? It’s a very subtle up and down motion that reminds me of something breathing. It just stopped moving, but I don’t know what that means. I’ll lead the way.”

Not waiting for a response, Nyx pushes through the thick snow and uses wind magic to gradually shift the powder out of her path. She does her best to move quietly and avoid disturbing whatever they are approaching, but the crunch of frozen grass beneath her boots makes the half-elf cringe with every step. A violent sneeze threatens to erupt from her nose, stifled quickly by a silence spell around her nostrils. Rubbing at her cold legs, Nyx is thankful when Timoran puts a vest made of black fur over her. The Ifrit hair warms her body and drives away the looming cold that has been brewing in her chest for the last few minutes. With renewed energy, the channeler walks a little faster and adds a simple heat spell to the wind that is steadily clearing the path.

“Wow. Such a beautiful creature,” she whispers when she steps into a circular clearing that surrounds the dead beast.

The enormous snow tiger’s blue and black fur is thick, the hairs sparkling when touched by direct sunlight. It has long incisors of glistening white that jut out of its mouth due to their size and sharpness. A slender tail lies limp in the exposed grass and still twitches as the muscles continue to lose their tension. Powerful legs and massive paws are splayed on the ground, giving the body the appearance of having peacefully died in its sleep. The gaping wound in the gorgeous snow tiger’s side is the only sign of an attack, the surrounding fur matted with aromatic blood.

Timoran’s rage boils when he spots the three cubs that are mewling and pushing against their dead mother. Judging from their size and faint, black stripes, he assumes they are no older than three months. Rusty manacles are attached to their back legs, the chains running to a stake that has been driven into the muddy earth. Restraining his anger, the barbarian moves within reach of the animals and gently breaks the metal bindings that are bruising their ankles. Scared and confused, the cubs cower against the still warm corpse and hiss whenever one of the adventurers comes close. One of the snow tigers bravely charges at Timoran and bites his boot, proudly returning to the others when the towering figure moves away.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning?  Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

 

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure?  Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere!  Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Guest Post: Charles Yallowitz and Legends of Windermere

Hero Cover Final

Today I welcome Charles Yallowitz back to Journey to Ambeth, with a rather big announcement. His first Legends Of Windermere book, Beginning of A Hero, is now permanently free! So if you feel like visiting a new fantasy world, now’s the time to download a copy and discover the Legend for yourself.

Here’s Charles with more…

Thank you to Helen for helping to spread the word that Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero is now free. Now this might not be big news to people because nobody knows what Legends of Windemere is besides an indie book that is part of a series. The name does have a fantasy ring to it too. Anyway, I’ve been asked to give a little introductory to Windemere to go along with the big news.

It’s the first book of my fantasy adventures series . . . That’s not enough? Okay.

Legends of Windemere follows the adventures of Luke Callindor, who is a half-elven warrior from a famous family. He has run away from home to prove he is worthy of the surname that is connected to so many heroes. Being young, impatient, and reckless, Luke gets his first adventure by lying to a royal messenger and inadvertently putting himself in the path of a demonic assassin. Beginning of a Hero is all about Luke learning what it is to be a hero and how he has a long ways to go. Things do not come easily to him and he makes several mistakes with the help of some new friends. There’s also a small dragon named Fizzle who loves apples and learned Tradespeak from a child.

As the series progresses, Luke’s destiny is revealed and he meets others who are in the same situation like Nyx the Prodigy of Rainbow Tower and Sari the gypsy. I can already hear people groaning about the Chosen One, but it doesn’t really work that way in Windemere. Gabriel the Destiny God crafts the fate of the good and bad, but there is still free will. He can only say that these heroes will face their challenges or even make it to the great battle in some shape or form.

Yet, they are the ones who decide on how they get there and if they’ll win. For example, a character does something in Curse of the Dark Wind that throws their destiny off and makes them unpredictable. So fate, destiny, Chosen One status, and all of that isn’t as cut and dry in this world. I have a guest post going up on L.Marie’s blog about this topic, so I won’t spoil it here.

Each book of the series has a new challenge for Luke and his friends. Since this is an ensemble cast series, the adventure may focus on different characters in each book. One book might be all about a threat to Luke Callindor while the next focuses on Nyx atoning for a mistake. The events do effect the continuing story since the characters change in the aftermaths and the main plot is still going. Yet, this isn’t a series where one book is simply a continuation of the last one and nothing new is added. I actually prefer this method because it makes it easier to evolve the characters. If there’s one thing I love to do, it’s make my heroes and villains evolve.

Legends of Windemere is a series that focuses a lot on action, humor, and character interactions to get the plot moving. I write in Present Tense Third Person (watches stampede for the door), so things such as flashbacks don’t really fit the style. I have to depend a lot on dialogue to explain things, so my characters aren’t all-knowing and have some level of curiosity. As a supporting character says in a later book, “How can I learn if I don’t ask questions?” That’s a big part of the series in a way because you have these destined heroes learning how to fit into their role. It’s a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and I’ve made sure that Luke and his friends don’t always see it as a good thing.

As you can sense, there is a lot to say about the series and the adventure starts with Beginning of a Hero. Luke Callindor might not be the only main hero in this series, but he’s the first one that the audience meets. I know he’s green around the edges and doesn’t operate like a hero right away, which is just how he is. Much like me when I wrote the story, Luke doesn’t know everything about his path. We stumble, fall, earn scars, and search for reasons to continue moving forward. Some may see the title as the first step of a young half-elf who will become an unstoppable warrior. Yet, the truth is that it’s where Luke Callindor learns that it isn’t your skills, heritage, or destiny that makes you a hero. It’s what you fight for and how you handle obstacles that earn you the title.

For more information, follow the links:

Legends of Windemere
Twitter
Facebook
Grab Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero for Free!

Guest Post: C.S. Boyack – The Importance of Research in Speculative Fiction

Today Craig Boyack, author of C.S Boyack’s Experimental Notebook and his newest release, The Playground, is visiting Journey to Ambeth with a fantastic post about research. As he says, writing speculative fiction means that you can do pretty much whatever you choose within a story – however, for it to be effective, there has to be some basis in reality. That’s where research comes into play.

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The Playground - available to pre-order now
The Playground – available to pre-order now

People don’t often realize how much research goes into speculative fiction. Obviously we’re making some pretty fantastic stuff up, but there are points where it has to be grounded in reality, and/or history. This is where research is required.

The heroine in The Playground is Dr. Gina Greybill. She’s an oncologist who survived her own bout with cancer. There are a few futuristic items in play here, but her life gets turned on its head by a paranormal encounter.

As she adapts to her new circumstances, she has to deal with the big issues behind the story and needs more information. Having recently been exposed to the paranormal world, she thinks an oracle of some kind might be able to help her.

It turns out, oracles are in short supply. There is one in North Korea, but no chance of contacting her. This leads to a scheme to contact a dead one. I spent a long time researching the trances of Edgar Cayce. Cayce has his fans even today, and I want to keep a smidgen of reality to this part of the story. Several days of effort led to a few paragraphs in the story.

The Playground becomes a chase for the maguffin. Of course it involves competitors, and tension. I wanted the characters to wind up in New Orleans. I can’t just hop in the truck and drive down for a fun weekend.

Google Earth became my best friend. I used street views, and more to make sure the area is as realistic as possible. The names may have been changed, but the places in the story are real. I used the same approach in Memphis.

I did some looking though the seven deadly sins too. These made great encounters for Gina to overcome as lesser demons. You’ll find despair worms and pride crabs in the story.

This may not seem like a ton of research, but it took many days. I’m pretty serious about this part of my work. The Playground has a paranormal bent, but it doesn’t matter if it’s science fiction, or fantasy. Readers need some things to ground them into the story. This makes them more willing to accept the fantastic things that go on.

In speculative fiction you can make the world any way you like. It’s a bad idea to change
absolutely everything. The readers will have a hard time keeping up. I like to keep trees pointed toward the sky, water flowing downhill, and day vs night. Glaciers are for mountains, and lakes are in the low places.

A bit of additional research helps with these concepts. I could have made up my own seer. I could have used a fictitious city. Any kind of creepy monsters could have filled in the gaps, but relating them to the seven deadly sins makes them more familiar. By researching these items, it helps ground the reader for the amazing things that occur.

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CS Boyack PhotoI was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet. I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY