Okay I admit it. I absolutely adore reading fantasy novels. I've got all of Anne McCaffrey's fantasy books: Dragons of Pern, Generation Warriors, Doona novels, Pegasus and several other series. She is one of the best fantasy authors I've read and her son seems to be taking after her. Maybe he'll do a series of his own in the near future.
Then of course there's David Eddings. Again I have all his fantasy novels. These two authors are the people who set my course onto writing fantasy by their example. They both have depth and polish to their writing. So much so that I read their books again and again and find them hard to put down.
Other authors I've found over the years who have become favorites are Naomi Novik and Trudi Canavan. Both have taken a unique approach to their fantasy worlds and enthral me with their stories. Naomi Novik takes history and bends it to include dragons. Wonderful dragons (another of my favourites). Trudi Canavan's worlds have magic at the core of their society. This brings magicians into conflict with other magicians, creating magical wars. Wonderful!
The above are more for adults than young people, but I do read Paul Stewart's Edge Chronicles and Wyrmweald series. I find it's nice to read stories that don't have romantic elements in them. Brian Jacques Redwall Series is another favorite. Philip Reeve's Predator Cities and Larkspur series also caught my imagination, the latter I felt was ideal for Middle Grade readers.
I recently attended a workshop on world building given by Nalini Singh, a paranormal best selling author. I went along believing it would give me more insight into building my fantasy worlds, which indeed it did. However, I got more than I bargained for.
It had never occurred to me that every book that is written has it's own world built. Doesn't matter whether it's historical, romantic, fantasy, mystery or suspense. The world is the story and the story is the world. Both must be right for the book or short story to succeed. Thank you so much Nalini for showing me this. I will look at my novels in a completely different way now, plus I will re-read those old favorites with an eye to how they are so successful in their world building, not only of alternate planets but of their characters and societies.
So there you have it. The reason and the authors who pointed me in the direction of fantasy writing. If you haven't come across some of these authors and you love fantasy, then I highly recommend one and all of them. Enjoy!!!
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Three Little Demons
*** Leave a comment for a chance to win a free ecopy of “Faizah’s Destiny.” ***
Hi Sue: Thanks for inviting my flock (herd, bunch, gaggle) of demons to your blog. I hope they don’t leave a mess.
I use lots of Persian mythology in “Faizah's Destiny.” If you’d like to know more about the three boys and Faizah standing up to the gods and demons, you can read the book, or check my blog for a list of posts on different topics.
In researching the various gods and other legends of ancient Persian mythology, I found the three demons the war god Dev uses to tempt the teens to the dark side. My favorite source on all things mythical, the Encyclopedia Mythica, (http://www.pantheon.org/) came through with Aesma, Buyasta, and Nanghaithya.
Dev, like all gods of war in mythology, wants humans to fight. His ultimate purpose is to to usher in Armageddon. Why? Because war is his thing and wiping out all humankind is on his to-do list.
To that end, he sends three daevas (demons, if you will) to turn Faiza’s companions on the quest to the dark side (sort of a Darth Vader thing). Demons often represent a failing of humankind. We all have our demons, but Faizah’s three friends have demons visit them in more than just their thoughts.
Aesma appears to Parvaiz in the form of a bear with a serpent’s tail. Parvaiz was a slave and has a mile-wide chip on his shoulder. Aesma fuels that anger and convinces the boy the others are his enemies, not his friends. Once sold on the idea, Parvaiz is told to wait for Dev to call him into battle. And, of course, keep his mouth shut about the little meeting.
An ancient Persian demon of laziness who tries to prevent people from working. He is one of the Daevas.
Dev sends Buyasta in the form of a giant spider to Bahaar, who has always dreamt of becoming a warrior. The demon takes advantage of that dream to make Bahaar fall asleep (laziness) and dream of himself as a mighty fighter in a huge battle. The good part: Bahaar is kicking major butt. The bad part: The butts he’s kicking are those of his best friends.
An archfiend. Nanghaithya is the personification of discontentment.
I really wonder how discontentment rates the rank of archfiend, but if you think about it, much of the worst harm comes from people not content in their lives. Nanghaithya has a little un-pep talk (he’s a voice-over character) with Harib claiming that his friends all laugh at him and only keep his company because his father is rich. The demon attempts to make Harib discontented with his relationship with the others. Harib, however, is having none of it. He’s the only of the three boys who stays true to Faizah.
This excerpt shows one of the confrontations between demon and boy. I’ve selected Harib and Nanghaithya because the scene is the shortest of the three.
He heard the noise. A dry, rustling whisper of sound. At first, he thought it was the wind. Looking up, he could see nothing but blackness. The forest canopy was so thick overhead it blocked out the stars. Harib had never seen such big trees before, and he’d wondered idly what they might be. The thick, shaggy-barked trunks soared high into the gloom, unbroken by branch or leaf. Harib had noticed earlier that where the branches began, high above him, they had neither leaves nor fronds but instead were covered with clusters of thousands of thin needles. Would the wind blowing through those needles make the sound he heard? Don’t panic, he told himself. It’s only the wind; it can’t hurt me.
The sound faded and then grew louder. Now it sounded like faint laughter. “Great,” he said aloud. “Now, even the forest is laughing at me! First I fall over a cliff and have the others haul me to safety, and now I’m lost in the woods.”
As had happened so often lately, a dark sense of his own worthlessness washed over Harib. He angrily scrubbed away the tears stinging his eyes. How, he wondered, did the others put up with him? They said they were his friends, but why? He was small and weak and foolish. Bahaar was bigger and faster, and even Faizah was stronger than he. Smarter, too! All he had was his father’s money, and they didn’t even want that. Many times, he had tried to buy things for them, and every time, they spurned his offers. Still clutching his blanket-load of sticks, Harib plopped heavily to the ground and sat, head bowed, in the small clearing that held him trapped as surely as a prison cell.
The sound came again, louder. More laughter; then a voice, dry and rasping. “No wonder they laugh at you. Look at you. You’re pathetic.”
Harib’s head snapped up, but he could see nothing.
“You’re weak and slow. You can’t even get wood for the fire without getting lost.”
“I know!” Harib groaned. He put his face in his hands and whispered, “I know.”
“They make fun of you behind your back.”
“They only put up with you because you’re rich.”
“That’s not true! They won’t accept my money,” Harib answered, willing that hateful voice to be wrong.
“They only wait for the right moment,” the voice persisted. “Then they’ll take it all and leave you behind.”
“Never! They wouldn’t! They’re my friends.”
The whispered voice chuckled, the words stabbing at Harib. “So you believe.”
“No!” Harib shouted, leaping to his feet. “No, you’re wrong! I don’t believe you! I won’t believe you.”
Looking wildly around, still trying to find the source of the voice, Harib spotted a small opening in the underbrush he’d missed before. Heedless of the branches whipping him, he lunged through, running away from the hurtful words as fast as the tangled brush would allow.
Perched upside down on the trunk of a tree, Nanghaithya, the demon of discontent, bared his fangs and hissed at Harib’s retreating figure. He had failed. Now he feared for his own life, for Dev did not easily forgive failure.
* * *
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.
MuseItUp (all ebook formats): http://tinyurl.com/faizahsdestiny
Also available at Amazon, B&N, Nook, and other on-line stores
The village magician has gone missing. His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures. They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.
However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.
A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.
Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two ungrateful cats. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several published books, including six since 2011 with MuseItUp Publishing.
Twitter Handle: @Gurina
Book Trailers: http://www.youtube.com/user/MarvaDasef/videos
Monday, May 6, 2013
Character Post for
BOO’S BAD DAY
By: Penny Lockwood
Picture book for children aged 18 months to 6 years
Published by 4RV Publishing
ISBN# 13: 978-0-9852661-5-8
$8.99 includes s/h
Look inside at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Boos-Bad-Day-Penny-Lockwood/dp/0985266155/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Sue, thanks for hosting me. At the end of the tour, I will pick out one commenter’s name and send an autographed copy of Boo’s Bad Day to a United States address only. If the name I pick is someone who lives outside the U.S., I will send a PDF copy of the book. So remember, readers, be sure to leave contact information when you comment!
If your readers missed yesterday’s post, they can catch up at http://irenesroth.wordpress.com/.
Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting with http://1stTimeMums.com
Boo sneaks out of the house and discovers that freedom by himself can be scary.
Boo is a very bored kitten. When Timmy and his mom return home, Boo sneaks out of the house. Boo is frightened by the noises of the big world outside of the safety of his warm home. When Timmy coaxes Boo back into the house,
Boo realizes some places are safe and some are not.
Hi, my name is Boo, and I’m a teenager, cat that is, only about ten months old. I have black fur that is short and sleek. I don’t know why people think I’m a baby. I’m pretty independent. I can jump on counters by myself, and I always use my litter box. I eat all my crunchies, and I love it when Mom gives me juicy, wet food in my special bowl.
I love to play and chase things, especially when my boy Timmy is home. He throws my toys for me, and when I run after them, sometimes I slide on the wood floors, and he laughs. It makes me happy when he does that. Of course, there are times when Timmy and his mom have to go out. I don’t like that at all. I get so bored sitting there by myself. I try to entertain myself by playing with my toy mice and jingle balls. I’ve even pulled Mom’s yarn out of her knitting basket. She really doesn’t like that, but it’s fun to play with.
The other day Timmy and his mom were gone a really long time. I saw something white covering the ground outside the big window. I sat on the bench seat in front of the window and watched the other dogs and cats outside. They all looked like they were having way more fun than I was. It was so quiet in the house with no one home. I just knew I had to go out there and see what they were doing and what all that white stuff was.
When Timmy and Mom came home, I snuck out the door before they closed it. Boy was I surprised! That white stuff was so cold it hurt my paws. But since I was out there, I decided I should explore. I think my curiosity got the better of me, though, because before I took a few steps, I wanted to get back inside the house.
There were so many strange noises: metal scraping against rocks, barking dogs, blaring sirens. Oh, my. I just wanted to hide from all the strange sounds. They were so loud they hurt my ears. I didn’t know how to get back inside, so I all I could do was call for Timmy. The longer I was out in that cold white stuff, the more I knew I wouldn’t be bored if I was in the house. All I could think of was the hearth in front of my nice warm woodstove. Sometimes being bored is good.
Penny Lockwood has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non‑fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She edits for MuseItUp Publishing. Visit her web site at http:// pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com. Her writing blog is located at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/.
She has recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has three other children’s books under contract with them: Ghost for Rent, Ghost for Lunch, and Many Colored Coats. She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror. Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords.