Separation Pre-Orders

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When writing both a fantasy series and a science fiction series do not try to edit one while writing the other. Switching gears between genres and styles like that was hard.

Rose From the Ash was released this past spring and once that was out of the way I could focus on finishing the drafts for Separation – book two in the Underground Series.

Focus is definitely what this book needed. I had started and stopped so many times the different pieces did not fit together at all. So much of it had to be rearranged and rewritten.

But it got done. And now the e-book is available for pre-order. We will officially be celebrating the launch of the ebook at the Twilight Madhouse Launch party on August 1 (the book goes live on August 8th so there will be a week yet of pre-orders). We’ll be launching the paperback at C4 in October. And with a little luck I’ll have book 3 completed by then as well.

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Review: The Arena

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The Arena is a science fiction novel by Santana Young and the Prequel to the Chronicles of Everen.

I read a lot of books. A LOT OF BOOKS. So believe me when I say this book was refreshingly original. I was captivated with the settings, with the characters, and the whole tone of the book. The combination of antiquity and science-fiction tech was brilliantly disorienting. You’d honestly forget you weren’t in Rome for whole chapters and then BAM you were back in space-times. It was so much fun.

The book was dark at times, and brutally honest, but the friendships between the characters and the idle banter, along with Duncan’s strength of personality, kept the book from being depressing.

As a prequel it did its job beautifully. I’ve never read anything in this series and now I want to. If anyone had read this series first they’d find a rich and entertaining story waiting for them.

A hearty five out of five stars.

Book Review: The One Taken from the Sea of Stars

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The One Taken from the Sea of Stars is a science fiction novel by Octavia Davis and is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/One-Taken-Sea-Stars-ebook/dp/B01KQX5KGY/ (NOTE: I do not receive any royalties or kickbacks from the purchase of this book)

The One Take from the Sea of Stars stars strong. You’re thrown into a beautiful, fantastical world of rituals and warriors and sacred trees. The first two characters you meet don’t like each other. You have tension, vivid settings, and interesting characters without the boring info dump. You know enough of what is going on to get your bearings and you know the rest will come with the story.

And then in chapter 2 you’re somewhere else with other characters in a completely different cultural setting and your head is spinning. Sometimes this disconnect can turn me right off of a story but the writing was so good that I stuck with this one. You start to get hints in chapter 2 and 3 that chapter 1 really is connected and that promise of more information kept me reading until 4 and 5 when the “ah ha” moment hits.

The story is beautifully crafted with amazing pacing. By chapter 5 or 6 I was hoping this was book 1 in a longer set and I was not disappointed. I wanted it to be so much longer than the page count and now I have more books to look forward to.

And I am looking forward to them. The dialogue was natural. The character introductions were smooth. Everyone feels distinct and you recognize them on the page easily. The plot is compelling and full of tension and mystery.

I gave this book 5 stars and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

World Building Post #1 – What to consider

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I write mainly fantasy, some science fiction, and occasionally more realistic stuff. My science fiction is often near future sort of stuff while my fantasy is more the high fantasy sword and sorcery as opposed to urban fantasy (I love reading urban fantasy though). That being said, I’ve done a lot of world building.

I plan to do a series of posts on the different aspects of world building: geography and maps, religion and culture, technology and cultural evolution,  races and species, and alternate Earth scenarios, in some order. But today I want to do an overview on what is required in building a world, sort of a heads up on everything you’ll have to consider at some point, and some things you should consider before you even start.

First – is creating a new planet/world/etc. the right thing for your story? Give yourself an honest answer. For a lot of my science fiction creating alien planets isn’t needed to tell the story, the story fits quite well in a future Earth or alternate Earth setting, limiting the world building, and effort, I need to put into it.

Second – is this fantasy or science fiction? Is this a whole other planet that humans will stumble upon and meet the native alien creatures? Or is the whole story self-contained on this new world, with the humans, or human equivalents, already living there?

Third – how big is this world, and how big a stage does your story need? Does the story take place in a single country? I’ve got one novel like that and I’ve labelled the neighbouring countries on the map but I know little about them, except what I need for them to interact economically and politically with the country in my story. The rest of the planet is a grey-zone, I know nothing about it. I have another novel that features a smaller planet wrapped up in a global war – I know as much as humanly possible about every country, race, and religion on that planet and how they fit together.

Once you’ve answered those questions you’ll basically be ready to start. Here are some things you’ll need to design, organize, plan, plot, and decipher.

1) a map – you need this, even if it’s never published with the book, it’s a good way to track place names, distances, and such things even if it’s not to scale.

2) religion – how many deities? their genders, style of worship, and are they “real” or do the people simply believe them to be real? Take a look at David Eddings’s Belgarad series – the gods actually walk among the people at different times and talk to them, they’re real. In George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice you get the feeling that the seven are just something people believe in and that’s why they’re being pushed out by other equally “fake” religions. I’ll explain this better when I get to the post on religion. Just know that religion can be tricky

3) cultural views – this includes views on gender roles, caste, class, economics, and politics.

4) cultural stage – hunter gatherer? agricultural? Victorian era? Early industrial revolution? This of course will dictate, to some extent, your politics, economics, and level of technology

5) magic – does it exist? in what form? how common? sounds easy but when we get to this post you’ll see it’s hard to create something unique and “realistic” that still fits your plot and imagination

6) races and species – how many sentient races will exist on your planet? what will they look like? how do they communicate? And guess what – you need culture, religion, magic, evolution, and tech for every single one of them. In addition you need non-sentient species: farm animals, wild animals of both predator and prey, birds and bugs, what is there and how frequently will your culture encounter them?

Yeah, I know, a lot to consider. And the bigger and more complex your world the more all of these play off each other. It’s going to be hard for me to separate them for the sake of writing an organized blog on all this, but I’ll do my best. It sounds hard but many writers claim this is the most exhilarating part of writing fantasy and science fiction – and I’m one of them. Give yourself permission, before you start the process, to change anything and everything on a whim, at any time – you can always change it back. Understand that this will take time, a lot of time, and there will be a lot of wrinkles to iron out.

I’ll walk you through the steps I use, the things I consider, and hopefully that will give you a place to start. Mainly I’ll focus on fantasy but I’ll try to note where things may be the same, or different, for science fiction.

I’m really looking forward to writing this series.

Signing off …

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