Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Imaginative Power behind World Building in Fantasy and Science Fiction by Suzan Battah



The Imaginative Power behind World Building in Fantasy and Science Fiction

By Suzan Battah


There is so much to say about creative world building within the fantasy and science fiction genres. Technically in all literary fiction works, as authors, we are developing our own worlds as a base for our character’s story to evolve. The excitement for me in particular as a creative is especially powerful in developing fantastical worlds. My creative brain runs wild and my imagination can unleash into the most interesting canvas of different worlds. In fact, I truly believe that fantastical and science fiction world building is a main character in its own right on the page and a most important aspect of fantasy and science fiction. The fantasy worlds created by authors have their own heart and soul. Examples of exceptional world building include Hogwarts for Harry Potter’s fantastical world, Middle Earth is where Lord of the Rings evolved and another great example is the Terran Empire for the Valerian a French-Belgian graphic novel soon to be released as a film. These are great examples of speculative fiction world creation. They each have their own character and there are many more creative worlds out there from amazing authors.



As with character development, we must strip our characters bare until all flaws, personality traits and quirks are revealed to us the writer and to you the readers. This is the same process I took when writing for BaSatai. I knew that the parallel worlds had to be definitive in character. I was taking earth and transforming it into a supernatural paradise. There were many questions I wanted to answer for the BaSatai world. What would live there? How would the inhabitants behave? What would be the rules and values of the H-traen world? How would Earth and H-trae be separated? So let’s begin by breaking it all down.



Breaking down the Fantasy World of BaSatai




When creating H-trae, I started by working out how the landscape of my world would be. I knew that on my supernatural world of H-trae there would be no pollution, the air is crisp and fresh and without pollution the world was lush, vibrant and earthy. The H-traen people and creatures at most respected the planet and so lived in ways that allowed the worlds growth. The BaSatai would live on H-trae and they were humanoid shifters. They had the ability to adapt and transform with animalistic features as part of their identity to protect and maintain the world from evil they were classed as BaSatai Warriors. There were BaSatai Guardians (male only), BaSatai Intellects, BaSatai Healers and the rare female Guardians a Warriorna. Each had a pivotal role to play in the growth of H-trae. This utopia  world could not be complete without S’teuqoubs with too much evil in their heart. S’teuqoubs were BaSatai born but had chosen the darker side of the BaSatai power. Guardians and BaSatai Warriors protected the gate between the Earth and H-trae and policed any trouble making S’teuqoubs.

Based on the behaviors and values of each inhabitant on H-trae, the rules and values of the H-traen world started to form. Each individual personality trait of the BaSatai classes and the Guardians developed. I could see the Guardians supremely arrogant as their power and strength far exceeded a BaSatai Warrior’s ability and to counter this I took away the gift of shifting from the Guardians. Not that a Guardian cared. The masculine identity of Guardians took place. They would be male, celibate (by choice for more power) and annoying in their arrogance. Guardians became pivotal in destroying S’teuqoubs on the prowl. As the inhabitants evolved in H-trae, so too did the dangers between the parallel worlds of Earth and H-trae with the trouble making S’teuqoubs always looking for evil satisfaction. I imagined the the two worlds divided by an energetic force like a large belt that wraps around both worlds. There would be 7 points of entry for cross-over to Earth. These entry points moved every Full Moon and every New Moon cycle. H-traen’s can cross-over to Earth and survive but humans could not cross over to H-trae and survive. Humanity was oblivious to the supernatural world beside them. The gate would be monitored by Guardians and BaSatai Warriors. The worlds would live in harmony for millions of years without incident.



That’s how I created the world behind BaSatai. The technique is as simple as breaking down a character. Think of the world you’re creating as a character and by answering the questions as I posed or your own ideas slowly and carefully break down it down to uncover your very own fantasy world. The personality of the world is the inhabitants, the characteristics of the world is the landscape and setting and the morals, beliefs and values of the world are the rules/politics of how it functions. You can keep breaking it down further and further but this is a great starting point for creative development in your fiction story. Remember there is no right and wrong in fantasy, it’s all up to you. It’s your truth on your creative world how it works, functions and thrives is completely up to you the creator. How things go wrong, again, is up to you. As long as you believe in the world you’re building, I believe will be immersed in it as a reader. Creating H-trae was exhilarating because it’s my own creative thought process and baby. I hold the BaSatai world close to my heart as a writer for that reason.



How to Develop a Story in a Fantastical World




Setting up the utopia of H-trae was amazing. I had worked out every single aspect of how the world functioned, the values and morals of the inhabitants, the supernatural creatures who lived there and most importantly the fantastical world had it’s own characteristics, heart and soul for readers to fall in love with. From this basis the main characters formed. When building your story on a fantastical world, you must delve deep into your imagination. Remember this is your world, your rules. Best aspects of a fantasy world is finding the unlimited in the limited. The story conflict of Basatai was no struggle I wanted it to be both internal and external based.     I knew the parallel divide gate between the two worlds would be threatened, the external physical conflict was set up easily and I wanted to link this threat to an internal aspect of identity – this is where the blood curse was born in one BaSatai. The internal confliction and external conflict was linked up perfectly. The struggle with identity in a BaSatai hidden away on Earth is at the core of the story and the external threat of the parallel divide breaking and destroying both worlds increased the stakes in story. BaSatai is a complicated yet highly epic fantasy novel and as a trilogy I wanted to increase each stake and link the threats together.



The BaSatai fantasy world as a central connection to the story was a must for me. Threats and conflicts in fantasy world building is exciting as a creator. Why? It’s unlimited to what you can create, remember, it’s your world. You don’t need permission from anyone to create your fantasy world. Make the story compelling, relatable, exciting and packed full of imaginative characters, crazy adventure and your fans will fall in love with your world.

The Imaginative Power as a Creative Writer




As a writer I get to explore so many imaginative avenues and immerse my readers in different worlds. This power is phenomenal because I write the stories I love to read. I know the readers who love the stories I write will join in on the journey. For each book that I write, I look to make it emotional, exciting, adventurous laced with a bit of danger. Each story, no matter what genre is a creative journey. Each fantasy story is an explorative journey into my creative imagination. To my readers, all over the world, I wanted to thank you for enjoying the amazing world of BaSatai.





About Suzan Battah

 


Suzan Battah is an Award-Winning Screenwriter, Film Director, Film Producer and Independent Author. The screenplay adaptation of her fantasy fiction book series BaSatai: Outside In has received several awards at International Film Festivals since 2012. Suzan started her Film Production Company, MRG Light Media in 2013 to pursue her passion in producing film and television projects. She is passionate about creating quality film/television, entertaining fiction books and graphic novels. Suzan writes quality fiction independently in a variety of genres including romance, drama, fantasy and psychological thrillers. If you love to read, check out her books.

Suzan loves dogs, dancing like no one is watching, all things creative and reading historical romance. She’s a big health and fitness fanatic, is terribly afraid of heights and struggles when a cockroach is nearby. Her favorite TV shows are Vikings and Outlander. She has too many favorite films to list. And she is the biggest romantic on earth. She loves to travel the world even though she gets overwrought from the motion of the plane ride. She does think she tells funny jokes, though some people may disagree. Suzan is a big believer in following your dreams and allowing your imagination to take you to places.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Wings (The Anahira Chronicles, Book 1) by N.D. Iverson

Release date: July 18, 2017
Subgenre: Urban fantasy

About New Wings


Anahira Clarkson. Dating app addict. Problem drinker. Supernatural newbie. Screw up.When mauled bodies start piling up in Calypso City, Anahira and her crew are hired to hunt down the rogue werewolf responsible. No mercenary could refuse such a fat pay check. Too bad word spreads. With the Magistratus breathing down her neck and competing mercenaries hot on her heels, the case is messier than the werewolf’s meals.

If that’s not enough, her crew is being picked off one by one. Screw money, now it’s personal. Anahira has no choice; it’s time to woman up and track down the killer before her friends and co-workers become puppy chow.

Excerpt:



It was the light rustling beside me that first made me aware that I wasn’t alone under the covers. Oh well.
Oh well?! Do you want to end up in some guy’s freezer, Ana?
My eyes flew open as memories of last night flooded back. I bolted upright, my mind registering that I was naked save for my underwear and the sheetI was attempting to use as cover. I remembered going to the bar, drinking at the bar, then really drinking at the bar, and I semi-remembered leaving with someone. 
You need to stop using that Tonder app.
The afternoon light seeped out from behind the half-closed curtains, illuminating the small bedroom.Looking around the room, I realized I wasn’t at my place. Thank God. Maybe I could sneak out before the other party woke up … or maybe not.It looked like a toddler had been let loose in the bedroom without parental supervision. So many clothes and DVD cases littered the room that I couldn’t see an open path to the doorway. Clearly the concept of a laundry hamper—and Netflix—was lost on the owner. 
For all the mess, the room didn’t smell bad, almost as if there were air fresheners hidden beneath the dunes of junk. Posters plastered the walls.I couldn’t say I cared for the one that showcased a naked, oiled woman of unknown species grinding on a motorcycle, but I rather liked The Boondock Saints poster with Connor and Murphy pointing their guns at the next scumbag on their hit list.
Grudgingly, I turned my attention from the decor to the sleeping mass beside me. The only discernible feature visible was a mop of white hair sticking out from under the covers. My mouth flopped open in horror.
Oh my God! You went home with an old man! I wonder if he got his grandson to set up his Tonder account.
After giving myself a shake and wondering just how old this guy was, I slid off the bed to search for my clothes. They were strewn on the floor around the bed, so I didn’t have to look too hard. I picked up a bra and instantly tossed it back when I realized it wasn’t mine. I did not do polka dots.
I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the dresser mirror and cringed. Day-old makeup was smudged across my face, and my black hair, hanging below my shoulders, stuck out in every direction. 
You’re the poster child for the walk of shame.
I picked up my jeans and dug through the pockets for my emergency hair elastic. Using my fingers, I combed my hair into a half-assed ponytail. The raccoon mascara smudges made my eyes look Husky-dog blue. I scooped up the nearest thing I could find to wipe away the mess, which happened to be a black t-shirt. On the front, it said, “MS FBI: Multi-Species, Female Body Inspector.” 
Horny old grandpa.
When I was done wiping my face, I tossed the shirt back on the ground. Once I was fully dressed in my wrinkled bar clothes from last night and had my sandals safely grasped in my hand, I started my attempt at a quiet journey toward the door. 
That lasted about one step as my foot came down on a pile of broken glass. I bit down on my bottom lip to refrain from yelping in pain. Bracing myself against the wall, I lifted my foot to examine the wound. With a muffled curse, I pulled out the bloody, jagged shard of a Corona bottle that had decided to make my foot its new resting place. Once the glass was clear of my flesh, the skin wove itself together in seconds, leaving nothing to indicate that I’d stepped on trash. I ran my finger over the smooth flesh, still not used to witnessing my speedy healing abilities in action. Couldn’t say it didn’t come in handy, though. 
No tetanus shot for you today!
I sucked it up and dashed for the door. Thankfully, no more broken glass found my feet, just dirty clothes and old takeout containers. Once I reached the door, I chanced a look back to see if I’d woken the guy, but it looked like he hadn’t heard a thing.
Probably hard of hearing.
I took a few steps out of the doorway and gingerly bolted down the stairs into the living area. Worn couches, a ridiculously sized flat-screen, and a giant painting of two girls kissing occupied the space. As I hurried toward the front door, the cloying presence of magic tickled my senses. The air around me thickened as my skin tingled.  The strong magic stalled my feet. Odd. The guy sleeping upstairs had no magic feel about him. I had an inkling that he was something supernatural, but I hadn’t managed to nail that down.
Heh.
Sensing supernatural creatures and people was much harder than sensing inanimate mystical objects. Ignoring everything else around me, I closed my eyes and concentrated on where the whisper of magic was coming from. I placed the bloody piece of glass—which I hadn’t realized I’d kept—on the counter as the pull of magic drew me deeper into the kitchen. I gingerly placed my sandals on the floor and slipped my feet into them as I followed the trail.
I was getting better at this. I could feel magic pulling at me like the hand of a small child. Though the sensation faded in and out, it still led me to the scuffed kitchen table. The tabletop was bare and someone had recently wiped it clean with disinfectant. Given the messy state of the rest of the house, I found it rather suspicious. I’d be surprised if this guy even knew what bleach was. I bent down as my curiosity got the better of me.
Well, that explained it. I ran my hand along the bottom of the table until I reached the holstered gun that was safely tucked away and hidden from any passersby. I had to wiggle it, but the piece eventually came loose from its leather holster attached to the underside of the wooden table. With my mom’s voice yelling at me in my head to never touch a gun, I warily examined it. 
There were designs engraved into the cold carbon steel. It looked like an old revolver with a bit of a flair. If I wasn’t mistaken, someone had etched a spell into the body. Too bad I couldn’t read what it said. As I ran my fingers over the markings, the foreign words emitted a dim blue light, reacting to the feel of flesh running over it. 
This guy was likely a supernatural hunter or had a similar occupation to require a gun like this. What else did he have stashed all over the place? I popped open the cylinder. The chamber was fully loaded with six bullets, so I took one out to examine. The silver bullet had similar markings as the gun. I went to slide it back into the chamber, but a fresh bullet already filled the slot, as if I hadn’t taken the bullet out in the first place. One of the spells on the pistol must have been for never-ending bullets. 
“Not bad for an old guy,” I muttered as I pocketed the spare bullet and snapped the cylinder back into place. Didn’t want to leave any evidence behind. 
I hardly ever used guns. I preferred summoning my powerful golden bow if I needed to shoot something. Sometimes, I just had one of those days. It made me feel badass, like Hawkeye. 
More like Mr. T. I pity the fool who uses my golden weapons!
When I learned I could summon and then send away various weapons, I’d started practicing with fruit to see if it would work too. A red apple I sent away came back with a large bite taken out of it, and the mangled mark had way too many teeth to be from a human. The experience had been unsettling. I still had no idea where the weapons disappeared to when they left my hand. All I knew was that I wouldn’t be getting myself listed on the no-fly list like my roommate Raine. She’d tried sneaking a broad sword onto an international flight and unsurprisingly it didn't play out well for her. 
Not the brightest neon sign in the night that Raine.

 

Amazon

 

About N.D. Iverson: 

 

N. D. Iverson is a young author trying to find her niche in the world. She has a business degree - to which she is still trying to find a practical application for. She has bounced from half-baked ideas of becoming a forensic pathologist (cut short when the option for attending an autopsy came up and she rather quickly decided maybe that wasn't for her), a member of a rock band (sadly, neither she nor her friends could play instruments or sing, not that it's a requirement these days...), and many more.

This Would Be Paradise is her first completed novel, which has started a chain reaction of one-too-many book ideas dancing around in her head. She plans on wrangling in these ideas and turning them into something readable.

Website | Mailing List

 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for July 21, 2017


Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with a new Doctor Who, a new season of Game of Thrones, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, War for the Planet of the Apes, Salvation, a Muppet scandal, tributes to George A. Romero and Martin Landau, plenty of new film trailers as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding campaigns, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on the new Doctor Who:

Comments on Valerian and the City of the Thousand Planets:

Comments on the new season of Game of Thrones

Comments on War for the Planet of the Apes:

Comments on Salvation

Tributes to George A. Romero and Martin Landau:

Comments on the firing of Steve Whitemire, the puppeteer who played Kermit the Frog among others:

Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Elusive (Vampirica, Book 2) by Aria Sparke


Release date: June 21, 2017
Subgenre: Urban fantasy, Paranormal romance

About Elusive

 

Lily Winter flees from Tarek, the vampiric leader of the Ruberios, and the terrifying Berisha clan while mourning her young friend’s death. Although desperately missing Flynn, she flies alone across the world to an uncertain future. A shocking surprise awaits her in Australia, spinning her belief and trust into chaos. Will her blossoming romance with gorgeous Flynn ramp to a new level? Or will she fall under the glamour of the hot and irresistible Tarek? Follow Lily as she races to develop her witchcraft while balancing her dream to become a doctor. Venture deeper with her into a world of new witches and dhampirs and discover whether she can find the courage to evade and fight dark vampiric forces.

Excerpt:


In the early hours of daylight, the plane dropped from the bright blue sky to an airport surrounded by pale olive hills. Flight made me vulnerable and uneasy, so when we touched down on the tarmac, I was grateful to be on solid ground once more. As I scrambled from the plane, I may as well have been an astronaut climbing from his shuttle onto a foreign moon. Everyone I loved was so far away, and I was so completely alone.

After witnessing Bella’s death, leaving Flynn behind and flying across the world, I battled to maintain composure while waiting for my luggage in the terminal. Nauseated and exhausted, I felt my head spin. Holding my handbag tightly in one hand, I grabbed my case with the other before negotiating the usual security and screening. Emerging into the outside lounge, I searched the gathered crowd for a sign. Someone holding a card with the words ‘Anubis student’ caught my attention, so I hurried in his direction. Alexis had promised someone would be waiting for me here but had given no names.

Nearing the cardholder, I felt my breath leave my lungs and my legs buckle with shock. My jet lag and the trauma I’d experienced in Wicklow were creating an optical illusion I reasoned as I staggered forward. There could be no other explanation. Surely when the cardholder removed his hat and dark glasses, he would look different.

The mirage shepherded me toward a doorway where I followed him through to a sunlit exterior. He guided me along a path that threaded between stark, angular airport buildings to the outside world that was dazzling and clear. No rain fell and no clouds impeded my vision. Canberra wasn’t like Wicklow, at least not today.

‘How?’ I finally said between clenched teeth when we reached a parking lot far from the pickup area. ‘Who are you?’ My tone echoed my disgust.

He remained silent until he’d ushered me into the passenger seat of the car and closed the door.

I fought to control my anger. ‘You’re dead,’ I accused him after he’d climbed into the driver’s seat. I struggled to make sense of him.

‘I know what you’re thinking, Lily,’ he said quietly in his usual voice.

After he had removed his hat and glasses, I stole glances at this face. It was surreal and frightening seeing him again.

‘I’m so sorry. I don’t know what else to say.’

For the past few years, every time I flew I carried tragedy, so weighty and profound that it was a miracle the planes got off the ground. When my mother and I left Florida to fly to Wicklow, we thought my father was dead. Two years later and burdened by grief again, I jetted to Australia after my mother and Bella’s deaths. It was becoming a soul-destroying pattern leaving me with no reason to continue. Perhaps I was the trouble. If I never planned to travel again, would all those I loved stay safe? I’d have happily kept my feet planted on the Earth if it were so.


Amazon


About Aria Sparke:

Aria is a fantasy and paranormal author who writes for readers of all ages. Her new series, Vampirica follows the loves and lives of Lily and Avery, brave and beautiful witches. The Vampirica universe overflows with vampires and dhampirs, dangerous and dazzling, who make love and war on shifting nightscapes in North America, Australia and the ancient, Icelandic Galdrar Academy.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Virago One (Ace of Space, Book 2) by John Triptych

Release date: July 18, 2017
Subgenre: Hard science fiction, technothriller

About Virago One

 

Virago: the codename for a top secret project between ACE Corp and USAF Space Command. Its goal is to deploy the first fusion-powered battleship to ensure American domination of any potential conflict in space.

There’s only one problem: Virago has been stolen.

The world is now at the brink of war as the hijacked spacecraft forges a path of destruction across known space. The task to intercept and retake this dangerous adversary falls on corporate troubleshooter Stilicho Jones and NASA Special Agent Darian Arante, who must overcome their mutual distrust and antagonism just to survive. This time the stakes are higher, the price of failure too catastrophic to imagine.

Combining hard science with heart-stopping thrills, this second book in the Ace of Space series will surely delight fans of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, Craig Thomas’s Firefox, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Footfall, and the works of Dale Brown.

Excerpt:

 

 “I can still get you to safety if you follow my instructions carefully,” she said.
Despite the chilly weather, Vlad’s long hair was matted with sweat. Her latest words added to his stress and bewilderment. “What? What kind of game is this?”
“It’s not a game. The authorities have surrounded the place. Two plainclothes FSB agents will enter the café in twenty seconds. I would suggest you activate your personal server right now.”
Vlad’s right hand shook as he reached over to his side and power cycled the fist-sized device on his belt. The moment it went online, a series of letters and numbers appeared on the lenses of his smartglasses. “What … is this?”
“That is the administrator level access code for the Saint Petersburg Police AI network. If you are as good as you claim to be, then you should be able to get out of this yourself,” the voice said. “Ten seconds till they come inside.”
Vlad held his breath. For a brief moment he just sat there, staring off into space. His choices were clear. He would either use everything in his power to escape, or he would give up and be taken into custody, to spend the remaining years of his life in a windowless cell. His smartglass as well as the gloves he wore had a virtual interface system, and he could input code with the flick of his fingers or by using his eye movements. Vlad quickly activated his gloves and began typing furiously with his fingers, moving his digits in the air as each input was virtually recorded on his smartglass interface.
The double doors opened, and two very fit looking men with short haircuts entered. They had bulges in their jackets as they started looking around. The smiling waitress approached them, but the taller of the two waved her away. Vlad noticed them, but he concentrated on the lines of code being displayed on the virtual screen in his left eye. Both men looked in different directions, slowly scanning the room until the one closest to Vlad spotted him. The two men started walking slowly towards him, their right hands reaching into their coats.
The interviewer was telling the truth about the com-link access. Vlad was coding furiously as he inserted his control exploit application into the police server. The resulting breach gave him a clear view of what he was up against. Two more FSB agents waited outside, standing by their car. An aerial police drone was hovering near the roof of the building while two teams of cops were cordoning off the street. The FSB had informed the local police that they needed minor assistance, and they allowed their network to be linked for better coordination. That was their mistake.
The two men stood in front of Vlad, their chiseled faces staring intently at him. “We need you to come with us,” the shorter of the two said.
Vlad continued to add more code into the interface as he looked up at them. “Who? Me?”
“Yes, you,” the taller one said. “Now get up or we will hurt you.”
One of the police cars out in the street suddenly activated its own autodrive feature. The sedan’s wheels burned rubber as it barreled past the surprised cops standing beside it, and the vehicle made a quick turn while continuing to accelerate towards the front doors of the café. The two additional FSB agents standing outside shouted in alarm as they both dove away for safety, just as the police car smashed into the double doors of the establishment.
 

Amazon 

Four Chapter Preview available at Instafreebie



About John Triptych:

John writes thrillers of differing genres, from hyper-realistic crime books to fantastic, post-apocalyptic sci-fi novels that make you want to turn one more page just before bedtime. A former fanfiction writer turned self-publishing novelist, John Triptych’s varied interests include: reading other people’s books, recreational diving, watching movies and TV, guns, internet, politics, computer and tabletop gaming, cooking, art, architecture, wines, spirits, beer, history and travel.