Welcome to Our World-Building blog

Welcome! We weave dreams, some dark, some not, but all fantastic.

We are authors of Fantasy, Romance, and much more. Enter our infinite worlds....

On this blog, our visitors will find advice and opinion from published authors on much more than just world-building. We'll tell you in Craft and Opinion posts what we do, how we do it, and what we think works for us.

Authors with A-names post on the 1st of each month, B-names post on the 2nd, C-names on the 3rd etc.
The 29th, 30th, and 31st are free-for-all days.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Right is Wrong...Strangely Enough" By Deborah Macgillivray

While this article was written to address historical do and don't questions, it could apply with any form of fictional world-building.

Historical authors really love history. We can easily obsess over details that are endlessly fascinating―at least to us. However, do readers really want that deep of an understanding of the past? After all, you are not writing a non-fiction, historical book, not even a historical fiction novel. It’s Historical Romance. As when you pronounce a word, certain syllables are spoken softly while one is accented; when you say Historical Romance always put the stress on ROMANCE. Never lose sight of that. My wonderful editor at Kensington Books, Hilary Sares, says readers are tired of “clanking swords, that history is stale, cold, while romance is timeless.” In this, she touches on the heart of what historical romance is―history is the lesser of the ingredients in the mix, while love carries the story.

Once a romance author accepts these boundaries then they are left with just how much history do you add? History is a background for the tapestry you weave. It should give the reader a sense of period, but never intrude upon the romance, never stall the story out pausing to explain historical details or to give a history lesson. After the author reaches that level of what will be good threads and elements to craft into the story, they next face a final hurdle―to weigh the importance of details, the minutiae that draws the historical authors to share their love of the past.

Only here is where it can get tricky. Sometimes, what readers believe is accurate often is not. “Bad” history, incorrect word usage, or even how time has changed the meaning of words can stymie the author. Take the word acquaintance. Noun – “a person known to one, but usually not a close friend.” That is how it is accepted in today’s usage. However, years and years ago the word meant something different. Surprisingly, when a man was “acquainted” with a woman, he was saying he had been physically intimate with her. See the problem? If you are going for historical accuracy and you say “Mr. Overton was acquainted with Miss Marple.” in the historical sense you would be saying Mr. Overton had indulged in sex with Miss Marple! Will today’s reader understand without you having to stop the story and TELL them that? Will a reader, lacking this crumb of knowledge, understand what you said, or will they just believe you are saying Mr. Overton has met Miss Marple, but they are not good friends? If the author puts that sentence out there and wants the reader to comprehend what they are saying, then they must stop the flow of the plot and the scene and say, “Of course, we know acquainted means he has had sex with her.” Even then, the reader might scratch their heads and go, hum, it does? In that instant, you have taken them out of the story simply by using a word correctly, but not “right” in today’s eyes. Right is wrong. Rarely is one single word ever that important to risk using, when it can pull their reader away from the imagery to ponder if you are correct or not.

If a historical romance came along and used Irish Gaelic spellings instead of Scots Gaelic, and this book using the wrong form of the language was a bestseller, then people often assume that book to be correct. Then other authors come along using the correct form and people automatically presume they are incorrect. So when readers hit the difference they often believe the right spellings to be wrong! Okay, what then? Do you knowingly use the wrong spellings of words to conform to what the readers have accepted as correct, or do you go ahead and be accurate and have readers think you are wrong?

Another complexity in to be or not be historically accurate―authors who set their novels in real places, such as the castles of Scotland. Often, instead of world-building and creating their own castles, some pick out a very famous castle for the setting of their stories, even put the wrong clan living there, totally disregarding most castles have a very detailed historical record. For someone not familiar with Scotland’s past that might not be a problem. However, the author runs into the sticky wicket of having readers who do, and once more, are taken out of the story because they know the true history. We must remember it is fiction. Authors are allowed to bend history a wee bit if it serves to make the story stronger. I won’t go as far as Randall Wallace did when speaking of the many historical inaccuracies of his screenplay for the movie “Braveheart” and say history should never get in the way of a good story. Still, authors should be able to present a romping tale without worrying about being 100% accurate on every single detail.

Another is nationality. It can come into play in perceptions of what is wrong and right. Take the simple way you name the floors of a building. In Britain and Europe, even today, the first floor of a building is the ground floor. In America, you work on the first floor in New York, while in London you are working on the ground floor. The first floor in Europe is actually the second level. When Regency and Victorian periods were in flourish and they had their Seasons in London, they lived in fancy townhouses. The first floor (second floor to Yanks!) was where they did most of their entertaining. So if a woman entered the front door, and went “upstairs to the first floor” many Americans would assume the author is making a booboo, despite her being entirely correct!

These are just a few of the bumps facing historical authors when trying to keep the faith with history, yet also do a balancing act with the readers and just how accurate does readers truly want their historical romances to be.

© Deborah Macgillivray, September 2008


The Haunt at Paranormal Romance Reviews

Paranormal Romance Reviews

has a lovely yahoo group called The Haunt. A few weeks back they asked me to be Stephanie McGrath's co-host, and I agreed, very honoured they wanted me. It's a wonderful site and Stephanie and I had a great time working together. However, her new job as editor was taking more and more of her time, she
so stepped down a couple days ago. They asked me to take over as hostess there and I agree.

They gave me two co-hostesses to help me out, Jacquie Rogers and Kristy Bock. Both very delightful ladies who will round out a great team.

So come by and join the fun! Promo days are Thursdays and on the Weekends. Covers are on parade every Monday. Authors you can schedule a day or half day for showcasing your books or your upcoming release!

Paranromal Romance Reviews is a great place to get your book reviewed, as well. Yes, they focus on Paranormal Romance and Speculative Fiction, but they review everything, so don't hold back on that mystery, suspence, fantasy, or just plain mainstream fiction.

PNR is host the PEARL Award yet each, a highly respected award that offers awards in about a dozen categories. Only member of PNR are able to nominate and vote. Check out their past winners on the website.

Click to join The_Haunt_at_PNR
Click to join The_Haunt_at_PNR


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Carpe Scrotum!

I'm sorry to be so basic, but what does a werewolf's vasectomy have to do with an alien king's now-you-see-it (now-you-don't) genitalia?

Cindy Spencer Pape and I were chatting for half an hour this afternoon on http://internetvoicesradio.com about Cindy's book Curses and my new release Knight's Fork

In fact, Cindy has a new release tomorrow: an Ellora's Cavemen Jewels of the Nile anthology, and we talked about that a bit, but I was fascinated by the vasectomy, and also by the idea that a werewolf's powers of regeneration are so great that he can spontaneously reverse his surgery (despite cutting, cauterizing, capping off with a little plastic plug, and stitching).

My obscene curiosity is one reason I love writing speculative romance! For me, biology is the science in science fiction romance.

Knight's Fork was released (prematurely) by Amazon this week. In it, my heroine faces an unusual twist on the Royal need to breed, because her king isn't impotent or old or anything like that... he is simply the wrong species.

And he does have retractable wedding tackle. I got the idea from the ancient Samurai and improved upon it, so he can voluntarily (or involuntarily) take on the appearance of a Ken Doll.

If that idea seems unromantic, no worries. The King is not the hero.

KNIGHT'S FORK is a page-turner from the very first one to the very last. I enjoyed it so much, after I reached the last page I started right from the beginning again. KNIGHT’S FORK has it all! If you only have time to read one book this season, I highly recommend you run out and grab a copy today.

~Kimberly Leslie


Rowena Cherry

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Evil Little Story... ;-)

So I was at the museum of science and industry when I met this little girl. See her there?

I meandered next to my mother who was worked up about what capitalism had to do with the price of tea in China... literally. Mama was really discussing the price of tea... in China... and what it said about the red country's treatment of capitalism.

And I was listening. Intently. A furrow in my brow even, as I tried to build my rebuttal.

Then I saw her. The little girl in miniature standing in a flowing creek, just beyond a rock, nearly missed in a sea of decadent flora, fauna, and brilliantly obstructed mechanics.
I grabbed my mother's arm and stopped her. In the middle of asking me, "hey, what are you dot dot dot " her words turned into a curious, "Why hello there."

"Don't startle her," I snapped with a short whisper. Slowly, and with great care, I neared the edge of the creek, and crouched there. At first I was silent, watching, unsure what the sprite would do if I spoke to her.

The little girl was shy and still. Her face washed free of color as if she were frightened. "You see me?" She asked in a tone as low and soothing as the babble of the brook around her.
I nodded and held out my hand cautiously. The little girl leaned over the rock to inspect my fingers. She leaned back again when my mother squatted beside me.

"What are you doing in there?" My mother asked distracting her.

The tiny soul answered my mother, but still she studied me suspiciously as I dug around in my purse for something. When I found what I was looking for, it was in my hand before the little girl could tell me no.

I pressed a button. I used my magic before she could counteract it with her own.

Then the little girl turned to stone.
But her spirit is mine now, captured forever in my Blackberry.
The End.

If you like my style (lol), then stop by and visit me at http://www.graysonreyescole.com/ .

Love ya!
Grayson Reyes-Cole
Bright Star
When evil is done for the greater good, a price must always be paid.


Friday, September 5, 2008

What's an artist?

I dunno. I consider my fiction art. I consider some of my completely practical and necssary interpersonal skills art, but I've never considered my painting art or respond when I'm called an artist in that fashion. What does that say about my personality?

Hi, I'm Grayson Reyes-Cole and as you may have guessed, I'm a fantasy author. But sometimes, when what I'm writing turns to gibberish before my very eyes, I take a break to paint. It's very theraputic for me, and half my work comes out completely abstract. The other half is usually flowers.

Above is something I painted on Sunday while I listened to my visiting mother discuss all the things she would write about in a blog, but refuse to set one up. *sigh*. It's a bit difficult to tell in the pic, but I'm most please with the vibrant colors in the background. I'm calling it Through the Clouds on a Sunny Day. There are some more pics on my site on the art page. Stop by check them out and the art archives.
In October, I think I'm going to give away some art in celebration of Bright Star's release. Do you think that works for a contest prize?

Grayson Reyes-Cole
Bright Star
When evil is done for the greater good, a price must always be paid.