Where are you on the Goodreads challenge?

We’re five months into the annual Goodreads reading challenge and I’m chugging along, having hit 13 out of my goal of 21, so its safe to say we will probably surpass that number before year’s end.

What did you set your goal to, and how far along are you? Cruising along or need to pick up the pace? Here’s the 13 books I’ve read so far this year:

conanConan – Adventures In Age Undreamed Of

2d20 RPG Campaign Setting

Modiphius Entertainment

2017

Read my review here!

 

 

1Xas Irkalla

Original System RPG

James Vail

2018

Read my review here!

 

 

devilsnightDevil’s Night Dawning

Dark Fantasy Novel

Damien Black

2016

Check it out at Goodreads

 

 

accursedAccursed

Save Worlds RPG Campaign Setting

Melior Via

2014

Read my review here!

 

 

uncagedUncaged: Faces Of Sigil

Planescape RPG Accessory

TSR

1996

Read my review here!

 

 

51nM0L2MRvLThe Eighth God

Dark Fantasy Novel

Paul Lavender

2017

Read my review here!

 

 

fiascoFiasco / Fiasco ’10 Playset

GM-less cooperative RPG / Adventure Set

Jason Morningstar

2009 / 2010

Read my review here!

 

 

gurpsmarksattacksMars Attacks

GURPS RPG Campaign Setting

Steve Jackson Games

2016

Read my review here!

 

 

horrorsHorrors

Earthdawn RPG Supplement

FASA

1995

Read my review here!

 

 

wraithWraith Knight

Dark Fantasy Novel

C.T. Phipps

2016

Read my review here!

 

 

darkmageDarkmage

Dark Fantasy Novel

M.L. Spencer

2017

Check it out at Goodreads!

 

 

Exalted_Second_Edition_Core_BookExalted 2nd Edition

RPG Campaign Setting

White Wolf

2006

Check it out at Goodreads!

 

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Spring Into Fantasy!

A celebration of dark fantasy with 18 books for 99 cents each!

Prolific fantasy scribe M.L. Spencer–author of Amazon #1 best selling series The Rhenwars Saga–has teamed up with 16 other authors to kick off spring with dark visions of vile necromancers, hardened mercenaries, mad kings, foul-mouthed orcs, and eldritch madness.

A host of the best new voices in the dark fantasy scene have banded together to offer a stunning lineup of epic fiction for an exhilarating–and occasionally terrifying–ride out of the darkness of winter and into the dangers of spring.

From April 10th – 14th, all 17 novels (and a bonus anthology) are up for grabs for only $0.99 a piece, filling your to-read list to the brim with new worlds to explore throughout the whole year.

Spring Into Fantasy features stories from such luminaries as Andy Peloquin, Rosalyn Kelly, Frank Dorrian, Ty Arthur, Jesse Teller, Michel Baker, Damien Black, Paul Lavender, Angel Blackwood and many more. This grab bag of epic stories is now on massive sale to celebrate the return of spring:

▪ Light Dawning – Ty Arthur
▪ The Thousand Scars: Counterbalance Volume 1 – Michael R. Baker
▪ Steel, Blood & Fire – Allan Batchelder
▪ Devil’s Night Dawning – Damien Black
▪ Kindling – Angel Blackwood
▪ The Shadow of the High King: The Weaving Shadows Book One – Frank Dorrian
▪ The Dead God’s Due – Matt Gilbert
▪ A Wizard’s Forge – A.M. Justice
▪ Melokai: In the Heart of the Mountains Book 1 – Rosalyn Kelly
▪ The Eighth God – Paul S. Lavender
▪ Devil of the 22nd – Richard Nell
▪ Hellscape: The Fifth Horseman – Samantha Nocera
▪ Exile: The Nandor Tales Book 1 – Martin Owton
▪ Traitor’s Fate – Andy Peloquin
▪ Darkmage: The Rhenwars Saga Book 1 – M.L. Spencer
▪ Song: The Manhunters Book 1 – Jesse Teller
▪ The Hiss Of The Blade: The Celestial Ways Saga Book One – Richard Writhen
▪ Ragged Heroes: An Epic Fantasy Collection – Anthology

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Telling Time In A Fantasy World

“High Noon” and “7 o’clock” don’t exactly exude a fantasy feeling….

Coming up with names for fantasy characters is a struggle all its own, but that’s only part of the battle when building a new world from scratch for a book series. Deities, countries, landmarks, seasons, and even days of the week all have to be taken into consideration.

Like with the main character naming conventions from Light Dawning, I knew I wanted the way in which people distinguish time to veer away from modern words and phrases, but at the same time I didn’t want it to go completely into the overblown high fantasy side of the equation. Light Dawning is a low fantasy novel with a strong horror flavor, so the names also needed to run towards the darker side.

The hours of the day needed to give a distinct feel so that you know this world is different from others, while still making sense at a glance without having to look up terms in a glossary. I want to draw the readers into the world more with little details like this that constantly remind them where they are, and that Cestia is very much not the same as their home on Earth.

Rather than using the standards like “8 AM” or “High Noon” or “Midnight,” I came up with my own system of daily time that gets included in each chapter heading, along with the location where the chapter takes place, to give a frame of reference to the reader.

The daily time segments from earliest to latest are:

  • Light Dawning
  • Morningtide
  • High Sun
  • Aurora
  • Radiantfall
  • Dimmet
  • Eventide
  • Twilight
  • Gloaming
  • True Night
  • Stars Fading

The time slots aren’t necessarily exact or consistent across the seasons (since water or mechanical clocks aren’t commonly available in Cestia during the occupation, and Radiantfall or Dimmet is likely to come earlier in the day during the winter season).

In general though, each time slot is roughly around and hour and a half, and has three versions: early, mid (marked just by the base name), and late. So for instance, it might be early Radiantfall, Radiantfall, or late Radiantfall as the time slot progresses. The TOC below shows you how the time progresses over the days in which Light Dawning takes place.

How do you feel about changing up the times, names of days, and seasons in fantasy and horror novels? Do you prefer something that sticks to the standard modern day systems, or like a little more originality for flavor?

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What’s In A Name: Coming Up With Words And Phrases For Fantasy Worlds

A look at how I picked the names for the main characters in Light Dawning.

For fantasy and sci-fi writers, a whole lot of time is usually spent on picking names for characters and locations. Has this word been overused in other worlds? Does it sound too modern? Does it go too far and sound too bizarre?

I’ve found that sometimes the more tongue twisting fantasy names tend to be distracting and really draw me out of a book if I have to look at it and try pronouncing it repeatedly (this really hit me when reading The Darkness That Comes Before with names like Anasûrimbor or Cnaiür) .

When writing Light Dawning I knew I didn’t want standard American sounding names (so no Richard, Jack, or Robert) but at the same time I didn’t want to go overboard into the fantasy side either (so no Blipdoolpoolp or Xanathar).

After coming up with a lot of odd sounding fantasy names I wasn’t altogether happy with, I decided to start throwing words based around character traits into a translator and seeing if I could find anything in random other languages that felt otherwordly while still not being ludicrous, and that’s how I landed on my protagonist names.

The main character is a woman infested with insane, sentient whispers from a place that the religious think of as heaven but is really more akin to hell. If she speaks her inner truth and lets those internal whispers out, the world could change drastically for the worse. To reflect this I picked the name Tala, which is both Swedish and Icelandic for “to speak or chatter.”

Brushstroke Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/brushstroke-photo-frame

Another character is a thief and a coward who is stuck somewhere he can’t escape. He’s literally mired down by a darkness in his soul that won’t let him go. I went through a lot of different ideas on this front, but eventually settled on Myrr, from the Swedish word myr, meaning “mire or morass,” reflecting both the unpleasant physical location and the concept of being stuck.

The third protagonist is a religious fanatic whose primary goal in life is to get through the darkness of the night, burn a city to the ground, and see the light of a new day dawn over the ashes. Because he is so focused on shifting the balance between light and dark, I settled on Erret (Albanian for “dusk”).

Brushstroke Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/brushstroke-photo-frame

I went through a lot of different languages and iterations on character names to try to come up with a cohesion in naming while building up a unique world with inhabitants who have different cultural practices that vary by region.

For instance, the characters from the main city in the book tend to have short, clipped names like Myrr, Otta (Icelandic for “fear”), Kina, Shan, and so on.

What sort of names do you prefer in fantasy and sci-fi stories? Something modern and normal, something outlandish and fantastic, or somewhere in-between?

For another look at how picking names can even impact something as simple as telling time in a fantasy world, head over here!

The Occupation Of Iraq Via Fantasy… Except Worse

New review up from author C.T. Phipps!

A killer new review just rolled in for Light Dawning from fellow author C.T. Phipps, who penned series like Wraith Knight, Lucifer’s Star, Agent G, and I Was A Teenager Weredeer.

According to Phipps, the grimdark backdrop of Light Dawning is like “the occupation of Iraq via fantasy, except even worse!” Read the full review at Goodreads here!

ct

 

New Year Of Fantasy And Sci-Fi

28 books from 18 authors all at 99 cents!

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2018 is here and its time to fill up your TBR pile! I had the distinct pleasure of teaming up with 18 killer authors for the New Year Of Fantasy & Sci-Fi promo running right now.

Until Sunday the 14th, we’re offering 28 of our collective books in the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres at only 99 cents each.

For less than a cup of coffee pick up my Light Dawning or anything by these stellar authors in the lineup like Rob Hayes, M.L. Spencer, Damien Black, Frank Dorrian, Richard Nell, and many more! Check out the full lineup here.

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Underground Book Reviews Covers Light Dawning

Indie grimdark fantasy holds its own against the big name publishers!

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We’re kicking off the new year with a killer new Light Dawning review from Underground Book Reviews! Here’s a little of what Steve Wetherell had to say about the grimdark fantasy novel:

Though filled with magic and monsters, Light Dawning is not about escapism. There are no heroes, only people making hard choices to stay alive. There are no noble sacrifices, only senseless deaths and desperate murders. In short, if you’re looking for jolly dwarves and sarcastic elves, maybe look elsewhere. However, if strong writing and palpable mood is your thing, by all means settle in.

Read the full review right here and be sure to leave a comment letting Steve know if you agree!

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