Telling Time In A Fantasy World

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

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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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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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New Lettering On Light Dawning

The light of a new day has dawned for this book cover!

I spent the last few weeks mulling a re-lettering on Light Dawning, looking for a way to make the title pop a bit more.

After going through several of my own iterations and collaborating with a few of the fine folks at the Grimdark Fiction Readers & Writers Facebook group, I finally ended up hiring Rob Matheny from the Grim Tidings podcast for the new edition.

Today I’m proud to unveil the new version, which can be seen below. If you like what he did with my cover, be sure to hit up Rob for your own books! The new cover is now online for the Kindle edition, with the paperback to follow shortly.

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The Storyteller’s Corner Dissects Light Dawning

New video review online today!

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Seems like some folks are finally starting to pay attention to a little indie author’s bleak grimdark world! After yesterday’s review from DavidsBookBlurg, today a new video review has come online courtesy of The Storyteller’s Corner.

This one goes crazy in-depth, so many thanks to Joshua for taking the time to dive so far into the guts of the novel and drag out those steaming entrails for the rest of the world to see. Here’s a little quote that caught my ear:

“Very professionally executed and with a grace to the storytelling technique.”

You can check out the full video review below, or listen in over at the The Storyteller’s Corner podcast here.

Engrossing slow burn of a fantasy

DavidsBookBlurg reviews Light Dawning

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Why yes, as it turns out, folks are still reading Light Dawning! Most recently a new review popped up from DavidsBookBlurg, focusing on the visceral nature of the story and how many of the standard fantasy tropes were turned upside down. Here are a few excerpts from across the review:

I really enjoyed the gruesomeness of the tale, there are some rather vivid moments that don’t leave you quickly…

I read a lot of fantasy books and let’s be honest..quite a few follow the same pattern..not this one, it’s refreshingly different and that’s what makes it so good. The dark nature of the tale is something that really gives this book an edge…

If you are looking for an engrossing slow burn of a fantasy book, heavy on the darkness scale that you can really get to grips with then this is top-notch.

As always, many thanks to the dedicated bloggers who take the time to read and let the world know how they felt about the book. The authors couldn’t do what we do without you folks putting in all the effort! Check out the full review here and be sure to stick around and check out some of the other posts!

Light Dawning is FREE this week

Snag a digital copy by Friday at no cost!

160x600LightDawningAdWithTextThis Monday – Friday the digital Kindle edition of Light Dawning will be completely FREE to download!

If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead and snag a copy, or grab one and gift it to a friend right here.

Don’t forget the physical edition is still available as well, and I’m pretty proud of how that turned out. Holding and smelling the book is an integral part of the reading process.

Will have some new online ads running in the not too distant future as well, so hopefully you’ll see some grimdark fantasy in your feed before too long!

Still haven’t decided if Light Dawning will be up your alley?

Check out the official video teaser trailer over here or peruse a couple of recent reviews:

Cover To Cover Books

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