The Existentialism of Science by Tonya Cannariato (guest post)

by Tonya Cannariato

The interesting piece of writing a scifi/romance story was exploring the unique kind of arrogance that comes from the scientific perspective. This is a class of people that is certain it can always find the answers, if they just ask the correct set of questions. My suspicion is that the more correct truth is we will only ever find the answers we are in the mindset to be able to understand.

The character of Mark Inman came to me as I was reading pro and con news coverage of the workings of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Cern, Switzerland. Prior to the device being fired up for the first time, there was concern on the part of a small group that the scientists involved in the project would end up ripping a hole in the sub-atomic universe. That premise intrigued me.

I wondered how this person would react, should he face a situation far outside his normal experiences. I suspected this particular scientist, who was used to finding answers he could understand, would face a special kind of crisis of confidence. Scientific method could help him ask more questions, but would it help him find any answers?

In the end, I’m not sure any of us has answers, but I suspect it’s the interactions we share with those closest to us that help us build a context and perspective that gets us closest to some comfort level with the world around us. From that point of view, the relationship he has with Sarah is the key to his evolution as a character. Without her to focus him, I don’t know that he would have built any coherence out of his wild experiences.

The story skirts the questions relating to the debate of science versus religion, and focuses instead on the inner life that connects both. Do you feel there is a tension? How would you resolve those questions? I’d love to hear your perspective.


About Tonya’s book, Dementional

Mark Inman has two loves: particle physics and Sarah. She agrees to become his wife
at the same time his experiment to find the Higgs boson goes off the rails.

Journey with Mark while his existence melts and reforms in unpredictable ways as the
veils between realities thin. His exploration of the minutiae of quantum physics builds a
fascinating tapestry of alternate universes.

His search for survival, and the search for meaning and what is real, drive Mark as he
experiences lives he never dreamed possible. His only touchstones: find Sarah and find
his way home.

Book Links for Dementional:

Paperback link –
http://www.amazon.com/Dementional-Tonya-Cannariato/dp/0615690602

eBook Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Dementional-ebook/dp/B0091VOOUQ


About Tonya

A voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through Africa, Europe, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself.

She’s currently based in Milwaukee with her three loves: her husband and two Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form.

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Guest Post: Adding a Historical Time Period to a Paranormal Novel

When I saw that Belinda Vasquez Garcia had written a book about witchcraft and the Great Depression set in the American Southwest, I just HAD to talk to her.  As some of you may know, I just curated an exhibition on the 1930s so I’m a little addicted to the period.  Belinda’s novel, The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation, is full of fascinating concepts.  She’s here today to talk about historical connections but watch this blog to hear more about the book.


Adding a Historical Time Period to a Paranormal Novel

by Belinda Vasquez Garcia

Some Southwestern witches shape-shift using a piedra imán, those lucky enough to find the rare magnetic shape-shifting stone, whose powers go back to Roman times. In crafting my story, I thought that if a woman had such a stone, she would use it to remain young and beautiful. If one could remain forever young, then immortality would follow. So, in my books, a piedra imán acts as a fountain of youth. I therefore, needed to have my series start in an earlier time period so the lucky owner would stay young, while other witches around her age, festering with jealousy. For the first book, one of the time periods I chose was the Great Depression.

Madrid, New Mexico was once a company-owned, coal-mining town and it lost 37.5% of its population due to the Great Depression with 1/3 of the homes being emptied. The miners were forced to work just once or twice a week and struggled with even more debt which they owed to the company store. They ate mainly staples during this time period. One character, Marcelina, is given to quoting dichos [proverbs] and says of the Great Depression, “there is no shame in being poor but there is never a convenient time.”

Like most rich men, my fictional owner of the town and coal mine, Samuel Stuart, is not affected as much by hard times because he, also, owns businesses in Albuquerque, though some have closed due to the depression. However, his bank in Albuquerque, of which he is part owner, does fail and has to close its doors, even though the eight-story First National Bank is the biggest in Albuquerque. Here comes the Calvary! Lo and behold, the government and Roosevelt come to the rescue with the Glass-Steagall Act and loans money to banks all over the country, allowing the rich mine owner to reopen his bank. Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Well, the Glass-Steagall Act which saved the banks from entire ruin during the Great Depression bailed them out, so long as the banks agreed not to dabble in investment banking and underwrite securities.

Wait a minute! That’s what banks were doing that caused our current economic problems! I found it unnerving that during my research I discovered that the economic crisis our nation has been having the last few years is simply an echo of the past. It was rather daunting to see how history repeats itself.


About The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation:

Two young women, a witch and a Catholic, clash with the Penitentes, a fanatical, Catholic secret society who enforce their own punishment for sin. Salia, a third-generation witch and half-breed living on the fringes of society with a cruel mother and selfish grandmother, befriends Marcelina, a doubting Catholic haunted by a centuries-old witch, La Llorona, who rises from the muddy Rio Grande. While Marcelina is torn between Catholicism and witchcraft allure, Salia has no desire to join the Sisterhood of the Black Rose, the covens created by La Llorona.

About the Author:

Belinda grew up in Albuquerque. The daughter of a seasonal carpenter and housewife, her family never had much money. Growing up, the only books her family ever owned were the A and B encyclopedias, and Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, which she used as a stool to sit on. Thus, did she absorb an arsenal of words.

She was seven years old when a neighbor loaned her Tom Sawyer. The novel mesmerized her, and she spent her summer days, sitting under a tree, reading the book from cover to cover ten times, before surrendering it. She then badgered her brother to walk her several miles to the library and several miles back, so she could check out other books of spell-binding fiction. She was skinny and often hungry, but nothing could keep her from that library walk, and the pile of books she would carry back home.

Her father deserted the family when Belinda was twelve, and her mother died when she was sixteen. Still, she earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico with emphasis on Applied Mathematics.

As a child, her family often spoke of witches. They particularly told tales of the legendary, centuries-old witch, La Llorona, who fascinated Belinda. Thus, her inspiration is taken from the true tales of witchcraft she heard as a child, from a strong Native American influence in her youth, and through research. Her fictional work reaches beyond regional geography to entice anyone who enjoys the world of mysticism, and the power of sorcery, but with spice. Her vision is to fashion colorful and realistic characters, and create compelling worlds that speak of sorcerers, witches, spiritual journeys, human compassion, individual frailties, love, hate, and the importance of family. One of her goals is to deeply touch the emotions of her readers.

Before embarking on writing full time, she worked as a Software Engineer and Web Developer for Sandia National Laboratory. In her spare time, she honed her craft of writing fiction.

Find Belinda at:

Author Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Guest Post: Defining the Book that Rejects Definition; A Genre Question – part 2

Yesterday, I posted the first of two guest posts by Sykosa author Justin Ordoñez. Today, we return to the discussion of what an author does with a book that rejects definition with a look at the YA genre. You can visit the first part of this post here.


Defining the Book that Rejects Definition; A Genre Question

Part Two
by Justin Ordoñez

Let’s take a look at YA.

People say they like YA because it’s short, it’s easy, it’s different, it’s fun, but it so happens the YA hot streak has coincided with a culture becoming ever more obsessed with youth, and a culture that has—in an unfair manner—began to rob children of the right to be young. To say for certain what is happening is hard while living it, but it seems there’s a tremendous downward pressure (by downward, I mean the older applying the pressure to the younger) for the young to become sexualized in an adult fashion, and with this downward pressure has come, in my opinion, an immense need to segment the youth into categories—newborns, toddlers, kids, tweens, teens, young adults—so this sexualization can be coped with and appear implementary. Market segmentation is not a new phenomena, nor it the implication that adults—who fall for logical fallacies like kids doing chores for candy—view most implementary change as change that must have been rationally thought out. If you pay attention, society doesn’t get mad when an entity crosses a line, but when it crosses too many lines. We get angry when the fallacy isn’t present—when it’s obvious we are objects without humanity. (An example of this would be selling thongs for seven year olds). When this happens, society’s response is to create more lines, which might at first seem okay. If there are more lines, then there are more lines to cross, thus less offenses should happen. Unfortunately, the problem is being viewed from the incorrect frame of reference. If one were to plot the downward pressure linearly (in a line), then review this line from a distance, it would still be as long as it has ever been, except the space between lines is shorter, and so it is much easier to cross one line, wait for society to become conditioned to it, then move toward the next—it is easier to create the appearance of implementary change, and to create a change that feels legitimate and true, and so one will find radical change becomes easier and ultimately meets less resistance.

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Guest Post: Defining the Book that Rejects Definition; A Genre Question – part 1

Some of you may recall that, back in April, A Few Words posted an excerpt from a new YA novel called Sykosa by Justin Ordoñez. I received a lot of feedback on that post, especially on the concept of writing YA for 18+. I went back to Justin and asked him to consider writing more for us on genre. He graciously accepted and so we have two fascinating posts this weekend from an “industry outsider” and his take on why he chose the path that he did. I highly encourage you to come back for the rest of the conversation tomorrow.

Defining the Book that Rejects Definition; A Genre Question.

Part One
by Justin Ordoñez

Before we ask the question of, “Is Sykosa YA (Young Adult)?” I have a disclosure. I’m an industry outsider and I don’t know the lingo, the demographics, or what’s “hot” in the market, and until a few years ago, I had no idea what YA was, or that it sold well, and had no use for the term. I was first introduced to the term by YA author Mindi Scott. (Author of Freefall, and due in the fall, Live Through This—both fantastic novels). By chance, Mindi and I worked at the same company, and during one of our quarterly company-wide meetings, Mindi was honored for something—probably being awesome—and her manager said, “Mindi Scott is a writer and she was recently signed by Pulse, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.” It was maybe 2008 or 2009, so I was still toiling away on Sykosa, and I was already resigned to wasting my entire 20s on an unpublishable novel that would inspire every literary agent alive to say, “Yeah, I read it overnight. I was totally sucked in. What? No, sorry, I can’t represent Sykosa.”

(That’s an entirely different blog post, so I’ll stay on point…)

Anyhow, I decided to write Mindi an email and introduce myself. Over time, I came to learn she was an ambitious and serious writer, and what interested me most is that she had gone the more traditional route—attending school to help her hone her craft and working the social networking angle. It took her 5 years, but she finally got a book deal. (This is nothing I look down on, btw. In fact, I admire it, and often wonder why I can’t ever manage to do the same). Eventually, I told her about Sykosa, and her first reaction was, “Is it YA?” After confessing that I had no idea what she was talking about, I offered to let her read the novel, and although she was busy with Freefall, she said she’d read a few chapters. Upon finishing, she told me without doubt, “This is literary fiction. You’re not YA.” I asked her if she was sure about that, and then what happened is what happens to everyone who reads Sykosa; all of sudden you get this feeling in your stomach like, “Actually, no, I’m not sure… It’s just… Your novel is so…”

Finish the sentence however you like.

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Guest Post: Survival… or Why I Write Fiction

Today brings us a guest post from author RS Emeline whose new book, Purrfect Storm, has just been released on Amazon.  Today, she’s speaking with us about the connections between life and fiction, something many writers–and readers–can understand.

Survival… or Why I Write Fiction

by RS Emeline

As a teenager growing up in the soggy Pacific Northwest, I kept myself sane wallowed in my misery by writing really depressing and dark poetry. When I got older and moved away from the constant gloom of my familial ‘homeland’, I no longer needed to write about death and darkness.

Who am I kidding?

I still write doom and gloom, but now it has a happier ending.

When I married my Marine seven years ago, I didn’t think anything of my former desire to publish novels. In the constant hustle of everyday life I didn’t have time to remember dreams of the naive drunk crazy young girl I’d been.

Until I got pregnant.

Suddenly my desire for blood and vengeance a record of what was happening in my life and how I dealt with the constant urge to kill people hormones of pregnancy had the old dreams gearing up for a comeback tour.

Since murder is  messy against the law and nobody should do it, fiction seemed a better way to go.

Some of my best stories have been written while my Marine has been deployed. Purrfect Storm, my first published work, isn’t like most of what I’ve written. Mostly because during the original phase of the writing proces,s my Marine was home. If he’d been deployed, there would have been more dismemberment blood and gore  angst.

It still would have had a happy ending though.

I chose to write fiction because it allows me to step away from what is legally right, and still believe in fairy tales. It keeps me sane for the months at a time when my Marine is away, and I’m balancing the roles of mother, father, taxi driver, dispute fixer, and student.

Otherwise, I’d probably be writing this from prison.


About Purrfect Storm: Tavin Chauncy thinks he has his work cut out for him when a fellow Marine gets arrested for assault. He soon realizes that it’s nothing compared to the way his life gets flipped upside down when a mysterious woman appears in the middle of his living room during a rare desert storm.

 

About the Author: R.S. Emeline grew up in the sogginess of Washington State where she nurtured her love of writing with dark teenage poetry. Today she spends her time in the perpetual dryness and sun of the California desert. She lives there with her husband, the Marine; her niece, the Artist; her daughter,the Munchkin; and two animals–King Furry and Mistress Meow– who are the true rulers of the roost.

 

 

To Follow RS Emeline, visit her at:

 

Researching the Read – The Theoretical Backdrop to ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’

Today’s guest post comes via Marie Harbon, author of Seven Point Eight. The beginning of this five-part epic is available in Kindle format for free today (4.16.12) at Amazon.


Researching the Read – The Theoretical Backdrop to ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’

by Marie Harbon

Seven Point Eight is a new sci-fi/paranormal series, uniting quantum physics, mysticism, fringe science, psychic powers, folklore, consciousness, complicated love, conspiracy and nostalgia. With such an array of ingredients, it was vital the underpinning theory remained accurate.

In a series of drafts, I laid the research down in layers. Prior to writing, a number of ideas floated around in my head, as I love to read non-fiction, the geekier the better. In particular, I already had the basic gist of some quantum physics concepts and knew the urban myth of The Philadelphia Experiment, which makes an appearance at the beginning and end of the book. (It returns in The Second Chronicle!)

The main layer included the scientific concepts, such as Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and the basics of Einstein’s work, plus facts about the size of atoms, the ether wind experiment and the nature of the brain operating at beta, alpha, theta and delta waves. I presented these concepts as clearly as possible, without hindering the plot.

There are also a number of alternate history concepts in there, such as the quality of resonance inside the Great Pyramid and its acoustical properties. Mystical concepts unite with quantum physics, with a theosophical and Eastern twist.

Additionally, I unite consciousness research, looking at the nature of reality through mystical eyes and those of psychedelic substances. It draws together hallucinogenic substance use with the history of visionary experiences through the ages, seeing the Gods and Goddesses of folklore through new eyes.

Much of the inspiration for the alternate dimensions came from experiences of the brain on DMT, my own imagination and science fiction. We meet them in the first book, and revisit them throughout the series.

The last layer of research I laid down included the tidbits; historical events that were concurrent with the story, culture and music highlights, daily news, cars of the time and the general feel of the decade the scenes were set in. The First Chronicle begins in the 1940s, moves through the 50s and steams through the 60s, linking to two young characters in the modern day.

All my sources are listed in a bibliography at the end.

Yet, this is not written at the expense of the human story, for it’s very much a tale of community. The drama of love, betrayal, bitterness and above all, courage are closely interwoven throughout the story through the lives of five principal characters.

Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle is currently available through Amazon in paperback and in the Kindle store.

It’s FREE from Mon 16th April through to Thurs 19th April, so grab it while you can! (Amazon) (Amazon UK)

Seven Point Eight: The Second Chronicle is due for release in August 2012.


And for a special treat, here’s an excerpt from Marie’s novel.

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Guest Post: Creating a World by Creating a Language

It’s an exciting weekend for guest posts!  The first guest post for this coming weekend comes to us courtesy of Matthew Arnold Stern, author of Doria.  Matthew’s talking about a subject that I personally find fascinating–creating language in fiction.   (For my take on this in my own writing, visit this entry in fantasy author Kody Boye’s blog.)

Without further ado…

Creating a World by Creating a Language

By Matthew Arnold Stern

Picture the last time you traveled to a different place. It probably had its own local language with idioms particular to that region. You may have been asked if you want a bottle of pop to go with your hero or offered a soda for your sub. Language like this gives a place local color and a sense of its history and culture.

We can do the same for our stories. Creating a language makes our fictional world more realistic and engaging. As readers become accustomed to the lingo, they feel like they’re “insiders” and become more invested in our story. Local language also gives us a tool for characterization. The words our characters use and how they use them tell readers who they are.

These are the reasons why I invented a local language for the fictional country in my novel Doria. It also addressed a couple of other challenges: Telling a story in English that takes place in a Spanish-speaking South American country, and revealing the history and geography of this country without relying on exposition.

I started with the first words people typically pick up in a language, the insults.

The first thing to know about South America is that those countries are not alike, and they often don’t like each other. For example, Chile hasn’t gotten along well with its neighbors. It fought a war with Peru and Bolivia in the 1870s that is still a source of conflict, and it almost came to blows with Argentina in 1978.

My fictional country of Doria is an archipelago off the coast of Chile, giving those poor Chileans yet another neighbor to annoy them. I use insults to show the tension between the two nations. The Dorians use an epithet I found in my research that has been used by Chile’s enemies. They call Chileans “rotos.” It’s the Spanish word for “broken,” referring to the seemingly shabby appearance of the Chilean army. I wanted to give Chileans an insult they can give Dorians in return. I came up with “isleño,” the Spanish word for “islander.” The term not only shows the contempt the Chileans have for the Dorians, it reminds the reader that Doria is an island country.

Spanish words give me a way to show that Doria is a Spanish-speaking country, even though I wrote my novel in English. I was going to include more Spanish dialogue, but my beta reader felt I would need to add a translation so she could understand what was happening. She felt the same way most of us do when listening to people talk in a language we don’t know. We feel left out and wonder if they’re talking about us. By using a few select words, I can still give that cultural flavor without making the reader feel excluded.

I also needed to create a language for Doria’s indigenous people. One of the conflicts in my book is between Felipe Sérigo, who rejected his Native Dorian heritage to become a communist rebel, and his father Ramón, who is fighting to preserve the country’s native culture after years of repression. As with the Spanish terms, I used a few words to give people a sense of this different culture without excluding the reader. I also wanted this language to tie with my theme of people setting aside their differences for the good of their country.

The story of the Native Dorian language is revealed in a scene where Ramón asks Felipe to tell a visiting film crew about their ancestors’ history. Felipe explains that ancient Doria was in a state of war between people who migrated there millennia ago, refugees from the Nazca Empire that recently fell, and Polynesians invading from the West. A sailor, who was cast adrift after his ship got lost and destroyed at sea, washed up on this country’s shores and was rescued by a native woman. When he recovered, he became determined to bring peace to his new home. He brought these peoples together and created a new religion and language.

I included a combination of Quechua and Polynesian words with words I created for the indigenous people. I wouldn’t expect the reader to know words in those languages, but observant readers may notice words that sound a lot like Hebrew and Arabic, like “rabe’ya” and “nakaba.” I wanted to create a mystery about the sailor who brought those words to the Americas centuries before Columbus. Who is he? Where did he come from? How did he get all the way across the Pacific? What does this mean for this country’s future? These are questions I can answer in later books of this series.

Even though I created a number of words, I did not add a glossary to my novel. The problem I see with a glossary is that it stops readers. It leaves them asking, “Why do I need to know all these words before I can read this book? Will I remember their definitions when I see them?” Instead, I used the words in context and trust the reader to understand their meaning. This is the way the Harry Potter books present the language of their wizard world.

By creating a local language, I can make my story world more vivid and engaging for my readers. It also helped me address a number of storytelling challenges. If you would like to learn more about the language of Doria, you can view the glossary at http://www.matthewarnoldstern.com/download/doriaglossary.pdf.

To find out how to get your copy of Doria, visit http://www.matthewarnoldstern.com/doria.html.

I wish you the best in your writing efforts.


Matthew Arnold Stern is an award-winning writer and public speaker. He has written professionally since 1983 as a technical writer, journalist, playwright, and novelist. He has published two novels, Offline and Doria. To read more of his writing, visit his Web site at http://www.matthewarnoldstern.com

Casting the Novel: The End Begins: The Nine

A warm welcome is due today to Jeffrey Zweig II who joins us again on the blog for a fun guest post that plays off of both his career as a novelist and his film making experience. Today, Jeff is going to give us the scoop on his dream cast for The End Begins: The Nine, available now on Amazon in both print and kindle editions. Thanks for joining us, Jeff!

Hello Readers!

Before we get started, let me thank Gwen for letting me post on her blog today. It’s an honor and I’m happy to oblige.

Before becoming a writer, I was a film maker. I took it seriously in high school and throughout college leading into getting my major in 2008 from Indiana State University. Throughout that time I’ve directed, acted, produced, wrote, been a production assistant, and been an extra. One of my dreams during that time was to have one of my screenplays be a Major Motion Picture, That still holds true today.

I’m always on the lookout for actors who could play the roles of the characters I create. I like to at least know what my characters would look like in the real world given the choice.

Not being so heavily involved with film making these days, I have to go off of stuff I’ve seen that I’ve liked, has made the news, or become popular so most of my choices will be known to an American audience. I’ve no qualms going another direction if an actor can perform the roll.

Cassarah Telmar, our young Alchemist of the Nine, was a hard decision. Cass is young, but has a maturity and discipline going beyond her years. She shows this through her words and her natural demeanor. The role requires the ability to play off an awkwardness from other characters that are “in the know” to the norms of the world she’s experiencing for the first time. The role would also require actress to be heavily involved in the action aspect of the film.

My choice for Cassarah Telmar would be Emma Stone.

I’ve familiar with Emma Stone from her roles in ZombieLand and Crazy Stupid Love. I feel she has that potential for a role like Cass. Her face is so expressive – emotion comes through so subtly, I feel she has the chops to deliver the right kind of characteristic-atmosphere – a know it all like Bones (from the TV series of the same name), pulling off the oblivious super nerd while going through some growing pains. Though one might question her in the physical portion of the role, I think if given some training she could pull it off.

James Kesumare has the look of a young guy but shows hints that he’s anything but. At the beginning of the book he’s a very typical teenager who’s thrown into this parallel world with a magic sword and is the center of the villains plot. But by the end of the movie he’s in the thick of the action spouting stuff about wibbly wobbily, out-of-this-world sciencey stuff while blasting bad guys with laser powers. The actor has to showcase that change and be able to be physically capable of the role.

The role of James, for me, would go to Anton Yelchin.

I first saw him in 2009 when Star Trek and Terminator 4 came out. It wasn’t until I saw him in the remake of Fright Night that I was convinced that he could do the job. Evidence from The Beaver and Law and Order helps me to solidify that decision.

Just on appearance he looks young (he’s only twenty three), but he’s shown an immense amount of talent from portraying a vast amount of young men’s roles with such variety and believability – this role would fit him since James makes such a dramatic change on his adventure. Anton had had very physical roles in action movies as well that plays in his favor, having done stunts and seems to like actions, paranormal, scifi films.

Caleb Knight is a mess all his own even being older and more experienced than the rest of the trinity. He is divorced, lost a child, he’s been battling one war or another for half of his life. And now he’s on this crazy adventure that continues to bend backwards almost everything he knows about the world. Yet he remains a rock of stability whereas Cass and James are anything but.

Also the choices I have are American actors, where someone like Caleb is obviously going to be from Europe and might have an accent, I’ve chosen a person who has the ability to change himself for a role, and one who could slip right in.

My choice for Caleb would be Christian Bale.

Bale’s known for gems like American Psycho, the recent Batman franchise, among other things I like such as 3:10 to Yuma, the Fighter, and Terminator 4. He’s got the chops for a role like Caleb who is a war vet having to deal with a complex mission and his own feeling towards the crew he’s raveling with. Bale is able to put himself into many different roles, have different accents, change his appearance. He also has the physical capability and the presence that the role requires. He would help add some weight and experience to a group who are rather young.

Thanks again for Gwen hosting me! She’ll be posting something for my blog very soon. In the meantime, please check out my book on Amazon right now!

Worldbuilding: Extinction Events

Blood: The Brotherhood Saga

I am pleased to introduce to you my first guest blogger, Kody Boye, author of Blood: The Brotherhood Saga. Kody and I first connected on Facebook where I discovered this novel and became rapidly engrossed by the work (expect a review forthcoming). It’s currently available at Amazon. If, like me, you enjoy epic fantasy, I recommend picking up a copy.

But for now, on to the post!

* * *

Extinction Events
A guest post by Kody Boye.

It became prevalent early on within the writing of the Brotherhood saga that much of the world and the sentient creatures that populated it had already died off. Due to human encroachment, disease, mass extinction events or all-out genocide, several races that bore intelligent thought within the world of Minonivna perished or are in the process of dying off as the first book begins.

You might be wondering after reading the introductory paragraph: Why?

Why did entire species have to die off, you ask? Simple: they just did.

If we are to follow what the fossil record shows, there have been many a man (or things resembling men) that have fallen to the greater acts of nature. Who can forget the Neanderthals that roamed parts of Europe and Asia or, more recently, homo floresiensis (better known as the Hobbit) in Indonesia? These are only two of the many examples of sentient, human-like creatures that existed on planet Earth throughout its billions of years of existence, yet they died out. Nature is a cruel and savage beast, as she whittles out many a creature either through predation or natural disaster. Many a theory has been proposed about how the Neanderthals died out (climate change and lack of food, interbreeding with or being killed off by homo sapiens.) Even the Hobbit is believed to have been wiped out by a volcanic eruption that completely annihilated its species, so to think that such species-killing disasters are common are not entirely out of the question.

However, though history has shown that life on Earth has a tendency to die out, what does that mean for life in a fictional setting? Why kill of entire races of creatures when a world builder can avoid such atrocities?

There’s a few reasons.

Reason numero uno is simple—I wanted there to be depth and realism to the world. Earth’s history has shown that life, especially dominant or intelligent life, has a predisposition to death. I wanted to explore the concept of mortality within the world I call Minonivna, particularly because it’s interesting to see the demise of grand creatures, but also because it makes a more well-rounded world for there to be extinctions.

The second reason, and possibly the more complex of the two, is the idea that humanity may have played a role in killing off some of their fellow sentients. This theory has been proposed particularly for homo erectus (what we modern humans are.) We have, over the course of several millions of years, hunted dozens upon dozens of animals to extinction. Off the top of my head in but a moment alone, I can name: the Moa bird in New Zealand, who was killed by foreigners by stealing their eggs after settling on the island; the Thylacine, who was hunted to extinction in Australia; the Yangtze River Dolphin, who was killed for food and poisoned by garbage dumps in China; and the Passenger Pigeon, which was wiped out in a mass hunt in North America. These are only a few of the creatures who, though not sentient in any way, were wiped out by humanity. Since there are no modern examples of humanity wiping out something that is capable of thinking intelligently and with a conscience, I wanted to explore the idea of human cruelty or ignorance and how, through rash choices and decisions, our actions may have killed off creatures that may have compared to us emotionally.

What kind of creatures were or are in the process of being killed off within the Brotherhood universe, you ask?

Allow me to demonstrate.

The Centaurs were a race of humanoid equine creatures that existed within a part of the world southwest of the Northern Coastline called The Whooping Hills. With a human torso connected to an equine lower half, they lived in tribal structures and hunted local wildlife. Called ‘abominations’ by modern humanity due to the belief that they were ‘created by horse demons who slept with women,’ they were hunted to extinction.

Further southwest, beyond the Whooping Hills, exists a place known as the Abroen Forest—a vast, sprawling forest that is commonly known as the home of the Elves. Within the forest exists a multitude of intelligent or somewhat-sentient life. A race of rat creatures known as the Unclean were hunted to death in a mass genocide by the Elves. Known as the Great Hunt, the creatures were hunted to extinction because the Elves could not prevent the creatures from preying on and killing their children.

Beyond the coast of Minonivna, in an arctic wasteland known as Neline, a race of upright-walking bear creatures known as the Kerma are afflicted with a flesh disease that creates tumors along the body that rot through flesh, bone and, eventually, the matter of the inner body. Though not yet extinct within The Brotherhood Saga, the creatures’ numbers are rapidly declining. No source to the disease has been found, though it is believed by the Kerma people that human settlers brought the illness to the island that is ultimately decimating their numbers.

Within the world of The Brotherhood, I tried to create a realistic background in regards to not only humanity, but the creatures that coexist or have coexisted around them. It’s a harsh stretch to destroy entire creatures that could have added a positive dimension to the story, but as a writer, and as a world builder, I believe killing them creates a more well-rounded, three-dimensional world.


Kody Boye

Kody Boye was born and raised in Southeastern Idaho. Since his initial publication in the Yellow Mama Webzine in 2007, he has gone on to sell nearly three-dozen stories to various markets. He is the author of the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the first book in The Brotherhood Saga, Blood. His fiction has been described as ‘Surreal, beautiful and harrowing’ (Fantastic Horror,) while he himself has been heralded as a writer beyond his years (Bitten by Books.) He currently lives and writes in the Austin, Texas area.