Thursday, September 16, 2021

Spread the Magic - Fantasy Novels to RPGs

The Witcher 3 RPG

Fantasy novels have been fuel for the gaming industry for many decades, but sometimes the popularity of the story explodes exponentially when translated to the board or PC. Take Wiedmin, for example. Based on Andrzej Sapkowski's novels and short stories, The Witcher has 100,000 concurrent players a day. The Netflix series has contributed to the resurgence, yes, but the game has always been wildly popular.

Bloodborne based on HP Lovecraft literature

Bloodborne and Edge of Nowhere are two more examples of a highly successful game based on Fantasy/SF novels. These titles are influenced by H P Lovecraft's particular brand of Horror - especially his tentacled, mind-zapping Great Old Ones and other recognizable monsters. Both games received universal acclaim from critics and are lauded for the true-to-Lovecraft vivid and visceral horror elements.


Assassin's Creed based on Vladamir Bartol's Alamut.

The Assassin's Creed RPG game is credited for its historical accuracy, sans the SF/Fantasy elements. The novel was set in Alamut, a Persian fortress 60 miles from modern-day Tehran. In the 11th Century, the fortress was controlled by a missionary - Hassan-i Sabbah and his loyal assassins. The adaptation from novel to the game held firmly to all the intricate and correct details before layering in the Fantasy elements. It's an incredible story!

Hogwarts Legacy based on the Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling

Popular games are not only based on male Fantasy writers. J K Rowling's Harry Potter Series translates beautifully into open-world RPG games that have seen wild success.

And what does the future hold? Who knows, but maybe, with a bit of luck, we'll see games based on other new Fantasy Series.

The world of Amassia would translate beautifully into and
open-world RPG game.

Do you have a favorite game based on a book? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

* * * 


Kim Falconer, writing YA Fantasy as A K Wilder, is the author of Crown of Bonesbook #1 in the Amassia Series. The sequel, Curse of Shadows, is due for release in June 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

You can Throw the Bones, read your monthly horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the AKWilder.com site or just drop a comment to chat. See you there!

Friday, September 3, 2021

New look, New Giveaway, same old Violet!

2021: Forced Introspection of your 20' something self

Just taking a break to let you know that the cat is back! After four years in purgatory, I am happy to release for your reading pleasure Diaries of an Urban Panther! Now available in a pretty new Ebook and Paperback format, you can relive Violet Jordan's adventures in Dallas as she learns about her intertwined destiny with a demon rising. 

Now this story might not be a new one to our avid blog readers, but it was very interesting to go back and look at this book from my 40 something eyes at what my 20 something thought was the worst thing in the world. If this book is any indication, I was very into boys, coffee, and building families. 

Which is pretty close to who I am now. Still completely boy crazy (just with a new boy, hello Charlie Cox). I still love coffee. And I still love my blood family and my chosen family as much as I ever have. 

And what is amazing about this book and this blog, is that I have learned a million things since then, and I've tried to document them here on this blog. Things about life and love, and writing. Mostly writing. 

So you could say that these blog posts over the past 11 years have been by own Diaries of an Urban Amanda. 

If you still haven't, you can buy a copy now at any online retailer. Follow this Books2read link to find your favorite vendor.


GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!

And if you are so inclined, you can also enter to win 10 signed copies with a special Violet- approved gift pack! Register on Goodreads (US applicants only 😒) Ends Sept 7th. 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/330883-diaries-of-an-urban-panther



And if you want a little sneak peek:

Claws and Effect comes out Sept 28th. Pre-Order Here through Books2Read!


Nine Lives of an Urban Panther comes out Oct 26th. Pre-Order HERE through Books2Read!

(and please let me know if those links done work- its a cool new universal link service). 


Until next time, Keep Calm and Drink Coffee. 



Amanda Arista

Author and Human

www.amandaarista.com


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Magic In Fantasy: Drawing On Fairytale, Folklore, and Myth

 .

Introduction

Here we are on 1 September—and absolutely time for a little more magic in Fantasy!

Currently, I’m sharing three books each month where the magic and/or magic systems have spun my reading wheels.

The element today’s books have in common, besides my liking their magical vibe, is that they all draw on myth, fairytale, or folklore to spin their reading spell. Arguably all Fantasy does so, but these are works where that particular aspect really caught my attention.

Consistent with previous posts, I’ll begin with an older publication and move forward to something more recent. I *believe* they’re all YA, too, but if not published as such, they certainly have that ‘feel’ to the storytelling.
.

Magic In Fantasy: Drawing On Fairytale, Folklore, and Myth

The Godmother by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

In The Godmother, author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough takes a number of classic fairytales, such as Snow White (only in this case it’s Seven Vietman Vets on a sweatlodge retreat rather than seven dwarfs), Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Puss In Boots, and weaves them into one story, set in contemporary Seattle. The Godmother premise includes a secret order of fairy godmothers, or godmothers with magical power at least, who endeavor to undo harms and right wrongs. The godmother on the case in Seattle is Felicity Fortune, with a magical budget to work within and a great many dilemmas to set right.

Although it’s been a while since first reading, I remember my fairytale lover’s delight at recognizing the interwoven fairytales in this book, and also my admiration for the author’s deftness in stringing them together into a seamless whole. Like fairytales themselves,
The Godmother has its dark side, but it also has a great deal of humor and a light touch that I really enjoyed. I found it quite magical, in fact.
J

Another two books were published subsequently:
The Godmother’s Apprentice, for those of you who like your fairytales and folklore with an Irish twist, and The Godmother’s Web set in the American Southwest and drawing on Navajo and Hopi folklore.
.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Transitioning from 1994 to 2009, and not only from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern, or even to New Zealand, but right to my home city of Christchurch, I come to Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead.

Guardian of the Dead
is an intriguing mix of urban fantasy brought together with Maori* legends of the patupaiarehe (fairies) and taniwha (think a cross between demons and dragons, that can be either malign or benign), as well as the myth of Hine-nui-te-Po, the Great Woman of the Night and goddess of death.

There’s also an element of Greek myth woven into the story, which makes for a fun read, magic-wise.

*Maori are New Zealand’s tangata whenua (literally ‘people of the land’, or first people).
.

The Library Of The Dead by T.L. Huchu

The Library Of The Dead is a 2021 publication, set in a dystopian, not-too-distant future Edinburgh where the heroine, Ropa, is a licensed medium-cum-psychopomp. Her main work, or “dayjob” is carrying messages from the dead to the living (for a fee, of course), although she also casts out spirits and learns magic from her grandmother, who is from Zimbabwe.

Ropa’s power, in dealing with the dead, draws on her grandmother’s teaching, and she uses the music of the mbira, aka an African thumb piano, to communicate with the ghosts. Yet the magical beings she must deal with are also drawn from Scottish folklore, such as “brounies”, as well as an underground society of magicians, based in the Library of the Dead.

Sounds like fun?—I thought so, not least for the storytelling’s dynamic blend of magics. 

~*~
.

Previous Posts In The "Magic In Fantasy" Series: 

January 1: Happy New Year – Ushering In A Year of Friends, Fellow Authors, & Magic Systems

January 5: 
An Interview with AK Wilder – Talking Magic In Her New-Out Crown Of Bones (AMASSIA #1) 

February 1: An Interview with T Frohock 
– Talking Magic In A Song With Teeth & The LOS NEFILIM Series


March 1:  An Interview with Courtney Schafer – Talking Magic In The "Shattered Sigil" Series


April 1:  An Interview with Kristin Cashore –Talking Magic In Winterkeep & The "Graceling Realm" Series

.

May 1: An Interview With Lee Murray – Talking Magic, the Supernatural & Horror

June 1: An Interview With Amanda Arista  Talking Magic In the MERCI LANARD & DIARIES OF AN URBAN PANTHER Series

 

July 1: The Magic of Magic In Fantasy -- & A Solstice Shift

August 1: More Magic In Fantasy: Lighting The Spark


~*~

About The Author:

Helen Lowe's first  novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. The second,The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012, and the sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood (Book Three), was published in 2016 and Helen is currently completing the final novel in the series. She posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Writing What You Don't Know

Salila has a huge growth arc in books #2 & #3 of the Amassia Series

Updated from an earlier work on the
Voyager Blog 2011

The adage write what you know works fine for how-to manuals, cookbooks, auto repair guides or medical text. With these genres, writers need a certain level of expertise, and the goal is to share it. You can also write what you know in Fiction, even Fantasy where the sunset, the stars, the feel of the wind in your hair as you gallop down the road can come from personal experience.

Wonderful Paranormal YA 
But, what about the monsters, the genies, the aliens, the polymorphs? No one on Earth can know, for example, what a phantom (from Crown of Bones) is like, or a Mar who dwells under the sea.  That is, until the author creates such things from their blank page. Sometimes that process can be a challenge so wanted to revisit these four quick tips I find helpful for writing what you don’t know.

Tip #1: Research. If you have a world that focuses on UFOs and the history of our relationship to extraterrestrials, you don’t have to work at SETI to write it convincingly (just ask Vanessa Barneveld with her new release Under the Milky Way). You do have to know what the current climate is on the subject and the historical references to things like alien abductions. In other words, do your research. Second-hand knowledge is invaluable here.

Tip #2: Savvy proofreaders. Research can take the place of direct experience, especially in world-building and other historical facts, but there are exceptions. Horses are one. If you don’t know horses, you can learn about them, but if they are going to do more than graze in the paddock, you’ll need a proofreader with horse sense to check your work. Readers who are also riders will spot ineptitude a mile away. Jolt! If it’s going to be a feature in your novel, get an expert to proof and/or offer technical advice. 

Practising Iaido for fight scenes

Tip #3: Hands-on. If you’re going to give some art, animal, dance, ritual, music or machine a big role in your script, immerse in it, hands-on! As a bonus, your life will become richer for the experience. In my first three series, I researched quantum computing, aquatic humans, physics theory, geo-engineering, bio-engineering, shadow projection and were-animal/shapeshifting mythologies. 

I also joined a local dojo and learned to wield a sword. Already on board were things like felines, horses, witchcraft, magic, astrology, SCUBA, gender studies and astral travel. I wove together the elements that were second nature to me with the ones I studied and learned. Anything else, like falconry, firearms and river rafting, was proofread by experts in the field.

Belair LOVES Ochee tea
based on Chi!

Tip #4: Start with a grain of truth.
No matter how wild and farfetched a fantasy story becomes, a grain of truth is what you build on. It's what will give your prose more weight! In my most recent series, Amassia, a main character takes my love of the sea and turns it into an environment where those with very similar DNA to ours can exist, almost indefinitely. 

I also examine the notions of the unconscious and expand them into larger-than-life subpersonalities and talk and talk and interact with us. In earlier novels, I look at possible results of geoengineering that might do more harm than good. It’s all about the speculation but begin it with something real.


How do you express what you don't know in convincing ways? I'd love to hear more!

xxKim (aka A K Wilder)

* * * 


Kim Falconer, writing YA Fantasy as A K Wilder, is the author of Crown of Bonesbook #1 in the Amassia Series. The sequel, Curse of Shadows, is due for release in June 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

You can Throw the Bones, read your monthly horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the AKWilder.com site or just drop a comment to chat. See you there!

* * *


 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

More Magic In Fantasy: Lighting The Spark

 .

Introduction

Away back in January, I resolved to make 2021 my year of magic, and magic systems in Fantasy fiction, because from "...magic realism to the highest of high epic fantasy, the magic – and by extension the magic system – is the leaven in the ... [Fantasy]...mix.” 

Magic in the mix...

Currently, I'm focusing on books where the magic or magic system have really wowed me, aiming to try and include an range of subgenres but also of older and more recent works.

In case you're wondering what "wow" looks and feels like for me, it's that flare of excitement when I start reading, usually because what I'm reading feels really authentic and (sometimes) "new-to-me."

Here are three more books that ticked that box when it comes to their treatment of magic and/or magic systems, i.e. I do think it's possible to have magic without it being systematic and /or codified.


Magic In Fantasy: Lighting The Spark

The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula Le Guin 

Since I started my themed series in 2019 with Romance In Fantasy, I have tried not to replicate an author, but I'm going to have to give in today, because unquestionably, Ursula Le Guin was one of the first authors to wow me with the magic of her first Earthsea trilogy. 

Although I believe adults can read it just as readily, officially the first Earthsea trilogy is children's fiction, beginning with A Wizard of Earthsea.

The wow factor lay in the magic of Earthsea's strong environmental sensibility, but also the idea of limitations, both in the mage's interaction with natural and magical forces, and within themself. In the magic of Earthsea, this is conveyed through an emphasis on balance and patterning, with consequences arising out of every action and use of power -- an aspect of magic that is sometimes overlooked or glossed over in Fantasy.

 

Yet despite being wowed by the simplicity and power of Earthsea's magic, I was also taken aback (yes, even as a young reader) because the magic system is inherently sexist. "Weak as women's magic", the reader is told from the outset, and also "wicked as women's magic." Certainly, women do not become mages, and the association of women's magic with weakness or wickedness, is sustained through the first trilogy. Le Guin is said to have endeavored to correct this aspect of Earthsea's magic system in Tehanu (1990), although I note its a substantively different story and also pitched more to adult readers.

For me, the wow of Le Guin's overall achievement, in terms of creating a magic system, is greater than its sexism, but I do feel the latter undermines what would otherwise be an outstanding achievement, comparable with that of her (adult) science fiction novels, The Left Hand Of Darkness and The Dispossessed

Shadows Of The Apt Series by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky's is epic fantasy with a steampunk sensibility. The first novel, Empire In Black and Gold was published in 2008 and from the outset I was very taken with the series' magic, which is centered upon "insect" kingdoms where the denizens ("kinden") are either technologically "apt" (e.g. wasps, beetles, ants) or "inapt." The Inapt, such as moths, spiders, and dragonflies, tend to be strong in magic, but both Apt and Inapt kingdoms are in danger of being overrun by the expanding Wasp empire. 

I should add that the various kinden are basically human form, but strongly connected in social, cultural, and organisational terms with their insect "avatars" (for want of a more -- er -- apt term.)

With ten titles in the series there is plenty to read and explore in terms of the science/tech versus magic divide, as expressed by the various kinden.

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

Anna Smaill's debut novel, The Chimes, was published in 2015 and won the World Fantasy Award in 2016.


 

The Chimes postulates a dystopian future UK where the written word is forbidden and music informs every aspect of life, including language, and profoundly affects memory and social structure. In The Chimes society there is only the present and to even contemplate the past is "blasphony." 

I still recall the shock of excitement I felt on beginning reading and experiencing the way in which music was embedded in the characters' thought and speech, in a way that I subsequently described as both "fascinating" and "original."

The overall story is a complex one, including the evolving relationship of the protagonists Simon and Lucien, but imbued with music throughout.

For greater insight into the book and world, you can read my 2015 interview with the author here:

An Interview with Anna Smaill

Conclusion:

And that's it for this month -- but I hope you'll find a spark of magic in one of these works, if you have not done so already!

~*~

Previous Posts In The "Magic In Fantasy" Series: 

January 1: Happy New Year – Ushering In A Year of Friends, Fellow Authors, & Magic Systems

January 5: 
An Interview with AK Wilder – Talking Magic In Her New-Out Crown Of Bones (AMASSIA #1) 

February 1: An Interview with T Frohock 
– Talking Magic In A Song With Teeth & The LOS NEFILIM Series


March 1:  An Interview with Courtney Schafer – Talking Magic In The "Shattered Sigil" Series


April 1:  An Interview with Kristin Cashore –Talking Magic In Winterkeep & The "Graceling Realm" Series

.

May 1: An Interview With Lee Murray – Talking Magic, the Supernatural & Horror

June 1: An Interview With Amanda Arista  Talking Magic In the MERCI LANARD & DIARIES OF AN URBAN PANTHER Series

 

July 1: The Magic of Magic In Fantasy -- & A Solstice Shift


~*~

About The Author:

Helen Lowe's first  novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. The second,The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012, and the sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood (Book Three), was published in 2016 and Helen is currently completing the final novel in the series. She posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Win $50 Amazon Gift Card


The Full Moon is nigh upon us, and up next from me is a full lunar exploration into divining, storytelling and affirming our place in the world, but for now...

Preorder Curse of Shadows
I wanted to let you know that EntangledTeen is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card to a lucky winner who streams with us live tomorrow at 4pm EST. 


You can join us on Youtube, Facebook or Twitch. All you have to do is comment or question one of us during the live stream author Chat. 


I'll be there with Alyson Noel and Tina Warner.


Preorder The Helheim
Princess
And what will we be talking about? 


Our upcoming books! 


Tiana Warner is an LGBTQ+ author from British Columbia, Canada. Her Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy and graphic novel adaptation have won multiple awards and hit #1 on Amazon bestseller lists. 


She has a forthcoming valkyrie series with Entangled Teen and many other stories in progress.

Preorder Stealing Infinity

Alyson Noël is the #1 NYT best-selling author of many award-winning and critically acclaimed novels for readers of all ages. 



She is best known for THE IMMORTALS series, THE RILEY BLOOM series, and SAVING ZOË, which was adapted into a movie now available on Amazon.


We are all looking forward to her next release, Stealing Infinity, the first in the Stolen Beauty series.



Hope to see you all live on the 23rd at 4pm EST!

xxKim (aka A K Wilder)

* * * 


Kim Falconer, writing YA Fantasy as A K Wilder, is the author of Crown of Bonesbook #1 in the Amassia Series. The sequel, Curse of Shadows, is due for release in June 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

You can Throw the Bones, read your monthly horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the AKWilder.com site or just drop a comment to chat. See you there!

* * *


Friday, July 16, 2021

Remnants of a Serial Experiment

It's crazy how much 2020 changed my perspective on so many things. Family priorities and flexibility. Time management and health management. But one big thing that happened was, my creative life completely shifted. 

Writing wasn't possible in the madness that was the Year-of-Years. And Even as we began 2021 and things seemed to settle, my writing life consisted mostly of me sitting with my laptop and staring out the window. Not much got accomplished. Anything begun was left unfinished. Everything spilling from my fingers was stiff and stilted. Nothing felt right.

This went on for so long I was beginning to wonder if I was even capable of writing anymore. 

Until about three months ago when I had a friend mention something about a new platform popping up through Amazon Kindle. It's called Vella and the focus is on feeding serials into your Kindle apps and devices. 

Many serial apps have become very popular of late; Radish, Wattpad, Kiss, and Galatea, just to name a couple. And I could go on. There are quite a few. However, most are already saturated with content and packed with established writers. This makes it difficult to rise to the top of the pack at this point. Not to mention the content on the majority of these apps seems to focus 95% on romance, with very little else in the sea of "seasons". Which keeps an author limited. 

But now, with Amazon joining in the mix, it has the potential to bring the serialization market into the mainstream of fiction once more.


And I just happened to have a novel sitting in my drawer that had garnished huge buzz a decade ago, but life and illness had gotten in the way.

I decided to try my hat at reworking the manuscript into a serial. 

Needless to say, it has been intriguing. And soaking in knowledge, learning this new (to me, old as Dickens to others) way of presenting a story, has invigorated my writing.

I am, once more, alive! I'm excited about a project!

This week Kindle Vella opened its digital "doors" to the larger reading community of Kindle. 

It's still getting the engines revving but now the first ten "episodes" of my ancient drawer novel (which twelve years ago had won two novel contests, gotten three competing agent offers, and had editors asking if they could call me to talk) is now clawing its way out of the grave, into the light. It will be in the hands of readers. At long last. For better or worse.

And this form of storytelling has given me something else; a fresh way of looking at my creative life.

For the first time in a long while I feel the spark.


If you're in the US, and interested in delving into serial reading, you can check out the first three episodes of REMNANTS OF THE FALL for FREE on Amazon online or on your Kindle app.

For those without the ability to use Vella, you can read my serial, REMNANTS, on my brand new PATREON ACCOUNT. I love this option because it'll allow readers to participate more in the process and give creative feedback, if they'd like. Plus, the reader saves money in the end.

All-in-all, I'm really excited to begin this adventure into the world of creating episodic fiction. 

I hope more creators and readers join me!

***

You can read more about Rachel A. Marks and her work on her website www.RachelAnneMarks.com