Architecture Not Interior Decoration

Hemingway: Prose is architecture not interior decoration.

Hemingway: Prose is architecture not interior decoration.

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Hemingway: Prose is architecture not interior decoration.

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“They don’t stifle enough of them.” –Flannery O’Connor

"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them." --Flannery O'Connor

“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.” –Flannery O’Connor

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Debbie Manber Kupfer, Author of P.A.W.S. Series

PAWS by Debbie Manber Kupfer

PAWS by Debbie Manber Kupfer

P.A.W.S.

When Miri’s grandmother dies, she takes with her the family secret. Miri finds herself alone and abandoned in a St. Louis boarding school. But she is about to discover the secret isn’t dead. Taunted by bullies, Miri is shocked to learn she possesses a secret power. It can save her… but can it save those she loves? After she is befriended by others with the same strange, magical powers, her history comes alive. And with it, Miri’s fate becomes more dangerous. Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society known as the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S. http://amzn.to/1JOBI4o


 

Argentum by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Argentum by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Argentum

Argentum . . . silver. Magical powers.

The death of Alistair has brought a measure of peace and calm to those at P.A.W.S., but his silver charm remains in Miri’s possession and it seems to almost have a life of its own.

Nightmares and questions torment Miri until the charm mysteriously disappears and Jessamyn seeks help from Quentin, who claims to have repented his past association with Alistair. But can he be trusted?

And what of Jenna, a young girl once held captive by Alistair who carries a terrible secret—a secret that could determine the future of P.A.W.S.
http://amzn.to/1GYT0es


Debbie Manber Kupfer

Debbie Manber Kupfer, author of the P.A.W.S. series

Debbie Manber Kupfer

Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum, and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Darkly Never After, Sins of the Past, and Heroes & Villains. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

Find out more about her at her website: http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/

Get social with her here:
http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Manber-Kupfer
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142164.Debbie_Manber_Kupfer
https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor
https://twitter.com/CiciCat42

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“Make it new.” –Ezra Pound

"Make it new." --Ezra Pound

“Make it new.” –Ezra Pound

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Joshua Robertson: Not All Fantasy is European

Josh Robertson

Josh Robertson

Not All Fantasy is European

The most popular fantasy novels have been set in a euro-centric / medieval settings. This is not difficult to imagine when thinking that we all grew up hearing the tales of King Arthur or Beowulf. Then, of course, there is the famous Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, and more recently, Game of Thrones or Percy Jackson, from which we are all familiar. I enjoy all of these stories as much as the next reader, especially if and when they challenge regular fantasy clichés. Sometimes, it is important to move outside of those traditional epic-fantasy worlds.

I have heard many readers say that they are not into fantasy, and it often comes from being overwhelmed by too much European fantasy. However, it is important to know that these settings do not represent the entire genre of fantasy literature. Not every story focuses on a young farm hand that realizes he has some epic gift, given to him by the gods, that sends him out battling against evil foes until he rules over a kingdom.

Melkorka by Josh Robertson

Melkorka by Josh Robertson

For example, Melkorka is built around Slavic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern mythologies. The setting is unique, where men and monsters still tread through a rugged and unexplored terrain. Humans have not yet discovered iron or steel. There are no knights, or towering cities, or armies marching across the horizon. And, most importantly, it is a story that will cause you to ask the question: who is really good and who is really evil?

Joshua began crafting the world for the dark fantasy series, Thrice Nine Legends, in 1999. Melkorka, the first book of the series, was published in 2015. The sequel, Dyndaer, will be released in January 2016. He is also the author of the Hawkhurst Saga. Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children.

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BUY: Melkorka

Kaelandur was forged by the Highborn to slay one of their own, Nedezhda Mager. As their slave, Branimir Baran never thought to question his cruel masters until he is forced to take part in the execution. His actions begin a chain of events that will lead him to confront demons, cannibals, and himself as he is forced to question his own morality and the true meaning of good and evil.

 

Bo Bunny and the Trouble

Bo Bunny and the Trouble by Josh Roberson

Joshua Robertson is an ambitious writer that enjoys devising flash fiction, short stories, poems, children’s books, and epic fantasy novels. Joshua is the author of the transitional children’s book, Bo Bunny and the Trouble. He is also the author of the dark fantasy novel, Melkorka, in the Thrice Nine Legends series. A tabletop game based on the novel and world, called Thrice Nine Legends, is set to be released in 2015.

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his spouse and children. His ancestry is primarily Slavic and Scottish, which is often recognized in his fantasy writings. He lives his life with the purpose of enhancing each moment, seeking happiness and connection. Joshua enjoys writing, teaching, reading and traveling. His philosophy is that life is an adventure worth experiencing.

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“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” –Ayn Rand

"Words are a lens to focus one's mind." --Ayn Rand

“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” –Ayn Rand

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Lee Dunning: The Multi-Layered Antagonist

The Multi-Layered Antagonist

A guest post by Lee Dunning

Lee Dunning, Author

Lee Dunning, Author

When sitting down to design your characters it’s easy to get wrapped up in your protagonist(s). They’re the good guys, the heroes of your story, and it’s fun to beat them up, and then watch them rise above to overcome the bad guy. What folks forget, though is that your hero is only as good as the adversary he goes up against. Don’t neglect your antagonist.

When I say don’t neglect the antagonist, I don’t mean to simply make them vile and powerful. It’s all too easy to have Reginald the Rapacious wipe out a village or two as a means of establishing his villainy, and leave it at that. Yuck.

Exile's Redemption by Lee Dunning

Exile’s Redemption by Lee Dunning

A complex, multi-layered antagonist is much more interesting, and will serve to bring the overall quality of your story up. Heck, your antagonist might not even be a bad person. She might be fully convinced that Kingdom XYZ is responsible for murdering her son as a means of undermining her rule and putting the royal lineage in jeopardy. She may respond in a brutal manner, and use inappropriate force against people who had nothing to do with the murder, but in her heart she believes she’s doing the right thing to protect her people and avenge her child. That makes for a much more complex and compelling story than Bart the Bloated who kills because he’s evil <insert mustache twirling here>.

That last sentence really is the crux of the matter. Too many stories, too of them fantasy, take the stance that individuals, even entire races of rational beings, are inherently evil. There can be cultural differences that cause so much strife between peoples that they each view each other as evil or corrupt. An investigation of these differences can make for a great story. But to simply label someone as irredeemably evil (and knows it) is the cheap way out.

For an excellent view of how to handle this sort of situation, I recommend Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Warbreaker’. It does an excellent job of exploring two lands with differing religious belief systems, and how they see one another. Joe Abercrombie, in his book ‘The Heroes’, does an outstanding job of showing the conflict between the Viking-like barbarians of the north and the expansionist Empire. Both groups contain good and bad individuals, but both believe they’re cause is just.

In the end the main goal is to make your antagonists as interesting to read as your protagonists. You don’t want people skipping through the chapters featuring your villain because they’re so flat and unimaginative it’s obvious their only purpose is to serve as a mirror for your good guy’s ‘goodness’.

Have fun with your bad guys, and your readers will too.

Here’s a sample of Lee Dunning’s book Exile’s Gamble

Exile's Gamble  by Lee Dunning

Exile’s Gamble by Lee Dunning

The demon possessed army of King Oblund has been crushed but at great cost. The people of Teresland, betrayed by their king, face a winter without leadership, manpower or food. The elves, unwilling regents of this devastated human kingdom, struggle with understanding a people foreign and hostile toward them.

Now, the demons which destroyed Second Home have scented the vulnerability of Teresland and set out to draw the elves into more conflict. Conflict which they cannot ignore but are ill-prepared to face. With Lord W’rath trapped within his own mind, comatose, the elves must prepare for battle without his strength.

Raven, restless to prove herself, decides on a reckless plan, one which could either provide the elves with a new weapon, or doom her and W’rath both.

Excerpt:

W’rath turned to greet Lady Swiftbrook as she and several First Born guards thundered around the corner. Lady Swiftbrook gasped and the bunch of them skidded to a halt, taking in the blood spattered walls, the bits of torn fabric, and the slowly melting shards of human.

“You did this?” Lady Swiftbrook choked. “You’re here less than an hour and already you’ve killed someone?”

“I’d love nothing more than to banter with you, madam,” W’rath said, “but I fear we have a much worse issue to contend with than your imagined belief in my proclivity for random murder. The man who died here was not wholly human. The demons have breached our defenses.”

“He’s right,” a voice came.

W’rath turned in surprise to find Lord Icewind returned, standing halfway down the stairs, blood dappling his robes. Grief pulled at his lovely face, and he gestured back from whence he’d come. “Lady Swiftbrook, Lady Winterdawn is terribly hurt. I have to check on my wards …” His voice failed him and he covered it by forcing his feet down the last few steps. He drew a shuddering breath. “Please see to her. The wards on my room hold strong still, but she shouldn’t be alone. Please.”

“The wards have failed?” Lady Swiftbrook recoiled. Her eyes tried to take in every direction, every shadow at once.

“Just one,” Lord Icewind said. “The sewers.”

“How …” Lady Swiftbrook began.

“Madam,” W’rath interrupted, shaking his head. No doubt the horrors she’d endured during the fall of Second Home had come flooding back to Lady Swiftbrook, but they did not have the luxury of engaging in such self-indulgent behavior. Even as they stood there, W’rath could smell the filth of demons as it spread.

Lady Swiftbrook shook herself, and set her face in a grim mask. “Right.” She addressed the guards. “You two come with me and help care for Lady Winterdawn. You three accompany Lord Icewind and Lord W’rath to the breach. You two return to the throne room and put our people on alert. Get word to the guards on the gates. Tell Chalice Renoir what we face. He’ll help you with the humans.” Her eyes flickered in W’rath’s direction.

“Madam,” he said, and bowed before turning to head down the hall from where he sensed the encroaching evil.

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