I have always been fascinated by world building. From
science fiction to fantasy to horror, there must be reasons why a character or
a whole slew of characters react as they do in their world. Their actions,
their thoughts, the reason they fall in love with the person they do, it’s all about how their universe revolves.
It determines what kind of story you’re writing. Like Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern
series. She built a whole world, making it hard science fiction. She gave
reasons for why the dragons were needed and how the alien world and its people
were. Now, my The Witch and the Familiar books are urban
fantasy, even though most of A Familiar
Tangle With Hell is set in Hell. But it and Being Familiar With A Witch, are set otherwise in a city that Tina
Epson lives in. I let readers find that Tina works for an independent bookstore
in town, Cup of Tea and a Book. She lives in an apartment she moved in after
leaving her parents’ house. Except for a few friends, she lives alone in town,
as her parents had moved to
after retiring. She’s mortal in the first book and likes to live a normal life.
But in my world building, my characters never get a chance for that, as unusual
circumstances make her come to a decision for normalcy or not.
World building makes the author research the myths, legends,
and fairytales. If you want to know about vampires, then nonfiction books and
online websites about vampires are a good place to start.. Some of it will find
its way into the book, more snippets later will sneak in. A lot of the author’s
research may never find their way into the storyline. But it’s good for the
author to have all the information for their own use, to look at when writing. One more thing with world building is
readers bring expectations to reading, like rules of beings and creatures of
myth, legend, and fairytales. The reader will have these in their mind. You
will have to take the vampire, werewolf, god, or ghost, and make the reader go
past these rules and believe you made another way these beings to behave. Your
explanations do not have to be the most fantastic, but you do have to have
World building should include something else: background.
Think of a movie. You have the main actors. But you also have the extras, or
background as they are called in the movie business. You’re thinking, “No,
extras aren’t that important, not when your hero or heroine is the real focus
of the story.” But let’s look at the newest movie out, Hunger Games. Katniss
Everdeen volunteers to be in the games as tribute to save her younger sister
whose name had been drawn from the girls’ bowl for the Reaping. When Effie
Trinker says, “Let’s give a big applause to our newest tribute,” no one says a
word or claps. You know what they are truly saying. So those extras are
important to the scene. The same goes for the book or short story you are
working on. In A Familiar Tangle With
Hell, Tina and the demon bunny, Fluffy, are traveling through Tantalus, a
part of Hell, encountering demons and lost spirits. These characters may not be
in the story again, but at this point and time, they flesh out Hell, as much as
descriptions of this version of the Pit looks like do.
When you build your world, another thing is you must be
consistent in your rules. That means keeping them as you began them. Editing
will help in catching these kinds of mistakes. A good critique partner for just
this would be another great thing to have. I have files on various important
characters in my stories, their traits, what they do, etc… and use these to go
back to if something comes up that I’ve forgotten about my character. After all, if what you’ve written goes
against any of the rules you’ve created in your world, then there has to be a
logical, rational reason it happens differently at the time, reasonable to you
and the readers. Such as if iron is poisonous to the fey, but suddenly later in
the story, the character can pass through a fence of iron, there must be a
reason why they can do this time (maybe they had found a spell that enables
them to). Don’t just have them unable to do something because it isn’t
convenient to your story. Being consistent is what makes the suspension of
disbelief your readers are willing to have held together.
historical past should not overwhelm or dominate your current story. If it
does, then you will bore your readers, most of all, you’re writing the wrong
fiction. A paragraph of it will be all you need.
Is there an
inventive language in your story? It’s okay, but don’t make it so difficult for
your reader to understand that they can’t follow along or have to wade through
it. If it makes your reader stop to figure out and ponder about it, well, it
isn’t helping your pacing. The reader needs to be engrossed in the story so
much they can’t put it down, and at no time, should it make them stop and close
that cover. If the reader needs a degree to understand your book, then you lost
the battle to keep most readers engrossed in your tale. Glossaries are a useful
way to deal with this, but better if you don’t make your reader stop so much
your reader to keep reading ahead. That’s not to say you can’t (after all, I
have in my Witch and the Familiar
books—demon speech when doing a spell). But nothing that will stop the reader
World building is
fun, as long as you think about presenting your world right. It’s all about
drawing in your readers and keeping them coming back for more. It’s about
giving them a vacation from reality they can suspend disbelief and enjoy.
Leave me a
comment on what you think, along with your name and email and be entered to win
a download of your choice from my backload.
Dark heroes and heroines with bite…sink your teeth
into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.
Mortal woman Tina discovers she is part of a
prophesy that says she and Charun, her demon Familiar, must make love so she
can become the witch she is fated to be. If she doesn’t do it and stop the
demon army bringing Armageddon to the Mortal Realm on Halloween, she won’t
stand a chance in Hell.
A year later, just when Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal-another prophesy pops up. If Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it. This time they get help from an archangel, Jacokb, but with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina this time lose the battle and become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?
from The Witch and the Familiar
(adult in nature as is the book, so only 18 and older can read—when my erotic
urban fantasy heroine meets Fluffy the demon bunny for the first time):
She leaned back
against the rocky wall in the cave and heaved a sigh of relief.
“Who are you?”
asked a sweet little voice.
Wary, for in
Hell, a child could be deadly, Tina muttered another spell and lit up the cave
to see who the voice belonged to. Startled, she saw a cute little white bunny,
wiggling its fluffy tail.
“I am Fluffy.
Who are you?” it asked, hopping closer.
into a crouch, putting out a hand. “I’m Tina.”
“I am hungry. So very hungry. May I munch on you?” It opened its mouth
incredibly wide and revealed sharp, bloody fangs, with what looked like a
couple of pieces of flesh caught between in the back.
Tina leaped to
her feet. “No, you may not eat me.”
The bunny from
Hell cocked its head, puzzled. “Why not?
Lucifer has never stopped me from doing it to other unlucky living
mortals who ended up here.” Its eyes darkened, going to a hell spawn gleam. “My
master has even let me nibble on souls, too, though those do not taste as good
as real flesh.”
“Well, there it
is! Your master would not like it if I
ended up on your dinner plate a pile of bones.”
specifically, he had me brought to Hell to become the mother of his child.”
The tiny fiend
looked downcast. “Master would give me to demons to roast over a fire if I do a
stupid thing and eat you.” It looked up at her and Tina felt chills as a parody
of a cunning grin flitted across its mouth. Back on Earth real rabbits did not
grin. “But once you give Master his
child, then maybe he will be grateful to Fluffy because I take you to him.”
Fluffy stared up at her with big, round eyes. “I do not think he would want you
roaming around Hell. Other demons may not be as smart as me and would go ahead
and swallow you.”
Tina said, “But
there’s a demon out there in its spirit form. I just managed barely to get away
With a sigh,
Tina spoke a word and the rock covering the entrance vanished. But once they stepped
out Xaphan faced them. Fluffy hopped over to him and opened his mouth wide. To
her shock and horror, the little fiend sucked in the entire demon with a loud
slurp. Fluffy patted its bulging belly that promptly shrunk back down to normal
This did not
bode well for her.
understand how something that looked as adorable as its name suggested could be
so evil. Fluffy nipped at her heels, forcing her to walk.
said, turning around to look down at Fluffy. “How does Lucifer treat you?”
wrinkled. “Treat me? What do you mean?”
down at Fluffy’s level so she could directly into the demon’s eyes.
“Does he give
you treats, not because you earned them, but because he likes to? Does he treat
you like a pet or as an equal? I mean, you’re a talking rabbit. Back in the
mortal realm that’s pretty rare. Forget rare, there isn’t a talking bunny there
except in books, movies, and cartoons.”
“My master lets
me eat any fool I catch in Hell, but I have never received a tre— What is a
“In the mortal
realm people who love their dogs or cats give them a snack. Pet bunnies get a
carrot or dandelions from their owners.”
Fluffy sat up on
its hindquarters. “I have never received anything like that. Mortal rabbits
like vegetables? They do not eat meat?”
“I never met a
rabbit until now that didn’t eat veggies. The closest to fresh kill for a bunny
on Earth is ripping a carrot or a root out of the dirt.”
“Yes, they are.”
“I would like to
“Let’s see if I
can magic one up for you. Some parts of my magic work in Hell, but others
link.” A small carrot appeared on the palm of her hand she held open. It
didn’t look that great.
It would have to
She handed over
the carrot to Fluffy who took it between its paws and began nibbling on it.
Having fangs instead of normal bunny teeth enabled it to gnaw down the taproot
up. “Not too bad. I wonder why my master has never introduced me to this
carrot. I still like meat, but this carrot has flavor.”
always had you on a strictly meat diet?”
nodded, wiggling its ears. “Oh, yes. He has had me since I was just a demon. To
try an experiment, he added genes from carcasses of dead rabbits and wolves he
got from the mortal realm. He said the wolf genes would make me a carnivore and
the idea of a bunny being a predator tickled his funny bone.”
“I bet it did,”
mumbled Tina under her breath. “Bastard.”
“Nothing. If you
like that carrot and since my magic is not too trustworthy in Hell, if you
magick me to the mortal realm I can get you plenty more carrots.”
suspicious. “Are you sure you’re not trying to trick me?”
“You said you’re
smart—right? And being a demonic entity, you must have powers I would assume.
So if I do any funny business in the mortal realm, you could whammy me or
“That is true.
Except like you, my conjuring is not at full strength right here in Hell. Only
the master’s is at full power. It’s his way of ensuring none of us do a repeat
of the rebellion in Heaven.”
thought Tina. “Do you know where any of the portals that lead back to Earth are
Tina stood up.
“Then lead on, Mr. or is it Miss Fluffy? Are you a boy or girl?”
“I do not know.
Big L never told me.”
“Well, you sound
exactly like how a five-year-old boy might sound like, so until we find out
otherwise, I guess I will think of you as a guy.”
ahead of Tina. If she didn’t know his true nature, that this rabbit was more
deadly than a full-grown African lion, she would have thought him sweet and
Yeah, as cute
as a hungry boa constrictor. Keep your eyes on the little monster,
otherwise you might find yourself gnawed on.
Still cold, Tina
wondered if her magic would work enough for her to bring up a coat or sweater,
or the very least, a shawl. She thought one word. Molos! A sweater appeared around her shoulders and
she put her arms through the sleeves, slipping it on. She felt somewhat warmer.
She couldn’t wait to get out of this place and back home. A cup of hot
chocolate would be first thing on her list of priorities.
Well, after she
found Charun first and attacked his hot body. She felt pretty sure he could
heat the fire within her even faster than a cup of hot chocolate.
Tina missed him.
Missed his arms circling her body when he pulled her into his embrace. Missed
the way his lips danced on hers, while his hands skimmed her body with hungry
urgency. And most of all, she missed the way he brought her magic along with
her need out of her, as she screamed his name.
Heat rose as
lust and love raged like a fire inside her body. Tina fought to tamp down the
need as this was not the right time and place to have it.
Not with a
lustful Lucifer wanting to mark her as his and demons and monsters ready to
flay her flesh with fang and claw.
Tina paused and
leaned against a rock. Tears sparkled in her eyes, almost blinding her.
she said with a moan. “Where are you?”
Sapphire Phelan’s Bio:
Sapphire Phelan has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with a couple of erotic horror stories. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist. The sequel to it is A Familiar Tangle With Hell, released June 2011 from Phaze Books. Both eBooks were combined into one print book, The Witch and the Familiar, and released April 24, 2012.
She admits she can always be
found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband,
and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!
Find out more about Sapphire Phelan at http://www.SapphirePhelan.com.
Can purchase the paperback
book at http://www.phaze.com/book.php?title=The+Witch+and+The+Familiar
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Falcon’s Angel is a paranormal
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If you asked me which is easier, writing songs or
writing novels, I would say it was the former. Melodies and rhymes are second
nature. What my characters want is another thing entirely. With my debut novel,
Falcon’s Angel, I learned to
listen to my spunky heroine and sinfully confident hero. They’re funny and in
danger, and that’s just the way they want it. Lesson learned: don’t try to save
When I’m not writing, I exercise my lungs at my
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Falcon and Angel are on Lynn Crain’s excellent blog! Check it out:
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Dark Sentinels – Book One: Sable
Sable, a sentinel wolf shifter, is captured and locked in his wolf form until Akila, a veterinarian, tries to tame him and unleashes a 6’5″ baby blue-eyed surprise.
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as many stray animals as possible. The only child of wealthy, yet distant
parents, she’s convinced that love is not for her. Until…
Sable’s search for his twin sister leads him to Akila. Born
into a rare species of wolf shifters whose main purpose is protecting others,
he has always been forced to fend for himself, but Akila’s loving, protective
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Erotica vs. Porn, You decide?
Is an erotic romance considered the same
as porn? I certainly don’t think so.
To me, erotica is a loving romance with
sex, and porn is just sex without the love. Both are made solely for your
entertainment, but they are two totally separate categories.
Erotica is there to stimulate your mind
as well as your excitement with a well thought out and detailed plot, while
porn is straight to the nitty gritty, get down and dirty, fuck me baby, wham
bam thank you, Mam… and we’re done. They even got rid of the cheesy acting they
used to do in the 80’s and 90’s. At least then it was a little comical.
Every writer strives to not only
stimulate your mind, but do their best to hook you in with your emotions as
well, which in my opinion makes all the difference. After all, take the sex out
of porn and you’ve got nothing left, but if you take the sex out of erotica you
still have the romance to enjoy, right?
When I started writing I began with contemporary romances, but then my muse steered me in the direction of Leather
and Pleasure and a series of kinky shorts were born. For the fun of it I got my
husband to read them as soon as I could get the ideas on to the page and had so
much fun with it I decided to continue on with a few others, but his reaction
to them was sort of funny when he said, “Holy shit, you aren’t really going to promote these are you?”
My reaction was, “Well yeah, why not?”
and honestly my Leather and Pleasure series is my best selling work to date. Sex
sells what can I say, and when you combine sex with a loving relationship you
can never go wrong, no matter how kinky it is.
Writing erotic romances is not an easy
task, and I enjoy it because not only do I get to unleash my inner dirty girl,
which is fun, but I also get to write an amazing love story to go along with
it. Emotions make the experience more fulfilling and I hate when people jump to
conclusions about things they don’t understand, including this subject, where
as I can shrug it off most of the time, some authors can get seriously offended
when the two are compared.
So whether you’re into porn, erotica, a
little of both, or none at all, I say don’t be so quick to put a label on it
and just enjoy life.
Erotica vs. Porn, What’s your take on it?
Answer the question in the comments section with your email address for a
chance to win Leather and Pleasure, the first installment to my Leather and Pleasure series.
Leather and Pleasure series:
Rowan Avery Walker is planning to
surprise her husband after ten years of marriage. On their anniversary she
decides to enact one of his most desired fantasies, and there’s no
traditional night out on the town for this couple. She’s no stranger
to role play, and when it comes to bedroom pleasures she likes to walk on the
Ryder has never loved his wife more, and
has a feeling that it’ll be a night to remember. Starting off with unique
gifts that peak his curiosity, his suspicions are confirmed when they pull up
to their favourite members only club. Where desire lives, fantasies are
enacted, and the words leather and pleasure take on a whole new meaning. Rowan
makes it an anniversary he’ll never forget.
Sparks Ignite (Leather and Pleasure 2),
Evans should feel on top. He’s got a booming business, money, and the subs are
a dime a dozen in his ever growing, popular fetish club, Leather and Pleasure.
So why is it that he feels unfulfilled? There’s something missing in his life,
and it isn’t until he meets Eden that he realizes she’s the one he needs to
ignite the passion that he lacks to go on.
Mayer is tired of living her regular routine, and has been feeling way too
lonely lately. So, when her best friend suggests she try out this new club
she’s never heard of before, she decides to throw caution to the wind and check
it out. What she’s met with is a night she’ll never forget, a new experience
she vows to keep, and the most gorgeous man she’s ever laid eyes on. Rhys Evans
makes it a night she’ll never forget.
Sexy (Leather and Pleasure 3),
women, one man, a fetish club, and one sinfully sexy night together…
Dixon and Lila Davis have been lovers since they started working at the ever
popular fetish club Leather and Pleasure,
but Lila has curiosities and would like to know how Sable feels about
having a third join them sometime. Sable is all for it and quickly invites
Parker into the mix. He’s good looking, respectful, sexy as hell and there’s no
one else she’d rather share Lila with. One invitation turns into so much more
where fantasies live, and one sinfully sexy night just may need a repeat.
Noel (Leather and Pleasure 4),
Lewis has had a lot of firsts in her life, but this holiday season she’s making
memorable. She’s the star of her first holiday performance at the fetish club
she works at, Leather and Pleasure, and finds herself leading her first ménage
a quatre for hundreds to see, unleashing her naughty side. Nervous at first,
she soon realizes that she’s a natural on stage and aims to please.
Jake, and Josh love to be dominated, and when they get an offer to accompany
the sexy new waitress to perform the holiday show, they all jump at the chance
for different reasons. Jake, and Julian like to play the field, but Josh has
secretly admired her since she started working there. So when the chemistry is
so great between them while performing, he’s thrilled hoping it will help
convince her that they’d be great together.
Wicked Wager (Leather and Pleasure 5),
Kayla Evans returns home to open a new
business and help out her family. She’s been away at school for too many years
putting her life on hold, and she’s looking forward to living it again. She
goes to the popular fetish club, Leather
and Pleasure to meet with her older brother, the club’s owner, and is faced
with a sexy as hell bouncer who refuses to let her in. With a mutual attraction
and some chemistry they both can’t deny, Jake brings out her playful side, and
wagers are made.
Jake Collins has worked at the club for
years. He’s good friends with several co-workers, including his boss Rhys. So
why is it he never knew about his sister? Kayla has him turned inside out
almost immediately, laying all the cards on the table as she challenges him
time and time again. She’s like no other woman he’s ever met and he’s
determined to have her.
Hi Danita! Thanks for
having me on your blog today. I appreciate the chance to visit and meet some of
your blog followers. I wanted to share with you and readers how I came up with
the idea for The Burning Seal, published in March by Muse It Up Publishing.
The Evolution of an Idea By Jenna Storm
I’ve been writing for
several years, researching the industry, sending out submissions, receiving
rejections *smile* it’s part of the process and it wasn’t until this past year
that I experienced the joy of having my work accepted by a publisher. I consider
myself very lucky to be a part of Muse It Up Publishing! Now I’m even luckier
because my book released on March 23rd and I’ve had the pleasure of working
with two wonderful editors at Muse, Nancy Bell and Valerie Haley who have
helped me make The Burning Seal ready for readers and a very talented cover
artist, Suzan Safi who created a perfectly eerie cover. Now onto what I’m really
here to talk about…the evolution of an idea. Specifically, my story. My idea.
Years ago–yes, it took that long to get this story published–I had a question
run through my brain, what would it be like if major events in our lives
repeated and we were given a chance to correct a failure? Hmmm. For major
events to repeat the characters involved must reassemble to play out their original
role. Of course, reincarnation. Now, if the same soul reborn could remember the
pain and suffering from each life and carry the scars with them for each
rebirth well…that would be some heavy internal conflict my characters might
Voila! Souls were scarred
and internal conflicts born. I didn’t stop there…I added the five elements,
Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit, Hierarchy demons, struggles for domination,
magic, an ancient grimoire thought to be a myth and psychic abilities. I’m
pleased to say the ideas continue to flow for the series and it’s exciting to
see it expand. I wish all the writers who are enjoying this blog the best of
luck for their future writing career. Remember, the smallest idea when
questioned, poked and prodded can expand and take on deeper meaning.
Detective Danni Keegan is
plunged into a dark, demonic world where survival depends on deciphering the
connection between ritual killings, and a demon terrorizing her for a “gift”
she wasn’t even aware she possessed. She must unravel her dreams of
another woman who lived during ancient times and battled a bloodthirsty
demon—the same demon who now hunts Danni. The loss of her body and soul
looms imminent as her only chance to destroy the demon depends on changing her
new partner’s convictions. He is a sinfully sexy man, who exudes power and
self-assurance with the ease of breathing and has an iron-willed determination
not to believe in the paranormal.
(Danni, the heroine of the book is a psychic and she’s about to relive another
woman’s long ago battle with the demon)
stared at her bare feet visible because the hem of her dress tangled around her
legs. Beyond the demon, mauve spires from a far off castle shot into the sky.
The majestic sight, coupled with the cumbersome dress she wore spoke of an
ancient time. He wrenched her arm, drawing her to the very edge of the cliff as
she teetered on her toes. The wind gusted off the ocean and batted her body.
Her mind slipped gears and fought to understand what happened.
Below her the angry sea roiled, while above,
steel gray clouds churned, obliterating the once sunny sky. One minute she was
in her house fighting an insurmountable force; a demon, and the next she was
outside where the air smelled clean, unspoiled and the ocean slammed the rocks.
beast’s hands tightened. She feared his strength would shatter her bones. The
edge of the cliff loomed too near. “Sara, the book,” the voice demanded.
felt like the only passenger on a runaway freight train. No. That wasn’t
entirely true. Impossibly, Sara was here too and the unknown woman’s hate for
the demon overpowered everything and prompted Danni to speak things of which
she had no understanding.
words fell unbidden from her lips. “You are a soulless beast from hell. A
demon. You will not command me.” Her shrill vow rippled in the air, the words
bowing under the weight of her promise.
Realization rushed through Danni and soured her
stomach as everything clicked into place. She was a prisoner, a conduit, forced
to endure Sara’s experiences, speak Sara’s words while retaining her own
thoughts and emotions.
didn’t know why the other woman chose her to speak through.
makes sense. Not from the moment I opened my front door and let the demon in,
to this moment, when I feel myself growing smaller as Sara takes over my mind
and body. Her heart raced. She tried to scream, to push the foreign energy from
her, but she wasn’t strong enough. At this moment, for this portion of the
battle it wasn’t her turn to speak or fight. Terrified, she was unable to stop
Sara from taking complete control and slotting her into the role of voyeur.
never tell you the book’s location. I’ll never give you more power to kill the
innocent. I won’t let you start the cycle of death, to turn the tides of power.
You will never release the Hierarchy from their chains to walk the earth again.
I know you’ll kill me, but I’ll never give you what you want. Never!”
“You offer your life so easily,
Sara. What about those you love? Can you protect them forever, through the
centuries even? I think not.” He gnashed his teeth, a rabid beast looking to
consume her. “While I torture you and bring hell to your feet, I will slaughter
those around you and you’ll beg for death.”
The Burning Seal, The
Elements Series: https://museituppublishing.com
I’m at Dawn’s Reading Nook today with my debut paranormal romance. Read an excerpt here.
Falcon is talking to MAJK today. Come see what is on a secret agent’s mind!