Excerpt: Seeds of Resistance

This is a bit of a surprise post. I wasn’t going to say it until later, but I’ve chosen to go ahead to reveal that I’m working on bonus content to add to the print edition of Kingslayer. This is an excerpt, and the full first chapter. Any feedback is welcome, but I’m mainly posting for your enjoyment. Enjoy!

***

Since leaving Liverpool, Jocelyn and I watched as the rolling hills of the Gililands passed by our compartment window. We were aboard The Runaway Express, which was fitting since we were fugitives from the Empire. If we were seen, we were as good as dead. But we wouldn’t stay on the train long; after all, we were nearing the industrial city of Issylot.

“There’s been a riot in Saxony,” Jocelyn said, turning the pages of the daily newspaper.

Of course, this wasn’t a surprise. Tiberius ruled the Isobellian territories with an iron fist. If there was a riot (like Jocelyn said), then all it meant was that people were getting tired of the Black King and his Imperial Knights.

After a moment, I looked over at Jocelyn.

Slender body, hazel eyes, red curls. Throw that together with a pair of rosy cheeks, and you’ve got one heck of a beautiful wife. To be honest, Jocelyn looked upset by the news of another riot, and I couldn’t blame her. I just wish there was something I could’ve done.

“How many were killed this time?” I asked, biting into a half-eaten apple from the night before.

“Thirty-seven,” Jocelyn replied. “That’s the worst one to date.”

True, I thought.

“I just wish there was somethin’ we could do,” Jocelyn said. “Don’t you agree, Vensyr?”

I didn’t give a verbal answer. I finished the apple and tossed the remains out the nearby, opened window; then I gave my wife a nod of the head.

When we arrived in Issylot, Jocelyn and I left the train station as quickly as possible; then we moved into the nearest alleyway. The city was a bustling metropolis, with airships and skyscrapers as far as the eye could see. It was good to be back in Jocelyn’s hometown. After all, it had been years since our last visit, plus there were lots of places where we could hide from the Empire.

“Where you want to go?” I asked, looking at Jocelyn.

“How about the tavern in the Business District?” she replied, pointing down the alley with one finger.

This was a natural choice, since the local tavern belonged to Jocelyn’s cousin. Whenever we came to visit, he always let us eat for free. Once we arrived and took our seats inside the bar, we both received a plate of dragonloaf with a choice of our favorite beverage. Jocelyn went with a glass of wine, while I settled on a chocolate, peanut butter milkshake.

Not a single Imperial Knight was present. And since we were covered in darkness (with nothing but a light to cover our faces), Jocelyn and I felt safe lowering the hoods of our cloaks.

Clearly, Jocelyn was starving. She practically inhaled her dragonloaf the moment it touched her lips.

I tried not to laugh. It was quite the sight to behold.

“That looks yummy,” Jocelyn said after a moment, eyeing my milkshake.

“It is,” I said simply, taking a small sip.

“Can I have a sippy-whippy?”

I grinned. “You have your own drink,” I said, looking over at Jocelyn’s wine.

“Pwease!?” she asked in a babyish tone of voice, crossing her arms and puckering her lips.

I rolled my eyes. “Jocelyn, knock it off.”

“You hate me….”

She’s acting like a five-year-old, I thought, shocked by my wife’s behavior. Still, she was a cute little thing, which is why I chose to give in.

“Here,” I said while handing her my glass. “You owe me one,” I added with another roll of the eyes.

“Thank you!” she told me after taking a sip. “I wuv you forever an’ ever!”

“Love you too,” I said, amused.

After we finished our meals, Jocelyn pulled out her newspaper and started to read. She was fixated on the paper for the better part of fifteen minutes, occasionally turning the pages with circular photographs.

“Hey Vensyr?” she said, looking up from the paper.

I looked at her, not saying a word.

“Sara Willington’s been sighted,” Jocelyn continued. Right then, a group of Imperial Knights entered the tavern.

I stared at Jocelyn. The Sara Willington—daughter and heir of the late King Michael Willington—sighted? This was a big deal, and not because the Black King wanted her dead. Rather, it was a huge deal because the princess hadn’t been seen or heard of in nearly thirteen years: not since her parents were killed.

“Sighted!?” I said in a whisper. “Where?”

“Alma Defa,” Jocelyn replied, passing the paper to me. I blew out the candle between us so the Imperial Knights who just came in couldn’t see our faces in the dark corner of the bar. It wasn’t easy, reading without the light of a candle, but the task seemed manageable nonetheless.

And so, I read the paper aloud:

Princess Sara Willington (age 15) was sighted in Alma Defa last night. She should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information leading to Her Majesty’s arrest will be awarded 50,000 gold shillings.

I reread the article several times. It was short, yet Sara’s mugshot covered half the front page. After a moment, Jocelyn took up the newspaper and stuffed it in a pouch beneath her cloak.

“It’s interesting. Isn’t it, Vensyr?” Jocelyn said.

“What’s interesting?” I asked.

“The location, more than anything. It is Alma Defa, after all. The Empire’s Supreme Court is there. But why would she go there of all places, when the Emperor himself wants her dead?”

Jocelyn’s guess was as good as mine.

I looked at the tavern’s front door. At the moment, the owner of the bar was servicing a couple whores and a half-drunk midget. Each of them seemed to be getting their fair share of wine, yet the Imperial Knights that just came in were as sober as a priest before mass. In fact, to tell the truth, the gentlemen standing in the doorway looked as if they were looking for something.

Or someone.

I didn’t think much of it at first, but then as they made their way through the bar, I knew better. They weren’t just looking for someone. They acted as if they’d seen someone, namely me and Jocelyn. Do I even have to say it? They must have seen us enter the freakin’ building! Why did we have to lower the hoods of our cloaks? I thought, but now wasn’t the time to complain. I had to warn Jocelyn, and together we had to escape.

“Hey Jocelyn, does this place have a back door?” I asked, trying to remain calm.

Jocelyn pointed to her left. “Why you askin’?” she replied. I cleared my throat and motioned toward the approaching knights. Jocelyn looked to see them and immediately understood. “I’d say our welcome here is officially worn out,” she said.

And less than a minute later, we were out the back door.

 

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Symbols in Fantasy

Hello everyone! As you will certainly have noticed from my recent blog posts, I’ve been focusing a lot more lately on world building in the fantasy genre. This will be the last of those for awhile, since my scheduled posts list doesn’t have another until this time next month; however, for today’s blog I thought I’d get into a few things about symbolism in the fantasy genre.

This is an interesting topic, since there is a lot of symbolism in the business world, as well as the political and religious worlds as well. Short of going out into nature, coming across organizations with insignias or something of the sort is impossible. But in fantasy, how should a writer tackle the subject? Well, the answer is everywhere in the books we like to read. For example, in Harry Potter you have four houses at Hogwarts, and each of those houses has a Coat of Arms. In other books, a Royal Crest like this could represent a family that is part of the political landscape of your country. Or in the more religious side of things, you may have a symbol that represents a specific religion.

These are important things to think about, because even taverns in fantasy worlds will have a crest of some kind representing it. Coming up with things like this will help your reader feel more immersed in your world, but it will also add a little flavor to your world. For example, why does that organization represent itself with that particular Coat of Arms? Answering that question will help your reader better understand your world.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

 

A Few Things About Character Development

Despite the fact that I’ve been doing this blog for several weeks, I’ve just now realized I haven’t yet done a single post on the development of characters. So, I figured I’d make several posts on the subject, each focusing on a different type of character (and their different roles in the story). But for this post, I figured I’d get into the basics on how to create characters in the first place.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that people are creatures of personality. Everyone has strengths, along with a few weaknesses thrown in the mix. For your main characters, you want them to have more redeeming qualities than you do negative ones. Are they reliable? Are they funny? Do they have anger issues? I’ve heard that 80/20 is a good ratio, unless you’re creating a villain.

Something else to remember is that every person has beliefs. What religion do they believe in? What does their politics look like? What offends them and why? Also, if the story is set in an alternate world, their beliefs will need to reflect on that. So if eating dogs is taboo in your world, how does the character in question respond to such an act? These kinds of things need to be kept in mind when writing the character.

These are just a couple of things that should help. I have more that will be posted about protagonists and antagonists (and other character types), but that’s all I’m posting for now.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

 

 

A Review of CreateSpace’s POD Services

As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I received a package in the mail on Thursday that contained 4 copies of my novel, Kingslayer. This post will basically be a review of the printing services offered by the company I used, which is CreateSpace. Before I get to that, however, it is important to view the video of me opening the package. Sorry in advance if I seem a little awkward. I’m not much for cameras.

Assuming you’ve gone an watched the video, let’s just cut to the chase. I’m very pleased with the experience. As I said in the video, I’d say it’s 4 1/2 stars out of 5. In other words, I’m 90% pleased, which is pretty good. At first I said that as a bit of a random number, because it’s not going to be perfect; then I realized there was a bit of glue on the backs of a couple of the books.

So in other words, I’m still 90% impressed, only for a different reason. The binding is good, the matte cover is professional looking. Even the Canva cover I made for the book looks flawless. The bottom line is that if they had managed to print the 4 books, I’d give them a full 100% on this. I’m sure they’ll get it right in the future.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

 

Religion in Fantasy

In one of my previous blogs, I discussed the religious structure of my novel Kingslayer. And the truth is, creating an entire religion–whether based on real religions or not–is a huge undertaking. You have to decide what is ethical in accordance with its teachings, and you have to decide how the religion is organized, and so on and so forth.

The truth is, the hard part is deciding what the people of your world believe, because that will ultimately impact how your characters behave. What do they eat? How do they eat it? What do they wear? These are all questions you’ll have to ask yourself, aside from what goes on in the church (or other holy temple).

It should also be stressed that if your fantasy world has religion, there is likely to be disputes over how the religion ought to be practiced. This is a big part of Kingslayer, as a matter of fact.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017