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Tag Archives: Sci Fi World Building

Ostakis by Angelica Primm #RLFblog #SciFi #MM RomanceAngelica, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! Please tell us about your book.

Ostakis by Angelica Primm

Genre M/M SciFi Romance
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
The Human Planets Collective sent young Ambassador Kaj Deder to the former colony planet Ostakis to establish relations. Without trade with the HPC, the dwindling resources of Ostakis will ultimately end human life on the planet. But his mission faces a huge obstacle in the form of Most Reverend Thyenn Sharr, the head of the Faith Progressive Church, who sees Kaj’s arrival as the beginning of the end of the Church. Kaj’s powerful attraction to Trademaster Klath’s son, Arlan does not smooth relations.
Arlan Klath, the son of the Trademaster of Ostakis, bears in his body the secret that the pious people of his planet want to hide. Born Cursed and inherently sinful, Arlan lives without legal rights or property. It enrages Thyenn Sharr Arlan’s father defiantly refuses to submit his son to a cruel act to “redeem” Arlan’s soul. The stakes ratchet when Arlan and Kaj form a relationship Thyenn Sharr considers ample justification to usurp the Trademaster position through the legal power of his Church.
Can Kaj navigate the treacherous currents of Ostakian politics and religion to save these human descendants of Earth? And must he chose between Arlan or his mission to do so?
What species/races of people are in your book?
Humans, the Ostakians, hybrids of human/aboriginal pairings, and the aboriginals who are called by the Ostakians The Old Ones, or the The Unspoken.
Do you have non-sentient creatures or animals in your story? If so, what are they?
Cullen. They are a native Ostakian specials similar to moths. The Ostakians and the Aboriginals use cullen cocoon silk for their clothing. Cullen can be invasive and dangerous to plant life (similar to Gypsy Moths) and the cullen silk industry is tightly regulated to prevent this. To reduce costs some merchants engage in black market trade of cullen silk produced by the aboriginals who live in the desert. Cullen are bioluminescent and the aboriginals use them to light their cave homes built into the thick shield wall between the desert and human habitation.

Language and Culture

What languages are spoken in your story universe?
English and Ostakian.
If you created a language for the story, what is it called?
Ostakian.
Please give us a few words in this language and their translation.
In the culture of your story world, what is different from ours?
On Ostakis there is a third gender created by the permutation of mixing human and aboriginal genes. The aboriginals are hermaphrodites. The Ostakian humans still retain male and female sexes but also in a rarer frequency of births children are born with both male and female reproductive parts. They appear outwardly male but can gestate and bear young. These bi-gens who the Ostakians call Cursed also have regular heat cycles. When in heat they are irresistible to males, and this is the reason the Faith Progressive Church say “they lead men into sin.” A significant part of their culture is built around avoiding Cursed and the occasional for sin. For instance, each home with Cursed family members has a Sanctuary room that is air tight where the Cursed go during their heat cycles.
What special laws are important to your story world?
All are subject to the head of their Houses who are almost always male. This is an extremely patriarchal world where most women and the Cursed need permission for their activities. I say most, because one character Irdrana Vos is not married and the head of her own house, being the only one in it. She is the liaison between the protagonist and Ostakis, but she also does much behind the scenes to facilitate the goals of the Trademaster, Aulkus Klath, who wants to promote equality for both women and Cursed.
This culture values honor and honesty. It is acceptable to challenge an individual who questions a man’s honor or honesty to a duel. It doesn’t happen often
What challenges do your characters face (such as equality?)
Cursed, except in a few instances, are not allowed education or to work in public. Cursed are also subject to public Shamings which the Church promotes to “redeem” the souls of the Cursed, but are also used to garner money from Cursed families to ease the severity of the Shaming.
Women are similarly repressed but they do not suffer the physical Shamings of the Church. The Church regards marriage to women as the path to sanctify a man’s soul, which sound nice, but it is also meant to keep women in the the role “of the good woman,” who obeys her husband and Church.

Story Setting

Describe one of the worlds where your story takes place.
Ostakis is a planet that orbits a hot white sun and it’s gravity is a half gee greater than that of Earth’s. It’s year is also longer equaling 428 Earth days. It was barely habitable when scouted for terraforming by Earth 2500 years previous, though the scouting parties thought it could be made more habitable by terraforming it. It was a rush job for reasons that I haven’t explored yet. However, I suspect it’s because an Earth corporation was eager to get as many colony worlds under their umbrella as possible.
Ostakis at the time of the story only has seven city states and the population is declining. Unbeknownst to the Ostakians but known to the HPC, Ostakis doesn’t contain enough minerals to sustain human habitation. When the HPC found Ostakis they were surprised to find humans living there at all. It is only because of the colonists blending their DNA with the natives were they able to adapt to Ostakis. Otherwise the colony would have died out.
What makes this world unique?
The existence of the bi-gens. Despite how much society wants to deny them they do define the culture in many ways.
Tell us about the age of the culture in your story, i.e., are the people part of an ancient civilization, a newly formed group within an established culture, pioneer colonists, etc.
From Earth perspective 2500 hundred years has passed since it lost touch with Ostakis. From the Ostakian perspective it’s been 500 years since they settled the colony.
What food or drink is available to your characters?
Wine, though it is stronger than Earth wine. Ostakians eat meat though Kaj explains that most of Earth are vegetarians.
In what ways was it helpful to have a map (or sketch of one) for your story? (Provide a link to an image, if available)
I didn’t use a map.

Character Physiology

What are the physical characteristics of the race/species of your main characters?
The Ostakians mostly look human though their body shape is subtly different. The men have wider hips than original human stock. Ostakian smiles are wider than an original human and their coloring can carry an orange cast to it. Their skin ranges from light brown to a dark, a “nut brown,” and their eyes are either gold, brown or black though there are a few blue-eyes Ostakians.
Ostakians have the natural reflexes of their aboriginal ancestors, and when started or upset can hiss in warning. The vocalization is considered gauche and not acceptable in polite society.
The aboriginals have dark skin, and hips a tad wider than their shoulders giving them a pear shaped body. Their eyes are gold and shine in the dark.
What physical differences exist in the way your characters communicate (i.e., telepathy, empathic abilities, etc.) with each other?
Both Ostakians and aboriginals communicate through the spoken word. Ostakians incorporated aboriginal words into their language and aboriginal inflections which includes clicks and whistles.
What differences, if any, exist in the way your characters reproduce?
As I said, the Cursed have heats, about twice a year, until they bear a child. Then the heats can slow down if the child lives and still suckles. However, because of their hybrid physiology and lack of proper medical care, pregnancy and birth is dangerous for the bi-gens. Only 25% of the pregnancies come to term and half of the Cursed die in childbirth. For instance, Arlan’s birthparent, Segun died trying to deliver his second child.
Are there more than two genders in your story world and if so, what are they?
As discussed.

Sharing World Building Expertise

Please give us three tips you find helpful when creating a story world:
Keep it real. Fantasy is great, but you risk losing the reader when something doesn’t ring true. Research the science concerning your world. For instance when researching what made sense for a world orbiting a white sun I had to push Ostakis to a further orbit giving it a longer year than Earth’s. I believe there were mathematical calculations involved. Two years later my head still hurts.
Keep your humans human but don’t make your aliens just a different human who wear funny mask. Aliens have a different culture and a different world view, and part of the fun in writing SciFi is writing that.
Keep track of the little things you incorporate in your story so you can reference it later. In my story workbook I keep a synopsis of each chapter and what I call a “plot hole tracker.” I list the bits that pop up and make sure I reference it at least one other time in the story. This helps to create the illusion of continuity in your world. For instance I mentioned cullen in an early chapter and then brought them in later when Arlan met the aboriginals. That’s when I learned they were bioluminescent. It added a deeper texture to my world than would otherwise exist.
When you researched for your story setting, what kinds of things did you learn?
Calculating Time Dilation. I still don’t think I got it right.
What things should writers avoid when building a science fiction world?
It isn’t what you should avoid. It’s what you should do. Remember to add the emotional reactions of your characters. Don’t think that because your character is outwardly invincible that they don’t feel fear. They do. It’s how they react to that fear that defines them as individuals.
Share a resource you found helpful when researching for your story.
The internet. What else?
What’s your advice for writers who want to create a solid background for their story world?
Did into your characters actions and motivations. People do things in response to one of two things. Either they are doing what their society says they should or they rebel against what society says they should. When you understand your characters you understand their world.

Where to buy Ostakis

Publisher Nine Star Press https://ninestarpress.com/product/ostakis/
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NGN7PTK
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/922201

Angelica Primm Social Media

Born in a century far less progressive than how her brain is wired, Angelica engages in occupations considered less than reputable, one of them being a ghostwriter of erotic and romance fiction. Since time travel is not an option, in her off time she contents herself with writing about people and places in a far distant future with the twists that only come with traveling to the stars.
Angelica lives in Connecticut with an odd assortment of cats and humans and putters at hobbies ranging from art to bird watching when she’s not turning a phrase for her supper.
Blog http://missprimm.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/MissPrimmWriter
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MissPrimmWriter/
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/angelicaprimm/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14241917.Angelica_Primm
Amazon Author Page https://amazon.com/author/angelicaprimm

 

Rescuing Prince Charming by Edward Hoornaert @EdHornaert #RLFblog #SciFi #RomanceToday’s featured book is Rescuing Prince Charming by Edward Hoornaert. Tell us about your story. We’ll have other questions in a moment.
Dusty Johnson, a self-styled ordinary, everyday woman, responds with extraordinary heroism when saboteurs try to bomb the prototype of Earth’s first starship. She wants to return to anonymity, but that burst of courage propels her ever deeper into dangers that tear the scabs off her dark past — and thrust her into the arms of the unattainable man of her dreams.
Reese Eaglesbrood, an alien prince, yearns to restore his tattered reputation by guiding the starship project to completion, but his fascination with the unassuming heroine threatens to undermine his fragile authority. Shunning Dusty is necessary, yet unthinkable — and when the saboteurs strike again, she may be his only ally against Earth’s most elusive enemies.
What species/races of people are in your book?
The main characters are all human — Native Americans from the future. The villains are shapeshifters from the ‘nothingness’ In Between alternate realities.
Do you have non-sentient creatures or animals in your story? If so, what are they?
A Siamese cat plays an important part.

Language and Culture in Rescuing Prince Charming

What languages are spoken in your story universe?
English and Shanoog
If you created a language for the story, what is it called?
Shanoog, based on the Chinook trade jargon used by Pacific Northwest Native Americans but intermixed with French and Spanish
Please give us a few words in this language and their translation.
klootch – an impolite but not obscene word for a woman: roughly “broad” or “chick.”
kwayviva – literally ‘cave for living’; one of the underground cities the Kwadrans lived in before hopping to our Earth.
siatko – a legendary demon who visited unfortunates in the night. By extension, the name given to the enemy shapeshifters.
In the culture of your story world, what is different from ours?
Kwadra Island has landed on near-future Earth. It’s a duplicate of Vancouver Island, but inhabited by the descendants of the Kwakiutl tribe of Native Americans. On an alternative Earth that diverged from ours around 1800, they ruled the Pacific Northwest until the planet’s environment collapsed. Using 23rd century technology (they’re from the future) they ‘hopped’ their entire nation to our Earth, though the machinery cost all their resources. However, the impoverished kingdom possesses schematics for the most advanced technology on Earth.
What rights (such as equality) are challenges for your characters?
Racial prejudice against the First Nations people from the future.

Story Setting

Describe one of the worlds where your story takes place.
Most of the story happens underground in an abandoned kwayviva that now houses a top secret research and development facility designed to build a starship using plans and specifications from Kwadran databases.
What makes this world unique?
Kwadra’s presence has upset the world’s status quo, including religions (which didn’t foretell Kwadra’s coming), race relations (because the most advanced nation is now Native American) and the balance of power. The new route to power is to ‘romance’ Kwadra into sharing some of its advanced technology.
Other books in the series highlight various aspects of Kwadra’s arrival, but this one focuses on a joint Kwadran-North American project to build a starship.
Tell us about the age of the culture in your story, i.e., are the people part of an ancient civilization, a newly formed group within an established culture, pioneer colonists, etc.
Dusty, the heroine, is a contemporary American technical writer from Tucson. She’s one-fourth Mexican, is extremely intelligent, and has an engineering degree.
Kwadra is based upon the historical Kwakiutl tribe that I became fascinated with after teaching at a one-room school on an island off the British Columbia coast. But they aren’t our world’s Kwakiutl; no totem poles, for example. Instead, it’s an extrapolation of what might have been if the tribe was heavily influenced by France, Spain, and China, yet managed a tenuous autonomy until escaping to our Earth.
What food or drink is available to your characters?
The usual food of our times.
In what ways was it helpful to have a map (or sketch of one) for your story?
The map of North America’s west coast has changed dramatically. A map of the future is attached.

Rescuing Prince Charming by Edward Hoornaert @EdHornaert #RLFblog #SciFi #RomanceCharacter Physiology

What are the physical characteristics of the race/species of your main characters?
They’re both human. Dusty inherited black hair from her Mexican grandmother, but doesn’t otherwise look Hispanic; since people can’t tell, she enjoys surprising them with the fluent Spanish Abuela Estrella taught her. Reese looks like an aboriginal American, but mixed with Asian and European ancestry.
What physical differences exist in the way your characters communicate (i.e., telepathy, empathic abilities, etc.) with each other?
Many Kwadrans have implants that include personal assistant/computers and thought-operated radios.

Sharing World Building Expertise

Please give us three tips you find helpful when creating a story world:
Write what you know (or enjoy) – and then research like crazy to know more.
Know all aspects of your world (economy, history, power structure, family mores, etc) even if they aren’t central to the story. Much of this will end up being important in some way to the backstory and/or the feel of the culture.
Don’t fake it! Research it!
When you researched for your story setting, what kinds of things did you learn?
My alien shapeshifters are from In Between alternate realities. The quantum-mechanical hypothesis of parallel universes is “universes that are separated from each other by a single quantum event” . . . but researching “single quantum event” leads to utterly unhelpful phrases such as “the subjective appearance of wavefunction collapse is explained by the mechanism of quantum decoherence.” So although I learned more than I could ever understand about quantum theory, I ended up with artistic license to design my own In Beetween.
What things should writers avoid when building a science fiction world?
Be original; avoid taking a quick and easy well-traveled path. A few years ago, fictional worlds inhabited by heroic, superhuman vampires were all the rage, until suddenly they weren’t. Now, it seems that heroic, superhuman shapeshifters are everywhere. If you must use a tried-and-true element, be sure to give it such a strong twist that you own the idea.
Share a resource you found helpful when researching for your story.
It’ll be of no use to anyone else, but Language of Oregon, by George Gibbs, published 1863, was essential in developing my aliens’ language, Shanoog.
What’s your advice for writers who want to create a solid background for their story world?
Be thorough. Be original. Imagine more about your world than you ever think you’ll need

Rescuing Prince Charming by Edward Hoornaert

Specific science fiction genre: Science fiction romance
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
Publisher: self
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Rescuing-Prince-Charming-Contact-Idiots-ebook/dp/B076NKML67/
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rescuing-prince-charming-edward-hoornaert/1127273298
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rescuing-prince-charming/id1299523142
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/rescuing-prince-charming
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/754771

Edward Hoornaert Social Media

What kind of guy writes romance? A guy who married his high school sweetheart a week after graduation and still lives the HEA decades later. A guy who’s a certifiable Harlequin hero—he inspired Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Rita Award finalist Mr. Valentine, which is dedicated to him.
Ed started out writing contemporary romances for Silhouette Books, but these days he concentrates on science fiction romance. He’s been a teacher, principal, technical writer, salesman, janitor, and symphonic oboist. He and wife Judi live in Tucson, Arizona. They have three sons, a daughter, a mutt, and the galaxy’s most adorable grandsons. Visit him at http://eahoornaert.com
Website / Blog https://eahoornaert.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/edhoornaert
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1237266.Edward_Hoornaert
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Edward-Hoornaert/e/B001K8HWVQ/
Newsletter http://eepurl.com/Psqmn

 

Today’s featured book is Interpretation by Dylan Callens. Tell us about your story. We’ll have other questions in a moment.

Carl Winston’s life is perfect under the care of an artificial intelligence. Except that he doesn’t know this entity exists.
Carl floats through his luxurious life with his son, Liam, at his side. Together, they play holographic video games, eat Brave New Burgers, and watch violent Untruthers fight each other in a blood-sport.
Suddenly, pain rips through Carl’s head until he blacks out. Awakening in an institution called Bedlam, he must now piece his life back together. Is his new world filled with delusions or is a greater truth being uncovered?
Interpretation will leave you breathless as you discover the horrific possibility of such an Orwellian future.
What species/races of people are in your book?
There are humans and artificial intelligences. In the book, I would say that these machines do count as a species.
Do you have non-sentient creatures or animals in your story? If so, what are they?
I would argue that most of the people living in the world of illusion setup by the artificial intelligence are non-sentient. I mean, they are able to perceive things, but none of those things are real.

Language and Culture

What languages are spoken in your story universe?
That’s kind of difficult to answer. I have used English in the story, for obvious reasons, but the machines clearly wouldn’t speak to each other in English. There are small sections written in hexadecimal, but machines wouldn’t communicate that way either. I used hex to show a bridge between a machine language and human communication. I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of how machines communicate but I wanted to show, in some way, how people were responsible for the rise of this entity.
In the culture of your story world, what is different from ours?
The biggest difference is that the world is falling apart, but we have been implanted with a device that lets us sense the world differently. All of our sensory data is false. While people believe that they are living in a luxurious world, the truth is far different.
What special laws are important to your story world?
All laws are important, but it’s actually impossible for the laws to be broken without the machines letting it happen. There is the possibility that the implant will fail, in which case, characters are immediately sent to a detainment facility.
What rights (such as equality) are challenges for your characters?
There are two characters that are released from the artificial intelligence’s control. They learn that all of their rights have been violated. Trying to come to terms with having these rights violated is an important challenge for them.

Story Setting

Describe one of the worlds where your story takes place.
Interestingly, every place in the novel has two different settings. The one that most people see is futuristic, luxurious, and oddly happy. The reality, however, is that they are nearing starvation, everything is dilapidated, and the world is bleak.
What makes this world unique?
The world is unique because machines are constantly running psychological experiments, which is how humans ended up in this state. It was a quiet revolution, so no one is even aware that these machines exist.
Tell us about the age of the culture in your story, i.e., are the people part of an ancient civilization, a newly formed group within an established culture, pioneer colonists, etc.
The people are essentially living out an experiment. Given the timeline of the story, though, I think it’s just cruel to keep people living like that, since whatever data the machines wanted to gather from the experiment would have been completed.
What food or drink is available to your characters?
They only eat tofu and drink brown water. Mind you, they think that they are having burgers and soda, or whatever food they desire, so it’s not all that bad. Unless you are into truth.

Character Physiology

What are the physical characteristics of the race/species of your main characters?
People are severely emaciated. They are filthy and unkempt. It’s a disgusting world.
What physical differences exist in the way your characters communicate (i.e., telepathy, empathic abilities, etc.) with each other?
Everything is done with a very creepy smile on their faces. I’m not sure why I added that to the story, but I’m glad that I did.
What differences, if any, exist in the way your characters reproduce?
People are not responsible for their own reproduction in the story. In fact, I would argue that they are asexual – at least while under the care of the AI. Instead, people are factory-made. Although this factory is significantly different than the one in Brave New World, there was some inspiration there.

Sharing World Building Expertise

Please give us three tips you find helpful when creating a story world:
I’m not sure that I have any real tips. All I did was keep refining the story and setting until I was happy with it. When the idea for the story hit me, I had a pretty good idea about what the world would look like.
When you researched for your story setting, what kinds of things did you learn?
I didn’t need to do much research for the setting. I did, however, re-read parts of The Road to get inspired for the bleak walk that the main characters make. I was more concerned about researching the bits of psychology that I wanted to introduce.
What’s your advice for writers who want to create a solid background for their story world?
Take the time to refine ideas. Ask other people what they think. What seems like a good idea to a writer isn’t always a good idea to other people. Not that I would bend to the whims of one or two people, but if the majority of people don’t like it, then something is clearly wrong.

About Interpretations

Specific science fiction genre: dystopian
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG
Publisher: Cosmic Teapot Publishing
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073V7LSRV
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/interpretation-dylan-callens/1126732112
iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/interpretation/id1258997726
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/interpretation-7

Dylan Callens Social Media

Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious.

Website: http://www.cosmicteapot.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheNitzsch
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heaveninctheseries/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14739202.Dylan_Callens
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Dylan-Callens/e/B01C6KR8P6/
Newsletter: http://cosmicteapot.us13.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=f289f5ca1b72591cb29da83a6&id=0ea0ae751d

 

Today’s featured book is In My Own Shadow by Susan A Royal Tell us about your story. We’ll have other questions in a moment.

Talk about the worst day ever! Lara lets her friend Carrie talk her into a blind date, only it turns out the handsome stranger waiting for Lara after work isn’t Carrie’s cousin after all. And, when they’re chased through a portal to another world, Lara realizes Rhys really is out of this world.

Lyra, her alternate in another dimension, has left clues to the whereabouts of the Book of Secrets explaining the mystery of time travel in Lara’s subconscious. Or so Rhys thinks. Power-hungry telepaths who pursue them will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means breaking Lara’s will. To complicate matters, Lara gets tangled up in her feelings for Rhys while exploring her connection with Lyra.

With Rhys as her guardian, a bear of a man named Azle to guide her, and the spirit of Lyra haunting her dreams, Lara must find the Book of Secrets before it falls into the hands of those who want its power. Only then can she return to her world safely.

What species/races of people are in your book?
Humans.
Do you have non-sentient creatures or animals in your story? If so, what are they?
No.

Language and Culture

What languages are spoken in your story universe?
Telepaths exist in this world, and some of them are power hungry enough to invade other peoples’ minds to get the information they want.
If you created a language for the story, what is it called?
In the culture of your story world, what is different from ours?
It’s supposed to be run like a business. But Yusel is the head of the Council and treated like royalty. He considers the representatives from other parts of the country as his noblemen and women. Everyone else lives like peasants, with the exception of the desert people, who keep to themselves and follow their own rules.
What special laws are important to your story world?
Representatives are part of the council who gather at the citadel to make sure all laws in the book passed down from the Ancients are followed. But they have discovered another books exists. And some of them will do anything to get it.
What rights (such as equality) are challenges for your characters?
All Lara wants to do is find The Book of Secrets so she can go home. Everyone wants answers, and they’ll do anything to get them. She has to fight to keep them from getting inside her head because she’s afraid she’ll lose her identity.

Story Setting

Describe one of the worlds where your story takes place.
In My Own Shadow takes place in an alternate reality where Lara’s double is Lyra. They look alike and have similar personalities. Only Lyra has gone off the deep end. She craves power, while all Lara wants is for her life to return to normal. Her world has beautiful places like the Citadel, a city in the clouds, and desolate places like Elusion, a barren wasteland where nothing is what it seems.
What makes this world unique?
Portals can be used to travel to other parts of the world. And sometimes the location of the portal itself is fluid. It moves from place to place.
Tell us about the age of the culture in your story, i.e., are the people part of an ancient civilization, a newly formed group within an established culture, pioneer colonists, etc.
The people who rule are descendants of an ancient civilization. Supernatural beings inhabit the planet (banshees, vampires, etc) along with animals that have special abilities, but the majority of the population is ordinary people.
What food or drink is available to your characters?
Most of their journey they are living off the land, so they eat whatever game is available (fish and something similar to rabbit) When they arrive at the citadel, they eat gourmet foods and sip exotic drinks of all colors. When they join the caravan one of the pilgrims offers Lara fruit he calls Bliss which that her hallucinations.
In what ways was it helpful to have a map (or sketch of one) for your story? (Provide a link to an image, if available).
I didn’t do a map, because they “jumped” all over the planet, both above and below the surface.

Character Physiology

What are the physical characteristics of the race/species of your main characters?
All the characters are human. Any special abilities are mental.
What physical differences exist in the way your characters communicate (i.e., telepathy, empathic abilities, etc.) with each other?
Lyra is Lara’s double from an alternate reality. She visits Lara’s subconscious without her knowledge or permission. That’s what gets Lara into trouble to begin with. Her father, Yusel, and her half-brother Rund have similar abilities. They can read other people’s minds at will unless they are strong enough to block them.

Sharing World Building Expertise

Please give us three tips you find helpful when creating a story world:
Creating your own world makes for a fantastic journey. You get to make all the rules. BUT you have to remember to follow them. If you don’t (a) it will trip you up down the road and/or (b) some reader will let you know your error right away!
When you researched for your story setting, what kinds of things did you learn?
I learned about mental telepathy, martial arts, banshees, vampires, underground caverns to mention just a few.
What things should writers avoid when building a science fiction world?
I can’t answer for everyone, but I try to avoid making it too complicated. Readers want to be entertained. Caught up in the story. They don’t want to bog down in details. I have to make sure I describe it in detail without boring my reader.
Share a resource you found helpful when researching for your story.
I read a lot of science fiction, but while I was writing this story I paid special attention to each author’s world building with these things in mind. How much setting up should I do? How do I avoid info-dumping? How can I make it believable in spite of the fact that it’s fantasy?
What’s your advice for writers who want to create a solid background for their story world?
I’m not much of a plotter, but when I was writing one of the settings (the part about the citadel, for example) I made a checklist of important things I needed to remember. When I was in the middle of a scene I referred back to it for continuity.

Specific science fiction genre: Fantasy
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG 13
Publisher MuseItUp
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/My-Own-Shadow-Susan-Royal-ebook/dp/B00CPN41YQ
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-my-own-shadow-susan-a-royal/1115273938

Susan A Royal Social Media

Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan shares a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town with a ghost who harmonizes with her son when he plays guitar. She is a mother of three and grandmother of five unique and special children. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Susan’s grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. She learned all about growing up in the depression from her father and experienced being a teenager during WWII through her mother’s eyes.

Susan loves taking her readers through all kinds of adventures. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On, and is working on book three. They are time travel adventures about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Xander’s Tangled Web is a YA fantasy with romance.

Want to know more? Visit www.susanaroyal.wordpress.com for a peek inside this writer’s mind and see what she’s up to. You never know what new world she’s going to visit next.

Website https://susanaroyal.com
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Please leave your email address along with your comment. Susan will draw one name randomly for a free copy of In My Own Shadow.

Mission to Mahjundar by Veronica Scott @vscotttheauthor #RLFblog #SciFi #scifiromToday’s featured book is Mission to Mahjundar by Veronica Scott. Tell us about your story. We’ll have other questions in a moment.

An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.

Mike, for his part, resists his growing attraction to the princess; he has a mission on this planet and rescuing the vulnerable but brave princess isn’t it. No matter how much he wishes it could be.

But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?

What species/races of people are in your book?

Humans descended from Terran colonists and the local population of the planet, who are humanoid.

Do you have non-sentient creatures or animals in your story? If so, what are they?

The legendary ‘cherindor’, which are sacred to the royal family of the planet. They are represented as huge winged felines with barbed tails and three eyes.

Language and Culture

What languages are spoken in your story universe?

My characters primarily speak the interstellar common language Basic, but people around them speak Mahjundan and other local languages. My military Special Forces hero from the Sectors has been hypnotrained in the primary language before the mission began. He has a guide assigned to assist him with the more regional dialects.

What special laws are important to your story world?

Since the planet isn’t as technologically advanced as many in the Sectors, the hero isn’t supposed to be using ‘modern’ weapons, but he’s brought some on the job anyway. Never be without your trusty blaster in a scifi romance! The heroine, Princess Shalira, has been promised in marriage by her father the emperor, to a feudal warlord as part of a treaty. Part of the plot hinges on the necessity for her to undergo certain rituals and recover tribal clan insignia from her late mother’s tomb. Mike, the hero, gets drawn into this journey and becomes quite enmeshed in the mysticism and magic of the planet while trying to protect her and accomplish his own mission.

What rights (such as equality) are challenges for your characters?

Shalira was left blind as a result of the assassination attempt on her as a child, so she deals with that every day. She is less respected by her people, because she isn’t a ‘perfect’ imperial princess. Ironically one of the fierce indigenous peoples they encounter on the journey view her blindness as making her a perfect messenger to and from their gods. The high priests in the mountain city fight over her, while planning to kill Mike as a sacrifice to their cruel gods.

Story Setting

What makes this world unique?

The old gods are fading away on Mahjundar as people turn to worshipping newer deities, but the primitive pantheon still wields power. Shalira is one of the people able to draw on that power, which makes her vulnerable to a number of scheming factions.

Tell us about the age of the culture in your story, i.e., are the people part of an ancient civilization, a newly formed group within an established culture, pioneer colonists, etc

.In the Sectors, one of my world building tenets is that many worlds have been found to have similar species, and human or humanlike races. I leave open to speculation the root cause as to why that should be. Ancient visitors? Or? Mahjundar is the same, with its own unique flora and fauna as well.

What food or drink is available to your characters?

While on the planet Mike eats the same diet as the locals, and has had injects against any toxins that might affect a Terran-descent human. I’d say the main thing everyone has to watch out for is the local black wine, which is highly intoxicating!

In what ways was it helpful to have a map (or sketch of one) for your story? (Provide a link to an image, if available)

I don’t typically do a map or a sketch for my books. I hold the information in my head. My only exception to date has been when I write stories set on large spaceships, where I have drawn a rough model and identified which decks hold what.

What’s your advice for writers who want to create a solid background for their story world?

Make it interesting, be consistent in your details and let your imagination soar. That’s the best part about science fiction – you can establish literally any setting for your story.

You’ve posed a number of detailed questions on language, culture, world building, research, etc., which I’ve chosen not to address today because my primary emphasis in any of my novels is the characters, the romance, the action and the adventure. Long ago I established my overarching framework for the Sectors, which is my interstellar civilization. I do of course develop details for whatever planet the particular story is taking place on, but not to the depth your excellent questions were attempting to measure. As I write each novel I may do research on isolated facets of the particular story – for Mahjundar I spent a lot of time reading up on various causes of blindness, for example, but I also drew heavily on my personal experience with a close friend from college who was blind. I had previously done much research on the Aztecs and the Mayans, aspects of which I applied to some of the indigenous societies my characters encountered. The character Tlazomiccuhtli, the ancient and blood thirsty god worshipped by one tribe on this planet, is based in part on my own encounter with a truly horrific Aztec deity (in statue form luckily) in a Mexico City museum years ago.

Google and Wikipedia are an author’s friends when doing research, as places to start at any rate, and identify other sources to dive more deeply into as needed. (I do have a huge personal library of scholarly tomes to consult for the research that goes into my ancient Egyptian paranormal romances.)

But to a large extent, the conditions encountered on any planet in my scifi universe derive from my own imagination and will only be as detailed and pervasive as the story I’m trying to tell demands. So some of the books may have a lot of planet-specific worldbuilding development – Escape from Zulaire for example – and others quite a bit less.

Specific science fiction genre: Romance, action adventure
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG13+
Publisher Self
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Mission-Mahjundar-Veronica-Scott-ebook/dp/B00MRLXPQ6
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mission-to-mahjundar-veronica-scott/1120154499?ean=2940150562431
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mission-to-mahjundar/id909676155?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mission-to-mahjundar

Veronica Scott Social Media

Best Selling Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author, as well as the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
Blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vscotttheauthor
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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92/
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