Dark Light – Author Interview and Book Excerpt

Cover art for Dark Light, the second book of the Web of Light YA Fantasy duology by Kyra Dune.

Cover art for Dark Light, the second book of the Web of Light YA Fantasy duology by Kyra Dune.


The Web of Light, a magical force lost for three hundred years, has been recovered by the heirs of the land of Solice. But its return bears a heavy price. A price that will be paid in blood.

Seva and Valdor have fled to the Outlands, where an unanswered question drives them apart. And as Valdor seeks to prove his worth, Seva struggles to control the power threatening to consume her.

But the web is not what it seems and by the time the truth is discovered, it may be too late.

I love it when I give an unknown fantasy author a try and their work turns out to be a great read. Kyra Dune’s work is known to some, but I’d never read any of her books until recently, when I checked out Web of Light, the first book in the Web of Light duology, from the Kindle Lending Library. I enjoyed the read and admire how the book is structured. For the most part, each chapter is written in five sections, one section per each of five different viewpoint characters, giving the reader insights to events that none of the characters have individually. It’s a pleasure watching events unfold and interweave.

Dark Light, the second book in the Web of Light duology, has just been released, and while I’ve not yet had a chance to read it, I’m looking forward to it. I don’t want to miss seeing how everything set up in the first book plays out. Continue reading

Love After Death – Cover Art

Love After Death cover art So here’s my first stab at a cover for my debut fantasy novel, Love After Death. Click on the image to see a larger version. I rendered the 3D portion of the cover in DAZ3D Studio using the Genesis model. Postwork and titling were done in Serif PhotoPlus X5. The title font is Showcard Gothic. The font for the rest of the text on the cover is Century Gothic.

It’s not easy picking fonts for cover art. You want them to stand out even when the cover is displayed at a small size. I think the fonts I chose will work well for that. LoveAfterDeath-5 Here’s a smaller version of the cover art, at the size you’d expect to see used in an Amazon ad or brief listing for a published book. I have to lean close to the screen to read the text at the very top of the image, but I can definitely make it out. I can read the title okay, but then I already know what it says.

What do you think of this cover art? Does it pique your interest in the novel? What kind of story does this cover make you think the novel will be? Any suggestions for changes?

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Love After Death – A Synopsis

Here’s a synopsis of my debut fantasy novel, “Love After Death.” That’s still a working title, but I’m thinking more and more that I’ll keep it. See what you think.

The story takes place on a world called Pharas, where magic is the norm. Humans on Pharas are said to have come to the world from Earth a couple thousand years ago through a magical portal that is still operational. The protagonist is a thirty-two-year-old human man named Alonso. He’s married to a shadow elf woman, Ngozi, whom he’s known since he was sixteen. They are childless and since being married have discovered they can’t have children. They own a tower by the sea and now they are broke. Ngozi works but Alonso doesn’t because he’s too depressed. Alonso wants a daughter, and although he has secretly “adopted” the ghost of a twenty-year-old woman as his “daughter,” he wants a flesh-and-blood daughter.

Tax time is coming soon, and Ngozi isn’t making enough money to pay the taxes. So she takes the initiative to find Alonso a job that she is sure he can do: a job delivering hats in the nearest city, Hooblaport, which is where Ngozi works. The city was founded by a lizard-like humanoid kindred called the hoobla, hence the name Hooblaport. Alonso’s employer is a hoobla milliner, but it’s a human sorceress called Lady Ryley who got Alonso the job, and she has some requirements of her own. It turns out that more is expected of Alonso on the job than he or Ngozi realized. Alonso is expected to do a little more than deliver hats.
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Sex Scenes in Fantasy Novels

I need your help, big time. My debut fantasy novel, now tentatively titled “Love After Death,” includes a number of explicit sex scenes. I’ve written them this way because that’s how they flowed onto the page. I have no qualms myself about publishing the novel with the sex scenes remaining as explicit as they are currently written. But I know there are some readers who are turned off by the inclusion of such scenes. Are there that many readers who feel that way, or just a few? I’m at the point where I’m ready to revise as needed and I’d love to have your input.

When it comes to sex scenes, I see four basic approaches:

  1. Not having any sex scenes at all, not even to mention that sex happens
  2. Mentioning that sex happens or alluding to the fact, but not describing any details beyond kissing, hugging or other activities that many people might do in public
  3. Describing or alluding to actions that most people would not do in public, but glossing over the specifics, and not mentioning people’s private parts in any way
  4. Placing no restrictions on descriptions of the actions involved during sex, typically being specific about what is done to or with people’s private parts

I say these are “basic” approaches, because between any two of them, there are many degrees of explicitness.
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Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 6 – Interactions with Water and Liquids

A water elemental swimming near the ocean floor.

A water elemental in natural form swims near the ocean floor. Image copyrighted ©2013 by Eposic. All Rights Reserved. Rendered using DAZ Studio 4.6 Pro. No postwork. Click on the image for a larger version.
 

 
It’s been a while since my last blog post. I was sick for about three weeks, but I’ve also been so focused on my debut fantasy novel, I’ve let this blog slide. And slide. And slide. Three months. Ugh. At least I’ve finished my third draft and the fourth rewrite of the ending. Next up are the edits needed throughout the novel that I made notes about while rewriting the ending. Then I’ll make a few editing passes through the whole thing. Once I’m satisfied with my edits, I’ll be looking for beta readers.

But this post is not meant to be about my novel….

In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses how elementals can interact with water and liquids.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

Interactions with Water and Liquids

All elementals can swim in hot, warm, or cool liquid surroundings.

Water elementals naturally swim fast in water, regardless of the temperature of the water, as long as the water is in liquid form. They swim slightly slower in other types of liquids. The thicker the liquid, the slower the water elemental can swim through it. They cannot survive on an extended basis in very hot liquids thicker than water. For instance, a water elemental could survive indefinitely in a hot springs but not in a lava flow. Continue reading

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 5 – Interactions with Solid Objects

A stone elemental in humanoid form walking through a wall as though it wasn't even there.

A stone elemental in humanoid form is seen walking through a wall as though the wall were not even there. Image copyrighted ©2013 by Eposic. All Rights Reserved. Rendered using DAZ Studio 4.6 Pro. Postwork performed with Serif PhotoPlus X5. Click on the image for a larger version.

 
In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses how elementals can interact with solid objects, including traveling over or through them. While most of this discussion concerns earth-based solid objects, Khayd’haik also addresses interactions with ice-based solid objects.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

Traveling On Solid Surfaces

All elementals can travel across horizontal solid surfaces, such as the ground or a floor. However, elementals that can fly will typically be able to cover a distance faster by flying rather than walking. If walking, an elemental’s movement depends on the shape it takes. An elemental in the shape of a human would walk about the same speed as the average human. If it formed longer legs it could walk faster. If it took the shape of a horse, it could move about as fast as a horse can gallop. A sizable elemental that took on a roughly spherical shape could roll down a grassy hill more quickly than it could walk or run down the hill in humanoid shape.

A shadow elemental in two-dimensional form can travel quickly across a solid surface, whether it be horizontal or vertical, provided the surface is not brilliantly lit. If the elemental can be seen, it may appear to be the shadow of a flying creature. A two-dimensional shadow elemental traveling across a partially lit or unlit solid surface can move as quickly as a wind elemental can fly through the air or a water elemental can swim in the water. A three-dimensional shadow elemental cannot traverse a vertical surface.

Other elemental types, including stone elementals, cannot travel along vertical surfaces without handholds or some way to grip the surface. Continue reading

The Sentinel – A 3D Rendering

3D Rendering - The LookoutI took a little break from writing for a few days to revisit another favorite hobby of mine, which could have some bearing on my self-publishing efforts.

Back in the 80s I fiddled with Bryce 3D and Poser 3. More recently I tinkered with Poser 8. Yesterday I downloaded DAZ Studio 4.5 Pro and tried my hand at a quick 3D render with it. I’ve posted the resulting image here. I call it “The Sentinel.” Click the image to see a larger version.

You can do a lot of the same things with both DAZ Studio and Poser. I don’t know what improvements have been made to the more recent versions of Poser, but even they would have a lot of the same basic functionality. If you are comfortable with any 3D rendering program you can probably figure out the others. Continue reading

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 4 – Appearance

Wind Elemental In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses the appearances of different types of elementals, and how their appearances might be altered to make them look like something other than elementals. He gives historical examples of what some wizards have done with regard to disguising elementals, especially in attempts to make elementals look human.

Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

An elemental appears as a form constructed from its associated element. Depending on the type of elemental, this form may or may not be solid or appear solid. Continue reading

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 3 – Shape

Image of water elemental In this installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals, he discusses the shapes elementals often take. Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it or any previous installments.

Elementals do not have a definitive shape, but can take on any three-dimensional form that suits their needs. Any three-dimensional form an elemental takes must occupy its given volume. Typically in its natural state an elemental will take a serpentine shape, sometimes with a face or limbs, but just as often without either. Some elementals, especially stone elementals, are said to prefer large humanoid shapes, giving them the appearance of giants or trolls, often confusing observers who are not particularly observant.

A summoned elemental will take whatever form the summoning wizard wishes, subject to the constraint that the form must occupy the elemental’s fixed volume.

Only shadow elementals can take two-dimensional forms. A two-dimensional form is achieved by the shadow elemental collapsing onto a surface. The shadow elemental loses its volume when it does this, and is defined only by its projection onto the surface. If the surface is uneven, the shadow elemental will follow the lay of the surface, but at any given point the elemental will have no thickness.

Note that other elementals can take what is nearly a two-dimensional form, by making themselves extremely thin. The difference is that a shadow elemental is a projection of its three-dimensional form onto a surface, which means the area covered by the shadow elemental can be relatively small, depending on what form the shadow elemental had when in three dimensions. Other elementals taking a nearly two-dimensional form will have to spread out and cover a large area, because they must maintain their given volumes.

Think of it like this: Suppose we have a shadow elemental and a water elemental of the same volume, say the size of a small ice cube. Take a small ice cube out of your freezer and set it on a large plate. The portion of the ice cube touching the plate is the size the shadow elemental would be if it took two-dimensional form.

Now let the ice cube melt. The water will spread out around the base of the ice cube. Depending on the size of the ice cube and the plate, it’s possible the melted ice cube will cover most or all of the surface of the plate once it is thoroughly melted, especially if you move the plate around some to break the tension between the water and the plate. The area covered by the water from the melted ice cube is the size our water elemental would be if it spread itself thin.


In the next installment, Khayd’haik discusses the appearances of elementals in more detail, according to elemental type.

Codex of the Troll Mystic: Elementals, Part 2 – Creation

Any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental

Any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental

This installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals discusses their creation. Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it.

Elementals do not reproduce. Rather, some volume of pure elemental substance is granted sentience through the incorporation of a spirit into the volume of elemental substance. This spirit is one that has for some reason become attuned to the elemental substance in question. How this attunement comes about varies from case to case, but the spirit is never an undead one, such as a ghost, but rather a reincarnated spirit. An undead spirit has too much of a connection to something other than the element in question for the spirit to be attuned enough to the element to become an elemental.

For instance, the spirit of a bird that died peacefully while soaring through the sky might be reincarnated into a small, gentle wind elemental. Or a bird might have died in a tornado, surrounded by nothing but raging winds, and passed its spirit to the tornado to create a larger, more energetic elemental. Each bird’s last experience before death is being one with the wind.

Any creature that knows fear or hatred at the time of death cannot be reincarnated as an elemental. As you might guess, the conditions that give birth to an elemental are not that common.

Though sentient, elementals are not created with brains as such. Each elemental has some trace of the personality of the spirit that animates it. While any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental, most elementals are not born from the spirits of humans or other creatures of emotional complexity. Most of the time, elementals behave as emotionless creatures, driven by instinct and impulse.

It is possible for an anguished spirit to be reincarnated as an elemental, as long as the dying spirit is free of fear and hatred. A spirit that animates a flame elemental, for instance, might come from a sleeping creature that died in a sudden, intense burst of flame. Likewise, a water elemental might be animated by the spirit of a creature drowned during a flash flood. But even when the deaths of the reincarnated spirits are traumatic, elementals are unlikely to behave antagonistically unless provoked.

When a reincarnated spirit animates an elemental form, the spirit commands some fixed quantity of the associated element. This quantity does not change over time. An elemental retains its initial volume until it perishes.


In the next installment, Khayd’haik discusses the shapes elementals often take.