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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Indie Hoopla Promos: Task Force Gaea series Blog Tour



Took time out today to snag fantasy author, David Berger, and get the skinny on the world building he had to do for his fantasy series, Task Force Gaea.

Challenges of world building for the Task Force Gaea series

World building is like weaving a tapestry: it requires great care and attention, a myriad of multi-colored threads, and patience to make sure the pattern you want to show is detailed. Each layer of creating a fictional world comes from the basis of that world, in this case, mythological reality. Although oxymoronic, the idea of bringing a world where mythological magic coincides with mortal reality into being actually is complementary. One of the greatest challenges is where to begin.

The world in which characters live evolves throughout the stories a writer tells. Even in stories where the setting seems static, it really isn’t. Amid the mundane activities of the world’s inhabitants come the complex interactions of the people who have to live in that world. You have to consider certain societal aspects: is there a socio-political structure in place, be it utopian or dystopian, interplanetary councils, juntas, tribes, or despotic regimes; are there gender-specific dynamics in play such as matriarchal or patriarchal groups; is the world post-apocalyptic or pre-Industrial? Each of these worlds, then, requires a level of research as much as it requires a level of uniqueness. In storytelling, nothing is truly original. All worlds have been seen in the vast range of literature, whether it be Biblical text, comic books, or from novels. The overreaching setting of a novel series has to have some sort of anchor structure for it to be believable.

After socio-political aspects, you have to think about belief systems: will there be a traditional Judeo-Christian-Muslim system in place? Will there be no higher power? Will mythological systems dominate—or will there be a mixture of many? In Task Force: Gaea, I didn’t focus on the belief system of the rest of the world since that would be too complicated and page-consuming. But, the beliefs of the main characters do play a part in the world building. Dan Fairmont, the son of Apollo, tends to believe in the Olympeian pantheon, although he focuses much of his attention on Gaea and one other deity of my creation. Aleta Halston, although a scientist, does have an open mind to higher powers, although she doesn’t seem to worship overtly. Being endowed by the powers of the Greek gods, she has to have enough willingness to accept that these deities do indeed exist, even if she doesn’t pray to them. Sarah Jacobs grew up Wiccan, with a slight bent toward the Greek gods. Her openness to the idea of both male and female deities that guide her keeps her grounded, and her ring is that direct link to that power. Brandon Jeffries, a nature-lover, tends to be more abstractly spiritual, although he accepts that primordial gods like Gaea and Ouranos do exist. This part of the world becomes the inner sphere within which these characters live, so it’s not as important (right now, anyway) to know just what the rest of the planet believes. I believe that people will just fill in the blanks, making whatever assumptions they need to in order to make sense of the world.

With socio-political and the belief systems, you also have to consider the scope of the actual world itself: a planet? an asteroid? an inter-dimensional world made of gas or water? That might need to be in place before you have the other two, but there’s really no order you have to ascribe to when building the world of your novel. With fictional or fantastical worlds, you have much more control over what you want, but you do need to keep track of the things you create so you don’t contradict yourself later. With more realistic worlds, you can rely on what you know to be true as well as the research you need to do. I have tried for a little of both: a world much like our own, but with mystical forces existing concurrently. This world looks much like the everyday planet Earth, but parts of the world provide portals or gateways to areas like Hades or Mount Olympos. I actually research locations, sometimes down to street names, so perhaps a reader will have been there enough to say, “Hey, I’ve been to that corner store.” or “I know that street.” Stitching some real places into my tapestry helps reinforce the other mythological aspects.

World building takes time to do, and you should give yourself the freedom to experiment with ideas while you’re writing. The challenges you encounter may just be trying to make sense of what you’d like to have as well as what you’d need to have. Of course, the more complex the world, the more you have to be prepared to explain that to the reader somehow, especially in fantasy or science fiction.

One of the obstacles I have had to work through is altering the world in which I work since things change from book 1 to book 2. That requires thinking ahead into the second book to decide what needs to stay and what can go. It’s not easy, though, since it took a while (almost 25 years) to get the first book finished, so abandoning some ideas was like losing a limb. If you’re keeping your world basically the same, then you’re just adding new layers, but when you’re restructuring, you’re re-envisioning that world. Sometimes the emotional attachment we have to the fictional, and subsequent loss thereof, is almost as painful as losing something tangible.


Overall, world building is part of the wonderful novel writing process, and it provides as much pleasure as it does headaches. The key is to have fun with it and explore this new world with the wonder and curiosity.


The Task Force Gaea series


Book 1
During the age of Olympos, when a vengeful goddess shatters the Sacred Scales, both immortals and humans alike suffer. Apollo, the god of truth, goes from a glorious existence as The Shining One to a victim of Zeus’ wrath, and his journey makes him question his godhood, his role in the cosmos, and his views on humanity. Prophecy and the Fates direct his course, and he must make difficult, yet vital, choices. Millennia pass, and Dan, Aleta, Brandon, and Sarah—four reluctant modern-day heroes gifted by ancient civilizations born of the gods—bound by prophecy, have to choose whether or not to save their world when it could mean they never existed. They must master their new powers while battling against incomprehensible forces from the Underworld and repairing the Sacred Scales, destroyed long ago. With the equilibrium between Order and Chaos unhinged, and the Olympian gods struggling to exist, these four must ally themselves with the United Nations to protect an endangered world, becoming the only group who can fight against metaphysical threats to the Earth, forging Task Force: Gaea. Can mortals succeed where gods cannot go?

Buy the book

Amazon | Smashwords | BN
 


Book 2
For Aegis, Zodiak, Aether, and Talon, operatives in the United Nations Task Force: Gaea, life should have returned to normal after they restored the cosmic balance that a reckless elder goddess shattered, but because of the intervention of the Fates, they would never remember what life was like before. With history now unfolding the way it was supposed to, paranoia plagues this new time line, and tight-fisted governments mandate control through a pervasive military presence, DNA scans, and surveillance cameras.

Inexplicable occurrences all over the world give way to a new mission for Task Force: Gaea when an ancient cloudlike evil referred to in prophecy only as The Nebulous One emerges from Tartaros, with the intention of devouring the Olympian gods. But, before she can find them, all of the gods but Apollo have disappeared.

Leaving chaos and human corpses in her wake, she oozes her way across the globe to satisfy her hunger. Apollo will not face this threat alone, and it then becomes a race: will he and Task Force: Gaea find and vanquish this primordial goddess without falling prey to her power before she finds the gods?

Aegis and his teammates, perhaps as a side effect of their encounters with The Nebulous One, have to battle personal demons in the form of potent memories that could jeopardize their mission’s success, seemingly insurmountable obstacles that could indeed mean the end of their team.

Starting in antiquity and moving to the modern day, this epic battle between good and evil leaves both immortal and mortal alike wondering whether memory can be a blessing… or a curse.

Buy the book

Amazon | Smashwords | BN
 



David Berger
Boston born, I grew up on Long Island in New York, and have my B.A. in English with a Master's in Secondary Education. I currently teach AP English Literature, IB English, and Creative Writing in Land O' Lakes, FL. My avid appreciation for fantasy fiction came from a childhood love of Greek mythology and comic books, especially Wonder Woman. Stemming from this literary love affair, I published my first novel, Task Force: Gaea—Finding Balance, in February 2012.

In addition to my fantasy writing, I have written poetry, much of which was influenced by my travels abroad, namely to Ireland. My hibernophilia extends not only to a great love of the Emerald Isle itself, but also to the writers who hail from there, namely W. B. Yeats, and I studied this poet in a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship at the National University of Ireland in Galway in 2005.

Additionally, I have traveled to Spain, France, and England—all with trips I have led with students—and hope to show more of my students what the world beyond Florida looks like.

I'm "living the dream," as it were, and I love life—I just hope it loves me in return. I reside in Land O' Lakes, FL with my partner of 13 years, Gavi, and our two cats, Yankel and Shayna.

Official Author Website  |  Series Website  |  Series Facebook Page  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads
 

 GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 04/30/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Masquerade Tours: Destruction by Sharon Bayliss Blast + Giveaway





Light always exists and will always return when missing...




Publication Date: April 14, 2014
Series: The December People, Book One
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy 

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children. 

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.



Available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Add it on Goodreads!

About the Author
Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.


Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pintrest

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Indie Hoopla Promos: Souls of Aredyrah Blast & Giveaway

Tour Schedule


Series: Souls of Aredyrah



About the Series
Game of Thrones meets Narnia in this epic tale of two boys whose chance meeting leads them to a disturbing discovery: Not only are they bound by blood and prophecy, but their opposing beliefs are founded on similar lies. With adventure and romance, mysticism and cultural conflicts, this coming-of-age tales asks: What would you do if you learned everything you’ve been raised to believe is false—and those in power will do anything to stop the truth?

Book 1
In the world of Aredyrah, things are not what they seem. An ancient Purge has plunged the island into darkness, isolating its cultures by superstition and fear. Dayn lives in the northernmost region of Kirador and knows nothing of the great city-state of Tearia far to the south. All he knows is the Kiradyns are the only survivors of a god’s fiery wrath, and he looks nothing like them. Meanwhile Ruairi, a prince destined for greatness, resents his Tearian obligations, longing for a life he can never hope to have. But when tragedy takes his beauty as well as his name, he finds himself exiled by the very beliefs he once held dear. Both boys long for acceptance in societies that cling to religious ideals, but when fate throws them together, Dayn and Ruairi discover some unwelcome truths: not only are they bound by blood and prophecy, but the teachings they have been raised on are nothing more than lies. Will they reveal what they have learned, risking their lives and the security of those they love? Or will they keep silent, denying their destinies and the future enlightenment of their world?

Buy Book #1: The Fire and the Light
Ebooks: Kindle | Smashwords | Nook | Sony
Paperback: Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Book 2
The Prophecy has come to life in Tearia, and the Temple wants nothing more than to see it dead. Whispers say the Unnamed One walks amongst them, and there is little doubt as to who that person is. Reiv is oblivious to the hopes turning in his direction, just as he is ignorant of a plot being waged against him. He has no time for rumors or innuendos; he is too busy trying to build a new life for himself. But the life he longs for will have to wait. A rebel movement is growing, and Reiv’s cousin Dayn has joined the insurgents in their cause.

Angered by Dayn’s involvement, Reiv reverts to his old self-serving behaviors. He wants nothing to do with prophecies or rebellions, and isn’t sure he wants anything to do with Dayn either. But when tragedy throws Reiv into new turmoil, he finds himself facing a dangerous choice. Someone he loves is dying, and there is only one chance to save him.

Will Reiv choose to be a Transcendor, fated to sacrifice his life for another? Or is he truly the Unnamed One, a hero destined for glory? One will save the life of an individual, the other that of an entire kingdom.

Buy Book #2: The Search for the Unnamed One
Amazon   |  Smashwords  |  BN  |  Kobo


Book 3
The saga of Aredyrah continues as Dayn and Alicine return to Kirador to find things very different from when they left. Their house has been ransacked, their parents missing, and evidence of spell work has put a price on Dayn’s head. Frightened, they go to the nearest place they know of: the homestead of Haskel, a man who has never been accepting of Dayn’s differences, and even less so of his own son’s.

Back in Tearia, Reiv has settled into the quiet life of a Shell Seeker. But while the rhythm of his routine is calm, the longings of his heart are not. He turns to Cora, an eye-catching girl who has also drawn the attentions of Lyal, a man whose hatred of Reiv goes far beyond jealously. But romance is the least of Reiv’s worries. A terrible plague is spreading, and Reiv’s brother, the King, is determined to burn it from the land—even if it means killing innocents along the way.


While Reiv risks annihilation by Tearia’s increasingly brutal king, Dayn suffers challenges of his own. His disappearance from Kirador months before not only ended the existence he once knew, but started a witch hunt that threatens his safety and the survival of his clan.

Both Dayn and Reiv find themselves facing a difficult choice: Leave their homelands in order to save themselves and those they love, or stay and fight an evil they cannot hope to defeat.


Buy Book #3: The Taking of the Dawn
Amazon  |  Smashwords  |  BN  |  Kobo

Book 4
In this final installment of the award-winning Souls of Aredyrah series, Dayn and Reiv find themselves facing an old foe and falling into the trap of a new one. Struggling to make their way home through a bitter landscape, they soon discover they are not alone. A tribe known as the Taubastets has captured them in a life-or-death scenario, and the tribe’s chief is determined that one of them must be sacrificed. When a young warrior named Tyym vows to see them home, they face decisions that will not only affect their survival, but the spiritual salvation of their world.

While Reiv, Dayn, and Tyym navigate a web of conspiracy and doubt, Dayn’s sister Alicine struggles with loss and the impending threat of invasion. The king of Tearia has not abandoned his quest to slay them, and his seemingly unstoppable army is nearly through the pass. But when Tyym enters the scene, hope is rekindled. Even Alicine cannot deny the charisma of the mysterious warrior who has wormed his way into their lives, and into her heart.

The game is in play. A traitor is in their midst. Can the souls of Aredyrah hope to defeat a monster disguised as a king? Or will they succumb to a darkness beyond their understanding?

Buy Book #4: The Shifting of the Stars
Amazon  |  Smashwords  |  BN  |  Kobo



Tracy A. Akers is a former language arts teacher and an award-winning author. She grew up in Arlington, Texas, but currently lives in Florida with her husband, three naughty pugs, and a feisty chihuahua. She graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Education, and has taught in both public and private schools. She currently divides her time between writing, lecturing, spending time with her family, and costuming at fantasy and science fiction conventions.

Ms. Akers has won numerous awards for her Souls of Aredyrah fantasy series for young adults. As a Florida Book Awards winner, she was acknowledged for her contribution to YA literature by the Governor of Florida during the 2008 Florida Heritage Month Awards Ceremony. Books One and Two of the Aredyrah Series are included in the Florida Department of Education’s 2008 Just Read Families Recommended Summer Reading List. In addition, Ms. Akers has been an invited guest author at major book events and writers’ conferences, a panelist at fantasy and science fiction conventions, and was on the steering committee for Celebration of the Story, a literary event held at Saint Leo University.

The Souls of Aredyrah Series is Ms. Akers’ first series of novels for young adults.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Tour Schedule



 GIVEAWAY

$10 Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Card or Paypal Cash, Ebook/paperback giveaway Ends 05/05/2014. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com or BN.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kisha from Indie Hoopla Services & Promotions, http://indiehoopla.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway