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Our task this week was supposed to be a flash fiction exercise but those just aren’t my thing, so I’m sharing a post I wrote recently as a guest for another blog (Paranormal Romantics and I apologize for repeating myself if you read this post over there), when I realized I’d published in each of my three very different genres recently.
I write scifi romance, fantasy and paranormal and I’ve had a release in each in the last few months. The stars must have aligned for me! The three genres are very different, especially since my paranormals are set in 1550 BCE in ancient Egypt. I’ve never had any problem switching ‘voices’ when I move from one set of books to the next and I think there are several factors at play (besides of course The Muse who I credit for all my creativity).
I do have five foundational principles, no matter which world I’m writing in – Your Mileage May Vary as to what works for you:
· People are people, in the far past or the far future. They care about most of the same things we do and they fall in love…
· Action and adventure existed in all eras, but scaled to the world around the characters…
· A version of Special Forces kickass military existed in every time, even if they aren’t called by that title…
· Any story is improved with a bit of mysticism and the inexplicable, judiciously mixed into the plot…
· This is ROMANCE so there will be a Happy Ever After.
For the ancient Egyptian novels, I do tons of research, which undergirds all my stories set there, even though I do take some anachronistic liberties. I think, however, because my starting point is a culture so different from ours, and my going-in assumption is that the gods are ‘real’ and do play a part in every day events, I fell into a use of language and a frame of reference that lends itself to a “you are there” feeling for the readers. My characters can’t refer to anything that didn’t exist more than 3000 years ago – no computer-based terms like data or off the grid, no items “as hard as steel”, no borrowed French words (I love faux but not for these novels) and their way of looking at life was so different from ours, especially with their complete faith in an Afterlife lived exactly as life on earth was lived, only better if you took worldly goods into the tomb with you. I’ve read translations of poems, songs and official records from the period so I’m familiar with terms they did use.
The reviewers at Dear Author paid me what I regarded as the supreme compliment once, saying of one novel “…these definitely aren’t 21st C people in linen kilts.”
For the scifi romance, I just let the writing and the story telling rip and put adventures out there. I don’t explain the blasters or the spaceships any more than you explain your microwave to yourself. I invent the desired surroundings, be it a space ship or an alien planet and I put my main characters into jeopardy and step back to see how it all works out. (I’m a seat of the pants writer, no outlines.)
I have created an extensive galactic world for my novels, called The Sectors, with additional details as needed, and I’ve got a standard interstellar luxury cruise liner and other elements that reoccur. There’s an interstellar crime syndicate and an opposing crime fighting unit, mysterious elder aliens, an alien goddess ruling over a Brotherhood of bodyguard/assassins…rock stars, fashion designers and of course my Special Forces warfighters. Certain characters may pop up repeatedly from time to time, but the books are pretty much standalone.
My fantasy world of Claddare is on a smaller scale, with only two books set there so far, but when I “go there”, I know I’m in a medieval type setting, not-Earth but maybe a distant alternate, with powerful magic at play. I think for those books my Muse summons up memories of all the books and movies I’ve read that were set in such places, like Andre Norton’s Witch World and the movie ‘Ladyhawke’ and provides me with a ‘voice’ and a flow of language that fits the time and place, to tell my own stories. I don’t write to music as I find that too distracting but I like to listen to music when I’m thinking about plots and characters. I have a treasure trove of Celtic music that really puts me in the right mood.
I enjoy writing for the various worlds – some of my readers like all three, some only read one genre but I appreciate every single person! YAY for readers! Occasionally someone is a little irritated that I wrote an Egyptian instead of the next book in my Badari Warriors SFR series, but I love the creative exercise of switching back and forth and it’s refreshing to me to tell such different tales.
Here are the three most recent novels:
STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE in the USA Today Best Selling Pets In Space®4 anthology: An unusual bequest….Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.
Until the rock disappears from her office…
When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.
Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?
RETURN OF DANCER OF THE NILE (GODS OF EGYPT): Nima, formerly a tavern dancer in the land of the Nile, has settled into the leisurely life of her dreams as the pampered, beloved wife to a high ranking general who’s also a member of Pharaoh’s court. She’s sworn never to dance for anyone else but Kamin, the man she loves. All is fine until one day news arrives that her husband has been killed in a chariot accident while on a trip to a remote city on Pharaoh’s behalf.
But as a reward for their previous service to Egypt against a dangerous enemy, the gods had promised Nima and Kamin they’d die at the same moment…so if she still lives, so must he.
Why is the ruler of the city lying to Pharaoh about Kamin’s death? What is the woman covering up? And where is Kamin?
Time for Nima the elegant lady to vanish from Thebes and Nima the skilled dancer to make her way in disguise to the far distant province and fight for Kamin’s life. She’ll have to deal with angry gods, black magic, an enemy prince and a deadly ghost along the way.
Nima is the only one who can rescue her beloved from the dark fate planned for him by Egypt’s enemies…
WINTER SOLSTICE DREAM: A MAGIC OF CLADDARE NOVELLA: Torn from her home in the Dales as a child, Nadelma has made a place for herself as the head cook in the Witch Queen of Azrimar’s castle. She stays in the background of the busy court and uses her gentle magic gifts sparingly to help others. More or less content, she’s made peace with the hard facts of her life. Romance, marriage, a family – all beyond her dreams any longer.
Then Halvor, an ambitious Dales lord rides into the city, bringing his mercenaries to serve the king, with the promise of a rich reward, including a title and an estate. The only catch? He has to marry a highborn Azrimaran noblewoman to seal the treaty.
Fate conspires to throw Nadelma and Halvor into each other’s company and the connection is instant and deep but both resist the attraction. She knows she can never have him for herself. He must fulfill the treaty to secure a safe place for his people to live, since their holding in the Dales was destroyed by the black magic of the Shadow. Marriage to a noble damsel of the king’s choice is his fate.
Until he met Nadelma he thought his heart was frozen by the loss of all he cared for, back in the Dales. Now he knows better but his people must come first.
The situation is hopeless…or is it? For the king declares the city will celebrate Winter Solstice and hold a ball, where wishes and dreams just might come true.
Note: All book covers from Fiona Jayde