New Fantasy Times: Villainous Complaints

Villainous Complaints

Elena recently discovered fragments of a handbook compiled by a villain (who will go unnamed) who also deemed himself a writer. After one defeat, he spent the better part of the night ranting to himself about the perceptions of villains by the common public.

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There’s too many people claiming the title of villain now days. One has only to kidnap a princess or destroy a town and their names are suddenly spoken in hushed whispers. Ridiculous. There are some of us who actually had to WORK for our titles.

And the public perception of villains…I mean, I remember when the no one would dare speak the name of one who held their life in their hands. Now people laugh behind our backs and underestimate us in the most astounding ways. Do they honestly thing we got our positions with careless henchmen or soldiers who couldn’t shoot straight? HONESTLY, PEOPLE! Let’s think about this a moment here!

And besides that, why must our name be blackened and twisted into some cruel merciless form? What do they think a villain is? Someone who slaughters for fun?

Actually, that’s a good question…who a villain is, not the slaughtering for fun part. Slaughtering, by the way, is not to be recommended unless in the most dire cases. Nine times out of ten it only succeeds in raising up a rebellion among people who would have been grudgingly content to live under higher taxes and stricter laws as long as they themselves were left in peace. Plus, it gives us a bad name; as if we don’t have enough of that going around as it is. But I digress

A villain can be one of two things. The common definition nowadays is that he is a ‘cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime’. Basically, he’s a scoundrel or, as we call them, lower-class villains. But sometimes they are just the major evil agency opposing the hero, some character or another everyone always seems to like. Don’t ask me why. These ‘heroes’ tend to be beaten, captured, and have everything they love torn from them and still everyone wishes they were them.

But back to the ‘evil agency’ or, as I like to call it, the higher class of the villain guild. I’m not exactly opposed to the definition, but can we please bend that term ‘evil’ slightly to mean something more than gloomy towers, black clothes (where has the fashion sense gone now days?), and a love of death, gold, and pain?

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up…the main points anyhow.

For starters, we villains can be in almost any position. Of course, we normally prefer a powerful place in society…say a king or a general. But sometimes we’re spies. Or tavern keepers. Or teachers. Or housemaids.

For one just starting a career, a lesser position might be a good place to start since you’ll be under less scrutiny. Of course, even as something like a blacksmith or actor, it’s taken for granted you’ve a powerful following of people who you can raise up at a moment’s notice to accomplish whatever schemes you intend to…well, accomplish. Otherwise, don’t you dare take the title of villain because the guild is growing aggravated at incompetents claiming to be villains. We in the process of hiring assassins to deal with the matter.

On the other end of the scale are the dark lords. SOOOO annoying. They might not do much, but their presentation is enough to make the bravest cower. Of course, presentation is half of what being a villain is about, but still they needn’t flaunt themselves over the rest of us.

Oh, and family relations have nothing to do with a person’s success, though it may place some people in a better position to exercise authority than others. But a nephew is about as likely to try to kill and take the throne from an uncle, as an uncle is from a nephew. Flaming terrors, but what is it with the poor uncles now days? Almost everyone becomes an uncle eventually, provided he has siblings. And what about the Aunts? They can be just as deadly, sometimes even more so.

Back to our grievances.

Like people thinking we’re some sort of monsters. All right, I admit, there are some who do enjoy causing pain or death. But most of us just have something we want. There may be a particular small group we hate and will inflict pain on if we can, but for the most parts life is just life. We may even show a touch of mercy here or there to keep the subjects in line. Ruling by fear is all very well, and we rarely rule by love. Too much work, the love part. But we can be nice if we wish. And besides, when those who fear us are also treated decently well, then tend to let us do as we please.

And honestly, there are far more entertaining things than stuck away inside some dank torture chamber.

Dancing, for instance. Music. Feasts. Hunting. Counting over treasure (for those with dragon blood in their veins, as well as a few mathematically minded souls. Most of us just like to spend it.) Hunting. Swimming. Climbing. Hiking. Racing. Chess. Writing. Reading. The list could go on and on. Basically, we can be very sophisticated if we please. And there are many of us who do please.

And on the subject of likes, can I just touch on clothes? Put quite simply, we’re as varied as any other guild. Some like black. Some like scarlet. Some stay in fashion. Some start fashions at the point of a sword. And some of us don’t care how we look as long as we’ve several weapons nearby. But everyone looks good in black; hero, villain, or idiot. It doesn’t have the same flair it used to. And we don’t all use such dark colors.

And…oh yes. Minions. If anyone knows where to get simple, mindless, happy minions, please tell me. Because I’ve yet to find them. One either has slaves, or they pay others for labor.

Also, just because we tend to control many people by fear of one kind or another, doesn’t mean we don’t have friends who help us simply because they like us. We, or at least I, can be very charming if I please. We don’t give power to anyone unless there’s a reason. And that reason is normally because we like the person. A friend. A brother. A son. Of course, if they betray us they’ll die. But isn’t that how life goes with heroes too, and no one complains about them.

We true villains didn’t get where we are by making mistakes, and we are careful our subordinates are smart as well. They support us, we reward them. Everyone is happy. Also, they know their success is bound up in ours. And we rarely kill someone for failing. That’s a disastrous waste of talent and those who do kill subordinates who fail tend to be villains of the lower quality.

Oh, and the skills. We’re the same as any other person. What did you expect? Of course, many of us can fight well or are at least skilled at tactics, but that’s to be expected. But we have interests and skills like any other; reading, music, debate, riding, sports. Even cooking and gardening.

Our security, on the other hand, tends to be top of the scale. Your hero can’t run across twenty paces of open garden while being shot at. Either he sneaks in, or he’ll die, because we only hire the best. Actually, cut out the sneaking in too. Even that would be very difficult. And when we capture the hero *insert mocking tone* we DO NOT tell him all our plans, or stand around taunting him and giving him time to escape. The villains who do this are, in reality, double agents or are so insecure they need to see the hero’s fear to ensure they have succeeded. A ridiculous mindset when they already have prove their power by capturing him or her in the first place.

But really, in many of our tastes, we’re like any other person. We’re not monsters, at least not normally. As for our choice of career, there’s many reasons. Sometimes it’s revenge. Other times its love of family or nation. Sometimes we want power or riches. Sometimes a villain really is a bit insane mentally (they also tend to be great masterminds. Why do the ones who don’t enjoy what they get always succeed?) But in the end, it’s because we want something, either physical or ideological, and so we set our mind to get it. And we do get it, no matter the price.

Also…presentation. Anyone can kill or lie to take what they please. The real villains do it with such class that their foes feel honored to be defeated by them. (Yes, I know they’d deny it, but they do).

Disclaimer: The views held in this report is in no way supported by either myself or by Kirin or Elena. It is the copy of a diary rant only, to give you a quick glimpse into the mind of a villain. Please do not put this advice to play in your own life.

Join the Legend Seekers for monthly stories about the realm leapers and fantasy time-travelers, Kirin and Elena. Click here to sign up

Caption Challenge – June 2016 #4

Caption challenge time. Winners first:

writing-prompt-collage

Caption Challenge Winner: Fereleth, Carrier of Light (love this!)

‘All day dreaming.
All night thinking.
Into opposites
The world is sinking.
Floods of sand;
Wastes of flood,
Liquid moons
And seas of blood.
Air is water;
Water— air.
The dawn a dream
All rebels share.’

Six-Word-Story Winner: Quinton of Boron

Six word story: “The world shook; the end came.”

Here’s this week’s collage:

fantasy prompt

Pictures from Pinterest

You’ve two entries. One for a caption, one for a six word story. On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge.

Blog Tour Sign-ups, Song of the Sword Reviewers…and I Decide to be a Ninja

It’s a good morning to be alive, wouldn’t you agree, my fellow pilgrims? At least I’m excited. For starters, Song of the Sword is going to be released in 41 days!

And I’m preparing my first ever blog tour!

*squeals*

A quick review of my second Legends of Light novella, a retelling of Rapunzel:

A glittering sword.

An ancient oath.

A blackened rose.

And a melody which ties it all together.

When Evrard and Roinette, twins separated at birth, are overtaken by events swirling from centuries past, they are forced into a battle beyond their own limited powers. And with their ability to walk in the melody realm, catching glimpses of the light and darkness underlying Aslaria, comes even more danger. In a world where rebels wield deadly weapons, and with the ancient oath of the King lingering on ever soldier’s mind, can Evrard and Roinette not only survive, but draw on strength outside themselves to defeat the mist of darkness?

swordcoverlowres

And yes, there’s the cover again because I just like looking at it.

But back to the blog tour. I’m really excited about it and have a number of fun things planned, like character spotlights, setting spotlights, a possible revealing of an Aslarian map if I get enough entries, sneak peeks of the novella, and interviews and reviews. If you’d like to join, just click here to sign up!

Secondly, I’m also going to send out free e-book copies of Song of the Sword to a select number of reviewers. You’ll have a month to read the novella, with the only requirement being that you give an honest review of the story on Amazon and (if you’re willing and able) on other sites. You can sign up for your free review copy here.

Both blog tour and review signups will be open for two weeks. On July 9th, I’ll send out Song of the Sword and start organizing the tour.

Needless to say, I’ve been very busy recently. But it’s not all been work.

See, Mom got a free hoodie for me. I tried it on and loved it immediately…a love which *cough* had nothing to do with the deep hood I could flick up or down in one quick motion.

Anyhow, I decided ninja pictures were in order. How could anyone resist with a hood such as that? So I took my dagger and my hoodie, headed outside with a brother, and here are a few of the results:

In unrelated news. I’m taking part of the July NaNo Camp and plan to write my Hansel and Gretel Novella in the next few weeks. Because I guess preparing a launch isn’t enough to keep me busy.

*rolls eyes at self*

Are any of you taking part in Camp NaNo? Do you have any tips about blog tours? Do you like dressing up and getting pictures? What have you all been up to?

Developing Your Characters: Part 1 – The Want

Developing fictional characters can stray into great detail, from what a character likes to eat, to his favorite color, to ‘does he snore’? I’ve filled out pages of questions about various characters, so much so that I forget almost everything I’ve written, then don’t bother to look back, and write the character as he or she first comes to mind. A problem, I know. I’m working on it.

writing -1

 

But there are three main questions, powerful, yet short, which an author should answer for each of his or her characters. In fact, character development might not need to go much further for some secondary characters. Meanwhile, with main characters, keeping these questions in mind while writing will be a great help in giving them their own voices. And the first question and answer is…

*rolling drumbeat*

What does your character want?

Not the little things, like food and shelter. There’s always going to be some things a character needs and others he wants. But what does he really, really, really want? What is always in the back of his mind? What would he give almost everything to gain? Honor? Love? Gold? Salvation? He may not realize his desires narrow down to a single phrase but, once we the authors know what this desire is, we can use it to inspire him, torment him (we’re awful, I know) or change him.

As an extra note for major characters, is what the character wants what he needs? What they want may drive the story to the end where they get it. Or what they want may be wrong or not as important as they once thought and, by the end, they will give up what they want more than anything else for something else they’ve realized is more important.

Or what they want might change.

The character’s desires will drive what he says, does, and how he views the circumstances going on around him.

Keep an eye out next month, for the second of the major question which should be answered for every character, large and small.

MASTERSOFTHESOUND.COM

Caption Challenge – June 2016 #3

Caption challenge time. Winners first:

writing-prompt-collage

Caption Challenge Winner: Fereleth, Carrier of Light

‘Oh that’s nice— rub it in, why don’t you?’

Six-Word-Story Winner: Corissa, Maiden of Praise

Six word story: “Twelve hours. Two forces. One victor.”

Here’s this week’s collage:

writing-prompt-collage

Pictures from Pinterest

You’ve two entries. One for a caption, one for a six word story. On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge.

Writerly Temptations and a Cover Reveal!!!

All writers have weaknesses; temptations to buy things they love by don’t need. My include pens, fantasy-looking jewelry…and notebooks. But guess what I did this week?

I was in Staples and they had adorable little three ring binders, only a few inches tall, which I was almost positive I could fit in my pocket. They were so cute! And they were only $2. But no, I told myself. I have notebooks of all sizes already. I don’t need another one. Since when has need mattered? But still…

I. Did. Not. Buy. It.

Temptation resisted! Three cheers for me!

Of course, I happened to be out shopping the next day, and my sister had just payed me $3 from a past loan, and we were driving by Staples… Long story short, I now have an adorable three ring binder which can fit in my pocket. Along with 300 extra sheets of paper.

Besides, it’s not like all my other notebooks. I can write down notes, you see, and then I can take the pages out and organize them on the table. Of course, that may or may not happen, but now the possibility is there if I want to make use of it.

The downside to the cuteness of this, my newest writerly edition is that both my younger sisters absolutely love the binder and keep trying to take it. I’m either going to have to buy them their own or hide my own book. Or possibly both.

Nextly, moving on now without a suitable transitional sentence,  I’m excited to officially announce the upcoming publication date of my second novella in the Legends of Light series! Oh yes, and a cover reveal of said novella.

*grins and rubs hands together*

While Rose of Prophecy was very much a retelling of the original fairy tale, Song of the Sword is much more of a revision, with elements tying into Rapunzel while the story itself is mostly own creation. But more on the retelling vs. revision and how I’m going to work that all out at a much later date.

For now…Song of the Sword:

A glittering sword.

An ancient oath.

A blackened rose.

And a melody which ties it all together.

Evrard and Roinette, twins separated at birth, are overtaken by events swirling from centuries past and forced into a battle beyond their own limited powers. With their ability to walk in the Melody Realm and catch glimpses of the light and darkness underlying Aslaria comes even more danger. In a world where rebels wield deadly weapons, and with the ancient oath of the King lingering on ever soldier’s mind, can Evrard and Roinette not only survive, but draw on a power outside themselves to defeat the mist of darkness?

And now, for those of you still waiting…my delicious cover! And yes, I can call it delicious even if I’ve no intention of eating it.

swordcoverlowres

Many thanks to my friend, Kate Flournoy, who created this along with *coughs* *clears throat* the others who helped.

The release date is August 5, though I’ll have Song of the Sword available for preorder sometime in July. And, and, in the next week or two I’ll be posting sign-ups for anyone interested in participating in a blog tour or receiving a free e-book copy of Song of the Sword in exchange for an honest review.

In other news, today is another butchering day and I’ve 80some chickens to bag, plus four pounds of liver to sort through (not for us) and ten pounds of chicken feet (again, not for us). And yes, you heard me right. Chicken feet. Apparently some people like them and, since I’ve not had them before, who am I to say anything good or bad about them?

Let’s chat! Have you ever eaten chicken feet? Also, do you have any writerly weaknesses or temptations? And, if so, can you resist them?

Guest Post: The Setting Thesaurus Books Are Here: Help Becca And Angela Celebrate!

As I mentioned last week, there are a handful of Thesauruses by Angela and Becca which are an invaluable resource to writers. And I have the privilege of hosting one of their guest posts for the launch of their two new setting thesauruses! 

It is a writer’s job to draw readers into the fictional story so completely that they forget the real world. Our goal is to render them powerless, so despite the late hour, mountain of laundry, or workday ahead, they cannot give up the journey unfolding within the paper-crisp pages before them.

Strong, compelling writing comes down to the right words, in the right order. Sounds easy, but as all writers know, it is anything BUT. So how do we create this storytelling magic? How can we weave description in such a way that the fictional landscape becomes authentic and real—a mirror of the reader’s world in all the ways that count most?

The Setting Thesaurus DuoWell, there’s some good news on that front. Two new books have released this week that may change the description game for writers. The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces and The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces look at the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds a character might experience within 225 different contemporary settings. And this is only the start of what these books offer writers.

In fact, swing by and check out this hidden entry from the Urban Setting Thesaurus: Police Car.

And there’s one more thing you might want to know more about….

Rock_The_Vault_WHW1Becca and Angela, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, are celebrating their double release with a fun event going on from June 13-20th called ROCK THE VAULT. At the heart of Writers Helping Writers is a tremendous vault, and these two ladies have been hoarding prizes of epic writerly proportions.

A safe full of prizes, ripe for the taking…if the writing community can work together to unlock it, of course.

Ready to do your part? Stop by Writers Helping Writers to find out more!

 

 

Caption Challenge – June 2016 #2

Caption Challenge Time! Winners first.

fantasy-prompt-collage

Caption Challenge Winner: Anne of Lothlorien

Maiden of roses, battle hardened,
Rise to meet your fiery foe.
Beware the ship on the dark horizon,
Beware the crack that heralds your woe.

Six-Word-Story Winner: Corissa, Maiden of Praise

Six word story: “The rose’s warrior, the firebird’s prey.”

Here’s this week’s collage:

writing-prompt-collage

Pictures from Pinterest

So, you’ve two entries. One for a caption, one for a six word story. On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge.

Thesauruses and a Street Team!

How has your week been, my fellow pilgrims? Mine has been great. Not really normal, but since when has life been normal?

So, only two things to share. Two main things anyway. But they’re good.

*rubs hands together*

Firstly, may I present my all time favorite writing resource, the writing Thesauruses!

writing Thesaurus

If I had to recommend one resource for writers, these are what I’d recommend. If I had to recommend just one of these books, it would be The Emotion Thesaurus. The Emotion Thesaurus lists dozens of emotions along with phrases which describe various emotions look, feel, and what they can develop too.

The Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus are great for characterization, especially in-depth characterization. I’ve not used them too much yet, but the information they contain is very detailed and helpful.

And, this coming Monday, Angela and Becca are launching two new Thesauruses, these ones on settings. An Urban Setting and a Rural Setting Thesaurus. Look for more information on those two books this coming Wednesday.

Secondly…did you notice the new tab at the top? Because I’ve started a street team!

LegendairesFB

I’m also a bit too ridiculously proud of the name I invented for it.

The Legendnaires.

*grins* *bows*

Besides being a cool mix of the words ‘legend’ and ‘legionnaire’, it’s also…well, I already said so, but it’s the title of my street team. Or, as I prefer to think of it, my legion of dedicated and raving fans.

Umm, forget the raving.

But basically, a street team *clears throat* ahem, street legion is for those people who enjoy my books and are excited about telling everyone else about them. Social media and promotions are helpful, but they can’t compare to word of mouth recommendations. When I read a book I love, I nag my sister until she reads it and is sucked into the fictional world as well. And write book reviews (most of the times). And gush about them to my friends. And yes…I guess I post about them on social media too. So it includes the whole shebang.

Anyhow, my street team is for those who love my writing and want to help promote them and get special perks for doing so. If you want to discover more or *fixes hypnotic  eyes on you* join, just go to the page up above. Or you can find it by clicking here.

And now I’ll cut myself short, because it’s in the 80s outside already and a few of my brothers and I are going to the lake to play in the cool wetness.

What are you doing this weekend? How do you deal with the summer heat. Also, have you read any of the writing thesauruses? What is your favorite writing resource?

 

Quote Challenge: Day 3

So Gretald, from the blog Writing Like Crazy, tagged me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. And today is the last day so I’ve included everything I don’t want to miss.

Also, rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you (you have my undying thanks, Gretald)
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers everyday
  • Post a new quote everyday for 3 consecutive days (or quotes…I have so many I love)

Here’s the last of my quotes for now, but there’s plenty more where they came from.

 

Well, that was fun. I might have to do more quotes in the future.

And, today I’m tagging:

Faith Blum

Tricia Mingerink

And you! If you’ve enjoyed this three day quote challenge and want to do one yourself, consider yourself tagged. 🙂