#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger, Deborah Jay: how do you write ‘what you know’, when you write fantasy?

Thanks, Marcia, for the opportunity to be featured guest blogger here on The Write Stuff this week. I’m so thrilled this wonderful blog is up and running again after all your trials and tribulations. We missed you!

‘Write what you know’ is one of those rules all authors come across. But when you’re writing a fantasy novel, how can you do that?

With book #3 in my Five Kingdoms fantasy series releasing next week, I thought I’d share a peek into how I chose to incorporate a little of what I know into my imaginary world. You might notice a bit of a theme across my covers…

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One of the draws of writing fantasy is the ability (necessity) to create your own world from scratch, but it’s nevertheless important to have enough similarities with the real world for readers to have an easy frame of reference. If everything is unfamiliar, they have to work too hard at understanding what’s going on to enjoy following the plot, or find empathy with the protagonist and supporting characters.

If I’d wanted, I could have given my characters 6-legged, horned critters to ride, but as a professional horse rider (my day job, lucky me), I decided to give them regular horses. Well, slightly enhanced, almost regular horses!

This enabled me to inject some realism into the world of the Five Kingdoms, with small details of horsemanship and horse behaviour that bring the horses to life as characters in their own right. Here’s a snippet featuring one of my favourites:

* * * * * * *

At this time of day, only one horse stood inside. Fleetfoot, Rustam’s bright bay Shivan stallion, dozed on his feet in the middle of the walkway, disdaining an actual stable. None of the stable lads would dream of trying to coax him into a loose box—he’d shown them how such an attempt would end within half a day of his arrival in the barn. Fortunately, as the season was so warm, the lad in question had dried out quickly after his dunking in the water trough.

Fleetfoot acknowledged Rustam’s arrival with a shake of his neck, his long black mane swishing from side to side. Rustam patted his shoulder. “It’s good to see you resting, my friend. We’ve an important task ahead.”

He ran a hand along the stallion’s muscular crest beneath the heavy fall of mane, marvelling as always at the softness of the horse’s hair. Fleetfoot bent his neck around and blinked at Rustam, who sighed. “I’m guessing the hardest part will be persuading Risada to stay behind. Ouch!”

He leaned against the stallion’s shoulder, pushing hard until the horse lifted the hoof he’d planted on Rustam’s foot. “What was that for?”

Rustam hopped a few steps, before rubbing the top of his abused foot against the back of his other calf. He’d never held any illusions about the weight of the substantial animal even before being trodden on. “That’s going to be one almighty bruise, thank you very much. What did I say to offend you?”

Fleetfoot arched his neck, lowering his head until he matched eyelines with Rustam. His expression revealed both dismay and disapproval. Rustam shook his head. “For someone who can’t utter words, you have an amazing ability to express your opinions. You think Risada should come with us, don’t you?” Fleetfoot bobbed his head down, once, twice.

* * * * * * *

Each of my books features several named horses who have their parts to play in developing the characters of their riders, instead of being just a means of conveyance. I find human/horse (or indeed, any animal) relationships bring out greater personality depths, and in the case of horses are often a means of strengthening and deepening certain traits, such as patience, empathy and humility. Exactly what they do for those of us fortunate enough to work with them in real life.

DO you follow the ‘write what you know’ rule? Please tell me in the comments: it’s always fascinating to hear other writers’ thoughts on the ‘rules’.

If you haven’t read any of my Five Kingdoms novels yet, #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN goes on sale next Friday at $0.99 in all stores, the same day as #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE releases with an introductory price of $2.99

Mar 19 sale

Each book has a stand alone story arc, but they have ongoing threads leading towards a final showdown in book #4.

If you HAVE read books 1 & 2, this is what #3 looks like, and is available now on Amazon pre-order,

launch promo

thumb nailDeborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she has time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook.
She has a dream day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

Connect with Deborah elsewhere across the web

BLOG        FACEBOOK         TWITTER           PINTEREST        GOODREADS

AMAZON

If you fancy trying out a FREE Five Kingdoms story, sign up to my mailing list HERE – you can always unsubscribe if it’s not to your taste.

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Other books by Deborah Jay

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Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

I love Friday’s posts from Staci Troilo! Inspirational words combined with lots of super links to check out. What’s NOT to love? See for yourself, and then pass it along to the Immediate World. Thanks, and a special thanks to Staci for taking the time to compile these every week. I’d never catch up without them. 🙂

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Good news… I started book two of my new series this week, and I’m so excited about it. This one, I think, is going even better than the first. And I finally got to introduce a character who I think is going to become one of my favorites ever.

I realize I sound cryptic. My apologies. I haven’t really disclosed any details about this project yet, so a lengthier description would be pointless. I’ll start talking about it soon, though.

Until then, suffice it to say that this was a fun writing week for me!

Since I started a new project, I thought my quote of the week should reflect that. I struggled with which one to choose, then finally chose these wise words from Sylvia Plath:

Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.
The…

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The 2019 Interview Series Featuring Jacqui Murray

Learn more about author Jacqui Murray today on Don Massenzio’s 2019 Interview Series. Another great one for you folks to check out and pass along. Super interesting, Jacqui and Don! Thanks!

Author Don Massenzio

JMurray--early for TF interviewWhat is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I primarily teach grad school online so much of my non-writing time is spent preparing for the classes, grading, or interacting with my students. Other than that, I do a lot of freelance work revolving around technology in education, writing for corporations, ezines, and other online websites

You’re invited to a dinner party are you:

Off in a corner talking to one or two people—I’m probably chatting with a few people but doing more listening than talking. I consider myself rather boring so enjoy digging into the interesting stuff others do!

bear trapWhat common traps do aspiring writers fall into?

Thinking they don’t need some sort of guidance with their writing is a biggy. I’ll give you an example. There are tons of genres in writing and each has a set of rules that make the genre what readers expect. One…

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#bookrelease: MURDER IN PLANE SIGHT by Julie Holmes

Julie Holmes has a brand new debut novel out, and Staci Troilo has featured her on her blog today. Check out this great interview, and pass it along! Thanks!

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! I have a treat for you today. Long-time commenter and first-time guest Julie Holmes is releasing her debut novel: Murder in Plane Sight. I’m super excited to read this one, but even more excited to introduce her here today. Please join me in giving Julie a warm welcome.

Julie, I’m so glad to have you here today. Now, take it away!


Staci, thank you so much for hosting me for my debut book
release!

So what does one write in book release posts? How I came up
with the story idea? Maybe why I wrote the story. Naw, already did that in
other posts.

What about my writing process? Naw.

Oh, how about my origin story. I mean, all superheroes—er,
writers have one.

Like most kids, I played my share of make-believe, from War
(I have 3 brothers) to adventures with dinosaurs. My imaginary pet triceratops
and…

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Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links

Here’s Staci Troilo’s fabulous Author Inspiration post, complete with links for anything you might have missed on social media this week. Check it out, and share, if you can. Thanks! And thanks to Staci for a wonderful recap! It’s such a huge help! 🙂 ❤

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Wow, this week blew by. I’m sad to say I didn’t get any words written. Not a single one. Work kept me busy with an editing project. One I expect to finish before the weekend is over. Then maybe I’ll add to my word count.

Like I said, this week was all about editing, so of course that’s what this week’s inspirational quote deals with. These words by Stephanie Roberts really spoke to me.

Editing fiction is like using your fingers
to untangle the hair of someone you love.

If you aren’t an editor, you might not understand. And I’m sure this was about editing her own work. But I find it applies to me and my paycheck job.

I love my clients. I love fiction. If I’m working on it, doing my best to unsnaggle issues and make them pretty again, I try to be careful. Even…

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Marcia Meara, How D’ya Do?

I have the pleasure of being featured today on D. Avery’s ShiftNShake blog, as part of her new interview series. Please stop by to say hi. Hope you’ll enjoy the interview and will share with the Immediate World! Thanks. And my thanks to D. for inviting me, as well! 🙂

ShiftnShake

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This week I am pleased to bring you Marcia Meara of  The Write Stuff. I came across Marcia’s site when I was only a very few months into writing in the blogosphere and Marcia generously offered to post poems from my books in her #ExcerptWeek. Marcia is a poster girl for kindness and generosity, and the caption reads “sharing is caring”.

How d’ya do, Marcia? Welcome! Marcia, what part of the world do you live in and what should the rest of the world know about your place?

I live in central Florida, just north of Orlando, and I’m actually a Florida native. Yep. (There’s me and some guy up in the panhandle, I think.) Let’s see. I suppose most folks know Florida is hot. And humid. We’ve already had temps in the high 80s and one day in the low 90s, and it’s still early March. This is…

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Announcing My New Audio Book – Let Me Be Frank

Don Massenzio has a new audio book available! Check out his post, and be sure to watch the trailer video. It’s dynamite! Hope you’ll help Don get the word out, as well. Thanks!

Author Don Massenzio

I am proud to announce that my book, Let me be Frank, has been released in audiobook format. This is the second book in the Frank Rozzani detective series.

Here is a synopsis:

A young girl is senselessly murdered. The police believe the murder to be a random homeless casualty until it is discovered she has ties to Fat Sam and his mysterious past life in the Big Easy. 

Join Private Detective Frank Rozzani and Clifford “Jonesy” Jones as they travel to historic New Orleans and other areas in the Gulf Coast to search for clues in the girl’s trek to Jacksonville, Florida, that will help them uncover evidence implicating those responsible for the murder so they can be brought to justice. They soon discover that things are not as they seem. 

As the case progresses, the evidence uncovered has ties to the tragic events that drove Frank from…

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Cover reveal – book #3 in The Five Kingdoms series now available on pre-order

Woohoo! Won’t be long now! Fans of Deborah Jay’s Five Kingdoms series will be happy to know Book 3, The Prince’s Protege, is now available for pre-order. Check out her cover reveal post, complete with excerpts from this long-awaited third book! And as always, don’t forget to share! 🙂

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Drum roll…

Ta da!

THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE – #3 The Five Kingdoms is ready to go!

Following on from The Prince’s Son, continue reading the gripping Five Kingdoms fantasy adventure…

In the aftermath of the devastating coup, King Marten strives to rebuild his subjects’ confidence in the throne, but not all his councillors believe the young monarch is ready to rule alone. An assassin’s stalking him, his closest advisor has been murdered, and rumours have surfaced that the malicious god’s cult is reborn.
As Marten grapples with a dark, personal secret, who can he trust?
Meanwhile, fledgling spy, Lady Betha, successfully infiltrates a conspiracy. However, getting back out alive with information vital to the king’s survival may prove beyond her capabilities.
And as Rustam and Risada search for Risada’s kidnapped son, they find the dual-natured deity meddling with their lives again. If only they could tell which aspect: god or…

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The 2019 Interview Series Featuring David Faucheaux

Don Massenzio is featuring David Faucheaux today on his 2019 Interview Series. A really interesting, informative, and inspiring interview! Check it out! (And don’t forget to share far and wide). Thanks for this great series, Don!

Author Don Massenzio

DCF 1.0What do you think are the elements of a good story? 

My favorite genre is historic fiction. To do it well, the author must pay close attention to setting. The reader should be made to understand the culture, the time, and place. I like lots of what are called info-dumps, though I understand many readers find them to be tedious and to also distract from the plot.  Perhaps info-dumps work best in science fiction. Kim Stanley Robinson uses them frequently. A well-written author’s note at novel’s end helps as well, especially when the author tells what is true and what has been invented. A bibliography is useful for those readers wanting to learn more about the historic aspects of the novel.

You’re invited to a dinner party. Are you:

  • Off in a corner talking to one or two people
  • At home reading or writing your latest work

If I’m there…

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Freya Pickard, How D’ya Do?

Come meet Freya Pickard! #Haiku

ShiftnShake

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Welcome to the first ever interview in the new How D’Ya Do blogger interview series!

I am pleased to introduce Freya Pickard to you as my first interviewee in what I hope is a continuing series, to be posted the first Friday of every month. My intent is to feature bloggers who regularly host prompts and challenges for the rest of us prompt challenged writers. I have plenty of people in mind for this but if you are interested and maybe have a particular time that you would like to be featured, feel free to contact me. Expect the questions to be similar but not exactly like Freya’s as I would tailor them according to what I already know or what I would like to know.

Without further ado, Freya Pickard, how d’ya do?

I am Freya Pickard and I blog at https://purehaiku.wordpress.com and at https://dragonscaleclippings.wordpress.com

You can also find…

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