Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Win a World Builder's Giveaway - The Art of World Building by Randy Ellefson


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Randy Ellefson will be awarding an ultimate world builder's package to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Creating a unique, immersive setting one place at a time.

CREATING PLACES (THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, #2) is a detailed how-to guide on inventing the heart of every imaginary world - places. It includes chapters on inventing planets, moons, continents, mountains, forests, deserts, bodies of water, sovereign powers, settlements, and interesting locales. Extensive, culled research on each is provided to inform your world building decisions and understand the impact on craft, story, and audience. You’ll also learn how and when to create history and maps. Experts and beginners alike will benefit from the free templates that make building worlds easier, quicker, and more fun.

Learn the difference between types of monarchies, democracies, dictatorships and more for realistic variety and believable conflict. Understand how latitude, prevailing winds, and mountains affect climate, rainfall, and what types of forests and deserts will exist in each location. Consistently calculate how long it takes to travel by horse, wagon, sailing vessels, or even dragon over different terrain types and conditions.

CREATING PLACES is the second volume in THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, the only multi-volume series of its kind. Three times the length, depth, and breadth of other guides, the series can help fantasy and science fiction creators determine how much to build and why, how to use world building in your work, and whether the effort to create places will reap rewards for you and your audience.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The term “tidal locking” will make many of us think of tides, but these are unrelated phenomenon. Our moon is tidally locked to the Earth. The same side is always facing us because the moon rotates on its axis in the same number of days it takes to orbit us. This might seem coincidental and unique, but most significant moons in our solar system are tidally locked to their planet; those nearest experience this first. Tidal locking is an eventual result caused by gravity. Early in a moon’s orbiting, it might not be tidally locked, but ours may have become locked in as few as a hundred days (its proximity and size having much to do with this). A moon that is not tidally locked may have recently formed or been captured by the planet. Either way, the stabilization process hasn’t completed.

As world builders, we have some leeway to claim a satellite is locked or not. Most people are unfamiliar with the concept and we should only mention it if locking has occurred, as readers will assume the opposite without being told. Note that a close, large moon like ours will almost certainly be locked; during the brief period when ours was not, it and the Earth were molten and devoid of life.

Normally, only the satellite is locked to the planet, but they can become mutually tidally locked, as happened with Pluto and its moon, Charon. This means that each of them only sees one side of the other. If we stood on our moon, we’d see all sides of Earth as it rotates, but from Earth, we see only one side of the moon because they are not mutually tidally locked. If they were, the moon would stay in the exact same spot in the sky. About half the planet would see it, while the other half wouldn’t even know it existed unless traveling to the far side of the world. This would eliminate most tides (see next section) except those caused by the sun.
About the Author:
Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.

Art of World Building podcast - FREE to listen ~ Art of World Building website ~ Author Website ~ free ebook ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+


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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Win a special prize: Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a a pair of Prosecco funny socks to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise. She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

Enjoy an Excerpt

It’s dark outside but I’m awake.

It’s normal. Nothing to worry about. Everyone has little things that keep them awake at night with their stomachs knotted, right? I’m no different to anybody else.

For me those things are Eatwell and bad curry.

And the curry last night must’ve been really bad because it’s giving me awful cramps.

At dawn I tiptoe to Mum’s kitchen to make myself a cup of hot chocolate. I drop a few giant marshmallows on top and watch them melt into the dark liquid. It reminds me of snow softening into the ground. I love snow. It’s a pity we hardly ever get it in England.

There’s only frost outside now as far as I can see.

In the fluffy dawn light, Mum’s garden looks stunning in a quaint, English-village sort of way. With it’s perfectly trimmed hedges that are currently covered in curtain light strings and Christmas icicle lights.

Mum’s even bought a mummy and baby penguin for the patio. The baby is looking up and the mummy is doting down on it. They are made out of metal framing and glittery strands and illuminate the darkness around them with cool spark.

I glide a hand over my stomach in which my own baby is growing.

‘A few more weeks to go, little one.’ I whisper in the dark. ‘I can’t wait to meet you!’

My tummy tightens and I feel the baby turn. It’s too big to move now, I’m in my thirty-seventh week, but it manages to roll a bit and slam into my bladder.

I totter towards the toilet. That’s another thing I can’t wait for – to regain control over my own bladder. This baby has been keeping me as fidgety as a popcorn in a frying pan.

Another cramp grips me as I’m washing my hands.

‘Aw, aw, aw, aw!’ I double over the sink. ‘Bloody curry.’

I’m surprised everyone else isn’t up and queuing for the loos, considering we all ate—’

And that’s when it hits me – it’s not the curry.

I’m in labour!

About the Author:
Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT - she's written it all!

She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe - London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Win $15 in Buroughs Bucks: The Unseducible Earl by Sheri Humphreys


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sheri will be awarding a copy of A HERO TO HOLD and $15 in Boroughs Bucks to 2 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When an earl who’s given up on love and has settled on an engagement to a darling of society falls for a Crimean War nurse, he must either forsake his love or embroil them all in scandal.

Enjoy an Excerpt

For a moment, she froze in the doorway. The earl stood at the sideboard dishing up his breakfast. He couldn’t have had any more than a few hours sleep, but he looked as though he felt much more rested than she did.

The country gentleman’s garb he wore this morning suited him. With his mahogany hair combed and his jaw clean-shaven, he seemed younger. Was it possible his posture grew even straighter when she entered?

He greeted her and offered a plate. “You’ve plenty of time before you’ll need to leave for the train. I believe your trunk is being packed now?”

The way he spoke, he might have been assuring a guest he regarded fondly. She almost gave a rueful laugh, but accepted the china and turned to the sideboard, very aware of his tall frame beside her.

She forced her attention to the perfectly prepared selections of food. She wasn’t particularly hungry and took a small portion of egg. After adding a slice of fried bread and asking the footman for coffee, she settled at the table. “I saw Captain Merrick before coming down. There was no one packing when I left my room.”

His plate loaded with what appeared to be a bit of everything, Cheriton sat at the end of the table, in juxtaposition to her. He frowned. “You’ve seen Jamie this morning?”

“Yes, I have.” In unison they picked up their coffee and took long sips. Victoria held the warm bowl of the cup with her fingertips, enjoying the spreading warmth.

She’d probably never see Cheriton again, and she preferred to think of him as a devoted, if injudicious, brother. Failing that, remembering him as an attractive aristocrat would be acceptable. Unfortunately, his ardent defense of his brother had caused her to regard him as a man of determination and steadfastness.

She’d acceded to his demand that she leave, digested her outrage and sorrow, and then been left with an estimation of him that she didn’t understand or want. For some unexplained reason, and despite their discord yesterday, he affected her in ways other men did not.

He made all her senses heighten. Her heart and lungs worked harder, her skin heated, and her body yearned to draw close. He radiated confidence and strength and something intangible that unsettled her and made her aware of his masculine and her feminine differences. His face might be too intense for some, but she found it compelling.

About the Author:
Sheri Humphreys used to be an Emergency Room nurse, but today applies bandages, splints, and slings to the characters of her Victorian romance novels. She loves to ignore yardwork and housework and read—usually a book every one to three days. Having conjured stories in her mind her entire life, she wondered if she were normal. Then she began putting stories to paper and became a two-time Golden Heart® finalist. She lives with a Jack Russell mix rescue, Lucy, in a small town on the central California coast.

A Hero to Hold received a prized Kirkus Star and was named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2016.

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