Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1) is now live on Amazon. Part of me is shouting for joy. Despite all the doubts as I wrote the book — doubts I have about every book because I am my own worst critic — I am proud of the final product. I am also looking forward to coming back to the characters very soon to write the next book in the series. But, for now, I need to finish Nocturnal Challenge and Honor from Ashes.
Sword was one of those books that challenged me on a number of different levels as I wrote it. Each of my series requires some level of world building, even Nocturnal Lives and the paranormal romances. With those, it wasn’t as difficult because I used modern day North Texas. All I had to do was lay in the paranormal/shifter aspects. Not so hard. The biggest issue with them has been being true to the real landmarks and roadways, things people see or do every day.
With the Honor and Duty series, it was a bit more difficult because I was not only dealing with something in the future but also on different planets from this one. Still, because it isn’t hard science fiction, I can get away with a little bit of handwavium. More difficult, in some ways, was putting together a military force that has ties to what we know now but is not exactly the same. For the most part, I think I’ve done a pretty good job doing so.
But this series, my first true fantasy series, meant a lot more world building. I had to think about things like naming conventions, not only for the characters but for the cities and larger governmental bodies as well. One of my biggest peeves when it comes to fantasies happens when an author has all these names that are unpronounceable but look really cool and give hints of being influenced by Tolkien and then all of a sudden a Debbie or Steve walks into the scene without someone explaining why they look and sound like a Valley girl or stoner guy.
There are also concerns about how you show a working economy — something that will be more prevalent in the next book than this one because, well, it wasn’t integral for this book — clothing, armor, weapons, etc. Add in a religion and magic and, well, things can get tricky. While all of this is hinted at and talked about and shown in this first book, it will be even more important in the next one that I have everything grounded in a way that it makes sense.
In other words, I have to have rules for why things work the way they do and stick with those rules. If I break them, I’d better have a damned good reason for it and there had better be consequences of some sort.
All of that is what scared me the most about this book, I think. Part of me knew I was getting it right — and that more detail would be needed with the subsequent books in the series — but then there was the other part that wanted to do massive info dumps, something I hate to read so I don’t like to write them.
What surprised me the most was the fun I had creating the world and the characters. That’s important because I wouldn’t go back to the series if it had been a chore to write. I’m hoping everyone else loves it as much as I do (now that I’m not writing it).
Oh, yeah, today is also my day to blog over at Mad Genius Club. Check out that post here.