Does a “strong” female lead need weapons or the ability to kick someone’s butt?

Christa Yelich-Koth

Strong, female protagonist. I hear people calling for them all over the place. We need role models for women and girls, we need leads that aren’t male, we need kickass women!

What do YOU think of when you think of a strong, female lead?

Most of the images I’ve found for Hollywood science fiction and fantasy popular movies involve beautiful women who can either a) fix and/or drive cars/machines, b) physically kick butt or c) use firearms/weapons with amazing proficiency, such as Black Widow or Lara Croft.

   

I can recall when becoming powerful as a corporate woman meant “strong”. A suit. No family. And as smart and clever as a man in the same position. Tough, no-nonsense, aggressive, ambitious, and proud. Big shoulder pads. Stiletto heels. (Not sure about you, but that image seems to have some flaws of its own.)

So now we jump forward a couple of…

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Penhallow Train Incident by M.S. Spencer

Thank you so much for having me at your blog to talk about my new release, the Penhallow Train Incident, Christina.

Griffin Tate, hero of my new mystery romance the Penhallow Train Incident, is a retired Middle Eastern history professor and becomes ensnared in the search for a fictional map to the Queen of Sheba’s tomb. Now, it’s uncertain whether the Queen of Sheba ever existed, or where the land of Sheba was, but according to the Bible, the Ethiopian Book of Kings, and many legends throughout the Middle East, she came from a nation in the south to meet with King Solomon. Some have identified her with Meroe, , whose queens were called Candace by the Greeks. That Nile civilization lasted from the ninth century BC to the fourth century AD, but if she did in fact visit Solomon, it would have been in the tenth century BC. In the Penhallow Train Incident, Meroe and its explorers play an intriguing role in the mystery. Included in the cluster of Sheba map pursuers is the inimitable George Hamdani, whom we meet in this excerpt.

ThePenhallowTrainIncident_LRG

The Penhallow Train Incident

S. Spencer

Sweet Cravings Publishing (June 2, 2015)

Romantic Suspense/Mystery, M/F, 2 flames

BUY LINKS:

http://store.sweetcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=278

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Penhallow-Train-Incident-M-S-Spencer-ebook/dp/B0100PHOZS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-penhallow-train-incident-ms-spencer/1122175522?ean=2940152200393

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-penhallow-train-incident

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thepenhallowtrainincident-1839405-149.html

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/269163462/The-Penhallow-Train-Incident

Inktera: http://www.inktera.com/store/title/02e6123c-5ddd-4dbf-ae08-e0fd0aadfa0c

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-Penhallow-train-incident

Versent: https://www.versentbooks.com/store/title/02e6123c-5ddd-4dbf-ae08-e0fd0aadfa0c

BLURB:
In the sleepy coastal Maine town of Penhallow, a stranger dies on a train, drawing Rachel Tinker, director of the Penhallow Historical Society, and Griffin Tate, curmudgeonly retired professor, into a spider’s web of archaeological obsession and greed. The victim’s rival confesses that they were both after a map to the Queen of Sheba’s tomb, and with his help they set out to find it. Their plans are stymied, however, when a tug of war erupts between the sheriff and a state police detective who want to arrest the same man—one for murder and one for bank robbery. It falls to Rachel to solve both crimes…and two more murders, if she is to unlock the soft heart that beats under Griffin’s hard crust.

EXCERPT (G): WE MEET GEORGE

 As she trudged up the cellar steps to her kitchen, she noticed light coming from under the cellar door and smelled something alien—cigar smoke? When the cat wasn’t at his usual post by the Friskies, Rachel felt a frisson of fear run up her spine. Too many deaths, too many conspiracies floating around. She didn’t need any more mystery. Her throat constricted, she croaked, “Who’s there?”

From the living room came a deep voice. “It’s me, Rachel. Didn’t you see my car?”

“Griffin!” She went in. “I came in the back way and—”

Sitting on the couch was her erstwhile lover, in a beautifully tailored navy suit that rendered her breathless. Next to him sat an enormously fat man, his olive brown face concealed by a magnificent moustache, his small, black eyes both cold and anxious. A large cheroot smoldered in a saucer on the coffee table.

One man jumped to his feet. The other, with much groaning and wheezing, pushed himself off the couch and extended a mammoth paw. Griffin said, “I’d like you to meet George Hamdani, of the Institut Français d’Archéologie. He’d like asylum.”

****

“Pardon me?”

Hamdani looked from Rachel to Griffin, confusion writ large on his face. Griffin coughed in vexation. “You heard me, Rachel. You do know what asylum means, don’t you? If not, may I direct you to the dictionary?”

Rachel kept her own irritation on a tight leash. “Griffin Tate, I do not appreciate your tone. Nor do I appreciate being treated like some sort of…of church.”

“Church? What are you talking about?”

“You know, sanctuary.”

“Sanctuary is different from asylum.”

“In what way?”

“Well, for one thing…wait a minute. You’re just trying to distract me from the issue at hand. Are you or are you not going to take George here in?”

Rachel surveyed the mountain that was George Hamdani. Perspiration beaded his forehead and he seemed to be having trouble catching his breath. “No.”

Hamdani latched a pleading hand on Griffin’s arm and spoke with an unfamiliar accent. “My dear professor, cannot you be more agreeable? I am in great need of this beautiful lady’s help.”

“I’ll try.” Griffin made a herculean effort and produced something approaching cordiality. “Forgive me…Miss Tinker. I guess I wasn’t making myself very clear. I meant only that George here needs a place to stay for a bit. Until we sort things out.”

His forced smile did not fool Rachel. “Things?”

“Before we get into that, he hasn’t eaten in two days.” Griffin nodded toward the kitchen. “As you may have surmised, he’s not equipped to fast for very long.”

Really? I’ll bet he could go a year. “Certainly. Can I get you something to eat, Mister Hamdani?” With any luck the sarcasm dripping from her lips would puddle under Griffin’s feet and he’d slip in it.

Griffin deftly avoided the trap. “Thanks. I’ll have a sandwich. George? What can Rachel get you?”

Hamdani nodded enthusiastically. “You are very kind, Miss Tinker. I am devastated to be coming to you in this precipitate manner. When my circumstances improve, it will be my very great pleasure to make it up to you in any way you desire.”

Well, when you put it that way…”I may have some chicken salad. I’ll go check.” She opened the refrigerator and took out a Tupperware container, lettuce, and bread. Griffin came in and retrieved two plates from the dish rack. As he carried napkins and glasses from the cupboard, he whispered to Rachel, “Thanks for doing this. You’ll understand why it’s important in a minute.”

She punched him to hide the mushy smile that crowded out her aggravated scowl. “Beer?”

“Perfect.”

Rachel opened three bottles while Griffin took the sandwiches to the dining room table. One glance at the delicate Duncan Phyfe straight chair and another at Hamdani’s humongous behind and she pushed the ottoman toward him. “You’ll be safer on that.”

Hamdani nodded gravely and sat down.

She waited while the men wolfed down their food. “Okay, spill.”

Griffin wiped his mouth with a napkin. “George is from the Institut—”

“You told me that. He’s not French though, is he?”

The big man beamed. “No, no. Although French is my second language. English, alas, is only my third. No, I’m from the most beautiful country in the world, the land of the spreading cedar, of blue Mediterranean waters, of snow-frosted mountains.”

“And that would be…”

“Lebanon, of course.”

Not one to let a paean throw her, Rachel addressed Griffin. “And?”

“Oh right.” Griffin gulped down his sandwich. “I’ll cut to the chase. He witnessed the murder and is afraid if he comes forward he’ll be considered the prime suspect.”

“Which murder?”

His eyes popped. “Which…Oh right, I forgot about the woman. No, I mean Omar Masri. George saw him shot.”

“Does he know who did it?”

“No. He was watching Masri through the window and saw him fall.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

AUTHOR PAGES: Secret Cravings Publishing  Romance Books 4 Us  Amazon Author Page

CONTACTS:

Blog: http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msspencerromance

Twitter: www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor
GoodReads:http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

About.me: http://about.me/msspencerauthor

Tsu.co : http://www.tsu.co/msspencerauthor

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

OTHER BOOKS BY M. S. SPENCER

 

Romantic suspense and mystery, they are available in ebook and print from Secret Cravings Publishing and all fine on-line book stores. For more information, visit http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html

 

Whirlwind Romance

The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)

Lapses of Memory

Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance)

Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders (an Old Town Romance)

Triptych

Losers Keepers

A Giveaway and Foreverland Boxed by Tony Bertauski

 

The Complete Foreverland Saga.

Foreverland Banner

THE ANNIHILATION OF FOREVERLAND
When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds.
Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane.
Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works?

FOREVERLAND IS DEAD
Six teenage girls wake with no memories. One of them is in a brick mansion, her blonde hair as shiny as her shoes. The others are in a cabin, their names tagged to the inside of their pants. Their heads, shaved. Slashes mark the cabin wall like someone has been counting.
Hundreds of them.
There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are and how they got there. And why.
When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are.
More importantly, who they are.

ASHES OF FOREVERLAND
Tyler Ballard was in prison when his son created a dreamworld called Foreverland, a place so boundless and spellbinding that no one ever wanted to leave. Or did. Now his son is dead, his wife is comatose and Tyler is still imprisoned.
But he planned it that way.
The final piece of his vision falls into place when Alessandra Diosa investigates the crimes of Foreverland. Tyler will use her to create a new dimension of reality beyond anything his son ever imagined—a Foreverland for the entire world.
Danny, living outside of Spain since escaping the very first Foreverland, begins receiving mysterious clues that lead him to Cyn. They are both Foreverland survivors, but they have more in common than survival. They become pieces of another grand plan, one designed to stop Tyler Ballard. No one knows who is sending the clues, but some suspect Reed, another Foreverland survivor. Reed, however, is dead.
Everyone will make one last trip back to Foreverland to find out who sent them. And why.

cover

AUTHOR BIO

During the day, I’m a horticulturist. While I’ve spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I’ve always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I’ve always fancied fiction.
My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?
I’m a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I’d rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That’s the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.author
Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it’s only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.
In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer’s Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult’s struggle with his place in the world.
After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.
And I’m a big fan of plot twists.

 

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EXCERPT

Click-click-click-click.

The walls inched closer. Reed gripped the bars of his shrinking cell.

His legs, shaking.

The cold seeped through his bare feet. The soles were numb, his ankles ached. He lifted his feet one at a time, alternating back and forth to keep the bitter chill from reaching his groin, but he couldn’t waste strength anymore. He let go of the bars to shake the numbness from his fingers.

He’d been standing for quite some time. Has it been hours? Occasionally he would sit to rest his aching legs, but soon the cell would be too narrow for that. He’d have to stand up. And when the top of his cage started moving down – and it would – he’d be forced to not-quite stand, not-quite sit.

He knew how things worked.

Although he couldn’t measure time in the near-blackout room, this round felt longer than previous ones. Perhaps it would never end. Maybe he’d have to stand until his knees crumbled under his dead weight. His frigid bones would shatter like frozen glass when he hit the ground. He’d fall like a boneless bag, his muscles liquefied in a soupy mix of lactic acid and calcium, his nerves firing randomly, his eyes bulging, teeth chattering—

Don’t think. No thoughts.

Reed learned that his suffering was only compounded by thoughts, that the false suffering of what he thought would happen would crush him before the true suffering did. He learned to be present with the burning, the cold, and the aches. The agony.

He couldn’t think. He had to be present, no matter what.

Sprinklers dripped from the ribs of the domed ceiling that met at the apex where an enormous ceiling fan still moved from the momentum of its last cycle. Eventually, the sprinklers would hiss another cloud and the fan would churn again and the damp air would sift through the bars and over Reed’s wet skin, heightening the aches in his joints like clamps. For now, there was just the drip of the sprinklers and the soft snoring of his cellmates.

Six individual cells were inside the building, three on each side of a concrete aisle. Each one contained a boy about Reed’s age. They were all in their teens, the youngest being fourteen. Their cells were spacious; only Reed’s had gotten smaller. Despite the concrete, they all lay on the floor, completely unaware of the anguish inside the domed building.

They weren’t sleeping, though. Sleep is when you close your eyes and drift off to unconsciousness. No, they were somewhere else. The black strap around each of their heads took them away from the pain. They had a choice to stay awake like Reed, but they chose to lie down, strap on, and go wherever it took them. They didn’t care where.

In fact, they wanted to go.

To escape.

Reed couldn’t blame them. They were kids. They were scared and alone. Reed was all those things, too. But he didn’t have a strap around his head. He stayed in his flesh.

He took a deep breath, let it out slowly. Started counting, again.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…10.

And then he did it again. Again.

And again.

He didn’t measure time with his breathing. He only breathed. His life was in his breath. It ebbed and flowed like the tides. It came and went like the lunar phases. When he could be here and now, the suffering was tolerable. He counted, and counted and counted.

Distracted, he looked up at the fan. The blades had come to a complete stop. The air was humid and stagnant and cold. Around the domed ceiling were circular skylights that stared down with unforgiving blackness, indifferent to suffering. Reed tried not to look with the hopes of seeing light pour through them, signaling an end. Regardless if it was day or night, the skylights were closed until the round of suffering was over, so looking, hoping and wishing for light was no help. It only slowed time when he did. And time had nearly stopped where he was at.

1, 2, 3—

A door opened at the far right; light knifed across the room, followed by a metallic snap and darkness again. Hard shoes clicked unevenly across the floor. Reed smelled the old man before he limped in front of his cell, a fragrance that smelled more like deodorant than cologne. Mr. Smith looked over his rectangular glasses.

“Reed, why do you resist?”

Reed met his gaze but didn’t reply. Mr. Smith wasn’t interested in a discussion. It was always a lecture. No point to prolong it.

“Don’t be afraid.” The dark covered his wrinkles and dyed-black hair, but it couldn’t hide his false tone. “I promise, you try it once, you’ll see. You don’t have to do it again if you don’t like it. We’re here to help, my boy. Here to help. You don’t have to go through this suffering.”

Did he forget they were the ones that put him in there? Did he forget they made the rules and called the shots and forced him to play? Reed knew he – himself – he had gone mad but IS EVERYONE CRAZY?

Reed let his thoughts play in his eyes. Mr. Smith crossed his arms, unmoved.

“We don’t want to hurt you, I promise. We’re just here to prepare you for a better life, that’s all. Just take the lucid gear, the pain will go away. I promise.”

He reached through the bars and batted the black strap hanging above Reed’s head. It turned like a seductive mobile. Reed turned his back on him. Mr. Smith sighed. A pencil scratched on a clipboard.

“Have it your way, Reed,” he said, before limp-shuffling along. “The Director wants to see you after this round is over.”

He listened to the incessant lead-scribbled notes and click-clack of shiny shoes. When Mr. Smith was gone, Reed was left with only the occasional drip of the dormant sprinklers. He began to breathe again, all the way to ten and over. And over. And over. No thoughts. Just 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3… 1, 2—

Click-click-click-click.

Reed locked his knees and leaned back as the cell walls moved closer. Soon the fan would turn again and the mist would drift down to bead on his shoulders. Reed couldn’t stop the thoughts from telling him what the near future would feel like. How bad it was going to get.

He looked up at the lucid gear dangling above his head.

He took a breath.

And began counting again.

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Cover Reveal: Dark Side Of The Moon

The Dark Side of the Moon (Secrets of the Moon saga #4)

 TheDarkSideoftheMoon.v2

Book Blurb:

During her darkest hour, will she find the courage to seek the light?

Marjorie has eluded both capture and death yet again, but her days are numbered. The old threat has resurfaced to endanger everyone she cares for and only a forged alliance with a member of royal blood will guarantee their safety and hers.

However, in the midst of accepting who she is, Marjorie has to come to terms with the fact that those she considered friends may be anything but, and the mother she thought dead may have been missing against her will.

A relationship in turmoil, a storm brewing in the distance, a shattered tranquility…will she find the courage to save her loved ones even if that means losing her humanity?

 

Book Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25685317-the-dark-side-of-the-moon

 

About the author:

Kristy Centeno is an author of paranormal romance, young adult, new adult, horror, and contemporary romance. She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. In her journey to create memorable reads, she has delved into several genres, creating fictional characters meant to entice readers and captivate the mind.

She is currently working on finishing off the Keeper Witches series among other projects, which include sequels to her published work. When she’s not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.

Website: http://booksbycenteno.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KristyCenteno

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KrissyGirl122

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/KristyCenteno

Blog: http://therightbook4u.blogspot.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kristycenteno

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristycenteno/

Skillpages: http://www.skillpages.com/kristy.centeno

Google+: http://www.google.com/+KrissNeidy

Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/KCenteno

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krissygirl122/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novellas out this July and August, Deals and Free Reads

Hallo Happy Readers!

I hope you’re having a great month so far because I have 🙂

I also have great news. In the coming two months I have two novellas published by Sweet Cravings Publishing, coming out that I hope you’ll love; Because I Love Him and Lover Her Right. They are both pregnancy books, because who doesn’t love a baby story, and about finding each other after life has torn two lovers apart. Because I Love Him is quite intense and Love Her Right is the truth about young love.

To get notifications on my newest book releases, follow me on my Amazon Author Page.

Here is a little blurb on each.

July ReleaseRafael DeLuca and Talia McKenna fall in love when, the Italian business mogul goes to Boston to visit one of his family’s companies international offices, and she is assigned to be his guide. But Rafe is already engaged and his marriage is also meant to merge his father’s and future father-in-law’s companies. He calls off the wedding and just days later, he finds Talia in bed with his brother.
Months later Rafe is ready to fulfill his obligation by marrying his fiance and commit to his family responsibilities, but Talia crushes his wedding. She isn’t ready to let go of him just yet.

July Release, Interracial and Multicultural Romance, Suspense, BWWM, Italian

Add it on Goodreads on your Want To Read list and get a notification on the day of publication.

August ReleaseJolie Simmons has been dreaming about being Mrs. MacKenzie Masters since she was thirteen. She has been in love with the boy from across the street for years and has their wedding and their happily ever after already planned out. But those plans are derailed two days after her eighteenth birthday when his parents die and Mac leaves to join the air force. Five years later, he’s back to turn her life upside down again. Should she give him a chance, or will he abandon her and break her heart again?

August Release, Interracial and Multicultural Romance, Suspense, WWBM, Military

Add it on Goodreads on your Want To Read list and get a notification on the day of publication.

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Book Deals and Free Reads!!!

I have three other novellas, one a series prequel and the others a series in its own that I know you’ll enjoy. Yes, they are a little sad but it’s the reality of losing a loved one.

You can get the Candle Light Series free through Kindle Unlimited. The Beginning is free on all book retail sites.

         FREEThe Beginning: When a man with an ancient grudge meets and falls in love with the innocent girl who’s life was ruined by his vendetta, complicated isn’t word enough to describe the situation he finds himself in. His chance with her would be shot to hell if she were to find out his role in her family’s death. She would probably take the news that he was 325 year old werewolf much better. Every story has a beginning, this one is Ashat’s. A man turned into a werewolf by the moon spirits for one reason and one reason alone…. revenge!

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Love Reaffirmed: William loses his wife Kristy in a car accident. Plagued with sorrow and pain, for a few months he believes she’s still alive. Trapped between reality and fantasy, he’s the only one who doesn’t realize it. Kristy, unable to watch her love suffer alone, comes back to him. When he acts like she never left, she doesn’t bother to tell him she’s a ghost. Once William is forced to face that Kristy is truly dead, he breaks down and goes on a destructive path. Afraid that he might actually succeed in killing himself, Kristy must come up with a solution to keep him sane. . .and alive.

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   $0.99Love Rekindled: After Sandra suffers a tragedy that is quickly followed by a divorce, she feels like her whole world was crushing down on her. She never thought anything would hurt as much as losing her sister Kristy, God was she wrong. Completely deflated and defeated, comfort comes in a package she’d spent years avoiding, Ronald. would he be the one to save her from her pain, or would he add on to it by repeating what he’d done to her years ago…

HAPPY BOOK DEALS READING!!!!

Why do I Write in the Fantasy Genre?

Indigo Sea Press Blog

At recent book reading for Dormant, someone asked  why I write fantasy novels. My gut answer was that I’m all about escapism and what better way to escape than by hiding in another world?

As I thought about it, I realized there’s a longer answer. I write fantasy stories because of the world building, the chance to create the rules and structure the characters inhabit. To me, a good fantasy story balances between describing the world and describing the characters’ journey — it’s not always an actual journey, of course. For that matter, it’s not always another world. Many wonderful fantasy novels take place in our world…with a twist.

In each world, there are rules that define how life works. The rules can relate to magic — does using magic make a sound that other magic users can hear, can only certain people use magic, or are only certain locations…

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