Of the Realms – Interaction

Side note before I begin this week’s post: I’m doing a social media giveaway for a free eBook. The winner will receive an Amazon (US) coupon code for Hidden Memory, and you can enter by sharing my series on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tagging my account! The winner will be drawn when I receive my proof copy of Hidden Sanctuary, so enter by Monday, 6/27!

Of the Realms

Welcome back to another informative post regarding the realms I mention in my books. I began with an overview of the power and forces at work in the “Orientation” post. I recommend checking that one out first, as I will reference that information here. 

Movement 

While the realms all exist along the spectrum of physical/mystical power, their positions are not static. Each realm has a central governing force acting as an anchor around which it shifts. Aryanna is a physical realm, anchored by science and physics. With this anchor, it will never be a high magic realm. The limitation does not, however, mean mystical forces are unable to enter or influence the realm. 

A realm’s movement can ebb and flow naturally, or it can shift based upon the efforts of the people living there. In a physical realm, the more people learn and leverage scientific advances, the further the realm shifts in that direction along the spectrum. The same is true for high magic realms, but often in much less predictable ways. 

This movement is predicated upon the influence of a realm’s governing force. A high magic realm might have natural laws regarding the creation and consumption of magic. In such a realm, overuse of magic could push the realm toward the physical side of the spectrum as magic becomes depleted. 

Interaction

The movement of the realms facilitates the rare occurrences of interaction, which requires overlap and connection. Realms overlap when the movement of two realms brings them close enough along the power spectrum for their spheres of influence to “touch.” It could be anything from barely brushing the outer edge to occupying the same space along the line. So long as there is at least one point of contact, interaction is possible.

Because we are talking about the power spectrum and NOT about physical space, occupying the same place is 100% possible and does NOT convey any higher probability of interaction. For interaction to happen, a connection must be formed. Each time an overlap starts, there is a small percentage chance that the “friction” created will trigger a bridge to be initiated. The bridge is the connection making interaction possible.

When realms are connected, a pocket forms physically where people and creatures can pass. As two realms overlap more, the pocket can become more stable and visible. Then, as they drift apart, the pocket destabilizes until it finally fades and doesn’t return. During the initial and final stages, when the connection is unstable, the pocket can move, shift, or even split in the physical world, and many bridges never achieve stability.

A natural bridge, such as this, is how humans and dwarves came to live in Elaria. The dwarves fled persecution, while a few groups of humans explored and expanded out of curiosity or need. Some human explorers returned to Aryanna before the pockets faded, bringing along stories of the elves. However, the first elf to enter Aryanna found their essential connection to the world depleted to the point of pain, and no others attempted to cross over.

The arrival of the magai, in contrast, was not the result of a natural bridge. An artificial bridge provided the link between Scorcellen and Elaria. Using their magic, and certain spells learned through the ages, the magai stretched their realm’s sphere out from one point. They pushed it until the point touched another realm, then caused friction with their power in an attempt to force a bridge into existence.

The power expenditure was massive, and the attempts failed more often than not. For those reasons, the process became highly regulated in Scorcellen. The connection to Elaria was made, and all the magai arrived within a month. Then, the bridge collapsed, and Scorcellen’s sphere snapped back into its natural shape, causing ripples throughout the realm.

History

Thus are the ways the realms move and interact, along with a tantalizingly brief history. What happened to Scorcellen? What was Elaria like before the others arrived? I intend to continue this series with some of these answers in the future. For now, thank you for visiting, and I hope this helps explain some of the references in the Hidden Series.

Faire Booth Preparations

I mentioned recently that my application for a booth at the local Renaissance Faire was approved. This weekend, I planned to go shopping for additional items for an outdoor booth dressed in the necessary theme. I hoped to have ninety percent of the materials and do a test run in the backyard. I would take some pictures of how amazing it looked and share them with you to bask in the glory of my creative use of limited funds. 

As you can imagine, little of my shopping today went according to plan. The canopies we have are too big—my booth space is only 5×5—and none of the stores we stopped at had any options smaller than 8×8 or a 7.5-foot circle. Looking for decoration accents was also a bust. The craft stores were too DIY for my skill/time, while Party City’s merchandise was too modern. 

Fortunately, our most important stop of the day paid off and made the shopping headache worth it. Looking into suggestions for decorating a Ren Faire booth, there were many recommendations to use old sheets to wrap modern supports to make them look more like a medieval cloth tent. 

We went to Goodwill to search the linens, picking up a number of sheets to cover the tent, table, and chairs. I plan to use our twine to tie it all to the supports for that billowy tent feel. On a pass through the decorations, we also found another picture stand and a wood box to replace some of the more modern items we used at my first book signing in February. 

This was the table at my first signing. I will use most of this again in August.

The rest will need to wait for delivery, as it had to be ordered online instead. I should have most of it before the end of the month to do a trial run. In addition to the tent, I ordered more sealing wax for more wax seals, some cute butterfly hair clips for potential giveaways with books, and some bookmark charms shaped like swords and other old weapons. Along with the advertising flag I ordered, I think my booth is going to look marvelous, and most of the supplies can be used again in the future!

Books at the Faire

I have seen a lot of advice on how many books to bring to events like this, and it still feels like I am stumbling in the dark. Some say 20 per 1,000 attendees at the event (I’m not sure if this is for each book or total), which would mean about 600 for this event for me. Another person recommended 50-100 of each book for a two-day event, depending on size. This would put me at about 400 books for this two-weekend event. I have decided to order 250 more of my first book, which will give me around 280 available. I’m debating between 150-200 of the second book, which I hope will arrive before the first weekend. The books will not go bad, so hopefully, my guesses will not be a massive overspend. 

As for my second book, it has been with the editor for a couple of weeks now. This one is about 30k words longer than the first, so it is taking a bit more time. She expects to have it back to me by next weekend. Over this next week, I want to finalize the cover, frontmatter, and backmatter so it is all ready to upload to quickly order a proof copy. If that first proof looks good, then I will have about six weeks for a large order to be printed and shipped in advance of the event. 

This also means the book is likely to be released ahead of schedule! I need the paperback to be live to order author copies on KDP (yes, I know there are other options). Sign up to follow my blog here or for my newsletter on the homepage to hear when Hidden Sanctuary officially goes live. 

As a final note today, thank you to all the new readers leaving reviews for Hidden Memory. I am now up to 16 ratings/reviews! Reviews are amazingly important to new authors, and I appreciate all of you for taking the time. 

Have another great weekend!

Available for Preorder!

My book officially drops onto e-readers in just over ten weeks and is available for preorder now! I hit the submit button on Amazon this morning and was so nervous that something would go wrong. They say it can take up to 72 hours before it is live for preorder, so I was bracing for a long wait. I can’t even tell you how much I have been grinning since getting the notification that it went through just fine, but you can probably imagine. 

Before I delve into some publication sharing, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me get this far. The interest and support of family and friends helped me push past the fear and imposter syndrome and make it to this stage. The professional support for artists, editors, and readers is crucial to realizing a vision. I tried to name all of the direct contributors in the back of the book, and I know I missed some of you. Please consider this for you as well as the additional thanks I’m sure to write when the book is published and available. 

Hitting Submit

I know there are some fellow authors following me or looking in on these, so I also want to share some of the steps I have been taking recently to get to this point. While I am not going to say the Amazon publishing tools are perfect, I have found them all relatively easy to work with. A lot of these steps I set up and started playing around with a few months ago just in case I had any issues understanding what was happening. 

First, I set up a KDP account separate from my personal Amazon account. I’m not sure exactly what might happen if I mixed them, but I made sure they were separate just in case. One that was set up, I went to my “Bookshelf” and started setting up Hidden Memory in the tool as a draft. I wanted to see how it looked and what options there were. I’m still not sure about the categories I selected, but I can adjust those by contacting Amazon later, so those are not a deal-breaker for moving forward. (They could be critical to sales, so do not discount the importance of categories.)

I also decided to use the Kindle Create tool to turn my Word doc into an ebook format. There are pros and cons to this. I will probably use it again, but I will keep in mind the limitations. 

Pros: 

  • Following the instructions, it read and formatted the file well.
  • It includes tools for frontmatter and backmatter (see this blog post for great links) which were simple and useful.
  • It allows nice preview of the document in multiple formats. 

Cons: 

  • The KPF files are not able to be used on other tools. This is impactful because I plan on using BookFunnel for ARCs (post probably next week on this). 
    • The frontmatter/backmatter does not translate.

I shifted to Calibre for BookFunnel to create a mobi. KDP no longer accepts mobi files, so it is something to keep in mind.

Once my book was published, I was able to create my Amazon author page, and I also submitted for a Goodreads author page. The latter is still pending, so TBD on how that works. My next steps are a Bookbub author page, a BookFunnel account, and gathering ARC readers to submit early reviews. I plan on getting to some paid advertising next month or closer to the release date to generate some additional interest, but I have no idea what that looks like yet. There is always something more to learn and do.

I hope you are having a great weekend. Go Sounders! Go Mariners! 

A New Threat

Her body told her it was time for another break. They were demanded more and more frequently, and she suspected the beginning of a fever. She eased herself to the ground and off her cut and blistered feet, taking as much care as possible for her other bruises, breaks, and lacerations. When her rear finally touched the ground, she was breathing more heavily from the effort than from simply walking along. Once it was done though, and she lay still, her aches and pain became a pulsing numbness. 

Were it not for the healing ribs, she would have heaved out a sigh of relief, but she wondered if she was actually feeling better or worse. Moving up her body, she consciously worked to relax every muscle. Calves, then thighs. Tighten. Relax. Butt. Abs. Her efforts aborted at her shoulders. Every muscle tensed suddenly at a new noise coming from behind. Skin prickled as every hair stood on end. Something instinctual told her this sound was very bad. There were ticking, or clicking, noises along with what she would best describe as many scurrying legs. Her stalker hissed and growled at this new player. 

Perhaps my stalker found other prey? No, she is an ambush hunter. This hissing and growling is defensive posturing. With that thought, a more disturbing question arose. What would be attacking a natural predator? 

Whatever it was could not be good for her. Any doubt the cat was the one in trouble vanished with an eruption of yowling cries cut suddenly and sickeningly short. The cat was not well-fed and might not keep this new hunter – or hunters? – sated for long. This was the reason the forest was so barren. The thought washed over her with uncomfortable certainty. Fear and panic, so long held at bay, surged to the fore and held her paralyzed. 

The world froze with her. Nothing moved, nothing sounded in the woods as she held her breath, her eyes darting from shadow to shadow. The shuffling resumed and threw her fear up another level, but it also startled her into action. With teeth clenched against groans of pain, she pushed back to her feet and set off at a rapid pace. 

Sometime between fighting down the fear of her pursuers and the pain drilling into her deeper with every step, the sun finished its course through the sky. The chill settling in was simply another minor discomfort, but she could not continue in the complete darkness descending. It would be hours before the moon rose enough for her to travel safely, if she was able to continue at all. She found tears on her cheeks she had not even known she shed. Her body betraying the agony her mind denied. It lanced through her with the effort to lower herself into a resting position. Exhaustion, rather than relaxation pushed her drifting into blackness.