Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Setting for the Green Healing Stone Fantasy Series

Why did you pick the setting you used in your story? I'm not looking for -- "because I live there". I want you to dig deep and tell us... Specific details about your setting. What would we see? What sort of people are there? If we were traveling to your setting, what should we bring with us? For visitors, what do they need to know to visit your setting?

The primary setting for my epic fantasy series is a continent-sized island nation called Azgard. The geography varies greatly, depending on the latitude. There are huge, snow-capped mountains; lush forests of redwood trees with a house-sized circumference; sweeping grass plains populated by herds of horses; rich farmlands, meadows, and even vast swamps in the far
south. The island is also well endowed with mineral wealth and other natural resources, including abundant water.

At first glance, Azgard seems little short of paradise. Polarized, however, is the key to understanding the island and its society. Azgard is deeply divided by race, by rank, by gender, by wealth, by level of power, by opportunity for advancement, and by access to technology.

Two groups inhabit Azgard. The dominant race, the Toltecs, are long-lived, exceptionally tall, physically strong, black-haired and black-eyed people with skin that ranges from light copper to deep reddish brown. The subject people, the Turanians, are smaller in stature, with blond, red, and light brown hair, blue or green eyes, and skin so pale it seems like milk.

As the story begins, the Toltecs conquered the Turanians several millennia earlier. Turanians endure limited chances for economic advancement, and work largely as servants, low-paid menial workers in industry, or as farmers. A handful of Turanians have managed to accumulate wealth, but they must hide that fact to keep Toltec bureaucrats from plundering their assets. Turanians also have highly circumscribed access to communications and other technology, and are not allowed to own any form of mechanized transport or even drive one without the permission of a Toltec employer.

Toltecs, on the other hand, control most of the wealth and the means of producing even more. A Toltec oligarchy that uses the name of "the Kindred" owns all land and patents on numerous inventions. The Toltec monarch is known as the Exalted Lord of the Kindred. Females are the property of either their fathers or their husbands and have few legal rights or protections.

Visitors to Azgard find that while the Turianians are hospitable to strangers, the Toltecs are much more aloof and suspicious because they regard anyone who isn't a Toltec as inferior. Their racial and ethnic supremacy belief guides the Toltecs' foreign policy, which is based on
military power and subjugation of other countries. Toltec society is also theocratic, with all people subject to civil laws and the religious laws of the state-sanctioned Temple of Kronos. There is no freedom of speech, and the poor and/or Turanians who cannot afford legal representation feel the heavy hand of Toltec justice, which is punitive and often violent.

Why you choose that particular setting?

I didn't really choose the setting. It is an integral part of the overall multi-generational story.

What does the setting add to the story?

Only everything. The setting makes this story.

Could you write the same story in a different setting?

No. One critic took it upon himself to suggest that I set the action in Cyprus, an island torn by centuries-long feuds between Greeks and Turks. That would not make any sense and it would not work for my particular story.

Why or why couldn't you use a different setting?

The storyline of my entire series is bound up in the ultimate fate of Azgard. This is a tale about how religious extremists bent on absolute power instead destroyed an entire country and imperiled the world. Thus the setting cannot exist any longer-it simply cannot be any place or locale that remains intact.

Did you use a real place as a basis for your setting? Or, did you create the setting from scratch?

I believe I chose real places that once existed as the settings. Others might consider my setting nothing more than a myth at best. It was real to me because I believe I once lived a life as the first-generation heroine of my story.

Is there anything else about your setting that we need to know? Feel free to share.

There is a dark secret gnawing away at the underpinnings of Toltec power that will be exposed as the series progresses due to war, plague, and civil unrest.

Please provide your website link.

Thank you for sharing details about your book setting. Now, what's the title of your book and where can we buy it?

Title: Green Stone of Healing® Series

Paperbacks purchase links:

The Scorpions Strike-Green Stone of Healing® Series, Book Three

Fallout-Green Stone of Healing® Series, Book Two

The Vision-Green Stone of Healing® Series, Book One

eBooks purchase link:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bleach|Blackout – It’s All In The Setting

The setting for Bleach is a house party, the last 60 seconds of New Year’s Eve, in the Midwest. Jeremy (narrator) is in the bathroom where a girl lay dying. The area is decorated with drugs and sex. The countdown to the New Year forms a point of escalation for the scene as well as a stopping point, allowing the narrator (Jeremy) to go back eight days and explain how he has ended up in this place.

For Bleach, the initial setting is used to both set up the story and because it is a very “in the moment” scene to start a story. The smell of smoke and danger permeates a room full of disoriented guests and someone is knocking at the door.

Sandwiched in between the start and finish you will often find a corporate backdrop used as the setting to establish relationships and tell the story of Jeremy’s adventure back home for the holidays.

The end of Bleach circles back to where the book starts, the evening of debauchery where all the men are dressed as prostitutes, all the women look like pimps and decadence and debauchery dictate the rules. Everything seems to be spiraling out of control, and Jeremy realizes there are no guarantees for him or anyone else.

Blackout picks up two years after Bleach in Las Vegas where Stoner and friends are celebrating his bachelor party complete with strippers and crack cocaine. The ride home is blurry and the next morning in Los Angeles brings a surprise when Stoner’s friends, Chip and Jeremy, wake to find police officers and a dead body they are allegedly responsible for, but neither can recall. The move to the West Coast setting allowed me as the writer to show some type of evolution with my characters as well as play the Hollywood angle, a secondary theme running through Bleach.

The settings in both Bleach|Blackout put the characters in a place for them to interact and act on impulse, allowing the reader to not only paint their own picture of the characters, but also spare them a boring back story chapter. While writing both Bleach and Blackout I never thought about any different setting. Bleach had to begin and end with the party of the ages while Blackout had to move, allowing me as the writer more freedom (and liberties) to develop my cast of fictional friends.

Please provide your website link:

What is the link to buy your book?

Thank you for sharing details about your book setting. Now, what's the title of your book and where can we buy it? Bleach|Blackout is available online and select bookstores. To purchase go to:

Thank you for having me. -David