Tag Archives: worldbuilding

Hathor Legacy Worldbuilding Part 4 – The Rise of Novacorp

Photo Credit: Skiwalker79 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Skiwalker79 via Compfight cc

This is the 4th entry in the worldbuilding posts for my Hathor Legacy series. (Check out part 1 and part 2 and part 3.)

For a super quick recap: Hathor (named after the Egyptian goddess) was/will be discovered in the year 2234.

During this time corporations are on the lookout for resources to be used for power sources and a host of other items. They’re also looking for places that are hospitable for farming and agriculture (the kind you grow, not the kind created in a lab).

Two mega-corps involved in this type of research are Terran Terraforming & Mining and Novacorp Gallactic, Inc. They want profits, so the takeover of planets (and systems) are key to their growth.

Similar to corporate takeovers here in the present day, these companies are just as ruthless about claiming planets for their use. (In Hathor Legacy: Burn, I go into more detail about how this affects the settlers who come to Hathor, and other planets under Novacorp control are also mentioned.)

After a disease decimates the settlements and the survivors eventually develop PSI abilities, there’s a huge upheaval of the somewhat planned society. Natives of the planet who have abilities are pitted against later arrivals who knew nothing about the disease until they arrived. This leads to a schism in society between the “original” settlers (AKA the First Families) and those who arrived later on.

People with PSI abilities are often persecuted and killed or are used by more powerful people. Under a corporate “government” it’s more like the survival of those who can create more profits, than any type of republic. Eventually after almost a century of increasing chaos, Joachim emerges as a leader for those with PSI abilities. He’s at odds with TTM, the corporation running Hathor, and they eventually ship him off world.

After his departure, he meets up with reps from Novacorp who would like to take over Hathor. He makes a deal with them to assist their takeover if they will assist his people. Not long after that, a mysterious fire breaks out in Joachim’s home and kills his wife and baby daughter. TTM doesn’t investigate it and it’s assumed they are behind it.

His remaining children, Dakar and Jen – characters who play important roles in Hathor Legacy: Burn, are sent away to what are called the Cold Towns of the North. (Called that because of the colder and harsher weather conditions.)

The Corporate Wars

Ultimately, Novacorp strikes a deal with Joachim, and the war is on. Their troops back him up and he’s able to get the allegiance of his followers to help overthrow TTM’s authority.

After a lot of destruction, TTM pulls out and Novacorp takes over. However, TTM doesn’t provide passage out for all their contractors. And those who either can’t afford to leave, or don’t want to leave, are relegated to the lower rungs of the new corporate hierarchy.

Novacorp draws up a corp charter, giving Joachim’s followers with PSI abilities a place in the company as the Guardians. The city is renamed, Nova City and the company claims all the land in that geographic area.

Novacorp Rule

Though there is still private ownership in the West and North, for the most part, people live on corporate land, in corporate houses and work for the corporation. You’ve heard of company towns? Hathor is a company planet. (Novacorp also takes over the neighboring planet, Astarte and Demeter, the moon where TTM had their mining operations.)

Approx. 50 years later, the Guardians are an established security force, and that brings us up to the time when Nadira and Jonathan Keel meet on Hathor.

I’d planned to add more about the three groups of people with PSI abilities: the Guardians, Kasema and Deshtu. But that will have to wait until the next installment! Their interactions will be featured in the 3rd book of the Hathor Legacy series, Hathor Legacy: Revelations.

 

 

Heating Up Summer Romances with Sizzling Details

you can write_coverby Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi Everyone,
I hope you’re enjoying the summer! Today I’m sharing a few thoughts on using details to spice up your summer romances.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the beach. The ocean waves are rolling into shore… you feel the sun on your skin and the warm, gritty sand beneath your toes… the air smells like salt water mixed with coconut suntan lotion… You open your eyes and see a tanned hunk standing in front of you. A bead of sweat drips down his six-pack abs….

Did it feel like you were on the beach? Could you sense everything happening around you? Good, because conveying sensory details to readers is an excellent way to draw them into the book and make them part of the action.

More than anything, readers want to get inside the story, feel what the characters are feeling, and live vicariously in the world the author has created. When writing a summer romance, authors can make the most of sensory details to bring the story alive.

An author can (and should) explore all the details of a scene to give the reader the experience of “being there.” Here are a few examples of how you can bring everyday surroundings to life and enhance the senses:

What’s the weather? What time of day have you set your scene? Early morning sunrise? In the blazing afternoon heat? A cool summer night? Does a sudden thunderstorm send everyone at the baseball game running for cover?

Liven it up with color! Summer colors are usually bold and bright. Describe your heroine’s hot pink bathing suit, the hero’s cherry red convertible, or the vibrant turquoise beach towel they make love on…

Add some flavor: The sense of taste is usually hard to work into a romance, but you can get inventive. When the characters kiss, what do they taste? Zingy lemonade? Beer? Mint chip ice cream? Spicy BBQ? Does she taste like the strawberries she’s just eaten?

The sounds of summer: People spend lots of time outdoors in the summer, so what do your characters hear in the background? People talking? Kids yelling and playing games? Splashing in a lake or a pool? Carnival-ride sounds from a boardwalk? Sea gulls calling? Lawn mowers buzzing?

Look around: What do your characters see or notice as they go through a scene? Fireflies? Bees buzzing around flowers? A tattoo peeking out from under a bathing suit? Her long legs? Are people watching them kiss on the beach?

Breathe deep: The sense of smell isn’t always crucial to a romance, but having your character follow his nose to the smell of burgers on the grill or relaxing in the comforting smell of smoke from a campfire can enhance a scene. Maybe your heroine is turned on (or off!) by the scent of suntan lotion. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. Flowers are blooming all summer, and your heroine can be an avid gardener who loves the scent of roses, while your hero has allergies! Trust With Hearts by Kelli A Wilkins

Reach out and touch: Summer is a great time of year for your main characters to touch each other. Explore the feel of a shirt stuck to her body, sweat trickling down his back, the brisk coolness of walking into an air conditioned room, jumping into a cold lake, what it feels like to touch the other person’s hot, sweaty skin…

Authors can work “summer details” into a romance in countless ways. In Trust with Hearts, I had the hero and heroine have sex in his car after going to a drive-in—and get busted by the cops! I also had Curtis rescue Sherrie when she got overheated while gardening. He was worried she had heat stroke and brought her inside to cool down. (And that’s when they shared a kiss!)

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover by Kelli A WilkinsMy summer paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover, is set at the beach. I used a variety of details to describe the hero’s obsession with the sun, sand, and surf (or as he put it: wax, water, and waves). I contrasted that with details of being with the vampire heroine at night (moonlight reflecting off the ocean, making love on the deserted beach, and swimming at night). By enhancing the details, I showed how Brian and Cassie lived in completely different worlds (literally, night and day!) and still found summer love.

The next time you read a summer romance, pay closer attention to the little details the author has added. Notice how they draw you deeper into the world of the characters and the story. And don’t we all want to get swept away into another world for a while?

Whether you’re writing a summer romance, or losing yourself in one on a lazy afternoon, enjoy the rest of the summer!

Happy Reading,
Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.

Her newest book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in February 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.

Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/. Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

The Viking’s Witch – An Inside Look (Part 2)

Viking Czech_200by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

To celebrate the foreign release of my Medallion Press novel, The Viking’s Witch, I’m sharing an “inside look” at the making of the book. In my last blog, I talked about how the book came about, the research involved, and the violence that takes place in the story. Now I’ll offer some insight into the origins and development of the characters, as well as Odaria’s magic “witch” powers.

The Viking’s Witch is a traditional historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland in 803 A.D. The main character, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then—nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer. Here’s the plot summary:

The Viking’s Witch
About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other…before time is up.

Interviewers have asked me how I can create such interesting and diverse characters for all of my books. They want to know where Rothgar and Odaria came from. Well, there’s no real way to answer that other than, I just made them up. (Chris Hemsworth from Thor is pretty much is what I envisioned Rothgar to look like—even though I wrote the book long before the movie came out.)

When I create my heroes and heroines I always give them “baggage” and flaws along with lots of problems to overcome. This way, they can grow and change over the course of the book. Odaria is a strong-willed “witch” who is tired of being abused and ridiculed by the people in her village. She swears she doesn’t need anyone’s help to get by. Rothgar was once a powerful warrior, but a personal tragedy has softened him and left him broken and unwilling to love anyone again.

When they meet up, they each play off the others’ weaknesses. Odaria has no qualms about standing up to Rothgar and arguing with him, and he respects her willful and fearless behavior. Eventually they realize that they need (and want) to be with each other forever.

I also like to introduce secondary characters and subplots into my books to flesh out the story. I’m often asked about the secondary Norse character, Nordskog. He’s not the type of “hero” one would typically find in a romance, but he serves an important role in the story. Where did he come from? Well…

I used to work with a woman whose last name was Nordskog and I told her that one day I’d use her name in a book, so I did! Nordskog is a violent, vicious berserkr and has a history with Rothgar dating from Rothgar’s old fighting days. Nordskog’s hatred of Karnik draws him closer to Rothgar’s side as the story develops. After Odaria helps heal his leg, Nordskog develops a fondness for her, as well. He’s an impulsive brute, but he’s not stupid. He knows that Rothgar is wealthy and will reward him for his services and loyalty.

But if readers thought Nordskog was bad, the antagonist, Brennan, is even worse.

Brennan has been described by one reviewer as “a perfectly evil villain” which was exactly my intention. I wanted to portray him as an arrogant, self-righteous SOB – but not have his character be too over the top. Brennan is a lying, murdering, religious zealot and that makes him dangerous to Odaria and the other villagers.

Most of the terrible things he’s done happen off page and we learn about them through Odaria. Each time I wrote a scene for, or about, Brennan, I made him a little more unstable and psychotic, so by the end of the book readers see that he needs to learn his lesson and pay for what he’s done.

Odaria’s “magic” is the catalyst that sets the story in motion and helps bring about Brennan’s demise. When the story opens, Odaria is about to be burned alive for being a witch. She calls down a spell and curses the villagers while unknowingly invoking a Viking raid. (Or so it seems…)

Odaria use her “powers” for self-preservation and to get revenge on the people who hurt her. Rothgar doesn’t believe in her “magic” and thinks she’s merely pretending to be a witch to frighten people. But after a highly-charged interaction with Brennan, Rothgar gets a taste of what Odaria could really do if she set her mind to it.

I loved showing readers (and Rothgar) Odaria’s powers of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and psychometry. The scenes that included the “magic” elements were a lot of fun to write. I’ve always been interested in psychic phenomena and other “New Age” subjects, so it was easy for me to incorporate what I know into Odaria’s character.

I hope you enjoyed Part Two of this “Inside Look” at The Viking’s Witch. I’m happy to say that readers and reviewers fell in love with the characters and the book has received dozens of excellent reviews. (And it also won a Gold IPPY Award for best romance ebook!)

The Viking’s Witch is available exclusively as an ebook from
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Vikings-Witch-ebook/dp/B008R5185G/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375813873&sr=1-1&keywords=Kelli+A.+Wilkins
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vikings-witch-kelli-wilkins/1112359676?ean=9781605421698&itm=1&usri=kelli+wilkins

Happy Reading,
Kelli

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.

Her newest book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in February 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.

Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/. Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

The Viking’s Witch – An Inside Look (Part 1)

Viking Czech_200by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone!

To celebrate the foreign release of my Medallion Press novel, The Viking’s Witch, I’m sharing an “inside look” at the making of the book. In this blog, I’ll discuss how the book came about, the research involved, and the violence that takes place in the story. (Yes, even though it’s a romance, everything’s not all hearts and flowers.) In Part Two, I’ll talk about creating the characters, developing Odaria’s magic “witch” powers, and more.

The Viking’s Witch is a traditional historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland in 803 A.D. The main character, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then – nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer. Here’s the plot summary:

The Viking’s Witch
About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other…before time is up.

Interviewers and readers have asked what my inspiration was when I was writing the book, and they are curious about how much research I had to do to create the unique characters and detailed setting.

Like many of my books, the idea for the story came to me out of the blue. One day, the entire opening sequences popped into my head and I knew I had to start writing. At the time, I had the basic plot (Viking warrior falls in love with Celtic witch), but I wasn’t sure about most of the details, like the character names, their backstories, and the subplot. All of that came later, along with the secondary characters Brennan and Nordskog. (But I’ll talk more about them in Part Two of this blog!)

Scotland is a beautiful place and I’ve always wanted to set a book there. (I still may write another historical set in the Highlands.) Having the story take place on the remote Orkney Islands added a sense of urgency and tension to the plot. In a sense, Rothgar and Odaria are “trapped” on the island and are forced to deal with a pack of angry villagers and other Norsemen. The action is condensed into a few days on a very small island, so there’s really nowhere for the characters to go. They’re forced to work together in order to get off the island – and survive.

Before I started writing a word, I had to do a lot research on where to set the story. I knew the book would take place in Scotland, where the Vikings traveled in their early years of exploration, but I didn’t want it to be a populated location. Once I decided on the Orkneys, I had to pick which island to set the story (there are 70 different islands, but today, only 20 are inhabited).

I also had to research what life was like at that time period for Odaria and Rothgar. (What kind of clothes they would wear? What food did they eat? How did Norsemen travel so far? What were their ships like?) Odaria and Rothgar come from different backgrounds and technically would have been speaking different languages, so I had to blend their two cultures together in a way that flowed with the book.

After I got a feel for what everyday life was like for each of them, I weaved the details into the story. For example, Rothgar’s Norse background intrigues Odaria, and she is curious about their clothes, customs, their food, how they travel, etc. Having Rothgar show her how he lived was a good way to introduce readers into the culture.

And of course, if you were living back in 803 with bands of Norsemen and crazy villagers, you can expect there was some measure of violence. Readers might think that there’s no place for violence in a romance, but I think that type of realism (when kept in check) enhances the story.

In 803, life was completely different from how we live now – especially on a remote island. People got hurt, sick, and died. The Viking’s Witch is about a violent man (Brennan) and a group of Norsemen with violent reputations, so including some violence in the story is necessary to move the plot along while also helping the reader get deeper into the minds and lives of the characters.

I didn’t cringe when I wrote the “gritty” scenes; I was happy to include them. I like history and it drives me crazy when people in 1500 or 1870 are perfectly clean and neat, have perfect teeth, and look like they stepped out of a beauty salon. In The Viking’s Witch I included enough details to bring the story alive, yet showed how some degree of violence was necessary for Rothgar’s and Odaria’s survival.

I hope you enjoyed Part One of this “Inside Look” at The Viking’s Witch. Next time, I’ll delve more into the characters and discuss Odaria’s magic.

The Viking’s Witch is available exclusively as an ebook from
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Vikings-Witch-ebook/dp/B008R5185G/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375813873&sr=1-1&keywords=Kelli+A.+Wilkins
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vikings-witch-kelli-wilkins/1112359676?ean=9781605421698&itm=1&usri=kelli+wilkins

Happy Reading,
Kelli
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.

Her newest book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction was released in February 2015. This fun and informative non-fiction guide is based on her 15 years of experience as a writer, and is available exclusively on Amazon.

Kelli published three romances in 2014: Dangerous Indenture (a spicy historical/mystery), Wilderness Bride (a tender historical/Western/adventure), and A Secret Match (a gay contemporary set in the world of professional wrestling). Her romances span many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to scare readers with a horror story. In 2014, her horror fiction appeared in Moon Shadows, Wrapped in White, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/. Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Creating the Hero & Heroine for the Hathor Legacy Series

Hathor Legacy eBook smallWhen I originally came up with the idea for my Hathor Legacy series, I had the characters in mind long before I started writing the first book. While in the process of developing the story, the characters changed along with my original vision for the series.

For instance, in one of the earlier versions, Jonathan was a shady nightclub owner who was forced to come to Hathor by the corporation. He was to take part in an investigation of other club owners.

But as I began to refine the story, I found that I really didn’t have a compelling reason for Jon to come to Hathor. Why would the corporation choose him? What could he contribute? How would he and Nadira get together romantically?

I realized that if he had a stronger reason to go to the planet, it would increase the stakes for him. So, he evolved into a CEO’s son who goes to Hathor to locate his missing father.
In the completed version of the first book, Hathor Legacy: Outcast, when Jon arrives, he’s brought face-to-face with Nadira. She’s responsible for investigating his father’s disappearance (and a robbery at his father’s mine). Of course she dislikes him when they first meet, but she’s attracted in spite of herself.

In the process of Jonathan working with Nadira to find his father, he’s exposed to the inner workings of the Guardians. As he learns about the culture on Hathor, the reader does too.

It was also important to make him the type of person Nadira would grow to care about, especially after her initial dislike of him. Though Jonathan could be arrogant and overly confident, his impulsive behavior helped move the story along.

At times her conservative approach was at odds with his tendency to charge ahead without thinking. But that created tension between them and added conflict to the story.
Their initial love scene in book one was due in part to their being in close proximity, and magnified by the psychic connection Nadira created between them. But as the story progressed, they learned to trust and care deeply about each other.

In early versions, Nadira had a brother who was killed during an investigation. But as her character underwent several changes, she became an only child whose parents were taken out of life at an early age.

So, her extreme independence and guarded personality were due to her experiences in her early life. Those qualities made her a very efficient Guardian, but also made it hard for her to trust others. When she eventually let Jon into her life, it was a breakthrough for her.
In book two, Hathor Legacy: Burn, Nadira and Jonathan are a team, though they’re still working out their relationship.

In this book, Jon is the one who thinks before he acts, and Nadira is the one more likely to rush into danger. So they’ve managed to influence each other enough to take on each other’s traits.

Through the events that unfold in the story, their partnership is very strong and so is their psychic connection. Nadira and Jonathan are a team and are aligned mentally and emotionally.

This post originally appeared on Long and Short Reviews.

Hathor Legacy Worldbuilding Part 3 – Origin of the Culture

1258271398_f3a0418345_oThis is the 3rd entry in worldbuilding posts for my Hathor Legacy series. (Check out part 1 and part 2.)

According to the legends, the original settlers, known as the “First Families,”came from the 7 continents of the Earth.

They’re revered by the members of the Guardian organization, and tracing their families back to those settlers is what elevates some descendants over others. (Something I mention in book 2 in the series, Hathor Legacy: Burn, with the introduction of the Deshtu.)

So let’s go back in time a bit (or forward in time, depending on your POV).

Hathor’s Discovery

After it’s identified in 2234, the planet is named after the Egyptian goddess, Hathor.

During this time, there’s a lot of space exploration and business interests are on the hunt for minerals, crystals and other resources. Though the Earth is still supporting life, efforts to reverse the effects of global warming have only been marginally successful.

Because of this, there’s a lot of incentive for people to leave the Earth and join settlements in various systems. In order to accomplish this goal, travel that takes months–not years,  or lifetimes—has become reality.

Quick note: I’m not going to get into the science behind faster-than-light travel—or whether it’s possible. You’ll just have to make the assumption that, in this universe, it is. 🙂

(Or, at the very least, there is a plausible way to get people from one system to another safely, quickly and efficiently.)

After some initial investigation, it’s determined that Hathor is very rich in crystals and other precious gems. The neighboring planet, Astarte (and its moon, Demeter) has even more potential.

Enter the TTM company, AKA Terran Terraforming & Mining. Ready to create big profits, they start operations and begin terraforming the planets to sustain human life.

Speaking of terraforming, for quite some time there’s been interest in doing the same thing to Mars. If it sounds interesting to you, check this out: http://quest.nasa.gov/mars/background/terra.html

Origin of the First Families

While the work is going on back on Hathor and Astarte, settlers are being selected and groomed. Ultimately families are chosen from every continent on Earth. The company requires them to give up everything and commit to taking a one-way trip to Hathor.

Based on the population of our planet, obviously the settlers are going to be a mix of cultures, languages, ethnicities and skin colors. So that mix is what reflects Hathor and ultimately, the Guardians.

That mix is also reflected in the “old language” Nadira uses in the Hathor Legacy books. While I was writing, I took words from Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swahili, English, etc. and created my own twists.

For instance, in Swahili, “ahali” can be translated to mean “family relations.” I added “non” to mean a person who had no relations and was considered an outcast–which led to the word, Nonhali.

In French, “moyenne” means “average.” The Guardians refer to people without abilities as moyen, meaning they’re average people with no PSI powers. (The word “fragile” is also used,  but is considered a slur.)

Another quick note: I got my translations by way of Google, so they’re probably not 100% perfect, But for my purposes they were close enough to give me a starting point.

Arrival

Once the settlers arrive on Hathor, they have homes and everything set up for their use. They will make their fortune by being part of the labor force doing the mining, farming and other work to help establish the world.

Hathor has one main continent, and that’s where most people live (there will be more about the planet itself in a future post). So the inhabitants are within towns where they can interact and create communities within the structure established by TTM.

But not long after their arrival, an illness begins to spread. Whether it’s caused by terraforming (as is mentioned in Hathor Legacy: Burn) or by something else, hasn’t been admitted to publicly. In any case, the sickness sweeps through the population and kills off young and old as it spreads through the towns.

The Outcome

It takes months for the outbreak to be contained. But while it’s going on, families end up reforming themselves as survivors are taken in and people band together for protection.

Because of this, there’s a “mash up” of languages and cultures as orphaned children are brought into new families, people connect with new partners and the community rebuilds itself.

Through all this, PSI powers begin to develop in the children born on Hathor (and in some of the adult survivors). At first the abilities are feared and often the people who have them are persecuted and isolated. But in time, they became a symbol of survival and, as far as some are concerned, a gift that sets them apart.

In the midst of their fight for survival, the story of the First Families has extra added importance as an origin story for the new society, and will become the foundation for the Guardians generations later.

In the next part, I’ll go into more detail about other cultural aspects, including the takeover by Novacorp Gallactic, Inc., and the splintering of the native population into the Guardians, the Kasema and the Deshtu.

Photo Credit: mugley via Compfight cc

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet by Tom Johnson

New Pangaea1Pangaea: Eden’s Planet was a concept I came up with several years ago while looking for a possible book proposal to submit to Hollywood Studios. Yes, I’ve submitted several proposals without success yet, but I keep trying. I’ve actually gone through two agents that were not hungry enough to sell my books to Hollywood.

Basically, Pangaea: Eden’s Planet is a character-driven novel and focuses on seven astronauts on a mission to Mars to begin a terra-farming project after a nuclear war on Earth.

But problems arise when they enter a space anomaly that disables their ship, sending them back in time. The planet’s gravity pulls them back to Earth, where they crash land on an alien world 250 million years in the past.

Their mission now turns into a survival situation, as fierce reptiles of the Permian Period, as well as explosive nature, endangers their very lives.

The seven astronauts are scientists in special fields that will be needed to fulfill their mission on Mars. This includes Colonel Evelyn Peterson and Major Adam Cooper, the pilots of Galileo Two; Colonel Peterson is the leader of the mission, the major is her second in command. I gave each character individual personalities.

The subplot was a romance building between Peterson and Cooper. When I first conceived the story, Evelyn was black and Cooper white, which I figured would be one of the problems keeping them apart, but later I changed my mind about pursuing this element of the story, and dropped all reference to her race. After all, her responsibility of keeping those under her command alive in a harsh environment is concern enough. Besides, in the 21st Century race should no longer be a stumbling block to romance.

My love of biology and study of paleontology and other zoological areas of science has always been a driving force in my writing. In Pangaea: Eden’s Planet, I fill my world with known creatures from the period, as well as a few from my own imagination.

Sixty million years before the dawn of the dinosaurs, there were still predators as menacing as T-Rex. Colonel Peterson and Major Cooper were the only ones armed, and that consisted of small caliber pistols, each holding 15-round clips of ammunitions, and they were faced by incredible odds.

Their survival would require ingenuity and fearlessness. We have seven people alone in a world of fierce reptiles, volcanic activity, and danger from the heavens. But yet love will also find a way.

Readers that enjoy a story with action and danger, with a light touch of romantic tease will find Pangaea: Eden’s Planet a work of fiction both entertaining and, hopefully, memorable.Tom's Back Cover Picture

There is drama and humor as the characters face each situation, good and bad, with the knowledge that life or death could be ahead of them. Their survival may depend on their next action. You will find laughter at times, and cry at others, but I believe you will come to know and love the characters, whatever their faults might be. Happy reading.

Where to find author Tom Johnson on the web:

Blog http://jurnovels.blogspot.com
Website http://www15.brinkster.com/jur1/index.html

Where to buy Pangaea: Eden’s Planet:

First Realm Publishing
http://www.firstrealmpublishing.com/pangaea-eden-s-planet

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Pangaea-Edens-Planet-Tom-Johnson-ebook/dp/B00L9A7SAU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415551384&sr=1-1&keywords=pangaea%3A+eden%27s+planet+by+tom+johnson

 

Hathor Legacy: Burn Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway – Week 6

This week’s book tour stop is:
Book ‘Em North Carolina

Be sure to stop by the tour stops and enter to win in the giveaway!

NBtM_HathorLegacyBurn_Banner

Prizes:

Grand Prize: $45 Amazon GC
Host Prize: $35 Amazon GC
Print version of Hathor Legacy: Burn to 3 randomly drawn winners

Virtual Book Tour stops:

August 13: Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview
http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/2014/08/hathor-legacy-burn-by-deborah-bailey.html

August 20: The Avid Reader – Interview & review
http://the-avidreader.blogspot.com/2014/08/review-interview-of-hathor-legacy-burn.html

August 27: Booklover Sue – Interview
http://bookloversue.blogspot.com/2014/08/interview-giveaway-hathor-legacy-burn.html

September 3: Blood Moons and Nightscapes – Marketing tips post
http://barbara-custer.livejournal.com/

September 3: Blood Red Shadows – Marketing tips post
http://bloodredshadow.com/

September 5: *Free Friday promotion – Romance Novels in Color – Interview & Giveaway
http://romancenovelsincolor.com/category/giveaways/

*(This is a special giveaway for subscribers of the Romance Novels in Color newsletter. Subscribe and comment for your chance to win. Ends Midnight EDT 9/12)

September 10: The Reading Addict – My writing process post
http://thereadingaddict-elf.blogspot.com/

September 13: Room with Books – Review
http://roomwithbooks.com/hathor-legacy-burn-review/

September 17: Book ‘Em North Carolina – Worldbuilding post
http://www.bookemnc.blogspot.com/

September 24: Queen of All She Reads
October 1: Long and Short Reviews
October 8: Emma Weylin
October 15: It’s Raining Books
October 22: Books to Light Your Fire
October 22: Unabridged Audra’s
October 29: Straight From the Library

About the book:

Book Two of the Hathor Legacy Series

On the planet, Hathor, an old threat re-emerges that may destroy the fragile alliance between the Guardians and Novacorp. When Nadira is called to investigate a rash of fires throughout the city, she discovers the Deshtu, another group with PSI powers who have been purposely kept in the shadows.

Working to uncover the source of the fires, Nadira learns the brutal truth about the origin of the Guardians. The Guardian Elders have plans to make Nadira more powerful, and she may be forced to sever her psychic connection to Jonathan Keel.

When an unexpected ally gives Jonathan information about the Deshtu that connects them to the fires, he becomes a convenient scapegoat for the opposing factions. Nadira puts her life on the line to solve the crime, while the Elders make their move to remove Jonathan from her life forever.

As time runs out, the Guardians prepare for a clash with Novacorp that could plunge the planet into chaos, and a final betrayal forces Nadira to risk everything to save herself and Hathor. Buy here: http://amzn.to/1pkgwHn

 

Additional blog posts & interviews:

* “Meet the Author Mondays” on the Science Fiction Romance Brigade blog
http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/2014/07/meet-author-monday-deborah-bailey.html

*Other Worlds of Romance radio show with Linda Mooney.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/other_worlds_of_romance/2014/07/29/deborah-bailey-returns-as-my-guest-author-on-july-28th

*Author interview on the Smart Girls Love Sci-Fi blog
http://smartgirlsscifi.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/author-interview-deb-bailey/

*”The Heroine’s Journey” on the Science Fiction Romance Brigade blog
http://sfrcontests.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-heroines-journey-by-deborah-bailey.html?spref=tw

Cover by Steph’s Cover Design: http://stephscoverdesign.com/

Hathor Legacy Worldbuilding Part 2 – the Novacorp Corporation

4261440602_5e3c5f9585_oHaving worked in a few of the big companies such as AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, JC Penney, I was exposed to corporate culture for most of my working life.

If you’ve never worked inside a large corporation, good for you. 🙂 Actually there are good corporate environments, just as there are terrible ones. It all depends.

But one thing I learned over the years is that there are common denominators in corporate life, and they inspired me to create Novacorp Gallactic, Incorporated for the Hathor Legacy universe.

In that universe, the planet Hathor is the corporate HQ for a corporation that controls several solar systems in our galaxy. According to the history, Hathor was discovered in the year 2234. (See Part 1 and my post for the SFRB blog hop for more info!)

After its discovery and subsequent terraforming, settlers from Earth were selected to colonize the planet. Unfortunately after their arrival, a disease spread through the population, ultimately giving rise to the Guardians.

Hathor probably would’ve been abandoned after such a devastating event, but the planet had valuable resources, such as crystals and other precious gems, some of which were being used as power sources.

So, after the disease passed and other companies began arriving and staking their claims, Novacorp executives realized that they’d like to own all of the resources. In order to do that, they had to control the planet. This is what led to the Corporate Wars, (which is referenced in my upcoming book, Hathor Legacy: Burn). Instead of corporate takeovers and fights in the boardroom, these fights involve troops.

As I mentioned, Novacorp’s corporate culture is based on the environments I came to know in my work history. Here are some points that influenced my worldbuilding:

Emphasis on the collective and not the individual – corporate is great for emphasizing teamwork, over individual desires. There’s constant pressure to conform to the culture and not be an outlier. Working together for the good of the company is supposed to outweigh individual ambition (though that’s not always the case in the real world or on Hathor).

Rewards based on a hierarchy – the people at the top get most of  the perks, and the Novacorp senior managers get most of the spoils. They wear brown suits to differentiate them from the regular corporate workers who wear grey suits.

In most of the corporations I worked in, the “workers” were in cubes, with the size (and sometimes the color) indicating the employee’s level. Managers were usually in offices (or in larger cubes) and the size was based on how high the manager was in the hierarchy. If you had an office with a window, you were very special! A corner office (more windows and more floor space) meant you were on the fast track.

Established pecking order & lots of bureaucracy – the heroine, Nadira is the most powerful Guardian, so her position is higher than most Guardians. She reports to the Sentry Leader, a corporate manager who, in turn, reports to the company senior managers.

Novacorp executives are the elite of the planet. They only answer to the Novacorp board of directors. The thing is, there are so many levels of senior managers that no one is really sure who they are!

The company provides everything – when I was in corporate, there was a tendency to get very comfortable. Why not? With benefits, subsidized cafeterias, discounts on company-made products, gyms, employee wellness programs, credit unions, etc., you had no reason to go outside the company for anything. It was easy to become a “company man” or woman without even trying.

Novacorp runs everything from education to retail to food production to the weather. Society is broken down into four main groups: the Novacorp employees, the wealthy business people and company executives, the Guardians, and the people who are native to Hathor (descendants from various waves of settlers) who also work for the company in some capacity or another.

In the Hathor Legacy universe, there is always tension between the all-powerful corporation and the powerful Guardians. That relationship impacts the lives of Nadira and Jonathan (the hero). Their mothers take drastic measures to fight back against the status quo, resulting in sacrifice and loss for both families.

I’ll share more about the Hathor Legacy universe in upcoming posts. So look out for them and the launch of Hathor Legacy: Burn, book two in the series, later this month!

Photo Credit: mugley via Compfight cc

Hathor Legacy Worldbuilding Part 1 – The Guardians

2397492037_8889ea7430_o_300Believe it or not I came up with the idea for the Guardians from watching a PBS documentary on U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Well, there were a few twists and turns between the idea and the execution. But ideas seldom go from thought to execution in a straight line, do they?

After they went into the details of how FDR was infected by the virus that causes polio, I wondered what would happen if that disease was as prevalent in the US today?

From that thought, I got an idea about a virus that would fundamentally change the person who became infected. But instead of having the virus unleashed on Earth, I chose a settlement on another planet. A person who survived the infection would be left with PSI powers. Though not just the ability to read minds or predict the future, they’d also be capable of moving objects and sending out energy blasts.

They’d have abilities like a superhero in any comic book, but they wouldn’t be necessarily fighting for truth or justice. They’d be used as a security force.

In book two of the Hathor Legacy series, Hathor Legacy: Burn, I reveal the origin of the Guardians. They’re descendants of settlers who were infected by a virus unleashed after the planet was terraformed and prepared for human habitation.

Instead of being superheroes using their extraordinary powers to save the day, they’re corporate employees doing a job for Novacorp Intergalactic, Inc.

In between my Twilight Zone binges, I read tons of Superman comics as a child. Strangely enough, I always felt a bit sorry for him. Separated from the rest of humanity by his powers and his origins, he was on the outside looking in. (Which explains why he would continue to juggle his Clark Kent persona. It was the only way to actually be connected to other humans.) Though the Guardians are also separated from the other humans on Hathor, they have their own culture and hierarchies within that culture.

They don’t get to choose their professions and they’re discouraged from having relationships with people outside of their group. Not only that, but once an individual develops abilities and becomes a Guardian, they’re forced to leave their family and give up their family name. Everything is done to strip them of who they were before so they can start a new life with a new identity.

Nadira (the heroine) has to fight convention when she decides to continue her relationship with Jonathan Keel (the hero). Yet, her mother, Minona also fought against the established order.

Some Guardians do push back in spite of the pressure to conform. As with any group, there will be outliers, but with the Guardians, if too many of them push back, it could destroy them and completely rip apart the fabric that holds the society together.

Novacorp needs them to hold on to their control, and yet the Guardians are strong enough to overpower them. At the heart of the story, conflict and tension exists between two groups that need each other for survival, yet don’t trust each other. And ultimately this conflict directly impacts the relationship between Nadira and Jonathan.

That’s how I got from FDR to the Guardians. Certainly not what I expected when I sat down to watch that program!

In the next part, I’ll share my inspiration for creating the corporate-run society on Hathor.

Photo Credit: Dallas1200am via Compfight cc