The A-Zs of Worldbuilding by Rebekah Loper

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Author Name: Rebekah Loper

Year the book was published: 2017
Age category: Adult
Book’s genre: Fantasy, Reference – Craft of Writing, Science Fiction
Book’s title: The A-Zs of Worldbuilding: Building a Fictional World From Scratch
Brief description of the book: AtoZ2019BookTour
Worldbuilding is the ultimate act of creation for speculative fiction writers, but how exactly do you worldbuild? You ask ‘what if’ and use each answer as a springboard to more questions and answers about your fictional world.
In THE A-ZS OF WORLDBUILDING, that ‘what if’ process is broken down into 26 themed chapters, covering topics ranging from architecture to zoology. Each chapter includes a corresponding set of guided exercises to help you find the ‘what if’ questions relevant to your story’s world.
Fair warning, though: worldbuilding is addictive. Once you get started, you might never put your pen down again.

My review:

This book is a fantastic tool for writers of fantasy and science fiction who have to build their worlds from nothing. However, I soon realized that this is also useful for those of us whose fiction is set in the present day US, as well. It is a comprehensive guide to setting, including aspects many of us don’t think about until we are in the middle of a story and get lost.  Even if we are not creating the world from scratch, we still need to be mindful of how the various aspects of geography, society, and culture affect our characters and their lives.

The book has 26 chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet. The topic is discussed and thought provoking questions are asked. Sources of inspiration are also given. Each chapter concludes with exercises that can be used to flesh out the topic for the reading author’s work. The chapters do not have to be read and practiced in the order written, but the reading author can jump around to what sections are needed easily.

I definitely recommend this book to any fiction author.

EXCLUSIVE TOUR CONTENT: Scene / excerpt from the book. (Never before shared online.)
X is for Xenial
Concerning the Hospitality of Guests
The word ‘xenial’ has to do with hospitality. Specifically, it can pertain to the type of hospitality shown to strangers and guests. Since travel is an integral part of many speculative fiction plots, hospitality is an important thing to consider in your worldbuilding. We will look at both day-to-day hospitality and hospitality shown to guests and travelers.
Common Courtesy
There are many different ways people say hello or goodbye, as well as potential cultural reasons why they don’t say either of those things. It can be complicated or simple, and perhaps it ties in with other cultural occurrences. There may also be additional greetings included, such as during a holiday season (Merry Christmas!)
Depending on how your society is set up, there may be common mandatory courtesies for those of different rank. Think of whether royalty must be addressed in a certain manner, and if people are required to bow or curtsy. If someone is seen as having descended directly from a divine being, perhaps culture demands that people fully prostrate themselves in their presence.
There may be those who are not acknowledged publicly at all – like servants, peasants, or beggars. There are multitudes of reasons a society might see certain people as inferior, sadly.
Attitudes and language in general can be more or less formal, and may depend on how well people know each other, the capacity they are interacting in at that moment, societal rank, or gender.
When devising protocol and courtesies between ranking individuals and their equals or subjects, keep in mind that many things will be shaped to lessen the fear of the risk of assassination. Words and phrases that are perfectly acceptable in common company may be perceived as threatening when in the presence of ranking individuals.
Treatment of Guests
A guest can be a familiar friend, in which case they will not require much formality, but there still may be certain things that are offered because of custom. Casual greetings can be a simple ‘hi’ or even greeting someone by name. But universal hospitality may be inviting someone to sit down and asking if they’d like a drink, regardless of whether they are a close friend or a new acquaintance.
Travelers, especially strangers, will receive a different kind of hospitality, and that can vary. If a town has been repeatedly pillaged or taken advantage of, they won’t be very friendly to strangers anymore. But some places might pride themselves on their hospitality, and will go all out to impress a guest.
In an agrarian society, or any place that uses livestock as their main form of transportation, it would be more than reasonable for a stranger to be offered feed, water, and a place in the stable for their animal. A drink, meal, and perhaps even a bath (or foot washing) are things that would be offered to nearly everyone, no matter what their rank.
However, if a monarch were to suddenly show up at the front door, it may even be an occasion to slaughter an animal for dinner, even if it was being saved for some other occasion. Not every guest is going to receive that kind of hospitality.
A family member who just showed up out of the blue, though, may not warrant very much special hospitality. It just depends. Hospitality and common courtesies are elements that can enhance a plot and the interactions between characters, as many different nuances and intentions can be made clear between what is offered, and what is not.
Another matter to consider is if and when guests can be turned away. It might be that certain guests may never be turned away – such as a monarch, though it would courteous of a gracious monarch to find lodging or sustenance elsewhere if there has been a death in the home recently.
Sickness will almost always be a reason to turn away guests. An illness potentially being contagious is nothing to ever mess around with, especially if medical care is not incredibly advanced.
The main thing to consider is whether one can turn away a guest for any reason, without giving a reason, or if they must have a concrete reason to do so.
Other Inspiration
Look up etiquette of different historical eras and different cultures – there’s some unique customs out there that can be great story inspiration. Etiquette will also vary by social and economic status. There are certain customs some might find difficult to part with, even if they have experienced a change in social status. There is also the fact that the rich can afford more niceties.
Why did you start blogging?
To create a platform for my writing and connect with an audience.
Any other books coming out soon?
I will have a fantasy short story in an anthology this spring, but release date has not been settled yet.
Brief tip on writing: 
Never stop looking for inspiration – it’s always there. Even if you don’t have time to write it, always keep looking for that magic ‘what if’.
Where did the idea for this book come from, other than the alphabet and the challenge?
I love worldbuilding. When I was looking for ways to learn how to worldbuild as a young writer, I was always disappointed by the lack of true worldbuilding workbooks, so this was born out of that desire.
What writing goal do you hope to accomplish this year?
Draft a second volume of The A-Zs of Worldbuilding on creating magic systems. Establish a true writing habit for my fiction, which I’ve let be overrun by ‘real life’ the past several years. Finish revising at least one of my set-aside novels.
As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read? 
A fascinating summary, followed closely by a stunning book cover!
What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this post to answer or remark on in the blog comments?
What about worldbuilding most inspires or hinders you, either as a reader or writer?
Connect with Rebekah Loper
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Vow of Devotion by Emma Renshaw Review + Giveaway

 

Title: Vow of Devotion
Series: Vow Series #4
Author: Emma Renshaw
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 25, 2019

 

Blurb
One look.
Just like that.
That’s all it takes for me to know I wanted Ava for more than one night. She takes a
single look at me and only sees a player. 
The young, single mom doesn’t give her trust easily. Convincing her I want more than a one night stand is the best thing I’ve ever done until it all crashes down around
me.
As I’m framed for crimes I didn’t commit, I fight to prove my innocence and battle to
convince Ava and her daughter to stay.
When the stakes rise, will I be able to prove my vow of devotion? 

 

My review:

Single mother Ava and her six year old daughter Lilly just moved to Austin from San Antonio so Ava can start a new teaching job. They meet Hudson at the park shortly after, when he is there with his nephews. He asks her out, she turns him down. He can’t stop thinking about her, though, and convinces her to just be his friend. He continually proves to Ava that she can count on him, though, and Lilly too.

This was a super sweet book. I loved how Hudson and Lilly were together. And Hudson and Ava were perfect together. I liked so many parts of this book I can’t even begin to list them all!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Trailer
Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

Author Bio
Emma loves to write, just don’t ask her to write about herself. If she isn’t writing,
you can find her lost in a book or trying to get her doggo to take a selfie with her. He usually refuses. At the end of the day, you can find Emma at the closest Mexican restaurant eating queso and sipping on a margarita. She lives in Texas with her husband and dog.
Author Links

 

Irresistible by Melanie Harlow

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“Sexy, heartfelt–did I mention sexy? With the perfect touch of the forbidden, Melanie Harlow has outdone herself with single dad Mack and Frannie’s story!”

— Ilsa Madden-Mills, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

Irresistible, an all-new fun and swoony standalone from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow, is available now!

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I’m a full-time single dad to three daughters and CFO at Cloverleigh Farms. I don’t have time to fall in love—I’m too busy trying to run a business, keep the red socks out of the white laundry, and get the damn pillowcases on without owing a dollar to the swear jar.

Sure, Frannie Sawyer is beautiful and sweet, but she’s twenty-seven, the boss’s daughter, and my new part-time nanny—which means she’s completely off-limits. It’s bad enough I can’t stop fantasizing about her, what kind of jerk would I be if I acted on the impulse to kiss her?

(Exactly the kind of jerk you’re thinking.)

Actually, I’m worse than that—because I didn’t stop with a kiss, and now I can’t stay away. She makes me feel like myself again. She reminds me what it’s like to want something just for me. She’s everything I ever needed, but nothing I ever imagined.

I’m a former Marine. I should have had the strength to resist her from the start.

But I didn’t. And now I have to choose between the life I want and the life she deserves.

Even if it means giving her up.

 

My review:

This wasn’t a bad book. It wasn’t phenomenal, either. I LOVED Mack’s three daughters. Their intervention with him, and the subsequent “go win back the girl” scene were hilarious. Mack’s self-important, “I’m older so I know what you want better than you do” attitude really got on my nerves. He was an amazing dad, though. Frannie may have been ten years younger, but in some ways she was the more mature one in that she was willing to take the risk.

Mack and Frannie were good together, though. He was the support she needed to follow her dream, and she helped him to lighten up and to learn how to enjoy himself again.

After all of Mack’s buildup about it, though, I felt a little let down that there was no fallout – good or bad – with Frannie’s parents about their relationship. He was so concerned because of both their age difference and the fact that he’s their employee, but it was completely brushed over.

Rating: ♥♥♥ 1/2

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Nn9mUO

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/IrresistibleMH

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2XjHDsO

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2RCLvWs

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About Melanie

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Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

 

Connect with Melanie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieHarlow/?fref=ts

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NPkYKs

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Website: http://www.melanieharlow.com

Stay up to date, sign up for Melanie’s mailing list: http://www.melanieharlow.com/subscribe/

 

New Release: The Legend by Dylan Allen

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“Dylan Allen is a master of slow-burn to scorching hot, but it’s the journey that she takes her readers on that really sets her apart. This book is a must!”

–Ginger Scott, Amazon bestselling author

The Legend, an all-new steamy, second-chance romance from Dylan Allen, is available now!

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The love of a lifetime deserves a million chances.

Remington Wilde had heartbreak written all over him.

He was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen.

When I looked into his midnight eyes,

I saw a happy ending I’d never dared to dream of.

I was seventeen the first time he asked for my heart,

I didn’t hesitate to hand it over.

In exchange, he gave me the best summer of my life.

He was my first everything.

Falling in love felt written in the stars…

But our legend, it turns out, was all a lie.

And when our story ended, all I had was a broken heart.

Now, he wants a second chance.

But this time, I’ve got more to lose than just my heart.

When the lies that pulled us apart, threaten again, it will take more than sweet words from his sinful mouth to convince me.

He says the love of a lifetime deserves a million chances,

But am I strong enough to fall again?

 

My review:

Remi and Kal have opposite lives. They first meet when they are in middle school, hiding from a party hosted by Remi’s family. They reconnect later as high school seniors and fall deeply in love. Lies and misrepresentations tear them apart, however, and take them away from each other for many years.

Remington’s world is blown up when he gets some shocking information, and reporter Kal is sent to find the story. What they find, though, is bigger than any story.

I actually really liked this one. It was higher on drama than I prefer, and Remi’s mother made the book feel like Dallas or Dynasty or one of those 80s nighttime over-the-top soaps. But it held my interest, and when I thought the book would be predictable, the story didn’t go where I was expecting.

I liked Kal’s character. Her imagination and drive were wonderful. Remi was absolutely devoted to her, even after years of not being with her. I do wish, however, that there was more story about the aftermath of the big reveal, and exploring Remi’s new family relationships more.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2U5jBQj

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheLegendDA

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2U1W0zL

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2QB383S

About Dylan Allen

Dylan Allen is a Texas girl with a serious case of wanderlust.

A self-proclaimed happily ever junkie, she loves creating stories where her characters chase their own happy endings.

When she isn’t writing or reading, eating or cooking, she and her family are planning their next adventure.

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Connect with Dylan

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peddlerofpassion/

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/dylanallenwrit1

Book+Main: https://bookandmainbites.com/dylanallen

Stay up to date with Dylan by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2OcDm8M