First, click on the covers for to go to the Amazon pages. Promo done? Good.
With Crossing Bedlam out and Legends of Windemere beyond the halfway mark, I’m left thinking about the two in comparison. Not an easy thing to think about since I never really thought I’d move so far out of fantasy. Sure, I toyed with science fiction, but this type of story never came up until recently. Not a bad thing. Just something I didn’t expect.
Compared to Windemere, Bedlam is way on the other side of my spectrum. Both have a large amount of action and violence, but Bedlam seems darker at most points. A big factor in this is how the characters react to killing. The champions don’t take any joy from killing while Lloyd revels in it. There’s a sense of amusement and glee in the action scenes of Bedlam while Windemere is more low key even when high adrenaline. This might have to do with my own mentality while writing them. I see Bedlam as an R-Rated action movie like Mad Max and Total Recall. I think the addition of guns and a real world setting makes the action scenes grittier and more ‘visible’. Windemere is closer to Lord of the Rings with a grandiose style of action that contains elements of the unreal. For example, you can clearly imagine a battle with Cassidy and Lloyd in their jeep with more ease than Luke Callindor battling trolls in a jungle. You have to put a bit more brain power into forming the troll in your mind than the jeep.
There is also a difference in language with Windemere only going so far as bastard and the occasional bitch and ass. Bedlam brings out my inner swear fiend. This was a choice of audience that I made for both series after some thought. The earliest version of Nyx actually had her swearing left and right because the person who played her in the game swore a lot. I changed this when I felt that it didn’t fit the fantasy setting and I remembered that I rarely ran into curse words in the stuff I read in my youth. So I made up my own insults and kept the mundane ones that I felt would work for the world. As far as Bedlam, I knew this would be more adult and society had collapsed, so Cassidy and Lloyd cursing often made sense. Especially Cassidy who is pure survivor and has little patience for manners. It’s weird because I feel off when I write the Bedlam crew yelling without curses and the same sensation comes over me if the Windemere cast drops a big swear word.
All of this is cosmetic differences though. That’s what I see when I look at characters, setting, atmosphere, action, and the plots. So is there anything similar? Possibly only me and what makes up my writing style. Both stories are written with high action and some humor in a present tense third person style. There is a focus on character development at times, but Windemere has that more than Bedlam. The latter requires that the characters not soften because the world is so dangerous. Again, I find myself pointing out differences, which makes me wonder if I have created something new for myself. A fresh playground to poke around in with these characters.
Keep in mind that I’ve been writing Legends of Windemere since 1999. I outlined stories for other worlds and other regions of Windemere, but eventually everything stemmed from Legends. Now I have Bedlam that can go on its own and let me flex a bit while I run toward the end of the big series. Is that why the two series are similar only in style and not in substance? As odd a question as it sounds, do other authors get confused when they write in two genres or worlds with such differences? What do people think about an author that writes series that vary so much in ‘rating’? I ask that last question because I’ve seen many authors go from a children or young adult series to an adult one and get backlash. Makes one wonder if an author can easily step into a new realm after they’ve become known for one.