Questions 3: Tasty Treats

Most people enjoy treats.  They’re guilty pleasures and sinful indulgences.  Some of us hide it from the world.  Others revel in it.  Some have an easier time than others trying to pinpoint what their favorites are.  For example, I really can’t decide on what my favorite candy would be.  I’m leaning towards Snickers, but I love Milky Way.  Reese’s is up there too, but I can’t have that as much.  You’ve got ice cream, cakes, pies, and every manner of treat.  So:

  1. What are some of your favorite treats?
  2. Is there a treat you had as a child, but can never find it as an adult?
  3. What is one treat that you’ve never been a fan of?
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Immortal Wars: The Summoning Part 29 #fiction #throwback

(Previously on Immortal Wars.)

(Again, we shall revel in my teenage originality.  Everyone groan in unison.)

Disclaimer: Immortal Wars was the book I came up with and wrote in high school.  I hadn’t even hit college by the time I wrote the first two books.  That means I hadn’t developed my style yet, wasn’t good at self-editing, and the story was fairly basic. So, you’ve been warned that this is the ultimate author throwback segment for my blog and will show my author origins.  FYI-  I put the first book (The Summoning) through a Print-on-Demand publisher and the second one (Light, Blood, & Tears) never saw the light of day.  Enjoy!

The weary Mars guardian has slept for four sweet, silent hours.  The intense workouts he has been putting himself through for the past week have made him extremely tired.  Before he went to sleep he was surprised that he made it back to his room without collapsing in the dark hallway.  As soon as his head hit the soft pillows, Fate fell into a deep sleep.  He would have gladly stayed in his personal dreamland if not for a very persistent, uninvited guest.

“Come on, Eddie.  Rise and try to shine.  Open up your eyes and start moving.  Well, at least prove that you’re still alive by doing something,” whispers Miracle while she repeatedly pokes him in his shoulder.  When her boyfriend doesn’t react to her constant poking, she resorts to other, more drastic, means.  She picks up a nearby pitcher of freezing cold water and dumps it on Fate’s head.

“Hey!” exclaims a soaking wet Mars guardian as he jumps out of bed.  Miracle starts giggling and creates a big towel for Fate.  The towel feels very soft and is blue instead of a simple, dull pink like her first illusions.  Miracle’s solid illusions have become much more realistic and it is getting harder to tell them apart from the real thing.  If Fate hadn’t watched her create it, he would have thought the towel was real.

“Sorry about the rude awakening,” laughs Miracle.  She gets a dry uniform for Fate from the floating uniform capsule and tosses it to him.  Fate takes the fresh clothes and walks into the small bathroom.

“I’ll just bet you are,” mumbles Fate while drying his hair.

“It’s not my fault you sleep like a corpse. I wouldn’t have been forced to drench you if you had woken up when I first called your name.”

“I don’t usually sleep like that, but I was up late training again.  Now, what is so damn important that it couldn’t wait three more hours?”  After he leaves the bathroom, the towel disappears when he crumples it into a ball and drops it on the floor.

“I did some massive file checking and found some very interesting information on our previously mysterious enemies.  We should look over the files before today’s training exercises begin.  The whole know thy enemy thing.”  Miracle walks over to Fate and puts his headband on her head.  She looks at herself in a full-length mirror while Fate pulls his red boots on.  He watches as Miracle does her best imitation of Hydrana in order to get a smile out of him.

“Do you want to keep it?  I really don’t like the way it looks on me.”

“No thanks.  It clashes with the rest of my outfit.  Maybe if it was pure white instead of light blue.”

“Just put it back in the cylinder and tell me what you found out,” says Fate, whose patience is wearing thin.  Miracle swiftly takes off the headband and tosses it back into the uniform cylinder.  She gives Fate a playful kiss on his nose as she walks past him.  Fate can’t help but smile at Miracle’s affectionate and innocent actions.

“I’ll tell you about the bad guys on the way to breakfast,” whispers Miracle.  Before Fate can say anything else, she grabs him by the arm and yanks him out the door.

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Interludes 2 – A New Book from Harmony Kent

I am so pleased to have Harmony Kent visit Fiction Favorites. I have known Harmony for a number of years and it gives me great pleasure to see her …

Interludes 2 – A New Book from Harmony Kent
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7 Tips to Putting Ice Cream in Fiction?

Baskin Robbins

It’s on the list of post ideas . . . I have no real idea why.  You can guess that I made it at night when I was hungry.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that you don’t see much ice cream in fantasy.  I won’t say it never turns up because I’m sure there’s at least one around with it.  Pretty clear why it wouldn’t be common since they don’t have refrigeration to keep it viable.  Still, there’s no reason you can’t add it and I have no idea what else to do here.  Guess this week is favorite foods or something.

  1. Come up with a way to explain how it keeps cold.  I feel that this is the perfect time to introduce minor spells that can get the job done.  All you really need is something to keep the ice cream cold.  Perhaps it stays that way as long as it is in a container and begins to warm up once it’s out.  Doesn’t sound nearly as complicated as other real world foods.
  2. Since this isn’t in our world, you can go wild with the idea.  We’ll get to flavors later, but consider that it might not be a dessert.  What if ice cream was created as a main course in a desert region?  It could be a breakfast since people make it out of milk.  If you go this route then a lot of opportunities appear.  For example, ice cream scoops surrounding a roasted chicken.  I didn’t say they would be good opportunities.
  3. Then again . . . why stick with the basic flavors?  A person could use ice cream as a sauce or topping instead of a dessert.  Maybe gravy or vodka sauce or anything that you make with milk.  Again, we might find it disgusting because that isn’t how we do ice cream on Earth.  In a fantasy world, the evolution and acceptance of this food changes the way it is created and used.  Just try not to make yourself throw up depending on how far off the norm you go.
  4. Consider how common ice cream will be in your world.  While we have it everywhere on Earth, it could be a rare or local delicacy in a fantasy world.  This can create some humor because characters will be amazed by it or even disgusted.  Imagine being a stranger and told that you’re being served the frozen milk of a cow that has been whipped with sugar.  It can be weird because you’d wonder who in the world came up with that idea.  Seriously, you have to wonder how most of the foods we eat ever came into being.
  5. Ice cream headache or brain freeze.  Whatever you call it, the gag never gets old.
  6. How will your world serve the ice cream?  Dishes and cones are what we do here, but that doesn’t have to be the end of it.  Maybe ice cream lollipops or a place that serves it by catapult.  You have to catch it in your mouth or something.  A bag of ice cream is another possibility, which can or cannot include magic.  It’s really all up to your imagination here.
  7. Try really hard NOT to write a blog post about how to put ice cream into fantasy stories.  It’s a weird topic that can reveal one of two things or both.  First, you were really hungry and overheated when thinking up ideas.  Second, you’re really coming to the bottom of the blog post barrel.  Seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking here and just praying it works.
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Teaser Tuesday: The Approaching Threat #fantasy #vampires

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

I always forget how hard it is to find teasers for War of Nytefall: Eradication.  If it isn’t a lot of talking then it’s a fight scene with spoilers.  Then again, the book has been out for a while, so I don’t think a few juicy reveals are going to hurt it.  This one is fairly mild and it’s a great set up for a later story.  Here you go.

Continue reading

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The Fun and Beauty of Pizza Memes

Yeah, I’m burning out right now with everything going on.  Kind of got a hankering for junk food too.  Sounds like a decent topic for the week.  Of course, I’m going to have to open it up with my favorite guilty pleasure.  Enjoy the funnies:

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Introducing THE STONES #newrelease #scifi #aliens

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! I know I was starting to sound like a tease. But this time, I mean it. The wait is over.

Astral Conspiracy Book 2, The Stones, has been released!

I know I recently mentioned a “binge drop” of the whole series. Well, for various reasons, that didn’t happen. I apologize. But rest assured, the rest of the series will release soon.

Until then, for more information, you can:

  • view the product page on my site (here), where you can also see a slideshow of pull quotes from the book
  • view the product page on my publisher’s site (here), where you can navigate to other Invasion Universe offerings
  • go directly to Amazon to get your copy (here)

The Stones will be available at other vendors soon.

I’m so excited to finally share this installment of the Astral Conspiracy Series with the world…

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A Double Request: 2 Monster Maker Slots and War of Nytefall September Release

Bill Murray from Stripes (BTW- There is no meeting.)

I’m preparing for my son’s birthday party this morning, but I’ll be back to the computer this afternoon.  So, I’m going to be quick and to the point:

  1. I still have two slots open for the Monster Maker event in October.  This is where you give 3 nonsense words and I make a post turning them into monsters.  You get credit for them and a link to your blog.  Starting to think I should make it a link to one’s book, but not every volunteer has a book to plug.  Anyway, if there is anyone who wants to join then there are 2 openings.
  2. I’m still aiming to release War of Nytefall: Ravenous in September.  I was hoping to get some volunteers to promote the book.  I’m unable to put any money behind it, so getting blog posts are essential to getting any attention.  If there is a specific post topic that you want me to write about then let me know.  If not then I have the standard one that I’ll put on my blog.  All help is greatly appreciated.


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At Least I Got Some Writing Done

This was certainly a week to remember. The title above is actually the highlights of a really trying and emotionally exhausting time.  It actually led to me scheduling a post for August 2nd about parenting and autism.  I’d do it tomorrow, but I have an event that I’m going to and I want to have some freedom to react.  Still, this week was definitely one that had me crying a few times at night.  I won’t deny.

One thing that I fear as the father of an autistic child is regression.  This is when the child goes backwards in skills or behavior.  It can be triggered by an event that one would think is minor, but it’s everything to them.  I’ve mentioned before that my son has always been a challenge when it comes to food.  This is where the biggest battles occurred with him because the ‘he will not starve himself’ adage didn’t feel like it would ring true.  Seriously, you go through 3 days with the kid only eating one chicken nugget and you throw that belief out the window.

Thankfully, it didn’t go back that far.  Instead, he came home to me and decided that breakfast was not going to happen.  To be clear, nothing happened with his mother to show that this was coming.  Lunch was iffy, but I had debates and arguments with him first thing in the morning.  This triggered my fear that he was going to lose all of the progress we’ve made in two years.  The kid has a better, more varied diet than me, so I was really getting worried.  It didn’t help that some people were talking to me like I was an idiot or my thoughts on the whole thing didn’t matter.  I tried to take some comfort in him eating his lunch and dinner, but just seeing the fear in his eyes when food was mentioned in the morning had me worried.  Things did get better as the week progressed, so I’m hoping this is a very temporary step backwards.  I’m talking about this in a little more detail than normal because I’ve learned some of my lurkers and open followers are parents of autistic children.  Figure this is a good way to show that it happens to all of us who are in this position.  It’s difficult and frustrating, but you have to keep going.  I guess with regression, they prove that they can reach that level, so you just have to find a way to get them there again. Silver lining there.

I’ve done a little writing for War of Nytefall: Anarchy, which might be done by early-August.  I don’t really know what to do after that.  I kept thinking I would tackle Do I Need to Use a Dragon? (Fantasy Writing Tips), but I wouldn’t be able to finish it before grad school starts.  I’m leaning more towards editing War of Nytefall: Savagery and getting that in a good spot in case I can release it later this year or early next year.  I might just tackle War of Nytefall: Eulogy and try to get Clyde’s whole adventure written by the end of the year.  I won’t be able to finish publishing it until December 2021, but it could be good to get it all in first draft stage.  That means I can use my limited time to whittle away at the writing tip book and begin the outlines for Tales of the Slumberlord.  I have a post on that series that I’ve been pushing back on Sundays because other things come up.  As you can tell, everything is in flux.

My son’s birthday is coming up, so that’s a big event.  In the age of covid-19, we can’t do anything big and indoors.  It’s going to be something small and outside with a few of his closest friends.  Bought a box of picnic games, which should go over well.  I’ve been worrying about this day a bit because summer birthdays are always a challenge.  You have to invite people before school ends and many people go on vacation, so you don’t always get a big group.  It’s even harder now because we couldn’t send invitations or have a large group.  We’re trying to get him play dates with those who aren’t coming to the party and other methods of getting him some happy birthday time.  The plus side is that my son is a very happy kid and will be thrilled with whatever he can get.

What else is going on?  I finished scheduling Immortal Wars: The Summoning into mid-November.  It means I have nothing for December Thursdays, but I’m thinking of opening it to anyone who has a book to promote during that time.  I’m almost done scheduling the posts for October and I’m going to start in on November once I come up with some topics.  Feel free to suggest if there’s a topic on your mind.  All of this is to make sure things are set up before I start in on graduate school, which is going to take up a lot of my time.  I have so little . . . I mean, no momentum for my blog and books that vanishing even for a bit is basically a death sentence.

TV and reading have taken an interesting turn.  I found out that the manga ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ ended recently, but I’m far behind.  So, I decided to order the next two volumes of that and ‘Toriko’.  I love both of these series, which are over, which means Barnes & Noble don’t carry all of the volumes.  It has nothing for ‘Toriko’, so I can only order stuff as I have the money.  At $10 a pop, it’s going to take a while to get everything since they go into the 40’s.  With TV, I’ve been watching things that only partially interest me and I’m biding time for these shows to come back:

  • ‘Umbrella Academy’ season 2 on July 31st.  I’ll start rewatching Season 1 on Sunday.
  • ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ season 4 on August 6th.  I’ll already be re-reading the manga, so no need to rewatch.
  • ‘Wynonna Earp’ season 4 on Sunday.  It’s a weekly, so I can either watch it live or DVR.

Such an exciting life I live.  What are the goals?

  1. It’s the big week and a half with the munchkin, so that’s top priority.
  2. Writing if I can.
  3. Prepare blog posts for October and November.
  4. Try to stay cool in this heat.
  5. Father/son reading time.
  6. Puzzle time at night.
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7 Tips to Writing Desert Adventures: Don’t Forget the Sand

Spaceballs the Meme!

A lot of things can be forgotten when you’re writing about a desert adventure.  We may focus on one problem and forget others.  Helps to do some research on how these places really are, but that doesn’t mean things can’t be boiled down for a foundation.  Take these 7 things into consideration.

  1. Water is essential and can run out.  This might sound like a ‘duh’, but you’d be surprised how often authors go to extremes.  A hero might have no water and somehow survive for weeks for dramatic effect.  Too much!  Others will never run out of water, which removes the biggest risk entirely.  Always think about how it is rationed and if the heroes were able to prepare.  Available funds, carrying capacity, and number of party members/animals are important too.  Camels help in some ways, but can the heroes really rush out to buy a bunch of those and known how to ride them?  Finally, always remember that the water will heat up even when in a container, so it probably won’t be a cool, midday drink.
  2. Speaking of keeping cool, desert nights aren’t hot.  The dry air isn’t able to retain the heat once the sun goes down, so it gets cold fast.  There are variations, so it might fall to cool or warm.  Still, it is a drastic change from the daytime temperatures.  It’s a reason why so many stories have characters traversing a desert at night instead of the daytime.
  3. Aside from dehydration, a character should be careful about exposure threats.  Sunburns, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are incredibly dangerous. With the possibility of a hero traveling in armor or how they might not be wearing a decent hat, the chances of succumbing to this becomes greater.  Think about how you would avoid such things and have your characters do the same if they can.
  4. Surprisingly to some, deserts are not always vast expanses of sand with an oasis placed at every dramatically appropriate location.  There are a lot of rocky regions in deserts that characters can look for.  It might be a small spot or a ridge that follows an ancient range that has long since been turned to dust.  Rocky areas can provide shade, maybe plants that are edible, and some animals for hunting.  At the very least, it can help characters stave off the madness that can come from seeing nothing more than sand in every direction for days.
  5. Walking through a desert with no landmarks or sign of cities on the horizon can pummel the psyche.  You don’t know when your journey will end or if you have enough supplies to make it.  God forbid you got turned around at one point and are going in the wrong direction.  This psychological aspect that stems from a sense of isolation and impending doom an really up the tension.
  6. Animals need to think about water and food if they’re going to live in a desert.  You can’t drop anything in there that obviously can’t survive in there.  How does a giant animal find enough food and water?  Do the smaller ones have a way to avoid getting cooked on the hot sand?  Researching real desert animals can help here because they have amazing adaptations.  That or you can just make magic the reason.
  7. There’s no reason that you can’t have a civilization living in a desert.  The barren wasteland approach is appealing and you can do that as well.  Yet, there could always be a group of people who have found a way to survive and thrive in the desert.  It may be that they found a source of water and built a town around it.  Perhaps a nomadic group that follows storms or animals or anything that allows them to maintain their society.  It isn’t easy, but it’s doable if you sit and think.  After all, that’s how you get out of any problem.
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