The feedback from the test readers on The Lost Book of Anggird is in, and it's awesome. Lots of love for the book, and also some good suggestions for making it even better. So I'm mulling all that over, and in the meantime I'm going full-in on finishing up revisions on Chosen of Azara and getting it ready for release in June.
Chosen of Azara is set in a world that I started making up years ago. I don't remember how long ago, and I don't think Chosen is even the first story I set in that world. "A Cure for Nel,"
one of the stories in the collection of the same name, is set in the
same world, as are the two longer short stories I wrote in March and
some other unfinished novels/story fragments.
I do remember
how I started developing this world. I was bored one day, so I bought a
box of crayons, the box with 64 different colors and a built-in
sharpener. You can buy boxes with even more colors than that now, but at
the time that was the deluxe box. Then I got out a big piece of cheap
kid's drawing paper and started drawing this landmass. I wanted it to
have deserts and hills and mountains and rivers and swampy areas and a
large inland sea and all kinds of cool stuff. Mostly, I designed it
around Sources, which I imagined as natural features that served as
sources of magical power. A Source can be a hill or mountain, a cave, a
place where two rivers flow together, a water spout or rocky ocean cove,
an ancient tree, a spring or lake, a fjord, or any other kind of
distinctive natural feature.
And I named it
SourceWorld. Which is descriptive, but not very organic - that is, it
doesn't sound like something that the people living there would
naturally call it. It's an externally-imposed name. So I got out my
word-making-up-fu (checked the word-origins section of my huge old
American Heritage dictionary and mixed some stuff from that together
with some names I came up with on a fantasy name generator) and ta-daa,
Estelend was born.
The idea with magic in Estelend
is that naturally-occuring heavenly and earthly magical powers are
combined and flow through the Sources. Where the Source is, what kind of
natural feature it's located in, and what sort of people gravitate to
that Source all affect the kind of power it is, good, not so good,
useful for healing or prophecy or other stuff, and so on. Certain people
are born with an ability to take in Source-power and use it.
Other people who aren't born with the ability can have it forced into
them. A very few people are born perfectly attuned to the power of a
certain Source, and their lives depend on having constant access to
power from that Source. Bringing together a person and a Source that are
incompatible, or committing certain acts within a Source (such as
bloodshed) can taint or even destroy the Source.
started marking in the Sources, and the countries, and figuring out
allies and enemies and the different characteristics of the people and
places on this huge continent, and how the magic works, and stories
started to grow. I don't know if you can really call them a series,
since they are all stand-alone, with different characters in different
places, but they definitely go together. Chosen of Azara was
posted on an old website I had for many years, and now I'm excited to be
able to write and share more of the stories that my world of Estelend
has given birth to. (Kanyev the Source-Fixer has been waiting
impatiently for his day in the sun for a long time now. I promise,
buddy, your time is coming.)
There's a quick introduction to the world of Chosen of Azara,
"A Cure for Nel," the tales of Haveshi Yellowcrow and Latan the
Scholar, and more. Oh, and if you have a fantasy world, you have to have
a map, and here it is.
This is an improved drawing I did based on the original, and doctored
up in the image editing program I had two computers ago. I don't seem to
have the dingbat any more that I was using to mark cities, so as I add
more cities I guess I'll have to find something else to mark them with.
But that's ok. Better to have a world that continues to grow and develop
than to have it become static for lack of a dingbat.