Thursday, August 22, 2013

@Rhemalda @CasPeace1 #Giveaway and #GuestPost by Cas Peace

I hope you saw my review up also today. Here is a great guest post by Cas Peace and at the bottom you'll find a giveaway (it's the same one that was in my schedule post last week), so don't miss that! I'll turn you over now to Cas to give you some insight into Albia. (please note: you should be able to click on the maps for a larger view)

First I’d like to say a huge Thank You to Katy for inviting me on to her blog. I really appreciate it. I also hope everyone enjoys this post, about how my five realms and races came into being.

Guest Post:
When Five into One Will Go!

I’ve often been asked how, or why, I came up with the idea of having five realms in my Artesans of Albia fantasy world. The answer is both simple and complex. (Don’t you just love it when authors try to be all clever and mysterious? I’m not very clever, so I rarely try it!)

The simple answer is that the plot called for peoples of different races, but it got complex when I decided to avoid the old clichés of humans, elves, dwarves, or orcs, etc.

I already knew that my “humans” would be known as Albians, because they came from Albia. This name is
derived from “Albion”, an old name for Britain. (See what I did there? Clever, eh?). Then I needed some warlike antagonists, but I didn’t want them to be at all orc-like. My idea was to have them as much like humans as possible, with one or maybe two distinguishing features. One of the things we first notice when we meet new people is their eyes, and so I decided to make strange eyes a feature of my warlike race. I nearly went for horizontal pupils like a deer or goat, but that image was too soft. Cats have eyes that can appear quite feral and ferocious, so slit pupils were the way to go.

Inspired by the cat-like eyes, I initially decided this warlike race would be known as “demons”, but then I thought this might be too suggestive of the kind of magic most people are familiar with. The “magic” system in Artesans is not actually magic at all, so I had to be careful with the term “demons”. I ferreted around in my brain until I found a word I liked, and that’s how I came up with the realm name “Andaryon”. Demons became a derogatory term, used by ignorant Albians to describe their feared outlander neighbors.

Two of the remaining races were easy. Relkorians are my take on dwarves, and Sinnians are inspired by elves. There’s no great physical similarity between what most people would recognize as dwarves and elves and the races in my books, I simply used them as a starting point. Like dwarves, Relkorians do love rocks and mining, but they are also slavers. They never do the grunt work themselves. And Sinnians probably have more in common with American Indians than they do with elves, in the way that they live and what they believe.

My final race, the Endormirians, were initially modeled on Romanian gypsies. They are small and dark, they live a nomadic life, and they are viewed with suspicion. Stereotypes given – I hope – a unique twist in my books.

Once I decided on the names and attributes of these five races, I then had to think about where they all came from. This was influenced by the fact that the Artesan gift does not transfer in a uniform manner between people of the different races. In Albians, both sexes can inherit the gift and it broadly follows what we know of genetics. In Andaryans, only males can be Artesans. Every Sinnian is born with an innate gift, but they can only reach the rank of Adept-elite. The gift is rarer in Endormir and Relkor, and in both cases it is used for the profit of each family group or clan. Such racial differences would have to be due, to some extent, to environmental issues. I already knew that Artesans would be an elite faction, the only ones able to move between these different environments, and this would cause some of the tension necessary to any novel. Having the races completely segregated, and only accessible to this elite band, would inevitably lead to prejudice and fear. And that’s how I came up with the idea of five distinct realms, all separated by the Veils, a mysterious medium understood only by Artesans.
Designing the geography of each realm was fun. I began with Albia, because I knew it would be easiest. All I needed was a basic coastline, because the countryside would be similar to England. It didn’t really matter where I put the mountains, the forests, or the open tracts of land, as long as Taran’s village of Hyecombe, the Manor, and the capitol city Port Loxton followed the topography I had already described in the book. Much the same applied to Andaryon: the only stricture I had here was the placing of Caer Vellet and the Citadel Plains. They had to be central, but everything else was up for discussion.

No maps exist at present of the other three realms, but they will. Endormir is essentially a vast version of the Russian steppes. It’s all grass and hills and it gets fiercely cold in the winter. That’s why its peoples choose to cross into another, milder realm, and explains why their Artesans are so prized. If a clan doesn’t possess an Artesan of sufficient rank to afford them passage to escape the winter months, most of the people and animals will die. Relkor is a rocky, desolate realm. Its peoples are gritty and hard, their natures unforgiving. Sinnia is my idea of the American Mid-West (with apologies to all who know it well, because I don’t) and is unashamedly a romantic version. Sinnians abhor stone buildings and instead live in wooden, hide-covered structures. They are very close to nature. They value singers and story-tellers, and are loyal to their immediate community. They use their Artesan talents mainly to further their understanding of the natural world.

Thank you for reading, I hope you found this post interesting and informative. I certainly had fun writing it! Below you will find links to my books, my website, and my Amazon Author Profile. I’d love to hear what you think of my work!

Author Links:
Book Links:

Book Synopses:

Blurb for King’s Envoy:

Taran Elijah’s quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world…

In Albia, the Fourth Realm, the precious Artesan gift is dying. Although born to the craft, Taran is struggling to achieve his potential. Against his friends’ advice, he embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. Alone, he crosses into Andaryon, the Fifth Realm, but instead of finding a mentor, he stumbles upon a treacherous plot.

In the wake of Taran’s actions, Albia suffers a series of vicious raids. Major Sullyan of the High King’s forces is sent to oppose them. But a dark and treacherous force is moving through the realms and both Taran and Sullyan will feel its power.

Their craft, the lives of their friends, the very existence of their realm are under threat unless they expose and oppose the evil.

Blurb for King’s Champion:
After surviving brutal torture and escaping from Lord Rykan’s dungeons, Major Sullyan is trapped in Andaryon, too injured to cross the Veils. Slowly dying and determined to find some purpose in the shattered remains of her life, she travels to the Andaryan capitol to offer the Hierarch her sword and Artesan gifts in the fight against Rykan and his vast army. Because women hold no power in Andaryon, Sullyan is met with prejudice, hostility, and suspicion.

Before she can seek vengeance on the field of battle, she must prove herself to the Hierarch’s generals. Finding support from the unlikeliest sources, Sullyan sets a plan in motion to defeat Lord Rykan and end his bid for the throne. The fate of two realms depends on her success, but her strength is fading fast, and time is running out.

Blurb for King’s Artesan:

Unable to purge herself of the poison that is slowly killing her, Major Sullyan remains trapped in Andaryon. The only thing that can save her is the Staff, which still lies buried in Taran’s cellar.
Robin Tamsen sets out on a desperate quest to recover the artifact, but the enemy is two steps ahead of him. Sonten knows where the Staff is, and he will stop at nothing to get it back. If he does, Sullyan’s life will be forfeit and no Artesan will be safe.

The race for the Staff has begun.

Here is the giveaway. You can win all three books! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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