Tag Archive | guest post

GUEST POST: The Granite Key by N.S. Wikarski

 

The talented author of The Granite Key gives some insight on writing in one of my favorite subjects, historical fiction.

TIPS FOR WRITING YE OLDE HISTORICAL FICTION

 

“My God, they can’t expect to put ‘Ye Olde’ in front of anything they want and get away with it.”

 

If, like me, you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll immediately recognize Sheldon Cooper’s complaint about the historical inaccuracies of a Renaissance Faire, California-style.

 

As much as I’d like to distance myself from most of Sheldon’s opinions, I’m forced to agree with him on this point. As a writer, I’ve penned five books that are either historical (Gilded Age Chicago Mysteries) or have a strong historical element (Arkana Archaeology Thrillers). As a critic for Deadly Pleasures, I’ve reviewed my share of historical fiction (some good, some not) so believe me when I say that you can’t just put “Ye Olde” in front of anything and expect to get away with it. Authors of contemporary fiction have to juggle plot, pacing, and character development. Historical fiction writers wish it was that easy.

 

Timing Isn’t Everything

 

The first thing to consider as a historical fiction writer isn’t simply when something happened but what the world surrounding that event was like. We all know that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 but it’s a good bet that when he first landed in the Bahamas, he didn’t head for the closest Tiki bar to order a boat drink. Objects and places we take for granted in the 21st century may or may not have existed in the corner of the past an author is exploring. To make that fictional world believable, the times as well as the timing need to be understood.

 

Clothes Make The Man (Or Woman)

 

Period costume is something that most historical authors (good and bad) get right. The only difference is that bad writers fail to think about the impact costume can have on conduct. For example, everybody knows Victorian women wore corsets. What most people don’t realize is that a woman who is laced tightly enough to give her an eighteen inch waist can’t bend, stretch, or engage in anything more strenuous than lifting a tea cup. Most of her conscious attention is focused on the struggle to breathe. She’s probably a very uptight, cranky creature for no better reason than that her underwear feels terrible. People who wear whalebone corsets or chain mail armor are going to think and feel very differently from people who wear sweat pants all day long.

 

The Past Is Another Country

 

It’s often been said that human nature doesn’t change over time. Perhaps not, but cultural values can shift radically in a heartbeat. The contemporary fiction writer has the luxury of writing about people who are immersed in the same cultural soup as she /he is. Not so a historical fiction author. Cultural values are absorbed much like the air we all breathe–invisibly and with very little conscious effort (unless, of course, you’re wearing a corset). The greatest mistake a historical fiction author can make is to believe that people in ancient times thought and felt exactly as we do today.

 

To write effective historical fiction you have to immerse yourself without condescension in the values of the past no matter how odd they might seem to a modern sensibility. So if you’re planning to write a historical novel any time soon, be prepared to walk around in your character’s high-button shoes. And if the shoe pinches, write it.

 

Archaeological Thriller
Date Published: 2/12/2011
 

“Think ‘MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL’ and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY – 5 Stars.” (Kindle Nation)

A Wake-Up Call 
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called “the key.” Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister’s body–murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister’s apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder–the granite key. From that moment, Cassie’s normal world evaporates.

A Secret Society 
She learns that her sister led a double life–retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana’s leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie’s sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister’s role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana’s mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister’s murder.

A Dangerous Cult 
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult’s domineering prophet–Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers–the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult’s hands. Abraham’s fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.

Unlocking The Key 
Before she died, Cassie’s sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.

A Matter Of Life Or Death 
Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won’t hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham’s mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.

Nancy Wikarski

“There’s a 52% chance that the next Dan Brown will be a woman … or should we just make that 100% now?”

–Kindle Nation

Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime – Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly

She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People’s Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.

She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), and The Dragon’s WingEnigma (2012). The fourth volume in the series, The Riddle Of The Diamond Dove, is scheduled for publication in December of 2013. Ms. Wikarski’s work on the Arkana books has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

 

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PROMO: Broken Faith by Brandy Nacole

Greetings and salutations! Today’s post is promoting the first book in a new Sci-fi/Fantasy series as part of Ms. Nacole’s Virtual Book Tour. Here is a post by Brandy Nacole herself about why she writes Fantasy:

5 reasons I write Fantasy

       So, what are five reasons I like to write Fantasy?  How about I narrow this down to five words instead: Seriously, what’s not to love?  I have been a fan of fantasy/paranormal books, movies, shows, and local myths since I was a little girl.  My first memory of the fantasy genre was with Interview with A Vampire.  I was four years old and my aunt, who’s just as big a fan as me if not more, was watching the movie on Halloween.  I don’t remember every detail of course, but I remember watching it with her and being totally enthralled.  From there it was R.L. Stine books, more Anne Rice, and so on. 

         I started writing when I was around 7 and while my writing wasn’t too farfetched with fantasy it was about a young boy and his pet alligator Sam.  They had all sort of adventures together.  Then as I aged, my writing became more involved with pure fantasy. 

         With Fantasy writing you can create the most unique of worlds and fill them with unique characters.  There doesn’t seem to be any line of ‘not possible’ when creating a Fantasy book.  Worlds can be made inside of worlds, powers can be limitless, battles and villains can be twisted, and romances can be epic. 

         With my Shadow World series, I wanted to reach these fantastic limitless possibilities.  My main character, Racquel, is a hybrid that is made up of four different Shadow lines.  She’s part lycan, witch, vampire, and shifter.  Sounds complex doesn’t it.  Well she is a complex character.  She’s also an outcast.  Her powers seem to be limitless and the Shadows not only consider her an abomination but they also fear her.  I also incorporated the Greek Gods with their creations.  Each line of Shadows has a Greek God that created them.  If it wasn’t for my love of Fantasy and the limitless ideas that come from creating such books, then I wouldn’t have had the chance to share the story of a unique girl like Racquel.

         With my Spiritual Discord series, I continued my grasp on the open possibilities.  Broken Faith, which is written so that the story alternates points of view, is about a fallen angel named Kayson who is from the lower realm of Heaven.  After being on the run since his fall, Kayson faces off with one of Hell’s hounds.  After barely escaping with his life, Kayson is found by Sabrina, a vampire who is a half-blood child.  This two unlikely beings work together to outsmart the very beings created to destroy them.  Because of fantasy, I get the chance to share this battle of faith and good will. 

         Fantasy gives readers an escape outside the everyday life, much like most stories.  The thing with Fantasy books, it’s something we just don’t experience on some level on a daily basis.  Now if vampires and shape-shifters start skulking the world, then Fantasy writers are going to have to step it up and reach out for a new level of fiction.  Until that day happens, readers and writers get to live out a world that isn’t our everyday hum bum routines and escape into a world filled with magic, love, rivals, and heart racing wonder.      

Brandy Nacole – Broken Faith – Virtual Book Tour

Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Date Published: April 2, 2013

This was it. The moment Heaven and Hell would clash. But which unearthly being would win? The Fallen Angel or the Hell Hounds?

Overtaken by fear, I close my eyes.

Kayson is a Fallen Angel who has spent decades running from the Hell Hounds

while searching for something that no one else believes can be so, not even God. Kayson is

determined to find a Blood Child. But when a hound finds Kayson first, he is sure his end has come.

Falon, Alpha of the Hell Hounds, destroyer of the blood children, and devoted believer in

his master’s plan, is bound and determined to drag Kayson back to Hell with him.

Sabrina is a Vampire, a half-breed created from one of Lucifer’s original blood children.

After years of hiding, Sabrina’s fate changes when she finds Kayson barely alive. Against her

instincts, Sabrina saves him. Now she and Kayson are both marked by the Hell Hounds.

Emma is an ordinary human, whose only problem is making ends meet, and getting over

the hurt caused by her untrustworthy brother. Her everyday problems become supernatural ones

when she finds Kayson and Sabrina hiding in her parent’s backyard shed.

Kayson, Sabrina and Emma are unlikely allies, thrown together by chance to fight against

the most powerful creatures of the underworld in order to follow their world-changing quest.

But will the broken faith of one break the faith of all?

Excerpt

When I turn, my heart skips a beat then begins pounding rapidly, as I’m surprised by a wet, pissed-off Sabrina standing right behind me.

“Jeez, do that again and you won’t have to worry about draining me dry. A nice heart attack will take care me.” I clutch my chest. Yeah, because that’s easing the race my heart is trying to win.

“Who ever said I was worried about draining you dry?” Sabrina says with a smug look on her face. She looks past me at the shed door. “How is he?”

Her fear for Kayson’s safety is obvious. For two people who just recently met, they sure do worry about one another a lot. And aren’t they supposed to be mortal enemies? None of this is making sense, but it doesn’t stop my jealousy from spiking.

“Still healing. It’s sad that he lost his powers when he fell.”

Sabrina nods in agreement but doesn’t say anything. Noting her bedraggled appearance, I’m intrigued to know what happened. “So, you try giving drowning a shot?”

Sabrina stares coolly back at me. “Why, need some pointers?”

Crossing my arms over my chest, I try mustering up an ounce of cool, biting back my retort I have ready on my lips. A truce has to be made between Sabrina and me if we are going to be in each other’s proximity.

“Look Sabrina, I know we haven’t got off to a good start, but heck, do you blame me?”

“Blame you for having a narrow-minded brain? Yes.”

I narrow my eyes at the beautiful vampire, whose now-clean dark blond hair reaches to her waist. Look what a good dunking does for a person. The wave of her hair frames her porcelain face, with eyes that hold a cold, calculating glint.

Virtual Book Tour April 15 – May 12
April 15- Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Meet and Greet
April 16 – My Cozie Corner – PROMO
April 17 –
April 19 – Pieces of Whimsy – PROMO
April 21 – The LUV’N – Interview/PROMO
April 22 – Michelle’s Paranormal Vault of Books – Review/Guest Post
April 23 – Noemi Betancourt – PROMO
April 24 –
April 27 – Wormy Hole – Interview/PROMO
April 29 –  Biaca2B – PROMO
April 30 – Addicted Readers – Review/Interview
May 1 – Books and Needlepoint – Review
May 2 – Love in a Book – Interview/PROMO
May 3 – Must Read Faster – Guest Post/PROMO
May 4 – Gimme the Scoop Reviews – PROMO
May 5 –
May 6 – Mythical Books – PROMO
May 7 – Faerie Tale Books – Review/Interview
May 9 – Pink Fluffy Hearts – Review
May 10 –
May 11 –
May 12 – RABT Reviews – Review

Brandy Nacole

Author Bio:
Brandy Nacole resides in Arkansas where her imagination runs wild. Her obsession is reading but her
passion is writing. She put her dream of becoming a writer on the back burner and went to college
to become a psychologist. Three years after endless classes in a field she only felt half satisfied with,
Brandy picked up her pen once again and wrote the outline to Uniquely Unwelcome. She finished out
her degree in psychology but traded her dream of writing for the degree and put psychology on the back
burner. Whenever she’s not reading or writing, Brandy is spending time with her family and friends,
throwing around crazy ideas, and laughing through the crazy moments.