The Clean Indie Reads March Madness Sale is still going on and two of my books are in it. Check it out, not just for my books. There are a lot of great flinch-free reads on sale. And check out the other blogs on the blog hop, too. Here.
Don’t forget the giveaway of many of the books in the hop–including The Bard’s Gift. Enter that here. It’s enough flinch-free books to keep you reading for months.
So, here’s a little bit about the world building in these two books.
Though raised as a fearless, faceless warrior, Casora couldn’t stop her homeland’s invasion. Bullied, hapless princeling Tiaran can’t escape his political doom. When they join forces on the battlefield they’ll rock the foundations of kingdoms.
As is usual for me, the world building for Fire and Earth is an accumulation of many things. The idea for the Deathless, Casora’s band of warriors-turned-mercenaries came from Herodotus’s (possibly inaccurate) description of the elite Persian forces at the battle of Thermopylae. “The Immortals”, as he described them, always numbered 10,000 because killed or injured Immortals were simply replaced. Also according to Herodotus, their headdress included a face-covering cloth (possibly meant to keep out dust or wind). And so, the idea for an elite force of constant numbers–therefore “Deathless”–with face plates on their helmets that prevented any individual from being recognized by outsiders.
Their enemies, the Yriri, were based on the various hordes, like the Huns, who invaded Europe during the Dark Ages. I wanted the Yriri armor to be different from that worn by the Deathless and their allies, so I based that on certain Oriental types of chain mail, which fastened in the front, like a jacket.
and The Bard’s Gift:
Astrid is too shy to even talk to the boy she likes, so naturally she’s the one the Norse gods choose to lead a bunch of stubborn Norsemen–using just stories to inspire them.
Since The Bard’s Gift is a historical fantasy, the world building consisted mostly of research.
Probably the most surprising thing I found in that research was the Greenland shark.
The Greenland shark lives farther north than any other shark species. They are comparable in size to the great white shark, averaging ten to sixteen feet in length and up to 900 pounds. They can grow as large as 21 feet and over 2,000 pounds. Usually only found near the surface only during the winter, they are otherwise denizens of the deep. They have been found with parts of polar bears in their stomachs.
The flesh of the Greenland shark is poisonous, but the hardy Icelanders (and presumably the Greenlanders), had a way of leaching the poison out. Of course, it still smelled overpoweringly of ammonia, even then.
That was way too good a monster not to find it’s way into the story.
There were also mythological sea monsters, like hafgufa.
Translated as “sea mist” or “sea reek”, hafgufa was a sea monster of the Greenland Sea between Greenland and Iceland. Hafgufa was supposed to lie on the surface to feed. The stench of its belch drew in fish, which the hafgufa would then consume, along with anything else in the vicinity, including ships. Only Orvar-Odd had ever escaped, because he knew the beast rose and submerged with the turn of the tides and was able to get his ship out of range just in time.
Hafgufa was usually seen as only a pair of rocks said to be the beast’s nose. Sometimes hafgufa was equated with the kraken. Others attribute the stories of hafgufa to underwater volcanic activity and the release of methane gas.
And that’s not even getting to Thunderbird. See my post about that, here.