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Creating Places
by Randy Ellefson


GENRE:   Non-fiction




Creating a unique, immersive setting one place at a time.

CREATING PLACES (THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, #2) is a detailed how-to guide on inventing the heart of every imaginary world – places. It includes chapters on inventing planets, moons, continents, mountains, forests, deserts, bodies of water, sovereign powers, settlements, and interesting locales. Extensive, culled research on each is provided to inform your world building decisions and understand the impact on craft, story, and audience. You’ll also learn how and when to create history and maps. Experts and beginners alike will benefit from the free templates that make building worlds easier, quicker, and more fun.

Learn the difference between types of monarchies, democracies, dictatorships and more for realistic variety and believable conflict. Understand how latitude, prevailing winds, and mountains affect climate, rainfall, and what types of forests and deserts will exist in each location. Consistently calculate how long it takes to travel by horse, wagon, sailing vessels, or even dragon over different terrain types and conditions.

CREATING PLACES is the second volume in THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, the only multi-volume series of its kind. Three times the length, depth, and breadth of other guides, the series can help fantasy and science fiction creators determine how much to build and why, how to use world building in your work, and whether the effort to create places will reap rewards for you and your audience.




The term “tidal locking” will make many of us think of tides, but these are unrelated phenomenon. Our moon is tidally locked to the Earth. The same side is always facing us because the moon rotates on its axis in the same number of days it takes to orbit us. This might seem coincidental and unique, but most significant moons in our solar system are tidally locked to their planet; those nearest experience this first. Tidal locking is an eventual result caused by gravity. Early in a moon’s orbiting, it might not be tidally locked, but ours may have become locked in as few as a hundred days (its proximity and size having much to do with this).  A moon that is not tidally locked may have recently formed or been captured by the planet. Either way, the stabilization process hasn’t completed.

As world builders, we have some leeway to claim a satellite is locked or not. Most people are unfamiliar with the concept and we should only mention it if locking has occurred, as readers will assume the opposite without being told. Note that a close, large moon like ours will almost certainly be locked; during the brief period when ours was not, it and the Earth were molten and devoid of life.

Normally, only the satellite is locked to the planet, but they can become mutually tidally locked, as happened with Pluto and its moon, Charon. This means that each of them only sees one side of the other. If we stood on our moon, we’d see all sides of Earth as it rotates, but from Earth, we see only one side of the moon because they are not mutually tidally locked. If they were, the moon would stay in the exact same spot in the sky. About half the planet would see it, while the other half wouldn’t even know it existed unless traveling to the far side of the world. This would eliminate most tides (see next section) except those caused by the sun.



AUTHOR Bio and Links


Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.

Creating Places universal buy link:

The Art of World Building Podcast (launching a week before the tour)

The Art of World Building Website:

Author Website:

FREE eBook:




NOTE: The book series has a new podcast where even more details are discussed. This podcast is free to listen! Follow along here:



Randy Ellefson will be awarding an ultimate world builder’s package to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:



Book Tour – Wind – Drachengott Book 1


Wind – Drachengott Book 1

by KJ Taylor


GENRE:  Fantasy



Wendland is a land of dragons, and of magic. The mysterious Drachengott grants magic to his worshippers – but is he truly a god? Rutger von Gothendorf is only a simple furrier, but he has become his village’s local eccentric, thanks to his obsession with the murder of his brother by the Drachengott’s servants. He holds onto the vague hope that he will one day have the chance to fight back against them – until one day a mysterious and beautiful woman named Swanhild comes into his life. Rutger is instantly smitten – but Swanhild knows more than she says, and a web of lies and deceit threatens to sour the love beginning to grow between them.

And all the while, the Drachengott waits …




The wind whistled through the darkness, shaking the branches all about and putting a chill into the air. It carried a scent with it, straight to Rutger’s nose. He took it in and immediately tensed.

‘Did you smell that, Horst?’ he hissed, snatching his older brother by the arm.

Horst shook him off. ‘Not now, Rut — we’re in enough trouble without worrying about funny smells.’

‘But it smells like rotting meat!’ Rutger insisted. He paused, ignoring Horst’s impatient look, and breathed in deeply. The smell hit him again — worse, this time. He retched slightly. ‘Can’t you smell it?’

Horst, big and muscular, turned his head in the gloom and sniffed. A moment later, he grimaced. ‘You’re right: something’s dead out there. Come on, let’s move on before we find out what.’

He strode off, Rutger hurrying after him. ‘You don’t think it’s spiders, do you?’

‘Could be,’ Horst said shortly. ‘Keep your eyes open.’

Rutger swallowed and put a hand on the hilt of the long dagger looped through his belt. He had never seen a giant spider before, and he wanted to keep it that way. Silently, he wished he had never asked to come out here into the forest with Horst. But it had all seemed so harmless — just a quick stroll through the forest to check Horst’s mink traps. But then they hadn’t been able to find the last trap, and now they were lost.

I really am the unlucky seventh son, he thought glumly.

If Horst was as worried as his brother, he didn’t show it. He walked slightly ahead, dead mink swinging from his belt. A big old woodaxe hung on his back, brought along for protection. Night was falling now, and the sooner they got out of here the better.

The forest all around was dense and looked threatening, its spiky pine needles sighing in the relentless wind. Night always seemed to come early here. But at least the putrid smell had gone away.

‘How close do you think we are now?’ Rutger asked in a low voice.

Horst shook his head. ‘Not sure — I think there’s a clearing up ahead, though.’

Rutger came to his brother’s side, and the two of them climbed a small rise into the clearing. The instant Rutger left the shelter of the trees, it hit him again: the hideous stench of rotting meat slamming into his nose, so powerfully that his eyes watered. Beside him, Horst had stopped. Rutger heard him swear softly. He looked up, intending to tell his brother that they should go — and then he saw it.

Ahead, in the clearing, a faint light began to glow. It shone on the dark, lumpy shapes which hung from the trees at the far side. Some could have been animal corpses, but the rest . . .

Horst wrenched the axe down off his back. ‘Get behind me, Rut,’ he said sharply. ‘Get out of here. Now.’

‘What—?’ Rutger started to say — but too late.

As the light brightened, two of the hanging shapes dropped to the ground and stepped forward. They wore rough leather tunics with hoods which covered their heads, but on each of their chests was a pair of red gemstones, set into an amulet. They glowed faintly in the light, making a halo over each of the two men, like a pair of glowering eyes.

‘Jüngen!’ Rutger heard himself say.

One of the pair pointed accusingly at them. ‘How dare you enter this sacred grove?’

Horst started to back away, axe raised.

The two Jüngen joined hands, and the light around them intensified as their linked hands rose. An instant later, a great flash blinded Rutger. He cried out as he fell back, but his voice was drowned out by a screeching roar from above.

A pitch-black dragon was hovering over the Jüngen’s heads, its eyes glowing red. Light crackled over its wings, and it roared again.

The Jüngen let go of each other, and the second of the two spoke to the dragon. His words were a short, cold command.

‘Kill them.’





K.J.Taylor was born in Australia in 1986 and plans to stay alive for as long as possible. She went to Radford College and achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at the University of Canberra, where she is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Information Studies.

She published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy through Scholastic when she was just 18, and went on to publish The Dark Griffin in Australia and New Zealand five years later. The Griffin’s Flight and The Griffin’s War followed in the same year, and were released in America and Canada in 2011. At the moment, she is working on the third set of books in the series, while publishing the second.

K.J.Taylor’s real first name is Katie, but not many people know what the J stands for. She collects movie soundtracks and keeps pet rats, and isn’t quite as angst-ridden as her books might suggest.

Buy link



KJ will be awarding an eCopy of Wind to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour, and choice of 5 digital books from the Impulse line to a randomly drawn host.

Enter to win a copy of the book – a Rafflecopter giveaway



KJ, Thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you. 

I’m currently 29 years old, and signed my first publishing contract when I was 18 (I didn’t tell the publisher I was just a kid – they had no idea until well after the contract was signed, and boy were they surprised). I live in a yurt with my pet rats and two canaries, and when I’m not writing I have a job as an archivist. I also collect movie soundtracks, and love video games. And I designed every one of my tattoos myself!

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Sometimes just the fact that I need to get to work on time! But on writing days I get up because I know it’s time to head off and work on another book! I can keep writing all day without taking a break, and I love it.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

I’d like to hang out with a movie director while they were on set, and watch them at work. Movie making has always fascinated me, and seeing it in action would be awesome! I’m not sure which director I’d pick – one of the nicer, more patient ones, probably! Or Tarantino, because he’s just awesome.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

I wanted to write a story where the main character is the mysterious seer – and I also wanted to do something with an old idea I’d had about a dragon the size of a mountaintop. So I put the two of them together. I decided to make the setting Germanic partly because I was taking German classes at the time, and thought it would be a change from the more British kinds of settings I usually go with. The German words used in the series are all real, and I got my tutor to check my grammar for me!

Tell us your writing process

It’s pretty straightforward. I don’t write out a plan beforehand, unlike some; that approach has never worked for me. But I do have the basic shape of the story in my head when I start out. When I’m ready with a new idea I sit down and write it. Sometimes I have to stop partway through because I hit a point where I realise I’m not ready to continue, and when that happens I go off and work on something else until I’m ready to return. With the Drachengott series, I left the fourth and final book unfinished – thinking “oh, I’ll finish it if the series gets picked up”. It was, and I had to hurry back and write the last half of the book ASAP!

Do you have any tips for other authors who want to get the word out about their work? 

These days it’s pretty much mandatory to use social media. I joined Facebook purely because I realised it was the best way to connect with readers – which turned out to be correct – and I got a Twitter account for the same reason. Personal websites are more useful for providing people with links to buy your books, extra material about your series, and things like that. If you can get yourself a spot as a guest at a convention like Supanova, that’s a great way to get your name out there. And you should ask your publisher to have some promotional posters and leaflets made up which you can hand out or leave at libraries, etc.

Finally, it’s a good idea to create an author profile for yourself on Amazon – it makes you and your books a lot easier to find.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was a big reader as a kid (other kids called me “bookworm” all the time), and first started writing short stories and poems when I was in primary school. When I was about thirteen I began trying to write full-length novels, and shortly after that I decided I wanted to get published more than anything else. So I threw myself into it headfirst, and eventually succeeded. It’s been more than ten years since I signed that first contract, but I can still remember how happy and excited I was!

Tell us about your main character:

The protagonist of the first book, Wind, was originally going to be Syn the dragon. But in the end, Rutger von Gothendorf was a better fit. I quickly took a liking to him while I was writing. He’s a young man who works as the village furrier – he traps mink and other animals, tans the hides and makes them into clothes and other things. He’s lived under the threat of dragon attack all his life, and when he was a boy his brother was killed by one, right in front of him. He never got over that and eventually got the local blacksmith to make a sword for him, with a handle made from the dragon’s broken horn.

What made Rutger particularly likeable for me was the fact that other people laugh at him. He has some vague notion of one day using his sword to fight dragons and the Jüngen  who summon them, and he secretly practises with it every day. But everyone else knows about it, and he’s viewed as the local eccentric – a poor dope who thinks he’s a great warrior in the making.

Later on it also interested me to see how his hatred of dragons and Jüngen is actually a tad on the irrational side – he unknowningly tells a dragon that “the only good dragon is a dead dragon”, and is puzzled when she takes offence. In his mind, wiping out an entire species is absolutely fine – even though he knows full-well that the dragons are being controlled by their summoners, and the Drachengott himself. (Note: “Drachengott” is German for “Dragon God”)

What are you working on next?

I’ve already written a fifth Drachengott book, and made a start on a sixth. At this particular moment, however, I’m preparing to get back to work on a new book. Its working title is Roost, and it’s about a couple in love who are forced to become enemies. It promises to be one of the most tragic – and brutal – things I’ve ever written.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I once wrote an entire 150 page novel in four days. Afterwards I was so burned out that I barely recognised my own father. But still – four days!

I also design and sew stuffed toys as a hobby (and make them on commission for other people from time to time). And I have a pretty decent singing voice.

Who are your favorite authors?

Rather unusually for a fantasy author, I don’t actually read a lot of fantasy. My favourite authors include Clive Barker, China Mieville, Brian Masters and William Horwood.

What do you like to do with your free time?

I like going to the movies, and I enjoy long walks and making little craft items. I also like drawing – I draw my characters just for fun, and I draw maps for each new series, partly because it’s very useful to have one handy as a guide while writing, but also because fans want to see it in the book later on!

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

I currently have a new trilogy called The Rebel Lion, which my agents are looking at. I also plan to write more Drachengott books, and am currently in the process of publishing a series called the Cymrian Saga (the first six books are currently published – the first of them is called The Dark Griffin – and a companion book called Tales of Cymria has just been released). And I have a couple of standalone books currently looking for a place, and a YA series being looked at by publishers. So as you can see I’m pretty busy!

Where can people find you on the web? 

My author page on Facebook –

The official Drachengott page –

My personal website –

My YouTube Channel –

My Twitter handle is @WorldStitcher

Any final thoughts?

Professional writing is a tough business – very tough, sometimes. But it’s worth it. It really is. If you write because you love it, then that should be enough. Never let it be about the fame or the money. Do it for love. That’s why I do it, and it makes me happy. It makes my life worth living.

Book Blast Tour – The Diamond Grenade

MBB_TheDiamondGrenade_Banner copy
The Diamond Grenade
by Daniel Juliane


GENRE: Literary Fiction



The Diamond Grenade is the story of a family line and a revolution told in five novellas – a complex tale told simply.



Book I: A Father’s Fate

At one point, on the banks of a confluence where two rivers ran together like closing thighs, there was a certain boatman. This boatman, name of Gur, had a fine long pole (not too bendy, not too strong) with which to move his long wide boat upon the water. Gur slept with his pole, lest it go missing. Then one evening while he was ferrying a few paying passengers from one put-in to the next, Gur’s pole got stuck in thick river-bottom mud and muck and he lost his grip and the pole sank out of sight. Cursing, Gur leapt into the water and dove for the pole. Long minutes passed and Gur’s nubile daughter Guri, at the prow of the boat, began to wail. Gur did not come back up. They found him later downstream. This is how the girl Guri became a very young boatman with a shoddy pole.

The thing about Guri is that she knew everybody. All the fares on her boat. They didn’t necessarily know each other all too often, but everybody knew Guri. And somehow she knew everybody back. She just had a mind for it. Who went with whom and how the families fell out. Names. All the names Guri knew. But only one name made her sing: Tuc. Tuc drank and threw dice, but early in their acquaintance he’d made bold to say that Guri would make a good mother. This observation of Tuc’s about Guri had won her over, so she sang his name in the dark. One syllable songs are short, but carry on the water.

Guri’s favorite disgruntlement was that there was no word for girl boatman. It was poling-upriver hard to get more than a grunt out of half her older passengers, because they didn’t see clear to it being right for her to be doing a man’s job. Tuc suggested ‘boatwoman’, but Guri allowed as how that was more the busty mascot off the bow of a ship than a person who poled for a living. Tuc took to riding with Guri quite frequently. Then one night, he brought her a new pole, and it was a good pole.

Not long after the new pole, Tuc convinced Guri to elope with him a ways downriver to a town where he had prospects. When they got there, they traded the boat and pole for two goats. Guri was better with people than with animals, so Tuc tended the herd while she met and memorized every person she could find. Soon she had so much work taken in to do for folks that what with going to the big, clean houses to perform services inbetweentimes, and attending in good turn to the day’s worth of all the waiting piecemeal work filling their modest house, Guri was too busy to make a baby.

Guri got fed up with being too busy to make a baby and made a baby. Tuc split. Guri’s popularity made her fatherless child the ward of the town. Everybody parented him. That’s why he grew up angry. His name was Gur, after his grandfather. Boy did he have a chip on his shoulder about being told what to do. Everybody told him when and where to jump. Only Guri could make him ask how high. Usually his answer would be jump why? The thing about having a whole village full of parents is that they are going to contradict each other and some of them are bound to be weird people.



As in medical school, praxis then practicum: I saw one, did one, taught one… now I do one after the other. One novella after another I mean. And they’re good. I saw novellas while acquiring my Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature/Letters with a minor in Psych at Indiana University in the mid-nineties, I taught and did novellas a few years later while pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Lit. at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and I have done a fancy set of five well here now (as I pursue an AAS in Accounting at a community college, btw). For more about me, check out

Try not to evict me from my little party of self-congratulations about this piece.

A set of five good serial novellas. Hope you find the time to enjoy them.

Please help spread the word.

Find texts through:

The book is free and can be downloaded here:



Daniel will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to five randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win one of five $15 Amazon GCs – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kindle Free Promo Days – Free to Good Home: collected short stories

Free to Good Home: collected short stories

Title: Free to Good Home
Author: Anne Kelleher
Publisher: Pond House Press
Publication Date: March 13, 2015

Blurb: They raise you, they love you and sooner or later, they drive you crazy. What if you could put your parents up for adoption when they do? FREE TO GOOD HOME is a whimsical look at this most provocative of what-if’s? This collection includes all four Celebrity Supernatural stories, as well as two more.

Free this weekend on Amazon Kindle.

About The Author

Anne Kelleher

Born and raised at the South Jersey shore, Anne Kelleher has been writing from the time she could read. Her first novel, about a pair of pirate sisters who sailed the Carribean looking for love and adventure, was completed when she was in high school. Annie’s been looking for the same ever since, mostly recently on the shores of the Pacific in Kailua-Kona, HI.

Reflecting Annie’s own eclectic interests, her work ranges from historical romance (The Highwayman) to her contemporary series of celebrity supernatural short stories – most recently “Walking with Elvis.” Although her first love is sf/fantasy, Annie is most proud of her “David” series – How David Met Sarah and When David Was Surprised – which was inspired by her youngest brother, who has Down Syndrome. Written at an elementary reading level, the stories appeal not only to developmentally disabled adults, but to anyone who seeks to understand what it’s like to be differently-abled.

The mother of four, and the grandmother of two, Annie holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University.

Find Annie online at or on Facebook at

Kindle Free Promo – Protecting Donald Trump

Protecting Donald Trump (Celebrity Supernatural Book 5)

Title: Protecting Donald Trump
Author: Anne Kelleher
Publisher: Pond House Press
Publication Date: August 23, 2015

When a candidate for the highest office in the land needs supernatural protection, a rag-tag misfit finds herself part of a security team who turn out to be a pack of werewolves. But that’s not the real surprise waiting for her to discover….

Protecting Donald Trump is FREE today on Kindle.

About The Author

Anne Kelleher

Anne Kelleher sold her first novel, Daughter of Prophecy, to Warner Books as an inaugural release for its Aspect sf/fantasy line in 1993. Since then, Annie has written and published many more novels and short stories, including the critically acclaimed Shadowlands trilogy by Harlequin-Luna. In addition to Time-Warner and Harlequin, Annie has been published by Penguin-Putnam, as well as a boutique small press, and has been represented by three top agents, including Donald Maass.

Her novels are available internationally in four languages: Dutch, German, French, and Spanish. This past spring, Annie became a “hybrid” author with the recent independent release of her collection of short stories, Free to Good Home.

The same year Annie sold Daughter of Prophecy, she co-founded the Greater Lehigh Valley Writing Group (GLVWG) in Bethlehem, PA, where she was living at the time. In 1994, the organization held its first writing conference, The Write Stuff. GLVWG continues to flourish, and the annual conference is celebrating its twenty-third year, still drawing writers from all over, and agents and editors from both coasts.

Annie is an experienced conference speaker, writing coach and workshop facilitator. With her long-time knowledge of the publishing industry, and her ability to present her subject in an entertaining way, she is able to offer many topics of interest to writers at all levels. She has numerous successful clients who have gone on to publish in a wide range of genres.

Annie’s other career paths include Federal investigator, aerobics instructor, daycare provider, Executive Director, neighborhood mediator, corporate communications manager, interior decorator, and psychic medium. The latter accounts for why most of Annie’s work includes some aspect of the supernatural or paranormal.

Annie holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Annie has studied English literature and language at the University of Connecticut and Storytelling and Oral Traditions at The Graduate Institute. The mother of four, stepmom of two and grandmother of two, Annie now divides her time between Connecticut and Hawaii.

Connect with Annie online at, or meet her on the Big Island in April, 2016:

Halloween Horror on Kindle

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween Peeps.

For your horror reading pleasure this weekend, ASJ Publishing has listed The Chosen: Rise Of The Darkness FREE on Kindle this weekend.

Be sure to get your copy, and share with your mates.

Stay Spooky gang 🙂


rise of the darkness


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