Character Tribute: Leo

Yes, I know this is Timothée Chalamet, but this is exactly who I envision playing Leo in a future Chasing Fae movie. So deal with it. xD

Here lies Leo Donovan Richardson, a kind soldier and a loving brother. May the Lady guide his soul.

My brother, Leo, was the kindest, most compassionate man that I have ever met. He never hesitated to do what was right no matter what that meant. Leo taught me absolutely everything I know. We were homeschooled together, and he loved to teach me about the book he was reading or how to navigate with a map. He wasn’t just my brother; he was my best friend. We did everything together growing up.

When Leo decided to become a soldier, my mother and I were both terrified. She tried to respectfully talk him out of it whereas I threw a fit and stormed out. I was just scared. Anything could happen out on the roads in this realm. He could have been sent to a peaceful town, or he could be sent south to the farm country where they’re fighting for whatever scraps they can get and they don’t care who gets killed. But he held out against both of us. Started training the day he turned eighteen and never looked back.

I was sixteen and he, nineteen when he was first hired to run security out in the trading ports of Bay Point. We cried when he left home, promising to be home in the spring. But we rejoiced when he sent home his first paycheck, and we could afford new clothes and fresh fruit from the market. Leo sent home every copper outside of his own expenses home to us. He had always said he wanted to take care of us someday like Mom had for all these years on her own, and finally, he had the chance.

Leo bounced around from job to job until six months ago, when he was summoned to city hall with the other mercenaries in his company. I thought maybe the government wanted to offer him a job, but no. It was the higher higher-ups. The Fae. The Fae have always had a hand in the politics of the Middle Realm; they control the alliances, the trade, the resource distribution. And they all just sit up there in the Upper Realm in their fancy castles and their bountiful homes with their magic and just watch us all run around down here like ants. The Fae needed their worker ants, a group of mortal soldiers, to come run security for a top-secret operation in the House of the Sun. They offered more money than anyone in this realm had ever even heard of, and of course, Leo jumped at the chance.

One more assignment, he said, and then he would be home for the Winter Solstice. Just one more assignment, and he’d bring me back something nice for the celebration. Just one more assignment.

Rest in peace, brother.

Marketing Yourself Online

Hey everybody! Today, I want to share advice about marketing yourself online. I think this topic touches many different disciplines outside of writing, and it is an important subject to discuss. Over the last couple weeks, I have stepped up my social media presence and the construction of my brand. I have been hearing a lot of questions around Twitter and around my own campus about what it takes to build your brand online and market yourself. So let’s talk about that today and shed some light on the subject.

When should I start building my brand?

In my opinion, it’s never too early to start, especially if you’re a writer. You can start by bringing your audience into your writing process. Let them see how your work in progress is faring. Share your successes as well as your failures. What scene is being written really well today? Which chapter is giving your writer’s block? Your book or project does not have to be finished in order to talk about it or start a discussion about the topic.

Where should I start building my brand?

Everywhere!

Well… everywhere with conditions. Everywhere you have time to put time into and everywhere that you can reach people who want to hear what you have to say. Depending on your genre of writing or your area of expertise, different platforms may suit your needs while others don’t.

I think everyone should build a website. With platforms like WordPress and Wix available right now, it is very easy to build something beautiful with minimal technical knowledge. Free plans do offer you a decent amount of customization options, and if you choose to upgrade to a paid plan, your options expand greatly. Take a couple hours and think your website through. Add tabs for your current project or projects as well as any published material you have out already. Consider adding a blog that you can update semi-frequently. And don’t forget an “about me” page! Think about your colors and your layout because believe it or not, every little detail can be a part of building your band.

Special Subsection: Social Media

You must also consider what social media platforms you want to use. Again, you should try to pick places that will reach the audience you want to communicate with. This is going to require a bit of research on your part. Find out where your people are. And don’t be afraid to change it up after a few months if you find one place is working better than another! Or don’t be afraid to wait it out. My Pinterest account that I created to show off inspiration for the world my book is set in wasn’t doing much for the first few months. But within the last two months, I have seen a dramatic increase in traffic from Pinterest to my website as well as an increase in people saving pictures to their board.

How should I market myself?

This part is easy. Way easier than you think.

Be yourself.

Relax and be yourself!

Share pieces of your life. Share your goals and your aspirations. Write posts about your writing, your daily life, and your favorite moments. Ask questions! Starting discussions is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and meet new people.

Post frequently. Doesn’t necessarily have to be every platform every day, but invest actual time and effort into this. You need to in order to see great results.

And have fun with it! Experiment and try new things, but always keep it true to yourself and the way you want people to see you.

Happy marketing!

Worldbuilding: An Interesting Approach

Hey everybody! Welcome back to Fluff About Fantasy on another wonderful Saturday. I signed my publishing contract on Thursday, and I can’t wait to get started this coming week with the publishing process! It’s so exciting. Today, I want to talk about worldbuilding! This is one of my favorite topics to talk about, and I haven’t written about it in a while. At Fluff About Fantasy, I have touched on questions to shape your world, naming places, and drawing out your own maps, to name a few. Today, I want to talk about a technique that spurred my creation of the Twelve Houses in the Upper Realm. I hope it will inspire you too!

The Twelve Houses

Now, just for a brief recap if you haven’t read about my universe yet: the Upper Realm in Chasing Fae is made up of twelve noble houses that have control over different portions of the land. Think of it like twelve separate kingdoms, but lorddoms instead. (That is actually a word! It’s a very old word, but it’s a word.) When I first began conceptualizing these, I wanted them to be distinct lands with their own cultures. There would be similarities between them like the agricultural production of one area in comparison with another and the governmental style. But the intimate details of each House would be unique to that area.

To accomplish this, I chose to pick one element that would be the essence of the House and then build every other detail of the culture around it. I really like using this method because it allows all of the details to fit together cohesively. Let me give you an example.

The House of the Evening

This is my favorite of all the Houses that I’ve created, and it is the one that I personally would want to live in the most. I wanted to make sure that the House of the Moon and the House of the Evening were very different places, so I let the House of the Moon center around the mystical, magical properties of the moon in terms of spell-casting. That created a more intimate, mystical society with priestesses and one of the highest concentrations of magic in the entire Upper Realm. For the House of the Evening, I decided to go with nightlife.

I grew up with my dad taking me to bars and restaurants to listen to live music most weekends. I fell in love with the atmosphere. Even as an introvert, there’s something about blending in with a crowd that’s all tapped in to the same rhythm, the same beat. It was the same thing at school dances; sometimes the animosity between people can disappear for a night when the bass is turned up loud and everyone’s jumping up and down to their favorite song. I wanted to capture that feeling in the House of the Evening.

The House of the Evening has the best nightlife and the best festivals you will find in the entire Upper Realm. Every night, there’s live music pouring out of every tavern. This is the place young musicians come to try their hand at the craft. You can travel all over the land and hear every genre of music you can think of. There are shops for craftsman instruments of all kinds, but particularly violins. (This becomes relevant in the series.) The House of the Evening brews the best beer and grow grapes to create amazing fine wines. People in the House of the Evening go about their own lives during the day, whether that’s in the home or out at their job. But in the evening, everybody comes together to spend time out on the town. Community comes alive in the nighttime. It’s late nights and late mornings in the House of the Evening. Looking over the towns at night lit by candlelight or tiny fairy lights, looking up at the purple hued mountains covered in snow, it’s just beautiful.

Thanks for reading, everybody. If you’re curious about the House of the Evening, you can read a profile here!

A Lot of Announcements

Hey everybody! I’m back to writing one post a week now, and I have to say, as much as I loved the anniversary week, I was overwhelmed! It will be nice to have more time to formulate ideas and continue to write solid advice for young writers.

That being said, for this week, there are so many announcements that I have to spend an entire post on them. But there are some fantastic new developments that you are going to want to know about.

#1: Publishing Update!

Yesterday, I met my publishing coordinator at New Degree Press, Jamie! I had been (admittedly) very anxious all week, waiting to hear from him. I needed more confirmation that this whole publishing thing is really real and I hadn’t imagined it somehow. But meeting him took a huge weight off my shoulders, and right off the bat, things are moving along! I’m receiving my publishing agreement to look over this weekend, and a package just arrived for me with the equipment that I’ll need to film my promotional video THIS WEEK! That’s so soon! I am due to send my footage back to them by this coming Friday. Can’t wait to update you on how that goes.

And speaking of, if you’re looking for consistent publishing updates, you should sign up for the new….

#2: Fluff About Fantasy Newsletter!

If you are currently subscribed to Fluff About Fantasy, great news! You’re already signed up to receive this upcoming publication this coming Tuesday. The Fluff About Fantasy Newsletter will be sent out every first and third Tuesday of the month to give me plenty of time to write for it and update it continuously. Here’s what you’ll be seeing:

  • What I’m Up To This Week
  • Recent Posts
  • This Week In Publishing News
  • Historical Fact of the Week (because I’m a history major, and I will educate you all!)
  • Quote from Chasing Fae: You will get to see some of my current favorite quotes from my upcoming novel, including some that I may write during the revision process!

Subscribe here if you’d like to receive this newsletter bimonthly!

#3: Chasing Fae Facebook Group

In case I needed another thing on my plate, I’ve decided to launch a Facebook Group dedicated to Chasing Fae. I spent the last few days reading about how effective it can be to launch a Facebook Group dedicated to your book series to gather fans together and how to execute it. I’ve got a lot of great ideas, guys, and I signed up for social media management tools to keep this all straight. Here’s a preview of what you’ll expect to see:

Welcome to the Facebook Group for Chasing Fae, a young adult fantasy novel coming soon in July 2020! Here, you’ll find updates about the publishing process and in-depth information about the characters and the world that you won’t find anywhere else. Learn more about the process of brainstorming for, drafting, and revising fantasy novels from a young writer who’s learning at the same time. Get inspired, and share your stories here with us.

Cool, right? This endeavor is definitely going to be a learning curve, but then again, hasn’t everything I’ve done this year been a learning curve? I want to try out everything I possibly can as I navigate the process from taking Chasing Fae from a draft on my computer to a physical book that people are going to hold in their hands. This is just the next step in taking my book where I want it to be. I hope you all will take part in that journey with me. Click here to join!

Next week: expect a post on writing fantasy! In the meantime, happy writing everybody!

Happy Anniversary! Fluff About Fantasy’s First Year Stats

A potential author picture for inside the cover of Chasing Fae

Hooray! Today marks Fluff About Fantasy’s one year anniversary and the website’s one hundredth post!

I am so proud of what I have been able to accomplish in the last year. I’ve grown such a vast audience in such a short amount of time, and I want to thank all of my readers who have been with me since the beginning. I have immensely enjoyed contributing stories about my experiences writing fantasy and what I have learned along the way. This is one of my favorite projects to work on during the week, and your support is immensely appreciated. To celebrate, I wanted to share with you the stats of all of my and Fluff About Fantasy’s platform from the first year. Tracking the progress has been really fun; I’m so happy with how far I’ve come as a person and as a writer through this site.

Without further ado:

fluffaboutfantasy.com

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • One post per week
  • 100 posts!
  • 60 subscribers–> 44 WordPress followers, 16 email followers
  • Guest Posts: Daniel Sage, Lydia Lee
  • Interviews: Elias Alam
  • Approximately 50 visitors a week
  • Created Free Revision Checklist for Beginners – not getting a lot of takers so far. STILL AVAILABLE!
  • Listed on Feedspot’s Top 60 Fantasy Book Blogs And Websites For Fantasy Readers and Authors from July 2019 through January 2020 (present).
  • 58 Countries in the first year (in order of number of views): United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, China, Australia, Bangladesh, Philippines, Germany, Sri Lanka, France, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Poland, Taiwan, Macedonia, Iceland, Nigeria, Sweden, Brazil, Finland, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Hungary, Romania, Pakistan, Armenia, Thailand, Jamaica, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Aruba, Mexico, Croatia, Vietnam, Russia, Uruguay, Israel, Guernsey, Tanzania, Indonesia, Austria, Norway, Morocco, Chile, Italy, Lithuania.
  • 2608 total views: 74% US, 7% UK, 3% Canada, 2% Ireland, 2% China, 12% everywhere else.

Facebook

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • Posts about every blog posts.
  • Only a small number of unique posts so far – usually only for major announcements
  • Facebook Live Q&A session coming soon!
  • 83 followers

Twitter

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • 4405 followers
  • Impressions in the 50k per month range
  • In the last three months
    • 250.5k impressions
    • 2.2% engagement
    • 1 link click per day
    • 3 retweets per day
    • 52 likes per day
    • 8 replies per day

Instagram

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • All blog posts linked!
  • Regular updates
  • Instagram Live session coming soon!
  • 128 followers

Pinterest

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • All blog posts pinned
  • 9 followers
  • Inspiration boards for each House semi-regularly updated with new ideas
  • Pinterest stats fluctuate so much, but currently seeing 7.6k Monthly viewers

If you’re not already keeping up with me and Fluff About Fantasy on all of the social media platforms, make sure to follow, like, and subscribe! Chasing Fae is due to be released July 2020, and you’ll want to be the first to hear all the publishing updates. Much love to everyone, and happy writing!

Writing Endings

Alright, it’s time for me to get back to writing about fantasy writing! One of the most important elements of a novel that you have to nail is your ending. Your beginning pulls readers in, and your plot and your characters keep the reader engaged for the subsequent book. But your ending has got to bring everything home. A bad ending on a great book will leave a sour taste in the reader’s mouth. Trust me, I’ve been there. Even if you love the book, there’s something about a poor ending that can erase part of that happiness.

So, the ending is pretty important. Today, I want to talk about what it means to finish a book well and a few tips that I’ve picked up while writing Chasing Fae.

Finish Your Plot.

This seems like it should be obvious, but it warrants saying anyway for several reasons. Your ending has to wrap up the main storyline. You have to finish the main plot arc of the book regardless of whether you are continuing on the storyline in a sequel. A definitive end must be visible for your reader, or you may leave them wanting. You should also consider your subplots. If it’s a standalone story, everything must end. If you plan on having a sequel or several sequels, then in my personal opinion, subplots should come to a natural stopping place. It doesn’t have to be a positive place; for example, you can end a relationship in a tumultuous position. But I think that it’s important for readers to feel like there’s a clear pause.

Make sure your ending makes sense.

Your ending should feel natural. It’s perfectly acceptable to wrap up the main plot and then have a scene or two afterwards that allows the characters to simmer down to normalcy or the new normal after the climax. Let’s see the aftermath of the character’s decisions over the course of the book. What has to change in order for the world around them to stabilize? Does the world stabilize, or is this the beginning of a new conflict? If your main character’s world calms down, write about how they feel now that the adventure is over. Who is in their life now to stay? Who has disappeared? If your ending is going to lead into a new conflict in a subsequent book, your readers want to see the inklings of that rising. Offer some hints into what is to come, even super vague ones. One of my favorite books of all time, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, has an amazing ending that was a little strange and intriguing reading it the first time. And then when you read the second book, about midway through, I suddenly went “OH! EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE NOW! THIS IS AMAZING!” *subsequent reader screaming*. Experiment with your ending. Write it a few different ways and see what you like best. Get other writers’ or readers’ opinions.

Show Your Protagonist In All Their Glory.

Your ending does not have to showcase a triumphant moment. Your protagonist could be suffering after a horrible loss. The most important role of your ending is to show how your main character has grown internally over the course of the novel. Whether you are depicting victory and resolution or defeat and the construction of a new plan, your character’s emotions will show up on the page. In a victory situation, you will see happiness or you may see them step into a new role in their lives. There may be an aura of calm about them that is totally different from what the reader has seen over the course of the novel. In a defeat situation, there’s a lot of anger and sadness and fear, and you have a real opportunity to lay out your character’s innermost thoughts. You can attest to their stubbornness and their determination and as a writer, strongly convey that pivotal decision to get up and try again in the next book. I personally love both kinds of endings, but especially the latter. You want to know if the protagonist will get what they deserve out of life. As a reader, I crave it; I absolutely have to know. And that’s what keeps me reading and keeps me buying the next book in a series.

Happy writing, everyone.

Preliminary Thoughts on Marketing for Chasing Fae

After posting my big news, I really didn’t know what to post next. I’ve got two more days until my big anniversary post, and everything I was thinking of seemed anticlimactic. Maybe on Sunday, I will go back to a post about fantasy writing, or maybe not. I may ride this out a little bit and switch back to fantasy writing posts on Saturdays.

So today, I thought I would share some of the thoughts that I’ve come up with today on how I want to begin marketing for Chasing Fae. I would really love for writers and readers alike to comment their opinions and any ideas that you have for places and people I should reach out to. Please please please share! All of the input I can get is very valued.

Email Newsletter for Chasing Fae

I desperately need to create an email newsletter. I know that it is one of the best ways to connect with fans and share up-to-date news about your books and your writing life. I have just never been able to find the right time or the right way to go about it. The last time I tried to create a newsletter, I started a really cool template on MailChimp. I really liked that platform, but when I went to send a test email to myself, I realized my home address was printed at the bottom of the newsletter. I was a bit horrified, so I tried to turn that off. It turns out that because of international spam law, a mailing address has to be printed. I thought about using my William and Mary PO box, but I haven’t made a solid decision about that yet. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Revamping My Facebook Profiles

Fluff About Fantasy currently has a Facebook page, and frankly, it doesn’t get a lot of traffic at the moment. I want to spend some time making some unique posts on that platform outside of posting links to every Fluff About Fantasy post. Closer to the release date, I’d like to host a live video Q&A session! I’ve never done one before, and I would love to try it out. I’m also toying with the idea of creating a Facebook author profile that focuses on my work as an author and/or a Facebook group specifically for Chasing Fae. I don’t know if I need all that just on Facebook, but I think each type of Facebook profile has its own merits.

Who To Reach Out To In Anticipation Of The Book Release

I have a lot of people to reach out to!

I’ve spoken briefly to my high school back home so far about promotion for my book, and they are excited about my work! I’m really happy to be able to share this with my former classmates and the current student body. I haven’t reached out to the right people at my college yet, but it is only day one. These will be my first places to promote my book through newsletters, any public announcements, and hopefully, communicating with librarians to potentially house my book.

Regional newspapers would be a good place to send a press release to if I can find the courage to make the connection. I’m looking at three cities right now: Charlotte, Williamsburg, and Richmond (the biggest city close to me). I also want to find websites and magazines devoted to young adult books and/or the fantasy genre who may have a place for me to submit a guest post with my bio or welcome authors to promote their work. Still working on that research! If you have any good names or websites, please comment below!

That’s the bulk of what I have so far. Thank you so much for all your support in this journey so far. I can’t believe I’m finally kicking off the publishing journey! I’m going to have so much to share with you over the next coming months, so stay tuned!

Happy writing, everyone!

The Biggest News Of All Time

Setting it up big here with the title, huh?

I am so happy to announce that New Degree Press is going to be publishing my fantasy novel, Chasing Fae, in July 2020!!!

This is absolutely huge, and to be honest, several hours later it still hasn’t set in yet. I’ve been working on this book for two years now, and my dreams are finally coming to fruition. And don’t worry: I will still be working on my history book through the Book Creator Program and release that book later in the year after this one.

Let me walk you through how this came about.

The Beginning

So, I have been working with New Degree Press for a while in partnership with the Book Creator Program. In late November, I was sitting in on a seminar with Professor Koester about the process of hybrid publishing. I was intrigued when I realized that using their pre-sale model (which uses the sales from preorders to generate the cost of publishing the book and has a 99% success rate) while retaining full rights and full creative control of the novel sounded like a great deal. It seemed like a viable option outside of traditional publishing that didn’t fall into the vanity publishing category, which I would NEVER want to enter into.

Out of curiosity, I messaged Professor Koester after the seminar and asked him if New Degree Press took outside submissions. To my surprise, not only did they read submissions from authors outside the program, but he could introduce me to the head of the publishing board the next week and get the process started. I was kind of taken aback! I hadn’t expected things to move so quickly, especially right before exams. But I decided to take the ride and see where this went.

The Conversation

I set some time aside during my exam week for a video chat with the head of the publishing board at New Degree Press, Brian Bies. We talked about the publishing process a bit and what my goals were for my book and my vision. I really felt listened to. He treated me with respect and answered all of my questions. And I asked a lot of questions. I think somewhere in the ballpark of 20-25. None of my questions phased him; he answered all of them completely and with plenty of detail. I felt like a professional rather than the confused young writer that I think I am.

I decided that I needed to submit to them. I just needed to try. I knew only about 8% of submissions would make it to publication, but I needed to try.

The Submission

I went home for Christmas break and dove into revisions. I wanted to make a few revisions from my original manuscript sent to literary agents because I had some new ideas to improve the novel. I revised heavily for about a week. Then I sent off the draft to be read at the end of December.

Then came the waiting. I waited for almost four weeks until…..

Thursday, January 23, 2020

I’m going to have a fantastic “how did you find out your book was going to be published?” story.

That morning, I woke up groggy and just not feeling well. I had a bad headache, congestion, and a slight fever. I was thinking “Really? On the second day of classes? I hate the cold.” I rested as much as I could during the morning, missing my German class, so that I could go to my first Field School in Material Culture class in the afternoon. This was a class that only met once a week, so I didn’t want to miss one right off the bat! Getting sick at the beginning of the semester sucks because I feel like teachers may think you’re trying to skip out. I’m not! I’m a good student! I just don’t function while ill.

Anyway, I went to this class, and I snuck a peek at the messaging platform that I was communication with New Degree Press on. To my surprise, I had messages! After I quickly scrolled up to the top of the thread, and I realized what it said: New Degree Press green-lit Chasing Fae for publication this summer.

It didn’t hit me. It didn’t hit me at all initially. I couldn’t think, and I couldn’t process this information. And then I had to wait THREE HOURS for my class to be over in order to communicate to other people what happened!!!

When I got out of class, I called my family and my friends, and I told them what I had learned. I posted the announcement all over social media. And suddenly, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t stop smiling. Love was pouring in from everywhere, and I just did my best to absorb it all.

This is REAL now. Chasing Fae is going to be in print and in people’s hands. I cannot wait to share this book with the world. And I want to thank every single person reading this post right now for being involved in my journey. For listening to what I’ve shared about my book, coming to my website to learn and be invested in the journey, and thanks in advance for checking out my book when it releases!

Subscribe to Fluff About Fantasy to keep up with all the latest news about Chasing Fae!

Middle Realm

Summary: The mortal Middle Realm has its high and low points. The atmosphere isn’t quite as spectacular and awe-inspiring as the Upper Realm, but it has its own unique modest beauty. This beauty can be found particularly on the coast and in the farmland. Cities, however, tend to be tiny and thick with people. They end up with high rise gray buildings with stacks upon stacks of apartments. Food is bought in small city marketplaces that hide under smoke and dimness. The richest people leave outside the cities in manors where musicians like Grace and her mom travel to to play. The outskirts and the poorest towns are filled with peasants and farmers who are just trying to survive. Some areas are facing extreme poverty and famine.

Flag: Deep purple flag with a circle of thirty white stars in the center.

Potency of Magic: 1/10

Main Exports: Copper, Mineral Resources, Salt, Farm Animals

Government: The Middle Realm government is a farce. It is a parliamentary government overseen by a puppet prime minister appointed by the Upper Realm. Speculation says he could be Fae himself. Each town and city elects two representatives to the main body of government which congregates in Clinton nine out of the twelve months in a year (30 places, 60 representatives total).

Lisden: Lisden has never been a city of glamour. The people do their best to make it one, but they have never had the means to be more than what they are: a factory city. The streets are filled with thick, pale grey smoke from dawn to dusk with little reprieve. The only spots to get away are high above the city. The factory whistles blow at 7 am sharp every morning although the smoke starts earlier. It’s that stand out sound that wakes you up in the morning and reminds you to get going. Lisden’s buildings are varied. You’ve got your silver skyscrapers that house the richest among the people as well as the most lucrative businesses. But most of the buildings in the city are brick and stocky and old. Doesn’t matter whether they house a factory or an apartment complex; they’re just old. The whole city is also crawling with tight alleyways. They’re really kinda sketchy. But they work very well when needed for discreet matters, especially for matters concerning the black market. Grace’s hometown.

Bay Point: Bay Point is an ocean city closest to the border. Leo used to spend time stationed there. With its proximity to the Upper Realm, it is a frequent center of black market smuggling from the Fae side. It’s a fairly quiet town. Most of the jobs are based down by the docks in fishing, canning, and trading by ship. Because of this, during most of the day, the town appears like it sleeps all day. Cobblestone streets wind through aimlessly around small cottage-like buildings. The city centers around a series of fountains, located at different circles throughout the land. The beach lays at the bottom of a hill that cacades outside the city down to the water.

Lorraine: Lorraine is the town on the Middle Realm/Lower Realm border. It’s a very dusty town, reminds me of a ghost town. It can really only be considered a town due to its size, not its activity level. Lorraine is a mining town, and most of its citizens spend their time in the home or underground. When night passes over Lorraine, the air is very still and the buildings are very silent. The people seem forlorn and almost forgotten even as they move through their daily lives.

Upper Realm/Middle Realm border: The border wall seems only as tall as the largest skyscraper in the Middle Realm, but there’s a visible shimmering force field that fills in the space from the top of the wall up to the sky. The border is heavily guarded every day on the Middle Realm side by Fae soldiers. Nothing goes in or gets out without their say-so.

Middle Realm/Lower Realm border: The border wall looms large, a mass of solid rock that extends to the sky as far as the eye can see. The dark grey rock is jagged and rough with no easily viewable gaps or holes in which to pass through to the other side.

Drawing Inspiration From Real Life

Every story that I have ever started has drawn upon inspiration from my world, whether that be my family, my friends, or events that have happened in my life. The first book I ever wrote was actually about a fictional version of my family and their adventures in a strange, slightly fantastical land (but cut me some slack, I was only ten). Big moments and important people in my life do eventually manifest themselves as book characters, albeit with some significant modifications. Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite pieces of Chasing Fae that have been created from significant elements of my life.

Grace

Grace is a strong, independent woman who has found herself in a situation that she has no idea how to remedy. She is taking care of her mother and their home by working full time, and she’s planning this grand adventure to find out how her older brother died. She has this indomitable stubbornness that just radiates throughout everything she does. She’s honestly my favorite character that I have ever written.

Grace started out as the person that I wanted to be. I wanted to be able to take charge of my own life and stand up for everything I believed in with confidence. When I started Chasing Fae midway through my senior year, I was still very much hiding in the shadows. I had a lot to say, but no real way to say it without feeling shut out from my peers. I never seemed to say or do the right things, so there was a long period of time that I just stopped trying. Grace wouldn’t have stopped trying. She said what she thought without any care for the consequences, and although she does have an introverted side to her, she had no problem being bold when necessary.

But as I continued to develop and work on Grace, she took on a whole new life. She was a living, breathing character with rough edges and an emotional side that I had never anticipated her having. Her sadness manifests as anger and frustration, and when she keeps it tampered down for so long, she is bound to break. That emotional rawness that’s hiding behind this stubborn surface is something that I really admire about this character. I’m very proud to have written her into existence.

Leo

Leo is Grace’s older brother who has just died at the beginning of the book. I’ve touched a lot on where the inspiration for him came from in Sibling Bonds, but I want to dive in a bit more into what the character means to me.

The friend who acted as an older brother to me has been in and out of my life over the last year and a half, and it hasn’t been the prettiest. Every time I try to walk away and let it go, there is always that emotional side that ties me to answer one more text, send one more message. There’s this love and appreciation that just seems to override my instincts sometimes, to my benefit or detriment depending on the situation. I know that he is anxious to read the book when it does finally get published, and I do wonder sometimes how he will view the character, whether he will see any of his past self in him.

Leo, for me, is the closure that I needed. It is very critical that he is dead initially. Grace and Leo’s relationship has had its ups and downs, luckily more ups than otherwise. But she takes away this purely good, strong, and loving memory of him that she carries with her throughout the trilogy. In the first book, she’s chasing his memory, chasing whatever brought around his death. But readers are going to see her really connect with that grief and be able to open up as a person eventually.

The Upper Realm

The Three Realms was actually my first real attempt at worldbuilding, and the universe definitely has taken on a life of its own.

I’m going to focus on the Upper Realm because of its depth and richness in detail. I spent nearly four months on the Upper Realm alone as I was formulating my ideas about where the book was going to go. The Twelve Houses are based off of the twelve signs of the zodiac; I’m a intermittent fan of reading my horoscope and attributing zodiac traits to book characters. I never saw myself creating any less than twelve. Once the idea was there, it stuck, and I couldn’t do anything else. I liked the idea of incorporating opposing elements to create this perfect balance. Those elements became incorporated into the main alliances as well. Elemental magic has always been one of my favorite types of magic to read about in a fantasy novel, so I wanted to incorporate as much of that as possible.

The logical ones came first: Fire, Water, Wind (as a substitute for air), and Earth. Then light and darkness followed by day and evening, sun and moon. Then I was up to ten. I had to think for a while about what the last two elements would be. I finally came up with peace and war because I wanted to create two societies that would truly represent the balance. The House of Peace would not possess a standing army and would focus on education and the arts. It would be a universal trading partner. The House of War would be situated in a place with natural defenses (the mountains and the river) and be primarily cut off from the other eleven Houses. They would be entirely self-sufficient in a desire not to rely on anyone for assistance, and their soldiers would be the strongest in all the Realms.

The Upper Realm is what made me realize how much I LOVE worldbuilding.

I’d love to hear about what elements from your story draw from your experiences in real life. Please share in the comments below!