T Is For… Truffles!

Ah, yes. Truffles.  While there are truffles here on Earth, the first being a type of chocolate confection and the second being a type of mushroom confection, truffles really are a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and an aardvark.

2015-04-23 N&W Pic 12015-04-23 N&W Pic 2

See? Aren’t they adorable?  Truffles have the fur of the Cocker Spaniel, and similar coloring for the most part, (a range of browns and tans), and their snouts are a little longer and more like a small elephant’s than the aardvark’s.

Why a truffle?

Well, it’s like this:  the first settlers to Persis saw the native animals and their resemblance to Old Earth animals.  Then they realized that the primary food source for truffles was a type of plant that grows under the surface of the sand, and the truffles use their long snouts to reach it.  They reminded the settlers of the pigs that are used in hunting the valuable truffle mushrooms.   The name got shortened to truffle, and it stuck – the native animals were then known as truffles.

What about you, Dear Reader?
What would an animal that you made up look like?

K Is For… Kashaynu!

2015-04-13 KKa-what? Kashaynu. Yes, I know, what a name. He’s a Seeker in our Persis Chronicles series and I adore names, especially ones that sound good rolling off the tongue but that aren’t familiar. Kashaynu, Zeteya, Bakraynu… Rachel jokes that you can always tell the characters she named, because they have names like Brock, or Jon.  I do rush to point out that I named Teeka and Quill, and those are very simple names, but I don’t think I’ve won the argument.  Not with Kashaynu kicking up his heels in the corners.

He does have a nickname: Kasha, which is Russian for buckwheat and is a type of breakfast cereal or side dish (i.e. grains, like we have in the book).  Only problem is, only his brother and mother call him Kasha, so we’re back to where we started with a long name.  I just like them.  The fun thing about Kashaynu is he’s a Seeker, which is like a cross between an F.B.I. Agent and a street judge.  He’s authorized to carry lethal force in the form of a sword and other weaponry and he investigates serious crime.  His brother is the very fastidious and flowery Zeteya, the Contract Keeper for Emerald Keep.  Their mother is Healer Meeryn, a lovely lady who works with the Keep as well as the workers down on the strand below the Keep.

What about you, Dear Reader?
What kinds of names do you like in your characters?

H Is For… Hunter!

emeraldkeepEmerald Keep is now available!  Very exciting.  You can find it at Torquere Press, here.  In celebration, I thought I’d share a little bit about our world and one of the jobs in it, that of Hunter.

First, we decided that jobs all have capital letters.  There are jobs that are obvious like Healer and Driver, and less obvious like Seeker, or lawman, and Hunter, or miner.  We settled pretty early on in the writing process on the convention of using “er” at the end of all our job descriptions; I don’t recall the reason for it but it became a “rule.”  It’s interesting to have to fit within that structure when coming up with new positions.

Hunters originally were the ones who went out and found animals for food, but in the process, they discovered the stones that are native on Persis.  One of the rarest is used to power electrical systems of all kinds, and there is a gold-colored stone called simply “goldstone.”  There is also a type of stone that, when a catalyst is applied, provides liquid water, called a “waterstone.”

At night, the stones glow various colors.  When there is a patch of them in an area, they look like multi-colored fox fire.  They are found typically in dry, sandy patches or near stands of local vegetation, and one of the points of the first book is that our main character figures out a more reliable way to find them.

What about you, Dear Reader?
If you had to start over on a distant planet, what job would you like to have?

E Is For… Emerald Keep!

 

emeraldkeep

I am very excited.  This Wednesday, our book Emerald Keep is out into the world.  In celebration of its release, I figured I’d take today and share a little bit with you.  If you are a long-time reader of ours, then you may already be aware of the book’s release; if this is your first visit, then hello, and welcome.

The most exciting part, to me, about writing a science fantasy novel is that I get to create a world.  My coauthor, Rachel Wilder, and I worked hard to build a place that is both foreign and familiar.  We asked ourselves, what would it be like to live somewhere, 400 years or so after humanity colonized the place?  What would the culture have evolved to be like?  That required us to know something about the culture of the original settlers.  That’s a good question.  What kind of a person travels for long, long distances, probably years, and lands on a hostile planet with few easily-accessible resources other than breathable air?  The surface of the planet is blisteringly hot all year round, and completely uninhabitable one month out of every year.

Which begs another question:  how long is the year?  A year on Earth is twelve months.  A year on Mars?  687 days.  Jupiter?  Twelve years.  (Well, okay, twelve Earth years.)  So we had to know how long the Persis year is – which we decided, incidentally, is fourteen months.  It’s punctuated by Daymonth and Nightmonth.  Those of you living near the poles will be familiar with a month of sun, and a month of moon; because of the planet’s tilt, that happens up there (you’ve heard of the Russian White Nights, yes?).  Daymonth, like it sounds, is a month of days: and because the surface is so hot, the residents have to live underground, much like they do on Earth at Coober Pedy, a town in South Australia and the hottest one, by all accounts, on our planet.  The homes there are built underground.

Not so alien after all, then, this Persis of ours.  When one looks at a problem objectively, as a logic problem, one is able to world-build more easily.  Ask yourself, if I had to go somewhere to settle, somewhere completely new, like the wagon trains did when settling the American West, what would I bring?

Well, Dear Reader?  What would you put in your imaginary colonizing go-bag?

And, especially for you, I also want to remind you that the Rafflecopter is open until April 8th; please feel welcome to join in even if you are here for the A-Z Challenge and not for the book tour.  Whatever your reason for visiting, we’re glad you’re here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

The Emerald Keep Book Tour Continues!

2015-03 Tour with Blurb

The tour has been truckin’ along.  I checked today and we’re up to 229 entries for the Rafflecopter!  Holy moly, Dear Reader, how awesome that is.  Thank you so much for your support!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday Morning Pages

Morning Pages.  Three pages of longhand writing in the morning.  Not meant to be written, in the sense that they’re a exercise in getting the brain onto the page and giving voice to what the Chinese call monkey mind – that bouncing, scattershot squirrel of thoughts that natters on throughout the day behind the scenes.

I’ve been doing Morning Pages since 1995 and they’ve quite literally changed my life.  It’s to the point, now, where I don’t even argue their effectiveness, because I know they’re effective – I just assign them, teach them, preach them, do them.

They’re most effective when we do them, I’ve learned.

When I came up with the theme for Mondays as “Monday Morning Pages,” I did it more for the sense of transliteration than anything else.  But as I type, I find it fitting that Mondays would be this sort of post – a Zen wander through my mind and, in the case of today, my camera.

The morning was gorgeous.  The light had a golden quality with the oncoming sun that made the snow sparkle.  It was really cold, only about 8F, but lovely.

My lunch serves as a rest for my craft bag, which right now carries the Emerald Keep Scarf and my story binder, which has two in-process novels in it, Sealed by Duty and Sapphire Dream.  It’s got the story grid, setting triangle, and GMC for all of the characters.  I’ll expand on what those things are in another post, but for now, I’m just sharing what’s in my bag.  The cup is my cold coffee for the morning.  A necessity.  I didn’t have time to make hot coffee, so this is some cold stuff that I made yesterday.  It’s caffeinated, that’s all I care about before I’m all the way awake.

There’s no school today, since it’s President’s Day.  But the school had a light on, making me wonder who went to school today?  A hardworking teacher?  A lonely janitor?  A homeless person sneaking in out of the cold?  An alien, hoping to take over the building as the new command center of an invading force?

Hey, man.  It’s Monday, and this is the Morning Pages.

You have been warned.  🙂

Writer Wednesday with Noon and Wilder

Yes, dear, I know you don’t like your picture taken.
©2015 A. Catherine Noon

Why do you want me to smi-
©2015 Rachel Wilder

2015 is shaping up to be a busy year.  We’ve sent off Sealed by Magic for consideration; finished first and second rounds of edits on Emerald Keep; made a deal for Book 3 of the Chicagoland Shifters, called Cat’s Cradle, and it’ll be out in the summer of 2015; and we’ve worked out the order of the Persis Chronicles series for the next four years.  Rock on.

I’m not sure I have two brain cells to rub together at the moment, though.  ~grin~

We are redesigning our websites this year, and my website will be up shortly.  We’ll launch the new Noon and Wilder site in the next month or so, before April’s A-Z Blog Challenge.  And yes, I’ll be doing the Challenge – with more than one blog, too, thereby proving the theory that I am, in fact, mad.

In Noon & Wilder news, I’m excited to say that we’ll be holding the 2015 Keepsake Tour right here on the blog for 31 days starting March 8th.  It will celebrate the release of Emerald Keep, the long-awaited sequel to our popular book Emerald Fire.  The Keepsake Tour will be a little different than blog tours I’ve done in the past – for this one, Rachel and I are literally making keepsakes for you, Dear Reader, to collect.  Rachel is crocheting a scarf, I’m making a lace scarf, we’ll have hand-made bookmarks and other bits and bobs.  I can’t wait.  I’m booking the stops on the tour now, but you can always check in here during the tour because I’ll leave little breadcrumbs for you to follow.

For now, it’s time to put my nose back on that grindstone.  We’re almost finished with Sapphire Dream, book 3 in the Persis Chronicles, and know what comes after it – which is sometimes half the battle.  We hope to be done with Sapphire within the next month or two so that we can send it off for consideration – so keep your fingers crossed!

Happy Wednesday, Dear Reader!

Tuesday with the Tauruses

Rachel and I are hard at work on the edits for EMERALD KEEP, which is coming soon from Torquere Press – release date is April 8th.  So exciting.

Edits, though, means our brains dribble out the bottom of our heads.  We’re also finishing up the submission packet for SEALED BY MAGIC and will send that off on the weekend.  And I’m planning the blog book tour for EK.

It’s a full week.

And it showed today.

But I walked to work.

And that, Dear Reader, is what a writer’s brain on edits looks like.  o.O….

Happy August!

Happy August!  It’s hard to believe the months of June AND July are over, isn’t it?

We have some exciting news, though!  EMERALD KEEP is now under contract with Torquere Press and will be out soon.  Yay!  And, just in time for Lughnasad, they’re having a site-wide sale for both Torquere Press and their Young Adult imprint, Prizm Books.  You can check them out and pick up some great summer reads.  Enter coupon code hapaug2014 at checkout and receive a 20% discount!

A to Z Challenge, Day 24: X Is For X Marks the Spot

In pirate stories, there’s a map where X marks the spot of hidden treasure.  Just like those pirates, writers have to find their own buried treasure – or, in this case, imaginary worlds in which the story occurs.  Even if it’s a real place, like Chicago, the specifics are unique to the fictional story taking place.

We talked about map-making earlier in the A-Z Challenge, so today I wanted to talk about distance.  If you make up a world and a transportation system, all of a sudden the time it takes to get from point A to point B is different:  there aren’t cars and well-maintained roads.

In writing EMERALD FIRE and now, EMERALD KEEP, Rachel and I invented a form of transport called a sandsail.  After a while, we needed larger vessels, and thus corsairs and cruisers were born.  It became material to the plot of EMERALD KEEP how long it took because the characters had to make it to Reghdad (our underground city) before the beginning of Daymonth (when the surface of the planet became too hot for humans to bear).

In maps, something called a scale tells the reader what the distance is – it could be miles, as in the case of Mapquest or Google Maps showing you how to get from New York to Los Angeles.  It could be feet, in the case of trying to get from one block to a house three blocks away.

With that for context, I give you our creation:  the Map of Persis, the first draft of it, anyway.  We’ve added to it as we’ve needed to have additional places.  But this gives us a great deal of precision in how many days a journey will take and where different places are in relation to each other.

Besides.  It was a lot of fun to draw.

What is your favorite source of navigational data?  (Mapquest, Google Maps, AAA, etc.)