Tag Archive | fantasy

The Peers of Beinan: A Literary Journey

Castle Fantasy BackdropThere is a lot of science fiction on the market from independent authors published these last five years since I first published “The Great Succession Crisis.”  It is a crowded field where it is easy to get lost in. As with many popular genres, a huge number of books seek to emulate the plot and character elements of mega hits on the assumption of that what works for one highly profitable author must work for them as well. We’ve seen this with “Twilight” style paranormal romances.  We’ve seen this with “Five Shades of Grey” styled erotica.  The list goes on and on.

As moderator of a book promo group on facebook, I get to see the copycats almost ad nauseam. Books all look the same after a while. And while the premise of copying another’s ideas is repulsive to me as both a science fiction author and as a dedicated historian, I do genuinely see some success in these authors following those formulas — if the measure of success is Amazon rankings in any event.

But open these books and the blandness of copycatting shows itself. The writing lacks the sort of literary luster of the books and authors whose work holds the test of time. That is, perhaps, the best distinction one makes between commercial and literary fiction.  Commercial fiction is about today’s sale.  Literary fiction is about creating timeless works of art.  My fiction is literary fiction.

The Peers of Beinan Series is everything I love about the classics. As a free thinker and intellectual with a life-long passion for learning, it has never been my habit to follow the crowd – on anything. Whatever was “hot” or “trendy” was never of interest to me.  I always liked to be different. On occasion what I’ve liked and what the greater society is into have coincided — but never by my conscious design and rarely in precisely the same way.

I started my writing career with the Peers of Beinan because I saw an America becoming more and more socially and politically divided, an America where it was becoming more and more difficult to engage in civil conversations about the stuff that matters. I saw an America that was increasingly creating false equivalences between fact and opinion and where acts of hate against those who are different was going unpunished and ignored. Sound familiar?

I wanted to engage in an honest discussion with people about the subjects that matter to me most. Looking to the great science fiction/fantasy authors I like best — Gene Roddenberry, Dorothy “DC” Fontana, Ray Bradberry, Frank Herbert, Issac Asimov to name just a few — what I noticed is they often tackled some really big social and sometimes political subjects in their books — without offending people in the process.

I wanted to do the same.  I wanted to talk to people and encourage people to really think about things that matter to me. And I wanted people to open their minds to ideas and possibilities that put a different way to them they would never listen to.

And that is, in essence, what the Peers of Beinan Series is. It’s my reaching out across the universe and saying “this is important, please think it about it” from a group of stories that don’t ask that question directly of people.

house-personal-heraldry-collage

In personal interactions I am known for my point-blank directness. I don’t play the stereotypical gender roles game — not any more at least. And so I am “bold” as a woman and a writer. The Peers of Beinan is less point-blank than I usually am. It seeks to provoke thought without being confrontational. And just as important to me personally:  it seeks to bring you hope. For in the greatest darkness and despair, there is always Light. That’s how I overcame the great adversities of my life and how you will too.

 

Why some book series should be read in the order written

Goodbye 3D

Good-bye A672E92 Quintus is chronologically the first book in the Peers of Beinan Series. However it was actually written FOURTH of the six books.

I love a great book series.  From the JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon Series, I find it satisfying to stay within the same world, getting to know characters, places, and events intimately.  It’s one reason why serialized fiction is so popular and entertaining.

Like both my aforementioned literary mentors, I do not write in chronological order.  With the Legendary Women of World History series this makes sense:  each biography is a stand alone book.  The series designation signals consistency in theme and approach to historical data.  But the books themselves are not necessarily strongly connected (the exception:  Mary Queen of the Scots and Journey to Gloriana).

By contrast, the Peers of Beinan Series is much more traditional with the same cultural, historical, and environmental setting across the books.  The books were written in the following order:

  1. The Great Succession Crisis (along with its companion Data Files, now out of print).
  2. The First King
  3. The Ghosts of the Past
  4. Good-bye A672E92 Quintus (most editions integrate The First King into the text)
  5. The Poisoned Ground
  6. Princess Anyu Returns

This means that the bulk of the world building and explanations of the world building are achieved in The Great Succession Crisis and The Ghosts of the Past — much like George Lucas establishes his world building in Star Wars (A New Hope) and The Empire Strikes Back.  Viewers of Return of the Jedi and of the three prequel films are expected to know ideas like Jedi Knights and Sith Lords before viewing these films.

And so does the Peers of Beinan Series.  The result:  a chronological reading of the series as the first reading of the series is a little bit confusing.  Especially with the novellas (Good-bye A672E92 Quintus and The Poisoned Ground) I found myself not re-describing the wheel already built.  And, to risk sounding pompous, I honestly did not expect to need to do so.  These books are for young adults and adults, after all — not middle grade children like the biographies.  So I expect a higher level of education and deductive reasoning/critical thinking skills from Peers of Beinan Series readers than I do with the biographies.  After all, science fiction readers are some of the smartest and best educated of literary audiences.  As lovers of science fiction we expect our books to be factually accurate, imaginative, and thought-provoking.   We expect to be challenged intellectually and emotionally.  As a life-long science fiction fan, I wrote the books that I most want to read myself.

And so the series best makes sense when you read it in the order that I wrote it in with a chronological reading (such as you find in The Complete Series) best for the second and subsequent readings.  In that, I continue to follow the greats I love:  JRR Tolkien, Frank Herbert, George Lucas, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana,  J. Michael Straczynski, and Stan Lee.

Read these in the order I wrote them and i know you will love them too!

Name Your Own Price Comes to the Peers of Beinan

Complete Series 3DThe Peers of Beinan Series is my epic medieval social science fiction series focusing on the adventures of Beinarian nobles and royals from the Gurun dynasty.  It is a six book series with a Legacy of Princess Anlei Trilogy edition and a Complete Series volume.  There’s also The Complete Data Files reference book and The Lost Tales companion book for a total of ten total book titles.

 

Effective the 12th of April 2015 all regular Peers of Beinan series books are now name your own price on Smashwords.  The two books that are staying regular price are the two you expect:  the Legacy of Princess Anlei Trilogy edition and The Complete Series volume because these contain multiple books at already low prices.

Returns 3D

Name your own price is only available on Smashwords; on all other retailers such as Amazon, Barnes/Noble, and iBookstore the books are all at their regular prices.

 

View and purchase the entire Peers of Beinan series on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/2371.

Character Profile: Thunder

Seventh NightCharacter name:  Thunder
Parents names:  Storm and Majesty
Character’s Date of Birth: 24th day of the 11th month, year of reason 324
Place of Birth: Stables of Lord Harold of Fortesdale
Book appearing in: Seventh Night 
Profile:  Thunder is a black winged unicorn with a gold horn and unusually large for his breed.  He’s head strong and loyal and loves attention, particularly from his rider Phillip, who acquired a giant’s saddle from a trio of passing showmen.  Thunder loves to fly, with or without his rider, and being part pegasus, he has a good tolerance for the cold weather and enjoys playing in the snow.
Ideal actor or actress to play in a film adaptation:  As a big fan of spotlighting undiscovered talent, I’d leave that up to the casting director.

Excerpt: Epilogue to “The Ghosts of the Past”

Ghosts of the Past

The Ghosts of the Past continues the Legacy of Princess Anlei Series as its exciting middle chapter.   Find the Ghosts of the Past in paperback, kindle, and nook editions.

The following excerpt is highly unusual:  it is the final two pages of the book, its epilogue.

 

Epilogue:

“On BE 6961, beinor 154, my mother, Queen Constance the Kind, sacrificed everything to give me my one chance at escaping the weapon systems under Lord Yelu’s control. Hating Yelu as much as she loved Lord Knight Corann, she hid her feelings and played along with Yelu’s whims. It would not be until I returned to Beinan that I discovered Yelu’s plans that beinor; the drug my mother drank was no different than the one Janus gave Lady Ecter when he first raped her, conceiving in Lady Ecter his daughter, the future Lady Priestess Miriam, and through them, the Choire Ar Cerridwen.

“In my mother’s body, a child was quickened by Yelu’s persistence in those last beinors of the Beinarian era. Across Beinan, the fires emanating from the Ten-Arian monastery, from the temple of Abka Biya, and from the palace spread widely, destroying many familiar and sacred places. As I set course in my star craft for D425E25 Tertius, my star craft detected a strange anomaly coming out of the temple where I found so much peace. A small shockwave hit my star craft two xiao-shirs later. In my mind I heard Lady Laela’s voice and knew that somehow she was behind whatever it was my star craft detected, working unseen and unnoticed though for what purpose I would not understand until I returned to Beinan.

“The Beinan I knew was gone. But deep inside me I knew something else: that out of the darkness and cold comes a new spring, a new hope. If I ever doubted it, all I needed to do was listen to the messages left for me on board the Liltaél. The story of my exile on D425E25 Tertius and of my return to Beinan, planet B345A15 Quartus in Beinarian nomenclature took me down many unexpected roads. Many I loved perished in that Great War whose lives I honour across this history of the last yen-ars of the Beinarian Era. Many hidden things revealed themselves at last. I am not proud of what I said and did along the way. But this I affirm forever: in the darkest night, in the deepest snow, in the bitterest sorrow, there is love, there is light, and there is a new life waiting for you if you simply find the courage within yourself to believe.

Character Profile: Lord Malvyn of house Balister

Today’s character is Lord Master Bowman Malvyn of house Balister

Good-bye A672E92 QuintusSeries Name:  The Peers of Beinan

Character name: Lord Malvyn

Parents names: Lady Archer Kluane and Lord Archer Brion of house Balister.

Character’s Date of Birth:  OW 48539, beinor 99

Place of Birth: the borough of Richmarche on A672E92 Quintus

Book appearing in:  Good-bye A672E92 Quintus

Profile:  The son of Balistrian guildmistress Lady Archer Kluane and her husband Lord Brion, Lord Malvyn mastered both heritage and modern bows as a young child.  A natural diplomat and leader, Lord Malyvn is a simple man charged with enormous responsibility after the Great Council chooses him to be the first king.

Ideal actor to play in a film adaptation:  Dr Who alumni David Tennant or Christopher Eccleston.

 

Connect with science fiction author Laurel A. Rockefeller on twitter.

Shock Fiction: What Popularity of Horror and Erotica Genres Say About Our Culture

Next up is my look at why sex and violence seem to outsell more conservative fare.

 

cover art to Fifty Shades of Grey -- one of the worst written and most poorly edited bestsellers of all time

cover art to Fifty Shades of Grey — one of the worst written and most poorly edited bestsellers of all time

Shock Fiction: What Popularity of Horror and Erotica Genres Say About Our Culture

A Look at the Popularity of Sex and Violence in the Media

 February 8th, 2014

Sex and violence sell. For decades we’ve seen the connection between book/movie/music popularity and graphic violence/graphic sex. Can it be any wonder why Miley Cyrus bares all or why a song implying that women don’t mean “no” to sex when they say it topped the charts in 2013? We relish in treating women as bodies for male gratification; it’s shocking and therefore appealing to us, like some sort of dark sexual fantasy.

Except the fantasy does not match with our experiences. Rape is not fun. It’s not sexy. It’s an act of brutal violence that stays with us, often for the rest of our lives. Rape is about power, control and domination over another living being. In the real world, there is nothing fun about being on the receiving end of it.

Violence too is also not the fantasy the media we consume tells us it is. Speak to any woman or child in a battered woman’s shelter and ask her how “fun” it was to be beaten, raped, intimidated, controlled, or worse. Violence may be entertaining to hear about, read about, or watch on the big screen, but the actual experience is far from something you want for yourself. If it were, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) would be as rare to psychotherapists as smallpox to American hospitals.

Given this disconnect, why do we need to consume these fantasy experiences that, ultimately, further callous us against the suffering of others? Why do we buy the sexually violent and poorly written “Fifty Shades of Grey” over better written books modeling healthy relationships between women and men?

Perhaps we have closed ourselves off to our emotions, to our ability to feel in our own lives, let alone sympathize and empathize with others. Rather than face the challenges in our own lives, we find it easier to wall our emotions away – much as the fictional Vulcans repress their emotions. Once repressed, our own emotions become difficult to access. We lose touch with those things that bring meaning to our lives and no longer remember how to relate the experiences of others to our own lives – a critical form of learning that other primates find exceedingly difficult if not impossible to attain.

If we cannot see ourselves reflected in other living beings, it becomes easy to ignore experiences we would never wish for ourselves. In essence, we de-humanize everyone else. Others have no real value. It is profoundly selfish of us.

We become completely emotionally disconnected. Can it be any wonder we seek to fill this void with whatever excitement we can find – sexual or violent?

But we can do better than this. We can embrace our feelings better and learn how to deal with life’s challenges in ways that keep us connected and related to other people. One simple way to do that is to turn off our electronics and return our focus to attentive in-person and voice-telephone contact. Yes, this means we need to learn to listen again instead of constantly broadcasting everything in our heads. Yes, this involves more self-control. Rather than bullying from afar, we have to re-learn the humanity of others by keeping our remarks civil if not kind and spoken from much closer physical distances.

Once we achieve this we will find ourselves able to respond not only to the breadth that literature has to offer us, but the breadth and depth of the human experience. We will not need cheap and shallow thrills or instant fame anymore. We will grow to appreciate the subtleties in humor and plot. We will come alive once more.