New Map of Ialana

I have always used a hand-drawn, black and white map for the books in my Ialana Series, but now I have a beautiful, professionally rendered color map for my website, and a  black and white version for my books!

I know that readers of fantasy love maps as much as I do, and how important it is to have a great map, so I hope you will enjoy seeing it on my site in color, and the better B&W one in my books, as soon as I can get it done. You may have to buy the box set that will be coming out this year, but for now, you can see both of them below:

The Continent of Ialana
The Continent of Ialana by Misty Beee for Katlynn Brooke.
The Continent of Ialana
The Continent of Ialana by Misty Beee for Katlynn Brooke.

Season’s Greetings!

Christmas Tree In Snowy Night

This year, our holiday season on the East Coast looks nothing like the above picture. The temperatures are more like that of early spring, and even the flowers and insects are confused. I imagine there are going to be many disappointed children, too, but there is a solution.

Untether your imaginations! Let it roam free with a good book. For myself, I would prefer an amazing fantasy, perhaps even re-reading some of my old favorites, such as The Hobbit, or Lord of the Rings.  Or, one can find books that have wintry, snowy settings, such as Frozen, Harry Potter books, or anything by Robin Hobb in her Fitz and the Fool series.

For those who don’t mind a Christmas devoid of the white stuff, but love to get lost in a good fantasy book, the choices are endless. It can be confusing, too. There are so many books out there to choose from, so many genres and new authors popping up all the time. Sometimes we are afraid to try a new author, a new series, or something that has not yet been tested by the general public.

As an avid reader myself, I can fully understand how one may not wish to veer from the popular literature out there. But I take my hat off to those who are not afraid to give a new author a chance! After all, it takes a brave soul to plow through books that are badly written, boring, or unedited.

You won’t encounter any of that in my books. Since I am a reader too, and have been ever since I learned to read at age 5, I understand what readers want. More importantly, I understand what it is you don’t want to see in a book.

So give the Ialana Series a shot. The first book in the series, The Six and the Crystals of Ialana, will introduce you to the characters and the setting in a way that will hold your interest to the end. I can promise that the action never lags, the plot will intrigue and it will, by the end, leave you wanting more.

In The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana, the Six continue with their adventures, picking up where they left off, but with an entirely new plot. Each book in the series is a complete book, so you will never be left hanging at the end.

In early 2016 (a few weeks!) the third in the series, Anwyn of Ialana will be available. This book holds a promise for even more action, many more plot twists, and enough excitement to keep you glued to your Kindle or Nook. Or, if you prefer, these books are also available in paperback. Now is a good time to catch up with this series, and I hope you will get as much enjoyment out of them as I did writing them.

Merry Christmas to my new readers, and have an enjoyable and wonderful New Year, snow or no snow.

Katlynn Brooke

 

via Search.

More Than Just a Good Story

Gate to heaven

In The Six and the Crystals of Ialana, one of my characters, a shape-shifter named Irusan, explains his origins:

“Where am I from? It’s a world that co-exists in the same space as this one, but one that no man or beast can see. It’s invisible, much as our sanctuary here is invisible to others. It exists in a frequency zone . . . What is a frequency zone? If you could see what you were made of, you would notice that each particle that makes you you, moves in a certain way. Think of them as extremely small, spherical objects, so small that you can’t see them because your eye can only see things that are larger. If you drew a line through the center of these tiny spherical objects, you would see that some lines, or what we call an axis, runs through the center of each particle vertically, up and down, and the sphere rotates around this invisible line. Sometimes the axis may move to another angle, and the sphere would rotate at this angle, either faster or slower. That is what we call particle spin or frequency. If all of your particles change their spin direction and rotation speed ever so slightly, you disappear, but you will continue to exist, only on another level and in another world. You could even shape shift, as I do.”

Irusan is revealing, in his simple and direct way to a technologically backward people, what we only theorize today as being scientific possibilities: alternate universes, other dimensions.

How would you explain electricity to a stone-age or medieval culture? If you even managed to do so, you would probably be burned as a witch or wizard, or sacrificed at the next full moon.

The theme in the Ialana Series, all three books so far, is to show that even things we would consider magical today are nothing more than an understanding of the laws of the universe–a universe that is more than what the eye can see or that our instruments can measure.

The paragraph above is probably the most complicated one in the book. The rest of it is adventure and intrigue, sprinkled with the knowledge of a more advanced society. A reader will never be bored.

I am sure you will enjoy the first in the series, The Six and the Crystals of Ialana, and from there you will most certainly wish to keep up with the exciting lives of The Six. As a bonus, the first book is still only .99c.

Good News!

FaceCrystalCaveFinal2thumbnail

The new edition (2nd) of the first book in the Ialana Series, has been published in e-book format on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  Print-on-demand copies will soon be available on both places. The price is right, the story is spell-binding, and I think the cover is amazing. Please take a look. Read the first chapters, and see what you think.

The second book in the series, The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana, will be re-published in the next 10 days as well on these sites. I think once you have read the first book, you won’t be disappointed, and will definitely want to read the next one!

The third in the series, Anwyn of Ialana, will be published in early 2016. I can’t wait.

To buy:

Amazon: myBook.to/thesix

http://www.amazon.com/Six-Crystals-Ialana-Book-ebook/dp/B00N42SCDS

Barnes and Noble: http://tiny.cc/lcl85x

Book Trailer

(click on the above link to see the book trailer for The Six and the Crystals of Ialana)

I would appreciate any comments about this trailer since it is the first one I’ve had done. This is all experimental for me at the moment, and I am curious to see what people think about it, or book trailers in general.

Love to Hate Villains

3D rendered portrait of a reptilian alien.

Who are your favorite villains in fiction? Or movies? Let’s face it, we all love to hate a mustache-twirling villain, or the stereotypical and evil Cruella Deville. I can’t imagine writing a fictional book–or reading one–without at least one real stinker of a character. It would be like eating food with no seasoning. Fortunately, my novels have an unlimited supply of the good, the bad, and many uglies.

In The Six and the Crystals of Ialana, the main villain is an odiferous reptile named Amrafalus. There are no extenuating circumstances for this creature; he lacks even the most basic signs of humanity. Well, he is not human, so one can only expect him to possess the personality of a snake, or a crocodile. Empathy and kindness are not in his vocabulary. He will do whatever is necessary to obtain what he wants without a smidgeon of conscience to guide him. My six protagonists must not allow this creature to reactivate the powerful crystals beneath the citadel in Rhiannon. They are only six, unarmed young people, and Amrafalus has all the power and backing of an army and a navy. How will they escape the manhunt for them that Amrafalus has set into motion?

When we write about evil characters, it is important to realize that no matter how nasty an antagonist may be, he or she always has a weak spot somewhere. A blind spot that does not allow the character to anticipate certain events. In Amrafalus’ case, his blind spot was—oh well, I’m not going to tell you. It would spoil the book, and I would love for you to spot it too!

Crow girl with feather wig and black eyes, real contact lenses and makeup

Another villain I loved to write about is Branwyn. She is in the second book of the series, The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana. Branwyn, or the Raven, as she likes to be called, is completely different to Amrafalus, but she is just as evil and nasty in her way. Branwyn uses deception rather than physical strength. She is a master of manipulation. In today’s terms, she would be called a sociopath: someone who is lacking in conscience and empathy for others. She knows how to manipulate people using her wiles and beauty, and she also possesses considerable psychic skills that allow her to . . . oops! Don’t want to give away too much here! I just want to say that she too has blind spots and you can try to spot those in the book.

How will the six protect themselves from both Amrafalus and Branwyn?

How do you present your villains? Do any of them have any possibility of getting their way, and how are they defeated? What are their blind spots and weaknesses? While we love the uncomplicated villains, it is advisable not to make them too uncomplicated all of the time. Perhaps one of them had a bad childhood, or perhaps they are misunderstood. Or are they? Some doubt will spice up your book and leave the reader wondering!

In presenting your villain(s), there is a fine line the author must walk. Making them too sympathetic, and then killing them off in the last chapter may turn the reader against the book. Making them way too uncomplicated and evil also makes them feel unreal: a Cruella Deville, for example. Although we all love to hate her, she is obviously not a real person and she probably doesn’t remind us of anyone we know–but we all know people who could be just a little like her though, don’t we?

Mix it up: I think the Fantasy genre allows us much more leeway with the villains (Orcs!) than other genres, but it may be a challenge to make them somewhat believable too. I like to have a sampling of the believable, and the well, not so believable–but awfully nasty characters.

Strong Female Characters

The girl with the bow at sunset.

Most writers, thankfully, are now avoiding the cliched damsel in distress character and going for the strong and capable females. I for one am pleased about that, because my female characters all possess strong character traits of some kind. Again, I am not talking about physical strength, although that could be part of it. Strength goes far beyond the muscle-bound hero or spitfire heroine spoiling for a fight. Two of my three main female characters possess the ability to take care of themselves and not depend on males for their survival. One of them does not, but she is strong in other ways, and has other skills. I will discuss her in another post.

Kex is a daring and spirited young girl in The Six and the Crystals of Ialana. She is stubborn, outspoken, and fiercely independent. She relies on her own skills to survive.

In Kex’s clan, girls get married off at an early age, and they have no say in the choice of their husband. Girls are expected to be homemakers and not hunt or develop hunter survival skills as Kex did. Kex’s father had made the unfortunate mistake (or fortunate, as it turned out) to teach his daughter these skills. He also taught her to speak her mind, and to stand up for herself. When it worked against her, and her clan insisted she marry an older man she hated, Kex had little choice but to run away. In her clan, disobedience meant death. I am not encouraging running away for anyone now living in the modern world; things have mostly changed from the days when girls were expected to marry young and their husbands were chosen for them. We have other, legal ways of dealing with adversity at our disposal. Running away in today’s world solves nothing and only makes things worse. It also sets up a mind-set where problems cannot be dealt with in an effective way.

As a writer, I drew on my own memories of running away as a child. I remembered how I packed my little suitcase with some inappropriate items, made myself a sandwich, and went to sit at the bottom of the garden for an hour or two where no one could see me. That was my idea of problem-solving and self-sufficiency. Needless to say, no one ever noticed my absence, and I’d always be home in time for dinner. I grew out of that, eventually, which is good because I would not have made it far beyond the bottom of the garden. Kex did not have the luxury to stick around. Even though she was small and fragile looking she had an inner strength that matched her rawhide bow. I saw Kex as rather Asiatic in appearance, or perhaps Native American. She was typical of the ancient tribes of the Ice Age in the northern hemisphere, but others may see her differently.


Portrait of a young African woman in traditional dress.

Djana, above, is another character who has tremendous fortitude. She is from the fabled city of Rhiannon, but she is not native to that city. Her parents, Holgar and Adne, were imported as slaves by the evil ruler of Rhiannon. However, they escaped the mines where they were sent to work and die, and Holgar became a successful business man in the city.

Djana was brought up in a household of privilege, yet she was not a spoiled debutante like many of her peers. Holgar and Adne had taught her many survival skills, knowing that one day their dream may end. It did, and Djana had to flee the city and make her way across mountains—to where—she did not know.

Djana’s skills were similar to those of Kex, but she also possessed some extra-sensory skills that would be essential to their survival. She does not frighten easily, and faces her fears with tremendous courage. Her strength lies in her ability to survive catastrophic upheaval in her life without falling into self-pity. She faces adversity and deals with it in the best way she knows how.

I see Djana as African in appearance, since her parents were from a part of their world that is much like Africa. I called it “Afarre”.

How do you see your female characters? How do they handle adversity? Could your female character be a role model for teens today, and why? How does their upbringing affect their decision making?

Themes and a Cool Character

Irusan

Before I get to more bad guys, of which there is no shortage of in my books, I would like to introduce my coolest character, Irusan. At first, he may seem a little scary because he is not human, but actually he is a magical Being. He is a shape-shifter, and in many books shape-shifters can be dicey, but Irusan is as reliable as the rising of the sun. He is a peaceful Being whose only purpose is to be of service to mankind—at least those who desire to bring about peace on Ialana.

Irusan’s natural form is cat-like. He is from an old race of Beings who have evolved beyond human capabilities, and his knowledge of the universal laws that encompass other dimensions as well as the physical is unsurpassed. He becomes the mentor and protector of the Six in my book, The Six and the Crystals of Ialana. He does not only appear in this book, but in its sequels as well. Irusan is an integral part of Ialana, even though he does not reside there: he only visits.

When writing fantasy, we all have our “Wizards”, the characters who are much like Gandalph in the Tolkien books. Irusan is my wizard, but he explains more than Gandalph does about how he does things. Wizardry, in my opinion, is not a secret to be guarded jealously by arcane wizards casting spells in dark dungeons with eye of newt or frog; it is a science that anyone can learn if one puts one’s mind to it. The theme of my books is that nothing is magic, but only appears magical when one does not understand how it works.

Consider this: if one could time travel back to the stone age and show a cave man some of our technology, what would the cave man think? That we are sorcerers, of course. They might fall down and worship us, or attempt to kill us, depending upon how they regard us in the moment according to their beliefs. Irusan states many times that he is no sorcerer, and he explains in easy to understand terms how he accomplishes his magic. Science and magic are not two separate things. They can accommodate each other quite well if only people would be more willing to learn. Irusan is a character who supports the theme of my books, and that is why I feel he is “cool”!

Who is your coolest character, and why?