Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Dawn of Prophesy: inspiration & spark

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The Dawn of Prophesy: a poem for every scene http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/the-dawn-of-prophesy-inspiration-spark.html #TotKW Inspiration and spark by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 4 of a series.
This post is Part 4 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


In Part 1 of this series, I wrote my very first poem. After learning how to make riddles in rhyme, I started creating prophesies for my first novel. With five prophesies for the book and its four sections complete, I set out to refine the other prophesies referenced tangentially in the story.

These snippets quoted in the book's prose became full-fledged poems in their own right, and I began to crave a way to keep the prophesies organized. I pondered how the scholars within the tale would categorize prophesies, and realized they'd use specific dates. I invented a calendar for them to use, and used it myself to organize the prophetic riddles, both by the date it was first foretold, and the date that it came to fruition.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

Armed with an in-world calendar system, I next set out to include dates before each of the story's scenes. These date-lines looked out of place on their own, so I decided to add an intriguing quote at the start of each scene to accompany the date. Using couplets of prophesy was an obvious choice, but it occurred to me that I couldn't pair dates with quotes of prophesies said years back. My solution was both work-intensive and immensely satisfying: write a fresh prophesy for the date of each scene.

Some strictures helped limit this insurmountable notion into a more manageable accomplishment. One scene depicted someone in the act of prophesying, so I could use that prophesy for all scenes on that date. The act of prophesy within the book was cyclical, and I defined the cycle at twenty days. Now I had a maximum of twenty new riddles to write, and could use the same one for all dates spaced twenty days apart. But this left me with one last glaring problem. The prophesies I'd be quoting at the start of each scene predicted future events, not related to the upcoming scene at all!

I resolved this problem from two directions. From existing prophesies that shared dates with scenes from my Tales of the Known World saga, I selected couplets that seemed to mirror or foreshadow each scene's content most closely. For unwritten prophesies, I examined the scenes awaiting couplets and scribbled out a few test rhymes that correlated with those scenes.

The best rhymes became anchors around which I based the actual events foretold in each prophesy, which would not come to pass until later in the series. In this way, I created fifteen new riddles to quote for scenes, in addition to the four section prophesies and four more mentioned in prose. In total, the Prophesy of Awakening consists of 23 poems, and another 24 prophesies accompany Book 2.

That's it for this series! Check out my latest inspirations for more.

You can download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.




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Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Make Fantasy Maps in Photoshop: a cartography exclusive

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Available for 30 days only!!

How to Make Fantasy Maps in Photoshop: download your guide http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/05/how-to-make-fantasy-maps-in-photoshop.html #TotKW A cartography exclusive by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part of a series.
This post is part of a series to augment The Worldbuilder's Handbook available for free download.

This and other world-building workshops are gathered in my Worldbuilding Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


Hello, there! Thanks for your interest in my mapping techniques. My name is D.N.Frost, and I'm a fictional cartographer, fantasy author, and world-builder. I began creating digital fantasy maps for my Tales of the Known World saga, and after making over twenty maps for my first book, I started offering map commissions to fellow storytellers.

How exactly do I map a fictional world? Through tutorials on YouTube, hours of experimentation, detailed notes, and a lot of trial and error, I taught myself how to use Photoshop to create professional fantasy maps. To help you make your own publish-ready maps, please enjoy this collection of short mapping insights and step-by-step instructions.


Download How to Make Fantasy Maps in Photoshop:

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This is an exclusive guide to creating your own fantasy maps. The how-to provides detailed step-by-step instructions for making maps in Photoshop, and it provides some great information on how to build a realistic world. If you are a world-builder looking to create a map yourself, this exclusive download will guide you through both the concepts and the technical processes of map-making in Photoshop.

This exclusive resource also links to a number of fantasy workshops and longer blog posts, so you can delve deep into your favorite cartography tips. I'm proud to offer you these instructions on creating professional-looking maps you can be proud to share, and I hope you use this resource to enhance your fantasy world.

That's it for this post! Check out the latest worldbuilding resources for more.

To download How to Make Fantasy Maps in Photoshop, enter your email below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
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Darklands by M.L. Spencer: a book review

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Darklands by M.L. Spencer: turning evil inside-out http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/darklands-by-ml-spencer-book-review.html A book review by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 7 of a series.
This post is Part 7 of a series to augment the Book Reviews by D.N.Frost available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other reviewed content is gathered in my Book Reviews Directory for you to explore.

Find more guest-inspired content in my Guest Directory.


To earn four stars, a great story must surprise me with something I didn't see coming. Darklands by M.L. Spencer is Book Three of The Rhenwars Saga, a dark epic fantasy that spans two nations, a millennium of discord, and the realms of several gods. Before reading this book, I read both the first and second books in the saga. I received a free digital Advanced Reading Copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review, and I first connected with M.L. Spencer when I reviewed Book One in Part 1 of this series.

Here is my finalized review of Darklands:

Review image from Darklands by M.L. Spencer: turning evil inside-out http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/darklands-by-ml-spencer-book-review.html A book review by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 7 of a series.Review image from Darklands by M.L. Spencer: turning evil inside-out http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/darklands-by-ml-spencer-book-review.html A book review by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 7 of a series.
Darklands is a thrilling and momentous foray behind the veils of good and evil. M.L. Spencer turns evil inside-out to explore the long-term costs of the desperation and sacrifice in previous books, as well as the consequences of demonizing another people. Deeply fascinating, Spencer's thoughtful and in-depth world-building animates an impossible realm. Clinging to life, a resilient population within a cursed land toils for each square inch of arable light in a black world. They live in darkness, and when their light goes out they will starve.

The setup is quick and definitive; it wastes no time delivering the stark conflict in visceral terms. Spencer truly loves her characters, and it shows in how vivid their pain is. They suffer grandly in her loving charge. I enjoyed how some higher technologies like steam power offset the magical deficits of the cursed people, and Spencer's ironic wit shines in the God of Chaos, who struck a covenant to stabilize the world long ago. Darklands is a compelling read, an enthralling premise, and a heart-rending study of the depth and complexity of the human soul.

Check out these Book Reviews by D.N.Frost for more story ratings!

A mere two years after the grand conclusion of Spencer's second book, the ghastly portal to the Netherworld is opened again. But this time, the portal is opened not by a depraved lunatic Hell-bent on power and glory, but rather by a fierce and feral young woman from a cursed land. Sharply called to atone for his wrongs in Book Two, the complex hero Darien Lauchlin becomes a noble anti-hero in Book Three, sworn to help the young woman save her starving people from destruction.

In the previous book of the saga, Darien defends his homeland from the Enemy, invaders from the cursed Black Lands beyond the mountains. But in Darklands, Spencer turns evil inside-out and explores the consequences of demonizing another people. Probing both sides of a previously black-and-white conflict between good and evil, she crafts her story deftly, humanizing the Enemy and compelling the reader to resent the "good guys" for their unbending self-righteousness.

Unlike the standalone first and second books of The Rhenwars Saga, Darklands reads like a true sequel. This third book picks up the story roughly where the second book left off, and I love how Spencer used Book Three to explore the long-term ramifications of the desperate sacrifices made by characters in the first two books. While Spencer infused a standalone quality into her third book, readers will best appreciate the artful nuances of her complex plot if they read the saga in order.

She also keeps raising the stakes. In Book One, a small class of people sought to save themselves. In Book Two, a nation defended against an invasion from cursed lands. Book Three reveals a resilient population within the cursed lands, toiling in utter darkness and sustaining themselves through magic alone. By showcasing this foreign and tenacious people who will starve to death when their magic dies, Spencer adds a beautiful and heartwarming element to a race once known only as the Enemy.

The world of Darklands is deeply fascinating, a land vitrified by ancient fire and cloaked in churning darkness. Clinging to life, the people of the Black Lands tend precious crops nurtured by magic light. A short blunt food chain supports short blunt lives, and I love how they developed some higher technologies like steam power to offset the magical deficits necessitated by their agriculture.

To my surprise, the people of Darklands enjoyed a few small luxuries like herbs, spices, dyes, and incense that seemed strange considering the value of each square inch of arable light in a black world. I was also surprised at the dark skin tone of their people, considering they bred in darkness for a thousand years, as well as at the vivacious bulk of some of the land's warriors, perhaps glutted on protein compared to the starving population.

Darklands by M.L. Spencer http://mlspencerfiction.com/darklands.html
Spencer's thoughtful and in-depth world-building brought to life an impossible realm, as well as a second land vivid with intrigue and the interplay of various deities.

I loved the dynamics of the temple council, and Spencer's ironic wit shines in the God of Chaos, who struck a covenant to stabilize the world long ago.

Reaching the end of Darklands, I felt a wash of disappointment when I realized the story needed at least one more book to resolve.

Though I knew there was a fourth book, I'd hoped more of the story would fit into Book Three, simply for my own enjoyment.

Overall, Darklands by M.L. Spencer is a thrilling read and a momentous foray behind the veils of good and evil. I very much look forward to the next book in The Rhenwars Saga. Far prior to this review, Spencer read a book from my own saga and shared this Praise for Awakening with me. After finalizing my review, I shared my feedback with Spencer, and once her book became available for purchase, I posted my honest review for her on Goodreads and Google Books.


And be sure to subscribe to M.L. Spencer's newsletter, if you haven't already!


That's it for this post! Up Next: The next book in her saga... Coming soon.

Want a review of your own book? Check out my Services for Authors.
You deserve a mindful reader and an honest book review.

You can download Book Reviews by D.N.Frost here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Let me send you my free ebook!

Free Ebook from Awakening: download chapters 1-8 http://DNFrost.com/free #TotKW An exclusive sample by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part of a series.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Compelled to Teach: inspiration & spark

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Compelled to Teach: sharing my discovery of truth http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/compelled-to-teach-inspiration-spark.html #TotKW Inspiration and spark by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 3 of a series.
This post is Part 3 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


In Part 1 of this series, I began my spiritual journey by questioning the world around me. After my awakening, I noticed my perspective on other people was shifting too. If I was an infinite depth of clarity and loving existence, then so was every other person on the planet. All the pain and suffering we endure (and cause) as humans is because we've grown out of our inborn sense of self-awareness.

On the whole, humanity teaches its children to think certain thoughts and assume certain roles. With enough training, these children release their intuitive ways of being and take on the identities that are expected of them.

As is common when someone has a liberating spiritual experience, I felt compelled to share my discovery of truth with others, to help erode the earthly traditions that keep us separate from the truth of who we are.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

Becoming a spiritual teacher daunted me. My tarot readings had always been profoundly beneficial to my clients, but delivering a one-on-one tarot reading was quite different than publicly compelling students to arrive. Most people seemed unwilling to expose their carefully-ministered truths to new revelations, and they expected the revealing sources to be stoic saints with decades of credentials.

With my youth and enthusiasm, I found myself a rather uncompelling spiritual guide. Though I became licensed to deliver a spiritual awakening course called Avatar, I did not pursue students. I felt like I needed to be something more than what I was before people would take my message seriously.

As my affair with writing became ever-more enveloping, I struck upon the idea to write a book of truth. Within it, I'd divulge my knowledge of scientific discoveries and express the ultimate unity inherent in the fabric of space-time itself. I'd also interpret sacred texts across religions, and amass scientific evidence to confirm the Law of Attraction. After giving curious minds something to chew on, I'd delve into the experience of this inherent unity, which I recognize as both the self and the truth.

I felt, and still feel, profoundly at peace with this idea. Yet it rests enshrined atop my stack of unfinished books and notes on stories to be written, an opus at once insurmountable and enthralling. As I worked on my Tales of the Known World saga, I wrote pieces of the truth-book on the side. I'd share them in Facebook groups, and the responses I got were encouraging. But the stories in me still yammered for recognition. I wanted to keep working on my fantasy novels, and my writing experience told me to focus on one book at a time.

That's it for this post! Up Next: Building spiritual truths into my fantasy world... on 7/5.

You can download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Advent of Riddles: inspiration & spark

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The Advent of Riddles: from Cheshire Cat to prophesy http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/the-advent-of-riddles-inspiration-spark.html #TotKW Inspiration and spark by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 3 of a series.
This post is Part 3 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


In Part 1 of this series, I created my first poem. Throughout my high-school days, I used poetry as a means of emotional venting, railing against the overblown tragedies of teenage angst and distilling meaning from the carnage of the social scene. I read very little poetry outside of school, but still played with configurations of language to create rhyming structures within my own works.

With the onset of my trendy counter-culture obsession with Alice in Wonderland, I explored the complete works of Lewis Carroll and found inspiration in the riddling Cheshire Cat. Something about the fictitious feline helped me make the connection between the rhythmic undercurrent of poetry slam with the systems of poetic meter I'd learned in school. Soon, I was writing metered riddles for friends, divulging early clues to Christmas gifts encoded in rhyming blocks of ambiguity.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

The foundation had been laid. From there, it was a small step to including riddles in my works of fiction. My college days were filled with collaborative, recreational writing, and my co-conspirators embraced my concocted puzzles with delight. They loved the way my riddles enhanced the stories we wrote together, and I reveled in the mastery of my contributions.

As college ended and I shifted from collaborative to solo writing, I used my poetic inclinations to re-craft the body of a rhyming prophesy within the manuscript of my first book. Two principles drove me - the prophesy had to be obscure enough to not divulge the full story to the uninitiated, but cohesive enough to make sense after the story had been read. I wanted the prophesy to be intriguing but not elucidating, only mirroring the plot events it predicts in retrospect.

Delighted with my results, I decided to write more prophesies for my Tales of the Known World saga. I started with a prophesy to open each of the book's four parts. In my mind, the prophesies had been foretold some years before the book, and they predicted the events of each section individually. I also wanted to incorporate both the book and section title in each of the four prophesies.

More than ever, I needed these riddles to both veil and convey the story to unfold, in a way that would intrigue readers without revealing too much. To my great satisfaction, I succeeded, through use of symbolic code-names, extensive metaphor, and unconventional syntactical structures.

That's it for this post! Up Next: A prophesy for every scene... on 7/28.

You can download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
Your adventure awaits.
Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Awakening, The Weary Legend: a character sample

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Awakening, The Weary Legend: start reading free http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/awakening-weary-legend-character-sample.html #TotKW A character sample by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part of a series.
This post is part of a series to augment the Free Ebook from Awakening available for free download.

This and other character samples are gathered in my TotKW Samples Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


The Weary Legend: Kingard's Story is an 8,500-word excerpt from Awakening, Book One of the Tales of the Known World saga. Download this free character sample here.



At the rocky edge of Kalrein’s black pine forests, a crack of thunder split the night, shaking snow down from the ashen boughs sixty feet in the air. Dusting off his shoulders, Kingard bent to brush pine needles from the forest floor, a terrible foreboding in his gut as he conjured a fire to burn within the cleared circle. “Master Lorvelle,” called the elf, his dark eyes narrowed against the glow. “I’ve arrived.”

“You have not,” an amused voice contradicted from the flames. “But you are near. There is a tavern in Porthal, Kingard. The Black Wolf by name. Enter tomorrow and you will meet thy quarry.”

Shifting in anxiety, the elf inquired, “All of them? Who are they, do you have names yet? How will I know them? And what of Xolyu–?”

Download Awakening, The Weary Legend: start reading free http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/06/awakening-weary-legend-character-sample.html #TotKW A character sample by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part of a series.
“You will know as we have always known, old friend. Questions are all answered in time.”

With a scowl, Kingard folded his arms and glared like the voice could see him. “Of course they are.” He could think of a thousand questions left unanswered, and he’d had more time than most.

A soft laugh drifted out of the fire. “You shall see. Until tomorrow, Kingard–”

“Wait, you’re coming?” yelped the elf. “Yourself?” After centuries of waiting for his call to action, it rattled Kingard to think Lorvelle would see them off in person. “Is that wise, Master? Or necessary? ...Lorvelle? Lorvelle!” But the fire hissed wordlessly back at him, and the voice replied no more. “All nine bloody Hells and Her bastard brat!” he cursed, kicking wet dirt into the flames and letting them fizzle into darkness.

Read more of Kingard's story! Download the full character sample here.

You can check out the latest character samples, or continue your adventure below.




Free Ebook from Awakening: download chapters 1-8 http://DNFrost.com/free #TotKW An exclusive sample by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part of a series.
Your adventure awaits.
Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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