Back into the Throes of World Building

After completing the third book of the first Vaetra Chronicles trilogy, I was itching to work on something completely different. As they say, be careful what you wish for. After three years of working in the same story world, I forgot how much work it is to build a new one from scratch!

First Moon Rising

FirstMoon-300x450-webFirst Moon was my initial foray into a non-vaetra story, but it was a breeze to write.  The story came together more quickly than anything else I’d ever written, partly because it was set in the contemporary world. The “world building” was limited to the fantasy elements I added to the story. I did a fair amount of research into wiccan and pagan magical practices, magical associations (for gems, metals, and herbs), and of course, werewolf legends. However, I had no problem maintaining decent progress on my first draft.

In December, First Moon will be with my beta readers. (Click here to get notified when I release First Moon.) While I’m waiting for beta feedback, I’ll be working on my magical fantasy/steampunk western (aka “Weird Western”), tentatively titled Geomancer’s Bargain.

Geomancer’s Bargain – the Southwest with a Twist

The setting for Geomancer’s Bargain is Southeastern Arizona in the 1890’s. The time period gave me a starting point for a technology level and society, but I write magical fantasy adventure, not historical fiction. Naturally, I will be adding a few “tweaks” to what the history books have to say about the Desert Southwest, and that’s where the world building gets complicated.

Train image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.netI intentionally avoided using any of the classic fantasy races or creatures in the Vaetra Chronicles, but that’s not going to be the case with Geomancer’s Bargain. I’m going all out with fantasy creatures, which will include Golden Dragons and Wyverns. I’ll also have two sapient species that are loosely based on elves and dwarves. The magic system is completely elemental in nature (a Geomancer is an “earth mage”), which will be different from the magic systems in both the Vaetra Chronicles and First Moon.

My plan was to get all of the world building for Geomancer’s Bargain finished by the time I was done writing First Moon. Well, let’s just say I underestimated the scope of work. I intended to be pounding away on the first draft by now, and I’m getting close to being able to do that. But after writing the first couple of scenes, I discovered that I can’t really dive into the story until I have a clearly realized story world to move through.

One of my biggest time sinks has been research. Learning about the Old West has been way too interesting. I’ve learned how steam trains work, just about every detail of the gunfight at the OK Corral (which didn’t really happen at the OK Corral), how to load a cap-and-ball pistol, when/why/how towns developed in the Arizona Territory, and many other details that will help flavor the reading experience of Geomancer’s Bargain.

On top of all that historical research, I’ve had to integrate two major new predators into a desert ecosystem, define the rules for a new magic system, and develop the characteristics, history, and behavior for two new fantasy “races” (these are not your father’s dwarves and elves). It’s daunting, exhausting, and a whole lot of fun. The goal of all this work is to give readers an experience like none other (in a good way). I hope to set several stories in this bold new world.

Moving Forward into the Past

But this doesn’t mean I’m done with all things vaetra. I put a lot of work into the Vaetra Chronicles story world, and I have more story ideas for it. Some of the possibilities include a prequel (from back when Jaylan was a Captain in the Imperial Guard), an arbolenx story, and possibly another trilogy featuring Jaylan and Sulana.

My current plan is to release three books a year: one in the vaetra world, one in the First Moon story world, and one in the Geomancer’s Bargain story world. I have ideas for a fourth series, but I’m going to run with these ones for now and see how readers respond before exploring any additional ones.

In the meantime, watch this space for more details about my story worlds and forthcoming books. The Vaetra Chronicles were just the beginning.

Train image courtesy of khunaspix at


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