Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway Awaken (Sword of Idis) by H.J. Daly

Published: September 2013


Two years later and Esa is still fighting her internal battles, as well as those who seek to destroy her growing power.

Sent on a mission to seek out new threats, Esa’s life is one fight after another with goblins, trolls, witches, and sorcerers to try and stop her. One night she is totally overcome by a terrifying nightmare of death on such a huge scale that it has her running for home. It is not something she can run from, and as a new power consumes her she truly understands what a monster really can achieve, but is the monster the creature before her or does it lie deep within her own soul?

Creating a credible plot in a fantasy world 

I have always loved fantasy novels, in fact I grew up with them, from the earliest reads with my mum and the Faraway Tree to the more recent love of The Mortal Instruments. The idea of immersing myself in another world, whether it is set in a primary realm that does not exist, such as Lord of the Rings, a parallel world that you enter through a portal such as The Chronicles of Narnia or as in mine a world within a world, like Harry Potter, is one that pulls me in every time. 

The stories that work are the ones where the worlds feel real and the reader can disappear into them, but any fantasy world has to be based on reality. Human rules may not apply, but you still have to lay down rules and then stick to them. A reader will quickly be turned off if one of your characters does something that is not believable in the boundaries that you have set. 

If it is a historical fantasy then the language, behaviour and even clothes need to be right. If everyone walks around with plain, handmade clothes and someone turns up in a modern day suit, you better be able to explain the reasoning behind the obvious change in the world you have set so far. 

As my series crosses the lines of a dystopian human world and a magical one, I have a rough map in my head of where the characters would be regardless of which side of the boundary they are in. For example, when they cross the Eastern Sea in the magical realm, when they come out in the human one, they have crossed the English Channel and end up in France. If the plot is not consistent people will put the book down. 

You can of course go all out and draw your world so you know exactly where every town and city is compared to the rest. It may help you work out what is special about each place, the stone they use for the buildings, the animal life around them to allow you to picture how the residents live. 

The plot, as with any book, needs to have strong characters that can manoeuvre through any world as long as they keep to the rules of the world you are writing about. The main character has to undergo some kind of conflict or struggle, whether that is from external or internal forces. As they deal with the conflicts, you need to know what consequences their actions will have and how this will tie up with the ongoing story. 

Sometimes these actions will make life easier for them and others will destroy all they know. It should all be heading to a climax, where the main character should overcome or even fall at the last hurdle and then a conclusion where everything is tied together. 

As long as your world is one the reader can believe whether it follows god like beings living in the heavens or luddites living deep within the earth’s core, it should capture the imagination to bring them back again and again.


“You’re right I don’t know about the war.” She continued. “No one bothered to talk to me about it. It never seemed important.”

“Not important!” Yelling, Joseph closed the gap between them. “If you don’t know the history how can you make informed decisions. You of all people should be aware that your choices could bring us back to the brink of extinction.”

“What do you want from me?” She yelled back before Thomas could interrupt. “I’m not the one making decisions except about myself.”

“No? Then you are more dangerous than I thought.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Thomas stand. Even now when it was family, he knew Thomas would back Esa and it scared him, though he would never admit it. There was something about this girl that he couldn’t trust or was it just his instincts telling him that he was about to lose his son, just like he had with Andrew. Not wanting an all out row, he turned to leave but stopped when he felt her hand grab his arm.

“If you think it’s that important, tell me.”

Taking a deep breath he nodded, returned to the table and started stirring his soup, with no desire to eat it. “The war started with an insignificant incident between two opposing factions in the Middle East.” Esa said nothing but was lost already. Seeing the confusion on her face, he tried again. “The powerful countries got dragged into it and the weapons got bigger. That’s when everything changed.”

“I’ve heard people talk about the Pulse as a weapon but I don’t really know what it did.” Esa stated tentatively, aware that every eye was on her. 

“The world we used to live in revolved around technology. Everyday life didn’t move unless we were plugged into a computer of some sort.” Noting the lack of understanding he continued. “Even going shopping, we would go down to the store and buy bread and milk. The store bought items when their computer told them they were needed, which told another computer so it would be loaded onto the trucks.” He shook his head. “From the biggest companies to the smallest ones, technology was used to grow crops or breed livestock. Without it, everything stopped.”

“But we’ve learnt to do without, why was it so bad then, why did so many people die?” Curiosity got the better of her and she leant in wanting more answers.

“The weapon, the Pulse, was set off to incapacitate a town, so soldiers could attack without resistance, but it went oh so wrong. Whatever they did, the Pulse wouldn’t stop. There was little warning. Any craft in the sky cut out and fell to the ground killing everyone in it and of course anyone it hit. You must remember that there were hundreds up there carrying thousands of people.” He looked up and saw everyone staring at him open mouthed. They had to hear this, had to understand that it could all start again. “By some miracle they managed to slowly power down the nuclear plants and only one exploded, but the hospitals couldn’t cope with the injured and many died of infection. It was worldwide chaos.”


As they fought with the tangled branches and thick undergrowth it took them a while to reach their friend. They could already see the blood pouring down his cheek, his pupils blacker than the night. He stood motionless, caught in some sick game between two creatures who were circling him in the small clearing. The creatures had no need for weapons, their claw like hands were tipped with razor sharp talons, each tip delivering a small dose of poison. One ran up to Bendrin, its thick serpent tongue lashed out, licked the blood from his face and sighed in ecstasy.

The boys had seen enough and managed to angle a bow in the small space to hit one of the creatures in the neck. It shrieked out and fell to the floor, seeing its opportunity, the other dived on top of its fellow creature and started to devour the flesh before it had even stopped struggling. Quickly, they reached Bendrin and between them, began to drag him back through the trees. It was a wasted effort, the cries from the dying creature had brought others and they all wanted to play.

About the author:
HJ has always loved stories, and writing became a natural progression to reading. Reading with her own children and then at schools in a hope of capturing the hearts and minds of the young. It wasn’t always about writing though, during her late teens, HJ stepped up her Latin American dancing and travelled Europe.

If you want to read more about HJ, or see sneaky peaks of books to come, along with other interesting post go to:

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