Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guest Post and Book Feature with YA Author Barbara Kloss- Breath of Dragons

Barbara Kloss studied biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, and after she began working in a clinical lab, found herself daydreaming about far off lands and slightly deranged wizards. She, her husband, baby boy, and Lhasa currently live in Arizona, where she escapes the summer heat by writing about lush vegetation and moderate to cold climates. Author of the Pandoran Novels, a YA fantasy series.

Author Links - 

Book Genre: Young adult fantasy
Publisher: Self - published
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Buy Link(s):

Book Description:

After Prince Alaric's death, Daria and Alex set off in search of the legendary box of the Pandors'. The box is famed to hold a secret of power—one strong enough to overcome Lord Eris and the shield of power he stole from Valdon. Daria doesn't know where the box is hidden, but she can't ignore the silent urging, beckoning her to the land of Pendel—the land her mother, Aurora Pandor, was from.

Time is running out. Lord Eris's army of shadowguard vastly outnumber Valdon's forces, and if Daria doesn't find the box in time, Valdon will need reinforcements from the other territories to survive. But those territories will not hand over their armies willingly, not without Daria's hand in marriage.

And there is another, older power rising, one that hasn't been seen in centuries—one thought lost since the days of Galahad: the dragons.


Danton's eyes bore into mine. "My father is not a traitor, nor has he refused you. He asks only for your sister. It is a small request after a lifetime of servitude to King Darius, who has only used and exploited his service. He will not spare any more of his men, otherwise. He's spared more than his share over the years—you know he has."
I leveled my gaze with his. "I am not my grandfather, Danton. I am grateful for everything your father has given to this realm, but I cannot and will not grant your request. If the proposal is accepted, it will be because she has accepted it."
Danton's eyes slid back to the river. His expression remained cool, though the rigidity in his posture professed that an inferno blazed inside of him.
"I should inform you that Lord Vega has offered me the hand of his niece, Lady Isla Justine," he said evenly.
I had heard of this offer and I knew very well what it meant. If Danton accepted, Orindor would be united with Campagna and we would get no help from either side. Valdon would be completely and utterly isolated. "Will you accept?" I asked, careful not to give away my growing despair.
Danton's lips tightened. A gust of wind blew and ruffled his hair.
Seconds passed in heavy silence, and then Danton said, "Your sister would love me." His voice was quiet. "She may not at first, but I would be good to her. You know that I am a lot of things, but I would be good to her."
I inhaled, staring absently at the river. "I know."
After another few, quiet moments, Danton looked back at me. His expression was distant, his gaze resolved. "Your decision is final, then?"
"Danton, it was never my decision in the first place."

Book 2:

Winter has fallen upon Valdon.

It's been five months since Daria Regius arrived at the castle, and her grandfather, the king, has stripped her of all freedoms, building even more barriers around her lonely life.

But darkness moves. Rumors abound about a dark rider, sending ancient and unspeakable horrors to the territories, and the citizens of Gaia are filled with fear. And fear blurs the lines of loyalty and trust, honor and allegiance, and cultivates dissonance throughout the kingdom. The people are anxious for this year's games, because this year, according to prophecy, selecting a champion means a true king can be chosen, and only once that true king is chosen can the people have any hopes of defeating the evil amassing around them.

Propelled by fear for those she loves, unexpected friendships, and harrowing betrayal, Daria must gain the courage to escape the barriers set around her life and confront the evil that threatens to destroy Gaia—before it finds her and takes her life first.

Book 1:

For centuries, the people of Gaia have kept their magical world a secret to protect Earth from themselves. But magic can't save them from the evil they face within. The key to their salvation lies with eighteen-year old Daria Jones, a young girl from Earth with no magical ability at all.

Or so she thought.

Her father's mysterious disappearance from their Fresno, California home sets a whirlwind of events in motion, and Daria soon learns where to find him. The only problem is that she's learned this information from Alex—the guy she grew up with. The guy that was her very best friend until three years ago when he left without a trace. But now he's back (and devastatingly handsome. Unfortunately.) And he's claiming that her father has been taken to a magical world—a magical world Alex has been all this time. The same magical world she must go to in order to save her father.

Now Daria has to decide whether to stay away from the guy that betrayed her, or to trust him with helping her find her father. But if this evil finds her first, she won't even get the choice.

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Guest Post: Fantasy World Building

Worldbuilding, especially in fantasy, is an extremely elaborate and excessive process. You are building an entire world. It has it's own topography, it's own climate, cultures, religion, politics, foods, trade, species—you name it. And even though it's fantasy, you still want an element of believability to it. Something readers can identify with and connect to emotionally, and to help them do that, you really need to develop every aspect of your fantasy world. Immerse them in it. Of course, some stories don't require you delve into every single, minute detail, but still. There's a lot of thoughtful building involved.
I remember daydreaming about these things as I'd been brainstorming my first book in this series. Of course, sometimes you don't know exactly what you're going to do in the story until you get there, because your plot is tied directly to this world you've created. How will your world propel your characters to act? How will your world drive conflict?
I've had to go about world building much as I go about novel writing—in layers. If I'd stood there and mapped out everything from the most costly spice to the average lifespan of a durĂ¥t (a creature from Breath of Dragons), I probably would've fallen over dead. No, I just got the basics down, and discovered the world with my main character, letting the plot and world building grow together in a sort of symbiotic relationship. Of course, this is only my process. Some of you may prefer to know every single aspect of your world before you begin writing the story.
Then each time I go back through a draft, I force myself to dig deeper. To stop taking things for granted, and see if I can create my own spin on an "every day object" that might better reflect the world I've created and further immerse the reader into this fantastical place. I really have to thank Ms. Rowling and Harry Potter for this, because in everything she created, nothing was what it seemed to be, and I've tried applying that rule to my own stories. Take food, for instance. You've made up an entirely different planet, with different landmasses and different creatures. Why assume the people there eat turkey—or even have turkey, for that matter? Why not think up some other kind of meat? Or maybe they don't even eat meat. If not, is there some reason why?
And take language, for instance. What kinds of sayings do they have and where did those sayings come from? You'll find the more questions you ask yourself about one of those "every day objects," the more questions you'll discover that beg answering. I always feel like a toddler when I'm focused on world building, because I sit there always asking "Why? Why? Why?"
It can be extremely overwhelming but it is also so much fun, and the more you challenge yourself, the more you'll be surprised by how rich and complex of a world you can create. I learn so much just by reading, seeing what other author's have done well, and there are so many great resources out there for helping you to consider all the attributes of a world that may not have even crossed your mind. Because the deeper you dig into your world, the more you'll immerse your reader, and the more believable and real it will become.