Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report and Sneak Peek of Distant Horizon!

Wow, time flies when you’re super busy! Anyway, it’s time for another Infinitas Publishing Status report before October creeps up on us.

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Burg Fest: Yesterday, Isaac and I had our booth at Burg Fest (A Friday/Saturday event). Isaac and I manned the booth with help from a few of our beta testers (thank you!). Overall, the event went really well. We sold out of our wooden Phalanx boards, and sold several of our books. More on the event as a whole in a future post, once we’ve had a chance to reorganize and take inventory of everything.

Distant Horizon: This book is just about complete! Got notes back from my editor, completed those notes, and I’m now doing the last round of proofreading before I reformat the print edition and order a proof copy. We recently did a cover reveal with Lola’s Blog Tours, which  went well. Around twenty blogs participated. I’ve still got a few promo items to complete (book trailer–partially completed, and Twitter/Facebook pictures) before setting up a book blitz, but we’re getting closer. The ebook is available for pre-order now, and the release date is set for October 27th!

The Shadow War: I’ve got the latest draft out to a beta reader. I’m hoping this one may be a bit closer to complete (with fewer plot holes) than the previous draft. May be a little while before I can continue work on this, but that depends on how fast other projects get done and when I get beta reader feedback. I’ve got a personal goal in mind for a release date, so I’m working towards that.

Stone and String: I released this short story through Kindle Select earlier this month. Same universe as The Wishing Blade series, but different region. I’ve been having fun developing the word magic system, and I hope to write a few more short stories in this series once I finish preparing Distant Horizon for publication.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: I have the next episode ready to send to our beta-reader, but I want to make sure Distant Horizon is complete before I turn my attention back to this series. I think Isaac and I may have worked through some of the plot issues slowing our progress on this series, so hopefully you’ll be seeing more episodes of The Multiverse Chronicles soon. Based on feedback I heard at Burg Fest, I’m thinking we’ll definitely want to compile the completed episodes into book format once the whole series is written.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Once I have the proof copy of Distant Horizon ordered, I have two formatting projects to complete. I aim to have them both done before the end of October.DH Divider

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

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And now a sneak peek of Distant Horizon!

Chapter One

The first time I flushed an adominogen pill, the oblong capsule tumbled from my hand and bounced off the bathroom sink, once, twice, then fell into the toilet with a finalizing plop.

Gone.

I waited all day for someone to ask why I didn’t report accidentally losing my pill. But no one did, and I didn’t have any of the hallucinations that­­ the health officials said I would have if I didn’t take it. Instead, the world around me felt so much more… alive. My attention improved, not that it was bad to begin with, and I could think clearly. Be more efficient.

After that, I stopped taking the pill. I graduated high school and started my first year of college—no sign of any hallucinations or crazy delusions that come with being infected by theophrenia. But when our hall advisor announced that the annual Health Scan would take place in two days, I panicked.

I needed three things to graduate: excellent grades, as many efficiency points as possible, and to pass the scan. It wasn’t often someone failed, but it did happen. One of my friends in high school had a sister who failed—Galina. She took the scan at the clinic downtown, and Special Forces escorted her away, all while assuring everything would be fine.

I didn’t want to end up like her, so right after the announcement, I took the pill. It was like throwing a clear, plastic tarp over my world. I felt like an unbalanced gyroscope and I spent half the day in the bathroom, sick to my stomach. But I couldn’t go to the doctor for the symptoms. Not taking the pill was an international offense.

The next day, today, I shuffled around a bathroom stall, fighting to extract an orange pill bottle from my backpack. For the love of efficiency—the stupid thing had dropped between my textbooks. I shoved the books aside, snagged the bottle, and tucked a pill into my palm. I didn’t need it skittering across the floor where someone might notice.

My phone beeped and I dropped the pill.

The plop echoed and the toilet flushed automatically. The pill swirled to its watery demise. The toilet gurgled, and the water rippled in the bowl.

Well, I had considered taking the pill, but that wasn’t happening now. I stared at the toilet a moment longer, then hoisted my backpack onto my shoulder and froze halfway out the stall door. A woman wearing all black stood between me and the sinks. The red, rising sun half-cog of E-Leadership was stitched across her left shoulder sleeve, and though she wasn’t wearing her visor, the sight sent a jolt of terror through me.

Special Forces. If she’d heard the plop…

She glanced at the orange pill bottle in my hand and raised an eyebrow. “Everything all right?”

I nodded too quickly. “Yeah—I forgot to go to the bathroom before I left my room.”

She scowled. “Aren’t you late to your morning meeting?”

I stared at her, my whole body shaking. Of course I was late, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. I fumbled for something to say, but she shook her head and sighed before I could speak.

“Freshmen,” she muttered. “You need to get your act together if you plan to get anywhere in life. You can start by washing your hands.”

I rushed to the sink and dropped the pill bottle on the counter.

“The Community is safe,” she said.

“The Community is secure,” I replied. What was Special Forces doing here?

She crossed her arms in the mirror, her eyes firmly on the pill bottle. “The Community is efficient.”

I wasn’t sure if I remembered to say, “It is our duty,” before I snatched the bottle from the sink and dashed out. The hall blurred around me and my sneakers thumped the tile as I sprinted from the bathroom. I stuffed the bottle into my backpack. Maybe Ivan would be late to the morning meeting. Just for once, he could be late. Not just me.

Not just—

I flung the glass doors open to the lounge, skidding as the roomful of students stopped listening to the morning announcements to give me a curious stare. Lance gave me an accusatory “where were you?” glare while Sam—college gossip—cocked her head, interested in my evident demise. Because, of course, Ivan wasn’t late.

No one said a word. The heater rattled softly as it blew air through the vents along the windows. The words “Safety, Security, and Efficiency” framed the smooth stone wall behind Ivan, while a lone screen hanging near the windows flashed silent reminders. “Take the pill! Theophrenia kills!” andAre you seeing something strange? Save a life—get your Health Scan today!”

Ivan cleared his throat. He was tall and slender, dressed in the crisp gray uniform of a hall advisor. At twenty, he was only a couple years older than me, but he was prepping for E-Leadership. Not the guy I wanted to mess with, especially after being late to all but one of my classes yesterday. He waited as I slid into the only empty chair and pulled my backpack into my lap. The books settled unevenly, but their closeness offered some comfort.

Ivan made a notation on his tablet. “You’re late. I’ll have to deduct efficiency points from your record.” He looked up at me and his forehead wrinkled with concern. “Everything all right?”

“I’m fine!” I clutched my backpack, speaking too fast to sound innocent. “I was just worried about the Health Scan and didn’t get any sleep. I had a nightmare that I failed and security was chasing me.”

The monitor near the windows flashed to a mug shot of a man with dark circles under his eyes. Underneath, the subtitles ran a story I’d read a hundred times. The man had killed his family because he didn’t take the Health Scan and theophrenia made him think he could control fire. We’d all been forced to watch a documentary of the old news coverage as kids, and some images just didn’t go away. I shuddered. The man had burned his family alive. That’s what the plague—theophrenia—could do. Make a person go crazy. See things that weren’t there. Hear voices or act on terrible impulses. My father’s parents had died during the plague years. What had they seen? Anything?

What if I started seeing things, too?

I clamped my hands around my backpack straps, but Sam giggled, oblivious to my thoughts. She twirled her fingers through her curls. “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll do fine. Besides, you aren’t supposed to run away from security. They’re the ones who help you.” She started to lay a sympathetic hand on my shoulder, but withdrew when I glared at her. She’d probably borrowed that gesture from some video of Lady Black, or maybe from reading How to Behave like a Proper Leader, a textbook for the one class I’d permanently dropped.

“Sam’s right,” Ivan agreed. “Security is here to help.” He turned his attention to the rest of the students. “As a reminder, tomorrow afternoon is this year’s Health Scan. Be on time so that everything runs efficiently.” He shot me a warning glare before addressing the rest of the room. “That’s all the news I have for today. The Community is safe.”

“The Community is secure,” we replied automatically. “The Community is efficient. It is our duty.”

Dismissed, the other students filed from the lounge and into the hall. I must have been later than I thought. Normally I got to the meetings on time, but after being sick yesterday, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. I hadn’t lied. I really did have nightmares of security guards chasing me around campus, pelting me with white adominogen pills and Health Scan fliers. The whole dream sounded ridiculous now, but it had been terrifying while I slept.

I waited for the crowd to pass until my best friend, Lance Mechnikov, came up beside me. He waited until we were behind everyone else, then lowered his voice so that I was the only one who could hear him. “You know, Jen, I heard of a guy who got stuck working road crew because he was absent too often.”

“I’m feeling better, okay?” I forced a smile, though I was still jittery from my encounter with the Special Forces agent. “Let’s get food.”

Lance patted my shoulder. “Sure. We can talk after breakfast.”

The bright blue LEDs in the downstairs cafeteria glinted off the polished stone walls, making them shine. Though most pre-Community buildings had been burned to prevent further spread of the plague, I understood why E-Leadership made the effort to keep this one. The craftsmanship was amazing; the seams where the stones had been placed were hardly visible. I’d only noticed because I’d found a tiny bit of ivy creeping from a crack in the corner of the building where I liked to study.

We dropped our backpacks at a nearby table and took our place in line. The smell of egg burritos, complete with tangy salsa, wafted through the cafeteria. Apple juice drizzled into the glasses of students who were already ahead of us. If it wasn’t for the Health Scan tomorrow and already being late to the first meeting, this day would almost be normal.

“Jenna! Lance!”

Tim, a sandy-haired guy, pushed his way through the breakfast crowd, a backpack hanging loosely over one shoulder. He fished a tablet from his pocket, breathless. “Did you hear? They’re doing the Health Scan—”

“Yeah, we’ve heard.” I accepted my plate from the server. It was warm from sitting beside the heating elements. “Ivan told us yesterday.”

Tim paused, then followed us to our usual table. “You already knew?”

“She worried herself sick.” Lance twisted his lips and glanced at me, but it wasn’t my fault I’d gotten sick. Not exactly.

“What are you worried about?” Tim protested. “I’m the one whose pills have been missing for a week!”

Lance held up his fingers. “Four days. You lost your pills four days ago.”

Almost a week! What happens if the scan doesn’t register that I’ve been taking them? What if I fail? What if—”

“They would’ve given you replacement pills if it was that big a deal,” Lance said. “Think about it.”

“But how do I know? My grandmother died in the plague. What if I’m a carrier?” He scooted into a chair at our table.

Lance and I exchanged glances. Neither of our parents wanted to talk about our grandparents. Few did. Theophrenia had wiped out half the world’s population. Who wanted to remember that?

I shifted uncomfortably. If the disease was still out there, even in the slightest, I might carry it and accidentally infect others.

“Your parents were fine.” Lance nudged Tim with his plate. “You’ve only been off the pills for a week. Like Miss Worry-wart over here—” He glared at me. “—you’ll pass.”

Tim scowled, then scuttled toward the breakfast line with his tablet. I poked my fork at my burrito, but I’d lost my appetite. The other students around the room chatted as if the Health Scan wasn’t a big deal. But why would they worry? They took the pills.

“Lance—” I looked up hesitantly. “Have you heard anything from Galina?”

He sighed. “You’re really worried about this, aren’t you?”

“Well duh. We need the scan to graduate.”

“You take the pills, right? You’ll be fine.” He smiled. “Galina was an odd case.”

“Did she come back?”

His smile faltered. “I’m not sure. You were closer to her than I was.”

My chest constricted. How long was the treatment supposed to take? If theophrenia was supposed to be dead—or dormant, at least—how did Galina fail? Had her failure been a precautionary measure?

I glanced around the room. A Special Forces agent sat at a table near the wall. Security guards I was used to. But Special Forces? I’d never seen any agents on campus before. It felt like a sign of impending doom.

The agent paused from his breakfast and looked up, as if he realized he was being watched, and I quickly returned my attention to my burrito.

A moment later, Tim returned to the chair beside me and sat his plate on the table. He twisted his fingers in the chain of the light bulb efficiency charm around his neck, opened his mouth to speak, then paused. “So, Jenna… Do you think you might be able to talk to Sam for me and see if she’s going to community service tomorrow evening?” He talked so fast that his words muddled and I almost didn’t catch what he said. “If I could get a date, it would take my mind off the pills.” He smiled, his blue eyes wide and hopeful.

“I’m not really that good at talking to her,” I said hesitantly.

“Please? I’d owe you a huge favor.”

I glanced to where Sam sat with her group. They giggled and pointed to her phone. She was probably showing them a picture of her mangy cat, Little Beastie, the photograph I’d seen enough times in biology class to recognize the blur of pixels from a distance.

She flipped a blond curl over her shoulder, laughing a little too loudly, then whispered something to one of the girls, who nodded vigorously. She pocketed her phone and headed our direction.

Tim’s eyes went wide. “Well?”

“Sure,” I mumbled. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Sam joined us beside the table, her hands clasped behind her back as she cozied up to Lance. She had tucked her yellow shirt into her pale blue slacks to reveal more of her form than usual, as if she were trying to look like a member of E-Leadership. “I’m going to community service at the gardens tomorrow,” she said. “Do you have a partner yet?”

Lance’s cheeks flushed red. “Jenna, we’re still good for tomorrow, right?”

I gave Sam as big a smile as I could muster. Beside me, Tim’s eyes widened. “Of course,” I replied, then looked toward Sam. “But Tim doesn’t have a partner.”

Sam gave Lance a baleful pout. “Uh, sure.” She flashed a halfhearted smile at Tim. “I’ll see you then.” She waved and returned to her friends, who all patted her back and said their disappointed apologies.

Thank you,” Lance mouthed. Tim punched the air, gleeful in our unplanned success, and I suspected he would be posting this to his EYEnet account later. At least it would give him something to distract his mind.

If only I had a good distraction, too.

Tim might not have taken the pills for a week, but I hadn’t taken them for six months.

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Like what you read? Want to find out what happens next?

Pre-Order Distant Horizon today!
Amazon – Amazon UK – B&N – Kobo – iTunes – Smashwords

You can also find Distant Horizon on Goodreads.

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I hope you enjoyed this post.🙂

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Distant Horizon Cover Reveal!

The day has finally arrived–the day of the Distant Horizon cover reveal! That’s right. This cover, which has been waiting two years to be revealed (Seriously, I created the near-final version in early 2014) now gets to be seen by the light of day–or the computer screen.

*Ahem.*

Now, for the reveal, which has been organized by the wonderful Lola’s Blog Tours!😀

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Distant HorizonDistant Horizon (Distant Horizon #1)
By Stephanie and Isaac Flint
Genre: Dystopia with superhero elements
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: October 27, 2016

Blurb:
The Community is safe.
Unless you have superpowers.

Sixty years ago, a hallucinogenic plague annihilated half the world’s population, leading to the formation of the Community—an international government that promises its citizens safety, security, and efficiency. Every day, Community citizens swallow a mandatory pill to ensure their immunity to the plague. A year after graduating high school, they take the Health Scan.

Most pass, and continue with their lives. Others disappear.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year in high school. She feels more alive without it, and she hasn’t shown any signs of infection—at least, not until two days after a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces arrive at her university campus.

Spurred by the recent string of hallucinations, Jenna searches for any inkling of what happens to those who fail the scan. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment and, once cured, receive a menial job. But when she uncovers the cruel truth behind the plague, her ideal world is shattered.

Underneath the illusion of safety, Special Forces agents harbor a dark secret.

The plague is a lie.

You can find Distant Horizon on Goodreads

You can pre-order Distant Horizon here:
Amazon
Amazon UK
B&N
Kobo
iTunes
Smashwords

Excerpt:
There was a fifteen minute break between classes. Since the two buildings were right next to each other, that was plenty of time for me to browse EYEnet. My primary question regarded the old man’s warning that I’d fail the scan. I focused on the blog from my friend in high school—the one whose sister failed.
According to Galina’s posts, she’d been afraid of failure early on, and on the day of the Health Scan, she’d made another post reiterating the same fear. She’d been having hallucinations that liquids would shape themselves from images in her thoughts, and she was sure she had theophrenia.
It’d been almost a year since Galina left, but I wasn’t sure how long the recovery effort lasted. I checked the last active day she was on her account. There was nothing since the day of her scan.
I checked other blogs, searching for any references to fear of failure. One girl thought she could fly. Another guy swore he could read his professor’s mind. All signs of advanced delusions, and in each case, they didn’t return.
Three years passed. Five. Nothing.
A chill ran through me. The old man said to try controlling vines and grass. That was crazy. Impossible. And yet… I’d felt that stem move. I’d seen it move.
My phone chimed a one-minute warning before class. Students stirred and finished their conversations, and I stared at the small screen of my phone. Only one person, out of the entirety of blogs I’d found, had ever come back.

Stephanie and Isaac FlintAbout the Author:
Stephanie and Isaac Flint met at the University of Central Missouri, where they discovered a common interest in world-building and tabletop role-play games. Distant Horizon is their first joint world, the result of a role-play game Isaac ran in the summer of 2010. After graduating with Bachelors of Science (Photography for Stephanie, Psychology for Isaac), they were married in 2012. Together, they plot stories, torment each other’s characters, and enjoy the occasional cosplay.

You can find and contact Stephanie and Isaac here:
Author Blog
Publisher Website
Facebook
Twitter Stephanie
Twitter Publisher
Author Goodreads
Stephanie Goodreads
Newsletter

 

banner Lola's Blog Tours

 

Want to check out the other blogs who are participating in this tour?

SCHS Best Books Blog
Bookworm for Kids
Redd’s Reads
Lilly’s Book World
Outlandish Reads
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
shannonbookishlife
We All Make Mistakes in Books
Pippa Jay
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Their Vodka
The Phantom Paragrapher
Books and Kats
Scott Umphrey
A Leisure Moment
Kindle and Me
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
TMBA Corbett Tries to Write
Amanda’s Book Nook
The Writer’s Inkwell
Mel’s Shelves
Diana’s Book Reviews
Leila Tualla: Bookshelf
Cheyanne Young
YA Book Divas

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Thoughts on Publishing – “Stone and String” Unboxing

It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded a video blog post, but I received my print copies of “Stone and String” today (a day early!) and wanted to do the unboxing. So I’ve got a quick announcement about the Infinitas Publishing booth at Burg Fest, the upcoming dates regarding Distant Horizon, and the first look at the print copies of “Stone and String.” Check out the video below, and I hope you enjoy it.🙂

 

Click here if you can’t see the video.

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Announcement – Sign-ups for the Distant Horizon Book Cover Reveal are now live!

Do you have a blog? Want to take part in a cover reveal for Distant Horizon?

If so, head over to Lola’s Blog Tours, where sign-ups are now live!😀

( http://www.lolasblogtours.net/cover-reveal-distant-horizon-by-stephanie-and-isaac-flint/ )

The cover reveal will take place on September 20th.🙂

Distant Horizon is a young adult dystopian novel with superhero elements. It’s the first in the series.

The Community is safe.
Unless you have superpowers.

Sixty years ago, a hallucinogenic plague annihilated half the world’s population, leading to the formation of the Community—an international government that promises its citizens safety, security, and efficiency. Every day, Community citizens swallow a mandatory pill to ensure their immunity to the plague. A year after graduating high school, they take the Health Scan.

Most pass, and continue with their lives. Others disappear.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year in high school. She feels more alive without it, and she hasn’t shown any signs of infection—at least, not until two days after a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces arrive at her university campus.

Spurred by the recent string of hallucinations, Jenna searches for any inkling of what happens to those who fail the scan. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment and, once cured, receive a menial job. But when she uncovers the cruel truth behind the plague, her ideal world is shattered.

Underneath the illusion of safety, Special Forces agents harbor a dark secret.

The plague is a lie.

In the meantime, Distant Horizon is available for pre-order at Amazon, and will also be available from Smashwords distributors, once it finishes the approval process.

Distant Horizon, by Stephanie and Isaac Flint, will be released on October 27th, 2016.

***

Coming soon: I’ll be posting a blog about Isaac’s and my new co-author photo, as well as writing our usual monthly Infinitas Publishing Status report. There’s a lot going on during the next two months!😀

 

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New Release – “Stone and String” is Now Available!

Remember that short story I was working on a couple weeks ago?  Well, “Stone and String” is now available!😀

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Stone and String Book Cover

 

Blurb

In the world of The Wishing Blade, everyone is born with two strings of magic. One strand is life, and the other is death. Very few can manipulate them.

Among the Cantingen Islanders, children are tested for this ability during their first rites of magic, a ceremony which determines what magic they have and their future as a mage. But when Edyli’s little sister, Akymi, dies in an accident before those rites can occur, Edyli does the unthinkable. She uses magic to return Akymi to the living. As a result, she finds herself in a land of web-like strings… the afterlife.

Edyli refuses to give up seeing her sister’s first rites. With the help of a mysterious immortal and sheer determination, she has every intention of seeing her sister once more, even if it means incurring the wrath of Madia, the goddess of the dead.

 

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Buy Now on Amazon (US)

Buy Now on Amazon (UK)

Add "Stone and String" to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

“Stone and String” is a short story based in the universe of The Wishing Blade series. Though the stories are related (“Stone and String” takes place at the same time as the events of Magic’s Stealing), “Stone and String” stands alone. While Magic’s Stealing takes place in Cirena, and focuses on ribbon magic, “Stone and String” takes place on the Cantingen Islands and focuses on string magic and word magic, with a healthy dose of the Cantingen language.

I’m currently testing out KDP Select, so the ebook is only available from Amazon. But since it’s enrolled in Kindle Select, that means it can be borrowed if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Enjoy!😀

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Thoughts on Writing – Developing a Fictional Language (Maijevan)

Lately, I’ve been working a bit on my conlangs (constructed languages). I started out with the Cantingen language (a “word magic” system used throughout my The Wishing Blade series). I’ve been developing it over time, adding words here and there as required and every once in a while going on a spree to flesh it out.

While going through my latest round of edits on The Shadow War (book two of the series), I double-checked that my attempts to create sensical sentences were correct. Most weren’t, and I had to rewrite many of the instances where the language was included. But I had a chance to flesh it out even more in “Stone and String” (tentative title), a short story based on the Cantingen Islands. I’m super excited to be working on that soon, as I’ve just about got all the feedback from the people I’ve asked to beta-read.

However, that short story led me to thinking about other places in the world of The Wishing Blade that I might want to develop further. Namely, Maijev. It’s a large city in the land of Cirena, but unlike the rest of the kingdom, it has a reputation for being anti-mage and isolated. Mages usually avoid the place because there’s something about the area that burns at their skin if they try to use ribbon magic (word magic is unaffected) and generally makes them uncomfortable.

I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not they should have their own language. Would they only speak that? Probably not. But it did seem possible they would have one for when they didn’t want to be listened to by outsiders, so I started considering how it would sound.

I’ve based the appearance of some of the character’s names from Maijev on Russian names, and as such, used that as a starting point. I looked to see what differences there were between Russian and English (such as the lack of vowel sounds and the concepts of perfective and imperfective aspects). Then I took that and ran (in other words, what I’ve developed thus far of the Maijevan language probably doesn’t look a thing like Russian. I haven’t studied the language, so I don’t know much about it).

Anyway, I started out by writing a few notes about Maijev’s general culture, which could affect the language.

  1. They don’t acknowledge the gods, at least not separately, though they understand that they exist. They might categorize the gods the same as immortal monsters (gods/immortals should be same word)
  2. Magic is cursed. Or, if not “cursed” per se, it is considered something akin to “evil”
  3. Whatever it is coming from the ground that burns mages is what keeps them safe
  4. Competition is encouraged/fierce.
  5. High possibility of strong family bonds? (Might explain why the lord of the city adopts a mage for a son… never mind that he sorely distrusts mages)
  6. They acknowledge a feudal-like caste system
  7. They’re fascinated with technology/science/academia. (While the rest of Cirena is fascinated with magic and what magic can do, Maijev has more-or-less started into the age of the industrial revolution).

I decided that their language system would be very rigid and precise. It’s a phonetic language, and for the most part, you can tell exactly how to pronounce a word based on the spelling. Also, the sentence structure is organized in a specific format:

(Subject) (Negative, if negative) (Perfect/Imperfect) (Tense) (Verb)

I also decided on a few additional rules:

  1. No articles.
  2. Adjectives and adverbs use same word. “Quiet” and “quietly” are both digaev) but placement determines which it is.
  3. When there is more than one adjective or adverb, it is separated by “and” (vo).
  4. Adjectives are placed immediately after the noun in question.
  5. Adverbs are placed immediately after the verb in question.
  6. Verbs are not conjugated. A subject of some form should always be given to show who is acting.

Thus, “The small and quiet dog was digging.” becomes Nitilver vreg vo digaev ni miski natch.

  • nitilver – (subject) dog
  • vreg – (adjective) small
  • vo -(conjunction) and
  • digaev – (adjective) quiet
  • ni – (imperfective aspect) – shows the action was not completed
  • miski – (past tense) shows that the verb happened in the past
  • natch – (verb) to dig

Now, I’m considering removing the past tense word miski and simply replacing it with ni (imperfective – incomplete action) or gadi (perfective – completed action), but then, that would remove the ambiguity if someone didn’t use either aspect. But, if they like having a rigid society, perhaps they don’t have an ambiguous form. Haven’t decided yet.

What have I learned thus far about creating a fictional language?

  1. It was helpful to create a list of phonemes and sounds first. That way I could create words without worrying that I might use a sound later that I don’t want to include in the language. Conversely, once I started working with it, I realized I wanted to include a couple extra vowel sounds.
  2. It was also helpful to create the sentence structure and rules system before trying to create sentences. Now I know a bit more about what words the language even uses, and won’t be stuck rewriting sentences later.

However, I’m not a linguist, and I could be doing these things completely wrong (I wasn’t familiar with how imperfective and perfective aspects worked before I started toying with this idea).

And it might not even matter, because, as Isaac (my husband) pointed out, the Maijevan and Cirenan languages should be at least somewhat related. So I need to go create the Cirenan structure before I do much more work with Maijevan. On the bright side, since this time period is far from the “original” use of the language, and Cirena is a much more travel-oriented community, I might have it pull a few stunts from English. That is, itcan borrow words from the other languages, and have a few more “irregular” rules. *Shudder.*

But, given the mythology of their world… well, we’ll see what happens.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you tried creating any fantasy languages of your own?🙂

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Runners & Riders Blog Tour

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth.🙂

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Runners & Riders

Companion to the Treasure Chronicles

A young adult novel of gangs and love in a steampunk world.

Runners & Riders - Book Cover

Juliet loved growing up at the seaside, although it meant lonely hours chasing after the other beach rats while her mother worked as a seamstress. Juliet never expected her seaman father to inherit a fortune and move the family to New Addison City. Suddenly her mother is a socialite and Juliet is best friends with a strong-willed girl who actually likes her. When Juliet’s new friend welcomes her to the Runners, a gang that has plagued the East Coast for years, Juliet sees it as the opportunity to fit in, learn tricks, and make eyes at one of the hottest members. What the gang does isn’t really wrong…right? She’s used to being a pawn for the Runners, but she starts to question what she sees as harmless fun when the gang uses her to attack a young officer.

 

Jonathan Montgomery vowed to end the Runners after they murdered his family. He joined the Riders, an elite police force dedicated to stopping the Runners’ crime spree. They have put him in New Addison City, but rookie mistakes follow Jonathan as he struggles to accomplish his goal, until a young woman feeds him inside information to bring down the Runners.

 

Between murders and secrets, Juliet will need to find her strength to help Jonathan, before the founder of the Runners crawls up from the sewers amongst her inventions to burn down the city.

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RUNNERS & RIDERS is available now on Amazon from Curiosity Quills Press.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Runners & Riders Banner

Can’t wait to read the next installment in the Treasure Chronicles world?  Check out the first chapter:

A figure ducked behind the work shed where the glow of the back porch gas lamp didn’t reach. Jonathan shielded his eyes so he could see more clearly through the bedroom window, but the backyard lay still. The white sheets the maid had hung fluttered in the evening breeze.

 

His uncle would have a ghost story to tell about those.

 

Another dark shape bolted across the yard; this one crouched in his mother’s flower garden. It might have been one of the boys from school come to throw pebbles at the pale blue siding until Jonathan sneaked out, but they seemed too tall for eleven-year-olds. The one in the flowers crept closer to the house.

 

Movement in the woods drew Jonathan’s attention farther across the yard, where two more shapes lurked. They had to be grown men. He gulped as he crawled away from the window to the hallway where the light from the living room glowed up the stairs.

 

“Found you.” The maid grinned from his parents’ bedroom, a stack of table linens in her arms. “When we play hide-and-seek, you ain’t supposed to come out till I call for you. We gotta practice the rules again? I was gonna come looking soon as I put these cloths away.”

 

He grabbed the railing. “There’s people out in the yard.”

 

Her eyes widened before she clicked her tongue. “Ain’t nobody out in this cold. I’m dreading my own walk home. Bless your father if he gives me a ride.”

 

“I saw them. There had to be ten, at least!” Jonathan took the stairs down two at a time.

 

His uncle sat in front of the living room hearth, the fire crackling to stave off the autumn chill, with Jonathan’s sister nestled in his lap. “The old king rose up tall as that old oak out by the water pump, and he waved his scepter as if he was a wizard.”

 

“Uncle Henry,” Jonathan interrupted. “There are people out back.”

 

“What’s that? You get to bed already?”

 

“What?” His uncle never made them sleep as early as his mother did; they usually got to stay up until their parents came home from the opera house.

 

“You must have had a nightmare.” Uncle Henry chuckled, and the little girl giggled from his lap.

 

“No, I saw them. They were slinking through the yard.” Jonathan pointed toward the rear of the house. His uncle would appreciate “slinking,” as if the word had fallen from one of those mystery novels he read them.

 

Uncle Henry glanced at the clock on the mantle. “Your parents shouldn’t be much longer. It must’ve been them you saw.”

 

“There were a bunch of people. Lots of them. Fifteen at least!” Jonathan’s heartbeat increased. Some of the natives – those Bromi warriors – from out west might have crept across the country. Pirates might have invaded from the sea. His parents whispered about those when they read the newspapers.

 

“Fifteen, huh? Well, you keep an eye on them for me. If they come too close, we’ll build a fort around the house.” Uncle Henry adjusted the pink afghan wrapped around the toddler.

 

The doors were locked, but the enemy might break through the windows. Jonathan’s father kept the guns sealed in a case, but he did have an emergency pistol in a box under his bed. They’d be proud if he protected his family.

 

As Jonathan reached the top of the stairs, someone knocked on the front door. He froze, one sock-clad foot on the landing and the other on the top step. Pirates and natives didn’t knock. They invaded; they were evil.

 

The maid swept past him, lifting her ankle-length brown skirt. “I hope that’s my dear papa come with the pony cart. He won’t let his little girl walk home in the frost.” She winked at Jonathan, but he gulped. She wouldn’t know to be afraid. Even though she played games with him, she was sixteen, old enough to think the world was perfect. Only he knew enough to find danger in shadows.

 

“If that’s your father, invite him in for some coffee,” Uncle Henry called.

 

“Will do, sir.”

 

Jonathan crouched beside the railing and clutched the rungs. If he bent his head enough, he could see the front door. The maid wiped her hands on her apron before she opened it.

 

“Oh, hello. Can I help you?” Her final word fell away in a scream as a man shoved her inside. His black coat buttoned to his chin and a black knit cap covered his head.

 

Jonathan’s own scream strangled in his throat.

 

“This the Montgomery residence?” the man barked. Three more men shoved into the foyer, all of them dressed in full black. The tallest of the bunch seized the maid by the shoulders and slammed her into the wall.

 

“Y-yes, sir,” she stammered.

 

“What’s going on here?” Uncle Henry burst in from the living room while two more assailants stepped inside. Jonathan’s sister started to wail.

 

One of the men drew a handgun from his belt and aimed it at Uncle Henry’s chest. “Where’s the laboratory?”

 

“Get out of this house,” Uncle Henry said. Jonathan had never heard him speak with such calm finesse, the laughter gone from his voice.

 

Jonathan’s hands trembled where he gripped the polished wood. His uncle would handle everything. Take that, bad guys.

 

“Well now,” the attacker drawled, “that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.”

 

“How about you, girl?” the man yelled at the maid. “Take us to the lab.”

 

As soon as the man released her, she sank to the floor, her shoulders shaking with sobs.

 

The man crouched in front of her to grip her chin. “What’s your name, girl?”

 

“R-Rose.”

 

“You the scientist’s daughter?”

 

Jonathan stiffened. Uncle Henry would protect them, and if Jonathan needed to, he could leap over the railing onto the man’s back.

 

“N-no, sir. I’m just the maid. It’s a common name here. Rose. We have that rose festival and all. We have the famous rainbow-colored rose.”

 

He slapped her across the face and jerked her to her feet. “Shut up, bitch. Get us to the lab or you won’t be making no more noise.”

 

“You’ll release her now.” Uncle Henry lunged forward, and a crack split the air. He staggered, rasping, and dropped to his knees. Blood appeared on his chest, the circle growing, morphing into something that dripped and twisted without pattern.

 

“Mack, what was that? You shot him.” One of the men chuckled.

 

“No,” the maid shrieked.

 

Jonathan squeezed his eyes shut. Perhaps he had fallen asleep waiting for Rose to find him. It had to be a dream. Uncle Henry is fine. Were all fine.

 

When he opened them, his uncle lay on the hardwood floor in a pool of red paint. Red paint. No, not paint. Blood.

 

The men stomped through the house toward his father’s laboratory off the kitchen, and the maid’s sobs mingled with his sister’s cries. He had to protect his sister. He’d get the pistol, grab her, and he’d run for the neighbor’s farm.

 

Jonathan ran for their bedroom, the door still open from when the maid folded away the tablecloths. With only the light from downstairs, he crawled to the bed and lay on his stomach to reach the box. Nothing should have invaded his perfect house, with its two chimneys and dark blue shutters, with the flower garden and those ghost sheets flapping on the line.

 

He pulled out the box and flipped the hook on the lid to remove the pistol. He’d seen his father polish it, but he’d never known it could be so heavy. How do I hold it?

 

A door slammed below him. He would have to point the gun and pull the trigger, like what the villain had done to his uncle. The bullet would save him and his sister. It would save the maid. If he found her, she could use it better.

 

He crept back downstairs, but the commotion came from the laboratory. Glass smashed and heavier things crashed. Another gunshot seared through the house.

 

Jonathan ran for the armchair where his uncle had left the toddler. “Rosamund, be quiet.” Her pale hair stood out against the seat’s green velveteen. “Please, Rosamund.”

 

“Well now, who’re you?”

 

Jonathan twisted around and did his best to aim the silver weapon at the man lounging in the doorway. He couldn’t be much older than the maid; how could someone so young do such evil? Jonathan couldn’t picture the boys at his school shooting anyone with anything more than a slingshot.

 

“Get out.” Jonathan’s voice squeaked.

 

The young man chuckled. “I reckon you’re the man of the house now. Good luck with that.”

 

“Get out!” Jonathan pulled the trigger.

 

The pistol clicked, but no bullet ripped through the villain. Jonathan cocked it again, his heartbeat echoing in his ears.

 

The man laughed harder. “That thing’s out of bullets, kid, but don’t worry, we’re leaving. Runners don’t mess with kids.”

 

Jonathan pulled the trigger again, but only that click answered him. Tears burned his eyes as he threw it down.

 

Runners. Next time he met one of them, he’d have a pistol full of bullets.

 

#

 

Jonathan rested his elbows on his knees and sighed. The sun shouldn’t be so bright and the few leaves that had begun to change to gold shouldn’t glow so much. At least the crimson leaves fit his mood.

 

He gazed at Rosamund as she sat beside the few marigolds that hadn’t given up on summer, petting her kitten’s gray head. She looked so happy, with her hair in two short braids. They’d let him dress her in white – black made him shudder now.

 

The Runners wore black.

 

“What do you suppose will happen to the house?” Mrs. Rogers’s voice danced through the open kitchen window. Airing out the rooms wouldn’t help banish that lingering stench of blood.

 

“I don’t know,” Miss Lea answered. He’d always loved his teacher, but she hadn’t said much more than a few sentences, as if she didn’t know how to console.

 

“I don’t suppose anyone will want a house where two murders took place. Shame, since this place is so pretty. Biggest home in all of Rosedale.”

 

Jonathan scrunched his eyes shut. How could they stand next to the laboratory where the maid had been shot? How could they even bear to be inside?

 

“All for that invention,” Mrs. Rogers continued. “You really think a motor for a ship is worth all the trouble they went to?”

 

Trouble. As if murdering his parents in their steamcoach on the way back from the opera house counted as trouble. Trouble meant forgetting to study for a spelling test.

 

“Who knows what those Runners think.”

 

“Blasted Runners. Don’t they care about the suffering families? Couldn’t they have spared all those folks?”

 

Jonathan clenched his hands into fists. He’d hunt them down. They couldn’t take his family away and laugh about it.

 

Miss Lea mumbled something he couldn’t hear.

 

“Are you going to keep the two mites?” Dishes rattled. Jonathan’s mother had never trusted Mrs. Rogers; he had a feeling he would never see those porcelain plates again.

 

Who cared what happened to the belongings?

 

“The neighbors will take him now that their daughter’s so far away. The Ashers are good folk.”

 

Jonathan jerked his head up. The neighbors, that old man and woman who never smiled much? Why would they want the Montgomery orphans, as Mrs. Rogers had dubbed them? He expected they’d live with Miss Lea since they didn’t have anyone else.

 

Miss Lea is nice enough; she’ll take care of Rosamund.

 

“It might do that old Rider a favor having some sprites around,” Mrs. Rogers said. “Come help me wrap up these teacups. Wouldn’t they look darling in my china cabinet?”

 

Jonathan plodded to the water pump to see if he could spot the neighbors’ barn through the trees. Riders hunted down the Runner gangs that plagued the east coast. If he got to live with a Rider, he might learn some tricks.

 

Jonathan sneered.

 

Runner beware, for the mark of the Rider will shine.

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Author - Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth became obsessed with steampunk while working at a Victorian Fair.  Since then, she’s read plenty of books and even organized a few steampunk outfits that she wears on a regular basis (unless that’s weird, in which case she only wears them within the sanctuary of her own home – not!). Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, BORN OF TREASURE, GOAT CHILDREN, and VICTORIAN.  RUNNERS & RIDERS is her fifth novel with Curiosity Quills Press.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.

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