Tag Archives: speculative

Blog Tour – “Kissed By Literature” by Jordan Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Jordan Elizabeth’s latest book, Kissed by Literature! 🙂

Read on…

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KISSED BY LITERATURE

A Collection of Short Stories

Kissed by Literature by Jordan Elizabeth - Blog Tour Book Cover

(Cover art by Rue Volley.)

Enter worlds of steampunk and terror, where you’ll meet ghosts that will raise the hairs along your arms. Among the tales, you’ll encounter a serial killer stalking a country road and a vacation destination riddled with evil. This collection of short stories explores the different writing styles and genres of Amazon bestselling author Jordan Elizabeth.

KISSED BY LITERATURE is on Amazon from CHBB.  Get it for 99 cents for a limited time.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Check out the start of the short story “Evil that Walks Tweed Road”:

I slid the manila folder into the cardboard box, careful to keep them alphabetized.  My brother might tease me to death over my organization habits, but not once had I fumbled during my presentations.  Each photograph, newspaper article, and information sheet had a home.

“Excuse me.  Annie?  I’m Patrick.”

I glanced up, the final folder in hand.  A man with gray eyes stood in front of the table.  I’d studied those gray eyes during my lecture while he sat in the back row of the library’s meeting room.

“Yes?”  I double-checked the words on the folder before placing it into the box.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Tweed Road.  I grew up near there, and as kids we always wanted to see the ghosts.  Swear we saw a couple of them.”

I nodded, my ponytail sliding over my shoulder.  “I’ve heard plenty of those ghost stories, but I don’t really believe in ghosts.  If a serial killer gets you, do you really want to hang around for all eternity?”

He chuckled.  His teeth had to have been professionally straightened and whitened to gleam like that.  “What got you into giving talks on Tweed Road?”

He couldn’t be flirting with me… but maybe he was.  “Well, I got my Masters in history and then I got a job as a professor here.  I started looking up local history, and this area is famous for the Tweed Road killings.   It was mostly all legends and kids daring each other to walk along the road at night, so I wanted to tell everyone about the truth.”  I smiled.  I sucked at flirting, but I could sure smile, even if my teeth didn’t look half as nice as his.

“Do you think telling everyone about this will help them finally catch the killer?”

“Life is never that simple.”

Patrick leaned toward me and lowered his voice.  “I know who the serial killer was.”

I lifted my eyebrows.  At every library or historical society where I gave my presentation, someone always had a theory.  My favorite suggestion had been Jack the Ripper.  “Who are you thinking of?”

“My grandfather.”

That was similar to “my ex-husband,” which I heard a lot from elderly women.  “Why do you say that?”

“He confessed to me before he died and he showed me the spot where he did the killings.”

The bodies had all been found dumped in the swamp, but no one had ever discovered where their hearts and livers had been gouged out.  I frowned.  “Who have you told?”

“I, um…just you.”  The young man wiped his hand across his face.  “I don’t know if I should go to the cops.  They might just laugh.  Do they even care about the case anymore?  It’s all more of a legend now.”

“A lot of families would have peace of mind.”

Patrick closed his eyes and sighed.  “Can I show you the spot?  I think I’d feel better going to the cops if you went with me.  You know all the facts about the killings and I just know what my grandfather told me.”

I shifted my stance.  “Don’t let me put words in your mouth.”  I had studied the Tweed Road serial killer for three years and it had all been paper, nothing I could walk on.

“Will you go with me?  I’ll drive.  It’s about fifteen minutes out of town.”

It might become my stupidest decision, but…  “Let me just put my box in the car so we don’t hold up the library from closing at nine.”  If the spot was fifteen minutes away, they wouldn’t make it back by then.

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Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.


Jordan Elizabeth - Author Logo

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Thoughts on Writing – Creating Fantasy Languages

One of the topics I’ve been thinking about recently is creating fantasy languages. Reason being, I’m creating a language for use in my YA fantasy manuscript, The Wishing Blade. Now, in the original draft (and even across several drafts for different books in that world), I only had a handful of made-up words sprinkled into the story to give it flavor. This time, however, the use of the language system suddenly had a reason to shine– I actually intended to show ‘word magic,’ one of the magic systems in my Cirena stories coming from the Cantingen Islands. Suffice it to say, creating a language has been fun, if not a bit difficult.

When I attended ConQuest, one of the panels I attended was about creating alien languages. Some of the topics in the panel included: deciding how in-depth you wanted the language to be– do you want to have a word here and there, or will there be full sentences in this language? How does it look? How does it sound to the ear? Might it have odd sounds (like clicks) that you might not normally read? Do you base your new language off of a current language, and if so, how do you change the language to fit the needs of your story? For example, does a word or phrase mean something now that it doesn’t mean in the future where your story takes place?

All of this is food for thought and can be applied to a fantasy language of your creation. For example, I like the idea that language changes over time. We can portray this in our stories. An example of this in The Wishing Blade is the name of a town, Shuhritan Fritarando. Which no one says because it’s ridiculously long. Most characters, unless they happen to be upper class or a particular linguist (I’m debating on my word mage correcting my main characters about the city’s name), are simply going to call the town Shu Frit. It gets even more fun, because the full name isn’t entirely exact. Shuhritan is an ancient Cantingen word for ‘male royalty’ or ‘king.’ Fritarando translates to ‘small male kin.’ Which could mean nephew, cousin, son, etc., but in this instance refers to ‘son.’ Shu Frit becomes ‘Little King’ in the terms of cultural history, even though neither word actually means that. It’s a colloquialism, informal and a pain to translate, but a natural part of how languages evolve.

Of course, this whole explanation may never show up in the story itself (and probably shouldn’t), but it shows how you can play with language to create cultural history in your novel. It’s a way to add flavor.

However, not everyone in my story is going to use such colloquialisms. In the example I gave, the characters are referring to a language that’s outdated. Outside of naming conventions, the language is only used by word mages. Due to the nature of word magic, these mages need to make sure that what they say is exact– or risk the consequences of having a fireball light them on fire instead of their opponent. Pronounciation is key. Which is why, when I went to place all the words and phrases I had thus far into an Excel spreadsheet, I realized that I needed to change one of my words. I had qui meaning ‘as,’ quis meaning ‘good health,’ and ki being an emphasized word that connects an unusual modifying word to what it is modifying. And they were all pronounced like the English ‘key.’

That could get dangerous for a word mage who is trying to say something about ‘good health’ and instead has his word translated to ‘as.’ (As what? Something deadly?)

So I changed qui to li and did a word search in my manuscript to make the changes. Small details, but hopefully fun for anyone who pays attention to the language in the novel. Eventually I want to make symbols that represent each phonetic pronunciation. (Oh, IPA (international phonetic alphabet)… so fun in high school theater).

If you decide to create a language for your story, I highly recommend writing down the words in a spreadsheet and keeping track of your rules. I recently updated my word document of notes into an Excel Spreadsheet. When I did, I saw several potential problems that I went ahead and fixed. Primarily verb conjugations. (Spanish… French… these classes are starting to be rather helpful, even if I never did become a proficient reader of either language). The Cantingen language is supposed to be precise. Repetitive, even. And I really didn’t want to mess with irregular verbs. So I adjusted each verb that I ran across. As long as you know the ending for “I did something” versus “you did something” or “he did something,” you’ll be able to tell who or what the verb refers to. None of this irregular verb mess we commonly deal with in English. In addition, a single add-on to the word will signify if something is past or future.

Is this a simplification?

Oh yeah. Definitely. But I’m not trying to be Tolkien (though I did try to learn Sindarin Elvish several years ago. Didn’t get far, but I got a few words of Enya’s “May It Be” translated into Sindarin beyond what was already translated). My goal is to add flavor to the story, and keep the language consistent.

And maybe try writing a song in pure ancient Cantingen. That would be fun, though that’ll be after I get more words and verbs ironed out. There’s plenty more that can be said about creating languages, but I’ll leave that for a later post. Let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. 🙂

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