Friday, October 10, 2014

Building Your Own Fantasy World Guest Blog and Giveaway with SD Grady

We all love a good tale of Once Upon a Time.  We are asked to put aside our daily trials and for a short time accept that in another place and time there was a damsel in distress who needed her knight in shining armor to come along and save her day.  But whether we pick up our worn copy of Cinderella or the latest book in the Game of Thrones series, we know one thing: we have entered into the world of fantasy. 

What makes it a fantasy world, after all?  What is it that the author did differently when crafting a tale in the fictitious land of Rushton vs. entering the very real time of medieval France?  How is it a successful trip into the land of Make Believe?

Well, firstly there must be research.  Believe it or not, we can't simply throw all the laws of physics out the window when scripting a fantasy world, unless a reason is given for the deviation of nature. There must be something that is so familiar to the reader that they can suspend their disbelief in Never-never land.  If you're going to have flaming dragons, then it is still a good idea to have the rooster crow.  In a less fantastical world--like in my latest tale "The King's Mistress"--gowns and the manners of society are crafted such the reader can identify the familiar, leaving enough room for the map of the Seven Kingdoms and its political landscape to come to life.

Okay, now that we've researched which social and physical elements of our land that will remain the same as the real world, we're ready for the first building blocks of what will make this place different from everywhere else.  Sometimes it is the color of the sky, due to an unusual element found in the atmosphere. On occasion characters are known to possess a sixth or seventh sense, elevating them into the world of the surreal.  At other times, mankind skipped a step in the technological ladder creating the illusion of steam punk, instead of a world filled with computers.

And then once in a while, all it takes for that sense of other-worldiness to take hold is for the fantasy world to be placed in a time period so far in our past, it remains dreamlike to us.  When was the last time you picked up a child's fairy tale and read it, completely believing it all happened right next door only yesterday?  You didn't, because the costumes, roles in life and tasks asked of the characters have become foreign to us over time; even though when the story was first told it was actually a contemporary tale. What remains constant in these children's tales is the moral lesson included. That is the familiar point that continues to ring true with fantasy readers over the centuries.

The next time you pick up a book--whether it be a contemporary tale of international espionage or even a society magazine--ask yourself, what makes the world contained within these pages "real"? Is it simply knowing the roads and cars actually exist, that the social structures are those you interact with on a daily basis?  If so, then spend a moment considering what it would take to turn such stories into ones of pure fantasy.

So simple. And then again, so complicated. 

The King's Mistress
S.D. Grady

Genre:  Historical Romance set in a
Fantasy world/Erotic Romance

Publisher:  Purple Sword Publications

ISBN:  9781612921136

Number of pages:  238
Word Count: 80145

Cover Artist:  Traci Markou

Book Description:

Bethina Lydia Fortescue, the Lady Godwin, adored her king as no other for twenty years.  But the king is dead, and as his mere mistress she is no longer welcome at court.

Sir Arthur Jeffries, newly appointed to Princess Meredith's Regency Council, needs help.  He begs the legendary Lady Godwin to return to the palace as the princess' tutor, hopefully to lead the gawky teenager through the political and romantic minefield of suitors and hidden assassins invited to attend her Debutante Ball.

Bethina and Arthur fight the undeniable surge of attraction between them. Bethina cannot bring herself to put aside the love she had for her king, and now concern for his heir. Arthur knows that he will only be able to serve the princess if he continues his life of solitude. Now is no time to take a courtesan to bed. 

Brought together as servants to Rushton's crown, but joined through a lifetime of bitter and shrewd experiences, Bethina and Arthur discover that when the princess finally takes a husband, and all the enemies of the land are vanquished, they will have only one thing left to live for: love.


The phantom caress of Freddie's touch conjured long buried memories.  Ah, sweet agony. Exuberant in their youth, she and Freddie had explored all the possible sexual positions together.  And now...
She fought against a tear. That was all in the past. Gone.
She closed her eyes so she might ignore the overly familiar oil landscape hung over her bed and the other tiny details that recalled the sweet and torrid memories.  Her finger caught at a lace ribbon on the vanity top and pulled it across the polished wood surface.  Her favorite clock ticked.  Time passed.  When would the hole in her heart heal?  Anger at her weakness surged.  She grabbed and held onto it.
"Stop being morbid, Beth.  You've got a job to do."  Her voice echoed in the vaulted room.
A knock sounded from the outer chamber.  She still had an hour before she expected her first guest.  The tweeny scurried to answer it.
"She's not quite decent, sir."
Bethina grinned.  Leave it to the young ones to state the truth.  She stood and turned to welcome whoever it might be, calling out, "Let them in, Laurel.  I'm as decent as I'm going to get."  It took but a few steps to enter the sitting room.
The girl curtsied and opened the door wider.  Sir Arthur stood in the hall, his cap in his hand and eyes wide as he noticed the extravagance of her chamber. 
Once again, that phantom emotion sprang to life. She couldn't possibly take another lover. Never. Action would help to stifle her misgivings.
"Come. Come." She gestured him into the room.  "It's been far too long since these rooms saw a gentleman not bent on nefarious deeds."
The man blushed, his grey eyes darkened.  "You think me harmless, Lady Godwin?"
"Hah!"  She strode to the chaise, settled down and reached for the bell.  The tweeny reappeared.  "What would you like to drink, sir?"
Dressed in a suit of black silk from head to foot, the diplomat evoked an aura of quiet power.  He had not moved since pausing inside her threshold.  "I like to keep my wits when dining with my enemies and my friends."
Bethina pressed her lips together before ordering, "Small ale for two."
He remained still, his gaze boring into hers.  "Do you possess a more modest gown, Lady Godwin?"
She chuckled and leaned forward just a touch.  "Unlike you, Sir Arthur, it is not to my advantage to fade into background.  A low cut bodice is far more effective in eliciting confidences than sitting near silent in a corner with a shawl up to my chin."  Even as she grinned, her melancholy vanished. Thank goodness she had somebody to match wits with.
He coughed and appeared to decide she was not about to eat him for lunch.  He stretched his long legs out as he settled in the high-backed chair opposite her perch. He continued to study her. What did he want? 
"Now, why the early arrival for supper?"
He turned his attention to the appointments of the chamber; the heavy furniture, damask curtains, oil paintings.  Every feminine furbelow Trudy could gather dotted all possible surfaces.  Lace, china, clocks, jewelry.  It appeared as the room of a very wealthy lady of the nobility. No guest could possibly guess at her sordid past. 
"Sir Arthur?"
"Hmm?  Oh, yes.  Sorry. I wondered if you required any more information before we go in for supper this evening?"
"No, I think not.  Sometimes it is better to make your own judgments, true?"
He rubbed his palms together for a moment.  "I would have to agree with that."
So, he was avoiding speaking his mind. Really, now was not the time to keep secrets from her.
Laurel appeared with their drinks, served and withdrew.
Perhaps if she taunted him.
Bethina ran one finger along the rim of her glass, collecting the drop of moisture sitting there and then licked it dry. "You really wanted to see what I had chosen to wear.  Admit it.  What would the famed mistress of King Frederyk do upon her return to court?" She sipped at her ale and decided the castle boasted a fine master brewer.
"Yes.  I am taking a huge risk here.  Should we misstep, I shall be back in the desert of Uiel and you in that house on the river."
"But you forget, Sir Arthur."  She placed her glass on the small table at her right and drew a heart on the tabletop from the glass's condensation.  "Not once in two decades was I dismissed from court.  I am good at this."
He smiled and relaxed in his seat.  "As am I." 
She met his steady gaze.  Good.  His defenses were coming down. She took a deep breath, her breasts pressing against her tight bodice.  His grey eyes widened. He swallowed. She followed his Adam's apple down his muscled neck and grinned in appreciation at his wide shoulders.  The years had been kind to him.  The blood beat in her ears .  Her body stirred. 
And suddenly it became clear. He desired her.  As much as she wanted him.
"I didn't come here for a flirtation." Her protest sounded gravelly.
His cheeks blazed with color.  "I did not invite you for such."
She waited, as he appeared to want to say more.  In the end, they simply shared a nod each understood. The heat and lust would wait, for now.  "I am here for Freddie's niece.  She needs me."
He nodded. "Yes, she does.  I think, though, that I will enjoy working alongside you."
"Just working?"
The room filled with unspoken words.  Heat. Hushed sighs beneath covers.

About the Author: 

S.D. Grady is a lover of men, music, movies and fast machines. A beautiful gown stirs her blood as quickly as a NASCAR race.  An author of historical and fantasy romance, she never hesitates to switch gears and plunge into the real world of sports commentary.

She lives in her house on the hill with her husband of 20 years and their cats. During work hours she runs a movie theatre and, when not writing, enjoys crocheting yet another colorful afghan. Several times a year you can find them at the track in their RV.

The S-Curves blog

Thanks for joining me on my Bewitching Book Tour! 

I am celebrating the release of my latest novel "The King's Mistress."

JOIN IN A TREASURE HUNT FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A FREE ECOPY OF "THE KING'S MISTRESS"  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW  Full of desire and political intrigue, you won't want to miss it!

As a token of my gratitude for reading, click here for a FREE download full of fun facts and activities you can use at your next masquerade ball.

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Roxanne Rhoads said...

great post

thank you for sharing

S.D. Grady said...

Thanks for having me :)