Worldbuilding: The Greater World Of Rislandia

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I want to call it the “greater world of Areth” or something different because Rislandia ends up being such a small corner of my steampunk world that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to call the world by that… but people know Rislandia by name from my award winning and #1 Bestselling steampunk series, the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle, so I’ll go with that for now.

Minor spoilers for the books ahead.

Book 2 is going to be dropping next week, and my primary focus for this book was to take Zaira and her airship crew off into an actual swashbuckling adventure, now that she’s got her feet wet with a little airship battle action and has a little experience.

For those not paying careful attention, it may seem like I pulled a continent out of left field for The Blood Of Giants and we were just going off on an adventure with no background… but that’s where you’re wrong, kiddo!

You’ll notice that there’s chapter headings in for steam and country which detail out Zaira’s fathers past adventures. They’re used to communicate the feel of the chapters that follow as Zaira is confined within the story to where the plot swept her to.

I wanted to have a much bigger world for grander adventures over time. For Steam And Country was Zaira’s coming of age. The Blood Of Giants is the first time where Zaira really takes the mantle of Baron Von Monocle and makes it her own. So where I didn’t want to bog down the plot with tons of world description, I left little hints — names, places, events, history, in the chapter headings, and in the stories the character Harkerpal told about Zaira’s fathers earlier adventures.

There were a lot of places mentioned in the first book, and eventually I had a map made which you can view here:

As you can see, Rislandia is a smalllll portion of this huge world. It’s in the center there in the southern hemisphere. The yellow on the map with the green wyranth empire just below it. We’ve only experienced a tiny, tiny portion of this epic world. There’s a lot of exploring for Zaira and us to do, and there’s lots of fantastic creatures and cool civilizations out there to explore as well.

Book 2 takes us to Zenwey, the big red continent in the north. It’s got a tropical southern portion followed by a huge desert that’s bigger than Rislandia as a whole, and then some brushlands to the north. This is where we’re going and where the fantastic happens — and Zenwey was mentioned as part of Zaira’s father’s travels in the first book for those who look carefully.

There’s a lot there that I’m building on what came before, and I’m excited to get you the first part of this next week. I try to use every detail I put into the book and make the worldbuilding that much richer and integral to the reader experience.

Now I just need someone to help me put together a wikipedia so all this information can be easily searchable…

If you haven’t checked out my steampunk world yet, now’s the time. The new book comes out next week. For Steam And Country is available in all formats including audio. Knight Training is a nice follow up and standalone if you want to check out my writing — that novella bridges the gap between books 1 and 2 (as there’s a little bit of a time jump involved). Catch up now. The fun’s about to begin in earnest in The Blood of Giants.

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COVER REVEAL: The Adventures Of Baron Von Monocle Book 2: The Blood Of Giants

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I’m pleased to show everyone amazing the cover for the next book in my #1 Amazon Bestselling YA Steampunk series as well as give a little teaser to the book’s contents. I’m so excited to bring this book to all of you as it’s the first of my more recently written work, and  I’ve leveled up as an author by a significant margin. If you like For Steam And Country, The Blood Of Giants is going to absolutely blow you away.

The Blood of Giants will be available on August 15th.  Cover by Logotecture:

Danger looms on a foreign continent…

Zaira von Monocle is getting the hang of commanding her airship, when crisis hits her homeland, Rislandia. Caught in a terrible cycle of withdrawal from their power-serum, Wyranth soldiers are ravaging the countryside in a berserk rage. The Grand Rislandian Army has been unable to slow their bloodthirsty advance.

The Wyranth’s serum has its origin in legend, a children’s tale about giants roaming the land of Zenwey, far across the ocean. Zaira must take the Liliana and her crew to this faraway land, in hopes that she might find a cure before the Wyranth take even more lives.

When Zaira arrives on Zenwey, she finds the continent to be a mysterious and hostile environment. She must navigate her way past savage jungle warriors, fantastic creatures and terrors, and evil forces that have flying machines of their own. Before she can try to save Rislandia, she has to survive!

If you haven’t read book one, For Steam And Country, now would be a great time to do so and get acquainted with the characters of the book. If you’re new-new and not sure and just want to check out my writing in this world, my novella Knight Training is a great jumping on point that’s short and only 99 cents — low cost, low` time commitment, and action packed fun. For Steam And Country is also available on audio.

 

 

 

 

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Are You Ready For The Special Forces Of Steampunk?

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Knights with guns! The #SummerOfSteampunk begins here.

Today marks the release of my new novella, Knight Training. This book is for the fans, since i received so much feedback from everyone wanting to see more development of the character James Gentry, who makes his first appearance in my award winning novel, For Steam And Country.

Already great reviews:

“Enjoyed reading this story of Knights in Training. Love to read about male bonding and sword fighting. Great lead character and interesting read. I recommend it. “

“For those who love For Steam and Country: Book One of the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle, this is a great way to tide you over until Book Two (whenever that comes out!). We get to read about James Gentry’s training and his involvement in the intrigues of Rislandia. It’s a very fast read, and that might be my only complaint: I wanted to see more. The story ends on a good note, so it’s not yet another to-be-continued teaser; it’s a strong and complete tale unto itself, and builds on an interesting-yet-overshadowed character from the first novel.

You’ll like it.”

“This is a great ‘coming of age’ story with a decidedly male bent. Surprising since most of this author’s other books put a female lead front and center. It was good to see a male character with dreams and goals.”

Basic premise: James always dreamed of becoming a knight, and thanks to getting caught up in a whirlwind of events in that first book, he was able to become one–at least an apprentice. He’s finding Knight Training to be a little harder than he thought, not because of the physical demands, but because of the pressure that’s put on him from so many different sources. But James refuses to give up. He puts his head down and works harder. He refuses to fail. Training gets complicated by James discovering there’s a traitor among the master knights. and I won’t spoil it further from there.

This is a very fun adventure, and also a fairly short read. If you’ve been wanting to check out my work and haven’t yet, this is a great place to start because it’s low-cost, low-time commitment. It’s a breeze to read through. The story is completely standalone, though of course people who have read For Steam And Country should thoroughly enjoy it. The book also serves as a bridge between For Steam, and book 2: The Blood Of Giants, which is going to be out in August. It also introduces a new character, Ethan von Lantern, who is crucial to the series going forward. So you won’t want to miss this!

Read Knight Training now for only 99 cents — or free on Kindle Unlimited.

 

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The Character James Gentry, Grief, And Growth

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I had a great discussion with a fan the other day about the character of James in For Steam And Country. As a mild spoiler (have you not read the book yet and you’re here?) he loses his parents, and as we’re wrapped up in Zaira’s perspective, we don’t see much grief from him. He goes quiet for a bit, and gets some resolve to where he decides to put his all into becoming a Knight of the Crystal Spire.

We don’t see the interchanges behind the scenes, where he claims to have met with Princess Reina, and she recommends him to become a knight — something very few ever get the honor of having. And so we don’t see much in terms of the depth of James on screen.

Part of why I wrote “Knight Training” (out July 18th) is because James needed a little rounding out as a character on screen. Part of this is the limits of first person narratives, where we’re really following Zaira. If James is away crying somewhere, Zaira doesn’t see it unless she’s there, and she’s stuck in her own whirlwind of adventure where, from the moment James suffers immense loss, the pace goes at pretty incredible speed for her life.

But the other part is that we all process grief differently. James got quiet, internalized it, pushed the emotion down as a lot of men are wont to do in situations like this. He resolved to throw himself into work so he doesn’t have to deal with it and keeps pushing himself harder and harder in that regard because of it. Part of “Knight Training”, things get far worse and far lonier for James in his isolation, and he keeps turning to work because of it.

When we get to this point, sometimes we do foolish things, injure ourselves or worse… and you’ll have to see how it goes in Knight Training from there. Just an interesting discussion and thought I’d pass along as it makes for an interesting character study.

Do check out Knight Training when it comes out, and catch up on the first appearance of James Gentry in For Steam And Country before then. Read For Steam and Country on Amazon here.

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CLFA Book Of The Year Award – Last Day To Vote!

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First off, for the 220+ people who have voted for For Steam And Country already, thank you so much! Super humbled, and energized to work hard to get you books 2-3 out this summer, and the James Gentry novella “Knight Training” which will be available to patreon subscribers tomorrow. 

But there’s just a few hours left to vote! It’s very close. Every book on this list is frankly wonderful, and well deserving. I’ve read almost all of them personally, and the ones I Haven’t I’m intending on reading before this year is through. The authors are top notch too, so I’m extremely honored that we’ve gotten this far.

https://conservativelibertarianfictionalliance.com/2018/04/02/time-to-vote-for-clfa-book-of-the-year-2018/

Is the link, it closes tonight. This would be another huge milestone for For Steam And Country and for me as an author, and would be a great signal boost for the series as always.

And if you haven’t checked out the book yet, what are you waiting for? It’s on Amazon and even on Audible as an audiobook with a killer reading done by voice actress Katie Wright. Thanks again and we’ll check back tomorrow to see who won.

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Knight Training – A James Gentry Novella Coming Soon!

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Happy to announce the James Gentry novella is complete, which was written at the request of several fans asking for a story where James is more developed and in the lead. This is entirely from his perspective, and will act as a bridge between books 1 and 2 of The Adventures Of Baron Von Monocle. It’s a buddy-knight story of male bonding and camaraderie amidst a war–and potentially a traitor!

The story will be available first to Patreon supporters which will function as my May short story. You can sign up here and get this and other great short stories from me every month for a mere $3: http://www.patreon.com/jondelarroz . Patreon helps me to produce content and keep the blog running as well as all the other creative projects I do, so I really appreciate anyone kicking in. Even at just $1/month it’s a nice help. Please subscribe today!

Otherwise, the story will be available on Amazon sometime this summer. Probably only on e-book for now. The second full Von Monocle book, The Blood Of Giants, will also be available this summer.

If you want to catch up on For Steam And Country, my award nominated book (make sure to go vote for it!), you can do so here. It’s even available on audio.

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For Steam And Country Is Award Nominated!

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Just a few days before the release of my next book, The Stars Entwined, I’m very honored to receive my first award nomination for For Steam And Country yesterday for the CLFA Book Of The Year Award. This Award is among 1700+ members and there was fierce competition as there were so many good books that came out in 2017.  This award really means a lot.

The audiobook just came out a couple weeks ago, and this book has just steadily sold well since last June to stellar reader reviews (almost to 100!). I think it’s a testament to the writing that there’s not one one or two star review — even with the amount of angry haters who harass me on a daily basis. It’s all been positive.

Book Two is being edited, and I think blows book 1 away. The couple of folk who have read it for feedback have told me you’ll be extremely satisfied with this outing. I’ve finished a side novella featuring James Gentry through first draft (Which will probably appear on patreon soon/first) and as you see on the side bar here, book 3 is about 25% written, so this will have a nice series to it by the middle of the year. Very much worth checking out now if you haven’t already.

It’s gonna be a great year, and we’re just getting started!

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Review: Balanced On The Blade’s Edge By Lindsay Buroker

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I’m always on the lookout for quality steampunk fantasy I saw Lindsay Buroker’ss name on several different top lists on Amazon for several months and so I’ve been meaning to check her out for a while. Balanced on the Blades Edge was (and is) free on Amazon the first book in the Dragon Blood series so it seemed good time.
The book starts out with a sorceress who awakens deep within the mines that have been turned into a prison after a 300 year slumber. She meets a fellow by the name of ridge who is removed from his assignment as an airship pilot to be the warden of the prison mines. The sorceress Sardelle is bonded with what’s called a soul blade which is also hidden trapped within the mines she is trying to get to the soul blade and win the affections of the warden while trying to survive a culture that burns it withes somewhat Puritan style.
As Ridge gains control over the mines enemies are attacking via an airship. The enemy has a sorcerer aboard who is trying to get at the soul bode. they attacked several times and Sardelle and Ridge have to defend against it. What follows is two parts romance and one part action through the rest of the story.
I really love Lindsay‘s writing style. While Ridge can come off somewhat cocky and almost a romantic version of Han Solo he still ends up pretty likable throughout the story and Sardelle really carries her weight within the story. The enemies have good and clear motivations characters are well defined all around.
At first I thought the world building was a little bit lite but it’s very similar to the way I unfold my worlds with my writing and it gains depth as the story goes along and necessitates it.
Pacing wise, I thought it was very well done. I found myself wanting more of the book and not wanting to put it down. It had great airship action, romance was very exciting ,and I find myself genuinely caring for the characters and wanting more at the end of it.
The world and book overall had a fantasy feel to it more than steam punk as the focus was more on magic then on technical gadgets. I still found that this is one of the most enjoyable steam punk worlds I’ve had the pleasure of reading so far.
Overall, this book was fantastic. I am excited to get to the next installment in the series and look forward to reading more. It’s about everything I want out of steampunk fantasy.
10/10
If you like my taste in fiction, you might like the fiction I write. Check out For Steam And Country today!
 
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For Steam And Country Now Available On Audio

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Happy to have out my first audiobook, read by the wonderful narrator, Katie Wright. She did a great job and now you can listen to For Steam And Country on audio! 

Book 2 is with editorial and I’ve just started writing book 3. Hopefully I’ll have book 2 to you around summertime, and depending on book 3 it may not be that long after that. There will also be a James Novella titled “Knight Training” which I’ll have for everyone about the time of book 2.

Here’s the link again for the book and audio option (just click audio). 

Or on Audible here.

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Introducing The Jon Del Arroz Collection

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I’m very pleased to announce my partnership with CryptoFashion to create some awesome swag to go along with my epic books. We’re working on producing a number of different designs, which will be trickling in through the first couple weeks of  the year. I’ll try to point them out as they go live.

The first item we have is a t-shirt with the Crest of Malaky, the symbol of the Grand Risladnian Army in my hit steampunk novel, For Steam And Country.

These turned out awesome, and I’m sure it’ll be a popular item especially as more books come out. On that front, I’m about two scenes from finishing the first draft of Von Monocle 2, which I should wrap up this week.

I’ve also had a number of requests for posters of the book cover, which CryptoFashion also is generously putting into production. I’m excited to see this cover art in a bigger form myself.

As I said, there’ll be more to come. I am actually working with someone right now to create a map of Rislandia — another item many readers have requested. Naturally these would make for a great poster-sized item as well as having for a book insert. I’m hoping it’ll be ready in the next couple months.

For now, enjoy these items!  This is a big step career wise. If you would have asked me a year ago if I thought I’d have a company licensing my work for merchandise, I would have laughed and said I wish! Well, wishes come true with hard work and great products. Thank you everyone for making the book successful enough to catch their eye. I’m still not tired of winning and can’t wait  to win even more in 2018.

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