Book Review: The A-Zs of Worldbuilding #AtoZChallenge Blog Hop


Brief description of the book:
Worldbuilding is the ultimate act of creation for speculative fiction writers, but how exactly do you worldbuild? You ask ‘what if’ and use each answer as a springboard to more questions and answers about your fictional world.
In THE A-ZS OF WORLDBUILDING, that ‘what if’ process is broken down into 26 themed chapters, covering topics ranging from architecture to zoology. Each chapter includes a corresponding set of guided exercises to help you find the ‘what if’ questions relevant to your story’s world.
Fair warning, though: worldbuilding is addictive. Once you get started, you might never put your pen down again.
My review:

I have always been a fiction writer, but I have exclusively written in the “real world.” I might make some mild changes like omitting STDs and pregnancy scares for the sake of sexiness, but I have never even touched on the realm of historical fiction, much less worldbuilding. The idea of it, honestly, was terrifying.

That’s why I was so excited to pick up a book that would guide me through the process of worldbuilding! I have had an idea floating around in the back of my mind that would take place on Earth but in a totally different society than what exists, but I had absolutely no idea how I would ever make that idea a reality. I didn’t even know where to begin.

Well, now I do. The A-Zs of Worldbuilding helped me to work out my ideas. I decided that I would read through the whole book once and then I’ll go back and work on actually outlining my world. That was a mistake. I should have just worked on my outline as I read the first time. But, the book is 140 pages, so it was a quick read, and it’s not a big deal to go back.

The writing was direct and succinct. Rebekah Loper explained things clearly, and the ideas were easy to follow. She even referenced other resources if you needed more depth or other chapters within her book for deeper thoughts. I am really excited now to delve into the realm of worldbuilding! 5 stars!

Buy the book:

And now an interview with the author, Rebekah Loper!

Why did you start blogging?
To create a platform for my writing and connect with an audience.
Any other books coming out soon?
I will have a fantasy short story in an anthology this spring, but release date has not been settled yet.
Brief tip on writing:
Never stop looking for inspiration – it’s always there. Even if you don’t have time to write it, always keep looking for that magic ‘what if’.
Where did the idea for this book come from, other than the alphabet and the challenge?
I love worldbuilding. When I was looking for ways to learn how to worldbuild as a young writer, I was always disappointed by the lack of true worldbuilding workbooks, so this was born out of that desire.
What writing goal do you hope to accomplish this year?
Draft a second volume of The A-Zs of Worldbuilding on creating magic systems. Establish a true writing habit for my fiction, which I’ve let be overrun by ‘real life’ the past several years. Finish revising at least one of my set-aside novels.
As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read? 
A fascinating summary, followed closely by a stunning book cover!

What compels you to keep reading a character’s story?
A tangible connection with the character. Similarities are great, but that’s not all a connection is. The character must resonate with me emotionally, somehow, even if they are the polar opposite of who I am. A lot of that comes with a writer being able to convey the humanity of even the most despicable or most privileged characters.

What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this post to answer or remark on in the blog comments?
What about worldbuilding most inspires or hinders you, either as a reader or writer?
Contact the Author!

TMI Tuesday

1. How do you spend most of your time? 

Working my day job. In my free time, I guess I write more than any other hobby.

2. Is this where you thought you would end up? 

Mostly. I knew I always wanted to be a writer in some form or fashion. As for my personal life, maybe not so much. I’ve known that this is where I would end up when I was 18, but not before that.

3. What would you do differently if given the opportunity? 

In my personal life? Not much. I believe that everything I did shaped who I am today and the life I have, and I am happy.

4. How do you encourage creativity in the bedroom? 

I have spent many years working on a list of bedroom (and outside the bedroom, but still sexual) activities my husband and I both like. (Or things I can do on my own for fetishes we don’t share.) When we need an idea, we can pick from the stack of cards. When life isn’t too crazy, I pick several for the week and we work them into our routines.

5. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us. 

No one at my day job would even begin to guess that I write BDSM erotica.

Bonus: Sexually, who has influenced you the most?

I had a particular boyfriend in High School who suggested we try BDSM. It was the single most freeing thing I have ever done sexually. Looking back, I realize that I had submissive tendencies long before I ever met him, but he’s the one who unleashed me, literally!

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The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife: A Review

My Review:

I picked up the Cemetery Keeper’s Wife by Maryann McFadden and I am glad I did. The storyline was compelling and I read through it in a matter of days. I loved the storyline and I was thrilled to find out that it’s based on a true story. I will say that there were parts of the book where the description was a bit repetitive, but other than that, it was well edited. I liked the characters and felt that they were very real. I definitely recommend this novel!

Book Description:

What happens when the line between the past and the present begins to blur…

Rachel Miller is on the cusp of a new life when she moves to Union Cemetery after marrying Adam, the 7th generation cemetery keeper. Though she’s known him only twelve weeks, his tender love seems like a miracle of fate after her years alone.

On her first walk through the lush and silent grounds of her new home, Rachel discovers a stunning monument to Tillie Smith, who died in 1886. Reading the words carved into the stone, “She Died in Defence of Her Honor,” Rachel is overcome by a powerful memory buried deep in her past.

A series of uncanny coincidences linked to Tillie Smith follows, setting Rachel on a journey that grows into an obsession: Why did the murder of a poor kitchen maid at the local seminary become a national sensation? Why were people in town trying to keep her from finding the truth? But most disturbing of all, why was Tillie reawakening a past Rachel chose to bury long ago. A past that could threaten her marriage.

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife poignantly blends fact and fiction as two women scarred by shame, and separated by more than a century, reach across time to rewrite history.

Find the book on GoodReads, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For as long as I can remember, I have been making a big deal about Valentine’s Day. I remember when I was 16, I spent Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend and three of my single friends. We all went out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. I don’t remember what my justification was at the time, but now I have words to put to it.

There is not enough love in the world.

Valentine’s Day is a great day to make an effort to celebrate with those we love. I get gifts for my kids, we make Valentine’s Day themed food, and we exchange cards. It’s silly sometimes, but we love it. And one of my kids who is grown still talks about the year we wrote things we love about the kids and taped them to their bedroom doors (one a day for two weeks). And… I might not have had the heart (heh) to take them down. It’s been three years.

So, go out and spread the love every day, but especially this day. And tell me, what’s your relationship with Valentine’s Day?

TMI Tuesday

1. Do you like where you live or do you wish you could move?

I do like the area I live in. Sometimes I wish I could move, but mostly because I feel like we have a lot of physical clutter I would like to leave behind. Once I realized that was my motivation for wanting to move, I decided I should work on reducing the physical clutter. So, that’s what I’ve been doing!

2. No matter what life throws at me, I believe that I can deal with it. Agree or Disagree?

I want to agree, but I’m sure I have a breaking point. Everyone does. But I certainly wouldn’t go down without a fight!

3. A dear friend is stuck in an unhappy relationship. What advice would you give to the friend to cope–how can they make lemonade out of lemons?

My first piece of advice would be to seek counseling. There is nothing like the benefit of an impartial opinion. Otherwise, I would advise someone to either find a way to find happiness with that person, or end the relationship. No one deserves to be stuck in an unhappy relationship.

4. Nothing of value can be learned from failure. True or False?

False. Failure is an important part of learning and growing.

5. Even if you are sure about your ultimate choice, do you still ask others for advice before making an important or risky decision?

Yes! Often my counselor, but also friends or family.

Bonus: What is the sweetest or rewarding moment in your life?

I love seeing someone I love being happy, particularly when I have done something to spark that happiness. Giving someone a thoughtful gift or doing something that brings a smile to their face is the most rewarding thing.  

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Historical Romance

I love historical romance. It’s probably my favorite romance genre. Many times in my life, I’ve thought that my submissive nature would lend itself well to a time and society where women served. (Let me be clear though: I am a feminist and believe in women’s rights, and their right to choose to serve through BDSM!  😉 Or not. Whatever each person wants.)

Anyway… I’ve thought often how maybe I was born into the wrong generation.

And then I get strep throat. And I am so, so, so very grateful for the barrage of medications that made my strep throat almost gone in three days.


TMI Tuesday

1. Do you express your sexual pleasure with moans, groans, sighs, and other noises (provided that you are actually turned on)?
a. Yes, each time I have sex (90-100% of the time).
b. Yes, on most occasions (70-89% of the time).
c. Yes, on some occasions (40-69% of the time). – As long as there aren’t children’s ears nearby!
d. Yes, on a few occasions (less than 40% of the time).
e. No. Never, not even when I am really turned on.

2. How comfortable are you with sex in bright light or daylight? Pick one.
a. Completely comfortable
b. Fairly comfortable – It’s mostly about me not liking bright light in my face.
c. Somewhat comfortable/uncomfortable, depends on the partner.
d. Completely uncomfortable. I like to do it in the dark.

3. Is this statement True or False for you? Explain.
I would like to talk dirty with my partner, but I don’t dare for fear of being judged or ridiculed.

True – surprisingly. It’s crazy to think that considering the genre I write, but I am loath to say it out loud.

4. Have you ever done a striptease for a lover (impromptu or planned)? Did you enjoy it?

I have. Not sure I love it, but I would do it to please a partner.

5. How do you feel about giving anal sex (penetration with penis, finger or sex toys)? Pick one.
a. I enjoy it.
b. I’m okay with it.
c. I don’t really enjoy it. – It would be more to please a partner than please myself. *Have you figured out that I lean submissive yet?*
d. I don’t enjoy it at all.
e. I have never given anal sex.
f. I have never given anal sex, but would like to start.

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