6 Must Haves of a Fantasy by Sally Mitchell – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sally Mitchell will be awarding $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

6 Must haves of every fantasy story

1. A crazy world

A fantasy just wouldn’t be a fantasy without the world to set the scene. I’ve often read about authors struggling with this aspect of fantasy writing but the way I see it, if you have the imagination to create a complex fantasy novel, you have the imagination to create the world too.

I think the easiest way to do this is just let your mind run free. The fantasy genre is limitless and so applies to the world your characters live in. No matter how crazy an idea seems at any given time, just go with it, the chances are it will work.
There were moments when I was creating the world for ‘Eden’, particularly when deciding to light the sky on fire, when I thought can I really get away with that? But people liked that it was so different. I suppose by making the world outlandish, it also makes it stand out from the crowd, which, when selling books is what you want.

2. Diverse characters

The old saying ‘no two people are the same’ also applies to book characters. Nobody enjoys reading a book when each character has the same personality traits or are as boring as watching paint dry. Keep some variety. Try thinking of your nearest and dearest. What unique traits do they have? Multiply their weirdness and attach it to a character.

3. Super natural abilities

Somewhere along the way, every good fantasy needs some super powers thrown into the mix. What’s the point of creating a superb world and character set if they don’t have a stick that turns into a snake or hands that can shoot out scorpions? Every good fantasy I ever remember has some form of abilities in them, be it wizardry or flying, fantasy is the ultimate form of escape and super natural abilities enhance that.

4. An evil overlord

There has to be a strong force of evil in a fantasy novel, somebody who can create a strong emotional response within the reader. This gives them more reason to support the hero and wills them to keep on reading.

5. A turbulent romance

This is just my opinion but a ‘will they/won’t they’ romance always adds some spice to a story in any genre. Sometimes, and again only my opinion, a steady old relationship can grow monotonous after a few chapters. I love it when an author keeps you guessing as it keeps you on your toes.

6. A religious underpinning

I love things that come from a religious background. There’s something so dark and mysterious about religion, especially knowing the lengths people have gone over the centuries in the name of serving some divine entity, that it really grabs my attention and keeps me hooked.

MediaKit_BookCover_EdenWelcome to Mendacia; The city of lies. Saved from a divine apocalypse, its citizens now starve. They are trapped beneath a fire-lit sky and surrounded by a molten river, all to pay for the sins of their ancestors.

The gods cursed the original generation with eternal life so that their skin would rot and their pain would always remind them of their own horrific crimes.

These demons now serve the tyrant emperor, Malum Dolus who uses them to terrorise the citizens, all in the name of maintaining order.

One woman, Vita Dulcas has had enough of his evil ways, but what could she possibly do to help the citizens? They love Malum and hate her, suspecting her of witchcraft after her survival of deadly snake bites. All she can do is stay invisible.
That is until she finds herself backed into a corner and all she can do is fight. Suddenly, she has more power than she could have ever imagined and it becomes clear she is Mendacia’s last hope.

If only she could make the citizens see the truth.

Enjoy an excerpt:

‘But then he turned. Vita jumped with the motion, praying she didn’t look as hopeless as she felt, but as his head turned, his eyed skimmed past the lamb and landed on her own, searing into them as if nothing had ever changed. The darkness behind those beautiful eyes was a harsh reminder now though. A reminder of the awful secret they shared. She remembered looking up lovingly into those eyes – how wrong she had been. How dangerous he truly was. The ignorance of vanity, she thought.’

‘One by one, more of the citizens scaled the walls, marching a slow and silent trail through the remains of the battle, each to pay their own respects to the man who had taken on the demons and given them the hope of freedom.
With a cough, Empress Vesta began to speak from the balcony. ‘This has been a truly terrible day,’ she said. ‘One which will, I’m sure, weigh on our minds and hearts for some time to come. But, I decree that this man deserves a respectable death. Who will carry his body to the palace?’

Nico’s hand shot in the air, his other clasped on his chest. ‘I will.’

‘And me,’ said Kayin, pulling himself to his feet.

‘Me too,’ said the Survivor.

‘Yes,’ said another citizen.

‘Aye,’ said Domine Agil from behind Vesta.

She gazed down to see the sea of her citizens nodding and raising their hands, all eager to pay the man his final respects. She watched her son, the Survivor and Nico haul Theo’s body into the air. Another citizen helped to support his leg and the four of them began a slow exit from the arena, the brave sinner above their shoulders.’

‘Vita let the curtain drop behind her and walked confidently onto the balcony. She held her hands behind her back and stopped in the centre, standing silently for a moment to survey the faces below her. Some, she had seen before, others were strangers. Family men, drunkards, men of high and low standing, young boys and even arthritic old men, all here in an attempt to buy her and take her freedom.

She could feel her heart quickening and for a moment wondered what she was doing. She couldn’t see the Bilo brothers, which gave her cause for relief. A whistle echoed around the yard, followed by an eruption of laughter from the group of her potential husbands. She remained still, letting the sounds wash over her.

‘Just come to give us a taster ‘av yer love?’ She gazed down at the toothless source of torment and waited patiently for the ensuing laughter to die down.

‘Gentlemen,’ she began to speak slowly. ‘I stand before you today with faith. Faith in the goodness in each of you. I see many different faces below me. I see men I have known and respected, hardworking men, family men and loyal men. I see long standing friends of my father, people who I used to feel protected by. I see people who, like me, have suffered in this land. And I wonder if it is fear that makes such good men gather here today? You label me a witch, but you can see my flesh is just as vulnerable as yours. If I am cut I will bleed. I am not the one to fear.’

‘The sound of her mother’s dying scream echoed through Vita’s mind and everything stopped. Time seemed not to exist and with pure clarity only one thought surfaced: they must die. She barely felt the tension of the rusted chain as her wrists snapped the metal, with enough force to send her body backwards.

She watched as the pole splintered clean in two with the impact of the flail, right where her head would have been. The demon panicked and pulled the flail free, bringing it down again towards her. She couldn’t move fast enough this time and her hands came up, palms forward to protect her skull. She waited for the impact.

A few seconds passed and she heard a confused grunt. She dared to open an eye and stared, stunned. Her hands were emitting a sort of white/blue light, bright enough to light up the entire room. She gazed in wonder at the flail which had stopped mere millimetres from her palms and was floating calmly in circles. The demon pulled the weapon, but somehow his efforts were hopeless. The flail was stuck fast. She reached out with lightning reactions, grabbing it from the demon’s rotten hands and she could feel the centuries of cruelty the instrument had yielded. The light vanished, leaving only the darkness once more.’

About the Author:

I was brought up in a small country village in North Yorkshire, UK. I had always been brought up to work hard and to push myself, skills which came in useful for writing the Eighth Day. I suppose it also helped that I’ve always been a huge bookworm with a love of all things fantasy and all things romance. Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favourite.

Granted those genres are miles apart but I find something incredibly romantic about escaping to a world that has been lovingly created by an author. I enjoy trying to connect with them through their imagination, wondering where they were and what they were doing when they developed such magical worlds.

Writing my own novel was the best experience I’ve ever had career wise, and it makes the struggles I have faced in my past careers all worth the while.

After losing my career as a nurse following a car accident, I began a promising psychology career, even winning an award for my undergraduate degree. However, I became a single parent three years ago and sacrificed another dream to set up a laundry and ironing business, which enabled me to be at home with my son.

Despite many commitments, a further relationship breakdown and 3 family bereavements, I was determined to develop a rewarding career and make my little man proud.

That’s when I decided to begin a writing career and I developed the Eden Saga. Such a path enabled me to stay at home and give him all the extra support he needed whilst also having something for myself.

I’m now the happiest I’ve ever been, I’m closer to my son than ever and I’ve finally released my novel as an e-book which is available on all major platforms.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Sally Mitchell says:

    Thanks for having me today 🙂

  3. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

  4. Very intriguing post. I liked the picture on your facebook page. Have you visited that bridge?

  5. Rita Wray says:

    I enjoyed the six must haves.

  6. Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?

  7. Tammy Dalley says:

    WHat inspired you to start writing? Thanks for the great giveaway!

  8. Victoria says:

    Loved the list of must-have’s and I agree – the best fantasy books have all of these :). It’s been a really great tour, thanks for sharing!!

  9. kim hansen says:

    Enjoyed the excerpt.

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