Tag Archives: swords

The Timely Death Trilogy Explained: World-Building and More

9 Jun

With three days until the eBook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases, I’ve been wondering how to celebrate it, and I think I found a way, but I wanted to give a little update first. As many of you know, The Timely Death Trilogy was finished a long time ago, but I have worked on extensive editing. In fact, all three of the novels were around 136,000 words until I got them down to 80,000. Since receiving my content edits for Death Before Daylight a few weeks ago, I’m about 17,000 words into the final piece. But there’s also a new project looming on the horizon that I could’ve never saw coming.

I may have finished writing The Timely Death Trilogy in 2009, but I never thought my other characters would want to tell their story. Here and there – between editing all three books – a small voice came to me that I didn’t recognize. And then another voice came, and I began taking notes. Suddenly, I realized what characters the voices belonged to: Jim and Kimberly.

If you’ve read the trilogy, you might recognize “Jim” (He also goes by Bracke or Mr. Welborn.) Kimberly, on the other hand, has not been mentioned by her first name – Eric’s mother. Despite knowing her past – including what we will learn in Death Before Daylight – I have never heard Kimberly’s voice before. In fact, I had never heard Jim’s either. Especially from when they were kids.

So I’ve currently been working on a prequel.

I don’t know if I will publish it. I don’t know if I will even finish it. But I wanted to mention it because I thought it would be a good way to lead into today’s post:

I am often asked many questions about the details of my paranormal world, including cultural significance and supernatural capabilities. Although most (if not all) of the information is scattered throughout the stories, I thought it would be fun to share extras to everyone – especially if you are an avid reader of my blog but haven’t had a chance to read my books. Hopefully, after today, my references to shades, double identities, the Naming, and more will make sense now. I am also sharing photos from my Pinterest board for The Timely Death Trilogy to add to the explanations. (Click here for the full board to see even more.)

Disclaimer: there might be a few spoilers here and there.

How the Paranormal World Exists with the Human One:

Double Identities:

Almost every character in The Timely Death Trilogy has two identities – a human identity and a paranormal one, but no one knows one another’s identities.

Example: Eric Welborn is a human, but he transform into a shade named “Shoman.” No one is supposed to know that Eric is Shoman or that Shoman is Eric. However, Eric’s guard, Camille, knows both of his identities, and he knows both of her names. Camille’s human name is Teresa.

This is how the “Light” and the “Dark” coexist during everyday, human life. As humans, no one truly knows who the person next to them can be: a light, a shade, or just human. (I will explain how their physical appearance changes below.)

Cultural Significance in Paranormal World (Rituals)

The Naming Ceremony:

Shades do not have Dark names at birth. In fact, they don’t even have their full set of powers. The only power they do have is the ability to transform. But everything changes when they turn 13.

b7a349b151148bb4cf546c94763b24bfThe “Naming” is a ceremony done during “the last harvest” – an evening that usually takes place in January for the Dark. (Yes, the Dark has their own calendar.) Every 13-year-old at the time enters the meeting room where they receive their Dark name and some power. Boys are given glitter to throw, and girls are given crowns. But they must vow themselves to the Dark before they are told the prophecy. Once this happens, the shades receive their full powers, and the “Naming” is complete.

In Minutes Before Sunset we see Pierce’s little brother named, “Brenthan.”

So why the crowns? Why the glitter? And what is with the age and order of events?

Well, this is one of the biggest pieces I want to write the prequel for, but it goes back to when the bloodline first appears. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say this: the crown represents an important figure, and the glitter showcases all the different colors that “Dark” powers contain: mainly blue, green, white, and purple. Each color also stands for a different type of power, blue = warrior, green = guard, white = elder, and purple = well…that is one of the bigger surprises in Minutes Before Sunset.

Defining the Paranormal Beings:

Shades – What can they do? What do they look like? 

745226b2e50da562533a3bb7fc8e87beShades are members of the Dark. First and foremost, they can transform into shades, mainly at night. For the most part, their powers are confined to nighttime hours. However, they can use their telepathy at all times, including when they are human (although this does take a lot of practice.) When they are transformed, shades can transport in and out of shadows, shoot beams of power at one another, and even fly. But only the descendants have swords. Yes. Swords.

Shades have gray or very white, sometimes stone-like, sometimes translucent skin. They’re eyes are also light-colored in nature, and the color normally correlates with their dominant power color: blue, green, purple, or white. For instance, we see white eyes with Eu, green eyes with Pierce, blue eyes with Shoman, and purple eyes with Jessica. (Before you think I spoiled the fact that Jessica is the “nameless” shade, it says so on the back of the book, and she practically says it during her very first line.)

They always have black hair or very, very dark brown hair.

But there’s one vital rule to remember: when shades transform from their human form, more than their eye color and hair color change. Their entire body changes, including facial features, height, and more, but it also goes beyond that. Personalities, and ethnicities can change – ::future book hint:: – even gender is subject to change.

Create (Human) Relatable References for Paranormal World:

How do genetics play a role?

There are the “Light” beings (a.k.a lights) and the “Dark” beings (a.k.a shades.) But there are also halfbreeds, which are always half-Dark, half-Light. A halfbreed’s child will only have powers if that halfbreed’s partner is a fullbreed Dark or Light. On top of this, the way a halfbreed is brought up (in the Dark or in the Light) is unique to each halfbreed, but the Light does not name their halfbreeds.

Although the Dark encourages their members to find their romantic partner as a shade first, some go against this rule and find their romantic partners as humans. This obviously can cause a lot of problems. Obviously. But these are the very basic fundamentals of how things work: The Dark and the Light have dominant genes over human genes unless their genes mix together. If they mix, the “power” gene then becomes recessive to human traits.

One dark + one dark = dark

One human + one dark = dark

One dark + one light = halfbreed

One halfbreed + human = human

One halfbreed + dark = dark  

Unions between the Light and the Dark are definitely frowned upon, and how couples find each other is explained in Seconds Before Sunrise. There used to be rearranged marriages, but that changed two generations back, which caused the bloodline to come back (hence Eric’s birth.) This is also something I will show in a possible prequel. Now, most members meet loved ones in the shelter before later meeting their human sides. As of now in the trilogy, it is unknown to the protagonists if anyone has had a happy Light and Dark union.

Worlds inside a World

The Shelter vs. The Light Realm

fbe2dacc94e4a7696471958a9936c578The Dark members have the shelter. This is – quite literally – a shelter, and it is almost all underground. As readers know, Eric’s mother killed herself when Eric was five years old. She killed herself in the main forest in Hayworth. Because of this, Eric’s father buys the park, and he closes it off to everyone else (although Crystal, Robb, and Jessica trespass in the beginning of Seconds Before Sunrise.) The dense forest opens up in a few places, but the forest has a cave, and this is where the original shelter was created. I would explain how it is hidden from humans but that is discussed in Death Before Daylight. As Eric says in Minutes Before Sunset, “At first, the shelter was made up of two offices, a nursing room, and one training room. Since then, it had grown remarkably, and I couldn’t even guess where it ended.”

The Light has the Light realm. Yes. A realm – a place that humans can never go. Quite unfair, isn’t it? Unfortunately, I cannot explain this one at all. Not yet. But I will say this: all of your questions about where lights and shades and prophecies come from are answered in Death Before Daylight, and the secrets reside in the realm. If you haven’t read the trilogy yet, you do see this realm in Seconds Before Sunrise. And, yes, I’m terribly sorry for all of the readers who have wanted and begged for so many more details on the creatures in book 1 and 2. When you read book 3, you will understand why I couldn’t explain everything. I know. I know. Waiting is awful. (But it will be worth it. Promise.)

So what’s the key to world-building? 

Believe in it and have fun! Create the world your characters deserve, share the world with your readers, and keep at it. World-building can take enormous amounts of time and energy, but enjoying the exploration can be one of the best parts of writing it. I, for one, cannot WAIT to share more information about the world in The Timely Death Trilogy, especially considering how many answers are about to be revealed.

Dun. Dun. Dun.

~SAT

Behind the Scenes of The Timely Death Trilogy

23 Apr

In a few days, it will be the anniversary of the release of Minutes Before Sunset. Because of that, I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate it. That’s when I realized that I never shared the 30-Day Countdown event on here. This countdown was on my Facebook page, and it revolved around the release of Seconds Before Sunrise. I shared photos, excerpts, games, and more. I always meant to share it on here, and that day has finally come. For those who participated in the countdown, don’t worry! I’ve added new information, so you haven’t seen everything yet. (The excerpts will have small explanations in front of them, so beware of spoilers.) On top of that, I’m not including absolutely everything that was shared on my Facebook page. That is to thank those who follow me on Facebook. I share unique information on all of my social media pages, so if you like this, Facebook is a great place to connect with me by clicking here. 😀

Personality Quiz:

This is brand-new. I released it on my Facebook page this week. You can find out which Dark character you’re most alike. So far, this is the order in popularity via the results, the first one being the most popular: Jessica, Camille, Pierce, and then Eric. Click the photo or here to take it yourself.

quiz

I found out you had to have a membership to read the descriptions, so click Character Descriptions to read the descriptions without creating a membership.

Excerpt (1):

In this scene, Eric finally confronts the elders about what is happening. Instead of Darthon and Eric battling to the death, the Light wants a war where many more people will die. This chapter begins on page 106 in Seconds Before Sunrise, and it’s told by Eric. The bolded quote is on Goodreads if you want to “like” it.

“A war would improve our chances.”

“Our destined chances?” I argued. “We’re going to win.”

“We can lose.”

“Then, let me lose,” I said, refusing to move.

Among my stillness was a pounding heart.

“It they truly want a war,” I chose my words carefully, “they’ll be willing to meet on equal territory.”

“There’s no such thing, Eric,” Luthicer said. “We’re more powerful here, just as they are in their realm. Either way, one side will have to forfeit safety.”

“We’re talking about war,” I pointed out. “What is safe about that?”

Photo Shoot: 

I used to do a lot of photography when I was younger. This photo was inspired by The Timely Death Trilogy. It was also in celebration of my knife collection. That’s right. I have a knife collection. That is my machete. And, yes, I’m fighting myself, and those pants are from Thailand. Originally, I wanted to wear white and black, but I only own blue and black pants. I forget what they’re called, but they’re one-size fit all. You have to fold them and tie them around your waist. Fun fact, I’m actually wearing the black pants beneath the blue pants when I’m doing this. I couldn’t change on the stage, after all. We were in the middle of Ironwood Park – and, yes, that is the same park I got “Ironwood” from for my original pen name “Ashlee Ironwood” for November Snow.

sword

Fun facts about the elders:

There are ten elders in every generation. At the beginning of Seconds Before Sunrise, only four are left.

Alcohol doesn’t affect an elder’s mind state once they have transformed. This is often how the elders are picked, but – most of time – it runs in the family, so the elders are pretty fixed.

Luthicer is the first half-breed elder. Ever. And he originally worked for the Light as a warrior.

Wordplay:

I love word play, so here are some that happen in The Timely Death Trilogy:

The setting “Hayworth, Kansas” is not a real city but is rather a combination of two factual Kansas towns: Ellsworth and Hayes.

“Shoman” –Eric’s Dark name—is a play on “Show man.” Since he cannot reveal his identity, his name mocks him. Hence why he hates it. Eric’s last name “Welborn” is purposeful irony—“well born.”

Luthicer is a play on Lucifer.

The elder “Eu” is short for Eugene, which literally means “Well born.” (Like Eric’s last name.)

Photoshoot (2)

Below are two photos. The one on the left is the actual office I wrote The Timely Death Trilogy in. And, yes, that is my father circa 2007. The one on the right is the reason I loved that office. We had a forest behind our house. It was the perfect view, especially in the winter, so I thought I would share a picture of me back in the day – just doing the usual, hanging out in camo. Can you see me? I kind of glow.

P.S. This forest plays a HUGE role in my next novel.

forest

Excerpt (2)

The phrase “seconds before sunrise” can be found in the first novel, Minutes Before Sunset, but did you know “Death before daylight” can also be found in Seconds Before Sunrise? These moments are the ones that foreshadow what the next novel will be about.  Here’s the excerpt that includes book 3 as a phrase. During this scene, the shades are waiting orders to go into battle. This chapter begins on 257 in Seconds Before Sunrise, and it’s told by Eric:

Everyone was awaiting his orders, and everyone knew we had to obey them the second he spoke them. One man vomited in the corner while another pulled him to his feet. A woman, perhaps his sister or girlfriend, ignored his shameful nausea. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t, but the crowd stared at me.

I was their descendant, and my actions would dictate how long the war lasted. There would be death before daylight, but we didn’t have to wait for daylight to end it. The quicker I killed Darthon, the less of a massacre there would be. But I couldn’t afford to think about my people if I were going to stay focused, and they knew it as much as I despised it.

Photoshoot (3) Shades are everywhere! 

Since I wrote the trilogy in high school, fans of November Snow actually have already finished reading the original trilogy. This means there are people who have known the ending from the beginning—as well as the identity of Darthon. There’s actually a shade in November Snow. Her name is Katie, and she doesn’t know what she is. Here is the excerpt from Katie’s first appearance:

Katie

Music time:

The Timely Death Trilogy has a soundtrack on 8tracks.com, including the XX, Manchester Orchestra, Dido, Enya, First Aid Kit, Sara Bareilles, Florence + The Machine, Linkin Park, Stateless, Dj Tiesto, Tantric, Plump, Vanessa Mae, and Jem. Listen to it by clicking here.

Excerpt: (3)

This chapter starts on page 20, and it’s told by Jessica. During this novel, she doesn’t have a memory, but her memory comes and goes as nightmares. In this scene, she is painting one of her dreams. The bolded quote is on Goodreads if you want to “like” it.

The wind was beneath my feet, and the town was miles below. Lights twinkled through the mist of Hayworth, and purple sparkles clung to the atmosphere, shining against the moon’s dim light. I could barely breathe, but I was alive, and I couldn’t deny the reality of flight. It was too real to be a dream. Only expression through art could subdue my confusion.

My art class was an arrangement of seniors, chatting quietly as I sketched a loop of wires. I’d paint the sparkles across the sky once I began, but I couldn’t continue yet. My depiction of the dream I’d had the night before wasn’t even close. The sketch was too innocent and held no emotion. The dream wasn’t a nightmare, but it remained as if it were worse than the one about the forest. The comfort was peculiarly chilling.

“Nice painting.”

Number One Quote:

destiny

Seconds Before Sunrise Dedication:

To Calone – for showing how the darkness can be brighter than the light.

~SAT

P.S. If you enjoyed this, please take a moment to check out Minutes Before Sunset and/or Seconds Before Sunrise on Amazon. Book 1 is only $3.89 right now, and the ebook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases on June 12th. If you click the photo below, you’ll be sent to Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon. Thank you for your support! 

Amazon

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