In our modern age of relative enlightenment, many treat Friday the 13th the same way as they would International Talk Like a Pirate Day; by posting some amusing memes on social media and injecting it into their small-talk around the water cooler or coffee maker.
The history of the day is shrouded in the past like so many lurking monsters waiting to pounce from the shadows. There have been put forth several theories on the origins, but most fall apart under deeper scrutiny.
Ray Bradbury (AUG 22, 1920 – JUN 5, 2012) was a prolific author who is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories, in addition to writing several film and television screenplays. His work helped shape the burgeoning genre of science fiction. He was awarded a Pulitzer Citation in 2007 for his “distinguished, prolific, and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.”
American socialite Richard Jericho is a world-renowned treasure hunter. British professor of archaeology Wilkins Chapman is his stoic compatriot. Together, the two have uncovered antiquities from South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. On their most recent trip to the jungles of Peru they discover something more than they expected. As the fabric of reality comes apart, the two must journey across the globe chasing clues. As one answer leads to more questions, they begin to piece together a puzzle older than primal memory itself.
And the more they part the veil, the more of what lies beyond the veil spills into our reality.
Praise for Parting the Veil
“Finished this gem in 5 hours…I just couldn’t put it down. The rich history and landscapes bring the imagery right to you and the descriptive horror had me reeling. Can’t wait for more of this story!” 5 Stars from Michael Nadeau on Goodreads
A quick trip down the gothic rabbit hole. This story includes aspects of Lovecraft, Verne and the Indiana Jones series, yet the author has a voice that is distinctly his own. Bass is excellent at combining craft elements we usually expect in literary fiction (strong character development,interiority, and carful attention to setting) while not taking away from the action (or fun!) Full disclosure: I was lent a digital ARC to review, but have an order in for my print copy – it’s that good. 5 Stars from Professor Cognome on Goodreads
There are very few writers today who can craft a world the way B.K. Bass can. It’s rich, it’s layered, and it’s enticing. The characters are real, the story is gripping, and you are a bit sad when you reach the last page. As much as I want to gush about my favorite this or that, even the slightest detail would lead to spoilers. Slow hand clap for Parting the Veil. 5 Stars from J.D. Sanderson on Goodreads
An Enthralling and Epic Adventure of Twists, Turns & Mystery! I was given an Advanced Reader Copy of “Parting the Veil” in exchange for an honest review. “Parting the Veil” is hands down one the best books I have read in a long time! I am so looking forward to the continuation of this epic adventure in Book II of this “Beyond the Veil” series and see what else this author will bring us in the future! Bass’s writing is sublime, rich, seamless, and not a word is wasted! This story is a snappy, yet rich, action-packed journey in the midst of the turmoil of the late 1930’s & is full of mystery and adventure. I found myself effortlessly enthralled by Bass’s “Parting the Veil” from the first sentence to the last, eagerly turning each page. This is not a book to miss if you enjoy fiction, adventure, history, mystery in any combination. BK Bass is most definitely an author to watch! He is a rising star! 5 Stars from Jill Squire on Goodreads
As part of this week’s celebration of the launch of Parting the Veil, I wanted to expand on my genre studies series and share my own research into the genre of cosmic horror. In this article I explore not only the definition of the genre, but take a deep dive into its origins with the life and work of H.P. Lovecraft. We also get a glimpse of what the genre stands for today, and the lasting social and literary impact of Lovecraft’s creations.
Writing tools is a term often applied to the intangibles of our craft; our knowledge, skills, and techniques which are applied in the process of developing outlines, hammering out plots, and spinning prose to amaze our readers. I want to talk today about the more tangible writing tools at our disposal: Pens, notebooks, laptops, and software. Most notably, I want to discuss one particular piece of online software that has revolutionized how I approach an important part of writing science fiction and fantasy: Worldbuilding. Today, I want to talk about World Anvil.
A quick disclaimer: Although my publishing company (Kyanite Publishing, LLC) interacts with World Anvil on occasion, I am in no way being reimbursed by World Anvil, its owners, or its associates in return for writing this article. I am doing so of my own accord in hopes of sharing useful information with the writing community.
What is World Anvil?
World Anvil is a website (www.worldanvil.com) founded in October of 2017 by Janet Forbes and Dimitris Havlidis. It is a place where authors, table-top RPG (role playing game) dungeonmasters, and hobbyists can develop, maintain, and display fictional worlds in a wiki-style system. Work produced on the website remains the sole property and copyright of the author, and it may be publicly displayed or kept private depending upon that author’s preferences. The end-results can vary greatly depending upon how many of the myriad of features each individual chooses to employ, ranging from simple text documents to fully customized and formatted articles with images, links, and interactive maps.
The Kingdom of Brisland, from my own World Anvil project: Istaria.
From the Notebook to the Forge
I started my own journey down the rabbit hole of worldbuilding some time in the early 1990s, in what some may consider through the lens of nostalgia the heyday of Dungeons & Dragons. The second edition AD&D rule set had just been released in 1989, and new settings such as Dragonlance and Dark Sun were inspiring many of us young would-be authors to craft our own unique settings to explore within the game.
Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. The resulting world may be called a constructed world. … Constructed worlds can be created for personal amusement and mental exercise, or for specific creative endeavors such as novels, video games, or role-playing games. — Definitions.net
And thus did the spiral notebooks, three-ring binders, and hand-scrawled maps on graph paper begin to pile up. What began as a hobby became an obsession, and soon there were boxes of notes detailing everything from geopolitical turmoil to the mating habits of certain local waterfowl. As time passed and I adapted to our new digital age, I was certain that there would soon be a better way to accomplish these tasks. Thirty years passed, and despite options such as meticulously organized directories of documents, programs like OneNote, and even Scriviner (and anybody who knows me knows that I swear by Scriviner for writing my manuscripts!); I had yet to find a system that surpassed the utility of the good old spiral notebook and three-ring binder. Then I discovered this website called World Anvil, created by worldbuilders for worldbuilders with one thing in mind: Worldbuilding.
Stoking the Fires of Creativity
I was intrigued, to say the least. I had recently taken the deep dive into serious professional writing of fiction and I had several settings that I was maintaining simultaneously. Moreso than these, I had an epic fantasy project outlined that I knew would require a massive amount of worldbuilding, and I was prepared to fill another cardboard box with notebooks to achieve this goal. That was right about when I discovered World Anvil in October of 2018.
The site was a year old, and it was growing. I found it through a YouTube channel called Tale Foundry that had partnered with them for a writing competition.
The competition was to develop a world and set up the basics behind a story, and then Tale Foundry would write the story and read it on their channel. I was hooked!
“Badges, we don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” Yes…yes, we do.
No, I didn’t win. I did get a shiny participation badge though; the first of many. I realized at this point that this site was much more than a tool for worldbuilding: It was a home for it. There was interaction, scheduled events, rewards, and a growing community of like-minded individuals all rallying around the World Anvil website and team. And as I explored other authors’ works on the site, I discovered that they were producing some amazing content! I was inspired to do the same, and I was pushed to do so with more quality than I had ever considered putting into my worldbuilding before.
“That’s all great,” you say, “but what about the website itself? Is it a useful tool?”
It is indeed! In addition to everything mentioned above, the actual layout and system of the World Anvil website is not only a useful way to produce, organize, and display information; but the templates built into it offer built-in prompts that made me think of things about my worlds that I had never considered before!
Would I have thought of this if I was detailing it in a notebook? Probably not, but World Anvil reminded me to do it!
Breathing Life Into Your Setting
“But, B.K.,” you say. “I don’t do a lot of worldbuilding for my books. My stories are all character-driven, so I don’t have to keep extensive notes or detail minutiae that I will later need to reference and use in my writing. This sounds great, but it’s not something every writer can use. Why should I be interested in what World Anvil has to offer if I’m not a worldbuilder?”
What was the name of that gas station Jodie stopped by on the way to the lakeside cabin, where he had that conversation with whatshisname about that party down at whosiswhat’s house?
So, every writer has had that moment where they’ve had to scroll back three chapters in a manuscript to remember the name of some minor character or detail of a location. At the very least, World Anvil can be a place to keep notes like this. Admittedly, there are other options, but it’s worth a look.
If you’re not a worldbuilder or considering writing epic fantasy or hard science fiction, and you’re still reading this: Thank you for hanging in there! Don’t worry, this next part is for you!
Okay, so you don’t write science fiction or fantasy. Or, maybe you do, but you don’t develop sweeping and expansive settings for your books. Honestly, I’ve written several pieces that have bare-bones worldbuilding and focus more on character and plot, so I totally admit there’s some projects that simply do not need something like this. But, just because you don’t create entire civilizations down to what color is socially acceptable to wear after the annual harvest festival doesn’t mean that you won’t potentially get some use out of this.
And this is where I’m going to veer off the superhighway of worldbuilding and get down to what any fiction writer can relate to regardless of genre: Characters.
It has been said time and time again that there are three main facets of any story: setting, plot, and character. And, it is well known that character is the most important part of this equation. One need only do a cursory search online for writing tools (the tangible sort), and they will find a plethora of character sketch worksheets, questionnaires, and guides for developing rich and believable characters.
I argue that World Anvil has built into its framework everything you need.
The character template on the website has spaces for the usual questions, from physical characteristics to personal history. But it delves deeper and has fields that beg to be filled in; asking about personal taboos, mental quirks, physical mannerisms, life goals, and pretty much everything else you will find on the best character sketch worksheet, and then some.
In addition to this, World Anvil just launched a new aspect of the website called “Heroes“. I’ve played around with the new features briefly, but I’ve found so far that this is the most involved character creation utility I’ve ever seen. Moreso than this, it’s also a social network for characters! While you need not interact with others, or even make what you develop visible to the public, the potential of being put on the spot by other author’s characters talking to your own might make you dive deeper into the mind of that oh so important aspect of your story.
Brego, protagonist of Blood of the Desert, now has his own social media profile? And he’s emo?
The number of fields to fill in on the advanced profile in Heroes outweighs even those in the character template in the main World Anvil structure. It’s definitely geared more towards short-form profiles rather than long biographies, but for many that’s as far as we ever get anyway. In addition, you can post thoughts from your character’s point of view, out of character posts such as the quote from Blood of the Desert shown above, and even journal entries. Want to have your character keep a journal of everything that happens while writing the book — either for later release, promotional purposes, or just to keep track? Here you go…thank me later.
World Anvil membership is free, and one can access the majority of the features offered without any monetary commitment. There are also several levels of “Guild Membership” that unlock different tiers of features, such as removing ads from the site or enabling a larger number of worlds that you can develop. I have been a guild member since November of 2018, and I plan to continue to be a member indefinitely. I am nothing but overjoyed by the services offered, the community, and the staff of World Anvil. Speaking of community, I should not neglect to mention that there is a very active Discord server with thousands of active users, weekly Twitch streams, a YouTube channel, monthly contests, and two large annual events all hosted by World Anvil. I digress to my point above: More than being a writing tool, World Anvil is a community.
I hope you have found this interesting, enlightening, and perhaps even a bit entertaining. I invite you to check out World Anvil and Light Up the Forge!
I’m very excited to reveal the cover for my first full-length novel: What Once Was Home!
When his world is torn apart, one man must learn to survive in What Once Was Home.
Jace Cox’s life is changed when an overwhelming alien force invades the Earth with no warning or provocation. In the years that follow, he must not only fight to survive; but also learn what it means to be a man and a leader. As the situation grows more dire, he realizes that his greatest challenge isn’t the alien invaders or even his fellow man; it is holding onto his own humanity despite living in a world gone mad.
What Once Was Home will be launching on October 25, 2019, and pre-orders are available now from Kyanite Publishing! Click HERE for more!
Genres: Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Alien Encounters, Military Science Fiction Length: Novel – Approx 300 pages Release Date: October 25, 2019
As always, there’s a lot of exciting things going on in the B.K. Laboratory. I wanted to share a little of what is planned for the rest of the year and beyond, and some news about a change in direction for me as an author.
Before we get into what’s coming next, I think it would be best to take a quick look at what has come before. Last year I was plugging away at what should be a fairly long science fiction novel. I decided one weekend to take a break to avoid burnout, and wrote a dark fantasy novella.
Then I wrote another, and another, and an anthology, and a cyberpunk novella, and a heroic fantasy novella…. In the meantime, I had also started up a company and began a career as a publisher, not to mention launching my own literary magazine with the help of my business partners.
So, that weekend off turned into a year of crazy levels of productivity, but alas my novel was still simmering on the back-burner. I think this was the best thing for it, since I’ve learned lot about writing and editing over the course of the last year.
Which bring us to now. After receiving reviews of my various novellas, there’s been one common trend:
My biggest critique? I wanted more.
I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for part 2.
I wish the next book was out already.
I look forward to Book 2 of the trilogy!
My only complaint is born merely of anticipation. I want more!
As much as I love being able to tell all these different stories, it is important to me that my readers be happy too! In the interest of that, I’ve rearranged my commitment to the publishing company to free up more writing time, and will be shifting my focus away from novellas and to full-length novels.
This first brings us back to the science fiction novel on the back burner: What Once Was Home. I’ll be committing most of April to finishing this manuscript and hope to have the revised draft to my editor by mid-May.
The other big change coming from this is that the project I was currently focused on – Parting the Veil – is going to be delayed. It was coming out this summer, but it will now have a release in the fall. This is not only because of the time being spent on What Once Was Home, but also because I’ll be making Parting the Veil a novel instead of a novella! The outline for the story already has a lot going on, and as a novella it was going to have to be a very streamlined plot that didn’t delve too deeply into certain things. The potential for a novel-length story is definitely there, so I’m going to make that happen.
Now, there were quotes up there from readers anticipating the next book in a series or trilogy. Not to worry! Between these other projects, and contiguous with them, I’ll still be working on my novellas. The focus will be on delivering highly anticipated sequels, and I will not be starting any new series until these are out there. Among these projects are Companions of the Stone Road, the sequel to Warriors of Understone; and Night Life, the sequel to Night Shift.
All of these projects and more should be completed before the end of this year, and I’m looking forward to many more exciting things in 2020!
Warriors of Understone has received another review!
M.E. II has rated it 5 stars on Goodreads.
Warriors of Understone is an excellent new novella crafted by the skilled hand of B.K. Bass. I was immediately immersed into the detailed society and caught up within the caste structure and setting completely. Each character spoke with their own unique voice and pursued a grounded agenda. Their interactions wove seamlessly into a rich tapestry of visceral reality.
Everything had a real and immediate feel to it. The story carried me along at a breathless pace, building up to a satisfying finale that I wouldn’t dare spoil for you. I devoured the entire work in one sitting, unable to put it down until I was finished. That, more than anything will tell you how deeply I was caught up in the tale. I was impressed by the detail of character and the depth of setting that Mr. Bass put into so few pages. It’s rare for me to encounter a novella that has such a solidly epic feel. I had the same, deep satisfaction at the end as if it had been written as a multi-book series.
B.K. Bass is a master world crafter and this work shows his skills at their best.