A'mara Books Update - September 9

This week at A’mara Books:
I love that there are some people out there who are really following this series and really enjoying it as well! It’s really exciting – and has yielded my 5th Curie upvote!!!

Secondly, my Whaleshares account is now up and running! This will (soon) give you the chance to start over from the beginning of my series – really important if you’ve come in somewhere in the middle and have never quite had the chance to work out what’s going on! As soon as I’ve finished re-editing Friendship on Fire I will get that started on Whaleshares! (Here's my Steemit link for those of you coming in from Whaleshares!)

The down side of Whaleshares working is that the eSteem app that I’ve been using to schedule my posts isn’t currently set up to deal with Whaleshares too. I may have to delay sharing my writing there until a scheduler is working with the platform.

Cover Art!!!

The other big news of the week is that I managed to finish the cover image for upcoming Brighid’s Blood – scheduled to begin near the end of this month! This image is from Breyind's cave just North of Castel Velantia.


I was surprised at how quickly it came together using GIMP. My background shot was the bottom layer and involves some beautiful mountains on the border of Slovakia and Poland (from PublicDomainPictures ). I added this lovely village shot from Hanover, Germany (image from Flickr )for the middle layer, and finally a cave (image from Pixabay ) for the top shot – which also gives the foreground river. All three images were under the creative commons licensing, (no attribution required) though I still tell you where they came from! Although this image still needs a little cleaning up, it's nice to know that my GIMP skills are still rather elementary, but I seem to be improving.

One of the really amazing things about this piece of work was that I did it all while showing my 11-year-old daughter how I did it… (trying to convince her to give GIMP a try.) and almost everything worked perfectly on the first try – even when we had to add a bit more yellow to the top image in order to better match the rest of the vegetation in the village picture.


The early part of the week was spent finishing up the editing and character indexing that I was working on last week. The indexes are now completed and Brighid’s Blood has no more glaringly obvious point-of-view conflicts!

Almost 10,000 new words!

  • Sands of Survival got almost all the new words again this week. It’s nearing 16,000 words now. This story takes place in Kri’enden and Yezi’im and focuses on a tribal dispute along their border. This ended up prompting a bunch more research.

Research points

Sands of Survival is prompting more research for various reasons.

  • Tribal conflict – what sorts of things prompt conflicts between tribes? How do they get resolved? This research also ended up showing me a bit more about how tribes often resolve conflict within their societies – and a little insight about what happens when they ‘modernize’ - it’s not all good, either!

Tribal focus tends to be quite different from ours in the West, at least. We tend to focus on “justice” whereas tribes focus on how to live in harmony with one another. I don’t know whether they have a lower rate of recurrence among offenders, but their goal seems to be much more community based and may yield better results.

  • Bride kidnapping – one of the tribes I’m dealing with here is known for this practice. In my research, I’ve discovered that it’s far more common than I would have ever thought – it’s quite frightening, in fact. One of the goals, of course, is to make the woman (eventually) agree to marry after being kidnapped. Why would a woman agree? Because her reputation is now ruined. It may be easier for her to just go along with it than to fight.

Should I shy away from this unpleasant topic? Not at all, instead, I can use it as an opportunity to discuss this issue with the A’mara…

  • Desert flora and fauna – really, I was just looking for inspiration. The weirder, the more wonderful, the better. If you can think of a really cool animal or plant in the desert that should go into my Yezi Desert biome, let me know! (The best answer can win an SBI share from me!)

This moves me right along to the next topic.

Biome creation

The Yezi Desert has never been featured in one of my stories before, and suddenly, it’s one of the main focuses! (It’s not even properly designated on my maps yet – but it will now.) I have three distinct climate situations which will have plants and animals living in them.

  • A “regular” (hot) desert biome. This biome has very little water (with occasional flash floods) – like many deserts. But, there are many plants and animals which have adapted to this one. I haven’t yet named all the plants I have developed, but I have: a Joshua’s Tree with plum-like fruit on it; a barrel cactus with flowers at the top complete with a dove that nests up there; a little spiny cushion I remember seeing recently; another yucca-like plant, but this one, the flowers have these little sticky bits that come down and harvest insects… yes, it’s a carnivore! There’s even a little plant that creeps along the desert floor, but produces hundreds of tiny berries that the Yeziling (the children of Yez) can harvest with a special tool they’ve developed to gather handfuls at a time.

  • An “occasional” pond biome. This biome has some of the water-loving plants which either die back or go dormant when the water has receded. They can handle the excessive levels of salt and have some interesting properties. One of the featured species include a rather odd worm-like fungus that stinks – but comes up every time it rains. Another species is a reed that is shaped like the eye of a needle and makes a siren-like whistling noise when the wind blows. You can tell if the pond has water by how it blows and also whether a sand storm might be on its way.

  • An oasis biome. Like most large deserts, there are still oases. Whether from one of the few rivers that run through Yezi’im (most are either trickles or seasonal/occasional) or an actual lake, these areas are lush with vegetation. I haven't really started on this one yet - except to mention it at a museum someone is showing the visiting A'mara.

Most importantly, the Yezi Desert is completely habitable to the Yeziling and any of the more nomadic bands in all directions. Even the children in the cities are taught how to survive because even the biggest city can be at the mercy of a large sand storm…

Unfortunately, my art skills do not extend far enough to give you good pictures of my biomes as they are completed. The best thing I can do for you (for now, anyway) is to describe the things that are important. (Or maybe scan in my drawings at some point...)

Coming this week…

  • Six more chapters of Birth of the Neví.

  • End materials need to be finished for Brighid’s Blood. I also need a map of Castel Velantia.

  • I still need to re-edit Friendship on Fire for publication on my Whaleshares page – and for putting together with the whole collection to re-release on ebooks.

  • I need to finish the Yezi Desert biomes, including some of their biological information as will be needed. Which things are useful for medicines or food? Which things are poison or recreational?

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on here at A’mara Books this week! I hope you manage to take a few minutes to immerse yourself in my world of Terrenden – which I’m so delighted to share with you!


Please catch up!

Rebound of Power is available at a digital store near you! It’s also still FREE – if you’re digital store has a price, try another! It’s also still available at Dbooks for free.

Friendship on Fire is available at a digital store near you for $2.99! It’s also still available at Dbooks for free – limited time only.

Courage to Trust is available at a digital store near you for $2.99! It’s also still available at Dbooks for free – limited time only.

Elect to Change is available at a digital store near you for $2.99! It’s also still available at Dbooks for free – limited time only.

Ocean of Empathy is available at a digital store near you for $2.99! It has not yet been released on Dbooks.


Don’t forget!

I’m still offering 1 Steem Basic Income share for any newbie (100 SP or less) who asks me a question which prompts an “Ask the Author” post! I’m thinking about putting these into a Dbooks ebook all its own, actually.

Image Credits:

  • Cover art based on image from Pexels – creative commons, no attribution required.

  • Shaze based on a katana from Pixabay – creative commons, no attribution required.

  • Shaze chapter ender from Wikipedia Commons – used within terms of license – sword adapted for use as a shaze.

  • Grass texture for maps from Pixabay

All maps/editing by myself on GIMP and Photoscape, both free programs.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Although the penalty of knowing me in real life is that you will influence the creation of my characters; any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Writing and artwork copyright myself 2005-2018 – all rights reserved.
If you are interested in helping me publish these works, please contact me on Facebook or Discord, viking-ventures#2883

Lori Svensen – A'mara Books & Viking Visual

Banner by @shai-hulud

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