#Fantasy Worth Reading: Seven Strengths: A Tale from Turaset #BookReview


Blurb: Discover the world of Turaset.

In a remote country village, seventeen-year-old Celeste yearns for excitement. When the bright lights of a distant city beckon, she makes her way there, and city folk show Celeste more of the world than she ever imagined.

But these people have their reasons to cozy up to a country teenager, because Celeste’s family carries an ancient genetic ability to track carbon emissions by sight. The trait is powerful enough to undercut Turaset’s oil industry, and the titan running that industry wants Celeste’s family killed. Soon, she realizes how out of her depth she is.

Seven Strengths is an otherworldly but familiar coming-of-age story. It highlights the enduring strength borne of family and friends.

Jeff's Review: Seven Strengths is a novella in P. L. Tavormina's Industrial Age series. The tale is a coming-of-age story in which Celeste journeys from her sheltered life in the country to attend school in a city. She chafes under the drudgery of work in the family business, a country inn--a business she is destined to inherit some day in the future if her parents get their way. City life broadens her horizons and certainly has its appeals but also teaches her, through some hard lessons, the value of her family and the opportunities at home.

The setting is a planet called Turaset, which was colonized by a group of refugees from planet Earth. The refugees had hoped to create a world where people lived in harmony with the environment, so as not to destroy it. The state of technology is roughly early twentieth century. Automobiles and electricity have been introduced in some places and the major source of power is fossil fuels. The conflict between the combustion industries and the wisdom of the original refugees is the story's underlying driving force.

The story has some elements of science-fiction, but there are some characters who have pseudo-magical abilities. Some of these abilities are seen as threatening by the combustion industries and those who possess these abilities are hunted. Some members of Celeste's extended family have such gifts. The level of technology is certainly not futuristic, so I enjoyed the story as a fantasy set in another world. If you're looking for lots of action and fighting, this is not the book for you. If you want more of a domestic story with lots of character development, give Seven Strengths a read. You'll be glad you did.


The challenges of writing a long series & Guardian of Monsters

Bonaventure plots
 I’ve wanted to write a long series, like forever. I am a slow-ish writer and the longest series I've written to date is the Fireseed series, only two books and a sequel novella. Finally, I'm embarking on a long series, and I’ve completed book one! I will wait to launch until I have two or three books done.

Guardian of Monsters is urban fantasy, a genre I have grown to like, having penned two shared world titles in this genre (Alpha's Revenge and Secrets of the Mermaid). It’s a private investigator series, set in Savannah, and starring two supernaturals I created in my other books, Luna Finley, a mermaid and water mage, and Celestine LeBlanc, a witch and wolf-shifter. 

I just returned from a research and fact-checking trip to Savannah. I had scenes set in Bonaventure Cemetery, where I took a two-hour walking tour and discovered mistakes in my plotting. I had Celestine just walking in there at night. Turns out there’s a huge, locked fence around it. I also went to the salt marshes where I'd set scenes. Such beauty! I went to the Savannah School of Art and Design, where I set scenes, and discovered it’s the largest art school in the country, with 70 buildings scattered around the city! And who knew Savannah is the third largest port city in the USA. 

Savannah historic district porch

Anyway, it's smart to do extensive research into your subject, whether you're a plotter or pantser. Another challenge of writing a long series with romance, is that you have to find ways to keep the love interests from totally getting together. I’m used to having them commit to each other at the end of a single title novel. And since this is a PI thriller series, I want the next client to walk in at the end of each book and hire them, to intrigue readers into reading the following book. That means I have to figure out at least the rough plot of the next novel each time! 

Here’s the VERY rough blurb for book one, and some photos from Savannah.

Guardian of Monsters (Sleuths of Shadow Salon, urban fantasy PI series, Book 1)

Celestine, witch and wolf shifter has a talent for prophetic drawings. She’s shocked when she draws her landlord Ray with his eyes gouged out and a strange winged-mermaid leaning over him. Later she finds an eyeless Ray dead on the sidewalk. All she wanted to do was open a gallery, but first she must apprehend his killer. In a posthumous note, Ray wrote he wasn’t just a leather-smith but a supernatural pirate mage. Years back, his Jekyll crew trapped the evil Demon Three Eyes clan. Ray feared they’d escaped, were stalking him, and would soon wreak havoc on Savannah.

Oryn, a fellow student in Celestine’s continuing ed art class, is a fae and a thorn in her side, when he asks nosy questions about the case. Yet, she’s drawn to him when he’s her masseur at the spa she frequents, and he’s clever at brainstorming leads regarding Ray’s case. He insists his air magic could come in handy.

When pirates in Ray’s old crew are murdered, their body parts stolen, Celestine puts more horrifying clues together. She’ll need everyone on board, including Luna, a mermaid asking to show her sea-glass sculptures at Celestine’s new gallery—and the very same mermaid in Celestine’s tragic drawing of Ray. Otherwise, the lethal monstrosity Demon Three Eyes is unleashing on Savannah will destroy the city and everyone in it. 

Have you penned a long series? If so, what were some of your challenges?

Salt Marsh