Monday, October 15, 2012

Blog Tour for Blood Zero Sky featuring Guest Post by J. Gabriel Gates

Blood Zero Sky by J. Gabriel Gates
Published: October 1, 2012
Publisher: HCI Publishing
Age Demographic: Adult & Mature YA
Pages: 384

Unprofitables are banished to work camps to pay off their credit. Other tie-men and women look on apathetically. "Fair is fair. Everyone knows you shouldn't use more credit than you are worth to the Company. "They turn their attention to the next repackaged but highly coveted N-Corp product on the market, creatively advertised on the imager screens that adorn virtually every available flat surface. All the while, their mandatory cross-implants and wrist-worn "ICs" keep them focused on the endless cycle of work and consumption to which they are enslaved.

May Fields the CEO's daughter would like to believe she is above all that. Head of N-Corp's marketing team, the young woman who has almost everything anyone could want spends her days dreaming up ingenious ways to make workers buy more of what they already have and don't need. Even before May discovers that the Company is headed for its first loss in thirty years, she is feeling the stirrings of dissatisfaction with the system that has given her everything she's ever wanted . . . except the freedom to be herself.

When she is kidnapped by a member of the Protectorate a secret order dating back to the American Revolution May is suddenly faced with the frightening truth of what the Company's greed has done to our most basic human rights. Will she embrace who she is and join the battle to restore America's democratic freedom, or put her blinders back on and return to her safe and passionless life?

To Purchase Blood Zero Sky: Amazon


I am totally thrilled to be sharing with you today, an intriguing and enlightening guest post on "world building" from the book Blood Zero Sky written by J. Gabriel Gates, which is a brand spankin' new dystopian nightmare riddle with technology, greed, and corruption in corporate America. This book is almost like nothing that I have ever seen before. I mean, some books have come close, but I don't think they've been as successful as I feel Blood Zero Sky has been at hitting the mark. It's definitely a novel that will get your blood pumping, your heart racing, and make you think.

I've been lucky enough to get the chance to read two of his prior young adult books steeped in the paranormal genre, Dark Territory and Ghost Crown and enjoyed them very much. So, it's not any surprise to me that he would write such a compelling, highly intriguing, and suspenseful book such as, Blood Zero Sky. If you get the chance to read this book, I urge you to take it. You simply will NOT regret a moment of it!

I am so super excited and elated to get to be part of this tour and share this wonderfully written and entertaining guest post with you.

World Building
Discovering the Procterate
By J. Gabriel Gates

I was excited when the folks at “A Soul Unsung” asked me to write a guest post about world building. I haven’t been asked about this important aspect of my work much in previous interviews; after all, it is a rather nebulous topic. “World Building” encompasses more than just the setting or the characters in a story, it truly involves every choice an author makes, from the dialog that minor characters say, to what color shirt your protagonist puts on in the morning. In order to nail down this vital but vague aspect of story creation, I’ll share some examples of world building from my latest sci-fi, dystopian thriller Blood Zero Sky. In my writing process, there are four major components to world building.

I always like to remind people that writing is communication, and as with any form of communication, the first step is having something to say. When I began working on the first draft of Blood Zero Sky way back in 2005, I had a lot to say: the United States was embroiled in two wars, George W. Bush, with his dubious human rights and civil liberties record, had just been reelected, and I felt as if the nation I loved was sinking in a morass of unmitigated corporate greed that reached all the way to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. So coming up with the first piece of the world building puzzle, the premise, was easy. I knew that I wanted to create a world in which all the governments of the world had been privatized, and that I wanted to tell the story of a revolution designed to overthrow the evil corporations that were ruling the future world I was going to create.

After I have my premise, I enter into second a very important phase, one that many beginning writers neglect to their detriment: gestation. Like a bird sitting on an egg, I let that seed of an idea sit in the warm, cozy nest of my mind and grow. For how long—a month? Six months? Six years? The answer is that you let it sit for as long as it takes for the idea to reach a critical mass; you can’t rush the process. During this time, I gather up little ideas and thoughts and details that I’ll use in the story, exciting pieces of the puzzle that will become the book when I begin writing it. During the gestation phase of Blood Zero Sky, I read a wonderful book called “Stone Butch Blues” by a writer named Leslie Feinberg. She tells the story of a lesbian living in the mid-twentieth century, trying to survive and find happiness in a world of crushing intolerance. As soon as I read it, I knew that May, the protagonist in Blood Zero Sky, would have much in common with the story’s main character: she would be strong, independent, soulful, lonely, and gay.

My rule of thumb on research is to do as little as possible. Seriously— I’m lazy, y’all! That’s the beauty of working in genres that are fantastical; writing historical fiction would be way too labor intensive for my taste! But alas, there are times when research is important, and for some stories, like Blood Zero Sky, some research is essential. I decided that I wanted the revolution in my story to have parallels with the first American Revolutionary War—so, I did some reading, including David McCullough’s 1776 and several books that included original texts that were written during the period of the war. From these readings, I was inspired to create the Protectorate, a secret fourth branch of the U.S. government created after the first American Revolution. Their mission: in the event that the free people of the United States were ever to lose their freedom at the hands of a tyrant, the Protectorate was to rise up and restore democracy. This research also helped to inspire the character of Ethan Greene, the revolution’s leader. I knew that I wanted Ethan to be a renaissance man, like so many of the U.S.’s great founding fathers—a warrior-philosopher with an edge of mystery. His name is even a compound derived from two Revolutionary War figures, Ethan Allen and Nathanael Greene

As a sci-fi writer, I also make it a practice to stay up on emerging technologies, projected social trends, current events, “top secret” future weapons systems being developed, etc. After all, we live in a reality that includes both Beanie Babies and hydrogen bombs, L’Oreal True Match makeup and UFC Brazilian jiu jitsu tapouts—so if you want to build a fictional world that feels complete and real to readers, you’d better broad set of interests yourself, and pay attention to everything!

So, you have the basic premise of your story. Then, you let it sit for a while as new thoughts about it piled up—ideas for characters and scenes, inspired by the premise and the word around you. Finally, you’ve done a bit of research, which has illuminated and enriched your original thoughts with new ideas and details, to the point where you’re just itching to start creating your story. Good, because that’s the next step: you start writing it!

Believe it or not, this is where the bulk of the world building takes place. As your characters move through the world you created, they’re going to run across all sorts of things that you never anticipated in the planning stage: characters, places, situations, tasks, challenges, objects, rules, customs, buildings, weapons—the list goes on and on. They secret here is to simply use logic to let the details develop from the premise you’ve created. If there is a corporation ruling the world, for example, what will that world be like? In the world I create, people are brainwashed to be constantly buying new products even though they will have to run up their credit and become even more indebted to the Company. They have to work excessive hours. They are forbidden to dress differently or act differently from other people, because those behaviors could distract their co-workers and make them less productive. They are forced to wear mind-reading implants in their faces that read their thoughts and transmit marketing data to the corporation’s leaders. All these details are simply logical extrapolations of the main premise of the story.

There are two keys to bear in mind as you fill in the details of your story: 1) you must stay true to your premise. The details you add need to reinforce the initial story that you’ve set out to tell. In the case of Blood Zero Sky, my intent was to show that the unmitigated greed of the Company was bad and oppressive, but the chaotic, eclectic democracy of the Protectorate was good. Keeping this basic rule in mind helped me to make thousands of word choices that set the tone and colored the tapestry of the story. 2) You must remain spontaneous! Being spontaneous in writing creates a feeling of randomness, and reality often feels random—hence, spontaneity in writing begets believability (as long as you don’t get too outrageous!)

Allow the subconscious to flow in your work, weaving in details that are unexpected and unpremeditated, but that come to mind in the moment as you work. As the great poets Poison once said, “every rose has its thorn.” So even within the camp of the heroic Protectorate, there will be hardships, and even within the warped, corrupt system of the Company, there are joys and luxuries to lure May back into the fold. The important thing is to allow yourself a great deal of creative latitude while never losing sight of your premise.

So there you have it! The keys to world building are coming up with a great, intriguing premise, building up the idea through research and allowing it to gestate, and then fleshing it out moment-by-moment with a series of details that are spontaneous, yet arise logically from your original premise. Yeah, maybe it’s a lot of work and it takes a while, but believe me, being the god of a world you created is a pretty awesome feeling—and taking readings along for the ride is priceless.

But it’s one thing to have political gripes, it’s quite another to weave them into a story that’s compelling, thought-provoking, and, most of all, fun to read.


J. Gabriel Gates is the author of the teen fantasy series “The Tracks” (Book 1: Dark Territory, Book 2: Ghost Crown), horror novel “The Sleepwalkers” and most recently, the epic sci-fi adventure “Blood Zero Sky.” For more information on him and his work, please visit his website.

You can also “like” him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @JGabrielGates.

Tour Bought To You By:

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
GoodReads Amazon Barnes and Noble LibraryThing Shelfari