Category Archives: Interview

Arabella of Mars – Regency Steampunk at Its Best!

An interview with David D. Levine.

David D. Levine’s debut novel ARABELLA OF MARS is a delightful novel set in the Regency Era with a science fiction/steampunk twist.  It’s an adventure filled with airship battles in the solar system, romance, drama, broken hearts and bones, automata, forests on asteroids, and settlement on a life sustaining Mars replete with its own culture. The novel’s heroine is passionate, crafty, and above all engaging. ARABELLA OF MARS left me yearning for more time in this poignant world. In this interview, I asked David about his creation of Arabella’s world.

DDLevine-Arabella-Cover-LargeI liked that Arabella wasn’t a man in a woman’s body. Her sensibilities and problem solving for a woman of her status respected the conventions of the time period. But she wasn’t a Mary Sue either or a Miss Marple trying to solve a problem. She was smart, deceitful, worked alongside her male counterparts, yet in her private moments we saw the personal effect of her daring choices. She feels like you wrote about someone you admire. Can you tell us who Arabella is to you.

I know a lot of writers who refer to their projects by the main character’s name — for example, “I’m working on Alfreda all this month” — but I’m usually not one of those; I usually start with the worldbuilding and come up with a character who exists in that world second (or third, after the plot). Also, the main character’s name is usually subject to change right up to the last minute. But Arabella is different. She has been Arabella from the beginning and this project, which has grown from a standalone novel to a three-book series and might grow further, has always been called Arabella. She’s someone who fights her society’s strictures and lets nothing stand in her way, but is still vulnerable and somewhat naïve. I admire her and I feel protective of her, and this is something that’s never happened to me with any of my own creations before.

Mars is a new and exotic settlement where European colonization and commerce abound. Arabella’s father is a successful business man. Arabella loves growing up on Mars and she takes great interest in this world which includes romping around with her brother, learning the culture from her Martian nanny, and taking an interest in mechanical gadgets. Despite her aptitudes, her father decides to send her home back to conventional England. Can you tell us about her father, what motivates him and why, despite his pioneering attitude, he decides to send Arabella home?

Arabella’s father is much more conventional than his daughter. Although he loves all his children, Michael is his firstborn, his heir, and his only son, and as a man of his era he is more strongly attached to Michael than to Arabella. But he does love and support her, and — as someone who left his own home planet to seek his fortune — he admires her adventurous nature more than her mother’s conservative one. When Arabella’s mother puts her foot down and demands to take the children “home” to Earth — a planet they have never even visited — he would like to keep both Michael and Arabella with him, but feels compelled to compromise. This doesn’t appear on the page, but he never really reconciled himself to this decision, and the question of whether or not he did the right thing nagged him until he died.

Your world building is persuasive, yet deft in its execution. You pay homage to early steampunk while touching upon colonization, xenophobia, but you set it the Regency Era rather than in the traditional Victorian Era. What is it about this time period that excited you?

You can blame Patrick O’Brian, whose Napoleonic War novels combine historical accuracy, adventure, and wit. I’m a great fan of those novels and when I had the idea of an interplanetary adventure in a world where the solar system is full of air it wasn’t a hard decision to set it in that period. It was a time of exploration and adventure, when the wider world was known but not well-known, and when a talented man (and why not a woman as well?) could be a warrior, a scientist, an inventor, an artist, and a diplomat all at once. Also, Mary Robinette Kowal and Naomi Novik showed that there was demand within the SF&F field for stories set in that era.

I appreciated the restraint in your approach on the issues of colonization and xenophobia – they became elements in good story telling and steampunk world building. Arabella’s reactions show, rather than simply tell, the issues. Why was it important to address these issues?

We live in interesting times, and questions of what is right and wrong when dealing with other genders, races, and cultures — and, indeed, how these distinctions are defined or if they even exist — seem more contentious now than ever before. These questions apply with equal force to history. Knowing what we know now, should we consider Columbus a hero or a villain? I felt that it would be dishonest, even immoral, to write a novel that ignored these questions… but, at the same time, it had to be a rip-roaring adventure. I hope that I’ve succeeded with both those aspects.

Tall, dark and handsome, Captain Singh, captain of the airship Diana, has a commanding and professional presence despite being the strong, silent type. Can you tell us more about him, who he represents, and what inspired his character?

Captain Singh, like Arabella, is an outsider who has nonetheless achieved a degree of success within his society — but, because of his outsider status, may see what he has achieved taken away at any time. I wanted someone Arabella could look up to and be inspired by, yet also someone who might be a little intimidating until you get to know him. He’s also someone who, because of his unique perspective, is willing to take a chance on another outsider. I knew early on that he would be Indian, to amplify the echoes of India in my version of Mars, but his background and personal history changed frequently as the book developed.

Aadim, the clockwork navigator – I can’t let end this interview without knowing your inspiration for Aadim. Despite being silent (except for the sounds he makes when he receives information to calculate navigations), he feels like a very real, yet mysterious character and he’s almost creepy because his movements feel like human reactions. When I think about it, we attribute a lot to our devices and machines. Was your treatment of Aadim in this manner a comment on our relationship with our devices or was it about the possibilities the steampunk writers saw in this world?

He is, of course, inspired by the Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automaton of the 1700s (which was, alas, a fraud with a person inside). Originally I thought that most ships in this world would have these automaton navigators, necessitated by the difficulties of navigating in three dimensions, but as the story grew I decided to make him unique. He also provides a bond between Arabella and Captain Singh, due to their shared interest in complex automata. I had a lot of fun making his actions and reactions ambiguous, right on the edge of the Uncanny Valley. Is he completely plausible, given the technology of the early 19th century? No, not really, but this is a fictional world after all.

Thank you very much for this opportunity! I’m glad you liked the book and I hope many more people do.

Thank you for a great interview David! ARABELLA OF MARS is now a favorite! If the interview wasn’t enough to convince you to get the book, dear reader, perhaps this blurb will: Arabella Ashby is a Patrick O’Brian girl in a Jane Austen world — born and raised on Mars, she was hauled back home by her mother, where she’s stifled by England’s gravity, climate, and attitudes toward women. When she learns that her evil cousin plans to kill her brother and inherit the family fortune, she joins the crew of an interplanetary clipper ship in order to beat him to Mars. But privateers, mutiny, and insurrection stand in her way. Will she arrive in time?

DDLevine-Portrait-LargeDavid D. Levine is the author of novel ARABELLA OF MARS (Tor 2016) and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo Award, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF,, and multiple Year’s Best anthologies as well as award-winning collection Space Magic from Wheatland Press. David is a contributor to George R. R. Martin’s bestselling shared-world series Wild Cards. He is also a member of publishing cooperative Book View Cafe and of nonprofit organization Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc. He has narrated podcasts for Escape Pod, PodCastle, and StarShipSofa, and his video Dr. Talon’s Letter to the Editor was a finalist for the Parsec Award. In 2010 he spent two weeks at a simulated Mars base in the Utah desert. David lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Kate Yule. His web site is

Meet the Fictorians: Mary Stormy Pletsch

“Come in, — come in! and know me better, man!” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

We’d love for you, our wonderful readers, to get to know us better. That’s why, each month, Kristin Luna will interview a member of The Fictorians. We’ll learn more about each member, such as their writing processes, their work, where they live, and what they prefer to drink on a warm summer’s day. We hope you enjoy this monthly installment of Meet the Fictorians.

Meet the Fictorians:

Mary Stormy Pletsch

Kristin Luna (KL): Hi Mary! How are you doing and what are you drinking presently?

Mary Pletsch (MP):I’m doing well and I’m drinking a can of Moxie. Let’s toast all the folks from Maine reading this and nodding. Everyone looking bewildered, head to Maine and see if you are among those lucky few who appreciate this delicious cola-type beverage.

KL: I love your love for Transformers. Please tell us when your love of them started and do you collect any action figures as an adult?

MP: Oh wow, in the fall of 1984 when the original animated series first aired. My Transformers and My Little Pony cabinets hold my life-long collections, still growing.

KL: How long have you been a Fictorian?

MP: I was here at the start of the site! I think that was 2010?

KL: One of the originals!

If you don’t mind sharing, where do you live? How does it play in to what you write about?

MP: I’ve lived in three provinces, but I do hold a special place in my heart for the Maritimes. I was proud to team up with my husband to write “The Island Way” in Tesseracts 19: Superhero Universe, which is a story about a superhero from Prince Edward Island caught between her family’s traditions and the opportunities she could find on the mainland.

KL: Your short stories have been in TWO unicorn anthologies: One Horn to Rule Them All and A Game of Horns. Tell us a little about both stories, and which one do you like best?

MP: Well, “Queen of the Hidden Way” in A Game of Horns is a prequel to “A Single Spark” in One Horn to Rule Them All. “A Single Spark” is the story of a young girl making her own destiny by joining a group of unicorn riders…and I really think that one is my favourite, because “The Unicorn Riders” is a game I used to play with my toys when I was a kid, and to have that mythology turn into an actual published story means a lot to me. Since the protagonist of “Spark” is a new recruit and not the group’s leader, I decided to make my second story be about the origin of the leader, who made her own decision to create the unicorn riders instead of fighting for her place on her nation’s throne. I like the way it turned out too, but as a prequel, it hasn’t got all the Riders in it yet.

KL: You’ve also had short stories in Apex magazine, Shock Totem, and other anthologies. What do you love about writing short fiction?

MP: I actually prefer long-form writing…novels and novellas. I like having the space for my characters to grow and change. I’ve learned a lot, though, from writing short fiction. Novels, by virtue of their length, are a harder way to practice building a story arc because they take so much longer to complete. And the word limits on short stories have done a lot to cure me of wordiness: when you’ve only got so many words to work with, you have to make every word count. I’ve also learned to focus in on primary characters and primary conflicts, and am less likely to get sidetracked by secondary characters or out-of-control subplots. This is why I recommend shorts as “learning-to-write” practice.

KL: That’s really interesting! So then what kind of stories do you gravitate toward writing and why? (Certain kinds of themes, protagonists, antagonists? Certain settings you seem to prefer?)

MP: I like to write military stories, but when I look back at my published works, they really are a mix. Every once in a while I get myself in the mood for a good creepy tale, but I’m not predominately a horror writer. I’m a sucker for tough older women and “found family,” particularly characters with a tendency to “adopt” younger characters.

KL: Are you working on any longer fiction right now or a book?

MP: I’m working on a book right now for The Ed Greenwood Group! It’s a space opera set in a “pulp sci-fi” universe: think larger-than-life heroes, ace pilots and rag-tag mercenaries, and a starship held together with baler wire.

KL: Sounds like a lot of fun! Are there any future projects of yours we can look forward to?

MPWell, there’s that book. 🙂 That should be coming out in 2018! I’ve not had as much time to write shorts this year now that I’ve got novels on my plate…but “Women in Practical Armor,” including my story “The Blood Axe,” should be out soon.

KL: What advice (that you’ve received) would pass on to a newer writer?

MP: Don’t be afraid to break rules. “Rules” that cause more harm than help don’t do you any favours. I don’t write every day. I don’t write when I’m sick. Writing when I’m sick creates pages of garbage I have to delete anyway, and delays my recovery, meaning in the end I’m farther behind for trying to write every day. Don’t get up and write first thing in the morning if you’re more alert in the afternoon: do your “mindless” tasks and get those out of the way first. Make the rules work for you, not the other way around.

KL: What’s your favorite Fictorians post that you’ve written so far and why?

MP: I’m happy with “The Semi-True Story” as an answer to the question about my writing process, which is informed by my reality without being a fully accurate report on it.


If you have any questions for Mary, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

Meet the Fictorians: Kevin Ikenberry

“Come in, — come in! and know me better, man!” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

We’d love for you, our wonderful readers, to get to know us better. That’s why, each month, Kristin Luna will interview a member of The Fictorians. We’ll learn more about each member, such as their writing processes, their work, where they live, and what they prefer to drink on a warm summer’s day. We hope you enjoy this monthly installment of Meet the Fictorians.

Meet the Fictorians:

Kevin Ikenberry

Kristin Luna (KL): Hi Kevin! How are you doing, and what are you drinking?

Kevin Ikenberry (KI): The snow seems to have finally left Colorado behind, so I’m doing very well.  As for the drinking thing, lots and lots of water.  Living over a mile above sea level (around 6800ft) requires constant hydration, which I offset occasionally with a cold adult beverage.

KL: Colorado is great! Do you take advantage of all the hiking as Kevin J. Anderson does? What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

KI: KJA is a hiking machine!  My family likes to hike, though with a little one we don’t hit the challenging treks very often, but we still get out in the sun and fresh air.  When I’m not writing, I like to be active – I’m an avid golfer and I enjoy swimming and exercising.  There’s nothing better than a nice evening walk with my family, though.

KL: You have a military background. Can you tell us about that, and how it fits into your writing?

KI: I served just under 24 years as a commissioned officer in the Army until my medical retirement in March.  I survived a necrotizing fasciitis infection but my ability to do the hard, physical requirements of the Army was compromised.  I served as an Armor officer (tanks and cavalry) and later in my career as a Space Operations officer.  Military service has a ton of unique experiences and good “there I was” stories that can easily find their way into fiction and bring a huge amount of realism.

In a way, my military service led to my writing.  In 2009, I was teaching ROTC and I started making notes for a story that I realized was going to be a novel.  Being on a college campus, I went back and took Creative Writing and started writing for publication as a result.  There’s a lot more to that story, but being in uniform for more than half of my life made an impact on me and as I began to write, my military experiences came through.

KL: Speaking of those notes for your first novel, tell us a little more about Sleeper Protocol.

KISleeper Protocol was my debut novel and it was published in early January from Red Adept Publishing.  This was originally a longish short story that my writing group encouraged me to develop a bit more.  It became a 40,000 word novel, then a 75,000 word novel before there was an epiphany that changed the story completely.

Sleeper Protocol is the story of a man, cloned from our time, who awakens three hundred years in the future in a wheelchair overlooking Sydney Harbor.  He is given one year to determine his identity through experiences or he will be euthanized.  What he knows could save Earth from a coming war. Whether he believes the future is worth saving is another matter.

Sleeper Protocol is a military character study set against a partially dystopian setting with a touch of psychological thriller.  A friend of mine said it was “military science fiction without being typical military science fiction.”  I believe he’s right.  Originally, Sleeper Protocol was going to be a standalone novel. However, my editor called me one day and asked a very simple question that has already bred a sequel and will make this a series of likely four books.

KL: My dad’s going to be very happy to hear that! He’s already read Sleeper Protocol and adored it. I see Runs in the Family just came out in January of this year. Is that a stand alone or will that be a series?

KIRuns In The Family is a military science fiction novel set in the same universe as Sleeper Protocol, except about twenty-five years earlier during The Great War. The story follows a young woman who receives a memory imprint from a long-dead ancestor who is a near perfect genetic match.  She goes to war, falls in love, and is forced to make very tough choices along the way.  This will be an ongoing series, though I have scrapped the original outlines for books two and three.  I’m working right now on a revised outline for book two and am very happy with where this particular story is going.

KL: What are you working on now? Anything coming out that we can look forward to?

KI: I recently contracted the prequel novel for Runs In The Family with Strigidae Publishing and we’ll be starting edits later this summer.  Right now, I’m tidying up the sequel to Sleeper Protocol (working title Vendetta Protocol).  My beta readers have sent it back with solid feedback and loved it, so I’m hopeful to turn that in to my publisher mid-summer.

KL: Now for a very important question. Dogs or cats or neither?

KI: We have two cats, Charlize and Binx.  Charlize is a sleepy, sweet black and white ball of fur.  Binx is a black cat who is cuddly and wants attention.  If we could get them to stop fighting, it would be great.  I’ve always been a dog person, but it’s been years since I’ve had one.  Our cats are good with our kids, so we’ll stay with two pets for now.  A dog may enter the picture in a few years, who knows?

KL: What’s the best writing advice you’ve received to date?

KI: That you, as a writer, are responsible for the contract that you sign.  I received a contract on Sleeper Protocol from a small press before it sold to Red Adept. Because the contract was not something I felt comfortable signing, and the publisher would not negotiate at all, I walked away.  Given the success of both Sleeper Protocol and Runs In The Family, I believe I made the right decision and I still scrutinize every contract (short story or novel) that comes my way.

KL: What advice would you give a new writer?

KI: Seeking the advice and counsel of mentors.  When I started writing with the intent of getting published, the best thing I did was to find mentors and learn from them.  All of us writers, funnily enough, like to share and teach.  We want to see others avoid the mistakes we made and help in any way we can.  My mentors have been phenomenal in my growth as a writer and as a person. That’s something I want to continue in any way that I can.

KL: I know you’re new to the Fictorians, but what has been your favorite post so far that you’ve written?

KI: A couple of years ago, I was asked to guest post on Fictorians about my stranger than fiction illness and recovery.  It’s probably the best, more coherent, telling of the story.  You can find the story here:


If you have any questions for Kevin, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

Success or Death – Making Every Character Count

An interview with Sonia Orin Lyris.

Our theme this month is memorable characters and that makes it a great opportunity to interview Sonia Orin Lyris about her debut novel, THE SEER.

Layout 1In creating the Arunkel Empire, Lyris blends the realities of being a commoner and the ruling classes, the complex politics of the Houses vying for the Palaces attention amidst rebellion, treason, and treachery. It is this world that Amarta the Seer must successfully navigate not only to save her sister and baby nephew, but to realize that as she predicts the future, she can create it.  

Not only has Lyris created a truly memorable world, but there is a ring of truth about her characters which resonates long after the book is done. (Be warned: some mild spoilers are included in the questions and answers below.)

The seer, Amarta, is introduced as a young child who has a rare talent. Being the child, shes too young to understand it except to know that the things which she sees happen and theyre not pleasant. As she grows into young adulthood she and others pays heavy prices as she tries to evade pursuers who covet her talent. Im curious about starting with such young child, for thats rarely done, and what her talent and her journey mean to you.

As an author, I have a particular responsibility when writing a coming-of-age story, like THE SEER. I have an obligation to neither dumb-down the child Amarta nor to overestimate her abilities.

When the door opens in chapter one, we meet a child who has already had a difficult life, yet she’s been sheltered and is naive in many ways, knowing little of the greater world in which intrigue and treason is occurring. Her visions tell her things she can’t possibly understand yet, but she must try to, if she is to survive.

I wanted Amarta to be a whole person. Even as young as she is, she’s not simple. She has a family she loves. There is loss and pain in her past. She is struggling to understand what she is.

Who would she become, I wanted to know. Who must she become, to be able to take on the great power that she has come to hold?

The story starts with her so young because the challenges these questions raise start early. These challenges are the seeds of her journey.

There are mages in the novel. Mage live long, are capable of many powerful things. When we meet Maris, we quickly learn that there is a great cost to become a mage, paid not only by her parents, but also by her during her training. Unlike most other novels where the wizard or mage talent is taken for granted, you address the cost of becoming a mage as well as the cost, both personal and indebtedness, of taking on a contract.

Yes, mages pay dearly for their power and status. In Maris’s case, her parents paid a price as well.

You know the old adage that great responsibility comes with great power? This is a moral stance that the very powerful must come to understand out of their experience because no one can force them to take it. I wanted to explore the cost of achieving such power, and examine the consequent responsibility.

The contract Maris takes on to undergo the transformation into mage — her apprenticeship contract — is one that typically ends in success or in death. High stakes, over many years. It’s not a pretty business, and Maris’s personal experience of that is very much part of her journey.

At one point in the story, Maris is talking about what it would mean for someone to become a mage. She thinks: “It would break him, rip his world to shreds. Change everything he thought he knew.”

I wanted to know more about her journey. Where had she come from? Where would she go? Would she resolve her bitterness at the cost she had paid?

An interesting parallel exists between the struggles of royalty and the commoner. Im thinking of Cern, the kings daughter who becomes queen because of her betrotheds treachery, and Amarta, the seer. Both have responsibilities due to fate. Both are forced into roles they dont choose and their actions or inactions have profound effects on a kingdom. Yet, their character arcs are so different.

Yes, both Amarta and Cern are both thrust into responsibility without choice, and their arcs are very much about this unchosen power. Cern has every advantage of education and wealth, but she struggles with an isolated and loveless familial existence that shapes her every step toward the throne. Amarta has the very wealth that Cern lacks — family and true loyalty — but lacks the rest.

What they share, perhaps ironically, is that they are both living under dire threat, and neither is safe in the world, except as they learn to make themselves so.

To what lengths would I go to have power? I found myself asking that question because of Innel, a commoner who is raised in the Palaces Cohort group. Hell do anything to please the King, to earn his respect so he can have a chance at marrying the princess Cern. He is, at once, fascinating and terrifying, and this balance is hard to achieve for many writers. Can you share with us how you so deftly managed to create Innel and what is it about him that made you want to write him?

Power is so interesting. The more you have, the more it has you.

As the story opens, we see this forceful, wealthy man show up at the door, intent on lethal answers from Amarta. In chapter two we find out more: who he is, what he’s done. Then the consequences of his earlier actions begin to unroll.

I had to do more than say Innel was ambitious and close to the throne. He had to make sense in the context of his history and culture, all the way back to childhood. We see more about this childhood in “Touchstone”, a tie-in story available for free on the Baen website, where we find out how he and his brother came to the Cohort.

I wanted to go deep into Innel’s journey in the novel because he balances Amarta’s journey. What, I wondered, had happened in his past that drove him to the circumstances of chapter one? What was it like for him to stand so dizzyingly close to such monarchical power?

Again, it’s about making him a whole person, with all the conflicts and convictions that someone in his position might actually have. What is he afraid of? What does he want?

And how far will he go to get it?

Heres the where did you get the idea? question. The hidden city of Kusan where the slave race, the Emendi, live is brilliant. I found myself wanting to visit this tangle of warrens in the hills and to learn their secret language. What inspired you to create this society?

As it happens, you can visit Kusan – or nearly so — because Kusan is based on the underground city at Derinkuyu, Turkey, a subterranean city thousands of years old that descends many levels. The actual city is big enough to house thousands of people, along with their livestock and supplies. Highly defensible, the entrances could be sealed with huge stone doors. It had underground wells of fresh water, ventilation ducts, and an extensive network of rooms and stairs and tunnels. Across its history, the underground city at Derinkuyu many times served as a refuge.

When I heard about this underground city, I knew at once that it was my hidden city, the novel’s Emendi haven. The Emendi were long ago abducted from across the waters, brought back, and forced into slavery. Emendi are blond, and there is a long-standing folktale that the gold of their hair implies pure gold inside their bodies as well. In the face of this story, is dangerous for them to be in the open.

And yet, over many years, some managed to escape. Kusan — the Hidden City — is where they found refuge, and now live, quietly and safely.

But again, we’re talking about real people, with complicated motivations beyond freedom and survival. The Emendi have created their own hidden culture in the subterranean city of Kusan. They have a signing language, one they developed in the halls of their captors, and keep alive so that they never forget where they came from, or forget the family they left behind, who are still enslaved. They have traditions of stealth and caution. They are especially cautious about their oppressors, the Arunkel people, who live above ground all around them.

Want to see what Kusan looks like? Here is a collection of photos of the underground city at Derinkuyu, in Turkey:

And one final question: Youve created a world which feels very real and with it a full complement of memorable characters. Do you have any advice on creating memorable characters?

There many ways to create memorable characters. Lots of techniques. The scope of them can be daunting, especially if a writer does not naturally tend toward the character-oriented approach.

But rather than hand over a fish, let me tell you about my pole and bait.

In a story of memorable characters, each character is the protagonist of their own tale. Even the least consequential of them has a past, a family, a culture, just like the flesh-and-blood people around us.

So I ask myself: what does the world look like from their point of view? Where are their joys, their terrors? What do they care about?

I’m not suggesting a writer must describe all that, but do have a feel for it. Just as the people around us have personalities, so do story characters. To get better at understanding this, I recommend studying good examples, such as the flesh-and-blood characters around us.

What makes them tick? What makes them joyful? What pisses them off? How do they explain themselves? What is the story they tell themselves about who they are and what they are doing in the world?

If you listen well, with compassion and curiosity, people will talk plenty. As they do, imagine what they must feel like inside. Step into their shirts and shoes. Wiggle your fingers and toes. How does it feel to be there? What is this person about?

Then do the same with your characters.

A hearty thank you to Sonia Orin Lyris for this interview. For a copy of THE SEER, check with your favorite bookstore or find it online at Baen or Amazon. Gain deeper insight into the Arunkel Empire and the significance of its coinage by reading her guest blog for us titled Will Build Worlds for Spare Change.

Sonia Orin Lyris is the author of The Seer (, a high fantasy novel from Baen Books ( Her published fiction includes fantasy, science fiction, horror, mainstream, and more, and may be found at . Follow her on Facebook ( or Twitter ( You can also read her blog at Noise and Signal.