Author: Joab Stieglitz

Publisher: Rantings of a Wandering Mind

Pages: 117

Genre: Historical Suspense

An Innocent Favor for a Dying Old Friend…
Fifty years ago, a group of college friends dabbled in the occult and
released a malign presence on the world. Now, on his deathbed, the last
of the students, now a trustee of Reister University enlists the aid of
three newcomers to banish the thing they summoned.
Russian anthropologist Anna Rykov, doctor Harry Lamb, and Father Sean
O’Malley are all indebted the ailing trustee for their positions.
Together, they pursue the knowledge and resources needed to perform the
Hampered by the old man’s greedy son, the wizened director of the
university library, and a private investigator with a troubled past, can
they perform the ritual and banish the entity?


Guest Post by Joab Stieglitz

Why Defining Your Setting is Important

A lot of would-be writers set out to write a specific story: a fantasy with wizards and dragons, a spy thriller with a megalomaniac villain out to conquer the world, a vampire and werewolf love story, etc. These are all fine ideas, but where they take place is just as important as the characters and the plot.

Just as you want three-dimensional heroes and villains, a well-developed setting is imperative for your story to come to life. Locations are more than an address. They are sights and sounds, past and current events, the physical and emotional sensations that are evoked. All these aspects add to the reader’s immersion into the environment.

For example

The agent’s’ eyes were stung by the smoke as they descended. The remote darkness was broken by the flames of the nearby village that had been their destination. The sounds of machinery announced the passage of the column of troop carriers, the smell of exhaust filling the air as they carried the villagers away.

This scene implies a lot of things that the author needs to know and bring out in the narrative. Where does the story take place? When? Is this Nazi occupied France, post apocalypse Colorado, or Alpha Centuri Prime? Are the agents parachuting, in an aircraft, or falling from orbit in drop pods?

Filling out the details of the environment allows you to add “reality” to your story by making the reader part of the scene rather than just an observer. When the reader experiences sensations in addition to the characters’ thoughts and actions, and a clear understanding of things such as the environment, the weather, and the social and political situation will make a scene come alive.

In my books, I have selected a very specific time and place: immediate pre-Depression New York. Through this lens I can present attitudes, experiences, personalities, and perspectives that are unique. My heroine, Dr. Anna Rykov, is a woman, a Russian immigrant, and a professional. These qualities present specific challenges to her in 1929.
The choice of genre is the first step. An even bigger decision is the setting. An author needs to understand the environment in which the story takes place to present a complete picture to the reader.
Joab Stieglitz was born and raised in the Warren, New Jersey. He is
an Application Consultant for a software company.  He has also worked as
a software trainer, a network engineer, a project manager, and a
technical writer over his 30 year career. He lives in Alexandria,
Joab is an avid tabletop RPG player and game master of horror,
espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres, including Savage Worlds
(Mars, Deadlands, Agents of Oblivion, Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Herald:
Tesla and Lovecraft, Thrilling Tales, and others), Call of Cthulhu,
Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Pathfinder.
Joab channeled his role-playing experiences in the Utgarda Series,
which are pulp adventure novels with Lovecraftian influences set in the
Website Address: http://joabstieglitz.com
Twitter Address: @joabstieglitz