As you know, we recently released a brand new edition of Ruins of Sapphire, Vol. 1 in the YA Scifi/Fantasy Trilogy Crimson Winter. You can find the book in ebook or Paperback form in our online store, or wherever you buy books. This week on the blog, I thought I would tell you a little bit about how this story came to be.
First of all, Ruins of Sapphire isn’t my story. I mean, yes, I wrote it, but the ideas within it aren’t mine. The world and the plot were invented by a very good friend of mine, Adam Giles. The characters, at least the main ones, were invented by some of my other good friends, Sabrina Wiese, Christine Laskowski and my husband, Robert Dowsett. This is why you’ll find a dedication to these people at the beginning of this book. I wrote the story from the perspective of the character I came up with, but without them, there would be no story to tell.
You might be wondering how it’s possible that five people told a story like this one together. Well, if you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons, or some other kind of roleplaying game, perhaps you already have an idea of how it could work. Roleplaying games are a way for a group of people to tell a story together. Typically there’s a Game Master who acts as the narrator and arbitrator of the rules, and the rest of the players make up the cast of characters who move through the world and go on various adventures with each other.
I love to roleplay and I happen to be particularly blessed in this regard as I have surrounded myself with friends who not only also enjoy it, but I believe are quite talented. Having attended University for theatre, I met a lot of creative people who love to tell stories and thankfully I’m still friends with a lot of those same people today. Over the years we’ve taken roleplaying games to the next level and have created some of the most amazing stories. I have fond memories of quite a few of them, but by far my favourite game we ever played was Crimson Winter, a completely homemade world and game system that Adam came up with and surprised us with one night. You see, we were all set to play a different game when we got to Adam’s house that night, but last minute, he decided we were going to play this one. He had us make characters on the spot, which trust me, is not easy to do, and then he threw us into this world he had imagined. One ‘session in and we were hooked. We spent the next year playing this game as often as we could manage, and I spent the next two years after that writing all three volumes of this epic science-fiction/fantasy adventure.
So I hope you give my revised first book a try and discover for yourself Adam’s world of Crimson Winter. Honestly, I wrote this book because I never wanted to leave it and so that now, years later, I can go back and visit whenever I want.
When Japanese high school student Yukari Namikoya finds herself suddenly and inexplicably on another planet, she must quickly come to terms with the fact that she may never see Tokyo again. With a sun that never sets, the desert world of Crimson Winter is on the brink of extinction and day-to-day survival can be difficult; especially for someone used to the modern-day conveniences of Earth.
Following the only clue she has to a way home – a cryptic message from a woman long dead – Yukari heads into the desert searching for the Temple of Sapphire. There, she finds the temple in ruins, but what waits there for her is her destiny as a Chosen of the gem god Sapphiros.
Stranded on this new world and hunted by the Vile Emperor and his vast forces simply for being what she is, Yukari has no choice but to learn how to fulfill the role she’s been cast into and become the long-awaited saviour of a dangerous planet she doesn’t yet understand.
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, 334 pages
Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.