Mapping Out Kat’s World (Scorched Trilogy)

We’re less than a month away from the release of Tempered, the second book in the Scorched trilogy.  Fans of This Corner of the Universe know I’m a “map guy”… the TCOTU galaxy is well over 100 worlds and will continue to grow.  In contrast, Kat’s environment in Scorched and Tempered is far more intimate.

After the events in Scorched, Kat begins to realize there is more than just Waytown and the “shattered planet” opens up a little. The first thing I did when outlining and brainstorming the rest of her story was create a map of the “playground” of the Scorched series:

(click for larger view)

The map is by no means a complete depiction of Kat’s world, and I reserve the right to change details right up to when I release Tempered (then it’s canon I have to live with). But, I like giving sneak previews to readers dedicated enough to follow my blog.

The unfilled circles are towns such as Waytown. These are relatively low-tech settlements that essentially grew up to support an important industry (whether it be mining, like Waytown and the settlement in The Red Desert, or agriculture such as the town in The Eastern Expanse). Light grey circles are abandoned settlements. The community south of Waytown didn’t fair so well. Neither did the very small village between Northport and Waytown.

The black diamonds are cities, perhaps ranging into the millions of citizens and having comparatively better technology. These are the major manufacturing centers, the places everyone wants to live. We’ll definitely be touring Coldbarrow and the capital, Northport, in the series.

If you look closely, you can see tiny black dots representing actual mining and agricultural locations. Recore Mining is nestled in the mountain east of Waytown and the spur that Kat’s mag-rail takes to transport her to work is marked near it. Dark lines are mag-rails, the primary long distance means of transportation. The light grey lines are actual roads.

Region names were developed to give a general impression of those parcels of land. The Blight is evocative of a dry, burned wasteland. The Shores hopefully provides the reader with images of a more fertile, green land touching the sea. The Red Desert suggests an image of something like a red Tatooine from Star Wars. Finally, the Eastern Expanse should provoke the flat, nearly endless plains of America’s heartland (although the exact setting of this story hasn’t been pinpointed).

Creating this map helped the setting become real to me and from there, I was able to visualize places and make connections between locations and settlements. Drawing a map helps me create a living, breathing world that becomes its own character. Certainly, Waytown should feel different than Coldbarrow, and so forth. From these humble dots and lines, vibrant towns emerge with marketplaces, hospitals and more.

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More Details About Tempered (a.k.a. “Scorched 2”)

Yvonne at Art4Artists outdid herself with all three of the new covers for the Scorched trilogy. Without further ado, I’m very proud to reveal the cover for Book 2, Tempered:

If you compare this to the cover for Scorched in the previous post, the progression in Kat’s appearance and demeanor is obvious at first glance and sets a fantastic tone for her evolving story.  Speaking of, where is she headed in Tempered?  We’ve drafted the description to appear on the pre-order pages, which will be up in early March.  Have a look:

Pre-Cat was the most important operative in the mysterious Pelletier’s Society. Desperate to start over, she scorched her memories and fled to the slums outside Waytown. All she wanted was an escape but her former keepers couldn’t let her go.

Kat has a new job at Porter Mining but her dreams of a normal life with her boyfriend Sadler take a back seat when the Society returns. They know where she is now and they’re sending everything they’ve got to finish her.

But not every operative on her trail follows the same agenda. Competing factions and old allegiances resurface and Pre-Cat seems to have been in the middle of all of them. If only Kat could remember who to trust.

The last of the beta readers reports back next weekend, after which we’ll finalize the release date for Tempered and announce it here.  Next week I’ll also be sharing a map (if you are a fan of This Corner of the Universe you know how much of a “map guy” I am) of the Scorched landscape and talk more about the setting.  Stay tuned!

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There’s More to Kat’s Story

In 2016 I wrote my only book not set in the This Corner of the Universe galaxy. Scorched was (and is) a dystopian story, definitely still science fiction but not my usual setting. I was inspired to write about a woman waking up with no memories, injured and where she had to immediately learn to survive. Kat turned into a great character, a strong-willed protagonist who may have started out vulnerable, but is certainly no victim.

Kat’s story has blossomed into a trilogy. With that shift, a new cover for Book 1 was in order, one that would match two more covers for the complete series. It was an easy decision to go back to the original Scorched cover artist, Yvonne Less at Art4Artists, and set her to work on the set.

Of course, she did a fantastic job (she always does, and I highly recommend her). Below is the new look for Scorched, and stay tuned for the cover reveal for its sequel, Tempered!

Click to find Scorched on

A fetid alley, roving security aircar and bloodthirsty mob, it’s just another night in the slums of Shantytown. This town feeds on the weak.

A muddy medical gown, festering wound and no memory of who she is or how she got there, Kat staggers from that alley and into her new life as a Trodden. She might be vulnerable but she’s certainly no victim.

A hopeless Rat, disgraced doctor and handsome citizen, Kat’s friends might help her but what will be the cost? Something hunts Kat, looking to finish what began the night she lost her memories. If she wants any chance to save her friends and herself, she’ll learn exactly who she was and what she can do.

Scorched, a suspense thriller set in a dystopian future, follows the mystery of one woman’s struggle to regain her identity and discover the reason why a powerful force wants her dead.

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