January 1, 2024

BLOG TOUR The River Against the Sea by Z. Lindsey

Hi friends! Welcome to my stop on the tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions for The River against the Sea by Z. Lindsey. Please take some time to read the guest post, learn more about the book and author, and enter the giveaway! Make sure you show some love to the other tour host as well - the link to the schedule is below. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

About the Book 

Some heroes have swords. Essimore Darkenchyl has a pen. But it’s a magic pen.

Some wizards have spellbooks. Essie has Gossen’s Guide to Shipping Law. But it’s a current edition.

Some sailors have . . . experience. Essie has a new diploma and a year-long contract, and her people have won wars with less.

And that’s good, because between stolen weapons, a coup, and a strange disease creeping in around her and the crew, she might need to win a war.

In a world that blends traditional fantasy with the Age of Exploration, Essie knows a pen is mightier than a sword, especially since hers sometimes shoots lightning.

But what she thinks is a routine political dispute turns out to be something much, much more, and she may have finally met the one problem she can’t talk her way out of.


“My cousin believes they’ll attack on One Wyrm.”

“One . . . Wyrm?” Essie asked as she tried to adjust the ropes around her. 

Bunts scoffed.

“Didn’t you read your briefing?” 

Essie felt the blood rush to her cheeks. 

“I read about the calendar, but it was confusing. It was like math, but it had this religious undercurrent going on. Did not like.” 

The captain squinted at her and raised his lip in distaste. 

“Bunts, tell our bureaucrat what One Wyrm is.” 

“Heh,” Bunts said. He cleared his throat, then shrugged.

The captain squinted at him, too. 

“One Wyrm is New Year’s Day.” 

“New Year’s Day, of course,” Bunts said. “Those jerks.”

“And what do you want me to do about it?”

“Nothing,” the captain said. “Report that the cargo got handed over and let us go on our way.”

“And if I don’t agree, you’ll throw me off the ship,” she said.

Bunts snorted.


The captain scratched his chin. 

“To be honest, I was just hoping you’d agree. If you don’t . . .” The captain puffed up his cheeks and stared at the ceiling in thought. “I guess we’ll lock you in the brig until the weapons are safely delivered and we’re back at sea. That’ll give me a good lead on any Agency cutters.”

She tried to adjust herself in her chair, but couldn’t do much, so she frowned. Slowly she turned to Bunts and gave him her best puppy-dog eyes. 

“Can’t you undo these bonds?” 

Bunts shook his head. 

“Nuh-uh. I’m told you’re stronger than you look. And that you eat people’s hearts.”

Essie frowned. 

“Not raw.”

Guest Post
Aging Elves and Baby Devils: age demographics for worldbuilding

Quick, are there enough young elves in your fantasy kingdom to care for their thousand-year-old grandparents as they enter their mithril years? Or, perhaps more relevant for most fantasy writers: How many young people can serve in the elven army in the war against the orcs? 

The age distribution of fictional populations can help you paint a better picture of your fantasy or science fiction worlds. In the real world, there’s a tremendous social difference between places like Japan and Mexico. In Mexico, almost 25 percent of the population are children, whereas in Japan, it’s a little more than 11 percent, according to the UN Demographic Yearbook for 2022. A society with lots of kids will have very different focuses and outlooks than a society with lots of elderly folks. Aging societies struggle with lower productivity in the workforce and declining economies. Younger societies need to figure out how to feed all those freaking kids!

Age distributions are common in fields like anthropology, sociology, and economics. If they’re that important for the sciences that study people, they’re also useful for the writers who make up people. 

And they’re easy to make. Scholars generally use bars laid on top of each other going from youngest to oldest. You can draw one without doing any math based on general instinct. A healthy society tends to end up taking a bell or pyramid shape--the biggest group is children and the smallest group is the extremely elderly, aged one hundred or more . . . assuming you’re talking about humans. A less healthy population might have bulges in the middle (more middle-aged folks than children) or top (more elderly folks than children). A population that has recently seen war may have a big gouge in the 18-30 category. A population stricken by a disease that mostly affected the elderly might have a flat top. 

Here’s an example: My main character Essie’s people are only capable of reproduction under certain specific magical circumstances, so there aren't many of them. They're aging faster than they’re reproducing, and they live longer than humans. Breaking this into a chart helped me to better understand the dynamics in the isolated city where they live. After doing the math, I don’t have much hope for their long-term survival. Actually, after the events of the second book in the trilogy, even their short-term survival may be in question. 

Because there are so few of them, I needed a general idea of their ages, partly because I needed to know how many soldiers they might realistically have. And the answer was, not many!

So here’s what Essie’s people, the Aordés, look like, broken down by age: 

A little more than 10 percent of the population is under eighteen. That’s not healthy! About 25 percent are between the ages of eighteen and sixty. That's a little less stark, and it means a decent number of people are available to serve as soldiers if for some reason that's relevant. (Spoilers: It is.) The majority (43 percent) are between sixty and one hundred. Twenty-one percent are between one hundred and 150 years old, and a negligible amount (nine individuals) are 150-200 years old. 

Most of the population is over sixty (which is probably more like forty when compared to a human). Young people in the Aordés city of Oreland represent a smaller percent of the population than young people in Japan, and Japan is having an identity crisis about their situation. 

The idea that my desert-dwelling devils might feel a strong and desperate need to protect their children and childhood hadn’t occurred to me until creating my population distribution. But I think it provides them with an unexpected depth. Now when they eat someone, you can be sure it’s for the children. 

With worldbuilding, less is more. Asking five thousand questions about the geological makeup and the deities and the culture six thousand miles to the west of your main character invites infodumping. The questions you should ask as a worldbuilder are determined not by a list provided by awesomeworldbuildingtips.com but by what your characters want and need in the story. Character-focused worldbuilding is the way to go. But knowing the general ages of people in your world can tell you a lot more than you might think.

About the Author

Zac Lindsey is an anthropologist and a linguist who focuses on the Maya people of Quintana Roo. Since childhood, he's had a not-so-secret love of weird, silly, and well-structured fantasy. When other people's parents were reading them picture books, his mom was reading him Terry Brooks. He typically writes hopeful and character-driven fantasy. 

Today, he lives in Quintana Roo, Mexico with his wife, daughter, and various stray cats. 

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/z.lindsey_fiction/

Face: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61550498257222

Amazon preorders (for ebook): https://www.amazon.com/River-Against-Sea-Z-Lindsey-ebook/dp/B0CH3TW3YD/

B&N preorders (for paperback): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-river-against-the-sea-z-lindsey/1144077772

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting such an interesting post. Happy New Year!

  2. I really enjoyed this book. Essie is my hero. Lots of interesting characters


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