Mineralogy & Petrology of Terrene


Today I have the honor of hosting a guest post by RJ Metcalf, author of the Stones of Terrene Fantasy-Steampunk Chronicles, which just released its second book in the series less than two weeks ago!

Here’s a quick summary of the new release before we get to the post.

Void Born

The bloodstone has been stolen.

Although the barrier remains, its stability is at risk. And if it falls, all of southern Terrene will be forfeit.

After the tragedies in Doldra, the valiant crew of the Sapphire struggles to regain their footing. Jade returns to Lucrum with the escort of Prince Weston only to find herself cornered by Lord Everett’s political maneuvering. With her freedom at stake, Jade is faced with a choice: give up her dreams for the future, or watch as those closest to her die.

Ben hunts down Victor and his mysterious Void Born with the help of Finn and his granddaughter Raine. The longer they are together, the harder Ben falls for the enigmatic swordswoman. But mad sages and ruthless assassins aren’t all he needs to fear—if Ben’s friends find out his secret, he could lose everything.

With Terrene at stake, they cannot lose sight of their goals.

Even with the past and the future pulling at them.

Void BornGet it today on Amazon | Renegade Skyfarer: Amazon or B&N

Mineralogy and Petrology? Say what?

Mineralogy is the study of minerals. Petrology is the study of rocks.

That’s the subject of RJ’s post and—given my background in geology—I couldn’t think of a better world-building topic to guest host. So, without further delay, let’s learn a little more about the actual stones that give this series its name!

Take it away, RJ!


So the name of the series is the Stones of Terrene. But what’s so special about these stones?

Much like our own rocks here on earth, the stones are naturally made in different ways, but unlike our own world, the stones of Terrene are used for more than just paving roads and making gardens pretty. I’ll focus on four specific types, as these are mentioned enough in the first book to be memorable.

Gravity Stones

gravity stone

Anyone who’s read Renegade Skyfarer or Void Born has likely caught on to the fact that the best airships use gravity stones for their lift and even some propulsion, and they may have caught on to the detail that these gravity stones are now rare. That’s because the gravity stones were first found and mined in the mountain region north of High Doldra, where the Barrier now resides. Once the Barrier went up, the free-floating stones typically found in the caverns of the mountains were inaccessible to either side, and new tech was needed for airships, thus resulting in the steam-powered airships, “steamies.” I honestly can’t even remember where this particular idea originated from. It’s just always been!

Lightning Stones

Lightning stones

Okay, I confess that lightning stones were instigated by Stardust and the lightning harvesting. Mike and I had this sudden idea of: “What if lightning could be harvested in something as compact as a stone? How insane would that be?” Thus the lightning stones were born, and they have proven to be immensely useful in several walks of life. With the right application and necessary skill, doctors use lightning stones to jump start a patient’s heart. Dragon hunters use lightning stones with specific weapons to stun and/or kill their prey. And some have used lightning stones to stun fish in small lakes as a youthful hazing ritual despite many voices of wisdom cautioning against such foolishness. The stone itself is unremarkable when mined from the Sparkling Hills of Columbine, but dozens of these simple stones, when tied to lightning rods, quickly charge with lightning power and are sold for a fairly decent amount of lut. But these stones do need to be charged every few years, so they aren’t as valuable as the seemingly-endlessly charged gravity stones.

Healing Stones


Then there’s healing stones, which are not at all innately magical to any degree. These stones are rumored to have been discovered by accident by one of the sages of old, whose names has been lost to time. Whatever happened, someone figured out that a sage could use their own gift of bending elements to literally bend time into the stone, and if they were truly skilled, they’d be able to even bind traces of different healing properties. Some sages being more skilled in reducing inflammation could tie that into the stone, or others could make the rock absorb numbing qualities. It would depend on what the sage’s particular gifts were, and how adept they were in harnessing and pouring that into the rock. Sages of such skill are not necessarily rare, but the volume of what they produce isn’t exactly grandiose. To have any type of healing stones is a sign of wealth, having the right friends, or a simple fact of royalty. As for how they came about…well, I’m a mom of two boys. Wishful thinking!

Luminary Crystals


And then there’re the luminary crystals. Full confession: Every time I see a rock-salt lamp, I think of these and I wish so desperately they were actually stones that weren’t based off electricity! Luminary stones are hands down, my favorite. They are just so pretty! Luminary crystals are popular in the entire nation of Doldra, and they are harvested in caverns close to Loore’s Landing and the western ocean. These gorgeous, shimmering crystals come in a wide variety of colors, and can be used for anything as simple and soft as a nightlight to something as bright and warm as a chandelier in a throne room. The lighter colored gems are much more plentiful than the deep, almost dark crystals. In wealthy places like the palace, there are full patterns of the deeper, gem-tone colors in the floor of the throne room. Balls and evening events take on a magical feel in Doldra with their plentiful amount of these beauties.

I hope that was a fun little bit of the worldbuilding! Which stone is your favorite? Do you have any fun ideas for stones that you wish were in the books?

About the Author


During the day, Becky is a stay at home mom of two active little boys. When she has ‘free time’, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and sewing.

After many years of creative writing classes, writing fanfiction drabbles and daydreaming, it was high time to start writing her husband Mike’s story. She dove into the world of Terrene and hasn’t looked back—except for when she runs out of dark chocolate.

Any free time not spent in Terrene is typically expended on hosting dinner and game nights, running amok with the two little monkeys or watching nerdy movies with Mike.

New to this series? Start here:

If you haven’t read the first book, you should check out the blog tour links here: https://unicornquester.com/renegade-skyfarer-blog-tour-wrap-up/.

And be sure to check out my contribution to the first tour.

Here’s the Void Born Blog Tour Line-Up:

November 9 – Becky Gaines – Book Spotlight (Instagram)

November 12 – Lauren Salisbury – Fly Into The Unknown Blog Hop (Instagram)

November 13 – Jamie Foley – Character Feature

November 16 – Laurie Lucking – Character Feature

November 17 – Sadie Slater – Book Review

November 18 – Anthony Avina – Book Spotlight (Instagram)

November 19 – Laura A. Grace – Fly Into The Unknown Blog Hop

November 20 – Lara Hitchcock – World Building Feature

November 21 – Amy Grace – Book Spotlight (Instagram)

Quote 2

Renegade Skyfarer

Book Summary

RenegadeSkyfarerThe airship crew saved Ben’s life from a dragon, of all things.

When Ben wakes up, he has no memory of his family, his home, or how he got to this strange world. All he knows is what his new crew members tell him: the magical Barrier that protects their land is weakening. Unless they find the artifact that can repair it, all of Terrene will be destroyed and enslaved by the enemies beyond.

airship-1140366_1280But when Ben suspects that danger may lurk closer than dragons or sky pirates, he has to decide: stay and fight with the airship crew, or focus on regaining his lost memory? If he leaves, he risks losing his newfound friends—but if he stays, he might never return home.

Welcome to Terrene—where dragons exist, the past haunts, and magic is no myth.

Welcome aboard the Sapphire.

Amazon — Barnes & Noble

Review & Writing Lessons


If the beautiful cover and intriguing summary aren’t enough, let me tell you… Renegade Skyfarer is so much more than an amnesiac on a blimp striving to salvage a ruptured barrier. Steampunk is, in itself, something of a flashy genre right now, but this novel exceeds and surpasses the Victorian airship backdrop. Safety lines, goggles, and hydropacks aside, Renegade Skyfarer boasts multiple layers of unique concepts piled one atop another to generate a truly novel experience.

Take the stones for example.


In Terrene, different stones possess a variety of magical functions—from ship powering capabilities to anesthesia and even healing. In a way, though, all those little world-building details are just icing on the cake. In my opinion, what really powers this story (pun intended) is not the characters’ overall goal of keeping the barrier intact, but rather the trickling of backstory and well-timed reveals. In that respect, R.J. Metcalf is master of story questions.


Right from the start, several burning questions loom: Where did Ben come from? Why can’t he remember his former life? What past failure is the Sapphire’s Captain trying to correct? Oh yeah—and what’s the deal with Jade and Zak? As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time contemplating story structure and plot, I was amazed at how often the reveals alone kept me engaged.

In my opinion, it takes real skill to achieve that fine balance between too much information and too little…

Too much too soon weighs the story down and begets boredom. Too little breeds confusion or equates to improper setup for the big reveal. Readers need enough context in the moment to grasp what’s happening now, and they need a trail of hints that add up to the big payoff later—but without becoming predictable.

Sound like a tall order? Oh, boy, yeah.


In Renegade Skyfarer, while there were times I had a good guess what was coming, it was never well-in-advance of the reveal. Not to mention the story surprises that caught me completely off guard. Looking back, though, all the little hints added up to the shocking truth.

That will always be true of a good reveal.

In her book, Wired for Story, Lisa Cron has an entire chapter devoted to the subject. In it, she says, “One of our most hardwired expectations is that anything that reads like the beginning of a new pattern—that is, a setup—will, in fact, be a setup, with a corresponding payoff… We love [setups] because… they stimulate our imagination, triggering one of our favorite sensations: anticipation. They invite us to figure out what might happen next, which leads to an even better sensation: the adrenaline-fueled rush of insight that comes from making connections ourselves. When we identify a setup, guess what will happen, and end up being right, we feel smart. Setups seduce us with the granddaddy of all sensations: engagement.”

By introducing a clear element of mystery or problem to be solved, setups encourage reader participation.

Examples, please!

Now, just so you don’t think these reveals are all impersonal plot facts, let’s look at a few excerpts…


From the Prologue (Blade’s POV)

Master half-turned to regard Blade with a slanted eyebrow. Then Master pulled something small from his white coat pocket with a detached flourish and pivoted back to Lupin. A finely wrought silver bracelet of woven metals with an inlaid red gem rested in Master’s open palm. He held it out to Lupin. “It’ll give you the same type of control over Blade that I have, but my controller overrides yours. Don’t get any ideas.”

No. Get ideas.

“Thank you, sir.” Lupin slipped the thin band over his wrist and inspected the gem with a critical eye. “And it will work? Even with you wearing yours?”

“Try it and find out.”

Lupin grinned and gestured at Blade with a lazy flick of his wrist. “Polish my boots with your shirt.”

Blade barely had time to relish the resentment that warmed his gut before a familiar haze rose from the edges of his mind and pushed his emotions aside. It moved him forward without conscious thought to kneel before Lupin. He shrugged off his jacket and his shirt, shivering when the icy air bit into his skin. He scrubbed his last clean shirt against Lupin’s mud-caked boots while his teeth chattered.

Lupin chuckled as he pushed his boot toward Blade’s face. “I could get used to this. How long do you expect your mission to take, sir?”

“A few months, at least.” The deck vibrated underfoot as Master paced. He pivoted, and his heel squeaked on the worn wood of the airship deck. “I need you to keep searching for that bloodstone—it’s the centerpiece of my plans for the barrier.”

Memories of blood, wavering curtains of light, and pain, so much pain, flashed through Blade’s mind at the mention of the bloodstone. He hunched over Lupin’s boots for a long heartbeat before the weight of the command bracelet faded the flashback…

“[Don’t] use Blade recklessly,” Master added in a firm tone.

Blade looked over his shoulder into Master’s dark eyes. It was like looking into the depths of the Aerugan Hollows—deep, dark, and deadly.

“He’s my masterpiece, and more important than you will ever know.”

My questions after reading this: Who is Blade? How did he wind up in this situation? How will he affect the events to come? (Story questions are like promises. Readers know the answers are coming… and so they read on.)

In this excerpt, “Master’s” ability to control a human with a magical stone intrigues (in a fictional sense)—a great example of an intellectual hook. But what really sets this scene apart is the emotional hook, which adds weight to the earlier story questions. What does that mean? I’ve only just met Blade, and yet I care about him. Why? The injustice against him—for me at least—engenders immediate sympathy. (More on universal emotions here.)

Now consider this:

“Jade held her breath as Zak’s face smoothed of all expression. She hated how good he’d become at hiding his feelings in the last six months. His gaze rested on her, and she forced herself to not react to the concern she could see in his dark eyes.”

beard boy close up eyes

And a little later:

“Others may have found the scenery soothing, but after parting ways with Zak, [Jade] couldn’t shake her disquiet. Whatever had climbed into his gearbox and died shouldn’t be her concern. But something had changed in their dynamic, and it rankled. After last summer, they’d grown closer… She could count on him to be there at any time, with an encouraging word, snarky quip, or just to lend an ear. He was her faithful shadow. She hadn’t even realized how close they’d become till he cut her off that one night. Stopped coming by the engine room, turned her away for his shift, barely talked to her. Yet he was still there—watching.”

Is anyone else dying to know what happened six months ago? If you’re like me, any hint of romance is a great hook. When authors tantalize readers with unresolved issues, the effect is visceral. We feel the tension and have little choice but to keep reading.

What do you think? Are you ready to join these characters on a high-flying adventure? Check out the giveaway below!

About the Author

During the day, Becky is a stay at home mom of two active little boys. When she has ‘free time’, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and sewing.

After many years of creative writing classes, writing fanfiction drabbles and daydreaming, it was high time to start writing her husband Mike’s story. She dove into the world of Terrene and hasn’t looked back—except for when she runs out of dark chocolate.

Any free time not spent in Terrene is typically expended on hosting dinner and game nights, running amok with the two little monkeys or watching nerdy movies with Mike.

Website— Facebook— Twitter— Instagram— Amazon Author Page

Giveaway Time!

Want to dive into a new world or in need of a good book? Enter to win a signed print copy of Renegade Skyfarer, a Stones of Terrene notepad and pen, Notebook of Writing, and bracelet! (US only.)

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