ravensblood

Ad Hoc Q&A

@ShadowhunterBooks posed some questions to me this weekend via Twitter that I knew I couldn’t answer in 140 characters, so I decided it was timer to return to much much-neglected blog.

 
The first question was whether witches existed in my Ravensblood series and how they differed from mages. Witches, AKA Wiccans, do exist in the alternate-universe world I’ve created for that urban fantasy series. Those familiar with the series will recall that I have imagined three coexisting and co-mingling communities: Art, Craft, and Mundane. Mundanes have either no aptitude for or interest in magic. Art is High Magic, magic for magic’s sake, and tends to be flashier and in some senses more powerful, and its practitioners are mages. Craft encompasses more spiritual, often more nature-based magical traditions. Craft would include Wiccans, shamanic practitioners, and (more rarely) certain more mystical sects of Judeo-Christian and Muslim traditions. Mother Crone is a Wiccan, and she and other Craft practitioners helped hide Raven while he was clearing his name during the second book of the series. Art and Craft seldom mix, although there have been instances of the two being blended, and we will see that happen again in later books in the series.

 
@ShadowhunterBooks also asked for advice on how to incorporated magical beings and pirates into fiction written in a contemporary setting. You see a lot of examples of different approaches to adding in magical beings in urban fantasy and paranormal novels. It’s really not too tricky. You just need to decide what the parameters are during your world-building stage and make certain that you stay consistent. Some questions to ask yourself: Are your magical beings widely known to exist, or are most humans completely unaware? If the former, is this a recent development (as in Charlaine Harris’s vampire novels), or have people always known (as in my Werewolves and Gaslight series—okay, Victorian and not contemporary but the same principle)? Each choice you make has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Pirates are a bit trickier. I’m assuming you want romantic, swashbuckling pirates a la Errol Flynn or Johnny Depp, not modern Somali cutthroats. Since the swashbuckler is so necessarily tied to a certain era and technology level, you have your work cut out for you. Some possibilities that spring to mind: Time-travel of one form or another? Ghost pirates that exist to modern-day? Maybe members of a theatrical troupe that are magically turned into their roles? Immortal former swashbucklers now playing a pirate role at a Renn Faire? Beings from another world or dimension that have a pirate obsession and take cosplay too far?

I’m curious to see what @ShadowhunterBooks comes up with. I do love my pirates.

Yuletide Ravensblood Vignette

To save us all from Satan’s power
When we are gone astray.

Raven didn’t believe in a being of absolute evil, but evil itself he believed in. Had lived with it, had lived under William, for far too long.

And still, somehow, had found his way back to the light. He believed in evil, yes, but he believed in redemption as well.

He was not religious, and he had no particular sentimental attachment to Christmas carols. There had been little enough comfort and joy growing up a Ravenscroft. Neither Cassandra nor Ana were Christian, but apparently Ana’s mother had been, which explained the Christmas carols playing softly from the stereo as he and Cassandra sat on Ana’s sofa, sipping the sweet spice of mulled wine after a particularly fine Yule eve meal, listening to Ana reminisce about when she and Cassandra’s father were young. The charmed lights on the Yule tree glimmered softly, sparking glints of silver from the draped tinsel.

Cassandra leaned against him, warm and soft at his side. Three-quarters of a year since she decided to give them another chance at a relationship, and it still seemed new and fragile, though she’d moved back in with him six months ago when the lease on her flat came up for renewal. A little over a year ago he was still a bad memory she was trying to live down.

Ana kept any misgivings she might have had to herself. Surely she must have misgivings—the last time he had been in a relationship with Cassandra, he had entered into it under false pretenses and, had she not been so clever and so strong-willed, it would have cost her her life. Though Raven had put that time past him, there were some things for which he’d never forgive himself.

Ana had orchestrated a means for him to win a pardon and return to society, but that didn’t necessarily mean she anticipated his return to Cassandra’s life. Yet she gave him a genuine smile as she refilled his glass, a smile that had to be for his benefit alone. Cassandra, snuggled against his shoulder, couldn’t see. For the first time in his life, he felt entirely safe and welcome and at peace. For the first time, he believed in the promise of the returning sun.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

A/N: I closed with a different song snippet in the upcoming audio version because it worked better musically.

 

For more on the solstice, check out my guest blog today over at Here Be Magic!

 

Silver Medal for the Stolen Luck! (and Ravensblood funded)

No blog this week. Too busy being happy. The Kickstarter for Ravensblood funded. I am awed and humbled by the support, and look forward to setting that novel loose in the world this Samhain/Halloween.

Bigger news yet: The Stolen Luck won a silver medal in the Global Ebooks Awards in the category of other world fantasy! So very proud and excited.

Kickstarter started– join the magic

Ravensblood is one of the best things I’ve ever written. . .and I’m not the only one who thinks so. One of my preliminary readers lives in France, and she got on a plane to come visit me and take the Ravensblood tour of Portland! For those of you who haven’t heard me talk about this before, here is the burb:

In a life of impossible choices when sometimes death magic is the lesser of the evils, can a dark mage save the world and his own soul?

Ravensblood is an urban fantasy set in an alternate version of Portland, OR.

Corwyn Ravenscroft—Raven— is the last heir of an ancient family of dark mages. He holds the secret to recreating the Ravensblood, a legendary magical artifact of immense power. As a youth, Raven wanted to be a Guardian—magical law enforcement for the elected council, but was rejected because of his ancestry. In his pride and his anger, he turned to William, the darkest and most powerful mage of their time. William wants a return to the old ways, where the most powerful mage was ruler absolute. But William would not be a True King from the fairy tales. He would reign in blood and terror and darkest magic.

Raven discovers that he does have a conscience. It’s rather inconvenient.

He becomes a spy for the elected council that William wants to overthrow. His contact, Cassandra, is a former apprentice—and a former lover. She had been doing everything she could to live down her past with him. The ambiguous and contradictory feelings between them only add a level of complication.

Cass and Raven think they have a plan to trap William outside his warded sanctuary, where he is most vulnerable. But William is one step ahead of the game, with Raven’s life, his soul, and the Ravensblood all at stake.

Stay tuned for sample chapters at this website! Please pledge if you can, and whether or not you can afford to pledge please help spread the word!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/875531445/ravensblood-compelling-urban-fantasy-set-in-the-pa-0

The Cat Ate My Blog Post

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Plus, there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on around planning for an indie launch of my urban fantasy, Ravensblood, and so that’s taking a bit of time. Meanwhile, I have an interview over here:
http://www.maggie-secara.com/2013/05/yes-thats-two-posts-this-week-and-two.html

Maggie is a great interviewer so I had plenty of opportunity to go into depth about my thoughts on writing The Stolen Luck as well as a sneak peek into future projects.

And there will be a blog post soon, promise!

Seducing the Muse: Using the Five Senses (Part One)

The muse is a fickle thing, and a good writer, like a good lover, knows how to use all five senses to seduce him or her (I do not presume to know the gender of anyone else’s muse). Continue reading