Monthly Archives: November 2015

Free Dory novella is now up.

On the freebies link.

Smashwords version now also up. Click here.

New Dory Novella, Coming December 1

apocalypse

T-Shirts

Someone asked recently about Cassie/Dory merchandise. I talked to Rio, who has her own design site now and we are in the process of getting some cute designs made for the website. I’m not putting these on Cafe Press or a similar site, because their prices are kind of ridiculous these days. Instead, Rio is making transparent background images of her designs (and some new ones) so you can easily do transfers at home for very little. Or, if you don’t want the hassle, you can make your own shirts/mugs/whatever with them on a number of sites (even Cafe Press, which I like for quality just not for the price!) The designs should be up on the website next week, under the Freebies tab. Feel free to use them for yourself/friends/family, etc., just please don’t upload them to a website in order to make money off them! I wouldn’t mention this, but I had a problem recently.

Anyway, the reason I brought this up now, is because Rio wants to know what your favorite quotes are from the series that might go well on t-shirts. She’s going to take the most liked ones and optimize them, so that they’ll come out best on your shirts. These are some she likes:

“I wasn’t entirely sure, but a polite John Pritkin might be a sign of the apocalypse.” Embrace the Night

“My sometimes friend, sometimes enemy, all the time pain in the ass.” Hunt the Moon

“A legend is merely a man history decided to bugger.” Hunt the Moon

“To know Pritkin was to want to kill him, but so far I’d resisted temptation.” Embrace the Night

“I have a theory about war mages,” I said. “The more powerful they are, the worse the hair.” Curse the Dawn

“He was an enigma, John Pritkin: a mad scientist with gun calluses and old scars and even more secrets than me.” Embrace the Night

Please vote/leave your own ideas today. As Rio says: “I am trying to get all of this done by early next week so people can print them out for Christmas gifts. I found some really cool iron on peel transfer paper at Walmart for less than 10 bucks for 10 sheets. What a fun craft present to make for your friends for Christmas!”

Yep, sounds fun to me!

Q and A #57

Major spoilers for Reap the Wind below. You have been warned!

1) Rosier all but told Cassie that his son’s mother had a fair share of fey blood. Will we learn more about her parentage and maybe even meet some of Pritkin’s extended relations?

I don’t do spoilers normally, but I don’t think it really is one in this case since it was hinted at broadly enough in RTW. Yes, you find out about Pritkin’s mother in RTS.

2) Rhea is Agnes’ daughter, does that mean Agnes had her when she was about 60? I guess since mages get much older than normal humans they probably also stay fertile for longer. Did she only get to look so much older and more frail in recent years because of the poisoning then?

Mages normally live more than double the average human lifespan (roughly 200 years) so sixty to them would not be sixty to us, more like late twenties. And Agnes is never described in the books as looking elderly. She looked middle age because the Pythian office is tough on people. And of course, yes, by the time Cassie meets her she doesn’t look well because she is dying.

3) Little hairy nuggets with big noses… I’m picturing an entire village of Captain Cavemans. Did you make them up or are you describing a known mythical creature?

Forest trolls. They’re a thing. 🙂

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4) What enables Cassie to shift a null? Tami caused problems for her power once, is there a way to dampen that effect?

Nulls exert a passive dampening effect naturally, although they can rein it in somewhat. But the majority of the time, their power is like any other witch’s, except that it works in the reverse. In other words, they have to make an effort to counter major magic, which is what Cassie’s is. But, of course, Cassie had to learn that, which she hadn’t done by Embrace the Night (which is what I’m assuming you’re referring to).

5) We have not seen modern day Pritkin pull any major glamors (1790s was the last I recall). If he could rely on his incubus side again or more, would large scale glamors be back on the table or are they simply not useful in his modern fight repertoire?

They would be very useful. But without his incubus side, they are too expensive magically. What you saw him do in Wales is NOT in the repertoire of the average mage, or even above average ones.

6) Once upon a time there was a question in the Q&A about what Mircea’s thoughts were regarding Pritkin. The answer was something like a nuisance that did the job he was given. Now in RTW Cassie had quite vivid dreams about who she thought was Pritkin, even calling his name once, which I think Mircea couldn’t help but notice. If he knows that another man (who is working closely with her) is starring in her dreams does that change his view of the mage? Would he feel threatened by that or take it in stride. I imagine the answer might be slightly different now than she was then…

I think Mircea made it clear in RTW that he isn’t happy about Pritkin being in Cassie’s service. But, at the moment, Pritkin isn’t there to be a problem. He’s lost, and the vampires would all probably prefer him to stay that way.

Mircea, however, views Pritkin as less of an issue than the consul. She is suspicious of his growing power base, and that includes Cassie. So, as I said recently in another Q&A, that puts Mircea in a difficult position. On the one hand, he’s expected to keep Cassie under control for the senate,
and willing to oblige them as needed. But, on the other, he’s being kept from spending much time with her, and thereby deepening their relationship, both because of legitimate senate needs (like filling their empty seats) and because of the consul’s active opposition. She wants Cassie under control, but under her control, not Mircea’s. And she has reason to know first-hand just how charming he can be if he gets the chance.

7) I was a bit embarrassed when my Romanian colleague told me about her then-boyfriend ‘Mirsha’ and I suddenly saw his name written down (she was showing me something of her phone) and it read: Mircea. Until then I had always pronounced it Mir-tseh-ah/Mir-zee-ah or something like that in my head. So could you maybe write the pronunciation in the Q&A section?

I’ve already done that in a previous q&a. But for anyone who missed it, it’s pronounced Meercha.

8) Will Lia de Croissets ever meet any of the main characters from the books (in the books)? Or is that a spoiler?

That would be a spoiler. However, I can say that you may see Lia in some upcoming novellas.

9) What happened to Bezio after Masks? Will he be mentioned in the books again?

If I get a chance to do Bones, the follow up to Masks, then yes. Otherwise, probably not.

10) The vampire Senate distrusts the Circle and their mages (and there is a whole lot of prejudice and resentment on both sides) but I wonder, what do the vampires, especially Mircea and Marlowe (since he had personal experiences with the Coven back in Britain) think about Coven witches and their magic? I’m not talking about their (political) power, since the Circle doesn’t let them get any, but about the Coven members themselves? Circle mage = unreasonable, manipulating, power-hungry psychos, Coven witch?

Coven witch=irrelevant. The vampires don’t think of them much at all. There’s really no separating the power and the person for vamps. It’s how their whole system is organized. As Mircea told Cassie in RTW, the covens are broken into factions with no common leader like the Circle has, so their power is minimal. And little power to a vampire means you are irrelevant.

Hope that helps! 🙂

Q and A #56

Q&A #56

Some more questions in today. Most are Reap the Wind specific, so please keep it in mind if you haven’t read the book.

1. Just finished reading Reap the Wind and am now over-bubbling with anticipation for Ride the Storm. Reap the Wind was a humongous book!! It was awesomely long!! Which I loved, loved, loved. And the Dory crossover again but from Cassie’s POV – so exciting. Loved it all.

I got to thinking about the powers of the vampires though and was wondering, if one first-level master vampire is the equivalent of a bunch of armies and the power decreases from there depending on what level master you are, the how the heck have the mages managed to fight them off all these years and not let them take over? The poor mages never seem to win any of the battles between them and vampires (or is that just because we see more from the vampires POVs?)

Well, first, because masters are scarce. Like, really scarce. You don’t see that so much in my books, because they are dealing with Mircea’s family and the senate, etc. But there aren’t many masters around at all, which is why Mircea wanted Cassie’s help in building him an army. Mages outnumber vamps, but they really outnumber masters. So, while a mage versus a master vamp would be toast, a mage versus a regular old run of the mill vamp . . . well, that’s a very different thing. Plus, kill enough run of the mill vamps, and you start to cut at their masters’ power base.

And, second, because mages are tricky. They are constantly coming up with new spells, etc. to balance the scales with the senate. And they’ve pretty much done so, at least to the point that neither side is willing to risk war.

2. In comparison to a first-level master, how powerful is modern day Pritkin? He was stopped in one of the earlier books by a bunch of masters when he tried to kill Cassie but there seemed to be a big scuffle before they could restrain him.

Pritkin gave up a huge amount of power when he lost his incubus abilities. But even without them, he was still a very strong war mage, still knew a lot about three different magical systems (demon, fey and human) and had a great deal of knowledge gained from hundreds of years of study and experience. All of which explains why the senate had trouble with him in TTD. Well, that and the fact that they were trying to restrain him without killing him (and thus coming into conflict with the Circle), and without giving anything away about their abilities that he couldn’t already have known. That put the brakes on some things that would have ended that fight really fast.

3. Would he be as powerful as a first-level master if he could use his incubus powers as well as his mage powers?

It would depend on the master.

4. Could he take on a bunch of first-level masters?

Again, which ones? And are they all fighting together? And what do you mean by take on? Immobilizing them, shielding against them, hiding from them would all be pretty easy with his incubus powers restored. You saw him elude an entire battlaion of fey in Reap the Wind, and that’s not easy. Killing them, however . . . well, killing first level masters is crazy difficult, plus most of the ones available are on his side! For those who aren’t . . . let’s say it would be a hell of a fight.

5. Is he secretly more bad-assed than any of them? Will Cassie ever rescue his soul?! Okay, you don’t have to answer that last one.

Lol! He’s certainly far more formidable with his power fully online, so to speak, than with it hobbled. But that’s the thing, and the point Artemis was making to Cassie in their conversation in Tempt the Stars: Pritkin doesn’t really know what he can do/who he is. He’s never had a chance to find out. He shut out the demon side of him early, after his first trip into hell seriously traumatized him, and has never really explored that side of himself since. Just passively, his incubus abilities gave him a good deal of extra strength. But what else can they do? And what can they do combined with the other strains of magic in his genetics? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t really even know much about his ancestry, at this point. So the answer to your question is still up in the air. But one thing is certain: he couldn’t grow or explore with Rosier’s prohibition on him, which basically left him in a state of suspended animation for a century. If it ever gets lifted . . . well, then we’ll have to see. 🙂

Q and A #55

Again, there are spoilers below. Proceed at your own risk.

1) I’m still a bit confused with all the fey names and allegiances but was Artemis on the Aesir or Vanir side?

The Vanir. Remember her forest in Tempt the Stars? One of the Æsir could not have grown that.

2) Getting kinda confused by the various houses and clans of the Fey. Would it be possible to briefly explain who’s who? I just can’t keep them straight.

Pritkin did a pretty good job of outlining the three main clans (of the light fey) in Reap the Wind, but I’ll summarize what the books have said so far:

Alorestri: They live mainly in the forests and like to wear green (as camouflage.) Came to be known to humans as the Green Fey as a result. The more correct term, and the one used in faerie, is Water Lords.

Basic characteristics: Forest dwelling, water bending, Excalibur giving group who like human women, like them really, really well, in fact, because they’re constantly fighting the dark fey and need warriors. Known to be slavers, mainly of human women, they are therefore the most common group of light fey seen on earth. Also ruled by a woman, known as the Lady of Lakes and Oceans.

Svarestri: They are known in faerie as the Earth Lords, because of their affinity for that element. They used to worship the Æsir, the gods of battle (Thor/Apollo, Tyr/Ares and Odin/Zeus) and were gifted by them with an ability with lightning, thunder, storms, etc. You have seen them use both in the Dory books.

Their royal livery is black, therefore they came to be known as the Black Fey to humans, not that they meet many as they rarely come to earth. They do trade with humans though (hence the portal you saw in RTW) mainly for food as they live in an inhospitable, cold, rocky land so are constantly
trading/raiding for food. But human traders have to come to them. They detest earth as a corrupt, polluted land and refuse to intermarry with humans.

They have the purest form of fey blood as a result. Ruled by Aeslinn, Æsubrand’s father.

Blarestri: The name means Blue Fey, both because the royal colors are blue and gold and because of where they live, which is high in the mountains. They worship the Vanir, the old fertility gods, and therefore have an affinity with growing things as well as with their favorite element of air. They are known in Faerie as the Sky Lords.

They are the strongest clan among the fey, and the current rulers. Their king is Caedmon, who had a son named Heidar with a human woman a century or so ago. But as half human, Heidar can never succeed to the throne. Heidar’s wife is part human, too (Claire) but also part dark fey, and has slightly more
than half fey blood. As a result, their son is more than half fey, allowing him to be the heir to the Blarestri throne. His name is Aiden, and he is currently watching SpongeBob in Brooklyn.

3) (This one came in late, to my email address, but it went so well with the overall subject that I added it).

I have noticed a significant change—and from what I know so far, incompatibility—between the light-fey magic systems, and their distinctions with respect to Svarestri vs. Blarestri, in RtW and the Dory(/Claire) books. It was Æsubrand who wielded the winds, not just earth. The Svarestri controlled THE elements, with most having ability in one or a few. Æsubrand was particularly gifted, both in strength and being able to command all four elements. What happened?

a) You must keep in mind what the fey had originally, and what they received from the gods they worshipped, when they became their followers. All fey can command the elements to a degree, but different clans tend to specialize. The Svarestri were always Earth Lords; their clan just developed a special affinity for that element. But the Aesir (gods like Zeus of the thunderbolt fame) also gave them ability with storms, the Aesir’s favorite weapon.

b) Aesubrand is a mutt, being a hybrid of different kinds of fey. Caedmon’s sister Effridis (of the Blarestri royal line) married Aeslinn of the Svarestri to end a war, and became Aesubrand’s mother. Plus various Water Lords turn up in both his family lines. He therefore has attributes of many clans, not just one. It was the reason he was thought to be the perfect heir to unite all faerie. There was also another reason Aeslinn wanted a son who was master of all the elements, but that will have to wait as it’s a spoiler. 🙂

4) Early on in Reap the Wind (I think somewhere in chapter 12), Marco says to Cassie: “Four months ago you were answering phones and making copies at a travel agency.” Has it really only been 4 months since book 1 or did I misread that?

Yes. In fact, it’s not quite four yet. This has all been one long summer.

You know Cassie constantly thinks of herself as ignorant or not-as-good-as-Agnes, but in reality, she has picked up things lightning fast.

5) The only political body that seems to take Cassie seriously in RtW is the demon council. They listen to her about the acolytes and she even asks them to help in the battle at the end. Why is their attitude different from the Senate and the Circle?

Remember how Artemis used Cassie’s desire to save Pritkin (in Tempt the Stars) to get in front of the demon council? And remember how she acted once there? A lot of people seem to have missed the fact that she was a total condescending bitch in that scene. I guess they put it down to the arrogance of the goddess, as Rosier would put it. But there was a bit more to it than that.

Judging by Artemis’ comments, it was clear that she was not there for Pritkin. He’d been the excuse to get Cassie to do what she wanted, but Artemis’s reason for wanting to talk to the council herself wasn’t mainly to help him. It wasn’t even to warn them about Ares, which Cassie could have done as easily, like she could have pushed the idea of an alliance. Artemis didn’t need to be there so much for what she had to say but for how she said it.

The council was used to being the chief power in this realm. Neither the Senate nor the Circle could remotely match them, or their sphere of influence, which was definitely not restricted to one little world. They were used to being feared, respected, and kowtowed to. They were used to being the last word on anything they deigned to concern themselves with. They were used to being top dog.

And yet, in a matter of minutes, Artemis had destroyed all that, had them all but wetting themselves, because they suddenly remembered what it felt like to be the underdog. So small, so inconsequential, so powerless that she laughed at them, a dead goddess laughed at them repeatedly, and mocked the very thought that their so-called power could stand against any of her kind, much less the god of war. They were given a sudden, vivid reminder of the old days, vivid enough that they (after a brief period of all-out panic) went running to ally themselves with the daughter of their greatest enemy, because she was literally the only chance they had.

Why does the council support Cassie? Because they take her, and their situation, seriously. They were alive at the time of the last war—many of them, anyway—and they just got slapped across the face with a reminder of exactly how bad things were. Unlike the vamps and mages, who are still coming around, still playing power games, still vying with each other for influence, the Council is gearing up for all-out war.

And Cassie is the best ally they’ve got.

6) Why has Cassie never asked Mircea about the pictures she keeps finding?

The same reason he hasn’t asked her about the picture of her and Pritkin in the newspaper. They really do have two relationships; Mircea wasn’t wrong about that. And they’re in the middle of a crisis. Risking their political relationship over a problem in their personal one wouldn’t make a lot of sense right now.

Q and A #54

Some questions just came in about Reap the Wind. Please be aware that there are spoilers below if you haven’t read it.

1) Was that the senate’s first time into hell? That scene was hilarious they sounded completely out of their depth.

Thanks, I love that scene! Their reaction was surprise as much as anything. They’d expected Mircea to tap into Cassie’s seidr spell, so they could all talk to her in her Vegas suite. To go from that to hell, and a particularly tense moment in hell, took a bit of an adjustment. Some of them may have been there before, but not like that, and not so abruptly.

2) It kind of looked like Mircea was really using sex to get answers out of Cassie about the demon council or am I just being paranoid?

Yes and no. Mircea has never minded mixing business and pleasure, and to be fair to him, Cassie was pretty much doing the same thing there. So no harm, no foul. The problem came a few minutes later, when Mircea made his pitch about the vamp army. Cassie was upset because she felt like he had used their time together to soften her up and that the army had been his real reason for calling her. That it had just been a way to ensure that she’d do as he liked, not because he genuinely wanted to see her, and that hurt. They also had an agreement not to use their private lives to influence each other politically, and Mircea had just broken it. Which was especially annoying because it had been his idea in the first place! He, of course, could make the claim that the army pitch was scheduled for later, but that he’d moved it up in response to a question Cassie had asked, and that it was just an extension of their previous conversation. You could make a case either way, but Cassie didn’t like it.

3) Will we find out how the Silver Circle and the Demon Council formed an alliance? I find that really interesting.

If it becomes relevant. The problem with backstory is that I already get accused of putting too much in the books, so am becoming gun shy.

4) Mircea kind of lost his shit with Cassie way more than we saw him do in the Dorina books in the same timeline. Is there any particular reason for this?

Yes. The scene where Cassie and Mircea get into it was unusual for the number of stressors on Mircea.

a) It was the same night that Lawrence was supposedly killed and ten other masters along with him. The scene at Dory’s house was hours later, and Mircea had had time to get his game face on. The senate meeting, on the other hand, was that same night, only an hour or so after the massacre. Mircea had just lost eleven masters that he was going to have to account for to some very unhappy, very important people. So it started with his nerves on edge. Otherwise, he would almost certainly have handled things better.

b) It was at that same emergency meeting that it was decided to press Cassie for the army. The whole senate was there, but Mircea was the one expected to deliver. The pressure was on him, far more than on any of them, because Cassie was seen as his responsibility. And her intransigence was viewed as his failure. And that was despite the fact that the consul’s concern over his growing power base was one of the reasons he hadn’t been able to spend much time with her/gain her trust more! So he was being put in an impossible position.

c) He’d just almost lost a vampire of his family line (Casanova), and been unable to help him (a major source of shame for a master).

d) He was in hell, not the place he’d expected to be when he tapped into Cassie’s seidr link. That’s going to throw a guy.

e) Jules was still human, and he wanted his servant back.

f) From Mircea’s perspective, Cassie’s attitude made no damned sense at all. If Ares really was trying to come back, shouldn’t they be doing everything possible to prevent that? If they didn’t know how to fight a god–and they didn’t–then preventing his entry into earth seemed the only plan likely to
save all their asses. Yes, an army of master vamps might be a little difficult to control later on, but even worse case scenario, could they really do more harm than a vengeful god? Her counter argument, that all the signs pointed to Ares coming back, and soon, no matter what they did, didn’t have much of an impact. Because that left Mircea feeling helpless, and he’d had enough of that for one night. He wanted something to do, but he needed her help for that and she wasn’t giving it. And his mental state was too messy at the time for the usual patented charm. Basically, he lost it.

Hope that helps!

Tor Sweepstakes

To celebrate the publication of Reap the Wind, Tor is doing a giveaway for the entire series. So, if you missed a book or three, here’s a chance to get ’em for free. Hey, that rhymed, lol!

Check it out here.