Free Cassie Short!

Literary Escapism is doing a Christmas thing, y’all! Lots of fun stories from lots of writers. I contributed a Cassie short, which will be up on December 20th. But there’s plenty of other good reads over there, too, some of which are already up. Go check ’em out!

Audiobook Winners!

The following people won audiobooks! Hit me up with your address, and I’ll get them right out to you:

Virginia Jareger

Mike Brearly

Katy Heminger

Josephine Egedal

Alexa Parcell

And thanks for playing!

 

 

 

Audiobook Giveaway!

Ride the Storm audiobooks just came in. I’ll do a drawing tomorrow for five. Send me an email (KarenChance@hotmail.com) with “Audiobook Giveaway” in the title bar, and you’re automatically entered. Good luck!

The group on tumblr is doing a bunch of stuff about Ride the Storm next week.

http://thepythiancourt.tumblr.com/post/165307194550/thepythiancourt-ride-the-storm-is-finally-out

They asked me to let you know. 🙂

Q and A #64

The last Q&A was supposed to be it for a while, but a few additional questions came in. Actually, more than a few, but the others were spoiler-ish, and I try to avoid those. So, here it is–the last Q&A for Ride the Storm–I swear! Enjoy, lol!

 

1. Love your Q/As; thank you! Belated (and long) question (sorry). Totally understand if you don’t have time to answer or if it’s spoiler-y. Sooooo… Pythias should be able to see variations of outcomes and/or “ask” their power for “advice” about courses of action, which poor Cassie is having a very difficult, frustrating time with doing and getting responses. However, the other Pythias chasing Cassie (and Rosier) presumably don’t have the same problem because they’ve been trained well. Gertie, and maybe Lydia being her mentor and thereby supportive, is clearly very firmly in the belief she’s always right (plus Cassie is creating a lot of, or being a part of much mayhem, and in the company of a demon lord, so you can’t entirely blame Gertie for her ire or belief Cassie is up to no good). That said, at the big showdown of Jo vs Cassie (or before)—which is Pythia and which is rogue?—aren’t or don’t any of the other Pythias wonder/question their power about what would happen if Cassie disappears (is killed/executed)? I figure a pretty apocalyptic vision would likely present itself, wouldn’t it? Or had Gertie and/or Lydia pretty much convinced them all of her/their POV? (Aside: Really liked the idea/reality of “contingency acolytes,” especially when Jonas was blindsided, too.)

Two part answer:

A. Pythias have two ways of seeing into the future: visions and the short term projection you saw Cassie do in this book a couple of times. The former are a problem, being hard to interpret and also not being the kind of thing you can just order up. You might want a vision about this weird chick who is determinedly bringing a demon lord through time, but you might get one about a traffic accident in Chicago. It’s just not an exact science. The short term projection, likewise, gives you the possibilities branching off from your timeline for the next five or ten minutes, maybe fifteen if you’re really lucky. It would not help in this case, either, because Ares’ return did not fall within that time frame.

B. However, you don’t need all that. The easy answer is that the power knew that helping Cassie in this instance would lose them the war.

The pythias could have asked the power about Cassie, and probably did. Gertie probably did, more than once. They got nothing back. Because the power knew that Cassie needed to have that fight with Jo. That’s one reason it called the pythias away, while she was in the Badlands. Yes, they were needed to hold up Ares, but they also couldn’t be allowed to rescue her. Getting thrown out of time by Jo led to Cassie meeting Apollo’s ghost, which she needed in order to have any chance to win. It also led her to possess the fey commander, and as a direct result of that, she was able to influence the battle and to get the shield down that was protecting the device. There was no other way she could have done either of those things. So “helping” Cassie by allowing the other pythias to get a clear image of her honesty would have cost them the war.

 

2. Why was Mircea able to confuse Ares on the drag (if it was Ares)?

It was Ares, yes.

To explain how Mircea was able to confuse him, you have to recall that seidr was designed by the gods to be a communications spell for their use. It wasn’t intended for anyone else. It wasn’t even thought that anyone else could use it, because of the power drain. But, when calling locally, so to speak, as Aeslinn did on the battle field in order to command his troops, a powerful fey lord can manage it. Or a powerful pythia, hijacking a spell to run amuck. 🙂

However, when used to communicate between worlds, it’s a different story. It takes a huge amount of power. Of course, if two gods are speaking together, each fueling half of the link, it’s not so bad. But when Ares had to bear the burden alone, it limited him, which is why Mircea was able to confuse him in the battle on the drag. It helped that Mircea is a master mentalist, of course, and they were battling in his preferred arena–never a good idea. But Ares would have swamped him easily if he’d been there in person.

Unfortunately for Ares, he wasn’t.

 

3. I love Casanova, but he wasn’t in this book at all. Will he be back?

Casanova asks me to tell you that he is gratified to finally find someone with some discernment. Far too many people spend their time drooling over that muscle bound mage, or that smooth, shifty vampire. He’s even heard of people admiring Marco–Marco! A brick wall in vampire form! When the obvious choice is right here. It’s ridiculous.

So, yes, he will be back; in fact, he never left. But there is so much work to be done, and god knows nobody else does anything around here but him. Did you know the Drag is missing? Someone has to fix that. And, for once, it’s going to be someone with some taste. Like you. <3

 

4. I still don’t understand about Ares. Why is killing him in the 6th century not going to destroy the time line?

Because Ares is outside of earth’s time line for almost all of Ride the Storm. He is in the time line occupied by the gods’ realm for all but the last bit of the book. He’s been there since Artemis banished all the gods back to their realm in ancient times. He has not been able to return to earth since then.

He has, however, been able to influence things here somewhat, for example with his Spartoi (demigod children left behind when Artemis banished the gods, because the banishment spell didn’t apply to demigods), through the suit of armor and accompanying arms that he possessed while still here on earth, and through the seidr spell. But he himself has not been here. He is still in the realm of the gods.

And when is he in that timeline? In what we’re going to call the present day. Time has, after all, been passing there just like on earth. Not in exactly the same way (as with faerie, there are always discrepancies) but close enough. So, if he’s in the present in his timeline, how does he get to the 6th century in ours?

Think of our two timelines as a hotel hallway. There are doors on either side, and each side of the hall is a different time stream. There’s also a hallway of non-time in between. Now, Ares is behind one of the doors on his side of the hall, one labeled “present day”. But that is present day in his timeline, not ours. He wants to be on the other side of the hall, preferably inside a door labeled “6th century” for reasons I explain in the next question. But for now, just picture him on one side of the hall, with a cell phone with wonky service, trying to call a room across the hall to tell them to open a door for him. Okay?

Now. he has to have someone open that door. He doesn’t have the key, much less a master key to open any door like, say, a pythia would have. He is powerful but not omnipotent. He has his skills, but he also has plenty of things he cannot do, one of which is to manipulate time. So he can open none of those doors for himself.

He also can’t just blast through the wall like Jo and fey are trying to do, because Artemis’ spell is too strong for the gods to penetrate it from the outside. But inside of the spell is a different story. It wasn’t designed to keep things in, but rather to keep them out, so it is more vulnerable on our side. Someone with enough power, say four god-forged weapons and everything Aeslinn can muster, might be able to open a crack in that 6th century door, and a crack is all Ares needs. He’ll do the rest.

So, someone on our side opens the door. And when they do, that one is the only one Ares can move through. He can’t shift through time; he can’t even go running around non-time because he isn’t a necromancer with a pet ghost. Ares is an immensely powerful being, but he can’t do everything and anything. Until that door is open, he isn’t going anywhere.

To sum up, Ares did not change time because he wasn’t here to change it. He was in his time line (in his room fiddling with his cell phone) until Jo and the fey cracked that door, and then he jumped across the hall and died trying to muscle the rest of the way through it. He never had a chance to change anything, except through the limited means I mentioned above, which he did while in his own timeline before he transitioned into ours. Does that make sense?

 

5. So why the sixth century? Why not just go back before there was a barrier at all?

A) Because Ares wanted to have it all. Going back to ancient times meant that the other gods would be there, too, because they hadn’t yet been banished. He would have had to share. He doesn’t share well.

But coming back in the 6th century meant that the gods are gone, except for a weakened Artemis who he could deal with at his leisure. In the present day, there are many more powerful forces ready to oppose him, and he while he’s pretty sure he could beat them, look at what happened to Artemis when she became overconfident. He won’t have an army with him when he returns, because the other gods would notice him assembling an army and want to know what he’s up to. If he’s going to rule it all alone, he has to win it all alone, and that means fighting in a time that gives him an advantage. And that means the sweet spot between when the gods were kicked out and the present day. Specifically, it means a time when his fey allies have painstakingly assembled the means to bring him back: the 6th century.

B) How is Jo, who has to open that door, remember, supposed to get back to ancient times? She’d need a river of Tears (which she doesn’t have) and a decade or so to slowly work her way back there with danger at every stop. Or else she’d have to spend a lot of time in the Badlands, and remember what happened to Cassie in the Badlands? It’s a dangerous place.

But let’s say she gets back to the ancient world. What is she going to do for power? How is she supposed to open that door? She wouldn’t have that suit of armor then. And if she makes a plea to the gods, trying to tell them what’s coming, Artemis will kill her. Or one of them will kill her, thinking she’s an upstart human trying to sow division in their ranks. They weren’t exactly known for taking advice from humans, were the ancient gods. And as stated above, Ares doesn’t want to come back then anyway.

Q and A #63

1. How can two gods be killed back in time and not upset the timeline? Apollo had a lot to do with Cassie’s story. Doesn’t killing him in the past ruin the current timeline?

I’ve gotten several versions of this, so let me see if I can clarify what happened. Two gods died on that battlefield in the 6th century. Let’s look at each of them.

First, Apollo, since you asked about him specifically. Apollo had been flushed into the badlands at the end of Curse the Dawn, a place that is outside any time stream. When Cassie encounters him there, after Jo throws her spirit outside time, he’s already dead. It’s his ghost she encounters, not him. He’s there because everything in CTD already happened.

Think of the Badlands as a room with many doors opening into it. Cassie entered through one marked “6th century”, because that’s where she was when she was pushed outside time. Apollo was already there, having entered through another door marked “Present Day”, or whatever day it was when he died at the end of CTD. They met up in that “room” outside time, then again during the battle, when Cassie opened the door marked “6th century” and let him out. He entered the 6th century then and was killed, but at that point, he’d already done everything leading up to CTD. So nothing in the timeline changed because Apollo’s ghost was destroyed.

Secondly, Ares. He wasn’t in earth’s timeline at all, had never been since Artemis threw him and the other gods out. He had been in the realm of the gods ever since, trying to find a way to get back. And making mischief as best he could from another realm.

He’s still there in this book, waiting for Jo and the fey to open a door through Artemis’ barrier into our world. That door was opened in the sixth century, because it would make his takeover easier since he was coming alone, without an army to back him up, but it could have been anywhere. Ares stepping through the door (or trying to) into the sixth century didn’t change what he’d already done in his timeline to affect Cassie’s story. And because he died still trying to get through that door, he didn’t affect anything here on earth afterwards, either.

But wait, you’ll say. What about that big battle? Wouldn’t something like THAT affect time?

Well, sure, if it hadn’t already been fought. Remember, the reason the fey could tell Jo what to do to bring Ares back was because they’d already tried it. There had been a battle in the 6th century to begin with, only they hadn’t had the final piece of the puzzle. They hadn’t had Caedmon’s staff. That’s what all that running around in Reap the Wind was about: them trying to get the staff and failing. Without it, they still had the battle, not originally knowing that three pieces wouldn’t have enough power to do the job. But they failed to bring through a god and basically got their butts kicked. But in Ride the Storm, they succeeded.

Cassie, therefore, wasn’t changing time by what she did during the battle. She was keeping it from being changed. Originally, the bad guys had lacked one of the pieces of that god-forged suit of armor, and the spell wouldn’t work without all four. She was trying to make sure that they were still missing a piece, even after Nimue ended up with the staff. That was why she wanted Pritkin to steal Excalibur for her, because it was one of the four, and if the other side lost it, the spell wouldn’t work. But she failed, and with all four pieces, the other side was in danger of changing the timeline, because that’s not the way it originally went. So, when she couldn’t stop them one way, she did it another, by utilizing Apollo’s ghost.

So, yes, two gods died in the 6th century. But neither was supposed to be there in the first place, so time was healed. Make sense?

 

2. In Lover´s Knot Marlowe said that the Pythia told him to save Anthony. Will it happen in Cassie #9? I kept waiting for it in RtS.

No. Cassie, as pythia, occasionally gets insight into things, and will tell whichever group in the supernatural community she thinks it will help. This is normal pythia stuff. That story is over, and I wouldn’t want to bore you by rehashing it.

 

3. Will we somehow see Dorina´s attack on Cassie through Dory´s eyes? Or will she have no idea, since Dorina did it? 

 No, Dory doesn’t know that happened.

 

4. Was Ares really destroyed forever by Arthur´s blow, or can he somehow nurture himself (as a ghost, the way Apollo tried to do)?

Ares and Apollo are both very dead.

 

5. Should we worry about long-lasting effects of Pritkin’s starvation diet on his health or power level, or has the fact that he fed on the Pythian power remedied all his problems? If I remember correctly, Artemis was dying due to underfeeding. But she was also much older, much more starved, and not even partially human, so her situation might be a lot different than poor Pritkin’s.

Pritkin may have some issues from having his powers back online, so to speak. But, no, his human half kept him from starving to death. So that’s not going to be one of them.

 

6. Rosier mentioned that back in Middle-Ages, he was going by Myrddin, and yet Morgaine addressed him as Rosier. Was Myrddin his ‘camouflage’, the humble advisor he pretended to be to gain Uther’s favor? Or does Rosier think of himself as having many names, kinda like King Arthur (or even Pritkin!), and Rosier is his demon name?

Rosier has had many names through the years, but Rosier was his first, and is the one he identifies most closely with. Morgaine, of course, sussed out who he really was, while they were together. So that is the name she used.

 

So, those are all the questions I’ve received about RTS that I can answer. If yours wasn’t answered, it was probably because it was asking about future storylines or things that will be discussed in future books. I try really hard to avoid spoilers, because it minimizes other people’s enjoyment of the books. I hope you understand, and I hope you had fun with these Q&As!

Q and A #62

So, this group of questions came in, some of which had a somewhat . . . combative . . . air about them. Since I, of course, love all my readers, I would never even think of answering them in a similar style. So I’ve let Ray do it. He’s from the Dorina Basarab series, but he reads Cassie novels because he has good taste. Warning: He also has a foul mouth. I apologize in advance. He was the only person I could get since he doesn’t have a job right now and . . . I’m sorry.

Okay, take it away, Ray!

1) What happens to Sam and Daisy, are they stuck in the past?

Yeah, sure. ‘Cause leaving Daisy the Crazy in the 6th century couldn’t possibly fuck anything up, right? Cassie borrowed her from her father, and when we borrow something, what do we do? Well, I mean, I usually hide out somewhere and hope people forget about it, ’cause thanks to my asshole ex-master burning down my club, I have, like, negative money right now. And Dory is broker than I am. But, you know. Most people.

2) Why is Cassie able to understand mouthed words with the translation spell now? She was pretty sure she couldn’t before.

Page number. Or a quote. Anything. Not gonna spend two hours looking up a vague reference. I got shit to do here.

3) When Pritkin is cursed in TtS, he seems dead. Cassie says he has no heartbeat or other sign of life. Later we’re told that he is in a sort of stasis, so he can revive when the counter spell is cast. Yet at the end of RtS his beard has grown. Was that since the counter spell?

Sure. Let’s go with that.

4) When P was cursed, Rosier blamed Cassie for getting P killed and grabbed Pritkin’s body. Then Cassie & Caleb were shifted back to Earth. No one knew P would/ could be revived. A few Earth hours later the counter spell was given. It was just hours on Earth, but how long in hell? What had R done with the body?

Rosier kept the body in place while he argued with the demon council over the counter spell. If there was even a chance to revive his son, he wanted it. And he got it, thanks to the council watching Cassie, and seeing something they didn’t expect from the freaking daughter of Artemis.

5) Did Rosier bring P’s body then and give it to Caleb? How likely is that?

Whaddya mean, how likely is that? You bein’ sassy? ‘Cause it sounds like you bein’ sassy. So, okay, smarty pants, what do you think he shoulda done? Let’s look at the options, shall we?

So you’re Rosier. You’re gonna be away for an unknown amount of time, because Cassie is a disaster, so who knows what’s gonna happen on this supposed simple mission back through time. You fear for your life, you really do. But there’s nobody else willing to do this for your kid, so it’s gotta be you. But that leaves Pritkin . . . where, exactly?

Stupid Option #1: You take him back to your court. Only . . . some of your asshole nobles already tried to kill him in the past and probably still want to. They want the head honcho position if they ever manage to off you, so getting rid of this weirdly powerful thing you made while he can’t defend himself? Pie, baby. Delicious, delicious pie.

Pritkin wouldn’t have lasted a day.

Stupid Option #2: Leave the body at your other court in the Shadowland, where plenty of demons would also like to see your kid dead, or drain him of whatever life he has left. Cause, like in stupid option #1, you don’t know who all of Pritkin’s enemies are, do ya? But you know he has them, on the council as well as Joe demon in the street, and without you there watching him, you really think your pansy ass guards are gonna keep a member of council out if they want in? They just killed him once, you gonna trust them after that?

Oh, you are? Well good thing you weren’t calling the shots, huh?

Stupid Option 3: Try to hide him on earth somewhere, or on some other world, without telling anybody. But then, who you gonna get to guard him? I mean, you gotta have a guard, right? A dingo ate a baby once; you gonna leave your baby inside a cave or something and hope nothing eats him? Or you gonna leave him with a guard you aren’t sure you can trust?

Only Smart Option: Give the body into the safekeeping of Pritkin’s good buddy Caleb, who has no reason to hurt him, and who most of your court don’t even know exists. He can hide it out on earth until you get back.

6) I feel like reality changed on us. Now Pritkin was only in a coma? Really?

Really? Really? You talkin’ to me? I SAID, ARE YOU TALKIN’ TO ME?

Anyway, she said it was like a coma. She was making a simile. A comparison. A this-crazy-magic-thing-is-sort-of-like-this-other-thing-we-have-in-reality-so-maybe-it-will-help-you-understand-better. But, hey, fuck her, right? I told her she should stop answering questions, or at least start charging. Like, a buck a question. Or ten bucks for stupid questions. So, she owes me a hundred bucks. Hey, Karen, you owe me a hundred bucks!

7) And what kept him alive for a week?

He wasn’t alive, he wasn’t dead. He was something in between. He was cursed. Kind of like I feel right now.

8) When was the counterspell cast? After Ares was sent back but before the Pythias took his memory?

Ares wasn’t sent back, Ares was destroyed. Dead. Bought the farm. Erased, exterminated, pegged out, wearing a pine overcoat, ashes to ashes, doing the permanent graveyard shift, gone forever, torn apart by his own magic, RIP. And, yeah, as soon as the threat that was going to kill them all, counter spell or no, was dealt with, Cassie told Pritkin to read the freaking paper. Does everything have to be on the page?

9) Why does Rosier only call Pritkin “Emrys,” the name his mother gave him, instead of “Myrrdin,” the name he gave him? Also how did he find out about the name Morgaine gave him if he never met her again after she gave birth to Pritkin and was hustled back to Faerie?

That was explained in the book. Did you read the book? Rosier was furious with Morgaine, and hurting from her supposed death. It affected him more than he expected, ’cause he thought he was a callous motherfucker who’d just been using her, but he’d spent a lotta time teaching her magic, and he’d fallen harder than he’d thought. So then it hit him—really hit him, you know? And only made him angrier, ’cause for a guy who dealt in emotion, he never really learned how to process any. So, yeah, not gonna call the kid by the name his dead mom picked out. But later, after he calmed down, he reconsidered. He actually says this to Cassie.

As for the other, there were a ton of fey with Nimue. Don’t you think one of them might have mentioned it? He was the father, after all. Even the fey would figure he ought to know his son’s name. Geez.

10) My theory for how Mircea figured out Pritkin’s identity: the white and gold paper on the book. White and gold are the colors that all the servants at Rosier’s wore so that says to me they are his “house colors.” Mircea puts it all together after the battle on the carpets with the Allu in Tempt the Stars. Rosier and Pritkin are seen together, the look damn near identical. They talk about Rosier calling the demon council and the Allu ignoring Rosier, a demon lord. Rosier refers to Pritkin as his son at least once in that scene as well. Mircea has knowledge of the battle as we saw in TtS. There could have easily been video and audio feed of it both magical and non. It wouldn’t take much for him to enquire who and what kind of demon Rosier is. Then it all falls into place. Am I remotely on the right track?

No.

Now, if you guys will excuse me, I got a C note to collect.

Just FYI: In case anyone is pissed off at Ray, the lovely lady who sent in these questions saw the answers in advance and thought they were funny. She gave her permission for this post to be made. So there.

Q and A #61

Spoiler warning if you haven’t read Ride the Storm. Although, if you haven’t, why haven’t you? Go, run to the bookstore! Now! Now!

Ahem.

So.

1) Why does Cassie call Pritkin’s smile evil at the end?

Because they’ve been dodging around this thing they have, and there’s no way to really do that anymore. He doesn’t have anything hanging over his head, no parole, no exile, no anything. He can have a life now, for the first time in a century, and she is fair game. It’s on.

2) Gertie! I hate Gertie! Why Gertie?

Gertie would like to remind you that, without her selfless adherence to duty, Cassie would not have had the hellhound to help her in her first big battle (she would never have met it), or the key to what Jo was up to (she never would have figured it out if Gertie hadn’t thrown her in jail), or enough time to eek out a victory in the final battle (Gertie, and the posse she assembled, is what held up Ares for so long). So Gertie helped, even if she didn’t mean to!

3) Did you have a favorite character from the Arthurian legend that you really wanted to bring into Cassieverse?

Morgaine. 😀

4) Does Cassie regret being with Pritkin? She acted a little skittish when he said he remembered everything.

She isn’t skittish, she’s nervous. This is a huge change for her and she hasn’t really had time to absorb that yet. Plus it just seems so strange to have Pritkin back. It’s what she was working toward all this time, but had almost come to believe she would never see. So she almost doesn’t know what to feel here. Also, see question 1. You’d be nervous, too.

5) From Chile, your characters are so beautiful and charming, and the plot is excellent, have you ever think in product a movie or a TV series from Cassie Palmer stories? I’ll love to see that. Excuse me for my bad English.

Your English is very good! And yes, there was a group interested back in 2011, but the cost would have been prohibitive. Magical effects are expensive! I don’t even want to think what Game of Thrones spent on those dragons this year (although it was worth every penny imo). But, yeah, a Cassie Palmer show wouldn’t be cheap.

6) Why is Cassie described as having curly hair in the books but always has straight hair on the covers?

Lol! Because my publishers have an irrational dislike for curly hair! Honestly, that’s kind of the truth. Marketing comes up with this stuff, and decided on a straight haired model, I have no idea why. Personally, I think Cassie’s out of control hair is a good representation for her life right now, but that’s just me.

7) Have you ALWAYS known about Pritkin’s origin from the day you began writing the story (in your mind or on paper), or is that something that formed organically with time?

I always knew the major arc of the story, just not all the connective details. I usually tell people that my writing style is kind of like the old colonial (US) way of making a road. They didn’t have the money to build proper roads everywhere, so they would go through the forest every few years and mark up trees here and there with red paint. Travelers could see the marks and know that they were still going in the right direction. I also have markers I use to keep a story on track, big character/plot points that need to be in there, and which I have to know ahead of time. But all the stuff in between them is organic. I can’t tell you a good story if I know every bit of it already myself. Then I lose interest, as it feels done to me.

8) Will there be a short story/novella to expand on what happened between the defeat of Ares and Cassie waking up at Dante’s? Or will this be explained in the next book?

I’m not sure what you want to know. What would you like to have explained?

9) Okay, I realise this is a super weird question, but I’ve been having a bit of a debate with other fans about how far Pritkin’s sex ban extended. When they said ‘all kinds of sex’, did that include, uh, self-gratification?

No, there was no ban on masturbation. But you have to remember that, to an incubus, and therefore to the incubus part of Pritkin, sex is food. It’s a pathway into another person’s life energy, the same way blood is for a vampire. But you can’t feed from yourself. So masturbation would basically be torture for Pritkin. He’s already starving, he gets set up in anticipation of a meal, and then . . . nothing.

10) My question is about the demon “sex.” It said Pritkin sent all he could back. So does one person end with all of the energy normally or do they have control?

No, it’s normally a mutual feeding, but the incident at the end of RTS wasn’t normal. Pritkin had gone without for so long, and his incubus was so starved, that it generated more power than usual (and it usually generates a lot). It fed on the pythian power and multiplied it, to the point where he couldn’t absorb any more. They were both about to be burnt up if something wasn’t done with it, but Pritkin was too groggy from everything that had happened to him–remember, he’d literally just been reintegrated–that it was up to Cassie to figure out what to do. And she did. 

11) Since Cassie is half goddess does she need to feed that side of her by consuming demon energy, much as Pritkin must feed his demon incubus side? Does it affect her control of the pythian power?

She doesn’t need to, no. There’s no part of her that’s starving as Pritkin’s incubus side was. But she can use it, as her mother did, as demonstrated at the end of RTS. Her heritage was one reason she wasn’t destroyed in that situation, as Pritkin’s wife had been. It’s also why she doesn’t look about sixty right now.

The pythian power usually “uses up” pythias, because of the strain it puts on them. They age faster and die sooner than most magical humans, living lives that are roughly half as long (depending on how much power they use during their tenure in office). But Cassie, other than for being exhausted, has shown no signs of advanced aging, despite using more power in the last few months than most pythias do in a lifetime. So her mother’s genes do come in handy at times.

Q and A #60

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read Ride the Storm, you really want to stay away from this one until you have. Just sayin’.

Also, I have more questions that I didn’t get to include here, because it was getting long. So I’ll do another Q&A next week. If you want to ask anything, get it in by Sunday August 20th. Thanks!


1. What is the meaning of Mircea’s gift at the end of the book and why is Cassie furious at him?

He gave her a copy of La Morte D’Arthur. It’s a book all about Camelot. He also sent it to Pritkin’s room, to make it extra clear that he’s figured out who Pritkin is. He’s basically trading his silence for Cassie’s help with Elena.

2. How did Mircea figure out who Pritkin is?

That was actually on the page in the book. But it’s subtle. I’ll let you have the fun of figuring it out for yourself.

3. After reading RtS I’m very curious about wand lore in the Cassieverse. Like how do you make a wand? How do they work? Can anyone use them or just coven witches? I’d just love to hear more about how they work.

Anyone can make one, but they’re only useful if you happen to be a coven witch. They help to focus and direct free floating magical energy, the “wild magic,” of earth. It’s a system based on fey magic (which uses the elements in much the same way) and wouldn’t help a Circle mage at all.

How to make a wand: first, find a tree that originated in faerie, like the alder or the yew, because they’re better conductors. Then cut a piece down to the size and shape you want. Most people are going to want it long enough that, should the worst happen, you have a little buffer between the end of the wand and your hand. Not that that usually helps all that much . . . .

Anyway, once you have the wand, the witch (or wizard) projects some of their magic through the wood, to the tip, like bait on the end of a fishing line. Magic calls to magic, so it attracts the wild magic in the area, allowing them to piggyback a spell onto it. This allows them to cast very powerful spells without using up a lot of their own magic. It’s why the covens, despite being outnumbered, managed to hold off the Circle for so long. They use only a tiny amount of magic in comparison, because it’s just the seed for the wild magic to glom onto. They thus don’t get tired as easily as the Circle, and can throw a lot more magic into a fight than they themselves are capable of making.

Of course, there is a downside: wild magic is dangerous, and can get out of hand easily if you don’t know what you’re doing. The covens also never developed all the special potions and talismans the Circle uses (which also capture wild magic, but do so slowly and in controlled conditions) because they didn’t think they needed them. They seemed so slow, after all, compared to the thrill of using wild magic. And by the time they figured out that, hey, this stuff is kind of useful in battle, they were well behind the Circle in magical “tech”. They still are. But you really wouldn’t want to duel a coven witch! (Hint: if you ever do, try to kill her fast. She will outlast you).

Anyway, you can also add magic runes to your wand, to help you weave particular types of spells more easily, customizing them as you would put apps on a phone. Or just dress them up to look prettier. But you don’t need all that. A basic wand is just a lightning rod for magic, that’s it.

4) When the Pythias wiped Pritkin’s memory, did they wipe the whole of those few days when he met Cassie or just his memories of Cassie? And when he met her again, back in TtD, did he ever have a sense of déjà vu or feel like maybe he knew her?

He had a few moments of déjà vu, but that was because of what happened in Paris (see Embrace the Night) and Amsterdam (see Reap the Wind). He didn’t remember anything about Cassie in Wales because the pythias wiped everything. They also sent him on a quest for some old spells in Ynys Môn (Anglesea) to keep him occupied for a while. By the time he got back, past Rosier was waiting to take him to hell, so he never got a clear picture of what happened at Caerleon. Just that there was some kind of cataclysm involving the fey that shattered the city. And, by then, Arthur was off battling Saxons, the people were at war along with Arthur or scattered, and then Pritkin himself was gone.

5) At one stage, when Cassie goes back to Wales, she thinks that she wants a holiday on a beach with a hot guy and someone says ‘which one?’, which totally cracked me up, but I was wondering, who actually said that?

Rosier.

6) I noticed that a lot of chapters started with Cassie waking up. Is there any kind of symbolism to that, like maybe ‘waking up’ as a metaphor for having a realisation or an epiphany? Or am I just overthinking things horribly, lol.

By the time we get to Ride the Storm, Cassie is utterly exhausted. By the middle of the book, the Tears aren’t even working anymore to enhance her stamina, because she doesn’t have any stamina. She’s at the end of her rope, and her body is using any and every chance for a rest. Kind of like soldiers on a battlefield can sleep in almost any conditions, because they don’t know when they’ll get a chance again.

7) I keep thinking about the runes Pritkin “paints” on Cassie. If they are not protection runes what are they?

As stated in RTS, they are to help him maintain control. When the incubus magic begins to get out of hand, they put speedbumps or brakes on it. He didn’t want a repeat of what happened with his wife.

8) So, while Cassie was trying to rescue Pritkin’s soul, his body was just hanging around in the present. Was his body in some kind of stasis? I mean, did he need to be fed and stuff?

His body worked as normal, there was just nobody home. The beard he grew while Cassie was running around was testament to that. Think of it like being in a coma, only if Cassie wasn’t successful, he would never have woken up and eventually died.

9) Pritkin said he remembered everything. Will he remember his mother?

Pritkin already knew Morgaine (as an acquaintance, not that she was his mother). Most people didn’t know that, with the exception of a close knit group around Nimue. Pritkin just knew her as the king’s sister with frighteningly powerful magic. Now, he’ll know she was more than that, because the witches told him. But he doesn’t have any memories of being with her as her son to recall (he was too young when she gave him to Rosier).

10) How much time does it take for a book to get to our hands after you’ve started writing?

That depends on my publishers. Sometimes six months, sometimes a year. It just depends on when they have an opening in their schedule.

What other books/novellas can readers look forward to in the near future?

Shadow’s Bane, the fourth Dory novel, is being turned in this month (yay!) As soon as I have a firm pub date, I’ll let you know. The ninth Cassie is up next. I also have part of a Lia novel done, if I ever get a chance to finish it. And then, of course, there’s the Dory novella “Dragon’s Claw” already announced, that I’ll be wedging in there somewhere.

Public Service Announcement

In the past few days, I have received repeated emails from people unhappy about Ride the Storm supposedly being the last book in the Cassandra Palmer series. They were angry that I hadn’t tied up every single strand and given them a proper send off. They were distressed because someone, somewhere, had told them that this was the last book and they believed it.

It occurred to me that, if I was getting repeated emails, there might be more people out there who believed the same thing, but who hadn’t dropped me a line. So here, for the record, is my official take on this: this is not the last book.

Originally, there were supposed to be nine books in the series, three interwoven trilogies, each dealing with a different challenge for Cassie to face. A sort of “Big Bad” around which her other adventures were framed. This book completes the second of these “trilogies” (the quotation marks are because they each took four books to complete, not three as originally intended.) So we have a ways still to go. I am not saying, btw, that there are exactly four books left; I am saying that it will take at least that many to complete the original design.

Thank you for reading this boring post, but apparently, I needed to get this out there.