Working on Delphinium

We’re up to 19 pre-orders on Delphinium, yay!

And I am working on it every spare moment I can get (and given that I have two other jobs, that can be quite random). Putting it up for pre-order was a great way to get my ass in gear (I think I’ll be doing it with future books from now on), even though a good half of me is still terrified about the release. But I have myself on a tight schedule, with plenty of days set aside for editing and polishing.

So far it’s been fun and good to be writing under this deadline. Delphinium keeps expanding- getting new characters even this late in the game, new points-of-view, more backstory. This is not how Delphinium would have been written even several months ago, much less two-and-a-half years ago when I first wanted to finish it asap after Larkspur. I know it sucks waiting for books, sequels especially, but I truly think this is worth it.

In similar news- I put Larkspur and Delphinium in new categories on Amazon! It seems to be a new category on the site in general, but Gaslamp Fantasy is now something you can find both books in. That’s the 19th century-ish ‘ghosts and spirits’ version of steampunk where it’s more about the supernatural than the tech. It fits perfectly (and is what I tried to evoke when I use the term ‘gothic’ for it).

They also have their own series page now too:

 

You’ll notice the series is “Stories of Clandestina” and not “Larkspur” (it was actually Larkspur for a little bit until I contacted Amazon). I did this on purpose since after ‘The Larkspur Series” there are more books that will be coming out about this realm and really they will all be connected. There are stand-alones set in the past and then future series that move forward. I have two ‘past’ novellas in mind, and two more series set in the future- making it 14 books total.

But right now I’m furiously working on book 2 and we’ll work on books 3-14 after.

 

Delphinium is up for pre-order!

Fairies, disease, and the heir’s return.

Pierre Salvador and his beloved, Elizabeth Anne, travel to his childhood home for the summer. They intend to spend some time alone together before he becomes the ruling duc (perhaps with her at his side). But Pierre finds himself set to inherit a mistrusting people with an uneasy history, and duties cannot be put off any longer. A fatal illness is spreading, he is being claimed by the fée, and someone has already tried to take his life. Though, with his being a Lord of Death, it will take much more to kill him.

The book will come out on August 31st!

I love this book so much. At first it was supposed to be a shortish 30K sequel- have a few small things happen, but nothing too substantial. Now it’s going to be ~120K. So it’s 8 times the length of Larkspur and filled with a number of new characters, plots, and magics.

It isn’t entirely done yet (or else it would be out) but I am finishing it up. A hard deadline like this should help and motivate me (it seems to be helping). So far I’ve gotten several pre-orders, so I’m glad people are still interested. I WILL NOT take this long for book 3. I hope getting into a nice groove with finishing this up helps me get book 3 out a lot faster.

Mailing List Promo!

Early NaNo is going well. I’ve not hit my wordcount exactly every day, but I am consistently working and excited.

With Delphinium now slated to be out soon I wanted to reward you lovely lot.

As you know Larkspur is set as permanently free. This is in the US Amazon, Kobo, and B&N online stores. Amazon in other regions hasn’t price-matched, but it’s at .99 in those places.

Delphinium will be $2.99 at release, maybe upped to $3.99 at a later point. It is going to be 100K+, so *seven* times longer than Larkspur. You will have gotten your money’s worth 🙂

I know I’ve taken ages with it, I know many of you are waiting for it. And so, to those that have joined, or will join, my mailing list before the release will be getting Delphinium for free. After it’s officially out you’ll have to pay. But for the next two months or so (as I finish and then edit it) anyone who joins the list will get a free copy as soon as it is done.

I am not requiring a review to get this copy, though I’d adore if you left your thoughts. This is my gift to you.

Join this list to get a free ARC copy of Delphinium before its release!

Magic in Noctuina (plus some Mythology)

The magic system I’m most entrenched in at the moment is that followed by Mora’s Suitors (and Confidantes) of Death. If I need specific examples here I’ll be using that.

But before we get to specifics let’s see how magic works in general in Noctuina. The first thing you need to know is that there is a lot of variations of magic. It is a world where magic is as core to the land as the types of animals  and plants in the different parts of the world, to the people and their cultures.

There are 256 distinct Realms in Noctuina. On a flat map they’ll come up as rectangles, 16 across by 16 down. Each realm is approximately 2080 miles across and 1040 miles from north to south. So, give or take, 2.1 million miles squared. This is somewhere between India and Australia in size.

(Ok, I may need to rethink this “Playing With” series as I’m wondering if I need another one for Geography now).

The magic is not the exact same throughout the entire realm. Similarly to how one would imagine the culture of Northern India being different than Southern India, and so on. But it has a certain consistency to it. A mage from the north will be able to perform his magic in the south, though it may need some adjusting, or have a different temperament.

In Clandestina, the realm where Pierre lives, there are a few different magics. Among humans there’s blancræft, white healing magic; noircræft, a darker more volatile magic that can be used to heal or harm; and necrocræft, magic that involves the dead, dying, murder and resurrection of human life. The fée, faeries, of Clandestina have their own versions of magic that are less categorized. It’s more inherit, they’re born with it and while they can shape it, they can not get rid of it. Eglė, for instance, is fay (related to the fée though not from Faery) and she can take the form of any serpent (from cobra to boa ). A human though could learn this magic if they found a way to study it, and it would probably later be labeled as under a different type of -cræft. He could in theory also lose his magic. Probably changing to different types of serpents would be possible, but more difficult than it is for Eglė.

This is where things get a little inconsistent between the ‘reality’ and what passes for vernacular in a realm. Pierre often mentions his cræft as being necrocræft alone, as if he didn’t know noir or blanc, and while that is how it’s seen currently among the population, it isn’t entirely true. This is something I got to thinking about while working on Delphinium. If we’re being technical, necrocræft alone shouldn’t allow for things like healing, though it does. So he does have more than just necrocræft.

Here’s where more terminology comes in and the previous name I used, Suitor of Death, comes into play. There’s also some mythology here.

There are beings in Noctuina that I call Kyrioi. Kyrioi as a word is the Greek for Lords. Kyrios being the male singular, and kyria the female singular. They are akin to gods, with their title meaning they can bestow certain powers and magics to people. Usually this is a careful mix of several cræfts that work together to form, essentially, a whole new magic. Those that are devoted to certain kyrioi are given titles to express their variation of magic. In other realms this might be Wizard, or Ringian, or Sorcerer, but in Clandestina for those that follow Mora is it Suitor of Death.

So Mora, as the last of the keres, has been given the title of Lady of Death; Kyria. Those that follow her are Suitors, if male, and Confidantes if female, and those that pass all of her tests are lords and ladies in their own right, though not kyrioi. This is not yet something explained deeply in the books, and what it means for the realm as a whole is still up in the air, but it sits in the background as a detail I plan to unwrap more.

This also relates to the post I made a few weeks ago about consistency and how people make up things that aren’t quite true, but get passed off as true. I continue to call Pierre’s magic just necrocræft for the moment, even if a scholar of magic in the realm would disagree, because that is just what it is called among the people.

 

Part 1 of Delphinium, Beta Edition

Here’s part 1! Remember, this is a beta/advanced-copy of Delphinium, being serialized on my blog because I’m horrible at getting things done. This way I’m working on it every day, and giving something back. This is *not* the final edition of the book. It’ll still be read through and tweaked, by me and my editor, before a final copy is up for sale. I can assure you the main story won’t change, but there may be scenes added in, or rewritten, and other small changes that make this the ‘beta’ version and not the final. Similarly, if you find any issue or are confused, please comment! Or if you like it, please comment then too.


She had become ill. A cough began the day of their departure and lasted throughout the  journey, bringing with it chills and taking away her appetite. Three days from Piques’s capital they were commanded to stop and rest in town, her suitor refusing to go further until she improved. As his orders were that of duc and doctor none could argue.

He carried her to the most elegant suite at the inn as if he were already her husband, laying her down in bed, but then moving to the hall while a maid helped her undress. When he entered again she was curled up under the covers and shivering. Ignoring the maid he made his way to the lady, kissing her forehead and letting his lips linger to both comfort and assess a fever.

“I am unfamiliar with what ails you, my dear,” he said, stroking back her curls. Her blue eyes were unfocused, and her skin was pale save for blotches on her cheeks. “I will consult with local physicians about this. You will be better soon.” His studies had been in surgery, not illness, but he would take extraordinary measures to make her well.

“Forgive me for being so much trouble—” A kiss silenced her. The thought that he could catch her illness entered his mind for a moment, but the desire to show her no blame won over. And if he did fall ill, felt the symptoms himself, at least he might be able to hold back the spirits that plagued her.

She broke the kiss to cough. Spots of red betrayed how much worse her condition had become.

“Rest for now,” he said softly. He took out a handkerchief and wiped away the blood, then tucked her in. She lay facing away and only mumbled a reply. The duc remained standing by her side, not wanting to leave her, one hand still stroking blonde hair that was damp from fever and sweat.

“There is drink for Lady Elizabeth by the bed, Your Grace,” the maid spoke up, breaking into his thoughts. “And chimes to the servant’s room for when she wakes.”

“Thank you, you may go,” he replied over his shoulder. Pouring his love a glass of diluted wine he paused after setting down the glass- the maid had left and the door was barely ajar. He took off his gloves and, with a pin taken from the folds of his clothing, he pricked a finger. Blood seeped out, becoming dark first with saturation and then in hue. When it dripped down his hand the trail left behind was black.

He let several drops of blood fall into her wine before putting on his gloves again. They were black as well, and by sight one would not see the bloodstains. He would change them when he had a spare moment.

“Sleep well, Lizzy. Do not forget to drink. I will have a light dinner brought to you later.” She did not reply a second time, already asleep or too weak to answer.

He closed the door behind himself softly, uncertain if he wanted to leave without making her at least drink first. But no, she needed to rest, it would do her good before any magic enchanted her. And he needed his own rest before using any cræft.

He went to his rooms, smiling when he walked in to see his cat lying on a pillow. He sat beside her and pulled the black queen onto his lap, not a care for the expensive clothes that would be covered in fur. He held her close as a pet from childhood and not the Familiar she usually was.

“She is very ill,” he told her. “I do not know what to do, Pluta. I don’t know how to feel… A doctor has been sent for, what if they can offer no help either?”

Pluta pressed herself to her master. He did not often worry, but Elizabeth had become close to him again these last few weeks.

“What is the worst that can happen?” the cat said. To most it would sound like purring or mewling, but to him and those that knew necrocræft it would be human tongue.

“She could suffer,” he replied. “And I might not be able to do anything.”

Illness was something one learned to understand and live with in Clandestina. While some of the best healers and doctors of the world resided in this realm, it was by necessity, as the guardians who had once controlled death and illness were all but gone. Some resided in other realms, most had just disappeared, yet the magic of a realm was innate. Other places could continue to thrive without ever knowing about the keres; this land of fée and mortal was in turmoil.

But some did not accept so easily that control was out of their grasp.

“My Lady,” Pierre called out to the silence around him. The bed shifted as another sat behind him, arms wrapping around his waist. Her head rested between his shoulder-blades. She brought a chill with her, as if she had stood out in the snow for far too long and had yet to warm, and the duc shivered in her embrace.

“The illness–”

“The spirits are not mine,” Mora said. “They come from my plane, but only in ancestry.” She was not a goddess. Neither all-knowing nor all-powerful, she was a being that happened to exist in another plane and have more magic than most– A daimon. The last ker. Legend and time, though, had turned her into a being that responded to Death. And sometimes Life.

“Do what you will,” she said before he continued. “Piques is your land, Clandestina your home, and you are my most beloved Suitor. You do not need my permission, Lord of Death.”

“Will you help?” he asked. She had been wary of Elizabeth since the daughter of the comte had returned to Pierre’s life. Had been jealous even that he had chosen to come back to life after committing suicide (the final of Death’s tests) instead of staying with her in the land of the dead.

“I will not hinder.” She placed a kiss of ice to the nape of his neck, and the weight on the bed vanished. The cold remained.

***

He made his way to the dining hall. Most of who had accompanied him were left to have meals while rooms were sorted. From guards to those driving the carriages, miscellaneous staff, and other nobles who had been at the castle for his birthday party just two weeks past. He had become ill that evening, through the use of his cræft, and Elizabeth stayed with him and kept him company until he was well. He had in turn asked her to join him for the spring in Piques.

Raising a finger to hush the man that would announce his presence, Pierre Salvador, duc de Piques, walked through the throng of people until he found his student. A gifted boy in healing and similar skills, Wolfram was sitting among a group of boys that helped with the animals.

“Have you heard of this illness?” the duc asked, interrupting some story about the dogs. The young man nodded, though the others seemed unsure of what to do with the duc before them.

“Yes, Your Grace. But I have only heard of it in passing. I do not know the treatment. I have just heard Lord Ophion mention it.” Before being with the duc he had been a student of the royal physician.

Pierre nodded, the tightening of his grip on his cane the only visible sign of discomfort. “Let us go wait for the healers and see if this has been happening in the area. Come along.” Wolfram was not needed, but he was the closest the duc had to a human friend within this party, aside from Lizzy. Thinking about medicine or cræft at least kept his mind occupied and relevant to trying to help her.

The food was forgotten, Wolfram standing and attending his lord while leaving behind the others. Several more people offered to come, but Pierre ignored them and walked quickly with only his apprentice.

“What else has Ophion said?”

“It presents with a harsh cough that can lead to blood coming up from the lungs and throat. The few cases he has seen…” Hesitation, and Wolfram did not finish what he was going to say.

“Ended in death,” Pierre said, guessing correctly why the boy would feel uncomfortable sharing this news. “At least death I can cure.”

***

“Your Grace,” the doctor greeted when he entered the room. After trying to understand the spirits of the illness and failing, Pierre and Wolfram had retired to wait until the physician came.

The duc stood and crossed the room to shake his hand, a gesture from physician to physician and not lord to citizen.

“My beloved is ill,” he began without further introduction. “A harsh cough that leads to bleeding, though whether from the lungs or throat I am not aware. She runs a fever and is weak and pale. She is asleep, though if you need to examine her she may be woken.”

The doctor nodded. “There is no need, Your Grace. I have seen the illness. It is rarer here than in the south of Piques, but it is slowly spreading north. I know of no name for it, but I can describe what is happening. It is an illness that can lay dormant in a human person for many months, if not years. I speculate there are many infected among us, we are merely not ill.”

“And what causes it to become active?”

“The presence of death,” the doctor replied. Pierre remained composed, but Wolfram coughed to hide his intake of breath. The doctor did not pay him any attention.

“How is this treated?” the duc continued.

“I have medicines to treat the cough, the tearing, to keep down the fever– but these only treat the symptoms and not the illness. The afflicted must be surrounded by life. It is early spring, if she has just become ill then perhaps it will not be for long. By next winter I hope to have a better cure in mind.”

“Thank you.”

They shook hands once more and the doctor left.

***

She awoke to a gentle hand shaking her shoulder.

“Elizabeth,” a woman’s voice said. “I am here with medicine for you, and dinner.”

Lizzy thanked the nurse, sitting and receiving a cup filled with some concontion that smelt of mint. A dinner tray with soup and a roll was beside her bed.

Her fever must still be high for she thought she saw wings on the woman’s back.

“Thank you,” she said.

Mora smiled.

Serializing Delphinium

I’ve been a bad author. It has taken me far far too much time to get Delphinium done, and frankly, I’m still not finished.

I am sorry.

I get ahead of myself and make plans, and then I realize I can’t do what I want to. With a blog and facebook and twitter I’ve found myself also spouting all my plans to people who actually count on me. Then I can’t deliver.

I’m learning, I’m trying to catch up with my mouth and ideas. I’m getting there. To make up for this astoundingly long wait I’ve decided to serialize Delphinium’s first edition on my blog. It’ll have pages up there under “Clandestina > Larkspur Series > Delphinium” and I’ll mention it in posts here. There are 15 parts of ~2000 words each, and most still need polish, so I’m going to release one at a time (in order :P) until the book’s finished. I’ve giving myself a day, maybe two, for each section. That said some sections are almost perfect now, so as soon as they are done they will be put up. I won’t be holding anything back, it’s less ‘a part a day’ and more ‘a part as fast as I can finish it.’

Then I’ll send it over to my editor to catch any last moment issues I may have missed, and release it on Amazon/B&N/Kobo. Sadly at that point the ‘first edition’ will be taken down.

The first part of Delphinium will be up *tonight.* It’s late-ish (East Coast) but I’ll have it up before I crash for the night. I promise.

Larkspur is Free June 20th and 21st! + Delphinium teaser

KDP Select is ending for Larkspur: A Necromancer’s Romance and to celebrate I’m using up my last two free days! Originally I wanted Delphinium out on the 20th as well, but that hasn’t worked out quite as well (it will be out on the 30th though!) Sunday Larkspur will be put up on Nook, Kobo, and probably Apple as well.

For now, if you still haven’t read Larkspur, do grab a kindle (or a kindle app) and get it for free starting at midnight. I just ask that if you like it you please leave a review ❤

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J7H9JIG

Oh, and a little teaser for Delphinium: A Necromancer’s Love

A dark fantasy romance, Delphinium continues the story of the duc de Piques, Pierre Salvador, and his newly found love the Lady Elizabeth Anne. They go spend spring at the duchy that Pierre is in the process of inheriting, and find not everything is at ease. The advisors are wary of a new lord, and a sickness plagues the outer lands. But the lord himself is too occupied with his other passions to pay much attention- he has a new student, and an old love. Rumours of necrocræft begin to surface, the use of a magic over life and death- a magic that Pierre has just mastered.