Side Journeys

Writing the series and having my characters interact while working on a novel is one thing, but sometimes other things need clarification. For example, every once in a while, I need to create an artifact that Ari has received from Kai – but I don’t want to go into the story in the current novel. Enter the side journey – a nifty little way that I can flesh out the item’s acquisition while also creating content for my VIP readers.

It’s almost like a bonus for me! I love to write, but I don’t want to craft novels whenever an idea pops into my head. Using these side journeys to flesh out a character or “find” a relic is a fun way for me to develop a back story – and keep developing the relationships between the characters without a 90,000-word count staring me down.

For the Polestar (the relic from Resistant Magic), I send Kai and Ari on a little working vacation to the desert southwest. They managed to find a relic, and I had fun playing with two other Native American spirits – Iketome and Raven. It was a fun project, and let me write a little Paranormal Romance angle for Ari and Kai.

I don’t mind the rabbit holes, but I don’t have time for such frivolity when I’m working on a novel. It’s nose to the grindstone and research aplenty to get one of the Relic Hunter books done. That’s not saying I don’t make notes about the side journeys I intend to create. I write myself a brief reminder and return to it when I’m between books – which isn’t often enough! So as I work on Ancient Magic, subscribers to my VIP list can anticipate a new side journey after the release.

While I’m on the subject, I plan to spin two books off the Relic Hunter novels. In the first, Princess Tyballa Nessinger will be trying to solve the mystery of Dr. Ezra Froelich’s memory problems. I alluded to this in Jealous Magic, but I’m interested to see where Ty goes, and I’d also like to get to know her better.

The second is Sidaffri’s turn to go home and find what happened to the Sand Fire Jinn. This one will take some time because I’ll spin this off from Ancient Magic (the next book’s working title). There’s more to learn about Sidaffri and her history, and I’m passionate about getting the character’s backstory right.

The one character I probably won’t write a back story for is Kai, though. I’m not sure I want to know what he was up to before appearing in Elementary Magic. If you read the legends about Coyote, they’re rather naughty.

A day at the Bazaar

This is one of the things I love most about being a writer: I get to have adventures from the warm comfort of my office, and Theo gets to go everywhere with me. Today is a little cold (there’s a good amount of frost on the leaves) and I have a billion things that I should be doing as a productive adult. Instead, I’m heading off to scout locations for Ari’s next adventure.

After I’m done scouting the Bazaars of Turkey and Iran, I might swing by a party that Caly should be attending in the Southie neighborhood of Boston. I had dinner last night with Darius, the great Persian King, and I visited with a few art forgers in my living room. It’s amazing what I can find out on my smart TV.

As I look out over my backyard this morning, I know that forsaking my weekly chores for research is the right decision. I’m back at my day job in this post-covid world (it’s not really post-covid, yet…but I’m an optimist) and I just want to escape from that pressure cooker on the weekend and do something enjoyable. Not that my job doesn’t have enjoyable moments, but there’s very little magic happening, and witty banter is kept to a minimum because my colleagues and I are all so busy.

I have a sense of time pressure, though. Construction on Theo’s fence began this week and my mind is starting to drift to garden plans and plant propagation. When the impending snow melts and the first flush of spring arrives, I’ll be outside creating my oasis. It’s been a twenty-year dream of mine, and I’m finally going to make it happen. I’ll even have a blog about it in case you’re interested (after all, I am a writer and artist…so blogging is just second nature and it keeps my writing muscles flexed).

So I must get back to the bazaar! Time is ticking and I need to tell you all about what’s happening for Ari and Caly before it’s time to start working in the garden!

Coming Soon!

I’ve been super busy writing and I wanted to let you know what’s coming up in the near future.

New Content for my VIP list! I have a new short that’s coming out soon. In Resistant Magic, Kai mentions a character you haven’t heard of: Simon Jampa. My VIP list members will get to read all about him in Simon’s Lake.

Since my VIP list has already received two short stories from me, I’m bundling them with a third short into a little box set of stories that take place outside of the series timeline. In the new box set, I’ve included Hedgehog Tea – a short story that I wrote several years ago for the “A Cup of Christmas” Collection. It’s a cute little story about Salem, MA and some of the interesting characters in that town. Oh, and Calypso Mendelsohn has a walk-on scene.

Speaking of Calypso (Caly) – her new adventure is coming out this fall. This time she’s in over her head because she’s settling into her new life. Trouble finds Caly – usually by walking into her booth at Foretold and presenting her with an opportunity to use those less savory skills! It’s still just too much to resist for my favorite psychic (outside of Nan, that is).

For Ari’s fans – don’t worry – the next adventure is in the works. A few of you have mentioned wondering how the new characters will adjust to the modern world so I’ve given you the answer (and a whole new mystery) in Ancient Magic. This is EXACTLY why those reviews and comments are so important to me as an Indie Author.

UPDATE: The new short story my VIP list just got is actually about the Gnomes because Simon’s story is developing into a novella!

About that Fairy Lore, Wesley…

I received a comment from a visitor named Wesley asking me if I had thought of writing a story that uses traditional fairy lore.

Yes, I was actually on that path with my latest release Jealous Magic. I have a Fae princess and I deal pretty extensively with King Arthur, Merlin, and the knights of the round table in both Legendary Magic and Jealous Magic.

Wesley goes on to share his knowledge of the connections between fairies, demons, fallen angels, and ghosts and really makes some new points that I wasn’t aware of. I love folklore and legends and those two things are always incorporated into my stories.

Culturally, there are differences between the old gods of many religions – but there are also some similarities between the stories that always capture my imagination. In Legendary Magic, I use the Roman conquest of the Celts to draw the different myths together because the Romans – for all their domination and annexation of other lands – were brilliant at syncretism. They folded the gods of other cultures into the Roman pantheon, leaving behind a merged mythology that’s a beautiful blend of all of the cultures in the Roman Empire.

I am working on my 5th book in the series right now, and I am using the same methods to tie Arienne’s Italian heritage into the story. The fae exist through many cultures, and I love finding those similarities and the connections that speak of the blending of cultures that happened millennia ago. I use those bits of information to weave a more global story that reflects our modern age.

This is not to say that my fantasy novels are scholarly works on mythology! It’s good, fun fantasy that I hope inspires the curiosity of my readers to dig deeper into folklore and mythology. I know I will be doing in the near future as I complete the 5th book and then circle back around to Princess Tyballa Nessinger and her ambitious goal of curing Dr. Ezra Froelich of his fading memory. There’s a connection to Merlin in that story, but I need the time to write it! At this moment, time is in short supply but there are so many stories that I want to tell that I get frustrated that I can’t write for twenty hours per day.

So stay tuned, and please contact me with your questions or to share your knowledge. I read all of those contacts and I enjoy that give and take with my readers.

Shameless plug: If you like my work and would like to hear more about what I’m up to, sign up for my V.I.P. list. You can find it on my homepage. I’m not “spammy” and you can unsubscribe any time – but I will be including some of my wild connections between the myths and legends in my upcoming newsletters (and you won’t get those if you’re not on the list!).

Thank you, Wesley for your insightful comment.