Posts Tagged ‘Queen Titania’s Court’

Some e-mails, that is. I know I’ve seen at least two responses from people asking about Queen Titania’s Court. The thing is, I looked at them on my cel phone. When I went back to my desktop computer, the messages had vanished. I want to follow up on this, but I can’t find those original messages. Just this morning, I combed through over 1,000 deleted e-mails both on the cell phone and the computer, to see if they somehow got swiped-right into the trash. No such luck.

So if you or someone you know reached out about Queen Titania, please ask them to try again. I really do want this to happen! (But if your initials are A. L, you are the one I didn’t lose, so you’re all good.)

In other news, I’ve mostly got the names reassigned for The Renegade, although not a new title, yet. I’ve completed a book map to help me find where the weak spots are as far as plot action. I know where I need to deepen the character motivations and amp up the emotion.

The obstacle to starting the second draft is that I’ve received my annual review at work and it was unexpectedly negative. Like, “needs improvement” in every category, where every previous review noted that I exceeded expectations. This year has been rough for everyone, but I thought I had a good working relationship with my supervisor and I’m really discouraged by this review.

So I’ve been in touch with my union representative and have advised the principal that I’ll be protesting the evaluation. But I’m just going to have to allow myself to be depressed and distracted for the next week or so.

Hope it’s all been going better for you!

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Submissions are now open for my summer book event, Queen Titania’s Court!

Coming up in June, this humble blog will host Queen Titania’s Court, a celebration of fantasy books. Titania, Queen of all Faeries, summons magical people and beasts from every corner of the fantastic world to join her for a grand ball on Midsummer Night.

This invitation is for any and all fantasy writers, especially independent authors. Each day in the month of June, I’ll feature one author’s book. Pick ONE character from ONE of your books to attend the Midsummer Ball.

This is the second year I’m hosting this event. It was really fun to do, and hopefully helped some fellow authors draw attention to their work. There was room for more guests, so here’s where I appeal for your help. If you are a fantasy author, you are welcome to participate. Or if you know some fantasy authors, I hope you’ll suggest it to them.

***IMPORTANT! You have to e-mail me in order to take part. You can’t just comment on a blog post! ***

Check out this page if you want all the details. My e-mail is there, too. To see some of last year’s gala, start here.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Spring break officially began yesterday afternoon. Although this school year had a lot of lost time (for reasons we all know), I feel good going forward. I know what skills I want to work on with my groups for the back end of the school year. Spring break holds no extravagant plans for me. I’m going to do the archetypal spring cleaning. Fun! Also, I get my second Covid shot later today. I’m mildly worried that it will affect my extravagant to-do list, but it will be fine either way.

What I’m Working On. So close to being done with The Renegade Count! I passed the apex two weeks ago, and sort of frittered away last week, but I feel very confident of finishing by the end of spring break. It should be right around my goal of 30,000 words. I can clearly see some things that need work in the second draft, but first I have to finish this one.

What’s Next? Major organizing for two projects, Queen Titania’s Court and SpoCon. For the latter, I need to send out a second solicitation for speakers and fascinating panel ideas. We are still hoping for an in-person event. SpoCon is in October, so I feel like we have a decent shot at it. For the former, Queen Titania’s Court is in June, so I’ll be getting those invitations out right away.

Fun and Games. As always, I’m playing Animal Crossing. Who doesn’t want to live on a beautiful tropical island where you’re surrounded by adorable animal neighbors? My alternate gave is Wasteland 3, a post-apocalyptic adventure in a nuclear winter. There’s somewhat of a sheriff-cleaning-up-the-town vibe. The play style is very different and the voice acting is a little too over-the-top for my taste, but I’m soldiering on.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Here is an advance peek at my summer book event, Queen Titania’s Court!

Coming up in June, this humble blog will host Queen Titania’s Court, a celebration of fantasy books. Titania, Queen of all Faeries, summons magical people and beasts from every corner of the fantastic world to join her for a grand ball on Midsummer Night.

This invitation is for any and all fantasy writers, especially independent authors. Each day in the month of June, I’ll feature one author’s book. Pick ONE character from ONE of your books to attend the Midsummer Ball.

This is the second year I’m hosting this event. It was really fun to do, and hopefully helped some fellow authors draw attention to their work. There was room for more guests, so here’s where I appeal for your help!

The organizing process for Queen Titania’s Court begins in early April, but it isn’t too soon to start thinking about it. If you’re a fantasy author, or if you know some fantasy authors — especially independently published — I hope you’ll suggest it to them.

Check out this page if you want to know more! To see some of last year’s gala, start here.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What a rush! Queen Titania’s Court, my month-long fantasy book feature, is done for this year. I’m very happy with how it came out. Thanks so much to my fellow authors, who were great fun to work with. Thanks also to those of you who commented, shared, and helped spread the fantasy book love.

What’s Happening: I’m officially on my summer schedule. My district opted to use all of the days in our contract that were held for snow emergencies, so the last day of school was pushed back to June 19th. It was a very weird last third of the school year, but 2020 is turning out to be such a weird year that it’s hardly worth mentioning. I am still going by the school two days a week, to keep up with weeding the garden. The custodians seem genuinely happy to have someone to talk to.

Work in Progress: Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. (Still!) It’s been going slowly, what with a few distractions and all. I also began writing without having made some key plot decisions, and that always bites me in the butt. At the moment I’ve given up on polishing the prose in any way. I’m just slamming out the plot to finish the draft. I expect that to happen before the end of this month.

What’s Next: Revisions on Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. Normally I let a draft settle and go do other things. With this one, I hate it so much that I’ll probably go straight into the second draft. My plan was to publish it this November. However, it has to be up to my standards. If I’m not able to do that, I have a backup plan. That’s something I’ll get into when and if it happens.

Fun and Games: I’m currently playing Animal Crossing (for the cute/ chill/ creative/ vibe) and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Inquisition is a huge, sprawling fantasy RPG. It’s also a big inspiration for my Minstrels of Skaythe series. It’s good to go back to the well every once in a while. In addition to video games, my regular role-playing group is playing D&D Third edition online via Discord. My character is a rogue archer who scoffs at rules. I also have a stack of jigsaw puzzles that I can really concentrate on now that I’m on summer break.

I hope you all are staying safe and well.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Cover to The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh
The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh

Meven paused at the top of a staircase, stunned by the glittering kaleidoscope of people and creatures before her. Music swirled in visible clouds above a huge assembly that danced with varying degrees of grace or enthusiasm. Meven’s sarong of pale green swamp linen seemed inadequate compared to the other revelers’ gaudy attire. Natural pearls gleamed against her brown arms and neck as she raised hand to check that her jet black hair was still contained in its tall bun.

A scornful snort drew her attention downward. “Why did we have to come here?” Ozlin, her mageling, wore a short sarong of similar fabric. An arc of pale scars crossed his dark-skinned chest. His thicket of black curls was held back by a simple headband.

“The world is wide,” she said. “You must learn to work with all sorts of people.”

The boy slouched irritably. As Meven slowly descended the steps, she looked around for something that might catch his interest. Across from the steps, a magnificent window was open to admit a stream of fireflies and tiny sprites. An elfin man, all in green, spoke seriously to a large, gray-skinned person. Another man, in a dark blue uniform, stood alone with a glass in his hand. He appeared to be watching the throng with wary fascination. Meanwhile, a gentleman in a fine black cloak lined in scarlet, bowed low before the queen of all fairies. Surely any one of them would have fascinating stories to share.

Then Meven spotted the one sure attraction. “Oz, look at all the food.”

Ozlin’s eyes brightened. Table after table was laid out with lavish fruits, meats, cheeses, pastries, and all sorts of drinks. Nearby, a young girl with silver hair and an ornate ball gown was reaching down to pet a large puppy. A ragged rabbit hovered just above her shoulder.

“Go say hello,” Meven urged, then chuckled. Her mageling had already darted off toward the feast. She hoped he wouldn’t get into too much trouble.

As for herself, Meven headed toward the reception line, so that she too could pay honor to her hostess. This was going to be a night to remember.

The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh

Meven is a renegade, hunted by the cruel regime of master mage Dar-Gothull. Her desperate desire is to lose herself in the treacherous Fang Marsh. Only there can she live the life she wants, in freedom and safety. To reach the marsh, Meven must sneak through the town of Eshur, where her old enemy, the wicked Countess Ar-Torix, commands dozens of spies and guards. It should be no problem!

What Meven doesn’t know is that she’s already being tracked. Ozlin was thrown out because of his emerging magic. Now he’s starving on the streets of Eshur. Caught stealing, he’s about to be imprisoned in the brutal temple school.

Until Meven recognizes his power and intervenes. Suddenly she has a new, desperate desire — to save this mageling boy, and maybe save herself as well.

The Author

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. Her first professional sale, a children’s poem, was in 2000. Since then she has published six novels through two small presses, and seen her work appear in magazines such as Boys’ Life and Cricket Magazine. Currently she is self-publishing a series of high fantasy novellas, Minstrels of Skaythe. Find out more at her web site, www.debyfredericks.com.

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The doors opened and Desmond, Lord Draco, strode into the hall, tall and proud. He was dressed all in black save for his white shirt and the red lining of his cape. He took a moment to eye all the attendees, then strode to Queen Titania. He pushed the cape back, then bowed low.

“Your servant, Your Majesty,” he said.

Character Questions

Is there something you are willing to die for?

As a vampire, I honestly hope I will never die. Unlike some of my brooding kindred who become bored with life, I always find new challenges and it helps that the world is ever changing. That said, I am all too aware that vampires may be killed. I have and will risk death for knowledge. I’m especially interested in the origins of humans and vampires, and whether or not there is truth behind the religions humans profess. I have seen marvels that make me think there must be some truth, but I wonder if it is a complete truth.

Would you rather sneak into a dragon’s den or attend a demonic parliament?

What a marvelous question, for you see when I was mortal, I was a “dragon” in the court of Ambrosius Aurelianus. It was a title much like “lord” or “baron” to more recent generations and the chief among us was the pendragon. What’s more, as a vampire, many say we are possessed by demons.

Alas, I have never seen a real dragon, despite carrying a banner emblazoned with one. Still, I do wonder if they exist somewhere, more hidden even than us vampires. Despite what people say, I don’t believe a demon possesses me. I have always been “Desmond” and although I have gained immortality, great strength, and a thirst for blood, I find no evidence that a demon possesses me.

So, which would I rather see? Demons to determine their nature and decide if it’s possible I am possessed by one or dragons to revel in their power and strength? It would be a hard choice if presented to me, but I think I would visit the demonic parliament because I might learn more about my origins and the marvelous, mysterious clockwork universe.

Tell us about the main religion or spirituality of your society?

I believe the religions of my world are known to you, but it has been fascinating to see how different religions have ebbed and flowed through the world during my long life. As a child we worshipped many gods, such as Brigid, the goddess of healing, and Lugh, the god of war. My birth name was, in fact Angus Desmond. Angus was the god of choice and love. Learned people called druids made it their job to understand the world around us. They told us about the gods and told us when it was time to plant and when to harvest and helped us make sense of the cycles of the world.

Even in my youth, I knew of a second religion in Britain called Christianity, which told of a god’s son and his doctrine of love and forgiveness. It’s said the religion came to Britain soon after the death of Jesus and in fact, Wolf, the vampire who brought me into the world of darkness, said he met Joseph of Arimathea who carried the cup of Christ himself. The cup captivated him and he thought it could bring forgiveness to vampire-kind but it was guarded by a powerful creature. I believe Christians call it an angel. Wolf and I engaged the help of an old acquaintance of mine called Arthur to find that cup. And you know what? We found it, but it was just an object, though it was still guarded by one of these angels. So you see, I have reason to wonder about what these religions teach.

I also know of a religion professed by the Ottoman Turks. I’m hard pressed to see many differences between their Islamic faith and Christianity. Mostly the differences are in the details and doctrines, but the two are in conflict over parts of Europe and the Holy Lands. While the conflict challenges my goal of seeking knowledge, it does keep me well employed as a mercenary.

Author Questions

If you lived in the world of your book, who would you be?

No question I would be Daniel McKee from Vampires of the Scarlet Order, the sequel to Dragon’s Fall. Daniel is an astronomer who became a vampire while working at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona during the 1800s. He was a creature of the night before he became a vampire and the improved night vision he gained as a vampire makes his work as an astronomer even better. His fashion sense still leans toward the fashions he wore as a human in the 1880s, so in today’s world he’d fit in very well in the steampunk community!

Are your books self-published or traditionally published, and why did you choose that route into print?

The first editions of the Scarlet Order vampire novels were traditionally published by Lachesis Publishing. I submitted Vampires of the Scarlet Order to LBF Books back in 2007 at the urging of the company’s art director who had read a chapter and loved it. LBF bought the book. During my time with LBF, the company’s owner encouraged me to try my hand at NaNoWriMo. One of the NaNoWriMo novels I wrote was the first draft of Dragon’s Fall. After that, LBF was acquired by Lachesis and my new publisher asked for a new vampire novel. I returned to Dragon’s Fall, polished it according to their guidelines, and submitted it. I received a contract soon afterward.

The contracts on the two novels have recently expired and the rights reverted to me. Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order Vampires is just out in its new self-published edition and Vampires of the Scarlet Order will follow soon. Self-publishing new editions gave me the opportunity to update the covers and make some revisions I felt were needed.

Have you ever been on a writer’s pilgrimage?

When my daughter went to college in New Orleans, each trip became something of a writer’s pilgrimage for me. Anne Rice, who lived there for many years, was one of the authors who inspired me to try my hand at writing vampire fiction. In fact, there are some scenes in Vampires of the Scarlet Order, the sequel to Dragon’s Fall, which are set in Louisiana bayou country, which exist as something of a tribute to Anne Rice.

During my first trip to New Orleans, I brought Anne Rice’s novel Merrick and made a point of becoming familiar with the neighborhoods in the novel. In a later trip, I made a point of visiting a bookstore that specialized in signed editions and bought a signed copy of one of Rice’s novels. What’s more, I’ve been honored that Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans has hosted signings for my vampire novels. It’s a real honor to have my work celebrated in the hometown of one of my favorite authors.

Dragon’s Fall (Rise of the Scarlet Order #1)

Three vampyrs. Three lives. Three intertwining stories.

Bearing the guilt of destroying the holiest of books after becoming a vampyr, the Dragon, Lord Desmond searches the world for lost knowledge, but instead, discovers truth in love.

Born a slave in Ancient Greece, Alexandra craves freedom above all else, until a vampyr sets her free, and then, she must pay the highest price of all—her human soul.

An assassin who lives in the shadows, Roquelaure is cloaked even from himself, until he discovers the power of friendship and loyalty.

Three vampyrs, traveling the world by moonlight—one woman and two men who forge a bond made in love and blood. Together they form a band of mercenaries called the Scarlet Order, and recruit others who are like them. Their mission is to protect kings and emperors against marauders, invaders, and rogue vampyrs—and their ultimate nemesis—Vlad the Impaler.

The Author

David Lee Summers lives in Southern New Mexico at the cusp of the western and final frontiers. He’s written novels about space pirates, vampire mercenaries, mad scientists in the old west, and astronomer ghosts. He’s edited thrilling anthologies of space adventure that imagine what worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission might be like. When he’s not writing or editing, David explores the universe for real at Kitt Peak National Observatory. To learn more about David or his books visit his website at http://www.davidleesummers.com

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Fyrnux was used to maintaining self-control — but not in front of royalty. No teacher had taught how to properly enter the court of a queen. That was something for the people of the Malvin-Jullian Empire, not the Simmerian-Phi Alliance. Fyrnux hadn’t even known what to wear, but decided on a student uniform. The third-year student wore grey regulation pants and jacket, the latter with three silver pips on the left shoulder and underneath a brown and green plaid blouse. The grey-skinned Fyrnux had long straight black hair flowing freely overall, as was proper. Fyrnux had thought about marching in, but remembered this was not to be military formal, so tried walking in normally–but respectfully. “Be yourself,” Fyrnux thought, nervously.

Character Questions

Is there something you are willing to die for?

Oh my goodness, your Majesty, I really do not want to die, not yet! I am still a young student, studying to become a counselor.

I want to help people, like my new friend Oystra, who is starting as an exchange student on my world, Vonyai. Oystra is from Gepra, and is what is called a “female.” They have people there called “males,” too. I do not know how they are different, but want to live to learn! And I cannot counsel people if I am dead!

Which is more powerful – a wish or a curse?

Your Majesty, I believe a wish is for something you want that is good, a curse is for something bad. So I believe the more powerful would be a wish.

Tell us about the main religion or spirituality of your society.

Many generations ago, people on my world, Vonyai, were different, your Majesty. They had different skin colors and different genders, two, I think. Of course they did not get along with each other. After the Great Race War, people were all made the same so we could live in peace. We all have grey skin and black hair, and are all genderless. And people reproduce properly now, not like beasts do. Oh, I did not mean that as an offense to Oystra’s people!

We do have different eye colors, Yellow and Indigo, so of course we are raised separately. But both colors are allowed at my university so we can learn about each other. My world treats people fairly, so Yellows and Indigos live separate, but equal.

Author Questions

Who would be your ideal reader?

Would it be too obvious to say someone who likes what I write? That said, I like to challenge people’s thinking, and strive to challenge my own.

Most of my professional writing has been journalism in the much too rare “tell the truth and nothing but the truth” tradition. In fiction, I go back to my roots, which are tangled and interlocking. While I’m classified as a non-Hispanic Caucasian male, my three closest friends before I started school were all girls. As a boy, I learned Native American dancing on an Indian reservation and performed locally. I ran a computer lab at a school that was 80% Hispanic, tutored international students, and have a minor from my university’s Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department. So my ideal reader is one who is willing to seriously consider other points of view.

How much do you plan ahead of time, vs. following the story where it leads?

I don’t always construct a story or play in the same way. Most of the time, I create interesting characters, put them in an interesting situation in our or another world, then “record what they say and do.” My main characters are very real to me, so I know them well. I’ve even taken online personality tests as my characters to get to know them better. But even then, sometimes they do things I didn’t expect–which are almost always more interesting than what I planned.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

If I believe in them, I won’t think they’re superstitions!

Seriously, I have had the reverse, superstitions about my writing. This is probably primarily due to three things. One, I treat my characters as if they’re real people; two, I’ve written under several pen names; and three, I’ve shared pen names with others.

As a result, there are those who are convinced that a number of real people are all me. Ironically, the accused have included at least two people who were making the allegations! I supposedly have dozens of “sockpuppets.” They admin dozens of wikis and other websites, composed dozens of poems, edited dozens of magazine issues, authored dozens of books, etc. I wish I could do all that, especially when during much of the “sockpuppet” period I was working fulltime offline.

The thing that bothers me the most about it is that innocent people have been targeted in “The Loveshade Sockpuppet Conspiracy.” Fortunately, none of my friends have blamed me for the false accusations. But I still feel really bad about it. My hope is the conspiracy theorists are finally getting bored with their “theory,” and will move on to something that’s less destructive.

Exchange Students

Alden Loveshade is the author of “Orange Sun, Grey Sky,” in the anthology Exchange Students, edited by Sheila Hartney.

Study abroad! See new places! Meet new people! In our exchange student program, you can literally study anywhere or anywhen you can imagine. We’ll send you to new planets. We’ll send you to new dimensions and realms of existence. We’ll send you through time itself! Read this exciting anthology packed with twenty-two tales of science fictional and fantastic exchange students.

The Author

Alden Loveshade is a journalist, graphic designer, photographer, fiction writer, and personist. He’s enjoyed tutoring–and learning from–students of India, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, and the United States. He has degrees in humanities and theatre and a minor in ethnic and women’s studies, and has studied a wide variety of subjects including astronomy, biology, physics, psychology, and sociology. When not designing star systems for stories and GURPS roleplaying games, he enjoys historical recreation, walking in the woods, tending ponds, and trying to understand cats. http://alden.loveshade.org

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Of course, when I arrived, they had to block my way, and demand to know who I was, and all that. I told them, and they laughed at me. I’m used to this. Nobody thinks an underweight female Dalmatian puppy wearing a monogrammed white T shirt is much of a threat. That is, until I start up my counterattack.

I growled very loudly at them, and they stopped.

“I was invited,” I said. “By your liege.”

They seemed confused.

“You know….Queen Titania. The woman who pays your salaries. The woman who owns this whole place, and is giving this shindig. The woman who could kill you if she so desires if you disobey her. That is, if I don’t do it MYSELF first!”

As I spat out the last sentence, I gave them a flash of my able-to-bite-through-anything-at-all fangs, and they finally got it. I was allowed to pass, and granted my audience with the Queen…

Character Questions

Is there something you are willing to die for?

I am prepared to lay down my life in practically any situation I am in, but most particularly those in which those of friends and allies are threatened. That is a burden anyone in my job must be prepared to accept if they choose to take this on.

Are there any fantastic beasts where you live?

Where I live, i.e. the community where I’m based as my secret identity, I’m the only “fantastic beast” I know of. However, in combat with some and through friendship with others, I know for certain that this is not the case elsewhere.

What is your magical weapon of choice?

It’s hard picking just one, but I would say my ability to hypnotize others, and have them act upon my commands. When my other powers fail me- and they have, sometimes — I can rely on that. Even my fellow heroine-friends are vulnerable to it, and they are, for the most part, nearly as indestructible as I am, so that’s saying something.

Author Questions

If you lived in the world of your book, who would you be?

The person the story is being told or dictated to, especially if it’s a first person narrative. In other words, a scribe, a copyist or an oral historian.

Are your books self-published or traditionally published, and why did you choose that route into print?

Both. Traditional for my non-fiction books, and largely, self-publishing for my fiction, since I haven’t had much success yet selling it in book form. The fact that I’ve made more money from my traditional book sales so far indicates that I haven’t succeeded in getting people interested in my fiction yet.

Is there a fantasy trope that you would like to NEVER see again?

I would like to see romance writers stop writing pseudo-speculative fiction narratives. Romance should just be an element of speculative fiction and not the raison d’etre.

Honey and Salt

Bravery comes in all forms: fighting bullies and fighting your own demons.
Honey and Salt is a superhero novella that will draw you in the just fight of a few super heroines. The story is packed with action and humor. Their quest against evil superheroes and against their own weaknesses is refreshing. You can identify with them and embrace their battles. Rousing fantasy action with amazing young girls ready to fight for justice and for the oppressed.

If you enjoy a good action with an unusual plot, then this is the book for you.

David Perlmutter is a freelance writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. His published works include the non-fiction books America ‘Toons In: A History Of Television Animation (McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia Of American Animated Television Shows (Rowman and Littlefield); as well as a number of speculative fiction collections and novellas. His short stories can be read on Curious Fictions at Curious Fictions/David Perlmutter, and at Medium. com. He can be reached on Facebook at DavidPerlmutterCanadianhistoryspecficwriter, Twitter at @DKPLJW1, and Tumblr at The Musings of David Perlmutter (yesdavidperlmutterfan), and can be supported at Patreon at www.patreon.com/davidperlmutter22 and at Ko-Fi at www.ko-fi.com/davidperlmutter.

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Unsure what to expect inside the ball, Dedra pulls up the hood of the pink robe denoting her as an adherent of the Ahweian Order of Spirit. She takes a deep breath and slips inside, where she takes in the scene. She’s certain she’ll be asked to play something on the violin–she always is–but she wants to get her bearings before anyone sees her and makes a request. As she sizes up the revelers and their mood, she thinks of what piece of music would suit them best and pictures how the colorful tones would interact with the costumes and decor. After a few minutes of lurking around the edges, she feels comfortable enough to lower her hood, straighten her spine, and move forward to greet her hostess.

Character Questions

Are there any fantastic beasts where you live?

Yes, there’s one that shows up periodically in the dimension I visit (and where I hope to live out the rest of my life). It’s a bird called a chirikin. It looks kind of like a sparrow, but multi-colored like a tropical bird. In that dimension, which is called Ahwey, music is visible. It’s used for healing and all kinds of things. For everyone except chirikin, the visible aspect of music is like smoke, but the chirikin can perch on it as if it’s solid. They’ll even slide down it sometimes. It’s really amazing to see.
They’re not really from Ahwey–they just visit–but no one knows for sure where they come from. It’s super rare and special to see one. They seem to be attracted to people who can travel, so I get to see them a lot more than most people. My friends and I have even named three of them who tend to hang around me.

Tell us about the main religion or spirituality of your society

The spirituality in Ahwey is all about universal music. That’s the music that heals the body and soul, nourishes flowers and crops, and connects Ahweians to the fabric of the universe itself. All music in Ahwey is visible, but you can tell universal music from regular music by the depth of its colors and the strength of its vibration. Every evening, all the citizens play sunset music as a tribute to the universe. Each home has a room called a locus that’s open to the sky, so you can see the musical tones streaming out across the city, filling the sky. It’s spectacular.

On festival days, sacred songs and chants are performed at the Oolosian temple. The most talented musicians play, and for some traditional chants, everyone joins in and it creates the most magnificent whirling mass of color and sound you can imagine. The Order of Spirit stays in tune with universal music through almost constant song. Those at the higher levels, the Virtuosi, can interpret universal music. The highest of all, the Prima Virtuosa, holds a seat on the governing council so she can offer spiritual guidance to the leaders. Many of the Virtuosi and the Order’s lower adherents are trained in healing song and work closely with the Order of Healing to restore the patterns of those who are sick or injured. The Orders of Spirit and Healing are the highest regarded because of their ties to universal music.

Author Questions

How much do you plan ahead of time, vs. following the story where it leads?

I use a mix of planning and flying by the seat of my pants. I start with a really loose “plot outline” that’s so unstructured I hesitate to even call it an outline. Sometimes I’ll have bullet points that I want to hit at key points; sometimes it’s stream-of-consciousness notes that ramble all over the place.
I generally start knowing the beginning, the main plot points, and how I think it’ll end. The plot points usually don’t come about how I expect them to, and the climax tends to take on a life of its own, regardless of my plans.
I used to plan a lot less, but my superhero books (Hero Academy and Plague) are part of a shared world called the Just Cause Universe. Because the main author of that series needs to approve a pitch before a book is started, I had to start fleshing things out more at the beginning. I like having a better idea where things will go, but I do stay in tune with the evolving story and follow it where it wants to go. I think that’s important–no matter how well you think you know a world, a character, a plot before you start working, you get to know it better as you write. Sometimes, an idea you had just doesn’t fit anymore. Other times, the setting or characters themselves may present an opportunity you hadn’t expected. Staying open to that, I believe, helps a story grow more organically, which pulls everything together and makes it a more unified whole.

If you lived in the world of your book, who would you be?

I would be Ahlaya, the Prima Virtuosa of the Order of Spirit. She’s the one person considered equal to the secular ruler, the Grand Maestra, and she uses that power to quietly rebel against what she believes is a misapplication of law and power by the Grand Maestra and the council. She gives help and sanctuary to those who need it and works against injustice. She’s kind and frivolous and often silly, but there’s a method to her madness and a lot of wisdom behind everything she does.

Traveler Hunted

Dedra has a secret. She can escape this world—and her unhappy life—by slipping through the veil between worlds to visit Ahwey, where music is visible and underlays every aspect of life. As a violin prodigy and traveler, she’s accorded a high status; she’s in love (even if he doesn’t know it); she’s happiest there and dreams of staying in that world forever.

But then, she starts a chain reaction that damages the fabric of the universe and puts both worlds in danger. Will her talents and wits be enough to stop the strings of reality from unraveling?

The Author

Adrienne Dellwo has a BA in Journalism & Communications from the University of Oregon and worked as a TV news producer, newspaper reporter, magazine columnist, blogger, and freelance medical writer before pursuing her life-long dream of becoming a fiction author. Her primary genres are superhero, urban fantasy, and horror. She’s also an independent filmmaker, playwright, singer, and actress.

A life-long Northwesterner, Adrienne lives in Washington state with her husband/creative partner, two teenagers who double as film cast and crew, and a really spoiled cat. She’s a self-professed geek, drinks far too much tea, and frequently changes her hair color.

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