Some thoughts on magic!

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So, I thought I might share some thoughts on magic in The Shattered Isles.  Let’s start with what we already know about magic in this world:  it is a learnable skill.  We have seen this with Pattenia and Denalia training at the girl’s school, learning to cast spells or use magic to create potions.  We have seen Serren spending hours reading tomes, learning the secrets of spell work.  So, it is not just a gift from the gods, but a matter of technique and practice.

Why would this be the case?  Two reasons.  First, the training develops the part of the brain that controls magic.  Most people are born with a very small part of their brain dedicated to magic.  Even without development, people experience their magic instinct in the form of intuition, instinct and even, sometimes, what seems like luck.  For example, if someone gets a strange feeling, then turns to realize someone has been watching them, that is their magic ability alerting them to their observer.  Sometimes, when in danger, people will report that time seemed to slow down.  Once more, this is an instinctive activation of their magic skills.

Without training, the inherent magic ability in all people never rises beyond this level of unaware manifestation.

However, with practice, most people can develop their magic instinct becoming capable of manipulating magic and using it to change reality itself.  Remember that we now know that everything is made of energy.  Energy can become matter, and matter energy. Magic users learn to manipulate the energy of their universe to their own ends.

So, one part of the training develops the brain and the magic ability.  In addition, magic users learn to use and channel energy to and through their brains much more efficiently than most people.  Although the brain takes up only 2% of the body’s mass, it eats up 20% of our daily energy needs– about 320 calories.  Cognitive tasks cause the brain to eat more energy, and none more than magic.  So, spell casters have to become very “fit”– the equivalent of long distance runners, with tremendous mental endurance.

The spells, symbols and secrets learned all serve to help a witch or wizard focus and bend reality to their will.  They can also serve to protect them from others who would seek to use their magic against them. So, in addition to developing their brains, spell users learn certain chants and spells that have been developed over the years to help the caster bring about a specific result.  The spell the hekatin used to transform Serren into a girl is an example of such a spell.  Transforming someone’s sex is very complicated and difficult to manage, so the spell helps make that transformation happen without some sort of error or mistake.  Even the faith necessary to believe such a transformation is possible must be learned and bolstered, and the spells help with that sense of faith as well.

Much of magic remains a mystery, even to the users.  Were you to ask Actonia how she turned a buck into a doe, she would have to admit that she really doesn’t know.  She only knows that when she casts the spell, the change happens.  Magic defies logic, rationality, reason– which is one reason the Priests of Maxis look upon it with suspicion.  The hekatin, however, celebrate creativity, emotion and the irrational, and they are quite comfortable with the notion of change, and that nothing we see might be what it appears.

Magic versus Miracles

So far, I have been writing only about the magic worked my the men and women of the Isles.  There is a second kind of supernatural power in the world, however, and that is the work of the Gods and their agents.  When the power comes from a deity, that power is in the realm of a miracle, meaning it is worked and granted by a divinity.  Mortals have no control over miracles; they are granted according to the will of the Gods.  Sometimes, a mortal of particular merit may be granted the ability to request certain miracles such as healing or protection, but this is always a power coming from outside the person as a gift.  The power does not come from them, and this is not a skill that can be learned.

 

The Houses of The Shattered Isle

I reader recently wrote me asking for the names and insignia of the royal houses of The Shattered Isles.  I felt more readers might be interested, so here along with a little more history, are the royal families that make up the ruling class:

The names of the groups and houses originate after the success of the revolt and the rise of Maxis.  The men each chose new names for their families, rejecting the “goddessed” names of their ancestors and starting new lines in the light of Maxis.

The Houses Denae

These houses are all closely related, tracing their ancestors back to the three men who banded together to overthrow the rule of the goddess Progenita, who they refer to as Pestilentia.

 

Family:  Danae

Symbol: Sun Hawk

Family: Fawnae

Symbol: Summer Eagle

Family: Malnae

Symbol: Falcon Moon

As the Three, they stand slight higher in status than the other royal houses.

The Houses Sey

The Sey joined the rebellion some years after the beginning of the struggle.  Thus, they rank lower than the others since they came along to the cause later, and were awarded estates of lesser value. 

Family: Onsey

Symbol: Griffin of the Light

Family: Wensey  

Symbol: Basalisk

Family: Ansey

Symbol: Sea Tiger

The final royal house is the only one that dates back to before the great war.

Family: Gaunefer

Symbol: The Ancient Spider

Gaunefer was one of the ruling clans from the days of the goddess.  They betrayed Progenita and served a key role in the defeat of the forces of the goddess.  As a reward, they were allowed to keep their ancestral lands and retain status as a ruling family.  However, they have always been looked upon with distrust and rumors have circulated for years that they sheltered witches, who kept the cult of the goddess alive in secret.

Some history

House Kybele was the last ruling family during the matriarchy.  Once King Denae seized power, he sought to hunt down and kill each and every member of the family as well as all hekatin.  This was when he formed the order of the Witch Hunters.  Their primary function was initially to eliminate all descendants of Kybele, but later became the suppression of goddess worship and witchcraft.  Whispers have long haunted the Kings Denae that a heir survived, and her descendants have lived on in secret awaiting the return of the Witch Moon.

Originally, the lands now known as The Shattered Isles consisted of one large land mass.  When House Kybele fell and Maxis rose, the Witch Moon vanished from the sky and there was a great tumult.  The very ground shook and the seas boiled.  The land shattered into a series of islands, great stretches of land sinking into the sea and leaving them divided.  King Denae and the priests of Maxis determined this “shattering” represented the shattering of the bonds that had been placed on them by “Pestlentia” and so celebrated the breaking up of the lands by renaming them The Shattered Isles.

To the new ruling class, Pestilentia (and all women) represented chaos, emotionalism, illogic and the irrational.  In their new order, women were denied any leadership positions and consigned to be wives and mothers.  In the eyes of the men, women lacked the mental facilities to lead properly, allowing their feelings to govern their decisions.  The only magic allowed was the magic of men– primarily spells to wage war and aid in physical tasks such as building. With their power in the rise, they constructed wonderous temples, roads and aqueducts.

For several hundreds of years after the rise of Maxis, girls received no formal education at all.  Even many royal women lacked the ability to read.  However, as time passed, it was determined that “properly” educated women made better wives for their husbands, and so gradually girls were allowed to learn some non-domestic subjects, primarily in what would become The Girls’ Academy in the royal city of Denaerk.  The initial teachers came primarily from Gaunefer, where the lax leadership had allowed them to learn academic subbjects over the course of years, despite royal mandates forbidding such learning.

Some More History

According to The Hekatin

The priests of Maxis and the hekatin relate very different stories as to the origins of the world.  According to the hekatin, Progenita gave birth to the world and to all life.  She ruled over the lands as a loving mother, the hekatin her loyal servants.  The lands, once known as Progenia, had always been ruled by a matriarchy.  She placed the Goddess Moon in the sky to show her eternal love for her people, that they would ever know of her goodness.  The people lived in harmony, harvest was abundant and all dwelt in comfort and safety.

They teach that a matriarchy is the natural and original order of the world.  Men are all little boys who need a strong mother to guide their actions.  And it was a dark God named Maxis who came from distant lands and tore the world asunder.

According to the Priests of Maxis

The priests of Maxis teach that Maxis forged the lands with his great hammer, Granite .  He then made men of steel to fight and lead, and women of silver to provide comfort to their men.  He placed the Ever Moon, later called the Witch Moon, in the sky as an expression of his love for his wife.

Pestilientia  was his wife.  She grew jealous of how much the people loved Maxis, and she revolted against her nature, seeking the power and the role of a God.  So, she did betray him, slipping a sleeping drought into his wine one night and then binding him with mighty chains and spells in his own dungeon.  The wicked queen then drew his power from him and gave it to women, allowing them to subjugate men and bringing an era of chaos and darkness to the world.

Finally, Maxis freed himself from her spell using the power of his mind, took back his power and restored the rule of man to the isles, striking down the Witch Moon, cutting out Pestilentia’s tongue and consigning her to serve as a maid in his palace.  The wars to restore the rule of man shed much blood, and so Maxis cursed women to bleed once a month as a reminder of the folly of woman’s rule.

 

 

The First Reveal!

The release of the final book in The Shattered Isles series is only a few weeks away!  I am busily writing away, discovering scenes and moments in the lives of Serren, Pattenia and the whole cast of characters.  While I have steadfastly resisted numerous calls for spoilers from my devoted readers, I have decided to share a few little things in the weeks leading up to the release of the third book, beginning tonight with the cover and title!

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I would love to know your thoughts about the title and cover!  Let me know what you think.  Now, let me get back to Serren who was just about to…  ooops!  Almost gave one away there!

Go, Princess, Go!

I’ve been watching a new gender swap TV series of Youtube lately that has a lot of fun moments for fans of TG romantic comedy.  The main character in the series is a modern day hit man who wakes up after an accident to find himself in the body of a princess in ancient China.

Not only is he a princess, but the first wife of the crown prince while also the subject of romantic attentions from the crown prince’s brother.  The creators of the show are happy with a slow build both in terms of the main character adjusting to being a woman, but also the romanic entanglements.  You’ll get to see him deal with having a period, having men fight over him, struggle with other women, faint into a man’s arms, run screaming, crying for men to protect him and a whole lot more.

New Body Swap Series on Netflix

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Netfix has released a body swap series that borders on horror.  In this series, a cute and popular girl finds herself switched with an outcast, and we see things mostly from her perspective as she is shunned, mocked and humiliated by the kids in her school, many of whom were her friends when she was in her own body.

The show is disturbing in a powerful way, because of how much the girl suffers when she experiences what it is like to be an outcast.  I had expected it to be one of these stories where she proves that her soul is superior by transforming herself in her new body, but in fact, this show suggests that bad parents plus a lack of traditional good looks dooms her to outcast status.  It is, however, a love story, and we do see a character who is able to see who she is beneath the skin and whose love for her goes more than skin deep.

Excellent performances by the actors, and this is a well shot professional series.

Anyway, don’t want to give away too much, but if you are interested in getting into body swap stories that deal with bullying, status and teen-cruelty, this is the one for you.

SWITCHED ON NETFLIX

 

 

 

Nice Write-up in Manistique Paper!

 

manistiquearticleHey, people!  Excited to share that for the first time ever one of my books has received coverage in the media!  The local paper, known as The Pioneer-Tribune, in which my novel, Manistique, is set ran an article about the book.  You have to subscribe to read it, but it is actually kind of fun, and just wanted to let you all know.

By the way, if you haven’t read Manistique– whaaaaaaaat?  It’s a terrifying yet funny and heartfelt read.  You’ll love it, though you may not be able to sleep for 3-5 days after reading!!!!

Manistique, The Best Book Ever (I think)

Three Free Copies!!!

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People!  There are still three free copies of my book, Manistique, out there to be claimed!  It has ghosts, spiders, demons and even bad dads and worse moms!  It’s Shameless meets The Conjuring!  I am serious!  It is those two things mixed together!

So, why not enter to win a FREE copy!  That’s FREE, as in costs you nothing!  I would love to give you a copy of this book!  It will scare you AND make you laugh!

In related news, did I mention there are THREE FREE Copies?   Check it out before you wreck it out!  That makes no sense. Enter to Win!

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