Category Archives: Book Stuff
Writing a book is a labor, sometimes of love, other times of persistence, occasionally of obligation, rarely (one hopes) out of sheer sadism or masochism, depending on who exactly the writer wishes to punish. Regardless of motivation, it is work. And like most jobs, time off can be a necessity during the whole process. Sometimes it’s a holiday, and in some cases in can be an entire leave of absence for months or years until the desire to resume overcomes the reluctance to dive back into the thing that made you walk away altogether.
And sometimes, you just need to tell the book to shove it.
It’s a win-win, right? You do the writing, I copy and paste it, slap my name on the cover, and pay you in those most priceless of gifts, an Acknowledgement and a death in print! (It’s priceless, you see, because I will not be paying you in actual money in any way, therefore having no price for me whatsoever.) I mean, who could pass up a deal like that? You won’t find a better one – well, at least maybe a more honest one – in town!
OK, so now this is where I explain that I haven’t gone completely off the deep end, thereby invalidating the prize for everyone who had April 17th 2013 in the pool for Yep, Alan’s Finally Snapped and Needs a Burly Escort to the Rubber Room.
Awhile back, I wrote a post about the general nature of magic in the world the Northreach Saga takes place in. Now that Curse’s younger brother (younger in age, but bigger in both scope and word count by a large margin) Storm is done as a first draft and moves to the editing process, I wanted to go into a little greater detail into one of the types of “magic” present in the world, one that takes on a slightly bigger role in Storm.
This is what I said about Devotion Magic in the prior post:
Devotion magic uses the power of an outside spirit, such as a god or demon, channeled through a person devoted to exercising the entity’s will. The applications of devotion magic are many and varied, according the type of spirit being worshipped. A god of peace and plenty may provide his devout followers with curative and blessing spells, while a demon may grant her devotees spells of fire and destruction. Devotion spells are broken down into Spheres, and each individual spirit would have different Spheres that the spirit provides and can influence.
Those familiar with role-playing games know what priests can do. They walk around and heal people. Occasionally they provide protective enchantments to help in battle. They carry blunt weapons and can’t use swords for some reason. The most common explanation one hears for this is some kind of sacred commandment that priests can’t shed blood. Tell you what. I want you take a 6-pound iron club with flanges on the end and smash someone in the head with it – actually, I don’t want you to do that, so let’s say “imagine” it instead. What do you imagine you will find? If you guessed a big bloody mass of pulped flesh, brains, and an awful lot of blood, then congratulations, you win.
Get your Nerd Waders out. This one is gonna be geeky. Like a 7th level Spiritwrack spell geeky. Thou hast been warned.
During a recent author interview (see what I did there!? Didn’t that make me sound all authoritative and cool? Like I’m a big time dude that magnanimously allowed the guy with the white card that says PRESS tucked into his fedora onto my yacht and allowed him to savor the aroma of my pipe and swirled brandy. It was almost exactly like that.)
Anyway, during a recent author interview, I was asked about the nature of magic in the world of The Curse of Troius. It was an interesting question, or at least it was interesting to me, since I never expected it. Magic plays a very subtle background role in Curse, with few “on-screen” demonstrations of spells and wizardly goodness. The zombie plague at the heart of the story is caused by magic, of course, but little of it is described in detail as a process – mostly because I didn’t want to turn it into a story about My Magic System. It was enough for me to show that magic was behind it, then move on the the important stuff like gnashing teeth and spilled innards.