While working on the latest installment in The Astralasphere Spiral, I realized that the prologue had gotten a bit out of hand. I wonder if this happens to other writers. It happens frequently to me. This particular little mushroom is a glance back in time at the events surrounding Lycian’s birth and gives us a glimpse of Benth as a young boy. (Benth plays a key role in the next book, so I wanted to show how their lives intertwined even before Lycian was born.
Since the prologue really ran away with itself, I’m publishing it as a short story on Amazon. It should be available within the next few days.
The Inquisitor’s Gift is free today! In a pre-industrial world, Petal is forced to become an Inquisitor, a member of an elite police force serving the Overfather. Her job is to interrogate prisoners, to break them. Her latest prisoner is a man she knows, the teacher she pined for as a student at the mages’ academy. She has allowed herself to believe she worked for justice and that the prisoners are all evil, now she must question her beliefs.
I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to receive another four-star review from the blog, Jennie Reads. You can read the review in it’s entirety here.
This review is for Another World’s Song, Book 1 of the Astralasphere Spiral. I thought this tip was interesting:
This is the first book in the Astralasphere Spiral. I read them in reverse which is the order I would suggest – because the second book is an incredible story with plenty of action and intrigue where the first one does a wonderful job of setting up the characters and the plots that will arise in the second book.
I think this is probably true. I realized when I released Under the Shadow that it was the stronger book of the two. Hopefully, Book 3 will be even better! I learned a lot about world building in Another World’s Song–as well as how to finish a book. (You write ‘the end’ and walk away from it. I’m almost not kidding. It’s possible to spend years fussing over a work without being able to give it up.)
Get a free copy of Another World’s Song, Book 1 of the Astralaspherehere.
Just for visiting this website, get a free copy of the second book, Under the Shadow, here.
Jahern is a character in the epic fantasy series, The Astralasphere Spiral. In Another World’s Song, he is introduced as Lycian’s Primemaster, the first master of an apprentice. Mage Jahern was also the Primemaster of Taven, Mylinka’s father, who is the Guardian of the Astralasphere.
Stern, arrogant, and stubborn, Jahern is a hard man. He is an antagonist because he’s abusive to Lycian, but he’s complicated. In his own way, he loves Lycian. Jahern is the poster child for cognitive dissonance. He clings to his comfortable beliefs even when he’s faced with new evidence.
I don’t have a drawing of Jahern, but if I could pick anyone to play him, it would be the late, great Peter O’Toole. He had such range! If you love historical dramas and have never seen The Lion in Winter, you should really check it out.
Here’s a longish-haired O’Toole. He needs ivory horns and beige cloak.
Huntmaven Quindolyn Byronwlyth Mildargn, Curatrix of the Silver Hall, called Quin by her friends and Ahryu-yi by wolves, is a character in the epic fantasy series, The Astralasphere Spiral. She has many names and is many things–a warrior, a leader, a healer, a mentor. She is a survivor who bears a curse and is haunted by a dark past.
Her kindness and bravery, her willingness to see the good in others while examining her own flaws, set her apart as one of the series’ truly heroic characters.
The title for Under the Shadow comes from a song composed by a Gailfen woman named Ruvella, one of Mylinka’s friends. The motif of weaving and needlework is important throughout the series, because the major Gailfendic deity is Jairra, the sun goddess who weaves the tapestry of life. In “Loom Song,” there’s the idea that Jairra weaves both good and bad into one’s life. If you’ve ever seen a loom, you know there are fibers that are stretched vertically (I stretched them across cardboard as a kid) and these are called the weft. A new fiber is threaded through, over and under, these stretched threads. The pulled thread is called the weft (or, sometimes woof.) Like a life, the thread dips down and rises up, now overwhelmed, now overcoming, over and over.
So Ruvella sings:
“So these are our lives,
And so these are our lives,
And lo, these lives are ours,
And though these threads be tangled and worn,
The Weaver’s stitch is sound,
As under the shadow and over the light
Our lives are wrapped and bound.”
Under the Shadow tests Lycian and Mylinka. They find themselves in light; they find themselves in darkness. How they cope with the plunge into shadow reveals much about their temperaments and who they really are.
Evening Burnwick lives in a land where young men and women are entombed underground to make the crops grow. She craves more than a peasant life, but she feels crushed beneath the foot of the landlords. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she is poaching on the Church’s lands and runs into an irritable shapeshifter with problems of his own.
This short, charming, coming of age fantasy contains LGBT characters and encourages everyone to find their own truths.
Evening and Owen are two of my favorite characters. I hope you enjoy their story. Someday, I may write more of their adventures.
Mylinka is one of the heroes of the epic fantasy series, The Astralasphere Spiral. When we meet her in the first book, Another World’s Song, she is a mischievous Gailfen girl on the cusp of womanhood. She lives on the legendary island of Malyndor and is the daughter of the world’s most celebrated and powerful mage, Taven, the Guardian of the Astralasphere.
Mylinka wants to learn how to wield magic, but magery is, traditionally, a male pursuit. Although Taven is not a traditional mage, the Guardianship weighs heavily on him, and he doesn’t fully support his daughter’s dreams. The bulk of his thoughts are occupied by the Astralasphere–a great, magical orb from which mages can draw power. He believes the mages’ use of the Astralasphere is damaging the world, so he is engaged in a power struggle with Lord Mage Asfret. This struggle ends with Mylinka being taken far from her home.
This is where the second book, Under the Shadow, finds here. As the foster daughter of Lord Murdoth, she takes the name Teg N’guul. In this book, she is older, and her life has made her fiercer. She is pragmatic, doing whatever she believes needs to be done to accomplish her goals. In this sense, she is something of an antihero, like Han Solo from Star Wars. She is, at her core, a good person, but a difficult life has given her a hard outer shell.
Fearless, stubborn, and complicated, she is one of my favorite characters to write.
Lord Mage Asfret is one of the main characters of Under the Shadow. While Lycian and Mylinka are the book’s heroes, Asfret is one of its villains.
When we meet Asfret in the first book in the series, Another World’s Song, he is a dashing, leonine figure dressed in red velvet robes. He is angry and blustering, full of self-importance. As an adviser to Queen Livian of Khydgel, he has encouraged the criminalization of magic there–reserving its use for military purposes or in some other service of the crown.
Asfret looks a bit different when we first meet him in Under the Shadow. In the world of Cith Lor Mahl, as in our world, actions have consequences. I don’t have a picture of Asfret except in my mind. Although Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t look exactly like I imagined Asfret, I think he would play him well. So, here’s a photo of a blond Cumberbatch–he just needs horns and an entitled smirk.
Under the Shadow: Book Two of the Astralasphere Spiral, follows three main characters–the two protagonists (heroes) Lycian and Mylinka, and the antagonist (villain) Asfret. Today, we’ll meet Lycian.
Lycian’s story begins in Another World’s Song: Book One of the Astralasphere Spiral, when he is the young foundling of a mage named Jahern. Although Lycian has an ability for magic, Jahern has decided that he is a wyrm–one born to magic who isn’t allowed to use it because of some curse. Wyrms are often deformed or have some outward manifestation warning of their cursed status. One of Lycian’s horns is crooked. (All Gailfen have horns, but most are symmetrical.) He also has purple eyes. Unfortunately for Lycian, they are considered a bad omen, for the demons locked in the Void also are reported to have purple eyes.
Lycian is far from being a demon, however. He tends to be honest and kind, sometimes to his determent. He loves animals and champions the downtrodden. Always, he tries to look for the good in others.
In Another World’s Song, Lycian became fully aware of his power and began learning how to use it. In Under the Shadow, he must learn how it should not be used. To me, this seemed like an important part of growing up. It’s one of the struggles not just mages, but all young adults, have to face as they come into their own. We all have power, we have only to face it.