Ask Luna #61

From: TrueNorth

Hey Luna what do you know about the magical side of Canada, like any different discipline there also are the Cryptids of Canada Real like Bigfoot or ogopogo

PS has Alex ever been to Canada I would Hazard to guess he may have but that’s just a guest.

Hope to hear your reponse an forgive me if my questions violate your rules or piss you off.

Well, Canada has mages like anywhere else, if that’s what you mean. I don’t think they’ve got access to any different magic types from everyone else, but then you wouldn’t really expect them to.

Canada’s supposed to have a much higher proportion of magical creatures than the norm, just because it’s got a lot more space and a lot less humans than most other countries, which is supposed to be where the Bigfoot stories come from (Bigfoot-types aren’t the biggest or the most important magical creatures from North America, they’re just the ones everyone’s heard of). Though I have to admit I’ve never heard of an ogopogo.

And yes, Alex has been to Canada, though I don’t know exactly when.

From: vance freed

Harvesting has awful mental health effects on the practitioner as we’ve seen, but are there other techniques that have some of the same benefits, adding to magical power, without the deleterious effects. Or could a life practitioner reshape Alex’s body to make him more durable or fast. I have real concerns with Alex’s survivability!

Kind of. The trouble with anything that boosts your magical power is that the demand’s way higher than the supply. Every mage wants to be more powerful than they are already, so the low-hanging fruit gets picked fast.

As for life magic, that can work . . . kind of. This is actually something I’ve spoken to Anne about. The main problem with it, from the way she explains it, is that you don’t get something for nothing. If you want to be stronger or faster then a life mage can help you get that way a lot quicker than you otherwise could, but you’ll have to change your lifestyle to match, or else it won’t stick. And if you really want to mess around with a body then that has side effects of its own. There’s a reason Anne doesn’t like it.

From: John D

Hi Luna,

I’m not sure if this has been asked yet, and I apologize if I’m covering old ground, but with regards to Harvesting, could it be used by a sensitive or Adept to… well, for lack of a better term, increase their power to the next tier (i.e. an Adept Harvests a mage and becomes a mage themselves, or a Sensitive has someone use a Harvesting ritual to give them actual magical power)? For that matter, can someone set up a Harvesting ritual for another person and force the benefits upon them without their permission (i.e. Harvesting one enemy to drive another mad, or as an experiment), or does the beneficiary have to cast the ritual?

On a separate note, does shapeshifting magic cast upon others affect their mental state? In a number of works of fantasy and fantasy games, being in a different shape has a number of risks for the person’s consciousness, and it’s recommended, if not against the magical law, that you don’t cast a spell on someone else that changes their shape drastically. I’m guessing that changing a face doesn’t have the same consequences (though I could be wrong about that), but if you had the magic to turn someone into a frog, would it fuck with their head as well?

Thank you for your time!

What is this, Harvesting day?

For the first question, yes, you can do that, and yes, it works exactly like you’re saying. There’s a reason the Council comes down so hard on anyone they catch doing that. As for doing it to someone else . . . I mean, I guess it’s possible, but if you’re willing to go that far, what would you get for doing it to someone else?

And yes, shapeshifting magic can REALLY mess with someone’s head. Actual shifter mages can work around it by doing some on-the-fly brain modification, but even so it’s risky, and apparently a lot of shapeshift mages end their careers by shapeshifting a bit too well and forgetting that they’re supposed to be a human. Doing it to someone else . . . yeah, I think that’s basically a slower, more reversible way of killing them. Unless they get help then they’re going to go insane or lose their identity pretty fast.

From: Gabriel

Hi Luna,

Long time reader. It’s nice to finally write in.

I know that mages and some magical creatures can make imbued items and that those items possess a form of consciousness and will.

Mages can also make constructs, but those are guided by simple programming.

Would it be possible to combine the two disciplines? Could a dedicated enough individual create an imbued construct with a consciousness and will of its own?

Frankenstein’s ice cat, if you will?

It is possible, but it’s supposed to be difficult. I don’t know enough about item creation to explain it in detail, but the rituals for creating an imbued item and the ones for creating a construct are supposed to work in really different ways, so it’s not just a matter of making an imbued item and then adding arms and legs. Light mages don’t do it because it’s too expensive, but there are rumours that some master mages go in for that kind of stuff (though they usually keep the results a secret).

Posted in Ask Luna | 1 Comment

AMA/On Holiday

My Reddit Ask Me Anything is done!  You can view it here.  Lots of good questions – I enjoyed myself!

And that’s it for me for a while.  I’m off on holiday, leaving today.  I’ve left a few Ask Luna posts ready to go, so the blog should keep on updating every Friday while I’m gone.  See you when I get back!

Posted in Interviews, News | 1 Comment

Reddit AMA Is Live

My Reddit Ask Me Anything is live as of right now!  I’ll be answering questions over the next 24 hours or so, so if there’s anything you want to know, head over there and post!

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Aaaaaand finished.  Alex Verus #8 is written, has had its first brief edit, and is in the hands of my publishers as of two days ago.  This one has been really tough to get through – I started around October 1st of last year, meaning that I’ve been working on it for six and a half months straight.  I don’t generally take breaks when I’m working on a new book, at least not for more than a day or two, and so the first thing I’m going to be doing as of next week is going on holiday.  I’ll queue up some posts for the website, and I’ll try to clear my now-far-too-big email backlog before I go.

The bad news (for those who’ve just finished Burned and want to know what’ll happen next) is that just because I’ve finished the second draft, that doesn’t mean it’ll be published anytime soon.  I did a blog post on the writing process and wait times, but the short version is that my books take at least 10 months to go from first draft to publication, and that’s the low end.  The average is more like a year.  So I wouldn’t expect Alex Verus #8 to be out in shops and on the Kindle store until around Spring 2017.  Yes, I know it’s a long time to wait.  Sorry.

But in the meantime, if there’s anything you REALLY want to know, you can ask me at my Reddit AMA on r/fantasy this coming Tuesday, on April 26th.  For those who don’t know, a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) is pretty much what it sounds like – a general Q&A aimed at fans and other interested parties.  I’ll be starting it at 12pm GMT on April 26th, and finishing at 12pm GMT on April 27th;  in between those times I’ll check in regularly and answer anything I can.  I’ll post a direct link on Twitter and here one the AMA goes live.

And that’s about it!  See some of you (hopefully) on Tuesday and I’ll have more to tell you then!

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Reddit AMA April 26th

Just finishing up Book #8, but in the meantime, I’m going to be doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on r/fantasy tomorrow week, on April 26th.  More details (including exact timings) closer to the date!

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Nearly There

Writing the epilogue of Book #8.  (Given how many updates I’ve been giving on this one, I wonder if you guys want this to be over as much as I do.)  Admittedly, given the length, it shouldn’t really be all that surprising that it’s run past the deadline – it’ll be around 115,000 words by the time it’s done, which is pretty long given that the early Alex Verus novels average between 85,000 and 90,000.

The good news is that it’s almost over.  Once that’s over with, I’ve got a long backlog of Ask Luna questions to do, as well as an anniversary post and a whole lot of emails that I’ve let pile up.  (Oh, and the new sales figures have come in, too – will do an update on that as well, but short version, they’re very good.)

Just a little more . . .

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Burned Reviews

Still busy with book #8, but in the meantime a whole bunch of reviews for Burned have been coming in.  Here’s a selection!

Whatchamacallit Reviews
I Smell Sheep
The Genre Minx
Fangtastic Fiction
One Book Two
The Arched Doorway

I’ve also done an interview for PW Radio, which should be going live sometime today.  Will post up the link when it does.

. . . And back to writing.

Edit:  Interview is live!  You can listen to it here.

Posted in Reviews | 5 Comments

Burned UK Release

And a couple of days later (as usual) the British readers get it too.  Alex Verus #7 is available outside of the US as of today!


Tomorrow’s post will probably be a collection of reviews, and possibly a link to my PW interview (though probably not – I’m doing it today, but I don’t know exactly when it’ll go live).  For now, I’m back to writing book #8!

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Burned US Release

And the seventh Alex Verus novel is finally out!


On sale in mass market paperback and on Kindle, as per usual.  Audiobook version should be available by today, too.  For now, I’m still spending all my time finishing the sequel!

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Burned Release Week!

And it’s finally here!  Burned will be released in the US this coming Tuesday, on April 5th, and two days later in the UK, on April 7th.

I’m mostly still busy with book #8, but to mark Burned’s release I’m doing a radio interview with Publishers Weekly on the 7th – I’ll post up a link to it when it goes live.

For those of you who’ve been waiting for Burned, I hope you enjoy it – I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I think you’ll probably like it too.  Oh,and  if you do, feel free to leave a review at Amazon or somewhere similar – it does help.

Right, back to writing the next one.

Posted in News | 4 Comments