Ask Luna #32

From: Bekah

So, most of the mages we’ve seen so far have matched up pretty neatly to the conventional personalities of their magic types. How accurate really is the perception that ice mages are coldhearted, fire mages are passionate, etc.? (So far it’s looking very accurate.) Do you think the tendency for mages to follow this pattern is the result of socialization (fire mages think they are supposed to be impulsive and respond by making no effort to curb impulsivity) or an actual genetic proclivity? Are there any striking examples of mages who straight-up flip the bird to these expectations?

On an unrelated note, sound magic sounds (hah) pretty fun. The encyclopedia article says sound mages tend to be verbal performers, and I was wondering how broad a description that was? Does verbal mean exclusively performing arts (acting, singing, politicking, etc.), or written language as well (literature, poetry, and so on)? How might a mage navigate the relationship between skill with spoken and unspoken words?

Thank you and sorry for the length!

*For the sake of being an ass, I would also like to mention that the sound mage article has a grammatical error in the second paragraph of the second subheading (a mixup of then with than).

The stereotypes are never 100%. There are lots of mages who rely on them all the time and make loud generalisations about how mages of X and X types are all the same, and honestly they just end up sounding stupid, as well as being wrong a lot. That said, the whole point about magic types is that your type is determined by your personality, not vice versa, so if you didn’t have SOMETHING that matched you to that type, you wouldn’t be able to use it in the first place (even if it’s not always obvious exactly what the something is).

Think of it this way – it’s not so much ‘ice mages are coldhearted’, it’s more like ‘being taller means you’re heavier’. Yeah, you can try to disprove it by starving yourself into anorexia, but is it really worth it?

As for sound mages, they have a tendency towards singing, but there’s a definite minority that go in for oratory and storytelling and stuff like that (as well as a few that just go for music and cut out the verbal part completely).

From: Andrew London

Do any mages have dual magical abilities. It seems like each character specializes in one field and has no abilities in any of the others…. It would be cool to have a couple weaker hybrid mages, or ones that can combine powers in different ways.

Yeah, there are plenty. They don’t really think of themselves as hybrids, though – they think the types of magic they combine just go naturally together, and they think that mages who can only use one or the other are weird.

From: drizztmajere

hey Luna,
Do you know if Alex thinks Garrick is a norm, sensitive, or adept?

Norm or sensitive, I think. Haven’t seen the guy for a while, which is fine by me.

From: drizztmajere

Hey Again Luna,
Couple questions, do you know what goes into the making of a construct? and if you do can you explain the process? My next question is have you guys checked to see if Onyx made it out alive and are preparing for him?

No idea how the things are made, sorry. I know that the more powerful ones use a bound elemental to power them, and the weaker ones run off an energy battery, but that’s about it. It’s a pretty specialised field.

As for Onyx . . . made it out of where? You mean the fight at the Tiger’s Palace? The guy’s a frigging cockroach, I seriously doubt we’re going to get rid of him that easily.

From: drizztmajere

Hey luna,
sorry once again I am rereading the whole think and questions just keep popping into my head. If it helps you to know I am not asking alot of questions lol…Right now i have two, do you know if anyone has ever made a life drain focus and if they have why hasn’t Alex gotten one to help him with those pesky elemenatal mages and when are you going to ask out Vari?

1. Yeah, they make life drain focuses. They’re banned under the Concord, but not like that stops the guys on the Dark side of the fence. They’re not a patch on what a life mage can do, though.

2. Mind your own business.

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Hidden RT review

Another nice review for Hidden, this one from Bridget Keown at Romantic Times.

“Jacka’s latest is a fast-paced, high-stakes adventure that pits the charming diviner and his companions against a long-hidden enemy who has the power to threaten their entire future.  The real-world and magical settings of these books are crafted with care and fascinating detail, and the range of characters and magic populating these worlds will keep readers spellbound.  But the real power of Jacka’s series comes from the very human journeys and revelations to be found for each character in the course of this story.”

Andy J Silva, Mark Jardine liked this post
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Ask Luna #31

From: Josh

Hey Luna,
In the last lot of questions you mentioned fate magic, and how it’s a sort of opposite to divination. Could we get more info on that? An Encyclopedia entry, maybe?
Thanks.

The basic idea of fate magic is that it can set future events that can’t be avoided. At least, that’s what I was told.

The thing is, though – and I don’t know why – you don’t get human fate mages any more. There are legends that they used to exist, but nowadays they’re either incredibly rare or all gone. So there isn’t much information floating around on how it works, because there’s no-one who actually knows the answers. (Well, okay, there’s the fateweaver, but for obvious reasons no-one really wants to try that.)

From: Elaine Felicity Green

Hi Luna,

Am I imagining the chemistry between Alex and Anne?

Yeah . . .

The short answer is no, you’re probably not, and that worries me a bit. I love Anne, and she’s my best friend, but . . . she’s got some pretty major stuff going on under the surface. It doesn’t come up when she’s doing mage things – she’s an amazing healer, and she works really hard with her patients. And most of the time it doesn’t come up when she gets hit on, either, because the guys who do it are usually looking for something really superficial. If anything happened with Alex, though . . . well, that probably wouldn’t be superficial. And I’m not sure what’d happen after.

I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to see.

From: Kravix

Hi Luna,

I was just wondering about the difference in training between light and dark mages.

Alex was going crazy trying to find somebody to take in both Ann & Variam for training that matched their specific magic.

While Richard had four different apprentices with different types of magic. How could he possibly taught each of them more then the basics.

Thanks,
Kravix

Basically the question is: what are apprentices really supposed to be learning?

For Light mages, it’s all focused on magic and academic stuff. So they take one apprentice, and they spend ages training them on their own. And so this makes them really picky, because they’re only expecting to take one apprentice every ten years or so, maybe only one apprentice ever. They’ll usually only take apprentices of the same type, too, because they want to do all the training themselves.

Dark mages do it differently. They take a bunch of apprentices and have them compete. And they don’t really care what your magic type is – they’re more interested in what you can do. The thing is, you don’t actually have to take an apprentice of the same magic type as yours. As long as you’re the same family you can teach them the basics, and if you’re really good then you don’t even need that. Sure, you’ll eventually need to get them a teacher of the right type, but that doesn’t mean they need to be standing right next to them every minute of the day.

It’s different attitudes. Light mages want to take the perfect apprentice and build them up over years and years into the perfect mage. Dark mages just chuck all their apprentices in the deep end and let them sink or swim. One’s a lot easier to get into than the other.

From: John D.

Hey Luna!

Thanks for answering my last set of questions. I just came up with another few, and I hope you don’t mind answering them.

What does it take to be able to make a one-use item? Does Alex have to go to a force mage to get those force disk things of his, or an ice mage to get a freezing item? And what about imbued items? I assume they’re not easy to make, but do you have to be a particular type of mage, or get help from a magical creature, or is some other factor necessary?

Also, are magical creatures capable of wielding multiple “types” of magic? It seems that Arachne is using a pretty flexible power set when she makes things, and I was wondering if it’s because it all fits a theme (i.e. magical items she weaves can have a variety of effects) or
if she (and others) are capable of more than one flavor of magical ability?

Finally, what kind of powers do rakshasas wield? I’m sure that Jagadev doesn’t go advertising what type of magic he wields, but is there anything you know about their capabilities as a species?

Easiest way to make an item is to be able to cast the spell the item duplicates. So if you’re a force mage who can cast force walls, then as long as you understand item crafting, it’s not hard to make a forcewall one-shot that anyone else can use. Mages sell or trade the items they make, usually to item specialists who make a business out of selling or trading the things on in turn. Alex does a little of that himself, but he mostly gets his stuff from another mage called Lensman.

Arachne is . . . different. Basically, magical creatures don’t play by the same rules as humans. Things that are hard for us are easy for them, and stuff that’s hard for them is easy for us. For Arachne, she just seems to be really good at creation in general. I’m not sure if she could make something like a forcewall, but she seems to be able to put together nearly anything you can think of as long as it’s subtle. Arachne’s pretty high on the power scale, though – I don’t think there are many other creatures still around that can do what she can, and there definitely aren’t any humans who could put together an imbued item that easily.

As for rakshasas, they’re supposed to be warriors and illusionists. The stories are that they can take the shape of any other creature they like, and they’re very powerful in one-on-one combat, too.

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PW review for Hidden

We’re coming into the run-up for the September 2nd release of Hidden, and as is now traditional, the first review’ll be the Publishers Weekly one.  (Note: the review contains lots of spoilers, so I won’t post it here.  You can read it at the link, but consider yourself warned!)

I’ll post up the first chapter for Hidden some time this month, probably in a couple of weeks or so.  More reviews, news, etc as I get it!

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One By One

Well, Alex Verus #6 has been sent.  The final word count ended up being around 94,000 words, very similar to the previous volumes.

Now that the first draft’s done, I get a short (but much-needed) holiday.  Generally, the sequence is first draft -> initial edit -> copy edit -> proof read -> publication.  However, I can’t get started on the initial edit until I hear back from my editors at Orbit and Ace, which means that I’ve got a period of a few weeks while I wait for them to get back to me.  Some authors work on other books or short stories in this time, but frankly, right now, I don’t think I’d be up to writing anything very much.  To get this book in on time I spent the last three weeks doing pretty much nothing but writing and editing, and my energy reserves are low.

Still, the first draft is finished, which means the hardest part of the job is done.  Over the next few months my editors will give the book a look over, then it’ll get shuttled back to me to respond.  The same thing’ll repeat (on a decreasing scale) with the copy-edit and the proofread stage.  And finally, in 12 months or so, Alex Verus #6 will be published, by which time I’ll probably have forgotten about it since I’ll be working on the next book and trying to hit that deadline instead.  Still, this is where it starts, more or less. I mean, in a way, the book begins when I start writing it, but it always feels to me as though the book hasn’t really started down the road to publication until I send it off to the publishers.

This book’s been quite a headache to write – more so than Hidden and MUCH more so than Chosen.  Still, now that it’s done, I’m reasonably happy with it, and everyone who’s read the first draft seems to like the thing.  I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to see if you guys do too!

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And done.

First draft of Alex Verus #6 is finished.

To make the deadline, I spent yesterday editing the book all the way through from start to finish.  I’m going to go collapse for a while now.

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Almost There

Yeah, I know, I said I’d do an Ask Luna for this week, but I’ve been spending all of my time working away on Alex Verus #6.  Deadline is Monday, let’s see if I make it . . .

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Bits and Pieces

Some miscellaneous news for this week:

• Alex Verus #6 is into its final stages.  Word count is just shy of 90,000, which is about the average for one of my Verus books, but this one might end up running a little longer than usual.  In that case, I’ll end up missing the deadline – but eh, if it’s late, it’s late.  A week or two doesn’t make that much difference in the long run.

• The Nine Worlds tracks are starting to go up.  I’m planning to be there (it’s on 8-10th August, which should be safely past my deadline date) although I don’t yet know which events I’ll be doing – hopefully I’ll know nearer to the time!

Hidden’s release date is getting closer.  It’ll be out on September 2nd, and this time it’ll be released on the same day in the US and the UK instead of the Americans getting it a week early.  I’ll put up the first chapter some time in July in the Extracts section.

• Oh, and apparently there’s a World Cup on.  I have to admit, I’m vaguely curious about how England does.  I’m writing this on Thursday afternoon, so it’s entirely possible that by the time this gets posted the English team will have been effectively knocked out, but you never know . . .

Next week I’ve got a few more Ask Luna questions to post, and after that we’ll see how the deadline’s gone!

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Still More Reprints

Another set of reprint copies of Fated, Cursed, and Taken in the mail today.  When the current book’s proving hard work, it’s nice to have the encouragement!

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Ask Luna #30

From: shadewalker

Hello luna

I notice a trend in questions of specifically an absence of a trend nobody asks you questions about you so i plan to remedy this

1. how does your day start
2. what lessons do you get at mage school also what lessons do you get from alex
3. did you ever get back at that mage who cheap shotted you at the tournament
4. have you gotten in any trouble with that dick levistus

well i hope these ques won’t be too troublesom

Nowadays my schedule changes from day to day, but it’s fairly steady from week to week. I have a weekly/fortnightly rota of classes in the mornings and afternoons – they change sometimes as people get moved around or as one class finishes and a new one starts. I think it’s kind of like the schedules university students have, though I never went to college so I don’t know for sure. I go duelling two or three times a week (evenings, usually) and I fit in lessons with Alex around the rest of my schedule. Tuesdays I work at the shop. At the moment I have early starts three days a week, and I get to sleep in the other four. Not too bad.

And the answers to the last two questions are no, not exactly, and yes.

From: BlackMass

hey luna just some ques about elementals
1. how come alex hasn’t summoned starbreeze
2. where do elementals come from earth or another plane of existence
3. do they have a hierarchy like kings and queens
4. alex says starbreeze was dumb but are all elementals dumb
5. do some elemnent mage go to elementals to learn how to use their powers better

1. Focus got broken. I don’t think he’s found a workaround yet.
2. No idea.
3. No idea.
4. Mostly, yeah, though there are stories of some special ones that are quite smart.
5. In the legends, yeah. It’s kind of a ‘raised by wolves’ thing. I don’t think anyone does it nowadays.

From: blade saint

just wondering some thing
1. what was talsid up to in russia
2. has levistus made any moves against alex
3. what is the tiger man’s name again and why are his palms backwards
4. is alex’s shop magically in anyway besided all the magically items
5. and finally who owned alex’s shop before him

Do you really need to come up with a new name for yourself with each message?

From: Solo

Hi Luna,
Alex once mentioned that there were more powerful diviners than him. Helikaon was one. And he said there weren’t many different abilities a diviner could use, like pathwalking etc. Could you list all of them, or maybe just all the big and major ones? Thanks, Solo

As I understand it, diviners have one big trick (seeing into the future) and a lot of little ones. It’s just that the big one is really big, and you can use it in a lot of different ways. The two main things Alex does are pathwalking (following one particular future a long way) and precognition (wide-angle scanning of lots of different short-term futures), but that adds up to a lot. There was an Encyclopaedia series on it a while back, you can read it here.

From: Tom

Hi Luna.
I have a couple of questiosn. 1. Is magic the basis for all myths/legends? Like were the Greeks and Egyptians aware of it, and so there mythology is based on it? And were there any mages that were in great positions of power in the normal world? Like Abraham Lincoln or Gandhi? Thanks

Some myths/legends definitely come from things that mages or magical creatures have done. Not all, though, and even the ones that were true originally have had a really major Chinese Whispers effect happen to them over the years. You do NOT want to know what mermen/mermaids really look like – the Disney version was not even close.

As far as I know, there haven’t been many national leaders who were mages (or if they were, they were good at hiding it). I think mages tend to prefer a ‘power behind the throne’ setup.

From: John D.

Dear Luna,

I was reading one of your earlier posts, where someone had forgotten an r in “friction” and typed “fiction mage.” That got me thinking, however – what is the most esoteric field of magic you’ve heard of in your time as an apprentice? And would it be possible for someone to be a fiction mage – somehow bringing entities or objects out of fictional works and into reality?

Also, forgive me if this has been answered at some point, but what does one have to do to “graduate” from apprentice to full mage in the eyes of the governing body of Light mages?

Finally, are there any connections you know of between Light mages and mortal governments? Nothing so sinister as Mind Masters running Parliament members (hopefully), but some kind of covert back channel between the bodies that govern mages and regular governments to smooth over issues that arise from problems arising from magic?

Thanks, and my best to you, Alex, and Arachne!

Weirdest field of magic . . . that’s a hard one. There are supposed to be some branches of fate magic where you can make predictions that are guaranteed to come true. That’s always seemed pretty strange to me, I’ve no idea how that could work. Never heard of a fiction mage, though.

To graduate from apprentice to mage (at least as far as the Council is concerned) you have to pass your journeyman tests. It’s something I’m been thinking about a lot more lately. It’s not like it’s going to be tomorrow, but it’s getting closer . . .

And yeah, those sort of back-room deals are pretty much exactly how it works.

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