Getting Closer

Still working away on the first draft of Book 10, Fallen.  It’s getting closer, but not there yet.   

I really want to get this one out there.  It resolves a lot of things that I’ve been setting up in the Alex Verus series for a long, long time, including at least two events that readers have been asking for for ages.  

Still, before that can happen, I need to finish the book.  Back to work . . .

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Ask Luna #109

From: Byron

Hi Mage Vesta!
Did you ever learn at the apprentice program about what exactly happened during the Gate Rune War and why it happened?
P.S you are my favourite person ever, so cool

Thanks!

Yeah, we had a course on it. It was pretty complicated. There were several Dark and neutral factions involved, and then the Council was split on how to deal with things. I think it was only after a few years that everyone settled what side they were on, and once they did the casualties were really high.

From: Dave

Hello Mage Vesta,

I know you tend to get a lot of questions about the odd aspects of magical history, but I had a few about the economy and creation of items I hoped you might be well positioned to answer since you run the Arcana Emporium now.

1. To a prior question you mentioned that while mages can make foci, adepts tend to make most of them due to sheer numbers. Given the fact that adepts tend to be less involved with the magical community, do they tend to use a favor based economy or a money when creating and selling foci and one shot devices?

2. Related to the above question, is item creation primarily still done in the craftsman model, or are there groups that aim to use more of a workshop or factory model to produce a lot of enchanted items?

3. Are there certain types of effects that simply don’t work well for foci or one shots? I notice that the examples in the books tend to be elemental, are effects like healing, shapeshifting, or divination assisted code-breaking not able to be placed in an object or are they simply too troublesome to use to be worth it?

Thank you for your time reading and hopefully answering these questions.

1. Depends on how established and tied in to the magical world they are. The hobbyists and the newbies work for cash, the ones who’ve been at it for longer are more likely to be interested in favours and trades. They still pretty much all use money to some degree, though – I don’t know of any adepts who just skip over the cash economy completely the way mages do.

2. It’s more the craftsman model. It pretty much takes one crafter to produce one item, so there’s not much benefit in trying a factory setup. Some groups do use workshops though.

3. Generally, the more complicated a spell and the more active direction it needs, the less well it’s going to work in item form. The easiest ones to craft are the ones that just go off in an area, like those condensers Alex uses. Break the glass, mist comes out. Very simple. Something like a healing salve is harder, and anything that needs decisions is really hard. The problem is that the person using the spell can’t actually use that type of magic themselves, which means they can’t control it, which means that anything more complicated than ‘point and pull the trigger’ probably isn’t going to work. So there’s no way you’re going to get a one-shot item for shapeshifting or domination, because spells like that have to be adapted to the subject on the fly. If you tried it would probably either do nothing or fail in some really spectacular way.

From: Kotomine

If Alex were to summon a Servant for a Grail War, which one do you think he’d get?

Archer, I would have thought. Seems to fit his personality.

From: Intana

Dear Luna,
What exactly are the abilities of rakshasas? Are they able to cast spells or are they just inherently magical like other creatures?

Illusion, shapeshifting, some kinds of mind control. They were supposed to be pretty dangerous physically too. A lot of the information about them is out of date now, though – it’s not like the Council gets to interview them to find out.

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Ask Luna #108

From: Anton

Mage Vesta,

This is a very long list of questions, Please feel free to break them up and answering them at your leisure and thank you.

Yeah, I’m definitely breaking these up.  

What kind of knife does Alex use? I’ve known a few “knife guys” the can be really finicky about their blades, considering how often Alex uses one, it seems that he would be VERY selective about it (handle, type of metal, grind, etc.)

It’s a knife.  It stabs things.  I’m pretty sure he’s picky about it, yeah, but as far as I’m concerned one pointy piece of metal’s the same as another.  

Are the Crusaders still attempting to get at Alex? 

Yes.

Does the Dreamstone allow Alex to communicate with Hermes?

Should do.

What is Linking? The way Arachne said it made it seem like something rather significant.

Going to have to give me some context there.  

Can you make One Shot Items? Being able to throw a “hex spell” or carry around a “lucky coin” could be REALLY useful.

I’ve thought about it once or twice, but learning how to do that stuff has kind of a high barrier to entry and I’m not sure I want to do X many months/years of work to figure it out.  Maybe once I’m a bit more settled.

Does being a Councilor come with a salary or estates? (does Alex have access to the Mantis Golems)

Nope.  I think they assume that if you’re on the Council you must be rich already.  You get an office, though.

Who makes up the Conclave? Is it the Junior Council?

Can’t remember to be honest.  It’s some Light Council term or other.

Is Alex ever going to make Samaris pay for leading the charge to burn down the shop? 

Would be nice, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Does the Shadow Realm have a weather cycle/water; can you use solar panels there?

Yup.  You’d have to be really into DIY to want to do the work to set it up, though.

How long does it take an elemental mage to make a gate vs Alex with a gate stone (he normally say it take a minute/60secs)

Depends on skill.  It takes Alex maybe 2 minutes.  A good elemental mage could do it in more like one.  A really good one might be able to get it to half that.  Basically it comes down to how many safety measures you’re willing to skip.  Most mages don’t like the idea of being cut in half so they don’t push it very far.

Do you go by Luna Vesta the way Alex calls himself Alex Verus?

I thought about it, but it sounds kind of silly.  Luna or Vesta, not both.  

From: Exejpgwmv

If Sonder trapped you in a spell that slowed down time would your curse be slowed as well?

Sure, why wouldn’t it be?

From: Luna Mancuso

Do you love Alex?

If you’re going to ask me troll questions at least come up with a better name.  

From: Gerald

What mage type is Richard?
Also what type is Levistus?
Also is Alex technically an adept?

I’ve answered these ones something like . . . I don’t even know, maybe eleven or twelve times between them.  I’m bored out of my mind of typing the same thing over and over.  Go do a Google search or something.  

From: Byron

Hi Mage Vesta!

Did you ever learn at the apprentice program about what exactly happened during the Gate Rune War and why it happened? 

P.S you are my favourite person ever, so cool

Nice to have a fan.  

We did learn it.  Or, well, we were supposed to, but I found it really boring, at least the way the Council teaches it.  This Dark faction did this and then the Council debated about what to do and in the meantime the other faction did something else and then the Council debated some more.  Honestly, I got the feeling it could have been a pretty good story, just not the way they told it.  

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Interview at JeanBookNerd

Here’s an interview I did prior to the release of Marked.  

Busy working away on Book #10.  I’m hoping to get the first draft finished by around the end of August.  

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Three Quarters

First draft of Alex Verus #10, Fallen, has passed the 75% mark.  I still need to write the end section and then take the manuscript through the whole editing process, but at the current rate, it’s going to be finished soon!

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Miscellaneous

Reddit AMA is done!  You can read all the answers here.  See you next year!

First draft of Book #10, Fallen, is moving along nicely.  I’m hoping to have it finished within a couple of months.

I’ve learned that there was some mix-up with Barnes & Noble’s promotional placements in the US, and as a result orders got moved around.  I’ve got in touch with my publisher, and they’ve told me that B&N should have copies of Marked within the week.

And finally, one of the posters on r/AlexVerus has written some humorous but fairly accurate summaries of Books #1 through #8.  I found them pretty funny, so if you’re looking for a recap of the story so far before to jumping into Marked, I’d recommend them.  Major spoilers, obviously.

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Reddit AMA finishing up

My Reddit AMA is just ending.  I’ll answer questions for the next few hours, then pack it in.  Thanks to those who came along!

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Reddit AMA is live!

I’m doing a Reddit AMA on r/fantasy right now!  If you’ve got any questions or just want to hear my answers about Marked and the Alex Verus series in general, come drop by!

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Marked Release Week, The Sequel

Marked has been out for a few days, and so far everyone seems to be very happy with it.  Which I had a feeling was going to happen (I usually have at least a vague idea of how well a book’s likely to be received) but is very encouraging all the same, since if you like this one you’ll probably like the next one too.  Here are some reviews, two shorter ones from I Smell Sheep and The Genre Minx, and a longer, more detailed one from More Books Than Time.  

Next, for those who haven’t heard (or who have forgotten) I’ll be doing an AMA on Reddit Fantasy this Tuesday, on July 10th.  You can read the one I did last year here, but for those who are new to it, AMA stands for ‘Ask Me Anything’ and it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Some of the questions people will ask are highly likely to contain spoilers to Marked, so consider yourself warned!  The AMA will start at 12 noon GMT on Tuesday, and I’ll try to answer every question I get in over the next 24 hours.  

On the subject of Reddit, I get asked occasionally if there are any forums on this site where people can talk about the books.  There aren’t, since forum hosting and maintenance is a major timesink that I don’t want to be spending my energy on, but there’s a Reddit sub, r/AlexVerus.  I’d recommend going there.  

And that’s it!  See you on Tuesday!

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Marked Released!

Marked is out!  Hope you all enjoy it.

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