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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Marked Release Week

Finally into the last stretch!  The ninth Alex Verus novel, Marked, will be out in four days, on Tuesday July 3rd.  

Just as a reminder, you can read the first chapter here, and I’ll be doing a Reddit AMA one week after the release date, on July 10th.  

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Ask Luna #107

From: Fade

Hi Luna, a few questions for you.

1) I’m a bit curious as to how things are going for Alex as a councilor. As a result of the means of his elevation to the position, does he have the same influence as the others? I imagine that the vast majority of the council members, both junior and senior, amassed a great deal of power and influence to even be able to secure themselves a seat. Given that Alex received his seat almost by accident, and thus very likely began with significantly less influence and connections as the others, has being a councilor actually gotten him any pull? I understand Junior members don’t get a vote on council resolutions, so what actual power to junior council members achieve besides the title itself and the perception of being powerful? If perception is the key, does he suffer in it as a result of the nature of his appointment? Or does he benefit from the mystique of having been chosen by Morden (even more infamous now) and surviving the strike team? (If that is common knowledge, which I assume it is given how significant the blow must have been to Sal Sarque’s power base and reputation.)

2) It seems like Alex doesn’t manage to see all that far into the future in a lot of ways that other Diviners manage too. For example, he didn’t see Lyle coming to try and recruit him way back when everyone was trying to get the Fateweaver, while all the other Diviners seemed to know what was coming. I understand that Alex was somewhat removed from the situation, but that also seems to be the standard mode of operation for Diviners in general. Is Alex better at
close range Divination? Can he pick apart immediate futures better than someone like Helikaon? In my head right now I imagine it somewhat like Anne’s magic. Top notch close-up, but challenged at range.

3) Has Arachne explained what Alex might eventually accomplish with the Dreamstone? I believe there was mention of physically stepping into Elsewhere, but what exactly are the benefits of that? Avoiding confrontation? Traveling physically in the real world, like gating
except to people rather than places? I also recall mention of connecting with items. Could Alex potentially wield something like the Bloodsword without going on a murderous rampage?

Finally, given that Sal Sarque seems to be shaping up as an enemy similar to Levistus, I was curious both as to what his magic type is, and how his name is pronounced. Is it like sal-sar-kay? or Sal-Sark? Thanks for your time!

The last one’s the easiest to answer – its ‘sark’. The first three are harder.

1) He has a lot less influence than the others, as you’ve guessed. The others all bought their way on by having a lot of friends and a lot of pull. Alex didn’t inherit Morden’s networks, so he started pretty much from zero. He’s done a decent job working his way up, but he’s got a long way to go. The mystique thing hadn’t occurred to me, but that might explain why none of them have moved against him openly.

2) Pretty much, yeah. Alex is much more of a combat diviner than someone like Helikaon. He’s really good at short-range divination and he’s really good at sorting through futures quickly. He’s decent at path-walking – that’s the medium-range kind where you see what’ll happen over the next few hours. What he’s not so good at is the long-distance stuff. From a few things I’ve heard I get the impression that it might be a lifestyle/personality thing as much as anything else. To be good at that stuff you have to have to be coming from a very controlling, stable sort of place.

3) I’m not sure. Arachne hasn’t told Alex exactly what it does, so that mostly just leaves guesswork, and the times I’ve asked around, no-one’s been very helpful. Half the people will tell you that it’s supposed to be flat-out impossible, and the other half just give you vague warnings that don’t really explain anything. I get the feeling that they don’t actually know much about it, either, which makes me wonder why there’s so much mystery.

From: Fade

Oh hey, I forgot to add one more in addition to my previous questions. Given that Alex is now theoretically the representative of all the Dark Mages in Britain, has his contact with them increased? Do Dark Mages ever come to him with issues to take to the council? Or do they mostly view the idea as a joke? Has their perception of him changed as a result of his position? As a result of his surviving Sally’s strike team? Has Alex been re-classified as a Dark Mage rather than an Independent? For the light mages, he holds a seat that exists for Dark Mages, which would make him Dark. For Dark Mages, he works for Morden and Richard and helped kill a Crusader strike team, which also makes him pretty Dark. What do you think about what Morden said to Alex about him being already a Dark Mage in all but name? Do you think Alex could reconcile his own personal actions with Dark philosophy? If being a Dark Mage is about doing what you want, which is basically what Alex does, and what he wants to do is generally positive, do you think he could tolerate thinking of himself as a Dark Mage once again?

Wow I’ve really rambled on here, that was way more than one more question.

Sorry if I’m asking too much of your time!

I think a handful have tried coming to him with issues and stuff like that. And I do mean a handful. The rest all think it’s a joke. Even the ones that have come are really cautious about it, probably because they don’t want other Dark mages to see them as the kind of guy who has to run to the Council to solve their problems.

As for the Dark mage/Independent mage thing, god knows. That’s something I’m going to have to figure out one of these days, but that philosophy stuff just annoys me so much that I’d rather throw up my hands and let someone else deal with it.

From: Brian

Dear Lina,

Alex told Chalice that the prevailing theory is that Drakh’s magic type is either Enchanter or Mind mage, because he’s a very good manipulator.

Alex also speculated that he might be a Diviner for similar reasons, but didn’t think it was likely because Drakh had a reputation of having killed a lot of mages by himself.

My question is, why haven’t we seen Life mage discussed as a potential magic type?

A life mage’s ability to read physiological indicators for lying could contribute to Drakh’s manipulation talents.

It could explain why he chooses to hide his magic type and rely on items. He wouldn’t have ranged capabilities and mages are typically twitchy about letting a life mage within arms reach. So, he hides his magic type, to make it more likely that he can get close in combat situations.

Additionaly, Anne says his body showed signs of longevity magic. And, when Drakh was masquerading as Archon he seemed to be able to sense Alex spying on him without seeing him.

All of this seems to point pretty strongly to him being a life mage. Is there anything I’m missing that would suggest Drakh definitely isn’t a life mage?

Yes . . . and no. I mean, everything you’ve said is true, and there’s nothing Richard’s done that proves he isn’t a one. And technically, it could explain everything he’s done. But it would still be really, really odd. For one thing, life mages get serious amounts of attention. You can pass as another type of mage if you’re an enchanter or a diviner or something; it’s a lot harder if you’re a life mage.

For another . . . it’s hard to explain, but from everything I’ve heard, he doesn’t really feel like a life mage. There’s just something distinctive about them. Even the ones that are polar opposites in every way you can think of, like Anne and Vihaela, you can sort of see the ways in which they’re similar. Richard doesn’t have that.

From: Exejpgwmv

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

Haven’t tried it, but I’d expect so. My magic doesn’t do anything special as far as time goes.

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Three Week Marked

Marked is a little less than three weeks away!  The release date is July 3rd, which should cover both the paper and Kindle editions as well as the Audible audiobook.  You can find another early review here.  

For those of you who’d like to ask me some questions about the series, I’ll be doing another Reddit AMA one week after the book’s release, on July 10th, on r/fantasy.  Obviously, there are likely to be spoilers, so you might want to hold off on reading it if you haven’t looked at Marked yet, but otherwise, drop by and ask me things!

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Ask Luna #106

From: Child of Amber

I am starting to think Richard is not the Big Bad. I am not even sure he is drown three kittens before breakfast Evil. I am thinking he knows Something is Coming. Something big and implacable and he has been working hard for a long time to head it off. Or maximize his benefit when it comes. But I keep going back to that last scene with Alex and Richard fighting… adjacent (?) to each other. Richard could have ended Alex or left him to die or just stay quiet the whole time. And the tone was not “I am doing this because it is solely to my benefit”. It would certainly help alot to know 1) Richard’s true talents and 2) what is up with those Gateways and whatever is on the other side. I know it is easy for me in a comfy chair to ponder these things while you are at the sharp end of Richard’s attentions, but I wonder what you think of this idea. It would be truly disturbing if it was the Light side trying to bring in Something Old to put down the Dark Mages and we would need to root for Team Richard to prevent the unthinkable.

You’re REALLY optimistic. Yeah, Richard isn’t the drown-kittens-for-fun type. He’s still really bad news for anyone who gets too close. He doesn’t want Alex dead, but I’m pretty sure that’s because he’s got plans for him, not out of the kindness of his heart. I’m not going to say too much about what happened recently, but let’s just say that what he’s done lately hasn’t given us any more reason to like him (or to be less scared of him).

From: Fade

I believe I recall Morden mentioning that most of the Councilors’ business is run through the PA’s, and I was wondering whom Alex dragooned into taking the roll. It would have to be somebody who can take care of themselves in a fight, just in case the Crusaders haven’t given up on torturing information out of the designated Dark Representative’s assistants. Anne maybe? Because she’s already on their shitlist and might therefore not suffering as much increased personal risk as you or Vari? Vari? Because he has the protection of Landis? I figured it’s not you, because you just got a job running your own store.

Good call on your part. Alex tried a couple of noncombatant types, and it didn’t work too well, for pretty much the reasons you guessed. Alex probably would have asked me if I didn’t have the shop, but I just don’t have the time. Besides, I wouldn’t really want to spend 10 hours a day hanging around the War Rooms anyway.

From: Cansky

What do you think about the initial effects of Alex’s dreamstone regarding Anne?

And if you had to guess, what effects did Anne’s dreamstone have on her?

Do you think if Anne and Alex will ever be together?

1. Don’t know what you mean.

2. None, I hope? Bit worrying to think that it might have. Still, she didn’t have it for long.

3. Ask a diviner.

From: Simon

Hi Luna

If at the beginning of the books Alex can only do one type of magic, shouldn’t he be called an adept?

also please don’t die, you’re awesome, if you die I’ll cry DON’T DIE LUNA, PLEASE

Oh, not that question again. I’ve answered it like five times now. Do a Google search on this site or something.

And relax, I’m not going to die anytime soon. If there’s one thing my curse is good at, it’s keeping me safe.

From: BlackMass

is Alex still beholden to Drakh even with his council seat, also do fear the day Richard comes to see you to see the former apprentice of his former apprentice?

Alex doesn’t think he’s beholden anymore. Whether Richard sees it the same way’s another question. So far he hasn’t made any moves.

I’ve yet to actually meet Richard face to face. He doesn’t seem to have taken an interest in me, and honestly, I’m fine with that. I don’t mind hanging out with some types of Dark mages but I’m not stupid.

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