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Faerie and Feadh Ree: Developing the magic system for The Pendragon Chronicles (A fantasy blog hop.)

Magik & Mayhem Blog Hop and giveaway, July 15-19

Do you like like tales of fantasy? Are you fond of elves, fairies, pixies and kobolds? Do you enjoy stories with magic? Welcome to our blog hop! Here is a chance to read about such creatures, find out about fantasy stories, and win books and gift cards! Summer is more magical already. 🙂

Click here to reach the central page of the blog hop where you can use the rafflecopter and win the main prize: a selection of all ebooks and print books entered in the event plus a gift certificate!

The list of ebooks you can win:

Bundle Season 1 Boreal and John Grey by Chrystalla Thoma
Bundle Dark Elf by Willo Nonea Rea
Caitlin’s Book of Shadows by Juli D. Revezzo
Print book Raingun by John Blackport
Aundes Aura by Ryan Sullivan
Seeking a Scribe by Marsha A. Moore
Her Master’s Madness by J.E. & M. Keep
Wings of Shadow by Anna Kyss
Rune Breaker by Landon Porter
Judgement Rising by Tracy Falbe
The Chosen by Annette Gisby
New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer by John & Annette Gisby
Yseult by Ruth Nestvold

Some us took part in a group interview to talk about our magic creatures. If you would like to read it, click here.

Now, let me tell you something about how I developed my version of faerie, the Feadh Ree, for my Arthurian fantasy series, The Pendragon Chronicles. If you leave a comment, you will enter my own personal raffle and can win a copy of the first novel, Yseult, as well as a fantasy short story collection of your choice: Dragon Time, Never Ever After, or Story Hunger.

Faerie and Feadh Ree: Developing the magic system for The Pendragon Chronicles

I have a reprint of an old book I picked used somewhere years ago, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, by Lady Wilde (“Speranza”). When I decided sometime early in the last decade to return to my project of retelling the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde, one of the first things I had to consider was developing a magic system. I didn’t want it to be the kind of magic that could solve problems effortlessly, I wanted my Arthurian retelling to have a certain touch of realism and history. At the same time, I wanted my magic to fit in with the legends of Ancient Ireland. One of the main impulses of my retelling, after all, was to give Yseult / Isolde a history. The medieval epic romances always started with the background story of Tristan (Drystan in my version). I wanted to start with the background of Isolde of Ireland / Yseult of Eriu. Which meant I would have to create her world.

I’d been a collector of Celtic lore for a while, and Lady Wilde just happened to be one of the books on my shelf. But what a book it is! Story after story, it was full of inspiration for my magic race. This section in particular was important for how I created my version of faerie, the Feadh Ree:

The Fairy Race

The Sidhe, or spirit race, called also the Feadh-Ree, or fairies, are supposed to have been once angels in heaven, who were cast out by Divine command as a punishment for their inordinate pride.

Some fell to earth, and dwelt there, long before man was created, as the first gods of the earth. Others fell into the sea, and they built themselves beautiful fairy palaces of crystal and pearl underneath the waves; but on moonlight nights they often come up on the land, riding their white horses, and they hold revels with their fairy kindred of the earth, who live in the clefts of the hills, and they dance together on the greensward under the ancient trees, and drink nectar from the cups of the flowers, which is the fairy wine.

… The children of such marriages [between human and faerie] have a strange mystic nature, and generally become famous in music and song. But they are passionate, revengeful, and not easy to live with. Every one knows them to be of the Sidhe or spirit race, by their beautiful eyes and their bold, reckless temperament.

The fairy king and princes dress in green, with red caps bound on the head with a golden fillet. The fairy queen and the great court lathes are robed in glittering silver gauze, spangled with diamonds, and their long golden hair sweeps the ground as they dance on the greensward.

This passage inspired me in any number of ways, including the character of my protagonist, Yseult, who is descended from both the Old Race (Feadh Ree) and the the Gael.

For the magic of the Feadh Ree, I was inspired by Irish legends of “second sight.” This resulted in the three powers of the Old Race: The Power of Knowing (divination and mind reading); the Power of Calling (sending thoughts into the mind of another); and the Power of Changing (manipulating the thoughts of others so that they see something different than what is there).

These aren’t exactly fairies as we know them, but I had a lot of fun developing the rules of my world, and not just going with “received legend.” I hope my readers like the more subtle use of magic as well. 🙂

I hope you enjoy the blog hop, and remember to post a comment wherever you’re interested in winning a book!

First draft of Island of Glass finished!

This incarnation of Island of Glass is finished!

But very definitely a first draft, so there is still work to do. In its present state, it is coming in at just over 16,000 words, so not quite novella length yet, but this version still has several “placeholders” — notes to myself where I need more description or whatever. So I am reasonably confident that the final draft will at least make it to the SFWA definition of novella (17,500 words).

Just for fun, I’ll share the beginning:

Chiara wiped her hands on her apron and lifted the goblet up to the light, inspecting her work critically. The fluted glass flared out like a lily beginning to bloom, and as hard as she tried, she could find no discoloring or bubbles. She breathed a sigh of relief; a nearly perfect piece. It would command a high price among the nobles of Venice. The work of the Murano glassmakers was in great demand throughout the world. It was the basis of their riches — and their curse. The laws of La Serenissima decreed that the glassmakers of Murano were never to leave the few islands that comprised the small city-state. Murano glass was more precious than gold. Anyone who knew the recipe of the alchemists could make gold, but only the artisans of Murano could make glass so fine, one could nearly touch one’s fingers together on either side; cristallo without an imperfection or blemish, clear as the sky, with a sparkle to rival that of diamonds.

Anyway, besides organizing the next group promo, that’s what I’ve been doing the last few days. Speaking of which, this is the LAST DAY of the Dollar Daze group promo! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter for lots of cool prizes. 🙂

Now that Island of Glass is done, I will set it aside for a while and do revisions on Chameleon in a Mirror, the time travel based on the life of Aphra Behn that I was working on last year. Then off that one goes to first readers, and I can get back to Island of Glass and polish it for external eyes.

I sincerely doubt if I will ever run out of projects. It’s more like — no way I will ever finish them all before I die. Every time someone asks me if I’m working on something new, what I really want to say is, “Duh!” But I’m too polite for that. 🙂

Wishing everyone a wonderful week and great progress on whatever you’re working on!

SUMMER BOOK GIVEAWAY! Now until August 10th

UPDATE: Elle decided to end the giveaway early, and it is no longer possible to enter to win. I will soon be notifying all the winners of my own books. Thanks to everyone who participated!

I am currently participating with five of my books in a big Summer Book Giveaway on Elle Casey’s site. Enter to win a copy of Yseult, Shadow of Stone, Looking Through Lace, Dragon Time, or Never Ever After — as well as dozens of other great books by indie writers, including Dave Farland, Patty Jansen, and Dalya Moon. Check it out!

In other news, I’m back to working on Chameleon in a Mirror again, and have managed to get about 2,000 words written so far this week. In just a bit, I will be packing up my little netbook and taking it out to the garden to do some work there, since we have another day of summer today.

Wishing everyone a great rest of the week!