I love the stuff Tumblr throws up. I follow a few fashion blogs – I know nothing about fashion but I enjoy photography and interesting clothes – and this just appeared on my dash (by photographer Ekaterina Belinskaya)
All I can think is that’s almost exactly how Chief Minister Renna of the Rock looks in my head, except that Renna has dark hair. Gorgeous. Also, hey, I should do a character rundown post. In the next couple of days, maybe.
Check out the rest of Belinskaya’s stuff, too. She’s pretty fabulous.
Ravenblood, book II of Casting the Bones, is done. Just shy of 83k words. For the record, that’s three books written so far in 2013, with a fourth planned before the end of the year (book III), which honestly kind of blows my mind a little because I never saw myself being a writer who could work that fast and not produce utter crap.
I mean, I don’t think this is utter crap. I hope not.
The End never stops being a odd phrase to write.
My back hurts.
As promised, I’m giving away a copy of my new book Crowflight! To enter, just fill in the form below, and I’ll draw a winner at random after October 13th.
If you want to find out more about the book itself, clicky. If you want to read the first chapter, clicky. And of course, if you actually end up spending money on the book, that is incredibly awesome and so much appreciated.
Go! Enter! Free! Yay!
Crowflight focuses on Turn, a member of the Crow tribe – the people of the land of Nicht appointed by the goddess Atropos to lead the souls of the dead across the space between the worlds and to whatever comes after. But Crowns aren’t the only inhabitants of Nicht; there are the Ravens, nomadic sorcerers mistrusted by the other two tribes, and there are the Rooks, the keepers of justice and the law, who live in the ancient city of Calvaria. The three aren’t in any kind of open conflict – at least not initially – but none are especially fond of each other, though all three recognize that the other two have some purpose to serve in the organization of the world. Of the three, the Rooks and the Crows get along the best. No one likes the Ravens. The Ravens appear to have accepted this, given that there isn’t much they can do about it. But of course, when mistrust festers for long enough, the results can be terrible…
Obviously I chose ravens, rooks, and crows because of the ties to death and the afterlife that they have in many cultures. But as creatures, they’re awesome for a bunch of other reasons as well. Here are a few, which you might or might not know.
- Crows can recognize unique human facial features. They can also share information about who’s to be avoided.
- Crows also engage in tool use with leaves and stalks of grass, and have even reportedly been observed using breadcrumbs in a form of bait fishing.
- The oldest documented crow in captivity died in 2006 at the age of 59.
- Crows eat literally almost anything. Carrion, of course, but also seeds, eggs, fruit, and other birds.
- In addiction to being associated with death, crows are also associated with war in Irish mythology, via a connection to the Morrigan.
- In Norse mythology, ravens are associated with knowledge; Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s ravens, travel through Midgard and return to him with information.
- During WWII in America, the crow was apparently designated an “enemy of the public” and blamed for stealing the nation’s grain. Not 100% sure that this one isn’t apocryphal, but hey, people are weird.
- No one knows for sure what the whole “murder of crows” thing is about – the title that Crowflight originally almost had. It’s been lost to antiquity – prior to the 15th century. But it may have had something to do with the whole death association aspect. Again, people = weird.
- Ravens show up several times in the Bible, more than once as illustrations of God’s providence; they feed the prophet Elijah and Jesus uses them as an example in one of his parables.
- Legend has it that if the ravens of the Tower of London are ever removed, it will mean the end of England itself.
- The figure of the raven is also important to the mythology of many of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, where it fills both the roles of creator and trickster, depending on the story. In one, Raven brings light to the world by forcing open a box belonging to Seagull, in which Seagull is keeping the sun.
So yeah, corvids are seriously cool. And it’s interesting how ubiquitous they are in various human cultures, as well as the ways in which a lot of their different depictions share things in common. This is only part of why they seemed natural go-tos for the inhabitants of a world that straddles the border between life and death. I hope that I’ve managed to keep them interesting.
Guess what else is out today? Shimmer #17! Which features stories by me, Helena Bell, A.C. Wise, Damien Angelica Walters, Lavie Tidhar, and a whole
mess of other awesome people.
You can read excerpts of each story at the link above. Here’s a bit of mine, “Love in the Time of Vivisection”.
Stripped of its skin, muscle is very beautiful.
He brings a mirror and shows mine to me, my powerful, corded thighs and the harder stripes of red and white at my hips and the bars of my stomach. My arms. He has left my breasts untouched; those will be handled with exquisite care when most of the rest of me is done. I am a creature of glistening red. I am a wet ruby, run through with pale flaws. I move—I still can, a little—and I watch my gemstone body pull and flex.
He says he loves every part of me. As he pulls me slowly to pieces, he has an opportunity to acquaint himself with all of those component parts. This is both a gift that I give to him and a demonstration of himself to me, proof of what he says.
The ultimate test of any claim is whether one can hold to it when it is made as literal as possible. As literal as flesh. As bone. As the edge of a knife.
As I was yelling about on various social media outlets yesterday, Crowflight – Book I of Casting the Bones – has been released and is now available to spend your hard-earned dollars on.
Goodreads link is here, if you’re so inclined.
It’s been almost exactly a year from completion of the first draft to release of the final; I wrote the book in October of 2012, as I was coming off one of the hardest semesters and summers of my graduate career. I’d taken and passed my comprehensive exams, I’d had a bit of a mental breakdown as a result, and I was retreating into writing in order to help heal myself. In many ways I’m still there. As I told Elise Tobler in the interview she did with me, a lot of what Turn goes through in Crowflight came out of those feelings of anxiety and uncertainty: having one vision for your future and having that vision entirely upended by events mostly beyond your control. Turn is a reluctant hero; she accepts her role but she never entirely embraces it. She doesn’t want the responsibility of saving an entire world on her shoulders. She’s not a coward; she’s just tired and hurting.
But we don’t always get to make those choices.
In the next couple of weeks I’m going to be offering a chance to win a copy of the book, and there will also be some assorted goodies. For today, allow me to offer, for free, the first chapter. If you like it, maybe you’ll check out the rest.