Category Archives: Crowflight

CROWFLIGHT: The players

So who exactly are the people who populate the world of Crowflight? What’s their deal? Here I offer some answers, while keeping things as spoiler-free as possible.

8870200266_3104ed4d7f_o-220x330Turn: The protagonist of the book, a young woman of the Crow tribe who is preparing to take her place as a Psychopomp – a guide of souls across the space between the worlds to the lands beyond death. She is skilled, competent, and as the story begins, optimistic about her future. However, that all changes rather quickly, and she’s thrown into fear and uncertainty. She’s brave, as far as it goes, but she’s also reluctant to shoulder responsibility after it backfires on her so extravagantly. The book is at least in part the story of her struggling to accept the responsibilities thrust upon her, even if she never becomes entirely comfortable with them.

I often pick names with some meaning behind them, and Turn’s name was chosen based on the role she has to play in the larger story – that of a catalyst for change, of pushes forward and u-turns back toward what’s come before alike.

Sene: Turn’s lover, and also her emotional support. They haven’t been together long, but their bond is strong, and they both believe that they have a promising future with each other. Sene is a skilled artist, a painter of murals for the wealthy of the Crow city of Lune, and while he isn’t wealthy himself, his talent allows him to scrape by. A fiercely loyal partner, Sene admires Turn as much as he loves her, and wants to do all he can to help her succeed in her chosen vocation. But when Turn’s life is thrown into upheaval, their bond will be tested, perhaps beyond 413px-Brooklyn_Museum_-_Crow_on_a_Branch_-_Kawanabe_Kyosaiwhat it can bear.

Corvi: A master Psychopomp and Turn’s mentor. Corvi is old beyond reckoning and extremely wise, though also possessed of a healthy sense of mischief. She rarely does things the conventional way, though she also takes great care to protect and guide the students under her tutelage. But even she may not be able to shield Turn from the chaos to come, and good intentions sometimes have terrible consequences.

Gen: Turn’s best friend – one of her few – and a fellow student. Gen is boisterous and good-natured, outwardly a little shallow and over-focused on gossip and romance but also intelligent, brave and loyal. When the world appears set against Turn, she is one of the few who stands by her, and proves willing to go to great lengths to help her.

Ava: A member of the Raven tribe, Ava is a mysterious figure, though a powerful ally to those with whom they choose to align themselves. They are possessed of significant magic in their own right, though they are uninterested in using it for any personal gain. They know the Shadowlands well, and can travel swiftly even across dangerous terrain. They are one of a large minority of the Raven tribe who are of neither wholly masculine nor wholly feminine gender, and accordingly they prefer ungendered pronouns.

raven by oddstockMori: A leader of the small group of Ravens of which Ava is a member. Mori is steadfast and strong-willed, as well as kind, even to outsiders. He takes his position as (unofficial) leader of his caravan very seriously, but also feels an obligation toward the Carrion Kind as a whole, and when they are threatened, he is will to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the threat.

Yavon: A sorceress of the Ravens, skilled in all forms of magic, Yavon also possesses a sharply cheerful sense of humor and a great pride in her work. She is a teacher of other Ravens, and enjoys guiding them toward a greater understanding of their own power. Like Mori,  she feels a deep commitment to the protection of all the Carrion Kind, despite the mistrust that the Crows and Rooks feel for her people.

Renna: Chief Minister Renna of the Rock is the leader of Lune, and a hero to its people. When the Calamity of the Split Earth nearly destroyed the Crows, she held the city together in the aftermath, restoring order and providing for the injured and suffering. While she is generally a just and fair leader and determined to do anything she has to do for her tribe, she is also extremely proud and not especially merciful to those she deems undeserving. To many, she appears cold and aloof, but most feel that this is an unfortunately necessary part of the strength she has to show as ruler.

Joran: One of the most senior Psychopomps, despite his relative youth, Joran is Renna’s most prized student from her days as a mentor. His attractiveness and charisma, as well as his skill as a Psychopomp, make him something of a celebrity in Lune. While he isn’t stupid by any means, all of this attention has gone to his head somewhat, and he tends to be arrogant and boastful. He is also absolutely loyal to Renna and eagerly does whatever is asked of him – no matter how questionable it might be.

That’s the cast – roughly. There are many other characters, enemies and friends Turn encounters on her way, people she’ll love and hate and some of whom she’ll lose in the end. I hope you enjoy them all as much as I did writing them.

And a reminder: you can enter to win a free copy of the book over here until the 13th!

image by devra

image by devra

Tumblr provides accidental CROWFLIGHT images

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)

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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.

Crowflight giveaway!

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!

Corvidae – fun facts! So fun.

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_Crow_and_the_Pitcher_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19994the 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…8870200266_3104ed4d7f_o-220x330

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.

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.

Crowflight: My baby has been released into the big bad world

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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.

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Crowflight: What the hell it is

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I’ve been namedropping Crowflight a lot around here – for those of you just joining us, it’s the dark fantasy novel that I have coming out in September from Masque Books (Prime’s new digital imprint, which is now offering all kinds of tasty reads) – and I think it’s probably a good idea at this point to go into some detail about what it is.

SO. For your edification: A Crowflight fact sheet.

  • What’s it about? It deals with a young woman named Turn who’s in training to be a guide of souls into the lands beyond death. Everything is going according to plan, when a chance at a new level of training throws her into a conspiracy for which she takes the blame. Betrayed by everyone she ever trusted and thrown into exile, she ends up in the company of members of the Raven tribe, mysterious denizens of the equally mysterious Shadowlands, and people whom Turn was always taught to mistrust. But they appear to be the only friends Turn has. Forced to live among them or die alone, Turn begins to understand things that cast a very different light on the events that led to her exile. And her newly-gained knowledge is pressing her forward into a terrible responsibility and a task that might cost her everything she still has.
  • What’s the deal with the worldbuilding? The book is set primarily in Nicht, the Land of Terrible Night, and its sisterworld Sol, the Land of Dreadful Day, from where the souls that Turn and her fellow Psychopomps guide come. Sol is very much like early 20th century America or Europe, and while it contains more than one city, we only see one. Both worlds are smaller than ours, and in fact don’t even exist on a planet in the way that ours does. Rather, they should be thought of as two halves of a single small globe, a night side and a day side, both unmoving and both separated from each other by a gray haze of nothing in particular. They’re each lit by a single source of light and energy, Sol by a sun and Nicht by a moon – which are in fact the same thing. Nicht is populated by three tribes, the Crows, the Ravens, and the Rooks. The Crows are primarily responsible for the guiding of Sol’s souls, while the Rooks are concerned with order, law, and justice. The Ravens are nomadic magic-users and mystics, and are viewed with deep suspicion by the other two tribes. All three tribes worship a single goddess: the Lady Atropos, the mistress of death.
  • Where did the idea come from? Actually, it came from the idea for a book title. One day I suddenly decided that I wanted to write a book called A Murder of Crows, and then I had to decide what kind of book that might end up being. Obviously the title changed, but – also obviously – the book remained.
  • What formats is it going to be available in? Just ebook for the moment. Possibly print if it does well enough.
  • Is there a sequel? There is. The second book is halfway done and will be called Ravenblood. The third book, Rookwar, is in the planning stages. I aim to finish the remaining two books in the trilogy by the end of the year if possible.

Be on the lookout for goodies all this next month, including excerpts, a chance to win the book, and possibly book-related jewelry that I’ll be making.

Crowflight – cover art!

HERE IT IS

I want to stress that the series name is just a placeholder; we’re still flailing around trying to find something that works. But yeah, I’m pleased.

[ETA] Now with actual series title!