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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author A.L. Lester to Stories That Make You Smile! A.L. is here today celebrating the release of The Flowers of Time, the 3rd book in her fabulous Lost in Time series. She’s brought along a lovely excerpt, a generous giveaway, and has taken the time to sit down with us to explain the magic system in her intriguing series. 🌟
The Flowers of Time by A.L. Lester
A non-binary explorer and a determined botanist make the long journey over the high mountain passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way.
Series: Lost in Time (book #3)
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Release Date: February 22, 2020
Length: Novel / 50,500 words / 154 pages
Heat Rating: 2 – Fade to black sex
Pairing / Genre: F/NB Fantasy Romance, Thriller/Suspense
Jones is determined to find out what caused the unexpected death of her father whilst they were exploring ancient ruins in the Himalayas. She’s never been interested in the idea of the marriage bed, but along with a stack of books and coded journals he’s left her with the promise she’ll travel back to England for the first time since childhood and try being the lady she’s never been.
Edie and her brother are leaving soon on a journey to the Himalayas to document and collect plants for the new Kew Gardens when she befriends Miss Jones in London. She’s never left England before and is delighted to learn that the lady will be returning to the mountains she calls home at the same time they are planning their travels. When they meet again in Srinagar, Edie is surprised to find that here the Miss Jones of the London salons is ‘just Jones’ the explorer, clad in breeches and boots and unconcerned with the proprieties Edie has been brought up to respect.
A non-binary explorer and a determined botanist make the long journey over the high mountain passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way. Will Jones discover the root of the mysterious deaths of her parents? Will she confide in Edie and allow her to help in the quest? It’s a trip fraught with dangers for both of them, not least those of the heart.
☆ Guest Post / Exclusive Excerpt / Interview ☆
Hello there, thank you so much for having me visit today as part of The Flowers of Time blog tour! I’ve got a post about the Lost in Time magic system for you today.
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Definitely not Magical Realism:
The Lost in Time magic system
I had a conversation with another writer on twitter a few weeks ago about our magic systems and how we created them. I described my process as sitting on the floor in a room full of kittens and different coloured balls of wool and letting them do their thing. I’ve been giving it more thought and I reckon it’s a more accurate description if the kittens are also crazed on catnip.
When I started writing the series, I dabbled with making one of the MCs a shifter. I thought he might be a centaur. And then the whole thing fell apart when he turned out to be living in a small flat above a laundry in 1920s London and it just wasn’t practical. I mean. Think of the floors! He turned out to be a magician, effectively, although he’d loathe the word. No-one who uses magic with good intent in my world actually calls it that.
I have to confess, the kitten thing didn’t really happen. Although it should have. Because kittens! And I didn’t sit down and plan out the system before I started. It just evolved as the books went on. I knew I wanted my people to be able to pull energy from somewhere. And I knew there needed to be a price, because if you have unlimited magical energy available you are all-powerful and where’s the fun in characters that are all-powerful?
The system works on the principle that there’s power everywhere. It’s called kias. Everyone has some as part of their life-force, some people more, some less. And there’s a source of it in a thing called the border or the shimmer. Some of my characters know this, some don’t. And some of them know that the shimmer doesn’t just exist in isolation. It’s a border between our world and another one. The other one is where people like Fenn (Shadows on the Border) and Linn (The Gate/Inheritance of Shadows) live. They’re sort-of-elves and are magic-users as a matter of course. Fenn and Linn work for a group called the Ternants, who are responsible for maintaining the border between the two worlds. There are definitely other groups who are working to break it down.
We don’t know a lot more about any of the not-quite-elves as yet, pretty much because I’m making it up as a I go along. (Let’s hear a big “YAY!” for discovery writing!). There will be more in forthcoming books, but at the moment I’m enjoying writing about the reactions of characters who live in our own world and touch the magic to a greater or lesser extent and finding out how they each embrace or reject it.
If you know anything about reiki and similar energy practices you will see similarities between those and how my magic system works. Healthy people have healthy energy and sick people have low or wobbly energy. It’s possibly to help people’s health by balancing their energies up. I have taken that further by allowing my magic users, or workers, to pull energy in to themselves (from other people, from their surroundings, from the shimmer, from charged objects) to manipulate both kias and physical matter. Small things like werelights and big things, like opening a gate in the energy border between the worlds.
If you’re a responsible person you try and keep the overall energy system balanced and don’t steal kias from people or pull so much from the shimmer that you make it weak and allow nasty things like carnas or hollows to push their way through. If you’re an irresponsible person you do just that. And sometimes you can set up a line or a cord linking you to someone else that is a constant drain on their energy and constantly replenishes yours.
The magic system is really very simple. It works on the basis that energy follows thought. The irony of the green book being that it’s supposed to be a ‘book of spells’ or a book of instructions to make the magic work for you…but actually you don’t need to do any of that ritual stuff. You just need to pull the kias toward you, form your intention and hold it strongly in your mind…and if you are powerful enough and have enough kias available, pow! it happens.
If you’re trying to do things that are selfish or greedy, or badly thought out, the potential for the kias to spring back at you and sproink you on the nose like a stretched elastic band is enormous. My main characters tend to realise this, earlier or later in the stories. Sometimes after being sproinked.
As the series has gone on the system has developed and I’ve found myself using a sort of retroactive kitten-method to make interesting plot happen. I tend to write very messy first drafts that mean I have to go back and do an enormous amount of pruning to make things fit together logically. Having to make sure that the magic works as well is another layer of complication and having energy-follows-thought as it’s base principle makes it both simple and very complicated. It allows an awful lot of wiggle-room, which means there’s an awful lot of ways to mess it up! But everything I write seems to have the paranormal in there somewhere and my worlds don’t seem complete to me without it.
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