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Day 7 of The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 29-31!

Day 7 Welcome to day 7 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D *

Day 6 of The Hierophant Read-Along! Chapters 25-28, plus SATANISM :D

Day 6 Welcome to day 6 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D *

The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 21-24, plus Insta-love!?

Day 5 Welcome to day 5 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D *

The Hierophant Read-Along: Chapters 15 – 20! Plus, some darker “fun facts”

Day 4 Welcome to Day 4 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 11-14, friendship love, and a video!

Day 3 Welcome to day 3 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA

Day 7 of The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 29-31!

Day 7

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Welcome to day 7 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

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Ready? Let’s go!

Recap: Chapters 29-31!

Chapter 29: In the parking lot after school, Kyla asks about what happened in the cafeteria–also, when was Ana going to tell her she had a coffee date with Andy?! Andy forces John to apologize; gets Ana to agree to another coffee meeting to discuss some research he found that mentions the Ouros.

Chapter 30: Trebor comes to Ana’s house and starts to teach her about the different kinds of Sura. He tells her that right now the bigger threat to her and the rest of the world is skinwalkers–they will empty her out and use her for her human magic, and according to Trebor, that is extremely dangerous. He also shows her what it feels like to finally let go and stop trying to control that thrumming feeling she’s been having–and it blows her mind.

Chapter 31: Ana finally meets with Andy after a few weeks, and he tells her what he found out about the Ouros. They have these “enchanted coffers” that seems to work as if by magic, that no one can open except for the person who last closed it (which sounds a lot like the box Kyla gave to Ana in chapter 13). Supposedly there is a legend that one of these boxes contains something special, which is why Ouros translates to the keepers. Unfortunately, there are no more Ouros left to ask about this, because Ana’s mother, Karanina, was the last of her clan. The rest of them were slaughtered and their bodies burned, about 17 years ago…

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Some fun facts!

-I got to use my media study AND anthropology know-how in chapter 31, lol. Case studies! Name-dropping! Universal myths! MacGuffins! :D The work of Sir E. E. Evans-Pritchard was probably 75% of what I read while I was an anthro major, and I resonated with most of his theories on the “science” as a whole. He’s basically The Guy who got westerners to stop calling indigenous peoples “primitive.”  Wikipedia has a decent article on him.

-Re: John’s SUV with the blue flames. There was definitely a jock at my high school who had a hideous, champagne colored SUV with blue flames it looked like someone had spray-painted on. I always though it looked like a giant squid had fixed itself to the front of the car.

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That’s all for today! Questions or comments? Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!

Be on the lookout for a new video posted tomorrow!

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Tomorrow: Chapters 32-34!

Day 6 of The Hierophant Read-Along! Chapters 25-28, plus SATANISM :D

Day 6

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Welcome to day 6 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

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Are you all caught up?

Recap: Chapters 25-28!

Chapter 25: Trebor takes Ana to the Crimson Oak, and tells her about how his brother “Fell”…and reveals that he doesn’t entirely trust the Malakiim’s definition of “Falling.”

Chapter 26: On the walk home, they are attacked by a Sura and Trebor saves Ana with ~maaaaaagic!~ Ana complains that she doesn’t like being a damsel in distress, and asks Trebor to teach her how to defend herself against Sura. Trebor admits that human magic is dangerous, but decides to do it anyway.

Chapter 27: Ana has a dream about the Sura, and her mother, and Trebor. She rejects Trebor in the dream because she doesn’t need him, to which he responds “No, you don’t. But I’m here anyway.”

Chapter 28: Ana goes to school and sees Trebor talking to her classmates. He sits with her, explains a little bit about his intelligence gathering methods, but then John Cassidy, Ana’s arch nemesis (the boy she beat up in 8th grade) shows up and starts mocking her. Trebor tells him off and Ana is so embarrassed that she leaves, already starting to have an attack of that thrumming sensation. Trebor stops her in the hall, but when he touches her there is a burst of energy so powerful that it almost knocks Ana out. They make a plan to begin training her immediately.

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Some fun facts!

-As ABSURD as this is going to sound, I’m going to tell it to you all anyway: when I was about 9 or 10, my best friend and I joked A LOT about worshipping Satan, specifically in the way that the media portrays Satanic worship as being evil and chaotic (not like real Satanism, which is actually pretty legit if you look into it). We weren’t serious about it, although we did get up to quite a bit of mischief in our time. We even decided to call Satan “S’tan” so we could talk about him in notes and make jokes in our essay journals for school that no one would get but us (S’tan and I went to the mall this weekend to get new sneakers…). Anyway, in the woods along Ellicott Creek (the creek Ana almost drowns in) we discovered a tree that, at the time, seemed HUGE to us, with a massive root system that was mostly exposed and sitting on top of the earth because of the frequent flooding. We were so impressed by its magnificence that we decided to dub it The Satan Tree. We proceeded to bring it offerings–cool rocks we’d found, Halloween candy, anything we found in the woods that would burn, dead moths and butterflies. We didn’t in any way shape or form think that this meant anything, because all of it was a joke to us.

But then things started showing up in the roots of The Satan Tree. A completely full, unopened can of coke appeared on a day we didn’t have enough change to purchase a drink from the local convenience store. A volley ball was there once; a cartoon flip-book another day. I don’t know if other people had also started leaving offerings at the tree, or if people were just hanging out there and leaving their crap around, or…something else.

Anyway, that tree inspired the Crimson Oak. And the Crimson Oak ended up becoming much more important than I anticipated when I first wrote her down…

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That’s all for today! No video, but you can still chat with me on Twitter. Questions or comments about whether or not I’ve sold my soul to the Devil? Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!

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Tomorrow: Chapters 29-31!

The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 21-24, plus Insta-love!?

Day 5

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Welcome to day 5 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

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Did you do the reading?! :D

RECAP: Chapters 21-24

Chapter 21: Ana goes home and debates texting Trebor, but she has no idea where to begin.

Chapter 22: Later that night, Andy texts Ana to set up a coffee date to ask her more questions about her mother’s people, the Ouros. Trebor texts, too, and makes it clear that he knows she can see what others can’t–and he knows about the Sura, too.

Chapter 23: Ana meets up with Andy; she tells him about the Ouros; Andy tells her what he’s read about the 3 worlds–Shemayiim, Iritz, and Sheol; he says he read a myth about a key that could open the gates between the worlds. Trebor shows up…but no one can see him except for Ana.

Chapter 24: Trebor and Ana go for a walk; he reveals himself to be an Irin, one of the fabled Watchers sent by the angels (the Malakiim) to protect humans from Sura. He’s looking for the Key that Andy spoke of, but he also feels he has an obligation to help Ana deal with her vulnerability to Sura. Trebor takes them to a pocket world called a loka!

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Some fun facts!

-I was an anthropology major for most of my time in college, until I switched to media studies and only minored in cultural anthropology (I sometimes regret that choice, tbh). Most of what Andy talks about in chapter 23 (and later) is inspired by things I learned in my Anthropology of Religion or Anthropology of Witchcraft and Sorcery classes (best classes EVER). The inspiration for this ENTIRE BOOK can actually be attributed to those classes. <3

-Like many fantasy authors, I stole a lot of words from ancient languages for this entire series. Most of it is Hebrew (ancient, but still in use outside of religious practice!) Malakiim/malachim (pronounced the same); Iritz/Erets; Sheol is Sheol, and Shemayiim/Shamayim; even havati bashrat is a well hidden fictional etymological evolution (i.e., bastardization) of the words for “love” and “destiny.” My missed-connection kind of relationship with Judaism (I’m half Jewish, raised nothing, though my parents met in a cult they didn’t leave/get kicked out of until I was 6 or 7) definitely influenced a great deal of this book, especially as I was trying to unbox the complicated feelings around something that is both an ethnicity and a religion, as well as the strongest link I have to my ancestors.

-Some of the words, like Irin, are Aramaic; Sura is from the ancient Sanskrit Asura which is “a member of a class of divine beings in the Vedic period, which in Indian mythology tend to be evil and in Zoroastrianism are benevolent.” (Important definition is important!) It’s not very spoilery to tell you that the idea behind this is to ask the chicken or the egg question: which came first, humans or the Arcana? Did the Arcana influence our world, or did we influence them? HMMMM?

(Can you tell that I would have been a linguistic anthropologist if I’d continued in that major?)

And Now, A Reading! Plus: INSTA-LOVE?

(Pardon the weather happening outside…it gets mighty windy towards the end.)

That’s all for today! Questions or comments about insta-love? FEELS about Ana and Trebor? Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!

JFYI: There will be recap posts over the weekend, and videos will start up again Monday!

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Tomorrow: Chapters 25-28!

The Hierophant Read-Along: Chapters 15 – 20! Plus, some darker “fun facts”

Day 4

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Welcome to Day 4 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

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Here we go!

RECAP: Chapters 15 – 20

Chapter 15: Kyla tries to convince Ana to go to the spring formal with Andy, but Ana is so not down with that. She wanders off from the party, feeling out-of-place and a little more drunk than she wants to be, especially since that damn thrumming feeling has come back, and she doesn’t know what to do with it. She sees a Sura when she goes down to the creek out back, but she’s not even sure if what she’s seeing is real, or if she’s just crazy. But a water demon rises up out of the creek and throws Ana in–so, she’s pretty sure it’s real now.

Chapter 16: Ana drowns…?

Chapter 17: Trebor saves Ana by dragging her unconscious body from the creek and performing CPR, then stripping her down to her underwear and giving her the actual shirt off his back. You know, to prevent hypothermia! He carries her back to Kyla’s house, but she confronts him–she knows he’s not human. (Also, what’s with all the tattoos?)

Chapter 18: They reach Kyla’s house, and she kicks everyone out.

Chapter 19: Ana has a mini-internal freak-out when she comes-to, but doesn’t tell Kyla anything. She’s too shocked, too confused, and too exhausted to sort through any of it.

Chapter 20: Ana lies to Kyla the next morning, telling her she just fell in the water because she had too much to drink. Trebor left his phone number for Ana, and now Kyla is hell-bent on getting them together. Match-maker, calm down! Trebor ain’t even human!

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Some…facts. It starts to get a bit dark, here.

I wanted to bring up some themes in the novel that a few people have asked me about, that really start to come out in chapter 15. [TW for depression, anxiety]

-The reason Ana doesn’t tell Kyla what’s going on, and the reason she feels totally out-of-place at her best friend’s party, isn’t necessarily because she’s freakishly tall and is socially awkward, or because she is afraid her best friend won’t believe her. It’s because Ana is depressed. To be honest, she’s probably been depressed for a very long time. She just doesn’t know it, consciously, because of course she’s sad–her mother died. But…there’s so much else going on that makes her feel powerless, and that is at the root of her depression (maybe at the root of depression for a lot of people).

-You probably noticed that the internalized thrumming feeling Ana experiences comes in response to certain stressors, either direct or generalized. She’s been living with a huge secret for a long time, and sees no way to either understand it or exploit it. She’s just stuck–powerless. And now, the thrumming is getting worse and worse.

This is obviously how she physically experiences magic, as you come to find out–but it’s also a manifestation of acute anxiety. If Ana doesn’t realize she’s depressed because she’s too busy trying to keep her head above water (figuratively, this time), she certainly doesn’t realize that she’s experiencing what most trained counselors would call a generalized anxiety disorder. Just like with her ability to see demons, she doesn’t have anyone to explain that kind of stuff to her. (Mental health education is as neglected as occult wisdom. :P) However, it’s important to note that the anxiety doesn’t actually give her magical powers–it’s part of her reaction to the magic, and everything else that she feels she can’t control.

And on a lighter note:

-When Kyla gets people to clear out of her house by saying her neighbor called the cops: this is a tactic I witnessed at a friend’s house party when I was in high school. Genius! The kids were all too drunk to wonder how the host knew the cops had been called when there was nary a police car in sight…

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That’s all for today! No video, but you can still chat with me on Twitter. Questions or comments about today’s (slightly darker) “fun facts”? Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!

Be on the lookout for a new video posted tomorrow!

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Tomorrow: Chapters 21-24!

The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 11-14, friendship love, and a video!

Day 3

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Welcome to day 3 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

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Woot! Day 3! Magical number 3! Did you read last night? :D

RECAP: Chapters 11-14

Chapter 11: The memory of the man in the cemetery, and the man with flashing eyes, and the wild rushing feeling in Ana’s blood are all driving her nuts, and playing her violin isn’t cutting it, so she goes outside in the middle of a rainstorm and sprints around her neighborhood to let loose. But Ana runs into a Sura on the way home, and it knows her name

Chapter 12: On the run from the Sura, Ana collides with Trebor just outside her house. How embarrassing. Except–wait–did Trebor’s eyes just flash like a cat’s? Like the creep who ran into her on the street the other night? Like the guy who might or might not have been the shadowy figure from the cemetery They totally did. It’s totally him. What’s going on?

Chapter 13: Ana goes over to Kyla’s house to help her prepare for the house party Kyla is throwing tonight. They go up into Kyla’s attic and Ana has major nostalgia feels about when Kyla used to fight with her mom about the identity of Kyla’s father, and when Ana used to cry her heart out about her mother wasting away from chemo. Kyla gives her an old red, wooden box that Ana’s mother left with Kyla’s mother for safekeeping, with the instruction that it be given to Ana when she’s done with school. It won’t open–in fact, it’s impossible to open.

Chapter 14: At the party that night, Ana is awkward as usual, especially when Andy starts making small talk about her heritage, and her mother’s people. He is apparently interested in traveler culture–he’s something of an armchair anthropologist, you might say. But he’s digging for information, and given that everyone else at school has only ever made fun of Ana’s “gypsy” heritage, it makes Ana suspicious.

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Things to notice:

-Kyla’s mom…she seems cool enough in Ana’s memories, but where the hell is this woman that she’s not around to stop her kid from practicing witchcraft and throwing house parties? (Not that anyone should stop their child from practicing witchcraft… *clutches crystals and tarot deck*)

Some fun facts!

-Inspiration for the box: my grandmother gave me a trick box when I was a kid that I only ever opened once. I forgot how the “trick” part worked, and no one else could figure it out.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

-In the ORIGINAL draft of The Hierophant, Kyla’s girlfriend Vanessa was Ana’s best friend. WHAT? Yes. We didn’t meet Kyla until this party (that was actually a school dance in the original draft), and when I wrote her I immediately fell in love with her, and knew she was Ana’s real best friend.

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Here’s a video of me reading a bit from Chapter 13, and talking briefly about FRIENDSHIP LOVE. (Sorry the end is a little rushed, my laptop battery was dying…)

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That’s all for today! Remember you can chat with me and others on twitter using the hashtag #ArcanaRA, and you’ll also be automatically entered into the giveaway! Send me your questions and comments!

Tomorrow: Chapters 15-20!

The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 7-10 + the TRUTH about Trebor’s name!

Day 2read along

Welcome to day 2 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

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Did you do your assigned reading? :D

Recap! Chapters 7-10

Chapter 7: Kyla gives Ana a tarot reading that indicates Ana needs to stop internalizing everything, and also…some kind of a teacher might be coming to her, as indicated by the Hierophant card.

Chapter 8: Kyla and Ana perform a protection spell around Kyla’s property, to keep the Sura away. It’s a spell Ana’s mother taught her, with words given by her people, the Ouros.

Chapter 9: Ana walks home late and sees a man who might or might not be the same man from the cemetery…but his eyes flash like a cat’s, and he seems like he’s intentionally trying to knock into her. What a jerk! At least he says “sorry.”

Chapter 10: Andy introduces Kyla and Ana to Trebor, the new kid on the block. There is immediate attraction on Ana’s part, even though she tries to talk herself out of it. But Kyla is hoping some kind of romance will spark between Ana and the new kid because they’re both tall (and she wants Ana to get a date for the dance so she doesn’t back out), so she cons Ana into giving Trebor a tarot reading. When Trebor draws a card to represent the querent (himself), he draws the Hierophant.

Some fun facts!

It’s time I told the truth about Trebor’s name. There was an adjunct professor at my university whose first name was Trebor, and I thought it was the most unusual, interesting name, without being too over-the-top cool. He was Swedish, too, so I totally thought it was a Swedish name. But no. Trebor was an artist, prone to whims. His real name was Robert. He just had people call him treboR as an artistic statement. :P

-Williamsville, at least when I was growing up there, really was something like the second safest community in the state, or the country, I can’t remember. But I do remember walking home from a friend’s house well past midnight, many, many times in my youth. If only my parents had known about Sura, I doubt they would have felt so comfortable letting their youngest child walk alone at night! (Not me, though. I’dda been like “come ‘n get me suckas!” But mostly because life was so boring in the second safest community in the state or country or whatever.)

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Sorry, no video today, but you can still chat with me on Twitter! Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!

Until tomorrow! (And there’ll be a new video tomorrow, definitely!!)

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The Hierophant Read-Along: Recap! Chapters 1-6…plus a reading!

 

Day 1read along

Welcome to the first official day of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

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Did you do your assigned reading? Yes or no, it’s okay, because I’m gonna give you a recap!

RECAP: Chapters 1-6

Chapter 1: Ana goes to visit her mother’s grave before school, to tell her mother that she’s been seeing Sura: the demons from the stories her mother used to tell her as a child. While she’s there, she sees a shadowy figure across the cemetery and something happens that literally makes her heart stop–and it seems like all of this happens to the shadowy figure at the same time.

Chapter 2: MEET KYLA! She’s a badass and we love her, and she is Ana’s best friend in the entire universe. Kyla is trying to convince Ana to go to the spring formal dance because Kyla (who skipped 8th grade and is now a year ahead of Ana) is going away to college next year and wants to make the most of her time with Ana between now and then. It takes some effort, since Ana was at homecoming freshman year when she found out her mother had passed away in hospice. But Ana loves Kyla like a sister, and she agrees to go–even though school dances are the last thing on her mind these days.

Chapter 3: This may seem like a throwaway chapter, with nothing in it but a class debate about whether or not fate is real, but Ana’s statements in this chapter bear significant weight when it comes to how Ana gets from the end of The Hierophant to the beginning of The Tower. Just sayin’! Also, we meet Andy, who is a bit of a snake.

Chapter 4: Ana spaces out in class and thinks about her mother’s clan, the Ouros, who were a group of travelers that disowned her mother when she married an outsider. They’ve rejected Ana, too, it would seem, and now there is no one in the world who can answer all her questions about the things she keeps seeing. While she’s spacing out, she looks outside and sees a group of super-creepy Sura standing in the shadows. One of them smiles at her!

Stressed out with no one to turn to, Ana skips lunch and goes to play her violin. That’s the only way she’s been able to diffuse this weird, rushing feeling in her bones that’s been bothering her for a while now…

Chapter 5: Ana…doesn’t really fit in. She’s over six feet tall with bold red hair and everyone knows her as “the girl whose mother died,” among other less savory nicknames. But Kyla is the most popular girl in school, and Kyla loves Ana to death (they’ve been besties since they were babies), so the others try to include her, too.

Chapter 6: Meet Abe, Ana’s adorable, protective, loving, widowed father. <3

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So, there is a lot of important information in the opening chapters and I obviously didn’t list it all in the recap. I’m going to tell you right now from an insider’s perspective what info to keep in mind when you start The Tower:

-The protective stones and coins left on Ana’s mother’s grave after the funeral

-Ana’s rejection of the man AND what happens in the cemetery (she is so not here for this drama)

-Ana and her father’s shared anger management issues

Just some important things to keep in the back of your head!

Some fun facts:

The Hierophant is the first officially young adult book I’ve ever written! I’ve always written about young adults, but I didn’t know there was a whole “genre” for it until I was in college. There were many space operas written in middle school and high school with teenage heroes and heroines, but I don’t know if any of those will ever see the light of day…

The Hierophant is set in the very real Village of Williamsville, in a suburb of the city of Buffalo, New York (yes the one with all the snow and chicken wings). This is where I actually grew up! Ana goes to my actual high school, and [SPOILER ALERT] nearly drowns in the same creek that I used to swim in/jump into fully clothed, on a dare. In fact, everything I mention about the school, the cemetery, the creek–the whole natural setting–is or was at some point actually there. Why did I choose this? Well, because this is a novel that was brewing in my head when I was young enough to frequent those places mentioned. The story just didn’t find its flavor until I was long gone.

-If you have ever wondered: I absolutely am aware that the main character from Fifty Shades of Grey has the same first name as Ana :P THE SIMILARITIES STOP THERE, I PROMISE YOU. (And no, I haven’t read that book, and no, it in no way influenced my naming. The very first draft of this novel was written in 2008, and no names have changed from that version even if everything else has).

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And now, if you’ve read this far, here’s a “treat”: a video of me reading a bit of chapter 1, talking about dead moms, and sharing some personal information about one of the most influential moments of my adolescence. Step into the confessional! (Forgive my gravely voice, I filmed this at 6:30 in the morning.)

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That’s all for today! Remember you can chat with me and others on twitter using the hashtag #ArcanaRA. Send me your questions and comments! I wants them all!

Tomorrow: Chapters 7-10!

Announcing: THE HIEROPHANT Read-Along!

read-along-rounded2

In preparation for The Tower’s release (August 11!), I’ve decided it might be good to have a little refresher for the first book in the series: The Hierophant. Whether you’ve read it before or are reading it for the first time, I invite you to join me in a read-along for the 15 days counting down to the release of The Tower!

How does a read-along work?

I’m glad you asked!

Below, I’ll post the schedule for the “assigned reading” each night. Starting Monday, July 27th, I’ll be posting recaps here on the blog (and possibly recordings/videos of readings by yours truly!) from the previous day’s chapters. I’ll also be dropping some truth bombs about the characters and the writing process for The Hierophant (and some of it might surprise you!).

In addition to that fun stuff, I’ll be doing an ongoing twitter Q&A! Any time you want, use the hashtag #ArcanaRA to discuss or ask questions about The Hierophant and I will be more than happy to answer!

Also, by participating in the #ArcanaRA tag, you’ll automatically be entered to win one of THREE prizes!

1) Signed copies of both The Hierophant AND The Tower

2) Signed copies of The Tower and another novel (your choice!)

3) And the GRAND prize: signed copies of The Tower + any of my other novels, AND a Pocket Rider Waite tarot deck! :D

I’m SUPER excited about this, and only wish I’d thought to do it sooner. I can’t wait to share some of the story behind the story, to chat about favorite characters and scenes (I’ve been so surprised by some of the things people have told me, about how deeply a scene or a line affected them after reading this book, and it made my little heart grow ten times its size! <3), and of course, to give away some free stuff!

The Reading Schedule

It’s a bit of a time crunch (15 days), so we’ll be averaging about 20 pages a day. And remember, feel free to @ me on twitter (@madelineclaire_) or use the read-along hashtag (#ArcanaRA) at any time with questions or comments! I’ll get back to you ASAP :)

Here is the schedule by chapters, beginning on July 26 (I’ll be posting the first recap on MONDAY, July 27!):

7/26 Chapters 1-6

7/27 Chapters 7-10

7/28 Chapters 11-14

7/29 Chapters 15-20

7/30 Chapters 21-24

7/31 Chapters 25-28

8/1 Chapters 29-31

8/2 Chapters 32-34

8/3 Chapters 35-38

8/4 Chapters 39-42

8/5 Chapters 43-47

8/6 Chapters 48-53

8/7 Chapters 54-57

8/8 Chapters 58-59

8/9 Chapters 60-63

8/10 Chapters 64-END

8/11 Happy Book Birthday, The Tower!

Thanks for joining in! See you next week!

Presenting THE TOWER (Book 2 in the Arcana Series) – Cover Reveal!

tower teaserI have been sitting on these covers for months because A) I can’t write book descriptions to save my life–and you have to have the book description for the cover reveal, obvs.–and B) it took me forever to figure out when a realistic release date might be for this novel, in the midst of a very hectic, very crazy summer (August 11! Be there or be square!).

But here it is! Today! A cover reveal! It’s happening!

Are you ready?

Well, hold your horses. Before we do this…do you remember the covers for The Hierophant? That’s right, there were two. Because I got sassy and decided that I wanted a different cover for the ebook (because I REALLY LIKE MAKING COVERS, OKAY?).

Well, because I started this trend with the first book in the series, I felt obligated to continue it. And that’s fine, because I LOVE the covers I came up with for The Tower.

So instead of just one, you’re actually getting TWO cover reveals today. ;D

But first, THE DESCRIPTION:

Ana Flynn just made a deal with the Devil, but she hasn’t lost her soul—yet.

In exchange for bringing her best friend back from the dead, Ana has no choice but to return to the hellish world of Sheol—a world that has been the backdrop to all of her nightmares since she narrowly escaped it, well over a year ago. But this time, Ana is trapped in a sentient prison school that defies the laws of space and time, a place her new demonic classmates call the Tower. And once you enter the Tower, there is only one way out: graduation.

While Ana wants nothing more than to return to what’s left of her life back home, her freedom can only come at a price: in order to graduate, she must find a way to face her greatest fears, and embrace the dark magic of Sheol—a magic that will transform her, forever.

Ana was human when she entered the Tower. Will she leave a monster?

Eh? Ehhh? :D

Ok, now…onto the cover reveal(s)!

Ready?

READY?

PRESENTING…

THE TOWER

BOOK II IN THE ARCANA SERIES

ebook cover:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00061]

and print:

The Tower Print FINAL image only

TA DA! :D

I’m super proud of both of these covers and the feats of Photoshop that I had to perform to make them happen. Troubleshooter is my middle name! (Actually it’s not, it’s Claire, hence why my books don’t say “Madeline Troubleshooter Franklin” on the covers.)

And just so you can see the FULL glory of these beasts, here they are next to their predecessors:

ebook covers

print covers

Eh? Ehhhhhhh? :D (Picture me as the annoying artist at a gallery trying to get your attention so I can point out every single deliberate artistic choice I made ;p I’m just SUPER PROUD OF THESE COVERS, OKAY?) I can’t wait to get my hands on the print copies and hold them side by side… *DEEP SIGH OF LONGING*

I’d love to hear what you think about the covers and the description for The Tower! You can contact me here, tweet at me @madelineclaire_, or hop on over to my Facebook page to say hello!

That’s it for now, folks!

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Interview with Maria Marquis, the voice of GHOST CITY (now available on Audible and Amazon!)

ghost city audiobook imageAfter all my squealing with joy on Twitter about how madly in love I am with this audiobook, I am SO EXCITED to announce that Ghost City is now officially available as an unabridged audiobook on Audible and Amazon! (Coming soon to iTunes!)

I love all of my books, but Ghost City holds a special place in my heart as a work that was produced during a time of profound healing and letting go, themes that, not coincidentally, ended up imbedded in the text. It was so important to me that the voice for this project be perfect–that Kiddo and Noah’s story be told by someone who loves them (*almost*) as much as I do. I honestly could not have asked for a more talented, professional, and captivating narrator than the actress I connected with through ACX, just a few months ago.

So! To celebrate the release of Ghost City, I’ve done a little Q+A with our brilliant narrator, Maria Marquis!

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Tell us a little bit about your acting career. How did you start acting? What are your favorite or most memorable roles?

I was the kid that couldn’t stop playing pretend so my mom signed me up for theatre camp, and that was the beginning for me. I acted throughout school, and have been acting professionally in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2008. I specialize in Shakespeare, but do a lot of new work as well. One of my most memorable roles was Rosalind in As You Like It at Impact Theatre – she’s a great character and I loved the challenge of passing as a man!

What drew you to audiobook narration, and what was your first project?

I’ve been listening to audiobooks since I was a little kid, and I drive a lot for work so audiobooks have been a great way to make me feel like I’m not wasting that time in the car (in addition to keeping me company!). The more I listened, the more I wanted to do it too. My first audiobook was Cat Magic by Whitley Strieber – a retro story of witches in upstate New York.

Do you listen to audiobooks yourself? Do you have any favorite narrators?

I love audiobooks, and listen to them all the time. Jim Dale who narrated the Harry Potter series is an absolute master, but I loved Melanie McHugh’s performance of Sarah Lotz’s The Three as well.

Can you tell us a little bit about your recording studio/area?

My studio is actually inside my closet! I lined it with foam (and big coats), and have a comfy chair inside. I’m pretty proud of my shoe string budget solution!

Tell us about your experience recording GHOST CITY. Who was your favorite character to voice?

I loved narrating Ghost City because I really identified with Kiddo. She’s strong, but also incredibly vulnerable, and finding that voice and living inside her head was both a challenge and a blast. As for scenes, my favorites were the ones where we get glimpses of the character’s memories – that inner landscape and the mystery there was so much fun to play with! The most challenging part was finding the Saver’s voice – he is a very complex person, but finding the right tone was worth it!

Are there any funny moments you remember from the recording process?

I have two cats, and one day they wanted to be in the book. They were meowing outside the studio so I actually have some clips with their additions. One of them even made it inside the studio when I went to grab some water, and I didn’t notice until she let out a meow during an important moment.

If you could narrate the audiobook for ANY book, what would it be?

That’s a tough one, but I think it would be the His Dark Materials trilogy. Those books meant a lot to me growing up, and they are books I can re-read over and over again – no question! [MCF: I literally SQUEED when I read this. My favorite books of all time!!!]

Do you have any upcoming projects, audiobooks or otherwise?

This is a busy year! I am currently working on a time travel trilogy (The Daughter of Time by Erec Stebbins) and a Game of Thrones-esque novel called The Taking by Traci Robinson. I’ll also be in a three person play, The Voice of the Prairie, this summer. I’m not sure when I’ll sleep, but it should be a lot of fun.

Thank you so much for the Q+A Maria, and good luck with all of your upcoming projects!

Listen to the first chapter of Ghost City HERE

Maria Marquis is both a voice and theatre actor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an actor, Marquis’s goal is to foster intercommunication, mutual understanding, and respect by telling people’s stories; letting them be recognized, heard, understood, and appreciated. She specializes in character work and classical language, and when not on stage or in the studio, she can be found trying new recipes, rock-climbing, or playing boardgames with her husband and two cats. You can learn more about Maria at mariagmarquis.com

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Also, for a limited time I’m offering FREE review copies of the Ghost City audiobook in exchange for honest reviews on Audible.com! Please contact me if you are interested. I have a limited number of free copies, so it’s first-come, first-served!