Today is the day! The Tower is now available for Kindle! (Coming soon to other retailers, as well as paperback!) And guess what? If you haven’t had the chance to read The
Today is the day! The Tower is now available for Kindle! (Coming soon to other retailers, as well as paperback!) And guess what? If you haven’t had the chance to read The Hierophant yet, it’s available for FREE in the Kindle store from now until Saturday! :D
Let me go all-out-honest here, as I tend to do on this blog: I am absolutely in love with this book, as any proud book momma should be…but, I’m also terrified. Every book that gets published anywhere requires tremendous courage and faith to see it through to the end, but it turns out sequels come with their own special set of fears that would have otherwise never crossed my mind if this had been a stand-alone. The main one is: what if this is nothing like what the readers are expecting? Or worse: what if this is nothing like what the readers want?
But this is the story I’ve written, the story I love, and the story I hope the reader will love, too. It’s a story about a teenage girl who loves so fiercely. It’s a story about learning to trust your own instincts when exploring the fuzzy line between right and wrong. It’s a story about embracing your power–embracing every single part of who you are: the beautiful, the ugly, and everything between.
But ultimately, The Tower is a story about healing. And sometimes, the road to healing is just as dark and winding as the road that leads us to our wounds.
I hope you love it even half as much as I do. <3
As for the NEXT book in the Arcana Series, all I can say is this…
Kyla sure is awesome, huh?
THE END of
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We’re done! And this time there’s no waiting to find out what happens next because TODAY is The Tower‘s birthday! :D
RECAP: Chapters 64 – END (Book 1)
Chapter 64: It’s two months after Ana has been released from the hospital. She hasn’t heard from or seen Trebor at all, and she’s miserable without her magic–she never realized how big a part of her it was. But she takes a lesson from her father and tries to keep living.
Chapter 65: Ana takes a nap and when she wakes up there are texts from an unknown number on her phone (but it’s Trebor) asking her to meet at the orchard. Ana almost doesn’t go because she knows Trebor is only going to say goodbye, but at the last minute lets her heart decide and races out the door.
Chapter 66: Ana meets Trebor in the orchard and tells him how she feels–how she’s mad, and hurt, and refuses to say good bye–refuses to let Trebor promise her anything at all. But they love each other, and that has to be enough, for now.
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AND NOW, a video! …is what I would have said if I’d had the time to film and edit one :( I’m sorry, I suck! There were a million and one last minute things I had to do for The Tower’s release and, well. Let’s just say that NEXT time I do a read-along, I will plan better (also space it out more! *passes out from exhaustion*)!
So that’s it for The Hierophant Read-Along! Thank you so much for reading with me and chatting with me about Book 1 in the Arcana Series as I prepared for the release of Book 2! Stay tuned for the official post on The Tower‘s release, and keep an eye out to see if you won anything! I’ll tweet at the winners tomorrow! <3
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We’re almost done!!! Tonight we finish, and tomorrow The Tower is released! :D
RECAP: Chapters 60-63
Chapter 60: Ana confronts Madame Cevaux and the skinwalker (in Andy’s body)! In exchange for Kyla’s safety, she gives herself to them, lets them slit her wrist again to try and bleed her out while the skinwalker takes over. But she uses her powerful human magic in combination with her mother’s protection spell to blast them away and send Madame Cevaux and the skinwalker back to Sheol! Trebor runs to her to heal her, just as the other Irin show up. After he heals her, he’s captured by Faye, but they stand separate from the other Irin. Raven, the leader of the other Irin, blinds Ana to magic, making her effectively powerless and harmless to the Arcana–and Trebor lets her.
Chapter 61: Kyla takes Ana home, and Ana has a small nervous breakdown in the driveway when her father comes out and hugs her, and begs her to tell him where she’s been. She see’s Laura, his new lady friend, for the first time, and doesn’t like her on sight.
Chapter 62: Ana wake up in the hospital and overhears the nurse telling her father they want to do more tests on her because of her elevated blood platelet count (a sign of cancer, but Ana knows it’s just because of Trebor’s healing magic). She lies and tells her father she had temporary amnesia from the car accident and didn’t remember who she was, and that’s why she was wandering the city for days. And she also says she doesn’t remember much of what she did those days. Her father tells her that because of her breakdown the doctors want to keep her in the psychiatric ward for a 72 hour observational period.
Chapter 63: Kyla visits Ana in the psych ward. Ana is pissed at Trebor for not stopping Raven from blinding her, even though it was the only way to keep her safe while he ran–and he did have to run. But she’s also sad he’s gone and misses him, and she can still feel his heartbeat within hers. Ana asks Kyla about what happened outside of City Hall when Kyla…changed. Kyla attributes it to black-out rage triggered by overprotectiveness. But is it possible that Madam Cevaux was telling the truth about Kyla’s father, or lack thereof?
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Some fun facts!
-Originally, there was a lengthy storyline about “crazy Laura” (Abe’s new girlfriend) and how Ana disliked her, and Abe was totally blind to all of her eccentricities. She had a perfect daughter who had committed suicide, for seemingly no reason, and her whole house was plastered with pictures of her. Laura was always talking about her as if she was still alive, comparing Ana to her, like “Laura was on the tennis team, what do you play?” “Violin.” “In which orchestra?” “None…just by myself…” She was also a clean-freak who handled everything with gloves and put too much sugar on/in everything. It obviously didn’t fit with everything else–and besides, Laura has a very different role to play, now. (BUM BUM bummmm) I might use that character in something else, though…
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I’m so sorry, but there is no video today! There has been too much last-minute stuff to address in preparation for the release of The Tower tomorrow, and there was no time left for awesome video-making :( Hopefully I will have something for you tomorrow, though!
In the meantime, feel free to chat with me on Twitter, or use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!
Tomorrow: Chapters 64-END\!
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Did you do the reading?! :D
RECAP: Chapters 58-59!
Chapter 58: Ana and Trebor return to Iritz and Trebor is freaking out because of the nightmares he was having in Sheol about Ana dying. They kiss–they tell each other they love each other–they realize it’s pretty much impossible to be together. Kyla joins them just in time for Raven to show up and try to take control–then hellhounds join the party and Ana and Kyla have to run off with a random Irin to protect her from skinwalkers but THEN they run into the creepy old Zee lady who is pissed because Ana killed her son, and they’re running through downtown past city hall and they see Andy, and Kyla flags him down but Andy slits Ana’s wrist??? And Kyla…well, it’s hard to describe what Kyla does, but it certainly seems like she goes supernova and somehow uses magic to force Ana to run to safety.
Chapter 59: Ana is bleeding to death on the steps of a cathedral. She starts yelling at the Universe, and just before she passes out Trebor finds her, and heals her, which means they legit have that havati bashrat bond Trebor was talking about. Andy shows up, and he’s clearly possessed by a skinwalker, who he apparently made a deal with a while ago. But the skinwalker wants Ana, and the Zee have Kyla, and now Ana has to make a trade.
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-I tried to make the chase through downtown Buffalo as accurate as possible, but there has been so much construction in the past few years that it’s totally inaccurate now. Especially at the waterfront, where chapter 60 will take place–that’s been completely restructured. But there is in fact a cathedral down that way made from red Medina sandstone which is where I imagined Ana bleeding to death. :D
-Before writing this, I was in a Film 101 class and made a silent movie downtown that was basically just a guy running from demons. It’s terrible, and all of the film ended up so ridiculously over-exposed because some know-it-all jerk face I may have been dating at the time was responsible for taking light meter readings. The whole thing ended up being a huge joke (the pretentious French title translates poorly to “Thriller” and for some reason the protagonist blames President McKinley for his troubles) but I will link you to that movie now because I think it’s funny. Also it has a few good (but waaaay over exposed) shots of downtown Buffalo.
Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.
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That’s all for today! Questions? Feels? Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!
Tomorrow: Chapters 60-63!
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Did you do the reading?! :D
RECAP: Chapters 54-57
Chapter 54: Ana and Kyla are taken to the Zee camp by a man named Ishmael, where they are forced to make a “trade” with the Zee because they are traveling on Zee land (which Lykos heavily protests). Kyla gives up amulet in exchange for safe passage, ignoring the Zee wise-woman who offers to tell her the name of her father instead. When they are leaving, the old woman implies that it’s possible Kyla doesn’t have a father. Wut? Ana uses magic again to get them back on track, and it’s heavy.
Chapter 55: Kyla asks Ana how she really feels about Trebor, and Ana responds with total denial of her feelings for him. Just as they reach where Trebor is being held, under a faux river of shadows called the Black Gash, Ishmael shows up, demanding another trade, on behalf of the Sura who took him: Trebor for Ana. Ana refuses, because she knows that if the Sura get their hands on her human magic it will be bad to everyone. Ishmael attacks them with intent to kill, and Ana stabs him. At the last moment, Nikolai/The Devil appears again.
Chapter 56: Nikolai offers to save Ishmael, to keep Ana from having to take a life. He promises that everyone will be safe, that Trebor will be saved. The only condition is, in the end, Ana must join Nikolai in Sheol. He tells her this is the last chance she will have to avoid what she saw in his vision. But Ana refuses his offer again, because she refuses to accept that her fate is to Fall.
Chapter 57: Ana sends Kyla back to Iritz with Lykos, because once she goes into the Black Gash there are only two things that can happen: she fails and is stuck there forever, or she succeeds and when Trebor wakes up they’ll come home (because an un-Fallen Irin can’t exist in Sheol). Kyla goes; Ana jumps into the Black Gash, where it’s pitch black and she can’t tell up from down. She finds Trebor, but can’t wake him. When she thinks it’s all over, she kisses him for the very first time–and he wakes up (just like a Disney princess, lol).
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Things to think about!
So much, really. So much. There are so many important things that are said in these chapters that make me extra glad some of you are re-reading it before The Tower comes out on Tuesday (Tuesday! OMG!).
-I know there are a lot of mixed feelings about Trebor, and I definitely give him a hard time myself. But never let it be said that Trebor does not absolutely love and adore Ana, mysterious bond or not. Is he perfect? No, not by a long shot. But aren’t we all sick of those perfect YA male love interests?
-Something I have always disliked about most books and movies where a relatively normal person kills someone is the lack or real emotional resonance. Like, don’t get me wrong, I eat meat and I could unhappily learn to hunt for food in some post-apocalyptic world. I respect the animals I eat, try to buy pasture raised cruelty free stuff, etc. But if I killed a human being? Even in self defense that would be traumatic.
I loved in Buffy the Vampire Slayer how not only did everyone recognize that when Faith accidentally killed a human it was traumatic, but the trauma was seen through on so many different levels. The way Faith coped with what happened was perfect (for her character, and for that story–not in real life). So when Ana kills Ishmael, and then again decides not to save him…it’s kind of a big deal. Not just plot-wise, but for Ana as a person, it’s hard to wrap her brain around that choice and make peace with it.
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That’s all for today! Thoughts on what it feels like to kill someone? (Whoa, that’s a joke, but it reads really dark…) Feel free to chat with me on Twitter, or use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!
Tomorrow: Chapters 58-59!
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So! Much! Happening! Did you read last night? :D
Recap! Chapters 48-53:
Chapter 48: Ana takes Faye and Kyla to the Crimson Oak, where they will be safe from the other Irin and any Sura milling about. They come up with a bad plan, which is that Ana and Kyla will go to Sheol to rescue Trebor with the help of Trebor’s psychopomp friend, Lykos.
Chapter 49: Ana and Kyla have a heart-to-heart <3
Chapter 50: Ana has an important (to the series as a whole) but upsetting dream about seeing the Devil on the Hierophant’s throne.
Chapter 51: Meet Lykos! The cowboy psychopomp! The Crimson Oak gives Ana and Kyla gifts: a protection amulet and a dagger. Ana gives Kyla both items, assuming her magic will be enough protection for herself. Faye translates Trebor’s “magic words” that always seemed to make Ana calm down enough to use magic: ahuvati shell, salah. Loosely, it means be at peace, my beloved. (Ooooh!) Lykos opens a doorway in the fabric of reality, and takes them to Sheol.
Chapter 52: They arrive in Sheol and take in all it’s red, dusty, cracked-earth wasteland glory. Ana uses magic–the dark magic of Sheol, which is difficult to handle–to figure out what direction to travel in to find Trebor.
Chapter 53: Kyla thinks Ana is in love with Trebor. The three of them are confronted by a group of Zee–human-looking Sura of ill repute.
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And now, the second-to-last video of The Hierophant Read-Along, guest starring Rusty, AKA: Boof, AKA: Lord Boofington!
PS: sorry about the weird audio on the first part…I didn’t catch that until it was too late :p
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That’s all for today! Feel free to chat with me on Twitter, or use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!
Tomorrow: Chapters 54-57!
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Woot! Shizz getting’ cray, y’all! Did you read last night? :D
RECAP: Chapters 43-47
Chapter 43: Ana hits that maniacal sweet spot of TOO MUCH STRESS and NOT ENOUGH F*CKS TO GIVE, and when she is being bullied in the girls’ bathroom she gives them more sass than they know what to do with, officially no longer caring about high school or what anyone thinks of her (because, dayum, there are much more important things to worry about than what a bully says about you!). She returns to the dance and Andy creepily makes her dance with him. Ana sees strange faces in the crowd that look out of place, staring at her. Andy starts talking about things he shouldn’t know about, calls her Anastasia, which no one does, and freaks Ana out enough to run away from him, leaving the dance in a hurry.
Chapter 44: Ana goes to the cemetery early, to her mother’s grave, and while she’s trying to ask the dead for help a handful of Irin show up, demanding to know where Trebor is. They claim he’s a traitor, and that he has Fallen. Just before Faye (Trebor’s cousin) can bind Ana, Trebor swoops down from out of nowhere and snatches Ana up into the sky because HELL YES, those tattoos Trebor has? ARE WINGS. They drive away in Ana’s car, but John Cassidy’s SUV follows them, filled with shadowy looking Sura all around John, and he forces them off the bridge.
Chapter 45: Ana comes-to and the car is flipped upside-down in the creek. Trebor is injured and unconscious. An ambulance arrives and people pull Ana out of the car, but Trebor’s body has gone into hiding-mode to protect him while it tries to heal, which means Ana is the only one who can see him.
Chapter 46: Ana is in the hospital with a laundry list of injuries, but she escapes, calls Kyla, and tells her to come pick her up at the nearby gas station ASAP because Trebor might be dying somewhere. When Kyla is like, “WTF?” Ana promises to tell her everything.
Chapter 47: Kyla brings clothes and helps Ana change out of her hospital gown in the gas station bathroom while Ana starts to explain. Kyla gets super pissed that Ana kept all of this a secret. They’re about to leave to go to Trebor, but Faye stops them. She explains that she’s on their side, and she saw the Sura take Trebor through a thin spot in the veil, back to Sheol, which is problematic because Irin aren’t supposed to be able to exist in Sheol. Faye says there are two exceptions: if the Irin is unconscious, or if they’ve Fallen. Finally believing Ana can trust Faye, they all run off together to hide from the other Irin.
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Some fun facts!
-So, I was sitting in my Anthropology of Religion class learning about the concept of “sacred vs. profane” and “pollution,” sacred obviously being holy, magical, divine, or of the spirit world, etcetera. Profane, on the other hand, I was shocked to learn originally meant (and still means) simply not sacred. So, anything earthly and mundane, not just swear words. Pollution, in the context of magic and religion, is when the profane contaminates the sacred, or the other way around.
In my head, from a storyteller’s perspective, this answered so many questions about mythological creatures that it exploded onto the page in my notes. Maybe this is why mythological beings always seem to exist in another world parallel or separate from ours, because our world pollutes them. Maybe faeries and other magical beings still exist, but we can’t see the parts of them that are magical because we only see the profane.
And maybe they are physically uncomfortable having their magic polluted by the profane.
What is the one feature in art and fiction that really separates a faerie or an angel from a human? Wings.
So I imagined a world where winged mythical creatures are walking among humans, but we can’t tell because their wings are hidden–maybe hidden in plain sight.
And thus, the Irin-tattoo-wings were born, in an Anthro class, many years ago.
-OKAY I admit it. In the original draft of The Hierophant, the Irin were faeries. See, I have a theory that whatever the actual creature, experience, or glitch-in-our-perception is that we (as a species) have called faeries, or angels, or aliens (among other things)–I think it’s possible that they’re all the same thing. We’ve just adjusted our perception of it as our perception of the world changed. I was going to touch on that in the original version, but I like this one better–I think that idea can work for a totally different book, but not this one.
-Another reason the Irin are not faeries in the final version: well, aside from intentionally steering the mythology for the Arcana Series away from Angelo-Celtic myth because there are so many other ancient cultures to be inspired by–the story of the Arcana, what they are and where they come from, is much more interesting than just “we’re the magical creatures humans have written about for centuries! Hee heeee!” But you’ll hear more about that in The Tower. :D
(Do you see why, even though I always intended to be a writer, I thought it would be beneficial for my writing to major in Anthropology?)
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That’s all for today! No video, 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!
Tomorrow: Chapters 48-53!
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We’re over half way done! Are you caught up?
RECAP: Chapters 39-42!
Chapter 39: Ana is visited by the Devil! (Nikolai) He implies that he knew Ana’s mother; informs her that the Malakiim are responsible for the slaughtering of her clan, the Ouros; and then he shows Ana her future, and it scares the crap out of her. Nikolai offers to help her avoid part of it, if she comes with him, now, to Sheol. Ana refuses. She doesn’t want to Fall. And then she wakes up! Was it a dream?
Chapter 40: Ana is quietly freaking out because the Devil came to her and Trebor is missing and she still hasn’t told Kyla anything and, oh yeah, the spring formal is tonight. Ana’s father gives her the dress her mother wore to a masquerade once, the night she met her father, and Abe might have been a little misty eyed when he handed it over. Ana doesn’t understand how he can still cry over Karanina’s memory when he’s dating someone new?
Chapter 41: Ana recalls in vivid detail the night of her last school dance: homecoming, her freshman year…the night her mother died. She gets on the dance floor with Kyla and realizes how much she’s missed her friend during this whole Sura and magic ordeal, but also during her years of grieving.
Chapter 42: Ana feels eyes on her and decides to step out for some air. She encounters Andy, and he’s acting weird. She goes out to the front of the school and reminisces. Trebor shows up, doesn’t say where he’s been–both of them are too distracted by each other to worry about it. They dance, and it gets intense. Ana admits she’s afraid of what’s happening between them, but she wants to be brave. They’re about to kiss when John Cassidy knocks into them, mocks them, and leaves. Suddenly Trebor gets tense, says he needs to tell her something important ASAP, but he needs to leave right away. They agree to meet in the cemetery at midnight.
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Some fun facts!
-The beginning of Chapter 39 is based on all the creepy things that happen to me when I’m sleeping. No devil visits, but I did read that Ray Bradbury book (Something Wicked This Way Comes) and do have that thought at 3:00 AM; and I totally have had that thought that something is watching me from the doorway, and have to must up all my courage to look (and the door is always closed). I didn’t used to sleep very well, okay?!
-So, remember how my best friend and I used to pretend to worship Satan/S’tan? Well, in 7th grade I read in a book one day that one of the MANY nicknames for the devil was “Old Nick,” and from then on out every boy in our class named Nick we would call Old Nick, and never once explain ourselves. This is literally why I gave the sort-of-Devil in this series the name of Nikolai (Nick just isn’t majestic enough, you know?)
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And now, a video!
(Dear gods, ignore my crazy hair. Focus on the adorable dog on the right side of the screen, instead.)
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That’s all for today! Questions or comments? Predictions about The Tower? 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!
Tomorrow: Chapters 43-47!
(It’s also only ONE week until the release of The Tower: Book II in the Arcana Series! If you haven’t yet, sign up for my mailing list to be notified when The Tower is available in print and e-book! No spamming, ever. I promise!)
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Recap! Chapters 35-38
Chapter 35: Ana and Kyla have a fight! Because Ana has been sketchy and absent lately, and Kyla wants her best friend around because Kyla is a senior and she’s going to college in the fall and it’s the end of an era and Ana is nowhere to be found! But Ana promises to explain everything…soon.
Chapter 36: Magic training! Ana defeats a Sura. They walk back to Ana’s house and Trebor explains how life in Shemayiim is kind of crappy, and how the Malakiim have forbidden the races/species to interbreed. He tells the story of an *Malakiim who fell in love with a Sura, and had his child, and then gave away her immortality when the Malakiim hunted them down, so that her lover and child could go on. She was killed, but the Malakiim could not destroy the other two–and they’ve been sealed up in a tower in Sheol, ever since. They have a nice heart-to-heart and then BAM something crazy happens in the sky and they run the rest of the way home!
Chapter 37: Ana is a little freaked out that something was scary enough for Trebor to make them run home. She feels like it’s going to be impossible to ever feel safe again, especially once Trebor goes home. Trebor tells Ana he has to go check out whatever that was that fell from the sky, but promises he’s not leaving leaving. Besides, he’s taking Ana to the spring formal!
Chapter 38: Ana wakes to a series of texts from Trebor explaining that he’s going to be gone for a few days, but he promises to come back. Abe confronts Ana about her failing Chemistry grade, says she’s been acting weird lately. He’s surprisingly cool about her failing a class, but he’s more sad that she might have been lying about Trebor being her tutor, and Ana has to insist that they aren’t dating. Her father says he’s going out with some guys from work that night, but Ana gets it out of him that he’s meeting a lady–his first date, or anything resembling a date, since Karanina died. With everything else going on, Ana has no idea how to react.
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Important to note: SO MUCH RELEVANCE to things that happen in The Tower! :D
-In Chapter 36, Ana makes a statement about using people as anchors so that she doesn’t float away. Well…what does this say about her own place in her universe? This is at the core of her journey in The Tower.
-In Chapter 37, when it becomes more and more obvious that Trebor is not here for Malakiim nonsense, he tells the story of the Malakiim who fell in love with a Sura. This is VERY important in The Tower!
-I can’t say exactly what to keep an eye out for without it being a little spoilery, but Chapter 38 has a lot of interesting details that are VERY RELEVANT even though they seem like casual observations.
Just one fun fact for today!
-I totally make a Return of the Jedi reference in chapter 36, and I giggle every time I read it.
Han Solo: “I don’t know, Chewie…fly casual!”
Ana: “Okay. Focus…casually.”
A tiny bit of a stretch, but Ana would never have said “Focus…casual.” ;D
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No video today, but you can still chat with me on Twitter! Questions or comments? Want to guess at the hints I’ve planted in Chapter 38? Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!
Tomorrow: Chapters 39-42!
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Happy Monday! Are you all caught up? :D
Recap: Chapters 32-34!
Chapter 32: Ana confronts her father about the Ouros. It turns out he’s known all along! But when exactly is a good time to tell your daughter about the genocide of her people?
Chapter 33: Trebor appears in Ana’s bedroom because he could feel her distress. Ana tells him what she found out, and Trebor examines the red box from Ana’s mother. They decide it does not contain the key, but he can’t tell what it does contain and he can’t open it, either, because while it is only slightly enchanted, it is enchanted. It is also revealed that when Ana cries, Trebor can almost read her thoughts! And Ana believes that whatever she is (seeing demons, feeling magic) caused her people to be slaughtered.
Chapter 34: Now for some REAL magic! The key for Ana, it seems, is to focus broadly, instead of pointedly. When Ana loses control for a moment, Trebor whispers foreign words that seem to magically calm her down (Ahuvati sheli, salah…) Also, Ana has not been imagining things…Trebor’s heartbeat is synchronized with hers. What does it mean?!
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And now, a video! In which I ask you a Very Serious Question! (Excuse my extra-gravely voice, the freaking sun was still rising OKAY?!)
That’s all for today! So what’s your answer? 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!
Tomorrow: Chapters 35-38!