Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter 23 + Epilogue

It's the very last chapter of the #cvreadalong! You've got a couple of days to catch up if you're behind. We're closing the read-along with a chat on Thursday, July 31st at 6 pm PST on twitter as part of #k8chat where we're taking read-alongs and all things Aether Chronicles.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Kevighn leaves for Los Angeles to do what he (thinks) he does best -- lure girls to the Otherworld. Only this time the girl he has his sights set on is Elise, James and V's sister, and Kevighn doesn't want to kill her, he wants to steal her for the dark king. 

Instead of finding her, Kevighn is the first one to stumble upon the scene of the crime. Being Keivhgn., he cares little for this,steals what he needs and leaves in search of Elise. 

(For those of you who have no idea what Kevighn left in V's room, it involves excrement. Yeah, infantile and gross. Then again, Keivghn isn't always the most mature.) 

Meanwhile, not missing Kevighn by much, James, V, and Noli arrive in LA to a horrible scene. Elise and Quinn are gone and Mr. Darrow has been killed by Brogan's men. Most likely as either a ploy to have V challenge him, so Brogan can kill him without actually having to go kill him, or for the revenge he swore he'd get on Noli for taking the artifact. 

Mr. Darrow's death means V is now the head of the family, a role he takes seriously. Just like the chapter closed on Noli's life in LA at the beginning of the book, the book now closes on V's life in LA as well. 


V, Noli, and James return to the Otherworld and bury Mr. Darrow at the Big House, by the faery tree in the center of the maze.  

They decide that they will journey to the earth court palace and V will challenge Brogan to a duel over the death of V's father. Noli makes her own vow--to make Brogan pay. Because no one messes with those Noli loves. No one.

So...what was your favorite parts of the end? Did everything wrap up the way you expected? Was something you were expecting left unresolved? Tell me here or on twitter at #cvreadalong. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Twenty-Two

Tomorrow is the last official day of the #cvreadalong, but we're having catch-up until the 31st, when we finish everything up with a twitter chat at 6 pm PST on Thursday with #k8chat as we talk about read-alongs and all things Aether Chronicles.

Chapter Twenty-Two

This is a relatively short chapter. James, V, and Noli try to figure out what now? Now that the quest is over what do James and V do? Go back to LA? Stay in the Otherworld? 

And Noli? What about her? Her mother has gone to Boston, there's no home to go back to. She doesn't really want to rejoin the Vixen's Revenge. Not to mention she still harbors her dreams of going to a University...and there's a sprite in her head, which might make something like going to college difficult. 

Then there's the queen. V has found a loophole, but who knows what Tiana will think? It's a little rough when your mother is high queen and you can't defy her, even if she makes no sense. 

One thing these three know is that they need to research the artifact and decide that Quinn, back in Los Angeles will be their first stop for information. 

See you tomorrow for the last chapter and the epilogue!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Twenty-One

We're just a few chapters away from finishing CHARMED VENGEANCE -- and FRAGILE DESTINY releases soon (8/8/14). Don't forget to join in the fun on twitter #cvreadalong. Also, join us Thursday at 6 pm PST on twitter for #k8chat to talk about read-alongs and all things Aether Chronicles.

Chapter Twenty-One

James and V take Noli back into the Otherworld in an attempt to save her life. Since they have business with Tiana to attend to--and want to hide Noli's presence from her--so they decide to put Noli inside a a tree to heal her. I'm not exactly sure where I got that idea (and I'm pretty sure it wasn't from twitter.) But in some ways it makes sense, after all, they're earth court. Also, that voice that talks to Noli...you haven't seen the last of her. 

The voice tells Noli the story of the artifact--exactly what it is, what it does, and why it probably shouldn't be reassembled. When I started writing this book I wasn't sure what the artifact was at first and as the story progressed I figured out that it was a staff (and even went back and added details in this book that seem superfluous right now, but will make sense in book three.)

Noli doesn't quite remember everything the voice tells her when V takes her out of the tree. V says my favorite line in the book as he tells Noli (finally) that she's a girl worth fighting for.

What was your favorite part of this chapter? The kiss? V figuring out how to get around Tiana and be with Noli? Something else?

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Twenty

We're nearing the end of the #cvreadalong. Join us at 6 pm PST on Thursday on twitter for #k8chat to talk about read-alongs, the book, and anything else you want to talk about.

Chapter Twenty

Kevighn returns briefly to his beloved cabin, and we discover who his sister had been in love with. (Did you see that one coming?)

Steven and James finally meet up with Noli, in Boston. However, Noli is so ill she's unconscious so V has to deal with big brother Jeff (And Vix, who hit him once and isn't afraid to hit him again.) 

The only cure V and James can think of is to take Noli back with them to the Otherworld, however they'll have to hide her presence from Queen Tiana....

What do you think happens next? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

#cv read-along -- Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen

Noli is still very sick with an illness caused by Brogan. Vix and Jeff take her to Boston, as planned. Partially because Jeff really has no idea what to do, other than bring her to their mother, who of course will know what to do, because she's a mom. (Jeff is an early 20-something guy after all.)

Vix is (obviously) very nervous about meeting Jeff's mother, given she's an air pirate and she's engaged to her only son.

When Noli arrives, ill, in Boston, Mrs. Braddock immediately steps in as the "household general" taking over Noli's care and scolding Jeff for missing the details.

Meanwhile James and V return Rahel to Dr. Heinz and receive their automaton. When they return to Mathias' place (yes, they walk into a bar with a robot) they discover that Noli is ill and race off to Boston...

Do you think they'll make it in time?

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen

In this chapter Brogan storms the Vixen's Revenge to get his artifacts, which leads in to a gun/magic fight. Brogan's forced off the ship but not before Brogan uses earth magic to make Noli (and the Sprite) ill.

Kevighn returns to the Thirsty Pooka to meet with Ciaran. Ciaran is Gaelic for "black" or "little dark one." The Thirsty Pooka, the dark king's pub, was actually something I created for book 1 and it never made it in. Actually, this entire scene is based scene from book 1 that was cut when it was decided to have Kevighn "go off into the hinterlands" and not return to the dark court immediately.

The idea behind the Thirsty Pooka was inspired by "The Poisen Apple" from an animated movie that I now cannot remember. (Shrek perhaps.) I thought that if the dark court is the opposite of the high court, than what better foil to the ornate palace than a (slightly) seedy pub, presided over by the dark king himself.

Would you go to the Thirsty Pooka? Which would you prefer, there or Mathias' Place? 

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen

James and V's story line once again brushes with Noli's but doesn't quite intersect. (Must. Torture. Characters.) The guys arrive at the Vixen's Revenge while Noli and Jeff are out (not that V and James know Noli is aboard.) Vix punches V in the face, then gives him Rahel. Hattie, who's taken a shine to James, helps them find a ship to take them back to New York so they can return Rahel to her father and get the automaton. Only when they're aboard the ship do they discover from little Rahel that Noli was on the ship, too.

There's a lot of cake consumed in book 2, though I think there's more cake consumed in book 3. Kevighn continues to lie to Noli, however, he does bring her money for the artifacts, since the crew was counting on Brogan's money. Noli goes back to the ship and confronts Vix and Jeff about doing business with Otherworld folk.

Jeff proposes to Vix and they decide to go to Boston for Thanksgiving, partially to get away from Brogan, who they know will be unhappy about not getting his stolen items. However, nothing is that easy...

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Sixteen

Welcome back. We're on to Chapter Sixteen! Come join in the convo at #cvreadalong

Chapter Sixteen

The Vixen's Revenge docks in San Francisco and Noli says goodbye to the little girls. She gives Rachel the redheaded doll that Jeff had won for her at the pier back in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Jeff is taking Noli with her on the "drop" as he goes to give the artifacts they've stolen to the buyer.

The dress Noli is wearing in this chapter (and she wears in other parts of the book) is based on this one.

They stopped selling it before CV released, which made me sad because I had wanted to buy it to wear for my launch party. 

Noli's bad-assery from the previous chapter stays with her. My favorite line in this chapter is "For your information, Jeffrey Cornelius Braddock, I don't 'have hysterics'. However, I do have a parasol and I know how to use it."   

When she realizes that Jeff and Vix are doing business with Brogan, V's nefarious uncle and current king of the earth court, she takes the artifacts and gives them to Kevighn and hits Jeff with the aforementioned parasol when he intervenes. Noli reveals what really happened when she went missing from Findlay House, complete with faeries and magic. 

Kevighn promises Noli that he'll dispose of the artifacts but he actually double crosses her and gives them to the dark king. Kevighn and Ciaran, the dark king, have a very long history. The dark king welcomes back the exiled Kevighn into the dark court, which he abandoned when he became huntsman after his sister's death. We also discover both the dark king and Brogan are separately trying to collect the pieces of the artifact, which is dangerous and powerful. 

Why do you think Noli still trusts Kevighn, after everything?  What about Noli's resolve to keep the artifacts out of Brogan's hands even if it means going against Vix's orders? 

See you tomorrow!

Monday, July 21, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Fifteen

It's time for Chapter Fifteen in the #cvreadalong. This is one of my favorites. What do you think? Tell me on twitter. #cvreadalong.

Chapter Fifteen

I love this chapter because Noli gets to have a bad-ass moment. With Hayden's Follies down the Vixen's Revenge is left to fend for itself when she's attacked by cannon ships. Noli and the sprite have to work together and use magic to deflect the cannon balls so they don't hit the ship. Since the sprite thinks it's boring, Noli makes it into a game, promising her points for blowing things up and describing it like Mintonette. 

For those of you wondering that Mintonette is, it was an early name for Volleyball. In the Otherworld it's played with no hands, only magic. 

Unfortunately, Vix sees magic in action. However, what we haven't known until now is that Vix and Jeff know about the Otherworld, and now they suspect Noli knows as well. 

Things also start to align regarding the artifacts the crew is stealing and who exactly they're working for. 

So....who do you think the artifacts are for? Ideas?   

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Fourteen

Welcome back to the Charmed Vengeance read-along. Don't forget to join us on twitter at #cvreadalong.

Chapter Fourteen

One think I like about the chapter is how V and James' story line and Noli's story line brush up against each other but don't quite intersect.

V and James are in pursuit of Rahel, Dr. Heinz's daughter so they can get their automaton. Meanwhile the ship they're chasing has been captured by the Vixen's Revenge and Rahel is with Noli.

When I created this world of airships and air pirates I wanted to make sure that there were women represented -- even though according to the laws of the mortal realm a woman can't fly any sort of conveyance alone. Vix skits this because Jeff is the pilot, and she's the captain. (Not that she probably cares, after all, she hoverboards, which is also illegal for women.) But what about women who just don't care? After all, being an air pirate is already illegal, why not break the law even more.

Enter Hittie and Hattie Hayden, proprietresses of Hayden's Follies. Hayden's Follies is a sparrow class schooner. A very small, very light ship that's really only good at one thing. Going fast. The sisters work closely with Vix, both in the women's equality movement and  the children's liberation front and in their primary occupation--flying decoy.

Decoys are bait. The decoys are hired to lure the air partly, or in this case the MoBatts, away so another ship can pass through safely. In this case The Vixen's Revenge needs to move those kids to San Fran fast, and that means flying the unfriendly skies of Deseret.

Hittie and Hattie take James and V aboard for the wild ride. I do love how the sisters deem V "useless", given he can't really do anything helpful aboard an airship. Things get worse when their ship is shot down in enemy territory. Not only can they not get caught (or they'll be taken prisoner) but James and V need to get Rahel before she's taken to the safe house and V and James have to use their magic to fix the ship, though they're attacked by more "helpers" for Queen Tianna.

Hittie and Hattie (also spelled Hitty and Hatty) were nicknames of the time, short for Henrietta and Harriet (though Hattie canbe used for both, Hittie can also be short for Esther or Mehitabel.)

One of my favorite lines in this chapter is "Good One, Captain Subtle," which James mutters when V uses a little too much magic.

What's your favorite Chapter 14 moment? Do you think James and V will meet up with Noli soon or do you think they'll be kept apart? 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter 13

Happy Weekend! We're past the halfway point on the #cvreadalong. Make sure you join in the convo on twitter! Feel free to ask all your Aether Chronicles series questions.

Chapter 13

In this chapter two story lines finally collide (and they do collide.) Kevighn Silver arrives aboard the Vixen's Revenge only to discover that Noli's not in Los Angeles, but aboard the ship. This is an uncomfortable moment for both of them since a) Kevighn is afraid Jeff might hurt him if he knows the truth b) it's difficult to explain anything without mentioning the Otherworld. 

I love how protective Winky and the crew get of Noli -- and how Vix knows instinctively that Kevighn is trouble, probably more than he's worth. Asa's name was originally Cage, and wasn't changed until very late in the game. In fact, the ARCs of book 3 still have Asa as Cage. 

The Vixen's Revenge also takes off after the human traffickers and gets in a gun battle, conquers the ship, then takes all of their cargo, including the little girls, which they'll take to a safehouse in San Francisco which will try to reunite the little girls with their families. 

One of my favorite moments in this chapter is how the sprite takes over -- but this time it's not to paint and decorate, but to take care of the little girls. The sprite takes charge doing tasks Nol would do, but find tedious, giving us a hint that the sprite is capable in her own right when she wants to be.

Another favorite moment of mine is when Kevighn wakes up Noli only to discover the sprite is in control -- and of course sly Kevighn's reaction to discovering that V has broken the stone in Noli's necklace. I do love Kevighn's determination. 

What's your favorite Chapter 13 moment?

See you tomorrow!

Friday, July 18, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Twelve

Welcome back to the #cvreadalong. We're about halfway through CHARMED VENGEANCE now. Don't forget to chime in on twitter, hashtag #cvreadlong.

Chapter Twelve

Remember when I mentioned the three storylines and how they'd cross? Well...in Chapter Twelve we catch up with Kevighn Silver, who's looking for a job. The Vixen's Revenge is looking for a crew member...

Just wait until Kevighn and Noli meet, though you'll have to wait for another chapter for that.

Meanwhile, the sprite has taken over, and is busy decorating the engine room with ribbons and painted flowers...in the middle of Noli's diagnostics and repairs. (I'm not actually sure where the idea for that came from.)  But it is an indicator of the Sprite's growing strength and how much focus and energy Noli has to have to keep the Sprite in check. After all, there's basically another person in her head, one with thoughts. feelings, and magic of her own.  

Even though Vix is Jeff's girlfriend, and even though he's first mate on the ship, we see how hard Jeff tries to protect his sister, and hide her oddities from the others, even though he has no idea what is actually happening.

Noli isn't human anymore, and she's earth court now, well, sort of. She's also on an airship, up in the air. This is why she does things like ask Jeff to buy her a plant or take her to the park. It's her new nature that seeks a connection with the earth.

I love the interaction between Jeff and Noli as they sneak into the garden and have a picnic--and their banter as they visit the museum.

The human trafficking theme starts to pick up here. As I mentioned earlier, this stemmed from a conversation on twitter. In the Victorian Era there weren't enough "joy-girls" (as Kevighn might say) to fill the demand so girls were abducted and brought to America to work in brothels.In 1910 a law was actually passed banning interstate transport of women for "immoral purposes." Unfortunately, human tracking is still a problem world-wide over a hundred years later.

For the purpose of the story I have air pirates helping with the abduction of women and girls, from not just elsewhere, but the United States as well. Vix and some of her air pirate friends, and some of the "women's equality movement" actively work against these particular air-pirates, since the law looks the other way. Who better to catch an air pirate than another air pirate?

Why do you suppose Jeff took Noli to the museum? Why did the symbols look familiar to Noli? 

Have a good weekend, and I hope you'll join us tomorrow for the next chapter!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Eleven

We're on Chapter Eleven of the #cvreadlong. Don't forget to join us on twitter and add in your thoughts, feelings, and questions.

Chapter Eleven

One thing about Steampunk, is that there's a lot of tech. It's an integral part of Steampunk. While we don't see much tech in the Otherworld, we do see it in the mortal realm. Also, Noli's on an airship, working as an engineer, and she's fixing an engine.

This means I need to know, at least a little bit, how my airships work, what the problem with the engines might be, and how she might fix them.

Thank goodness for the Internet. I had to do not just Internet research, but I also exchanged a lot of in-depth hypothetical emails and twitter convos with engineers and people who know how engines work. I do admit, the Vixen's Revenge suffers from "probably wouldn't actually fly" syndrome, but I hope I got some of the things right. (All mistakes are mine. I have a degree in politics, not science.)

Writers joke about the odd things they research for their books and how we're all on NSA watch lists. For this chapter, I had to research knife throwing, since Thad teaches Noli how to throw knives.

We also rejoin V and James who are now trudging through the snow in search of an automaton. Yes, Dr. Heinz is an homage to Phineas and Ferb. (You know they have a steampunk episode? It's pretty fun.)

James and V find the perfect item for their quest, but they have no money, so they agree to help Dr. Heinz get his daughter back in exchange for the automaton.

“I can’t believe you promised him we’d find his little girl. ‘Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I am done,’” he quoted. That’s what this felt like: a wild-goose chase.
“Ease up,” James shot back from the seat next to him. “And stop quoting Chaucer.”
“It’s Shakespeare, you heathen,” Steven corrected.

It's Shakespeare, you heathen, is one of my favorite quotes in the book. I think I need it on a t-shirt.  Don't you?

Do you have any favorite quotes?

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Ten

It's time once again for the #cvreadalong. Don't get discouraged if you fall behind, keep up the best you can. Also, don't forget to ask your Aether Chronicles questions, and add your chapter reactions on twitter with the hashtag #cvreadalong.

Chapter Ten

This is another chapter I love. It's a continuation of Chapter Nine as we follow V and James who have found themselves in NYC without any money or supplies. 

The idea of having to bring the fluffy kitten to the club as payment was a product of twitter-sourcing. I asked twitter what you'd bring a Fae owner of a burlesque hall as a gift when you needed him to do you a favor...and that was one of the answers. I liked the imagery of James waking down the street with a kitten in his coat. 

Writing the burlesque hall, Mathias' Place, was also fun. This idea came about in the same cab ride as stranding V and James naked, and those two writers helped me with a little of what the club might look like, pulling from history and what places like that might be lie at the time. I also asked twitter, but when I asked "what would a steampunk burlesque hall look like" all I really got were tweets like "I don't know, but I want to go to one." So, I used my imagination to create what I think a place like that, run by one of the fae, might look like. Classy, but a place where V would be uncomfortable. 

We do see a lot of V being V on this adventure. He really is a fussy old bodger sometimes, isn't he?

James shrugged, tucking the kitten back into the coat and taking a drink. "You know what your problem is? You worry too much."
James' problem was that he didn't often worry at all.

I always like this exchange between the brothers, which highlights some of their differences.

My question about steampunk burlesque halls may not have brought forth many helpful suggestions, but did spurn a really interesting conversation on what it might be for the girls working at such a place, in a historical context. I make a point of saying that Mathias' girls want to be there and are paid, because of the historical human trafficking issues of the era (not that there aren't human trafficking issues in this era, either.) But more on that theme later. 

We also meet Mathias, who's quite the interesting character. He's acquainted with Quinn, V and James' tutor and is quite willing to help of James and V. I can tell you, we haven't see the last of Mathias or his club. 

What do you think of Mathias' Place? Where do you think V and James' adventure will go from here?

See you tomorrow! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

#cvreadalong -- Chapter Nine

Welcome back to the #cvreadalong.

Chapter Nine

Yesterday I talked a little about character torture. Chapters nine and ten are among my favorite chapters because I get to torture James and V, and a little less subtly than what happened to Noli in Chapter 8.

The idea for leaving James and V stranded naked, on top a building in NYC, came about in a conversation I had when I was in a cab with two other writers. They both live in NYC so they were happy to suggest buildings and all sorts of other tidbits. The building James and V are in is based on the Flatiron building. Did anyone guess that?

Also, I wanted to do something that would delay the quest and be quite inconvenient but not actually hurt them (since that would break the rules of questing.) Couldn't you imagine what sort of pranks people could devise to delay or lead astray questers that didn't actually break the rules?

In addition to misadventures and sibling dynamics, we get a little hint as to James' adventures during INNOCENT DARKNESS when he disappears to find Jeff and Charlotte. (Yes, I know you want this story. I am hoping to make this a reality. I really am trying.)

So, what pranks would you play on questers? 

See you tomorrow!