Predatory Power (Terrestrial Magic Book 3) is Out!

The technology of Rome and the magic of the neighboring legends–working together to uncover the mysteries of basilisks and strixes.

Tired of standing alone against magical attacks, Jordan and her allies finally get a research alliance off the ground, combining science and magic to understand the world they live in after the Boom–the cataclysm that brought dangerous legendary animals into everyone’s lives. Jordan believes it’s exactly what’s needed for human and legend communities alike to survive. But there are dissenting opinions, some of them from powerful enemies.

The research collective barely has a chance to start before an attack sends its members reeling. With the alliance in danger of fragmenting, can Jordan discover who attacked them and hold the collective together? And if this alliance can break apart so easily–is it even worth saving?

Predatory Power is available from all major retailers here.

How My Biological Background Informed My Urban Fantasy World

A quote that reads "Science is a 
self-correcting process of discovery, 
not a collection of facts."

‘Write what you know’ was in the forefront of my mind as I brainstormed the worldbuilding for the book that would become Terrestrial Magic.

But as an undergrad in a molecular biology program some ten years ago (now a PhD graduate), I’d puzzled over how to use my scientific background to inform the genre I wanted to write: urban fantasy. I wanted an aspect of adventure in the forefront, rather than setting a large part of the story in a lab . Which left me thinking of ways to incorporate some kind of field work. Legendary creatures were a natural worldbuilding element to incorporate, one that allowed me to crosslink biology with fantasy by having my protagonist use science to study magical animals.

That left me with the decision for how science would inform the details of the story. A lot of the inaccuracies I see in the portrayal of science in the media stem from a misunderstanding of the basics. Science is a self-correcting process of discovery, not a collection of facts.

A quote that reads "The heart of this series 
is about assumptions 
getting tested, 
about finding out more than 
we knew before."

This made me want to focus on portraying the generalities of science. Research as an exploration of the unknown. The way that scientists might think through their problems. How logical and detail-oriented thoughts might come through in the narration.

The scientific process is also slower than people usually assume–although 2020 might have changed some of those expectations. As such, in the beginning of the series, I mix the science happening in the background with plot problems that can move more quickly. The characters need time to advance their research, and maybe a plan to harness magic to expedite the process, before they can discover any answers to the series’ biggest questions.

The heart of this series is about assumptions getting tested, about finding out more than we knew before. Every aspect of the story is informed by the role that discovery plays in it. And that’s all because of how much the scientific process was on my mind as I was building this world.

Terrestrial Magic and Natural Sorcery are part of the Jordan Sanders urban fantasy/post-apocalyptic series.

The covers of two books--Terrestrial Magic and Natural Sorcery.

Pre-Publication Urban Fantasy Web Serials I’m Currently Following

I’m following along with the publication of two web serials by veteran urban fantasy authors, and I thought I’d share while they’re running:

Cursed Luck by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has dozens of books across the fantasy and mystery/thriller genres, including a long history of urban fantasy. In Cursed Luck, she introduces us to a new setting, featuring the curse weaver Kennedy–who runs her own antiques shop in Boston, as she tries to ply the family trade on her own.

Kennedy’s minding her own business, until a whole slew of supernaturals turn up hunting an infamous cursed item–and turn to Kennedy’s family to uncurse it. By abducting her sisters. (Obviously, she’d not letting that stand.)

I’ve been enjoying how the protagonist draws lines for what she won’t tolerate. I’m not fully caught up–I tend to like getting a bit of a backlog so I can read several parts of these kinds of series in one go–but what I’ve read so far has been a fun story.

Ryder by Ilona Andrews (I think the title is temporary?)

This story is set in the same universe as the authors’ Kate Daniels series, following one of the side characters after she’d had time to grow up. In a post-apocalyptic Atlanta with alternating waves of magic and tech, Ryder’s returning home after a long absence.

She can’t actually contact most of her family for world-building reasons and she looks completely different, which leads to an interesting dynamic–she’s back in the city where she grew up, she’s meeting a lot of people that she knows already, but all of them think they’re strangers. That’s an intriguing dynamic to watch unfold.

The story has only started kicking off with her getting into her investigations, but it’s promising, and I’m really enjoying it so far. You might have to use the search bar to find all the parts, but they’re clearly labeled.

Free Digital Copies of Terrestrial Magic and Natural Sorcery is Released

Natural Sorcery is now out.

I’ve also been thinking about what to make available for free during the current upheaval–unfortunately, I don’t have a huge back catalog to choose from. So I decided to give away digital ebook copies of Terrestrial Magic (first in the series for Natural Sorcery, not including the bonus content in the retail version) alongside the hundred other books available at the Pages and Potions Giveaway. This giveaway will be active until May 6th.

The almost-final draft of Terrestrial Magic is also available as a web series here. Note that the ebook version has been lightly edited from the original web serial.

Natural Sorcery: First Chapter Preview and Pre-Order

cropped-natural-sorcery_paperback-3.jpg

Pre-orders for Natural Sorcery are now up. The book will release on April 23rd as an ebook.

Chapter One

The sun beat down over expansive, even fields that stretched out towards a background of rocky hills. Farmlands were not my thing, so I couldn’t identify the various crops that were laid out in rows before me. Not that I had any business doing so, or even being here. I should have been out in the uncultivated wilds, conducting my research far away from where the food production happened—the legendary animals (called legimals) that I was interested in weren’t exactly a welcome sight here.

Instead, I found myself in the passenger seat of a pick-up as Tony parked it past a gated entrance, in front of a couple of small buildings. The oppressively hot air greeted me when I climbed out of the car, a layer of sweat appearing over my skin almost instantaneously.

Ah, the joys of Mediterranean summers. Continue reading “Natural Sorcery: First Chapter Preview and Pre-Order”

Natural Sorcery is Coming: Blurb Reveal

A woman with water supernaturally rising around her. The text reads "Rome was supposed to be safe...That was before the local legends started using their magic."

Rome was supposed to be safe–or at least safer than 90% of the planet. That was before the local legends started using their magic to destroy the food supply. 

Considered one of Rome’s experts on legends, mostly because she keeps surviving their assassination attempts, Jordan finds herself racing to find the culprits before they strike again. But legends wield powers that aren’t documented, understood, or predictable. And Jordan isn’t even a soldier. She’s just some scientist unlucky enough to stumble over the local political mess. 

The chances of getting murdered by magic beyond her comprehension is disconcertingly high. But if this unknown legend goes unchecked, Rome won’t survive the next few years…and Jordan doesn’t have it in her to walk away from that.

Cover Reveal for Natural Sorcery, Sequel to Terrestrial Magic

A woman surrounded by magically floating water, in front of a stone wall. Text reads "Natural Sorcery, Marina Ermakova."

Natural Sorcery, the next book in the Jordan Sanders series, will be up for pre-order soon, and here’s the first of the promotional materials I’ll be making available. Next will be the blurb. And once the pre-order goes live, I’ll post the first chapter as well.

Please note that publication of the print version will be indefinitely delayed–given current circumstances, I’m just not comfortable using the supply chains for that yet.

The ebook version will likely be out near the end of April. I’m putting it on sale for an undetermined amount of time, also because of current circumstances. The price will go up eventually.

More information to come soon.

Writing Updates 2019

The first half of 2019 went well with my fiction writing, while it ended up taking a backseat in the second half due to graduate thesis writing. Still, I’m almost done with the first draft for the sequel to Terrestrial Magic–half a chapter left to go. This is how my 2 current projects stand:

Terrestrial Magic 2: first draft ~98% complete

Chains Carried on Wings 2: first draft ~15% complete

This is slower than my target goals for the year, but I’m not too discouraged by it–writing a thesis is something of an anomaly.

First priority is Terrestrial Magic 2, and after that comes out I’ll switch over to trying to complete the second Chains Carried on Wings book.

I do have other projects in the works (which I started before deciding to do indie publishing), but I’ve committed to completing Chains Carried on Wings (which I’m currently thinking of as a trilogy) before publishing or working on any new series. Two series running at once is a good maximum at this point.

I don’t want to commit to any dates yet, but once I finish grad school, I’ll be trying to finish up Terrestrial Magic 2 as quickly as possible. My first drafts tend to be pretty clean these days, so I don’t expect many complications in the editing phase.

Other than that, I’ve got half a dozen short stories–a few set in the world of Terrestrial Magic–that I still don’t know what to do with, but will eventually make available somehow.

 

Happy 2020: Round-up for Innkeeper Series and Sagas of Sundry’s Dread

Happy New Year, everyone!

To start off 2020, two things to potentially check out:

Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews

The next installment of Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper series is currently running as a web series prior to its official release as per usual with this series. This is an urban fantasy/sci-fi about the Innkeeper Dina, who runs a magical inn that acts as a waystation and point of neutrality for aliens (some werewolf and vampire-like) from space.

I don’t know that I’d recommend this as a starting point for newcomers, though. The beginning very much feels like it builds on the action of the previous stories.

Sagas of Sundry: Dread

I’ve written about this show before (Sagas of Sundry: Dread, and the Chilling, Psychological Story of Five Friends Haunted by their Experiences)–but back then, the series was behind a paywall. Now, it’s migrated to YouTube.

Since the 6-part story is newly accessible, I thought it was worth pointing out again. Here’s a few excerpts of what I’d written about it before.

Genre: Mystery/supernatural/horror web series/RPG Continue reading “Happy 2020: Round-up for Innkeeper Series and Sagas of Sundry’s Dread”

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: Another Layer of Secrets Is Revealed, as Our Protagonists Recover from the Last Book’s Ordeal

A woman with a knife. The text reads "New York Times Bestselling Author Seanan McGuire, Night and Silence, An October Daye Novel"

If I needed any more evidence that grad school was driving me hard here it is: I didn’t even realize the latest October Daye novel had been out for a year. My ultimate auto-buy series, the one that’s reached a dozen novels now without my interest in the story dipping even a little.

Yeah, wasn’t expecting that. But now I’ve finally caught up with my favorite series…just in time for the next book to come out.

Centuries of Backstory Catching Up with Our Protagonists

The protagonist of these novels is Toby Daye, a part-fae detective whose heritage is so convoluted even she’s still figuring it all out. Daughter of a powerful but absent blood worker and a human man, Toby has had to carve a place for herself in a world that didn’t want her. She’s built her own circle of support, solved mysteries, been declared a hero of the realm…and made ridiculously powerful enemies. (Though to be fair, her greatest enemy had already been in place the moment she was born.) Continue reading “Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: Another Layer of Secrets Is Revealed, as Our Protagonists Recover from the Last Book’s Ordeal”