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Friday, March 21, 2014


I ONCE READ THAT EVERY GOOD FANTASY should have one kind of magical system to it, where the magic operates according to certain principles in much the same way that physics define and determine what happens in our world. Maybe this is why I love reading fantasy so much. The magic elevates what we would consider to be normal every day occurrences, yet it has its own rules and limitations. It’s in those rules and limitations that a great story can be built.

My magical system in The Tattooed Witch (in fact, in the entire trilogy) is based on what some claim is already possible in our world – psychic ability. My characters display far-seeing, precognition, mediumship, channeling, prophecy, telepathy, and different types of divination. All of these have been described by New Age writers as variations of the different clairs – clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, and so on. In my books, I take these ideas and run with them: all of these gifts can be stimulated or augmented through tattoos.

In Witch, Miriam, my protagonist, is a born clairsentient or empath. She knows how people are feeling through touch and to a lesser extent, what they are thinking. In our world, we might refer to this as sensing ‘vibes’. Through a tattoo designed to bring back the dead, Miriam becomes a channel for Alonso, the high priest who's been murdered by the Grand Inquisitor. As a sentidora (the closest Spanish word I could find for clairsentient) Miriam must protect herself against bombardment. As a medium, she and Alonso need to establish boundaries, so she isn't overwhelmed.

Anassa, my elderly Diaphani matriarch is a talented seer. Seership is a type of clairvoyance. Anassa practices far-sight or remote viewing in order to watch over her Tribe. Her main limitation is that she can’t be watching everyone, everywhere at once.

Joachín, one of Miriam’s love interests, is a Dreamer. He dreams of both the present and future, and not necessarily his own. This kind of dreaming is a mix of clairvoyance and prophecy. The future is never completely set, it is malleable. Joachín sees only potentials.

Rana, one of Miriam’s rivals, is a Speaker. In Witch, speaking is a form of clairaudience, a type of channeling through spiritual voices. Rana goes into trances and hears her Diaphani Ancestors speak to her. They send the Tribe warnings, but usually with little time to prepare. In Witch, Speaking is seen as a lesser talent than Seership.

Ximen is one of my most interesting secondary characters. He’s an old man, a living repository of the Tribe’s history. He has an intimate understanding of every member who has ever been Diaphani and what their lives have been. As a Rememberer, he’s sees the past - the moment it passes from the present to beyond. This would be a type of claircognizance, or clear-knowing. The drawback is Ximen must keep all this knowledge compartmentalized, or he'd go mad. He retrieves information only when necessary.

There are other, stranger types of clairs – clairaliance (clear smelling) and clairgustance (clear tasting). As I understand it, these rarer types are associated with spiritual presences, both blessed or malign. I haven't yet used these ideas in any of the books in the trilogy, but who knows? I’m still working on The Tattooed Rose. I suspect it will be a longer book than the first two.

For those of you who have already read The Tattooed Witch, thank you for your support. I very much appreciate it. With so many books to choose from, it's easy for any book to become lost in the millions that are out there. The Tattooed Seer is currently with my editor at Five Rivers Publishing. Lorina tells me she hopes to have Seer available this August. If we can't meet that date, the book will be launched in October. 

If you haven't read The Tattooed Witch and are interested in giving it a look, you can access the first two chapters by clicking on the cover in the top-right banner.

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