Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year -- Ushering In A Year of Friends, Fellow Authors, & Magic Systems

Happy New Year from the summer side of the world :)

Why, hello, 2021. I suspect I'm not the only person who is feeling cautiously pleased to see you, right about now. I'm quite sure I'm not alone in hoping for better times to come although that is probably true of every year, rather than just the past Year of Covid.

Yet much as the virus has dominated our lives, we have all soldiered on. Here on Supernatural Underground, that means we've kept writing books, and sharing and talking about books, and generally spinning our tales. In short, we've kept having some fun. We also hope we've managed to keep the Supernatural Underground a place where you can come and have some fun as well. 

Yep, that's us! ;-)
here at
Supernatural Underground HQ we're pretty sure there's more fun to come for 2021! J

Last year, I focused my 1st of the month slot on Worldbuilding in Fantasy, because as opined in my wrap up post last month, "I believe worldbuilding lies at the heart of what makes the genre distinctive from other styles of literature." 

When it comes to Fantasy lit., worldbuilding's twin sibling has to be magic systems – because if there's one must-have element for any good Fantasy, it has to be magic, right? Right! From magic realism to the highest of high epic fantasy, the magic – and by extension the magic system is the leaven in the mix.

Magic in the mix...
By magic "system, I mean the internal logic and coherence, from principles to laws, that convey "conviction" and so make the magic in a particular fantasy world and tale "work" for readers, allowing them to suspend disbelief and become immersed in the tale being told however fantastic its elements. No surprises, then, what I plan on featuring in 2021...

This year, though, I've decided to mix things up, just a tad, on 2019 (the Year of Romance) and 2020 (the Year of Worldbuilding.) In 2021, I won't just be talking about the magic systems that have wowed me, spinning my fantasy-reading wheels. Wherever possible, I hope to combine the focus on magic systems with an even more longstanding tradition of having fun with friends and fellow authors, by enjoying a blog conversation on the magic systems in their books. (Otherwise known as a good old Q&A. ;-) )

I'm already pretty excited by the prospect, especially as the very first author I'll be e-chatting with is AK Wilder on 5 January – release day for Crown of Bones, the first book in her brand-new Amassia series! And yes, we shall most definitely be talking of the magic that imbues the Crown of Bones world. Roll on January 5!

Oh, yes, that's right, almost forgot: Happy New Year!


Helen Lowe's first  novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. The second,The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012, and the sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood (Book Three), was published in 2016 and Helen is currently completing the final novel in the series. She posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Books, Tea and Magic

Re-posted from A Pilgrim in Narnia  - Brenton Dickieson

According to legend, tea was discovered by Emperor Shen Nong quite by accident. While boiling water in the garden, a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot, and the rest is history. Since then, tea has appeared in literature throughout the ages.

It even shows up in genre fiction, a cultural appropriation from Great Britan who borrowed it first from China. Just think of authors like Lewis Carrol and his mad tea party, Jane Austin and the Bronte Sisters, CS Lewis, Tolkien... Kim Wilson writes about it in depth in her book, Tea with Jane Austen:

DC's Harley Quinn takes a cup of tea, no doubt right before kicking arse and taking names! Giffy from The Suicide Squad.

Tea in the Austen novels:

At the center of almost every social situation in (Austen's) novels one finds—tea. In “Emma,” does Miss Bates drink coffee? Of course not: “No coffee, I thank you, for me—never take coffee—a little tea if you please.” In “Sense and Sensibility,” what is everyone drinking when Elinor notices Edward’s mysterious ring set with a lock of hair? Tea, of course. And in “Pride and Prejudice,” what is one of the supreme honors Mr. Collins can envision Lady Catherine bestowing on Elizabeth Bennet and her friends? Why, drinking tea with her, naturally...

From Winnie the Pooh to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings to Queen of the Damned, the ritual of tea, or perhaps it's potentially magical and even lethal qualities, finds its way into the pages. 

And I've done it myself! In the world of Amassia, we meet the young green-robe savant who raises a warrior phantom, a sun leopard to be exact, and also loves Ochee Tea. What's the attraction? Why not find out for yourself?

My cats are a great help when organizing giveaways in the past!

As part of a giveaway swag for pre-orders of Crown of Bones, Entangled Teen and I are giving away packets of Ochee tea and other cool things. This is the real deal, made by Revenscraft Tea and Magic in Australia, to my specifications. Straight from the pages of the book!

     “I have camping and cooking gear.” Belair shrugs.
 “And some food. But most importantly, I brought a full bag of Ochee.”
     I stare at him blankly. “What’s that?”
     “Tangeen spiced tea, of course.” He rubs his chin.  “Don’t say 
you’ve never tasted it.” 
Pre-order Crown of Bones before the release date, Jan 5, 2021, and we'll send you cool swag!

This offer is for the hardback copy only and sent worldwide, for free.

Go here for details on how to pre-order and request your goodies!

Meanwhile, happy solstice, holiday season and New Year! See you on the other side!


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About Kim Falconer, Currently Writing As AK Wilder:

Kim Falconer, currently writing as A K Wilder, can be found on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Or pop over to throw the bones or Raise Your Phantom on the site.