“Passage, Performance, Passion,” out now in the Like a Spell 2 — Fire — anthology, is my third story set in the same urban/contemporary fantasy world. It’s been a lot of fun building a world where the species and rules are consistent, even though each story stands on its own.
A note on terminology: People are more familiar with the term “urban fantasy”, but my stories aren’t focused on a particular city so technically they don’t fit into that sub-genre. Contemporary fantasy, as they are fantasy stories in the contemporary world, is more accurate.
I digress. On the occasion of the third story published in this world, I thought I’d share a little bit about the history of the world’s creation, what ties the stories together, and some ideas for the future.
In 2012, I started drafting a contemporary fantasy novel about three brothers who mysteriously had Fay magical abilities. I adapted the old idea of the Changeling to populate the world with some magical, immortal beings who were exiled from Fay society to live in “our” world, but who had some of the knowledge that could help the brothers learn about their abilities. I also decided there would be varied populations of shifters — not just werewolves but werefoxes, weretigers and many other were-animals.
The first concept for this novel had three intertwining storylines and I decided I wasn’t a good enough writer to tackle it at that time. Instead, I’d use the short story format to build out the rules and feel of the world with different characters. Werewolves, along with vampires, have been used as stand-ins for isolated individuals and populations for a long time; I continued with that theme in “Mirrors, the Moon and the Boy,” published in 2013 by Storm Moon Press in Forgotten Menagerie. Eber isn’t a werewolf, though, and the reveal of his unusual animal form ties into the history of his family and his lack of connection.
That first story showed a shifter character in isolation. The next step was to show a shifter community. There is some of that in “Drink to Seal the Bond” in the Coffee: Hot anthology, framed around a magical coffee ritual enacted by a clan of werecivets. I also introduced my first Changeling character; while isolated from her Fay background, she finds companionship and community with theshifter clan (and one shifter in particular).
That story also introduces, albeit clumsily, the three principles that power Fay magic: Otherness — the ability to manipulate the multiverse; Insight — the ability to see the short-term most likely future; Dream — the ability to see the archetypes that make up the Pattern of existence.
I had shifters, in isolation and in community. I had a Changeling, isolated but finding solace in a shifter community. What about Changeling community? In “Passage, Performance, Passion,” the main erotic relationship is between the Changeling Raavi and the human Jonah, but Raavi’s relationship with his Changeling neighbors is also important. We see his connections with his community, and also learn more about how Changelings keep their long-term existence (mostly) a secret to the mortals around them.
So what’s next for this world? I have some snippets jotted down. If completed, one would be a prequel to “Passage, Performance, Passion” that would be equally sexy; another would follow the further adventures of Lou and Anna from “Drink to Seal the Bond.” A third is a twist on Sleeping Beauty featuring two of the original brothers. I still have some handwritten bits of the novel manuscript to type in, and that might spawn further ideas.
What sounds good to you, readers? What do you like to see in an urban/contemporary fantasy world?
Fire photo credit: fire by christoph-schulze. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.