AMA (Ask Me Anything) 6:00-9:00pm MT

Hey guys!

I’ll be here this evening after the weekly chapter to answer your questions about anything and everything. You can ask me about any of my books and/or my writing, but also stuff like stories about my cat, my personal backstory, or my favorite food.

Or you can ask me the answer to the universe.

One question at a time, please. If you post an entire list of questions I’ll pick the first one and then move on to the next person. I can only type so fast, and I want everyone to have a chance to get a question answered.

If your question requires spoilers to answer, depending on the severity of the spoiler, I might be vague and give some adjacent information, or I might simply state straight out that I can’t talk about the topic.

With that in mind, ask me anything.

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To kick things off as I intend to go on, a very niche nerdy worldbuilding question. On the wider scale, how integrated is magic into the basic infrastructure of civilization? We’ve mainly seen the capital, which is naturally going to lean a lot more towards the high end. I’m mostly thinking in terms of things like farming, smithing, quarrying, ect. The basic actions of how things get done. Is magic applied for growing food faster, or is that reserved for certain intensive crops or just extremely luxurious ones? Does industry run on coal or beast cores?

Mostly asking this becuase I’ve got a few various ideas for fanfiction distinctly set apart from the sort of circles our Queen moves in, so a more accurate feel for where on the classic fantasy-magipunk spectrum we land would help it fit better.

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Alex asked:

  1. What are the approximate thaum requirements for the various “levels” of thaumaturges? I think we were told that Apprentices need at least 250, and one could consider applying for Archmage status somewhere above 10,000, but what about Journeyman, Master, Grandmaster?
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Just for a shorter, lighter question early on:

Were Anders/Bear inspired by Arven/Mabosstiff from Pokemon Scarlet/Violet?

That’s what I kept picturing once Bear showed up on screen and I love both of those dudes and their dogs so much.

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Thanks for starting us off, Bish09!

So magic runs through much of society in small ways–the ways that are harder to track down and fine or jail people for not having a license to use. Kitchen magic, hedge-witchery, and rituals to keep cows in milk and pests out of the field.

There’s at least one person who’s got some skill in magic in every village, and a lot of people have one or three little tricks.

However, knowledge is jealously guarded and the law does enforce the rules about who can legally practice. (Of course, they don’t apply that law even-handedly, but that’s another topic.)

As far as industry goes, I’ve set this story in a broad range between around 1900 and 1905, as far as knowledge goes. But just because some scientist, researcher, or noble out there has discovered some working of the universe, or created some artifact that is the equivalent to the same technology in our time, that doesn’t mean that the average person has access to it.

The problem with this world it that because of the societal structure of knowledge being passed from master to apprentice, and access to magical schooling on a wider scale being limited, and artifacts and other magical technologies being difficult or impossible to produce in bulk, they are expensive and we don’t have wide-spread adoption.

Most artifacts and amenities that the common household might get ahold of have been produced in a pseudo sweatshop by Apprentice level thaumaturges who can only legally work under the banner of a Master.

They have trouble growing their power or expertise because of the diminishing returns from repeating the same kind of magic over and over, without stress or innovation.

Osham has started to move toward what we would consider a modern day Industrial Revolution before the rest of the known lands, but they’re still slower to adapt than we, without magic, were and are.

Coal still is largely used for heating, not engines.

Magic is reserved for industry that has a high enough return on investment to make the cost worth it. Which is generally magical production of some sort.

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How “powerful” is lenore relative to the wider world?

If spoilers Q: How do foreign visiting thaumaturges deal with the restrictions against magic?

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Stef, on behalf of Alex:

I have a whole formula for determining capacity growth in detail, which I won’t share here. But I’ll give you some broad numbers from one of my many spreadsheets.

An Apprentice can’t graduate with less than 250 thaums.
A Journeyman, 450-500.
A Specialized Journeyman, 700,
A Master, 900-1000.
And you’ll probably never see a Grandmaster with less than 3000 thaums.

However, keep in mind that capacity continues to grow with proper stress and novelty. While a lot of people end up stagnating once they leave the University and have settled into their jobs, many continue to grow.

If you were to come across an old man who only had an Apprentice license, it’s a toss-up whether you should be extremely wary of someone who might have had decades upon decades to perfect their Will, (and simply not gotten certified at a higher level for some reason) or if that old man has done the same magic every day for his whole adult life and barely passed 2000 thaums.

Or, if he even casts magic every day at all. If he’s wealthy enough or lazy enough, he might just rely on artifacts and potions created by other people to handle everything that magic handles.

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Keid,

They were not! I have seen a few episodes of Pokemon in secret here and there, usually at my friends’ houses, but I was not allowed to watch that show growing up.

I grew up in a strict religious…situation, and my mother thought “Pokemon” was code for “Pocket Demon” and that it, along with pretty much all the other cool books, movies, and shows, would probably give me demons if I watched them.

And as an adult, I do what I want, but I never really got into Pokemon. I don’t even know who those names you mentioned are!

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Rebecca, RHBookish, asks: I’m relatively new to this community, having only discovered PGTS a few months ago, but now I’m obsessed. Asking as a fellow author: How did you start building such an amazing community around your work?

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v11,

First post, Welcome!

I’ll answer your first question, and then if no one else has posted one after, I’ll do the second, too.

Lenore is fairly powerful. They’re farther away from the danger at the edge of the known lands, in what you might call the “breadbasket.” This gives them relative safety and stability with which to amass control and resources. They certainly think themselves to be very powerful.

The Thaumaturgic University of Lenore does actually do quite a good job of pumping out powerful people, and as was seen during the Haze War, they were able to maintain basically a stalemate with Silva Erde’s coalition with several smaller countries.

However, Silva Erde is not known for being particularly militaristic, and much of their efforts are spent on their own borders, where the magical beasts hunt in much greater numbers. They have their own schools of learning, but they don’t rely as heavily on modern sorcery.

Osham is much more secretive of their military power, while at the same time bragging about their strength very openly and boldly. They take a very different track to maintaining control over their citizens than Lenore does.

We’ve got some lands to the East that have carved out their own space from the unknown lands, but they’re involved in a lot of infighting, historically, which leaves them powerful in some ways and weaker and others.

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Stef, on behalf of Rebecca/RHBookish:

Well thanks! Glad to have you. :slight_smile:

I’m actually not good at what I would consider “community building activities.” I don’t enjoy hanging out on social media, I feel awkward around large groups of people, etc.

Plus, I also don’t have enough free time to handle the kind of tasks that fall into that category along with everything else I do to write the books and run the business. But that’s why I hired the lovely Stefanie, who has strengths in the areas I lack and can help take some of the burden off my shoulders.

With her help, we’ve finally got the Alcove open, and I’m hoping for it to grow into something truly amazing, where like-minded people can come and talk about the stuff we all enjoy.

But back to your original question.

In many ways, this community just grew around me as I was writing and posting this story. Being consistent over a long period of time certainly helped to grow my following.

Having stuff available for cheap or free has also made a big difference, because it lowers the barrier to entry and means more people may try my stuff and have a chance to fall in love.

Also, you know, consistently advertising my books (paid advertising) draws more people in in the same way, and some of them stick around.

I try to be authentic and reasonable online, and I enjoy thoughtful discussion, so I’m likely to dip in and participate where and when I see it.

Really, I’m just lucky in many ways.

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Why would Sebastian think he needs hair dye when he has the color changing spell?
Will Sebastian/Siobahn have a love interest?

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No one waiting in line, so here’s your second question!

Foreign thaumaturges are supposed to get visas, in essence, and on that identity paperwork it will list their credentials and the equivalent “license” specifying what they are allowed to do.

There are also longer-term solutions for immigrants.

Lenore would, of course, be happy to poach already trained thaumaturges from other nations, and vice-versa. As long as they’re doing the paperwork, paying the fees and taxes, and otherwise obeying the laws.

For instance, someone from Silva Erde might have a much looser distinction of what constitutes “blood magic,” which could get them in trouble.

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First time, Welcome, Lorie!!

Hair dye is useful for when you have Will-strain, no Conduit, or a similar situation. It can also be used as a component in a color-changing spell.

I think we can both imagine a scenario where Sebastien didn’t have hair dye in one of her emergency bags and then really wished she did.

It’s good to have backups and multi-purpose items if you’re trying to make sure you’re prepared.

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Do you have a favourite spell? and if you have, what is it?

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No one in line so I’ll answer your second question now.

I don’t have any concrete plans for any particular love interest, or even a love interest in general. But it could happen, if it develops naturally.

I think there are several people who it’s plausible that S could get into a relationship with, but it’s equally plausible that she remains married to her magic, so to speak.

My biggest pet peeve is forced romantic relationships in fiction, where it feels like a romantic sub-plot was inserted just because it’s an industry obligation to hit all the demographics, and not because the characters have real chemistry.

And also, I think that true, lasting, non-romantic relationships between people who are attracted to the gender of their friend are possible. I’d love to see more of that in fiction.

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I couldn’t agree more!! Love this perspective.

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Another question here from @JKlarinet about Siobhan’s Grandfather. How was her Grandfather connected to the Blood Emperor, or those in his regime?

Griffus, first time, Welcome!!

This is an impossible one to really answer! There are so many cool spells.

I am particularly partial to the two spells that thematically kind of hint at S’s dual nature. The shadow-familiar, and the light-refinement. Their versatility and potential for improvement/growth make them so fascinating and fun to play with.

But mirrored healing/molding is also so cool, and what about that proprioception-modified philtre of darkness? I also have a lot of fun when S uses some mundane magic in a clever way.

And finally, I have some ideas for upcoming magic that has really blown my own mental socks off, but I won’t get into that.

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Spoilers.

If JKlarinet has any other questions, pop them my way.