Deryni Lammas, observing the Sabbat in Kurtz’s world.
Celebrating Deryni Lammas
Happy Lammas! Happy Lughnasadh! The first harvest yields wheat and other early crops. Summer comes to a close by the First of August. Farmers focus on getting in the crops and putting them up for the winter. The heat hasn’t completely broken, even in the Northern Europe of Kurtz’s world, but seeing the products of the hard work of spring and summer ready to be collected is exciting.
Ritual for Deryni Lammas
While modern Wiccans and other pagans recognize the first harvest as one of the Sabbats, modern Christians seem to have forgotten much of the Wheel of the Year. The Catholic liturgical calendar recognizes Alphonsus Ligouri on 1-August. Ligouri, the founder of the Redemptorists, was a bishop and academic. Maybe he got out in the fields for the harvest, but it’s not high up on his resume.
Kurtz’s Christians were closer to the land. They understood the harvest, even the nobles in the story, “Healer’s Song.”
The story tells the tale of the naming and christening of Tieg Joram Thuryn, third child of Rhys Thuryn and Evaine MacRorie Thuryn. They’re joined by Evan’s brother, Father Joram MacRorie, priest and knight of St. Michael, and Jebediah d’Alcara, Grand Master of the Order of St. Michael, For all Jeb wasn’t a farmer, he knew to go to St. Neot’s Abbey and get some fresh-baked bread, to mark Lammas.
If you’ve been to a Catholic christening, you know the basics of the ceremony. Usually held after Mass, everyone gathers around the church’s baptismal font. These nobles gather in a ritual chamber in Rhys and Evaine’s manor home. Being Deryni, the Christian comes together with the magickal. The room is warded, and Jeb “calls the quarters” using an older form he learned from his father. Here’s the first of the four quarter calls:
All Honor to St. Raphael, Physician-Healer, Lord of Wind and Tempest, Prince of Air, Thou Eastern Warder! Here stand thy servants, Rhys and Evaine, to dedicate their son, a Healer-born!
The others continue the Call, following Jeb’s lead. It’s a joyous way to invite the Archangels into the ritual. While this ritual follows a Christian framework, it’s wouldn’t be hard to adapt it to a Wiccan/Pagan working. My first instinct is to convert some or all of the four Archangels to feminine forms, maybe Raphaella and Michaela?
So, the story is about Deryni Healers and bringing a new generation of magick-workers into a tense world. That Kurtz chose Lammas for the setting works. It’s a positive, happy time of year.
Strong Women are important to the Talents Universe
While the primary characters of Hidden Talents are Renard Alciatore and Michael O’Donnell, the story features several strong women. Ren’s interactions with women are important. I didn’t want the story to be a bromance. Consider two of the women in the story.
Janet Julianne Garrison is Ren’s best friend, and will defend him to the death if necessary. But JJ doesn’t have Talents, so she’s no match for Anita Delatorre. JJ is still important to the story and will always be to Ren. JJ is a bit older than Ren, and her family moved in different New Orleans circles than the Alciatores. Like most folks in the city, the families intersect at points. The “six degrees of separation” game rarely goes past two in New Orleans.
I’d love to hear from readers about the Ren-JJ dynamic, particularly as it continues in Trusted Talents
The “ambitious woman” in a man’s world! Such a trope. Thing is, in the world of Christian publishing isn’t all that different from other industries that rely on a lot of personal contact for marketing. It’s no coincidence that pharmaceutical companies use women as direct-marketing representatives. Physicians are overwhelmingly male. Put the gal in heels and a well-tailored business suit, and she’s a welcome sight to the overworked doctor.
It’s the same thing for publishing. The dynamics of marketing to booksellers has changed radically, because of the Internet. Publishers need to come up with more ideas for getting their authors in front of the public. While there are a still a number of brick-and-mortar stores that sell Christian fiction and non-fiction, the attractive, well-dressed, professional young woman has a limited reach.
Christian Publishing is a challenge
Christian authors know their path to success lies in “church tours” rather than traditional “book tours.” When a Christian author goes on the road, it looks more like a band on tour than a typical author. It’s all about the advance person. A woman with a charming personality who is, as they say, “easy on the eyes” works wonders in this world. If that woman has Talents, well, that makes things even easier.
Marcus-Kayson Publishing, located in the DFW Metroplex, knows how this works. Even though the average M-K employee isn’t aware of it, the company also knows how to use the Talents.
To be continued!
Trusted Talents by Edward J Branley
The cover of Trusted Talents features three women. That speaks volumes for this trend continuing!
Anita Delatorre is a junior executive for a publishing company specializing in Christian books and homeschooling materials. Anita’s assignment is to be her company’s liaison with a New Orleans-based radio preacher, whose books the company publishes. A group seeking to discredit their client is all too successful, and Anita must take steps to stop them, using any means at her disposal. And Anita’s means are formidable: She is a sorceress, whose psychic Talents extend well beyond those of most mortals.
Renard Alciatore is a thirty-four-year old photographer who enjoys using his computer skills to mock Anita’s client, the Reverend Jay Hadley. As Ren begins to receive information of financial and sexual improprieties from inside Jay Hadley Ministries, his life is threatened, and, in the process his own Talents are revealed. He is placed under the Protection of a shadowy organization known as The Assembly as he learns to use his Talents, to improve his photography, help others when he can, and defend his own life, when Challenged.
What were once Hidden Talents emerge in the hot New Orleans summer. Only one will walk away when the duel is joined!
Available in paperback ($13.99), hardcover, and Kindle.
Someone’s stealing magickal artifacts – in the middle of Mardi Gras!
The priests of the Ordo Archangelli keep their tools hidden until needed. New Orleans has kept some of their secrets well, until now. Daniel McCain is a Dark Adept of the same group that tried to kill Ren Alciatore at Samhain. Now, McCain comes close to acquiring a powerful set of tools. When all are in his possession, challenging and defeating him will cost lives.
And there’s no better time to hide these thefts than Carnival! The Ordo don’t know where the theives’ next target is. Ren wants to enlist the help of one of McCain’s cousins, Brooks Stirling Sumner, to learn more about the artifacts.
Renard Alciatore’s Talents are no longer hidden. Will the shadowy group known as the Assembly trust him? With the guidance of a Coven of Witches and knowledge from his new friend, Ren and The Assembly must protect their city from those who want to win at all costs. Bullets and magick are a strong combination to defeat!
Wednesday, 15-August, is the official drop date for my latest novel, “Trusted Talents“. Here’s the back-cover blurb:
Someone’s stealing magickal artifacts – in the middle of Mardi Gras The priests of the Ordo Archangelli keep their tools hidden until needed. New Orleans has kept some of their secrets well, until now. Daniel McCain is a Dark Adept of the same group that tried to kill Ren Alciatore at Samhain.
Now, McCain comes close to acquiring a powerful set of tools. When all are in his possession, challenging and defeating him will cost lives. And there’s no better time to hide these thefts than Carnival The Ordo don’t know where the theives’ next target is. Ren wants to enlist the help of one of McCain’s cousins, Brooks Stirling Sumner, to learn more about the artifacts.
Renard Alciatore’s Talents are no longer hidden. Will the shadowy group known as the Assembly trust him? With the guidance of a Coven of Witches and knowledge from his new friend, Ren and The Assembly must protect their city from those who want to win at all costs. Bullets and magick are a strong combination to defeat.
Trusted Talents picks up where my first contemporary sword-and-sorcery novel, Hidden Talents, leaves off. If you like magick, magickal duels, ritual, and extrasensory “Talents”, you’ll enjoy these two books.
Continuing the story of Renard Alciatore and his mentor, Fr. Michael O’Donnell, is so much fun. I’m always playing with little short scenes. I post those to my Facebook Author Page, as well as the Bayou Talents Book Group. Trusted Talents features three women on the cover, because this book is all about strong New Orleans women!
Trusted Talents is avaolable for pre-order at all the usual suspects!
The lack of plus-size models is one of the problems with posting Fantasy Art. There’s a distinct lack of variety in body types of the women depicted. We can talk about the preposterous costumes and such that some artists love to put sword-and-sorcery, or science fiction women characters in at another time. What you really don’t see are women who are size 16+ in this genre of art. The quote/meme above is a great example. The quote, scene, and woman are all inspiring and lovely, but the woman is your basic fitness-model build.
Plus-Size models: A Challenge
Here’s what I have in mind. If you come across any plus-size fantasy models let’s see them! Post pics here in comments, or on Facebook. If it’s copyrighted work, post a link to the artist’s website. If there are artists drawing bigger women on a regular basis as witches, faeries, angels, superheros, or any other SF/F characters, let’s recognize them, and I’ll feature them here, and on my author page on Facebook.
Fantasy Art should be inclusive
Now that I’m thinking about it, this may turn into a multi-part exercise. Women of color are also under-represented in fantasy art. I remember, a couple of months ago, someone shared an illustration of two dark-skinned women in a medieval fantasy setting. There were comments about how this was unacceptable, since dark-skinned women didn’t fit in a Northern European medieval setting. These comments ignored the fact that the image was fanatsy–the artist has license to do/draw whomever they choose. Naturally, I started thinking, now, how did these black women get into this castle? Teleport? Smuggled in by merchants? Disguised as Moorish warriors? OK, I digress, you get the idea. We’ll start with plus-sized women, and go from there.
Again, post submissions as comments here on Eloquent Profanity, or on Edward Branley’s Author Page. Let’s have some fun and learn something as we go.
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