Jaye Wells is a USA Today-bestselling author of urban fantasy and speculative crime fiction. Raised by booksellers, she loved reading books from a very young age. That gateway drug eventually led to a full-blown writing addiction. When she’s not chasing the word dragon, she loves to travel, drink good bourbon, and do things that scare her so she can put them in her books. For more about Jaye’s books, please visit www.jayewells.com.

Bathtub Alchemy: Updating Established Magic Systems

by Jaye Wells

When I set out to write my new Prospero’s War series, I had a character-a cop named Kate Prospero — and I knew she busted people who used magic. What I didn’t know was what kind of magic.

The first thing I decided was that I didn’t want my characters to be able to just raise their finger or a wand and zap people. I wanted the magic to be more physical so it could be sold like narcotics in our world. That’s where the idea to make the magic center on potions came about.
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MIND MELD: Love In the Time of Apocalypse…

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Love In the midst of apocalypse…whether it be an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic scenario, or a dystopian one, such as in The Hunger Games, or just amidst things blowing up, etc, our need to find a partner to share the angst is still a strong one. So, we asked our panel…

Q: What are a few of your favorite fictional couples that fell in love in an extreme situation? Why do you think this type of story is so popular?

Here’s what they said…

Jaye Wells
Jaye Wells is a USA Today-bestselling author of urban fantasy and speculative crime fiction. Raised by booksellers, she loved reading books from a very young ago. That gateway drug eventually led to a full-blown writing addiction. When she’s not chasing the word dragon, she loves to travel, drink good bourbon and do things that scare her so she can put them in her books. Jaye lives in Texas with her husband and son. For more about her books, go to jayewells.com.

Love during the apocalypse is powerful because it is the ultimate act of hope. It’s such an optimistic emotion, isn’t it? When the world’s gone to hell, when you don’t know if you’ll live another hour or week or month or, God willing, years, it takes an enormous amount of courage to open your heart when the risk of it breaking is so great.

Dystopia and post-apocalypse fiction also explores the idea that love in all forms takes on more weight when society has fallen apart. Whether it’s romantic love or the love a mother has for her child or the circumstantial love strangers create from nothing simply through the act of going through hell together. Everything takes on more meaning when future isn’t guaranteed.

In my novella, MERIDIAN SIX, a woman who has only the memory of love–that of her mother, long dead–finds a new kind of family in a group of complete strangers. It’s a dysfunctional family to be sure, but it’s better than the early death of complete isolation in an unforgiving world.

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MIND MELD: Strong Women in SF/F

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

This one is for the ladies! In the past few years we’ve seen the rise of some pretty kick-ass (physical and otherwise) women in SF/F and Urban Fantasy, and I thought it might be fun for the ladies to weigh in on what they think of the evolution of women in fantasy, what “strong” means to them, and also include some examples of strong women in fiction that have caught their eye! I want the guys involved too, so please don’t be afraid to weigh in in the comments!

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: With the recent popularity of kick-ass ladies in fiction, especially in urban fantasy, how do you see the evolution of women in scifi/fantasy in general, and what are your thoughts on the future of women in fiction? Feel free to add some of your favorite strong women of fiction, past or present, to your answer!

Here’s what they said…

Linnea Sinclair

Linnea Sinclair is a former news reporter and retired private detective who yearns for more adventure than ‘Hold the presses!’ and stacks of case files can provide. The role of starship captain was her dream long before James T ever uttered “Beam me up!” Writing stories is her way of living that dream. When she’s not tinkering with a recalcitrant sublight drive, you can find her in southwest Florida (winters) or central Ohio (summers) living with her very patient husband, Robert Bernadino and their thoroughly spoiled cats!

I think that, to a great extent, SFF pioneered the stronger female character, so as far as the evolution of women in SFF, we’re to some extent “there” already. That “there” has now flowed over into other genres, like mystery, romance, and the cross-genres such as urban fantasy, SFR, etc.. But does this mirror changes in society or is society mimicking its favorite reads? I’m not qualified to answer that. I know there’ve been articles done on the influence of Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura on female fans’ decision to pursue the sciences. Wikipedia and Helium are two of many sites that reference the character’s impact on Dr Mae Jemison’s career. And I’ve received many emails from fans citing one of my female characters as “role models” for their own lives; one fan told me how she deliberately channeled Captain Chasidah Bergren (GABRIEL’S GHOST, SHADES OF DARK) in order to take control of a particularly difficult corporate meeting.

What I do hope to see is more women reading science fiction, and I think that will come from the genre promoting strong lead female characters.

As for my own list of fave kick-ass femmes (in no particular order as I’m right now two-finger typing around a large cat sprawled on my laptop keyboard…): Tanya Huff’s Torin Kerr, Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares, Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax, Elizabeth Moon’s Kylara Vatta, Julie Czerneda’s Sira, Sara Creasy’s Edie Sha’nim, PJ Schnyder’s Kat Darah, Marianne de Pierres’ Parrish Plessis… then there are fabulous secondary female characters in books by R.M. Meluch, Ian Douglas, Jack Campbell…and that’s just for starters.

Totally out of the genre, I can recommend Laurie R King’s Mary Russell Holmes character. Brilliant!

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