Hello, nocturnal readers!
Welcome to yet another Something Wicked Strikes post. I hope you've been having fun so far, and if you have, rest assured, there's more fun to be had.
Today I am thrilled to welcome author Anton Strout to the blog. Anton is the author of the Spellmason Chronicles and the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series. So without further ado..
I love Halloween. I think as an urban fantasy writer setting my books in a modern paranormal Manhattan, I’m required to by law. And in Alchemystic (book one of the Spellmason Chronicles, followed by Stonecast and the just released conclusion, Incarnate), my characters actually get to go out on Halloween!
Searching for the lost secrets of the Spellmasons—alchemical artisans fusing magic to living stone—my Alchemystic protagonist Alexandra Belarus finds herself at Cathedral, a Lower West Side church converted into a Gothic dance club (modeled after the heyday of New York’s Limelight). She and her friends have brought with them the gargoyle Stanis, and although this mythic, centuries-old creature has spent most of his existence hiding away from humanity, he suddenly finds himself mingling among them.
So let’s take a look at what my characters chose to wear for that particular Halloween and perhaps we will glean a little insight into their personalities from it:
Alexandra Belarus: Suddenly having found herself the last and only practicing Spellmason, our heroine went out as a modern Goth witch with thigh-high striped stockings to give it a more Tim Burton-y kind of vibe. Because she’s also carrying a heavy stone spellbook, I gave her a tombstone-shaped backpack to conceal it. Through her choice of costume, I wanted to show Lexi accepting the fact that magic was now part of her life, while also looking good heading out for a night on the town. Not that wanting to really be a witch was ever a problem for her. Even before learning magic was a real thing there was previously always a 90% chance she and her best friend Rory would be wearing something with the Hogwarts crest on it for Halloween, anyway.
Aurora ‘Rory’ Torres: A practicing dancer turned modern day paladin, Rory is in shape and already sports a Cookie Monster blue pixie cut. Her Halloween attire is merely just an extension of that: Blue faerie wings, killer black knee-high boots and an aqua-colored Tinker Bell–cut dress to complete her ensemble. Every last part of her costume was already in her closet, wing included. She’s known to blush when she mentions her ex had a thing for fantasy characters. Still, it’s spritely, and captures the fiery spirit she possesses.
Marshall Blackmoore: As the ultimate and proud nerd he is, Marshall is not the type to go with an overtly obvious costume. You’d never, for instance, find him in a Captain Incredible superhero costume, and not just because of his Ichabod Crane physique. This Halloween Marshall blooded up a suit and threw on a blood-drenched lab coat. His face was made up so his eyes and cheeks looked sunken in. When asked who he was, his response?
“I’m patient zero from the coming zombie apocalypse.”
That’s pretty much tells you everything you need to know about his nerdy awesomeness.
Stanis: Bound by rules to stay hidden from humanity, it goes against the gargoyle Stanis’ nature to be out in public, yet that is where we find him. Only on Halloween can a gargoyle wander around freely without necessarily drawing looks. Still, you don’t want to draw too much attention in a world of people who generally don’t believe in magic, so Stanis tucked his large bat-like wings in close to his body and Alexandra took the time to artistically place fake costume joint lines on his body to make it look less real. Or, at least less real that a gargoyle normally looks.
Despite Stanis’ discomfort with the public, the costume works, even drawing him a few comments from the ladies waiting to get into the club.
The choices made for my characters weren’t light ones. I wanted them to have been thoughtful costumes, something that indicated a bit of who they were at their core, and I think I’ve succeeded. You’d have to read The Spellmason Chronicles to see for yourself though, to see if their costumes work in hiding our group’s arcane agenda within the repurposed church turned dance club.
The fact that the ancient structure of Cathedral ends up practically a pile of rubble by the end of the night is merely a coincidence, I assure you.
What would Halloween be without some tricks or treats? Follow this link to a Halloween Special on the Once and Future Podcast, where you can hear all new spooktacular tales read by their authors: Alethea Kontis, Amber Benson, Anton Strout, Faith Hunter, Daniel Marks, Jaye Wells, and Yasmine Galenorn! http://www.theonceandfuturepodcast.com/the-once-future-podcast/2014/8/16/of-podcast-ep-49-haunted-halloween-special-2
Anton Strout was born in the Berkshire Hills mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. He currently lives in the haunted corn maze that is New Jersey (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you).
He is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series and the Spellmason Chronicles for Ace Books, a division of Penguin Random House. His latest book, Incarnate, the third Spellmason Chronicles book, is now available.
In his scant spare time, his is a writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the worlds most casual and controller smashing video gamer. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds.
He is currently hard at work on his next book and be found lurking the darkened hallways of antonstrout.com or talking with your favorite SF&F authors on The Once and Future Podcast (www.theonceandfuturepodcast.com), where he is host and content curator.
I think Alexandra's costume sounds amazing, but I myself am more like Marshall Blackmoore. People who don't get my costumes obviously aren't worthy, so why bother, heh. Patient zero, that's an excellent idea. :)
GIVEAWAY TIME! The giveaway is not run by The Nocturnal Library (which means I can enter, yay), but it's a great one, so go for it! I really hope you enjoyed the post.