The third Mojo book, HOODOO WOMAN, is at forty-five thousand words and going strong and steady. Roxie has gone home, asked by her old love Deputy Ray Travis (who is introduced in a scene in RED HOUSE) to help the spirit of a dead girl find rest by solving her murder. This book is going in some surprising directions. If my editor doesn't hate the changes (*fingers crossed*) then I plan to write two more, giving Roxie a nice five-book run. (Again, *fingers crossed*.) I've even got tentative titles for the next books: HOWLING FOR YOU and SEASON OF THE WITCH.
With the way things were left at the end of RED HOUSE, I had to figure out where to take Roxie, magically speaking. Her new supernatural assistant was created/conjured in the chaos of a storm, so I got to thinking about how that might change Roxie's magical practice. She's never been one for formal ceremonial magic. Chanting and fancy robes and all kinds of paraphernalia set out in the correct directions and correspondences - whew. There's a lot to that. If you're going to write about magic then you need to learn all that so you have a basis in how things work, but I wouldn't suggest sticking to it unless there's a very specific plot-related reason for it. No one wants to read about your character chanting for six hours. I've talked before about choosing hoodoo as the basis for Roxie's magic but I don't think I've talked much about Chaos magic. A very basic definition of Chaos would be: if it works, use it. (That definition is as basic as it gets. I would strongly suggest doing some research before bringing it into your own fiction. This group of articles at the Internet Sacred Text Archive is a good place to start.) I looked into Chaos because I thought it would be a good fit for Blake, but as I've written more and more in this world I think it's actually a good fit for Roxie as well. Her magic still has a foundation in hoodoo and its rootwork and other trappings, but she's also been known to send a "hex message" on a cellphone and now she's branching out even further afield. Here's a short excerpt to give you a taste:
Fat drops of rain hit my skin like coins. The wind turned my hair into a tangled flag. Energy rolled through the night, calling to the magic that dwelled deep inside. I planted my feet firmly in the wet grass, raised my hands high to touch the sky. Magic above, magic below, my body a conduit between the two sources. More than my body, everything that was me. The storm intensified, lashing me with its power. Stack, my supernatural assistant, once acted as a buffer when we first started this. Now he rode the lightning and thunder like a madman, his laughter howling right along with the wind.
I let the storm shake me, raised my face in welcome to the rain. Blue-white lightning danced in the sky, but too far away. The storm would get closer in time, and be strong enough to shatter every nerve in my body. It seethed in my auric vision like a live thing, which of course it was. Anything with that much energy is alive, if not entirely sentient. The storm and I spoke to each other on a cellular level, in some wordless language that went beyond spells and incantations. It called to me and I gave a response.
Lightning cracked open the dark, filling my auric vision with a whipsaw of violet. I screamed under the onslaught. The bolt hit the ground close enough for me to feel the sizzle through the soles of my shoes. Magic wrapped around me in spirals of energy. I drew it in with a breath.
The rain calmed to a steady shower rather than a frantic downpour. I relaxed my stance, whirling my arms. Light flew from my fingertips in thin streamers, the blue-white of the lightning I'd captured. I painted the dark night with it, laughing.
Recently I realized that for someone who fills their fiction with magic, I don't write about it much here on the blog. Is that something you think you'd be interested in? My aim for the blog this year is one post a week and I think it would be fun to devote some of those posts to magic. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.