Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

(Your normally scheduled Publishing News post will be up Monday.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Bonus: Pinterest character boards

Housekeeping note--This week's Publishing News post will be delayed until Monday, on account of running around acting like a ghost (or whatever Halloween costume I come up with in the next couple of days).

So what's new?

I'm on Pinterest!
Why yes, one of my first stops was making
a tea board. Why do you ask?

You can find me here.

I've started making character boards for the characters in Into the Tides, consisting of things they'd pin if they were on Pinterest.

So far I have Elizabeth and Kelly. More to come!

Also, some boards of my own, because there's lots of cool stuff there!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Positive Monday

Back, kitty. This tea is mine.
Let's start the week off right. How about a list of happy things?

Three good things that happened for me this weekend:
  1. My sword tea infuser arrived in the mail.
  2. In Hyrule Warriors, we got the Great Fairy "weapon." This was terrifying and hilarious. She puts Link in a bottle.
  3. Delicious caramel apples were had for breakfast this morning. From the fair. The fair, too, was awesome.
 Okay, your turn! 3 good things from the weekend. Go!

(From the Zeldapedia) This is a real thing.

Friday, October 24, 2014

One Fine Blog Award

Fraser Sherman nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award. Thanks, Fraser!

This award requires:
a) thank the nominator;
b) volunteer seven things about the blogger readers don’t know;
c) nominate other blogs.

Seven things you don't know about me:

Pictured: not me.
  1. I am not a velociraptor. I'm sorry. I lied. (I'm also not a muffin, but you probably guessed that one.)
  2. I'm terrified of spiders, but I think snakes are cute. I took an animal science class in middle school and "adopted" a boa constrictor for the semester. She was pretty, and it was really neat holding her. Plus, one of the snakes had babies that year, and they twined around kids' fingers (when they got old enough to be held) like rings. So cute!
  3. My first real, official job in high school was as a hostess at a restaurant. I sucked at seating people, but was pretty good at the pickup window and register, so they kept me in the back doing that.
  4. I have a really cheerful voice on PA systems. I can't help it; I always sound happy. Especially when I'm grumpy or angry or tempted to hurt something.
  5. I love sparkling water. I can't get enough of it, regardless of whether it's fancy Perrier or $.89 cent store-brand, so long as it's bottled but not canned. (The canned ones taste like aluminum.) It's my guilty indulgence.
  6. I also love ginger. Ginger candy, crystallized ginger, ginger salad dressing, ginger soup, the pickled ginger served with sushi, ginger ale, ginger beer (which is like the ginger version of root beer), ginger mead... mmmmm!
  7. When I was a girl, my favorite stuffed animals were a kangaroo puppet and a snail puppet. My dad would puppeteer for me to get me to go sleep--he's as tone deaf as I am, which may explain why he didn't sing me lullabies.
Pictured: also not
me. See? Stock photo.
Bonus (since some of you, despite my firm reassurances, may not believe #1): 
8. I have never dyed my hair. No particular reason; just never really wanted to. Although I did color a few locks in middle school with a blue highlighter, once.


1) Angela Quarles, Geek Girl Romance Writer

2) Lady Arite gune Akase and her Sarmatian in the SCA blog

3) Taylor Lavati and her author blog

Guess I should go out and tell them!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Some fun links.

Since I can't morning this morning, go check out this xkcd strip to find out what a science montage really is. And have some various random pictures of the mountains, below.

Also, if you're a TableTop fan, Wil Wheaton's list of Season 3 Tabletop Games!

And look, Legend of Zelda Monopoly.

Space Janitors is a pretty fun web series--the janitors on the Death Star have a story, too!

Some really cute mouse photos.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tea review: Disney's Mad Tea Party Blend

Mad Tea Party Blend

Reviewed by: Rebekkah
Type of tea

Black, loose-leaf
Flavor aspects

fruity, natural
Where I got it

Disney World

Came with the tea press, which was $35;
or about $25 here for 3 oz
How I brewed it

1.5 tsp loose-leaf tea, 12ish oz hot water from the coffee machine, for about 3 minutes
Rebrewing notes

Like many black teas, it gets weaker with subsequent steepings. However, I typically get one good, full-flavored resteep from each batch.

So part of the appeal is that it's a Disney tea. That makes it fun, even if it's oversteeped. Which, this morning it is, I slightly did... I recommend about 2 1/2 minutes and water around 190 (I think the coffee machine was a bit hot this morning). But it's only slightly oversteeped, and I've done so before; this tea is fairly resilient and doesn't become very bitter even when you abuse it.

This probably has to do with the fruity aspects of it. It's a ginger/peach/apricot/black tea blend. Honestly I get mostly an indistinct peach-apricot-ish flavor that mellows nicely with the black tea; I can't really taste the ginger at all. I say "indistinct" because I usually tell when something is peach-flavored, but it's more gentle in flavor than peach-flavorings usually are. Blends really nicely with black tea, and ends up highlighting the black tea flavor more than the other way around, although I definitely do taste the fruit. I just have to think about it to identify that it's the fruit I'm tasting.

I'd call it an overall pretty good tea. Not amazing, and not something I'd usually spend that much for on it's own (I'd put it on par with the $6-10 per 2 oz teas I have); but if you want a Disney souvenir that you can get use from for a while to come, it's not a bad choice. Especially if it's part of a set, like the tea cups or the tea press, which are very cute.

Definitely drinkable. And fun. And yeah, I'm definitely tempted to wear a silly hat every time I drink it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 10/3-10/17.

Publishing News

Canadian authors are also feeling the pinch in the Amazon-Hachette battle.

Hachette launches a portal for authors and agents, a place where authors and agents can access sales data and make communication easier.

 Nook pairs up with 3M Library systems, with Barnes & Noble donating Nooks that libraries can lend to patrons without e-readers. These devices will have access to 3M Cloud Library Collection.

Amazon's crowdsourcing publishing program gets a name: KindleScout.

Amazon plans to open two retail shops in California to test Kindle projects and sell books. If they do well, there may be more in the future.

The latest version of Adobe Digital Editions has been found to be collecting and transmitting unencrypted user data, including user ID, device ID, IP address, duration books are read, and percentage of each book read. Adobe responds to concerns about this user privacy issue, noting that all data collection "is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy," and also that they are working on an update to address the issue [apparently offering encryption for transmitted user data; I was unable to find a description of the exact nature of the update, though]. Publishers Weekly offers some more links and an explanation for the topic.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 10/10.

Victoria Strauss warns not to fall for companies that offer to file copyright for you, for a hefty fee, when you can easily do it yourself for $35. Even ones that actually do what they claim (register your copyright for you in your own name) are a ripoff. (I've done registered a copyright myself. Yes, it's easy.) She offers as well other useful free things, such as an example official DMCA take-down notice (for if someone steals and posts your work without your permission) and a link to where you can go to register your copyright.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions and gives advice. For example, don't make these ten common social media promotion errors, like including links that don't work yet. She offers four phrases that turned her off queries, and how to write them better. And explains what it means to write with rhythm, looking at sentence length versus position in paragraph (and a followup explaining the math). Also, another post looking at ideal word count range and genre. What if you're writing two genres--will an agent be okay with you self-publishing the one they don't want? (Depends on the agent; also, don't be so sure your agent won't want the other genre, or won't call in a co-agent, if you are willing to traditionally publish it. Agents aren't always one-trick ponies.) If you pitched to an agent who requested a full, but later decided you wanted a different agent at the agency based on sales, is it okay to send it to the second agent? (Do it right and be polite; you may be shooting yourself in your own foot otherwise. Also, think hard about the assumptions you're making.)

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog: Considering self-publishing? Author Tameri Etherton shares some of the issues and technical problems she faced on the way, giving a good idea of what a self-publisher has to think about. Also, author Nancy Gideon explains considerations of doing blog tours to have the greatest effect, and gives a ballpark figure for cost and what to look at if you're thinking about hiring a blog tour company.

On the Books & Such blog, agent Rachelle Gardner shares 6 tools to make your life easier, from Hootsuite to Audible. Agent Janet Grant explains how to make your book cover stand out (in a good way). And agent Mary Keeley offers suggestions on timing your book promotions around the release of your new book.

Agent Jessica Faust of the BookEnds Literary Agency introduces herself, agent Kim Lionetti, and agent Jessica Alvarez, and explains what each of them are looking for.

Publishers Weekly looks at the costs and gains, in both jobs and money, of mergers and "restructurings" of traditional publishers.

Publishers, when interviewed by Publishers Weekly, express opinions about Amazon's trial retail stores, most seeming it as a strategic business move worth watching.

Author Jim Hines posts his opinion about the Kindle Scout program, and decides he wouldn't recommend it, explaining his reasoning.

An editor at The New York Times writes an opinion piece that looks at the coverage of the Amazon-Hachette battle.

The Compound Interest posts a chemistry-based infographic explaining what causes that distinctive smell of print books [link goes to pdf of the infographic].

What publishing news have you encountered in the past two weeks?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Bonus: Jobs for Cold Powers

Cold Powers in the Broken Powers universe have a magic that prevents them from becoming overheated, and are able to lower temperature of other objects. You can see the detailed list of their capabilities here. What are some examples of jobs they might hold?

Eileen Nguyen is a fifth class cold Power. She lives on the outskirts of Las Vegas, and works as a SBI agent, specializing in desert investigations. Because of her high, magical tolerance for heat, she has a lower need for water, and is unlikely to suffer from prolonged exposure to the desert heat. When desert stakeouts are needed, she's usually the one sent. Needless to say, she also spends a lot of time working out, training to stay physically fit. As with many magic users, government-based jobs pay more than private institutions, including in medicine; as such, Eileen's salary provides the majority of the household income. Her husband, a fourth-class cold Power, currently works part time an emergency care clinic as a heat stroke and fever specialist, a job to which he'll return in a couple of years. For much of the day now, however, he's the primary caregiver for their infant and toddler.

Rutherford "RC" Collins is a third-class cold Power. He works at a nuclear power plant, using his ability to insulate up to three of his coworkers from heat when checking potential hot spots. He can't shield people from radiation, but he can reduce pockets of air or water in temperature to prolong a person's survivable time. He can also channel cold into metal bars to speed cooling of heated liquids. Although he would be more effective touching the material bare-handed, for safety purposes he remains in a full protective suit. After hours his hobbies are calmer; he plays baseball in a non-competitive Powered exhibition league (where players are encouraged to safely show off their magic in the game for the entertainment of the watchers).

Antoinette Marshalle is a second-class cold Power. She works in medical research with the CDC. Hazmat suits are very uncomfortable in Atlanta, except when one can keep herself cool; she volunteers for clunky suit duty frequently. Her magic also comes in useful for preserving specimens; she carries special boxes lined with metal that freeze quickly, and that she can keep frozen. When she's not working, she roots for her favorite sports teams, and also practices karate twice a week.

Fargo Goldsmith is a first-class cold Power. He works in Powered investigations, specifically on a team tracking down rogue and endangered magic users. Many of those on the run seek extreme locations where isolation serves to keep them hidden; Fargo and his team use their abilities to find them and neutralize (or rescue or otherwise help) them. Like many high-class Powered, he takes advantage of the government's strongly family-friendly policies, using his leave time to spend with his family, from volunteering in classrooms to attending ballet recitals to taking the kids camping.

Tone-deaf Kelly has long considered her inborn music magic to be useless. But after a disaster drowns the American South in magic, including her whole family except her twin brother, she discovers her “useless” magic lets her hear the voices of those lost. Now, with the help of her twin and her handsome, green-eyed neighbor Derik, she’ll face magic itself to save them–only the attempt may cost her everyone she has left.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Starting Monday with Science

Why not start off the week with discovering what happened in science?

LiveScience's The Most Amazing Images in Science This Week has a cool collection of last week's most interesting science images, discoveries, and happenings.

And why not drop by TWIS's post for a recap of This Week in Science with more discoveries, research, and articles?

Because the best way to start off a week is with science.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The only rational explanation for thinking it's the wrong day

You know that sensation when you keep thinking it's the wrong day? 

There may have been a time loop incident yesterday. The whole day yesterday, it felt like Friday.

Had I already lived Thursday, and so my body knew it was Friday, but my mind (and everyone else's, except for the inevitable protagonist's) was erased of the memory, and so we all thought it was Thursday? 

Pictured: What really happened yesterday.
(Then the kid in green came by and shot it with arrows.
In the eye. Because the fairy told him to.)

Somewhere out there is a wandering soul trying to restore our memories of the past, or else an unknown hero who saved us from destruction by rewinding time and then made a tiny, simple change that will prevent the end of the known universe. Only there are those of us who, due to lingering magic, secondary character roles, strong wills, or being too unimportant to be worth the effort of thorough body memory erasure, still have echo of that lost day in our systems.

This is the only rational explanation. So to that unsung, unknown hero out there: Some of us almost remember. Some of us toast to your not-memory, thanking you for saving us. Even if we don't know how or who you are.

And, whenever you feel like it's a day the calendar disagrees with, know that somewhere out there, our lives have just been saved. Or maybe stolen by a supervillain. Hard to tell, really.

Maybe there's a secret villain using our lost time, right now, to power her mad machinations of universe domination. (You can be sure a hero will be along shortly to save the universe, if so, but I wouldn't plan on getting that day back. Besides, it was probably horrible and terrifying. You wouldn't want it anyway.)

Have a lovely, not-so-serious Friday! Or maybe Saturday...? ;)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tea geekery wish list

So before I get into the teapot drool-session, a quick note for gamer-travelers: my friend Meg is putting out a call for gamers who travel/travelers who game, looking for submissions for a collection of essays, vignettes, articles, etc.

Okay, now for the teapot geekery. (Hey, even Yahoo! is getting into tea, with a tutorial on how to brew green tea without making it bitter. How long should you cool your boiling water to bring it to the right temperature?)

One of the ladies in my online "Writers Who Tea" group posted a link to this beautiful chemistry-themed tea set:

Which, sadly, is only a prototype and cannot be bought (yet). Oh, the cruelty.

That's okay. I can build my own chemistry tea set, from ThinkGeek (as soon as they get some pieces back in....)!

Test tubes!

And, uh....  this TARDIS teapot:

Okay, so Doctor Who science mostly revolves around some good ol' hand-wave-ium (This is not the science you are looking for). Might as well admit it's all in writerly magic, really:

Writer Teapot on Etsy
Guess I'll have to hit the books to get a good science pun around here.

Too bad they're not textbooks? Etsy, of course.
Anyway. Why not end the tea set with something to drool over, and something wonder "Who'd pay so much for that?" (I'll leave you to figure out which is which... ;)

On Pinterest

On Etsy

Monday, October 6, 2014

Geekery: Hyrule Warriors Review

You can get this as a desktop on the official page, here.

Hyrule Warriors, in case you're wondering, is pretty much Dynasty Warriors with characters from the Zelda universe. Not just one game, either, but pretty much all the games: It's based off the concept that a witch gets invaded by evil, which drives her obsessive-crazy over the Hero of Time so that she won't notice the evil... doing the evil. She screws up time under the influence of evil, bringing together all the Hyrules, with Ocarina of Time rubbing shoulders with Twilight Princess, Major's Mask, and Skyward Sword (that's all we've encountered so far, though.)

The art is beautiful, which should come to little surprise. The plot, well, doesn't quite live up to the standards we've become used to with the Zelda Universe; but the game was supposed to be pretty fight-fight-fight with cool moves thrown in, so that's also not surprising. And the voice acting is pretty much on par with Dynasty Warrior's standards. Don't pretend the narrator is Impa, even if it seems logical that it's supposed to be. You'll never come closer to wishing Navi would come back. (It's okay; she kind of does.)

On the other hand, I still find the game enormously fun. It does what Dynasty Warriors does (big, beautiful battles, with fancy moves, and lots of playable characters), and does it well, and with your favorite characters. And you get a massive Zelda universe crossover, which is fun. Plus, Link's well-animated facial expressions throughout the game go quite a long way in making up any minor plot holes. He's just as uncomfortable with the Great Fairies as you know you always imagined him to be.

Note to self:
if I ever need a
disguise in Hyrule, I'll
buy colored contacts.
(More characters from
Hyrule Warriors Wiki)
As in the other Zeldas, nobody knows who the mysterious "dude" Sheik is. Not even Impa, which is a bit of a departure. But Sheik's got some awesome attacks, so don't hit your head on the wall too hard.

Link starts out as a random kid, a soldier trainee, whom the princess and Impa pretty much typecast into being the Hero of Time when he disobeys orders and shows up in the middle of battle, killing tons of evil because he's good at it. Lucky for her and Impa, their morale puppet is the real deal.

Agatha (yes, bug-collecting Agatha) is just wandering around when she gets ambushed by minions of darkness. She then proceeds to do some major butt-kicking... but only after getting rescued.

Midna has a grudge against the now-evil witch. She thinks you're the witches minions until you beat some sense into her (Yep, you gain some allies by beating the dumb out of them.) Luckily for Link, her wolf steed is made of Twilight, not him.

And there are more, many more. The only character I dislike so far is Lana, the good witch with a mysterious connection to the evil witch, whose mercurial attitude runs between "complete flaky ditz" and "angry mysterious broody general," with pretty much nothing in between, and follows up every move with a dramatic pose that leaves her vulnerable to damage for a full half-second. Really, Lana, really? Was that flourish absolutely necessary?

Unfortunately, you cannot play as
pirate ducky.
I'll admit a certain guilty pleasure in having characters other than Link open treasure chests (it just looks odd to see Darunia folded in half over a treasure chest before holding his loot in the air above his head) and encountering the Great Fairies, who are every bit as nightmare-inducing as you remember from Ocarina of Time. And you'll never forget Ghirahim dancing around just because he's bored.

Overall, it's a fun game. Not classics-material, but thoroughly amusing, well animated, with some characters I've always secretly wanted to play, and a good and interesting combat style with plenty of artistic variety to keep from getting bored.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 9/19-10/2.

Publishing News

Authors United plans its next move, reaching out to the Department of Justice to look at the option of an antitrust inquiry aimed at Amazon's business tactics in the book industry. News of the move leaked before they had planned it to; it appears this project is still in the planning phases.

A different organization, the Authors Guild, also looks to bring scrutiny on Amazon's business practices, meeting with the DOJ on August 1, and the AG has confirmed submitting a white paper to the DOJ.

Ellora's Cave, erotic romance publisher, files a lawsuit against Jennifer Litte and her Dear Author blog claiming libel and defamation, seeking damages of at least $25,000, following Litte's post "The Curious Case of Ellora's Cave."

HarperCollins offers its authors a 10% higher royalty rate on books sold directly through the publisher, instead of through middlemen. Books sold through other retailers earn the standard commission.

Amazon, meanwhile, releases information about its planned crowdsourced publishing platform. Authors who choose to join, if they are chosen to participate after entering, are offered a $1500 advance with a 50% royalty rate on a 5-year contract.

Universal Pictures signs a deal with Penguin Random House, allowing Universal to examine PRH's titles for ideas for movie projects for the next two years.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker Publishing Pulse for 9/26.

Nathan Bransford posts "The Last Few Weeks in Publishing" for 9/19.

Agent Nephele Tempest posts more Friday "Interesting Links" for 9/19 and 9/26. I'd particularly suggest checking out the Opportunities for Writers for October and November.
Victoria Strauss suggests writers to avoid companies offering to promote your author Kickstarter for you (yes, there are now companies offering to let you pay money to recruit people to crowdsource you enough money to become a writer). While she hasn't seen reports of dishonesty from any in particular, she suggests they might not be the best investment you could make. She also suggests writers looking for paid beta readers are better off buying critiques.

Strauss also explains how to request a rights reversion from your publisher.

Agent Janet Reid gives advice and answers questions. Is it worth it to spend $10K on a publicist if the publisher recommends it? (Not likely. Ask a lot of questions [Reid suggests a few, such as how they'd be working and what the print run of the book is], but most likely you're better off looking for marketing advice.) If you had interest from multiple agents and signed with one, but didn't stay with them, and are looking for an agent for book #2, is it okay to query the almost-signed agents you didn't go with originally? (Yes, certainly.)

Reid continues. If women are your audience, should you query only female agents? (No. Query agents who look for what you write. Gender's pretty far down the line of things to look at when picking agents, actually.) If the first chapter of a book gets published as a standalone, is it a bad thing to mention in a query? (No; it's called a publishing credit, and is shiny.) If you get a revise and resubmit from one agent and agree with the advice, and then hear a request from another agent you want to submit to while you're revising, should you submit the original work now or wait until the revision is done? (Send a nice e-mail saying when it should be done and wait.)

In the Los Angeles Review of Books, staff member and entertainment attorney Mark Robertson discusses the Google Book Scanning case with professors of law, looking at its implications (specifically for the "fair use" clause) and some of the opinions about it.

On the Editor's Blog, dangling modifiers explained, and how to fix them. Plus another word, "somehow," whose removal will usually improve your writing, and suggestions on how to replace it in ways that will improve your story, plus the purpose it does serve well in writing and therefore when to keep it.

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog, author Shannon Donnelly gives suggestions for avoiding writing bad dialogue through common dialogue mistakes. And author Angela Quarles talks about the various ways when writing time travel that a character's actions might affect the timeline, and the nine types of timelines (/time travel theories) that stories use.

Are the Audiobook Wars about to begin, with Amazon's domination of the e-book market? Cory Doctorow, on BoingBoing, surveys the audiobook ecosystem and seems to think yes, legal trouble is sure to sprout up soon.

Malcolm Gladwell casts his vote in the Amazon vs Hachette dispute, not so much stating an opinion as stating he dislikes Amazon's practices of making the books unavailable for preorder and delaying shipping.

Ingrid Sundberg posts a color thesaurus on her blog, pictures of different shades of colors with a variety of names, for writers looking to include color imagery in their books.

Also, if you're in NC, the local romance chapter is hosting best-selling author Maya Rodale in an all-day workshop focused on jumpstarting your writing career, building a loyal readership, and writing good stories, fast. (Disclaimer: Yes, this is a shameless plug; I'm a member of hosting chapter. It's good for traditional, self, and hybrid published authors all.)

What publishing news have you encountered in the past two weeks?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Bonus: Jobs for heat Powers

Heat Powers in the Broken Powers world have magic that prevents them from getting cold. You can find the full list of their abilities here. While the strongest heat Powers can start fires, most have more limited capabilities. Here are some jobs a heat Power might have.

Susanne Moggletop is a fifth class heat Power in Montana. She works in a factory, producing electricity by creating convection currents that spin turbines, with the help of no fewer than six other heat Powers. The factory, which produces plastics, gains more use from her limited magic this way than if she were to try melting the plastic directly, mostly because she wouldn't be able to do so on a practical scale, or even with all the plastics the company produces. Because the job tends to be tedious, she unwinds by 4-wheeling with her husband and kids on the weekends. As with many people in monotonous jobs requiring continuing use of magic, she has developed exceptional endurance with her magic, which comes in handy when she decides to go one of her many winter camping trips.

Darvene "Stone" Hamilton is a fourth class heat Power in Alaska. He mans search and rescue teams, helping his teammates keep their core body temperatures high and, when necessary, treating  hypothermia by slowly and safely raising the temperature of rescue subjects. On his time off, he volunteers in schools, teaching kids and newcomers basic winter survival skills. He's always welcome company, with keeping people warm being a cheap party trick, and so weekends find him the life of the party. Like most Powered, he doesn't drink; but a good designated driver is always in demand, and so his truck almost never goes without a free oil change or new tires, and if he never seems to make it to the grocery store, he also never seems to have an empty pantry, either.

Alyson Sarrano is a third class heat Power from Tuscon, Az. Although the Arizona weather wouldn't seem particularly pleasant to a heat Power, as it stops her from getting cold but not hot, the optics industry is booming, and any cheap, sustainable source of electricity that cuts down on pollution while avoiding steep fuel import costs can't help but be popular. Alyson generates convection currents for a factory, doing herself what it takes six to eight fifth-class Powers to do together. She's also a hobby herpetologist, keeping about a dozen snakes (not venomous) of various sizes as pets. Since the snakes enjoy the heat she emanates, it's a fairly happy family; but since she doesn't like to scare the neighbors, she's very careful about whom she invites over.

George Hammelstein is a second class heat Power headquartering in the Northeast. Working for the FBI, he tracks murderers trying to flee the country (or simply crossing state lines). His magic allows him to operate even in winters that send most other people hunkering down. Those counting on snow to cover their tracks don't last long against the man who never stops hunting.

Eline Devos is a first class heat Power. Career Navy, she doesn't call any town home, preferring to think of the sea as home. While the specific heat of water makes the Pacific too cold for even most heat Powers to be comfortable for long, as a first class she can dive for up to three hours wetsuit-free in near-ice without discomfort, so long as she doesn't go too deep. As such, she specializes in salvage and rescue missions, which occasionally benefit from the higher dexterity of bare hands. The dangers of the ocean go far beyond the cold (her magic doesn't give her gills, or protect her from jellyfish), so she focuses on her job most of the time. When she does relax, it's the tune of watching black-and-white monster movies with her friends.

Tone-deaf Kelly has long considered her inborn music magic to be useless. But after a disaster drowns the American South in magic, including her whole family except her twin brother, she discovers her “useless” magic lets her hear the voices of those lost. Now, with the help of her twin and her handsome, green-eyed neighbor Derik, she’ll face magic itself to save them–only the attempt may cost her everyone she has left.