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raven’s wing

Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Raven’s Wing, by Shawna Reppert

Shawna Reppert has quite a bit in common with me–fellow Carina author, fellow NIWA author, and fellow writer of urban fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve actually already featured this book, before on Boosting the Signal, but that was while she was running the Indiegogo campaign for it. Now the book is out and available, and Shawna’s sent me another piece for the book. This time, her character Chuckie would like to have a word with you!


Raven's Wing

Raven’s Wing

Hi, Chuckie here.

I know I’m not the first image that comes to mind when you say the words ‘Guardian International Investigations.’ I’m built like a scarecrow and my defensive magic isn’t much better than above-average. You’re more likely to find me on a computer than at the gym. I’m an oddball even for GI-squared, and that’s saying something.

I mean, my boss’s ID may say ‘Abigail Andrews’, but everyone calls her ‘Sherlock’, as much for her pipe and her tweed as for her brilliant deductive skills and her Anglan accent.

My partner, at first blush, might seem like what the Joint Council had in mind when they set up GI-squared. Cass Greensdowne once clocked damned near a four-minute mile and she can outlift about half the men in the department. But it’s the strength of her magic and her creativity in using it that make her stand out. So, poster-girl Guardian material—except that she learned her chops apprenticing to Corwyn Ravenscroft back when he was still a dark mage. Of course, she didn’t believe at the time that he was a dark mage, no matter what anyone said, and—well, that’s a long story.

I have been accused of rambling.

So, I know I’m not the hero of any tale, and I’m okay with that. Heroes always catch the worst of whatever goes down. Honestly, when I see what Cass and Raven go through…though Raven would never admit to being a hero, he totally is. He risked not only death, but horrible death, to take down William, and took himself past the point of exhaustion to finish the job. Damned near killed himself.

He’ll tell you that it was atonement, or enlightened self-interest, blah, blah, blah. Just like all those cases he’s helped us with, the ones he’s worked night and day on, the ones where he’s saved lives, those were just because he was bored and needed the intellectual stimulation. Yeah, right.

And I’m rambling again. Cass, if she were here, would be glaring at me to warn me to get to the point already.

So, you asked me about my goals. Which I take it is a more polite way of asking what a scrawny geek like me is doing working for Guardian International Investigations. No, don’t bother to apologize, I get it all the time and, frankly, it doesn’t bother me. Much.

The thing is, as smart and as fast and as good at magic as the heroes are, there’s some things they can’t do. Let’s face it, given a Mundane computer, half the mages in the city don’t know a mouse from a mainframe. But there is a certain criminal element, mostly young and up-and-coming, that know how to interface computer knowledge with mage skills. I know, ’cause I used to be one. I was only out for a laugh, but I did some pretty major damage, and I’d like to think what I’m doing now makes up for that in some way. And hey, maybe I can stop some kid someday before he does something he’ll regret the rest of his life.

(Yeah, I know I seem all happy-go-lucky, but I still have nightmares sometimes.)

Even when someone isn’t getting creative with magic and Mundane technology for all the wrong reasons, the computer’s a useful tool in getting information fast, and that’s useful if you need to know now how many heirs there might be to a certain bloodline if only those heirs are capable of using a magical artifact that’s gone missing. Like, say, the Ravensblood.

I’m like the smith who shoes the knight’s horse before some fairytale battle. I may not be a hero, but I help make the heroism happen. And that’s good enough for this geek.


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Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Raven’s Wing, by Shawna Reppert

I meant to get this posted a few days ago, for which I apologize–this is what happens when I’m flattened by dental surgery! But that said, this is another book with a crowdfunding campaign to which I’d like to draw your all’s attention, especially as the Indiegogo campaign is down to its final hours.

Shawna Reppert is a fellow Carina author, and like me, she’s got some self-pubbed work as well. She’s gotten some high praise for her first solo effort, Ravensblood. Now she’s looking to publish the sequel, and is calling on potential supporters to back her up right over here. Hours are counting down, so go give her a look, won’t you?

And in the meantime, here’s a Boosting the Signal piece that Shawna sent me! Of this piece, Shawna says: “Since Raven’s Wing is written with three POV characters—Raven, Cass and the villain (not gonna tell you who it is, you have to read the book) I thought it would be interesting to let one of the secondary characters have a say. Mick MacLean volunteered.”


Raven's Wing

Raven’s Wing

Mick sat at the kitchen table, nursing a cup of rewarmed coffee, listening to Raven’s soulful piano-playing in the next room. The boy was good, not quite concert-pianist quality, but only an educated ear could hear the difference. If Raven had devoted himself to music instead of the Art…but may as well say that if a sheep had gills, it’d be a fish. The Three Communities, and likely the rest of the world as well, had reason to be glad that Raven had devoted himself to the study of magic, whether they chose to acknowledge it or not.

Even in his younger days, Mick would have been no match for him, and he’d been formidable in time. Back in the day when he’d left his outback home and traveled to another continent to help the Three Communities bring down William’s father. Much as his boy had helped to bring down William himself.

Only Zack had never come back.

Raven still looked at him as though he expected to be blamed for Zack’s death, or maybe just for surviving when Zack had not.

Life had taught Raven to expect unfairness. Mick was determined to teach him to trust in kindness, as well. Ana had started the lesson. Cass, he knew, tried, but it was different with lovers, more complicated.

He liked the man. At first, for the sake of Zack, who had befriended him, and for Ana, who had mentored him and worried over him. Later, on his own merits.

Oh, there were bigger-scale reasons to offer the man sanctuary. Whoever had stolen the Ravensblood was powerful, cunning, and surely up to no good. Mick would do anything in his power to head off another William.

Or William himself, returning. They never had found the body.

But if the last Mage Wars had taught Mick anything, it taught him that if you lost sight of the small stuff, the human stuff, while focusing on the big picture, then you risked becoming the thing you fought.

He still wondered if Giles would be alive today if he hadn’t pressured him harder to get out. If he’d made more of an effort to be a friend to the man instead of a handler, maybe Giles would have taken his pleas more seriously. He asked himself if his failure to do so came from holding the life of a dark mage more lightly than he would have another source’s.

In all these years, he hadn’t been able to answer that question.


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