When a recently established portal stops working in the Scottish Highlands in 1922, Rathna, a Portal Keeper, is assigned to figure out what happened. Gabe is assigned to assist her. Neither of them expect the challenges they find, the dangers of the local wildlife, or the way history and magic can come back to haunt you.
They’re both keeping secrets. Can they learn to trust each other, fix the portal, and move forward in the world?
Gabe is perhaps one of my favourite heroes so far – and a book set in the remote Scottish Highlands gives him plenty of scope to show off his skills and knowledge. Rathna is much quieter, the sort who looks before she acts, for all sorts of reasons.
(Sign up for my newsletter for a short character study about Rathna’s apprenticeship that I’ll be sending out in March 2021.)
If you’ve been by here in the last week, you’ll notice a few updates around here.
A new page for the books
These include more information about each series, and quick links to the books in order. (Here’s the main books page, the Mysterious Charm series page, and the Charms of Albion page.) Let me know if there’s more information you’d find useful here.
I know that there are some things you might not be in the mood to read (right now or ever), and also that some of you might be particularly interested in finding books that focus on certain things or characters. I’ve got a shiny new content notes page that fills in some of this information. (It does include some spoilers, though I’ve tried to avoid them as much as I can.)
If there’s something I haven’t covered, or something you’d like more information about, you’re always welcome to write and check with me.
I’m working on a way to more easily share some additional information with you, like maps and timelines. Keep an eye out here and elsewhere on social media for updates.
When times get difficult, I find a great deal of solace in reading. If you’re the same, and haven’t read my first book, Outcrossing, yet, you can get a copy for free. (Please feel free to share with anyone who might enjoy it.)
You can sign up for my mailing list if you’d like, but it’s not required. (And while I also deeply appreciate reviews, there’s no obligation here.) Though if you do sign up for my list, I have some future treats planned. The link takes you to BookFunnel, and you can download the book in your preferred format. They offer great technical help if you need it.
The offer is good at least until Massachusetts public schools reopen. Right now, that’s April 10th. You can also share it on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like.
Join Rufus and Ferry in magical Albion’s New Forest of 1922. Ponies, smugglers, daring escapes.
Rufus survived the Great War, but he’s on the verge of losing his New Forest cottage, his ponies, and any chance of a future. He’s willing to take the risk of doing a job for the local smugglers using his powerful but poorly trained magic. Ferry is doing her best to escape an arranged marriage, but she doesn’t know what to do next. Once they meet, everything changes, and together they must find a way to get Rufus out of the grasp of the smugglers and protect the forest they both love.
(One content note: Rufus lost both his parents to the Naples Scourge, aka the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918. It’s mentioned briefly.)
What do I write?
Hi, I’m Celia Lake. That’s the pen name for a librarian who lives and works in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
My books are set in the magical community of Albion (a parallel community to the history we know), in the 1920s.
I write about the 1920s for a lot of reasons – the rapid social changes, the conflicts between tradition and modernity, the clothes. But I’m particularly drawn to them because it’s a time when we, as a world, were remembering that there was hope after the awful times. After war, after epidemics, after disasters, there could still be hope, and still be love.
I write about the magical community of Albion, a world within a world of the British Isles (specifically England, Wales, and Scotland. Ireland is politically a bit more separate in the magical community.)
My books are romances with plots anchored around a mystery or puzzle. I have plenty more planned, and I release a book about every three months.
- Outcrossing: Smugglers, New Forest ponies, and daring escapes
- Goblin Fruit: Lord Geoffrey Carillon and Lizzie find themselves investigating a dangerous magical drink.
- Magician’s Hoard: An archaeological queston leads to unexpected revelations, making Ibis and Pross wonder why everyone wants this particular treasure.
- Wards of the Roses: A manor reappears after several hundred years. Giles (blinded in the War) needs the help of competent Guard Davies to investigate.
- In The Cards: A gathering on a remote island turns into a murder investigation, leaving Galen, Laura, and Galen’s friend Martin scrambling to find the culprit.
- On The Bias: Benton (valet) and Cassie (dressmaker) must work together to foil plots and make sure Lord Carillon’s wedding can go off as planned.
- Forthcoming books over here.
- My newsletter gets the first new about new releases as well as fun extras and tidbits.
I’m so excited for the release of this book. In The Cards is out now. As I write this, the Amazon editions are up, and others are rolling out. Join Laura, Galen, and his best friend, Martin, as they deal with Galen’s match-making mother, a brash American, a murder, and far too many family secrets.
Writing a locked room murder mystery turns out to be a lot harder than I’d guessed, and the editing process involved adding three full chapters and a couple of half chapters, as well as moving a bunch of pieces around.
But I love Laura, and Galen, and Martin, and the varying ways they interact. Coming up with (at least part) of a Tarot deck suitable for the story was also a great deal of fun, and something I’ll be continuing to explore in other books as it’s relevant.
I’m planning a few posts here (and on Facebook) with some further thoughts about both the locked room mystery parts and the Tarot parts of this story over the next few weeks.
(And if anyone reading this is an artist and interested in trying their hand at illustrating some Tarot cards, drop me a note through the contact form….)
Wards of the Roses is out today! (Head on over there if you’d like to buy a copy – this post is about some of the inspiration behind the book.)
I’ll be honest, this is my favourite title so far! It’s also the first book where I got to talk a lot more about how the magical community of Albion came to be.
I’d been wanting to do a book about Kate since she showed up at the end of Outcrossing, as her confident secure self. Wards of the Roses is the story of how she got there, and how her relationship with Giles gave her a chance to grow into that confidence and competence. I wanted to write a bit more about how the Guard works, and how the politics of the Guard work, and show off a couple of their historical traditions, like the Lost Tongue.
The 1920s is a fascinating time in disability history, in large part because of the Great War. Blindness is no exception to the general rule here – many of the modern tools we associate with people who are blind (like a long white cane or the use of a guide dog) come out of rehabilitation work done after the war. Those things don’t quite exist yet in 1920, and I loved having a chance to write about the important work of St Dunstan’s, and the tools that were available. (And of course, writing a character where blindness is part of his life, but it’s mostly the least interesting part.)
For people who love worldbuilding, there’s more information about the series and the world in the About menu on the website. (And if you subscribe to my newsletter, you not only get told first when I have a new book out, but you get a longer guide to Albion and some other treats. I’ll be sending out a couple of interviews Giles did with other possible assistants later in August, for example.)
Next up: getting In The Cards ready to publish, the story of Laura Penhallow.
Curious about how I keep myself organised doing all the things I do? I did an interview with Kevin Sonney, at the great podcast Productivity Alchemy, and the episode came out today (May 16th, 2019).
On it, I answer the seven questions he asks all his guests (see below), and talk about various of my projects outside the Celia Lake books.
His wife, Ursula Vernon, usually is also on for a portion of each episode (though not this time, she was down wrangling livestock with a friend of theirs…) and the interview guests come from a wide range of backgrounds, including a bunch of creative types.
Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got a question about any of it, or the tools I use. I’m always glad to geek out about that kind of thing.
The seven questions Kevin uses are:
- Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do.
- How do you keep yourself organized?
- What systems and/or habits are valuable to you?
- How do you decide what to do first?
- What is the best advice or feedback you’ve been given?
- Do you celebrate your success, and if so, how?
- How to you deal with failure or when you miss a goal?