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  • 5. The Hare and the Oak,  Announcements,  Mysterious Powers

    The Hare and the Oak is out now!

    The cover of The Hare and The Oak displayed on a phone, surrounded by a white peony, small pieces of jewellery. The cover has a silhouetted man and woman talking to each other on a green and brown background, circled by stars, with a hare leaping out of an oakleaf inset in the top left corner.

    The Hare and the Oak is full of:

    • Two colleagues thrown together
    • A lost heir
    • Land magics
    • The intimacy of ritual
    • Making peace with your past
    • Oaths kept and broken
    • Finding magic in unexpected places

    Learn more (and get a copy if this strikes your fancy)

    Cyrus appears in Sailor’s Jewel (1901, as a secondary character), and very briefly in Carry On in 1915 as well as in Eclipse (1924). Mabyn appears briefly at the end of Eclipse.

  • Announcements,  Writing and publishing

    Welcome to 2022! More books ahead!

    The cover of Eclipse displayed on a tablet, resting on an evergreen surrounded by gold stars. The cover shows a silhouetted man and woman in academic robes on a cover that shades from twilight to the setting sun's orange. She is gesturing up at the sky, surrounded by stars, with a telescope inset in the top left.
    T

    Hello, and welcome to 2022! I have aspirations and intentions of doing more regular blogging about my books and writing this year, so I thought it’d be great to start out with what I’m hoping to write and publish this year. 

    (As always, my newsletter gets all the news first, including some additional details that won’t be on the blog. Also some extra scenes or short stories from time to time as I’m inspired to write them.) 

    (2021 was an amazing year! The Fossil Door, Eclipse, Fool’s Gold, Sailor’s Jewel, Complementary, and Winter’s Charms all came out thanks to my being home a lot more. I’m expecting my writing speed to drop a bit in 2022, but I also have a lot of things I want to write, so I’ve got some ambitious goals.)

    (Likely) coming out in 2022: 

    I’m hoping to release 4 books and 2 novellas in 2022. Because of the way I draft and edit, three of the four novels already exist in draft (or will within a week or so, I’m finishing one of them right now.) My goal is to hit the months indicated, but it’s a changeable world out there, so dates may shift somewhat in the process. 

    The Hare and the Oak: A later-in-life romance featuring Cyrus Smythe-Clive (seen in Sailor’s Jewel as Rhoe’s older brother, and briefly in Carry On and Eclipse). When Lord Baddock shows up at the Council Keep looking for help, Cyrus and Mabyn Teague (seen briefly at the end of Eclipse) need to figure out why the land magics are failing, find a lost heir, deal with Lord Baddock’s difficult mother, and decide how much they’re willing to trust each other. Out sometime in February 2022.

    Point By Point: Lydia needs to make a name for herself as a journalist, but she needs an entry point into the right social circles to investigate a particular story. When Galen (last seen in In The Cards) agrees to help, they’re drawn into a world of horse racing and dangerous secret societies. Fortunately, with the help of the Dwellers in the Forge, including Martin (Galen’s best friend), they’re able to find a way through. (Alternately, ever wonder about the aftermath of Magician’s Hoard? This is also about what happened next.) Out in May 2022.  

    Mistress of Birds: When Thalia’s great-aunt needs a rest cure, Thalia agrees to stay at her estate on the edge of Dartmoor to keep an eye on the place. (Thalia’s career as an author isn’t going very well, so getting room and board doesn’t exactly hurt.) Once there, she discovers a mysterious man in the apple orchard, and a series of odd and spooky events around the ancient house. Out in August 2022. Last book in the Mysterious Powers series. 

    Also coming out in 2022 if all goes well are three things that I haven’t written yet… 

    In the writing stack

    When I wrote Eclipse, my editor Kiya left a note at one point saying “I now sort of want the buddy cop story in which Alexander and Carillon team up to utterly destroy a munitions smuggler.” Every single one of my early readers (all friends) left comments wondering how they could encourage that to happen. Since I can take a hint, I started thinking about how to make it work. 

    Best Foot Forward is going to be the result. Here’s the trick: while it’s about friendship and chosen family, and caring about other people, it’s not actually a romance. (Alexander is both asexual and aromantic. He doesn’t have the terms for either,  though he’d grab them with both hands if he could.) Carillon, mind, is still very happily married to Lizzie (see Goblin Fruit and On The Bias), so there’s going to be some needful conversations and sorting out what to do about this man who is, in other ways, very much Carillon’s type.

    I’m going to start writing this one in February, and it’s looking like it’s going to be a grand set of adventures across the Contintent in 1935. (Probably mostly Germany and Switzerland, but I reserve the right to change my mind later if I have a better idea.) It should be out in November 2022. 

    I’ve been saying I didn’t want to get into the Second World War, but having had this idea, it feels wrong to just do one book in the time period. I have now laid out the bones of two more books (to make a trilogy). Chances are decent there will eventually be some surrounding novellas, too. 

    The second book doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s going to deal with Gabe and Rathna (from The Fossil Door) in 1940 and focus largely around their relationships with their apprentices and communities. Why? For a lot of the book, they’re going to be in different places. (Yay for magical journals and direct speedy communication? Makes a long-distance relationship so much easier.)

    Also, it will be full of land magic, the Magical Battle of Britain from Albion’s perspective, and a bit more portal magic applied in service of getting people to safety. I plan to start writing this one in August 2022 and it will be out in May of 2023 if all goes well.

    The third book? Well, for the moment, let’s just say that sitting down to work out the next generation (i.e. who of my extant characters had kids in the late 20s and 30s, and what’s going on with their families) led to an idea that is also decidedly not a romance.

    It is, however, set at Schola. (I’ll be sharing more with my mailing list about this, first, so check in there if you want more details.) I don’t plan to start writing this one until February of 2023. 

    Mysterious Arts

    Now that I’ve finished a second series of 1920s books, I need to start a new one, right? I’ve got all these secret societies attached to Schola, and only one of them has gotten any serious time on the page (the Dwellers at the Forge, in both In the Cards and the forthcoming Point By Point.) 

    I haven’t actually sketched out the details of this series yet in more than very broad strokes, but they’ll 

    a) Take place during the 1920s (or maybe the Great War) 

    b) Each book will have at least one main character who’s a member of one of the seven secret societies. 

    c) Each will focus on some sort of art (or craft) – I’m thinking about things like music and dance and theatre, but also considering things like bookbinding, perfume making, illusion performances, jewellery making, or dyecrafting. If you have something you’d love me to think about, drop me a note via the contact form or email. 

    Once I figure out the sequence, my plan is to write one in May 2022, and one in November, with them coming out in 2023. (I normally write over a 3 month period, and then it sits for a bit before I edit. This is why I can be fairly predictable about release dates, if you’d been wondering that…)

    Novellas

    I’ve been chewing on a prequel novella about Carillon inheriting the title for a while, and in December finally figured out how to structure it properly. It will be a freebie for signing up for my mailing list (you’re always able to immediately unsubscribe if you’d rather…) and I’ll announce it here and on social media when it’s available. I expect it to have a lot of Carillon and Benton, and also spend some time with how Carillon, Richard and Alysoun Edgarton, Giles Lefton, and Hippolyta FitzRanulf connect to each other. This one’s set in 1921. 

    Time and energy allowing, I’m also hoping to do a prequel novella for the Mysterious Powers series, focusing on how Roland Gospatrick’s parents (seen in Carry On) decided to marry each other, and how that started. 

    I’m aiming for the Carillon novella to be out sometime over the summer, and the Gospatrick one sometime after that.

    Finally

    I have somehow written a lot of books! I know it can be confusing to figure out who’s in which book, or the complete timeline, or where things are located.

    Help is on the way, however. I spent my vacation time over the holidays working on a solution. It needs some more hours to get everything sorted the way I want, but I’m expecting to be able to share the core of it starting in January or maybe February. Keep an eye on my newsletter for more (including a sneak peek) and let me know if there’s a topic you’d particularly like me to cover.

    (Or for that matter, if there’s something you’d like me to blog about. I’m aiming for every fortnight, aka every two weeks, and I’m going to start with some “Idea to book” posts.)

  • Announcements,  Novellas,  Winter's Charms

    Winter’s Charms

    Hello to winter! (At least in New England, where I am.) Time to curl up on the couch with a good book? Winter’s Charms is a collection of three seasonal novellas that centre around the winter holidays.

    I’d known since I wrote Eclipse that I wanted to spend more time both with Seth and Golshan and Dilly, and exploring some of the further mysteries of Schola. Several readers had also said they were very interested in these things. Add in a bit of Kate and Giles and their glorious banter, and you have a collection!


    Casting Nasturtiums is about how Seth finds his best friend Golshan after the Great War. (MMF polyamorous romance, mentioned briefly in Eclipse).

    This is the novella that came bursting out of my head from the opening scene, and the three of them continue to delight me. Seth’s fierceness, Golshan’s bafflement, and Dilly’s resolute good humour just make me smile (and sometimes cry) every time.

    Country Manners finds Kate and Giles (from Wards of the Roses) visiting his grandmother and his family for the winter holidays in 1921. It’s a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, they also discover a small mystery.

    I love Kate and Giles, and their comfort with each other here. (They have a great line in banter, sometimes.) This also answers the question of “How did Kate get that Pleasing Token she’s wearing in Outcrossing, and what is a Pleasing Token, anyway?”

    Chasing Legends explores some of the deeper magics of Schola, when a mysterious knock on the door of the great hall during a holiday feast leads to challenges and opportunities. This one features Thesan, Isembard from Eclipse and Pross and Ibis from Magician’s Hoard, along with other familiar faces.

    What’s not to love about exploring the history of Schola and some of its particular enchantments? It’s also about claiming who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re willing to do. 

    Get your copy from the usual places…

    (If you think the seasonal collection is fun, let me know. I’m contemplating a summer one, centred around the Summer Solstice faire, for 2023.)

  • Announcements,  Charms of Albion,  Sailor's Jewel

    Sailor’s Jewel is out!

    The cover of Sailor's Jewel by Celia Lake shown on a tablet resting on a bed of pale blue flowers. The cover is a vibrant blue, with an ocean liner at the left, facing the viewer. At the bottom right stand two silhouetted figures, a plump woman in a long dress and a taller man leaning against the side of the frame. Highlights of golden yellow from the title, lights on the liner, and a sprinkling of stars across the top pop out against the blues of the cover.

    Sailor’s Jewel is set in 1901, during a November crossing of the Atlantic on The Moonstone, a luxury magical ocean liner.

    Rhoe is about to take up a new and challenging position at the Temple of Healing. Her parents have persuaded Cyrus, her brother, to take her on one last pleasant voyage in hopes of changing her mind about a few of those commitments. Cyrus, a member of Albion’s Council, has his own worries, but he’s looking forward to a trip with the sister he rarely gets much time with.

    Hugh Pelagius has been working his way up in the family business, learning all the pieces that go into every voyage. This trip, for the first time, his duties are to socialise with the first-class passengers and make sure everything goes smoothly.

    When a magical jewel Cyrus is conveying to Boston causes problems, Rhoe and Hugh must work together with Cyrus and others to keep the ship safe and take care of everyone on board.

    Get your copy now for pelagic mermaids, magical gems, and shipboard life:

    Where this book fits into my other stories:

    As always, you can read my books in any order. Rhoe appears later in her life as a secondary character in Carry On, and Rhoe, Hugh, and Cyrus have all made an appearance in Eclipse.

    Anything else you want to know?

    You can check out my content notes page for some additional details.

  • 3. Eclipse,  Announcements,  Mysterious Powers

    An Eclipse changes everything

    An ereader displaying the cover of Eclipse lies on a bed of pine boughs, surrounded by scattered gold stars. The twilight blue and gold cover shows a silhouetted man and woman, the woman's hand reaching up to point at something in the sky. A small telescope is inset in the top left and the figures are circled by stars.

    I’m so delighted to be able to share Eclipse with all of you.

    Schola is the most elite of the magical schools of Albion, devoted to preparing the best and brightest young adults for a life of magic, innovation, and perhaps service. Students hurry from class to class, learning everything from writing to duelling, alchemy to astronomy.

    Thesan is now established as the Astronomy professor, but is still one of the youngest and newest teachers at Schola. She is eagerly anticipating the upcoming eclipse, a rare event, as well as her usual classes and projects.

    Isembard came to Schola last year to teach Protective magics and act as bodyguard and mentor to two sons of Council Members. He has settled into a pleasant life with a great deal of time in the duelling salle, and an amiable beer in the pub on Saturday evenings while he and Thesan mark assignments. This year promises to be even better, since Alexander, his own mentor, will be teaching Ritual classes.

    No school year is ever simple. And it never goes the way you think it will.

    Eclipse is full of astronomy, what makes a good teacher, student dramatics, glittering social events, academic politics, students who are possibly up to something, and whether a relationship might work between two people from very different backgrounds who have their own professional goals and expectations. Set in the 1924-1925 school year, Eclipse explores what it means to live, work, and love at Schola.

    Get your ebook now from your favourite source. (Paperbacks coming soon: sign up for my mailing list to find out when they’re out.)

  • 2. The Fossil Door,  Announcements

    Come explore The Fossil Door!

    Cover of The Fossil Door: A man and woman in silhouette at the right looking to the left, at something on the ground. He is wearing a hat. The background is deep burgundy and golden yellow, with a small illuminated manuscript inset in the top left corner. Star and sparkles swirl around the figures.

    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.)

  • Announcements

    A few updates around the place

    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.

    Content notes

    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.

    Coming soon

    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.

  • Announcements

    A special offer

    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.

    Outcrossing

    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.
  • 5: In The Cards,  Announcements

    Hello, In The Cards

    Cover of the book: Two figures silhouetted against a purple backdrop, one turning away from the other. Stars frame their heads nad shoulders, and three small divination cards can be seen inset in the top right corner.

    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….)

  • 4: Wards of the Roses,  Announcements,  Books

    Wards of the Roses

    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.)

    Wards of the Roses: a silhouetted man and woman on a cover shading from red to pink with a rose in the corner.

    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.