Category Archives: Writing

An Excerpt from Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding

With a little over two weeks left before release, we thought you might all like a peek at an excerpt from Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding.  In the next couple of weeks we will be taking a closer look at many of the characters from Faerie Rising as well as releasing a few new flash fictions.  We hope you enjoy the excerpt!

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An Excerpt from Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding

The world shifted sideways. Winter braced herself against the wall with her one good hand, the chalk grinding against the concrete as she fought the initial wave of disorientation. Something was horribly wrong. Within the rift, power was building up, as if someone had just crimped a running hose.

And she was holding the nozzle.

Nine glyphs in the warding, each unique, complex, and time consuming. Each must be drawn with precision, or the whole seal would fail. Winter had never drawn glyphs so fast in her life, her hand frantically scraping the chalk against the wall in her desperate race against… against what? It felt like a tidal wave, rushing implacably toward her. Somehow, something was affecting the balance of power.

She spoke each glyph as she drew it, magic resonating in her voice with each syllable. Six glyphs to go. Its name spoken, the glyph would take on a glow, casting the hole in sharp relief, bringing out each line of exhaustion on Winter’s face.

Highlighting the growing cracks in the cement around the rift.

After the seal went up, the cement became irrelevant. It could be ground to dust, and the seal would hold. Before then, however… the seal needed a matrix, something solid to hold the lines she drew with the enspelled chalk. Before then, the seal was all too fragile.

When the surge hit, it would blow the rift wide open. There would be precious little left of Winter and probably the surrounding square acre or so.

Five glyphs.

She wasn’t going to make it. Winter’s shoulders were burning, her hand beginning to cramp and shake, her hurt wrist felt like it was on fire. The glow of the warding began to fade as her magic was drained by pain and panic and exhaustion. She needed more power. She did not have time to ground and pull power from the earth… leaving only one choice. “Karen!”

There is power to control in a name. She spoke the name with resonant Command, and suddenly the cougar was there, terrified eyes wide on the wizard beside her. Ruthlessly, she pushed aside the older woman’s flimsy natural protections and pulled what power there was into herself. It was wild, and tasted of dark places, pain-filled joy, and kittens warm in the den. This was not a wizard’s gift she used, but came of her mixed blood. The spell flared back to life, and Winter redoubled her efforts.

Four glyphs.

The hole began collapsing inward, little chunks of cement falling into the flame-wreathed darkness.

Three glyphs.

The chunks were getting larger, the cracks creeping closer to her fragile chalk lines.

Two glyphs.

The surge was now audible, a tsunami rushing toward them.

One glyph.

The ground beneath her knees was quivering with the building pressure.

The warding blazed just as the tidal wave of magic rammed it from the other side, the whole ravine shuddering from the impact, then the lettering settled into the cement, leaving the two women alone in the quiet night.


Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding will be available in e-book and paperback April 1, 2017.  Grab your pre-order at http://getBook.at/FaerieRising .

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Welcome to the Grand Reopening

Welcome to the new and improved A. E. Lowan. We have been on hiatus, rebuilding and reinventing. Please come in, excuse our renovation mess, and get to know the new team.

Kristin Vinck, One Third of A. E. Lowan

Kristin Vinck

Raised as a Navy brat, Kristin Vinck began writing as a child on the West Coast, learning her love of words at her mother’s knee. Her first story, composed at five-years-old, was an instant classic in her house. “Ghostie-Ghost” was a harrowing tale of the adventures of, well, a ghost, and her friends. Kristin won her first writing award for urban fantasy in Seattle at eight-years-old for a story about a city on a boat, pulled by dinosaurs. In her teens, Kristin moved from learning at home from her satirist mother to formal writing education at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. After careening from career to career, or as she finds it more comforting to call it, sampling the human experience widely, she settled into the life of a full-time writer in the Missouri Ozarks where she is assisted by three narcoleptic dogs and three enthusiastically obnoxious cats.

Jennifer Vinck, One Third of A. E. Lowan

Jennifer Vinck

Raised among musicians in Kansas City, Missouri, Jennifer Vinck came to writing from another direction – poetry and song. She won her first writing award in the second grade, for a poem ironically also about a ghost. Poetry was her primary creative endeavor throughout childhood and when Jennifer was twelve-years-old she was asked to write the lyrics for a song used for All Species Day (a precursor of Earth Day) in Kansas City. She auditioned for the creative writing department at the Kansas City Middle School of the Arts and there discovered a new passion, speculative fiction. Jennifer met Kristin Vinck on the first day of school at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts and they were instantly inseparable. They began creating epic and urban fantasy worlds within minutes of meeting and have been collaborating in fiction and in life ever since.

Jessica Smith, One Third of A. E. Lowan

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith found her passion for fantastical storytelling where so many young writers do – through the masterpieces of fantasy’s renowned matriarchs. As the pile of worlds inhabited by dragonriders, wizards, and fair folk caused her bookshelves to plea for mercy, the constellation of worlds inside her waiting for their story to be told grew and grew. With enough ideas to fill the state of Texas where she was raised, Jessica first took pencil to paper before she hit double digits with a story about reincarnation and memory. Jessica’s love of how the universe functions and the intricacies of the human mind led the way into deep scientific study, and from there into the field of medicine. It was her passion for writing that took her to the internet in search of fellow creators, of people who kept whole worlds in their minds. Jessica has been a staple of many online writing communities over the years, but it was on a fantasy-specific site, Mythic Scribes, where Jessica met Kristin and Jennifer. Her worlds and theirs collided as a whirlwind of collaboration began. Jessica writes with the assistance of a furry, opinionated office minion by the name of Sugar-Bear.

Together we comprise A. E. Lowan, the author of the dark urban fantasy series, The Books of Binding. We’re proud to announce that Faerie Rising: The First Book of Binding will be released in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, we will be introducing you to some of the characters from our world here and at our website, aelowan.com. Please follow us there to our new blog where we will be posting pieces of original fiction. Ranging from snapshot vignettes to longer glances through the curtain, we will be showing you early glimpses into the lives of our cast.

Thank you for sticking by us during our renovation. The paint is still fresh, the carpet just went in yesterday, and some of the fixtures are still on back order, but the doors are officially opening this spring. We hope that you all enjoy these sneak peeks into the world we have built. We are excited to begin this journey with all of you.

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The Characters of Faerie Rising – Jessie St. James

When Jessie St. James was twelve years-old she stumbled into Olde Curiosity’s Gift Shoppe, a little family-owned store full of herbal products. After taking a light-fingered look around she attempted to leave with some of the smaller merchandize and came face to face with one of the proprietors, the wizard Winter Mulcahy.  Winter had noticed that the girl was using magic to aid her shoplifting – but put a broom in her hand and had her do chores in the shop rather than calling the police.  At the end of the afternoon Winter rewarded Jessie’s good work with the items she had tried to steal.  Jessie has been Winter’s shadow ever since.

Jessie began training her magic with Winter’s twin cousins, Kelley and Martina, whose offensive abilities were more in keeping with Jessie’s flamboyant style than Winter’s tamer potion making. But that came to an end six months ago, when the twins were killed – the latest in the long line of Mulcahy wizards to die.  Winter has been forced to continue Jessie’s magical education as best she can, but with the crushing weight of her responsibilities Jessie is often left training on her own.  Most days she can be found at Curiosity’s after or, much to Winter’s eternal consternation, during school hours.

Sixteen year-old Jessie’s home life is a mess. Her parents, Joanie and Darryl St. James, are career alcoholics, controlling and verbally abusive towards their daughter and each other, and resent Jessie’s involvement with the Mulcahy family.  Not possessing any magic themselves, they are unaware of the preternatural world their daughter has whole heartedly joined and see Winter as a busybody.  Jessie in return does everything in her power to avoid her parents, taking advantage of their drunken forgetfulness to spend nights sleeping anywhere but at home.

Quick of wit, artistic, and unabashedly outspoken, Jessie has quickly made friends throughout the preternatural community, especially among the vampires of Seahaven. Many nights she can be found couch surfing at their Theatre in the Historical District when she isn’t hiding from her parents in the tiny apartment above Curiosity’s.

Winter is sick, falling apart from the strain of holding Seahaven together alone. Everyone in the preternatural community can see it, and they all talk to Jessie about it.  Jessie is desperate to help her friend and mentor, but Winter won’t let her.

But being told “no” won’t deter a young wizard like Jessie…

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Writing Diversity in Speculative Fiction

“Why is diversity important in speculative fiction?”  There are a few different answers to this, because it is not only important, it’s becoming increasingly important every year.

1) Diversity really is good.  I know this answer gets blown off, but it’s true.  However, it’s also a fast and easy answer, and doesn’t really get to the heart of the “why.”

2) Because readers want to see characters who reflect themselves and their lives.  This is the money answer, and readers vote with their entertainment dollars.  Readers, more and more, really are showing increasing interest in seeing a more diverse reflection of life in genre fiction – they want to see MC’s who are the single mother, the black dragon slayer, the space waitress, the gay squire.  The world, and the reading public, is not made up of straight white farm boys and princes, and they’re getting bored with reading about them.  So why not add richness, depth, and realism to our fiction while attracting readers who are clamoring for just such diversity, because they want to see characters they can identify with?

3) Because these are the stories that don’t get told. And here is the social justice answer – to be honest, it’s our answer.  Media has traditionally “white-washed” out most of the rest of society in favor of the perspective of the Straight White Male default.  Things are getting better, slowly, as eyes open and we realize a more inclusive media is a good thing, but the fact that we still wrangle in discussions like this shows that we are, indeed, still far off from where we need to be as a genre as far as recognition of social issues goes.  Within the umbrella terms of “diversity” and “equality” lie stories that until recently were only told in dark corners.  We, as writers, have the opportunity to bring them into the light.  Just think, we who so often bemoan the dearth of new stories, how many stories wait unheard?  Dark stories, many of them, but also stories of hope, perseverance, and determination.  And we don’t even need to make blatant social statements out of our plots or characters to tell them – in fact, it’s really better if we don’t.  All we need is for our characters to say, “Here I am.  I am a person, for better or worse.”  I think this is especially true for those who write YA, when young readers are desperately searching for characters who look like them, struggle like them, hurt like them.  They don’t need yet another heroic farm boy, they need an MC like them – be they awkward or brown or gay or gender-questioning.

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