Reader Q&A
questions that readers ask...

Note: The answers to these questions contain spoilers and span all the books in each series.

About the Others stories

Q. Would it please be possible to have a map of the continents the way you picture it?

A. Using a map of our Earth as a reference, the corresponding places would be:

  • Afrikah (Africa) -- has a couple of areas (the size of a small country) that belong to humans; the rest is controlled by the Others.
  • Australis (Australia) -- mostly controlled by the Others; a few human settlements.
  • Brittania -- the lower third of England; inhabited by humans. The rest is Wild Brittania and is controlled by the Others.
  • Cel-Romano / Cel-Romano Alliance of Nations -- the area around the Mediterran and Black Seas; loosely based on the ancient Celtic/Roman empire that I found in a Celtic Atlas.
  • Felidae (South America) -- has a couple of areas that belong to humans; the rest is controlled by the Others.
  • Fingerbone Islands -- imaginary chain of islands in the Atlantik that resemble a crooked finger.
  • Storm Islands (the Caribbean Islands and what is left of Central America) -- does/did have human civilizations.
  • Thaisia (North America) -- has human towns and cities but is mostly controlled by the Others.
  • Tokhar-Chin -- about one-third of the land that we know as China; some coastline, so there is access to the ocean for fishing.
  • Zelande (New Zealand) -- has enough humans to have a few towns and the people trade with other parts of the world.

Q. Why are some words pronounced differently in the audio book of Murder of Crows from the way they were pronounced in Written in Red?

A. When I listened to Written in Red, I realized I had not been clear about how I intended some words to be pronounced -- I say BOW instead of B-O-W and cassandra sang instead cassandra sangway. Since I knew there would be more books (Vision in Silver, plus books 4 and 5), I discussed this with the producer and we decided to ask the narrator to match the way I said the words (and the way I hear them when I'm writing the stories). So we tweaked the way some of the words were spoken. If you look at the list in the next Q&A, you'll see some of my pronunciation guides.

Q. How do you pronounce terra indigene?

A. Here is the pronunciation for some of the names/words in the Others books:

BOW (Box on Wheels) — boe
cassandra sangue — kah-sandrah sang
Cel-Romano — KEHL roe-MAHN-oh
Etu — EE-too
Honon — HOE-nuhn
Namid — nah-mihd
Phineas Jones — FIN-ee-as joenz
Sanguinati — sang-wihn-ah-tee
Tahki — tah-kee
Tala — tah-lah
terra indigene — tair-ah ihn-dih-zheen
Thaisia — THAY-zhah

Q. What is Tess?

A. The name Tess sometimes means "harvesting life." When I read that, I wondered what kind of predator would walk in the Others' world if I took the words literally. That's how my imagination conjured a form of terra indigene that may have hints and echoes of mythology but isn't based on any particular myth or earthly creature. The inability to define her is one of the things I find so chilling about her.

Q. Are there going to be more books about the Others?

A. Crowbones, the sequel to Lake Silence, will be released in March 2022. And there will be an Others short story called "The Dark Ship," which will be released in the anthology Heroic Hearts in May 2022.

Q. Can Meg and Simon have children?

A. No. Even when they look human, the terra indigene are a different species. That means they can’t produce offspring with humans—even humans like Meg.

Q. Why is Mel (the horse) not prey?

A. He is prey to almost every predator that looks at a horse and sees a potential meal. However, Mel is a cow pony, which means he’s fast, he’s agile, and he’s smart. Also, he was bred and raised on the Prairie Gold ranch, so he would have had some proximity to the Wolfgard pack that lived in that part of the Elder Hills. Do the Wolfgard smell a little different than regular wolves? Maybe they do to a horse. Whatever the reason, Mel recognized the dogs that were attacking the horses as enemies and Virgil and Kane as allies—or at least not enemies. And Virgil acknowledged Mel’s courage by referring to him as the horse that is not meat. (Note that Virgil calls him that. Mel would still be a snack to an Elder.)

Q. Monty got into trouble for killing a pedophile who preyed on girls. Meg was punished when she lied to one of the Controller’s clients, who was also a sexual predator, about which girl he could take and not get caught. Was the man Monty shot and the man Meg lied to the same person?

A. No. The man Monty shot lived in Toland and had the bodies of several girls hidden in his residence. The man who was the Controller’s client was wealthy (had to be to afford the fees for a cut), traveled for business, and preyed on girls in different cities to avoid being caught.

About the Black Jewels stories

Q. How old is a child when he or she goes through the Birthright Ceremony? What about when someone makes the Offering to the Darkness?

A. It depends on the race, but the equivalent age for the Birthright Ceremony would be around seven years old. The Offering to the Darkness has a wider range, say between eighteen and twenty-two, although the average would
be about twenty years (or equivalent age) for most of the Blood.

Q. Could you list the castes and the order of the Jewels for audio book listeners?

A. Check out the Hierarchy/Castes and Jewels page.

Q. Will there be more Black Jewels stories?

A. Yes! I am currently writing (this is October 2021) The Queen's Price, which will be released in March 2023.

Q. On the audio books for Tangled Webs and The Shadow Queen, why does Jaenelle have an Irish accent?

A. My bad. :) When we discussed voices, I suggested using the accent to make Jaenelle's voice distinct from the other female characters. However, after I heard it, I realized it was a perfect accent for Khardeen and Morghann but didn't suit Jaenelle. So we changed her voice for the other audio books.

Q. What do Scelties look like?
A. They look like Shetland Sheepdogs, which are also called Shelties.

Q. Did you base the sweetened cheese dessert that Daemon ate in The Shadow Queen on a real dessert?

A. I made that up, but I was thinking of the equivalent of a cheesecake that had chocolate and raspberry.

Q. What makes a witch a queen? Is it psychic strength?

A. No, it's not psychic strength, since a Queen can wear a light Jewel. Like Warlord Princes, a Queen is born into that caste, and the attributes that make her a Queen are there at her birth.

Q. Does every Queen expect to eventually rule something, even if it's just one village?

A. That is the expectation, although not all Queens can form an official court. The ones whose personality or behavior prevents an official court from forming don't rule anything. (An official court is formed when a minimum of twelve males agree to serve a Queen. Three of those men will become the Queen's Triangle and serve as her Steward, Master of the Guard, and Consort or First Escort.)

Q. Will Daemon and Jaenelle have children?

A. The answer to that is in "The High Lord's Daughter," one of the stories in Twilight's Dawn.
Q. What happened to Falonar?
A. The answer to that is in "Shades of Honor," one of the stories in Twilight's Dawn.

Q. What happened to Graysfang?
A. Since Surreal prefers city life, which would not be good for a wolf, Graysfang joined Tassle's pack and stayed in Ebon Rih.

Q. Whatever happened to Della, the girl who was rescued by Kaelas and KaeAskavi?
A. Karla adopted her.

Q. Is there a recipe for nutcakes?

A. Not that I created. I was picturing something like a nutbread baked in a cake pan and cut into squares. Note: Since each race would make use of the nuts from their part of the Realms, nutcakes made in different Territories wouldn't be exactly alike. (There is more than one kind of cookie on Earth, right?) Bottom line? Make what you think would taste good and have fun.

About Twilight's Dawn

Q. Is this the last Black Jewels book?

A. No. The stories in Twilight's Dawn were intended to answer some of the questions readers have been asking for several years, particularly about what happens to Daemon after Jaenelle is gone. It took a few years for me to come back to the Realms, but The Queen's Bargain and The Queen's Weapons continue the story and are available now (now being October 2021). In March 2023, The Queen's Price will be released.

Q. Since Jaenelle Saetien acquired Twilight's Dawn at her Birthright Ceremony, what Jewel could she receive at the Offering to the Darkness?

A. The Twilight's Dawn that Jaenelle Saetien received ranged from Rose to Green. The Darkest Jewel she could have received at the Offering to the Darkness was the Gray. However, the price she had to pay for her part in the coven of malice's schemes was the loss of most of the original power in her Twilight's Dawn Jewel. She now wears Purple Dusk, so the darkest Jewel she can receive at the Offering would be Sapphire.

About the Tir Alainn stories

Q. Will you be writing another story in the World of the Fae?
A. I hope to visit that world again, but I don't know yet.

About the Ephemera stories

Q. Will you be writing another story in Ephemera?
A. I hope to visit that world again, but I don't know yet.

About Writing

Essay on Writer’s Block: Thoughts About Unlocking Your Creativity  


The Queen's PriceThe Queen's Price, in paperback February 2024