seanan_mcguire: (me)
Hello, happy people!

Thursday (December 1st) will be the first of the Thirteen Days of Hogswatch, my now-annual "Seanan gives things away for thirteen days because why not" celebration, and I just wanted to issue a few quick reminders. Namely...

1. Each giveaway will have its own rules. Some will be US-only. (Most will honestly be US-only, because I can't afford to pay international postage at this time. More about this to come.) Others will say things like "your comment must include the word 'banana' to be considered a valid entry." Failure to precisely follow the rules of a giveaway will mean you cannot win. There is no wiggle room here, at all. This is partially for my sanity, and partially because when I give things away, the free stuff blogs tend to signal boost, and insisting that the rules be followed means that there's enough of a barrier to entry that I can be reasonably sure things are going to people who actually want them.

2. No, you do not need to follow this blog to win. That being said, each entry will say something like "the winners will be posted at X time, and will have until Y to contact me." Every time I do a giveaway, I have folks contacting me days after the stated time, wanting to know if they can still claim their prizes. I fully understand that life happens—I've been the late one before—but the timelines are firm. So if you don't follow this blog normally, I recommend checking in daily until all Hogswatch giveaways are over.

3. In the instances where I am willing to deal with the cost and complication of international shipping, I may say "you must pay postage to receive your prize." If you'd like to volunteer to pay international postage for a giveaway winner, please comment on that day's giveaway to indicate this. Make sure it's a first-level comment, and not a reply to a specific person. (If you're only willing to pay for a specific person, tell them in private, and y'all can work it out without me.)

4. All prizes have already been selected, but I will not be revealing them until the day that their drawing begins.

5. You can enter all thirteen days if you want to. Winning day one does not bar you from winning again on day eight.

And that is all. First entry goes up tomorrow!
seanan_mcguire: (pony)
As I've said a few times, I'm using simple questions ("name a favorite song" or "tell me which characters you're curious about," etc.) to try to filter out the "I'm just here because a free stuff blog linked to you" comments. Not that free stuff isn't keen no matter who you are, but since the Thirteen Days of Hogswatch are about getting things to my fans and readers, I want to have some sort of "please don't let me be completely overwhelmed" filtering scheme in place. Don't follow the instructions, which the gimme-gimme-gimme crowd usually won't, don't win a prize.

In the case of the copy of Pretty Little Dead Girl, I asked people to tell me why they wanted to win. A surprisingly large number have said that it's because they've never heard my music/didn't know I had CDs/wanted to start at the beginning. So...

I have CDs! Three albums, currently. Stars Fall Home (the reissue of my first studio album), Creature Feature, and Wicked Girls (currently out of stock at CD Baby, which means the link doesn't work). Two earlier albums, Pretty Little Dead Girl and Red Roses and Dead Things are out of print.

Many of the songs on Pretty Little Dead Girl appear on Stars Fall Home, including "Pretty Little Dead Girl," the girl-group doo-wop story of Rose Marshall. I will be re-stocking Wicked Girls within the next week.

This is not "please don't enter the drawing"; the drawings are there to be entered, and I am thrilled that so many of you are participating. But if you've been curious about my music, I actually consider Stars Fall Home the best place to start, and I would love it if you'd consider picking up my studio albums.

Thank you.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
We are deep into the Thirteen Days of Hogswatch now, which means a new giveaway post is going live every day. Starting tomorrow, a new winners' post will also be going live every day. Fun!

Thus far, all of this year's giveaways have been RNG drawings. This means I am using a random number generator to select the winners, and this is where my request comes in. See, I'm seeing a lot of people replying to other peoples' giveaway entries. I need you to stop doing that. Please. Only top-level comments can win; if a reply to a comment grabs the winning entry, I choose another winner. So if I pick, say, #15 to win, and #15 turns out to be a reply to #14, I don't go down a comment. I hit the RNG again. That means that whoever replied to #14 has just caused the "real" #15 not to win.

I do this for a lot of reasons, the most important being that the sub-comments throw off my count, I start second-guessing, I'm doing this manually, and so it's just easier on my peace of mind to draw again. But it's still not fair to the people leaving the top-level comments. Please, please stop replying to other peoples' giveaway entries.

Also, please remember that when I say "the rules of this giveaway are...," that there is no room for negotiation. If I say "name your favorite fruit" and you comment with "I love fruit!," you actually cannot win, because you didn't follow the rules. This is to filter out the free stuff blogs that send their followers here to harvest prizes, but who don't actually have any investment in the things I'm handing out.

Thank you all. Today's post will go live in a few hours.
seanan_mcguire: (me)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am no longer taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our tenth and final question comes from [livejournal.com profile] heavensgardener, who asked...

"I'm curious about Faerie and trans* people: are there any trans* and genderqueer fae, and if there are, how would this be handled legally/socially/etc? "

This is a great question. This is an important question. And this is a question where I am going to begin my answer with a disclaimer. Namely:

The fae are not human. The reason we have a changeling (Toby) as our primary entrance into the world, with a Cait Sidhe as her main love interest, is because in many ways, the older purebloods of the Divided Courts are so inhuman that they are difficult to explain. Some of them, like the Luidaeg, have spent so much time around humans that they've started thinking like humans do, but for the most part, they are intelligent creatures who are not us. Because of this, when I answer questions about the fae, a) I sometimes need to answer for purebloods and changelings separately, and b) an answer that is about purebloods is not a statement of how I necessarily think things work for real humans, in the real world. Okay? Okay.

So:

There are absolutely genderqueer fae. There are fae, such as the Undine, for whom a human form is a choice, and so they go with whatever they feel. Lily identified as female, so she was almost always female when she talked to Toby; there may have been others for whom she took on a male form, or a completely androgynous one. There are other fae who just don't think it's any of your damn business, and conduct themselves accordingly. The only time anyone will ask them to "commit" to a gender is when it's time to have an heir, which means that if they're not in the direct line of descent, they don't have to worry about it. There have been a few surprises when "Daav you know, Daav, doesn't like pronouns, always sort of assumed they had a penis? Yeah, well, Daav's pregnant," but on the whole, it's no big deal.

It's a bigger deal for genderqueer changelings, who exist at about the same percentage that they do in a human population (maybe slightly higher, as they are more likely to encounter positive genderqueer representation if they're growing up in the Summerlands). Changelings living in the mortal world have to deal with mortal shit. Changelings living in the Summerlands are often being raised by their fae parents, and fae parents can be weirdly gender essentialist about kids. IE, "I have wanted a daughter for three thousand years, you are going to wear that dress if it kills you." Sometimes fae parents do this with no concern for their kid's gender identity, because pureblood parents can be absolute assholes.

Trans fae are somewhat less common than genderqueer fae, and most of them, because they live in a magical world, will just go "well, I want transformation magic now," and have done. The only way to get a permanent transformation spell is to get it from one of the Firstborn, but re-casting once every hundred years can seem like a small price to pay.

Some alchemists have figured out how to make what are essentially the magical version of hormone replacements. This is because alchemists tend to prefer slow, steady, permanent solutions to "wave a wand and it's done."

Fae are very respectful of pronouns and gender declarations. The question of succession is usually handled by either naming a brother or sister's child as heir, or training an heir from a completely different bloodline, or marrying someone with whom a child is possible. (For someone using transformation spells, which would provide a complete biological reweaving, at least in the short term, this is easy. For someone using alchemy, this is harder. For someone who has made a deal with the Luidaeg, this ranges from easy to impossible.)

Trans changelings face many of the issues trans humans do, with the added options of using transformation magic or alchemy (and thus tying themselves more permanently to Faerie).

Selkie skins are interesting, because they transform the wearer from human to seal and back based on what their wearer knows themselves to be. So a Selkie who receives their skin will transform for the first time, and then return to an ideal version of themselves. This can mean a change of visible gender, and a great relief to the young Selkie.
seanan_mcguire: (wicked)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am no longer taking questions in the comments on the original post; with just one question left to go, I think we're full up.

Our ninth question comes from [livejournal.com profile] marabett, who asked...

"So, this may not be enough of a question to justify a post, but...We've seen a lot of discussion about how low fertility is for non-Firstborn fae, to the point where they'll even take human lovers just to obtain a baby who may later present significant issues of his/her own (the Choice, mortality, etc. etc.). Does this really take precedent over everything else? By which I mean, if you're a Daoine Sidhe having a fling with a rascally Cait Sidhe that you'd rather not have your spouse know about, would you, erm, take steps to ensure that you wouldn't give birth to a baby with a tail? Are there magical ways to block fertility -- after all, there don't seem to be any magical ways to *increase* fertility, or I assume the fae would make use of them...? Or is it as simple as a fae thinking in passing, "A child would be inconvenient," and voila, no offspring? Or...would the spouse in question be delighted at the birth of a child even if he weren't the progenitor, because hey, fae baby!

Are there rules and traditions around the conception of full-fae children totally out of marriage? If two single fae types who are dallying together for fun conceive, do they just start talking marriage without another thought, because it's just a given that proven fertility together is as good a basis for marriage as any other? Or is that so rare that it's just handled on a case-by-case basis? I noticed that we had gotten a lot of interesting information on how full-fae children are viewed in the context of a marriage, and how changelings are viewed, but not a lot of discussion about what would happen if, say, Helen and Raj found out that they were expecting.

Again, sorry if this is too picayune -- as a subfertile member of a species in which fertility is assumed as the default, I end up wondering about a lot of esoteric elements of fertility stuff even in fictional races.

Also, one more question, since we're on the topic of fae fertility...For a fae couple, is there something about managing to conceive one child that triggers increased fertility for a period afterwards? I ask because I've noticed several examples of fae couples who have no children for quite some time, but then have two or more in (relatively) rapid succession. Apologies if this is veering into spoiler territory."

Um, wow. Okay, points for a really detailed question. Also, wow are y'all collectively fascinated by babies. Is this a hint?

Anyway, we're going to break this down. First part:

"Is having a baby, period, more important than what that baby is? Is there birth control?"

Every fae marriage has its own rules. Some include fidelity; others do not. How likely they are to include fidelity is somewhat determined by the rank of the people involved. Two married Daoine Sidhe, for example, hoping for a Daoine Sidhe heir, are likely to practice very strict fidelity until they actually get a kid, because they don't want there to be any question of whether someone else can make a claim to their lands or titles. (Ex: Duchess has an affair, has a child with her seneschal. Child is made heir. Child dies in the absence of any other heir. Seneschal can now claim that their other child, as the sibling of the heir, has a legit claim to the title. Depending on how the local monarch rules, this might actually work. This is the problem with a system of governance wherein the person who wears the crown just does what they want.) Also remember that fae divorce requires the consent of any children; adding a third parent who is not part of the marriage vows only complicates things. Since many fae marry solely for procreation, this doesn't come up very often.

There is birth control, for those times when you really don't want to risk pregnancy. It's usually used right before and during long diplomatic missions. These are thankfully uncommon. (Some fae will also use birth control when they have plans for the next nine months/year that they'd really rather not change, viewing it as not tempting fate.)

Second part:

"What happens with full-fae children totally out of marriage?"

Instant divorce!

No, seriously.

Helen is not a pureblood, so I'm going to shift your example to Raj and Chelsea, as they're purebloods of approximately the same age. (Not that they're sleeping together, as Etienne would straight-up murder anyone getting his sixteen-year-old daughter pregnant, Oberon's Law be damned.) If the two of them had a baby, they would not be considered married, but would be considered divorced. This is the one time that the child does not get to choose which side of the family it will belong to. Raj and Chelsea would both be expected to make the case to their respective lieges for why they should (or shouldn't) have custody, and at the end, the baby would belong to one family or the other. There is no child support. There is no taking it back.

Third part:

"Is there a fertility boost following the birth of a child?"

Yes! No one is quite sure why, but having one baby seems to make it easier/more likely that you will have another, leading to clusters of two to four children born within a decade of each other. Most fae think this is very unfair. They are not wrong.
seanan_mcguire: (winter long)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our eighth question comes from [livejournal.com profile] clodia_risa, who asked...

"How are the bloodlines from the Firsts of the fae passed to their descendents? Did the three have many Firsts (multiple Daoine Sidhe) who bred and created the entire bloodline? Or did the "Firsts" of the different kinds have kids with each other, and each of their kids just happened to be much more like one parent than another? 'Rosey' and 'Pumpkin' definitely have some bloodmixing because of their parentage, despite their mothers being Firsts. Was it a different time? Were the Hope Chests involved? Did The Three have something to do with it?"

Well, first off, "Rosey" (names changed to protect the innocent) is not a Firstborn: she is the daughter of the daughter of a Firstborn. Which is not the same thing at all. "Pumpkin" is the daughter of a Firstborn. Both of them are members of their respective fae races; they don't have the genetic flexibility of Firstborn. Anyone they have children with will be members of their race, and will share the traits of their parents.

"Rosey" is an interesting case, because she's not just a mixed-blood, she's a mix of two types of fae who should never, under normal circumstances, have been able to reproduce. She's probably infertile, at least until something changes. "Pumpkin," on the other hand, is just a changeling. Note that Firstborn + human still = changeling. It's only one of the big Three whose blood is powerful enough to overwhelm any trace of humanity. Their children are always purely fae. There are no changelings among the Firstborn.

That being said, each Firstborn will tend to have children who are of similar, if not identical, races, as long as they stay with a partner who is the same, or at least similar. So a female Firstborn, such as the Luidaeg, would need to stay with the same man/find other men of the same derivation. Six kids with the same second First = six kids of the same fae type. Six kids with different Firsts = six different types of fae. Six kids with random Daoine Sidhe = six kids who are so similar that if their children intermarry, they will become one fae type.

(Yes, there is a lot of generational incest in Faerie. I try not to focus on it, but when you can literally say "100% of us are descended from the same three people," it's inevitable. Most of the time, a few centuries without living as family makes it more palatable.)

The Three have something to do with the Hope Chests, and the Hope Chests were once much more common; remember that Toby thought they were a myth.

Times have changed.
seanan_mcguire: (cam)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our seventh question comes from [livejournal.com profile] greenhafling, who asked...

"How does one inherit a title or fiefdom in the October-verse? Does blood count more than power?"

This question highlights probably the biggest difference between the Divided Courts (Seelie, Unseelie, and Oberon's) and the Court of Cats. Among the Divided Courts, blood counts. Among the Court of Cats, power counts.

Functionally, this means that changelings can never inherit lands or titles from their parents, regardless of Court. The Court of Cats would absolutely respect a changeling Prince or Princess who challenged for the throne, but the chances of a) such an individual existing (there is no record of such) and b) winning are vanishingly small. Really, a changeling could challenge, but would lose, because they wouldn't have the power for it. The power levels necessary to be called "Prince" or "Princess" are not directly inherited; they can appear at random in a bloodline that has never shown that kind of strength. Most Kings and Queens are not related to their heirs.

But oh, the Divided Courts. There, only blood matters. Not power, not fitness to rule, nothing but blood. And changelings can never, never inherit. In the case of multiple potential heirs, such as September, Sylvester, and Simon, the inheritance can be split up. This is why Simon got a title with no land, September got nothing, and Sylvester got his father's sword and a letter of introduction to King Gilad's parents, so that he could prove himself a hero and get the land that he believed he deserved.

Now, hope chests can make this interesting. Let's pretend, for a moment, that a King--call him King Bob--had a changeling daughter and no other heir. In time, the girl has a child. If King Bob uses a hope chest on his grandson, does his grandson (now a pureblood) inherit?

Yes.

There are a lot of reasons that some people dislike changelings, and like merlins even less.
seanan_mcguire: (ashes)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our sixth question comes from [livejournal.com profile] ceitfianna, who asked...

"I know children are important to the Fae and there have been moments of seeing how children are raised differently among the various races. Does this create problems or arguments when Fae are fostered or for those who aren't noble when they interact together or are there certain things that every child learns? I hope that makes sense, basically I'm really curious about childhood among the Fae and how varied it can be. Thank you."

Fae childhood! Fun times!

Okay, so first, we're going to look at pureblood childhoods here, not changeling childhoods. Why? Because for the most part, changelings will have a human childhood until their Choice, and then a really fucked-up childhood after, unless they are being raised in the Summerlands by a pureblood parent who was so desperate for children that they got themselves a changeling, functionally as a pet. Those changeling children will again have a pureblood childhood, right up until they get too old and are discarded. It's depressing and not fun, and I don't want to focus on it. So I don't have to.

The first thing to remember about fae parents is that there is literally no such thing as an unwanted child. Between the low fertility rates and the existence of magic which can be used for fun purposes like "let's not tempt fate, you know I will get pregnant while my husband is on a seven-year quest, contraceptives for all," if there's a baby, it is because someone very much wanted a baby.

Which is not to say child abuse doesn't exist. It does, sadly, in part because a lot of purebloods haven't been around a baby for decades, even centuries. They get confused. Human nursemaids are common, especially in noble houses. Most of these women will never be seen by their mortal families again. It's gotten better since the invention of the printing press, and What To Expect When You're Expecting is surprisingly popular among fae parents.

From infancy to toddlerhood, there's really very little difference between a fae child and a human child. They want the same things, absorb knowledge at a similar rate, and grow like weeds. As Toby has noted, most fae grow at a roughly human rate until puberty, getting through those pesky "small enough to eat" years as fast as they can. These are the nursery years.

Once the kid is old enough to run around, it becomes important to remember that the Summerlands are essentially pastoral, and don't have many monsters. Fae kids run wild. There are few to no schools, because the birth rate is so low: children are tutored at home, and good teachers are in high demand. There may be small "classes," if enough kids are local. This is most common among noble households, once they start bringing in the etiquette and comportment teachers.

Fosterage either begins at birth, and involves sending one child to the location of another, or begins around the age of ten/eleven (most common for trade and blind fosterages). Once they reach the location of their fosterage, they will be assessed (usually by the seneschal) to find out what the holes in their education are.

There's no "everybody gets this" skill set. A lot depends on how traditionalist the parents are. But fae kids get by.
seanan_mcguire: (one salt sea)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our third question comes from [livejournal.com profile] seraangel, who asked...

"Do the air and fire kingdoms have their own royalty like the sea kingdom or are they beholden to whatever high king/queen rules in that section of the world?"

Yes. They have their own royalty.

Y'all, I really want to keep answering questions, but I'd say more than half the questions I have remaining are either a) spoilery ("Whatever happened to Bob?") or b) yes/no ("Is there a door?"). I really, really need more questions that will encourage elaborate answers. So please! Go! Ask!

(Note that this is not a slap at the remaining questions. But I need things I want to answer, can answer, and have the existing framework to answer. Please ask me questions on the original post.)
seanan_mcguire: (late eclipses)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our third question comes from [livejournal.com profile] acelightning, who asked...

"How much Fae ancestry (by percentage) does a person need in order to have magic of their own?"

It's the merlins question! So:

If two fae of the same type have a child, the child is a pureblood. They are fully fae, and will inherit the magic inherent in their type of fae. Quentin is a pureblood, as is Tybalt.

If two fae of a different type have a child, the child is a mixed-blood. They are fully fae, and how well they will be treated is somewhat determined by how noble they are. Their magic will be a mixture of their parents'. January was a mixed-blood. Dean is a mixed-blood.

If one fae parent and one human parent have a child, the child is a changeling. They will inherit magic only through their fae parent. Most will be weaker than their fae parent. October is a changeling, as was Chelsea.

If a changeling parent and a human parent have a child, the child is a thin-blooded changeling. They may or may not inherit any clear magical talents from their fae parent. Some will look sufficiently human as to not need illusions, or be offered the Changeling's Choice. Gillian was a thin-blooded changeling. The polite term for them is "quarter-bloods," but "weak-bloods" is more common.

A thin-blooded changeling who does show signs of magic will still be showing it within the "tree" of their fae ancestor. So if Gillian had any magical talents, they would have been things like minor illusions and detecting medical conditions through the taste of blood (not that she had any reason to go around drinking people's blood).

It's in the next generation where things get interesting.

A person with one-eighth fae blood or less is not considered a changeling: they will not face the Choice, they will die of old age (although it may take a long time), their flesh will decay when they do die. The night-haunts will not come for them. Most will have no magical talents at all. One in ten, however, will be the equivalent of Chelsea: they will have stronger magic than anyone expects. And they will have no innate restrictions. Iron doesn't burn them; oaths don't bind them; and most of all, their magic is formless. They get no starting talents or weaknesses.

All their magic will be of the sort Toby calls "hedge magic," using ingredients and rituals to get the desired effect. They are, essentially, wizards, using their natural talents and the rituals of trial and error to bend the world to their will. Or, as they are called by the fae, merlins.

Merlins usually manifest between one-eighth and one-sixteenth fae descent, but once it's in the line, it's there forever. Someone with a fae parent twenty generations back could, potentially, turn up as a merlin. There aren't many of them left these days, and those that exist rarely learn what they can do. They were one of the costs of the fae/human conflicts, since it left them without teachers.

Merlins are wild cards. Most consider them not to be trusted.
seanan_mcguire: (aan2)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our third question comes from [livejournal.com profile] tylik, who asked...

"How does lineage through firstborns work?

I mean, it seems like it's still sexual reproduction, and sometimes both parents are firstborns, but it seems that descent of record is usually tracked only through one (so, maybe dominant descent? Or are their multiple varieties of offspring any given firstborn may have?) But in at least one case there are multiple firstborn, and while firstborns clearly have children by people who aren't firstborn themselves, logic suggests that at some point the mating population was only other firstborn, their parents, and Something Else Altogether."

And then [livejournal.com profile] parcae asked...

"A question that a friend at work and I are both curious about: I know you've covered the way children descend from their parents, and the way races descend from the Big Three, but past that -- how do the Firstborn themselves reproduce? If two Firstborn have children, would those children themselves be wholly a separate race, or would they be half of one parent's race and half of the other? Toby is the child of a Firstborn, but since she's also the child of a human, she's still a changeling. And it's come up that the Tuatha de Danann have two Firstborn, each of whom have their own line, and each of those lines have their own scent as far as magic goes, so they can't have reproduced with each other (as far as I can tell the whole inbreeding thing means slightly less to the fae, but if they had then I don't think there would be the two distinct lines with the distinct scents)."

Since these questions are basically the same thing, I'm answering them together. Hooray!

First up, let's do a little weird science. It's weird science because it's weird, and because it's not really scientific. At the same time, it is an absolute constant of the Toby universe, so it counts. So:

Oberon, Maeve, and Titania are considered genetically unstable, to use words that we probably all agree mean what I want. Any time any one of them has a child, that child will be biologically unique. Think komodo dragons. Female komodo can (and do) give birth to parthenogenically conceived male offspring who are distinct enough from them to breed with, without worrying about inbreeding. Because nature is weird. So when Oberon and Maeve have a kid, while that kid is definitely theirs, and while both of them would be weirded out and disgusted by the thought of reproduction with said kid (Oberon is not actually Zeus), biologically, they could immediately wait for the kid to hit adulthood and then have kids with their kid, without concern about what that would do to the genetics. Gross, but there you go. There have almost certainly been cases of "Maeve gets frisky with one of Titania's kids, after the kid is a couple of hundred years old," because that are immortal, inhuman, and easily bored.

Any time one of the Three has a child, with anyone, the child will be Firstborn. The genetic instability that the Three bring to the table will mean that the kid is effectively not related to either parent. They'll inherit a class of magic from their Three parent; they may get traits from their other parent (if it is not one of the Three). They may not. Faerie does not like rules, and gets cranky when they are applied. Blind Michael and the Luidaeg, for example, have the same parents (Maeve and Oberon), and do not share any physical or magical traits. Acacia is Titania's daughter by an unknown father, but most people figure Titania didn't bang a tree. The beat goes on.

The one exception to the "nothing from their non-Three parent" is repeated reproduction within a relatively short period of time. If Titania were to have multiple children with the same non-Oberon father during a short span, she would get a cluster of Firstborn who were physically extremely similar, and had complimentary magical gifts. Why? No one knows. One theory is that Faerie is actually guiding the creation of the Firstborn, and doesn't change directions quickly. So Faerie says "I need a type of fae that does _______," puts out the order, and doesn't cancel it fast enough to avoid getting four possibles. This is not a bad thing. Quite a few races have multiple Firsts because of this. (Multiple births can go either way. The Tuatha have two Firsts because the mother of their Firstborn had twins. They were almost, but not quite, identical, and when their children intermarried, the two lines became utterly entangled.)

Firstborn are partially genetically unstable. If Firstborn A has ten children with non-First B, they will all be representatives of the same descendant race. They will also not be biologically related. The DNA gets "scrubbed," for lack of a better term. Fae do have taboos against incest, but only among siblings who actually grew up together. If the same Firstborn goes on to have more children with someone else, whether they get members of the same descendant race, a slightly different descendant race, or a totally new descendant race will be determined partially by the non-Firstborn parent. First + First pairings will always result in consistent descendant races.

Your common scenarios are:

1. Firstborn + member of the Three. Assuming that none of the Three has willingly had children with one of their own children, this still leaves one potential mate for each Firstborn child.

2. Firstborn + Firstborn.

3. Firstborn + other fae.

4. Firstborn + mortal.

5. Firstborn + something else.

Assume the same Firstborn decided, over the course of centuries, to try all five methods. First they breed with one of the Three, and become parent to a descendant race which doesn't thrive. Next they breed with another Firstborn, and become parent to a descendant race that thrives, but in a limited form. Then they breed with another fae, and become parent to a descendant race that spreads and becomes what they are known for. They tarry with a mortal, get a changeling child, and because they cannot find a hope chest, go no further. Finally, they breed with a cloud, and become a parent to a second well-established descendant race.

Faerie is complicated, and Mother's Day cards are confusing.
seanan_mcguire: (alh)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our second question comes from [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild, who asks...

"How did the divisions of kingdoms and territories come about?"

Hooray, land ownership!

As has been stated several times, the fae are highly territorial. It's not necessarily a choice: they become uncomfortable when over-crowded, and while they enjoy the company of their "own kind," it's oddly enough the presence of that "own kind" that will trigger the territorial urge for most fae. (I say "most" because there are virtually no universal generalizations in Faerie. Cu Sidhe don't become uncomfortable when there are more of them. In fact, Cu Sidhe would like it if there were millions of them. Cait Sidhe don't become territorial until there are multiple potential Kings or Queens in a single Court, and even then, their tolerance is higher than that of, say, the Daoine Sidhe, who view a local population of two hundred as unbearably huge.) There are biological reasons for this! Which we will not go into here. So.

Fae territory #1 has been established for a thousand years, and is getting quite full. A group of young nobles, guessing that their parents are not planning to die or step aside any time soon, decides to go off and seek their fortune. Because the Tobyverse fae inhabit a space that is unique in their world, they do not need to worry about someone else owning the land they, er, land on: the Summerlands there will be open, and the humans are a minor distraction at best. They declare themselves the Kingdom of #2.

Someone is now King. Probably either the person who gave up the highest title to come on this little errand (and thus provided most of the supplies), or the person who's best at doing poisonings. The others look around the Kingdom, carve off bits to be Duchies or Marches or whatnot, and settle down. Depending on how big a Kingdom they were able to claim, there will be a certain amount of "open" land. Because, see, the starting size of a Kingdom is determined by your ambition, but the starting size of a Duchy or March is determined by how much land you think you can hold.

(Some fae, even when present at the birth of a Kingdom, will elect for a County or Barony, taking another layer of bureaucracy in exchange for knowing that someone else's army will keep them safe, or that they won't need as much of a standing army.)

The new King/Queen can then make gifts of open parcels of land, along with the corresponding titles, to anyone who does the Kingdom a service. Gradually, this will whittle away at the open land, especially since it's best, due to that whole "territorial" thing again, to leave open space between Duchies/Marches/etc. whenever possible. Having a mile or so of unincorporated space does wonders at cutting down your intra-Kingdom wars.

The hierarchy goes High Kingdom (Ireland, North America, South America, etc.), Kingdom (The Mists, Silences, Angels), Duchy/March, County, Barony, Homestead.
seanan_mcguire: (rosemary2)
As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our first question comes from [livejournal.com profile] marooux13, who asks...

"Can you explain how Oberon claims his children?"

I am going to have to expand this question somewhat, since there's no way to answer it without also addressing the Queens, Maeve and Titania. So!

Everyone in Faerie is descended, in some way, from Oberon, Maeve, Titania, or some combination thereof. The confirmed possibilities are O/M, O/T, any of them alone, and any of them with a non-fae party. Because the Big Three are so much more powerful than their descendants, any of their children, regardless of how they were conceived, will be Firstborn. For an easy comparison, think Zeus and the demigods. Zeus bangs a human, demigod. Zeus bangs a tree, demigod. Zeus bangs the air while thinking of Zeus, demigod. Any time one of the three reproduces, their offspring will be fully fae, not human, and Firstborn.

In Faerie, to prevent all power eventually being centralized in a single family or group of families with extremely careful taste in marriages, children can only inherit from one parent, no matter what the circumstances. This is part of why, when fae divorce, the children must choose which parent they "belong" to. If Patrick and Dianda were to separate, Dean and Peter would be expected to decide which parent they were going to go with. Both could choose one, or they could take one each. The child who chose Patrick would then be heir to County of Twycross. The child who chose Dianda would technically be heir to the Duchy of Saltmist (although the Undersea handles some things differently). Neither would be able, under any circumstances, to claim ownership of the other's inheritance.

What this means for the Firstborn is that, when they reach a certain age, they have to choose a parent to "belong" to. Maeve and Titania do the majority of the child-rearing. Oberon's around, and he doesn't try to be disconnected, he just has other shit to do. So a lot of the kids have chosen their mothers without hesitation. Because he has two wives and two enormous families to deal with, he is actually less likely to have extramarital offspring than either of them; there are very few races that only descend from Oberon (and thus get an automatic "child of ________" in his name). Mostly, it's a matter of picking, and he's not top of very many lists.

Also, sometimes, kids go "I want to be yours" and are quietly dissuaded, either by him or by their mothers. Antigone would have claimed his name, but her younger brothers and sisters needed her, and she couldn't have stayed with them as a Child of Oberon.

All descendants of a particular Firstborn are automatically children of the parent their Firstborn claimed. Fae who perform unusual heroics or run headlong into danger will be referred to as Oberon's, but that's not a legal title.
seanan_mcguire: (ashes)
Hi!

I got a ping from Deborah (who monitors the merch account) yesterday, saying that people have been emailing her to go "WHERE SHIRTS?" First, thank you for using the merch account rather than commenting here. I've asked people to do that, and people are doing it, and that's awesome.

Second, shirts are still being mailed. Only not right this second, because right this second, I am in New York, and my mother, who is home with the shirts, doesn't have access to my bank account to pay for the postage. I've indicated several times that shirts are still being mailed, both directly, and by saying things like "I am still mailing T-shirts" in other posts (usually giveaways). As soon as I get home, I will go to the post office again.

The post office, as it turns out, does not look favorably on my bringing more than twenty packages at a time. Ten if they're international.

So please, don't email until I have made a post saying "all the shirts have been mailed, yes, all of them." Until that point, the answer to "WHERE SHIRTS?" is "in my spare room, waiting to go for a ride in the car."
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
The Toby-universe short I probably get asked about the most often is "Rat-Catcher," a novella which first appeared in the Subterranean Press anthology A Fantasy Medley 2, and later in the 2012 Hugo Voters Packet. Mostly what people ask is "Will you send me a copy of this story?" and "Why haven't you posted it for free?"

Um.

So there are two kinds of short stories around here. There are the ones I write for my own amusement/based on the most recent tip jar, which are posted, for free, either here (as in the case of "Velveteen vs.") or on my website (as in the case of the majority of the Johnny and Fran stories). And then there are the ones I write because someone offers to give me money. I like money. It lets me eat; it keeps my lights on. I know it's considered crass for me to say, flat-out, that I enjoy money, but it's true. I grew up incredibly poor. I know what it's like not to be able to keep the lights on. This is much more fun for me, and hence for everyone who has to deal with me ever.

When someone offers to give me money for a story, it's generally because of the assumption that my presence in a publication will help them sell copies of the publication. I have a good relationship with many of the editors who buy my stuff, which means they think of me early in the process, and I am incredibly grateful for that, but it's not all altruism. They keep buying things from me because I continue to help them sell things. That matters. Which is not to say that y'all have a responsibility to buy everything I am published in! That would be...a lot of things. I have copies of everything I've been published in, and at this point, we're talking about five shelves, between the novels and the anthologies and the collections. Sometimes, you're going to have to make choices about your money that do not include supporting my career, and that is more than okay, that is the correct way to do it. Pay your bills before you pay mine.

That being said, because of that initial "Seanan will help us sell things" assumption, I am not comfortable posting stories from paid anthologies for free until those anthologies have become completely unobtainable. The limited edition of A Fantasy Medley 2 is still available from the publisher. Looking at the ordering system, it appears that twenty-five copies remain.

Basically, until those twenty-five copies are gone, I won't post the story anywhere, no matter how often I'm asked.

I have been reluctant to say this, both because a) I don't want people who have already bought the collection to feel cheated; it's a beautiful book, and if you have the money, it's absolutely worth the price, and b) I don't want anyone to say I'm holding "Rat-Catcher" somehow "hostage" to extort people into buying things. I'm not. I don't make any money from sales of the collection at this point; I've already been paid. Yeah, I'd like to be asked to contribute to books in the future, which does sort of inform my position, but more than that, it feels unethical to take money in exchange for helping to sell a book and then turn around and give the goodies away for free. But the question keeps coming up, so it feels like I need to say something.

For those of you who want to read "Rat-Catcher" and can't afford AFM2: please, be patient. Someday, the book will sell out, and I will be able to consider posting the story on my website. In the meantime, it's not essential to understanding or enjoying the series; it's an extra, it's deep background, and while I love it, it's not going to suddenly change everything. I promise.

For those of you who have already purchased AFM2: thank you so much. Isn't it a beautiful book? It's a beautiful book. All the stories are awesome. I treasure my copy.

For those of you with room in your budgets for AFM2, who have been considering a copy: it's a beautiful book. I highly endorse it.

And that is that.
seanan_mcguire: (me)
Since there's always confusion, I wanted to clarify a few things.

Entering contests.

I do not require you to have an LJ account; if you have a Facebook or other ID that lets you comment here, that's fine. LJ may initially mark your comment as "spam." I manually un-spam all valid entries before I do the final drawing. The Random Number Generator I use is located at Random.org, and is as close to truly random as I can get. I manually count after getting the number of the winner. Secondary comments (IE, when someone responds to a contest entry) cannot win. If the number I draw comes up as a secondary comment, I either draw again, or I go to the next valid entry. This means that if I draw 25, and it's a secondary comment on 24, the winner is 26. So it's really, really best not to reply to other people's contest entries.

I make a post identifying the winners of any given drawing, and that's where my responsibility for outreach ends. You'll generally have twenty-four hours to contact me before you lose your prize. Please remember to check this journal on drawing days.

Following rules.

No part of any contest's rules is negotiable. If I say "tell me whether you're US or international and name your favorite fruit," any comment that doesn't contain all those aspects will be ineligible to win. I will draw another number, in that case.

Contacting me.

If you are contacting me to collect a prize, you must use my website contact form. It is located on my website, not on LJ. Contacting me via any other channel (LJ messenger, Facebook, emailing an old address that you think still works, asking my PA over IM), you will not receive your prize. You must email me.

I hope this clears a few things up, and I'm really excited to keep giving y'all fun stuff to have and enjoy.
seanan_mcguire: (me)
Hello, happy people!

Tomorrow will be the first of the Twelve Days of Hogswatch, my now-annual "Seanan gives things away for twelve days because why not" celebration, and I just wanted to issue a few quick reminders. Namely...

1. Each giveaway will have its own rules. Some will be US-only. (Most will honestly be US-only, because I can't afford to pay international postage at this time. More about this to come.) Others will say things like "your comment must include the word 'banana.'" Failure to precisely follow the rules of a giveaway will mean you cannot win. There is no wiggle room here, at all. This is partially for my sanity, and partially because when I give things away, the free stuff blogs tend to signal boost, and insisting that the rules be followed means that there's enough of a barrier to entry that I can be reasonably sure things are going to people who actually want them.

2. No, you do not need to follow this blog to win. That being said, each entry will say something like "the winners will be posted at X time, and will have until Y to contact me." Every time I do a giveaway, I have folks contacting me days after the stated time, wanting to know if they can still claim their prizes. I fully understand that life happens—I've been the late one before—but the timelines are firm. So if you don't follow this blog normally, I recommend checking in daily until all Hogswatch giveaways are over.

3. In the instances where I am willing to deal with the cost and complication of international shipping, I may say "you must pay postage to receive your prize." If you'd like to volunteer to pay international postage for a giveaway winner, please comment on that day's giveaway to indicate this. Make sure it's a first-level comment, and not a reply to a specific person. (If you're only willing to pay for a specific person, tell them in private, and y'all can work it out without me.)

4. All prizes have already been selected by me, but I will not be revealing them until the day that their drawing begins.

5. You can enter all twelve days if you want to.

And that is all. First entry goes up tomorrow!
seanan_mcguire: (barbie)
Reminder the first: If you have requested/purchased a tank top from me, I need two things from you. I need payment, following the instructions in my reply to your comment (please, please send it "friends and family," so I can actually afford to ship), and I need you to use my website contact form to send me your mailing address. Putting your mailing address into PayPal does not actually help me. I have a stack of shirts waiting to be mailed, and their information is not in my inbox, my PA's inbox, or my spam filter.

Please, please, help me get you the things you pay for, and if you haven't paid for them, please either pay or tell me you've changed your mind, so that I can release them back into the general stock.

Reminder the second: If you wanted to order signed or personalized books from Borderlands Books in San Francisco, I'm going there on Friday, around five o'clock in the afternoon, to sign whatever's on order. I can't guarantee that I'll get there again before the end of the year, so this is your one shot to get that signed book that will make you a hero in your best friend's eyes!

Please remember that I do not take requests for "send me a book and I'll sign it." Those always pick up around the holidays, and well. I'm just not good enough at going to the post office for things that are not "oh sweet Great Pumpkin get all these boxes out of my living room" to be reliable. Going through Borderlands is the one way to be sure.

And that is all for tonight.
seanan_mcguire: (wicked)
This is your reminder that we will stop taking orders for a new run of Wicked Girls shirts, as well as the first-ever run of "My Story Is Not Done" shirts (for those of you who have asked for something a little more gender-neutral), at midnight PST on Monday, June 30th. So the second it becomes July, we are no longer taking requests.

Instructions on ordering, and what our options are, are all lain out on that initial post. Kate, using the "seananmerch" account, is reaching out now to confirm people's requests. I have no involvement with this part of the process, and emailing me directly (either via my contact form or because you have a contact address) just gets you bounced to Kate.

What does this mean for me?

It means that you must have commented on the original post by midnight June 30th to be included in the order.

But I haven't heard back from Kate!

No one who has commented on the post will be left out. Kate had real life loom on her a bit (as sometimes happens to even the best of us), but she's getting caught up, and everyone will make the spreadsheet. This does mean I won't be submitting the T-shirt order at 12:01am July 1st, but let's be honest: that was never going to happen anyway. For one thing, I was going to be asleep. I like sleep.

Please make sure you have added "seananmerch" to your spam filters.

Kate has been emailing people, but not everyone has gotten back to her to confirm mailing addresses and provide payment. This is a problem, since your shirt will only be printed if you pay for it (that being the nature of this particular ordering process). If you have commented on the original post and received a reply saying that you're on the spreadsheet, that means you should also have received an email. Please check!

We mean it when we say we can't promise delivery before October.

We opened this order period as early as we did because we want to be able to get the shirts back from the printer and shoved into envelopes before I leave for Europe in early August, but there are a lot of moving parts involved, and it's possible the printer will miss the deadline for mailing by as little as a day or as much as two weeks. If the shirts hit while I'm out of the country, they're not going to be mailed until October. We will not give refunds in September because you expected a shirt in August. I'm being really upfront about how long this could take, and this is part of why. Which brings us to...

I am not a store; we are not making any money off of this.

The last two shirt runs have netted cost of shirts + cost of postage and packing materials + one pizza party for the people who pack the shirts to mail. I am not a big shiny clothing manufacturer who prints her own shirts and can afford a shit-ton of extras. Teefury can do $11 shirts because they print their own and have runs well in excess of anything I've ever done. I am fighting to keep from needing to raise prices for these short bespoke runs. This is why I request non-CC PayPal and do my best to avoid transaction fees, which nibble away at the already very narrow overage.

Kate and I are both going to be as open and responsive as we possibly can be; transparency is best in a situation like this one. But please, please don't buy a shirt if you're going to approach it like buying something from Hot Topic. We're not that kind of operation. It'll be a long, long time before we can be.

Thank you.
seanan_mcguire: (wicked)
All right! We are still taking orders for a new run of Wicked Girls shirts, as well as the first-ever run of "My Story Is Not Done" shirts (for those of you who have asked for something a little more gender-neutral). Instructions on ordering, and what our options are, are all lain out on that initial post. Kate, using the "seananmerch" account, is reaching out now to confirm people's requests.

Now, the notes.

Please make sure you have added "seananmerch" to your spam filters.

Kate has been emailing people, but not everyone has gotten back to her to confirm mailing addresses and provide payment. This is a problem, since your shirt will only be printed if you pay for it (that being the nature of this particular ordering process). If you have commented on the original post and received a reply saying that you're on the spreadsheet, that means you should also have received an email. Please check!

We mean it when we say we can't promise delivery before October.

We opened this order period as early as we did because we want to be able to get the shirts back from the printer and shoved into envelopes before I leave for Europe in early August, but there are a lot of moving parts involved, and it's possible the printer will miss the deadline for mailing by as little as a day or as much as two weeks. If the shirts hit while I'm out of the country, they're not going to be mailed until October. We will not give refunds in September because you expected a shirt in August. I'm being really upfront about how long this could take, and this is part of why. Which brings us to...

I am not a store; we are not making any money off of this.

The last two shirt runs have netted cost of shirts + cost of postage and packing materials + one pizza party for the people who pack the shirts to mail. I am not a big shiny clothing manufacturer who prints her own shirts and can afford a shit-ton of extras. Teefury can do $11 shirts because they print their own and have runs well in excess of anything I've ever done. I am fighting to keep from needing to raise prices for these short bespoke runs. This is why I request non-CC PayPal and do my best to avoid transaction fees, which nibble away at the already very narrow overage.

Kate and I are both going to be as open and responsive as we possibly can be; transparency is best in a situation like this one. But please, please don't buy a shirt if you're going to approach it like buying something from Hot Topic. We're not that kind of operation. It'll be a long, long time before we can be.

Thank you.

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     12
3 4 56789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 07:00 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios