“Beneath the broad tides of human history there flow the stealthy undercurrents of the secret societies, which frequently determine in the depth the changes that take place upon the surface.”
-A. E. Waite
“The lowest depths of black mysticism are well-nigh as difficult to plumb as it is arduous to scale the heights of sanctity. The Grand Masters of the witch covens are men of genius – a foul genius, crooked, distorted, disturbed, and diseased.”
Daughter of an Orthodox priest, Anna lived a pious childhood in the Greek community of New Orleans. As a teenager, she witnessed the destruction of St. Bernard Parish during the Great Mississippi flood. Rather than providing aid to the flood survivors, her community and her father’s congregation turned inward. When she later learned that the levees were destroyed on purpose, to protect the property of the wealthier residents, she decided to leave her faith and her home.
She joined the Red Cross, not knowing that the organization was a front for the House of Cups. Her career as an Initiate began when she inadvertently witnessed her superior performing an exorcism. Rather than fleeing in a panic, she tried to assist. Her official training started the next day.
She recently shifted her allegiance to the House of Coins for reasons that she has yet to reveal, and she has been assigned to work alongside John Roberts as a House investigator. Eager to prove herself to her new House, her sense of compassion gives her a fierce determination to right wrongs and defend the innocent.
Just because we claim some knowledge of the hidden world doesn’t mean we aren’t prone to our own dogma. I don’t care who you are, or who you work for, as long as you’re trying to do good.
Allegiance: House of Coins
Arcane Abilities: Divination. Minor incantation and conjuration. Has an encyclopedic knowledge of esoteric language and symbols.
Equipment: Athame. Snub-nose .38. Customized Tarot deck.
“What started in remote European estates, far from the grasp of the Church, spread throughout the continent. We grew despite being hunted and burned, despite being blasphemers, despite our few and desperate numbers, because we were a light in the darkness. A light freely given and freely received, without the requirements of liturgy or statements of faith, or a monastic life of self-sacrifice.
We blossomed in the New World and now you would be hard-pressed to find an institution – be it government, business, or ministry – where you do not find one of our order. The Cups have the Red Cross, the Coins their banks, the Staves their lawyers and judges, and the Swords, of course, the military itself.
The Houses have their differences, but we know how to keep a low profile.”
-Cecil Walters, A living History of the Four Houses of Arcanum
Four or five years ago, when I had finished my very first novel, and was hammering away at my second, I was seriously considering self-publishing. I went to SFWC two years in a row, met other writers with similar plans, and heard from numerous speakers touting the advantages of going “indie.” It was still so new though, and I had big dreams of landing an agent and seeing my books on actual shelves.
The problem was, my book was crap. Thankfully I knew it was crap, so I started writing short stories to hone my craft. I sold one to a small press, which gave me the confidence to apply to the Clarion Writer’s Workshop. I was accepted the second year I applied (2013) and traveled to San Diego for six weeks where I had my mind blown and met 15 other “soul-mates” that further boosted my confidence. I suddenly thought that making a living writing wasn’t as lofty a goal as I had hoped.
But at the same time I was sort of paralyzed by the workshop experience. When I got back home I couldn’t finish anything. I would start a project, get halfway through, and start to doubt whether I could sell it, or land an agent with it, and I would start something else. I watched my classmates go on to win major sci-fi/fantasy awards, land major books deals, find professional writing jobs, and sell stories to all the major pro magazines. My confidence dissolved pretty quickly.
Then, with my wife-to-be’s encouragement, I started to go back through some of my projects. We started listening to podcasts on writing and self-publishing. We joined Facebook groups and read a ton of books. And while we did that I wrote, and finished, some projects. I started to get excited about my writing again. The idea of setting my own goals, my own publication schedule, and my own project schedule, was really attractive to me. I’m a dad with a full-time job. I can’t always write every day. I can’t always meet deadlines (even self-imposed ones). So I made the decision that, at this point in my life and my writing career, the “indie” route makes the most sense.
I’m releasing my first book in February (Everyday Apocalypse: Season One). I had a blast writing it, and I’m putting it out there myself because I want to entertain people, and learn, and have the freedom to do things on my own schedule, without any external pressure. My personal mountain right now is to develop the discipline to finish all the stories in my head, and all the stories in my drawers.
I’m trying to take Chuck Wendig’s advice about being a “hybrid author.” I have some projects that I know I’m going to reserve for the “traditional route,” but that’s probably a long way off. For right now I’m going to dig in to all these worlds I’ve been creating. I’m going to finish things, and I’m going to keep putting them out there and hopefully find some readers along the way!
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