the Saints

I’m still not really ready to talk about this novel.

It’s not like it’s some big secret that I can’t talk about, either, so I’m not sure why I don’t want to talk about it.  I mean, honestly, if you go on their Pinterest, it’s pretty damn obvious what this is about.

“Guns and murder and evil grinning.”  That’s what I told Patrick it was about.  And it is.  This will be the darkest novel I’ve written yet, full of killing people (seriously, someone dies in the first chapter), more guns than you thought possible, horrific backstories for each of the characters, and a cliffhanger that will make you hate me.  Which, I guess, still doesn’t really tell you what it’s about.  Okay.

Religion and magic.

There it is.  Think Peaky Blinders meets Six of Crows meets the Angelus trilogy.  Don’t know what those are?  Peaky Blinders is a truly amazing Netflix show about Birmingham in the 1920s.  The main characters are all post-WW1 men returning to their life with the Peaky Blinders, a gang who sometimes just does booking, but also sometimes plays with fire.  If you’re curious what kind of character Landon will be, just watch the first 5 minutes of season one episode one, the scene with the horse and the red dust.  Oh, and did I mention it’s got Cillian Murphy?  Mhm.

Six of Crows is a novel by Leigh Bardugo that rocked my freaking world.  It’s about a gang known as the Dregs who basically run the town.  They’re all thieves, have questionable motives, and just want to make some money.  They’re presented with an impossible-to-resist heist that will land them with some serious money, and somehow find themselves in the midst of a war between humans and those with magic, or Grishas.

The Angelus trilogy is a set of novels by Jon Steele.  It’s about Christianity, really, but set in modern times.  The archangel Michael is in there, though I’m not saying who because it was a pretty cool twist.  This is not the story of Christianity that you’re thinking, either.  It’s dark and gritty, and it only just barely has a happy ending.  I was really inspired by the world Steele created, though, and knew, upon starting Saints, that I wanted religion to play a large piece of this story.  Particularly, I wanted a cathedral as the focal point of my world.

So, what is Saints novel about?  The Saints are a gang of do-gooders.  They try not to be, but, deep down, that’s what they are.  They were given the name the Saints because that’s what they do–they save people.  They turned their home, the Lowlands of Obera, into somewhere that wasn’t dying, but rather, was learning how to survive.  They help those with magic escape the deadly gaze of the Ash family.  They give homes to refugees, help those that have lost their way, and generally just try to protect their city.

That doesn’t stop them from occasionally killing people, whoops.  They’re all very violent, and won’t back down from a fight.  They’ve had the worst sort of upbringings you can imagine, and it shows.  They’re hell bent on a world that accepts everyone, and they’ll use any means necessary to achieve that, even if those means include spilling a little a lot of blood.

The novel, then, is about the Saints fighting back against the Ash family.  The Ash family is like the Black family.  They’re the oldest of the old, and are basically the kings and queens of Obera.  They’ve got this manor (think Malfoy manor, but bigger) that sits against the Black Mountains, the highest point in the city, dead center so you can see it no matter where you are in the city.  Papa Isaiah Ash’s goal in life is to either exterminate all those with magic, or to somehow figure out how to separate the magic from them.  Fortunately, the city doesn’t support him.  Unfortunately, the church does.  Now, the thing you have to understand is that religion rules Obera.  Even if the city doesn’t support the senseless annihilation of many of their citizens, they kind of turn a blind eye when it comes to the church’s support.

The church is actually where this story starts.  In Widald Cathedral, which rivals the Ash family manor in size, and is in the literal heart of the Highlands of Obera, we meet a priest and the Saint for the first time.  The Saint?  Landon, our main character.  Spoiler alert: he kills the priest in this first chapter. Whoops.

Listen, he’s angry.  They kidnapped one of his Saints and tortured him.  The priest had it coming.  But who are these Saints?

Meet the Saints. Madison. Amethyst. Six of coins. Generous mother. Vivian. Sodalite. Wheel of fortune. Faith in Something More. Landon. 💀 Citrine. Ace of cups. Beginnings. Ezra. Lepidolite. The Magician. Power comes from Something More. Miles....

Meet the Saints.

Madison. Amethyst. Six of coins. Generous mother.
Vivian. Sodalite. Wheel of fortune. Faith in Something More.
Landon. 💀 Citrine. Ace of cups. Beginnings.
Ezra. Lepidolite. The Magician. Power comes from Something More.
Miles. Hematite. Knight of coins. Steady and unflinching.

They are the tall, dark strangers those warnings prepared you for.

That was my exact post yesterday, which is pretty cryptic, but again, I’m feeling weird about sharing this story.  I’m wondering if it’s because I didn’t have a lot of help when creating it.  Usually, as we’ve seen in the past, Erin is involved in a big way.  Even recently, Patrick has been helping a lot.  And while both of them were involved in the creating part of this, most of it happened overnight.  I’m not even lying.  Here’s how it happened.

Last Saturday, I received a surprise crystal from Jenny in the mail.  She’d bought it for herself, but when she got home, she realized it wasn’t for her.  She sent it to me with a note that said it was for a story or a character.

The next day, last Sunday, I finished reading Six of Crows.

That Monday, I woke up with a character, most of a plot, and some basic world ideas.

Uh, what?

Fast forward to the end of the day last Monday, and I had Landon’s name, the characters surrounding them, and most of the world-building done.  Throughout that week, I worked on the rest of the world, figured out the finer details of the plot, and pinned everything in sight.

On Sunday, yesterday, I started writing.  (And rewatching Peaky Blinders.)

The thing is, I think I need to move forward with my novels instead of looking back.  I’m sure that, eventually, Mason and I will get along again.  But, for right now, I need to stop trying to live in the past and just start creating new stories.  Thus, the Saints.

Landon is their king.  Some people call him the devil.  He wears a bone mask when he’s getting his hands dirty, will gut you like a fish if you even look at his Saints wrong, and has a terrible secret that I’m not telling.  This novel is, truly, the beginning of his life, which means the end has to happen somewhere in there.

Madison is his right-hand woman.  She and Landon are very close, and would do anything to protect one another.  She’s a literal genius, and has a special love for things that go boom.  She’s the Saints’s explosions expert, and listens to crap music.

Vivian is an escape artist.  She’s quiet on her feet, and loud in her conviction.  She wields a katana, thinks Landon’s aesthetic is the most annoying thing in the world, and just wants everyone to leave her alone so she can finally find peace and a sense of belonging.  Little does she know that her home, something’s she been searching for years, is right in front of her.

Ezra is my personal favorite.  I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but here we are.  He is shy and quiet, often lingers in the shadows, and wears all black in an effort to disappear.  He is gifted with fire, and will likely blow someone up on accident at some point.  He’s like a little brother to all of them, though is also the most deadly out of all of them.

And then there’s Miles.  Not only did I give him hematite, but I pulled the knight of coins for him.  Steady and unflinching.  He is their rock.  He is the most sensible Saint, adores any and all guns (as well as knife fights in the dark), and will always be the one to keep them alive.

The Saints.

I’ve got two chapters written already, and damn.  It feels good to be back.

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