Guest Post: Suzanne McLeod and Giveaway

Suzanne McLeod is the author of the Urban Fantasy series: The four first books of the series are The Sweet Scent of Blood (January 1st, 2008), The Cold Kiss of Death (January 1st, 2009), The bitter Seed of Magic (February 17th, 2011), The Shifting Price of Prey (August 30th, 2012).
Suzanne McLeod  est l’auteure de la série Urban Fantasy Les quatre premiers lives de la série sont The Sweet Scent of Blood (1er Janvier 2008), The Cold Kiss of Death (1er Janvier 2009), The bitter Seed of Magic (17 Février 2011), The Shifting Price of Prey (30 Aout 2012).

Hello everyone, and thanks so much to Melliane for having me here. One of the things I love about writing is worldbuilding. For me worldbuilding is always an iceberg thing – there’s so much more that I think and imagine than ever gets on to the page. Which is good, otherwise readers would end up with long chapters filled with my inspirational research into things like which crystals boost what emotions, the sex-life of trees, or the mating habits of certain species of ducks (O_O), and poor Genny would never get out of whatever difficult situation I’ve thrown her in to this time. *g*
But I thought I’d give you a brief below-the-surface look at how the magical systems in my Spellcrackers books developed. Now magic is a wonderful thing (boy, wouldn’t I love the be able to wave a magic wand over the household chores *sighs*) but if magic was something that everyone could use, however they wanted, it wouldn’t make for interesting reading, as any character could just get rid of their problems with the wave of that handy magic wand. So magic has to have limitations (a.k.a. evil author loves to make things problematical for her characters *g*).
I decided that magic is an ever-present natural element that can be moulded and used, but that it also has a will and sentience of its own. It’s not something that you can have a conversation with, but it is something that will meddle in a character’s affairs (particularly Genny’s!) or, if a character asks the magic for assistance, then it might help but in its own tricky and capricious way, so the end results tend not to be quite as the characters expect or want. *cackles* 😀
But back to those all important limitations. I needed to decide who could use magic, to what extent, and also who wouldn’t be able to use it at all.
So the characters who can cast magic are those who have magical genes such as the different types of fae: the sidhe fae; witches or wizards (humans with one sidhe parent and one human parent); the lesser fae (such as the dryads, naiads and brownies); faelings (those with a mix of lesser fae and human blood), and the wylde fae.
So when witches and wizards want to cast spells they have to use props such as candles, herbs, circles, rituals, incantations, and have something to tag the spell to, like a crystal, potion, patch, piece of clothing, or sometimes even an animal or person.
But when it comes to the fae, all of them, with just a thought, or sometimes with a glyph sketched in the air, can do basic types of magic – calling items over a distance, casting personal Glamours, Privacy spells, and See-Me-Nots as examples. Some excel at certain types of magic, like brownies who have an affinity for kitchens and who can travel using the “brownies’ trail” by “jumping” from one kitchen to another (which beats using the Underground at busy times! :-D), and pixies who love nothing better