Thursday, July 18, 2013

What the Futhark? Skylar Jaye on Runes

Skylar Jaye is visiting today to talk about runes and her book, The Flame. If you haven't bought a copy yet, check out the giveaway on her blog. The magic system in this book is wonderful, and I'm thrilled to learn more about it because, for the record, I own a set of runes and want to use them. :D


I’m so happy you offered to let me do a guest post here, Tali! I’m excited to share a little bit of random information with your readers.

Today, I’m going to talk about runes. What are runes? Well they’re letters, basically, but they’re so much more than the regular alphabet.

There are several different rune alphabets but the most common is the Old Norse runes. Those are the runes that I use in my book The Flame. The specific name of the alphabet is called Futhark, after the first six letters of the alphabet. I’ll share with you each of them and their meanings.

The first letter is Fehu. It means cattle and wealth and is shaped a bit like an F, but with diagonal lines coming off the straight, not horizontal lines.

The second is Uruz, which looks like a slanted triangle without a bottom. It means wild ox or sometimes water.

The third is Thurisaz or sometimes Thorn, which looks like a straight line with a triangle coming off the middle, kind of like a P but with the hump coming from the middle not the top. It means giant.

The fourth is Ansuz. It means god and especially Odin, the god of communication. It looks also like an F, but with downward diagonal lines, instead of the upward of Fehu.

The fifth Raidho, which means journey or ride. It looks like a capital R, but less round and with sharper angles.

The sixth letter of the alphabet is Kenaz, which means torch or beacon. It looks like a K that’s missing the straight line. So… like a mouth, maybe?

The main character of The Flame, Jeremy, studies runic magik at Samuin College. Runic magik is looked down upon by many of the magikal society—after all elemental magik is where it’s at. But Jeremy is proud of his runes and what they can do.

Jeremy is only a sophomore, but he’s thinking of specializing in defensive runes and wards. One of the best runes for that is Eihwaz. It means yew, but its secondary meanings are strength, endurance, defense, and protection.

Marcus Smith is a fire mage prodigy who’s a senior at Samuin. When he and Jeremy start to date, he gives Jeremy an amulet with Eihwaz etched into it—the protection Jeremy receives from that amulet becomes useful as the book goes on.

Hopefully you liked this mini-lesson in runes. Think of it as a hint at what Jeremy learns every day at Samuin.

The Flame is a long novella at about 40,000 words, or 162 pages. It’s m/m romance, published with Dreamspinner Press.

I’m currently giving away a copy of The Flame at my blog. To enter the contest, just comment at the relevant blog post over there:

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Despite the stigma against magiks other than the four elemental types, Jeremy Ashe works hard toward a degree in runic studies, navigating his way through family disproval and school clique politics while trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. What he never figured on is The Flame, Samuin College’s fire mage prodigy, Marcus Smith. Sparks strike and threaten to raze Jeremy’s plans to the ground. When strange fires begin to burn all over campus, clues point to Marcus. Suddenly life isn’t just complicated, it’s dangerous.

From the second chapter—a part of Jeremy and Marcus’ first date.

Then Marcus blushed too. “Sorry, it’s just… you look great.”
Jeremy’s breath caught briefly and he lowered his eyes bashfully. “Thanks, you too.”
Marcus did, with his dark-red turtleneck that stretched across his wide shoulders. Jeremy appreciated the tightness of it around Marcus’s well-defined chest and then turned his eyes away again before his thoughts turned to inappropriate territory.
He never remembered the protocol for first dates. Was he supposed to say that Marcus looked hot? Because he did, but maybe that was too forward, and Jeremy’s sex drive wasn’t so high that he’d put out tonight, even if it was Valentine’s Day. Conflicted, Jeremy opened his menu.
“This place is known for their burgers,” Marcus told him. “But the rest is good too.”
Jeremy tilted his head. “How about their veggie burgers?”
“I’ve heard they’re good,” Marcus said. Jeremy looked up to see that Marcus hadn’t opened his own menu and was instead staring at him. “Are you a vegetarian?”
“No,” Jeremy said. “But I don’t like to eat meat very much. A couple times a week only, usually, if there’re good vegetarian options.”
Before they could say anything else, their waiter came up. He was an older gentleman, and he smiled at Marcus. “Should’a warned me you were coming, little man.”
Marcus smiled back. “Sorry, Rogers. It was a fairly last-minute decision. I just wanted Jeremy here to experience some of your wife’s fine cooking.”
The waiter, Rogers, nodded enthusiastically and turned his warm brown eyes on Jeremy. “Oh, you’ll love anything on the menu, lad. And the company too, I’ll bet.” He winked. “Now, what can I get you boys to drink?”
“Water for me,” Marcus said. “Jeremy?”
“I’ll have the same,” Jeremy agreed. “Could you maybe bring a lime with that?”
“Ah, sure thing,” Rogers said. “And do you know what you’ll be wanting to eat, lad?”
“Veggie burger?” Jeremy said, though it was more of a question.
Rogers smiled toothily. “A great decision, I’ll say. Fries or chips?”
“Fries,” Jeremy looked at Marcus. “Though only if you’ll eat some too.”
“Why not?” Marcus shrugged. “Just the usual for me, Rogers.”
“Coming right up.” Rogers gave them both another extravagant wink and left.
Marcus cleared his throat as soon as the waiter was out of sight. “So, did you want to open…?”
“Oh yeah.” Jeremy reached for and grabbed the small gift. He nimbly undid the wrapping to reveal a plain blue box. Opening it, he looked inside and saw, surprisingly, a rune. No, an amulet, he reassessed as he picked the gift up out of the box: an etching of Eihwaz with a soft leather cord to go around the neck.
“It’s supposed to bring strength to the wearer. Endurance and some protection,” Marcus said. He looked a bit uncomfortable. “But as a Runes major, you know that.”
“Yeah,” Jeremy murmured, for a moment speechless. “Is this yew?”
“I believe so,” Marcus nodded. “Why?”
Eihwaz,” Jeremy told him. “It symbolizes the yew tree and is most powerful when carved onto its own essence. This is a lovely amulet.”
Marcus smiled softly. “I’m glad you like it.”
Jeremy smiled back and then reached toward his coat. From one of the inside pockets, he drew out his bag of runes and set them gently on the table. He opened it and stuck his hand inside, and then thought strongly of the happiness he felt toward his new gift.
His fingers withdrew Gebo. He set it on the table next to the amulet, touching Gebo with his left hand and Eihwaz with his right. Slowly, he channeled that feeling of happiness and acceptance to both of them, and then switched his hands so that Eihwaz was now under the left.
Jeremy opened his eyes, not having realized he’d closed them. He looked up at Marcus, who was watching him with a curious expression. Jeremy swallowed down the sudden lump in his throat and asked, “Would you mind putting this on me?”
Marcus blinked and sat up straighter. “If you want.”
“It’s just… the gift is more powerful that way,” Jeremy explained quickly. “What I just did, with Gebo, the gift rune, was to, uh, accept the amulet. That way it will work with my other runes instead of trying to protect me against them. And if you put it on me, that will let the amulet and Gebo know that it was from you, so….” He bit his bottom lip. “You don’t have to.”
Marcus had already stood. He walked around the table and held out his hand. Jeremy gave him the amulet, keeping Gebo under his right palm.
“This,” Marcus said. “My gift to you.” He slowly slipped the cord over Jeremy’s head, his hands warm on Jeremy’s neck as the amulet sat heavy on his chest, setting him ablaze with feelings.
Jeremy took a shuddering breath and caught Marcus’s hand before he could return to his seat. “Thank you.”

About Skylar Jaye:

As a writer and a person, Skylar Jaye is eccentric, eclectic, and excitable. Of her many hobbies, she enjoys some of the weirdest and most ridiculous activities out there. From medieval recreation to equestrian games, D&D, muggle quidditch, and beyond. She loves learning, but all of those interests (psychology, anthropology, and sociology) tend to lead her back to her main passion, writing.

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1 comment:

  1. Yay! Thanks for the intro Tali! And I like the picture of runes you found. And "What the Futhark" omg I laughed so much at that. You rock. <3