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Derek Murphy

YA Scavenger Hunt (YASH 2018)

Scroll down to win $50 in Amazon credit!

We’ve been in Vietnam for ★ 28 ★ days and are leaving to Bali soon for a month of fruit smoothies and ancient temples… here are some travel pictures. I got a lot of writing done this month, and I’m also planning on participating in Camp Nanowrimo and finally getting my vampire dystopia finished (more on that later).

But today I want to share something amazing…

 

I’m participating in the 2018 young adult scavenger hunt and have the honor of hosting Amy Trueblood. Below you’ll find a never before published deleted scene from her novel Nothing But Sky. Booklist calls it “An exhilarating historical novel with a strong feminist core.”  School Library Journal says, “Breakneck stunts and romance lend this novel high action.” 


The @YAScavengerHunt starts April 3rd! I’m on #TeamRed. You can start the hunt at http://bit.ly/yashunt

To win the hunt, you need to start at the beginning and visit each author’s website to solve the puzzle. Scroll down for all the rules, which team I’m on, and the next website you need to visit from here.

★★★★★★★★★★★

A Deleted Scene from Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood

 

The massive buildings along Michigan Avenue cast dark shadows across the sidewalk. Passing cars honked their horns. The jingle of a bell on a passing trolley sang through the city. The Water Tower stood as a white beacon in the distance.

I shouldered past men on the sidewalk. Their heads bent low, briefcases gripped tightly in their hands. Ads for mouthwash, lotion, and laundry soap filled the shop windows. A two-story brick pharmacy on a corner advertised the newest brand of soda pop. The haberdashery next door displayed the latest fedoras, patterned ties, and leather belts. I walked for blocks and couldn’t find a women’s dress shop. I scanned the passing crowd until a willowy woman met my gaze. Her sleek black hair was clipped to her chin. The rich fabric of her red dress skimmed her body, accentuating her figure.

She stopped mid-step and her warm brown eyes studied me. A smile pulled at the corner of her mouth. “Honey, you look lost. Do you need some help?”

“Can you tell me if there’s a woman’s dress shop nearby?” I asked.

She gave me the once over again. The torn lining of my coat hung to my knees. The wrinkles in my hat screamed second-hand. I waited for her to laugh at me, or turn away, deciding I wasn’t worth her time. Instead she flashed me a film star smile.

“You can always go to department store which is just up the street.” She pursed her lips and shook her head. “But you don’t seem like a department store type of gal. May I suggest Landon’s just down the block. A friend of mine works there. They’ve got some wonderful things to fit a woman with a figure like yours.”

She was too polite to say boyish and thin.

“Thank you.” I started to walk away when she moved in-step beside me. “If you don’t mind me asking, are you…are you all alone?”

“Yes,” I said, picking up my pace. All I wanted was directions, not a companion.

“I’m Elsa, by the way.”

“Grace,” I said as we continued down the sidewalk.

Her heels clicked along the cracks. The feather in her hat bounced along with sway of her hips.

“I’m somewhat of an authority on fashion. And Anna, my friend who works at Landon’s, has got quite an eye, too. She looked me up and down again. “Are you looking for something special?”

“You could say that.” I ran my hands through my tangled knots and smoothed down the front of my dress. Next to her I looked like a weathered scarecrow moving next to a screen goddess.

When we reached the store, I stopped in front of its enormous picture window. Four mannequins stood side by side each draped in organza and silk in jewel-tones of sapphire, emerald, and ruby. French lace Mary and Ethel swooned about covered the scalloped hems. Cloche hats adorned with feathers or ribbons sat atop the heads.

A fierce pounding flared in my head. How could I decide which was the appropriate dress for this party? Should I wear green or blue? Should it skim my knees or be floor length?

“Some gorgeous dresses don’t you think?” Elsa motioned to the mannequin draped in a cherry-red satin gown.

“Yes,” I replied no louder than a whisper.

“Would you like me to come in and help you pick something out?”

I paused. How long it would take me to get back to the hotel, track down the boys, and tell them I’d changed my mind? An image of Henry filled my mind. A dark suit hugged his broad shoulders. His hair was slicked back, and a wide smile covered his face. His hand reached for mine.

“Would you like some help, honey?” Elsa repeated.

Letting the image slowly fade away I gave her a simple nod.

“Well then come on; let’s find something that will knock his socks off.”

I inched away from her. “I didn’t say anything about a man.”

“Honey, you didn’t have to. That love-struck look in your eyes tells me all I need to know.”

Read more or get the book!

 

★★★★★★★★★

 

The Hunt Continues… join me on the Red Team!

Events like this are a fun way to bring authors and readers together, so I look forward to getting to know my teammates and also introduce my writing to some new readers (if that’s you, welcome!)  here’s the full list of books and authors. You can pick a team to root for or play all the teams and rack up prizes. Many of us are also running contests and giveaways, including me (keep scrolling if you like vampires).

I think dividing the teams into colors is a fun idea, and I’m happy to be on the same team as Lisa Maxwell – I read The Last Magician recently and thought it was great. I’ve also had design envy for Julie Reece’s The Paladins, and am obsessed with Jessica Bucher’s Notes of Magic (because I just finished Orpheum, which also has music and magic and Eastern European cityscapes).

 

 

I set up a giveaway to win these books + $50, sign up to win!

 

 

Click here for YASH rules and entry

>>>To find the next clue in the YA Scavenger Hunt, you need to visit Carly Anne West. <<<

 

 

Do you like vampires?

I’m getting close to finishing a vampire dystopia novel that’s been called “Hunger Games meets Shade of Vampire.”

If you haven’t read the first six chapters yet, get them for free HERE for a limited time.

I’ve also published a BRAND NEW sneak peak of the book, it’s on one of my teammates websites so make sure you go through the Red Team’s sites to find it. It’s LONG, I hope you like it!

 

After the full book is finished, hopefully next month, I’ll delete the free chapters and republish the whole story.

 

 

To celebrate the book launch, I’m giving away 10 print copies of the book and 100 ebooks. Someone will also win this awesome vampire hunting kit and a pair of high quality fangs. Click here to sign up!

 

 

 

 

PS. Here are some of my favorite YA vampire books.

Taste: Kingdom of Blood and Ash: (Vampire Magic Preview)

I’ve been working on Taste for a few years, and the story keeps growing.

It’s a vampire dystopia, and one review called it “Hunger Games meets Shade of Vampire.”

However it’s an interesting mix of fantasy and science-fiction, where the “vampires” are genetically modified super-humans who keep humans in captivity: each “Elite” must choose a human bride to honor the peace between the races, and the protagonist’s adventure begins when she is chosen. So there’s also the “choosing ceremony” motif – I actually began this book probably around 2013 when “choosing ceremony” books were popular, but I’ve seen a few similar stories recently that I loved, like the 100th Queen, so maybe it’s making a comeback.

I’ve tried multiple covers for this book, and actually it was the one on the far right that helped make some interesting story changes:

But ultimately I went with this beautiful art from Consuelo Parra.

Even though I have a pretty clean outline and know exactly how it ends (I usually start from my endings), the middle is developing and a few new characters have emerged. I’m confident there are some EPIC scenes in this book, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be my best book yet, but it’s also developing more slowly than I’d like (plus, like usual, my stories keep growing and I have a difficult time knowing exactly where to cut off book one and where to start book two).

I HOPE to have it done in April 2018, because I have so many other projects to work on.
Read the excerpt below, and if you like it, download the first six chapters.

EXCERPT:

I covered my mouth and nose with my mother’s shawl and cut through the poisonous ash, ignoring the battered warnings signs. Going past the wall is death. Inhale too much ash and it will kill you. But this wasn’t my first time skirting the laws. I headed further away from the purification engines, whose motors filled our town with a constant hum, and climbed the oak tree that had grown too close to the perimeter fence ringing our compound.

As I shuffled out to the tip of a gnarled branch, the buzz of electricity radiating from the fence made the hair on my arm stand up. We didn’t have much electricity in Algrave, but I knew it was dangerous. I gripped the rough bark between my fingers, wobbling slightly as I blinked away a chunk of ash that had gotten stuck in my eyelashes. It wouldn’t harm me in small doses, as long as I didn’t breathe it in. But the ash wasn’t the only thing beyond the fence that could kill me.

My father used to tell me stories about the beasts outside the gates. Rancid breath. Claws as long as my arm. Teeth that could pierce the hardest stone. Their beady red eyes—the last thing you’d see before they ripped you open. Slagpaw, we called them. His stories terrified me when I was young, but it had been years since the last attack. Maybe the elite hunted them to extinction, or maybe they were just a story to scare the village kids from wandering too far into the ash. But I wasn’t a child any longer, and my father was gone. Besides, it was Festival tonight, and I didn’t want to be late.

I lowered myself down from the branch and dropped into the pile of leaves I’d left on my last trip. I’d nearly broken my ankle the first time I made the drop. This time I rolled, tucking my bow to the side. I brushed myself off and took a deep breath through my shawl. It filtered out the ash while letting in the fresh scent of pine sap. Nocking an arrow, I walked forward silently, my bow ready. My father had taught me how to walk without snapping any twigs when I was younger. He said it might save my life someday. I’d never really understood what he meant, and he’d died before I could ask him.

He left behind a bow he made himself, a hunting knife, and a few basic traps. When I realized my mother planned to sell them, I begged her to let me use them instead. She gave me a month to learn how to hunt. Twenty-eight days later, I came home with my first rabbit. Since then, she’s pretty much given me free reign, as long as I helped put food on the table.

Of course, she didn’t know how far I really needed to go to get meat these days. She thought I stayed within the compound and waited for a really stupid bird or squirrel to wander in. That hadn’t happened in months. I was sick of hearing my little brother complain that he was hungry. He was too young to understand rationing, or why we could never buy the sweet pastries in the market.

My mom did what work she could, but there was only so much she could do. At night, she soaked her feet in hot water with herbs, and rubbed the back of her neck. Sometimes I’d catch her staring at the walls and smiling to herself. I think she was secretly looking forward to the Choosing ceremony. Not that anybody in our family had ever been chosen, but she could hope. For my part, I was determined to make myself useful in any way that I could. And this could be my last Festival at home with my family. I wanted to make it special.

Twigs snapped behind me and I whirled around, pulling the taut string of my bow to my ear. A buck with magnificient antlers moved slowly through the trees. I’d never killed anything so large before. At least it was an easy target. I held my breath as it turned its three eyes towards me. Radioactive, my father would have said. Whatever that meant. Meat was meat. I steadied my breath, aiming for the front of its body, hoping to hit one of the vital organs.

I was just about to release my arrow when I heard the voices. My eyes widened in surprise and my heart pounded like a drum in my chest. There shouldn’t be anybody else beyond the wall, unless…

Oh, shit.

I ducked just in time to see a group of elites wander into the meadow, laughing and shoving each other. They looked like us, mostly—but I knew they were faster and stronger than any human. And far more dangeous than the creatures in my father’s bedtime stories. Apart from the handful of guards posted around the compound, who wore a standard black uniform, and a small team of engineers that came through our village every few months to check the machines, I hadn’t had much interaction with the elite. They all looked young, healthy, and clean in a way the people of my village could never hope to look, as if they took a bath every night and every morning. These ones were wearing richer materials and clothing than I’d ever seen.

One of the Elites held a finger up to his mouth. He ran a thin-fingered hand over the long, dark hair slicked back over his ears, then signalled the others to loop around to the other side of a small meadow. I was so sure they smelled me, my heart nearly stopped. I crouched on my toes, preparing to run, but then one of them hollered and chased a buck into the clearing. My buck. The rest of them ran around the animal in circles, terrifying the poor beast. They let it dart around and think it could escape into the woods, before appearing just in front of it again. They moved so fast my eyes could scarcely keep track of them.

The one with dark hair straightened his purple velvet jacket and approached the animal, keeping his arms out to both sides until he was right in front of it. Without warning, he grabbed the buck by the antlers and snapped them both off with a firm twist. As the animal stood there, stunned, he plunged the antlers into either side of the buck, skewering it and sending a spray of blood up over his white shirt and pale face. Then he smiled, licking the blood from the corners of his mouth.

My stomach turned sour as the other elites crowded around the animal. They raised silver chalices to the still-quivering animal, filling their cups with warm blood. One of them found a vein, and latched his teeth around the creature’s neck. He bit down hard, and blood streamed over his lips and chin. I shuddered and took a step backwards.

The leader’s head snapped up, and he looked straight at me with hungry eyes. Before I could even think about running, he was at my side. A cruel smile played on his lips as he glared down at me. Very slowly, he took an embroidered handkerchief out of his dark jacket and wiped the deer’s blood off his face.

“Ready for a new game, boys?” he called.

Keep Reading: Get the first 6 chapters free!

 


IMAGE CREDITS

-Red dress:
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
Model: 3corpses-in-A-casket
Bg: cd-stock.deviantart

-Lonely:
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
Model: Black-ofelia-stock

-When the soul dies:
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
Model: 3corpses-in-a-casket

 

 

 

 

 

 

VAMPIRE Books GIVEAWAY

I’ll be giving out vampire prizes and free ARC copies to my list during the launch, make sure you sign up to win!

 

Gods of music and madness book one (Orpheum)

Yesterday I finished Orpheum. Part one was published previously and ends on a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, even though people like it, I’ve been getting some negative reviews about how frustrating it is to wait for more.

I worked on this book through the winter, and we spent another month in Bulgaria doing research and visiting some of the geographical and historical locations in the book. I continued working on the book in Edinburgh over New Year’s… and was stuck on the last chapter for two weeks as we moved to Taipei.

But finally, I got to THE END and it’s pretty great. The full book also ends on a pretty big cliffhanger. I may leave it as it is, or I may add in an epilogue for at least a partial sense of completion, since it will probably be awhile until there’s another book in this series (I think it’s good – but I also have better projects mapped out and I want to be working on my best ideas, not the ideas I started years ago).

The original cover looked like this:

If you haven’t read part one yet, you can get the first several chapters for free in my starter library.

I like to update covers when I significantly change a book, so I’ve been working on a new cover, which will look something like this:

In a day or two, I’ll have a limited number of ARC copies to give out, so make sure you’re on my email list if you want one (these advanced copies are for fans who don’t mind helping me spot the inevitable handful of typos, and who can also post a review of the finished book on Amazon – if you’d prefer waiting for a clean copy, the full thing will be on Amazon next week).

Here’s an excerpt:

The world was my weapon, and I felt more powerful than I ever had before. Blood dripped from my fingertips, as the recent scabs reopened against the sharp strings of my violin. My eyes blackened as music filled my body, a rushing song, the voice of a god pumping in my veins. I hear his voice and I am destruction.

Here are a couple videos I made about the book… the second one is on-location in Bulgaria.

GIVEAWAY FOR MUSIC LOVERS!

I’m also running a giveaway where you can WIN a paperback version of the full book, and one of these cool miniature violin pendants with a working case.

>CLICK HERE TO ENTER<<

 

 

 

Europe was great, but we’ve just flown back to Taiwan for Chinese New Year and will be in Asia for the next several months. Here’s a picture of our street. I’m working on TASTE next and I can’t wait to share the full book!

 

I’m working on TASTE for the rest of this month – my vampire dystopia – you can still get the free sample on Amazon for a limited time here:

Get the first 5 chapters now.

The best YA scifi and fantasy books of all time (updated 2018!)

I’ve always been a fan of young adult books, even when I was studying my PhD in English literature I preferred the sweeping epic style of YA scifi and fantasy books to the tomes of the academic canon. Now that I’m writing young adult, I read not just for pleasure, but also for inspiration. I update this list whenever I’m impressed by a new book (which is often).

 

 

 

 

Classics:

  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • Harry Potter Series
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Narnia

18 incredible Fallen Angel romances for young adult readers

I didn’t set out to write a fallen angel book, but Scarlet Thread is one of my most popular series so I thought I should nod towards all the fallen angel literature that continues to inspire me. So here are some of my favorite young adult novels that deal with fallen angels, wings, feathers and forbidden love (note, just because these are YA doesn’t mean they’re just for teens – some of these are very dark fantasy, including mine).

 

 

FALLEN ANGEL SERIES COMING SOON!

I happen to know that authors Sophie Davis and Leia Stone are working on fallen angel books – I’ll add links to their stories when they launch. I’m also working on my own fallen angel series, which will look something like this:

 

Make sure to sign up to my list if you want to know when these are available!

If it’s good enough for JK Rowling… (on the Harry Potter trail in Edinburgh)

Little known fact about me: I spent my 20s researching ceremonial magic.

Will power. Conviction. Invincible belief in infinite possibilities.

I’ve grown a bit lazy and sometimes tend to get mired down in the small, daily tasks rather than the big picture goals – but it’s important (I believe) to have a future that’s exciting enough to fight for.

Since I’m in Edinburgh, one of the main sources of inspiration for Harry Potter, I bought myself a Harry Potter leather journal and am spending January First getting clear on my annual goals.

I don’t have the awesome crystal wand I bought in the Canary Islands with me last year, but I agree with Albus Dumbledore, “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

Interestingly, every Harry Potter personality test I’ve taken matches me with Draco Malfoy, and I can see why.

Slytherin are all about Resourcefulness and Ambition.

They’re about logic, reason, and Machiavellian plotting. They set long term goals and work towards them tirelessly. While Hufflepuff are too focused on the minutiae to see the big picture, and Gryffindor like Harry are full of passion and convictions about Good and Evil, Slytherin are willing to bend all rules to achieve their desires.

In fiction, the brave, blustering hero usually wins, often by accident or sheer perseverance – but rarely through intelligence.

People want to believe that good people will be rewarded with success, even if they’re not smart or particularly skilled.

And there is magic in that.

Often, you can set an impossible goal and believe in it hard enough, your circumstances and behavior will begin to align with the destination you’ve chosen. You’ll start to “see” shortcuts and actionable steps that were invisible before. Setting the goal is like unlocking a secret kind of enhanced vision where opportunities align as if by magic, if only you’re bold enough to seize them when they appear.

HOWEVER, in real life, this isn’t always enough, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

For example, I want to publish a whole bunch of new books this year, and I want them to be amazing. I can’t wait around and hope that works out, because my goal depends on both skill and hard work – hundreds of hours of painstaking plotting, drafting, revising and publishing.

I may not have Gryffindor’s optimism that everything will work out for the best, but I do have Slytherin’s cynical realism, that I am capable of getting what I want, as long as I’m also willing to commit the time and effort. I need to spend years improving my craft, analyzing bestsellers, struggling with my muse, until I become one of the best writers or “most powerful magicians” of my time.

As I wrote in my PhD thesis, ambition isn’t evil. It’s human, and potentially the greatest thing about humanity – the desire to create, to improve, to enhance. The gift of seeing how things are and being able to imagine how they could be.

I’m not ashamed of my ambition – though it was once the sin that caused Lucifer to fall, it’s become the attribute that saved Faust’s soul. Ambition is the studious and hard-won self-improvement that makes real change possible, and I believe it’s a noble pursuit. I’ve spent the past 7 years dedicating myself to the principles I set forth in Creativindie, and things I only dreamed about several years ago are now starting to take shape. I can’t wait to see what I can achieve in the next few years, but I must stay true to the course, choose goals that are challenging enough to fill me with eagerness, and do the work.

Goals aren’t only about belief or magical thinking. Goals are the reason we choose to do something rather than nothing.

What are your 2018 goals and resolutions?

 

PS) While in Northern Scotland I heard some folklore that will probably help me plot Shearwater book two, which is one of 10 projects I’ll be working on this year.

What it’s like to live in a castle (Nanowrimo writing retreat)

This month I’m in a 12th century Austrian fortress, working on my Nanowrimo book project with a few writing friends. Right now it’s snowing outside. We have a couple goats, alpaca and rabbits in the barn, tons of space, and almost too much peace and quiet – apart from the continuous clacking of our keyboards as we increase our wordcount (I jut crossed 30K – I’m about halfway through the vampire dystopia book I’m working on).

Here’s a video tour and some pictures – I’ll upload some new stuff soon!

 

 

It’s snowing! Good day to stay in the castle and Write.

A post shared by Derek Murphy (@creativindie) on


 

A post shared by Lanna Yang (@lanna_yang) on

Best YA vampires books – giveaway!

I’m in a castle in Austria working on my YA vampire novel… I’m about halfway done and hope to finish this year and get it published. So in the meantime, here’s an epic vampire giveaway of some of my favorite vampire-themed books.

Twenty vampire novels, AND an amazing vampire-hunting kit.

Click here to enter!

 

 

You can find many of the individual books on this post:

 

The best YA vampire books of all time (plus seven you’ve probably never heard of)

JK Rowling’s favorite bookstore

You may not know this about me, but my MA thesis was about esoteric symbolism in Harry Potter. So I’m thrilled to be travelling through Portugal this month, seeking out JK Rowling’s favorite writing spots for inspiration. Rowling started planning Harry Potter in Porto, and it’s easy to see the connection. The university students wear black capes, and Porto is home to the “most beautiful bookstore in the world” – Livraria Lello.

 

I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like, but I have been reading a lot. Here’s a short list of the books I’ve read and loved recently:

  • Secondborn, Amy Bartol
  • Qualify, Vera Nazarian
  • The Girl Who Dared to Think, Bella Forrest
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J. Mass

Each has similarities to some of the projects I’m working on, so if you enjoyed those I hope you’ll like my books too. My background is in ancient mythology (I hope to visit the ruins of Delphi this year), but I love dystopian stories of futuristic societies and revolution.Next month we’re moving into a 12th century fortress in northern Spain… and after that we’re renting an even bigger castle in Austria for Nanowrimo. I still hope to get several more books finished this year, but I’m not entirely sure which books it will be (The Scarlet Thread just got invited to Amazon’s prime reading program, so it would make sense to finish that series this year).

PS – we have at least one extra bed in the castle and I’m thinking of sponsoring a writer to join us, if you can make it to Austria in November and want to join us for Nanowrimo, hit reply to this email and let me know why you want to come.So many books giveaways!I’m getting close to finishing Orpheum, so I set up a quick giveaway for music-themed books. You can win these three and $50 in Amazon credit… click here to enter.

I’ve also been sharing a lot of book giveaways on my Facebook page, so make sure you checkout the UrbanEpics group and scroll down to see all the prizes and books you can enter to win. I also have some BIG events and giveaways planned for later this year, so make sure to follow the Facebook page to stay in the loop.

Thanks!
Derek Murphy

 

PS… we got to visit some amazing libraries and bookstores in Portugal, I’m attaching a few more pics below. If you’re interested in what a life of full-time travel and writing looks like, you can follow me on Instagram.

 

The difference between fauns and satyrs

 

Hi everyone! This is a sample from my book Orpheum, which is based on the mythology surrounding Orpheus and the Maenads. It includes some unique insights about fauns and satyrs. My interpretation is mythology-inspired and supported by the available evidence, but not universally accepted.

I’m also giving away a copy of Orpheum, along with a copy of Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger and Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song (which also both feature violin players).

 

Music lovers giveaway
Professor Paleva made me practice until my fingers bled. I waited for her to notice slick red running down my violin strings, but she didn’t let up for another half hour. I pushed past the pain but I was having trouble hitting the right notes. Finally she sighed and nodded that we were done.

I took my hand off my instrument and stretched my fingers. She handed me a damp rag to wash them off.

I thought about what Denzi had done to my shoulder and wondered whether I could heal myself with music.

“I don’t suppose you can fix these?” I said, waving my red fingers in the air.

“Unfortunately, no,” she said. “Healing with music is… challenging. Even for me. And you need the right instrument.”

“Denzi showed me, with his flute.”

“So you know then. What he is?” she asked, pushing her glasses up higher on her nose.

“A satyr,” I nodded. “But I didn’t really understand the difference but them and fauns. Can you tell me more about the history?”

Professor Dobreva sighed and sat beside me.

“Fauns are nature deities. They play the syrinx – a wind instrument consisting of cane pipes of different lengths tied in a row or in a bundle held together by wax or cord, and generally closed at the bottom. Legend has it that the god Pan, the patron of shepherds, fell in love with the Nymph Syrinx, daughter of Ladon the river-god.”

“Fleeing his attentions, Syrinx pleaded with Zeus to save her and just when Pan captured her, Zeus turned the Nymph into reeds. Enraged, Pan smashed the reeds into pieces but on reflection he was struck with remorse and wept and kissed the broken reeds, all that remained of his beloved. As he kissed the reeds, he discovered that his breath could create sounds from them, and so he made the musical instrument that would carry the lost Nymph’s name.”

“The roman counterpart of Pan is “Faunus” – which became the name given to immortal followers of Pan. They believe in harmony and unity. They give up their personal selfish desires for a greater, universal purpose. They play music for the love, as a selfless gift to the world. They’re poets. You could say that Fauns are just the Roman translation of the Greek Satyrs, and they’re actually the same species, but there are other differences.”

“Satyrs follow Dionysus. They play the aulos, a double reeded instrument like a modern oboe. It’s long, phallic instrument that was used for martial music. The satyrs were Dionysus’s military brigade, using music as a weapon. They used music to subdue, to dominate, to conquer.”

“In myth, Marsyas the satyr was supposed to have invented the aulos, or else picked it up after Athena had thrown it away because it caused her cheeks to puff out and ruined her beauty. In any case, he challenged Apollo to a musical contest, where the winner would be able to “do whatever he wanted” to the loser—Marsyas’s expectation, typical of a satyr, was that this would be sexual in nature. But Apollo and his lyre beat Marsyas and his aulos. And since the pure lord of Delphi’s mind worked in different ways from Marsyas’s, he celebrated his victory by stringing his opponent up from a tree and flaying him alive.”

I shuddered at the image.

“I thought Apollo was the good guy?”

“It’s not that simple,” Paleva said. “Apollo represents rational thought and order, but without emotion he lacks sympathy and can be cold and brutal. Dionysus meanwhile is pure emotion, left unchecked it can also manifest as violence. The order of Orpheus was meant to keep the balance between them, unifying head and heart. Balancing the powers so that no one side can dominate the other.”

“And ultimately, both sides are weak without the other. Orpheus was at his most powerful after Eurydice died. Suffering, heartbreak. You must bleed into your strings, but not with your fingers, with your heart.”

“After what happened with Marsyas, Satyrs were the enemy of Apollo. When Denzi turned from Dionysus and became a follower of Apollo after Orpheus’ death, he turned his back on his own kind. They view him as a traitor.”

“You could say the difference between satyrs and fauns could is the difference in platonic and erotic love: one love prioritizes personal satisfaction over the beloved object. The other gives up selfish desire for the happiness of the other. You could also say that fauns are elevated satyrs, who have overcome their baser natures and learned wisdom and philosophy. They experience guilt and shame, regret and remorse. They prioritize the happiness of their beloved rather than simply the gratification of their own sexual desire. But you can also see fauns as simply childish innocents, and the satyrs are more adult, jaded and cynical.”

“So only fauns can heal, with their pipes? Because of the harmonious notes?” I asked, trying to understand.

“Not necessarily. Both use personal force and energy to create music from their wind instruments. Orpheus plays the lyre, a string instrument where music is made from vibration. It was so pure and beautiful, he was able to suspend the laws of physics and nature. It gave him total mastery of the universe. But it’s not really about the instrument. It’s about the player.”

I wondered then where Denzi’s abilities came from. Who had broken his heart?

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