Heather Rose Jones

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Heather Rose Jones writes fantasy, historic fantasy, and historical fiction, including the Alpennia series with swordswomen and magic in an alternate Regency setting. She blogs about research into lesbian-like motifs in history and literature at the Lesbian Historic Motif Project which provides inspiration for her fiction. She has a PhD in linguistics, studying metaphor theory and the semantics of Medieval Welsh prepositions, and works as an industrial failure investigator in biotech.

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Heather Rose Jones Alpennia is a sort of "Ruritania" in the sense of being inserted into the existing geography of Europe without actually replacing or displacing any…moreAlpennia is a sort of "Ruritania" in the sense of being inserted into the existing geography of Europe without actually replacing or displacing any existing countries. For that reason, I tend to be rather vague about the specific borders to avoid contradicting reality. But if you will allow for a certain elasticity of geography, Alpennia is located roughly in a place where it can border on France, Italy, and Switzerland. Travel via Marseille is mentioned specifically in the context of winter travel when a more direct eastern or south-eastern route over the Alps wouldn't be practical. So the options for travel to Vienna would be either south and then either a coastal or sea route, or north and via Germany (which would still involve mountains at some point).

Under normal circumstances, of course, summer travel to points east would be more direct. Unless there happened to be some sort of mystical interference with the alpine weather patterns that was designed to prevent the easy movement of large numbers of people (such as military units) by those routes …. (Which just _might_ be a relevant plot point in the next book, Mother of Souls.)

By pure coincidence, I was planning to blog about Alpennian geography today. I haven't posted it yet so I can't provide a direct link, but check out http://hrj.livejournal.com under the "Alpennia" tag later for more discussion.

Thank you so much for your question! I love talking about my world-building.(less)
Heather Rose Jones Thank you for asking! (I'm adding that to my list of "interesting ways people have found my novels.")

In fact, when I was first starting to write…more
Thank you for asking! (I'm adding that to my list of "interesting ways people have found my novels.")

In fact, when I was first starting to write Daughter of Mystery, I decided to keep a "development diary" where I jotted down notes about how the story and the worldbuilding developed, just for my own later amusement. (The story itself went through some fairly drastic changes as I wrote.) The story as first conceived was more of a straightforward Ruritanian romance, without overt fantastic elements.

When I started brainstorming for the nature of the conspiracy that Estefen would trick Margerit into joining, my first idea was some sort of Rosicrucian/Masonic type of group that studied alchemy and ceremonial magic. As I played with that idea, the thought came to me, "But what if the magical aspects were *real*? What if getting drawn into a magical ceremony really did have the potential for physically attacking Alpennia's rulers?"

And here in my notes from December 2007 (when I'd written up to the point of the reading of the Baron's will and was starting to think ahead to what Margerit would be doing in Rotenek) is a note that seems to answer your question very directly:

"I need to develop the 'fantasy' aspects of the world. My current ideas draw from historical supernatural practices except that in this world 'stuff works'. Examples would be alchemy (transmutation, humors, sympathetic magic, the mystic marriage?), the invocation of saints, angels (and demons) with regularly observable and supernatural consequences in the physical world (misc. charms, protections, interventions in natural law, etc.). Overall, the basic principle is 'stuff works', where knowledge and practice are the key factors with some smaller element of chance and talent. I don't want the supernatural effects to seem mechanical and there isn't any clear physical manifestation of the supernatural creatures being invoked, but the results should be systematic, not attributable to chance, and logically related to the method of invocation."

I don't know how much farther you've read in the series. In Daughter of Mystery, the supernatural elements we encounter are mostly religious in context, and in part it's because that's the way Margerit experiences them. But as the series goes on, as other characters with other interests come into focus, and as Margerit's experience of the world widens, we start seeing other venues in which "magical stuff works".

The specific aspect of the Mysteries of the Saints is drawn largely from historical folk-magic practices that use saints as intermediaries (or, if you will, as a conceptual focus for the person performing the work), shading imperceptibly into Catholic religious practices around the cults of saints. In the world of Alpennia, "low magic" is more likely to be focused around objects and arbitrary signifiers (written formulas, use of candles and tertiary relics, etc.) while "high magic" is more likely to be focused around ceremony (scripts and symbolic roles).

Every time I need a new infusion of ideas for expanding the fantastic aspects of the Alpennia books, I start by studying some real-world historic approach to magic and the supernatural. For The Mystic Marriage, this was alchemy and the lore of gemstones. For a future book (Mistress of Shadows) I'm going back to the idea of secular ceremonial magic in some of its darker forms, as well as researching folk-magic/religious practices of Islam for a character who is part of the Franco-Egyptian community in Paris. I find my writing is richer for being rooted in the complex diversity of historic beliefs and practices, even though I then adapt those to my own vision of how all these practices are part of the same underlying system (although my characters would never believe that!)(less)
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More books by Heather Rose Jones…
Monday, August 20, 2018 - 10:00

The Lesbian Historic Motif Project



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As I have found on previous occasions, there are a good number of survey articles on women's sexuality or even specifically on women's homoeroticism published in the 1980s and 1990s that--at this point--are mostly useful to include in the LHMP for the purpose of saying "don't bother with this, it's thoroughly outdated." So why do...

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Published on August 11, 2018 16:04
Three Nights at the Opera Daughter of Mystery The Mystic Marriage Mother of Souls
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Heather Rose Jones wrote a new blog post
Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 09:00

The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast



(Originally Aired 2018/08/18 - listen here)

In the Book Appreciation segments,... Read more of this blog post »
" People may be confused by this comment because Agnes Moor's Wild Knight is a heterosexual romance! (I know I mostly review queer fiction and SFF, so I ...more "
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Agnes Moor's Wild Knight by Alyssa Cole
Agnes Moor's Wild Knight
by Alyssa Cole (Goodreads Author)
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When I was reading Bernadette Andrea’s The Lives of Girls and Women from the Islamic World in Early Modern British Literature and Culture, I spotted a reference to Elen More, a black woman in the early 16th century Scottish court, and instantly reali ...more
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Hamilton's Battalion by Courtney Milan
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(I previously posted a review of only the Alyssa Cole story. This version incorporates that into a review of the whole set.)

The musical Hamilton has quite deservedly stirred up a lot of interest in the Revolutionary War era and, from a separate angle
...more
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Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures by Alex Acks
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his is a delightfully clever series of steampunk adventure/mystery stories featuring Captain Marta Ramos, a somewhat gender-queer bisexual tinkerer, swashbuckler, and outlaw leader. The flavor of the stories made me think oddly of a mash-up of Sherlo ...more
" Siavahda wrote: "Congratulations! Very well-deserved :)"

Thank you!
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The Covert Captain by Jeannelle M. Ferreira
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I've long had a peculiar love for Regency romances (ask me about my complete collection of Georgette Heyer). Every time I've gotten wind of a Regency featuring a romance between women, I've done my best to track it down. Some have been very enjoyable ...more
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Heather Jones rated a book really liked it
Hamilton's Battalion by Courtney Milan
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(I previously posted a review of only the Alyssa Cole story. This version incorporates that into a review of the whole set.)

The musical Hamilton has quite deservedly stirred up a lot of interest in the Revolutionary War era and, from a separate angle
...more
Heather Jones rated a book liked it
The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera
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My impressions of this book shifted a lot during the process or reading it. For much of the middle, I was afraid it was going to be one of those “liked but didn’t love” books, and then things really ramped up in the last couple of chapters. Ramped up ...more
More of Heather's books…
“I think…I am more than content—no, I am joyful—to be in the place I find myself. And I don’t think I could have come to this place by any road but the one I’ve traveled. If there are limits to what this body can do—” She gestured to take it in. “—they are limits made by others, not my limits. No, I wouldn’t choose to be other than what I am.”
Heather Rose Jones, Mother of Souls

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