>Guest Post: Dude, Where’s My Mana? by Kevin James Breaux!!

>Everyone please welcome back Kevin Breaux for his second time here at Paperback Dolls! Kevin has a new epic fantasy, Soul Born, coming out in late November.

Kevin James Breaux is an award-winning author and artist. He is a member of the HWA and EAA. Along with having many short stories published Kevin’s first novel, SOUL BORN, an epic fantasy, will be released 11/2010. Soul Born is book one in a three book series, that runs over 110,000 words. http://www.kevinbreaux.com

Dude, Where’s My Mana?

Mana is often referred to as the energy that fuels magic and magical abilities. In countless role-playing and video games, Mana potions are drank to restore the depleted power levels of magic users, but I ask this one important question… What does a Mana potion taste like anyway?

I kinda imagine it having a sugary blueberry taste. Remember Little Hugs, the 80’s Kool-Aid like drink? Maybe not, it might have been a Pennsylvania thing, but you can look it up on the Internet. Little Hugs where these drinks that came in tiny plastic barrels and were just about 90% sugar water, 10% food coloring and when you’re a kid that equals 100% FUN! So-yeah, I imagine the blueberry flavor of that fun little refreshment when my characters in Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft pop open and guzzle a Mana potion.

Actually, if you want to think of things in a more contemporary scale, you could easily draw a connection to energy drinks like Red Bull, but I would think those would recover stamina or health, not Mana, right? I can see it now; some wild-eyed, ancient and brittle-boned wizard reaches into his sleeve for a Mana pot and retrieves a Rock Star Energy Drink. Next thing you know, he’s running circles around the Orcs that were attacking him, his robe pulled up above his waist and his dangly parts flapping in the wind as he mumbles, “can’t catch me, can’t catch me…”

Moving on.

Aside from video and role-playing games, I never really think of a wizard’s power as a slowly decreasing number over a forward slash. I tend to think of mages tapping into either the dormant energies of nature around them, or their own life-force, to cast spells. I like the concept of magic having a price, but prefer it to be something tangible. I have read stories where the use of a character’s power shortens their life span. I find that an always interesting concept. The magic that protects them is also killing them, what a great internal struggle. I recall reading the comic book Spawn, by Todd McFarlane, his title character was forced to return to Hell to power up if he drained all his “magic” abilities. I think that’s just Rad!

In my debut novel, SOUL BORN, which will be released late November by Dark Quest Books, we follow a young sorceress by the name of Opal as she travels a path of self discovery. In the beginning of the story we learn that Opal is an apprentice of a group of powerful mages called the High Council. She has been given a task by her mentors and hopes that by completing it, she will finally be respected and thought of as more than just a student.

Throughout my novel Opal’s powers surge and recede, as a result of the many obstacles she faces. When she is hurt, or cannot fully concentrate on what she is doing her powers ebb. When she is confident, driven, angry or lustful (yes, I said lustful, stop giggling!) her powers flow.

Well, I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but in SOUL BORN, it is rumored among the non-human races that human magic is plaguing nature. The elves and jackalwere(a man-beast race), believe magic could destroy the lands. This is a theme I carry through the entire trilogy, and one of the main plots of book three.

Newton’s Third Law states “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.”

That is a good adage to have in mind when thinking about how magic affects the world in SOUL BORN. If magic is a natural resource then it must be limited. Illyia, the lands SOUL BORN takes place in, cannot just chug a tasty Mana potion and be back to a Full Magic Point status. No, Illyia is being slowly drained and the consequences affect every living thing. SOUL BORN is a new fantasy world, and the characters within it have yet to learn what magic is truly doing to them or nature, but they are getting hints along the way.

All and all, magic use is a fine line that, as a fantasy writer, you need to be aware of at all times or your characters will come off like unstoppable Gods, and how can a reader relate to that? Anyway, I need to go get me a large hazelnut coffee from the local Apothecary-Coffee Shoppe, because I’m feeling sleepy!

All Opal wanted was to be respected as a wielder of magic, but her teachers passed her over time and time again. When a mysterious warlord embarks on a conquest to destroy the lands of Illyia Opal seizes an opportunity to step out from the shadows of her instructors and take her rightful spot among them.

Tala, an alluring young elf, was banished from her tribe, hunted and nearly killed by the beasts that dwell in the deep forests, but more than anything else she is a survivor. Joining forces with an ancient elemental power Tala finds herself in the center of an unrelenting human war.

Flesh like leather and bone as strong as steel Karn, a veteran from the first kingdom to fall, is fueled by vengeance. While pushing ever headlong into battle Karn begins to recall memories of another life; ghosts that haunt his dreams.

Through death of soul, their world is born.

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