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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Alayna Williams

Today I'd like to welcome back Alayna Williams, who is stopping by to promote her new Urban Fantasy release, Rogue Oracle, the second novel in her Delphic Oracle series, which releases on February 22nd. I'm about halfway through this novel, and hope to post my review next week. It's turning out even better than Dark Oracle! Her topic for this guest blog is the Delphic Oracle. I found it very interesting, and hope you do to!


The Delphic Oracle - Then and Now
by Alayna Williams

The Delphic Oracle is probably the most famous oracle of the ancient world. The priestess of the Temple of Apollo, the Pythia, wielded a great deal of political influence over leaders who sought her advice and the priestesses who served the temple. The Temple of Apollo was sited over a crevasse in the earth emitting noxious vapors, leading to modern-day speculation that the Pythia’s visions were not sendings from Apollo, but toxic hallucinations. The Delphic Oracle operated from roughly the eight century BC until 393 AD, when all pagan oracles were ordered to be dismantled by the Emperor. After that, no one knows what became of the priestesses.

I was intrigued by the idea of an order of women exerting subtle and powerful influence over the ancient world. I wondered what would happen if that order of priestesses went underground and survived to the modern day. What would their role in world events be? In ROGUE ORACLE, the title of Pythia is handed down through generations of women, all oracles with their own unique talent for foreseeing the future. Delphi’s Daughters are a secret organization, nudging world events and gathering information through vast networks of helpers. Their behavior is sometimes sinister, sometimes pure, but always secretive. No one but the Pythia herself knows how the puzzle of world events fits together, and her priestesses are often left in the dark, guessing at her motives.

In the ROGUE ORACLE world, the current Pythia is a pyromancer. She sees the future in dancing flames. The heroine of the story, Tara Sheridan, is a cartomancer who uses Tarot cards to create criminal profiles. Other characters have abilities with scrying, astronomy, and geomancy. Delphi’s Daughters come from all walks of life: they are physicists, soccer moms, artists, farmers, and dancers. They are women just like women you know and walk past on the street. But they are women with a secret.

In thinking about how such an order might survive into the modern world, I imagined the limitations inherent in being an oracle in a secret organization. It would require secrecy, sacrificing a large part of one’s life, and committing to a larger ideal. I decided that, as time passed, fewer and fewer women would be interested in unquestioningly serving Delphi’s Daughters. In ROGUE ORACLE, the order is dying out. Tara Sheridan has left the order after her mother died, refusing to return. After surviving an attacked by a serial killer that left her scarred for life, she is unable to bear children. And there are no young women in Delphi’s Daughters any longer.

In the first book in the series, DARK ORACLE, Delphi's Daughters gained guardianship of a young woman who is the orphaned daughter of a physicist. Under the watchful and sometimes brutal eye of the Pythia, she is growing into her own power, astrology. The ancient science runs counter to her scientific nature, but she finds that the stars are speaking to her...and they are telling her of a disaster of far-reaching proportions on the horizon. In ROGUE ORACLE, Cassie discovers that the stars are moving to positions almost identical to their configuration when the Chernobyl disaster struck the Ukraine. She's convinced that a new devastation is at hand.

Tara sees it, too, in her Tarot cards. Especially in the shadow of the Tower - a hulking structure destroyed by lightning. She must race against time to try and stop a Chernobyl survivor from selling nuclear secrets on the black market. And to do so, she must abandon Cassie to the Pythia's harsh care.

The Pythia must try to continue the line, whatever the cost. She is challenged to convince the rebellious Tara to return, and resolved that she must put Cassie through horrifying tests of will to empower her to move into the future. A new order for a new age. And blood will be spilled in the process.


Thanks for stopping by Alayna!

THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT THE FUTURE, THE MORE THERE MAY BE TO FEAR.

Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around—and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.

Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards—and Tara’s increasingly ominous dreams—suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationship with the mysterious order known as Delphi’s Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen...


I also have two signed copies of Rogue Oracle to give away, courtesy of Alayna. All you have to do to be entered is answer the question: If you were an oracle, what medium would you use to help you predict future events? The giveaway is international, and will last until midnight Saturday 02/26. I'll announce the winner on either Sunday or Monday.

42 comments:

  1. Well, since I am a scorpio I guess I'd have to go with my element, which is water.

    patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

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  2. Marianna, that's an excellent idea. I don't have any aquamancers in the Oracle story...yet! ;-)

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  3. Marianna, that's an excellent idea. I don't have any aquamancers in the Oracle story...yet! ;-)

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  4. Since I'm a Gemini so I would have to go with abilty to see two sides of the story.. like a good person vrs bad person idea.. I'm air element..

    Kim at overallbeauty dot com
    HI Laura!! I saw this was happening from your Facebook page.. glad I did now :)

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  5. Hi, Kim! *waves*

    Very cool...sounds almost like an astral projection power!

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  6. Win or not win, I am so going to support Alayna and buy Dark Oracle Tuesday.

    What medium would I use to help predict the future. I'm Virgo (Scorpio rising) - which is an earth sign ; in the Chinese zodiac Red Dragon - fire sign ; Celtic zodiac I am a vine

    Though for some reason to imagine using vines to tell the future is druidry/elfish. LOL

    But really I would not be certain what I'd use.

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  7. Awww, Raonaid, thank you so much! *hugs*

    Hmm...you could be a geomancer? Or use herb divination? Lots of possibilities! Though...I am imagining you conspiring with dragons. ;-)

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  8. Can I choose all the weather elements :) Wind, fire, water and earth.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

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  9. As a jewelry designer, I would use gems for my predictions. As a Libra, my birthstone is Opal, so I'd concentrate on that one.

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  11. For me it has to be water.Iam the crab

    with all my desire to protect.

    gaf36801@gmail.com

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  12. @RobinK, I think that makes you an aeromancer! Very cool...and very in demand during hurricane season!

    Diane, I've heard of folks who do that. I can't remember what it's called, but they put a bunch of gems together in a bag and pull them at random to interpret, kind of like runes.

    flinnie, water would be a wonderful tool for divination of all types...especially scrying!

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  13. Well based on the Westen Zodian I'm a Leo so maybe some sort of fire based, and Eastern Based I'm a Wooden Rabbit...so possibly combine the 2 with a type of Fire Scrying


    drakenfyre75@msn.com

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  14. It sounds like it would be a good idea for me to use water, as I'm a Scorpio too. Although I always wanted a crystal ball, LOL.

    Barbed1951 at aol.com

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  15. drakenfyre75, I'm a Leo, too. Pyromancy rocks!

    BarbaraE, I'd love to have a crystal ball, too. But I'm pretty clumsy and have four cats...so I'm quite sure that it wouldn't last long. :-S

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  16. It would have to be a crystal ball.
    msuck27@hotmail.co.uk

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  17. Hmmm, good question (I read and really liked Dark Oracle, by the way)! I do like the tarot, but I think I might cast runes.

    b(dot)cardone(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  18. Thanks again to Alayna for stopping by! I think I'd like to use the stars for my predictions.

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  19. @Anonymous...If you got a crystal ball, I have some questions that need answering! ;-)

    @Bethany C., thank you so much. I'm so glad that you enjoyed DARK ORACLE. And runes sound like a lot of fun!

    @Sara, I would love to read a good history of astrology sometime. I have to say that I'm enjoying all the kerfluffle over adding a 13th Zodiac sign.

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  20. Great Post!

    I was really entranced reading about the Oracle's when I was younger too. One of my favorite bits of history.

    Not to be the downer, but I don't want to know the future, not really. Remember how knowing the future worked so well in all those Greek tragedies? Yeah, there you have it.

    Oh, and of course Laura, you're da best! Congrats and the latest and greatest release :)

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  21. I am another Leo too and since the fire is taken I could just read some tea leaves. That way I could soothe myself with tea and learn the furture at the same time.

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  22. I really think for me it would have to be water.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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  23. I like the idea of using Tarot cards actually! It seems like a very neat idea!

    jessbess2505[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  24. Hey, Danielle! :-) You've got a point about the Greek tragedies...sometimes, we can want to know TOO much. ;-)

    Pamk, tea leaves could be fun...but there is more than enough room in fire for all of us!

    donnas, another vote for water! I am envisioning many mermaids responding to this post. ;-)

    Jessica, the cards are a lot of fun. I mostly use them as story prompts, though...they have the Hero's Journey built in

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  25. As a Pisces, I would be drawn to the water, but since I love staring up at the stars on a clear night - I would have to go with astrology.

    heatwave96(at)hotmail.com

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  26. Hi Alayna,
    i love your first book 'Dark Oracle', and i'm sooo looking forward to have my chance to read the second book :)

    i'm a scorpio, and my element is Water. Then i'm gonna choose Water!

    uniquas at ymail dot com

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  27. I always liked the idea of reading runes.

    linze_e at hotmail.com

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  28. heatwave16 - I think you could definitely do both! Float in water and look up at the stars!

    mariska - Thank you SO MUCH for picking up DARK ORACLE! I'm glad you liked it. You made my day. :-)

    lindseye - I thought about making a rune set sometime with clay, but I've never gotten around to it. Another entry on my long list of "uncompleted craft projects"...

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  29. Moirae, fire seems to be one of the most popular...followed by water!

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  30. I am a Capricorn so my element is earth.

    I would therefor have to use geomancy.

    Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it toworldwide entries.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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  31. Really interesting blog post, thanks!

    I would predict the future by the way the water ripples when a white feather touches it.

    Really loved the first Oracle-book, so I'm very excited for this one!

    All the best :)

    Jannick

    jannickv[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  32. I'd predict the future by throwing sticks randomly on a moving clockwork-like duo circle divisions.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

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  33. Hmm..i am also a Leo so it would defo have to be something to do with fire!

    holz_twilight@msn.com

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  34. Hi! Thanks for the giveaway! I'm a Leo so I'd use the fire.
    petra_socaciu(at)yahoo.com

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  35. buddyt, there are lots of cool things involved with geomancy - ley lines, runes, stones, and crystals. Good pick!

    Jannick, thanks so much for picking up DARK ORACLE! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. :-)

    And I'd love to see the results of your water/feather divination!

    Aik, very interesting stuff. I had a character in the first book, DARK ORACLE, who cast sticks. She was a geomancer...really fun research!

    Holz, welcome to the fire club! ;-)

    JerseyGirl22, another addition to the Leo-fire group! There are a lot of us, it seems, who are interested in the subject.

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  36. o_0 do oracles get to choose their medium? I thought they just had to deal with whatever they were given, but if I was allowed to choose, I would want just the air in front of me... much easier that way... not so easy to lose~~

    snifflykitty@gmail.com

    Sniffly Kitty
    Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books
    Loving the Reviews Challenge

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  37. Interesting question. I'm an aries, so as a fire sign I would use fire to get my predictions.

    juliecookies(at)gmail.com

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  38. I'd use water, not because I'm a Scorpio (but I really am) but because I love swimming. I think I was meant to be a fish and not human... :P

    hsiu_an(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  39. How about interpreting the clouds? I think that would be a very interesting way of seeing the future.

    spav05(at)gmail(dot)com

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  40. Since I live in Florida and sometimes hate the unpredictable weather...hurricanes and tornadoes..I am going with wind.

    weebeenoid@cox.net

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  41. Sniffly Kitty, my oracles are stuck with what they get. But I think we should get to choose. ;-)

    Julie S, yay! Another vote for fire!

    Samantha, maybe you were meant to be a mermaid? Best of both worlds. ;-)

    Spav, that would be a very neat way to tell the future. Love it!

    Laura - at last, a vote for wind! :-D

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Thanks for stopping by Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog! I'd love to here what's on your mind. :)