Shall We Dance? Kicking things off for the Deb Class of 2018

Hey there, y’all. I’m Cass, and my historical fantasy epic From Unseen Fire, Book One of the Aven Cycle, comes out on April 3rd. I’m giddily excited to be part of the 2018 Debutante Ball!

To best sum up who I am: Slytherin, Targaryen, Bajoran, ENFJ, Leo, bisexual, pagan, proudly geek chic. I’m a lifelong Virginian — born in Harrisonburg, grew up in Richmond, went to the College of William and Mary for undergrad, attended Mary Baldwin College for graduate school, and lived in Staunton for nine years before moving to Roanoke just a couple of weeks ago! I spent most of my time in Staunton working for the American Shakespeare Center’s Education department; I’m currently applying to MFA Creative Writing programs so that I can get a terminal degree that will allow me to teach at the college level. I’ve discovered how much I enjoy helping people find the ways to tell their own stories, whether academically or creatively, and I’d like to be able to spend a lot of my time doing that. My non-writing hobbies include embroidery, tabletop gaming, and wearing corsets voluntarily.

To introduce my book: From Unseen Fire takes place in an alternate version of the ancient Roman Republic: Aven, a nation shaped as much by elemental magic as by war or the rule of law. When a Dictator dies, the Republic has an opportunity to redefine itself — but the two prominent factions have very different ideas on what direction to go. My heroine, Latona of the Vitelliae, is a mage of Spirit and Fire who is learning how tired she is of letting other people define the boundaries of her life and discovering ways to break free of those restrictions. Her sisters are her allies: Aula, a widow concealing a canny political mind beneath the guise of a frivolous socialite, and Alhena, a young prophetess just entering the wider world of Aventan society. Meanwhile, her brother Gaius is leading a cohort of legionaries in far-off Iberia, trying to put down a rebellion that the Aventan Senate refuses to acknowledge is happening. Male protag Sempronius Tarren is a man of great ambition, who believes that Aven’s destiny is to be the center of a vast network of allied nations. He’s also a Shadow mage who has, against Aventan law, kept his powers a secret. Their paths intertwine in a whorl of politics, romance, intrigue, and, of course, magic.

And that’s all I’m telling you for now! You’ll learn a lot more about the book and what’s behind it as this year of blogging goes on.

Places to find me on the internet:

  • My website is a catch-all for my writing and for the Aven Cycle as a series. It’s also the location of my primary blog.
  • My newsletter is nascent, but will be a catch-all to make sure readers don’t miss anything important from the various other sources.
  • My Patreon is a great place if you want behind-the-scenes action. As we get closer to publication, I’ll be releasing news and previews more frequently, and after the book is out, it’ll be the place for exclusive peeks inside the world of the Aven Cycle. I’m so looking forward to helping readers immerse themselves in the universe with historical background, first drafts of chapters, snippets that didn’t make it into the final manuscript, side stories, and other such “bonus features.” I also share weekly drabbles and short stories (a variety of original work and fanfiction) as well as the Hamilblog, an ongoing rhetorical analysis of every song in Hamilton. (At the time of this writing, we’re up to “Satisfied”) and an assortment of other oddities.
  • My Twitter is about one-third books and publishing stuff, one third politics, and one third pictures of my cats. Note that this proportion is liable to shift depending on what chaos is going on in the world at any given point in time.
  • My Instagram is… mostly pictures of my cats, lbr.
  • My Facebook is a compendium of announcements and interesting news from the publishing industry.

I’m a chatterbox, so hit me up any of those places if you want to know more about me, the Aven Cycle, or the publishing world as I’ve experienced it. I’m giddily excited to be starting this journey with the other Debs, and I can’t wait to share the joy with all y’all readers. Many thanks to the Debs who’ve preceded me, particularly Crystal, Amy, Tiffany, Lynn, and Jenni, who are handing over their tiaras, and to my fellow Debs of 2018: Lara, Kimmery, Julie, and Kaitlyn. Here’s to adventure!


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Cass Morris lives and works in central Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She completed her Master of Letters at Mary Baldwin University in 2010, and she earned her undergraduate degree, a BA in English with a minor in history, from the College of William and Mary in 2007. She reads voraciously, wears corsets voluntarily, and will beat you at MarioKart.

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