To cast or not to cast: that's a very interesting question. When writing fantasy, more often than not there's some sort of magic involved, possibly multiple sorts, and authors have to do a balancing act between showing and telling, often making decisions to emphasize one side of casting over the other: the act of casting, or its effects. In my own fantasy series, kicking off with A Vision in Crimson, magic plays a key role. My ideas about magic come largely from games like Arkham Horror, where you can cast a variety of spells, associated with costs (physical, mental, or both), and the cost is paid whether you successfully gain the effects or not. While I'm eyeball deep in bog bodies for my latest, WIP, I'm willing to offer a tiny snippet of A Vision in Crimson, the first casting. More info about this and other works can be found at ladybathoryscloset.blogspot.comFrom: A Vision in Crimson, by Kathryn Troy[...] Kate returned. She walked right past Luca without even looking at him, and headed towards the fire. She said nothing. She knelt by the fire, grabbing a long, thin branch that was poking out of the center. The end was still lit. Without lifting it off the ground, Kate dragged the smoldering end in the dirt, creating a large spiral that bordered the entire clearing. The incoherent chatter of the camp began to quiet down, and Luca noticed that those too far to the edge of the clearing were deliberately stepping closer, standing inside the inner curve of the spiral.When the outer edges of the spiral met in a closed circle, Kate left the burning stick upright in the ground. She returned to the fire, walking back the way she had come, rather than crossing the lines and going straight for the center. Luca observed Kate closely. He could hear her whispering something, but couldn’t understand her words. When she arrived at the center, she knelt again by the fire. He saw that her soft lips were still moving. From the pouch at her waist, she pulled out a small blue orb, and held it in the palm of her left hand in front of her face. Her eyes were closed. Her right hand drew the dagger from her boot. Her fingers rotated the orb, placing the blade in her left palm between the orb and her hand. She continued to speak, and the fire began to glow stronger and brighter.Luca heard Kate take in a sharp breath, and in the next moment she quickly ran the dagger across her left palm, drawing blood. She squeezed the orb. Hard. When her blood dripped into the fire, it reacted like gasoline. The blaze traveled the path of the spiral Kate had drawn. In the haze created by the flames, a caravan began to take shape. A series of red and gold tents slowly materialized along the outline of the spiral. Their doors flapped open in the breeze to reveal the rich décor inside. The tents were populated by lush pillows and fabrics, cups and bowls made of silver, and incredibly soft-looking beds.In the center, Kate’s blade was still biting into her hand, which had begun to quiver. In a few more minutes, the tents took on a physical form, and Kate let her hands fall limply to her side. Her hand was bleeding profusely. She threw her dagger into the dirt and pulled the plaid scarf out from around her neck, wrapping it tightly around her wound. She picked up her dagger, wiped the blade on her lap, and returned it to its place alongside her leg.