The Witching Vault follows Jessica as she is given the responsibility of guarding the Gateway from the occult syndicate who want it. What were some ideas that informed this novels development?
Actually, the original idea was something I’d pitched to a ghostwriting client. In its first iteration, it would have been a spin-off of a different series we’d written together. But they weren’t interested, and so I filed the idea away for later use (and honoring NDAs means I can’t say which series sparked the idea, unfortunately). But as this single thought hung around in my head for a while, I started to see how it could be so much more than the original idea. And I was able to put my own much darker spin on it with a witch who’s also an ex-con. Why in the world would somebody take a job at a magical bank that can think for itself, who everyone wants to get their hands on, unless that person had created the bank themselves? No one, really. But now in the Accessory to Magic series, Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking has a long history with choosing new owners who literally don’t have another choice. Jessica doesn’t either, because getting any job at all that lasts more than temporary work or that doesn’t really “fit the bill” is so hard for anyone who’s been institutionalized and newly released from prison. Even a witch released from magical prison. And that built Jessica’s entire character and her backstory that I’m still exploring in Book 2, The Cursed Fae.
You’ve created a unique fantasy world filled with odd happenings. How did you balance magic and its use throughout the story to keep it believable?
There’s always a fine line between inundating any form Fantasy work with so much magic that it becomes overdone and still pulling in that line of reality, where the characters struggle even with magic to achieve their goals. Urban Fantasy is a particularly unique genre for this, perfectly suited to balancing magic and its use with believability. Because in most Urban Fantasy settings, there’s a “majority population” of humans, people without magic, who really have no idea magic exists. It’s that idea of the hidden world within our already established world.
Jessica is an incredibly powerful magical (and I won’t give any spoilers as to what type of witch she really is), yet she’s removed half of her own magic in order to keep herself and the people around her safe. To not repeat the same mistakes that landed her in prison in the first place. And despite her powerful magic, she still has to deal with things like providing customer service to aggravating and horrifying clients, trying to keep herself fed when the building’s kitchen is almost completely empty and the bank won’t let her leave to stock up on food, and calling in a magical emergency to 2-2-9 and the Cleaners.
The balance is found in going through all the mundane things of daily life that we all experience in the world, just with an extra touch of magic and intrigue.
What were some ideas that informed the development of the bank and the occult syndicate in this book?
Like I said, the whole idea of a magical bank started as a spark of an idea I pitched to a ghostwriting client. But the fleshing-out of the bank as an actual character – with attitude from the very beginning and later with an ability to actually speak to Jessica in her mind – came purely out of necessity, honestly. The one magical who could have given Jessica answers is wiped off the map shortly after she starts this apprenticeship at the bank. And the idea of leaving Jessica trapped inside the bank with nothing and no one but an immortal lizard to keep her company didn’t sound like a particularly exciting storyline. And the bank had already chosen Jessica as its new owner. Why not make the bank a character as well?
As I’m wrapping up the writing of Book 2 in the series, I’m realizing more and more that Jessica’s relationship with the bank as a sentient entity is incredibly reflective of her. The bank goes through some of the same magical mishaps as Jessica, though on a broader scale and within a sort of “life or death” situation for two entire worlds. Jessica’s magic is at half capacity by her own design, and the bank’s magic starts echoing this dilemma as well. Until she learns to come to terms with who she is and the fact that the mistakes she made in her past as a criminal and a fugitive aren’t tied to who she must become in order to protect the Gateway and keep even more chaos at bay.
Again, this comes down to hiding the extraordinary within the mundane. It’s so exciting to think that the most powerful and crucial portal in this Urban Fantasy world is tucked away within a bank. Yes, a magical bank, but still a daily necessity for humans and magicals. Jessica gets to live in the bank, work in the bank, and work with the bank to protect the Gateway all at the same time. But like with any adventurous Fantasy work, there are always “dark forces” who want to get their hands on what they’re not allowed to touch. If I say any more than that, I’m giving way too many spoilers for the entire series.
This is book one in your Accessory to Magic series. What can readers expect in book two?
In Book 2, readers will discover right alongside Jessica yet again more about who she is, where she came from, and what happened in her past to lead her to where she is now. Fortunately, advanced readers of Book 1 were hooked by the mystery of Jessica’s past, and I’m so excited to be able to bring more things to light about this in Book 2. There’s a handful of key characters who show up in The Cursed Fae to shed a lot more light on who Jessica used to be and what she did, but even they don’t know the full scope of Jessica’s past before she was inducted into a team of magical thieves and criminals. This is part of what Jessica ends up rediscovering herself in Book 2 as well. Because just like she performed a dangerous spell on herself to remove half of her most destructive magic (still keeping it close but refusing to use it), she also paid someone to remove memories she hadn’t realized she was missing. And now they’re starting to come back.
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The Love of Gods is a genre-crossing novel with elements of romance, supernatural, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Actually, I initially was trying to write a mystery with a hint of a simmering romance which I hoped would span several books, but I discovered pretty early on that I am a romance writer and not a mystery writer. So, I tossed my first draft and started over.
Lugos and Keely are interesting and well defined characters. What were some ideas that were important for you to capture in their characters?
Lugos is based on two different Celtic gods which gave me a place to start. I immediately understood who he was, what would be important to him, and a good portion of his backstory from the very beginning. And so from that jumping off point, he became a vivid character in my mind. I wanted him to value his intellect over his brawn. I also him to value humanity over his own kin. As for Keely, her southern sass is based on a waitress I know, and the awful taste in men is a nod to a dear friend of mine. Because Lugos is an immortal, I wanted Keely to have a resilient and courageous nature so that Lugos’s god-ness didn’t overpower the relationship. Even though she’s a mortal, Keely had to be his equal in many ways otherwise the relationship wouldn’t work.
I loved the backstory and world building in this novel. What were some sources of inspiration for you while creating this story?
I spend a lot of my time researching various myths and much of the characters’ backstories are tied to my understanding of those myths. The various gods in The Love of Gods all have their own histories in Celtic mythology and I drew from these. The shifter and witch communities have rich literary traditions that gave me a direction, a roadmap, of how they might respond if the world of the Pale truly existed.
This is book one in The Legends of Pale series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?
I’m happy to say that I am hard at work on several books in this series. The Fate of Wolves is the next book and will be out near Christmas this year. I have already finished book three, The Dreams of Demons, and if all goes to plan I’ll release it in spring 2020. I’m currently writing the fourth book, The Souls of Witches and I’m absolutely in love with the main characters. But then, that’s how it is with each book I write.
Lugos had given his word when the world was still young, before he’d endured the wrenching pain of her soul being torn from his. Lifetime after lifetime she’d returned when he’d needed her most, when the apathy of his kind had eaten away at his resolve and his heartfelt vow seemed pointless. One would think he’d be able to protect a single mortal, after all, he was a god. But two long centuries had passed since he’d held her, since he’d been whole. Now, she was back and Lugos had a decision to make; claim the only woman he’d ever loved, or deny his soul’s deepest craving and grant Keely a chance at a peaceful life without the dangers that populated his world. For five years, Lugos had chosen the latter with the hope that the fates might overlook them this time. That was still his plan when the goddess Rhiannon called seeking his help. Lugos should have known better.
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The Love of Gods, written by Tarrant Smith is the first book in the paranormal romance series, The Legends of the Pale.
The story is an intriguing combination of a murder mystery and love story. As with any good romance, the story has a masculine hero – Lugos. Despite being a god, Lugos prefers the company of humans. Whilst Lugo is investigating the death of a high-ranking witch his relationship with Keely Ann Lee, a Southern bar tender develops from a simple friendship into romance. Unbeknownst to Keely, Lugos has loved her over several different lifetimes. This time, he will do all he can to protect this mere mortal.
The story is set in Pale, which are a group of supernatural communities, but the characters are spread over different physical locations including Ireland and America.
There is a large and daunting cast of characters, which appear and disappear throughout the book. The author provides a comprehensive character list at the beginning, which is appreciated, but flipping back and forth gets a bit disruptive. The number of characters is further complicated by the fact that these are paranormal characters such as demons, witches, gods, shifters, demigoddesses and familiars. Each character has their own special powers as well as personality and location. That said, it did not take long to get my head around the number of characters and any fan of epic expansive fantasy novels will appreciate the intricate backstory that Tarrant Smith ha created.
Interwoven into the story are both paranormal and human experiences. Characters constantly move from using human technology such as cell phones, luxury cars, classic cars, security systems and Google maps to teleportation and shape shifting. They move from the mundane such as using passports to shifting from human form to animal form. This adds interest and intrigue and ensures the story is fast moving.
The dialogue between characters is rich and realistic and enhances the relationship between characters. The tale is also enhanced with some interesting metaphors, for example, Keely is described at one point as “a puddle of need”; which is my new favorite phrase.
The Love of Gods is a well written story. The dialogue is engrossing and most of the characters and their loyalties are intricate but explained in depth. Both the love story and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end.
Pages: 268 | ASIN: B07PWB8V36
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I always wished I had supernatural powers. Now I wish I didn’t.
Sadie’s a dud, a failure–the only one in high school who doesn’t have any kind of supernatural powers. Her psychic bff, Jo, knows something about Sadie’s future, but just won’t tell. And what the heck is going on when one of her teachers starts looking at her while he’s going on about powerful lost keys, portals of madness, and destinies?
Then it all starts.
On her 18th birthday, Sadie starts to feel weird. And when werewolves, vampires, and demons all turn up to spoil her party, the weirdness really ramps up.
Leaving her best friend, her family, and the only town she’s ever known, Sadie must find safety. But while the king of the werewolves can offer her somewhere to hide while she’s learning about her new powers, he can’t stop his psycho witch fiancée from finding new ways to try and kill her. Of course, the murderous tendencies of this psycho witch only get worse when she realises the Werewolf King is, um… attracted to Sadie.
And all that’s before Sadie sets off to try and find one of the lost keys. Before she visits hell. Before she picks up a pet ogre.
And before she realizes just how powerful she can become.
But if it really is her destiny to collect one of the lost keys, will she be able control her newfound power and help save the world and all the people in it she loves? Or will she buckle under the pressure?
She’s about to find out. A mansion surrounded by demons and full of vampires and witches intent on her destruction awaits. Oh, and that psycho-witch fiancée of the Werewolf King. What could possibly go wrong?
If you like high stakes, kick-ass heroines, and a solid dash of humour, you’ll love this new Paranormal urban fantasy series by Brandi Elledge. Get it now.
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In the pages of A New Beginning (A Jenny Dewberry Series), J.J. Olson weaves together a world of whimsy, magic, and the otherwise normal life of a 13-year-old girl. The story opens to Jenny Dewberry attending her grandmother, Alinore Grayson’s bedside. It is then that she receives the first clue that she may not be a normal 13-year-old girl. Alinore gives Jenny a key that opens a trunk of secrets and unlocks a part of herself that she never knew existed. Jenny discovers that she comes from a long line of witches, and she’s given a mission to restore white magic to the world.
This book is perfect for the young and old, alike but I think that middle-schoolers and up will enjoy this read the most. The story is vivid and descriptive and the writing is simple without being boring. Olson paints a world that is easily imagined. The book delves into some fairly complex situations, spells, and worlds a reader could easily get lost in, but I didn’t have a problem as everything is explained well.
I enjoyed the idea of the journals that Alinore left for Jenny to read. We get to know Alinore without her being a present character in the story through her first person narratives. We also get to know Alinore through her colorful sister, Agatha and her adventurous spirit. Alinore was a mastermind. She leaves Jenny everything she needs to send Jenny on a magical scavenger hunt of sorts.
The characters are well developed and enough background information is given to fill in gaps. This is a story that stands alone while at the same time leaving the reader begging for more. It is part of a series, but is easily digestible as a singular story.
I like the good vs. evil aspect of the story. Madiva and her minions represent the dark side, while fresh-faced Jenny is the bright spot. She is hope. That being said, I like the redemption of Kurthanyo Eastman that we get to witness. At first, I assumed Kurthanyo leaned more toward the domineering, evil side. By the end, we are given another piece of the story that lets Kurthanyo explains some of his actions when he was young. We’ve all done something we regretted in a fit of rage. Kurthanyo gives us a reminder that those fits are often not easily undone.
I’m giving A New Beginning (A Jenny Dewberry Series) by J.J. Olson 5 out of 5 stars. Apart from a few minor errors, the book is very well-written. The characters are relatable. It seems like it’s Jenny against the world, and at times she is. Readers will enjoy the protagonist as an underdog. I’d love to read more by this author, and particularly more in this specific series. I need to know what happens next!
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07934BMGL
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The Witch Trials is an interesting historical drama centered around the life and times of a middle-class woman living in France during the 16th century. What served as your inspiration while writing this book?
I imagined how difficult it would be during the middle ages to be a strong, intelligent woman, constantly having to hide their true self for fear of ridicule or rebuke. Then it hit me, I should write a story illustrating that. I also am inspired by world history and how all cultures and countries tie in together and effect one another both knowingly and unknowingly.
I enjoyed the historical accuracy in this book. What kind of research did you undertake to get things right?
Allot. Which is why I usually shy away from writing these type of books. However, I wanted my first published books to showcase my writing skill and I felt the best way to do that was to have an organized field of reference. I love learning about history and seeing how that contributes to todays society. As the medieval time period is my natural obsession, I picked a topic that many people know of, but dont really know the historical background to, within that time period. I used typical college outline format as a baseline and timeline reference and filled in the blanks with my imagination. My next series after Witch Trials, a novel currently in edit, will showcase my imagination more in depth.
Sylvie’s character is an intriguing character who struggled for a dream beyond what many women settled for at the time. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
1. Knowing that you have something so invaluable to those around you and feeling a spiritual calling to share it, but fearing to release it. (More captured in book 2 of Witch Trials).
2. Discovering a tolerable balance as a women in this time period; knowing when to show strength and when to hold back.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Witch Trials is a short story series. So I am currently working on book 2 now. I expect it to be released in time for Christmas. I am also working on a fantasy novel currently in edit.
Once upon time, women struggled to gain notoriety capable of any feat besides household responsibility. The struggle was life and death in the resistance of recognizing the inevitable rise of women. Starting life in Italy with a wealthy protestant family. Sylvie idolizes her father Dr. Fiore. Sylvie has her hopes set on being one of the first female doctors known to the area. But when Sylvie is married off to a wealthy craftsman named Leon, in France, she quickly realizes that this dream may be out of her reach and possibly run the risk of death. Is Sylvie’s dreams worth dying for? This book starts our journey in a small town of Eze in Southern France in the late 1600’s and tells a fictional story based from real time events in our history. This is book one of a new short story series.
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“Where the hell are you, Gabby?” Is what Caden Cassidy wants to know and Destiny Revisited readers are also asking. It is also what Gabriella Gerard Blair wants to discover.
Floating in the freezing Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ashes, Gabby has no idea why she is at Tybee Beach and who saved her from drowning. It is Sterling Powers, a man from her past, who she turns to for some answers.
What Gabby finds is more questions than any answers. Can Caden convince Gabby that fate has finally allowed them another chance at happiness? What secrets are Sterling keeping from Gabby, and why? Will Jake’s journals be her guidebook to the parallel universe?
Perhaps the answers will finally be found at The Hotel California, in Todos Santos, Mexico when she meets the proprietor, Eleanor Rigby. It is here when Gabby, in desperation, decides to visit a Shaman located at Catamaco, Veracruz, the capital of sorcery.
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The Scented Bones is an outstanding contribution to the world of paranormal and light-hearted romance. The author, Angelina Kerner, provides a novel which opens up a whole range of emotions and mysteries. The unique plotline of The Scented Bones is both humorous, enticing and intense. Kerner’s nerve-wracking story line is perfect for those who are thrill seekers that enjoy all things odd, weird and truly abnormal.
From shape-shifters, to witches, to vampires and werewolves, The Scented Bones really does captivate all key elements of the paranormal world. Nothing beats a book that is full of mystery, tension and the unknown. Angelina is able to write a fluent and creative plot. Her heroine, Angel, is a forensic anthropologist when her life is turned upside down when the skeleton that she has been working on vanishes. This book follows case files to help solve what happened to the skeleton. But along the way, Angel has to face all sorts including the Fae Queen. Can she solve the case with the help of different paranormal families?
Angelina Kerner does a fantastic job at writing fluently with regards to her characters. Right from the offset, I was instantly drawn into the heroin, Angel, and her Grandma. The characters are well described, well thought out, and appeal to all types of reader. Kerner continues to keep the reader’s attention with both humans and paranormal characters, providing the ultimate paranormal novel.
One of the great things that Angelina Kerner articulates in her writing is the ability to look beyond reality and enter a world of pure make-believe. The author of The Scented Bones reinforces ideas such as the paranormal and the unknown – something that all of us are slightly bewildered by.
The Scented Bones is a book that is easy to follow and written with unique style and creativity. What is even more, is that the author has gone out of her way to create a vocabulary section at the beginning of her book to ensure readers know the meaning of bizarre words and/or phrases.
After reading The Scented Bones, I can safely say that this book took me out of my comfort zone. However, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the narrative, plot twists and characters. Angel plays the perfect heroine throughout this book, and I loved reading how her journey played on. From beginning to end, Angleina Kerner kept me on the edge of my seat. This is the first book that I have read by Kerner, and I can safely say that I will be back for more of her books.
An articulate, creative and highly imaginative novel blending an array of themes and emotions with the unnatural world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Scented Bones and I believe this book has lots of things to offer a wide range of readers. You will not be disappointed with what this book has to offer! Trust me!
Pages: 156 | ASIN: B07DHZFBD4
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