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Accessory to Magic

Kathrin Hutson
Kathrin Hutson Author Interview

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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Run the witching vault. Protect the Gateway. Say please. And don’t get killed.


After her release from magical prison, Jessica Northwood can’t hold a job to save her life. So when an apprenticeship opens up at a spellbound bank, no questions asked, she can’t exactly say no… But she definitely should have.

For centuries, the bank’s owners have stood between the Gateway in the upstairs hall and the occult syndicate who want it for themselves. As the current owner, the scryer witch is supposed to have that under control. But when the woman turns up dead, Jessica’s employment contract now says she’s the one tasked with this lethal responsibility.
Jessica has no idea what she’s doing…and the bank won’t let her leave. As she deals with magical clientele who know the stakes far better than she does, Jessica must decide just how far she’s willing to go to keep this job. Because if she doesn’t, she’ll end up as dead as the body in the lobby. Or worse.


Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper Chronicles meets The Magicians in this snarky, fast-paced Urban Fantasy Adventure from International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson.

Resilient and Courageous

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

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.

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The Love of Gods (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 1) by [Smith, Tarrant]

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

The Love of Gods (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 1) by [Smith, Tarrant]

 

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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Weathering the Wicked

Weathering the Wicked (Chronicles of Folklaria Book 1) by [Penticoff, C.]

Presented with a captivating plot line, charming characters, and a world full of fantasies, C. Penticoff blends worlds of reality with a captivating realm of fantastical discoveries in Weathering the Wicked.

Introducing Book One in the series, C. Penticoff demonstrates a clear focus and powerful imagination in her creation of fictional fantasy. With her sister missing and her total existence going up in flames, Jane attempts to find out what is going on, and what has happened to her sister.

Penticoff captives her readers by blending the ideas of magic, wonder and prophecies. Right from the beginning readers are drawn into a fantastical world of discovery in the hopes that June finds her sister, January. Without giving too much away, the story is set in a spiritual land called Folklaria which blends together the good and the evil. The readers then join June on her journey in this magical land in search for her sister. With June’s hopes resting on a complete stranger, can she control her fears and uncertainty to find her sister and restore the peace?

Magic, evil, suspense and mystery… are all words that I would use to describe the themes and narrative of this book. From evil wizards to witch doctors and fairies, C Penticoff really does her best to enter a world full of pure imagination.

What makes this read a truly great one is how the book is presented to the reader. In the table of contents, we see that the book has been broken into lots of small chapters, each with a character’s name. This highlights what the chapter is going to be about, which allows the reader to anticipate what is to come.

Overall, I would rate C. Penticoff’s Weathering the Wicked a 4 out of 5 stars. Whilst I appreciate a strong writing style, creative flair, and original thoughts, I found the concepts a little far-fetched. Of course, this is something you would usually expect from this genre, and would be appealing to a lover of fantasy books.

I applaud Penticoff in her creative writing and articulate use of words; and can honestly say that it offered a compelling read; something that I find often lacks in fantasy books. A triumphant and artistic piece of writing brought to you by C. Penticoff. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who takes an interest in artificial intelligence, compassion, and a longing for discovery and resolution. I look forward to reading Book 2 of this series, Weathering the Wicked.

Pages: 228 | ASIN: B075W2KYWK

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How a Wizard Would go About Fighting a Vampire

Jesse Teller Author Interview

Jesse Teller Author Interview

In Hemlock vampires are returning with the intention of taking over all living creatures. What served as the inspiration for the theme of this novel?

Well, I was always going to do a vampire book. I think, as often as we see them, we still don’t understand them. Everybody that does vampires well reinvents them for their own world. This was my chance to do that, to create a vampire that was all mine. Vampires have been in my life through other genres as long as I can remember. I wanted to see what it would look like to have a vampire in a fantasy setting, wanted to see what the creature could do and how a wizard would go about fighting a vampire. I’m fascinated with other genres, but fantasy is my home. In the past, I’ve written fantasy adventure. I’ve written fantasy horror. I just am fascinated with other genres, but I know what’s in my wheelhouse. So I enjoy mixing other genres with the fantasy world to figure out how to make them one way or the other. How do you blend a fantasy and a western? Well, in a book I wrote not too long ago, but hasn’t been published yet, I write a fantasy western. In April of 2019, my fantasy romance will hit the market. Exploring other genres I think keeps a writer sharp. But the language I’ve always spoken has been fantasy. This was my chance to write a fantasy vampire book, and if you can, you should.

I always enjoy your characters, one stood out to me this time. Aaron the Marked was a fascinating character. How did you set about developing his character and how did it differ from other characters?

Well, this is the first time we’re seeing Aaron the Marked, but it was not the first book he was written in. Because of my method of writing, my books can’t be published in chronological order. If I tried to do that, I would have series spanning decades and decades. So I have to find another way to do it. Aaron the Marked’s origin story shows up in a book that will be published April 15th, 2026. We get more of his story than we have received so far in a book that will publish October 5th, 2019. It doesn’t back up to his origin, but it backs up quite a bit. Aaron is a character that really captured my imagination. I spent a lot of time in his skin, writing him as a point of view character. I fell in love with him. So far, as written, he spans five series. He’s a major facet of my world. Aaron the Marked is a character we’ll be seeing as long as I’m writing. One day, we will be able to take all of my books and line them up in chronological order, and at that time, we’ll realize that everything I have ever written in the end, boils down to the story of two men. One of them is Aaron the Marked.

I felt like we again get to explore the dark side of humanity in this book. Do you find that you are drawn to this theme, or is this where the story leads?

All of my books are about hope in some way or another. By the end of the story we find out that it was all built on hope. Because of the childhood I lived and my life as a young adult, I have a deep understanding of despair, of the darkness of the mind and the evil people are capable of. My work is about telling people that there is a way to rise above that horror. But in order to show the power of the light, we have to explore utter darkness. So my work ends up being very dark, very depraved at points, until we climb out of that and enter happiness and well, hope. A lot of people say that my work is really dark, but I hope when they think about it a second or third time, when they find themselves trapped in despair, that they think not of the horrible parts of Jesse Teller’s novel, but of the way people were able to overcome those things, meet their darkness head-on, and triumph over it.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book of The Manhunters series is called Crown. It’s already been written. It’s currently with an editor. It’ll be ready to go very soon. I’m really excited about it because if you’ve read any of my work before, you’re most likely acquainted with a character who goes by the name Sob. In her last book, we find out her children were kidnapped and taken from her. In Crown, we get to see those children. We get a glimpse of how they overcame losing their mother and the effect it had on them. No event that intense occurs within a bubble. There are always going to be ramifications. In Crown, one of the stories we embark on is the telling of those consequences. So I’m very excited to be able to explore that section of my world. We get the final segment of the telling of the Manhunters, the things they suffer, the deaths within their numbers that they have to work past, and the challenges they have to overcome. We get to meet all new villains, and alongside Rayph, try to figure out how we can prevail over them.

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Hemlock (The Manhunters Book 2) by [Teller, Jesse]The busiest pirate bay in Perilisc is newly infested with vampires. These monsters will soon overrun the world, but the Manhunters must try to stop them in secret. Agents of the king are hunting Rayph’s vigilante crew. With one false step, they could all end up at a royal execution.

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Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

Don't Ever Look Behind Door 32 by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

B.C.R. Fegan’s Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 takes young readers on a journey through the magical Hotel of Hoo where Mr. Nicholas Noo gives his first-ever guests constant reminders to avoid, at all costs, door number 32. Behind each door leading up to 32, guests are treated to many surprises, some creepy and some quite humorous. Entertaining rhymes help light the way through the castle-like establishment as both the readers and the guests of the hotel meet and greet a bevy of characters who have taken up residence behind the first 31 doors. What lies behind Door 32? I’ll never tell!

I really love Fegan’s books for young readers. Lenny Wen, illustrator, creates some of the most vivid and striking images you will find in children’s literature. Wen gives his characters amazingly expressive eyes whether they are screaming in terror at ghosts cooking roasts, doing a double-take at a paintbrush-wielding elf, sneaking peeks at tea-drinking monsters, or (my favorite) marveling at miniature giants.

This particular tale takes on a Halloween feel and serves as a fabulous book to read aloud during October or as part of a monster-themed unit for elementary grades. As a third grade teacher, I can see using this book with my students to study rhyme, compare and contrast the findings behind each door, or as an inspiring writing prompt. The possibilities are as endless as the number of creatures housed behind each of the doors in the Hotel of Hoo.

Fegan does an excellent job of periodically reminding the reader that Door 32 is somewhat of an enigma and, possibly, the most feared of all doors in the Hotel of Hoo. Suspense builds throughout the book as the second-person narrative draws young readers into the different rooms, page by page, and treats them to a fantastic assortment of zombies, ghosts, wizards, and many more creatures of lore.

Fegan and Wen are, book by book, mastering the kiddie lit genre. With each successive book, their plots and accompanying illustrations take on more depth and even more vibrant characters. From the very first pages, this one has the feel of a classic in-the-making.

Pages: 36 | ASIN: B078VSML8V

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The Dark Legend of the Foreigner

In 17th century Japan, a battle between the shoguns and the Lees raged for a lengthy period of time. The shoguns wanted the Lees to come join their elite army, but the Lees remained neutral and peaceful people. After much harassing, the husband and wife became supreme warriors. The Lees began killing whatever shoguns threatened them. After a particularly violent, gruesome battle with the shoguns, the Lees disappeared into the Oakla Mountains for about twenty years . The mastermind, an ancient wizard siding with the shoguns, commanded what was left of the shoguns to patrol the mountains of Oakla trying to find the Lees. Decades would pass.

In those twenty long years, the Lees raised a son who would become known as “the Master.” Phenomenal genetics would breed an individual who became a far better warrior and stronger fighter then both of his parents put together. In the Master’s infantile years, the mother and father went up on the mountains of Oakla, similar to Moses’ summoning of God, where they asked their God for a sacrifice. He answered, and in return of this sacrifice, he would give their extraordinary son, the Master, the power of immortality in the form of Five Scrolls of Terror. Their God asked for the skin from their baby’s head, a threatening request, but would ultimately create a child who would grow into that of the Master: the Skulled Warrior.

As the Lees returned from Oakla on that twentieth or so year, they got ambushed and killed—an attack decades in the making. When the Master found the bodies of his parents, he naturally flew into a blind rage and killed many shoguns, slaughtering anyone who stood in his way. As he battled on Oakla Mountain, his scrolls disappeared off the mountain and were never seen again. As the Master went to the end of Oakla searching for the ancient wizard for retribution, he came across an ancient hut, and inevitably the wizard and the Master did battle. The Master would ultimately kill the wizard, but he would put a curse on the Master that would remain with the Master for nearly four hundred years. As the Master’s statue, which in reality was the curse turning him to stone, was moved by cult followers and believers, it eventually found its way to New Amsterdam, which as we know, would evolve into present-day New York City.

An adventure unfolds as the Master awakens after a four-hundred-year slumber, masked as a mysterious piece of art, to deal with our current world as we know it. And so begins The Dark Legend of The Foreigner.

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The Magus

The Magus (A Chronicle of Rebirth #1)

A Chronicle of Rebirth, The Magus, begins when Nelina finds herself being taken to the slavers block by her ruthless uncle who was forced to take her in after her parents die. Now he’s looking for some easy money by selling Nelina into slavery. As fate would have it, Nelina is purchased by the even more ruthless Magus of Danthamore. The Magus is popular and powerful and equally dangerous, but oh so sexy. The chemistry between Nelina and Danthamore is sudden and palpable. Their lives are quickly intertwined and the Magus finds himself taken by this green eyed beauty that many consider to be nothing more than a lucky pauper. Nelina must navigate the resentment of the staff while attempting to be more than a pawn in a deadly political game. Can she survive her new life? What will the Magus have to sacrifice for her?

This book takes care in crafting it’s characters. The protagonist and antagonist are both meticulously developed before the story takes wild twists. The writing is often direct, but the beauty of the prose is found in the details. Do the characters fall ridiculously hard for each other a bit too quickly? Of course they do, because this is a love story that doesn’t focus on how they met, but how they will hold onto what they have. What will they do to keep one another?

We get a good sense of the characters before the story takes some wild turns. You’ll be flipping pages as the story switches between the political intrigue of the kingdom and the steamy romance between Nelina and the Magus. There was one thing that I felt would have improved the story and it’s that the author’s sometimes tell instead of show. There were a few events that I was simply told about when I wish (because I can see the authors have the talent) that I was shown.

What I enjoyed most about this story is the turmoil the characters undergo after they’ve fallen for one another. You keep asking yourself, ‘how far will they go’? I think stories are often character driven, but I think this book is a relationship driven story.

If your looking for a romance novel underlined with suspense and punctuated with adventure than A Chronicle of Rebirth: The Magus is for you. A well written novel that begs to be expanded upon.

Pages: 343 | ASIN: B072511ZWY

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