Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Gail Z. Martin.

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Dec. 2015, Solaris Books); Shadow and Flame the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (March 2016, Orbit Books); The Shadowed Path (June 2016, Solaris Books) and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens.

Find her at www.DeadlyCuriosities.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and  free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

GUEST POST: Magic in the Holy City by Gail Z. Martin

Magic and mayhem are afoot in Charleston, South Carolina (aka ‘The Holy City’) in Vendetta, my new Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy novel.  A blood feud between two immortals may unleash a cataclysm that will kill millions—unless Cassidy, Sorren and Teag put a stop to it.

Easier said than done.

Welcome to the world of my Deadly Curiosities series! Let me make some introductions.

Cassidy Kincaide is the current owner of Trifles and Folly, which has passed down through her family since its founding. Cassidy is a psychometric—able to read the history and magic of objects by touching them. She always regarded her talent as an oddity until her Uncle Evann died and willed the store to her. Along with Trifles and Folly came its mission for the Alliance and Cassidy’s new business partner, Sorren.  Cassidy has had to learn how to manage her gift to keep it from knocking her flat on her butt with every particularly vivid vision. She’s also learned how to use her gift defensively to draw on the remembered magic or power remaining in an artifact. Cassidy is protected by a ghostly golden retriever, the spirit of her old dog, Bo. She also has a lively Maltese dog named Baxter.

Teag Logan is Cassidy’s assistant store manager at Trifles and Folly. He was working on his Ph.D. in History until he found his true calling with the Alliance. Teag has Weaver magic, the ability to weave spells into fabric, which also enables him to weave data streams together to access hard-to-find information, making him one hell of a hacker. Teag is a champion mixed martial artist, excelling in the Filipino style of fighting as well as Capoeira, a Brazilian fighting tradition.

Sorren founded Trifles and Folly in 1665 and has been its silent partner ever since, working with generations of Cassidy’s family and the Alliance. He’s a nearly six hundred-year old vampire who was the best jewel thief in Belgium before he was turned. Sorren has other shops like Trifles and Folly and other mortal teams of partners all over the world. Sorren doesn’t have magic; the Dark Gift that animates him is magic. In a fight, his speed, strength and accelerated healing provides a significant edge, and he’s been part of the Alliance long enough to have built a large network of supernaturally-gifted friends, both mortal and immortal.

I draw on a broad range of magic in the series—everything from Cherokee shamans to Voodoo (some practitioners prefer Voudon) mambos and houngans, and root workers along with a secret society of kick-ass Episcopalian priests, witches, a necromancer, supernatural hit men, a paranormal special ops guy, clairvoyants, a psychic medium, and more.
Voudon figures prominently in the stories, and a number of Loa (powerful spirits) make appearances in the books and the short stories. Most people associate Voodoo with New Orleans, not taking into account the fact that slaves who might have been practitioners were often sold between plantations or traveled with their owners, meaning there were plenty of opportunities for the practice to find its way to Charleston. Hoodoo is another practice with roots in African and Caribbean lore. Hoodoo—or ‘root magic’—often deals with blessing and cursing, protecting from evil and warding away danger, or attracting love, happiness and wealth. Even today in the South Carolina Lowcountry, it is no idle threat to ‘put a root’ on someone!

Many of the characters associated with magic are recurring cast members for the series, showing up in both books and throughout the short stories and novellas. Lucinda is a Voudon mambo and Caliel is a houngan, both descendants of Mama Nadedge, a mambo who lived in the 1700s and whose ghost still haunts Charleston’s alleys. Father Anne is an unorthodox Episcopalian priest, a member of the secret St. Expeditious Society, and a friend to the Alliance, always happy to help come kick some demon ass. Ernestine Teller is a root worker and a weaver of sweetgrass baskets. She and her daughter, Niella, use their abilities with Hoodoo to help Cassidy and the team take out the bad guys. These are just a few of the magic-wielding allies that Cassidy, Sorren and Teag call on through the Alliance. You’ll meet more, but I don’t want to give anything away!

Charleston is known as being one of the most haunted cities in North America. The city is a character in its own way in the Deadly Curiosities books and stories, creating a setting so tangible and intrinsic to the story that I don’t think the tales could have been set anywhere else.

But don’t take my word for it. Grab yourself a copy of Deadly Curiosities and its sequel, Vendetta and see for yourself!

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