Today I am the stop for the INFLUENTIAL MAGIC blog tour. The tour is hosted by Bewitching Book Tours and you can find the rest of the stops here. Check below my review for an interview with the author, Deanna Chase.
Title: Influential Magic
Author: Deanna Chase
Release Date: March 6, 2013
Publisher: Bayou Moon Press
Source: Author for blog tour
Series? Crescent City Fae #1
Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 310
Rating: [4/5 stars]
It’s tough being a faery in New Orleans, a city fraught with vampires… especially when their very existence drains your life-force.
Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void is having a rough week. Four years after her twin brother’s mysterious death, Willow’s life is threatened and the director saddles her with a new partner—her ex-boyfriend, David. To her horror, he’s turned vamp, which causes her physical pain whenever she touches him… and any other specimen of the undead.
In order to save Willow’s life, David agrees to turn double agent against the most powerful vampire organization in New Orleans. Or so he says. And she’s convinced they know something about her brother’s death. Unsure where David’s loyalties lie, she turns to Talisen, her childhood crush, to help her solve the mystery.
Caught between two gorgeous men and a director who’ll stop at nothing to control Willow’s gifts, she’ll have to follow her instincts and learn who to trust. Otherwise, she risks losing more than just her life. (summary from goodreads)
INFLUENTIAL MAGIC is a new adult, urban fantasy, a combination I’ve been trying to find for a while. Most new adult books are contemporary, which isn’t my cup of tea. I’m happy to say INFLUENTIAL MAGIC was worth the search!
Right from the start, the worldbuilding begins. Willow, the protagonist, is a faery, complete with wings that let her fly and an extreme sensitivity to metal. For her, spending several hours on a plane is more than just an annoyance: metal sucks away her energy. Which is not a good thing, because minutes after getting off the plane to New Orleans, she’s in a cemetery hunting a vampire. Cemeteries and vampires are two more deadly things to faeries like Willow.
I appreciated that the author didn’t do information dumps about the world, but gave information as it was needed. And what a world! In INFLUENTIAL MAGIC, faeries, vampires, and witches live amongst humans without hiding who they are. Willow runs a mega successful bake shop, selling magically enhanced goodies. I would love to get my hands on a Molten Muse cupcake, which sparks inspiration.
Aside from her bakery, Willow is also an agent for the Void, a government branch for supernatural dealings. So is her best friend and witch, Phoebe, as well as her aunt, Maude. It’s a big tangled deal, one Willow isn’t thrilled about being a part of. But she has a unique ability that is extremely helpful: she can track vampires.
There’s a LOT going on in INFLUENTIAL MAGIC. A lot in a good way. The action is fast, with barely a dull or down moment. There are tons of twists, and I really didn’t know how everything was going to tie together at the end. As someone who can usually figure out a book early on, I always like when a story is unpredictable. But at the same time, I had a small problem with so much action: I had trouble keeping track of the passage of time. Thinking back, it’s almost as if the whole story took place over the course of a very long day.
I also had some trouble with both of the men in Willow’s life. David, her ex-boyfriend, comes back into the picture as a vampire. He ended their relationship with a real jerk move — he sent her a text message. Willow has to deal with the feelings from that while trying to keep ahead of someone who wants to use her abilities. There’s also Talisen, the best friend of Willow’s deceased twin and a fellow fae. Talisen has become a sort of replacement brother for Willow, but she won’t go into boyfriend/girlfriend territory with him because he’s a playboy (play faery?). Though romance isn’t really a big focus, I didn’t know why Willow had dated David in the first place, since their relationship took place prior to the book. So their reconciliation or lack of one wasn’t important to me. And with Talisen, yeah he’s cute and cares for Willow, but I never felt the attraction between them.
Considering the entire book, though, those are two minor complaints. The writing in INFLUENTIAL MAGIC is strong, and the author easily drew me into the world, characters, and story. The main mysteries in this book are tied up at its end, but there are some open storylines leaving plenty of room for a sequel. I’d say the book is a steal at $3.99 for the Kindle version.
Oh goddess! I almost forgot to mention Link, Willow’s shapeshifter protector. If you like good animals characters, you’ll love Link. Sometimes he’s a Shih Tzu and sometimes he’s a wolf. He transforms with Willow’s moods and the situation, although there are some hilarious images of him in Shih Tzu form hanging from a bad dude’s butt by his teeth.
1. I read on your blog that you feel the stigma of self-publishing even though you’ve been successful. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I’ve been writing for about six years now and when I started, self-publishing was known as the kiss of death for writers wanting any type of career. The only way to be taken seriously was to submit to agents and publishers and pray someone, anywhere would like what you write and give you a chance. I did my time on the query merry-go-round with not much success.
Then one day I read an article on Amanda Hocking. Up until that point, I had no idea Kindle Direct Publishing, Pubit (now NOOKpress), or Smashwords even existed. I spent the next forty-eight hours scouring the internet to find out as much as I could about the viability of self-publishing. After my eyes were glazed over and my head was spinning, I got that nervous anticipation feeling in my gut and I knew what I was going to do.
I’d been running the glass business I share with my husband for six years by then. Since I’m used to being my own boss, self-publishing seemed like a no-brainer. I like being in charge of my business and holding my professional fate in my own hands. And I was right. Self-publishing turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I now have a writing career that I’m proud of.
As far as the stigma of self-publishing, I wrote that blog post back in September of last year. I was (and am still) very proud of my accomplishments, but there was a bit of self-doubt about how other writers might see my choices. But attitudes and the market are changing so fast these days, I no longer feel the way I did then. I’m very proud and comfortable with my decisions. I wouldn’t change them and really, I’m no longer bothered by what anyone else may think.
2. I checked out your glass beads (which are awesome!). How did you get into lampworking, and do you find yourself working on beads when you’re stuck with writing?
In 1999 my husband and I were at a street fair and we saw a woman selling handmade glass beads and marbles that she made using a technique called lampworking (also known as flameworking). It’s called lampworking because in the past people used to melt glass over oil lamps. My husband (who at the time was a stained glass artist) decided he was going to learn to be a lampworker. He went home, bought a book and all the equipment, and three months later he was selling his work on eBay.
He did that as a hobby for three years. Then in 2003 my husband and I sold our house and moved into an RV to travel the country fulltime while working at campgrounds. It was a grand adventure that we both loved. Along the way, I started lampworking as well and in 2005 we started selling our glass beads and marbles fulltime. In 2007, when we decided we needed more studio space than our RV could handle, we settled into a house in southeast Louisiana. I started writing that year.
As far as lampworking when I get stuck writing, yes it helps. It helps a lot actually. The studio is a great place to work out plot issues.
3. Where did the idea for INFLUENTIAL MAGIC come from?
Hmm, tough question. To tell you the truth, I don’t even know. I started writing Influential Magic back in early 2011 after I decided Haunted on Bourbon Street, my previous novel, wasn’t going to find a home with a publisher. But then I learned about self-publishing and went full speed ahead on publishing the Bourbon Street novels. I came back to Influential Magic late last year to finish it because that story was always in the back of my mind.
I will tell you that Link, Willow’s shih tzu is inspired my dog Duncan (full name Duncan Donut). He’s positive he’s a wolf and quite pleased he has a starring role in Influential Magic.
4. I’m thrilled there’s finally a new adult novel that *isn’t* contemporary. Did you decide consciously to write new adult, or did Willow just pop into your head?
As I said earlier, I started writing this back in early 2011. I’m not even sure New Adult existed as a genre back then. So no, I didn’t consciously decide to write New Adult, but I think it does fit squarely in the genre given Willow’s age of twenty-four, the fact that she’s dealing with her childhood crush, and that she’s just now coming into her powers and what they mean for her life path.
5. When reading yourself, do you prefer e-books or physical books?
Both. And audio books. Audio books are great for when I’m in the studio.
6. Favorite book or series you reread? If you reread.
JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, of course.
The Hollows series by Kim Harrison.
And let’s not forget the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
7. Any tips for aspiring writers?
To just write. If you have a story in you, get it out. Then worry about editing and story structure and all that good stuff. It’s wonderful to take workshops, find critique partners, and read books on how to write books. But until you have words down, you don’t have anything to work with. So if you want to write, then write.
Also, write from the heart. Don’t worry too much about what you think people want to read. Write what you want to read. If it means something to you, it’s likely the story will resonate with readers.
Tour Wide Giveaway:
–One tote bag with a notebook, keychain and signed copy of Influential Magic
–One notebook, keychain and signed copy of Influential Magic
–3 keychains and signed copies of Influential Magic
–5 signed print copies of Influential Magic
–10 ebook copies of Influential Magic
Physical prizes open to US Shipping
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the author:
Deanna is a native Californian, transplanted to the slower paced lifestyle of southeastern Louisiana.
When she isn’t writing, she is often goofing off with her husband in New Orleans, playing with her two shih tzu dogs, making glass beads, or out hocking her wares at various bead shows across the country.