TJ Nichols on Research, Writing, and ‘Warlock in Training’ (author interview and DSP Publications Guest Post)

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Warlock in Training (Studies in Demonology #1) by T.J. Nichols
D
SP Publications
Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host T.J. Nichols here today in our authors interview chair.  Welcome, T.J.!

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with T.J. Nichols~

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I do a lot of research even though I write (mostly) urban fantasy. It could be simple things like the physical location of the story if I’m setting it in a place I’ve never been through to different poisons that were common in the Middle Ages, or even the different types of werewolf lore.

When creating Demonside (the realm where demons live in Warlock in training) I had to research how desert dwelling people survived in those harsh conditions. I had to look up the life cycle of desert plants and animals which are dependent on the rains when, or if, they come.

Research is one of those things that I do all the time, even if I don’t know where the knowledge is going to come in handy.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Definitely. I read mainly fantasy novel when growing up, and I love that escape to new worlds. These days I love creating those new worlds and mixing magic into our world.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both as a reader and writer. Some stories need everything to be tied up with a bow and other stories need to be left undone. I’m generally happy as long as I think the couple has the chance to give being together a good shot. As a writer crafting the perfect ending can take a while. I try to know the last scene of the book by the time I’m ¼ of the way through writing the first draft. Sometimes I know that final image when I start plotting…then the trouble is working out how to get there. I must confess I’m not a fan of the ‘two years later epilogue’, I’ve never read one that’s made me love the story more (but I’ll read it if it’s there).

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t discover romance novels until I was in my twenties. These days I read both. It all depends on what I want from a book (sometimes I want the happily ever after, sometimes I want the bigger world of an urban fantasy/fantasy, and sometimes I just want something I can read in 2 hours so I read a novella). I like the uplifting nature of romance novels and that love wins every time. Love should win and everyone should get their happily ever after, but that doesn’t happen in real life.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I don’t think ebooks will go away. I love them. The convenience of having a library on my ereader is great. I still buy print books, usually it comes down to price and availability as to which format I buy (I live in Australia).

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I love all my stories but for different reasons. A Wolf’s Resistance is set in WW2 which is one of my favorite time periods so the research was really just reading for pleasure. Warlock in Training was just fun to write—not all stories are like that (I’m working on a novella at the moment which is like pulling teeth).

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m busy working on book 3 in the Studies in Demonology series (book 2 is with my crit partner at the moment). In September-ish Olivier (an Order of the Black Knights novel) will be out. If you haven’t checked out the Black Knights multi author series do, as it’s a mix of romantic suspense, past life repercussions and curses (some of my favorite things).

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Blurb

Angus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.

His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.

Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.

Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.

Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.

About the Author

TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday.

With two cats acting as supervisors TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Website: tjnichols-author.blogspot.com

Twitter: @TobyJNichols

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TJNichols.author/

Ebook: 978-1-63533-267-4

Print: 978-1-63533-266-7

An Alisa Releases Day Review: Warlock in Training (Studies in Demonology #1) by T.J. Nichols

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

warlock-in-training-by-tj-nicholsAngus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.

 

His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.

 

Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.

 

Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.

 

Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.

 

This is wonderful and thought out story.  Angus has been struggling with himself since his father placed him in Warlock College and has been trying to figure out how to get out without just quitting like he wants to.  When Saka takes him back to Demonside most of his beliefs and research about the use of demons in his world are confirmed.

 

Both Angus’s and Saka’s worlds were well developed and I wasn’t questioning the actions of the characters throughout the story as can often happen with little things seem to be missing.  While the “relationship” between Angus and Saka is not the main focus of the story it is important for this story for the future in this series.  They both have a deep connection to the other, but are unable to actually voice this to others or really themselves.

 

We see the views of both Angus and Saka in this story.  Angus is trying to figure out how to help Saka while also not being a rogue on his side; unfortunately he has more confrontation than he planned on.  I couldn’t help, but feel his desperation and how hopeless his situation felt at many points throughout the story.  Saka has never fully agreed with what many on his side deem the proper solution for bring the worlds back into balance, but as long as he is able he will work to do what he thinks is the best solution.  This is a great start to this series and I look forward to more of these stories.

 

Cover art by Catt Ford is wonderful and shows both of the worlds Angus is trying to live in.

 

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages

Published: February 14, 2017 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 9781635332674

Edition Language: English

Series: Studies in Demonology #1

A MelanieM Review: Death by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Death by Dragon coverSince his mother died, the victim of an attack by a powerful vampire, Rafael “Fell” Harwick, has been living, no hiding, in his cabin deep in the woods.  A half incubus and witch, Fell is considered a hybrid that other supernaturals avoid, either because of his incubus half or the fact that he’s a witch.  Fell only goes into town when he needs to feed and that is infrequent because Fell hates feeling like a whore who needs the sex act to exist. Fell also doesn’t want to draw attention to himself and his location.  Then a trio of shifters is pursued by humans to his doorstep and his world changes forever.

Humans aren’t supposed to know about supernaturals yet three shifters are being shot at and grievously wounded by a group of human hunters.  Someone has broken the Silence and there will be hell to pay from the Immortal Council and their Keepers of Silence who enforce their laws.  Despite Fell’s determination to remain hidden and apart, he goes to the aid of the shifters and uses his magic to help them.

Now revealed, Fell is pulled into a supernatural resistance group trying to bring down the very vampire who killed his mother and who wants him in his power.   But acceptance is hard to come by as one of the shifters hates incubus and the other is a emotional mess. And even their leader doesn’t trust Fell because he’s a witch.  Despite everything Fell is determined to go on…until one last piece of knowledge is revealed.  One of the people Fell is helping will also be the one that kills him.  What’s a half incubus and witch to do?

Death by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon is the third book I have read by this author and it’s the best yet!  Ribbon’s world building is marvelous and sets the foundation for the numerous clashes and supernatural relationships to come.  Supernaturals and  Immortals exist along side an unaware human population, divided by stringent laws that make it very clear that humans are not to know that the others exist.  Those who break the “Silence” as the law is called, are hunted down by the Keepers of Silence, something to be avoided at all costs.  Yet someone has broken or is bending the law as much as possible in order to obtain as much power and gain as he can.  Already the tension is high between all the characters within the story.  They can be found on all sides of the magical partition and even often straddle the boundaries laid out between various supernatural factions and families.

Caught in the middle while doing his best to remain invisible is Fell Harwick.  Isolated by his circumstances and orphaned by violence and need, Fell is that character whose vulnerability and appeal immediately draws in the readers.  We fear for the precarious situation he finds himself in and love his strength and determination that spills out even when fear and pain overwhelms him.  Fell is a marvelously endearing character and I loved him and hated what was to come.  And there is a ton of bad stuff ahead. As Fell is also part seer he knows (although the readers keep hoping not) that he will be unable to avoid the path already laid out for him.    Ribbon takes this slight, angst filled young man and turns him into someone truly heroic by the end of the story by way of  ordeals he endures and the travail that follow.

Just as there are layers upon layers to Fell’s character, the same hold true for the two shifters he saves, Jett and Theodore, members of the local resistance group.  Opposite from each other in every way, from physique to emotional stability, they even differ on how they interact and accept Fell  and Fell’s true nature.  Truth be told I never liked Theodore much, understood him yes, liked him no.  But Jett?  There’s a character I adored, even when I wanted to throttle him for his stubbornness and rigidity.  Ribbon has a whole slew of characters here to act as support for her plot and main characters, some are fully fleshed out, others disappear and you won’t miss them.   But those characters that stick in your head, like Corran does, are ones that you will want more of at the end of the story.

Madeleine Ribbon keeps building various Venn diagrams within her layered plot, groups set apart by their nature, groups set apart by their political aspirations and schemes for power, groups set apart by family and groups set apart by relationships. Then Ribbon builds in stress, horror,  pain, and suspense where each overlaps the other(s).  There will be murder most foul, and even scenes that border on torture. Love, longing, and hot sexy scenes as well to offset the horror that arrives on its heels. Yes, my stomach did a flip flop or three in various places in this  novel.  I’m betting yours will too.  Why?  Because these beings become real and the readers, myself included, will find themselves full invested in each characters current circumstance (usually beyond precarious) and in agony over their futures, including if they are to have any at all.  That Fell knows who will kill him is one of the overriding threads that will have you in tears.  Her descriptions and vivid imagery will haunt you  long after the story is done.  Trust me on this.

Only the ending left me wanting more.  More of the Keepers and more of what comes next for the characters involved.  It felt a little unfinished and I’m hoping that’s because the author has more in store for us and this universe that’s so captivating and addictive.

Not familiar with Madeleine Ribbon?  Death by Dragons is a wonderful place to begin your acquaintance.  Love romance and shifters?  Here is a terrific story for you!  And yes, here be Dragons, dark, fierce and utterly memorable.  I highly recommend this story to all.  Grab it up and start reading today.

Cover artist:Syneca Featherstone.  Not a fan of this cover.  There were so many wonderful elements to draw on and this is the one she choose?  Uh, no.

Sales Links:  Loose Id      All Romance (ARe)     Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 283 pages
Published February 16th 2015 by Loose Id LLC
ASINB00TQ89CXI
edition languageEnglish