March 12, 2015

Series 101: Blood & Magic by Danielle Annett (Cursed by Fire)

Blood & Magic 1
Danielle Annett
Urban Fantasy
January 28, 2015
It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

Welcome to another Series 101! Please help me welcome newly minted author, Danielle Annett. She's here to give us the lowdown on CURSED BY FIRE, the first novel of her Blood & Magic series.

The magick of Blood & Magic
The Blood & Magic world takes place six years after what is known as the Awakening. An event where the paranormals of the world who had always been in hiding, decided they were done lurking in the shadows and were going to come out and play, showing the human population who really was at the top of the food chain. In the Blood & Magic world, my characters are forced to deal with real life issues in a fantasy setting. Dealing with crime, trauma, discrimination, love, and loss. I want them to go through the roller coaster that is life.

Aria Naveed, Heroine 
Aria Naveed is a psyker. A human with psychic abilities. She is a pyrokinetic so her abilities revolve around fire. She'd been taught from a young age before paranormals had gone public, to keep her abilities a secret to avoid government individuals or just down right shady people from trying to take advantage of her and to avoid ending up as someones lab rat.

She has long brown hair, olive skin, and golden colored eyes. I drew inspiration for her physical features from actress and country singer Jana Kramer. Aria is special to me, not because she has a really cool capability, but because of who she is as a person.

In my book, Aria is a strong, independent woman who refuses to turn a blind eye to the injustices of the world. There is a quote from a favorite movie of mine that says, "They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men."

I wanted to make sure that my main character, Aria, was never indifferent.

Aria faces the initial challenge of finding the individual responsible for murdering a seven year old boy. She has to do this while treading hostile waters and avoid inciting a war between the Pack and the Coven. On top of this, she faces issues from her past that she'd thought long dead so she has to come to terms with how these changes will effect her future.

CURSED BY FIRE is the first book in the series, what are we getting ourselves into here? You're getting yourself into an exciting Urban Fantasy series with breadcrumbs or romance. You'll watch as our MC faces social issues and personal growth and you'll experience the roller coaster ride that is life in a world that underwent a trauma and is coming to terms with its changes.

We actually don't have a clear cut villain in this story which is something I love about my books and what sets them apart. There is no black and white. We have a ton of grey and we have people who we thought were evil who maybe aren't and those we thought were friends that maybe aren't. Aria is surrounded by unknowns so we will eventually discover who our villain is, we just haven't gotten their yet.

Featured Creatures
In CURSED BY FIRE we meet The Spokane Coven of Vampires, the Pacific Northwest Shifter Pack, and a feisty Harpy. I didn't want to overwhelm my readers with too many paranormals to start but in Kissed by Fire, book 2 in my Blood & Magic series, we meet a few more mythological monsters that remind me of stories and legends from my childhood so I look forward to bringing more monsters out to play.

My paranormals follow some of the standard expectations you'd find in a UF novel, my shifters have enhanced senses and an increased metabolism as well as an adversion to silver, and my vampires keep to the night and drink blood for nourishment.

Where they differ is in the my Psykers are entirely human with no markers that make them different on the outside while they have psychic abilities and an increased rate of healing. In addition, these abilities follow their bloodlines but don't appear in every generation and can manifest at any age. Some can go their entire lives with dormant abilities until something sets off a reaction in their bodies that brings out their abilities.

My vampires are also able to walk in sunlight when they're newly born and don't have any issues with religious objects or silver. Their ability to withstand the sun dwindles as they age because they're body loses its ability to remain hydrated so essentially, when exposed to the sun, they experience extreme dehydration that causes them to dry out from the inside out.

My shifters are primarily born and not made. Contamination occurs through blood as apposed to a bite and there must be certain genetic matches for the change to take hold so it is primarily passed on generation after generation. My shifter virus (the lycanthropy virus) attacks the body much like HIV attacks humans in todays day in age. It picks up the animal DNA and copies it into the DNA of the host which is why there is such a large variety in shifter species and while it is a virus, there is no cure.

How do we read Blood & Magic?
Each book will be written so it can be read as a standalone and each will have its own individual story arch but there will also be a series arc so while books can be read and enjoyed as standalones, they are best read as a series to make sure you don't miss anything.

The Numbers
Currently I have four books planned for the Blood & Magic series but that could change in the future as characters have a mind of their own.

Fantasy v Contemporary
I feel like I live in a normal world and experience normal things so why would I want to write about the normal? I think fantasy allows us to bend the rules and create something truly magical so while contemporary can be exciting to read and write, it just doesn't hold the same level of magic for me.

Blood & Magic is like...
I try not to compare my book to any other UF series since I've had mine compared to so many as it is. So far I've heard that my book has a similar feel to the Mercy Thompson Books, the Psy/Changling Books, the Kate Daniels books, and the Kit Colbana books. The last being a series I had to google since I hadn't heard of it before and while this can be seen as both a compliment and a criticism, I feel that my books are unique to themselves just as I believe most authors feel about their work. I wanted to write the story that I wished existed for me to read, meaning that there isn't another story like mine out there, if there were, I wouldn't of had the desire to write it in the first place.

Tweet It!
CURSED BY FIRE by @Danielle_Annett is an Urban Fantasy novel meant to keep you on your toes. Always expect the unexpected.

All I saw was blood. Blood soaked my hands and coated the walls. It stained the concrete flooring of the abandoned warehouse and dripped from fixtures that hung from the ceiling, trickling like a slow rain. My vision blurred as anguish filled me. How could this have happened? How could I have been too late?
I stared down at the lifeless body of a child. A boy. Kneeling in a pool of congealing blood, I ran my fingers through his chestnut hair, ignoring the now-cool moisture seeping into the denim of my pants. His face was unrecognizable. Gone was the child with the dimpled cheek and brilliant blue eyes. Left behind was a mass of flesh and bonea ruined body drained of its life force at such a young age.
Reality snapped like an elastic band, bringing me back to the present as I sat at my desk in Sanborn Place. Ripped from the haunted memories of finding Daniel’s body.
The world was a cruel place. It was a fact of life and even though I knew it was true, I still had a hard time coming to terms with the atrocities people committed. The cruelties that for some god-forsaken reason, people thought were okay. Staring down at the wallet-sized photo now crumpled in my hands, I was greeted by a crown of chestnut hair, bright blue eyes, a heart-shaped face, and a brilliant smile; a single dimple on his left cheek. The face of an innocent seven-year-old boy, cut down like he was little more than a calf brought to slaughter. I found myself struggling to link the image of this smiling boy to that of the ruined body I’d found less than forty-eight hours ago.
Inside, a small part of me burned. My blood heated and a turbulent rage rolled through me, one I had to fight to contain.
“Ari, you’ve got to stop staring at the kid. He’s gone. Let it go,” I heard Mike say.
I couldn’t let it go. I didn’t understand how he could either. I looked up from the photograph and stared Mike straight in the eyes. He cringed but held my gaze.
“He was seven-years-old, Mike,” I said through clenched teeth. “Seven!”
I shook my head, the poor kid had barely lived, barely tasted what the world had to offer. I take that back, he’d tasted too much of what the world could give and it had cost him.
Ever since the Awakening six years ago when all things that went bump in the night decided to come out of the woodwork and play, safety had been tenuous at best and kids like this, like seven-year-old Daniel Blackmore, were suffering the price.
Vampires, shifters, mages, witches and many more creatures of the night so to speak had seemingly popped out of nowhere, deciding they were ready to integrate themselves into everyday, or night, society.
Daniel had been abducted by a rogue vampire. I’d found his mangled body, broken and discarded as if he were nothing more than a piece of trash and I was going to find the bastard that had killed him and make him pay.
“Ari, I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no.”
 I looked Mike up and down. He was an older man in his late forties with a streak of silver in his otherwise midnight colored hair. The wrinkles around his eyes would lead you to believe he smiled a lot but I knew better. Those lines were from his ever-present frown. Dressed in black slacks and a grey button up shirt, his mid-section strained against the buttons looking like they could pop off at any moment, likely taking someone’s eye out in the process.
“I wasn’t asking for your permission,” I told him, my gaze going back to the photo.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass if you were asking. I’m telling you, Ari, let it go! You can’t help him anymore. All you’ll end up doing is getting yourself hurt or worse, killed for your trouble.”
That was the problem with people who had lived through the Awakening. Their only concern was self-preservation. Nothing else mattered. Well, screw that because this little boy, he mattered. His life mattered and he deserved justice. I had scrubbed my hands after finding his broken body but couldn’t scrub the stain his death left on my soul.
I stood up from my desk and grabbed my keys and daggers. I sheathed the twin blades on either side of my waist, grabbed my leather jacket, and made a beeline for the door. Mike crossed the room to intercept me, arms folded over his chest blocking my way.
“Move,” I bit out.
“I can move you.”
“You can, but you won’t.”
I ground my teeth together. He was being ridiculous. This entire situation was ridiculous.
“Mike, this isn’t some game. A little boy died. He died! Does that even matter to you? I couldn’t live with myself if I let this one go.”
“What’s your plan, Ari, you going to just storm into the coven and force them to tell you who did it? They won’t tell you. They protect their own and you’re one person against an entire Coven of bloodthirsty vampires. Even the kid’s parents know it’s a lost cause. They’ve dropped the case and are focusing on burying their kid. They’re coming to terms with his death. It’s over.”
I’d been hired by Jessica Blackmore, Daniel’s mother, a little over two weeks ago to find her son who’d gone missing one afternoon. He had been walking home from a friend’s, only five houses down from his own, but never made it to the front door. She’d thought it safe enough to allow him the small bit of independence but with paranormals about, it was never truly safe.
Mike knows I’m different. He knows I have pyrokinetic abilities and he knows I can take care of myself. This wasn’t reason talking, this was him being overprotective. Feeling the temperature in the room begin to rise I forced myself to inhale and exhale slowly. Trying to calm down and keep my pyrokinesis locked up tight. It wouldn’t help the situation to start a fire. All it would do is prove to Mike that I wasn’t in control and right now I was in no mood for a lecture.
“Look, Ari, you’re a mercenary. You take on a job when you have a client. There is no client so there is no job. We’re not the police. We don’t try to clean up the streets or bag the bad guys. We’re mercs.”
I couldn’t blame him for his way of thinking. Hell, two weeks ago I would have said the same thing, but this was different. He was just a kid and I couldn’t believe everyone was so willing to leave his murderer out there.
“Why don’t—”
Mid-sentence I heard the distinct buzz of a cell phone. Mike dug his phone out of his left pocket and answered it without looking at the screen.
“Hello,” he said. Mike’s face scrunched in confusion, a furrow forming between his brows. He listened for several moments and then with a grunt he hung up and stared me down. At six feet tall, he towered over me by a good five inches, but I didn’t back down. Lifting my chin and giving him my best try me stare. The one I knew drove him crazy.
“Looks like you’re getting exactly what you asked for,” he said.
“And what exactly is that?”
“That was Declan Valkenaar on the phone.”

Holy shit, the Pack Alpha. What the hell was he doing calling Mike? 

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.

Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.

Stalk Danielle!


  1. Ooh, I'm excited to check out this series! I like how she's made her supes a bit different. Thanks for the 101 and the excerpt, Braine!

  2. I love this cover! Thanks for giving me another series to add to my TBR list Braine...LOL #enabler

  3. Nice cover and always nice for the companion novels but can be stand alone

  4. I love the idea of the Awakening because...what if! :P

    This is a book I definitely need to check out!

  5. Wow! This sounds exciting. I am willing to give it a go. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. thanks for the details of the books, that was interesting to discover all that.

  7. I agree, why write about normal world when you can be creative in a fantasy world. :)

  8. I'm convinced! This series sounds good. Look forward to reading Aria's story.

    1. I look forward to reading your review soon!

  9. I enjoyed this one Braine..I love urban fantasy and I'm curious to see how the series unfolds.

    1. I know you're hosting her tour. Will you be reading this? I regret I'm booked solid til April :(

  10. Replies
    1. THAT's a big deal coming from you, you cover whore!

  11. So glad you posted this Braine. It sounds right up my alley :)

  12. I haven't heard of this series before, but I certainly am intrigued now! Thanks for sharing!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  13. Thanks for the reviews. I have added it to my TBR books list.

    1. Danielle would be very happy to hear that :)

  14. Ooh, I'm excited to check out this series! I like how she's made her supes a bit different. Thanks for the 101 and the excerpt, Braine!

  15. I have not heard about this series. Thanks for sharing. Keep Updating!
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