The Curse Merchant, by J.P. SloanGenre: urban-fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Re-Release: September 15th, 2014
Cover Artist: Conzpiracy Digital Arts (http://www.conzpiracy.co.uk/)
Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.
His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.
About The Author:
I am a storyteller, eager to transport the reader to strange yet familiar worlds. My writing is dark, fantastical, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, and other times hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. I write science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, and several shades in between.
I am a husband and a father, living in the “wine country” of central Maryland. I’m surrounded by grapevines and cows. During the day I commute to Baltimore, and somehow manage to escape each afternoon with only minor scrapes and bruises. I am also a homebrewer and a certified beer judge. My avocations dovetail nicely!
Find J.P. Sloan Online:
Guest post for J.P. Sloan's blog tour
One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
I'm just going to go ahead and put this out there… I enjoy alcohol. And I'm utterly unapologetic about it. I brew beer at home. My wife and I make wine and cordials. I enjoy a good sniff of bourbon at night in my basement as I hammer out another couple thousand words of whatever tale I happen to be spinning at the moment. For me, liquor is a celebration of life, and as one might expect, it finds its way into my writing.
As I review my latest book, The Curse Merchant, I note a specific symbology has materialized with regards to liquor. For example, Dorian Lake, the central character and narrator, drinks a lot of scotch. Like, a lot. And his scotch isn't cheap. Beyond simply being his "poison of choice," I find Dorian indulges in scotch any time he's trying to forget something. Even if it's subconscious, the scotch arrives to carry him away from a realization or memory he's not ready to encounter.
Wine makes a couple appearances, as well. Each time, you find a glass of wine in the hand of people Dorian admires. Here, wine represents responsibility, and by the end of the book we find Dorian eschewing scotch in favor of a nice Egelhoff cabernet. Perhaps this is a signal that he is ready to face his responsibilities and stop running from the past?
So what about beer? I'm a homebrewer, by the by… and a National ranked beer judge. You might expect to find a brewery in every other chapter, but in truth you only see beer twice. Once in the hand of a man whom Dorian is trying to coerce, and again in the hands of the Swains, the people he comes closest to calling "friends." I find beer arrives in moments of calling. "Dorian, you could be living this life, if not for…" This serves for well or ill. Beer will never be Dorian's drink. His chosen life lies somewhere beyond it. But that beer will always serve as a window to other lives he has forsaken.
Now, I won't pretend for a second that any of this was intentional. No, I think that I include liquor in my stories to impart a sharp and sudden sensory moment… the light as it pierces the amber liquid, the clink of ice, the fumes rising from the glass, the burn as it goes down. These sensations are always potent for me, and perhaps my subconscious moves them into metaphor without me realizing it. And perhaps now that I'm more aware of these trends, I'll have fun with them in future books?