Guest Author: Jennifer Estep

Jennifer EstepToday, I am excited to welcome back Jennifer Estep as we celebrate the release of her second Elemental Assassins novel, Web of Lies.

Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I’m Gin Blanco.

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coal-mining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Web of Lies to one lucky individual.

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Jackie for having me back at Literary Escapism. Thanks so much, Jackie!

As some of you may know, I write the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals.

The first book in the series, Spider’s Bite, came out in February. Web of Lies, the second book in the series, was just released on May 25, and Venom, the third book, will debut on Sept. 28.

So today, Jackie asked me to talk a little bit about the world building in my books, especially when it comes to the elementals. There are four main types of elementals in the books — Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. I decided to go with these four elements because I wanted there to be some balance and symmetry to the magic. So two elements compliment each other — Air and Fire, and Ice and Stone — and two elements oppose each other — Fire and Ice, and Air and Stone.

Plus, I thought that I could come up with some really interesting powers using these elements. For example, in Spider’s Bite, readers discover that Air magic can be used in two ways. Number one, it can be used as a healing magic, to circulate oxygen through wounds, sew skin back together, and more. But someone with Air magic can also use oxygen to rip molecules apart and literally flay the skin off a person.

In my world, folks have to be able to tap into one of these elements — the big four as I call them — in order to be considered a true elemental. But in each book, I also mention that there are folks out there with other powers, elemental abilities that are offshoots of one of the four main elements.

For example, in the fourth Elemental Assassin book, Tangled Threads, Gin is going to go up against someone with electrical magic — basically, a lightning-based power that would be an offshoot of Air magic. Owen Grayson, another character in the series, has an elemental talent for metal — something that’s an offshoot of Stone. I mention other powers too — like people having elemental talents for water (an offshoot of Ice) and acid (an offshoot of Fire).

I think it’s important when you’re writing a fantasy series not to be too strict with your magic. That’s why I have my four main elements, but I also left myself plenty of wiggle room to add new powers to my world. As the series progresses, I’m looking forward to playing around and seeing what I can come up with — and how I can make each bad guy in the series tougher and harder for Gin to defeat. ;-)

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite fantasy powers and books? Share in the comments.


Thank you Jennifer for stopping by Literary Escapism again.  Spider’s Bite was fabulous and I know I can’t wait to dive into Web of Lies.

Contest Time! We have a copy of Web of Lies to give away. All you have to do is answer this question: What are some of your favorite fantasy powers and books? Unfortunately, this contest is only open to US/Canadian addresses.

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase any of Jennifer’s novels through LE’s Amazon store or through the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until June 10th, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I really enjoy Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series. I also like Devon Monk’s take on how magic works- it kind of makes the idea of it seem actually plausible. And Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld has a great mix of supernatural beings (favorite character by far- Eve). I think as far as powers go, I favor magic over things like shapeshifting and vampirism. Not that I don’t enjoy reading about them, though!

    I follow LE on facebook and twitter

    Posted this on fb-!/profile.php?id=1625972197&v=wall&story_fbid=109222399123359
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  2. Please don’t enter me in the contest. I just wanted to say that i already read Web OF Lies and really liked it.

  3. Bethany — I like Lisa’s series a lot too. I also tend to like different kinds of magic rather than reading about vampires and shapeshifters all the time.

    Sandy — Thanks! I’m glad that you enjoyed the book. ;-)

  4. No need to enter me as I just finished reading Web Of Lies & LOVED it! I’m just popping in to show some love. :)

    I’m also a fan of Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series. I could be here for a week listing my favorite fantasy powers and books, lol.

  5. I loved Spider’s Bite and would love to be entered for Web of Lies. I just love Gin’s Stone Magic.

    As far as fantasy powers/books, I tend to like shapeshifters, even if they’re too popular right now. I also like just general magic, sorcery kind of powers.

  6. I just had to put my two cents worth in. Finished Web of Lies in one reading and can’t wait for Venom. I might also add that she has written some superhero romances that are fun reads as well. I bought and read all three after I read Web of Lies (they are available on the Kindle).

  7. I have to agree with the others, Lisa Shearin’s series has some pretty cool magic abilities going on. I also like Ilona Andrews and Seanan McGuire’s take on magic.

    +1 fan on LE facebook fan page/ twitter
    +1 twittered about guest post:
    +1 commented on the review of Spider’s Bite.

  8. Judi — Thanks! I’m glad that you enjoyed the book. I know what you mean. There are tons of books with cool powers out there …

    Carol — Thanks! I think Gin has some pretty cool magic myself, but then again, I may be a little biased. LOL.

    Tina — Thanks! I’m glad that you enjoyed Web of Lies and are looking forward to Venom.

    Van — I haven’t tried Seanan McGuire yet, but I keep meaning to.

  9. Favorite fantasy powers…I have to be un-original here and go with shapeshifting. I’ve been fascinated with the concept since I was a kid and it wasn’t so easy to find books on back then. As for favorite books…it’s always the one I’m reading now or the one I just finished reading (in this case Ilona Andrew’s Magic Bleeds!).

  10. I flat out love when people make fire or ice. There’s something I love about having those elements at your disposal.

    I follow on twitter @greatmasteryoda and FB (cathieveres).

    I tweeted and posted on FB. @greatmasteryoda FB (cathieveres)

  11. Cathie — Me too. But then again, I’m writing about those kinds of folks. LOL.

    Tami — I think that I put enough backstory in Web of Lies so that you can read it and understand what’s going on without having read Spider’s Bite first, but it definitely helps to read them in order. I would recommend that, just because I always like to read series books in order myself.

  12. I loved Spider’s Bite and cant wait to read Web of Lies. I tend towards magical and shapeshifters…I love the Dresden Files and Anita Blake series. I follow a google friend and through twitter.

  13. Favorite power in books? Does it count if its a manga? I want Yomiko Readman’s power–she has the power over paper. Anything paper based she can turn into a shield, a weapon, an escape route…its why her code name is ‘The Paper’. She’s really awesome! She also has a three story townhome filled with nothing but books. She always carries around a suitcase full of blank pages so that she always has a weapon handy.

    I’m so glad there’ll be electrical energy running around in Gin’s series! Its also a favorite of mine…and I was about to make a really bad pun right there about ‘spark’ and ‘fun’ and yeah…moving on…XD

    +1 follower on twitter

    +1 commented on the review “Poison Study”
    +1 commented on the review “Wet Teeth”
    +1 commented on the review “All Hallows”
    +1 commented on the review “Shiver”

  14. Wow, now I have another author to put on my list . Can’t wait to read your series. I live in the south and frequent many “Pork Pits” . I love UF and PNR. Superpower? I like my heroine to be able to see/taste/read/feel others auras. You know when they can feel anger, danger, lust and the what not. I like alpha males, no matter what they do , shape shift, moving with lightning speed are favorites.

    +1 FB mention
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  15. i would so want the teleportation, as i don’t drive and this way i wouldn’t have to catch the bus! i love kim harrison’s hollow series. i’m starting to read this series, and i’m loving it! you gotta appreciate good bbq! lol

    +1 i’m a facebook fan

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  16. What are some of your favorite fantasy powers and books?
    Favorite Power would have to be able to change into an animal like in Faith Hunter’s Skinwalker series. I’m not sure if that’s the kind of power you were talking about but it’s one I think would be cool.

    +1 Tweet:
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    +1 Follower on Facebook
    +1 Follower on Twitter @Charchelar.

  17. My TBR is going to require a new wing of the house. lol I’m not a big fantasy genre reader usually but I’m expanding my taste these days. Ha! Ha! As far as powers my favorite would have to be Vlad in the Night Huntress series. There’s just something about a guy setting stuff on fire with his mind. Lol

    Here’s my other part:

    my Blog

    I’m a fan on facebook and Twitter

    Thanks for always exposing us to the darker arts! hee hee

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