Today, I would like to welcome Jocelynn Drake to Literary Escapism as we celebrate the release of Angel’s Ink, the first full length novel in her new Asylum Tales series.
Buyer beware . . .
Looking for a tattoo—and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using unique potions—a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks—to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart’s desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.
No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment—execution—will be swift.
Though he’s tried to fly under the radar, Gage can’t hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead—or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage might just make it through this enchanted world alive.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away copies of Angel’s Ink, Asylum Interviews: Bronx, Asylum Interviews: Trixie and Blood by Moonlight all to go with a shiny new Snow 16GB NOOK® HD.
A Conversation with Sofie
During the past several months, I have taken the time to sit down and chat with numerous characters. Readers have gotten sneak peeks at Gage, Trixie, Bronx, Parker, and Gideon. There are a few favorites that I’ve been saving for the actual release of the book, but now that Angel’s Ink is on the shelves, I think it’s safe to let the cat of the bag – both figuratively and literally.
When I was working on the Angel’s Ink, I knew that Gage would need a friend on the “inside” of the Towers, someone who wasn’t exactly in a position to betray him. Someone who might also hold a grudge against the witches and warlocks. The funny thing is that near the end of the chapter, I discovered that she wasn’t willing to be shoved aside and forgotten. She wanted more time on the page, so I gave it to her.
Today, I went back in Low Town to chat with Sofie. As usual, I was in the second-floor apartment above Gage’s tattoo parlor. The sun had already started to set and Trixie had just shown up for work with Sofie in tow.
The creak of the front door brought me to my feet and I turned in time to see a very large, gray cat stroll casually into the living room. The door silently shut behind her and a shiver danced up my spine. Sofie was easily as large as a Maine Coon but there was something more regal in her bearing that might have to do with the human consciousness dancing around in the cat’s head.
“Please sit,” the cat said as she walked to the opposite end of the sofa and jumped up on the cushion.
My heart stuttered in my chest. I’ve seen trolls, incubi, elves, and more during my visits, but Sofie was shaking me up more than any of the others. I think it was that she was a cat. A talking cat. I had cats in my world. I had my own beloved cat. Sofie was the first I’d met that could so clearly articulate her thoughts. It was a bit … startling.
Sitting on the sofa, I held up my digital recorder and Sofie nodded, indicating that I could use it. “Thank you so much for meeting with me, Sofie,” I said. “It is an honor. Gage speaks very highly of you.”
The cat made a strange scoffing sound and I froze. I was beginning to understand Gage’s problem with understanding Sofie as she didn’t have the same facial expressions to read as a human or at least humanoid creature.
“I doubt that very much. I know full well that Gage thinks I’m a nuisance.”
“I wouldn’t say that. I just think he’s forgotten what it’s like to have a mother figure in his life. He’s not accustomed to having someone who is concerned for his well-being.”
“That may be true.”
“Anyway, I was hoping that we could discuss you a little bit,” I quickly said, as I attempted to dodge that potential landmine. “Your past as well as what it’s like to be a cat.”
“I will try to answer your questions as best as I can.”
I smiled a bit stiffly. I took that answer to mean that she was only going to tell me what she wanted to share and I was out of luck for the rest.
“Gage mentioned that you were once a witch living in the Ivory Towers. May I ask how long you lived in the Towers?”
“Oh, I’d have to say it was probably close to 225 to 230 years. After a while, time just sort of runs together and the years stop being so important.”
“Did you have any apprentices during that time?”
“A few. Some lived and went on to be warlocks and witches. Others died.”
I nodded. Gage had already warned me not to press my luck and look for remorse from a witch, even if it was Sofie. Dying during the apprenticeship period was a very common event. “Did you help teach Gage while he was there?”
“No, I didn’t. Gage was the sole responsibility of Simon Thorn. I only saw the boy a couple times when Master Thorn brought him to the Tower that I was living in. He always struck me as an intelligent and resourceful boy. One look at him, and I knew that Simon would never be able to handle him when he got older.”
“Because Gage was so powerful?”
Sofie chuckled and shook her head. “With Gage, it isn’t about power. There are lots of warlocks and witches more powerful than he is. Gage is just sneaky and stubborn. Once he gets something in his head, he keeps going after it until it’s his. Getting free of Master Thorn was just one of those things.”
“I was also informed that the reason you are now a cat is because you were cursed by another witch. Is that correct?”
“Yes, but I don’t want to get into the details of it, if you don’t mind.”
“No, I don’t. May I ask how long you’ve been a cat?”
Sofie shrugged her little shoulders while wrapping her long tail around her front paws. “I guess about eight, almost nine years.”
“This is a strange question, but is it just your consciousness in your head or do you also have a cat’s consciousness as well?”
“It’s just my thoughts rattling around in that old brain of mine. I do, however, have a cat’s instincts that will occasionally be triggered by random things like a mouse running across the floor. Sometimes I need give in to the instincts to chase after something just because it’s fun, but overall, all my thoughts and urges are still human.”
“Did it take long to adjust to being a cat?”
“Not as long as you may think.” There was something in Sofie’s tone that made me think she was smiling wryly at me.
“Does purring come naturally or was that something you learned to do?”
“Do you actually like being scratched on the head?”
“Do you realize that Gage is quite unnerved by the fact that he’s petting a former witch?”
“Oh, yes, and that’s what makes it so delightful! I know that he’s upset that he’s treating me like a cat when he’s knows that I’m not really a cat. It’s one of my few amusements in the world.”
“Can you still do magic in this form?”
“Some. Most of the spells are relatively small and minor. Larger magic requires things like human hands to work.”
“Do you miss it?”
Sofie sighed and hung her head down a little as she stared at the scarred coffee table. “Every day.”
“If you return to human form one day, do you think you’ll go back to living in the Towers?”
The cat had yet to look up at me. She was staring off into space and I was beginning to wonder if she had heard me when she finally spoke. “I don’t know. I… I have enjoyed my time with Gage and his companions over the past months, but I do miss my old life. I miss magic and having my own space while still being surrounded by all these powerful weavers of the art.”
“I understand that longing, but I think you can do more good at Gage’s side,” I said softly as I reached for the recorder. I switched it off and slipped it in my back pocket. When I looked up, Sofie was staring at me with wide yellow eyes.
“You may be right.”
It was my turn to sigh. I knew what was coming down the road for Gage and he was going to need all the help he could get.
Meet Jocelynn Drake!
Love comes in many varied forms. There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate. But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story. This Midwestern native spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book, whether she writing it or reading it doesn’t really matter. When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cats, Harley and Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game. Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, explosions, fast cars, tattoos, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).
Want to purchase Jocelynn’s novels?
- Pray for Dawn
- Wait for Dusk
- Burn the Night
- Nightwalker/Dayhunter (Omnibus)
- Bound to Me
- The Dead, the Damned and the Forgotten
Thank you Jocelynn for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism today.
Jocelynn is giving away a sweet prize today – a shiny new Snow 16GB NOOK® HD plus ecopies of all the Asylum Tales stories – Angel’s Ink, Asylum Interviews: Bronx, Asylum Interviews: Trixie and Blood by Moonlight. In addition, I’m throwing in a print copy of Angel’s Ink for a second winner, which will be signed by Jocelynn at her Nov. 4th appearance in Lansing, Mi. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: If you could be any supernatural creature in Low Town, what would it be? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Since we’re offering a slightly bigger prize than normal, Jocelynn and I have decided to include an extra entry for those wishing to do so. All we’re asking you to do is share news about Jocelynn’s stop today, as well as the release of Angel’s Ink, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories. Just leave a link (or links) to wherever you share it in an additional comment.
I do ask that the winner post a review of the novels 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 remain open until October 31st, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.