I am excited to welcome author Jocelynn Drake as she gets ready to celebrate the release of her second Asylum Tales novel, Dead Man’s Deal. And mark your calendars – Jocelynn and I are going to be doing another TalkShoe event to discuss all things Gage, so make sure you keep an eye on LE for the official announcement.
In a world where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires swim free in a sea of humanity, sometimes you need an edge. Looking for a little love? Need some luck? Desperate for revenge? Gage can give you what you need. The most talented tattoo artist in town, he knows the right symbol and the right mix of ingredients and ink to achieve your heart’s desire. One tattoo is all it takes. But remember, everything has its price. . . .
Gage learned that lesson long ago, in ways he’d rather not remember. But the cruel and powerful wizards in the dreaded Ivory Towers he escaped aren’t about to let him forget. Though Gage has managed to stay out of sight, he can’t outrun the past forever.
The wizards know Gage is using forbidden magic, and they intend to punish him for his transgressions. Too bad if innocent humans and monsters-entire cities-get in the way. They will quell a nascent magical uprising and Gage will be the sacrifice they need. First, though, they have to find him . . .
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away an ecopy of any Asylum Tales novel – winners choice.
A Talk with Gage Powell from the Asylum Tales
This is a short tale of a meeting I had with the main character of the Asylum Tales, Gage Powell, following the events of Dead Man’s Deal. He wasn’t in a good mood.
The bar was starting to empty as dawn approached and the bartender prepared to close. I’d already paid the man a small fortune to stay open an extra thirty minutes so I could speak with Gage, but the sneaky tattoo artist was ten minutes late and I had the horrible suspicion that I was being stood up. Ever since the events of Dead Man’s Deal, Gage had become … difficult, as if I had any influence over what had happened in that book.
A loud slam jerked my head up to find Gage standing just past the front door. He looked around the open area before finally glaring at me. He shuffled over to my table and slumped in the chair across from me with a loud sigh.
“I’m still not talking to you,” he grumbled. That short sentence managed to encapsulate of problems of late.
On cue, the bartender brought over a glass of Maker’s Mark and bottle of beer and set both in front of Gage. My companion’s glare eased and I smiled. I was not above bribing the warlock-turned-tattoo artist nor was I above getting him drunk if it meant putting him in a more cooperative mood.
“Yeah… well … I’m still pissed at you,” he said as he picked up the tumbler of bourbon whiskey and downed half of it. “And you’ve got only nineteen minutes now.”
I bit my tongue against the comment that rose. I would have thirty minutes if he hadn’t been late, pointing that out would only waste time, which was probably his goal.
“How have you been?” I asked.
He arched one eyebrow at me. “Really?” he said skeptically. “You know how I’ve been.”
Heat rose in my cheeks. I was trying to be polite, but my question had been rather asinine. “I know things didn’t go too well for you with the Ivory Towers based on the events of Dead Man’s Deal, but it could have been a whole lot worse.” Gage continued to look at me as if I had lost my mind. “Demoiselle Noire de Gruchy could have—“
“Don’t say that name!” he snapped, his voice jumping in volume. He drew in a deep breath through his nose and pushed it out again through his clenched teeth. When he spoke again, his voice was lower and colder. “Don’t ever say that name again.”
I gave a jerky nod. Outside of the Ivory Towers, Demoiselle Noire de Gruchy was easily one of the biggest monsters Gage had ever encountered and while he had obviously survived the encounter, she had left scars behind that ran deep into his soul. Time had passed but the pain seemed fresh in his eyes and I was sure that it would be a long time before he healed.
“I know that things were bad in regards to recent events in Low Town, but good things came out of it as well.”
Gage finished the last of the Maker’s Mark and set the glass down loudly before picking up the sweating bottle of beer. “Name one.”
Gage grunted and drank his beer. He had to give me that one. It hadn’t worked out perfectly, but their situation was better.
“Trixie.” I added to his silence and he nodded, his demeanor starting to relax a bit. But then, he always seemed to relax when he was thinking about the sexy elf he was dating. Of course, I couldn’t blame him. Other than being very lovely, she was also intelligent and sharp-tongued. She didn’t put up with any of Gage’s crap, which he loved.
“You helped Bronx too.”
“Yeah, I get it. It wasn’t a total loss,” Gage agreed, sitting forward in his seat so that his could lean his forearms on the table while holding his half-finished beer in his right hand. I bit back a smile. The alcohol was definitely helping to take the edge off.
“You got to meet Lori,” I said with a smirk.
Gage snorted. “Freaking lunatic.”
“He’s a Lorialet,” I corrected.
He shook his head, smiling a little. “Same thing.”
I had to concede that point to him. Lorialets were the root of the term “lunatic,” though the meaning had changed quite a bit over the years. But while Lori had managed to drive Gage a little crazy, I was secretly hoping that he turned up again later, as I found him interesting.
“All right. Fine. I’m here. What did you want to talk about?” While his tone was less caustic, he wasn’t the usual joking Gage that I was accustomed to dealing with.
“I’ve got only two questions for you tonight.”
“Then let’s go.”
“In Dead Man’s Deal, you faced off against two frightening creatures: the council of the Ivory Towers and Demoiselle— er… the monster I’m not allowed to mention. Which was the scarier of the two?”
The smile that had been trying to form disappeared and Gage stared at his beer. He hadn’t snapped and stormed off like I had expected, which meant that he was actually considering my question.
“I don’t think it’s possible for me to say one was scarier than the other. Failure against one would have meant death to someone I loved and failure against the other would have meant the betrayal of someone I loved. How do you choose between those two things? I nearly failed at both. I survived and won, but the price was steep. I lost almost as much as I gained against both enemies despite winning.”
I nodded, my heart going out to him. Gage traversed Hell recently and had the scars to prove it.
“You said you had two questions,” he prompted.
“Do we keep going?”
Gage cocked his head to the side and looked at me a little puzzled. “With the questions?”
I shook my head. “With the books,” I replied and he frowned. “You approached me a few years ago, determined to tell the world your story, your fight against the Ivory Towers. But after the events of Dead Man’s Deal, you’ve become quiet. You’ve been reluctant to talk to me. I know things can’t have gotten quiet in your life, so there must be more to tell unless you don’t want to talk to me any longer. Are we done?”
For the first time since he walked into the bar, Gage smiled broadly at me and I could see some of the old Gage shining in his brown eyes. He reached across the table with his left hand and covered my hand with his. “Nah. We’re not done yet,” he said, squeezing my hand. “Let’s get out of here. I’ll take you to Brownie Delights for some coffee and something sweet.”
I stood at the same time as Gage and watched as he took his half-finished bottle of beer over to the bar. When he turned back, he was looking more relaxed even if a shadow of worry still darted through his eyes.
“I thought you said Brownie Delights was a fairy-run sweets shop and that it was dangerous to eat anything from there,” I said as he started to usher me toward the front door.
“Hell yeah it is, but I’m not getting anything. You are,” he said.
I shoved him as we stepped out onto the sidewalk. “Asshole,” I said, but I was laughing too. It was good to have Gage back.
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).
- 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!
Jocelynn is giving away an ecopy of any Asylum Tales novel – winners choice. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: What do you think has happened to Gage at the end of Dead Man’s Deal? Why is he being so difficult? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, 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.
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 May 15th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from this snazzy plug-in that I have.