My guest today is fantasy author J.P. Jackson, who has a brand new book out! J.P. Jackson writes fantasy teeming with witches, shifters and much magic… and the new book intrigues me.
Imagine you’re in school knowing your life would be over if you didn’t pass your exams. Actually over. As in forcibly dead. That’s what seems to be in store for J.P. Jackson’s characters…. And I do want to know how they get themselves out of that hole. I think I have an idea how they’re getting themselves into it…. just take a look at the exclusive excerpt J.P. Jackson has brought with him and you might agree with me.
Magic or Die
Length: 313 pages
Buy at: amazon
James Martin is a teacher, a powerful Psychic, and an alcoholic. He used to work for the Center for Magical Research and Development, a facility that houses people who can’t control their supernatural abilities, but left after one of his students was killed, turning to vodka to soothe his emotional pain. The problem is he still has one year left on his contract.
When James is forced to return to the CMRD, he finds himself confronting the demons of his past and attempting to protect his new class from a possible death sentence, because if they don’t pass their final exams, they’ll be euthanized.
James also discovers that his class isn’t bringing in enough sponsors, the agencies and world governments who supply grants and ultimately purchase graduates of the CMRD, and that means no profit for the facility. James and his students face impossible odds—measure up to the facility’s unreachable standards or escape.
Excerpt from Magic or Die by J.P. Jackson
Setup: James has been haunted by the ghost of his ex. In this scene, Annabelle, a 19 year old Arcane Magical has convinced James and the rest of the students in her class that it’s in the ghost’s best interests to be freed. Once released, the entitiy should move on to the spirit world. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan.
“Okay, good, just stand there,” she said once I had positioned myself. “Isaiah and Chris, you stand there and there.” She pointed at two spots opposite each other. “And then Camila and Ning, here and here.” Annabelle walked over to a small pile of books and picked up a few volumes, then headed over to the last blank circle in the massive hex mark.
“This is kind of scary,” Ning said.
The others nodded.
“Okay, are we all ready?” Annabelle asked.
There were tentative nods all around, however I wasn’t seeing or feeling optimistic enthusiasm from anyone.
“James, when I point at you, I want you to call out to Cody, but you have to say it with importance and force. Got it?”
“Yup. Got it.”
“Here goes nothing,” she said as she tossed one of the books out in front of her. It abruptly stopped, floating briefly and then hung in one spot suspended in mid-air. Annabelle waved her hand over the tome. The cover flipped open and several pages rustled as she made her way to the correct incantation. It stopped on the desired page. Annabelle started reading.
“Here in the night,
Where spirits roam without light,
We call upon the ghost, and the one it calls a host.
Tethered and linked, cast together, indistinct,
Come to us, reveal your intentions,
Not just a shadow, no apprehension,
Just you, and us, an ascension.”
Annabelle’s voice lilted with the rhyme. She sounded otherworldly, and for the briefest of moments, I could have pictured her as a benign forest nymph, not the dark girl possessed by a demon horde. And then, she pointed at me.
Random old memories of Cody swarmed my head as my hands turned dead cold and clammy. In that moment, I regretted giving Annabelle the permission to do this. But it was too late now.
“James, now,” Annabelle whispered, but despite the breathy words, the urgency came through.
“Cody,” I yelled, as fear and betrayal clawed at me with sharp talons.
We waited as the air around us became heavy and still, but that didn’t last long. Annabelle’s dark mist wafted on the air currents, expanding gradually. Snaky white vapours writhed their way across the floor, winding into the middle of the circle where I stood. The space within the charmed circle filled up, leaving us knee deep in ashen-tinted fog. Cody’s corporeal body gradually formed, but this time, he was missing a good chunk of the skin from his face. Fingers had fallen off and one ear hung from a black sinew of flesh. It turned my stomach looking at him. He floated closer and put his lips a breath away from my earlobe.
I shivered uncontrollably.
“This is different. You called me? Do you want me? Have you ditched the other one, the one you cannot save? Look at me, touch me…like you used to.”
“No, Cody. It’s time. You don’t belong here,” I said. The hairs on the backs of my arms were standing straight up as Cody brushed up against my back.
“I belong with you.”
Annabelle recited the next verse in her spell book.
“Through the doorway,
Pass from this realm,
A new place awaits,
With Golden Oaks and White Elms,
The pasture of the goddess,
A place of peace, of love, of solace.”
The sigils in the center of the circle glowed an eerie yellow as the air took on a similar tinted haze, and the smell of sulphur became weighty and thick when Annabelle recited the Arcane invocation.
Cody’s face morphed from sexy tempter into a scowl of rage. “What are you doing?”
“What we should have done a long time ago,” Annabelle said. She slammed the text shut with a wave of her hand. The sound of the closing book made everyone jerk their heads to look at it. Black demon mist swirled in towards the book. Skeletal fingers formed from the fog and grasped it.
“What are you doing?” Annabelle said with a scowl. I had to assume she was talking to the bodiless hands that gripped the book.
Annabelle stepped forward and grabbed the book and tugged it, hard.
“Let go! This is not yours,” Annabelle hissed.
Without warning, another disembodied hand formed out of the dense black vapour and scratched the back of Annabelle’s hand. It left huge red welts and one long scratch that wept blood.
“Ow!” Annabelle pulled her hand back and cradled it, but as she let go, the demon claw released the book and let it drop. The book spun slightly and moved into the circle, obliterating one of the hex marks.
“No!” Annabelle screamed.
The rest of us standing in our circles were terrified. Isaiah made moves to leave the hangar.
“You can’t leave. Don’t! Stay where you are,” Annabelle commanded.
Demon voices screamed out from the mist behind Annabelle, and Cody hissed.
Everyone whipped to look at the book as its movement smeared more of the carefully written magical symbols.
Cody laughed. “You won’t be doing anything now.”
Cody began to dissolve back into smoke, as tails of his vapour edged its way out of the ritual space. The broken circle was his way out.
About J.P. Jackson
J.P. Jackson works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.
At night, however, the writing happens, where demons, witches, and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. The insurance company refuses to accept any more claims of ‘acts of the un-god’, and his husband of almost 20 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summonings in the basement. And apparently, imps aren’t house-trainable. Occasionally the odd ghost or member of the Fae community stops in for a glass of wine and stories are exchanged. Although the husband doesn’t know it, the two Chihuahuas are in cahoots with the spell casting.
J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive travelling and believe it or not, knitting.
More from J.P. Jackson
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon