Sentinel / Warrior (Light Mage Wars .5 & #1) by Nancy Northcott-Reviews and Interview
(Light Mage Wars .5)
by Nancy Northcott
RELEASE DATE: April 2014
Genre: Adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance
ABOUT THE BOOK:
He’s on a Quest for Justice
Her Secrets are his Only Hope
When mage investigative reporter Rick Moore gets the unexpected chance to clear his father’s name, it looks like a dream come true. But there’s a price. He must first uncover the truth about the mage world’s most wanted fugitive.
Caroline Dare knows her beloved brother had a reason for killing a member of the mages’ governing council. Real heroes don’t go rogue on a whim. Burned by shady reporters, she pours her devastating worry for him into her fabric art career and maintains stony silence about him. But when her art is panned as a fraud because she’s blind, she’s forced to seek help from Rick, a man she knows only as a sexy arts writer.
Helping beautiful, determined Caroline prove her art is her own gets Rick inside her well tended walls. But as he wins her trust, he finds he’s losing his heart. Now he has a choice–give up his dream or betray the woman he loves.
Some background: Mages are a gifted species of people who source their power from the elements. But there is an enemy against their kind, who suck the power and life essence from the mage, known as ghouls. Similar to vampires, the ghouls take down their prey, both mundane and mage, to feed from their blood. Leaving behind a trail of venomous poison in their victim’s blood, those who survive will eventually become ghoul. All magic must be kept hidden from humans and anyone revealing the existence will be punished.
SENTINEL is the first installment in Nancy Northcott’s adult, contemporary Light Mage Wars paranormal romance series-a prequel to her formerly named Protector series. This is mage investigative reporter Rick Moore and blind tapestry artist Caroline Dare’s storyline.
Told from two distinct third person points of view SENTINEL follows Rick Moore as he sets about to investigate the story behind Griffin Dare- a mage who has presumably gone rogue- and the death of his own father for using dark magic. After meeting Griffin’s sister Caro, an up and coming artist whose faith in her brother borders upon worship, Griffin is no longer convinced that the man he is hunting is responsible for the number of deaths and murders for which he has been blamed but Rick’s editor is forcing his hand as it pertains to the investigation. A complication will arise when Rick begins to fall for Griffin’s sister knowing that if she were to know the truth about his investigation, his betrayal would sabotage any hopes of a happily ever after.
The relationship between Rick and Caro is based upon a lie. Rick has been hired to gather any and all information about Griffin Dare and he will use Caro and her family to get what he wants. As the storyline progresses, Rick’s attraction to Caro deepens and he is no longer willing to destroy a family for a newspaper byline. The sex scenes are seductive and intimate.
The world building introduces the magic, the mages, the sentinels and the warriors who are at war with the ghouls and the Collegium. The presiding governing body at the Collegium enforce the rules to which the mage must adhere and in this the Collegium has placed a price on Griffin Dare’s head. We will learn a little more about Rick’s family history –including Rick’s father’s death sentence and the break up of a family.
The secondary characters include Caro’s over protective family as well as Griffin’s best friend Will Davis, whom we met in the Protector series. Will’s connection to Griffin Dare has already been established in the original series so I will not give away any spoilers.
SENTINEL is a quick read that helps to establish some background information about the search for Griffin Dare. There are moments of heartbreak and betrayal for a woman who has spent years trying to defend a brother she no longer knows and for a family whose only son has been accused of the most heinous of crimes. Nancy Northcott blends a contemporary romance with a paranormal edge resulting in an entertaining series for your flights into the fantastic.
(The Light Mage Wars #1)
by Nancy Northcott
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Genre: adult, contemporary,paranormal, romance
A Woman Tormented by Darkness
Archaeologist Audra Grayson hopes the dig in the Okefenokee Swamp will save her career. But that hope is dashed when she finds out-of-place relics and brilliant, sexy consultant Will Davis comes to investigate her for fraud. Worse, working on the site strengthens the evil shadow that has haunted her since childhood, and she knows he will think she’s crazy and unfit for the job.
A Mage Who Must Oppose it At All Costs
Mage Will Davis senses the darkness in Audra when they meet. Wondering whether she’s in league with dark forces, he vows to ignore his growing attraction to her. Then deadly ghouls target her dig, and Will discovers they want the ancient bronze pieces to open a portal for demons from the Void between worlds. If they succeed, everything on Earth is an endangered species.
The Fate of the World at Stake
With ghoul attacks escalating and mage traitors in league with the enemy, time is running out for Will to stop the portal from opening. The chemistry between him and Audra threatens to combust, but the darkness within her may give the enemy its chance. Must Will choose between the fate of the world and the love of his life?
SOME BACKGROUND: The Mage are a gifted species of people who source their power from the elements but their enemies-the ghouls-suck the life force and power from the mage to survive. Similar to vampires, the ghouls take down their prey, both mundane (humans without magic) and mage, to feed from their blood. Leaving behind a trail of venomous poison in their victim’s blood, those who survive will eventually become ghoul.
WARRIOR is the latest installment in Nancy Northcott’s adult, contemporary Light Mage Wars ( formerly The Protectors) paranormal romance series focusing on a supernaturally gifted group of humans who pull their power from the elements. This is mage and loremaster Will Davis and Native American archaeologist Audra Grayson’s storyline. When Audra’s team of archaeologists unearth a 4,000 year old sword from the Okefenokee Swamp, Will Davis’s team of mage warriors is called in to investigate the ‘out of place’ ancient weapon.
The storyline follows Audra and her team as they continue to uncover relics that do not belong to the area. Audra is hoping to clear up her previously tainted reputation that several years earlier ended her career with a nervous break down. What no one understands or knows is that Audra has a dark secret-one that controls her mind and at times her body- that is buried deep within the recesses of her consciousness. Hoping to keep the darkness buried, Audra avoids all confrontation and social interaction whenever necessary.
Will Davis has been a regular throughout the series. A call from the university archaeology department finds Will, undercover as a member of the Georgia Institute for Paranormal Research, partnered with Audra in the hopes of discovering the truth behind the ancient artifacts. But something about Audra draws Will like a flame to a moth; he senses something dark and dangerous in Audra, but not necessarily a part of her control. As the team continues to unearth the relics, lives will be threatened and a series of destructive attacks at the site will set into motion Audra’s introduction into the world of Light Mage and supernatural powers.
The storyline and thusly, the relationship between Audra and Will is very slow to build. Audra fights her attraction to Will- a man with a reputation with the ladies-and therefore Audra chooses to ignore the elephant in the room. She spends most of her time (and the storyline) avoiding any personal or intimate contact with Will and when our couple finally get together, Audra places an expiry date on their relationship. Audra’s constant self-deprecating and low self esteem as it pertained to any potential relationship including her building attachment to Will was oft times depressing and frustrating which made the slow build even slower. Will is a man who avoids long term commitments and it is in his nature to walk away from any potential permanence-I did not feel any emotional attachment to this couple. The romance element was sadly missing for most of the storyline.
The supporting cast of characters includes Audra’s archaeological team, museum foundation advisor Denise Larabee as well as several previous storyline couples from Nancy’s PROTECTOR SERIES including Edie and Josh, Stefan and Mel, Griffin and Val. The world building continues to focus on the war with the ghouls; the demons from the otherworld; and the possibility of another traitor in the Light Mage Collegium.
Nancy Northcott’s gifted world of magic and romance, demons and ghouls is incredibly detailed and passionately spirited. There are moments of heartbreak and betrayal, romance and love, drama and action wrapped up in a supernatural storyline that is imaginative, elaborate and defined.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviews by Sandy
TRC: Hi Nancy and welcome back to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of WARRIOR.
Nancy: Thank you, Sandy! I’m delighted to be back. I appreciate your having me here and reviewing my books.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. For anyone who does not know Nancy Northcott, would you please tell us something about yourself?
Nancy: I’m a lifelong book geek who discovered Nancy Drew, comic books, science fiction, and fantasy in grade school. I also love mythology and history, especially English, American, and ancient history, and, of course, romance.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Nancy: When I was small, my grandfather and I used to make up stories and draw stick people to illustrate them. That was the start of turning imagination into something that could be shared. My love of stories with a lot of action and of heroes and heroines who have a little something extra undoubtedly springs from my early reading.
TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?
Nancy: I read, watch TV, or go to the gym and zone out on the treadmill.
TRC: WARRIOR is the second installment in your new paranormal series THE LIGHT MAGE WARS. Would you please tell us something about the premise of the series and of the book?
Nancy: The tag line for the series is “Fighting back an ancient evil with the fate of humanity at stake.” Like the PROTECTORS series that preceded it, THE LIGHT MAGE WARS is about the Light Mages’ struggle to keep ghouls, who use dark magic and prey on humans and mages, from bringing demons to Earth from the Void between worlds. If the ghouls succeed, everything that breathes is an endangered species.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Nancy: There will be four more books, at least two more novellas, and some short stories under this series name. It already includes one extended-length novella, Sentinel, and one novel, Warrior.
TRC: Can each book be read as a stand alone?
Nancy: Definitely. Each book centers on one couple’s romance, tracking it from the beginning to the HEA. The bigger ghouls/demon plot develops from book to book, but I always include a brief recap so new readers know what has gone before.
TRC: Do you have any plans to continue THE PROTECTOR series?
Nancy: I’m so glad you asked me that! I know this is sometimes confusing for readers. THE LIGHT MAGE WARS are the continuation of that earlier series. I don’t own the PROTECTOR series name, so I had to come up with something different going forward, but the books are all part of the same external story arc.
Sentinel in THE LIGHT MAGE WARS is a prequel to Renegade, the first PROTECTOR book, and to Warrior, the first with the LIGHT MAGE WARS group. So anyone who wants to start with the earliest events the characters experience and go through chronologically should ignore the series names and read in this order: Sentinel, Renegade, Protector, Guardian, and Warrior. And then Nemesis, which will be out in the spring of 2015.
They’re arranged in reading order on the book page of my website, too, and listed that way in the Light Mage Wars product descriptions with online vendors. Here’s the book page link at my website- Nancy Northcott
TRC: How do you keep the plotline unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Nancy: Thank you for implying that I do! I try.
The overall arc of this series was mapped out before Renegade was published. That includes the main couples and the bare bones of their conflicts. While there are only so many types of romantic conflict, the origins of those issues can be as varied as the characters who experience them.
It helps that the story world is intricate enough that I have plenty to explore. Ghouls have been at the center of several books, but I also have demons, mage traitors, latent mages (those whose magic hasn’t yet manifested) and various magical entities I can use. There’s also still plenty to learn about the magic and the mage world’s politics.
TRC: What are your thoughts on cliff-hangers (between installments) in storylines?
Nancy: It depends on what type of cliffhanger it is. In general and for me–though others may feel differently–I think they work better in genres other than romance. When I pick up something labeled Romance, I want to be happy at the end. I enjoy short stories or novellas that may not go all the way to HEA but open the path for it and have a satisfying, romantic resolution to the conflict within that story. But that satisfying, romantic ending is essential for me in a romance, regardless of its length.
TRC: Do you believe that the cover plays any role in the reader’s selection process?
Nancy: It plays a role in mine, so I tend to assume it does for other readers. An attractive cover will get me to read the blurb. If I like that, I’ll read a sample unless I already know I like that author’s writing style. With authors I know I like, I tend to just buy the book.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular storyline and series?
Nancy: Warrior centers on an archaeological excavation in the Okefenokee Swamp, and the hero and heroine are archaeologists. I’m not, though I’ve always been interested in the subject. On top of that, the swamp is a vast (about 700 square miles) blackwater peat bog, an amazing ecosystem very different from anything else I’ve ever seen. It was first inhabited thousands of years ago. All this means I had a lot of research to do.
I took several excursions in different areas of the swamp with guides from Okefenokee Adventures, the official concessionaire for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. These are people who’ve spent decades exploring the swamp. The guides were very patient with my many, many, many questions, stopping or backing up the boats so I could get pictures I wanted, and showing me Billy’s Island, which was the inspiration for Mystery Island in the story.
They also referred me to a man who has spent his career researching the swamp’s ecosystem, inhabitants, and history. In turn, he recommended an archaeologist who has actually conducted an excavation in the Okefenokee. Very few people have done so.
My husband–who sat in a small motorboat on the water in 40-degree temperature at the end of this past February and never complained, so I give him major marriage points for that!–knew a local archaeologist, who answered lots and lots of questions about archaeology in general and Native American studies in particular.
People were very generous with their time and expertise, and I appreciate that so much. I asked all the questions I could think of. I’m just hoping I didn’t trip over one that never occurred to me!
I started visiting and researching the Okefenokee before Renegade was published. I quickly fell in love with the place. This seems strange to all my friends, who know I like my surroundings climate-controlled and my wildlife safely distant, but I find the swamp’s strange beauty truly magical. When the water is undisturbed, it’s a perfect mirror, and that will definitely matter in a book at some point!
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Nancy: It’s a bit of both. The characters are driven by the conflicts, which are designed to push them in certain directions. But within that framework, the characters dictate the ways the story events affect them. For example, one couple will progress to intimacy much faster and in different ways than another. The risks each character takes, and thus the way the story progresses, depend on that character’s nature.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Nancy: Hmm. That’s an interesting question. I can only answer it based on my experience and preferences as a reader, which also shape my writing.
I like to know fairly early what drives a character. That doesn’t mean I need to know the complete backstory in the first 50 pages, but I need to know what emotions spur this character’s choices. What makes him or her shy away from romantic involvement? What does he or she find challenging in life?
I can accept anything as long as it’s motivated, and I need the motivation built in before the moment of the critical choice. If it is, then I roll right along with the character. If not, then I feel as though the book took a left turn while I was going straight.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Nancy: I have two projects going just now. The first is the next LIGHT MAGE WARS novel, Nemesis. It’s centers on hunky deputy reeve (the mage equivalent of a deputy US Marshal) Carter Lockwood and kick-ass builder and interior designer (and mage) Tasha Murdock. They knew each other before, in circumstances that kept them from becoming involved, parted on difficult terms, and have now been flung back together.
The second project is a followup to my micro-story, “The Solstice Ball,” in the Tiny Treats: A Holiday Collection anthology. The story is about a deputy reeve and a mage teacher who unexpectedly connect. I’ve had some requests for the continuation of their story, so I’m working on that. I’m not sure when it will be available.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Nancy: Just that Tiny Treats is free and contains micro-stories by 19 authors. At this busy season, time to read drops off, so contributing editor Trish Milburn thought we should offer people some romances they could read in a few minutes.
TRC: Thank you Nancy for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success.
Nancy: I appreciate that. Thanks again for having me. I wish everyone at The Reading Café a safe and enjoyable holiday season and a terrific 2015.