The Curse Merchant, by J.P. Sloan
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Re-Release: September 15th, 2014
Cover Artist: Conzpiracy Digital Arts (http://www.conzpiracy.co.uk/)
Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.
His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without taintinghis own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.
About The Author:
I am a storyteller, eager to transport the reader to strange yet familiar worlds. My writing is dark, fantastical, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, and other times hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. I write science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, and several shades in between.
I am a husband and a father, living in the “wine country” of central Maryland. I’m surrounded by grapevines and cows. During the day I commute to Baltimore, and somehow manage to escape each afternoon with only minor scrapes and bruises. I am also a homebrewer and a certified beer judge. My avocations dovetail nicely!
Website http://jp-sloan.com/ | Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000439460903&fref=ts | Twitter https://twitter.com/J_P_Sloan | Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6569197.J_P_Sloan
A Tale Between Two Cities
I'd like to expound for a moment on how similar are the cities of Baltimore and New Orleans. See, I grew up in South Louisiana, and had moved into the city of New Orleans shortly before Hurricane Katrina made life "difficult" for us. In the aftermath, my wife and I relocated to central Maryland where we've put down roots.
I drive into the city of Baltimore every work day, and I'm routinely reminded of how much it resembles the Big Easy:
-Both are major port cities.
-Both possess peculiar local cultures with seafood-driven cuisines.
-Both cities are fairly old, and you can see the Old World influences tucked between glass-and-steel skyscrapers.
- Both cities are major football towns with rabid fan bases.
- Both are major centers of Catholicism.
- Both are remarkably diverse, with a patchwork of neighborhoods spread out like a cultural quilt.
- Both cities sit in cultural opposition to a major capital just an hour up the freeway.
As a writer of urban fantasy and an enthusiast of modern occultism, I find both locales intoxicatingly rich in inspiration. But I do wonder how my Dark Choir series might have turned out had I remained in New Orleans. The occult traditions in South Louisiana are flavored more heavily with Caribbean and West African animistic traditions, and by Catholicism. I imagine Dorian Lake would have been more of a student of voodoo, perhaps grappling with sinister Papal forces.
But it was, in fact, the city of Baltimore that inspired this series.We boast the macabre heritage of Edgar Allan Poe, after all. I have directly modeled Dorian's home after Poe's, and he shares the same address. But perhaps more directly, the environment of"the Two Beltways" is what sculpted my Dark Choir series intoa struggle between esoteric traditions. Washington and the surrounding colonial towns are steeped in Masonic traditions and symbology. Rather than clutches of witches huddled around cypresses in the swamp, my mind wandered down marble halls lined with robed cabals, secretly deciding the fates of nations.
In a way, I'm a man in-between, an outsider now to both cultures. As is Dorian. He's a transplant from New York by way of London. He's still trying to put down his roots, while never really embracing the city he calls home because he never feels quite embraced in return.
Perhaps Dorian will, one day. His journey is just beginning, after all; who knows where it'll lead? Perhaps it will bring him, and me, back to New Orleans in some future book. In the meantime, I'm happy to practice my crab cake recipe, pop open a Flying Dog, and cheer on the Ravens. Baltimore may not bemy native town, but it certainly feels like it!