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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Our world, just more magical ~guest post by Gina Drayer, author of the urban fantasy Lotus Petals #contest

I'm pleased to have Gina Drayer here today to discuss some of the challenges in writing contemporary fantasy. Be sure to check out her new release, Lotus Petals, as well as her contest at the bottom of this post.
Our world, just more magical
by Gina Drayer

One of the challenges of writing Contemporary Fantasy is mixing reality with the fantastic. In high or traditional fantasy, you can bend fictional societies around magic use. If magic has always been part of the society, then it's an accepted part  of the world. But when you bring magic to the modern world things get a little tricky. 

We use to believe in magic because there were so many unanswered questions. Things we didn’t understand were easily explained away as magical. But these days we seem to have an answer for everything. Thus introducing magic into our modern lives brings up a whole host of questions.

Why do any type of work when you can use magic? Why drive somewhere when you can teleport? And since we’re talking about teleporting, why not rob that bank? Heck, why not enslave the weak non-magical humans and control the world?

This is where the balancing act of reality and fantasy really comes into play. If all magic was easy, then the story would be dull, because our heroes could solve all their issues with magic.

As an author, we have to develop a believable system of magic that works with our modern knowledge. Most worlds with magic have limitations. In Harry Potter, we see what happens when spells aren’t enunciated correctly or the wand isn’t flicked in just the right way. In addition to that, there are restrictions on underage magic use. All these things help keep the plot going and put a limit on their power.

In addition to setting limitations to magic, we also need to decide how “out” magic is in the society. Hidden magic, or the Masquerade, is a popular trope, because it helps avoid some of issues I mentioned. By keeping magic a secret from the public, you create this bright line stop to power. We could just use magic to get the dress I love in that shop, but how would I explain that without exposing myself?

Going without the Masquerade brings up a whole new crop of issues. If magic is open, how do non-magic users feel about it?  Are magic users revered as valuable members of society or feared? How does magic fit into everyday life?

In my book Lotus Petals, magic out in the open. I enjoyed writing it. Since the setting is a small town, you get to see a host of reactions ranging from bigotry to acceptance of magic. In addition to those questions, because my book is also a crime drama, I had to figure out how magic would work in our legal system.

While this was definitely more challenging than just writing a crime drama, I loved questioning how things would be different if magic were introduced.  I look forward to writing the next book, and adding a little bit more magic to our world.

Lotus Petals by Gina Drayer

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Bottom of Form
Book Length: 258 pages


Olivia Harmon feels safer separated from everyone else. Her empathic powers not only lets her experience other people’s feelings, but also influence them. It’s a heavy burden to carry, and the main reason she’s always been more comfortable around the dead. As a small town funeral director and assistant county coroner, Olivia is able to keep her distance from the day to day drama of the living. 
But after a series of seemingly unrelated deaths, Olivia discovers a hidden connection that puts her right in the middle of the investigation. In order to stop a killer, she must face a menacing dark magic and her own family’s hidden past. When confronted with the truth, Olivia will be forced to choose between the carefully constructed life she has tried to maintain and the reality of who she really is.


“The vehicle swerved, perhaps to avoid a deer or some other wildlife, and dropped off the embankment, coming to rest there." Officer Richardson indicated the car's current position. "The passenger was ejected, and the male driver appears to have died on impact. We’ve identified him." He paused and flipped through several more pages of his notebook. "Scott Malone of Indianapolis. The female passenger wasn’t carrying identification. I'll notify Mr. Malone's next of kin, and hopefully they can help me ID the woman.”

"Thanks. I'll do my reading, and then we can all go home."

"I’ll wait by my car for you to finish.” Brad still wasn’t comfortable with the fact I used magic on the job, even after months of working together.

"It shouldn’t take long,” I shrugged, trying to put him at ease. “That is, if the weather holds out."

It was overcast, and the starless sky added to the grim mood on the ground. The heavy clouds crouching over the scene threatened snow at any moment. The moisture screwed with the energy flow, making it harder to gather power, so I needed to wrap this up quick.

"I should be able to make a ruling in a few minutes," I said, and with a renewed sense of urgency headed toward the Toyota. As I followed the path the car had taken, nothing seemed unusual. I opened the door, and the metallic tang of blood assaulted me. The driver was hunched over the steering wheel. The head wound looked serious, but blood wasn't always a clear indication of damage. The only way I'd know for sure was an examination.

I snapped a few photographs and slipped off my rings, dropping them into my pocket. With my new ink, I didn’t have to draw spell glyphs on my hands anymore. I pulled on my gloves, ready to do the reading. I gathered power and drew it through the caduceus on my wrist. Images flashed behind my closed eyes.

Liver damage from habitual drinking. A healed knife wound. Two fractured ribs. A compound fracture of the wrist. Two burst fractures of the lumbar spine. A fractured skull and brain trauma.

The injuries were jumbled together in such a short span of time, it was hard to tell which one came first, but the brain trauma was clearly the cause of death. Everything seemed to be in line with an auto accident. I took a few more photographs and moved on to the body on the ground, removing the white sheet.

The unidentified girl was pretty. Strawberry blonde hair splayed around her head and a sprinkling of freckles dotted her baby face. She looked far too young to end up with me.

"I’m so sorry," I said, smoothing the hair from her face. “I’ll take care of you. I promise.” I placed a hand over each of her eyes, and a hot flash of power surged up my arms. I jerked my hand back.

What the hell?

My fingers burned from the contact. Shaking them, I gave it a second try, but this time I avoided touching her directly. My hands hovered just over her eyes, and I sent out my power. There was resistance, and the images never came. Something wasn’t right.

About the Author:

Gina Drayer is an avid reader, writer, and Ubergeek. Her latest book Lotus Petals, a paranormal thriller, is forthcoming in July 2014.

Growing up a Navy brat, Gina has traveled extensively, living all over the country, but now she calls Indiana home. Currently she spends her days running the family’s Home Health Agency and her nights creating fantastic world.

Gina writes gripping, fast paced thrillers with a magical twist and steamy contemporary romances. She creates stories centered on strong, witty, independent women facing situations that test their will. And of course their male counterparts have the depth and character to keep up with these leading ladies. 

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Tour Giveaway: Five free ebooks (per blog stop) and a “grand prize” of $75.00 Amazon gift card. For the Five books you can make your own prize. Please use for the Grand Prize this Raffle Code:
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy and fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. Or enjoy a magical realism tale of a haunted yoga studio with SHADOWS OF SERENITY. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.