The Curse Servant
The Dark Choir, Book 2
by J.P. Sloan
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: February 26, 2015
Number of pages: 346
Cover Artist: Conzpiracy Digital Arts
The one person standing between Hell… and an innocent girl… is a man without a soul.
A regular life isn’t in the cards for Dorian Lake, but with his charm-crafting business invigorated, and the prospect of a serious relationship within his grasp, life is closer to normal than Dorian could ever expect. In the heat of the Baltimore mayoral campaign, Dorian has managed to balance his arrangements with Deputy Mayor Julian Bright with his search to find his lost soul. Dorian soon learns of a Netherworker, the head of a dangerous West Coast cabal, who might be able to find and return his soul. The price? Just one curse.
Sounds easy… but nothing ever is for Dorian. A dark presence arrives in the city, hell-bent on finding Dorian’s soul first. Innocents are caught in the crossfire, and Dorian finds it harder to keep his commitments to Bright. When the fight gets personal, and the entity hits too close to home, Dorian must rely on those he trusts the least to save the ones he loves. As he tests the limits of his hermetic skills to defeat this new enemy, will Dorian lose his one chance to avoid damnation?
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J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author ... primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times
stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed.
A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing.
In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a certified beer judge.
Web page: www.jp-sloan.com
Q & A with J.P. Sloan
Q: Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
A: My protagonist and narrator, Dorian Lake, is a charmingly self-effacing (if a bit nobbish) Baltimore socialite who sells hexes and charms for a living. He was trained by a purveyor of dark magical practices, but who had sworn off his evil ways and trained Dorian to power his workings through the universal constant of Karma. If you have it coming to you, Dorian can cash it in ahead of schedule. He's a creature of luxury, and considers himself to be more of a connoisseur of the finer things than he actually is.
His best friend is a Collector by the name of Edgar Swain, a bespectacled, floral-print-wearing dead-head living in a small town. Edgar is a family man, unlike Dorian, and enjoys living vicariously through Dorian's excesses. Ultimately, however, it is Edgar's quiet life that Dorian envies, and he often relies on the Swains to center himself. Edgar's collection of cursed magical items is the target of envy for many a Netherworker, though Edgar considers himself to be more of a curator of this evil objects than a merchant.
In the first book of The Dark Choir series, The Curse Merchant, we discovered how unlucky in love Dorian truly was. His ex-lover, Carmen, dealt a vicious blow to his life, his career, and his affection. In the sequel, The Curse Servant, Carmen's shadow still looms over Dorian's life… though a waitress at his corner coffee bar may be the one who can call him on his dilettante ways and give him a chance at a normal relationship. Assuming, of course, that the dark forces bearing down on Dorian don't claim her first…
Q: Describe your ideal writing spot.
A: For the longest time, I'd banished myself to our unfinished basement. It was dark, dank, and devoid of all comfort. (ooh, alliteration!) I called it my Writing Dungeon. It was necessary, as I tend to need absolute silence in order to write. Recently, however, I've converted one of our guest bedrooms into a makeshift office, and I've been so much happier since. I might dare to say it's my "ideal writing spot," as it's quiet, warm, and sunny. Though, admittedly, I've spent several hours at the local brewpub hammering out some word count. I can't call that environment ideal, but it's damned charming.
Q: Who designed the covers for your book and what was that process like for you as the author?
A: Conzpiracy Digital Arts created both covers for my Dark Choir series. Dean was secured as a regular artist by my publisher, Curiosity Quills. He's straight-up amazeballs! My work tends toward the darker occult imagery, which is Dean's bread-and-butter.
As for my process, authors who sign with Curiosity Quills fill out a graphics "worksheet," which asks all of the pertinent questions of tone, character, motif, and comparable covers we think would fit the theme. The artists take it from there… and I have to say that Curiosity Quills puts out some thunderously brilliant book covers! It's my hope that Dean stays with me throughout the Dark Choir series!
Q: What is the best advice you have been given?
A: I've tried to locate the attribution for this quote, but my Google skills are clearly lacking. But I read this quip once regarding writing a first draft, along the lines of the following:
"I have to remind myself I'm not building sand castles. I'm just shoveling sand into the bucket."
It's been invaluable as I proceed through my drafting process, as doubling-back to edit my first draft before it's even finished continues to be one hell of a temptation. Everyone's first draft is basically crap, or at the very least possesses some manner of considerable flaw. Thus, when the temptation to look over what I've just tapped out, realizing it's a smelly bowl of indecipherable plot-point-gumbo, I just remind myself… Shoveling Sand.
Q: How do you keep busy when you're not writing?
A: Aside from keeping myself relevant and present for my family, I enjoy beating the ever-living snot out of a heavy bag at the local gym alongside my wife. Muay Thai is a hell of a workout! Also, I'm a homebrewer and a BJCP National ranked beer judge, which means that I find myself at odd weekends attending homebrew competitions. I dare say my judging skills exceed my skills as a homebrewer. (sips his Munich Dunkel and winces at the bracing acetaldehyde notes)
Q: If you could have any superhuman ability, what would you choose and why?
A: I've waffled on this question for several years, but I've finally come to the point where I can admit that rather than super-speed, invisibility, or the ability to fly… I just want to mind-control people. It would make life so much easier for me, and I've strayed a bit from the pedestrian morality of my youth. (waves hand, waits for another scotch to appear)
Q: Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
A: This is easy… eBooks. Hands down. I suspect I have some manner of undiagnosed learning disability. It takes me several tries to read the printed word. If I plop myself down and read through a paperback, I might have to re-read each sentence three times over before it'll stick. This made undergrad school a bit of a torture, let me tell you. However, when I sit down with a Kindle, or rummage through a document on a computer screen, I find my speed more than triples. Give me an eReader any day!
Q: What book are you reading now?
A: I'm working through Blightborn by Chuck Wendig at the moment, and I have The Martian by Andy Weir waiting in the wings.
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