Today I am very pleased to welcome author Isabella Carter to Joyfully Jay.  Isabella will be sharing some details and an excerpt from her new book, A Shadow of a Dream.  She also has details on a giveaway she is running on her blog (so be sure to comment there to enter). Welcome Isabella!

I find that one of the most interesting parts of both reading and writing fantasy is seeing how different authors take familiar tropes such as magic, and make them their own. I’ve discussed before one of my main inspirations was gaming and my experience with gaming influenced my creation of magic for Shadow of a Dream. One of the biggest concepts was balance, for every good that magic gives, there is a balancing consequence.

One of the hardest things about writing a world where magic exists is deciding how magic operates in your world. How do people feel about it and those who cast it? Is everyone capable of casting it? What does it do those born with the gift then?

In Shadow, only those born with a gift can use magic and even then, very few can use it to a high degree. Most keep their talent hidden, but for some, magic is a gift to be revered. To be feared. And they aren’t wrong. Magic is very much a thing to be feared. Because no good thing comes without its consequences and magic strips the sanity from even the wisest of men. It drives them to their base instincts until they can only give into their pride and envy. Naturally, there are those that think themselves above that, but magic is not a thing easily controlled.

Those that rely too heavily on their magic become twisted and permanently changed by that uncontrollable force. They become demons, tyrants seeking only their own goals.

For every great evil, there is a force built to fight them, a strength that shows all the greatness that humanity is capable of, and all the pride and darkness that humans are capable of. The Order, for all the good it was built for, to stop the tyranny of magic, is prone to these basic human evils. All the good they do is lost to the selfishness of a few more interested in their own fame and agenda than the purpose of the hunters.


shadow of a dreamSolving a murder is never an easy matter, even when circumstances are ideal. For Basil, circumstances are far from ideal. Because the murder is far more complicated than at first it seems, and before he can even begin to solve it Basil must contend with a council that refuses to listen to him, a partner he despises, and a thief who is a temptation that Basil cannot seem to resist …

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“I will not ruin this case.” Basil couldn’t help the petulant tone that crept into his voice. He took pride in his work and he was by far one of the more successful Hunters in this branch of the Order. It wasn’t his fault that whenever something went wrong the blame seemed to always roll downhill and land squarely on him.

“I believe you,” Simon assured him, “But do be careful. His Grace is not to be trifled with. And neither is this Shadow.” Satisfied, he patted the tie back into its proper position.

“He’s never killed before.” Basil thought that fact was worth mentioning. “It may not be the Shadow at all.” Basil didn’t admit that he sincerely hoped it wasn’t. Catching a regular criminal would be hard enough. Catching a shadow would be impossible, but if the council was looking for an excuse, it wouldn’t matter.

Simon sighed, “That is exactly what worries me. And it is why you need to learn to work better with your partner.”

Basil sighed as well. “The only reason they stick me with a partner is because they think I’ve fallen to the demons.”

Simon was unsympathetic. “Well, if you didn’t feel the need to taunt them every time.”

“Maybe if they stopped telling me that they see darkness inside of me.” Basil muttered. “It’s hard to get along with a partner I cannot trust.” He added in a louder voice.

“You believe you can’t trust Alexander?” Simon shook his head, “You hardly know him.”

“I know enough. He reports my every action to the other Watchers.” Simon opened his mouth to argue, but Basil cut him off. “Do not lie to me and try to say that he does not. I know the truth. The council would rather see me thrown to the catacombs.” Maybe not the council as a whole, he thought, but Cassandra and Benedict for sure. They had disliked him from the moment Simon had brought him into the Order—a bedraggled and filthy street rat—nine years ago.

Simon sighed, “You know that is not the case.”

“But it is. The council expect success, but not too much of it.”

“Even if that were the case, I would not let them.” Simon stated confidently. When Basil just stared, Simon deflated. “The only reason they feel this way is because of Lior.”

“I find it sad that by the mere act of surviving and succeeding I made myself a target. I abided by the handbook.” Even though the memory of what he had done gave him nightmares. “So what if I do have some supernatural ability. I use it in the service of the Order. Shouldn’t that count for something?”

Simon’s expression hardened. “Those with the power of demons in their blood are unnatural. They are evil by their very essence, born to destroy humans and each other. Their purposes can never coincide with the Order.” He took a deep breath and seemed to calm down. After a moment, he stated, “Do not say such things lightly.”

When Simon got like this, Basil felt apprehensive. “Of course,” Basil answered, his tone forcefully light.

Silence fell awkwardly between them. “I will,” Basil paused as he searched for the right words, “try harder to make peace with Alexander.”

“That is all I can ask of you.” The amount of relief that flowed into him made Basil feel embarrassed. He’d always hated it when Simon was angry at him. Simon smiled before turning his attention back to his desk in a clear dismissal. “I will pray for your success. Tread lightly with his Grace. You never know who might be watching.”

In closing, thank you so much for letting me share a little of my world with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. And a huge thank you to Jay for hosting this little post.

There’s also a giveaway! You can enter a giveaway for an ebook copy of Shadow of a Dream at my blog The giveaway runs until midnight, February 28th.