Today I am so pleased to welcome Morgan Brice to Joyfully Jay. Morgan has come to talk to us about her latest release, Unholy (Witchbane #5). Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Flipping the Script
When a character sets out to do something, they believe they have an understanding of what’s going on and how the situation works. That forms the basis for how they plan their actions. But what happens when they find out that everything they thought they understood isn’t how it seemed?
Unholy is book 5 in the Witchbane series of urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Seth Tanner sets out to destroy the dark warlocks responsible for his brother’s death. Along the way, he saves the life of Evan Monroe, and they become both lovers and partners in Seth’s vengeance quest. Seth has been gaining skills in fighting supernatural threats and countering magic. He’s defeated three of the warlocks so far. He thinks he knows how this works. And then he discovers something that turns it all upside-down.
I love being able to surprise my characters–and my readers. While fans of a particular genre enjoy and expect certain tropes, they also want a story to be fresh and difficult to predict. So I have to keep my characters on their toes, and that means learning about a whole new, strange reality involving magic and the supernatural that isn’t always what it seems.
As Seth and Evan have gone after the warlocks, they have learned more about the coven that is carrying out a century of ritual murders. They’ve also gained skills in fighting supernatural threats and countering magic. Everyone they meet who helps them expands their knowledge and brings a new perspective. So as their found family of allies grows, so does the expertise they can draw on, and that opens the door for someone to bring a whole new way of thinking to the process–or having a vital piece of missing information that changes everything.
Unholy is a major pivot point in the series, because it ‘flips the script’ on what Seth and Evan thought they knew. A new insight changes everything. And that means that they need to adjust their tactics, change up their strategy, and come at the problem from a different angle so that they don’t get killed and can achieve their goal. It’s a race against time to see if they can adapt before the bad guy wins.
It’s not changing the rules–it’s realizing that they never really understood the game in the first place, and that while they’ve been successful so far, there’s a much bigger picture–and bigger consequences–than they ever expected. I want both the characters and the readers to think, “I didn’t see that coming!”
From Chapter 3
“Hi, and welcome to Charleston,” Alicia said. “I’ve heard a lot about both of you.”
That left one other person. He looked to be in his late twenties, with blond hair in a trendy cut, high cheekbones, and gray eyes the color of the sea after a storm. Unlike the others, he didn’t have a drink or a plate in front of him. The man’s appraisal made Evan shiver, although nothing in his manner seemed hostile.
“This is Sorren,” Cassidy said. “He’s my business partner, and he and my ancestor founded Trifles and Folly—my shop—back when Charleston was first chartered.”
Seth and Evan exchanged a glance. “But Charleston is over three hundred years old,” Seth protested.
Sorren smiled, and Evan caught his breath as he glimpsed the tips of fangs behind his lips. “You’re correct. And I am nearly six hundred. I am deeply interested in finding out about this witch-disciple you hunt. He has, apparently, gone to great lengths to avoid my notice.”
As soon as Sorren spoke, Evan wondered how he could have thought the man was close to his own age. Sorren had a presence that made it easy to believe he was immortal. Instinct warned him not to meet Sorren’s gaze, and he remembered stories about a vampire’s ability to glamour mortals and bend their will.
“Don’t worry. You’re safe here,” Sorren said, apparently noting Evan’s uneasiness. “You are guests in Cassidy’s home, and allies. That puts you under my protection—something I take very seriously.”
Evan pasted on a smile and nodded. Holy shit. What have we gotten ourselves into?
“You already know Teag, and I believe he and Seth have bonded over hacking to get information on some of the cases we’ve worked on. But his ninja computer skills are really an outgrowth of his Weaver magic,” Cassidy said, “which you know at least something about, from the spell-woven braided bracelets you gave each other for your birthdays.”
She sat at the table beside Teag. “Eat first, and then we all want to hear your story.”
Evan wasn’t sure what might pass for normal conversation with this crew, but the banter felt comfortable and familiar. They obviously knew each other well and were friends as well as colleagues. While they ate, the conversation drifted to local happenings, upcoming events, and the shared frustration that went with having to avoid road construction. Even Sorren commented now and again, and Evan noticed that no one at the table seemed to regard him fearfully. Evan glanced at Seth and knew from the look on his boyfriend’s face that the mental wheels were turning, appraising their new allies.
When everyone had their fill of the pizza and had topped off their drinks, the chatter stopped, and they all looked to Seth and Evan. Teag stepped away and returned with his laptop.
“We know a little bit about your hunt for the witch-disciples from the information Teag helped you find in the past,” Cassidy said.
A cycle of ritual murders. A coven of dark warlocks, drawing their immortality from the magic of their dead master. Two men sworn to stop the deaths, destroy the warlocks and avenge the victims. Except this time, the killer is hunting the hunters.
Seth Tanner swore vengeance on the dark witches who killed his brother, Jesse. He rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to complete the quest and bring an end to the ritual murders. Their relationship is still new, tested at every turn by danger and magic.
Seth and Evan head to Charleston to stop the next warlock and save his intended victim. But this time, they’re too late. The warlock has already powered up, and he’s determined to destroy the two hunters one way or another. A deadly curse on Seth and Evan means time is running out. Can they find a way to turn the tables, or is Charleston their final destination?
Unholy is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with plenty of supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, hot sex, found family, dark magic and paranormal thrills. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.
<Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!