I don’t often listen to music when I’m writing – mostly because I do a lot of my writing in my work place, and apparently a hospital food court is not the ideal location for blasting music in. But one thing I always do for my characters and books is set up a playlist on Spotify for songs that remind me of them. I listen to those lists on my commute to work, and it gets me in the right frame of mind for writing. A particular lyric will trigger something – a scene, an emotion, a bit of dialogue – that I just know will be perfect for a story. It’s become an almost ritualistic part of my writing process.
I’m actually still working on the playlist for Lola and BLOOD WITCH, but there are a few songs I’ve already picked out as being crucial for the mood of Lola’s world. Want to check them out?
Laura Marling – Devil’s Resting Place – I love Laura Marling, but this song struck a particular chord, more for the mood it evokes than the song itself. It’s dark and mysterious and hints at danger.
The Misfits – Great Balls of Fire – The Misfits are one of my all-time favourite bands and this is one of my all-time favourite covers. I think it pretty neatly encapsulates the impact Tristesse has on Lola!
Holly Golightly – Devil Do – It’s not a spoiler to say that devils and demons play a part in BLOOD WITCH. For that reason alone, this song has earned a place on the playlist.
AFI – Miss Murder – Look, if I ever leave AFI off a playlist, just assume I’ve been kidnapped by aliens and replaced by a pod person. I love AFI, and I never write a story without at least one of their songs in my mind. Miss Murder is the unofficial theme song for BLOOD WITCH.
Lola Guntram is used to being an outcast. She’s the only blood witch in Fort Rosser, mistrusted by other witches and happier working solo. But when her dark practices make her the prime suspect in a brutal murder investigation, she’s forced to turn to others for help. Not that she has many allies – her ex-girlfriend thinks Lola is the killer, and the local coven leader thinks Lola will corrupt them all if she gets too close.
Help comes in an expected – and alluring – form. Tristesse is a demon on the run, beautiful, enigmatic, and suspiciously keen to assist Lola while she chases down the real killer. How can Lola refuse? With the police breathing down her neck, accusations flying, and inhuman monsters on the streets, Lola needs all the help she can get. The killer is angry, desperate, and determined. But so is Lola Guntram. And she doesn’t care how dark or bloody the magic has to get – she’s going to stop them.
Once home, she returned to her books. Now she had a definite symbol to look for, she was able to narrow down the search of her considerable library. In a battered tome called Symbols, Sigils, Signs and Seals, she finally found it. She barely remembered buying the book; most likely she’d picked it up secondhand somewhere, mentally added it to her “to-read” pile and forgotten about it. She’d always bought far more books than she’d ever get round to reading.
Still, there it was in plain black ink on the yellowed page. The same sigil she’d seen on Isako’s floor. It wasn’t alchemical, as she’d first thought, although it shared the typical sparse lines and deceptive simplicity. The language of alchemy was really just a form of shorthand, indicating herbs, liquids, and equipment. This sigil, according to the text, could be broken down into several smaller ones, but combined together like this, it meant just one thing. A word. A name.
Lola rubbed her scars, tracing the lines of countless spells cast, immeasurable energy drained and used. She’d cast spells for self-confidence, spells of attraction. Spells for good luck, spells for decision-making. Once she’d spent almost twenty-four hours casting a spell that wove together blood and fire magic to help a client take revenge on her rapist. That was dark magic, made of dark intent no matter how worthy the cause. That was the only time she’d broken the “harm none” rule, and she didn’t regret it. That was the kind of magic the Choir thought was just the tip of the iceberg with Lola. It was the hardest spell she’d ever worked, the grayest, and absolutely the most satisfying.
It was nothing compared to this sigil and what it meant.
Gehenna. There was only one reason, the book stated, that you would write this symbol as part of a spell, and that was to open a doorway. Write it in freshly-spilled blood and you weren’t just opening it, you were kicking it down. With someone else’s freshly-spilled blood…
Lola set the book down, stomach churning. She had to tell Yvette.
But what could Yvette do? This was way outside the Choir’s comfort zone. Fuck that, it was outside Lola’s comfort zone. This was bigger than elemental magic, bigger than blood magic, and bigger than motive Lola could have guessed at.
This was demonology.
Murder was just the beginning.
About the Author
Naomi likes writing, perfume, fancy tea, and unfathomable monsters from the dark spaces between the stars, not necessarily in that order. She has been writing stories ever since she learned how to write, but is still trying to master the art of biography writing. When she’s not dealing with werewolves, demons, or sea monsters, she’s hanging out with her cat and probably watching a documentary about Bigfoot. If the cat isn’t available, she’s with her fiancé watching cookery shows and silently plotting her next book.
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