Magical Alienation, the second title in my Magical Mystery series has just debuted, and I couldn’t be happier!
The publication of a new book is always an exciting and rewarding time, the culmination of loads of work and the realization of a vision that has sustained the writer for some time.
But every book in a series is special for different reasons. In the first book in a series, a writer breathes life into characters that have existed as mere sketches in her mind, and they often grow in ways that even the author hadn’t anticipated. Relationships are forged. A voice the writer only heard in her own mind, booms out into the world.
For the most part, the voice booming from the first book in my series, High Crime on the Magical Plane, belonged to Samantha Brennan, a funny, boisterous fake psychic with a highly eccentric wardrobe. In the relentless pursuit of her goal of being a popular celebrity spiritual advisor, Samantha dealt herself in on an FBI case, the kidnapping of a movie star, apparently by a set of stalkers. Samantha never expected that during the course that case her entire world would be turned upside-down. Never would she have expected to discover that the agent assigned to the case, Special Agent Annabelle Haggerty, was also a modern Celtic goddess, descended from the gods and goddesses depicted in the mythology books. And never did Annabelle expect to be paired with precisely the kind of flaky, fun mortal that she deplored. Samantha and Annabelle sure made a mismatched pair.
But there were compensations. Samantha did succeed in turning the ancient, but immortal and ever-hot, god of youth and love and laughter, Angus, into her own personal love-slave. The stakes couldn’t have been higher, though. As the case took one bizarre twist after another, Samantha thought that if Annabelle and her family of deities couldn’t stop Armageddon from coming down on them, what chance did a poor little fake have of surviving.
The first novel in a series is in essence a setup, a launch pad for the entire series. A second book is different. Second books sometimes bring surprising new themes.
In Magical Alienation that means exposing the U.S. Government’s most closely-guarded secret of the last sixty years: the truth about what seems to have been an alien invasion that occurred in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, and what exactly has been going on at the mysterious Area 51.
Second books in a series allow the writer to test the relationships forged in the first. Initially, in Magical Alienation, Samantha and Annabelle find themselves on opposite sides this time around. Annabelle is assigned to the security detail of Arizona’s junior senator, Kenny Campbell, the target of a militia terrorist assault. While Samantha, through her employer, rocker Rand Riker, actually works on behalf of the most reviled man in the country, militia guru Normal Frankly, who to all eyes isn’t quite normal, accused of mounting a terrorist campaign against Senator Campbell.
We get to meet new characters, including Senator Campbell, with his fuzzy definition of Family Values, and his oh-so correct political wife, Kelly. And Rand Riker, Samantha’s new boss, the Aussie, aging bad boy of rock ’n’ roll.
We meet new gods and goddesses, including Fiona, Annabelle’s beautiful mother, who’s not quite as adept at hiding her secrets as a goddess should be. Was she the woman Samantha heard canoodling in Rand Riker’s luxury suite, or did Fiona harbor another secret? As well as Lugh and Taliesin, trickster gods involved in crop circles, who once beached an iceberg in the tropics, who just can’t get enough fun, as long as it’s at the expense of mortal Earthlings. And Gwydion, god of enchantment and illusion, whose trick stuns the world.
Second books allow us to visit new places. Magical Alienation takes Samantha and Annabelle to Sedona, Arizona, the Vatican City of the New Age, at a time when a monstrous harmonic convergence brings extraordinary power to Sedona’s famed energy centers.
Mostly, with second books, authors get to introduce shocking, unheard of action. While the mysterious rock people twist the very surface of the earth and Sedona heads into the darkest night the planet has ever seen, Samantha wonders which, if any of them, will survive it.
But when Celtic gods are involved, Samantha should know, nothing is ever as it appears.
The best part of a second book? It’s that it invariably leads to the third book in the series. I can’t wait to discover what that will hold.
Causes Kris Neri Supports
Sedona, Arizona Humane Society