Dark thoughts about the nature of wizards...

Jul 05, 2022 11:01 am


Kell Shaw's Story Club - July 2022

Free Serial!

Reflections upon the Anniversary of my Descent: Part One

It's been five years since you were murdered.

Five years since I made a pact with a demon for the power to avenge you.

None of it has worked out the way I expected...


Part one of a new ongoing serial!

Let's Descend!

More Thoughts on Magic

I have a terrible confession to make: I don’t like wizards. Don’t get me wrong - magic and cool powers are awesome, but I dislike wizards who can do everything, and manifest new powers out of their butt as required for the occasion.

I was watching A Discovery of Witches knowing nothing about the book it was based on. The earlier episodes were great, with occult factions scheming after a mysterious grimoire, and the protagonist, Diana, slowly unravelling her powers. However, it goes off the rails in the last few episodes with Diana’s power level exploding through the roof, and developing time travel and teleportation. (Also, she got really crazily obsessed with Matthew the Vampire in a short space of time; even the point of ignoring her fabulous aunts in favour of him; c’mon, lady!)

I like my supernaturally-empowered people with specific power sets, or specialists. A wizard who can do everything, from sleep spells, to potion making isn’t interesting, unless there’s a lot of focus on how they cast their spells or manage their resources, or when the overall plot distracts me from nerding out about this. (This may be because of D&D-related trauma, where wizards always outpaced my fighters, and paladins.)

I like wizards when presented well, such as Mazirian the Magician from Dying Earth, and Ged from Earthsea. Mazirian has a limited bunch of spells he has to work with and a dangerous setting, and Earthsea is dark and mysterious with a need to balance one’s power with harmony. While I enjoyed the latest Doctor Strange film, both the good Doctor and Scarlet Witch’s powers were all over the place. 

What are your thoughts on wizards?

Book Review

Continuing my quest to read great books! This one is The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards, the first book of the Tarot Sequence.

Rune St John is the last heir to the Sun Arcana (a noble house), who performs odd jobs and investigations for the Tower Arcana. He’s accompanied by his loyal bodyguard Brand and has a lot of connections to the other nobility of New Atlantis. In true magical detective form, Rune is asked to find a missing scion, and finds himself up against a conspiracy that has invoked ancient evils...

Characters: A bit like Final Fantasy XV, where an entourage of beautiful men wander around the city and banter snarkily with each other. The characterisation is strong, the dialogue snaps and Rune’s in-character narration has the right balance between sharp and cynical.

Plot: The mystery came together in the end, although there was a bit of dungeon crawling and monster blasting elements that went on for a bit too long. Rune’s pretty good as a protagonist, with enough trauma and tragic backstory to keep the audience intrigued for future novels.

Setting: New Atlantis is a city built by magic on the island of Nantucket, composed of dead or abandoned buildings stolen from other cities around the world. This gives the place a fantastic evocative feel. The background is implied rather than spelled out (what happened to Old Atlantis? How do these tarot courts work?) but it was enough to keep me intrigued.

Magic: I was hoping for some cool tarot-based magic, but most spells have a bit of a D&D smorgasbord feel, like ‘Firebolt’. Spells are loaded into items called sigils. Rune’s sigils are all scavenged, whereas other scions have nice matched sets of items. However, the scion of each arcana house can access cool, themed powers. Rune channels his sun arcana towards the end of the book, and pulls off a cool anime-style super attack that burns away the cloud cover to stop a marauding army of undead.

Overall: Enough fun elements and solid plotting and characterization to make this a recommended read.


Publication Updates

  • Final Night. On track for commercial release later this year. Audiobook is in final mixing stages. Soon, I will regale you all with my publication saga...
  • Final Night sequel. About 75% through draft 2. I have learned I can’t spell maus— mauso— mausoleum very well. Also, 18th century poetry is harder than it looks.
  • Vestige World Novel. Still in editing—I’m working through it on a six-month structural editing course. This will be handy for future novels. 
  • The Vengeance Business. This will be a collection of the three cambion-themed shorts, freshly edited, and released as the new sign-up promo after Final Night heads out for commercial release.
  • Vestige RPG. Did some more tinkering. I wasn’t thrilled with the previous system I was using. For extremely nerdy author purposes, I’d like to whip up a character in a few minutes so I’d have all of their capabilities mapped out so I could see what they’d get up to in a story. Playing with a new base system. Anyway, this is a long way off, as usual, but I’ve made more progress than last time.


Magic Today


Between her divorce, her terrible boss, and her dwindling finances, impulsive Mattie's life is getting more and more complicated by the day. So when she learns that Tillie, her twin sister, is missing, she drops everything and rushes across the country to join her friend Trevor in the search.

As they begin their search, they stumble across a secret room in Tillie's condo filled with crystal balls and books about magic. Suddenly people all around them are doing spells, manipulating time, and disappearing into thin air, and they soon they realize they're in over their heads.

A group of powerful mages is hunting Tillie. Can Mattie and Trevor find her first? Or will they become targets too?

Magic Away!

An Original Sin


Every war between good and evil has to start somewhere.

A chilling paranormal fantasy novella

Dr. John Virgil receives a visit from a strange man who wants to make a deal. As mayor of a prosperous Nevada mining town, John inherited a hundred-year history of wealth, comfort, and stability.

But things can change.

Protect your city and your legacy, the strange man says. Just sign here.

Confused, disturbed, (and more than a little irritated), John declines.

What follows is a 24-hour descent into destruction, fury, and chaos that leaves John begging for a second chance.

It will come at a price.

It's a Sin...

Detective Docherty and the Demon's Tear


Ghosts, Fairies, Demons, and Gods--and One Paranormal Detective Agency

A tale of murder and pixies.

It was called the Great Awakening, when magickal kind returned to our world. They live among us now, renting apartments, laboring in the workforce, and paying taxes. Ares is a vampire and doing very well for himself in the modern world. Between teaching at the local university and assisting a paranormal investigator, things couldn’t be better. But when a woman dies mysteriously in her own home, the question isn’t who killed her, but what.

Alexandria is alone in the world. Having lived a complicated life surrounded by mystery and tragedy, she's quickly pulled into the world of paranormal investigating. Can she walk the border between the worlds of man and magick or will she become lost to it?

Vampires. Witches. Ghosts. Demons. Fairies and Gods.

Detective Docherty and the Demon's Tear is an all new Urban Fantasy with a Paranormal Mystery twist.

The Detective's Dilemma

Supernatural Crime Promotion


Born from urban myths and legends, urban fantasy features strong characters just trying to save the neighbourhood. This promotion features great reads with a focus on supernatural crime.

It's Criminal...