Today I am so pleased to welcome Kaje Harper to Joyfully Jay. Kaje has come to talk to us about her latest release, Powered by Ghosts (Necromancer 2). She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Pantsing my way forward, with a Necromancer
When I started publishing, it was almost by accident. Ten years ago, I submitted a manuscript to a publisher, expecting a nice rejection letter I could show my husband before going on with my solitary writing and trunking my stories. The publisher was the first other person who’d ever read any of my M/M writing. And their acceptance letter was a real, “Holy shit, they liked it!” moment.
Since that first book, developing a writing career has been a mostly-unplanned adventure, because I’m apparently as much of a pantser about my process as I am in the stories I write. I did some Goodreads freebies. KU came along, shaking up the way readers get books, but I resisted it for reasons. I branched out to two other publishers, both now gone, and found the joy and pressures of indie publishing.
I tried new things, created new series, finished old ones. (The second Rebuilding Year book came three years after the first, turning what I thought was a stand-alone into a more satisfying series.)
Now I’m going totally indie, and creating a new series. At the same time.
The totally indie part means that I’ll be rereleasing old favorites like Life Lessons and Hidden Wolves in new editions – with a fifth Hidden Wolves book – Undeniable Bonds – coming in 2021, with Zach, Aaron, and two new older guys.
The new series is Necromancer – a paranormal about a young sorcerer just coming into his abilities, a powerful necromancer who helps him, and a tomcat familiar with attitude, set it an alternate universe 1960s. It began as a flashfiction for my Facebook group – Kaje’s Conversation Corner – and turned out to be too much fun to stop.
Marked by Death – book 1 – is a freebie anywhere ebooks are sold (except when Amazon occasionally decides to charge 99¢ for it again for a few days…) There is always a free .mobi on Smashwords, if your AZ is charging for it.
Powered by Ghosts – book 2 – released on Thursday Nov 26th. I hope that by the time you’re reading this, the product page has a cover on it. Amazon apparently has a glitch where for some preorder books, the book cover does not show on the product page, even though it is on the book and in their system. Hopefully they will have solved that by release day.
Bound by Memories – book 3 – is a 22K holiday novella that will release in December.
One of the things I like about writing is the spontaneity, (although thank God for my day job which means I’m not wagering grocery money on these choices.) The third Necromancer story ambushed me in the middle of writing something else. Stories sometimes just appear and ask to be written.
One of the things I like even better is the community. My readers and fellow authors are a group who have my back as we cheer the wins, commiserate the losses, grind our teeth over the pirates, sigh over the gorgeous covers, and make the whole thing work.
Like right now, when Amazon has failed for two weeks to get the cover they admit they have onto the book page for Powered by Ghosts my readers have still been preordering without the reassurance of the pretty cover, and my fellow authors have been sympathetic.
In this crazy year, I know one thing for sure. However this next stage of my adventure works out, I will always be glad I sent that first story in for publication. (Thank you, hubby.) And I have made friends and had experiences that will last a lifetime.
Now to launch Powered by Ghosts, to finish the other holiday story it derailed, and to think about new werewolf covers and audio for Life Lessons. Let the fun continue…
You can find an excerpt from Powered by Ghosts below (slight spoilers for book 1).
– Kaje Harper
Grim stretched, flexing his twenty-pound tom cat body up and back, and yawned. “I take it we’re not getting paid.”
“Were you supposed to get money from the council?” Darien still had only the faintest idea how the bread and butter of the magic world worked. In the week since they’d defeated a demon in the Guild’s own hall, he’d spent half his time sleeping— or in bed doing even better things with Silas— and the other half in some apparently elementary magic exercises, trying to get a handle on his newly revealed abilities.
“We were supposed to get paid,” Silas said. “You and me both. After all, we rid the council of not one but two demons. That should’ve been worth a good-sized bounty, and I figured that’d give you some money of your own.”
“Oh. Yeah.” Silas didn’t seem to be short of funds, but that didn’t mean Darien had enjoyed being taken out and supplied with clothes like a kid on an allowance. Getting paid would’ve been good. “No dice, huh?”
“They ruled that since we were among those directly threatened, and since the council didn’t actually ask us to do the job, it fell under voluntary work. Not entitled to payment after the fact.”
“I could’ve paused with that demon under my shield and passed a hat,” Darien suggested. “Pay up, or I turn him lose.”
Silas’s gray eyes lightened. “I’d have paid good money to see that. But no, we’re apparently going to have to settle for the gratitude and goodwill of the council.”
“Might be worth something?”
“Hah. They turned around and told me if I needed funds, they had a job for me.”
“Job?” He wasn’t entirely sure what Silas did, other than sending demons back to their hells with a power and force of will that made Darien hard just thinking about it. Not at the time— because demons made his balls want to crawl up inside his body— but in the aftermath, the image of Silas standing terrible and tall, with whips of pure power in each hand? Hell, yeah. “More demons?”
“By all the gods, I hope not. Two in one weekend was plenty. Routine ghost removal, it sounds like. Anyway, I turned them down. They weren’t happy.”
“Turned them down? Don’t you need the energy? And if it pays, wouldn’t that be a twofer?” Since Silas replenished his magic with ghost energy, getting paid to feed his own power seemed like a win-win.
“It’s out of town,” Silas said, as if that decided things.
“So? You’re not, um, bound to this weird house, are you?” Some of Darien’s spare time had been spent exploring the huge relic Silas had inherited, and he was pretty sure there were rooms and passages he hadn’t found yet.
“I’ve never heard of a person being bound to a house.” Silas tilted his head, looking at Darien as if he was searching for something. “But I’d want to bring Grim, and I’m not leaving you here alone.”
“You wouldn’t want me to come?” Darien knew he was a total novice, but he’d done all right in a crisis, he thought. “I wouldn’t get in the way.” He cleared his throat and wished he sounded less like a kid wheedling his dad for a car ride.
Silas’s expression softened. “I figured you wouldn’t want to be around ghosts again.”
“Oh.” For a moment the memory of voices and slithering movement and hisses in his head made him shudder. His stomach lurched queasily. But I’ll be damned if I let that stop me having Silas’s back. He made sure his voice was deep and steady as he said, “I have good shields now. You said they’ll stop ghosts.”
“Yes. They should.”
“Then I want to come.” He went for a lighter tone. “I’m going stir crazy here, and I want to see you at work. The great necromancer, plucking ghosts out of the air and eating them like raisins.”
Silas snorted. “That’s not quite the way it works.” He paused. “Are you sure? I admit, it would be good to replenish the coffers.”
Grim said, apropos of nothing obvious, “Healers are expensive.”
It wasn’t till Silas hissed, “Shush, cat, not his business,” that Darien remembered. He was the one who’d needed a Healer, after knocking himself out running down stairs in socks.
“Did you have to pay Anya to help me last week?”
Silas opened his mouth, but took an obvious moment to come up with, “It was my cat who tripped you. My debt.”
“I’m my own cat, I’ll have you remember,” Grim said. “And the point is, we’re broke, and I have a feeling we’ll need funds soon. And here you have a job on a platter.”
“Do you have any feelings about the job?” Silas asked seriously.
Darien waited, trying to decide if Grim was having a premonition or just messing with them. It was often too damned hard to tell.
Grim shook his head. “Nothing on the job. Just a vague sense that somewhere down the line, being broke is going to be a problem.”
“Oooh,” Darien quipped. “Such wisdom. It’s not good to be broke.”
Grim trotted over and swiped at his ankle with unsheathed claws. “Respect for your elders, boy.”
Darien danced his bare feet out of cat range. “Are you older than me?” Familiars were a puzzle he hadn’t figured out either.
“I’m wiser, for sure.” That was about as straight an answer as he ever got out of Grim on the topic.
Silas said, “If we’re serious about taking the job, I should let the council know. Worthington turned it down too, and they were talking about who they could farm it out to, down the line.”
“We should do it,” Darien decided. The chance to get out of this house— intriguing as it was— and to watch Silas at work was irresistible.
“Agreed.” Grim sat down and wrapped his tail over his toes.
Silas looked back and forth between them. “I guess I’m outvoted. I’ll call and get the details. Darien, you might start packing some clothes? There’s a suitcase in my closet.”
“How many days?”
“Pack for four.”
“And don’t forget the tuna,” Grim said. “And the can opener.”
Darien laughed, his heart lifting at the prospect of getting out and doing something different for a change. “Sir, yes, sir!” He looked up, and Silas was staring at him with something soft and warm in his expression. “You do want to do the job, don’t you, Sy? Grim and me’re not, you know, taking over?”
Silas’s mouth curved up and his eyes sparkled. “I think I could resist the lure of one novice sorcerer and one imperious cat, if I wanted to. Sure. Let’s take a road trip.”
An untrained sorcerer and a reclusive necromancer face a ghost-infested town.
Darien is free of his dead invaders, and his eyes have opened to a new reality. In a world of sorcerers and necromancers, he’s full of power and potential, but completely ignorant. Necromancer Silas, and Silas’s cat familiar, Grim, are teaching him basic skills, but danger won’t hold off, just because he’s not ready.
Silas never planned to share his life with anyone, but after a week of shared battles and shared nights, Darien has become a fixture in his home. Silas has never met anyone with more raw magical ability, or less idea what to do with it. When Silas is offered a job hunting ghosts, he’s tempted to refill his depleted bank account, but reluctant to bring untrained Darien along. Darien’s eager to help, though, and eventually Silas gives in. It’s just a few ghosts. Nothing he hasn’t handled before. What could go wrong?
I get asked about my name a lot. It’s not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty-five years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)
After decades of writing just for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact. A complete list with links can be found on my website “Books” page at https://kajeharper.com/books/.
I’m always pleased to have readers find me online at: