Darla longs to work magic but when, on her 18th birthday, a demon reveals to her she is a sorcerer, one of the most powerful creatures of magic that can exist, she discovers that nothing comes without a price. Long ago, the Council of Mages declared that sorcerers were too powerful to exist and hunted them almost to extinction. Her family pleads with Darla to renounce her powers, but can she give up what she has sought for so long? Faced with a choice between death and giving up the only thing she has ever wanted, Darla desperately searches for a third option. Perhaps, with the help of a good demon, she can discover how to change her fate.
Nervous, I peeked into the break room. It was vacant. I realized I had been holding my breath and
exhaled. Hands shaking, I set out my spelling
regents, lit incense, purified the area, grounded and then readied myself to cast
the spell. It would work this time. It had to work. If it didn’t … I shuddered.
I couldn’t think about that, it could jinx the spell.
I cast a circle of power, starting in the north then working
my way through east, south, west and then back to north. Feeling the circle close I called the
guardians of air, fire, water and earth.
As the last guardian was invoked I felt a stirring of power, like a
light electric charge, infuse the incense laden air.
It was an encouraging beginning but I’d come this far before
only to have the spell fall flat as a soufflé on an artillery testing range.
Shaking myself — no negative thoughts! — I began the main
spellwork. Since all spellwork is fueled
by magical energy I needed to raise some.
There are as many ways of raising energy as there are magical
practitioners. Certain ways are faster
than others but almost any repetitive activity will work if you stay focused
and keep at it long enough. I love to
sing and dance and so used my body and voice to shape the rising currents. This was another reason I wanted
When the hum of building energy plateaued I began to weave
the spell. The idea was that at some
point the energy would peek and, at just that point, the last part of the spell
would be spoken and the energy raised would be directed into it to fuel the
working. If there wasn’t enough energy,
or if the timing was off, the spell wouldn’t have a power source and would be
as useful as a cell phone with a dead battery.
This last bit was the tricky part, the part I had never been
able to pull off. People were beginning
to whisper that I was a mundane — a person not able to bind energy into a
spell. Sure, I could invoke spells someone
else had bound to an energy source and stored in an object, a wand for instance,
but even a mundane could do that.
As I sang and danced around the break room I could feel the
tingle of magical energy glide over my skin.
The energy was building. I
smiled. It was close. So close.
Keeping my awareness on the magical currents, I uttered the
last words of the spell and gave the push of will that would drive the two
together, sending the spell to feed off the energy raised and release itself
into the world. Only a little more …
There! As I uttered the last syllable of
the spell I felt something begin to swirl around me like a breeze. It was
And then …. nothing.
At the last moment a wash of cold radiated from my solar
plexus, driving the hot airy currents of energy down, grounding them. For a moment I felt the spell reaching for
the hot energy, hungering for it, but then it began to unravel.
I fell down on my butt, tears in my eyes. Why!
Why did this always happen? I had
been so close that time. So close. But close is never good enough, is it?
Noises outside the door, garbled words. Eli’s voice.
Crap! I lunged toward my spelling
supplies and tried to extinguish the burning incense. I wasn’t supposed to be spelling in the break
room. It had been banned last year after
a neophyte practicing an implosion spell had destroyed half the school.
From the Author
When I began writing Until Death I started with the idea of a teenager who wants, more than anything, just to be normal. In her world, this means being able to use magic, but she can’t. She is a mundane. At the beginning of the book, it turns out that she isn’t a mundane, that she is a very powerful kind of magical critter and, when folks find this out, they become scared of her and want to kill her. There’s a lot more to the book than that, but Darla and her apparent lack of magical ability was the idea the book unfolded around.
Some writers can sit down and the story pours out of them on the first draft and they come back and tweak some things and clean up others and, a couple of drafts later, their book is done. Oh how I envy them! I’m a multiple drafts kind of gal, starting with a first draft that is little more than a rough outline. I think I went through nine drafts with Until Death.
I enjoyed writing this book and I hope you will enjoy reading it. Information about my blog and how to get in contact with me is on the right hand side of this page, I would love to hear from you!