Hey, hey, hey... grab a cup of tea. We've got an interview with Marcus James today!
MJ: Her name is Kathryn Blackmoore, and she originated in my series The Blackmoore Legacy, (the first two books, Blackmoore and Symphony for the Devil are available now.) And in these novels she is mother to the main character, Trevor Blackmoore, and she is the unofficial matriarch of the Blackmoore dynasty of witches. Think equal parts Buffy, Dark Shadows, The Lives of the Mayfair Witches, with a dash of Harry Potter and you have the series.As an older woman, dealing with the loss of her husband, running the American offices of Blackmoore World Corp., and a dark, ancient, and bloodthirsty god seeking to regain power and human flesh to destroy her family, Kathryn is a sexy stone fox with a whiskey voice.
In the Blackmoore series, Kathryn became a breakout favorite. My female readers really adore her, my gay readers think she is a fierce queen, and many of my straight male readers tell me how sexy she is. I’ve always known I wanted to tell her story as a young woman-before marriage and a child-but I was never quite certain how to do it. In the first novel, Blackmoore, Trevor is kept in the dark about the full truth of his family. He knows they are witches, that they see spirits, can read thoughts, effect the environment around them, etc. But the rich history of Voodoo and European witchcraft, the Dark God of the Wood, his role in everything; all of this is kept from him. The Blackmoores used to be very open about all of this within the family, but then it all just stopped and suddenly the family became very secretive. Well, I wanted to explain that, to reveal what happened to make Kathryn-and in turn, the rest of the clan-to decide to suddenly stop talking, and the Nephilim Books were born.
In the first book, Rise of the Nephilim, Kathryn is 26 and living in Los Angeles. It’s 1987 and she’s right on the famed Sunset Strip, where what we think of as 80’s rock and metal were born and where it called home. She’s trying to escape her life in Bellingham Washington, and her neighborhood of South Hill. An old-monied and superstitious place in the Sacred Heart parish, and the gossip and rumors that have persisted about her family for more than a century.
In L.A. she’s recovering from a break up that has haunted her for years and she decides she’s just going to party, shop, have amazingly hot and thrilling sex and just experience the freedom in being young and away from home, but a series of gruesome deaths and haunting visions of a powerful and inhuman form begins to remind her that she can’t escape who she is and that she has been expected.SC: Sounds like a fun series to read. I like a matriarch with issues. The supernatural is a theme in this series, but do you actually believe in the paranormal, and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
MJ: I very much do. I grew up with spirits. My family is actually from South Hill in Bellingham, in fact the home of Mabel Blackmoore (Kathryn's aunt) is the home of my great-aunt, and much of the ghost stories found in the Blackmoore books are real stories from Bellingham. Much like New Orleans, it’s a place with a ghost in almost every house and every street corner.As for my own experiences, there are way too many. Currently I have the spirit of an elderly woman I have named Pearl, who is attached to an old dining table I have. For the most part she’s pretty quiet and doesn’t really do much, but she is very particular about things being picked up. If the table is too messy for too long, or dishes not done within a day, she will begin to steal things and not return them until things have been picked up, then they will usually appear out of nowhere on the table.
If she doesn’t like certain people she will throw things. Growing up with ghosts it doesn’t phase me. I usually just tell her to knock it off, but it is funny to see the reactions of other people.SC: That's wild! I have had an apparition attached to my own dining room table and I'm pretty sure I know who it is. She wasn't quite thrilled with me painting it, but I hope she's okay with it now that it is done. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
MJ: Well, I’m finishing the conclusion to the Nephilim books with Fall of the Nephilim, which will be out late autumn. Rise is the first novella in a two part series, and Fall will conclude it.Then I will begin the research process for The Beckoning One. It is the third book in the main series, and the research is going to be very extensive, but I love it. The research process is so much fun for me. I love hunting for all of my research books, filling up legal pad after legal pad with notes, highlighting page after page, absorbing so much information. That will probably be six months or so of work. But then, Symphony took me ten years to research and write, but that is also a very big book. The Beckoning One won’t be as big. I imagine sometime late 2018/early 2019 it should be out.
SC: You've got a full plate there. Thanks again for stopping by and having this chat with us. You're always welcomed back whenever you have something to share. Now let's take a look at this title.
Rise of the Nephilim
A Blackmoore Prequel
Genre: Erotic PNR/Gothic Horror
Publisher: Candiano Books
Date of Publication: 07/24/2017
Number of pages: 201
Word Count: 61,272
Cover Artist: Ransom Graphics
Tagline: Sex, witchcraft, and rock and roll on the Sunset Strip
LOS ANGELES, summer of 1987.
Kathryn Blackmoore, the 26 year old heir to Blackmoore World Corp. and the future matriarch of the Blackmoore dynasty of witches has fled the haunted old monied neighborhood of South Hill in Bellingham, Washington looking to trade in a century of rumors, superstition, and her own heartache for the sun, sex, and music of the Sunset Strip.
Taking up residence in the famed and decaying Chateau Marmont hotel, Kathryn quickly finds herself in an erotic and thrilling journey into the world of Niiq, Arish, and Kuri; members of the band Nephilim, who seem to have the women of the Strip enthralled by their dark and sensuous sound. When bodies begin to turn up all over town and a mysterious and haunting figure fixates on Kathryn, she quickly learns that you can never escape your destiny.
RISE OF THE NEPHILIM is the first of a two part erotic paranormal romance/thriller revealing the beginnings of one of the most captivating characters in The Blackmoore Legacy series. It is a standalone prequel of eroticism, romance, and suspense.
The library was quiet with the exception of the short and humming-to-herself library assistant stacking the books left out or returned through-out the day. The girl was a junior; she was sure of it. She had never talked to her; they had never orbited the same solar system in the day-to-day endless galaxy of Mariner High School, but that didn’t matter.
She could still reach inside the girl’s mind whenever she wanted to, and explore everything she kept hidden from the rest of the world. She could travel the fleshy terrain of the girl’s brain and see her hopes and dreams, her fears, her loves, and her longings.
She was able to pick out that her name was Tammy. She was a studious girl with dirty blonde curls that hung to her breasts, her skin milk-white and soft, her face delicate and scattered with a dusting of freckles across the bridge of her small nose. Her brown eyes were golden and looked over the spine of each book, scanning their titles and looking up to each aisle to see where they belonged.
Kathryn Blackmoore stood from the table where she had been discussing after graduation party plans with her best friend Lila Sifuentes and with her boyfriend Sheffield Burges, excited to finally walk and receive their diplomas and be done with this place forever.
She was tall – five feet and nine inches. Her lean body was dressed in a pink-and-white pin-striped collared shirt, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows, the collar popped and buttoned only to her full breasts.
A three-tiered pearl necklace glistened in the bright white fluorescents overhead, and her thick shoulder-length feathered mane was a rich auburn that seemed to glow around her like a halo.
She gathered her books and began to make her way to the doors to begin the walk through campus back to her home. Her long legs were encased in a khaki, knee-length Ralph Lauren skirt with a slit up the left thigh and a tasseled and thin brown leather belt was fastened loosely around her waist and rested on her hipbones. Kathryn looked at her watch; it was 9:00 p.m. They had been put in charge of the after-party by the entire student body – at least by the Golden Gods, as the popular kids were called – and it was their job to deliver.
Somehow by some cruel joke perpetrated by the universe, Kathryn had somehow become one of them. That was a first for her family, and it was no surprise to her that this ascension in the school’s hierarchy was achieved by her relationship with Sheffield. He was one of the kindest and most popular guys at their elitist school, and was a rock star on the Soccer field. It was the school’s claim to greatness and claim to fame. Other schools had football, but Mariner was known throughout the country for their school’s soccer team. In the eighteen years of its existence – as long she had been alive – Mariner was a crowning achievement and had only ever lost three games. Families from the country over, who dreamed of soccer field futures for their children chose Mariner – a public high school – over the best sports-driven private schools.
Mariner was a dynasty of Bellingham Washington, and the rite of passage for the exclusive children of South Hill, with their centuries-old Victorian, Tudor, Colonial, and Craftsman mansions that stood on large plots of land between treacherous and almost guard-like evergreens on every street, and sidewalks lined with monstrous oaks and maples. Homes filled with inhabitants of both the living and the dead.
Then there werethe Edgemoore kids. Nouveau riche. Most of them were native Californians whose parents moved here in a great rush for cheap land when California’s real estate began to climb higher and higher, and for the chance to get their kid on the Mariner soccer team.
Here, on the cliffs on the other side of Bellingham Bay, and staring back at the old genteel mansions, were the castle-like and gaudy estates of Edgemoore.
These kids had no respect for the history that still stood in the city, and the almost haunted charm of Fairhaven, that filled the space along the water between these two wealthy neighborhoods. Fairhaven was the last town to merge with the county of Whatcom in 1903, finally forming the greater city of Bellingham. For the city, and everyone in it, there was a difference between the South Hill neighborhood and the rest of Bellingham itself, as if it were still its own town.
Connecting the south to the north of Bellingham was the campus of Fairhaven University, which in the 1890s had been the Washington State Normal School. Fairhaven University was carved through the trees and made up of tall, red-orange brick buildings and concrete bridges overpaved pathways in between the green. The city was not unlike Bram Stoker’s description of Transylvania: a place wild and filled with spirits, and fiercer things that lived in the mouth of the Carpathian Mountains that surrounded it.
The city was surrounded by cliffs and an endless army of evergreens.
Interstate 5 snaked through all of this above the city, so that every exit dipped down into it. Kathryn had grown up here, had been born here, into South Hill’s superstition and paranoia and never-ending fears.
South Hill was filled with the descendants of the founding families, and the majority had worshiped at The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
The white wood church with its gorgeous and detailed mammoth windows of stained glass was crowned with a single black-slated roof and spire.
The first time Kathryn had ever used her witchcraft against another was the priest who had tried to take advantage of her when she was twelve. It had felt invigorating to watch his body convulse and the blood begin to slip out of his mouth, eyes, and nose – even his ears.
When he had hit the floor, his brain fried, she had screamed and run out of the office as soon as one of the nuns and another priest – Father
Malady – opened the door, covering her tear-stained face.
It didn’t help anything when she told them what he had been attempting to do when the aneurism hit. She could hear the headmaster’s thoughts, as well as the two nuns and Father Malady, who had sat with his arms folded, his angular and almost rat-like face with his beady green eyes looking at her with a smug grin. They knew she had somehow caused it. She was a Blackmoore, after all; she was a witch and she had used her charms to seduce the priest. To bewitch him and befuddle him and make him lose all of his sense and self-control. She had made him weak on purpose so that she could kill him – to sacrifice him to Satan and make another hit in their diabolical war with the Church.
She had said nothing. She wanted to leave and go to Fairhaven Middle School. She was in her last year of junior high and she didn’t
want to be in this place any longer, with ruler hits and other obscene punishments. They were more than happy to get her out. Her father,
Trevor Mayland, had been the one to insist she go to Catholic School.
He feared the Blackmoore name as much as anyone else, regardless of the fact that he had married her mother, Annaline Blackmoore in 1961.
He had loved her so much that he had wanted to save Annaline from what he saw as the Blackmoore curse. He thought that she would be far from the devil’s reach if he could marry her and make an honest woman out of her. A God-fearing woman who would go to mass every
Sunday and keep far from her family’s other practice, aside from Blackmoore World Corp. – a multi-billion-dollar-a-year international company which handled almost all the shipments of goods, most legal and some more questionable, of the entire world – was running the Church of Light, the Spiritualist church that her great-grandmother Aria had started in 1898, where she would commune with the dead, read palm, tarot cards, and tea leaves.
It was a place where for a hefty sum, Aria could be hired to work her witchcraft for others, no matter the intention. The Church of Light was then run by Aria’s daughter Fiona, and now her daughter Mabel, her mother’s older sister. Annaline had been too adventurous for that anyways, and so Trevor’s plan meant nothing one way or the other, as Annaline was too much of a wild child, concerned with music festivals and poets and drinking while smoking pot and cigarettes.
This fact did not stop Trevor Mayland from worrying about “his girls,” as he called his wife and daughter, and sending Kathryn to boarding school, only a few blocks from her actual home, to only visit on the weekends, was extremely easy for him.
Yes, she had had enough at that point, and the death of the priest put a smile on her face – a smile she had to fight back when they almost hesitantly told her that she was finished and would be going back home.
They were witches; this was true, and Father Malady had known this. A man of forty-seven, straight from Ireland – in Kilcommon,County Mayo – where the Blackmoores had originated from, and where they still lived inside the great limestone citadel known as Blackmoore Hall on the shores of Broadhaven Bay.
Everyone in that part of Ireland knew of the Blackmoores. They believed them to be a family who grew into their wealth because of a pact with the devil, and those who knew them gained fortune or befell ruin simply for knowing them.
During the witch hunts her ancestors had fled the Black Moor and built a rustic cottage with a thatched roof along the cruel and wild sea, in hiding from both the evils of Christian men and the even greater and ancient evil that had tormented the clan of the Black Moor for centuries before finally escaping. He was a dark and bloodthirsty God who had tried to make slaves of the clan and had forced them to sacrifice the weak and the innocent to his altar.
They had finally escaped him, turning their back on him and refusing to write his name down or speak it from their lips. This went on for two hundred years, until all those who had known him had died, and he had grown weak from being forgotten. They left the moor in the year 1145 and journeyed northwest, as far from the wood and that deity as possible. They were secluded and far from wealthy, and then suddenly in 1845, they began to buy up nearly thirteen thousand acres of land and built a great, almost castle-like home. They were all certain that the family was finally reaping their rewards for the trade of their souls.
This had never been the case. The reason for the wealth was far more mundane; Katy Blackmoore of New Orleans – where the family
had moved to in the 1780s – denounced the family and the many evils that served the Dark God of the Wood who wished to wipe out the Blackmoores, and left for Spain. She returned almost a year later married to Spanish royalty, and bequeathed a fortune enough for a kingdom to her father Tristan, her brother Nicholas, and her grandparents Sarafeene and Malachey, in exchange for being left alone by them so that she could live a normal life.
She had lost her mother to her family and their Legacy – the name of their great curse – and she was certain that if she separated herself from her family and lived a good Christian life, never summoning her witchcraft, then she would not lose her husband, and her children would never suffer the loss of a parent, or the feeling of knowing who you were and what you were would end up killing the one you loved.
The Blackmoores had agreed and with that money, they made the family flourish. First in New Orleans and Ireland, and then later, the family moved west and north, and all points in between. Spreading out all across the United States, England, France, Italy, and Ireland, in vesting in industry and especially shipping; and acquiring and building fleets upon fleets of ships, until there was no one to rival them.
By the time the family had arrived in Fairhaven to begin building their empire in the “Gateway of Alaska,” as it had been known, the residents of the city were openly hostile – being fueled by the legends and superstitions of immigrant priests and servants who whispered about the dangerous and devilish Blackmoores of Kilcommon and their mission to take over the Christian world and hand it to the devil and his fallen angels, wrapped with a big bloodstained bow.
It was shit, but superstition is slow to die, and even in 1979, the people of South Hill still feared the Blackmoore name and what it meant if you talked to them. Kathryn had suffered that for so long, and for the longest time, Lila Sifuentes – the only Latina in the school –had been her only friend.
Her father had always loved Kathryn, but up until his death a week after the incident – due to the sudden brain tumor that claimed the lives of those who have unprotected sex with a Blackmoore – he had always been slightly wary of her, as if he could see the curse deep under her veins.
Unprotected sex with a Blackmoore always seemed to kill seven to twelve years later, and always of a severe seizure and hemorrhage caused by the tumor. Blood pooled from the nose, mouth, and other parts of the face, and the body would convulse. They would be biting their tongues so hard that often they bit the tip off completely. Every witch in her family always hoped and often believed that they would be the Blackmoore to survive the curse, that their lover would be strong enough to beat it back.
They always died, and her father had been no different.
Kathryn had been dangerously beautiful all her life, with a statuesque body and icy eyes – the palest of blues – and soft olive skin with an always-perfectly-feathered auburn mane lik ealion, and the latest fashions straight out of Vogueclothing her. She had a husky whiskey voice, much like the actress Kim Novak. She had loved Bell, Book, and Candle, so the comparison was flattering; besides, she thought Kim Novak was a magnificent and stunning creature.
About the Author:
Marcus James is the author of five novels and has contributed to several anthologies with Alyson Books and has been a contributing writer for Seattle Gay News. He lives in Seattle with his husband and Staffordshire terrier. He is 32 years old.