Invisible Recruits, Book 2
by Mary Buckham
Amazon | B&N
One of the very best benefits of being a writer is meeting other writers, and Mary Buckham is one of the nicest and most talented writers I know. Her first novel in the Invisible Recruits series, Invisible Magic, is included in a box set for a short time, so you might want to rush over and buy it. She also has two novellas available in this series, Invisible Prison and Invisible Duty.
Award-winning author Mary Buckham credits her years of international travel and curiosity about different cultures that resulted in creating high-concept urban fantasy and romantic suspense stories. Her newest Invisible Recruit series has been touted for the unique voice, high action and rich emotion. A prolific writer, Mary also co-authors the young adult sci-fi/fantasy Time Trap part of the Red Moon series with NYT bestseller Dianna Love. Mary lives in Washington State with her husband and, when not crafting a new adventure, she travels the country researching settings and teaching other writers. Don’t miss her latest reference books on Writing Active Setting.
Currently she is neck-deep into writing an Urban Fantasy series centered around five women drafted to combat preternatural beings agitating for world domination. The Invisible Recruit series combines a fantasy/paranormal element with high stakes and the pace of action adventure stories. Mary loves creating thrills, spills and spells as she follows the ups and downs of fascinating characters starting with Alex Noziak, the heroine of Invisible Magic, Invisible Fate, and Invisible Power.
Want to visit Mary? You can find her all over the internet:
Excerpt: Invisible Power
by Mary Buckham
I’m Alex Noziak, a witch/shaman in the temporary employment of the IR Agency. I for invisible, R for recruit, and calling any of my five-member team employed was a load of crock. I was here as an alternative to prison. Long story boiled down to a year’s agreement to be a member of a small, highly secret organization meant to combat a rising tide of preternatural agitation against humans. Fancy words for saying five of us stood against who knew how many species that, until lately, were mostly content to stay hidden from human eyes.
So here I was, in the exotic city of Paris, lounging on a street corner, a baby buggy in front of me, dressed like a down-on-her-luck Parisian mother. I had my waist-length braid of hair tucked up under a cheap hat that was itching like crazy and enough makeup on my face to disguise my Native American skin tones. I’d considered using an appearance spell then discarded it. Not that I liked looking like I’d bought every kind of cosmetic Walmart had to offer and used all of it at once, but magic was something I used with extreme caution.
Why? Because it always exacted a price and I was still smarting from my last bout with spell casting. That and a run-in with a demonic African witch doctor.
About two months ago it became apparent that someone, or something, was no longer happy with the status quo of humans being blithely unaware that there were more than themselves populating the planet. Preternaturals had their reasons for flying under the radar, for many of them survival being the biggest reason. Humans tended to kill first and ask questions later when they dealt with anything they perceived as a threat. If you don’t believe me consider the poor cockroach. As if a bug that small was really going to do something to them. Non-humans, like most squishy, squirmy bugs, fell squarely under the category of dead must be better.
But someone wanted to change all that and my job, along with my five teammates, was to stop it from happening.
Team leader Vaughn, who was sitting at a nearby café table, sipping espresso and looking more French than the locals, was I assumed fully human. She also was a socialite, pampered money, and stunning looks; more than that though, she was willing to put her life on the line for a cause, protecting those who didn’t know they needed protection.
Then there was Kelly, a former kindergarten teacher who was so nice I kept waiting for the catch. Her gift was the ability to turn invisible for short bursts of time. Drawback was, she was still learning how to get a handle on not popping away when stressed or scared. Right now she was playing tourist, complete with a crumpled map, a camera, and a vacuous expression on her face as she looked around the seedy neighborhood. She fit the role so well even I believed she was lost.
She was waiting for my signal to do her thing, become invisible and reconnoiter our target and mission accomplished. A quick get-in-and-get-out-in-one-piece job. Piece of cake.
Jaylene Smart and Mandy Reyes were the two other team members, lounging against a far wall, looking, except for the cast on Mandy’s arm like hookers trolling for johns among a few other women doing the same thing. Jaylene, tall, gorgeous, and African American was a psychic, which meant she saw the future. Not always in technicolor or clearly, but that was the challenge with gifts, you had to take the bad with the good.
Hispanic Mandy was a soulless spirit walker; someone who like me, could pass over to the spirit world. Difference was I remained a shaman when I traveled between realms. She might as well have worn a neon sign that flashed corporal-body-ready-to-be-inhabited to any spirit with enough chutzpah to try.
I figured the reason some spirit hadn’t succeeded yet was only because they were wary of Mandy’s abrasive personality. Smart spirits.
M.T. Stone was our team instructor, and as we had yet to finish our training, was here with us for support. Since he’d nearly died on our last mission, one that was supposed to be easy, I took it as a good sign. He’d barely left a German hospital so his presence was meant for tactical support. He was dressed as a Parisian workman in a one-piece paint-splattered coverall, poking at a chip in a stucco wall. He should have looked harmless but there was nothing harmless about him. One close look and most people’s first reaction was to step back, those who hadn’t already taken off running.
“Team, report,” I repeated, getting antsy, as operational leader. I had the most at stake on this mission. Our primary goal was catching a man named Vaverek and all we had was a faint description: broad shouldered, stocky, dark-haired, who was supposed to be living in the second floor, front right flat in the building across the street, a building so old that if Stone kept picking at it might crumble.
We were to verify the intel that this was his hidey-hole and withdraw, period. no matter how much I wanted us to go in, blast his door open and take him out, after he told me what I wanted to hear. With two of the six of us on the recuperation list we weren’t up to doing anything more, even with at least two snipers on nearby rooftops to help us if we needed backup.
The moment lasted a lot less than sixty seconds when a containment spell I’d cast backfired and killed our two chief suspects before they could give us any leads to their power brokers, the individuals who financially backed the scheme, and who might still have enough of the drug, or worse, the formula, to pose a threat.
But there was more. Vaverek was also our only link to the increasingly dangerous agitation among the world’s non-human population. We needed to know who Vaverek was working for, as well as free the man Vaverek held hostage.
* * *
A few questions for Mary
JR: Pick one that suits your temperament best—Super-heroine, Sorceress, Faery. Why? Which would you rather be instead?
MB: Sorceress no doubt! I’m always concocting something, stirring in a little of this and a little of that, stretching for something new and usually out of my comfort zone. Don’t think I’d want to be a super-heroine because it can be pretty one dimensional. Plus I don’t have the patience to keep saving people. After a while I’d start telling folks – “you have all the power, save yourself”. I think that’s healthier in the long term. And the fae in my stories tend to be either mostly good or really, really dangerous and bad. No wimpy faes. But again, it could get very boring being good all the time and redundant being bad all the time, so sorceress I am!
JR: If you had it to do all over again, would you still be a writer? What is it about writing a story that compels you to keep creating more and more?
MB: I think we have no choice in being a writer or not. We either are, and are driven to share stories, or we’re not. Stories are as old as our ancestors sitting around campfires. There’s a need to understand the greater world, the meaning of life, what makes other people tick and that’s what stories reveal. Writing is a manifestation of story telling and if we’re given this gift, to ignore it starts creating consequences. Most writers I know say they get cranky or hard to live with if they can’t write. It’s not an easy path and many times being a writer can be as much bane as bonus. Writing is the means to share with others our own insights and gifts of people watching. If I could not write I’d still have to find a way to tell stories.
JR: Tell us how Invisible Power evolved. Start from the very first moment you got the idea, and take us through the entire creation process.
MB: Since this novel is the second in an ongoing series the core kernel of the story grows out of what it means for a half-witch/half-shaman heroine, Alex Noziak, to claim her gifts and the consequences of those gifts. She is aware of magic and preternaturals but most humans are not. Now she’s been tapped as a special group of unusually talented women to use her own gifts to keep the human population safe from preternaturals who are no longer happy with remaining invisible to humans. Alex must grow into her magic and shamanistic self while doubting herself and knowing full well using magic means huge repercussions. The concept of invisibility, by choice or by living in an environment where a woman’s innate gifts have been undervalued is fascinating to me. Many women can relate to Alex, not because of her woo-woo abilities but in her struggle to come to terms with who she is and what she can do. It’s not an easy path, filled with lots of what-if second-guessing and OMG moments, but she’s willing to try, which makes her a person readers root for.
Win Ten Books!
The first book in this series, Invisible Magic, is currently part of The Perfect Ten box set so I’ll be delighted to gift five lucky folks who post a comment an e-copy of all ten of these books.
Please be sure to include your email address with your comment!
Drawing will be held at 9pm PT, August 31, 2013.
Thanks for visiting, Mary!