Guest Post Stronger Than Magic by Melinda VanLone

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Title: Stronger Than Magic
Author: Melinda VanLone
Series: House of Xannon
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Writtenhouse Publishing
Release Date: Dec 14 2012

When Tarian tracks down a petty magical criminal in Philadelphia as a favor for a friend, she ends up fighting with a demon instead. He steals some of her blood during the struggle, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until she learns that he can use it to siphon away her power and subject her to his will. She’ll be nothing more than a puppet in less than a week unless she can find a way to stop him.

This is bad news for her and for the family throne, a magical object she didn’t want to inherit, but now feels pressured to protect. Nothing could stop the demon from killing anyone in his path once he has the throne’s power.

The demon’s attack on her also triggers the Succession Ritual. Tarian must have sex with three or more men in order to produce a child who will carry a blend of their magic, or the throne can be won in battle by anyone. With a demon ready and willing to fight, Tarian has no choice but to follow the rules of succession, even though she thinks the idea is outdated and stupid.

The pressure of family obligations, combined with the loss of her magic, pushes Tarian to rush in when she should plan, and to make deals that have consequences for her and her future child.
She’s not ready to be a mother, or a leader. But Tarian realizes her inner demons are nothing next to the evil which threatens her life and the throne.

People often ask me where the idea for Stronger Than Magic came from. The short answer is I don't know. The real spark for the story is lost in a whirl of time, space, memory, and an old notebook. 
One day I was cleaning out a drawer and happened on a spiral notebook full of scribbles. In the middle of the notebook I found two pages that contained a snippet of a story. Just a scene; a hint of two main characters and a setting. The girl was sitting at a sidewalk cafe and watching a man across the street, and she was full of herself. Confident, cocky, and slightly arrogant. She was about to catch the guy and knew he'd be an easy mark.
The guy, on the other hand, had noticed her watching and was thinking to himself: "she has no idea who she's dealing with." Funny enough, the girl was thinking the exact same thing. They were two very strong personalities on the verge of clashing, with a hint of magic in the air. I leaned forward in my seat to see what happened when she attempted to arrest him.
And the story ended. That's all I wrote. I was unbelievably frustrated, and felt compelled to finish what I'd started so long ago.
That little snippet of a scene never actually made it into the final Stronger Than Magic story, strangely enough. But the feeling of it did, and the idea of a very strong female protagonist who has enough magic power to take on just about anything is the foundation of the story. The guy? He's there too, although as it turns out he's not the one she's arresting. She catches him in an entirely different, and steamy, way. After all, an initial clash like that can only be one thing...foreplay.
A few other things inspired parts of the story. The House of Xannon, Tarian's home, is located on an island near Honolulu and is very similar to one that actually exists. Tarian has a love for Philly cheesesteaks and a certain coffee shop in Center City which does exist, although it's not called what I called it in the book. The neighborhood where she is attacked by the demon is eerily similar to the one I lived in. 
The answer to where the inspiration comes from is simple: it comes from everything I see and hear every day. Of course it gets twisted and turned on its head in the story, but that's why it's called fiction.

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