Title: The Necromancer’s Dance
Author: S J Himes
Series: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #1
Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Length: 8 Hours 8 minutes
Release Date: 21st March 2017
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, MM Romance
In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset by enemies, both old and new.
Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother’s boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again drawn back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family’s death.
Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues as to who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire’s attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.
Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead? Death stalks the streets of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill…and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.
Listen to an audio teaser from The Necromancer’s Dance at Soundcloud.
S J Himes and Joel Leslie will BOTH be at GRL in October 2017! Find out more information on the website.
“The Right Voice”
Finding the right voice is hard.
When I wrote The Necromancer’s Dance last year, I wrote it with a very specific and unique character driving the story. Angelus Salvatore is a necromancer, and in 99% of western literature, a necromancer is the Bad Guy. The Black Hat. Villain, one typically portrayed as old, emaciated, zombie-like, clad in black robes and toting around skulls.
A character that unique needed a voice just as special.
A necromancer is not someone usually seen by readers as a protagonist, a good guy—a love interest. Yet that’s who Angel is, and I love him dearly. The world of the Beacon Hill Sorcerer series is one that holds a special place in my heart, and the locations in the book as important as the characters. Boston, and the titular Beacon Hill, come with a heavy responsibility—the iconic and oft-mishandled accents. In The Necromancer’s Dance, I have a main character who is typically seen as a Bad Guy, and he lives in a Town with accents that can quickly fall into stereotypical performances that make a mockery of the real and vivid voices of Boston.
So, not easy at all to find a capable narrator.
Finding someone who could both bring Angel to life in a way that didn’t stick him in either overdone and campy, or toss him over the edge into jerkish behavior was difficult. I was expecting to sift through one disappointing audition after another—but quicker than I expected and yet not fast enough—I lucked out.
Enter Joel Leslie, with one stellar audition.
Joel has a deft talent with accents, which I firmly accredit to his upbringing bouncing between American and British territories. Boston accents are tough—tough as the people who speak with them naturally. Bostonians, separated by a single avenue or a stretch of the Commons, can have varying inflections and tonal qualities to the ‘typical’ Boston accent. Finding the one that fit my Angel and avoided the pitfalls of bad ‘park my cah down by the yarh’ jokes was a godsend.
For Angel, Joel found the emotion behind the quips, the heart beneath the snark—the man beneath the damning label of necromancer. Angel came to life in a way that left me cheering, clapping, crowing in joy—he made me forget that I wrote the book, and knew what was coming. Like any true performer, Joel took me out of my headspace as the creator and put me in the audience, letting me enjoy the gift of listening to Angel and his adventures for the first time.
It wasn’t just Angel that Joel brought to life. Simeon, the Main Love Interest, captured every scene he was in—setting fire to the page and the audio. My ancient Irish vampire became the unbeating heart of the narration. He acquired the depth I only hoped he would receive. Isaac, younger brother and petulant sorcerer, conveyed both sarcasm and pain in every line delivered with scathing tones. Daniel was shy and wounded, sweet and yet tormented.
I wrote my characters with love, and like any author I worried about them and their story once in the hands of someone else. The process to bring them to life was detailed, thorough—and left me with no doubts.
I crafted a book about a character learning to trust and to love. It took trust to hand over characters I loved for the making of the audiobook. Finding the right voice is hard, it really is—but the results when the right person is found is the best reward.
I dearly hope everyone enjoys The Necromancer’s Dance on audio. It was an adventure from start to finish. The performances, the accents, the action and the love are all exactly as I dreamed them up over a year ago.
I found the right voice. Felt like a miracle. Or maybe—just magic.
“Simeon. Care to share? Wanna tell me why I was dragged outta bed and driven across town to find my brother’s boyfriend locked in your storage room?” Angel growled at the old vamp, and Simeon’s lip twitched again.
Angel had something of a temper problem. Just a bit. And Simeon loved to poke at it, like a fool hunter nagging at a bear with a stick after a long cold winter. “And if anyone says Isaac was involved with this stupid endeavor I’m about to hear, I am gonna start handing out hexes indiscriminately.”
“Mr. Doyle,” Simeon said, tilting his head at the man cowering at the table, “decided he was going to take a job to burglarize the place of business of our Master. He was caught,” Simeon continued, a calm veneer over a well of tension. Simeon’s voice was accented faintly, and had a lilt to it that could seduce the clothes off a nun— which Angel was certain Simeon had done at some point in his long life. Simeon was one slick bastard. “He refuses to tell us who hired him. As per the arrangement you have with our master, we did not get the information from him as we usually would. That is why you are here, Sorcerer Salvatore.”
GIVEAWAY: Win The Necromancer’s Dance Audiobook
I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with ocasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), and The Wolfkin Saga. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.
I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.
About the Narrator
Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth. A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds. His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.
He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre. He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world. When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs.
Find a list of Joel’s books on Audible