Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Elements of a Forbidden Arts Series: Pyromancist by Charmaine Pauls

The elements of a forbidden arts series
The seven arts that were forbidden in the Middle Ages

How was the idea for a series titled Seven Forbidden Arts born? 

In the Middle Ages, seven arts were prohibited (artes magicae or artes prohibitae):
·       Pyromancy (Divination by fire)
·       Aeromancy (Divination by clouds, wind and other cosmological elements)
·       Hydromancy (Divination by water, ripples, color, ebb and flow)
·       Geomancy (Divination by interpreting patterns in tossed soil, rocks or sand)
·       Necromancy (Communication with the dead)
·       Chiromancy (Divination by the study of the palm of the hand)
·       Scapulimancy (Divination by using the scapulae or shoulder bones of an animal)

       At the time, the church forbid the practice of these arts because it was perceived as demonically inspired divinations. The bourgeoisie and nobility in the 15th and 16th centuries were fascinated with these arts because of the exotic charm that stemmed from their Arabic, Jewish, Romani and Egyptian sources. Confusion existed regarding the difference between superstition, occultism, pious ritual and scholarly knowledge, and intellectual and spiritual tensions erupted with the Early Modern witch hunts.

       The study of the occult arts remained widespread in the universities across Europe until the Disenchantment period of the 17th century. A time marked by witch trails, it was dangerous to be associated with witchcraft or sorcery, and most authors renounced the practice of what was then known as the ‘forbidden’ arts.

       These powers, or arts, inspired my present-day romance serial. In this new eight-book series (one book per art and a bonus book), the heroes and heroines don’t possess the supernatural power to tell the future by fire, air, water, earth, etc., but to control these elements. People with these genetically inherited ‘gifts’ have gone underground since the time it has been forbidden, and world governments still prohibit practicing this art in the present day. With the appearance of a powerful firestarter (pyromancist) in France, these gifted individuals start to resurface.

       Two forces are at play. Cain Jones is the commander of a taskforce against paranormal crime. A man simply known as Godfrey is trying to control the world by taking over communication and social media companies. Cain must stop Godfrey at all costs. In order to succeed in their missions, both teams make use of these unusual agents. A secret operation, Cain’s team is backed by governments from around the globe. To prevent public pandemonium, no one can know of the reawakening of these forbidden arts.

       As the team grows, mission after successful mission, Cain slowly uncovers the identity of the archenemy he has to destroy. The assignments take the team members on a journey from the magical forest of King Arthur in French Brittany, the oldest Franciscan monastery in Chile, the tropical beach of Costa Rica, rustic Pirate’s Island in Colombia, the Knysna elephant sanctuary in wild South Africa, the royal and the famous in the streets of London, England, and the red-light district of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, to the old-time Portuguese glory of Brazil. In different countries on different continents, unfold eight stories of incredible power, beautiful art and scorching emotions. In Book 1 we meet the all-powerful master of flames. And we all know what happens when you play with fire…

Artists’ impression of the seven forbidden arts:

Seven Forbidden Arts
Book 1
Charmaine Pauls

Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance

Publisher: Satin Romance,
an imprint of Mélange Books

Date of Publication: 19 March 2015

ISBN: 978-1680460339

Number of pages: 252
Word Count: 101 000

Cover Artist: Caroline Andrus

Book Description:

When you play with fire, you get burned.

At the same time as mysterious fires commence to rage through Clelia d’Ambois’ home village in Brittany, France, she starts sleepwalking. Daughter of a Japanese orphan, Clelia’s heritage is riddled with dark secrets that threaten anyone she loves. In a recurring nightmare she sees Josselin, the haunted man who abandoned their village nine years earlier, come for her, but she doesn’t know why. All she knows is that she has to run. As fast as she can.

Leader of a paranormal crime taskforce, Josselin de Arradon is called back to his hometown with a mission–find and kill the firestarter responsible for Larmor-Baden’s blazing destruction. Sensing that Clelia is the key to solving the crime, Josselin kidnaps her to use her as bait. The battle doesn’t turn out quite as he expected. Nothing could have prepared him for the truth, or the depth of his desire for his prisoner.

This is Book 1 of the Seven Forbidden Arts series, but also reads as a stand-alone.
This book contains adult content with explicit language and consummated love scenes. Suited for an audience of 18+.

Available at    Amazon    BN   Satin Romance    Smashwords    Lulu


Josselin had only spoken to her once. It was on a summer day after school. She had wandered to the dense forest at the back of the schoolyard because she knew that was where she would find him. She stood behind a tree and watched him–studied him–the movement of his hand as he smoked a forbidden cigarette, the manner in which he pulled his fingers through his dark hair, and the way he laughed loudly into his gang of friends, even if his eyes cried, or blazed.
            That day, however, he wasn’t with his friends. He was with a girl. Her name was Thiphaine and she was the most popular girl in school. She was blonde and slim and beautiful with blue eyes and red painted fingernails. Clelia watched from her hiding place as Josselin slowly backed Thiphaine up until her body pressed against the trunk of the witch tree. It was a thuja occidentalis but the townsfolk had baptized it so because of its twisted and crippled branches. The setting was eerie for a romantic adventure, and yet, it suited Josselin. He seemed right at home, while Thiphaine looked around nervously. His hand went to her cheek, his palm huge and dark and rough against the porcelain paleness of Thiphaine’s face, while his other hand slipped under her blouse. His gray eyes looked like melted steel when he lowered his head.  
            His shoulder-length black hair fell forward when he pressed his lips to Thiphaine’s and he moved his hand from her cheek to brush it back behind his ear. Clelia remembered the deliberate movement of his jaw, the way the muscles dimpled in his cheek, the hand under Thiphaine’s blouse, all the while maintaining his composure while Thiphaine came undone under his caress. The beautiful girl made low moaning sounds. Her knees buckled, but Josselin, without breaking the kiss, grabbed her waist, pulling her so tightly into him that her back arched, keeping her up with his arm while he made her weak with his touch and his tongue.
            Watching them ignited both yearning and pain inside of Clelia. The hurt she felt speared her heart. The aching in her soul was suddenly greater than the heat in her pores and on her cheeks, but she couldn’t tear her stare away from the forbidden sight. It was Iwig, a boy from her class, who broke the painful spell when he discovered her behind the tree.
            “What have we here?” he said.
            His eyes darted to the distance where Josselin and Thiphaine were embracing. He knew what she had been doing. He was a tall, blond boy with a strong build, and Clelia disliked him for his habit of hunting abandoned cats with his pellet gun.
            “A peeping tom,” he said, taking a step toward her.
            When she tried to back away, he grabbed her long braid and tugged it painfully, causing her to yelp.
            “Not so fast, witch.” He grabbed her arm and hauled her so that she stumbled into him. “You like to watch, don’t you?” He grinned. “How about a taste of the real thing?”
            She opened her mouth to scream, but he had already brought his down and kissed her so hard that his teeth split her lower lip. In reflex her free hand shot up, aiming for his cheek, and collided with its target. The force of the blow shot Iwig’s head back and froze him in his action, but only for a second, before Clelia saw his arm lift. Not able to free herself from his grip, she cowered instinctively, but instead of his fist coming down on her, another pair of arms grabbed Iwig by his shoulders and flung him to the ground.
            When she looked up, she stared into the face of Josselin, and what she saw was frightening. His features were twisted into a terrifying expression, and before she could say anything, Josselin bent down and lifted Iwig by his jacket lapels. Iwig’s legs dangled, flapping like fish on soil, while his arms flayed in the air as if swatting flies. Josselin let go of one side of the jacket, his fist arching and hooking under Iwig’s chin, while at the same time unknotting his other hand from the fabric of the jacket. The impact sent Iwig flying through the air. When he hit the ground, she could hear the loud thump as the air was knocked from his lungs. Josselin moved forward, his arms away from his body, his fingers flexing, his shoulders pushed forward, until he stood wide-legged over the submissive body of Iwig. Iwig lifted his hands in front of his face, mumbling pleas for mercy.
            “If you ever touch a girl in that way again, I’ll hang you from a tree under a pack of wild boars and watch them eat you from your feet up to your useless dick, until they rip your stomach open and your insides fall out and you beg me to die,” Josselin said.
            He spoke very softly, but the woods had suddenly gone quiet. His voice all but echoed in the absence of the sound of birds and wind. From the corner of her eye, Clelia noticed Thiphaine who stood to the side, hugging herself.
            “And if you ever lift your hand to a woman again, I’ll cut off your balls and make you eat them and then I’ll feed you to the boars. Do you understand?”
            Iwig tried to scurry away on his elbows, but Josselin stepped on his jacket.
            “I asked if you understand.”
            “Yes. Yes,” Iwig said. He had started crying.
            When Josselin lifted his boot, Iwig scrambled to his feet. He didn’t look at Clelia before he ran down the path in the direction of the school. Only then did Josselin turn to her. She shook from head to toe while Josselin studied her quietly. After a moment he walked to her, took her chin in his hand and tilted her head.
            “You’re bleeding,” he said, trailing his thumb over her lower lip.
            And then he did something that shocked her wildly. He brought his thumb to his lips, slowly, his gray eyes holding hers prisoner while he slipped his finger into his mouth and licked it clean, tasting her blood.
            Clelia couldn’t move. She stood still, unable to speak or blink.
            He took a white handkerchief from his coat pocket and wiped it over her mouth before pressing it into her hand.
            “He won’t bother you again, but you’d better go home.”
            She only nodded. He was much taller than her, so that she had to crane her neck to look up at him. He shifted and then his face was obscured by the shadows with the sun at his back. She remembered wondering if he had forgotten about Thiphaine, who still stood to one side, silently observing, her eyes wide. Clelia looked from Thiphaine to Josselin. When life finally returned to her legs and she started to hurry down the path, he said, “What’s your name, girl?”
            She stopped. “Cle … Cle…” Her teeth chattered.
            He frowned. “Take a deep breath. You’re in shock.”
            She did as he instructed, and found her jaw relax slightly.
            “That’s better. Now, tell me again.”
            His lips twitched. “The witch?”
            She flinched. That was what her classmates called her.
            He didn’t show any kind of emotion. Only his smile became a little bit more pronounced. “How old are you?”
            “Fourteen,” she said through parched lips.
            “You’re too young to wander alone in the woods.”
            When he said that, his voice became soft and dark again, like when he had spoken to Iwig, and without sparing either of the lovers another glance, Clelia sprinted home and curled into a ball on her bed with his bloody handkerchief in her hand.

About the Author:

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories

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Charmaine Pauls said...

Thanks for having me on the green blog today, Wenona!

Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks said...

Charmaine, This sounds like a great idea for a series. The excerpt is terrific as well. Good luck!

Joy V. Smith said...

Yes, ggod series premise.