A Home for Novels and Short Stories

Magic Once Removed Announcement and General FAQ

New Novel Questions

Q: So you’ve written another novel?

A: Yes.

Q: What’s it called?

A: Magic Once Removed.

Q: Who’s going to publish it?

A: World Castle Publishing, Inc.

Q: What’s the book about?

A: Down on his luck former police detective turned private investigator Peter Cunningham thought the beautiful Abigail Mitchell was just another crazy client. Now he’s entangled in an ancient conspiracy that dates back to the Salem Witch Trials, a far cry from the simple assault case the woman wanted him to solve.

His budding romance with the witch Abigail will have to be put aside as he travels the Pacific Northwest with estranged friend and former partner Kelly Martinez to discover who these people are and their goals.

A coin, a five-year-old case, the Malleus Maleficarum, televangelist and motivational speaker Tony O’Stein, Pope Innocent VIII, and a secret society all tie back to a tragedy from Peter’s childhood and he will need to figure out what it all means and a solution.

Though many witches live amongst us, they are also part of a secret society but their clandestine organization seems to have been discovered which has led to a new wave of persecution. Internal tensions were already high and the attacks have only exasperated the issues. Peter must expose the members of the conspiracy and thwart their nefarious plans before an even bigger tragedy strikes.

Q: Neat.

A: Thanks.

Q: What genres is it?

A: It’s an action-adventure mystery with large elements of magical realism and romance.

Q: Magic and witches? Is this story anything like Harry Potter?

A: Not particularly. The story doesn’t really revolve around witchcraft. It’s more about how society reacts to those who are different.

I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a lot of magic in the tale. There is, but mostly because I felt it would be pointless to write about witches and not include any magic. That’s where a lot of the fun lies.

Having said that, I tried not to use magic as a crutch. I’ll admit that in a few places in the story I use magic as a way to bypass a few steps or make tasks a little bit easier for the protagonists (such as unlocking a locked door).

However, I still limited the magic and never allowed it to get too powerful. I never allowed the main characters to be “saved” because of magic or had them solve a problem due to a spell. I felt doing something like that was cheating.

Q: How long is the story?

A: About 100,000 words, over twice the length of Ghosts are Assholes.

Q: When’s it going to be released?

A: Release date is still to be determined. I will let you know more information as it becomes available.

Q: Why advertise it now?

A: Kind of a rude question, but I’ll answer it anyway. I feel like one of my biggest mistakes with my last book was waiting too long to begin advertising. I wanted to try and get the hype going early this time around.

Q: Since you brought up your last book, what if I didn’t like Ghosts are Assholes?

A: 🙁

Q: I’m not saying I didn’t like it. I’m just asking “what if”?

A: I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinions.

Q: All right, let me put it this way. Is Magic Once Removed anything like Ghosts are Assholes?

A: Why didn’t you ask that in the first place? Other than Vincent Pietro receiving a passing mention and police detective Kelly Martinez becoming a major character in Magic Once Removed whereas he was a minor character in Ghosts are Assholes, there is nothing tying the two stories together. Perhaps they are set in the same universe but are otherwise completely distinct tales.

The main characters of Magic Once Removed may share a similar dynamic to the ones in Ghosts are Assholes but their interactions are much less sardonic and much more mature, which is to be expected, as the characters are older and wiser. It is also a far more somber tale and much less irreverent. The story still has its humorous moments but overall, it is far more serious.

To put it differently, if you enjoyed Ghosts are Assholes, I think you will enjoy this one as well. If you didn’t enjoy Ghosts are Assholes, you may still enjoy this one anyway as it is a completely independent story.

Q: What was your inspiration?

A: I’ve always been interested in history and the time period of the Salem Witch Trials was something that always particularly fascinated me. However, while knowledge of that time period helped me write the story, it was not the initial inspiration.

A long time ago I used to be really into webcomics and wanted to write one of my own. My initial concept was to write a story about a cartoon witch that solved mysteries chiefly because I wanted to throw in the line “Burning at the stake may have been the end for Joan of Arc but for me, it was just the beginning”.

Not to give too much away, but I managed to wrench that line into my novel and I think it fits though not in the way I intended when I initially wrote that line. I originally thought the line would lead to a greater story where my witch main character was over five hundred years old or something like that. I never solidified the plot so I’m not quite sure where I would have gone had I kept the original concept. Who knows? I might still do something with that concept at a later date.

Though I have to admit if I ever decide to use that premise, I really need to make it distinct from the comic Fables written by Bill Willingham. My original idea was incredibly similar in that I wanted my witch character to solve mysteries in a fairy tale world. Bill Willingham’s comic is incredibly similar as it stars characters from folk tales living amongst regular people in our world.

From what little I’ve read, it’s not bad, though I must admit that my chief exposure to the world is through The Wolf Among Us, one of the few video games I truly think has an excellent story. Part of the reason why I abandoned my original idea was that I felt it would be too similar to Willingham’s work which is okay because I think what I came up with is a lot better than what I would have had before.

It’s a far more grounded story and because of that, events have more weight, tragedies feel more real and you feel more empathy for the characters.

A man like Bill Willingham can take a silly concept such as fairy tales living in the real world and make it work but I don’t think I could have. What I had before could have easily become a farce so I think the new premise allows me to write a much stronger story especially with my style of writing.

Q: Anybody you’d like to thank?

A: I want to thank my mom for all she’s done in my life and my dad as he was an invaluable resource. He was someone I could bounce ideas off of and he helped me throughout the editing process, helping me reduce the story down to a manageable size and at times he gave me a few pointers when I needed them. I couldn’t have written the story without him so I’d like to give him special thanks here.

Miscellaneous Questions

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: I’m hoping to get a young adult fantasy novel published and I have a plethora of other novels that I’d eventually like to write. In fact, I have a list of about three or four more relatively solid ideas for novels that I would like to work on in the near future and about twelve ideas total, though the rest of my ideas are a little bit more tenuous. Also, my list is quite flexible and you never know when I’ll add or subtract from it.

Otherwise, I’ll just keep working on short stories when I’m not working on a novel. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to check some of them out? I have at least thirty-five written and they have been broken down into twelve genres available here, or you can take a look at all of them by clicking on this link. I admit that they vary in quality and some of them need a revision or two as they are mostly rough drafts but I still feel like they are well worth the read. Please check them out and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you. Please subscribe too if you want to get an e-mail alerting you of new posts and new short stories.

Q: I ordered your last book but didn’t receive it. What should I do?

A: If you ordered my book and didn’t get it, first I apologize. I blame Amazon for the mistake. Second, please DM on facebook or please e-mail me at: writerjrk@gmail.com. Don’t worry. I’ll hook you up.

Q: Is there anything I can do for you?

A: I’m glad you asked. I am a total dunce when it comes to marketing so if you have any tips or tricks and are willing to share, please contact me via one of the links below:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jamesromankirst
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jameskirstauthor
E-mail: writerjrk@gmail.com

Any sort of advice would be helpful, whether it be social media tips and tricks or people I could contact to get my book reviewed or just a link to a site where I can advertise my book or my blog, anything would be appreciated.

If you can advertise in any way that would help immensely even if it’s just a matter of telling your friends or sharing a link to my blog on your Facebook page or even shouting on the highest mountain top, anything would help.

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon!

Welcome to my page!

Hello everyone! This is the home page for the James Kirst’s Short Story Emporium and Creativity Outlet. If you’re here, perhaps you’d be interested in finding out about the novel I wrote, Ghosts are Assholes. If you like the book, perhaps you’d be interested in short stories related to the book. Perhaps you’d be interested in just reading about my other assorted short stories instead. If you’d like to find out more about me, check out this page.

The goal of this site chiefly is to entertain. Right now the biggest feature of this site is Short Story Saturday where I post a new short story written by me every Saturday morning. I like to think of my short stories as something you can read during your lunch break but leaves you with a bit of an emotional impact, whether it be laughter, tears, joy, or something in between.

Will I always succeed in that goal? Hopefully, but odds are I won’t, so I’d love to hear from you to see what you think. I hope to add more topics and features onto this site in the future. Topics can range from anything such as my thoughts on certain tropes, entertainment today, the trials and tribulations of being a writer, who knows? The sky is the limit.

Feedback is the only way I can improve so please feel free to comment on any of the short stories you find interesting, comment below, or email me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Thank you for visiting. I hope to see you again.

Short Story Saturday: Melody Wiles

Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash
Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Melody Wiles. To me, this feels more like the first chapter of something bigger than a full story so maybe something bigger will be made from this in the future. Regardless, Please enjoy.

In all my years, in all my experience, I have never quite met anyone like Melody Wiles. Her bright eyes, wide smile with cute dimples and innocent face coupled with her sweet voice belied her true nature.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: Melody Wiles”

Short Story Saturday: The Hands That Move

Photo by Amar Saleem on Pexels
Photo by Amar Saleem on Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled The Hands That Move. Please enjoy.

Introduction by Harold Koonce, police sergeant, Evergreen, Washington

So a lot of people want me to talk about this story and post it online but to tell you the truth, I don’t find the story all that interesting compared to how we found it. You see, I was just sitting in the station talking to my pal Murphy when suddenly this man busts through the doors like a bat outta hell.

He starts talking about how he and his friend decided to do some exploring over on Douglas Island right off the coast of Evergreen, one of those places that are supposed to be off-limits to everyone by the Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve an account that it is one of the few places that has all those Ximuce trees, though now that I think about it, I’m not sure why that’s sort important. We got plenty of those in mainland Evergreen.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: The Hands That Move”

Short Story Saturday: Thing That Must be Done – An Abecedarian Story

Photo by Tom Adams on Unsplash
Photo by Tom Adams on Unsplash

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Thing That Must be Done – An Abecedarian Story. This story was inspired by https://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/abecedarian. It was done mostly for fun but I wanted to see whether I could make a compelling short story using a restrictive format. Plus, there were a couple of other short stories I am in the middle of writing that for one reason or another I could not finish “in time” (i.e. before Saturday) so I posted this story instead. It is also the reason why this story is shorter than usual. Regardless, please enjoy.

I stalk my prey late at night. Jumping from shadow to shadow, the city’s large and looming skyscrapers serve as the perfect cover. Killing a man is never a pleasant prospect. Letting him continue to perpetrate his nefarious deeds, though, was something I could not allow, especially after what I had learned.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: Thing That Must be Done – An Abecedarian Story”

Short Story Saturday: Out of the Blue Corner

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Out of the Blue Corner. Please enjoy.

His arms ached. His legs wobbled. His bloated body gasped in exhaustion. Both fists felt like blistered hams underneath his gloves. The lights were so bright that his skin became dry and flaked. The canvas was like concrete underneath his feet. The smell of burnt cigarettes and cheap bourbon wafted in the air.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: Out of the Blue Corner”

Short Story Saturday: Veiled Intentions

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash
Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Veiled Intentions. Please enjoy.

My wife and I found the place on an unassuming four-way corner in University Place after visiting family. I wanted to drive on but my wife insisted we pull over and if you knew my wife, you’d know it is often best to do what she wants.

The name was what appealed to her. “Magick Sanctuary.” She always had a fascination for that kind of stuff. Melinda never can resist the lure of the so-called forbidden arts.

I’m still certain whether she really believed in magic. She’ll deny it whenever I asked her. It is childish to even suggest she’d believe such silly notions as spells and curses, my wife always claims.

Her eyes always betray her. Whenever she speaks of mysticism, it hs the kind of brightness you’d only get from someone who truly believed.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: Veiled Intentions”

Short Story Saturday: Birth of a Mercenary

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Birth of a Mercenary. Please enjoy.

“Help! Help!” Her cries spurred him to action. The young man loved her and would do anything for her, though she did not reciprocate.

He dropped his hoe and dashed to his humble cottage. The young man pushed aside furniture and removed a straw floor mat to reveal a hole where he hid his broadsword. Perhaps he should have returned it to the royal military when the war was over but amongst the scores of weapons pilfered from the mass of fallen soldiers that were to be sold on the black market, no one was going notice a single missing broadsword. Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: Birth of a Mercenary”

Short Story Saturday: Only Could Be More Heartwarming Set in Philadelphia

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Only Could Be More Heartwarming Set in Philadelphia. Please enjoy.

With a loud bang, splinters flew across the room. A wave of armored men wearing helmets and masks flooded the room with the ferocity of water through a hole in a broken dam. The young man’s swivel chair flew backward and hit an adjacent wall as he immediately fell to his knees with his hands over his hand. Their assault rifles pointed at him, their flashlights providing the room its only illumination save the luminescent glow of the young man’s laptop that resided atop a crudely made wooden table.

“I surrender!” the young man shouted.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: Only Could Be More Heartwarming Set in Philadelphia”

Short Story Saturday: This Night Did Not Go As Planned

Photo by NIKOLAY OSMACHKO from Pexels
Photo by NIKOLAY OSMACHKO from Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled This Night Did Not Go As Planned. Please enjoy.

The young man flushed the toilet. Normally an innocuous and mundane action but tonight it was the denouement of a night filled with terror.

It started innocently enough. Greg fiddled around with an object in his pocket as he sat on his girlfriend’s couch. He had never visited before. All their interactions had either been at his small studio apartment or in the public and he was certainly surprised to learn that she lived in a mansion.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: This Night Did Not Go As Planned”

Short Story Saturday: Red Roses and Russian Roulette

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Red Roses and Russian Roulette. Please enjoy.

She did not know how she entered that room. It was devoid of any portal to the outside world. Each of the featureless walls that loomed above her felt as if they were closing in even though in truth they did nothing of the sort.

A distinct odor wafted through the air. The smell of roses. It reminded her of melancholy and despair.

Continue reading “Short Story Saturday: Red Roses and Russian Roulette”

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