Blogguest, Regan Hastings & Giveaway!

Who Is Regan Hastings, Author of VISIONS OF MAGIC? (Giveaway)

Thank you, Sue, for hosting me here today at Borders True Romance, even though you don’t know who I really am! :)
The Salem Witch Trials are one of the most horrific events in U.S. history, a source of shame and chagrin to every American. “Those silly pilgrims!” we think. “How stupid they were! How naive, to believe in witches.”

How would we react today if we learned that witches were, in fact, real?

If their terrible deeds were trumpeted every night on Fox News, with in-depth analysis on the weekends and a sermon against evil on Sunday morning… would we want witches dead? Would we watch our neighbors for signs of magic? Would we turn our backs on our friends based on mere suspicion, or the fear of being associated with someone who is under suspicion? Would we put our tax dollars behind the formation of a Federal Bureau of Witchcraft? Would we, as a society, kill innocent women?

Those questions were the genesis of The Awakening series, which launches on February 1 with VISIONS OF MAGIC. I wanted to explore the dark side of human nature. We judge the people at Salem harshly because they believed in witches. But if witches were real, were the actions of the people of Salem wrong? Would we act any differently today? VISIONS OF MAGIC takes place now, but in a “now” where witches exist, and where the witch hunt is backed by modern technology and weaponry.

Shock and awe.

Several years ago, Shea Jameson’s aunt was the first confirmed witch to be executed at a high-tech, gas-powered stake. Ever since, the Magic Police have kept a steady eye on Shea, looking for any hint of witchcraft. But Shea isn’t a witch… or so she thinks.

As the book starts, Shea’s heretofore unsuspected powers awaken in a way that terrifies her and the people around her. She is a witch, but she has no control over her powers! Shea doesn’t have time to fear the Magic Police; the angry crowd will kill her before the authorities arrive.bow jacket 269x300 Blogguest, Regan Hastings & Giveaway!

She has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, until a man aflame embraces her and swoops her away in a column of fire. Is he her rescuer or her captor? He is Torin, a stranger who says he’s watched her throughout her life. A stranger who claims to be her eternal mate, and that the mating must begin at once.

Shock and awe, again.

Shea and Torin work together to save an ungrateful society from the evil that Shea and her sister witches called upon the world many lifetimes ago. Only Shea can save the world… and she has to do it while that same world is trying to destroy her. :)

VISIONS OF MAGIC is my first book under the name Regan Hastings, but you’ve seen books I’ve written under another name on the USA TODAY bestsellers list many times. I decided to have a little fun with my new identity. I’m holding a contest for readers to guess who I really am. Ask me any yes or no question that you want here today (except for asking my name), and I’ll answer honestly.

If you think you know who I am, send your guess to Whether or not you’re right, I’ll send you the first chapter of VISIONS OF MAGIC. If you guess right, then you’ll be entered in a contest to win this Federal Bureau of Witchcraft fleece jacket. The winner will be chosen at random on February 1, and the contest is open to readers around the world.

For a few hints about who I am, visit my website,, which is due to launch the same day this blog is posted. I hope you’ll join my mailing list while you’re there! You can also visit me online at


Babel Clash Special Content: Jeff Mariotte

ack in November, Jeff Mariotte joined Bill Slavicsek and Ed Greenwood to chat all things Dungeons & Dragons.  Aside from all the writing he does, Jeff is also one of the co-owners of the Mysterious Galaxy book store in San Diego.  If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you pay them a visit.  The specialize in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and the mystery genres.  You can check them out on the web here for more info –

I was very excited to see Jeff send this blog along.  It really hits home on a number of fronts, so please give it a read.

I’ve been a bookseller for a long, long time.

I got my first bookstore job in 1980, at Books Inc. in San Jose, CA. That store, part of the regional Books Inc./Hunter’s Books chain, was a big one, and during my tenure there it got bigger and busier. After a while, I was promoted to paperback buyer, and after three years, offered a management job at one of the southern California Hunter’s Books stores. I moved to San Diego and took over the La Jolla store, running it until the company shut down all of its SoCA branches. Shortly thereafter, with my wife Maryelizabeth Hart and our business partner Terry Gilman, I helped found specialty bookstore Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. Eighteen-plus years later, MG is still going strong, and we’re about to open our second location, in Redondo Beach.

During those early Books Inc. and Hunter’s Books years, I kept hearing whispers about stores called Borders Books. Those are great stores, people said. They’re huge, and well-stocked, and they really care about the books they sell.

At that time, the big chains were B. Dalton and Waldenbooks. Crown was moving in, discounting books and creating price competition, but to them, books were simply merchandise. There were individual booksellers at Crown stores who felt differently, who loved books and loved selling them—bookselling, never a highly lucrative profession, has always attracted people who love books—but I once hired an ex-Crown employee who had been disciplined by his store manager by breaking company rules and actually going onto the floor to talk to customers about books. The horror!

So the Borders whispers sounded great. Then they stopped being whispers and started being open discussions. Borders and Barnes & Noble started competing not on the basis of price, as Crown did, but on the basis of having large, fully stocked stores, often with cafes and sideline items, even music and movies. They were destination stores, where you could spend a rainy afternoon or a Saturday night browsing, sitting, conversing, and go home with shopping bags full of great stuff.

To be sure, there have always been independent bookstores with this same spirit, and they were considerably less corporate, less homogenous. The superstores, as those Borders and B&N stores came to be called, borrowed heavily from places like Denver’s Tattered Cover and Austin’s BookPeople and other great indies around the world. But the big chains could open such stores all over the country (and beyond), because they were capitalized to an extent that indies could never be.

These days, I don’t have my hands in day-to-day bookselling like I once did. I’ve been too busy writing books—and as a working writer, glad for every bookstore and every bookseller. I’ve even gone over to the enemy in part, releasing some new works as original e-books rather than going the traditional publishing route. The world of books and publishing is changing fast, and I’m trying to stay current. Should you be so inclined, you could probably find my new thriller The Devil’s Bait and my collection of short horror fiction Nine Frights online, as well as a YA paranormal novel called Carnival Summer and an e-book reprint of horror epic The Slab.

But the e-book thing is only a small part of what I do. This year I’ve had one novel published traditionally, CSI: The Burning Season, and a short story in the award-nominated San Diego Noir anthology, and more is on the way.

So I have multiple reasons to mourn the loss of Borders. As a bookseller, I hate to see any store shutter its doors. As an author, I need bookstores to exist, to thrive, so readers will have a place to discover my work. As a reader, I recognize that no online shopping experience will ever match the thrill of exploring bookshelves, of wandering a store and looking at the tables, of finding books that I never knew existed and never could have sought out, but just had to own. As a collector, I appreciate the efforts bookstores make to bring authors into cities large and small, so we can meet and listen to and converse with them, and get our beloved books autographed. As a human being, I love the sense of community that bookstores bring to their neighborhoods. Bookstores are gathering places for literate, like-minded souls.

When they go away, the day is darker for us all.

So this is my thanks to Borders, for being there and breathing new life into the bookstore world when it was badly needed. I wish the occasion for it was a happier one. But because of Borders, there are tens of thousands of booksellers and ex-booksellers out there, and untold numbers of readers. That’s a contribution to the literary community and to the world that cannot be denied, and that will not vanish just because the stores (and this website) do.

For that, and all the books and words and friends and fun, we can all be grateful.