Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Guest Author & Giveaway: Jackie Morse Kessler on Inspirations & Influences

“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.

Today, we are thrilled to once again welcome Jackie Morse Kessler as part of the Blog Tour for her new release Loss, the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series (which Ana will be reviewing later today).

Please give it up for Jackie!

Magic Weapons And Other D&D Influences

By Jackie Morse Kessler

I used to play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. A lot. Every Sunday afternoon, I’d get together with about ten other people, and we’d go off and save the world. Well, at least our characters did. Us? We kicked back and ate bad food. I hugely enjoyed playing AD&D – getting to roleplay, getting to solve puzzles, and, as mentioned before, getting to save the world.

One of the tropes of AD&D is the magic weapon. You know, the +5 sword or the shield that you can use as a mirror to behold monsters in their true forms without any permanent damage to your mind, body or sense of humor. If you had a magic weapon, life got much easier for your AD&D character.1 Magic weapons, like bow ties, are cool.

My AD&D roots peeked through when I wrote Hunger, the first book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. In that book, the protagonist, Lisa, is given a set of bronze (or maybe brass) scales—an old-fashioned balance. This gives her the power of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There are hints in that book that Famine is its own being, separate from Lisa—and this becomes clear in the second book, Rage.

In Rage, the heroine, Missy, gets a sword. Not just any sword, either—when she first looks at it, it’s more like the suggestion of a sword, but as soon as she picks it up, it transforms into a sleek silver weapon. And that’s when she starts hearing the voice of War in her head.2

Another AD&D trope? The intelligent weapon. That is, a magic weapon that has its own personality. You know, like the ring in The Lord of the Rings, or Lindsey McDonald’s evil hand in Angel. 3 The tools in the Riders of the Apocalypse, whether or not they’re weapons, are intelligent. And that can be a real headache for the Riders wielding those tools.

In LOSS, one of the tools is a bow that requires neither string nor arrow. When Billy, the protagonist, wields it, he accidentally unleashes disease. Whoops. The other symbol is the Conqueror’s crown—and wearing it can be devastating.

What are some of your favorite magic weapons from books, film or television?


One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS—and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’.

Giveaway is open to ALL and will run till Saturday March 24 11:59PM (PST). Good luck!


  1. Unless, of course, the weapon was cursed, or you’d stolen it from someone Big and Bad who carried a grudge.
  2. The voice tends to speak in ALL CAPS. I’d think Missy would be popping a lot of aspirin.
  3. Yeah, okay, a hand is not a weapon. UNLESS IT IS.


  • Parris
    March 20, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Wow what an awesome giveaway!

  • Ginny
    March 20, 2012 at 5:17 am

    The grand prize sounds too good, sure you’re not fooling? Lol. Sign me just in case though.

  • MarieC
    March 20, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Amazing giveaway! count me in!

  • Aik
    March 20, 2012 at 5:29 am

    My favourite magic weapon from books/movies would be Harry Potter’s wand.

  • AnimeJune
    March 20, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Hmmm, favourite magic weapon? That’s difficult. WHY MUST YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE? Um, I guess it would have to be Thorn from Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. Thorn can only be wielded by whomever it WANTS to wield it – so our hero uses it to kill a dragon – and then he can never lift it again!

    The idea of the four riders of the Apocalypse is interesting. Personally, I enjoyed their representations in Supernatural – four dudes in awesome bitchin’ cars who drop by to raise a little Hell.

  • Tina
    March 20, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I haven’t read this series yet, but the books sounds really interesting.

  • Elsie
    March 20, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I loved Hunger! This giveaway is awesome.

  • mary anne
    March 20, 2012 at 6:18 am

    OK, I want to read, just on the basis of your footnotes. (I like footnotes.)

  • Tiffany M.
    March 20, 2012 at 6:26 am

    The Frying Pan of Doom from a short story in Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest series. I LOVE The Frying Pan of Doom. Apparently, it’s a weapon of choice, as Disney’s Rapunzel utilizes it fiercely, as well.

  • reading mind
    March 20, 2012 at 6:42 am

    favourte weapon? mmm, I love the pen of Percy Jackson!

  • Nikki Egerton
    March 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I love magic weapons in stories and books, where an ordinary item has amazing and unexpected powers. I especially like when they are given to the main character in a ‘you might need this one day’ kind of way, and it turns out they totally do! (I’m thinking Frodo’s vial of light given to him by Galadriel, or the Golden Snitch Dumbledore leaves Harry in his will)


  • JH
    March 20, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Oooo, I loved Hunger–definitely entering this giveaway!

  • Chenise Jones
    March 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    This series sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read the books!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • dellan
    March 20, 2012 at 9:21 am

    golden bauble

  • Jacqueline
    March 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

    These books have a great premise and Death is awesome, sign me up for the giveaway too.

  • Justine
    March 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

    The ring in The Lord of the Rings has ingrained itself in my pop cultural frame of reference in that I frequently hiss “my precioussss” about all sorts of things that are not rings. Ok, Gollum is the character who covets the ring, but the ring is a character, too!

  • Alice Snarkopotamus
    March 20, 2012 at 10:55 am

    This series sounds amazing, I’d love to win! I look forward to your review too.

    I’ve never played D&D, but after this article and a certain episode of Community I’m kind of thinking now I would like it…

    Anyway to your Q, I don’t even have to think twice to know that the answer is: STING, from Hobbit/LOTR. Glowing when danger approaches? For me, weapons are all about defense, and what’s better than a beacon that allows you to stay out of the fray if at all possible, but is sharp enough to defend you if you can’t get out in time? 😀

  • KayKayBay
    March 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Awesome contest.
    As for magic weapons, how about Sting?

  • jude
    March 20, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I really like the amulets and charms in the Hollows books by Kim Harrison.

    And this is possibly the coolest giveaway.

  • Diane
    March 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I love the series and cannot wait for the next book. I too love playing D&D. My favourite magic weapons would be Buffy’s scythe and Sting from LotR.

  • Raina
    March 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Ooh this giveaway sounds amazing. Also, I just love the idea behind this series!

  • Hannah w
    March 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    The books sound amazing, I’d love to be entered =] I think my favourite magical weapon would be Thor’s hammer.. no wait, what about the talking sword – kring in the colour of magic by Terry Pratchett

  • Simona
    March 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    There are just so many good books to read and so little time. *sigh*
    What a great giveaway! Please enter me!

  • Diana
    March 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    This sounds awesome, count me in. My favourite magical weapon
    would be the Black Cauldron from the movie The Black Cauldron
    you could cook in it if only it didnt unleash the evil powers in it.

  • Michelle
    March 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    My favourite weapon is Proton Pack from the Ghostbusters,
    its awesome and it makes you look awesome.

  • Jamie
    March 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    My favorite weapons are people who are weapons; meaning, people who are somehow, against their will or knowledge, sent into enemy territory with false information or some kind of subconscious trigger that causes them to undermind their friends’ plans. Diabolical, I know.

  • Nikki
    March 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Ooh count me in too. Can’t wait to read Loss.

  • Allison
    March 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    This giveaway sounds fantastic!

  • Breanne
    March 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Great giveaway! Count me in.

  • sarac
    March 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I love Lady Teldra from the Vlad Toltos books.

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    March 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I really want to read this series. It sounds very good. Please enter me.

  • Amy C
    March 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I love how the Riders of the Apocalypse combines myth with reality.

    My favorite weapon has to be spellwork. Of any kind. There’s something cute about the flashing lights. xD

  • jenn
    March 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Magic weapons… magic weapons… I love that necklace from Castle in the Sky!! <= the movie, the one directed by Hayao Miyazaki?

  • Linda W
    March 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    My favorites are Gandalf’s staff from Lord of the Rings and Sting,Bilbo’s sword.

  • Vivian
    March 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Magic weapons, huh? I’m more into traditional swords.

  • Llehn
    March 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Dragon skin slipper!

  • Gemma
    March 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I have never read this series, but I`m always interested in anthropomorphic characters, from Neil Gaiman`s Sandman series, Supernatural`s four horsemen, to Hidekaz Himaruya`s country characters in Hetalia. In terms of magical weapons, I`d have to say my favorite comes from N.K. Jemisin`s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. What better weapon can you have than a god(s)? ^_~

  • Audra Holtwick
    March 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I also played AD&D when i was younger — these books ancd covers are awesome- i would love the chance to win them

  • Lucia Hua
    March 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    HM. Favorite weapon. I’ve never actually thought much about it. Okay, I’ve always thought that Christopher Paolini’s Dragon Rider swords are pretty awesome. I want one for myself (and a dragon, also!)

  • Nayana Catoia
    March 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve been looking forward for this series for a looong time, but only the first one was published here in my country and I was kind of hopping I could get all of them in english 😀
    Ohh, and Jackie seems a really great person to spend the sundays with 😉

  • Stephanie K.
    March 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    These books sound awesome. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Mary Preston
    March 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I am looking forward to reading this series. It looks amazing.


  • Maya S
    March 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Awesome giveaway!

  • Seth Christenfeld
    March 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Can we count the Force?

  • Rachael L
    March 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    My favorite magic weapon would have to be Harry Potter’s wand. Thank you for the giveaway!

  • Ivan
    March 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I always wanted to read this serie and this is a great opportunity so count me in.

  • Dovile
    March 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I love the covers in this series!

  • Lily Froggy
    March 21, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Magic weapons… I kind of like staffs, but the weapon is also nice when it is the magic itself.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Stuart
    March 21, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Thankyou, sounds excellent

  • Jess
    March 21, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Wow, the grand prize is pretty amazing.
    Can’t wait to read Loss. I read the first two, and really loved them; they really struck a chord with me.

  • Lashawn
    March 21, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Awesome books!

  • Nicole R
    March 21, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Fantastic grand prize!

  • Pippi55
    March 21, 2012 at 6:20 am

    =) I’d love to win this! I’d love to read a good book about bullying.

  • Hannah
    March 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I can’t wait to read Loss. I’ve really liked this new take on the horseman, and look forward to whatever else Ms. Kessler came up with.

  • Bri L.
    March 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

    These books sound awesome! I’m definitely adding the series to my TBR list.

  • jen m
    March 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    at the moment, my fave weapon is cat barahal’s cane/sword from the spirit walker trilogy by kate elliot. i want cold steel to come out so badly!!

    this is a great giveaway. the riders’ series is definitely on my tbr list.

  • Smugglers’ Stash and News | The Book Smugglers
    March 25, 2012 at 8:43 am

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  • jude
    March 29, 2012 at 8:30 am

    SO psyched!

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