Oct 19 2011 4:30pm

It’s Hard Out There for a Mage: Professions in Urban Fantasy

Spider’s Bite by Jennifer EstepMaking a living in this economy isn’t easy for anyone, let alone your favorite UF/PNR characters. Getting shot at, bitten, burned, staked or banished are only half their problems. Some of them have to earn a living just like us. Well...not exactly like us! Because unlike you and me (one hopes!), many Urban Fantasy characters make their livings on the wrong side of the law.

In Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin Series, Gin “Spider” Bianco is a renowned assassin, not to mention one hell of a chef. Trying to clear her name and “get rid of” criminals on her way to retirement isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Wisecracking her way through life has gotten her into more trouble than a box of fire ants. Add Gin’s sidekick, investor and sheister Finnegan Lane, into the mix, and you’ve got even more trouble.

Jaye Wells’s protagonist Sabina Kane lives in a world of vampires and mages. As an outcast from both, she takes the only career possible for an outcast as an assassin. Tough-talking and snarky, Sabina must do her job and figure out where loyalties lie. Wells gets you all comfy with the snark and then POW!!!, the action starts. If I could be a gal pal to any of Urban Fantasy heroines it would likely be Sabina.

A Brush of Darkness by Allison PangThis next profession is near and dear to my heart—that of a bookseller. In Brush of Darkness, Allison Pang’s Abby Sinclair has her world come crashing down around her ears. What’s a girl to do? Why, pick herself up and secure employment in a magical bookstore. With her enchanted iPod, pervy unicorn Phin, and a dream eater with smoldering eyes, Abby kicks butt. And sells books. Eating bacon while taking the world on—one demon at a time—means never a dull moment for this bookseller.

Georgina Kincaid, Richelle Mead’s heroine of the Succubus series, has two jobs. For the mortal world, she manages a bookstore in a Seattle suburb. But the paranormal world knows her as a sexy succubus with a heart of gold. Mead captures the antics of bookstore life so realistically that I’ve actually had some of the same things happen to me at work. Georgina tries to balance it all, and the result is both heart-warming and hysterical.

Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark HenryMark Henry’s Amanda Feral (Amanda Feral series) is the protagonist you love to hate. Cruel and snarky, she conquers life in the Seattle’s Zombie underground with a wicked sense of fashion. Amanda earns a modest (cough cough) income as one of Washington’s top advertising executives. But when she’s unexpectedly turned zombie, she enlists the help of hapless vampire Gill and zombie gal pal Wendy to figure it all out. One thing Amanda learns is that Balenciaga purses are expensive, even for zombies.

So when you find yourself feeling stressed about your job, finances or even choice of profession, just think of your favorite characters... Ask yourself...What would Amanda Feral do? Hah! Then do the opposite...

Other interesting professions:
Chess Putnam—Church Witch (Downside series by Stacia Kane)
Annabelle Lee—Hoodoo in training (Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay)
Arcadia Bell—Bartender/establishment owner—(Arcadia Bell series by Jennifer Bennett)
Acheron Parthenopaeus—Dark-Hunter Wrangler (Dark-Hunters Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Justine Jones—Crime fighter (Disillusionist series by Carolyn Crane)

Synde Korman talks music and books on her website Tombstone Tails, along with creating a line of literary jewelry on her etsy site Cemetery Cat Designs.

When she’s not herding cats or creating art, she works as a part-time bookseller. You can find her on twitter as @psynde.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. ChelseaMueller
We see a good number of assassins in UF, just the nature of the biz, I suppose. But I always love when our kickass heroes and heroines have either boring day jobs or careers that don't exist in our realm (e.g. Church Witch). Both give me that escapist part. The former, superhero-style. The latter, otherworldly.

Also... "Dark-Hunter Wrangler" -- This made me snicker.
Synde Korman
3. SyndeKorman
Chelsea and Torifl- I had to work Acheron in made me snicker too!
TM Thomas
4. TM Thomas
I really need to write that Amish steam punk legal thriller now...just imagine the job articles you'll get from that. (nice post)
Tara B
6. box5angel
I love when reading urban fantasy or paranormal romance when the heroine has a regular old day job. Gotta make the big bucks while dealing with the supe world.
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