Review: Moonlight

Moonlight by David Rose is a middle grades YA fantasy about the eleven-year-old Tadao, his childhood gal pal Yuzuki, her magical cat Gekkō-san, and their journey through childhood into true love.

Friendship Between Two Lonely Children
Friendship Between Two Lonely Children

Tadao and his parents just moved into town, and the mother shoos her son into the garden to explore while she unpacks.

A beautiful cat with silver-grey fur and pale golden eyes squeezes through the fence and sits down as comfortable as you please. A pretty ten-year-old girl follows her kitty into the garden, and so begins the wonderful friendship between two lonely children. They soon became as close as brother and sister, and also best friends.

The Biggest Loss Takes Yuzuki Away Forever
The Biggest Loss Takes Yuzuki Away Forever

The teens’ friendship turns into young love. As often happens with working parents, in less than four years Tadao’s parents must move to another town. A few months after Tadao moves away, the biggest loss takes Yuzuki away forever. But the little cat Gekkō-san works her magic with the moonlight, and nothing is ever the same for Tadao.

Moonlight is a bittersweet story full of beautiful images. David Rose uses a skilled touch capturing the innocence and sweetness of solemn childhood promises. A life of duty and inevitability swirl around these children living in their Japanese world. This story would delight all young YA readers with its rich fantasy world and a most magical moonlight-colored cat.

Moonlight on Amazon US

Moonlight on Amazon UK

Moonlight on Goodreads

David Rose on Goodreads

David Rose website

Strange Case of the Half-Boy Half-Dog Baffles Scientists: A Clever Wizard Explains

Interviewers have a knack for getting Lita to confess all sorts of things. Here is more tittle-tattle about Clockpunk Wizardry.

Lita Wrote Her First Fantasy Story
Lita Wrote Her First Fantasy Story

In a recent interview, Lita chatted with the folks over at Authors’ Cave. After an exhaustive interrogation that required a pound of fine chocolates for medicinal purposes, out came the truth. The details may surprise Gentle Reader, or for the skeptics, it might sound like the usual fantasy worlds claptrap. You decide.

Yes, Girls Can Be Wizards Too

This scandal started decades ago when Lita wrote her first fantasy story and shared her masterpiece with family and friends. Oh, how they wrinkled their noses when the young heroine, who Lita called a wizard, helped a lost dragon find his way home.

These affectionate critics shouted that girls couldn’t be wizards. Witches, perhaps, or enchantresses. Sorceresses. “The whole concept was silly,” they said. Lita explains in the Authors’ Cave November 2014 eZine how she fixed that sorry state of affairs.

A Chocolate-Laced Interview Reveals the Truth About  the Magical Causes of Cynanthropy
A Chocolate-Laced Interview Reveals the Truth About the Magical Causes of Cynanthropy

Shocking Proof About the Half-Boy Half-Dog

Much of this chocolate-laced interview had to do with Clockpunk Wizardry. It was time for Lita to come clean about the mysterious case of the half-boy half-dog cynanthrope.

At first, Lita shrugged and tried to gloss over the specifics. “Anything can happen in fantasy worlds,” she said. Further questions brought out the truth.

The Authors’ Cave eZine for November 2014 has the first chapter proof concerning the boy/dog story. Lita describes the outrage of young science geeks writing made-up stories. Also learn about the surprising dangers of gardening mandrake roots, and why you should keep your pets far away.

Book of the Dead: Ghost Amulet

The Book of the Dead explains the nature of Church magic in the Enchanters of Sye world.

A Spirit Inside of a Ghost Amulet
A Spirit Inside of a Ghost Amulet

ghost amulet [gōst amyələt] noun, c.900, OE gāst < ME goost; c.1550 amalettys < L amuletum; also spirit fetish or periapt.

  • Physical: Charm, midsize
  • Magic: Church/Piety
  • Spell Group: Incorporeal Matters
  • Restrictions on Physical Construction: Secular, Magic Guild, and Enchanter magic allowed
  • Ghost Magic: Sciomancer or Priest summons only; Secular and Magic Guild disallowed due to safety; Enchanters disallowed per agreement

A ghost amulet is a charm no larger than a woman’s fist. Its purpose is to house willing incorporeal beings (“ghosts”) who wish to stay in the Sye physical realm under shelter of Church magic. Ghost amulets are portable magical items and can be worn if the carrier has specific spells for protection from the ghost. A typical ghost amulet has a gold metal casing etched with beautiful spells.

Last Year's Winner in the Magic Guild's Contest for Best Bubble World Inside of a Ghost Amulet
Last Year’s Winner in the Magic Guild’s Contest for Best Bubble World Inside of a Ghost Amulet

The inside of ghost amulets are much larger than the outside. Amulet interiors range from simple single rooms to intricately furnished multi-chamber homes. The best ghost amulet makers create small “bubble worlds” that include landscapes, sunlight, and weather.

Summoning and manipulating ghosts is a Church Sciomancer magical specialty. Secular magicians and Magic Guild are forbidden to manipulate ghosts because of the danger to the magician. According to agreed-upon magical segregation, Enchanters do not practice ghost manipulation. However, only Enchanter Grandmasters have enough magical power to send (and retrieve) living visitors to the Fields of Yalu.

Explore Sye ghost care and meet a celebrated Sciomancer ghost in these blog posts:

Read more about ghost amulets, the Book of the Dead, and how ghosts help a magical charms maker hide a dangerous spell book in these Enchanters of Sye stories:

Review: A Gathering of Twine

A Gathering of Twine (The Spirals of Danu) by Martin Adil-Smith is an epic fantasy about Freeman, a writer who tells a most dangerous tale.

Shadowy Mystery Men Trail Freeman
Shadowy Mystery Men Trail Freeman

The elderly Freeman hurries to a meeting with his book publisher. He totes a briefcase stuffed with incriminating papers concerning his next story. Three shadowy mystery men trail him, people who want to keep the truth from reaching Freeman’s considerable following.

The author makes his meeting, and at his publisher Danielle’s urging, Freeman makes a most startling claim. His simple statement mocks the existence of a creator and the societal underpinnings of all we hold dear. Does Freeman have proof? Hoo boy, does he ever.

A Gathering of Twine unfolds as if picking apart a snarled ball of yarn–or more accurately, a tangle of barbed wire. The story has many threads, and they unwind Freeman’s tale starting with text from ancient stone tablets that reference modern-day conventions. Next are firsthand accounts of people mixed up with supernatural events, and sprinkled within are biblical and other holy book references.

Even the Children Drank the Poisoned Fruit Drink
Even the Children Drank the Poisoned Fruit Drink

Adil-Smith finishes the story with a fascinating explanation of the Jonestown incident with the unsettling tape-recorded confession of a Jim Jones follower. Their faith started with convincing visions of heaven. But after peeling away the magical veneer, underneath was the hell described eons ago in Freeman’s ancient stone tablets. Drinking the poison-laced purple fruit drink was truly the lesser of the Jonestown’s evils.

Fantasy fans that enjoy well-told twisty yarns would like being tangled up in A Gathering of Twine. Be warned, there are chilly ruined lives in this story, and the delicious devils are so convincing. They will have Gentle Reader reaching for that purple drink in no time.

A Gathering of Twine on Amazon US

A Gathering of Twine on Amazon UK

A Gathering of Twine on Goodreads

Martin Adil-Smith on Goodreads

The Spirals of Danu on Facebook

Bestiarum Vocabulum: Grassland Satyr

The Bestiarum Vocabulum is the wizard’s encyclopedia of faerie beasties and mundane crossovers living in the lake and forest near Lita’s castle.

Grassland Satyr
Grassland Satyr

grassland satyr [gras lənd sey ter] noun, 1325-1375; ME < L satyrus < Gr sátyros; also centaur.

  1. Denizen of the Clockpunk Wizard world.
  2. One of two types of magical sentient creatures who are attendant on Wizard Bacchus. Grassland satyrs are part human and part horse. Grassland satyrs live on open prairies, veldt, and grassy meadows. They are notorious for their love of wine, lasciviousness, and boisterousness. All satyrs are male. They are affectionate with all women, but can only reproduce with sorceresses and other powerful female magicians.
  3. Personages: Grassland satyr herd on Veldt Island in Ephraim’s Curious Device and Old Bony Blue Eyes.
  4. See “Enchanting Veldt Island” and woodland satyr in the Bestiarum Vocabulum.

Necronomicon Enchanter: Clergy Secrets

Within the pages of the Necronomicon Enchanter book in Lita’s library, the curious may learn the Enchanters’ magical matters. Beware, for the knowledge might drive the reader mad with bitter desire and luscious regret.


Because Enchanter-generated essence is the sole source of human magic on Sye, the Church magicians buy it from the Magic Workers Guild. The clergy hide their dependency on Enchanter essence from Church parishioners.

Church Magicians Hide the Origin of Their Magic
Church Magicians Hide the Origin of Their Magic

To make its magic morally palatable, the Sye Church purifies the Enchanters’ essence. They collect the magic in founts, and then distribute the essence to the faithful with a device called a Magical Resonator.

Some of the most devout Church followers practice Essence Deprivation. This systematic abstinence from magical essence purifies the practitioner from the Enchanters’ carnal influences.

Since humans in Sye require magical essence to survive, the deprived soon break their abstinence vows and take in magical essence. Essence Deprivation followers risk insanity, poor health, and may suffer from what Enchanters call Essence Madness.

Find out more about the Enchanters, Sciomancers, and their ongoing struggles in the books from the Enchanters of Sye world:

Enter Here for Madness

Not all enchantments are fairy glitter and unicorns. In some fantasy worlds, it is always half past dark and Halloween time. Today is Samhain. Let the screams begin.

The Autumn People Have Come to Town
The Autumn People Have Come to Town

Every October, the Autumn People come to town in a field near Lita’s castle. First we hear screaming train whistles in the dead of night, and then their pale tents growing like mushrooms in the dark.

In the chilly dawn of Samhain day, the carnival’s faded colors become nothing more than an afternoon’s romp with the Ferris wheel and games of bash the bottles.

But at night? That is when madness lives.

Lift the tent flap to see the wonders of Lita Burke’s Cirque du Méchant, the dark autumn circus filled madness, magic of a different sort, and killer clowns.

Don’t go just yet–the children are having such a screamingly good time. Have some cotton candy. Doesn’t it look like sugar-spun cobwebs?

The delicious madness is everywhere. The Cirque du Méchant has so many things to see. Look, this tent sells real lady fingers we can munch on while the children play. Not really, but enjoy the pastry anyway.

A Handsome Carny Wearing a Top Hat
A Handsome Carny Wearing a Top Hat

Going so soon? No need to run for the exit.

You tripped. Good thing that handsome carny wearing a top hat was there to catch you. What does he whisper? Something about wonder beyond your wildest desire.

Why resist?  You surrender only money, not your soul, for a ticket to this freaky show.

Step right up.

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