Review: The Regent’s Gamble

The Regent’s Gamble by A. Payne and N. D. Taylor is a fantasy about the twenty-something mage Addison Rhydderch, and his efforts to unravel the magical mysteries infecting New York.

Addison is the Regent of a magical police force called the Manhattan Vault. Like its counterparts around the globe, the organization’s job is to protect the city from nefarious magicians and misbehaving fantastical creatures.

Dryad
Dryad

The confirmed bachelor meets his romantic match with a dryad named Saraia Lewis. They join forces to discover the source of disturbing magical mayhem that threatens to bring down both sides of their mundane and fantastical world.

Enjoyable descriptions of magical creatures, desperate melees, and a satisfying romance filled the pages of The Regent’s Gamble. The plot delivered many twists, and it riveted me until the satisfying conclusion. Lita especially liked the contrast of Addison’s powerful magic tempered with his human weaknesses. The authors created an immersive magical world. Lita could all but smell Manhattan’s reek, and feel the fizzy magic-fused air of faerie land against her skin.

Gentle Readers who are fans of immersive fantasy stories populated with believable creatures, and a mage hero worth cheering for, would enjoy The Regent’s Gamble. The frowned-upon liaison between human and dryad gave the story a spicy flavor. The Regent’s Gamble is filled with not-to-be-missed fantasy fun.

The Regent’s Gamble on Amazon US

The Regent’s Gamble on Amazon UK

The Regent’s Gamble on Goodreads

A. Payne on Goodreads

N. D. Taylor on Goodreads

Interview: Lady Luck’s Daughter Talks About Glitter Ponies

On Wizard Kadmeion’s airship, the forward sitting room has the best views and conversation. Lita invites Gentle Reader to join the chitchat with the characters in her upcoming story, Glitter Ponies.

Lady Luck’s Daughter Smooths the Tails of Her New Riding Jacket
Lady Luck’s Daughter Smooths the Tails of Her New Riding Jacket

Previously:

Lady Luck’s precocious nine-year-old daughter skips in. She smooths the tails of her new riding jacket, and settles on the peach velvet settee.

Her astounding blond prettiness masks Miss Probability’s already fierce talent with numbers. The recent trip to Wuddlekins Island to see the unicorns also awakened her sorcery.

Unicorns

Lita Burke: Hail, fellow sorceress well met, Probability Lady Luck to Be.

Probability: Greetings to you, Madam Lita. Bright said you wanted to talk to me about my vacation. I visited the unicorns. What kinds do you have in your world?

Probability Visited the Unicorns on Wuddlekins Island
Probability Visited the Unicorns on Wuddlekins Island

LB: We don’t have unicorns here.

P: You aren’t missing much. They are stuck up.

LB: Little girls usually love unicorns. Why don’t you?

P: Glitter ponies are what I thought unicorns would be. The unicorns were rude to Kadmeion because he is a wizard. And they tried to run him through with their alicorns.

LB: I could barely scribe that part of the story. I was cringing, and had my eyes closed. Good thing I don’t have to look at my fingers to type.

[Lita’s Note: Probability asks Lita to describe what “typing” is. Lita explains. We return to discussing her vacation.]

Glitter Pony vs. Unicorn

LB: My Gentle Reader friends would like to know the differences between a unicorn and a glitter pony.

Lita Could Barely Scribe That Part of the Story
Lita Could Barely Scribe That Part of the Story

P: Unicorns are, well, unicorns. They have that pointy alicorn on their foreheads. They come in black, red, or white.

LB: What is their magic?

P: They whip their heads, and the air rushes through their alicorn. It whistles, just like elf-kind magic.

LB: What about glitter ponies?

P: There are two kinds. The big kind has a unicorn and a horse for parents. The wee kind is a small animal like a bird or rat that eats a shed alicorn husk. Glitter ponies don’t have an alicorn, just a red carbuncle gem on their foreheads.

Silly Boys

LB: Tell us how your trip awakened your sorcery.

P: Mother said that since my father doesn’t live with us, I should spend time near a wizard. That way, my sorcery can sense his human magic, and wake up.

What Frogs Think
What Frogs Think

LB: Is that why she gave Kadmeion and Bright permission to take you on vacation to Wuddlekins Island?

P: Yes. And the best part was that my brother Chance and Kadmeion’s familiar, Furgo, stayed at home with mother. I was glad to be away from my brother for a while. Boys are such silly things, with their heads full of matters about what frogs think and how wonderful it would be to play stickball endlessly.

LB: Are all boys are silly?

P: Kadmeion and Bright are not silly. They are really smart, but thick sometimes because they are boys.

LB: You are well on your way to becoming a fine sorceress, with that kind of ~twisty~ thinking.

Miss Probability Will Become a Fine Sorceress With Her ~Twisty~ Thinking
Miss Probability Will Become a Fine Sorceress With Her ~Twisty~ Thinking

P: You said that word like a sorceress, with the squiggly things on both ends.

LB: Even in my world, the magic creeps in.

[Lita’s Note: Probability asks to be excused. She has little girl matters to attend to before Kadmeion’s airship docks at Lady Luck’s home on floating Fluke Island.]

Learn more:

Glitter Ponies Cover Reveal is August 22

Get ready to attend the online cover reveal party for Lita Burke’s next novel, Glitter Ponies.

Glitter Ponies by Lita BurkeLita invites Gentle Reader to a party on August 22nd, to view the cover of her next novel, Glitter Ponies.

The shindig is here on Lita’s blog. Wear what you wish. No need to R.S.V.P. Refreshments and delightful conversation will be provided.

Be sure to stop by on the party day. Take a look at the book cover, learn more about this newest Clockpunk Wizard story, and get the news about the book’s release date.

About Glitter Ponies

In Glitter Ponies, Lady Luck’s daughter helps a wizard discover the cause of a mysterious unicorn illness.

In Glitter Ponies, Lady Luck’s daughter helps a wizard discover the cause of a mysterious unicorn illness.
In Glitter Ponies, Lady Luck’s daughter helps a wizard discover the cause of a mysterious unicorn illness.

Wizard Kadmeion and his assistant Sir Bright go for a vacation on Wuddlekins.  This wintry place is the highest floating island in the elf realm’s archipelago.

Bright’s brother is the island’s magical steward, and it hosts the largest unicorn herd in the entire plate-shaped, ocean world of Clockpunk Wizard. Their guest on this trip, Lady Luck’s daughter Miss Probability, is determined to meet the unicorns. She must convince Kadmeion to let the unicorns come home with her.

Our magic men face the most dangerous challenge of their budding wizardry-for-hire careers. Girlfriends. Probability discovers that yucky boy kisses aren’t all that bad. Plus, all three vacationers learn that when they mix wizardry, luck, and unicorns, love is magically unpredictable.

Learn more:

Interview: Sir Bright Talks About Glitter Ponies

On Wizard Kadmeion’s airship, the forward sitting room has the best views and conversation. Lita invites Gentle Reader to join the chitchat with the characters in her upcoming story, Glitter Ponies.

Previously: Wizard Kadmeion Talks About Glitter Ponies

Sir Bright
Sir Bright

The handsome wizard’s assistant takes a seat at a small table near the window. He begins tinkering with a small clockworks mechanism that collects dust bunnies under the machines in the airship’s gear room.

The half-elf Bright wears his glistening long blond hair unbound. He tucks a wandering strand behind an elegantly curved ear. He glances at us while he works. Effervescent elf magic glistens in the depths of his oh, so blue eyes.

Wizard’s Assistant Duties

Lita Burke: Hail, fellow magician well met, Brighton Twice-Seventh Son Mage.

Bright: Greetings to you, Madam Lita. Kadmeion told me about this new magic you call an interview. He says it is like using mind voice, but completely different.

LB: That doesn’t make sense.

A Wizard's ~Twisty~ Magic is Something Like This, But Completely Different
A Wizard’s ~Twisty~ Magic is Something Like This, But Completely Different

B: Actually, it does. Wizards think that way. They have ~twisty~ magic.

LB: How did you do that? Put the squiggly things around the word “twisty”?

B: They teach wizard’s assistants how to do that at the Agatha University of Magical Arts and Sciences.

LB: My Gentle Reader friends have a question. What is the difference between a wizard’s assistant and an apprentice?

B: An assistant sees to the wizard’s mental stability, waters the plants, and keeps him from flattening our world’s plate and spilling the oceans over the rim.

A Glamour Spell Makes His Elf-Blue Eyes Look Like This
A Glamour Spell Makes His Elf-Blue Eyes Look Like This

LB: That is a lot of responsibility. You manage it well. Kadmeion is fortunate to have you as his assistant.

[Lita’s Note: Sir Bright gives us a smile so charming that for a moment the air goes all soft and fuzzy like one of those pictures of an adorable kitten with beautiful blue eyes. Elf-kind mages call this Glamour.]

B: You flatter me needlessly. Plant care isn’t difficult.

[Lita’s Note: Bright is a smart aleck. They teach assistants that also at Agatha. Irrelevancy is the best way to snap a too-serious wizard out of a blue funk. Best to disregard the blather, and continue.]

Hazards of Keeping a Wizard’s Apprentice

LB: What does a wizard’s apprentice do?

B: Nothing, because wizards are not allowed apprentices. Wizards use to train wizardlings, but things got much worse than spilling the oceans.

The Universal Riddle
The Universal Riddle

LB: What is worse than spilling the oceans?

B: Frightening the rocks.

LB: Pardon?

B: The last wizard with an apprentice became so vexed at the bumbling lad, that the wizard told his apprentice the answer to the Universal Riddle. Our plate-shaped world trembled so badly, the startled islands jumped out of the sea because they didn’t want to fall off the rim with the water. The islands forgot how to fall down. That’s why they now float.

LB: What is the Universal Riddle?

B: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

LB: I know that one. “It is nevar [sic] put with the wrong end in front.”

[Lita’s Note: Bright tenses, turns, and peers out the forward window. His shoulders relax, and he turns back to us.]

The Islands Forgot How to Fall Down
The Islands Forgot How to Fall Down

B: The islands here are still safe in the clouds. Do the rocks now float in your world?

LB: Only if you throw them. And they don’t float for long.

B: You and your Gentle Reader friends live in a strange place where things stay on the ground.

[Lita’s Note: No need to apologize for gravity. Bright could talk this magician’s blather all day. Let us move on.]

Best Part of Your Vacation?

LB: Let’s talk about your adventures in Glitter Ponies. What was the best part of your visit to Wuddlekins Island?

B: I enjoyed none of it. I could list the horrible parts here, but that would take the fun of discovery away for your Gentle Reader friends.

The Unicorns on Wuddlekins Island Were
The Unicorns on Wuddlekins Island Were “Interesting”

LB: What about the unicorns?

B: All I will say is that they were interesting. That is not a compliment.

LB: There wasn’t anything you liked?

B: Well, one of Kadmeion’s wizard friends dropped by and we three did some ice gliding. But if you want to hear about who had a fun vacation, you should talk with Probability. Shall I send her in?

LB: Please do. Until we talk again, fare thee well, Sir Bright.

Next time: Lady Luck’s Daughter Talks About Glitter Ponies

Other interesting places to go snooping:

Bestiarum Vocabulum: Rig Monkey

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

Rig Monkey
Rig Monkey

rig monkey [rig muhng kee] noun, c.1520; < LowGer moneke, equivalent mone- (obsolete Fr monne she-ape) + -ke diminutive suffix; also airship rigger

  1. Denizen of the Clockpunk Wizard world.
  2. A type of small homunculus inhabited by a minor demon, shaped like a miniature fur-covered human, that attends the sails, lines, and superstructure of an airship.
  3. A human or magical hybrid (e.g. a harpy, or the half-human and half-elf narfleet), that performs the heavier tasks of airship rigging that cannot be done by the homunculus rig monkey.
  4. Personages: Sir Bright worked at the Agatha Island zeppelin yard as a Rig Monkey before becoming Wizard Kadmeion’s assistant.
  5. See “Dramatis Personæ: Bright,” “Twice-Seventh Son Elf Magic” and “Monkey Business About Old Bony Blue Eyes

Interview: Wizard Kadmeion Talks About Glitter Ponies

On Wizard Kadmeion’s airship, the forward sitting room has the best views and conversation. Lita invites Gentle Reader to join the chitchat with the characters in her upcoming story, Glitter Ponies.

Wizard Kadmeion
Wizard Kadmeion

The twenty-something-year-old wizard takes a seat on a nearby Chesterfield, and studies us with his handsome dark brown eyes. His unstarched casual white shirt has a discreet gold-embroidered Magic Guild insignia near the left collar.

He wears a souvenir from his Glitter Ponies trip on the right side of his head. Kadmeion has braided an intricate gentleman’s hair clasp into some tendrils of his long brown hair. The wizard’s boy-fey, Izlyesende, clings to the clasp. When the fairy fans his beautiful green-mottled wings, they brush Kadmeion’s cheek.

How Magical Interviewing Works

Lita Burke: Hail, fellow wizard well met, Kadmeion sen Magica Vir.

Kadmeion: Greetings to you, Madam Lita. So good of you to honor me with what you call an interview. I’m curious to meet the Gentle Reader friends of yours. You do carry on about their charming ways. Is it true they read my stories that you scribe?

LB: Your mad wizardly yarns fascinate them.

Explaining eBooks to a 16th Century Wizard
Explaining eBooks to a 16th Century Wizard

K: Do they hear my words now in this interview, like mind voice?

LB: I hear your words with mind voice, and a magical device transcribes them onto what you would call an “everywhere parchment.” Gentle Readers use, hmm, let’s call the contraptions “magical amulets” that show them the words in the everywhere parchment. [Lita’s Note: Yes, that was a clumsy way to describe computers, the Internet, and eBooks. How else would Lita explain such things to a wizard who lives with 16th century technology?]

K: In your world, would a person be considered mad if she hears voices in her head?

LB: Not if the person is a writer of books.

A Plate-Shaped Ocean World Where the Islands Float Above the Sea
A Plate-Shaped Ocean World Where the Islands Float Above the Sea

How Wizards Take Vacations

LB: Tell us about your visit to Wuddlekins Island for the Glitter Ponies story.

K: Wuddlekins Island is in the Elf-Kind Royal Archipelago, and is one of the five free-floating islands on the plate that is home to a unicorn herd. [Lita’s Note: Kadmeion lives on a plate-shaped ocean world where the islands float far above the sea.] My assistant Bright and I promised Lady Luck’s young daughter that we would take her there to visit unicorns. One of Bright’s brothers, Sir Andrus, is the magical curator for Wuddlekins.

LB: So were you working on this visit?

K: Not at the beginning. My only magical duty going in was to be Miss Probability’s guardian. I also looked forward to quiet research into the local magical flora and fauna.

LB: So wizards consider “quiet research” to be a vacation?

We Call This Ice-Skating on Our Ocean-Covered Ball of a World
We Call This Ice-Skating on Our Ocean-Covered Ball of a World

K: Library work relaxes me. Because Wuddlekins was floating so high in the clouds, the weather was wintry during our stay. I got outside and did some ice gliding. [Lita’s Note: We call this ice-skating on our ocean-covered ball of a world.]

LB: Based on the story you had me scribe, your Wuddlekins visit was no vacation.

K: The Wuddlekins unicorns had a grave magical illness. I am a wizard-for-hire, and the cranky equines hired me to investigate. Then many matters took a wrong turn, and the disrupted magical threads there almost slopped the oceans off the plate’s rim.

LB: Would you tell us some of the delicious magical details?

[Lita’s Note: Izlyesende grasps Kadmeion’s ear at this point, leans in, and whispers something only the wizard can hear. The wizard nods, and gives us an apologetic smile.]

Izlyesende Whispers in Wizard Kadmeion's Ear
Izlyesende Whispers in Wizard Kadmeion’s Ear

K: I beg your forgiveness, but I must step out and see to something straightaway. Madam Lita, you’ve been so good with scribing my Wuddlekins vacation. Would you let your Gentle Readers know when they can read these delicious magical details in Glitter Ponies?

LB: I shall tell them when Glitter Ponies is ready. Until our next mind voice meeting, fare thee well, Sir Wizard.

Next time: Sir Bright Talks About Glitter Ponies

Other interesting places to go snooping:

Review: The Eighth Birthday Wish

The Eighth Birthday Wish by Bruce E. Arrington is a children’s fantasy about a little girl named Sophia who seeks a magical birthday gift from the residents of the Great Rock Faery cave.

Sophia Enters the Great Rock Faery Cave
Sophia Enters the Great Rock Faery Cave

Young Sophia is surrounded by siblings that sing well, but she cannot carry a tune. Determined to become the finest songstress, she goes on a journey with her parents to the Great Rock Faery cave.

Only she can go inside and pick the singing voice of her dreams from one of the faerie. Problem is that none of them have a suitable voice. Sophia discovers a faerie in a most unusual situation. The little girl then learns the rewards of unselfishness, which is the best birthday gift of all.

The Eighth Birthday Wish is a story told in rhyme, and lavishly illustrated with Sophia’s adventures. Lita could not wait to see how the little girl’s dilemma in the Great Rock Faery cave turned out. The simple story delivered a satisfying conclusion.

Fantasy fans of all ages would enjoy this gem of a tale. Lita shall look around her garden and see if it has an entrance to the charming Great Rock Faery cave.

The Eighth Birthday Wish on Amazon US

The Eighth Birthday Wish on Amazon UK

The Eighth Birthday Wish on Goodreads

Bruce E. Arrington on Goodreads

Bruce E. Arrington website

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