Guild Matters Sye: Midwinter Festival for Secular Magicians

The Guild Matters Sye book whispers the arcane secrets of the Magic Workers and Merchant guilds. This is the first of three stories about Sye’s Midwinter Festival.

A Secular Magic Worker's Home Decorated for Midwinter Festival
A Secular Magic Worker’s Home Decorated for Midwinter Festival

The Midwinter Festival in the Enchanters of Sye world is held on the three darkest days of the year, when the sun shuns the northern sky. The yearlong snow fields of the mountain passes creep down the slopes and claim all but the low coastal towns and arid desert in the continent’s interior.

Almost all of Sye’s mountain dwellers abandon the heights during winter and join their family and friends in the more hospitable coastal towns. They begin this journey in late autumn because the ghosts walk during the three darkest days of winter. Without the proper magical preparations, ghosts can drive the living mad.

Small Light Charms Fueled With Enchanter Essence
Small Light Charms Fueled With Enchanter Essence

Sye’s living denizens adorn the windowsills and the outside of their homes with small charms that shed light fueled with essence. Because the dead do not care for the Enchanters’ magical essence, the ghosts avoid the magical glows.

The living decorates the inside of their homes during Midwinter Festival with rich colors, sweet-scented pine branches, and musical charms that play soft tinkling melodies. The secular magicians gather friends and family for feasts on all three Midwinter Festival nights.

Next time: Midwinter Festival for Church Magicians

Read stories from the Enchanters of Sye world:

True. Monkeys Do the Cooking in Death’s Castle

Lita takes Gentle Reader to the land of Clockpunk Wizard today, with an excerpt from Old Bony Blue Eyes.

Sir Death's Castle on Undying Island, at Rim's Edge
Sir Death’s Castle on Undying Island, at Rim’s Edge

Wizard Kadmeion and his assistant Sir Bright have arrived at Death’s castle. The wizard went to The Library to seek out Charon and his resident magician, Wizard Mephistopheles. Because Death is notorious for setting a poor dinner table, Bright went to the kitchen to fix dinner for himself and the two wizards. He is doing an inventory the pantry. Behind him, three entities shuffle in through the open kitchen door. Without needing to turn around, his magical sense tells Bright that his visitors are demons inhabiting homunculus bodies.

Bright turned and sucked in a breath. The narfleet was a clockworks magician who assembled metal automata to house the minor demons that Kadmeion summoned. Bright’s magical profession had counterparts who prepared plants or animal bodies for the same purpose. Here were three examples of a Meat-Man’s dreadful artistry.

Kadmeion went to The Library to seek out Charon and his resident magician, Wizard Mephistopheles.
Kadmeion went to The Library to seek out Charon and his resident magician, Wizard Mephistopheles.

An orangutan, a chimpanzee, and a tiny Capuchin monkey waited at the doorway. These homunculi wore miniature versions of Sir Death’s livery. The orangutan cracked his knuckles and looked everywhere but at Bright. The other two regarded him with large, awe-filled brown eyes.

“Good day, Sir Magician,” the chimpanzee said. “I am Theodore. The large fellow is Rupert. The wee one is Miss Constantinople. We are pleased to make your acquaintance.”

They looked at Bright with large, awe-filled brown eyes.
They looked at Bright with large, awe-filled brown eyes.

The demons’ respectful salutation required Bright to respond in kind. “Greetings, madam and gentlemen demons. I am Wolverhampton Brighton, the twice-seventh son of Elf-Lord M’Choakenchilde, and assistant to Wizard Kadmeion. You may call me Sir Bright.”

The three simians exchanged nods and grins. Rupert let out a happy screech. Miss Constantinople hopped in a circle and clapped her hands.

“Delighted to make your acquaintance, sir,” Theodore said. “You and your wizard’s reputations are known in the Nether Plains. Our master ordered us to help with your dinner preparations. We know nothing of cookery, but will do as you ask.”

(Old Bony Blue Eyes excerpt Copyright 2013 by Lita Burke. All rights reserved.)

Read Chapter 1 of Old Bony Blue Eyes for FREE

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon US

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon UK

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Smashwords

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Barnes & Noble

Review: My Wizard Buddy

My Wizard Buddy by Brian Wu and Scott Spotson is a middle grades fantasy about 11-year-old Tyler Dunsmore and his adventures with a magic-wielding youngster wizard.

Magic-wielding youngster wizard
Magic-wielding youngster wizard

Life just isn’t fair for young Tyler. His insufferable older sister is possessive of her electronic tablet–a treasure that has the hottest video game around. She uses the tablet to send stupid text messages to her friends, and Tyler’s parents scream at him to give it back. He is sulking outside when Dirk, an odd-talking lad, introduces himself and wants to be best friends. What is so odd about the new boy? First of all, Dirk announces that he is from another planet. A disbelieving Tyler scoffs. Then Dirk disappears. Literally. A moment later, Dirk pops back into view, and Tyler is a believer.

The Odd-Talking Lad is a Boy Wizard
The Odd-Talking Lad is a Boy Wizard

What follows is a fun romp filled with young boy adventures that only a like-minded little wizard can deliver. My Wizard Buddy is a charmer of a young YA fantasy story. Reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s “boy adventure” stories, but much lighter in tone and set with modern-day props.

Tyler is a well-drawn, believable little boy who just loves video games. Dirk is a lonely kid who shows great restraint in using his incredible magical powers.

My Wizard Buddy is a kid’s cool world for sure, plus it makes the adult reader smile. Remember those childhood days when having a magic-wielding best friend would have been the finest thing ever? That childhood dream-come-true world is in My Wizard Buddy.

My Wizard Buddy on Amazon US

My Wizard Buddy on Amazon UK

My Wizard Buddy on Goodreads

Brian Wu on Goodreads

Scott Spotson on Goodreads

Caught on Camera: The Real Truth About Clockpunk Wizardry

Turn up the lights and roll the cameras. In Lita Burke’s newest video, the author confesses to creating the Clockpunk Wizard world, telling the story inside of Old Bony Blue Eyes, and much more.

Here Lita Shows Us a Picture of an Elf's Home in the Clockpunk Wizard World
Here Lita Shows Us a Picture of an Elf’s Home in the Clockpunk Wizard World

The truth is now told. Lita finally steps forward and comes clean. She answers the endless questions Gentle Readers ask about the Steampunk, Clockpunk, and Fantasy genres.

Lita describes these three genres’ telltale clues that anyone can spot. She has pictures on them, and shows us.

There are more, almost naughty, details. Oh, the scandal when these three genres became a ménage à trois known as her Clockpunk Wizard world. Then there is that Old Bony Blue Eyes affair. Lita blushes, but tells us all about it.

For the crack investigators among you Gentle Readers, here are more clues about Old Bony Blue Eyes. It all starts with the book cover that has the verified picture of the charming wizard they call Sir Death. That part isn’t so bad.

What is much more incriminating is that the book cover comes with that suspicious, oh so brief spell that writers call The Pithy Sentence. Lita shows the cover and the pithy below. Wait, this next part is so sneaky. On the flip side of the book is more evidence in the back cover blurb.

A wizard faces a dangerous journey to Sir Death’s castle to win a powerful spell book for a love-starved dragon.
A wizard faces a dangerous journey to Sir Death’s castle to win a powerful spell book for a love-starved dragon.

Chapter 1 (Yes! Inside is actual proof about Clockpunk Wizardry.)

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon US (So this is how Clockpunk Wizardry is spreading like a bad rash in fantasy circles.)

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon UK (Wizard Kadmeion flew his airship across the pond, it seems.)

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Smashwords (iPads, tablets, and smartphones aren’t safe from this literary delight) Old Bony Blue Eyes on Barnes & Noble (and neither are Nooks).

Mermaid in a Bubble Trouble

Following a string of floating water globes called The Water Pearls
Following a string of floating water globes called The Water Pearls

Lita takes Gentle Reader to the land of Clockpunk Wizard today, with an excerpt from Old Bony Blue Eyes.

Wizard Kadmeion, Sir Bright, and the three fairies are on their airship and following a string of floating water globes called The Water Pearls to Sir Death’s island at the edge of their plate-shaped ocean world. A mermaid has taken a ride inside a large Water Pearl. Her globe has tangled in the airship’s rigging. Bright has just rescued their three fairies from the mermaid’s glamour spell. She is ravenous for magic, and tried to eat the fey-folk. Kadmeion has just climbed up to join them on the cabin roof. The mermaid tries her spell again, but this time focuses it on the young, magic-rich wizard.

Izlyesende kissed the squeezed spot in apology. Bright’s ear tingled from the fairy’s magic.
Izlyesende kissed the squeezed spot in apology. Bright’s ear tingled from the fairy’s magic.

Bright felt the itch of the mermaid’s renewed attraction spell. Izlyesende gasped, pinched the narfleet’s ear, and then relaxed when Bright’s natural glamour resistance protected the three fairies. Izlyesende kissed the squeezed spot in apology. Bright’s ear tingled from the fairy’s magic.

“Stop it, Madam Mermaid,” Kadmeion said. “Your trick will not work on me.”

Her glamour spell trickled away. This mermaid was a colorless, almost translucent being. She turned around once in her bubble, tried unsuccessfully to push her Water Pearl away from its mooring to the cabin roof, then curled into a waiting stance.

“Will you hold my hand, Sir Wizard?”

“You would surely bite me if I allowed that.”

“Will you hold my hand, Sir Wizard?”
“Will you hold my hand, Sir Wizard?”

“Mer has poor magical fare,” she said.

“Is that why mermaids savage wizards who fall into the sea?”

“Magic too long denied has made us greedy.” She brushed away her floating cloud of white hair and gave it an impatient glance.

If you want to woo her cooperation, Kadmeion, try a spell to play with her hair, Bright mind spoke.

Bright’s suggestion earned him a glance and a nod from the wizard. Kadmeion turned back to the fussing mermaid and sang this spell.

“Lovely mermaid encased in Water Pearl,
You grace my airship with hair unfurled.
Beautiful silver tresses
Replace land-lady’s dresses.
Your hair now obeys me. Undulate. Curl.”

The wizard made her locks sway and swim to his whim.
The wizard made her locks sway and swim to his whim.

Kadmeion lifted his hand and made a delicate swirling motion. The mermaid’s long hair lifted away from her face and mimicked the motion of the wizard’s hand.

He made her locks sway and swim to his whim. Kadmeion first twirled the long strands around her slim waist, and then spun them atop her head in a confectionary arrangement of braids and sparkling magical bits. By the time he finished the spell, the mermaid’s eyes glowed with pleasure.

(Old Bony Blue Eyes excerpt Copyright 2013 by Lita Burke. All rights reserved.)

Read Chapter 1 of Old Bony Blue Eyes for FREE

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon US

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon UK

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Smashwords

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Barnes & Noble

Review: The Firelord’s Crown

The Firelord’s Crown by Dee Harrison is an epic fantasy about the seventeen-year-old crown prince Falath and his despairing flight from the powerful usurper of his father’s kingdom.

Prince Falath Leaves His Home
Prince Falath Leaves His Home

Treachery claims Prince Falath’s bed-ridden father. The extent becomes clear when his cousin Rollo’s kinsmen, Malglint, reveals himself as a vassal to the conquering lord who has killed the king. Falath leaves his home with two companions: his sworn protector Rollo, and a foreigner-come-lately magician named Airen.

Falath and his friends are ever harried in his homeland. The hateful Malglint has a knack for trailing the prince’s party, plus has a deadly matter to settle with Rollo. Unassuming allies and double-crossing friends swirl into the prince’s path. The useful Airen swears to help, but harbors unsaid motivations that may jeopardize the prince’s life.

A Desperate Fight at the Edge of a Precipice
A Desperate Fight at the Edge of a Precipice

Desperation finally convinces Falath to choose exile in Airen’s foreign land while Rollo stays behind. His cousin will kindle an uprising among the prince’s subjects who dislike the usurper’s rule. Things do not go as planned when the canny Malglint corners the three fugitives in a desperate fight at the edge of a precipice. The outcome is heartbreaking.

The Firelord’s Crown is a most satisfying start to a hero’s journey. Falath, Rollo, and Airen are likable guys who cannot catch a break. Harrison uses a masterful hand to describe the brutal winter weather and adrenalin-soaked fights. Malglint is Lita’s favorite kind of villain—despicable.

Gentle Readers who love epic fantasy and haggard flights through an unforgiving countryside would enjoy The Firelord’s Crown. But beware of the political intrigue. The story will have Gentle Reader trusting your enemies and casting doubtful glances at friends.

The Firelord’s Crown on Amazon US

The Firelord’s Crown on Amazon UK

The Firelord’s Crown on Goodreads

Dee Harrison on Goodreads

Hobnobbing With the Wonderful Wizards of Words

Lita recently left her castle in the snowy northern realms for a visit to the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest ceremony in the sultry swelter of Miami, Florida.

RF Miami 2014. Lita, Lorrie, Jalpa.
2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Contest, Miami. Left to Right: Lita Burke, Lorrie Farrelly, Jalpa Williby.

Lita met fellow writers of many genres, exchanged spell papers (okay, business cards), and drank magical potions (cocktails).

The night air crackled with breathless talk and the lightening-strike pops of flashbulbs. Women wearing sparkling gowns made of starry fireflies floated past tuxedoed gents. The authors clutched their precious books stuffed with beguiling stories, and held them up for the obliging cameras.

RF Miami 2014. Photo courtesy of Jalpa Williby. Used with permission.
2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Contest, Miami. Left to Right: Lita Burke, Jalpa Williby, Linda Watkins. Photo courtesy of Jalpa Williby. Used with permission.

And then there was that breathless minute: walk to center stage, accept the award, and all but swoon from the applause for your story. Heavenly.

Allow Lita to introduce Gentle Reader to the books that the authors are holding in these pictures. Be sure to check out the award-winning stories that these wonderful wizards of words hobnobbed over at the 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest ceremony in Miami.

Terms of Surrender by Lorrie Farrelly is a historical western romance about a former captain in the confederate army, Michael Cantrell, and his search for redemption in the ranch lands of Wyoming.

Terms of Surrender is a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Award Winner in Fiction-Western (2014).

Timelapse by Lorrie Farrelly is a supernatural thriller about Alex, a graduate student, who tragically loses his wife in an accident.

Alex is swept into a time warp where he battles the harsh emotional reality of an alternate universe.

Timelapse is a Readers’ Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner in Fiction-Paranormal (2014).

Chaysing Dreams by Jalpa Williby is a young adult romance about a teenage girl named Tess and her journey to find the meaning of her disturbing dreams.

Chaysing Dreams is a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner in Romance-Suspense (2014).

Chaysing Memories by Jalpa Williby is a young adult romance about a now grown up Tess who has moved on with her life and joined the US Military Special Forces.

Chaysing Memories is a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner in Romance-Suspense (2014).

Mateguas Island: A Novel of Terror and Suspense by Linda Watkins is a supernatural thriller about a family down on their luck who inherit a magic-filled malevolent house on an island off the coast of Maine.

Mateguas Island: A Novel of Terror and Suspense is a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner in Fiction-Supernatural (2014).

Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke is a fantasy about a retired Enchanter who battles a powerful magician to keep a dangerous spell book from falling into the wrong hands.

Wrath, Prequel to Tredan’s Bane is a Readers’ Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner in Fiction-Short Story (2014).

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