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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.)
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.
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.
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 Bestiarum Vocabulum is the wizard’s encyclopedia of faerie beasties and mundane crossovers living in the lake and forest near Lita’s castle.
woodland satyr[wüd lənd sey ter]noun, 1325-1375; ME < L satyrus < Gr sátyros; also faun.
Denizen of the Clockpunk Wizard world.
One of two types of magical sentient creatures who are attendant on Wizard Bacchus. Woodland satyrs are part human and part goat. Woodland satyrs live in oak, beech, or aspen forests. 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.
Interviewers have a knack for getting Lita to confess all sorts of things. Here is more tittle-tattle about Clockpunk Wizardry.
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.
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.
The Book of the Dead explains the nature of Church magic in the Enchanters of Sye world.
ghost amulet[gōst amyələt]noun, c.900, OE gāst < ME goost; c.1550 amalettys < L amuletum; also spirit fetish or periapt.
Physical: Charm, midsize
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.
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: