Announcing the Wild Magic bundle!

There’s the real world…
…and then there are our worlds, secret, wild, and free.

We can’t remember when we first noticed magic.

Oh, sure. When we were kids, we played pretend and imagined we were powerful sorcerers, clever tricksters, and subtle witches. But then we got older, and we told everyone that we’d grown up and were too old for that stuff now. How much we wanted to be like the adults!

But then the enchantments of adulthood grew thin. We may not like to talk about it, but we know it’s true: all the things we truly needed to learn in our lives, we learned as children, as dreamers. We learned what it was like to be stand up for what we believed in…and what it was like to be punished for it. We learned how to fall in love…and how to be rejected by our first crush. We got up to mischief…and hurt someone we shouldn’t have.

And we knew what it was like to be filled with wonder at the world.

But adulthood doesn’t last forever. As the enchantments of adulthood finally grew as thin as a haze in the sky, we began to see magic again.

Here and there.

In the small things—and sometimes in the big things when we needed it most. We vowed to protect it, to nurture it, and to visit it as often as we can.

The Wild Magic bundle holds ten volumes of the magic. Ten books about what we find after we have passed through the illusion that we can live without wonder in the world, and come out the other side.

Pack your bags, put on your good walking shoes, and make sure you bring plenty of water. We’re going out into the wilderness, and who knows when we’ll be back?

The Books

In Anthea Sharp’s Marny, Marny Fanalua meets an entrepreneur who is opening an all-ages hangout where he plans to share the incredibly realistic simulations he’s created from the game of Feyland. He doesn’t realize what he’s done is damaging the boundaries between the human world and the dangerous Realm of Faerie, but Marny does—and she knows they must act before it’s too late.

In A Gamer’s Wish, by Tao Wong, Henry Tsien has been living the quiet life of a mundane mortal until he stumbles upon a magical ring which contains an ancient jinn resides. Henry wishes for magic, and stumbles into a world of adventure and a hidden magical world that is more banal and wondrous than he could ever imagine.

The New Strawberry Princess, by C. Beth Walker & Ezekiel James Boston, takes us to a world of influencers, icons, multimedia stars…and magic. Repo woman “Mindy” Jones discovers Strawberry Sherry’s magical flavor profile in an abandoned car rental. Striving to help, Mindy dives headfirst into a secret world beyond her wildest dreams.

In Christine Pope’s The Witches of Wheeler Park, Jake Wilcox has a mission: to locate any witches or warlocks born outside established witch clans and make sure they have a safe place to develop and nurture their magical talents. But he may have found more than he bargained for in Adara Grant, a young woman whose extraordinary gifts put her—and the entire Wilcox clan—in grave danger.

In Melissa McShane’s The Smoke-Scented Girl, promising young magician Evon Lorantis is stumped by a mystery: a rash of spontaneously occurring fires, hotter than any natural force can produce. He tracks down the rogue magician behind the fires…a woman using magic to prosecute justice on her own terms.
Leslie Claire Walker’s Angel Hunts takes us to a world of angels, assassins, and magic. The Order of Assassins Night Sanchez betrayed finally tracks her down. But there’s something even more dangerous she must fight…if she can own her blood-drenched past and face the memory hidden deep within her mind.

DeAnna Knippling’s A Shrewdness of Swindlers takes us back to 1929. At the Honeybee’s Sting, a speakeasy in the basement of a laundry, a group of unusual figures meets to discuss the past—and perhaps some possible futures. Ten short stories take place along a long, dark night where nothing is what it seems, and the best way to tell the truth is to lie.

In T. Thorn Coyle’s By Moon, Selene feels overwhelmed by life, and just wants to live in the shadows, but their Goth club friends are dropping like flies. Something is stalking the community, but whom? Or…what?

In Rosemary for Reversal, by Jamie Ferguson, forty-one-year-old Laney Gibson has a special talent: she knows when to introduce people to each other. She’s kept this a secret her entire life, and is happily focused on getting ready to open the herbal apothecary in Boulder, Colorado that she’s dreamed about since she was a kid. But when her cousin Shannon shows up for a short visit and announces that Laney is a witch, things start getting complicated…

What if you could smell magic—or go to a bar and get a shot of magic to go with your cocktail? Will an aging sorcerer’s last pupil ever learn anything? And what could possibly go wrong when a pair of witches enter the local chili cook-off? Set your cauldron to bubbling, and enjoy the fifteen short tales in the anthology Magicks & Enchantments!

The Wild Magic bundle

This bundle is available for a limited time at

Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of the purchase price to the charities Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!

Happy Spring!

Spring is here, my crabapples are blooming, and I’m fully vaccinated and on Saturday got to visit with my family in person and without a mask for the first time in over a year! 🙂

Since my last post Jasper had surgery, which was stressful and scary—but it went amazingly well! He had a mass on his liver, and the day of surgery the vets did a CT scan and found something in one of his lungs that was so tiny it hadn’t shown up on the X-rays. We paused everything and spent the next week talking with multiple vets and fretting about what to do. We decided to take out both things in the hope that they weren’t related. And they weren’t! We got so lucky—if it hadn’t been for the benign thing on his liver, we wouldn’t have even known about the thing in his lung until it was too late. Hooray!!!!!

While all of that was going on, I was wrapping up the last bits for Fresh Starts, the first ever Pikes Peak Writers Anthology. Lou J Berger and I co-edited all of the stories, I formatted the book, Jenny Kate edited the poems, and Jenny and Kathie Scrimgeour handled marketing. Josh Clark, one of our authors, designed the cover.

And check out this awesome quote about the anthology!

“FRESH STARTS bursts with wonderful stories that showcase exciting new literary voices! Very highly recommended!” –Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of V-WARS and INK

Pulling all that together was a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work. Lou and I went through all stories, memoirs, and non-fiction and narrowed the 200+ manuscripts down to 23. Lou then took on the heroic task of first editor for all but the two manuscripts I handled. We went through multiple rounds of edits, and while that took a ton of time, I really enjoyed working with Lou. Co-editing is a pretty big task to do together, and it was great to see how compatible we are. We might even collaborate on another project in the future!

Speaking of editing, I also edited and published a new anthology on my own: Magicks & Enchantments. I’ve wanted to put this one together for a while, but between the pandemic, my day job, and the time I spent on Fresh Starts, it took longer than planned to get this out. But now it’s finally published! It’s the first issue in a new anthology series, and the plan is to publish one issue/year, which is the same thing I’ll be doing for the Haunted anthology series.

I’m trying to be careful with how many anthology projects I commit to so I can make progress on writing novels. I’ve got two more anthologies in the works right now, and hope to get those wrapped up and published soon. I’ll also have a new novel out in June. It doesn’t have a title yet, so hopefully I can come up with one I like. 🙂 It’s been extra hard to find time, so while it’s great that I beat my personal record and hit 14 meetings/day at the day job multiple times, I’d much rather spend my evenings writing than working.

Here’s a sample from “Diamond Betty,” my short story in Magicks & Enchantments.

I leaned against a pillar of marble, tucked a stray curl behind my ear, and took as deep a breath possible given the ridiculously tight corset I wore. I rummaged through my beaded satin handbag, pushing aside the tiny, ribbon-wrapped spells I’d prepared ahead of time as I pretended to look for something—but I was really watching my target out of the corner of my eye.

Elizabeth Mercy Lévesque—or, as she was known here in Denver, Colorado, Diamond Betty—stood in the center of the mezzanine of the opera house, light glinting off the giant blue diamond that was the centerpiece of her necklace. Her flame-red hair stood out against her ermine opera cloak like a splotch of wine on a white linen tablecloth. She held a flute of champagne in one hand; her other hand rested on the arm of her new husband, Cornelius Montgomery. Betty said something I couldn’t make out from this distance, and then tossed her head back with a laugh like the pealing of bells. The crowd of well-dressed, well-coiffed, and well-to-do ladies and gentlemen surrounding her joined in, a few giving soft, polite claps.

Cornelius started a silver mining company right after he left the Union Army, invested in real estate and other mining holdings, and by the mid-1870s he was worth well over five million dollars. He’d met Betty in Leadville. She’d been part of a traveling theater troupe, a singer, or perhaps a seamstress; no one seemed clear on exactly what. There was, however, no doubt about what had happened next: Cornelius left his wife of twenty-seven years, set up extravagantly appointed hotel suites in both Leadville and Denver for Betty, and began what turned into a two-year battle to get a divorce his wife. Somewhere along the way he’d acquired an elaborate necklace studded with diamonds and sapphires, with a large, dark blue diamond pendant; Betty had worn it at their lavish midsummer wedding a few months earlier. The newspapers said the necklace cost close to $100,000.

I’d come here for the necklace. Not because of how much it was worth, but because the blue diamond contained a demon.

—from “Diamond Betty,” in Magicks & Enchantments

Happy Spring!!!

Be careful what you wish for…

My latest short story, “The Wishing Thorn,” is now available in the Once Upon a Wish anthology! Anthea Sharp put together this wonderful collection. And I love the cover, which was designed by Christine Pope.

I based my story on the folklore of the blackthorn, the tree known as the “wishing thorn.” There are many tales about wishing trees around the world—from Scotland, to Hong Kong, to Argentina. After doing more research than I probably should have, I decided to focus on the Ogham trees in Irish mythology. I know what you’re thinking: what on earth is an Ogham tree?!? I didn’t know either, until I spent hours reading about mythology. 🙂

Ogham is an ancient Irish alphabet where the letters are named after trees or shrubs. The more I read about this topic, the more I realize there is to learn—so I’m definitely not an Ogham expert. But I’ve really enjoyed reading about how the different trees are assigned different days/months on the moon calendar, or which are associated with the solstices and equinoxes.

One of the folk names for the blackthorn is ‘the wishing thorn.’ The Lunantisidhe, thin, wizened fairies with pointed ears and teeth, inhabit blackthorn trees and are bound to protect them. These fairies do not like people at all, and will curse anyone who disturbs their trees at Samhain or Beltaine.

The blackthorn is associated with warfare, death, and malevolence…but also with protection, purification, and hope. I love the complexity in the mythology, and incorporated that in my story. And yes, the Lunantisidhe are in my story as well. 🙂 Here’s a snippet

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

At first it just looked like a bundle of twigs, but as it grew closer I realized it was a thin, wizened, human-like creature maybe a foot and a half tall. Its skin looked as if it were made from bark. Tiny spikes, like miniature versions of the thorns on the tree in front of me, jutted out from its head. Its ears were long and pointed, and its arms and legs were narrow and looked more like branches than limbs. Black, beady eyes were framed with eyebrows that looked almost like they were made of very small leaves.

It was one of the Lunantisidhe, the moon fairies who guarded the blackthorn.

Gram’s stories had been real after all.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Between my day job (where I’m averaging about 10 meetings/day…seriously) and catching up on anthology projects, I haven’t done any writing in the past month…but that’s all about to change! I’m finally caught up from 2020 (or at least “caught up enough”), and am about to start editing my third novel. I finished the first draft in the summer, and the first draft is always the hardest part for me…so this should be fun!

I’ve been so busy lately that my brain has been extra full, so I’ve been working on a steady stream of jigsaw puzzles. Here’s the latest puzzle, with my two puzzle assistants. 🙂 Notice the lovely illustrations—both images in this puzzle were illustrated by Kay Nielson in the 1914 book East of the Sun & West of the Moon.

Rosie and Jasper helping with the latest jigsaw puzzle.
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