Awakening Magic: how it begins

(Illustrations by Matthew Wall)

Part I

Chapter 1


            When Orgull, the foreman at the Red Thunder Mine, made his plans to kidnap Prince Emric, the dwarf didn’t think past the satisfaction of revenge.  The High King’s edict, banning slavery from all the dwarves’ mines and forges, had almost ruined the miners’ livelihood. 

            But Orgull also had a personal vendetta, for his face and body bore the scars of burns inflicted on him by the king’s advisor, Lord Malcolm of Hawk Hill. 

            In his hut at the Red Thunder Mine, Orgull sat at the table with the slave trader, Morg. 

            Rubbing his palms together, Orgull then spread out his fingers and studied the shiny, raised scars that covered his hands. 

            “I expect that Lord Malcolm, as a loyal subject of King Karbac, will be drawn into the search for the Prince,” Orgull said. “He’ll come to me like a moth to a flame.”

            Morg shook his head and scowled. “That Lord Malcolm is a powerful warlock,” he said.  “Ye’ll not be challenging his magic.”

            “Oh, not face to face,” Orgull grinned, showing his blackened teeth.  “I’ll shoot him down from afar, when he’s unsuspecting, like.”

            “Murder from behind?” Morg frowned.  “That’s not the dwarf way.”

            “Oh, and should I invite him to tea first?” Orgull said.  “Look at these hands, and this face,” he said.  “Was that a fair fight?”

            Morg shook his head again.  He’d already heard this speech from Orgull many times. “Where will ye put the boy?” he asked Orgull.

            “In the Labyrinth, of course,” Orgull replied. 

            Below the caves and the forges of Red Thunder Mine, the Labyrinth spread like a spider’s web of tunnels, winding and twisting deep in the earth.  It had been created, and later abandoned, by faeries centuries ago.

            “But what of the Snatcher?” Morg asked. 

            “Ain’t my concern,” said Orgull. “And what if it does eat the boy?  When we get the ransom, and our slaves back, the king himself can seek his son in the Labyrinth.”  Orgull snorted a laugh.  “Maybe the monster will eat ‘em both, father and son.”

            “The boy is well-guarded, ye know,” Morg said.  “How will ye nab him?”

            “Not me,” Orgull said.  “I’ll be getting a Grassman to do that job.”

So begins the adventures of Prince Emric, the twelve-year-old boy who wants only to compose and play music, and write poetry. His father, the king, has other ideas about the education of his heir. When kidnapped by the Grassman, Emric is swept into a task that demands great courage and sacrifice.

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*I think this may still be my favorite book in the Karakesh Chronicles. Read them all and tell me which you like best.


Guided by Magic: how it begins

Chapter 1


            I never told anyone that I saw the Grassman steal our baby.  I was four years old, minding my newborn baby sister, Toola.  Mam had set Toola in a basket in the sun.

            “Keep the baby quiet, Sada,” Mam said. “Don’t let her holler.” 

She went into the cottage to gather the washing.

            The day was fine, bright and sunny, and I closed my eyes while I leaned on the porch rail.  It was a rare moment that I wasn’t doing some chore or other, like picking burrs out of my brothers’ socks, or carding wool for Mam to spin. 

A shadow fell across my eyelids.  I opened one eye just a slit and saw a small green man carrying a bundle.  He was hurrying along the neighbor’s wall.  Jumping down, he tiptoed up to Toola’s basket.  He set down his burden, and peered at Toola asleep in her blankets.  Then he leaned over and pinched her cheek between a long green finger and thumb.

             “That’s my sister,” I said.  

            “Oooh, yes, that’s so!  And a fine wee worka girly she is, too.  We Grassmen be making a trade today–a girly for a girly,” said the green man.  He bent down with his arms outstretched.

            “Leave her alone!”

            “Hush, little worka girl,” the green man said.

            “Mam! Mam!”  I called out.  I didn’t know if I should run for my mother or stay with Toola.

            “Oh, too bad!” said the green man.  “The noisy little worka girl must have the sneezie powder.” 

The man reached into his pocket and threw dust in my face.  In an instant, I started to sneeze and sneeze.  My eyes watered and my throat burned.  I ran blindly into the cottage. I felt my way to the water cask, rinsing my eyes and mouth over and over until the pain and the sneezes subsided.  

Out at the back of the house, with her hands in a basin of sloshing suds, Mam had heard nothing.  I blundered my way to the wash table, blubbering and wiping my eyes.

“Toola!  Toola!”  I wailed.

“What is it, Sada?” Mam scowled.  “I’m over my elbows in work here.” She pushed hair off her forehead and left a scum of soap instead.

When at last Mam believed my desperation and followed me to the front porch, the green man was gone.  In Toola’s basket lay a different baby, all pale skin and spun glass hair.  She smiled and waved her little fists. 

Mam’s face looked shocked, then furious.  I was ready to run, thinking she would knock me into next week, but she didn’t.  A dazed smile came to her lips. As Mam lifted the infant out of the basket, a strange and lovely fragrance filled the air. I breathed in the scents of cinnamon and apples, and new-cut hay.

“Well, well, what have we here?” my mother cooed, in a gentle voice I’d certainly never heard.  “Such a pretty little thing.”

“What about Toola?” I asked.         

“Toola?  Aye, but the babe is here, is she not?” Mam said. 

“That’s not Toola,” I said.

My mother nuzzled the baby’s neck, breathing in deeply.  “ A little apple dumpling, you are,” she murmured, and put the baby to her breast.

And that is how my sister got her first name–Apple.  

Guided by Magic is the second book in the Karakesh Chronicles. Sada sets out to find her changeling sister (Apple) who was abandoned in the forest by their father when Sada was eleven years old. While searching, Sada rides with Travelers, spends time in a witch’s house, and deals with slave traders. Does she find her sister?

Guided by Magic and the rest of the Karakesh Chronicles are available at


Karakesh Chronicles: Book V is on its way

Bimi Lightfoot, ten years old, knows that his mother was a faerie. He knows he doesn’t fit in with the beach family who adopted him. Someday, he promises himself, he’ll find his mother and ask her who his father is. When Bimi’s faerie cousin scoops him off the beach to steal back a horse, Bimi’s chance to find the answers becomes a reality.

Once again, in Book V of the Karakesh Chronicles, the protagonist’s quest leads him into adventure, danger, and friendship.

Elf boy 3D effect

If you’ve read any of my other Karakesh Chronicles, you’ll know that the Kingdom of Karakesh is a land of magic and danger. The young characters encounter some fearsome faerie monsters, such as the dreaded fachan, whose glance may stop a heart, or the bunyip, a bloodthirsty dweller in rivers.

Book I, Tangled in Magic: Agatha sets out to find her twin brother, Malcolm, held prisoner by a warlock.

Book II, Guided by Magic: Two sisters struggle to unite and discover their destinies.

Book III, Awakening Magic: Prince Emric must avert a war between the faeries and dwarves.

Book IV, Ripples of Magic: Demara, a half selkie (Seal Person) hopes to join her selkie father in the sea.

Four Karakesh Chronicles are available on Amazon at

or from

I’ll let you know when Book V is ready.