Magic Realism

Surviving Magical Attacks without Being a Mage

Note to Archer’s Aim readers: what follows is a short treatise from Wishton Ackford from my Reformed Mage book where he reveals a little about his interactions with magic as someone who possesses no magical abilities.

As someone with a predominant background in writing, investigations often prove challenging for one such as I. Too frequently, I find myself in dangers for which I never prepared as a younger man. It’s true the streets and taverns of Cal Rindon can hold their own threats at times, but these are not as unpredictable as they are with my newest chosen profession.

Being out of work taught me much about taking care of myself since I lived in places where crime and threat went hand-in-hand. But that environment was relatively short-lived compared to the rest of my life and the several years of investigatory work with my partner Mandlefred Mandeheim. Cutthroats can be avoided in any number of ways, even fought off if necessary, but a destructive spell is not so easy to avoid. Likewise avoiding some of the other nefarious characters with whom we interact challenged me in the beginning of the business partnership.

Manny taught me new skills of avoiding contact and escaping conflict. Unfortunately, many of these skills were learned on the job in dangerous conditions. One might think one deserves hazard pay from these frequent encounters, so we do charge clients for risk and danger involved.

My first learning curve was how to stay out of the way when magic comes along. But this is not so easy in some circumstances. Magical traps with curses of all kinds can often be set off and may have lethal effects. Manny is a top-notch mage with skill at disarming these many traps but care must still be taken. Of course, I came into possession of a fleer gun with which I can provide myself a modicum of self-defense when conflict arises. This is too often the case during our investigations and can occur at a moments notice. I’ve learned to keep my hand in my pocket and ready with the fleer gun based on circumstances but those are not always predictable.

My training has been besed on Manny’s spy-craft which he learned from his many years performing that job with the Imperial espionage service nicknamed the “sniffers”. Manny taught me how to create quick disguises to throw off pursuit as well as recognizing individuals who may be following me or laying traps for us. But when I first began I knew little of investigation and the other skills necessary which I have described. Experience has taught me much and I’m all the wiser for it as well as more circumspect with my actions. Unexpected magic attacks from the shadows is now a common occurrence for me, but I’ve found the work rewarding and steady.

Danger is ever present one investigates criminal troubles and there are few indicators of the surprises which lurk seemingly at every corner. Even common criminals can catch you unaware. With Manny along on the cases and the training he’s provided me, as well as learning from experience about magic, I’m far better prepared than when I began to meet all the challenges which all too often arise in this business. The real eye-opener has been how much magical crime goes on in Cal Rindon and, I suppose, and other locales. The other non-magic users in the world are seemingly oblivious to the many dangers around them. But then, the Imperial government has taken many steps to quell much of the criminal activity which can be done with magic.

Thanks for reading today and I hope you enjoyed a little deeper foray into Wish’s world and his adventures with Manny in their investigations. Your reactions and thoughts are welcome and please feel free to share the post as you like. I hope to release the first book of the series later in the year if work progresses well in the next month or so.

Gaslamp Fantasy Excerpt: The Order of the Dark Rose Pt 3

Read an excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose and find out more about the book, including the exciting news – paperback has arrived!


Good morning everyone! Along with another excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose this week, there’s additional news for the book – paperback has arrived! This book has been well-received already and so it’s wonderful news that print has arrived. Along with the excerpt and the added reading format, it’s also time to share the print cover.

As a matter of note and also a reminder, there are two former excerpts linked just below which highlight Wish often being caught in the middle of magic to his danger as originally discussed in the character highlight post for Wish entitled: A Wish and a Prayer.

Gaslamp Fantasy Excerpt: The Order of the Dark Rose Part 1

Gaslamp Fantasy Excerpt: The Order of the Dark Rose Part 2

Let’s move on to the newest excerpt from the book which is a little longer today just because of the paperback release:

The blue hood of my companion’s coat framed her lovely face in the warm light of the foyer like an artist’s painting. Her fragrance set my thoughts alight, and I longed to kiss her ruby lips. Her presence left me light-headed. “May I take your coat, Lady Stroffage?”

“No. I prefer its company, if you don’t mind the damp remains of the weather.” The melody of her voice entranced me anew, like a trained singer at a show. Her demure smile seemingly invited me closer to her full lips. The porcelain hue of her oval face, slightly flushed at the cheeks, drew my attention. The glimmer in her dark eyes spoke of a lady of wit and charm. Lady Stroffage withdrew the hood, which revealed her brunette tresses coiffed in a thick weave of curls, some of which hung about her neck enticingly.

What a glorious day for meeting such a client, regardless of the rain. More than four months with few useful cases and cold leads regarding the Watcher or the assassins. Without direct link between the two and nothing of Manny’s witness, we left the Kantar unpaid for more than a month, and his supply of needles dwindled to just a few. This and actually taking some of Cyrus Lofton’s work might send us toward solvency. But a beguiling lady of wealth promised better prospects for more than one reason.

I cleared my throat and drew my mind back to the matter at hand. It had been too long since a rendezvous with any of my lady friends. Perhaps a step up might be in order. This lady smiled at me often on the trip to meet Manny. I imagined that a bit of heroic effort to solve her problem would put me in her good graces. I cleared my throat a second time. With a wave of my hand, I directed Lady Stroffage to the stairwell. “Just this way, then.”

We soon arrived at Manny’s door, where I peeked in at him. Good, he was hard at work on some project, not engrossed in one of his crazed information binges. Better yet, he still appeared in his regular form, as it were, rather than a child or doddering old man.

I opened the door wide and led our lovely new client into the room. “Manny, we have company.”

My business partner never looked up from his table where he examined some of the magic residue collected wherever he travelled. He whirled away and searched for a book on his crowded shelves. “Just a moment, and I shall attend, Wish.” He withdrew a book from a shelf and flipped through the pages without pause as he muttered to himself. With his back still to us, Manny partially turned and tossed the book on the table without paying much mind to our new client.

The lady offered me a smile at my hesitant glance.

I dipped my head and returned the lady’s sunny expression with one of my own. “Manny, she’s here about an item that needs—”

“Another moment or two, if you will, Madam.” Manny reached high on the shelf and retrieved another book. He flipped through the pages with quick glances and muttered sudden approval. He turned to us and caught sight of me and our new client, one eye comically covered by his Seeing Stone strapped about his head. “Now, this may well hold the—.”

A moment of stunned silence passed as Manny gaped.

“Lady Stroffage, if I may present Mr. Mandeheim, my esteemed part—”

Manny’s book fell from his hands and slammed to the floor.

The sudden noise whirled my head toward him in surprise.

Manny fumbled with the numerous casters on the table before him. He finally found the one he wanted and ducked below the level of the tabletop, his arm extended and the wand pointed directly at our new client. As casual as the intense gleam in his eye, he peered over the table behind which he crouched. “Wish, now would be a good time to run.”

It was now my turn to gape. “What?”

Lady Stroffage set about tugging at the fingers of her gloves as she removed them. A casual smile spread upon her face, and a twinkle danced in her eyes.

“I’ll deal with this one. Just run before you get hurt.” Manny’s wand never wavered. Neither did his voice.

I stepped between him and the lady with a determined set of my jaw. At least, I thought so. My knees wobbled at the sight of what I took to be a lethal wand pointed at me. I’d rather be fleered. I worked some wetness into my mouth and found words. “Manny, this is a client, Lady Stroffage, who is in need of our services.”

“I know exactly who she is, though the name is an obvious fake.”

“And who is she, then?”

“I know her mainly by reputation and description. A dubious woman of unsurpassed beauty. Am I not correct, Ms. Vyara Vladimirova Bliznakova?”

Lady Stroffage cleared her throat, and her melodious voice sounded from behind me. “An insult and a compliment in the same sentence, but no appreciation. One wonders how you recognized me. If it weren’t for such talent, perhaps I should find another—”

“That won’t be necessary, Lady Stroffage.” My eyebrows dove into my line of vision at my frown. Vyara what? “We can handle the search for your missing item.” To Manny, I added, “It’s a magical item. An heirloom.” My eyes fixed upon the wand pointed at me.

“Indeed, I’m sure it’s quite magical. Likely dangerous. Wish, this is a most dangerous woman. Perhaps the most dangerous in this entire city. You should run.” He reached for another wand on the table.

My frown deepened. Two wands? Who did he mistake Lady Stroffage for?

The distinct poke of something in the small of my back sent a chill along my spine. My frown disappeared as my eyes widened. I gasped.

“You should have run, Mr. Ackford. Except I’m actually here on business to recover something I’ve lost.” The melodious tone fluttered with the same beauty as before while the wand prodded my back.


That’s a fun little excerpt that underscores how Wish frequently finds himself in trouble. Find out why and how he gets out of danger in the book:

The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files:

Blurb:

An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.

The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without criminal activity. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.

Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. The limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.

Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.

Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…

Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.

A mixture of gaslamp fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-like cases, The Order of the Dark Rose is a sleuth private detective mystery set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.

Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him?

Click one of these buttons for more information (print at Amazon only at this time): 

     

About the Author:

Multi retailer Bestselling Author, Fantasia Reviews Book of the Year Author 2017 & 2018

U. S. author, P. H. Solomon grew up with a love of books including fantasy. Always interested in odd details, history and the world around him, P. H. has found an outlet in writing where he mixes a wide range of interests from the regular world, history and anthropology into his fantasy books.

His epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, brought a fresh viewpoint to the genre where magic, myth and mysticism mingle. Described by readers as a “mixture of the classic fantasy past with new ideas.”

Trading Knives (0.1)

What is Needed (0.2)

The Bow of Destiny #1

An Arrow Against the Wind #2

The White Arrow #3

The latest series, The Cursed Mage Case Files is a mash-up of classic Sherlock Holmes, The Dresden Files and Harry Potter into a unique fantasy world where magic is both an arcane practice and a technological power to be harnessed. Join Mandlefred Mandeheim and Wishton Ackford as they team up to investigate magical mysteries.

The Order of the Dark Rose #1

The Unseen Hand #2 (upcoming)

The Nine Jewel Heist #3 (upcoming)

More books:

Curses Dark and Foul

The Black Bag

See the entire book catalog at P. H. Solomon’s Amazon Author Page.

Find more about P. H. Solomon as well as articles and research notes, plus a free stories, at https://www.PHSolomon.com

New Releases Arriving This Week!

Hey everyone, just a few announcements about things coming soon so this will be very quick as a heads-up.

The site will be busy the next couple of weeks with print releases. These releases aren’t big at this point, but they are not business as usual either.

First, will be the delayed paperback release of The Order of the Dark Rose. The release will be for KDP only (though there is extended distribution enabled). I’m pushing to have this series and other books in print much sooner than I did with The Bow of Hart Saga because I’m now more familiar with the formats and what my goals are for them. I’ve also seen more demand for them than expected so I’m happy to accommodate reading preferences.

Next comes the hardcover release of The Bow of Destiny. It’s a bit of a surprise to me that I’m even going to this print format. It may not create much in the way of sales immediately but I think it will be useful in the long term. As I’ve mentioned previously, I do have the goal of pushing these into bookstores, the details of which I’ll explain in a future post.

After that, early and mid-April will welcome both An Arrow Against the Wind and The Order of the Dark Rose into hardcover while The White Arrow will arrive in hardcover in early May. I’ll share more about each as the time comes, but you can find out more about my very fluid publishing schedule on my News page which has been cleaned up. If you would like to host a blog stop please let me know and we can work out dates for them (I’m very flexible). I’ll try to work on some events to cover all the new print releases to publicize them further but I’m not in a hurry since I view these as a long-term release.

Thanks for stopping today and please share this post as you like.

If you are interested in more about my books, here’s a bit about my most recent title, The Order of the Dark Rose: Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files…

Blurb:

An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.

The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without criminal activity. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.

Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. The limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.

Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.

Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…

Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.

A mixture of gaslamp fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-like cases, The Order of the Dark Rose is a sleuth private detective mystery set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.

Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him?

Click one of these buttons for more information: 

     

About the Author:

Multi retailer Bestselling Author, Fantasia Reviews Book of the Year Author 2017 & 2018

U. S. author, P. H. Solomon grew up with a love of books including fantasy. Always interested in odd details, history and the world around him, P. H. has found an outlet in writing where he mixes a wide range of interests from the regular world, history and anthropology into his fantasy books.

His epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, brought a fresh viewpoint to the genre where magic, myth and mysticism mingle. Described by readers as a “mixture of the classic fantasy past with new ideas.”

Trading Knives (0.1)
What is Needed (0.2)
The Bow of Destiny #1
An Arrow Against the Wind #2
The White Arrow #3

The latest series, The Cursed Mage Case Files is a mash-up of classic Sherlock Holmes, The Dresden Files and Harry Potter into a unique fantasy world where magic is both an arcane practice and a technological power to be harnessed. Join Mandlefred Mandeheim and Wishton Ackford as they team up to investigate magical mysteries.

The Order of the Dark Rose #1
The Unseen Hand #2 (upcoming)
The Nine Jewel Heist #3 (upcoming)

More books:

Curses Dark and Foul
The Black Bag

See the entire book catalog at P. H. Solomon’s Amazon Author Page.

Find more about P. H. Solomon as well as articles and research notes, plus a free stories, at https://www.PHSolomon.com