Some thoughts on magic!

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So, I thought I might share some thoughts on magic in The Shattered Isles.  Let’s start with what we already know about magic in this world:  it is a learnable skill.  We have seen this with Pattenia and Denalia training at the girl’s school, learning to cast spells or use magic to create potions.  We have seen Serren spending hours reading tomes, learning the secrets of spell work.  So, it is not just a gift from the gods, but a matter of technique and practice.

Why would this be the case?  Two reasons.  First, the training develops the part of the brain that controls magic.  Most people are born with a very small part of their brain dedicated to magic.  Even without development, people experience their magic instinct in the form of intuition, instinct and even, sometimes, what seems like luck.  For example, if someone gets a strange feeling, then turns to realize someone has been watching them, that is their magic ability alerting them to their observer.  Sometimes, when in danger, people will report that time seemed to slow down.  Once more, this is an instinctive activation of their magic skills.

Without training, the inherent magic ability in all people never rises beyond this level of unaware manifestation.

However, with practice, most people can develop their magic instinct becoming capable of manipulating magic and using it to change reality itself.  Remember that we now know that everything is made of energy.  Energy can become matter, and matter energy. Magic users learn to manipulate the energy of their universe to their own ends.

So, one part of the training develops the brain and the magic ability.  In addition, magic users learn to use and channel energy to and through their brains much more efficiently than most people.  Although the brain takes up only 2% of the body’s mass, it eats up 20% of our daily energy needs– about 320 calories.  Cognitive tasks cause the brain to eat more energy, and none more than magic.  So, spell casters have to become very “fit”– the equivalent of long distance runners, with tremendous mental endurance.

The spells, symbols and secrets learned all serve to help a witch or wizard focus and bend reality to their will.  They can also serve to protect them from others who would seek to use their magic against them. So, in addition to developing their brains, spell users learn certain chants and spells that have been developed over the years to help the caster bring about a specific result.  The spell the hekatin used to transform Serren into a girl is an example of such a spell.  Transforming someone’s sex is very complicated and difficult to manage, so the spell helps make that transformation happen without some sort of error or mistake.  Even the faith necessary to believe such a transformation is possible must be learned and bolstered, and the spells help with that sense of faith as well.

Much of magic remains a mystery, even to the users.  Were you to ask Actonia how she turned a buck into a doe, she would have to admit that she really doesn’t know.  She only knows that when she casts the spell, the change happens.  Magic defies logic, rationality, reason– which is one reason the Priests of Maxis look upon it with suspicion.  The hekatin, however, celebrate creativity, emotion and the irrational, and they are quite comfortable with the notion of change, and that nothing we see might be what it appears.

Magic versus Miracles

So far, I have been writing only about the magic worked my the men and women of the Isles.  There is a second kind of supernatural power in the world, however, and that is the work of the Gods and their agents.  When the power comes from a deity, that power is in the realm of a miracle, meaning it is worked and granted by a divinity.  Mortals have no control over miracles; they are granted according to the will of the Gods.  Sometimes, a mortal of particular merit may be granted the ability to request certain miracles such as healing or protection, but this is always a power coming from outside the person as a gift.  The power does not come from them, and this is not a skill that can be learned.

 

Thoughts: My Lord, My Lady

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I love it when authors from other genres choose to write a gender bender, and so I was quite excited to stumble upon a body-swapping romance from New York Times best selling author of romance novels Katherine Ashe.

Lady Corrina, an intelligent, well-read young woman, has intellectual ambitions, largely stifled by her sex.  lord Ian Chance loves horses, drinking and bedding women.  Naturally, Corrina thinks she despises Ian, though they have known each other all their lives.  Of course, it does seem the lady doth protest too much.

Enter a magic statue which causes them to switch bodies.  Ian wakes up in a room so feminine it makes him want to puke, only to look down and become more horrified to discover  he now has a woman’s shape.  The situation only gets more nightmarish when he realized he has become Corrina.  Corrina, meanwhile, finds herself equally horrified to be in his body.   They communicate, trying to figure out what to do, and decide they will have to live each other’s lives as long as they are trapped in their new bodies.

There are some very fun gender swapped moments.  Ian complaining of his corsets and being forced to spend his nights at salons.  Corrina getting a thrill as she is finally allowed entrance to the exclusive men’s clubs she has been barred from, and then being surprised to find the men she’d thought so shallow are actually intelligent and fun.

Ian suddenly finds himself constrained and limited, having to worry constantly about his reputation, and when a man besmears it Ian finds himself standing behind Corrina while she punches the man to protect Ian’s honor.

We do get some sexual tension between the two as well, but alas their is no physical consumation until they are back in their own bodies.  All in all, this is a very fun read, one that derives its enjoyment mainly from being a traditional romance with all the expected beats, but where we get to see a man in the woman’s role, and a woman in the man’s.  I say– read on!

Caught up in The Shattered Isles!

Taylor Galen Kadee

I am getting a lot of writing done on Brother Bewitched II, and for me that means my thoughts and even dreams are filled with my characters and their struggles and mistakes and triumphs and fears!  Scenes keep coming to me, and my biggest challenge it to write, write write while the visions are still clear in my mind.

It’s so fun seeing them all again, catching up with Serren and Pattenia, Bucket and Danalia, Nemeria and Asryn!  They keep surprising me, and I hope that fun and surprise will come through to my readers.

So, for now, here’s a possible cover concept for the second book.  I would love your feedback!

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My Runway: Body Swap Gender Bending Fun!

Check out my Gender Bending YA Fantasy Novel, Brother Bewitched!

My Runway on Netflix

What is it to be a male?  A female?  How closely does anyone really adhere to the stereotypes?  No nation explores these ideas with as much creativity and vigor as Korea, and My Runway, now available on Netflix, does a wonderful job exploring these questions while also having a lot of fun.

In the series, a guy and a girl swap bodies.  Been done before, right?  But the choices here make it more interesting from the start.  The male, Jae Boem, is the world’s top male model, and very much a spoiled princess.  Arrogant, haughty, and superior, he swans around like the the world is beneath him, disrespects others and is perfectly confident in his beauty.

The female, Na Jin Wook, is a high-school student with bad grades who dreams of being a model and refuses to listen when people tell her she is too short.  Spunky and full of pep, she believes that she can succeed through hard work despite her unfavorable genetics.

They swap bodies and suddenly Jae Boem finds himself the cute but imperfect girl, physically over-powered by another high-school girl and dragged into a mundane life.  Meanwhile,  Na Jin Wook finds herself sharing a house with a bunch of super hot guys, including a male model she has been crushing on from afar.

Of course, there are romantic complications and lots of drama.  The types are all mixed up, too, with guys who obsess over designer fashion and hair, aggressive girls and a lot of mixing and matching of gender types that reflect reality more than most shows.

I don’t want to say much more because it is all fun and a lot of that fun comes from surprise, but if you are interested in gender identity and what makes us who we are, check out this fun and super-well-acted and written series!