Saturday, November 05, 2011

Spellslinger in Multiple Parts

While Nano is going on, many writers are madly trying to churn out 50,000 words in a month that not only contains a holiday (Thanksgiving), but also is short an hour because Daylight Saving Time ends. Okay, that's mostly only true for the US of A. Still, everybody's busy. To fill in the lulls between the lovely writers I'm hosting here and where the few bloggers have granted me parking space, I've decided to serialize my short story, "Spellslinger." Now, if you buy "Bad Spelling" from MuseItUp, this is included absolutely free as a bonus. Still, I'm a generous person, so here comes "Spellslinger," Part Une. It's a prequel to "Bad Spelling," but doesn't give away any spoilers. Well, not too many.

Leave a comment, on any of the Spellslinger segments and I'll put you in a draw for a free copy of "Bad Spelling." Sound good?


Rune stuffed his hands into his jeans pockets and stomped down the street, his shoulders hunched. A clump of dandelions hugging the white picket fence leapt out at him, their squeaky little growls and slashing petals pulled a grin from the eleven-year-old warlock for a moment until he remembered he was in a bad mood.

He punted the attacking flowers with a transforming spell turning them into a tumbleweed rolling along the street. Rune sprinted after and gave it a kick with a Beckham bend. The shrub careened out of control over a picket fence and into a yard. Lilac, a witch who lived in the cottage, stepped out on her porch. “Rune, get that thing out of my garden!”

“Yes’m.” Rune’s cheeks reddened. He pulled out his wand and flicked it toward the offending bush. The shrub shook, then hopped in the air. When it landed, it sunk its brand-new roots into the ground on the edge of Lilac’s koi pond. The rose buds adorning the stems burst into full bloom and a few petals dropped and floated on the water.

Lilac smiled. “Congratulations, Rune. You charmed your way out of a telling-off.” The witch walked back into her home.

Rune continued on his way, his shoulders settling, a frown tugging the corners of his mouth back down. His friend, Dalton, had joined the Wolf Pack and seemed to forget that Rune was his best bud. The Wolf Pack wasn’t exactly condoned in the witch community, but as long as the transformed boys didn’t actually eat anybody, the warlocks turned a blind eye. Rune had promised his mother and aunt that he’d not get involved in the group. As a half vampire, the only vampire, he already had plenty to worry about without also taking on a wolf form. The boys’ play sometimes drew blood. No way could Rune keep from going mega-vampire at the sight of blood.

It sucked. Since he wouldn’t join the pack, they all stopped letting him hang out with them. Now he was stuck in the ?so not cool’ group to which his older half sister already belonged. She couldn’t cast a spell that didn’t blow up in her face, and since Rune couldn’t join the other boys in the Pack, he felt like an outcast. His mind pinged, and the word “outlaw” blazed in his mind. Yeah, that’s what he’d do, spell up a place of his very own. To heck with Dalton and those other boys turning themselves into werewolves. He’d become an outlaw, a real gunslinger. Or how about a spellslinger? That had a nice ring to it.

That’s it. He’d go old west, old U.S. west. He’d watched about a zillion westerns, so he figured he could conjure a proper old west town and he’d be...what? The leader of a bandit gang? The Sheriff of a little town taking on the bad guys? Yeah, he’d be the hero.

Well, that meant a white hat for sure. A huge, white ten-gallon Stetson appeared over his unruly thatch of black hair. He hooked his thumbs in the gun belt that materialized around his waist. An outlaw gleam lit his dark eyes. His walk transformed into a swagger, and cowboy boots made him an inch or two taller. By the time he stood in front of the Witches’ Council Hall, he was well decked out in the western garb he’d seen so many times on the 52” flat screen television stored in the council room.

TV channels couldn’t reach the witches’ island, Galdorheim. No station would bother sending their signals into the far reaches of the Arctic, nor would the signals penetrate the village’s protective shield. Captain Sean, the Irish warlock/sailor, took orders for entertainment and picked up CDs and DVDs when the supply boat made its way to Norway. The witches traded amulets and charms for things they could conjure, like the latest music and movies.

“Aunt Thordis,” he called. Her office door behind the raised dais was closed, which usually meant ?go away and leave me alone’.

This time, though, the door swung open and the tall, blond witch came through. She glanced at Rune, and her lips twitched to an almost-smile. “Well, Rune, it looks like you’ve got something weird planned.” She walked across the platform to its edge, then floated to the floor. Thordis looked him up and down, put her hands on her hips, and snorted. “I do not believe, nephew, that we have any ranches close by.”

“Oh, this isn’t a cowboy outfit. I’m the lawman.” A shiny star appeared on his shirt over his heart saying “Sheriff Rune.”

The regal witch nodded slowly. “I see. What does that have to do with me?”

“I want to spell up a town like in the old west in the United States. It’s got to have some bad guys. Maybe some bandits or cattle rustlers.” He touched his Stetson. “I’m the good guy.”

“Again, why would this interest me in the slightest?”

“I’m not good enough at spellcasting yet to make a whole town. I’m kind of stuck at the saloon. As soon as I try to add a bartender, half the bar disappears.” Rune stuck his thumbs in his gun belt and said, with what he hoped was an authentic western drawl, “I’d be right pleased, ma’am, if’n you’d loan me some magic.”

“A whole town? Where exactly are you going to put this town?”

“Oh, outside the village dome. There’s that big glacier near the ice cave. That should be plenty of room. All I need is the street, a saloon, 'cause that’s where the bad guys hang out, the sheriff’s office, a trading post, and some horses tied up outside the saloon.”

The corners of Thordis’s mouth turned down, and she heaved a deep sigh. “You’re not asking for much, are you?”

Rune pressed his palms together and donned his best begging face. “Pretty please.” Thordis may give him a hard time, but he knew deep down she loved him. He’d just have to wear her down.

Thordis shook her head, but said, “All right, but I’ll only give you two hours of booster magic.”

Rune grinned. “That’ll be plenty, Aunt Thordis. Thanks!”

With a quick spell, Thordis enhanced Rune’s magic for his project. When she finished, she grabbed his chin and leaned over him. “Stay out of trouble, boy. Indiscriminate use of magic can be dangerous.” Rune nodded his head vigorously, and she let him go.

He jogged out of the Council building and rushed down the main street of Galdorheim village. He reached the gate leading out of the protective magical bubble, and hesitated when he thought how cold it was out on the glacier. The translucent shield surrounded the village, maintaining a constant warm spring within. Outside were the harsh conditions of an icebound island sitting in the middle of the arctic Barents Sea.

Rune shivered while he invoked his own little bubble for his project. He went about building the town as he had described to Aunt Thordis. He shivered once more feeling the vast coursing of Thordis’s borrowed magic surging through his body. It almost made him dizzy. He hoped he would someday have that much power for his very own. He smiled when he heard Thordis’s voice in his mind. “Practice, Rune, practice is the only way.” He shook his head ruefully. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll practice.” He felt Thordis slip away, leaving him to his own devices.



  1. I hope you leave all the sections up of this Rune story. I want to copy them as a whole so I can enjoy the whole story. Rune is one of my favorite characters from your delightful series.


  2. Great idea to share Spellslinger this way. This is a wonderful prequel to Bad Spelling. I'm off to tweet about the fun going on here.

  3. How cute! I love the name "Spellslinger" for the series, and I especially love how Rune knows he can wear Thordis down. ;) I had to laugh at how he'll put them "just outside the village dome." Very cute voice! :)

    Adriana Ryan

  4. Believe it or not this is the first chance I have had to read this delightful story. I love the beginning and love Rune. He is so cute! I can't wait to read the next parts. Very clever!!

  5. I have an eleven year old grandson who I picture as Rune. Can't wait to follow his adventures as a spellslinger...very clever.