Category Archives: Just Stuff

Merry Magic Happens

Thank you for this amazing year! We’ve been honored to be enjoyed by so many. To bring 2019 to a close, we present: The Magic Happens Magazine December 

The prompt words for our marvelous merrymakers

holidayscoldsublime

Each used so creatively, you’ll be hard-pressed to pick a favorite!

 Here are my humble offerings

Wishing You Smiles During the Holy Days

It Adds Up to a Great Year

For you and all those who mean the most to you, we, here at The Magic Happens Magazine we wish you a magical life.

Happy Holy Days! 

Annette Rochelle Aben, Editor

A Licence to Perform

I confess that morning, as I breakfasted on the steam packet, the
Unrivaled, I awaited the rising tide with growing trepidation. Nonetheless,
from my position aft of the funnel, I could see no suspiciously casual groups
of overly muscled men moving in our direction. Indeed all our party arrived
on time, boarded and we cast off at the hour appointed.
But we were barely fifty yards from the wharf when there was a commotion, a
lady with two men and a handcart was waving and shouting at us. It was
Nilinda. She is a very accomplished marimba player. In all candor, she was
the person to go to in Port Naain if you needed a marimba playing. Whilst
her professional life was settled, her private life was less stable. She had
been the mistress of Hulan Dorca for at least fifteen years. During this
period Hulan had courted and married two wives, and Nilinda had raised no
objections. But for some reason when Hulan married his third wife (He had
divorced the two previous incumbents prior to this. Hulan may have practiced
serial polygamy but was never actually bigamous.) Nilinda seems to have
objected strongly. Apparently, she didn’t object to the marriage, she
objected to Hulan and his new wife going away for a week’s honeymoon.
Now whether she had expected to be invited along I don’t know. Indeed I
didn’t dare ask. But she took this slight (as she saw it) very badly. So
badly that when the happy couple left, Nilinda summoned Master Bullifant to
the house. He was at the time an auctioneer but did house clearances as
well. Because she had a key, she let him into the house, he appraised the
contents, (everything but the marimba) and listed everything for sale. Three
days later, he’d cleared the building. Even the cracked chamber pots stored
in the servants’ attic had been taken and listed. The sale was a big
success. Nilinda watched it from a shadowy corner at the back. Bullifant
paid her cash, less the seller’s commission, before she left.
The next morning when she awoke, in a house empty save for the marimba, the warm
glow of satisfaction that she had felt the previous day had evaporated
somewhat. Nilinda decided that she might be better savouring her victory at
some distance from Port Naain. Then remembering our enterprise she decided,
not entirely unreasonably, that it would proceed better with a marimba
player. So she stepped outside into the street, pointed to two men at random
and said, “You and you, fetch that handcart from over there and accompany me
to the docks with my marimba.”
The two men obliged. I suppose you can see their point. There was a
possibility this woman might pay them. Certainly, there was a story here and
they could probably get free drinks on the strength of it. Also at the end
of the day, there was the opportunity to sell on the perfectly good handcart
that she had apparently gifted them with.
With a marimba and one carpetbag, Nilinda and her small party almost ran to
the docks. After all, Hulan and his third wife were expected back that day.
When she saw us leave she was a little put out and tried to attract our
attention from the wharf. She succeeded in this and hired a boatman to take
her, her carpetbag and the marimba out to the Unrivalled. She even paid off
the two men who had pushed her handcart. They stood on the wharf and watched
her leave. Then over a beer paid for by their earnings, they decided that
they would go into business together. After all, they got along well, worked
together amicably, and had acquired a handcart. Prosperity beckoned.
Nilinda came aboard the Unrivalled and announced she had succumbed to our
blandishments and would indeed join our party. I shrugged this off. She was
a musician, she was Old Jerky’s problem. He merely pointed out to her that
she got the same rate of pay as everybody else and if she didn’t like it,
she could swim ashore taking her marimba with her. Graciously she acquiesced
to his terms.
The voyage itself was trying. The Unrivalled tended to roll a bit and many
of our party were seasick. Unfortunately, Nilinda seemed immune to the
condition and whatever the state of the sea she would insist on practicing
her marimba, and demanding that other musicians practiced with her. Thus it
was with some relief that I stepped ashore after our voyage on the steam
packet. Yes, steam might be more reliable than the wind, and there is a
certain majesty in the thrashing of the paddlewheels. Unfortunately the
Unrivalled had carried hides into Port Naain and then immediately loaded our
company and set off south. The stench below decks was not to be described,
never mind experienced, whilst above decks we had a lot of sick people
hanging over the rail being ill to a music accompaniment.  I will merely
point out that whilst the little ship did not lack ambiance, it was an
ambiance that clung, and it took three washings before I could get it out of
my shirts.
As we steamed between Ragged Head and the Snaggles I thought there was some
mistake. On the south bank was Travitant Quay, a well-appointed little town
with quays and wharfs and all the panoply of thriving commerce. On the north
bank was Slipshade which appeared to lack all these things. Indeed Slipshade
had a disreputable air, the only thing in good repair seemed to be the
defenses. Still, when our captain blew the whistle, a bunch of sturdy rogues
lounging on the beach pushed out a floating jetty and we drew alongside
that.
With almost indecent haste the crew got us and our impedimenta onto the
jetty and then backed away, apparently keen to collect another cargo of
hides from Travitant Quay.  I advanced along the jetty, wearing my most
winning smile. “Greetings. I am Tallis Steelyard and we have come to perform
for you.”
There was a general scratching of heads at this announcement. Finally, one of
ne’er-do-wells was pushed forward as a spokesman. “What you performing?”
“Wonders such as the fine metropolis of Slipshade has never seen before.
Dancers of breath-taking beauty, singers who can sing songs which will haunt
your dreams, musicians who can charm the birds down from the trees. Plus of
course a pie-eating contest and consummate prestidigitation fresh from the
theatres of Port Naain.”
“Ah, pie-eating.”
Well, it was good to see we’d touched a chord there.
“You’ll have to go up to the Keep to get a license to perform. Just leave
your stuff here, we’ll look after it.”
I’m certain they would. The minute our backs were turned they’d diligently
search through our possessions, find anything of value and treasure it as if
it was their own. As it was I left the dancers to look after our luggage,
with Old Jerky and his band to protect the integrity of both luggage and
dancers. I took Flobbard and Malinflua with me to the Keep. Malinflua at
least was presentable, and she’d given evidence of considerable
intelligence. Not only that but frankly I didn’t really trust either of them
out of my sight. Flobbard’s larcenous instincts tended to override his
common sense at times.
It is a steep walk up to the keep, the road tends to wind backward and
forwards as if reluctant to be associated with so grim a destination. At the
gate we were nodded through, the dozing villain on guard barely bothering to
open his eyes long enough to look at us. He merely pointed to the main
tower, grunted and went back to sleep again.
As we entered the main hall of the tower we arrived to a shouting match. As
I stood at the door I could see Darstep Balstep, lord of the keep, seated on
his great chair obviously listening to some dispute. It might be he was
sitting in judgment. Certainly, he was wearing a scarlet cloak over his
battered leather armour and on his head he wore a heavy silver headband to
hold his hair in place. It was obviously a prestigious piece of jewelry,
it had three large stones in it, each perhaps the size of the end joint of a
man’s thumb. In a more well-regarded setting, you might even have described
it as a crown.
In front of him, there were two groups of men engaged in furious argument.
Nobody had pulled a knife but from the way the insults were flying it was
purely a matter of time. Then Balstep saw us, or rather I suspect he saw
Malinflua.
“Oy, you by the door.”
I placed my hand on my chest as if to ask if it was me he was addressing.
“No, you streak of misery, the woman. Who is she?”
Malinflua stepped forward, “Do you mean me, Sire?”
“Well I don’t mean the beslubbering flap-mouthed moon calf you came in
with.”
I rather assumed it was Flobbard he was referring to at this point.
“Do you have a name woman? Or do I have to keep shouting ‘hey you!”
With this Balstep leapt to his feet and strode majestically through the
crowd towards us. Or at least that is what I assume his intention was. I am
reasonably positive he hadn’t intended to trip over something, whether his
cloak, his feet, or the feet of some other person, and measure his length on
the floor. His crown fell off his head and rolled across the floor towards
us. I ignored it and dashed forward to help him up, only to recoil from his
breath. He was impressively drunk.
“Where’s my bluidy crown?”
“Here your lordship.” Malinflua had pushed through the crowd next to me and
offered him the crown.
He stared owlishly at it and then took it off her. “The stones have gone.”
With this another argument started up. His followers split into rival groups
accusing other groups of stealing the stones. Then one, perhaps more sober
than the others shouted, “Search the woman, she picked the crown up.”
Everybody turned to Malinflua, who seemed to have acquired a wicked-looking
knife with a blade of obvious utility. “I’m not having you drunken sots
fumbling with me, but find a woman and I’ll let her search me.”
There was a long silence as those present contemplated the options open to
them. Finally one of the women who had been serving table stepped forward
and methodically searched Malinflua. The woman turned to Balstrep. “She
hasn’t got the stones on her.”
Malinflua stepped back next to me and ostentatiously sheathed the knife.
“Right, now you better search my two companions as well, before some drunken
fool makes more silly accusations. The serving woman, with a brief glance at
Balstrep, did as Malinflua suggested.
“Neither of these two has the stones either.”
“Well, who’s got the bluidy things then?” Balstrep asked, a little
plaintively.
“Sire, I am a poet
Not a watchman.
Still my advice,
Should I owe it?
Search the men of your clan.
In a thrice.”
I bowed. “I trust we have your permission to withdraw and prepare the
entertainment was have brought for your delight.”
“Entertainment?” Balstrep sounded suspicious.
“Pie eating contests, beautiful dancers and the usual sort of thing.”
Balstrep seemed to be contemplating my offer. “Aye, shut the door on your
way out. When I’ve got this lot searched I’ll be down to see what’s going
on. Will there be any poetry, I’ve always been fond of the rondel form?”
And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster.
So here I am again with another blog tour. Not one book but three.
The first is another of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection. These
stories are a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories. You can read them in any
order.
On the Mud. The Port Naain Intelligencer
When mages and their suppliers fall out, people tend to die. This becomes a
problem when somebody dies before they manage to pass on the important
artifact they had stolen. Now a lot of dangerous, violent or merely amoral
people are searching, and Benor has got caught up in it all. There are times
when you discover that being forced to rely upon a poet for back-up isn’t as
reassuring as you might hope.
Then we have a Tallis Steelyard novella.
Tallis Steelyard and the Rustic Idyll
When he is asked to oversee the performance of the celebrated ‘Ten
Speeches’, Tallis Steelyard realises that his unique gifts as a poet have
finally been recognised. He may now truly call himself the leading poet of
his generation.
Then the past comes back to haunt him, and his immediate future involves too
much time in the saddle, being asked to die in a blue silk dress, blackmail
and the abuse of unregulated intoxicants. All this is set in delightful
countryside as he is invited to be poet in residence at a lichen festival.
And finally, for the first time in print we proudly present
Maljie, the episodic memoirs of a lady.
In his own well-chosen words, Tallis Steelyard reveals to us the life of
Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. In no particular order we hear about her
bathing with clog dancers, her time as a usurer, pirate, and the
difficulties encountered when one tries to sell on a kidnapped orchestra. We
enter a world of fish, pet pigs, steam launches, theological disputation,
and the use of water under pressure to dispose of foul-smelling birds. Oh
yes, and we learn how the donkey ended up on the roof.
All a mere 99p each

October Magic Happens

When did it get to be the final quarter of the year? Don’t know about you, but we can feel the excitement in the air! Join us!

Because we are thrilled to announce The Magic Happens for October 2019. 

Our boos and ghouls picked up their raven quills and addressed the prompts of

AUTUMN EXCEPT SOMETHING

Here is what I chose to do:

Autumn Knows No Season

The Purpose of Wishing

We are ever grateful for the time and attention you lavish upon us. Thank you helping to spread the news! We are The Magic Happens Magazine

Eerily yours, Annette Rochelle Aben, Editor

Mahoney is .99 TODAY!

In this compelling, richly researched novel, author Andrew Joyce tells a riveting story of adventure, endurance, and hope as the Mahoney clan fights to gain a foothold in America.

In the second year of an Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RZPMVP5

There’s Magic Happening in September 2019

Just when we find ourselves standing with one foot in summer and the other in autumn, we can find some MAGIC

That’s right, the September 2019 digital magazine is ready!

SPARKLE – BOUNCE – QUINTESSENTIAL

Are the words the writers used to inspire their Theme Articles

Here are my submissions for your consideration

3 Cheers for September

No Reason for The Season

Many thanks for your support! We write so you can read. You are invited to join our merry group of scribes. Simply let me know and we will get you on board The Magic Happens Magazine

Cheers,

Annette Rochelle Aben, Editor, The Magic Happens Magazine

 

What I Have Been Learning

Okay, a few weeks ago, I posted that I was in the hospital, being treated for a wound on my right leg, that had become infected. As I had not been in the hospital since 2006, it was a shock to my system to find myself in the back of an ambulance, being whisked away to the land of needles and nurses.

I spent 13 days in that hospital, had surgery to clean out the wound and had a couple xrays as well. Physical and Occupational Therapy people put me through my paces but the most remarkable of all the services was the use of the Wound Vac. The purpose of the wound vac (as it was explained to me) was to aid the wound in healing quicker.

The afternoon of the 13th day, I was transported, by ambulance once again, to a rehab center. Technically I was on the mend but not mended enough to nor require around the clock care. I would be able to receive all the care I had in the hospital except for surgery.

Today is my 12th day at the rehab center and I have to say, that in addition to making some friends, sleeping and eating, I have had loads of time to think. I have been thinking, lately, of what I have been learning from the experience.

 About others: People may take a job because they need the money, and there is no shame in that because we can all use money. However, it is evident that this can create resentment in the heart of the employee which can then be taken out on those form whom they do their job.

About Others: People may take a job because it is a stepping stone to something greater and grander. They can be curious about everything because they love soaking  up knowledge. They can also sleep walk through their shift because they can become jaded to the work, since the work is not the job they will have in the end.

 About Others: People may take a job because they believe they are a perfect fit for the responsibilities. They strive to make the most of the experience because they love seeing others feel as good as they do while sharing the moment.

About Myself: I have had to learn to practice what I preach to the nth degree. To hold my tongue when I would rather lash out and to speak up when I would rather dismiss something with a wave of my hand.

 About Myself: I have had to remember that there are ways of getting one’s point across without blame. To not only say something to the people who have the power to make the “issue” go away, but to offer a potential solution. Of course, the next step is to let go of the need to know how it will be resolved.

About Myself: I have had to accept that it is okay to let my emotions show when I am afraid. And that being afraid is okay. What is amazing is. feeling the fear and doing it anyway (sometimes I have had NO choice in the matter).

I have tried to be an active participant by not only doing what I am told (for the most part) taking the medications, doing my therapy exercises and answering and asking a myriad of questions.

I have tried to present an energy of tolerance and acceptance, especially when those around me are so caught up in their own pain that they have lost their religion.

I have made it a point to learn the names of everyone with whom I come in contact, their roles in my wellness journey and to show I am interested in them as people. Why? Because people care more about you when they know you care and that makes the situations such as eluded to in the previous paragraph a bit easier to handle.

I smile, make jokes, sing at the top of my lungs and speak gratitude to and with everyone from the janitorial staff, the nurses, aides and doctors, the kitchen staff (important to make friends with the ones who make your food) and administration. Sure, I get looks, groans and watch people as they walk away with their heads shaking but I also get smiles, hugs and hear laughter ringing throughout the halls as people go about their business.

As I have been rather a recluse for over a year, I very much resented having to be at the mercy of the folks who were necessary to every thing I needed to do from eating to bathing to toileting. Yet, I knew that I could either suck it up and be a “team player” or fight them every step of the way, on general principles. The biggest general principle I wrapped my head around, was to treat others as I wish to be treated.

side note…  I have to say, that sometimes it has not changed the situation, it only changed me, which changed my perception of my situation. Guess we are never too old to learn, eh?

In a place where some people come with hope of leaving one day, some come with no hope of leaving alive and others know they are here temporarily, there can be no predicting moods or motives. Since one cannot control the participants, one can only create one’s own personal atmosphere. It isn’t about “grin and bear it” it is all about “be at peace and share it”!

p.s. I do have a lovely window here, through which I can watch critters frolic, the sun rise and set and stay connected to Mother Nature. I am truly blessed.

AND thank you for all the love and support, I feel ya and send it back from the bottom of my heart!

normally

Normally, I write a poem most days and of late, I have not been doing that… I am out of my element and have been since Friday, July 26th, when I was taken, by ambulance to a local hospital.

Surgery was done on Sunday, July 28th and I am now sitting here in the bed with a machine (wound vac) attached to my right leg, to drain the infection out of my leg through the opening in it.

So, I had my sister bring my laptop, so I can stay in the loop as much as possible and I may feel the urge to write at any time. But, when there are nurses, Doctors, aides, etc. who are popping in whenever it is best for them, I have precious little time to myself, except when I am sleeping (which I am doing like a new born baby does)

It appears I may be in here for the rest of the week. They are being thorough with their tests and care. Everyone wants me to be able to go home as soon as possible but they want to make sure I do not have to come back.

Thank you for ALL the prayers and support for me and my family, they have been scared to death (not that there is any reason for it) because I am not someone who EVER gets sick. I am not sick, but I have a medical situation that requires the attention of professionals.

God Bless you all!  Take good care of yourselves and know that your health is worth the world.

xoxo