It’s that time of year again. Everyone is going back to school and so is Shanna Swendson’s Owen Palmer from Much Ado About Magic.
Katie Chandler is back in New York and at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. – and just in time. The city’s in the grip of a magical crime wave from spells that wizarding whiz Owen Palmer thinks look awfully familiar, and the rogue firm Spellworks is raising its profile in the magical world by selling protective amulets. It’s Katie’s job as the new director of marketing for MSI to fight this battle of public perception while Owen and the other wizards try to uncover what’s really going on.
What Katie doesn’t realize is that her idea to stage a showcase for MSI’s magical achievements is playing right into a devious plot more than three decades in the making. Now Katie has to do damage control that has nothing to do with marketing. To save the magical world, she’ll have to prove who the real enemy is, and doing that will require digging deeper into Owen’s mysterious past than he wants anyone to go. If she fails, she not only stands to lose a magical war, but she could also lose the man she loves.
It’s always a little scary to start a new school. I was an Army brat, so I started many of my new school years at new schools. Sometimes the other kids are welcoming and the new kid is something of a novelty. Sometimes, the new kid is considered a threat to the status of some of the other kids, and things can get ugly. I imagine it could get even uglier when magic is involved.
I’m currently writing the seventh book in my Enchanted, Inc. series, and in it, I had to come up with a vivid memory from the childhood of Owen Palmer, one of the heroes in the series and in the latest volume in the series, Much Ado About Magic. It so happens that the memory centers on his first day of school. So, here’s a glimpse of what that day was like for Owen.
Owen was small for his age, and because he’d spent the first few years of his life being bounced around foster homes, he was pretty skinny, too. The thick glasses he wore just added to the overall impression that made him a bully magnet. He was the kind of kid bigger kids only had to look at to get the urge to taunt and threaten. It only got worse when he showed up for kindergarten and his teacher gave up in desperation after he demonstrated that he could already read and write in a couple of different languages, knew words she didn’t know and could do math in his head. He was quickly moved up a couple of grades, which meant he was by far the smallest kid in the class and he made the older, bigger kids look and feel stupid.
Unfortunately for them, as Yoda would advise, size matters not, especially when it comes to magic. The bigger kids ganged up on Owen on the way home from school. He may not have had as extensive a repertoire of spells as he does by the time the series takes place, but he did have raw power and good instincts, and when someone with raw power but little training or control is terrified, bad things can happen.
Like a group of bullies hopping home from school and being shooed out of their houses by mothers who didn’t allow toads indoors and didn’t recognize their sons. The spell wore off eventually, and the bullies were allowed back in their homes after they woke up in the flowerbeds, returned to their usual forms — with the faint aftertaste of flies in their mouths. Some of the bullies learned to steer away from the littler kid. Others were angry and wanted revenge. He wasn’t likely to have a pleasant walk to or from school, and worse things were likely to happen to any persistent bullies.
Owen’s foster parents, James and Gloria, got him a German shepherd. They figured that the big dog would protect him from the bigger kids, and if he felt safe being protected by the dog, he was less likely to panic and turn the bullies into amphibians — or worse. The dog walked him to school in the morning, ran home, and then ran back when he heard the school bell ring to escort him home. Meanwhile, James and Gloria knew they’d have to train him well to use his power wisely, no matter how much someone needed to be turned into a toad.
Meet Shanna Swendson!
Shanna Swendson is the author of the Enchanted, Inc. series of humorous contemporary fantasy novels. The fifth volume in the series, Much Ado About Magic, is currently available, and the sixth book, No Quest for the Wicked, will be released October 1.
Want to purchase Shanna’s novels?
- Enchanted, Inc. at Amazon | Book Depository
- Once Upon Stilettos at Amazon | Book Depository
- Damsel Under Stress at Amazon | Book Depository
- Don’t Hex with Texas at Amazon | Book Depository
- Much Ado About Magic at Amazon
- No Quest for the Wicked (October 1, 2013)
- Title Yet To Be Announced (2013)
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