Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Today, read Apple's Glossary of Magical Terms and Spells as a special into into the new book, ALMOST MAGIC

Apple Bramblewoods Glossary of Magical Terms and Spells 

A
Alchemist – long ago in the Middle Ages some Sorcerers, called Alchemists, thought the right bits of science mixed with the right bits of magic would turn ordinary metals into gold. A nice side-effect was eternal life. This hardly ever happened.
Alicorn—is the name of either a winged unicorn, or the horn of a unicorn which is supposed to have healing powers. The Alicorn that Apple saw wasn’t sure how he ended up in an unfamiliar forest, and quickly left. Apple was disappointed, for he was certainly the prettiest of her strange encounters. She would have kept him, if she could.
Alien—the word alien sounds like something horrible, but it actually means a person (or entity, or creature) who owes allegiance to another country or planet.
Ambience – means to be surrounded with an atmosphere of calmness and serenity. Some music is very ambient and good for taking naps by.


Apparition—a phantom or supernatural being who usually appears without warning and scares the stuffing out of innocent bystanders.
Apprentice – Bob Bibbetty is an apprentice to the glorified creature-catcher, Aunt Rose. As an apprentice, he does all the hard work and fetching while striving to learn the animal recovery business.
Artemis – is the name of Cornelia Bramblewood’s wand. Artemis is also the name of an ancient Greek goddess—the mistress of the hunt.
Atlas – modern people think of Atlas as carrying the Earth on his shoulders. Actually, Atlas was condemned to carry the weight of the whole universe as a punishment for being a Titan and waging war against the Greek Olympians. His father, Zeus, was quite ticked off at him for that.
                       

Attractor–a very rare magical person with a gift (or curse, depending on one’s point of view) that draws troubled beings. Apple Bramblewood is an Attractor who must learn to live with, and control this gift, or go completely bonkers.
Aura—a luminous field of radiation, like a halo, is most prominent around persons with supernatural powers, but even ordinary people have auras. Mediums and psychics have learned to read a person’s aura based on its color.
Aunt Rose— the plain-spoken, curmudgeon-y president of the S.P.A.S. was born with the grandiose name, Ruby Opal Sapphire Esmeralda, a name she shortened to Rose as soon as she could speak. 
Aurora – is a natural light display in the northern sky. It is also Apple’s favorite word and the secret code she always uses for stuff she wants to keep private, so don’t tell anybody.
B
Babel Hex – a nasty spell that causes tongues to speak gibberish.
Barbegazi— the Barbegazi is a furry white gnome with big snowshoe feet who likes to live in cold places. The one Apple helped had foot-skied down from the Rocky Mountains and lost his way. She found him just in time, for after seven days away from snow these creatures get seriously ill. Apple gave him a map and a snow cone and pointed him home. 
Being of Light and Energy— Phyllus ZR-20 is a creature without a body. He is not a ghost or a spirit, but a being of light and energy who understands scientifically how the universe works and something of how the heart works, too.
Boarhound—a boarhound to most people is a huge variety of Great Dane.  In the magical world, however, a true boarhound is half hound, half boar—one of those peculiar mixed species hard to describe. To find a boarhound’s tooth is exceptionally lucky.
Bogill—is a supernatural creature related to both a Goblin and a Bogeyman. It is very fond of playing tricks and throwing things at houses. Apple’s father’s reference to Bogill Bedlam was apt considering the things that had fallen on their house from nowhere.
Bonding—is a special ritual that connects one person, creature, or thing to another for a lifetime. Watermelon the dragon was bonded to Apple when she dropped a hair into his first meal.
Bounce-and-Stick Spell— this is a very tricky, sticky spell and one that’s hard to break. It is designed to discourage Wizards from trying to save another from a wicked spell. Cornelia was quite right to back away from the spell that froze her father. She needed an experienced Spell-breaker to remove the curse.
Brimstone—is another name for sulfur. Sulfur is a chemical element often found in volcanoes and hot springs and, reputedly, in the underworld of Hades. It doesn’t smell like roses.
Butter churn—the butter churn from the past in Apple’s living room was an ancient contraption used to turn cream into butter. It looked something like a tall wooden cylinder with a round paddle on top which is pushed up and down until the mixture thickened into butter. The butter churn was also used by wizard athletes to build muscles in their arms for broomstick flying.
C
Cabbit—the cabbit is an adorable little creature, half cat, half rabbit. It broke Apple’s heart when she couldn’t keep the lame one she found in the woods.
Camouflage spell—true to its name, the camouflage spell colors its wearer into the surrounding background. This spell is very handy to know if about to be caught stealing cookies. Unfortunately, Apple usually managed to turn into something quite visible, like a red-faced cookie snatcher.
Chants—are very special words voiced in a repetitive tempo that is generally used to summon good luck or protection. Chants are most effective when spoken as a group.
Charlatan—one who is a fraud, a quack, an imposter and a general con man.
Charm— charms are spells used to bring good luck and to prevent bad luck. They are also trinkets worn for the same reason. Apple once had a charm in the shape of a silver porpoise. She hopes it will turn up again someday.
charmedcontracts.wiz  -- this wizarding web site is much loved by younger wizards and viewed with skepticism by the older ones. Traditional witches and wizard are by nature wary of anything new and untested. The new breed, however, is having great fun surfing without nosey interference.
Concoction—generally a concoction refers to a magic potion—a combination of herbs and spices, odds and ends (often including frog legs and eyes of newts,) and charms and curses, all boiled up in a kettle and bottled for later use.
Conjure an invocation or spell that makes something appear, or seem to appear, by magic. Little Norafina Nebb was good at conjuring macaroons and peppermint sticks.
Corporeal— in short, corporeal means to have a body. Bodies are nice things to have when visiting Earth.
Crystal—various types of crystals are often used in healing by witches and ordinary people alike. Some crystals (think crystal ball) are good at foretelling the future.
D
Déjà vu—describes the reenactment of a scene or situation lived before. Apple experiences déjà vu when she meets Norafina the second time in exactly the same setting with the same words and actions.
Devil-spawn— a mild bit of name-calling particularly favored by Cornelia when very angry at Apple. She, of course, calls her younger sister other things too, none of which appear in this book.
Deflaminate—Bob Bibbetty coined this word to describe a process for eliminating the ability of dragons to breath fire.
Diavoletto—a little imp.
Dis-spells—a dis-spell is a spell for reversing, or eliminating another spell.
Dragonius Gigantis—Latin for giant dragon, the largest of the dragon breeds. The number of types of dragons worldwide is too long to include here. Each culture and area of the world has its own dragon names and legends. But Dragonius Gigantis is the biggest and the bad-est.

                       
Dragon Horn—dragon horns are very rare. They are often elaborately carved from wood and the sound carries loud and far. Dragon masters used their horns to call their dragons home, or as a warning.
Dragon-lite (a form of Creature Speak)—Bob Bibbetty was born with the ability to speak Creature, including a low version of Dragon. He speaks to Watermelon in this language. The high version dragons speak to each other is very complex and involves telepathy and vision-making. This is a secret form of communication they never shared with any wizard or human being (who wouldn’t have understood anyway.)

E
Enchantment kettle—once upon a time every witch had one! They came in all sizes and they were used primarily for potion making, witch’s brew, and, of course, for baby dragon gruel. Modern wizards seldom use the kettle any more. They prefer the Chemistry lab.
Encyclopedia of Useful Household Enchantments—a good simple spell book for doing chores around the house.  
Evil spells—the name is self-explanatory. Truly evils spells have always existed, and good wizards like the Bramblewoods are always ready to dis-spell them.
Eye of newt—“gag me with an eye of newt” is a popular idiom used by witches, young and old. It’s meaning, translated loosely, is “Seriously?” “Get real!” “Are you pulling my chain?” and other expressions of disgust or incredulity. In the play, MacBeth, Shakespeare’s famous witches add eye of newt to the ultimate, totally gaggy, witch’s brew.
F
Fade out—older witches fade away slowly when passing into the next life.
Familiar—a familiar is often an animal or animate object magically bonded to a witch. The familiar provides service to the witch in return for shelter and protection. Most familiars have a bit of magic in their own right, unlike Apple’s


dragon Watermelon, who is OF magic but not magical.
Fantastic magic—there are three major levels of magic-making. The lowest form is practiced by immature wizards and some ordinary human beings. The middle level is used by all educated witches and wizards schooled in the traditions of magic. The highest level is so rare few encounter it. Its magic is unmeasurable. The Nebbula necklace and the Third Eye are example of Fantastic Magic.
Fenodyree—are furry creatures from the Isle of Mann who grant wishes and love to move stones. They especially love to build castles. Apple met the Fenodyree when his Scottish wizard master visited her father at Bramblewood Heights. The wizard had enslaved the poor Fenodyree and forced him to rebuild a crumbling old castle. Fergus the Fenodyree implored Apple to help him escape. If the wizard was unable to clap eyes on him for three consecutive days, the (evil) spell would be broken. She lowered him into a dry well and brought him food each day. He particularly enjoyed clotted cream. On the fourth day, the freedom loving Fenodyree was gone.
Fifth Dimension—the Fifth Dimension is considered a hypothetical extra dimension beyond the normal four dimensions of time and space. The magical world, however, knows this dimension well, and although it is mysterious even to them, they use it when needed. Apple and Watermelon have both experienced it.
Finger–prick Spell—the Finger-prick Spell is used on doorknobs, safes, document cases and, in Apple’s case, a journal. It is meant to keep curious fingers from probing secret places. It has several draw-backs: the spell is easily counteracted; hardy people don’t mind the pricks if the prize is worth it; and people (like Apple) frequently forget their own spell—with painful results.
Flare—uncontrollable magical energy in some adolescent wizards that bursts unexpectedly in emotional crises. Apple has never flared, despite Dr. DeCharmer’s misguided diagnosis.
Forget Pills—an accidental concoction that eases pain but also leaves the patient with an hour long amnesia. Grizzwald Bramblewood tried to convince doctors that the drawback could be worth it in certain circumstances. The doctors, however, wouldn’t buy it.
Freeze Spell—the Freeze Spell in small doses is harmless, but some potent strains of the curse can be permanent. It is possible that Apple might not have been able to remove the Freeze Spells cast on her family by the evil Herkimer if not for the Fantastic Magic of the Nebbula stones.


G
Grody Gremlins!—something Apple says when she’s surprised.
Grade A Wish—Grade A wishes are among the most desirable. Stella Fortunata, the Wish Fairy, is compiling and grading the most popular wishes in an illustrated Wish Catalogue, available for little witches and wizards by Midsummer’s Eve.
H
Ha’penny in old England a ha’penny was worth half a penny.
A Heartfelt and Truthful Apology—the best kind of magic
Hexes—always evil, always mean, and always with consequences.
Homing Spell—inanimate objects are often given Homing Spells to keep them from wandering and getting lost. Corny put a Homing Spell on her motor scooter (mostly to keep it out of Apple’s hands.)
Hurdy-gurdy—the hurdy-gurdy, a Medieval musical instrument (also called a barrel organ) was one of the artifacts that came through the Rift in Time and landed in Apple’s living room. 
I
Incantation—an incantation is a ritualistic spell with ancient origins that has to be spoken verbatim, and/or accompanied by precise gestures in order to achieve the desired magic. Druids and powerful sorcerers use incantations.
Intuit—to know a thing using insight and intuition as opposed to sight, sound, or touch.
J
Jackalope—is a fearsome North American rabbit with antelope horns and a mean disposition. A jackalope has been known to bring down a cougar.
Jester/Joker—a Medieval clown who entertained Kings and acted the fool. The jester’s costume was always colorful and his smile was always painted on.
K
Kobol—the Kobol is a bit like a hobgoblin, or a brownie. He prefers to live underground and can be a prankster. The Kobol chooses the magical family it serves, not the other way around. They will do hard work, but expect a generous reward. When they are miffed, they pout and disappear.
Sir Kantankerus Kobol the Seventh attempted to adopt the Bramblewood family. When he discovered that Apple was some kind of Attractor, he changed his mind.
L
Lantern-mode—is the actual term for the second highest degree of light emitted by a wand. The lowest is the pin-prick, and the highest is simply called the Nova.
Levitating Spells—levitating spells are among the first taught to young wizards because they are easy to master (even humans can do it!) and they teach concentration. Once Apple got passed the stubborn space in her brain that wouldn’t let her do magic, the levitating spell was one of the first she grasped.
Library of Enchantments in Cairo—is the greatest storehouse of wizarding records, magical histories, and enchantments in the world. The library dates back to the early Egyptians who carefully gathered inscribed charms and enchantments on parchment and stone.
Lunar love charms—can only be gathered on the first full moon of each season. The spells are very temporary and are more for fun than anything else. On the night when Apple saved the world from going ka-boom, Corny was practicing Scent Attractions when the renegade alien ZR-19 found and possessed her.
M
Mage—a mage is a sorcerer/magician. It is fair to say that a mage is often on the evil side.
Magical reverberation—some enchanted objects are so magically powerful they emit waves of energy. The Nebbula necklace may have been disturbed by Nora’s mistreatment and reverberated with enough energy to cause an earthquake and a landslide.
Manifestation—one of the ways in which a ghost or spirit appears to the living.
Magician Physician—someone schooled in the magical healing arts. Dr. DeCharmer can be a bit brusque, but he generally means well and gets the job done. He’s not a big favorite with Apple.
Magicis Creaturas Coques Libro—Magical Creatures Cook Book
Math Wizard—a wizard proficient in the particular attributes of Magic Math and physics. Almost all magic spells can be translated into mathematical formulas.
Medium—is a person who acts as a conduit to the spirit world. Some mediums are quacks, and some are genuinely connected to the other side.
Merlin—was the founding patron of all modern witches and wizards. Merlin’s Day is celebrated every fourth year on February 29th.
Mesmerize—to be hypnotized or entranced, always a fun entertainment at parties.
Metaphysics—is a philosophy that tries to explain the nature of the universe and its reason for being. The nature and rational for magic is a part of metaphysics and studied by all the greatest Magical Philosophers.
Mighty Apex—a Being of great power with little regard for needs other than his own.
Misspeaking a spell— to make a flub, a tendency is all too familiar to Apple.
Mojo—is a charm or a spell, but also the magical charms bag used in voodoo. Mojo sometimes refers to a good luck streak.
N
Nebbula necklace—the origins of the necklace are uncertain, but the magic probably dates to Druid times. It came to the Nebb family during the late 17th century and has been credited with powerful magic, both good and bad. Apple used her turn at the stones in the best way possible. It remains to be seen who gets it next.
Necktie napkin—the necktie napkin was Grizzwald Bramblewood’s one great, non-magical invention. The tie was folded so that its many layers would easily unfold over the wearer’s chest like a napkin. Magdella, his wife, blamed lack of advertising for its poor reception, but whatever the reason, it never caught on with Magicals or Ordinaries.
O
Ordinaries—people without magic
Occurrences—in Apple’s world, are unexplainable things that just happen, usually in messy or disastrous ways.

P
Petrifying Spell—similar to a Freeze Spell, the Petrify can knock a person out of commission for long periods. On rare occasions, the heart stops. Apple worried that her father was under a Petrifying spell. Fortunately the Nebbula brought him back.
Pimple Curse—all pimples are a curse to the one who has them, but a zit on the nose that grows, and glows, and never goes is the worst.
Potions kit—a well-stocked potions kit is a must in every magical household. It contains potions for everything from tincture of wart removal to anti-aging pills, to potions for sweet dreams, and drops for sneeze control.
Aunt Rose’s traveling potions kit contained balms and medicines for wounded creatures as well as powerful tranquilizers for dealing with the unruly.
Possession—supernatural possession occurs when one entity invades and controls the body and mind of a second entity. Apple witnessed her sister’s possession in a bad way; Marsh Meadows was possessed in a more neutral way.
                       
R
Retractable wand—a retractable wand, as invented by Grizzwald Bramblewood, is one that folds back on invisible seams as many times as desirable to fit inside a purse or pocket. The retractable wand was an instant success in the wizarding world and made Apple’s father famous.
Reverse spell—Apple learned how to reverse a wrong spell from her tutor, Reynard Grey. The words of the spell when spoken backwards in exact order nullify the offending mistake. Reversal is only practical if recited very soon after the mistake has been made.
Rift—a rift in this instance is a rip or a crack in the fabric of time. The rift allowed things both living and innate to travel from one point in time to another.
S
When she-dragons died out, dragon lines went extinct. Herkimer P Azelbomb did one important thing (although it took 700 years) when he preserved 21 dragon eggs.
Sixteenth birthday—wizard children celebrate their sixteenth birthday as a coming of age event. Cornelia was mortified to think she might miss the most important day of her life (so far) because of a lost dragon.
Sorcerer—a fancy name for a wizard who specializes in the study of ancient witchcraft, rune decoding, and alchemy. Sorcerers tend to live in drafty towers on hilltops with No Trespassing signs prominently displayed.
Space-Time Continuum—is a theory that combines the three dimensions of space with the single dimension of time to create a four dimensional reality. All events, people, and places in history are described in terms of their location on the Space-Time Continuum. If this doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, it’s not that important.
S.P.A.S. –Society for the Preservation of Antiquated Species. Enough said.
Spell phone—the wizarding equivalent of a cell phone. Spell phones, like wands, tend to balk at things that don’t agree with them.
Stylus—something like a long heavy needle made of metal that was used for writing on wax and clay by the ancients.
T
Transcendent state—the process of leaving the physical plane for a more spiritual one. Transcendence is a state of rebirth.
U
UMP (Unusual Magical Practices)—a handbook for investigating the more unusual practices and talents in the magical world. Attracting is one of the practices discussed and Apple found the message discouraging and rather boring.
V
Voodoo—a colorful and exotic variety of witchcraft.
W
Warding—is the magical way to rebuff an incoming spell. Apple used a ward to keep Corny from sending her away with Posey in the midst of the Azelbomb fiasco. Many of the talents Apple had suppressed were coming to the fore, and even Corny began to realize that Apple might be formidable one day!
Warlocks—the outdated word for male witches.
Weather Regulating Invention—Apple’s father is a great Magician, but his invention to control the weather was a bust.
Wish-Delusions; Wish Spells—Wish spells can make powerful desires come true. But wish-delusions only seem to come true. They are actually only a distortion of reality. Apple and her mother thought Norafina Nebb might be suffering from a wish delusion, but it turned out to be something else.
Witness Protection Program—is a program to hide and protect certain people from criminals. Cornelia lied to Marsh when she told him the Bramblewood’s were part of the program. She knew she could keep him from asking a lot of questions about her home and family if he knew those facts were meant to stay secret.
Wizarding Council—the elected governing body, responsible for making and enforcing rules, and providing protection for the Wizard population.
Wyverns—a heraldic, fire-breathing, two-legged dragon with a lizard body that is said to have a poisonous bite. Wyverns, more than other dragons, are the stuff of legends and fantasy. A wyvern hasn’t been seen by the eyes of Man or Wizard in over 700 years.


                                                                        

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review

Appolonia Bramblewood is Almost Magic. She’s also a fun, quirky twelve-year old with the usual assortment of teen problems like tough exams and an annoyingly perfect older sister. But coming from an ancient magical family, Apple also faces some pretty fantastic ordeals. Who else would have the wish fairy crash through her roof? Or an alien enforcer take over her philodendron? Thankfully, Apple has her cranky wand, Wanda, and her family to help her solve these remarkable problems and to teach her to stand on her own two magical feet.
Kathleen Bullock puts a new twist on growing up with Almost Magic. It’s a perfect addition to any young fantasy enthusiast’s library. I can’t wait to read more tales from Apple’s journal!

— Kim Chatel, award-winning author of Rainbow Sheep

Kind words for Almost Magic

Almost Magic by Kathleen Bullock
Reviewed by Geoff Nelder author of the twice-award-winning ARIA Trilogy and other novels; short story judge, editor, and a secret wizard in his garden.

Don’t give Almost Magic to your young teenager! If you do you’ll not see them again for days as the page-turning magical adventures grab their imagination and they become lost to the real world. It’s one of those rare books that charms its way into your psyche with spell-binding quests and wish fulfilment. It’s the nearest thing a young reader will find to a fictional grimoire (a strange-sounding word for an enchanted volume of magic handed down, wizard to witch, dragon to gargoyle, mysterious mother to dangerous daughter. I won’t allow anyone to peek at mine.) Almost Magic is a book bursting of delights, of and about magic and how it can both get in the way of life for Apple and yet be intrinsic to her existence. Considering that her family are not like the Ordinaries (you and me, probably) they possess delightfully human qualities of care, empathy, jealousy and humour.

The nuts and bolts of this collection of conjuring is a quest to save the Earth by Apollonia Bramblewood, (Apple) a 12½-year-old barely-competent witch, learning her craft. She believes she is an Attractor. You know, someone who attracts weird and often undesirable creatures instead of the admiring looks that her older, beautiful sister attracts by the magnet-full.

I like the way witches die in this book. Rather like in the old song ‘Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away’ the dying witch first loses sight of her toes then fingers and so forth. Quaint, and epitomises much of the enchantment in this book, brimming as it is with observational witticisms – ‘there are dreamers and there are dreams, quite separate beings’.

The chapters are adventurous episodes in Apple’s coming-of-wizard-age each hooking the reader to turn the pages to see how her spells go wrong or nearly right as she tries via quests to save the Earth from evil forces. She, more so than Ordinary youngsters has to learn to speak accurately, especially with her spells. For example she asks her Wanda to make her scooter go, and it did—without her! It’s one of several themes in this magical road trip, to make oneself understood unambiguously. A pleasurable way for the reader to learn such a lesson.

As a secret writer of magic myself, (or is that a writer of secret magic?) I commend Kathleen Bullock’s Almost Magic to all imaginative and sorcery teens who wish to put hocus-pocus fun into their Ordinary lives.


Spread the word. Use your Spell-phone (haha) and get Almost Magic out to its readers.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Today Is The Day!

My middle grade novel is being released today. You can find the book on Amazon or at Spencer Hill Press, my publisher. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

String Theory PDF book sample pages

This is the




pdf of a new picture book by Geoff Nelder and illustrated by Kathleen Bullock.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015