Monday, October 1, 2018

Monday's Mystical Magic: Spell Weaver by Megan Derr

Myka's dream was to someday own his shop, making and spelling suits that were prized throughout the world. Instead, he rejected an apprenticeship with a master who proved to be reprehensible—and touchable—and lost everything. Now, he works in a derelict shop in the wrong part of town, and it's only a matter of time before he's caught spelling without a license or thrown out by his odious landlord.

The only bright part of his days are the occasional visits from his best client, Johan, a man who works in the palace and always brings the finest suits to have spelled. When he accidentally leaves behind an invitation to the royal ball, Myka takes it, determined to have one evening where he can enjoy himself—and perhaps even spend time with Johan as something other than a spell weaver.

Megan Derr has brought a special look at a Cinderella-like tale with Spell Weaver.  Myka may not have an evil stepmother or step-siblings but he does have a nasty landlord, he may not have a fairy godmother but he has a best client, Johan who is a bit of a loser.  Now, I don't mean Johan is a loser as in a bad person or down on his luck he's just one of those people who tends to lose things and his latest lost paper provides Myka with an invitation to the ball.  That's about the end of what I'll give you for the plot๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰, but this gem is deliciously lovely and fun.

What can I say about Myka other than he is truly fun and you can't help but love him.  Johan is interesting and perhaps there is more to him than Myka thinks . . . or perhaps there isn't(you'll have to read Spell Weaver to find out๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰).  This is the first time I've read Megan Derr, I have a couple of her works on my kindle for awhile but had yet to read them, well I can safely say that though it may be after the new year before I get to them what with all the holiday stories to read in the next few months but they have certainly come closer to the top of my TBR list.  If you are like me and haven't read this author before, Spell Weaver is a perfect place to dip your reading feet in.


The tea in the pot was cold and stale, but Myka refilled his cup and took a large swallow before setting it close to the nearest lamp. Picking up the waistcoat spread across his lap, he retrieved his needle and resumed his work. The waistcoat was a beautiful one, plum-colored velvet with gold and silver embroidery in a diamond pattern all across the front. He didn’t need to see the discreet maker’s mark on the inside, tucked at the bottom on the right-hand side, to know it was Norrington’s work. He was the best tailor in the city and commanded a price commiserate with that status. His work went beyond perfect into truly breathtaking. Once upon a time, Myka had dreamed of working in such a renowned shop and becoming that skilled.

But Norrington also made a great deal more money in illegal spell weaving. There were strict regulations on magic, especially regarding enchantments, hexes, charms, and such that could be laid on objects or woven into clothes and other items.

Myka had been on the verge of accepting an apprenticeship with Norrington when he’d stumbled across Norrington and two of his workers discussing the difficulties of a love spell they were trying to embroider on a woman’s suit. He’d fled immediately, refused the apprenticeship… and now he had nothing but a dying shop in the poor district, and was stuck as a journeyman because his master had died before giving Myka his final tests to become a master.

So far no one had noticed his master was no longer around, save for those who had known him and were too poor and struggling themselves to rat out Myka. No, they looked after their own on Ash Street.

He paused to push up his spectacles and rub at his sore eyes then righted the spectacles and resumed work. The waistcoat was for his favorite customer: Mr. Johan Pierson, handsome, elegant, kind, and the stuff of dreams. He’d never said what he did for a living, but it was something important and well-paid, given he brought Myka a new suit to spell at least once a month, sometimes more when it was for a special occasion, and that didn’t include the suits that needed their spells renewed. Pierson had exquisite taste, the kinds of suits Myka would love to make, doing plain stitching and spell weaving all at once. Almost no one did everything at once, or if they did, it was men like Norrington, who did the spell weaving off the books.

Most people had their clothes made in one place, by a plain tailor, then took the clothes to a spell weaver. If only more of those people found their way to Myka’s shop. He stifled a sigh, drank more cold tea, and pushed on with his work. Johan likely wouldn’t be by until the next day, but Myka wanted to be done with everything that night just the same. He had three more suits for another customer, and then he was hoping to work on the little kerchiefs and ties he had stacked up to sell at the End-Week Market.

At least the waistcoat was coming along nicely. He finished off the first spell, an alertness spell two measures strong, and threaded his needle with silvery thread so pale it was nearly invisible, save for the way it glittered in the flickering lamplight. He hummed softly while he worked, embroidering a spell for solitude one measure strong. Solitude spells, like love, charm, and similar outward-affecting spells, were not legally allowed to go above one measure. With special permission, or under particular circumstances, some of them could go up to three measures. Anything above three required the direct approval of the crown, and the work could only be done by tailors with royal certification. Myka didn’t even have a master spell weaver license; if he was ever caught spelling without it, he would be jailed immediately and, after his release, banned permanently from spell weaving.

He smiled as he finished a section, smoothed his fingers over the work to feel the spell and ensure it was taking. The magic prickled and thrummed against his hand, soft and warm like down. He resumed working, his humming interspersed with singing.

The tinkling of the shop bell broke his concentration, and he all but threw his work on the nearby table as he hastily stood. So late in the afternoon, that could only be one person: Johan. Going over to the cracked bit of mirror on the far side of the room, Myka fussed with his shoulder-length black hair, wiped away a smudge of soot on his cheek, and smoothed his clothes. He breathed in, breathed out. “Calm and professional, calm and professional,” he muttered as he headed out of the backroom to the front of the shop.

Author Bio:
Megan is a long time resident of m/m fiction, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she's not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies (especially all things James Bond). She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all around the internet.