A Little Magic


A Little Magic

By Nandy Ekle

He walks on the stage with a certain flair and the audience applauds. Removing his cloak with a swirl, a deck of cards appears in his hands. He pulls them from the box as his lovely blond assistant rolls a table out in front of him. She waves her hands in an arc and prances off the stage with a huge smile on her face.

The magician lays the card deck on the table and then removes his white gloves. He shakes his arms slightly at the wrists to prove he is not hiding anything there. The audience barely breathes while anticipating how he is going to amaze them. The music swells and the lights dim.

With an almost dainty movement of his hand, he pulls several cards from the stack on his table. The magician balances them against each other in perfect harmony. He pulls another few cards and balances them on top of the first layer. As he continues building his card house, the audience leans in closer and closer. The building is growing and each layer elicits a gasp from the crowd. Deftly, artfully, the wizard draws the crowd closer and closer.

As the last card is tenderly placed at the top of the tower, the crowd has climbed onto the stage to be closer to the card house. The magician stands back for the audience to admire his work of art. As they inspect the fragile building on the table, the illusionist leans closer and blows a quick blast from his lips. Instantly the cards explode in the air and turn into snowflakes.

The audience erupts into a cacophony of cheers.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.


The Trilogy

Outtakes 222

The Trilogy

by Cait Collins



Take a seer, an archeologist, a magician, a navigator, a sprite, and a warrior, add a legend and an exotic locale and you have Stars of Fortune, book one of the Guardians trilogy. Nora Roberts is a master in writing serial releases. Her fantasy/paranormal romances are among my favorite reads. I got hooked on this line of her works when I read the Three Sisters Island trilogy. I have not been disappointed. What makes the trilogies good reads? It’s in the essential elements of the books.

Characters are the key element of the stories. Each person possesses special skill sets. In many cases, the character knows his primary talent. For others it’s a learn-as-you-go revelation.

E ach character has flaws. Despite their gifts, each one must overcome his weakness in order for the group to fulfill its destiny.


Unity is primary. All skills are necessary for success, but trust is essential.

Good and evil are clearly defined.

Actions or lack thereof are the choices of the character.

Magic is a respected gift that should not be abused.


Locales are exotic. Islands, gardens, forests, Ireland, and country inns provide setting. Bold descriptions make the story realistic. Local lore and customs ground the reader and allows her or him to become part of the story.

Romance is an element of the story, but it is not the story. Some of my friends view romance novels as silly and stupid. In their minds, it all about sex, But if the story were only about sex, it would become unbelievable. There has to be more than the physical response. In good romance novels, it is committed love that permits the characters to keep going when the odds are not in their favor. Love is glue that holds them together.

Friendships are cemented by love. Knowing that the members of the team are willing to fight and die for a cause frees the protagonist to step up to defeat an enemy.

Love is magic. With love all things are possible.

In skillfully combining these elements, Ms. Roberts weaves stories of bold deeds, causes won, and life fulfilled. And it leaves the reader anticipating the next installment of the tale. Even though the second book will not be released until late next year, the author will release a contemporary romantic suspense in April of 2016. And that, my fellow readers, is just one more jewel in Nora Roberts’ long list of successful novels. I wish I had her backlist.