Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Legends & Lore with Guest Blogger: Marsha A. Moore

Welcome author Marsha A. Moore 
to the Book Boost today!

She's here to discuss magical gemstones, superstitions and enchanted bookstores and here's what she had to say...

One of the monthly themes here at The Book Boost is the topic of superstitions since on May Day, young girls wanting to remove freckles from their faces, were encouraged to wash their faces in the early morning dew. The magical systems of my Enchanted Bookstore Legends use many such superstitions.

Even though my heroine, Lyra McCauley, is one of only five Scribes in all of Dragonspeir’s history and has inherited vast power, she needs more than that to survive the dangers she faces. Opening an enchanted book, she confronts a quest. She is expected to save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge because Cullen, the wizard she loves, will perish if evil wins.

Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power to complete the quest. She gains additional energy to access her inherited strength from the stars, magnetics within the Earth, and from special forces contained in mystical gemstones. I’ll briefly explain the traditional lore and superstitions of gems as well as effects of these stones in my own legends.

Heliodor, also called Golden Beryl, has long been cut into spheres for scrying since it enhances the owner’s psychic awareness.

In Seeking a Scribe, Lyra is given a gift from each of the four Guardians—the Phoenix, the Tortoise, the Imperial Dragon, and the Unicorn—who are the four Chinese sacred animals that balance all of creation through their influences on the elements of fire, water, air, and earth, respectively.

The Unicorn’s gift to Lyra is a scrying stone of heliodor. The golden hue of the stone he matched to the unique color of her visible scribal aura. An aura is a glow of light that surrounds the entire body of a magical being. To use her heliodor, she concentrates on one single question about a future event. The stone answers with an image she must decipher.

Jade has long been revered as a symbol of love. In ancient China a prospective bride would present her betrothed a jade butterfly to seal their engagement. Likewise the bridegroom would give his sweetheart a gift of jade before their wedding. This gem is considered one of the most important symbols of purity and serenity. The ancient Chinese also felt that Jade helped to inspire the mind to make quick and precise decisions. The ancient trader would often hold this gem in the palm of his right hand while he engaged in business transactions.

In my legends, once love grows between Lyra and Cullen, it is visibly connected through a gift of the lovers’ paired jadestones. Only one set of these powerful stones exists in Dragonspeir. The gems are mounted into two ornate brooches, a male and female setting. The two call to each other and bond Lyra and Cullen’s magic, enabling them to use their combined magical powers as one extremely strong unit. This proves invaluable in many life-threatening situations.

Jet wards off dark magic by balancing the emotions of the wearer to protect him/her from possession.
It’s no wonder that a necklace of jet was created for the first Scribe to protect her from being mentally possessed by evil forces of the Dark Realm in Dragonspeir. After the Black Dragon first trajects his magic through Lyra, Cullen gives her that ancient necklace and initiates its magic once again.

Opal is considered to be able to confer the gift of invisibility on its wearer.

A mysterious benefactor sends Lyra a gift of a rare opal invisibility ring at just the right moment.
Blue topaz allows the wearer’s strength to increase so he/she may become more clear-sighted and dispel all enchantment.

Cullen wears a massive silver ring, wrought with the face of a dragon, having eyes of blue topaz. He uses the ring as a means to transmit incantations mentally rather than saying them aloud, particularly helpful when silence is necessary for safety.

Sapphire has been associated with divine favor. The Buddhists believed that the sapphire favored devotion and spiritual enlightenment. The ancient Greeks linked sapphire with Apollo, and wore it as an aid to prophecy when consulting oracles. It is worn and utilized in rituals to strengthen the ability to tap and send forth power.

Blue is the designated color of allegiance to the Alliance. The highest magicals in the Alliance each possess a sapphire, including each of the four Guardians. Cullen’s wizard staff bears a sapphire at its apex, which channels his power into sharp streams.

Amethyst can be used to increase psychic awareness, to sharpen the 'sixth sense.' Similarly, iolite stimulates the wearer’s spiritual awareness, guide him/her to a higher awareness, and awakens inner knowledge. Iolite helps its owner to open the door to the knowledge of the Universe.

Both of these purple gems are worn by several magical residents of Dragonspeir who don’t align their support with either the Dark Realm of the Black Dragon or the Alliance of the Imperial Dragon.

Colors are worn to display allegiance, red for the Dark Realm and blue for the Alliance. Purple, an intermediate color, indicates these individuals stand apart. Included in this group are the alchemists for both realms, as well as many of the magical nomadic tribal peoples who are sky readers. These renegades pose as much threat for Lyra as the Dark Realm, pursuing her for her unique scribal aura.

I’ve always enjoyed the legends and lore of gemstones. Their mystical qualities added another layer of magic to my legends. To see these amazing stones in action, read Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One.

A Note From the Book Boost:  This is all very fascinating, Marsha.  Thanks for sharing both your research and your world building with us.  Please give us a taste of your book!


Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but when she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love.

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love?

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.

Excerpt (edited for length):

The smell of anise greeted Lyra as she opened the door to Drake’s bookstore. It took her back to happy childhood memories. Licorice-shoe-string-rewards for following her parents’ requests to stay on the dock while they secured the family’s pleasure boat to its trailer. The aroma brought a fleeting remembrance of times long gone, a treasure now that her folks had recently passed. At ease with the familiar scent, she settled into browsing through rows of antique bookcases.

The shop owner stuck his head around a set of shelves. “Do you like tea?”

"Yes, I do.” Before she could finish speaking, he disappeared. “Is that the wonderful smell?” she called out.

Kitchenware clinked in the back room. Receiving no answer, Lyra followed the noises, scanning collections as she walked. This bookshop appeared established, but surely she would have remembered it from her last visit to the Lake Huron village five years ago. Books were her passion, especially fantasy. She paused in front of that section and studied its titles.

The owner appeared, holding a pewter tray with a teapot, two cups, sugar jar, spoons, and napkins, which he laid on the corner of an old library table. She watched him carefully pour the tea and hand her a cup. He was about her age, mid thirties or a bit older, and handsome. His medium brown hair, peppered with gray at the temples, grazed his shoulders in wavy layers, and his beard was trimmed into a neat goatee. He wore long shorts, a knit golf shirt, and sandals—typical casual attire for this island resort community. 

She set down her bag from the drugstore and accepted his offer with a smile. “Thanks. My name’s Lyra.” She blew across the hot surface of the tea to cool it and then inhaled the anise-scented steam. She closed her eyes to fully enjoy the memory. “Ah!”

“Afternoons of boating and licorice with your parents? Right?” he asked.

Her mouth dropped open. How did he know that? 

He slurped from his cup. “Go ahead, take a sip. My folks gave me the same reward for taking my kid sister along on bicycle rides.” 

Forgetting all about the tea, she asked, “How do you know my childhood memory?” 

“Taste it.” His lips curled into a sly grin as he took another gulp.

She cautiously took a tiny sip, just enough to wet her lips and the tip of her tongue.  The flavor flooded her mouth, and her mind swam with wonderful memories. The taste transformed into that of gigantic popcorn balls the sheriff’s wife down the street made for Halloween trick-or-treaters, accompanied by images of Lyra’s costume—a red, fringed gypsy skirt borrowed from Mom. Next came a pumpkin flavor and vision of holding a cold piece of “punky-pie” in her five-year-old hand. Another swallow returned her experience back to anise. “What is this? How did you know?”

“Let me introduce myself.” His grin spread into a smile as his eyes met hers. He took a step closer.

“I’m Cullen, Cullen Drake, and I know many things. What I don’t know is what sort of books you like to read.”

Want More Marsha?

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Marsha A. Moore said...

It's great to be here at The Book Boost today!

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I'm reading this one now, and loving it. :) Thanks for the interesting look into the story, and gemstone lore. It's fascinating stuff, to be sure.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Hey, J.D.! Glad you're enjoying the book and thanks lots for stopping in.