Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Witchy Winter"

D.J. (“Dave”) Butler grew up in swamps, deserts, and mountains. After messing around for years with the practice of law, he finally got serious and turned to his lifelong passion for storytelling. He now writes adventure stories for readers of all ages, plays guitar, and spends as much time as he can with his family.

Butler applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Witchy Winter, book two in the epic fantasy series Witchy Winter, and reported the following:
From page 69:
He didn’t want to kill the gander. But the bird seemed to be begging him. He rode hard, fighting to keep his eyes open against sudden tears that threatened to blind him.

the goose honked one last time—

it turned its neck to thrust its greased head into Nathaniel’s outstretched palm—


Nathaniel slowed and then stopped his horse, looking down in shock at the bird’s head that lay twitching in his cupped hand. “Woden’s beard, I think he did it.” George walked away from Charles toward Nathaniel, reaching up to pull down the other young man’s hand to look inside.

~ thank you.~

“Thank you,” Nathaniel repeated, feeling exhausted.

“Publish the banns.” George snorted as he took the goose’s head. “Jenny’s yours, young Chapel.”

“I guess I’ll be having goose for dinner tomorrow night.” Nathaniel tried to grin big, and a ect the bravado the others seemed to feel. Charles smiled back at him. Nathaniel’s ear tingled, so he rubbed it.

“You know, if you left your ear alone, it might not have swollen up to that ridiculous size,” Landon said.

“It’s not that young Nathaniel’s ear is large.” George grunted, climbing onto his own horse, where he swayed back and forth during the pause in his speech. “It’s that it sticks out sideways. Poor bastard looks like a windmill on his left side.”

“I’d have said an elephant,” Landon suggested.
Page 69 is representative in several ways of the larger book.

We see here the sufferings of Nathaniel, the sick young man who must become a healer if he and his sister are to survive. He is one of the three siblings who are the key characters of the series.

Witchy Winter is a book about America and its peoples, and we see here a couple of features of the Cavalier culture of the Chesapeake: intense pecking order and violent blood sports (this is the climax of a ganderpull).

Magic in the Witchy Winter setting is not some artificial game-influenced system built on colors or metals, but is rooted in real-world magical ideas and practices. Nathaniel's illness is a result of too-much openness to the sounds of the cosmos, including the voices of spirits (which appear in the fragment) and also the music of the spheres (which he hears as cacophony). His healing will ultimately come from shamanic initiation.
Visit D.J. Butler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue