The December People Series
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: 4/14/14
ISBN 978-1-62007-498-5 ebook
ISBN 978-1-62007-499-2 paperback
ISBN 978-1-62007-500-5 hardcover
ASIN: Not yet assigned
Number of pages: 249
Word Count: 79,444
Cover Artist: Michelle Johnson
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.
Book Trailer: http://animoto.com/play/xvVcJSOr0M8Gt0VKhjI0cA
Signed copies available at Julie’s Book Spot
David and his family plus Samantha stood in a circle around a small pile of unlit firewood in the backyard. They stood arranged by age: David, Amanda, Jude, Patrick, Xavier, Samantha, Emmy, Evangeline, and then of course, David again, all twice as thick with jackets and scarves. The air felt hard with cold, a determined cold that seeped through all of David’s layers. They held candles—but no matches—in their gloved hands. The family had gone through the house turning off lights. All of the lights. They even turned off the red lights glowing on electronics. They had unplugged the entire house. However, David could see easily. An orange haze of light peeked up from the trees. Millions of lights lit up the world all around them. Darkness didn’t exist in the middle of Houston.
As soon as they had managed to arrange themselves into a circle, the kids got quiet without David or Amanda instructing them to. Wizards standing in a circle felt significant to David. When they got in that position, they snapped into place. The air became denser around him and he was rooted to the spot, as if with extra gravity. But he didn’t feel confined. He felt powerful. He plugged into an energy source he didn’t even know existed. His fingers had an itchy, tingly feeling. He knew he could do magic.
The paper in Amanda’s hand crinkled loudly as she held it close to her face. She had done her research, which David found endearing and impressive. She had talked to Samantha and Evangeline and some of the witches Penelope’s mom knew, and had created a ritual designed specifically for them, as the matriarch of the family should. The matriarch of the family always directed group spell casting, because she understood her family’s magic, the purpose of each family member, and knew how to keep them in balance—a tall order, since Amanda didn’t know much about some of the newest members of her family and knew even less about magic. But, David had never known Amanda to say she couldn’t do anything, so why start now?
Amanda owning this task shocked the kids, but not David. He knew her better than anyone did. Thus, he knew her mind and the rest of her often disagreed. Her left brain dug her feet into the ground and wouldn’t budge. That part of her would say things such as, “We’re not practicing magic,” and “We’re divorced,” until kingdom come. She would say it. She’d believe it. And she’d do the opposite, because occasionally the parts of her not governed by her left brain would break free. David may not be able to sway the left-brain side of her, but he could influence her other side, and he thought that maybe he had actually convinced her of something, for once.
And, part of Amanda had really wanted to be convinced, because wizards stayed wizards, no matter how many years they’d been indoctrinated otherwise. They listened to forces that had nothing to do with logic or reason, making them stupid, reckless, destructive, and exciting. And they liked to play with fire. Literally and figuratively.
“How I am supposed to read this in the dark?” Amanda asked. “How do people do this?”
“You’re supposed to have it memorized,” Evangeline said.
“Your eyesight is terrible,” David said. “Let me see it.”
She thrust the paper out of his reach. “Back off.”
“Why don’t you just let Evangeline or Samantha speak?” David said. “I’m sure they have some stuff memorized.”
“No,” Amanda said. “It’s supposed to be me. My words.” Amanda let out a shivery sigh. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not supposed to do this.” She took her phone out of her pocket and turned it on. She illuminated her paper with the dim blue light.
“First we honor the darkness,
For in darkness, our eyes are not distracted by the flash and flare of Mundane sights
So, only in darkness can we truly see.
In the silence of the deepest night, our ears are not assaulted by Mundane sounds
So, only in darkness can we truly hear.
In darkness, we are unable to see danger and are rendered vulnerable
So, only in darkness can we truly feel.
We do not believe that light exists in spite of darkness. We believe that light exists because of it.
Darkness is the only fertile ground for light. It is the only garden where light can be sown.
So, now we experience the darkness. Use this time in the dark and quiet to use your deeper senses. Experience what you are called to experience. The answers wait for you in the darkness. Do not deny them.”
And then, she fell silent.
David couldn’t hear the cars on the highway anymore. He couldn’t hear the music playing down the street. He could hear only the breathing of the others in the circle. And the sky…the orange haze disappeared and the sky reminded David of the one over Big Bend. Millions of stars set against a perfect pitch black. The moon cast a crisp, blue light on the scene. With her words, or perhaps with some other magic deeper than words, she had called the darkness. David pictured it as a bubble around them.
The quiet didn’t feel as awkward as David would have expected. No one giggled or even coughed or sighed. His lungs felt larger. He could breathe. This darkness didn’t feel frightening. In fact, David couldn’t remember ever feeling so safe. The darkness was the foundation that everything else was built on. The garden where the universe grew. The simplest, most basic thing in existence. And it was spectacular.
He supposed that was the answer that waited for him. That darkness in itself was not evil. Darkness was peace. Potential. Home.
Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening).
She only practices magic in emergencies.