EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads Sunday Spotlight w/Giveaway: Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of the Night Opium by Manfred



Welcome to EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads
Sunday Spotlight 

Today we are spotlighting Manfred's
Magic Mirabelle and the 
Riddle of the Night Opium!

Enter below for a chance to win either 1 of 3 ebooks
or 1 of 2 Paperbacks of Magic Mirabelle and the 
Riddle of the Night Opium from Manfred.


Manfred's 
Magic Mirabelle and the 
Riddle of the Night Opium!

Simply the Best Book on the world of 
Magic and Witchcraft since Harry Potter.



If you liked Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and the Narnia and Harry Potter books, you will totally LOVE Mirador Publishing’s latest MUST READ YA Fantasy and Paranormal Romance - “Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of Night Opium”

The story begins in East Finchley London where, after making a Wish with her mother and little brother, the young teenage Witch Mirabelle discovers a Magic Box with a very mysterious and enigmatic riddle in it.

The riddle has been left for Mirabelle by her admirer the Magician Night Opium, who has taken a fancy to the young Witch and wants to share his knowledge of Goldmaking with her. However, neither of them understand the nature of the powers they are working with, and not long after that Mirabelle finds herself part of a very mysterious and enchanted game: one which has been played by young Witches and Sorcerers for generations, called the Dungeons of Lethe (D.O.L.) Game.

To emerge victorious in this Game Mirabelle has to overcome several powerful and deadly adversaries - including the Sorceress Lady Nightshadow herself - and take part in three Magical Battles or Tasks, each more psychologically demanding and gruelling than the last.

Fortunately for her, Mirabelle has powerful allies to help her, the vivacious Fairy Apricot Lanterm, the wise and kindly Father of Wishes and the Sorcerer Night Opium himself. At first, neither he nor Mirabelle are happy to work together with each other, but eventually, during the third and last Magical Task, the young Witch realizes that for her to save herself and her world from a frightful Dystopian future, she will have to rekindle her love for Night Opium and pool all her dreams and Magic together with his.

The nail-biting climax to the tale occurs when one of London’s most prestigious theatre companies suddenly decides to perform one of Night Opium's weird and wonderful poems, called the Londres Witch. When the poem is staged, with Mirabelle in one of the leading roles, all of the power from their pooled Magic streams out into the historic centre of Westminster London.

And as it does, the familiar spots in the city like Trafalgur Square, Piccadily and Kensington Gardens, all become embroiled in the D.O.L. Game and the lives of the city's inhabitants are changed forever in a way that noone, not even the Sorcerer or Mirabelle themselves, could ever have foreseen.



Grab YOUR copy TODAY!


If you liked Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and the Harry Potter books 
you are just going to totally ADORE our latest 
YA Fantasy Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of Night Opium


Q & A with Manfred about  Magic Mirabelle and the 
Riddle of the Night Opium!



Tell us about Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of the Night Opium.


Magic Mirabelle is a pretty unique and amazing book in its own way. It is both an enchanted Fairytale Retelling as well as a YA Urban Fantasy novel filled with all sorts of Dark Gothic and Paranormal elements. The book is also a Romance between the heroine Mirabelle and her admirer the Wizard Night Opium. And, as the novel follows Mirabelle's adventures from her early teenage years to when she becomes a young woman - the book qualifies as a Coming of Age novel as well. 

As for the plot of the novel - it is about a very special young teenage girl who loves Fairytales and Fantasy books more than anything else in the world, and dreams of living in an adventure of her own just like the ones she reads about. Her name is Mirabelle. And after she Wishes for this to happen, she discovers a Magic Box with a very mysterious riddle in it. The Riddle has been left for her by her admirer the Magician Night Opium, who wants to make her his apprentice and teach her the secrets of Alchemy and Goldmaking. At first Mirabelle finds herself in the most enchanting adventure, and thinks that her Wishes have come true, but afterwards she discovers that she has become a player in the most sinister and dreadful game, called the Dungeons of Lethe (DOL) Game. This is a game which has been played as part of the Initiation of young Witches and Sorcerers for many generations. And to defeat her rivals in the Game, Mirabelle has to take part in three Magical Battles or Tasks, each more psychologically gruelling and bloody than the one before it.

Fortunately for her, she has friends and allies to help her in the DOL Game, her mother and little brother, her best friend Lucy, the wise and kindly Father of Wishes and eventually Night Opium himself. After several falling outs, neither he nor Mirabelle are happy to work together. But finally, in the third and last task, Mirabelle understands that for her to win the DOL Game and to complete her Initiation as a Witch, she has to rekindle her love for the Magician and pool her Magic and love for Fairytales with his knowledge of Sorcery and Goldmaking.


What initially inspired you to write Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of the Night Opium?


Well, the idea for the novel first came to me when my son Tristan was growing up. Along with rediscovering Fairyland with him, I also began to read and reread lots of the classic Fairytales and Fantasy stories - Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Mopsa the Fairy, the Narnia books, HC Andersen and Grimm's Fairytales - So on one level Mirabelle follows the pattern of other Classic Fantasy books and Fairytales. The main difference between these stories and mine is that Magic Mirabelle is a Goldmaking Fairytale - this means that it is inspired by some of the practises and beliefs of Magic, Witchcraft and Hermetic Alchemy. In my youth I was a bit of a Sorcerer like Night Opium and I studied a lot of Hermetic Philosophy and Qabalah - including the Tarot. And this is where the Dungeons of Lethe Role Playing Game comes in. The four suits that are used in the DOL Game - Tulips, Peacocks, Amorinas and Mandrakes - all of them correspond directly to the four suits in the Tarot deck. For those of you who are familiar with the Tarot, the suit of Tulips in the Game corresponds to Wands in the Tarot and the element Fire, Amorinas corresponds to Cups and Water, Peacocks to Pentacles and Earth and Mandrakes to the unlucky suit of Swords and Air. 

Mirabelle's Grandma, as it happens, is a bona-fide card carrying Witch and she is the one who introduces the Game to Mirabelle and her friends and, after that, the Dungeons of Lethe Game becomes central to their lives as well as one of the main focuses of the story. The story follows the development of the DOL Game and the Game follows the plot of the Story. The way the Game and the Story link up together in the Book is one of the really special things about the novel and helps it stand out against most other books in the YA genre . 


Tell us little about the characters in Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of the Night Opium.


The main character is Mirabelle. The entire story is told through her eyes, beginning with her as a teenage girl and ending with her development into a young woman. But many of the other characters in the story are important as well. Her Grandma for example gets her started by telling her heaps of stuff about being an apprentice Witch and introducing her to the DOL Game. Her Mother and little brother are also important. The Wish Mirabelle makes with them in the beginning of the book kind of opens up the door for her later adventures. Another interesting character is the Magician Night Opium who leaves the Riddle in the attic for Mirabelle to find and tries to teach her the art of Alchemy and Goldmaking with his captive one foot one Fairy Apricot Lantern.

Mirabelle's best friend Lucy also plays a big part in the book. Lucy is vivacious, charming, a little bit mad and she definitely provides much of the comic plot twists and humour in the story. She is also a Fairy Queen in disguise so that gives her the opportunity to do loads of Magic - and in the end her and Mirabelle discover that they both share a very special bond that makes them inseparable - this is especially so in the chapters where Lucy takes part in the second Magical Battle in the DOL Game with Mirabelle and uses her Fairy Magic to do some really amazing stuff! But I can't say too much about that here. You just have to read the story!

Of course there are villains in the book as well - Mirabelle's Mistress, the deliciously wicked Lady Nightshadow and the terrifying Genie in her deadly Goldmaking engines, as well as Mirabelle's rival for Night Opium's affections, the treacherous Melisande. These two provide most of the opposition for Mirabelle both in the DOL Game and in her daily life, sometimes treating her in the cruellest and most manipulative ways imaginable. 

But probably the most amazing character in the book is Shimba, the little fluggy white Bichon Havanais - Mirabelle first meets him in the Land of Wishes and he is just so irresistible and cute, that everyone just totally adores him! 


What was the hardest part of writing this book?


Interestingly, the hardest part of the book to write was the fifth and sixth chapters. I just got stuck on these for ages. The other stuff came much easier. But I had to return to chapters five and six heaps of times to get the right flow and fell to them. I think that is because five and six are transition chapters - after these chapters Mirabelle's childhood world of Fairytales and make believe has to grow and mature and eventually become something else. What that is Mirabelle has no idea about at the time and for a while neither did I.. But looking back I can see that after chapter six she starts to leave her childhood world and begins to prepare herself to grow up and play the DOL Game with some pretty powerful and malicious rivals.

Every author I think will agree that when you write a book, the characters are not always very cooperative and sometimes you have to work very hard to pry their secrets from them! There are times in the book, especially around these chapters that this occured. 


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 


I do not know that I have a favourite chapter as such, but I think I liked writing the last half dozen or so chapters of the book the most - the climax of the book takes place with the three Magical Battles between the Peacocks, Amorinas and Tulips teams, led by Mirabelle and their arch enemy the Mandrakes led by her rival Lady Nightshadow. The first and second Battles are both very bloody and messy so that was awesome to write. Mirabelle is very squeamish about the violence, but her best friend Lucy is really in her element in this part of the book, using all her Magic as a young Fairy Queen in the most grisly and charming ways imaginable.

The third and last Battle, which is not so much a Battle as a Magical Task was even more amazing to write and it happened almost by accident. I had written a poem about London some years before,which I thought would fit Night Opium's avante garde personality really well. I had this idea at some point in the story that he shouldn't just be an Alchemist and a Sorcerer, but he should also be a Romantic Poet - a kind of Lord Byron figure. So I went with that idea and brought my old poem into the story. 

The poem is called the Londres Witch and it is based on the Seven Stages or Regimens of Alchemy set on a backdrop of many of the famous spots in London like Trafalgur Square, Piccadilly and so on. What happens during the third and last task is that when the poem is performed by one of London's most prestigious theatre companies, all the Magic and Enchantment from the Mirabelle's and Night Opium's magical world pours out into the heart of London and changes it forever. For me, that process of transforming a major urban metropolis into a cross between Fairyland and the Mad Hatter's Tea Party was really awesome and amazing to write.



What are your future project(s)?

After this project, which has taken a lot out of me mentally and physically, I will take a few months rest and then I will rework one of my old fairytales. I have one in mind already. If I keep it within the Fairytale genre it will be a novella, about 100 pages at most. However, if I rewrite it into a combined Fairytale and YA Paranormal Fantasy and Romance like I have done with Magic Mirabelle, it will probably spill over into three hundred pages as well.


Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about this book?


Well, except for telling everyone to go buy the book and tell all their friends about its awesomeness - I would like to say that I think that this book is an important addition to the YA Fantasy and Paranormal genres. It is not only a really good story with some amazing plot twists and characters like Lucy, Mirabelle, Night Opium and the rest - but, during my writing process, I also did heaps of research into the traditions and beliefs behind Magic, Fairies Witchcraft, Alchemy etc. And I have woven a lot of that into the plot. There are many Fantasy writers who don't do this, or they do it in a way so that the reader misses it. 

The Philosopher's Stone, for example, has become a household word thanks to JK Rowling's first Harry Potter book. Despite the ingenious plot and originality of that novel, however, there is only scant information about the Philosopher's Stone itself in the book. I'm sure that J.K.Rowlings has her own reasons for doing this. She is after all one of the greatest writers in thsi genre. But since Magic Mirabelle IS a Fairytale in the Goldmaking tradition, I have included quite a few interesting facts about the Philosopher's Stone, along with one or two surprises for the reader about its background and history in the Alchemical Tradition! But to find that out, you will have to read the book!


Now for an excerpt from Magic Mirabelle and the 
Riddle of the Night Opium!

Chapter ten "The Father of Wishes"

Having explained all the Rules of the Dungeons of Lethe Game to everyone, it was time to begin playing. Grandma smiled to Mirabelle and handed her the two Quest dice. ”And if I am not wrong Mirabelle,” she informed her. ”Tulips goes first. Which means it’s your turn…”

To be on the safe side, Mirabelle decided to spin Quest Dice 1. Unlike its comrade Quest Dice 2, there was no chance of spinning Mandrakes with this dice. The luck of the dice was with her and she spun a three. She moved her piece three squares forwards and landed on one of the Tulip motifs. Her Grandma told her to pick up a card from the shiny gold pack. As soon as she did, there was a loud clarion trumpeting from the Tulip deck which echoed throughout the room, much to everyone’s amusement. After taking her card, Mirabelle glanced at it briefly and then showed it to her Grand.

“Oh my Goodness,” the Lady excitedly exclaimed. “I don’t believe it. Mirabelle has just pulled the Father of Wishes!” Mirabelle read the information which was scribbled on the card. It said:

"Father of Wishes (Quest Ally - Tulips)
Congratulations, your Quest Hero has just been granted an audience with the Father of Wishes, the Grand Master of the Fraternity of Hermetic Gold-makers, and the Hierophant of the Temple of Solomon. Ascend the Seven Steps of his Temple of Wisdom to gain access to his Library of Occult Learning. After receiving formal instruction from him on the Mysteries of Alchemy and the Quest for the Philosopher’s Stone, your hero receives blessings of plus 6 Wisdom, plus 10 Magical Capacity and plus 10 Vitality. All effects of Mandrake cards are also immediately nullified by this card and Mandrakes cannot be gathered by any of the players for the next 5 turns. This card is a Quest Ally Card and can be kept for later use in any coming Magical Battles against the Lethe Master,"

(iii)

As soon as Mirabelle picked up the card, Grandma and her two Witch friends pulled out their wands and began to wave them in an elliptical motion over her head. As they did so, they chanted a Spell in low, sonorous voices.

“The Moon is full, my Precious,
Prithee come and Play,
The Moon is full, my Precious,
And soon comes the Day!"
After they had chanted the Spell three times, the three Witches ended the ceremony by striking Mirabelle gently on the top of her head with their wands: Ting! Tong! Tung! Immediately, she felt herself being split in half like an apple. A part of her was looking down at herself and listening to the lovely music of the wands, while another part of her was looking around and exploring all the amazing phenomenon occurring in the bedroom.

Her toy rocking horse had suddenly begun to squeak and rock up and down by itself. All the little figures in her doll house had come to life right before her eyes. And her crystals and other treasures were radiating the loveliest energies out into the room.

But the most marvelous thing of all was her Magic Dragon Chest: that was opening and shutting like a large mouth and there was the most irresistible odour emanating from the flowers inside it. She could also hear the most delightful music coming from the box, just like a dawn chorus of birds whistling and chirping together, as they sang the most delightful madrigals. In fact, there were so many birds singing and tweeting together that their music filled the entire bedrooom. Best of all, from the centre of the box shone the gentlest, light, just like a magic lantern. The light was like the light you sometimes see in dreams, or when you are watching the Full Moon shining on the waves of the Ocean and making the most beautiful glittering pathway, like a gigantic tiara of Fairy Diamonds.

The light reminded Mirabelle of the Moon shining on the Ocean so much that she decided that perhaps the Moon had taken residence in the box. She didn’t know how this was possible. But she wanted to check it out anyway. So, with her little heart beating like a drum in her chest, she went carefully over to take a long hard look. And oh dear, but if this didn’t beat all: What a marvelous sight there was before her. It totally took her breath away. Because there in the Dragon Chest was the most enchanting staircase of white transparent glass, just as shiny and fragile as Cinderella’s Glass Slippers.

And to make the staircase appear even more enchanting and gorgeous, each of these tiny transparent stairs was covered over with little sprinklings of Snowdrop Magnolias and blossoms. Each of them was like a tiny luminous star jumping and hopping from one stair to the next.

Mirabelle was totally spellbound.. And she thought, if only her clumsy feet weren’t so large and obtrusive and the delicate glass staircase so fragile and small. Well then she could just walk straight out onto it and go up and down and around and around it forever. Of course, if the staircase were really magic, then why couldn’t she become small enough for her to fit onto it, or the staircase become bigger?"

As she was pondering over these matters, a voice suddenly boomed like thunder from out of the box.

“Indeed, little Princess,” The voice said. “There is Magic in everything around you. You just have to know when and where to look for it. Is it not so??”

The voice was so deep and sonorous that it sounded like a clap of thunder. And when she heard it coming from the box and addressing her in this very personal manner, Mirabelle got the fright of her life.

“Well, don’t dilly-dally,” The voice said impatiently. “We don’t have all day you know. Just step into the box. Just be careful and mind your feet. Because you never know what they’re doing when you’re not watching them do you??”

“No.” Mirabelle agreed, but really who was this that was talking to her? And how on earth did he expect her large feet to fit into such a tiny glass slipper staircase?

“Well the answer to that is easy enough isn’t it?” The voice replied, “The stairs will either get bigger. Or you will get smaller. That’s basic Alice in Wonderland Logic. Plain as the nose on your face really, especially for a clever little girl like you, who knows all her fairy-tales like she knows her own back pocket.”

“Hmmm,” Mirabelle puzzled over this one. Alice in Wonderland Logic indeed! The whole idea of the stairs growing or her shrinking couldn’t have been more confusing if she’d sat down and thought about it for a week. And how was it the voice knew exactly what she was thinking, just like that show off Magician Night Opium– oh dear and was this another one of his tricks?

“Fiddlesticks!” The voice roared with derisive laughter, “That amateur! Oh dear Princess, but don’t put the apprentice in the Master’s shoes. And a very shoddy apprentice, as you well know. No, I’m someone else altogether. Can’t you guess who?”

“No,” Mirabelle shook her head feeling like a complete dunce. “I’m sorry sir, but I don’t know.”

“Think about it,” He encouraged her.” The problem with girls your age is that they’re always selling themselves short. You need to believe in yourself Princess. Because if you don’t who will? As for me, I am someone who is very kind to special young ladies like you, who wish and pretend all the time. I try to make sure they don’t get scolded too much when they’re being saucy. And I try to make sure they don’t get cheated, but get what’s fair. And I think you know what I am talking about.”

Mirabelle knew the answer to that straightway.
“The Saucy Fairy?”

“Who else?” came the immediate reply, “Now, in my experience you can’t trust fairies as far as you can throw them. But have you ever heard of a Princess in a Fairy-tale who didn’t have a fairy or two watching out for her? Now in this story Princess, which as you know is your story, there will be three fairies. And while we are waiting for you to take the first step onto the staircase, I will tell you a little about them. There are three fairies and they are all Queens.”

“Now in England, as you know, you have only one Queen. But in our country, the Land of Wishes we have three. And, as you can imagine, this can sometimes lead to a good deal of disagreement. Be that as it may, one of the Queens in our country has hair as golden as the sunlit corn. This Fairy you have already met. She is the youngest Queen and is something of a flibberty gibbet as you well know. But you are yet to meet the other two Queens. The second Queen you will meet has hair as red as the colour of a flaming Ruby. And the third has hair as black as ebony and the feathers of a Raven’s coat.“

Mirabelle was all ears now. The thought of meeting two more Fairy Queens sounded very exciting. She just hoped that they wouldn’t all be as contrary and capricious as the first one.

“Well, as it happens,” The voice replied tentatively, “One of the Fairies that you are going to meet soon is even more contrary in her own way than your little friend Apricot Lantern. Although having said this I have to concede that this lady is a good deal wiser and more learned than her younger sister.”

“Oh dear,” Mirabelle was very apprehensive and tried very hard not to imagine how contrary such a Fairy could be, especially if she had a wide history of book knowledge behind her!

“Well, the upside is that the third Fairy which you are going to meet after the second one is very kind and congenial.” The voice replied encouragingly. “And this third Fairy functions as a kind of Guardian Angel for the Chosen Princess in our story. She is the Fairy with hair as black as Raven’s feathers and her name is the Fairy of Providence.”

It was a relief to hear that there was at least one kind and goodhearted Fairy. But it still left Mirabelle at the mercy of that other contrary Fairy didn’t it? And wouldn’t it be far more congenial if she met the nice Fairy first, the one that was called the Fairy of Providence?

“Well, we just have to be philosophical about these matters don’t we?” The voice replied pragmatically, “Because no matter how bad-mannered the fairies are in our stories, they represent the Wish fulfillment parts of every Princess and, as such, you can’t wish them away without wishing away the next best part of yourself. But having said this, I think it would be prudent if we watched our step in future, because every young Witch has a boastful and contrary part that is far too clever for her own good. And if one fairy has already taken advantage of that part of you – well, what is to stop an even cleverer and more conniving fairy from doing the same?”

Mirabelle blushed. The voice was giving her some very good and sound advice. And she certainly appreciated that. But at the same time she had to make her own decisions and choose her own path didn’t she?

“Be mindful. And watch your feet Princess.” The voice advised her. “You are now on the first step!”
Mirabelle was delighted. She did not know whether the steps had grown smaller or she had grown bigger. But there she was standing on those gorgeous Cinderella Glass Slipper Stairs and all around her rose pink feet the shiny blossoms were playing hop scotch and encouraging her feet to do the same. But she told them all very firmly that she had to take the nice man’s advice and be mindful and watch her feet.

The nice man??? The flowers teased her. Oh my God Princess. But don’t you know who he is?

And all at once Mirabelle did know. That kindly man who was guiding her up the steps was the Grand Master of the Fraternity for Hermetic Gold-makers.
He was the Father of Wishes!



Author Bio:

Manfred is the author name for a Melbourne born writer who now lives in Copenhagen Denmark. Manfred has been writing for many years and Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of Night Opium is his first novel in the YA Fantasy and Paranormal Romance genre. Manfred also has a degree in English literature and Philosophy from Copenhagen University and his main interests besides writing and Gold-Making are watching films, travelling to exotic places like India, reading Fairytales and Romances, playing the guitar and the piano and taking his pet dog Shimba for walks with his son by the beach or in the forest. His favourite foods are pizza, lasagne, vegetable pies and spicy Indian food. He also has an addiction to drinking hot chocolate and eating very rich and yummy cheese cakes!

To contact Manfred - write to him on his Magic Mirabelle Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/magicmirabelleriddleofnightopium/

Or on his Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15467310.Manfred

Manfred is always interested in answering questions and getting feedback about his new book.



Manfred Spotlight Giveaway

Comments

  1. Hi EskieMama and DragonLady
    The Giveaway and interview looks great.

    Thanks for your work

    Manfred

    ReplyDelete

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