Archives for category: The Garden of Abracadabra 3: The Right Road

No, urban development in Los Angeles moved on after the war years. The Garden of A—a fell into disrepair and was leveled in the 1960s. A strip mall and parking lot were built over the grave of the beautiful historic Mediterranean apartment complex.

Joni Mitchell’s delightful ditty, Big Yellow Taxi, is about the demise of the Garden. The song goes, “Don’t it always seem to go; you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved Paradise, put up a parking lot.”

I never knew that, did you? I read about the connection recently in an article in The Hollywood Reporter. I’ve received that trade journal for free ever since I sold my Omni story, “Tomorrow’s Child,” to Universal Studios. I don’t know who comp’ed me! It’s pretty funny. Every year I receive an email from THR begging me to renew my free subscription!

The Garden of Abracadabra was built in Berkeley in 1850 during the California Gold Rush. This beautiful Mediterranean building won’t be demolished any time soon!

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The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Yes, partially, and also on an historic apartment complex in Hollywood in the 1940s.

What on earth was that? It went by what was considered a whimsical name, The Garden of A—. It was a Mediterranean apartment complex with bungalows and a pool. Sheilah Graham wrote a memoir with the same name about the place, which was inhabited by many famous actors of the 1940s, like Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, and Greta Garbo, usually before they attained their fame, and also by the New Yorker crowd of writers, like Dorothy Parker, John O’Hara, and Robert Benchley, who came to Hollywood to write screenplays. Sheilah and her lover, F. Scott Fitzgerald, also spent a great deal of time there.

I loved the idea of an apartment building inhabited not by famous actors and writers, but by all sorts of supernatural people and entities!

As you would expect with a crowd of professional exhibitionists living in close quarters, the denizens of the Hollywood Garden were infamous for their shenanigans. Several scenes from Marx brothers’ movies were based on incidents that took place there: people hiding in closets, people charging through doors into someone’s bedroom. Various scenes in “A Day At the Races” or “Horse Feathers” were inspired by life at the wild and crazy Garden.

So, too, the Garden of Abracadabra is “the biggest, coolest party place in Berkeley.” I take the reader to several of the parties that supernatural entities throw!

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The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Abby Teller must learn Real Magic to defend herself against the Horde, gangster-sorcerers who murdered her father when she was a child of eight. It turns out that she’ll use techniques of Real Magic to deal with all of the supernatural people and entities at the Garden of Abracadabra.

She applies to and is accepted by the Berkeley College of Magical Arts and Crafts.

In Volume 1, she learns the First and Second Fundamentals of Real Magic. As research I consulted several volumes in my own library, including Real Magic by R.E.I. Bonewits, Natural Magic by David Carroll, Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall, The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians by Magus Incognito, and The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler among many others.

The First Fundamental of Real Magic is “Knowledge is Power” and, as a corollary, “Know Thyself.” The great philosopher and teacher Pythagoras coined that adage 2,500 years ago, but it still rings true today, especially in this age of media up to your eyeballs.

“Know Thyself.” Think for yourself. Investigate and research issues, then exercise your own judgment and will. Only then may you practice Real Magic in the real world.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Yet how many people allow themselves to be whipsawed by the media? Not to mention by other people?

Abby Teller applies the First Fundamental of Real Magic to come to grips with her feelings about her mother’s wasting illness and recent death. Her grief and guilt seriously compromise her ability to master her power.

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The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Yes! Like every author on the verge of a special, big new project, I well remember that transcendent moment of first inspiration for The Garden of Abracadabra.

Often inspiration springs from something quotidian, mundane. You’re in the shower. Or shopping for groceries. Or going out for a jog.

Or, in this instance, searching for a parking place in Berkeley.

Berkeley is a small historic university town across the Bay from San Francisco, and the town is so crowded now, searching for a parking place on the street is something of a quixotic quest.

As Tom and I cruised through unfamiliar neighborhoods looking for that elusive space, we passed by a spectacular 1920s Mediterranean apartment building and were both instantly struck by its beauty. But more than that, the place had a powerful vibe or atmosphere. It was downright spooky!

The idea sprang instantly to my mind: what if you were the superintendent of a building like that and discovered that every one of your tenants was some stripe of supernatural being and every apartment was a portal to a fantasy world? To a fairyland or a hell?

I knew I had my book!

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The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

This just in! An “excellent” verdict for my story “Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day” in the November-December 2015 Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction! Check it out at  http://sfbookreview.blogspot.com/2015/11/novdec-2015-fantasy-and-science-fiction.html

Yes, indeed! The book, the first of a trilogy, possibly a series, is squarely within the subgenre of Urban Fantasy. I love this subgenre, which falls within Fantasy and first became recognized about ten years ago.

What is Urban Fantasy? It’s that rich blend of fantasy tropes (magic and magicians, witches, wizards, vampires, shapeshifters, demons) in a contemporary setting, often an urban area (as opposed to the rural, medieval settings of high fantasy), and mystery tropes (detective work, murder and crime, police procedural), spiced up with dicey romance, troublesome relationship issues, and wit and whimsy interspersed with the murder and mayhem.

Books I adored when I first began to read as a child have shaped my love of Urban Fantasy. Supernatural people in a real-world setting and wise articulate animals in all four volumes of P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins (such beautiful and humorous writing, a true sense of wonder, and wonderful pen-and-ink illustrations). Myths and Enchantment Tales adapted by Margaret Evans Price and illustrated by Evelyn Urbanowich (illustrated Greek and Roman myths). Then there was the Giant Golden Book of Dogs, Cats, and Horses (61 short illustrated stories, a Newberry Award winner). Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Books (my edition has dazzling pastel illustrations). Who could have missed Charlotte’s Web (a rare book dealer in New York is selling the edition I own for $3,000! I wouldn’t part with mine). I took all of these books (lovingly wrapped in plastic) with me to college in Ann Arbor and lugged them all the way to California where they sit on my bookshelf to this day.

Is there one or more talking magical animals in The Garden of Abracadabra? Read the book and find out!

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The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Sure. For starters, here’s the book description.

At her mother’s urgent deathbed plea, Abby Teller enrolls at the Berkeley College of Magical Arts and Crafts to learn Real Magic. This is a college, not a kiddie boarding school and the lessons of Real Magic are serious and adult.

As an independent adult, Abby needs to support herself through school. So she signs on as the superintendent of the Garden of Abracadabra, a mysterious, magical apartment building on campus.

As she deals with the day-to-day challenges that a super faces—collecting overdue rent, keeping the building clean, solving disputes between contentious neighbors–she discovers that all of her tenants are some stripe of supernatural entity—witches, shapeshifters, vampires, and wizards—and that each apartment is a fairyland or hell.

On her first day in Berkeley, Abby goes out on a hike to stretch her legs after her  long cross-country drive, and stumbles upon a supernatural multiple murder scene.

She discovers, to her horror, that one of the victims is a man she picked up hitchhiking on the freeway the day before.

Abby is soon compelled into a dangerous murder investigation and finds herself torn between three men—Daniel Stern, her ex-fiance who wants her back, Jack Kovac, an enigmatic FBI agent who is also a magician, and Prince Lastor, her mysterious and sexy tenant in the penthouse apartment. The Prince may be a suspect.

Abby will discover the first secrets of an ancient and ongoing war between humanity and the demonic realms, uncover mysteries of her own troubled past, and learn that the lessons of Real Magic may spell the difference between her own life or death.

A reader on Goodreads wrote, “So refreshing! This is Stephanie Plum in the world of Harry Potter.”

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The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Yes, there is. “Abracadabra” is a real magical spell formulated by Cabbalist magicians two thousand years ago. Originally invoked to cure mortal diseases, the spell has since been employed as the enabling word to cause the result of a magical operation.

The spell can only be used to create good results, never evil (see E.A. Wallis Budge, Lewis Spence, and others) and is so powerful everyone in the world has heard of the word.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.