A Visit from a Magical Girl (revised)

A poem

The previous version of this was doggerel I whipped out in about ten minutes, but this version (with some fudging) uses the anapestic tetrameter of the original.

T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the town,
Lots of girls were a-stirring, to beat monsters down.
So they stalked all the baddies that threatened mankind,
For to blast them with magic and kick their behinds.

They crouched in the dark by the chimneys with care,
Or slipped across rooftops—villains beware!
One might wear a kerchief, and one has a cap,
But they all got short skirts, what you think about that?

Then at City Hall, there arose such a clatter,
That Plum Fairy Lyssa soon checked out the matter.
A monster showed up with a roar and a flash,
So Lyssa transformed and got ready to bash!

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a slavering, fanged, and bloodthirsty deer?
T’was Rudolph! Whose terrible, powerful nose,
Had at last warped his mind with its horrid bright glow!

Our Lyssa, however, so eager to brawl,
Quick leapt like a gymnast atop of a wall.
“Stop there, evil monster!” she said with a scoff,
“You’ve attacked us on Christmas, and that ticks me off!”

The Moon Princess blest her with power and might,
That she might be quick to kick butt in a fight,
To halt evil crooks in the midst of a crime,
Or to battle vile creatures beyond space and time!

Now punch him, now bludgeon! Now blast him with pow’r!
And yet his eyes glowed with a menacing glow’r!
Now kick him, now stab him, now strangle and blitz ’im!
That deer is no match for this young doe-eyed vixen!

At last Rudolph gasped and lay dead at her feet,
As his bright ruby blood ran out into the street.
“I’ve vanquished the creature,” the Plum Fairy mused,
“But why then do I feel as if I still should lose?”

In leapt Marionette, the famed robot girl,
With her magical pencil, which she gave a twirl.
“Young Lyssa, my dear, you have fought well and brave,
But killed poor Rudolph, whom you know you should save.”

“Well, no one has once taught me any of that,”
Said Lyssa, perplexed. (On the ground she now spat.)
“To fight off the monsters that threaten our world,
Is the constant hard job of a magical girl!”

“We fight for mankind, that is certainly true,”
Said Marionette, whose cold fingers turned blue.
“But always remember that we serve the Light—
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a clean fight!”

The Night before Christmas in Urbanopolis

A Poem

T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the city,
Lots of girls were stirring, and all of them pretty.
They stalked all the baddies that threatened mankind,
To blast them with magic and kick their behinds.

They crouched beside all the dark chimneys with care,
And slipped across rooftops—evildoers beware!
One might wear a kerchief, and one has a cap,
But they all got short skirts, what you think about that?

Then at City Hall, there arose such a clatter,
That Plum Fairy Lyssa went to see what’s the matter.
A monster appeared with a roar and a flash,
Lyssa called up her powers and got ready to bash!

But what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a slavering, fanged, and bloodthirsty deer?
T’was Rudolph! Whose powerful nose,
Had at last warped his mind with its sinister glow!

Lyssa, however, was ready to brawl,
So she leapt like a gymnast to the top of a wall.
“Halt, evil monster!” she said with a scoff,
“You’ve attacked us on Christmas, and that ticks me off!”

The Moon Princess blest her with power and might,
That she might be quick to kick butt in a fight,
Whether to halt evildoers in the midst of a crime,
Or to battle vile creatures from beyond space and time!

Now punch him, now bludgeon! Now blast him with power!
And yet his eyes glowed with a menacing glower!
Now kick him, now stab him, now strangle and blitz him!
That deer is no match for this doe-eyed vixen!

At last Rudolph gasped and lay dead at her feet,
As his bright ruby blood ran out into the street.
“I’ve vanquished the creature,” the Plum Fairy mused,
“But why do I feel as if I should lose?”

In leapt Marionette, the famed robot girl,
With her magical pencil, which she soon gave a twirl.
“Young Lyssa, my girl, you’ve fought well and brave,
But you just killed poor Rudolph, whom you should try to save.”

“Well, no one ever taught me any of that,”
Said Lyssa, perplexed, as on the pavement she spat.
“To fight off the monsters that threaten our world,
That’s what it means to be a magical girl!”

“We war for mankind, that much is too true,”
Said Marionette, whose cold fingers turned blue.
“But we must always remember to serve only the Light,
So merry Christmas to all, and to all a clean fight!”

Jake and the Dynamo’s Thanksgiving Parade of Awesomesauce (Part 1)

“And now,” Pretty Dynamo snarled as she spun her shining spear, “I’m gonna waste that turkey!”

It was late fall, and the air was turning cold. Strong winds sent red oak leaves skittering across frost-slicked sidewalks. Overhead, the sky was a sheet of gray steel. The last remnants of a broken and beaten humanity huddled together in their one surviving city as a chill north wind threatened the onset of winter. Slavering monsters full of malice brooded just outside their borders, and only the vigilant magical girls, man’s last hope, could keep the forces of evil at bay. But hope was waning, for the monsters were innumerable, the girls were few, and winter would be cold.

Meanwhile, Jake was in fifth grade. He didn’t belong there, not exactly: his fifteenth birthday was coming soon, and he was supposed to be in his first year of high school, but a computer glitch had erased part of his elementary transcript, and the school system had a rather inflexible way of dealing with such unexpected contingencies.

If there was one thing his return to fifth grade had taught him, it was to hate holidays. Jake had already suffered through a childish Halloween party full of junk food and screaming kids, and now he had to suffer through Thanksgiving. He tried to remember the first time he went through elementary: had he really spent so little time spelling and doing sums, and so much time tracing his hand on construction paper and decorating it to look like a turkey? It was a wonder he was literate. Continue reading “Jake and the Dynamo’s Thanksgiving Parade of Awesomesauce (Part 1)”

Jake and the Dynamo’s Epic Halloween Blowout Extravaganza, Part 3 (of 3)

Pumpkin, Spice, and Everything Nice! The magical girl Halloween showdown comes to its thrilling conclusion!

Featured image: “#PunkinDidNothingWrong” by Roffles Lowell

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Margherita stood by, biting her nails. Tears ran down her cheeks as she stared at all her boxes of ruined pizza. Her eyes flicked back between Jake and Magical Girl Punkin Spice.

“Please,” she pleaded. “Please, no more. Please don’t ruin any more food—”

In spite of the chilly night air, Jake felt sweat forming under his collar. He took another pull on his coffee, but then raised his hands and slowly backed away from Punkin. Her wand still pointed at his chest.

“Wait, hold on,” he said. “You don’t want me to get a taste for pumpkin spice—”

“Oh yes I do,” Punkin whispered. “I want everyone to know the joys of pumpkin spice!”

Jake chuckled nervously. “Look, I don’t know exactly how this kind of thing works, but I’m pretty sure pumpkin spice isn’t my thing. I mean, I’m a guy. I bet I’d have to have a lot more estrogen in my system before I could enjoy something like pumpkin spice—”

“I can take care of that,” Punkin hissed. Her wand trembled in her grasp. Continue reading “Jake and the Dynamo’s Epic Halloween Blowout Extravaganza, Part 3 (of 3)”

Jake and the Dynamo’s Epic Halloween Blowout Extravaganza, Part 2 (of 3)

It’s Halloween night, and a spicy new magical girl has her eye on Jake! Can he survive another magical battle? And can he survive the scourge of artificial pumpkin spice flavoring?

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Magical Girl Punkin Spice leapt lightly from her broomstick, which with a flash of light shrank into a small dust broom. she clipped it to her belt. Flipping her braided ponytail off her shoulder, she cocked her enormous pointed hat, and her bright blue eyes surveyed the scene. The other magical girls stood tense, and the normal humans slowly backed away. Over near the bubbling cauldron of cider, Pretty Dynamo rested a hand on the wand holstered at her side.

Jake shrugged and took another bite of his pizza. Margherita’s pizza was good when it was cold, too.

“You there!” Punkin at last shouted, jabbing a finger toward him. “What is this blasphemy?”

She marched his way. Jake merely raised an eyebrow and sucked up a wayward strand of mozzarella. “Excuse me?”

“Pizza?” Punkin Spice cried, shaking a fist. “You’re eating pizza on Halloween night?” Continue reading “Jake and the Dynamo’s Epic Halloween Blowout Extravaganza, Part 2 (of 3)”

Jake and the Dynamo’s Epic Halloween Blowout Extravaganza, Part 1 (of 3)

For the magical girls, it’s the most important night of the year, a night to renew their contracts with their familiars. But will a mysterious newcomer ruin their joyous celebrations?

Featured image”Magical Girl Punkin Spice” by Roffles Lowell.

FIRST | NEXT | LAST

This night was unlike any other. A tension, a frisson of excitement hung in the air like that melancholy tingle of expectation before a thunderstorm. The entire city of Urbanopolis, that last refuge of beleaguered humanity, glowed with multicolored lights and resounded with music and chatter. On every stoop grinned a fiery Jack-o’-Lantern eerily flickering with candlelight. Children laughed and ran pell-mell down sidewalks, their boots or sandals slapping against the concrete. Or they gathered in timid clusters, clinging to the hands of longsuffering parents. They wore garish costumes, like fairy creatures arisen from some dark corner of a half-forgotten world: Here was a ghost, there a goblin, there a ballerina in pink lace. Hastily made outfits of cardboard and brown paper crackled and crinkled as their wearers clumsily walked. A few children shivered with cold. Others had, at the behest of nervous mothers, forced themselves into parkas before climbing into their costumes, so they were plump and round as pumpkins under their elaborate dress. The clear sky was black, a hint of frost clung to the air, and the last remaining leaves hung brown and blood red on the trees.

This was Halloween, the night of nights.

Continue reading “Jake and the Dynamo’s Epic Halloween Blowout Extravaganza, Part 1 (of 3)”

#WaifuWednesday Special: Andalusia Trading Card is 50% Off!

On this Waifu Wednesday, are you alone? Are you lonely and miserable, sitting in your mom’s basement with your fedora askew on your unwashed hair as you scratch your unshorn neck and pick at your acne? Are your hot pockets tasteless, no longer satisfying? Does your anime character body pillow no longer comfort you as it once did? Do you wonder if this is all there is to life? Do you yearn for something more? Are you in need of a warrior dame named after an autonomous community of Spain to lift you out of your doldrums?

I think so. In fact, I know so.

That’s why, in honor of Waifu Wednesday, our one-of-a-kind Magical Girl Lady Paladin Andalusia trading cards are half off for one day only! Featuring Andalusia’s genuine signature and the professional photography of artist Roffles Lowell, this card depicts Andalusia in a striking yet sensitive pose, eyes humbly cast down as she thanks God and the Moon Princess for her latest victory over monsters and Saracens … or maybe she’s just thinking about the Backdoor Boys, because, I mean, Donnie in those tight jeans? Like, OMP.

So don’t delay. Shut up and let me take your money … or something like that.

Chibi Dynamo!

Roffles Lowell, the official illustrator of Jake and the Dynamo, is hard at work on the interior illustrations for volume 1. He sends along this image of Magical Girl Pretty Dynamo completing her transformation sequence, and he invited me to post it, since he has a different picture intended for the book itself.

Meanwhile, I’m hard at work making the changes recommended to me by L. Jagi Lamplighter. I have a window of one week before I’m back at school, and I hope to get it finalized in that time.

The State of the ‘Jake and the Dynamo’ Project

Featured image: “Dazzling Bijou” by puddinprincess.

I have my notes back from L. Jagi Lamplighter, who graciously agreed to provide editing services for Jake and the Dynamo. She tells me that she and John C. Wright both found the book very funny, but she also made some incisive criticisms pointing out how it could be improved.

Writers in my circle had praised Lamplighter for her abilities as an editor, which is one of the reasons I had hoped she’d take me on. The praise was accurate; I had heard with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes have seen. She has an excellent command of story mechanics, and she knows exactly how to pinpoint problems precisely while at the same time framing her criticisms broadly enough to leave the author maximal freedom to work. On top of that, she criticizes in such a gracious style that she short-circuits the “you’re kicking my baby” response, which can be the knee-jerk reaction of some writers, especially newbs. Upon reading her advice, instead of the dismay I might normally feel when having my shortcomings explained to me, I felt an eagerness to get back to work.

Most of the changes she requested are minor, and she said I could probably make them in a single sitting. I think that would be one of her sittings, but it’s likely to take three or four of mine.

I have not had much time to write this summer as I’m currently working while getting a master’s degree in half the usual time. However, my summer term ends in two weeks, and then I’ll have a two-week break from schooling. That’s when I plan to make all the edits, put together a submission package, and get this sent off.

Lamplighter urged me to contact the editor of a particular press I probably shouldn’t name in a post yet. She said she’s already pitched my book there, and that the publisher is interested. That’s no guarantee of anything, of course, but it’s encouraging. I originally started this novel as a lark and expected to self-publish, but if an indie press wants to pick it up, that would be great.

I have my fingers crossed that the as-yet-unnamed publisher might be interested in not only the novel, but also the illustrations by Roffles Lowell—which he is hard at work on and has shown me preliminaries to prove it. I hired Lowell when self-publishing was still the plan, and I’ll be sure that he gets compensated and gets his work displayed one way or the other, but it would be awesome if I could convince a publisher that this is a light novel and thus needs illustrations. Obviously, an indie publisher such as the one to which I’ll be submitting is more likely to be persuaded on this than a big-name publisher, who would laugh contemptuously at any author who submitted illustrations with his written work.

I like working with Lowell, and I like seeing what he produces. We’re both newbs, so if we could break into the market together, that would be cool.

Since I’m now planning to submit to a publisher, I think it best if I put a halt to the web postings of the novel at least until I have publication matters squared away. Thus, the book is now on indefinite hiatus, for real this time.

If I end up self-publishing as originally planned, I’ll go back to posting the chapters here, but if I’m going to be publishing through a publisher, I should stop posting chapters for free consumption until further notice.

I’m not going to take down the already-published chapters (unless instructed to), but I don’t plan to add any more for the time being. Besides, as noted, I have no more to post at the moment, as I simply haven’t had much time to produce them.

On top of that, I’m going to be changing the way I tell this story anyway. My original intention was to write the whole thing and dump it on Amazon Kindle, but having realized that I have multiple novels’ worth of material, I’d like to switch gears. I will be (at Lamplighter’s recommendation) rewriting chapter 19 to make a better conclusion to volume 1, and then I’m going to take stock of chapters 20 and beyond to see how I can better shape them into a self-contained book. Now that I’m doing this as a series instead of one giant novel, I wish to ensure that each volume has its own complete arc, so I’ll probably be rearranging plot elements.

That’s all for now. Jake and the Dynamo is on hiatus, but the reviews and essays will continue until morale improves.

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 27

Monday: Getting waterboarded by a magical girl is just another day in the life of Jake Blatowski!

JAKE AND THE DYNAMO

CHAPTER 27: MONDAY

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PREVIOUS
NEXT

Dana put on her uniform, complete with the safety pins in her collar, the pen in her pocket, and the untied tie. While she stood sullenly by the front door, Mil gave her several kisses and tousled her ratty hair. She endured it with a silent scowl.

“Oh dear, Mommy didn’t get to make your lunch today,” Mil said, tutting. “I guess you’ll have to eat the school lunch … well, I suppose it’s all right. It’s only one day.”

Dana grumbled.

Mil bit her lip. “Just … I don’t know, just try not to eat anything that looks over-processed.”

Dana made a faint growling noise.

“Like, no ketchup. It’s full of corn syrup. And no chicken nuggets or anything. There’s no part of a chicken called the ‘nugget.’”

Dana rolled her eyes. “Can I go now?”

“Of course, sweetie. Walk with Jake, okay?”

Dana grumbled again. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 27”