…He realized someone had touched his shoulder to get his attention, and that it was the boy Pirekenies.
   “What do you want?” Aruendiel asked roughly. He was pleased to see that the younger man moved back a half-step.
   “To inquire after Lady Nora,” Pirekenies said. “She said she would try to return to her world. Has she—?”
    “Yes. She has gone back to her people.”
    Pirekenies looked steadily at Aruendiel. “How do I know you are telling the truth?”
    “All I have is your word that she traveled into another world—” Pirekenies frowned, as though it disturbed him to repeat such nonsense. “—and did not meet some other, worse fate.”
    Wonderful, the boy’s stark foolishness. Aruendiel stood up, his hand on his sword hilt, and glowered down at Pirekenies. “What, you suspect I murdered her?”
    “I’d simply like an assurance of her safety.”
    “You think I would have harmed Nora?” He added, more menacingly: “You doubt the word of a peer and a magician?”
    “I don’t mean to insult you,” Pirekenies said. So he was not a complete idiot. “I only want your reassurance that she is well.”
    “She is well,” Aruendiel said. “She reached her parents’ house in safety. I can attest to this.”
   In fact, Aruendiel had done the observation spell that very afternoon, finally succeeding, after several tries, in finding his way to Nora’s father’s home in the other world. There he had moved around the house like a restless ghost, looking for Nora. She was not in the house, but he had overheard her being discussed by her father and a woman who was no doubt her stepmother.
    They spoke too quickly for him to make out all the English words. He gathered, though, that Nora was buying food at the market, that she would cook the dinner that night. (Yes, just as she had done in his own household.) They were concerned about her—he could hear it in their voices—but from what they said, as far as he could tell, there was nothing wrong with her health or spirits.
    He had waited, hoping to see Nora when she came home, but his candle had gone out and the spell had ended before she appeared.
“If you doubt me,” Aruendiel said to Pirekenies, in a more measured tone, “you can speak to the magician Nansis Abora, who also saw her travel back to her own world.”
    “Another magician,” Pirekenies said, with a distrustful smile.
    “Yes, and an honest man. If that is not enough for you,” Aruendiel added reasonably, “my sword can continue this argument with yours.”

I absolutely can’t wait for you to read the rest of the sequel to THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC.

From the social media messages and emails I’ve received, I know a lot of you can’t wait, either. Here’s a quick update: Over the past year I’ve revised the sequel further, I’ve gotten good feedback on it, and now my agent and I are looking for the right publisher to bring it to you.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s asked me about the progress of Book 2! It’s inspiring to know that you care about Nora, Aruendiel, and the rest of the characters as much I do. I’ll let you know as soon as I have some more news to share.

Posted March 21, 2018

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“By the time I finished I was shocked by how upset I was. Not because of the way the book ended, but that it did end. I came to deeply care for these characters and this world and I simply wasn’t ready to leave it behind….This is the kind of novel where I don’t want to talk about it too much (for fear of saying the wrong thing), but I simply can’t stop rambling. Really, it’s that good.”—The Pretty Good Gatsby

“You know that kind of book that totally grabs you? I mean the kind that won’t let you sleep, feed your family, or get your work done? They don’t come around often, but when one does, you’re completely under its spell….Barker’s world is like none you’ve ever encountered. And despite the dangers and the hardships, you’ll likely wish you could find your way into the land of magic.”—Beth Fish Reads

“This novel is remarkable: it has such depth, emotive content, and sparkle. It’s as skillfully written as any piece of literary fiction with paranormal overtones I have read in the past few years.”—Fangs Wands and Fairy Dust

“I enjoyed this very much. It starts out feeling like Deborah Harkness’ All Souls series, but quickly veers into fantasy when Nora exits this world on the basis of a wish….A little bit Narnia, a little bit All Souls, and bearing a kinship to Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill’s Bedlam’s Bard, Seanan Maguire’s October Daye, Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan, Karen Marie Moning’s Fever, and Allison Pang’s Abby Sinclair.”—KD Did It

“A great mix of old school magic and fairy tales along with a contemporary woman trying to fit in without giving up what she knows.”—Bookalicious Babe Review

“A unique read with delightful characters, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic is a smart novel that takes the reader into a dark fantasy world full of magic, where there really are monsters hiding around every corner.”—S. Krishna’s Books

“Centered on more adult concerns than the Harry Potter books, Barker’s debut is full of allusions to dark fairy tales and literary romances. If Hermione Granger had been an American who never received an invitation to Hogwarts, this might have been her story.” —People