In my most recent published short story, I look at how the emotional state of the magic user affects their magic, and I relate magic to the real world more explicitly than is usually done.
If you haven't read it yet, it's called "Threads that Bind" and it's published in the anthology, Serenity Rising -- I actually manage to discuss the story below without completely spoiling it. But if you're worried, go read it and then come back. Seriously, it's like THREE BUCKS. Do it, and then we can talk.
In this magical story, there's no alternate universe. Annika lives in the same world that you do, in fact she lives in Los Angeles. In the world that Annika lives in, magic is a channeling of life force and truth, rather than some mysterious ethereal unknown, unreachable and beyond the reader's grasp.
Our protagonist is arguably a second character, Fenn, but our lead character is Annika, a girl who is unconsciously broken , emotionally choked off. She experienced youthful trauma she has not yet confronted, because of her mother's poor choices and addictions, and now lives a lonely existence. She's also a magic wielder, in a form of magic I invented for the purpose and called "the weaver's magic" or "magrama" based on a fanciful play on the origins of macrame. She would have continued in a lonely endless tailspin if an old friend hadn't shown up in the form of Fenn, a gypsy from the troupe she and her mother traveled with when she was young.
Her life slowly transitions in ways she doesn't realize until things suddenly become clear to her at the end, solving the mystery of the rest of her family's whereabouts.
I'm proudest of the aspect of this story that involves the overcoming of traumatic events, and of how love helps her. It isn't always this direct, but real love, the kind you can lean on, does wonders for survivors of abusive situations.
I'm also proud of who Annika innately is, in the unspoken choices she makes with her magic to use it more wisely than others have, more wisely than she would have seen direct examples of from her mentors. Our choices define us... even when we're magical, and honor is even more important amongst those with powers. I don't overtly state a moral, but I feel this story has several morals, depending on what resonates with you.
I have every intention of continuing to write stories for Annika and Fenn into the future, should I find a value they can help pass along.
This is my favorite story since Rain, published in "Into the Abyss". That one's only a buck right now. If you can't afford a buck for your old pal, then you're in a sorry state. Go buy that one, too.
See all of my published works listed here on my Amazon author page. www.amazon.com/author/desireematlock