Posted: September 15, 2013 by sidlove in Events, Free Stuff, Giveaway Contest, Guest Post
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¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•`MAGPIES AND MAGIC  ¸.•*¨*•

I’m not superstitious, but I count magpies.

Most British people do. It’s just a thing. If you nudge a Brit and indicate a lone magpie, you can bet money you’ll get the response, ‘One for sorrow.’ Everyone knows a magpie rhyme (and there are a lot of them).

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy… 

So, I count magpies. Just a habit. It’s not a superstition. If I was superstitious, each time I saw a lone magpie, I’d have to say, “Good morning Mr. Magpie, and how are your wife and children?” in the hope of warding off bad luck. If I was superstitious, I’d panic when a magpie landed on my roof, because “when pies chatter upon a house, it is a sign of right evil tidings”.

But I’m not superstitious. And it would be ridiculous to believe magpies are unlucky. Although they eat carrion, of course, which associates them with death. And there’s the old story is that they were the only bird that refused to go in the boat with Noah, preferring to sit on the roof of the Ark “jabbering over the drowning world”. And then there’s the colour. In much of Europe black birds are unlucky, white are lucky. Magpies are both. Lucky and unlucky, sorrow and joy. No wonder we can’t quite feel comfortable with them. No wonder we have to count them.

Five for rich, six for poor, seven for a bitch, eight for a whore… 

In The Magpie Lord, China trader Lucien Vaudrey unexpectedly inherits the title of Lord Crane and a huge fortune. He also inherits a bloodline full of magic, and a peculiar obsession with magpies that has led his family to fill their decaying stately home with pictures and carvings and tapestries of magpies. The new Lord Crane hasn’t done that. He wears his magpies as tattoos instead. Seven of them. Which is one of the many things about Crane that attracts the reluctant attention of magician Stephen Day.

Seven for a witch, I can tell you no more. 

As it happens, magpies don’t have the same significance in China as in England. In China they’re a symbol of good luck and happiness. I didn’t know that when I started writing The Magpie Lord. Crane would have known, after twenty years as a smuggler and trader in China. And it fits the story well, because while Crane’s malign English inheritance seems likely to get him killed, it’s possible that the magpies – together with Stephen’s powers – will be the only things that can save him.

Nine for a funeral, ten for a dance, eleven for England, twelve for France.

Thanks to Sid Love for hosting me, and don’t forget to greet the next magpie you see. After all, you never know…



The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1)PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing

LENGTH: 200 pages

BLURB: Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry.

Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude…and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.

Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.

The Magpie Lord is out now from Samhain (see Elizabetta’s review here,  



I’m a writer of romance, mostly m/m, often historical or fantasy or both. I also have a contemporary thriller coming out soon. I like to mix it up.

I’m a commissioning editor in my daily life and I blog about writing and editing at

I live in London, UK, with two kids, a tolerant husband and an even more tolerant cat.

KJ Charles blogs at, tweets @kj_charles, and would love to say hello on Facebook or Goodreads. 

⊱✿ ✿⊰⊹⊱✿ ✿⊰⊹⊱✿ ✿⊰⊹⊱✿ ✿⊰



Follow the given format to enter yourself into the contest:

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The format in which you’d prefer to read the book, in case you win*:

Message to the author:

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Why do you need to follow? – To get instant updates on the winner announcement, or other giveaway events that are planned to be hosted on this blog or simply for the reviews and author interviews that are posted here.

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CONTEST WILL END ON 19th September, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!

  1. DebraG says:

    I loved the name and that would be enough for me to look further. Once I did, I really would like to read more. Thanks so much.

  2. Colette says:

    No need to enter me, just wanted to say the book was fantastic!

  3. suze294 says:

    Name : Suze
    Email ID : littlesuze at hotmail dot com
    The format in which you’d prefer to read the book, in case you win : epub
    Message to the author: we used to sing along to the theme song of the TV show Magpie, early 70’s – I think 1-4 were as you had then it changed to a more child friendly version! : five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told (after that I get a bit lost!)

    • KJ Charles says:

      I remember it well! That rhyme drove out a lot of the other versions, becoming the one that everyone knows, but there are a lot more if you look into it. That version ended ‘eight for a wish, nione for a kiss, ten for a bird you must not miss’, which I guess the TV people made up.

  4. jenf27 says:

    Name: Jennifer
    Email ID:
    Book Format: .mobi
    Message: This book sounds really interesting! And I learned something about magpies today. Thanks!

  5. Trix says:

    I love birds, but didn’t know a thing about magpies until now!

  6. H.B. says:

    I’ve never heard/read the magpie rhyme before and I don’t know much about magpies in general. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned/know.

  7. felinewyvern says:

    Name: ilona
    email: felinewyvern at googlemail dot com
    ebook format: epub

    The Magpie version I know has; ‘5 for Silver, 6 for Gold and 7 for a secret soon to be told’ as the last lines 😀 Also knew about Magpies being lucky because of living in Hong Kong as a child where the belief that they are lucky is also very strong.

    Funnily enough for all five of my children I saw the appropriate number of Magpies on the day my pregnancies were confirmed. so maybe there is something in it?

  8. Jbst says:

    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

    Such interesting cultural lore about magpies. Are magpies similar to ravens?
    Book sounds fascinating to me.

  9. Thanks for sharing about magpies and the giveaway. This story sounds really interesting. I’d love to read it.


  10. Penumbra says:

    EPUB format
    Love the cover!

  11. Michelle (MiMi) says:

    Already on my wishlist …Thanks for the opportunity to win

  12. arella3173 says:

    Judi P
    I really look forward to reading this. Thank you so much for the contest! \^o^/

  13. KJ Charles says:

    Thanks for your interest and for playing, everyone! The winner picked by random number is [drumroll] Suze! I’ll drop you an email.

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