Listen to readings of Chapters One & Two of The Dire Deeds of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits by Amy Marsh. And big news, the books now have a publisher! More on that soon!
The Guild of Ornamental Hermits fantasy novels are “tales of mid-life magic.” Most of the main human characters are ages 45 or over and the onset of their magical transformation mingles with menopause and mid-life crises. Almost all of the characters are queer and/or gender diverse, including the Elves (see 29 Elf Genders).
But the hottest romance in the books? That’s between Babe Bump and Oyster Olson (and Tomma makes three…). Or is it four, if you count Parsifal? Or five if you count Maud ‘O Bedlam?
The first two books, The Dire Deeds of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits and The Witching Work of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, take place in the original Hermitville, an intentional community located in the volcanic Puna District of Hawai’i Island. The time is the “not too distant future” when the Hawaiian Kingdom has reclaimed its sovereignty and is re-establishing its government.
When winery heiress Ginger Croom dies, Hermitville is threatened by a heinous real estate scheme, as well as an assortment of supernatural baddies including a giant salamander and a cosmic goddess known as Mal-i-bu Bar-bee.
Loosely inspired by the Borderlands/Bordertown books of authors such as Emma Bull and Terri Windling, the first two books clash cultures and dimensions in a lush jungle landscape peopled by local families, mainland retirees, and recent arrivals known as “Punatics” (aging hippies, crust punks, surfers, tantrikas, and other counter-culture ex-pats). The Elves of the Realm fit right in.
The third book, The Queerest Quest of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, has also been submitted to the publisher, FuturesPastEditions.com. The Hermits have been forced to flee Hawai’i and take refuge in Lake County, CA. A “handsome drifter” known as Lucky LaFey appears on the front porch of the late Ginger Croom’s lake house, and the Hermits are soon embroiled in his quest to bring down another supernatural bad guy masquerading as a local cult leader.
The fourth book, The Perilous Past of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, is set in a new Hermitville in Oregon, just outside of Eugene. This book weaves together the origin story of the original Guild as a response to 17th century witch persecution in England; the backstory of the romance between Professor Almond and Ginger Croom; and the trials and tribulations of our Hermits and Elves as they struggle with sponteneous “time snatches,” unwanted rock and roll fame, federal agents in search of the dreaded Wethrini mind-control device known as the Guru Gizmo™, and much more.
The Perilous Past is 2/3 through its first draft.
Please check out blog posts for more information on the characters, plotting, and other backstory writing details! Learn more about the characters, politics, and magical elements of this book. There are also more chapter excerpts in some of the blog posts.