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Mages Quarterly October 2023

Greetings, fellow adventurers!

Rejoice, fans of Jack Wartnose! As the long summer months draw to a finish, my own long months of work are finally coming to fruition. In this monthly edition of Mages Quarterly (yes, yes, I know – it just rolls of the tongue better) I bring news of Jack and his adventures; accolades for his past exploits, his present whereabouts, and perhaps a peek into future escapades!

Regarding his past adventures, I have been delighted to accept a number of accolades for the first two books in The Adventures of Jack Wartnose series. Namely, the Maincrest Media Seal of Approval and five stars from Reader’s Favorite for both books. The Wayward Mage also took Silver at the Global Book awards in the Religious and Spiritual Fantasy category. At that same event, The Forbearing Mage snagged a slice of glory for itself with a Bronze in the Epic Fantasy category. And, as I was penning this newsletter, the 2023 American Book Fest Awards were gracious enough to award both books their Finalist Seal for the Epic/High Fantasy category!

But that’s not all, I’m proud to say! The Wayward Mage is being honored as a finalist in the 2023 Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest… goodness what a mouthful. Speaking of mouthfuls, I won’t know how far I made it until the luncheon in November. It may seem a bit silly to withhold such pertinent information, but a storyteller should be able to appreciate an air of mystery and suspense, I suppose.

As for his current whereabouts, it would seem that the portraiture seen on the original prints for The Wayward Mage and The Forbearing Mage were not to Mr. Wartnose’s tastes. But fear not! Jesse Hansen, the original artisan, has undergone his own journey of discovery – acquiring new, mystical tools to better capture the intensity of Wartnose’s adventures!

I must say, I thought perhaps that Jack was merely being picky for the sake of it, but after seeing the results I have to agree with his judgment! A hearty thanks to Jesse Hansen of Cornerstone Creative Studios ( for their brilliant work in bringing these grand adventures to life! Ah, but that’s not all! The Forbearing Mage and the upcoming third book will receive the same impressive quality of art! Be sure to keep an eye on your local book merchants to see how they turn out!

And for what’s to come, I’m pleased to announce that the third entry in the Adventures of Jack Wartnose, titled The Hunted Mage, shall launch on November the 14th! If you’re as excited as I am, then hold on to your hats! Right now, you can secure your pre-ordered copy at the Amazon marketplace! Be sure to stay with this newsletter for advance notices of discounts on the other books leading up to the launch day!


Whether you’re gathering more friends to continue this journey together or simply looking to add the books to your collection, don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

Observations of the Author

Phew, now that all the business talk has concluded allow me to ramble for a bit, if you will. For some time I’ve been struggling to categorize the Adventures of Jack Wartnose series. I feel as though the genre of “fantasy” has become so diluted and broad that even its sub-categories feel inadequate in capturing my intent.

While musing over how exactly to describe my work, I stumbled across a piece discussing the nomenclature “noblebright fantasy.” In it, the author Tiger Hebert posits that noblebright is the antithesis of grimdark fantasy, a term I’m sure any long-time fan of fantastical works has heard before. Whereas grimdark settings are, as the name suggests, bleak in both worldbuilding and the characters that inhabit it, noblebright strives to put forward a hopeful, heroic tone.

This is not to say that noblebright fantasy is exclusively positive or cheerful, as the author points out using his own works as an example. Indeed, truly terrible things can and will occur in such settings, as without trials to overcome a hero cannot be born. But unlike a grimdark fantasy, which treats the terrible and macabre as simply the way things are – and will always be – noblebright fantasy does not revel in the darkness but instead uses it as a foil to make the light of hope shine all the brighter.

This perfectly describes the tone and intent I strive for in my works. Truly, Jack Wartnose is not a perfect paragon of virtue and leadership. He himself is often unsure of his choices as the leader of his troupe, and his mistakes has nearly cost the lives of himself, his family, and his companions. His temper does flare at points, causing him to lash out as his companions – upsetting morale and in one instance nearly causing Brien and Skully to abandon him before his quest even truly began. And need I say anything more about his more… lascivious proclivities?

His past is riddled with mistakes and missteps, which often come back to bite him in the end. But whereas a grimdark fantasy might utilize these as justification for his downfall or betrayal at the hands of his loved ones, I wanted something different – something more hopeful. I wanted a story where a deeply flawed man was able to not only confront, but overcome the follies of his past. To take his mistakes and not simply make peace with them, but to learn and become stronger from them. I want to show all who read my books that failure is not falling down, but staying down.

And Jack Wartnose, despite all his faults and foibles, always seems to struggle to his feet again. Not because he is the strongest, or bravest, or wisest – but because he has the courage to confront his past rather than let it drag him down. And in that dogged determination to do right by those he has wronged, those same ghosts of the past help pick him up and allow him to hope for a brighter, nobler tomorrow. And I trust in that far-off star of morning you can see just a ray of that same hope too.

As always, a hearty thanks for supporting me and my work chronicling this grandest of adventures.

Until we meet again! I remain your faithful chronicler of Jack Wartnose,

A.S. Norris

If you’d like to read the full article referenced above (and I recommend you do!), you can do so here:


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