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To Have and To Hold

Stephen S. Power's first novel, The Dragon Round, will be published by Simon451 in August 2015. This is his second story in Daily Science Fiction. His stories have also been recently published by AE, Saturday Night Reader, and the anthology Faed with many forthcoming, including in Sci Phi Journal and Stupifying Stories Showcase. He tweets at @stephenspower, and his site is stephenspower.com.
I've vetted the manuscript for Hazel Amor's "Lovecasting: 73 Spells for Finding and Binding the Man of Your Dreams." Legal requests the following changes be made and queries resolved prior to publication.
Page xii: The author expands on the story that opens each episode of her show on Lifetime: An "Asian doctor" with a "wand" touched her "meridian point" and said she suffered from "low energy." He then prescribed the "magical regimen" that inspired her Lovecasting program. Has the doctor granted permission to use what could be considered his IP?
Page xiii: To avoid libel, don't name the psychiatrist who disputed the regimen's success.
Page xiv: The author married Johan, not John.
Page 3: While the happy endings of the stories told here are as affecting as those on the show, have any clinical studies demonstrated the spells' efficacy? We should separate real magic from TV magic.
Page 9: Include a medical disclaimer regarding the collection of blood. I've attached language adapted from the show's. We can't be liable if someone's "pricking" causes infection or worse. We might add that "slicing your palm" makes typing and writing painful for a week.
Page 11: Clarify that other bodily fluids, such as spit and sweat, aren't nearly as powerful as blood.
Page 26: Strengthen the author's suggestion that hair and fingernail samples should be "gathered" from a prospect's environment, not actively "harvested" from the prospect himself, especially while he's sleeping.
Page 27: Steel scissors work as well as iron shears.
Page 36: There's a step missing in the "Forgive and Forget" spell.
Page 53: Note that any contracts or agreements made by someone under the effects of a "Compulsion" spell would not, in fact, be binding.
Page 57: Inform readers that the spell "You're Mine, All Mine" would not create actual ownership.
Page 75: We risk liability by including only her products as material components of the spell "Still the Fairest." Mention generic creams and cosmetics in the trade edition and reserve the branded ones for her custom pub.
Page 98: Caution readers that findings from the spell "Detect a Lie" would not be admissible in court.
Page 110: Change the name of the spell "Blinders" to something like "Eyes Only for You" The former could be misconstrued as actually causing blindness.
Page 112: Similarly, change "Til Death Do Us Part."
Page 114: The spell "Renew Vows" should be cast more frequently.
Page 120: In the event that someone dispels a reader's casting of "To Have and to Hold" and replaces it with her own, retaining her once true love's one true name afterwards could constitute identity theft.
Page 126: The author's warning that the spells could result in psychic harm to the caster, even if performed correctly, belongs in the introduction, not the conclusion.
Page 128: Qualify the phrase "happily ever after."
Please sign the attached sheet with your full name and return it to indicate you've read this letter. We should get together to discuss next steps. I'm free for you anytime this week.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, March 30th, 2015


When I was an editor at Avon Books, Necronomicon and The Satanic Bible were strong sellers on my backlist, so I acquired the paperback rights to Necronomicon Spellbook. This story was inspired in part by the many letters I received from individuals who had problems with and corrections to these books. My favorite claimed that for one spell "rat blood works as well as squirrel blood." The letter was from a federal prisoner.

- Stephen S. Power

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