Charming Lies

“Everyone aims at the same meaning, but many are the versions of the story.”

—Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent


Vladimir Dimitrov – “Girl with Poppies”


Timurhan loves battle, and Elena thinks that love is a battle. This agent of the Sultan and local witch get caught up in a cruel magical experiment, as well as other.

Timurhan’s mission was supposed to be simple: travel from the Ottoman capital to a Bulgarian village overseen by a rebellious magistrate, use the magic of his voice to seize the magistrate’s mind, kill him, and ride home. But the magistrate’s magical resources are greater than Timurhan could have expected, and the rebellion is more vile than he could have imagined. Also, there is a girl.

Elena is an ensensoress, using the charm in her fingers and the textures in the amulets she carves to control people’s minds. When the evil nature and disastrous scope of the magistrate’s plan become apparent, she charms Timurhan and forces him to protect her and her people.

If they are to keep themselves alive and the town safe, Timurhan and Elena must find reasons to cooperate. In the mean time, mind control will have to do.

CHARMING LIES is a historical fantasy set in Ottoman Bulgaria, where art is mind control and love is easy to mistake for compulsion.


STATUS: Shopping to publishers


Read Chapter 1 now!


Ars Magica: How to tell a charming lie.

St. Lazarus’ Day: A spring ritual

Ottoman-era Bulgaria with pictures!

The Ballad of Prince Marko and Maid Magdalena a folksong


Vocabulary and Slice of Life from Koprivshtitsa, an architectural preserve.

Other information on my tumblr research page

NARRATIVE OF TRAVELS EUROPE, ASIA, AND AFRICA, THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY by Evliya Efendi. Translated from the Turkish by the Ritter Joseph Von Hammer

The government of the Ottoman empire in the time of Suleiman the Magnificent by Albert Howe

Medicinal plants from an old Bulgarian Medical Book by Anely Nedelcheva

Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire by Mehrdad Kia

 Bulgarian Holidays and Traditions by Maria Prodanova

Koprivshtenski pesni published by the community center (chetalishte) of the town of Koprivshtitsa

Ottoman kit (for information on uniforms)

Bibliography of Bulgarian historical literature

Inspiration (I want Charming Lies to be like this when it grows up)

The Amelia Peabody series

The Sharing Knife series

The Temerair series

The Witches series

…is what I was aiming for, but what I actual got was…

The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis

Lexicon by Max Barry

Quarantine by Greg Egan

Sound track:



Thracian Rhyton

Bulgarian carved cross

Ottoman scent bottle 15-19c.