Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Southern Belle's Guide to Witchcraft

Book Description:

There’s a new evil in town, and it’s gunning for Scarlet...

Scarlet Burke isn’t an ordinary witch. She comes from a long line of Burke witches, whose job it is to protect the good folks of Purgatory, Alabama from things that go bump in the night—and things that might slip through the portal in Fool’s Wood. Normally, it’s an easy gig that doesn’t take much time from her day job. Until her ex-husband turns up dead in a ritualistic killing no one recognizes. William, a mundane, had high-tailed it out of town years ago after getting Scarlet’s baby sister pregnant. So why had he come back? Better yet, who (besides Scarlet) had wanted him dead badly enough to lure him to the forest, stake him, skin him, and drain his blood? It wasn’t a vampire kill, but she was damned if she could determine what it was.

Werewolf Jake Mills, the bossy and possessive chief of police, can’t believe anyone in his town could commit such a brutal crime. And Scarlet can’t believe she’s still trying to avoid his advances. Jake has been chasing her for years, and if he wasn’t so charming—and so drop dead sexy—she might try harder to outrun him. Or at least summon a bit of self-control. But the man simply refuses to stay in the “Just Friends” box she’s placed him in.

But when the killer targets Scarlet’s family, ghouls, demons, and dark fae all come under suspicion. And when her daughters become the targets of an ancient dark ritual, Scarlet and Jake are forced to make an impossible choice. Fight evil with evil, or watch Scarlet’s daughters die...


Although the house wasn’t as haunted as the local kids claimed, it did have a minor spirit hanging about. But it wasn’t a ghost that put Scarlet on edge when she parked her car. One powerless little haint was not the problem. She and the spirit had a deal. As long as it didn’t try to scare anyone into a heart attack, she wouldn’t blast it into oblivion. It sure as heck wasn’t what made her senses tingle with the anticipation of a good fight. She swept a cautious gaze around the lawn before stepping out. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, but that didn’t mean a damned thing in her hometown. Good thing she’d come to check up on the place before her new renter arrived.

Purgatory, Alabama, was a crossroads between worlds. Deep in Fool’s Woods was a portal that connected Earth and another land, Terra. Mirrors of each other, she’d heard it said, yet opposites. She sent back anything unwanted that came through. Well, her and her family, Guardians all.

The small hairs on the back of her neck stood on end when she stepped onto the walk. Something supernatural skulked nearby. She’d known that, but damn it, it was midafternoon and too hot to deal with things that went bump in the night. Though whatever lurked obviously wasn’t limited to darkness.

She took her time approaching the house, letting her senses flare out as she walked. Azaleas created natural boundaries up both sides of a lawn dotted with dogwoods and huge old magnolias. Big terra-cotta pots overflowing with flowering perennials were spaced evenly along the deep front porch. The place was a Southern belle’s dream, built for balls and garden parties. Its utility bills were a cheapskate’s nightmares, though.

Despite the picture-perfect scenery, the prickling on her skin grew as she paced forward. Halfway up the walk, she spotted the culprit, a stout-looking brownie perched under a tree. Unease morphed into irritation in two seconds flat. Damn it, she was wearing a new skirt. And heels. Any other day of the week, she wouldn’t have worn them. She should have known better. Today’s outfit was a far cry from her usual day-job clothes: jeans and sturdy shoes. But it was Monday, which meant a town council meeting, which meant getting lectured by her mother for not taking her duties seriously enough to dress the part. Like she normally went hunting down the creepy-crawlies in anything but jeans and boots?

Too late now. She could hear Momma in her head saying the same way she’d done hundreds of times: as soon as you let your guard down the bogeyman comes out to play. But oh hell no. She was not chasing that little hellion down while wearing heels. Somehow her mother always seemed to pull it off in pearls and fancy shoes and pencil thin skirts, ending victorious with not one hair out of place. Not Scarlet. Even with no chasing she’d probably end up a red-faced, bedraggled mess.

1.      March 10th
Kelly Smith Reviews
Guest Post

Ramblings of Cassie

2.      March 12th
Happy Tails and Tales

Empress DJ

3.      March 15th
The Reader’s Hollow

4.      March 18th
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Guest Post

Musings in Fiction Alley
Guest Post & Spotlight

5.      March 19th
Cafinated Reads

On the Broomstick

Books are Love

6.      March 20th
Taking it One Book at a Time



Loribelle is like the South she calls home. Hot and sultry. Languid and sexy. Magnolias and gardenias scent her silk lined boudoir, and men and children alike bow to her magnificence...

Okay, maybe it isn't quite that glamorous. She does have two smart and lovely daughters who give her a run for her money and a son that will one day be someone's model of a romance hero. (She promises.) Her husband is a real life hero, and Loribelle just tries to keep up with the demands of military life. In between, she writes a book or two. 

She's had every job under the sun, but haven't most writers? That Army military police, bookstore manager, waitress, wedding photographer, website designer experience has to come in useful sometimes. As they say in the South, it all washes out in the end.

Author Links:

Buy Links:

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Witch Within Blog Tour

The Witch Within
Ancestor’s Enchantment Trilogy
Jacqueline Paige

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Eternal Press

Date of Publication: December 1 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62929-185-7

Number of pages: 165
Word Count: 59,000

Cover Artist: Amanda Kelsey

Book Description:

Magic locked up long ago for the safety of all awakens in modern society where bad intentions are on every street corner.

Three women unaware of the power their ancestors passed onto them is the only thing that stands between the dark magic that lays in wait.

Available at Amazon

 December 15 Guest blog
Urban Fantasy Investigations

December 16 Spotlight
3 Partners in shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

December 18 Spotlight
Mommabears Book Blog

December 19 Guest blog
Addicted 2 Heroines 

December 29 Interview
Deal Sharing Aunt

December 30 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

January 1 Guest blog
Helen Treharne

January 2 Interview and review
The Book Landers 

January 5 review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

January 9 Spotlight
Geeks In High School

January 15 Spotlight
CBY Book Club

January 16 Guest blog
Counter Culture Critic

January 28 Spotlight
Ashley's Paranormal Book Blog 

February 9 Spotlight
Buried Under Books 

February 24 review
Natural Bri -Pursuits of Life

February 26 Guest blog
Roxanne’s Realm

February 27 Spotlight and review
On The Broomstick


The sun was long past setting as the six gathered deep in the darkness and began moving through the trees.  Their only light was that of the luminescent moon at its fullest.  The youngest of the six led the way, she may have been the least in years, yet the others knew she was the one that held all the strength. 
In her wake, each would turn and check their trail to be certain no one followed.  If their parents were ever to know, it would be the end of them all.  The power and gifts they held secret had been discovered quite by accident a few years before, since that time they had honed their great skills of true magic.
Eden quickly caught up to her sister at the front, a sister of choice and not from blood.  Ducking her head, she whispered as close to Alana’s ear as she possibly could.  “Do you know of the reason for the summoning?”
Alana shook her pitch black hair back from her face.  “I do not.”  She turned towards the lake and increased the pace of her step.  Peering back over her shoulder, she gauged the others closeness and then spoke as soft as a breeze.  “A dark feeling has filled me for many days past, I fear it is not for good reasons we gather on this autumnal night.”  She patted the bundle she carried from cord at her side.  “We must be wary and prepared.”
Eden inhaled sharply and dropped back a pace.  “I shall caution Bridget.”  Alana only lifted her face to the moons rays and continued on.  Turning to look quickly at the three that walked a ways behind, heads close together, she turned and gave Bridget a stare to bring her to hasten her movement forward.  As soon as she was within hearing, she whispered to the ground.  “Alana has dark feelings – yet again.”
Bridget sighed quite loudly.  “I have been a feared of such since two days past, she walks about with that crease on her brow and my guts supposed it were to be brusquely that our scheme was at hand.”
Eden nodded, but daren’t say more for fear of the others overhearing.
Once reaching the lake, the six spread out the distance between their bodies, in habit a circle was formed.  Alana set her bundle upon the ground at her feet and turned to the eldest among them.  “Having done as you stated, not one of us have uttered a query for this assembly you have called, Ella.”  She looked around at her sisters of her choosing to see their rapt attention on the one she spoke to.  “Do end our curiosity, sister and share the meaning if you please.”  She kept her focus on the crimson haired sister, watching for a sign she prayed would not be revealed. Ella flipped her long locks back as she let her eyes move over each girl present.  The last she looked upon was Alana, as she knew to be common with her.
“It is my right to call each of you – as only sisters of our circle apt to do.”  Lenora and Jane were the only of the five that agreed readily.  “The year is now one thousand, six hundred eighty- five. It has been five years past, since the night we found our way to one another, as we are.  I have a wish to ensure the threats to our very lives are secure and to behold a power that we six are deserving of.”
Alana shook her head when Eden inhaled raggedly.  “Sister, Ella, have we not spoke of this to the point of tiring? The hunts have ceased, no more shall be accused nor sought.  We are here, each one of us safe.”  She chanced a glance at the others and found the group was as she knew it to be, split in two groups of three.  “Not once during the trials and fearsome times did even one come to think of us as a sort of betrayer to the word...” 
“Alana, child, you are what now? Ten and three years?”  Ella smiled in that maddening way she had.  “I, having five further years on yours can feel it in my bones, these outrageous happenings are not at a cease and we are very much in need of ensuring it does not come to pass again.”
Alana dropped her head down and let her black hair cover her face whilst she sought out the vibrations of the others dear to her heart.  Lifting her face she beheld the moon hanging over the lake.  “We are but children, Ella.  As god fearing as any that step in the arch of our church, we have nothing to fear.”
“We have everything to fear!”  Ella’s voice rose through the silence of the night.  “I shall be a betrothed woman in short time and then what will become of me when my husband discovers what I am?”
Eden replied before Alana had the chance.  “I am certain William will be ignorant in your habits, sister.  How would he ever find a clue unless you told him you are a witch of magicks.”
Lenora stepped forward and shook her head.  “In less than the years we have been together, each of us shall be wives – then what shall we ever do?”
“I agree.”  Jane said quietly.  “In one year’s time I too will be set to marry.”
Bridget lifted her head and glared at Jane.  “Whoever shall marry you shall get what he has coming to him.”
Tiring from the words they had all said to her many times before, Alana raised her hands in the air and sent a gust of wind through the circle.  “I cannot bear to hear this again, sisters.”  She turned and watched as Ella and Jane nodded to one another.  “I am not taking part in your scheme of evil darkness.”
Ella snorted in an unpleasant manner.  “You would break your word to each present here?”
Alana took a step back, bringing her close to the water’s edge.  “I would not.”  Her eyes quickly met that of Eden and Bridget before she finished.  “I would choose to revoke all I that I have been given than do unjust things to others that cannot defend themselves from your dark ways.”
Lenora gasped.  “You would not...”
Alana raised her hands.  “I would exactly.”
Jane stepped in front of Ella.  “For you to revoke your gifts, would you not be obliged to take all of ours?”
Alana shrugged.  “Mayhap it will take all no one can be certain.”
Ella shoved Jane out of her way.  “You would not dare to try, young sister...”
Eden bent down at Alana’s feet and opened the bundle.  Alana opened her hands in front of her and bit her lip to stop from hissing as her sister placed a small score on each of her palms.  Keeping her focus on the three opposed, she prayed they could not see.  When Eden straightened and walked past Bridget, she knew the task was complete.
Alana clasped a hand each of Eden and Bridget and raised their arms; the blood from the shallow scores upon their hands mixed and brought to her a heat of power that only she could have born.
“Sister, Eden, stop them!”  Lenora cried.
Alana closed her eyes and felt the winds circle her with recognition.  Beneath her feet the ground quivered, waiting for her to speak to it.  As she opened her eyes and focused on the three sisters she did not now touch, she felt the spray from the water at her back cover her in small droplets.  “I cannot be part of something that goes against all that I feel to be right, sisters.”  Tilting her head she looked at Jane.  “Join us in protecting what is just.”
Jane’s eyes widened and for the briefness of a heartbeat, Alana thought there was a small chance she might agree, but she shook her head and stepped beside Ella.  Woefulness filled her insides, even though she knew the outcome days before, her heart begged her to attempt. “Lenora?”  Once more she waited even though she knew another sister was lost to her.  Lenora backed further away and looked at the sand under her feet. “So shall it be,” Alana whispered.
Inhaling slowly she raised her eyes to the moon whose rays bound her to the sky above.  “I call ...”
“Wait!”  Ella’s voice was filled with panic.  “We can speak more of this and draw an end that pleases each one of us together.”
The fear jolted into her from the hands she held.  Without looking at Ella, she sought to feel what was in her soul.  Pain enveloped her heart as the truth coursed into her.  “Why speak of falseness, eldest sister?  I know what lurks in your heart and I must protect the innocent you wish to cause sufferance to.”
Raising her hands higher she spoke to the night. “I call upon the night and all of her energy, come to me and abet me with this, my last task.”  The winds swirled coloured leaves around her, she smiled and let the magic wash over, feeling the warm welcome of it just once more.  Lightening streaked through the clear sky above, she inhaled the power. “I seek to bind this three and three from doing any harm.”  A circle of flames burst around them, flicking as long tongues of three feet high, blocking the outside from entering and the six from leaving.  “I send for safe keeping all that we have, the gifts that you gave, to our furthest ancestors to keep within until there is a dire need of them.”
A stinging traveled along her flesh as the energies gathered, waiting for her leave go of.  “When a time comes that this three and three be together once more, awaken and come again...”  So much power was collecting inside her she had no choice but to cry a single tear, knowing that this was the last time she would feel it in this body.  “Collect inside the generations and carry us forward to a time long from now.”  She could hear crying, but was not to take a chance to see which sister or sisters it came from. “Select the one that bear good will and hold an honest heart and make her remember.  Remember the times of this six and behold the gifts we pass to her.”  A clap of thunder sounded across the sky, its cry echoing over the lake until it faded back into the night.  “I thank you from deep within and now set you free...” 
A strong tunnel of wind gust through the circle, stealing any more she had to speak.  Opening her eyes wider she watched as each sister dropped to the ground, leaving her the last one standing.  A burning washed over her, pulling at her until she thought she could bear it no longer, and then it was gone. Emptiness filled her as the flames swallowed into the ground.  Behind her the water was now lying calmly as it had been when they had arrived. The earth was now silent, as it had been. The rays of the moon seemed no more than a light in the darkness, without power and purpose.
A draining feeling passed through her, causing her legs to weaken under her until she dropped onto the sand and panted to seek to breathe once again.  Looking around, the others didn’t move, they just lay where they had fallen without a word.  When she glanced upon Ella, the hatred was clearly on her face.
“I will have vengeance.”  Ella hissed at her.
Alana rolled onto her back and looked at the sky, feeling like nothing more than a child again.  “You may seek to strive for such.”  She answered softly.  “My will shall fall to my kin far from now and we shall see if you find triumph.”  To feel nothing but commonness once more—it was wondrous to feel.

Was she floating?  See seemed weightless enough to be.  Squeezing her eyes shut, she counted to ten before opening them again.
Hovering above a lake, she could see her own shadow cast on the water from the moon above her.
A dream, it had to be a dream.  The last time she checked none of her life skills involved floating.
Glancing around, she didn’t recognize the area below her. People were walking through trees, or maybe those were just children...
Where was she?
A void feeling came over her, like she was fading...
What was that ringing noise?
Bolting up, Teegan looked around to realize she was in her own living room. 


Ten words or less for the busy reader:

Witchy read from start to finish.


Awesome cover.


About the Author:

Jacqueline Paige lives in Ontario in a small town that's part of the popular Georgian Triangle area.  No one has ever heard of Stayner, so she usually tells people she lives near Collingwood and no, she doesn't ski at Blue Mountain or at all, in fact she's not even fond of snow.

She began her writing career in 2006 and since her first published works in 2009 she hasn't stopped.  Jacqueline describes her writing as all things paranormal, which she has proven is her niche with stories of witches, ghosts, physics and shifters now on the shelves.

When Jacqueline isn't working at her reality job or lost in her writing she spends time with her five children, most of whom are finally able to look after her instead of the other way around.  Together they do random road trips, that usually end up with them lost,  shopping trips where they push every button in the toy aisle, hiking when there's enough time to escape and bizarre things like creating new daring recipes in the kitchen. She's a grandmother to five (so far) and looks forward to corrupting many more in the years to come.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dead Harvest Release Day!

It’s always darkest before the harvest. Each year, as summer fades to memory, and the sky begins to grow dark, and the leaves change color and fall, the faint, fetid scent of death--of slowly rotting things--begins to drift in, hanging on the chill air like a ghostly pall. Making us wonder, what this year’s harvest will produce. Well... the harvest is here. And it is dead. With these 50 dark tales and nearly 700 pages of terror, you will experience fear, depravity, love, and loss. And a kind of chill, that won’t soon leave your bones. DEAD HARVEST is a crop like no other! Enter the field and get lost... Edited by Mark Parker Includes stories from Tim Lebbon, Richard Chizmar, Ronald Malfi, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Jeff Strand, James A. Moore, Tim Waggoner, Greg F. Gifune and many more...

I am thrilled to be included in this anthology with so many great authors. Fifty tales of terror. Fifty facets of glimmering fright to keep you reading late into the early hours of the morning. I hope you will enjoy the book and if you want to catch a short read from my story, check out my episode on the Liz McMullen show.

Check it out in paperback on Amazon. Release date coming soon for e-book.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fanciful Twist Halloween Party

Greetings guests and welcome to On the Broomstick. Here I showcase authors and review books of a decidedly witchy nature and have a great time doing so. Now...let the party begin...

Trick or treat and all things good to eat! This cabinet card is one of my favorite pieces by this wonderful Etsy shop. Harvest Moon Emporium.

Potion making at its finest...Winona Cookie casts a spell for all to see...

And this little witch is dancing the night away at Rhonda's Originals.

Now for some fun from my own office... the night away with capes of orange and green glitter heels...

Fly through skies of stars and leave a trail of hopes and wishes...

Cast spells and bring happiness...

Find magic in the mundane...

And make magic wherever you go...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To Have and To Haunt

Melanie Fyre is a passionate teacher determined to raise funds for the town's school. What better way to do it than by expanding the local businesses? All she needs is land. Untouched for years thanks to a local superstition, the Crowe property is perfect. If Melanie can debunk the myth, she can get the use of those 600 beautiful acres. She just has to prove to the town that Leah's ghost is not haunting the mansion, even on Samhain night.

Burned to death and proclaimed a witch, Leah Crowe's soul has been cursed to an eternity of loneliness, all because she dared to love a woman. When the saucy Melanie arrives at her home to throw a costume party that mocks Leah's very existence, the bitter ghost resolves to renew the town's fear of her name. Will Leah's ghost ruin all of Melanie's plans?


Breathless Press


Releasing on October 31, 2014 this short Halloween flirt was a fun read about a Halloween party at a haunted  house and the long lost lovers that become reunited.

Melanie wants to raise funds for the town school so she picks a haunted house-prove suspicion wrong and she can use the land. Sounds perfect until Leah Crowe, resident ghost sounds in on the interloper. Angry at the people invading her home, she can't help but be curious over the sexy girl in a cat suit. Looking deeper, Leah sees something inside of Mel that reminds her of her lover who died, spurring her own death at the hands of an angry mob.

Can Leah let go of the past so she can finally be at rest? Is Mel her reincarnated lover? You'll have to read this spooky little tidbit to find out! I wonder if they have an extra invitation...this sounds like a party I wouldn't want to miss!


Hedge Witch Book of Days

Recipes, Spells, and Wisdom from the Hedgerow

Once upon a time the witch held a place of esteem in the village; her knowledge of local plants and wayside herbs were used to heal; her wisdom and empathy made her the village matchmaker and marriage counselor; and her ability to commune with nature and animals gave her a place of revelry and wisdom. She was the Hedgewitch.

Aimed at the busy witch, who is both breadmaker and breadwinner, this book revives the spirit of the Hedgewitch and teaches you how to make every day one full of wisdom, healing, and magic. For the practicing or would-be witch whose life is more jeans, chaos, and the never-ending question of what’s for dinner than it is black robes, cauldrons, and incantations, Mandy Mitchell has a recipe for you! 

“I want to demonstrate how daily chores can become magical rituals with the potential to enrich and transform your life—everything from the way we form relationships with our families and friends to cooking, cleaning, and healing.” —from the introduction 

Journey through the wheel of the year with one eye on the kettle and the other on the magical! 


This book spans the seasons and is rich with information on how to get the most from everyday. With correspondences and references to recipes and practical magic, this book is a boon for all those who practice a more traditional life. What seems mundane can often be a ritual. Every stitch in a sampler a spell...every ingredient in a weeknight dinner a way to say I love you...everything has meaning and Mandy Mitchell does a great job of showing you how to look at your world just a little bit differently. 


Why Hedgewitchery?

            Don’t worry, no long drawn-out history lesson here. I am definitely more a student than a teacher. And goodness, my history teacher was sooo boring that he could send the whole class to sleep with one sentence, bless him! But I digress—never a good sign in an introduction! So to get back to our topic, why Hedgewitchery?
            “Hedgewitch” is a relatively new term. It refers to the old village folk who were revered in their communities as healers and keepers of wisdom. For women, they may have been midwives; for males, I think they were known as “pellars”—particularly in Cornwall. These “cunning folk” were an important part of the old com- munities and a certain mystery surrounded them. They were solitary practitioners. Their knowledge of herbal and medicinal laws was unrivaled, and in a time when there was no modern medicine they treated all types of ailments using the things around them. They knew the folklore behind the local plants and put together brews, spells, and medicines from the hedgerow and from their kitchens.
            The other important role these “cunning fok” played was as community counselors. They were often trusted to keep secrets and advise on different situations. This is where the term “Hedgewitch” comes from. Not only did these keepers of knowledge use food and plants to help and heal, they crossed the boundary, or “hedge,” that contained their community to converse with other realms. Through meditation and visualization they visited the fairies and spirits, and consulted with them or asked questions to help them resolve community problems. This can take some practice! But as communities dispersed and we lost touch with the wisdom of these “wise ones”—these keepers of local knowledge—they came to be reviled as evil witches and were treated appallingly. What threat did they pose? Purely a different point of view, great wisdom, and success!
In more recent times, our families and ancestors held some of this knowledge and used it in everyday life. Our grandparents and great-grandparents probably knew all the plants around them and their uses. They knew the hidden meanings in the food they ate and the things they used. To them, this was wisdom—passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Not much of it was writ- ten down—after all, there was no need. Families and communities would never disappear, would they?
            But today, in our modern era, this is the biggest problem we have. Our communities and families have dispersed like sand in the wind. We don’t live together in groups anymore; families don’t stay together all in one place from cradle to grave. Communities rarely exist in the way they used to, particularly if you live in a large urban town or city. Today, even living in a pretty rural village can be very isolating. The modern age has reduced communication to words on a screen and all things Internet and mobile. Even the written word is in decline. When was the last time you sent or received a letter?
            Technology is a wonderful thing, but it sometimes comes with quite a high price. We are at risk of losing the bond that exists between us, and with it, all that precious old knowledge—knowledge that is no longer being handed down as it once was through teachings and folklore.
            This, I think, is where the modern Hedgewitch comes in. We are, in the main, solitary practitioners, but we do still have a community to serve—our friends and families. We have very little time for contact with the outside magical community, but we do now have, thanks to the Internet, a whole world of like-minded people with whom we can converse. So many people are now turning to new “online com- munities”; they are springing up everywhere.
            Most of our work, however, is still done from the comfort of our own homes and hearths, as solitary Hedgewitches of the modern age. Our role has, in a way, become vital in this world—to record and pass on our knowledge to the next generation and to close the gap a little on all the lost years. We can try to return to the old wisdom our grandparents knew and lived by, using simple household ideas that can enrich people’s lives. What we can do is to learn as much as possible, and to practice our magical ways and observe all the important times and tides that our ancestors did. We can strive to make life better for others and for ourselves by using the things around us, and also by having an understanding of the reasons behind using them.
            Time to make the world a more magical place again, don’t you think?

Why Cooking?

            We all have to eat. It’s a very simple fact of life—and one that most of us think about a lot and take quite seriously. Food is a source of fuel, but we use it in so many other ways as well. Comfort eating, entertaining and socializing, chicken soup for what ails you—the list goes on and on. But we shouldn’t just take food at face value. Most foods have a tradition and folklore associated with them, so it makes sense to use them to their full advantage.
            No one I know relishes the thought of slaving over a hot stove for hours, cooking up what amounts to an entire day’s pay, only for it to be gone in seconds or to be pushed around the plate. Ask any mother or father what weaning their precious baby off milk and onto “proper food” was like. Watch as that rosy glow disappears from their faces as they recall the battles at every mealtime. My granddaughter has this down to a fine art. She scans the plate of food in front of her with precision and brilliant speed. This is usually followed by the word “done,” as she picks up the plate and casually drops it over the side of the highchair! It is an inherited skill I think and proves to me the existence of karma, since her mother did exactly the same thing. It is soul-destroying, however—and not only because of all the expense and effort we went to to give the dear little thing a meal.
            We, as adults, have a built-in need to feed children; any children will do if our own can’t be found. This is why I think I could never leave my mother’s house as an adult without being pestered to eat and to take a “goodie bag” of food I neither asked for nor wanted tucked under my arm. I believe this comes with the parental territory—ummm, maybe it’s hormones?
            Cooking is pretty much as old as humanity. It’s the most basic form of alchemy we have—blending things and transforming them into something spectacular. Well, that’s the theory anyway! But in this modern time, we all set ourselves up for a fall before we begin. Food is not what it once was. You can never be entirely sure exactly what is in that beautiful ripe tomato in its pretty plastic tray. I do often wonder what happened to all the “ugly” food. You know what I mean—the misshapen carrots and the knobbly potatoes. It seems as if, in this day and age, we are destined to have an identical diet containing who knows what from who knows where, and as for when—well, who knows?
            Today, the food seasons have merged and blended into one long-running show with no end. Whatever ingredient your heart desires can be found lurking in a sterile grocery store aisle alongside things that have no earthly reason to be there, given that they have absolutely no chance of growing in your climate! Do we need them all? Well, it is wonderful to have such choice, but surely a strawberry in summer tastes sweeter than one in the winter?
The cook’s role, to me, comes down to using a few basic ingredients effectively: seasonal foods, local foods, affordable foods, and free foods. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t eat other foods—good grief, no! I am not that virtuous, believe me. Most of the time, I like to use seasonal produce—selfishly, because I know it’s at its best and therefore tastes amazing, requiring very little effort from me. I want my local foods to be as local as I can get—whether they come from the garden, from a friend’s garden, or from a local shop. Next, I go after regional items, then those from across the nation, and finally, imported fare. But “imported,” to me, just means longer in transit, and so less flavorful and more work for me.
            Price is a tricky issue too. Times are tough everywhere for all of us, so price will often come at the top of our list of priorities by necessity. Sometimes the money just won’t stretch; so, with the best of intentions, we have to make compromises. Let’s face it; we are not going to starve ourselves or our loved ones over a bit of food snobbery. Hot, tasty food at the right price is the order of the day, but it does require a bit more effort and a great deal of imagination.
            And finally, free foods! These are the very best, and they really should be at the top of everyone’s list. Find and forage for what you can; gather it, cook it, and serve it with the knowledge that you are doing something your ancestors did. Why have we forgotten this skill? I know you all think I am mad. “Did you not just write all about the realities of modern life in your introduction?” you say. “Do you not grasp that I don’t have a minute to breathe?” you say. “Forage?” you say. “What nonsense!” But I really am that busy too, and I know it does take some effort—but it is free! You can’t find usable free food in all months, I know. And fortunately, the season when it’s most scarce is the winter, so you don’t have to go trudging around in the freezing cold. But if you can get out, preferably with a small child to do the work, do try it!

The Magic of Hedgerow

            I hope all of this sounds very sensible and very doable, for now is the time for the magic to begin! All the ingredients we use in our cooking hold a magical element— an unseen energy that used to be known by all but that has now largely been forgot- ten. By understanding what that energy is and harnessing it, we can infuse magic into everything we create. For example, when you go to the shop for some shower gel, you stand in front of a vast array of what’s on offer—different bottles and labels and colors. How do you choose? Are you a label reader or a sniffer? Either way, you choose the one that suits your needs—fresh lemon, relaxing lavender, blends that tell you they revitalize you or warm you up or cool you down, or even make you super sexy! The herbs and spices in these gels are specifically selected by the manufacturers to do a job, and you buy that product to do that job for you. You already know that if you want a relaxing soak, you buy the lavender or chamomile, not zesty lemon or mint or pepper. We make so many choices about what works to enhance our day-to-day lives; we hold so much of this knowledge already. We just need to put some of it to work and use it magically.
            Try, if you can, to return to the days of our ancestors. Cook with fresh ingredients, with love and intent. Use your ingredients to help you in your life. You don’t have to be a slave to the stove—nor do you have to be a martyr. Even a simple cup of tea can be made magical if you make it with focus and wisdom. That’s why I call myself a Hedgewitch cook!
So welcome to the first book from the kitchen of a Hedgewitch cook. Here, we will ramble through the year together, considering as we go anecdotes, memories, folklore, recipes, spells, and rituals that relate to each month. In each chapter, I’ll give you tips for working everyday magic with the foods, materials, and natural treasures abundant in each month. And I’ll share some of my own experiences working with these energies as well.
            At the beginning of each chapter, I have given a list of foods that are seasonal to each month and a list of correspondences for each month that represent the magical side of the year. I have also included an appendix that gives a list of the magical properties of herbs, plants, and trees for you to use as a reference. These are just my take on things and are in no way intended as exclusive or exhaustive lists. They are given only to show you some possibilities and to make suggestions. As with all things magical, correspondences and properties are different for each person. Those given here are just the ones that I find work for me. They may be useful as a starting point for you, but I have no doubt that everyone will have his or her own ideas. So, my apologies if I’ve missed something important to you or something obvious. As I said, I do ramble!

Excerpts provided by Weiser Books.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Witches in Fiction: Crafting Blooming Howls

Crafting fiction for me is a work of the heart. In my story "Texas Twister" in the Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of Lost Worlds, a witch has to fall back into the love and care of her coven as she navigates the waters of her husband's betrayal. This story was based in a very large part on a tale told to me by a woman I met through my job at the bookstore and a group of wonderful ladies I spend time stitching with. We may not cast spells but our fingers weave some pretty impressive magic and you can always count on a fair bit of snark to make everything once again right in the world.

This autumn season, who are you grateful for in your life?

For me, is is the friendship of a group of ladies that has stood by me through the years. My writing, which has taken off in a big way this year with my first novella Asylum and the lovely folks at Witty Bard Publishing for giving life to my little witchy story. I hope you'll check it out, but in the meanwhile, please enjoy an excerpt:

Buy link: Amazon

"Texas Twister"
by Dana Wright

“What’s the matter, Maggie? Are you alright, honey?” Belinda sat up in her chair scrutinizing
Joanne and Rose paused mid stitch and joined in the stare down.
“I…” Magdalay tried to gather her thoughts but they dissolved into tears.
“Rose, get her some water. Belinda, get her a piece of that chocolate.” Joanne was up and reaching
for her pink amethyst and shoving it into her hand.
“Here. You hold that and let it sink in.” Joanne took the water from Rose and handed her the
Magdalay sniffled. “Thanks.” She unwrapped the bright red wrapper and smiled at the saying
inside, quickly popping the morsel into her mouth.
“Alright little miss. You spill it good and now.” Joanne’s eyes bored into her as she returned to her
seat. Rose took a place on the couch next to Magdalay and Belinda followed suit.
Magdalay held her breath and moment, a little unsure of where to start.
“It’s not hard, honey. Just spill it. Nothing is so awful that it can’t be mended.” Rose patted her
hand, the very image of a kind and doting grandmother.
A burst of laughter bubbled out of Magdalay that sounded more like a sob. “You scare me when
you say that.”
“Us. Scare you?” Rose chortled. “Silly girl.”
“What did you do to Brenda?” Magdalay eyed the three of them suspiciously. She had missed the
meeting before when she had to work at the store unexpectedly. Life as an independent bookstore
owner often had its ups and downs.“Well, you realize, honey. She deserved it. Not the first time she’s been caught poaching.” Rose dug
into her craft bag and pulled out another small needlework project that looked suspiciously like a

“What is that?” Magdalay pointed.
“Well, this is my new weight management doll.” Rose held it up for all to see. “You bind its mouth
shut with electrical tape and do an incantation on it every day. In turn, it takes all of your cravings and
absorbs them. It gets fat and you don’t. Ingenious, right?”
“Oh, what a great idea!” Belinda beamed. “You could sell those on-line.”
“Yes. I probably could.” Rose glowed.
“Ladies, aren’t we forgetting something.” Joanne gave Magdalay a pointed stare.
“Oh! Maggie. That was naughty. You were supposed to be telling us what was the matter.” Belinda
set down her crocheting and waggled her finger.
“No. I really want to know. See, I may need your help with something.” Magdalay twisted her
fingers in her lap. When Mom died, she had to take on more than just becoming the owner of the
Brambled Broomstick. Her dearest friends became Magdalay’s as well. Over the years, she had come to rely upon her secret circle in more ways than one. They could run a needle and boy could they handle themselves in times of crisis.
“Well, we simply put binding on her honey.” Rose looked down at her work, not meeting her eyes.
“Right.” And one day wings would pop out of her back and she would sprout a halo. Not.
Joanne sighed. “No. Not really. We cursed Brenda Maxwell with all the energy I had to muster, is
what we did. She made a fool out of me at church one too many times. In fact, she was such in pain in the butt that’s where the hex hit, if you want the honest truth.”
“Oh Joanne.” Magdalay was horrified.
“No. Don’t you dare give me that look. She’s done it to three other ladies in the fundraiser group
just this year. She’s a home wreaking hussy that needed to be stopped.” Joanne sat up straight and met her gaze head on. “I dare any of you to say different. Rose here made the poppet, Belinda gathered the ingredients, and the three of us manifested it.”
“You could have told me.” Magdalay sat back, stunned.
“What would you have done? Told us not to do it? Because it would backlash on us?” Joanne shook
her head. “I don’t think so. She was after Fred.”
“You should have let her have him.” Belinda looked up from trying to unsuccessfully read her
crochet pattern and shot Joanne a filthy expression.

Dana Wright has always had a fascination with things that go bump in the night. She is often found playing at local bookstores, trying not to maim herself with crochet hooks or knitting needles, watching monster movies with her husband and furry kids or blogging about books. More commonly, she is chained to her computers, writing like a woman possessed. She is currently working on several children's stories, young adult fiction, romantic suspense, short stories and is trying her hand at poetry. She is a contributing author to Ghost Sniffer’s CYOA, Siren’s Call E-zine in their “Women in Horror” issue in February 2013 and "Revenge" in October 2013, a contributing author to Potatoes!, Fossil Lake, Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, Undead in Pictures, Potnia, Shadows and Light, Dark Corners, Wonderstruck, Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Dead Harvest, Monster Diaries (upcoming), Holiday Horrors and the Roms, Bombs and Zoms Anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media. She is the author of Asylum due out in October 2014.   Dana has also reviewed music for specializing in New Age and alternative music and has been a contributing writer to Eternal Haunted Summer, Nightmare Illustrated, Massacre Magazine, Metaphor Magazine, The Were Traveler October 2013 edition: The Little Magazine of Magnificent Monsters, the December 2013 issue The Day the Zombies Ruled the Earth. She currently reviews music at New Age Music Reviews and Write a Music Review.

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