Sorchia's Universe

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Novel Magic: Karilyn Bentley’s Demon Lore

Demon Lore at www.sorchiadubois.com

Spooks and ghouls fall out of the woodwork in Sorchia’s Universe. This week, we even have a demon.  It’s my pleasure to welcome Karilyn Bentley with a SALE on her new book! Act now–the sale ends soon.

Demon Lore at www.sorchiadubois.com

 

Hi Sorchia! I’m excited to announce the first book, Demon Lore, in my urban fantasy series is on sale for 99 cents until Thursday, 10/26. I’m glad to be on your blog today to announce the sale! The series features Gin Crawford, an ER nurse who is also an empath, and her journey as she becomes the world’s newest demon huntress. Needless to say, she’s not too excited about her new job.

Gin has a twin brother who sees ghosts. I’m fascinated with ghost sightings. While I’ve never been ghost hunting, I have seen the ghost of my grandfather when I was twelve. For several months after he passed, he would visit me as I was going to sleep. The first night he visited, he started off sitting on the edge of the bed, but his proximity freaked me out so I made him go sit in the chair by the door. It comforted me to know he stayed until I fell asleep. Then one night he stopped coming and has never visited me again.

What about you? Have you seen a ghost? If so, tell me about it in the comments.

 

And check out the blurb and excerpt for Demon Lore:

Blurb:

Gin Crawford has enough problems dealing with her empath abilities. Finding out she’s the world’s newest demon-slayer is the last thing she needs. Unfortunately, when she slips on a mysterious bracelet she is given no other choice. On the plus side, her new gig comes with Tall, Dark and Handsome, a mage who may or may not have her best interests at heart. Thrust into a power-play between good and evil, Gin must choose a side before she becomes the next victim in the ongoing battle.

Excerpt:

     The evil man-thing stands on my porch, his lips turning in a menacing smile of death. I don’t need to touch him to know he wants me dead. Muscles freeze, trapping my breath in my lungs. Like a rabbit in view of a wolf, I’m immobilized, waiting for death’s blow. Time slows, his gaze locks on mine, trapping me in place.

 

     Move, move, move! My mind screams as the man’s fingers twitch.

 

     But the spike of adrenaline explodes into my limbs too late to stop the backhand blow slamming across my jaw.

 

     I superman it halfway across the living room. Land on the hardwood floor in a thud of pain-ridden limbs. My jaw morphs into a screaming ball of nerves. My head no sooner hits the floor than I hear the bracelet scream, a high-pitched wail quivering through my skin like vibrations from a tuning fork. The bracelet tightens around my wrist, cutting off the circulation, and then it loosens with a pop at the same time I hear the door click closed.

 

     Ohgodohgodohgod, I’m going to die. I don’t want to die. No, no, no, no, no. Pain and terror hold me crumpled on the floor as my mind crawls backward in time.

 

     But I’m no longer a child, fearful of fists and words, cowering on the ground.

 

     I’m a fighter.

 

     My head spins, but I refuse to lie on the floor waiting to be killed, so I attempt to stand. Evil Guy laughs as I ass-plant it. Laughs as a moan escapes my lips. He takes a step toward me, right arm drawn back for a hit. His fist hurls toward my face, but I manage to block it with my left arm. My right arm, the one with the bracelet, shoves forward, slamming into his chest.

 

     His black eyes widen, mouth open in surprise, his hands fluttering to his chest before dropping. I stare at my hand, stare hard, for I’m as surprised as Evil Guy. The bracelet had become a sword, a long, thin spike of metal extending from the silver links, straight into Evil Guy’s heart.

 

     A sword?

 

     Definitely a sword. The flat of the blade rests against the back of my hand, cool metal heating from the warmth of my skin. Small silver links circle around my palm, lending stability to the two-foot long sword.

 

     I’m not sure which scares me more, Evil Guy paying me a visit or the fact the bracelet performed a morphing trick.

Buy your own copy of Demon Lore:

Who is Karilyn

Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, a crazy dog nicknamed The Kraken, a silly not-quite-a-puppy, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.

Where to find Karilyn

Website:

Facebook 

Twitter 

 Plotting Princesses Blog

Goodreads

Pinterest 

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10 Modern Gothic Movies for a Dark and Stormy Night

As Halloween approaches and the veil thins, it seems appropriate to dig up something from last winter. So here is a list of some of my favorite spooky movies in a post from last February.

But first, the News

  1. I’m on the road this week with a guest post on Compelling Beasts Blog. Read all about Scottish Vampires HERE.
  2. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones goes on Sale Oct. 20 through Nov. 3. If you have a Facebook or Twitter or Tumbler account, you can help me get the word out by supporting my Thunderclap campaign HERE.
  3. WHAT!! You haven’t read Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones? Well, now’s the time. Not only is she on sale, but book 2 in the series will soon follow. Pick up your own copy of this award-winning book at the reduced price HERE.

 

Winter is coming and no better time to binge on scary Gothic movies. Below, you’ll find a starter list guaranteed to chill you, thrill you, and send you screaming for a bracer of good Scotch whisky.

The 21st century, young as it is, has already produced a plethora of good old fashioned Gothic movies. Expect creepy locations, twisty plots, scary effects, and British accents. Some are gory and some are just delightfully disturbing. If these whet your appetite, stay tuned for next week’s post about classic Gothic movies.

 

Crimson Peak

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds – and remembers.

Rated R for bloody violence, Crimson Peak is a throwback to the glory days of Gothic Romance. Lots of blood, lots of gore, lots or weirdness in a creepy old house. Their trailer is a great way to get your Gothic juices boiling:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oquZifON8Eg

 

The Others

A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.

And that’s all I can say about this until you watch it. Nicole Kidman is crazy good.

The Awakening

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves.

This one has everything!  My favorite on this list. If you don’t enjoy the bloody carnage of Crimson Peak, The Awakening may be the movie for you. No gore, but lots of running around screaming—at least that’s what I do when I watch it.

The Raven

When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.

While I don’t usually go along with rewritten history, this one is fun. John Cusack makes a great Poe.

From Hell

In 1888, a ruthless and cold-blooded killer begins hunting prostitutes in East London, and while the murderer’s work is savage, the mutilation of his victims suggests the fiend has an extensive medical background. Amidst a background of political unrest and barely contained scandal among the royal family, the murderer’s grisly exploits shock and frighten all of England, and one of Scotland Yard’s top inspectors, Fred Abberline (Johnny Depp), is put on the case, along with his partner, Peter Godley (Robbie Coltrane).

Any Jack the Ripper movie is fine with me. (I still think the Prince did it.) and I’ll watch Johnny Depp do opium all day long. But that may be just me.

1408

A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack in a scary story that still makes me double check hotel room numbers. Hint that you probably don’t need: 1 + 4 + 8 = 13

Sweeney Todd

Unjustly sent to prison, a man vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, he becomes Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, who “shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again.” Sweeney’s amorous accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, creates diabolical meat pies.

Incredibly freaky. On the Freakometer, this one scores ten skulls.

The Woman in Black

A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Nice and freaky and bleak with the added feature of little Harry Potter all grown up and acting.

Corpse Bride

When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her.

Tim Burton’s best in my humble opinion.

Darkness Falls

A vengeful spirit takes the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the one child, now grown up, who survived her before.

Yes, yes, there are plot holes, but the intense action is lots of fun.

 

Did I miss your favorite? Post it in the comments.

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Times the Universe Yelled at Me

Friday the 13th’s post is about those little jolts of synchronicity from Nature. The messages the natural world sends our way in the weirdest manners.

But first, I have a non-natural sign to share with you. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones will go on sale on October 20 and stay that way until November 3. What can this mean, you ask. What does this portend?

Well, I’ll tell you. It means the release of Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is getting closer. No firm date yet, but the process is begun.

To get the word out about the sale, I’m running a Thunderclap campaign. I’d appreciate your support. Click HERE to lend your voice to the tumult! 

Portents and Omens

So many people are genuinely suffering in our world today. Echoes of their pain filter into my safe, warm home. A subtle dis-ease keeps me awake at night and disturbs my morning tea. Something prickles the hair on my neck, and I text my kids to make sure they are okay. Of course, they are. But the feeling that something just isn’t right persists.

I can’t explain it.

In difficult times, we humans look for patterns—shapes in the clouds, faces etched on our breakfast toast, order from chaos. Soothsayers and fortunetellers cast the bones or lay out cards or divine meaning from patterns in entrails or bumps on the head.

Who can say if they’re wasting their time or not? Who can say the old ways are dead?

If you live close to the land, you’ve heard the voices of birds and beasts, of soil and wind and rain, of trees and grass, herbs and flowers. You’ve sensed the wariness of a doe and her fawns long before the flick of a white tail in the undergrowth draws your eye. You’ve felt the intrusion of another person on an abandoned road long before they came into view.

It’s this connection with the natural world that brings order for me and it’s here where I look for signs and symbols, omens and portents. Am I wasting my time? Who can say? I sleep better when I see the orderly progression of stars and planets across the night sky. My day is more peaceful when a squirrel or woodpecker peeks in my window to say hello—to remind me the world still works.

Most of the time, that’s all it is. Just a greeting, an acknowledgement, a cautious connection with the strange noisy creature who lives in their woods. Maybe they’re as curious about me as I am about them. Maybe, to them, I’m a sign of disaster.

Every culture on the planet includes a collection of animal lore, superstitions, traditions explaining odd encounters. A black cat may mean bad luck or good luck. A turtle signals rain; a dog’s howl  death. Most of these bits of folklore are general and easily dismissed. But sometimes the event is so persistent or so odd, you wonder.

Below, you can read about some of my encounters with nature signs, but tell me—What messages has the Universe sent to you? Or do you think all of this sounds crazy? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!!

 

Times the Universe yelled at me

A black snake crawled down a tree outside my window. Not unusual, until he or his brother crawled onto my porch—three times. Not only that, but as I sat typing (coincidentally about a character who sometimes turns into a snake) there he/she was again—slithering across the tin roof outside my second-story window.

  • Snakes signal transformation, life and rebirth, healing. He also suggests grounding—focusing intention on the basic. But this guy was in midair nearly every time I found him so there’s that. Also, black is a color of protection.

I headed to town on a grocery (liquor) run but had to stop when a huge walking stick slide down the windshield. She scampered under the hood. A thorough search of my car’s private parts yielded no walking stick and I feared the worst. My shopping finished, I pulled into the gas station and what did I find crawling across the top of the car, but my walking stick. This time I secured her and got her home where I released her into the wild. As I put her on a tree, another walking stick ran up as if to say “Thanks the gods, you’re safe. We heard you’d been abducted by aliens.” For the next several days, walking sticks took every opportunity to make their presence known. They crawled up my legs, they dropped on me from trees, they appeared in the most unlikely places. And then they went back to being nearly invisible.

  • Walking sticks, stick bugs, Devil’s darning needle—their real name is phasmid. While they don’t sting people, they do spit caustic liquid into the eyes of their prey to blind them. Nifty. They suggest patience and again focus. Why are you yelling at me, Nature?  They are also experts at camouflage and indicate a need for serious reflection before taking action.

In the course of one full moon night, my house was assaulted by a band of marauding raccoons who crept in the cat door. Mom and two fuzzy nuggets of disaster made a complete tour of the house before they waddled out. At the same time, a cat caught a flying squirrel took the wee beastie upstairs where the squirrel escaped. I chased it into the sun room where it found a hiding place. I secured the doors, opened the window and took off the screen, hoping he would find his way out during the night. He did not. The next morning he did a flying leap from wherever he had been hiding, ricocheted off my leg and nearly came to a bad end before I got him safely stowed in a wide-mouth mason jar I keep for just such chores. I took him into the woods far from prying feline eyes and the last I saw of him, he was climbing a pine tree with a certain amount of alacrity.

  • Raccoons are curious and clever. Their presence may be about leaving no stone unturned in a quest but Raccoon is a trickster, too. They like to knock things out of balance and you can either go with that and enjoy the ride or you can resist which makes you frustrated and annoyed.
  • Squirrels advise to take yourself less seriously and have more fun.  Again with the yelling! To really relax, though, they remind that you have to take care of practical matters first. Squirrels encourage you to get rid of clutter and leave unimportant things behind.

 

via GIPHY

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment and/or weird sign you’ve gotten. Or feel free to add your interpretation of mine. I can use all the help I can get.

Novel Magic: Impetus Toward Ireland by Judith Sterling

It’s that time of year again when strange stirrings rustle the dry leaves and half-seen shadows melt into the moonlit forest. Something tells me Judith Sterling, my guest on Novel Magic today, understands the whispers in the ether better than most. Find out how she discovered a startling truth about herself and how she incorporates her passions for history and the paranormal into fantastic books.

Impetus Toward Ireland by Judith Sterling

One night in the summer before my senior year of high school, I kicked off my bedcovers with a vengeance.  I snatched my glasses from the nightstand and glared at the ticking clock.

1:00 a.m. and all was NOT well.

I’d fidgeted for almost two hours, and sleep remained a stranger.  Rolling my eyes, I abandoned my bed, then slunk through the house and out the back door.

Humidity hugged my skin like a second aura.  With a sigh, I pushed up the sleeves of my nightgown and scanned the backyard.  Spanish moss dangled from the oak trees.  Moonlight touched the pool.  Frogs croaked their hardest, but the sharp drone of crickets stole the show.

“Why am I so restless?” I asked aloud.  “How can you yearn for something you can’t even name?”

As though sharing a private joke, the stars above winked.

The night held no answers; the mosquitoes showed no mercy.  So I stole back into the house to worship the miracle of air conditioning and find something to read.

In the living room, I searched the shelves until my gaze locked on a book I’d never seen:  Ireland – A Picture Book to Remember Her By.  I grabbed it and settled on the velvet couch.

From the moment I opened the book, I changed.  Waves of emotion rushed over me:  love, sorrow, and strangest of all, homesickness.  Gratitude flooded my heart and mind, for this was what I’d sought.  I turned each page with reverence, melding my being with the images thereon.

It was crazy.  I was born and raised in blazingly hot, equatorial Florida, about as far from Ireland and its blissfully cool climate as you can get.  Before that night, I’d never considered the Emerald Isle.  Not once.  Now my whole life seemed to have led me to the discovery that I was somehow linked to that distant land.

Desire and will swelled within me, and I squeezed the book to my chest.  I knew what I must do.

I jumped up and raced to my sleeping parents’ bedroom.  “Mom!  Dad!”

My father grunted, but my mother bolted upright in bed.  “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.  I just wanted to tell you my decision.  I’m going to Ireland.”

She squinted.  “What, tonight?”

“No, but soon.  I have to go.”

Dad rolled over.  A rumble of complaint sounded, either from his throat or his stomach.

Mom glanced at the clock, then sank back onto her pillow.  “Fine.  But let’s talk about it in the morning, okay?”

When morning arrived, I did more than talk.  Truth be told, I ate far too many donuts, but I must’ve burned off the calories during my impassioned plea.  It was Ireland or bust!  My unsuspecting parents didn’t know what to make of my new obsession, but Dad informed me my great-grandfather had emigrated from Ireland in 1914.  How this fact escaped my notice for 17 years is beyond me, but now that I knew of my Irish heritage, I was unstoppable.

My grandfather had the address of our Irish cousins in County Kilkenny, and I obtained it faster than you can say Éirinn go Brách.  Soon after, I became pen pals with one of the cousins, and we exchanged letters, photos, and even a phone call over the next 10 months.

My enthusiasm for Ireland was contagious, and by senior graduation, three round-trip plane tickets waited on my parents’ desk.  The Three Musketeers—Mom, Dad, and I—were bound for Shannon Airport.

Excitement forbade sleep on the long flight over, so after we’d shuffled through customs, traded dollars for pounds, and procured our rental car, we drove straight to our bed-and-breakfast in the village of Bunratty and took a nap.  When I awoke hours later, Mom informed me I’d spoken Irish in my sleep.

My instincts implored me to pay attention.  From the moment I stepped foot on Irish soil, I felt I’d come home.  This was no shallow sentiment; it was a gut reaction, a reunion with a piece of my soul.

Ireland’s landscape was as gorgeous as its people were gracious, but my response to its beauty seemed greatest in Killarney.  There, while bouncing in the back of a jaunting car, I became one with my surroundings.  The cool wind caressed my cheeks and whipped my long, blonde hair into a wild mass which would’ve made any banshee proud.  Low-hanging, purple clouds harmonized with rippling lakes, and the gentle slope of mountains accompanied them.  Flowering bushes, rustling trees, and fertile soil moist with promise completed the symphony.  Each note had perfect pitch.  Every phrase was pure magic.

When our driver reined in his horse, my parents jumped from the carriage, eager to tour Muckross House.  I shared their enthusiasm but was so caught up in nature’s melody I didn’t want the ride to end.  Still, history summoned me, so I followed their lead and strode toward the house.

Abruptly, I hesitated.  The lake to my right seemed familiar.  The adjacent parkland beckoned, but I had to resist its pull.  With our jam-packed schedule, an amble through the woods was out of the question.

Years later, I would explore those woods and discover a surprising piece to add to my life’s puzzle.  Once again that night, Mom heard me speaking Irish in my sleep.

In my latest release, The Cauldron Stirred, seventeen-year-old Ashling Donoghue has a similar experience.  And she not only visits Killarney, but gets to live there.  Ah, the magic of fiction!

 

Excerpt from The Cauldron Stirred:

            A sudden, resounding chime pierced the silence. Then another rang out, and another. It sounded like the peal of a gigantic grandfather clock. The wind began to howl.

            “Midnight.” He turned and pointed. “Look!”

            From the mouth of the cave burst a symphony of specters. There were hunters on horseback and wailing hounds. Flying above and behind them were hundreds of nocturnal creatures. Living gargoyles. Gray ghosts. Copper red birds. Dark angels with massive, black-feather wings.

            I suppose I should’ve been scared. But for someone like me, who’d embraced the magic and mystery of Halloween from day one, the Wild Hunt was a glorious sight. The stroke of midnight, the rushing wind, the mad pursuit across land and sky: all stirred my soul.

Looking for a way to finish the story? Buy a copy at any of these purveyors of fine literature.

Buy at The Wild Rose Press

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Barnes and Noble

A bit more about Judith.

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

 

 

Find Judith online and get news about her latest releases. 

Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/judithsterlingfiction/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16291161.Judith_Sterling

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MT3KB7L

The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2212_judith-sterling