Tag Archive: Magic

News–A Guest Post–and a Request for Happy Thoughts

Greetings and Felicitations!!

I have had the mother of all summer colds which has spiraled into one of those dark nights of the soul. Never fear–I’m treating it with liberal doses of Scotch. I should be completely cured in a matter of days. From my bed of pain, I’ve managed to write a guest post on an intriguing site called Compelling Beasts.

Despite the plague, I’ve got a bit of exciting news.

First, Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is a finalist for a Prism Award presented by FF&P a chapter of Romance Writers of America. I’m one of three finalists and am so thrilled to be mentioned along with these talented writers. Here is the complete list of finalists–every one of these books should be on the summer reading list! The winner will be announced at the RWA convention in Orlando, Florida, Friday, July 28 at 7 pm EST, Hold a happy thought around that time.

 

Second--and this is huge–Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is one step closer to publication. My editor is looking over the synopsis right now. I hope to have really good news in a couple of weeks. As all my writer friends know, once the publisher accepts a story, the work really begins with edits, revisions, cover details, and innumerable little things that have to happen before launch day. Still–I’m so happy to be standing at the edge of this cliff. This book took longer to write than it should have and I’m determined the last book in the series will not be delayed.

Last but not least, I’m guesting at a lovely place called Compelling Beasts BlogMale Witches: Boys of the Hood.

Check it out for  an excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. 

 

BY THE WAY–

If you have any sure-fire cures for colds/allergies/plague, post a comment. 

Join me next week for another guest post at another fantastic site.

Novel Magic–Gallowglass by Jennifer Allis Provost

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jennifer Allis Provost to Novel Magic on Sorchia’s Universe. Her new book, GallowGlass, has everything we love here: Scotsmen, magic, suspense, romance, and did I say Scotsmen?

 

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.

After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.

In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.

As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.

Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?

 

Here’s a little excerpt from GallowGlass:

 

Robert grabbed my arm. “’Tis one o’ the fuath,” he growled.

 

“The who-ah?” I asked.

 

Foo ah,” Robert repeated, stretching out the syllables. “They are water demons that act as Nicnevin’s assassins. Like as no’, she has sent this one to collect me.”

 

“I thought you were her assassin.”

 

He ignored my comment, and said, “We must leave, lass. Fetch your brother.”

 

“Leave the tour?” I asked. “Can’t we just walk around to the other side of the ruin?”

 

“No. We must leave this place altogether.”

 

“We’re on an island,” I reminded him. “We have to wait for the ferry.”

 

“We canna,” he hissed. “’Tis no safe.”

 

“Um, okay.” I scanned the tour group; it was comprised of a rather harried looking guide, a gaggle of senior citizens armed with cameras and fanny packs, and my brother, the only individual under sixty. None of them looked to be likely candidates for a fairy assassin. “Where exactly is this fuath?”

 

“At the rear o’ that gathering.” Robert jerked his chin toward a white haired woman leaning on a cane who looked so frail, I worried the breeze would topple her.

 

“Are you sure?” I pressed.

 

“’Tis one o’ them, o’ that ye can be certain,” he insisted, his grip on my arm tightening. “The beast is wearing a glamour.”

 

I stared at Robert, the man I’d known for less than twenty four hours, who had claimed that I’d liberated him from centuries imprisoned within the Seelie Court. The man I had believed, until he started avoiding my questions. “You haven’t answered me. I thought you were her assassin?”

 

“I was but the deadliest of many,” he replied, then he spied Chris. “Come, we’ll collect Christopher and commandeer a vessel.”

 

“What? No!” I shook my arm free, and glared at him. “That little old lady can’t hurt anyone, and we are not stealing a boat!”

 

“The boat? Ye are concerned about a wee boat when a killer’s naught but twenty paces from ye?”

 

“This is insane,” I muttered. “Just insane.” I turned my back to him, rubbing my temples. Chris had been right; Robert was nothing but a gigolo, one who was now playing his part a bit too intensely, and I was his willing mark. I’d crossed half the world to get away from one man that had used me, only to run smack into another.

 

The tour group had noticed Robert’s and my argument, and a few of the old ladies were whispering about us. I smiled and waved, trying to impress upon them that everything was fine. The ladies lost interest in us, except the one Robert had labeled as an assassin. She was standing stock still, leaning on her cane and peering at me.

 

“Why isn’t she moving on?” I wondered. I glanced over my shoulder; Robert had stalked off toward the trees again, muttering to himself. “Robert, could you come here, please?” I called. “I think someone needs help.”

 

All I could think of was that something of a medical nature was happening with the woman, maybe a stroke or a heart attack, and Robert—or whatever his name was—was a big guy, and could carry her if necessary. As soon as I called his name he returned to my side.

 

“Who is needin’ help, then?” Robert demanded. He looked past me, the blood draining from his face.

 

“Gallowglass,” a voice hissed. I tore my gaze from Robert and back to the old woman, who wasn’t looking so feeble any longer. Her eyes glowed red, and her mouth was packed with long, needlelike teeth, way too many teeth to be in such a small opening. I stood, mesmerized, as she kept opening her mouth, wider and wider until her jaw unhinged, her teeth growing longer and sharper with each passing second.

 

“Behind me,” Robert shouted as the woman sprang at us. She crossed the twenty or more paces in a single leap, landing like a cat on Robert’s chest. Then she screamed, a horrible, shrill noise that physically hurt my ears, and reared back to bite Robert’s neck.

 

I shrieked, certain this monster was about to take Robert’s head off, when he pitched himself forward, throwing his full weight on top of the much smaller creature and knocking them both to the ground. While the monster was still dazed, Robert leapt to his feet. He extended his arm to the side, and the claymore he’d carried the day before materialized out of thin air. Robert grasped the sword with both hands, and with a single swing he decapitated the creature.

 

I was shaking like a leaf, staring from the body to Robert. There was blood everywhere, black stinking blood marring the lush grass, some of the foul liquid having sprayed onto Robert’s chest. I hated gore, even the fake gore in horror movies and in cheesy Halloween displays. I swayed, certain that I was going to faint, when Robert caught me.

 

“’Tis all right,” he murmured, his arm about my waist. “It canna hurt ye now.” I pressed myself against Robert’s side, hiding under his arm and trying not to touch the bloody parts of his shirt. All of my doubts about Robert had ceased just as surely as that creature’s life had ceased. I would never doubt him again.

 

“What the holy hell was that?” Chris demanded.

 

I looked up and saw my brother jogging towards us. Behind him, the tour group was screaming and pointing at the man with the gigantic, bloody sword, and at the body at his feet. “Robert had to,” I whispered.

 

“Had to?” Chris repeated. “He had to kill a little old lady?

 

“Not a lady,” I said, shaking my head.

 

“Old man, whatever—”

 

“Chris!” I pointed at the creature’s head. “Look at the mouth.” He did, squatting down to get a better view. I stayed where I was; I already knew more than I wanted to know about that thing.

 

“Crap,” Chris murmured. Being that Chris considered such language beneath a man of his stature, I inferred that he understood the gravity of our situation. He reached toward its teeth, and I looked away. Did he have to touch it? He couldn’t tell just by looking at it that it was wrong? As I tried not to lose my breakfast I noticed an official-looking man striding toward us.

 

“About stealing that boat,” I began, then I turned to my brother. “Chris, we are going to steal a boat.”

 

Chris nodded. “Good plan.”

 

Robert grabbed my elbow, and we raced toward the dock.

 

Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

Grab your own copy of Gallowglass at any of these purveyors of fine literature:

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qaTKuM

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gallowglass-jennifer-allis-provost/1126185405?ean=2940154110164

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/gallowglass-4

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/gallowglass/id1225187436?mt=11

 

Connect with Jennifer and learn more about her writing.

 

Web and blog: https://authorjenniferallisprovost.com//

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/copperraven

Twitter: https://twitter.com/parthalan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2975887.Jennifer_Allis_Provost

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Allis-Provost/e/B003LXSUFU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennallis/

A Steaming Pit of Voodoo

This week found me neck deep in a steaming pit of Voodoo. Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is getting ever-nearer to completion. It has taken so much longer than I intended but there you go. Life happens. I wanted to share a little of the research in Sorchia’s Universe this week to give you a taste of what I’m cooking up for you.

  1. Christianity and Voodoo have a lot in common.  Because Voodoo has deep ties to Catholic religion, both Voodoo and Catholic Churches coexist quite nicely thank you. In fact, Voodoo ascribes to the belief in one god. The pantheon of Voodoo are the Loa or Lwa, spirits who carry messages between the one god and puny mortals. Mortals are the servants of the Loa and not the other way around. Voodoo Loa are often given names of Catholic saints. And if that isn’t enough, even Pope John Paul II attended a Voodoo ceremony in 1993.

  1. Voodoo dolls aren’t just a Voodoo thing. In the Middle Ages and before, wise women and witches in Europe and Asia made poppets and used them to cast spells—cures as often as curses. To really spice up your poppet/Voodoo doll, be sure to add something that has a close tie to your victim client. Hair, fingernails, bodily fluids, an eyeball—whatever comes handy. Even the dirt from a footprint can add a little kick—see what I did there?– to your spell.

 

3.  Red magic is the worse than black magic any day. Voodoo is a religion of love and healing but people are people and occasionally somebody slips off the path. When this happens the evil-doer’s eyes glow red and they do ugly things. Hence the term Red Magic and it’s connotation with evil. (Note: The term red magic can also refer to sex magic which might be good, evil, fantastic, or indifferent.) It’s the Voodoo Queen’s job to be proactive and stop the evil red magic. In Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen, just the opposite happens. The Loa themselves are not evil. It’s the practitioner who can corrupt a relationship with a Lwa and use knowledge and skills for self gain. These evil sorcerers are called bokors.

  1. Voodoo teachings are not written down anywhere. Voodoo depends on the community of believers who share knowledge orally. The process of learning Voodoo is a highly personal one which is taught as much by illustration as by formal lessons. It is integrated in everyday activities and tied to the environment and the community. The Druids had such a system and to get rid of it, the Romans had to murder pretty much everyone who had come in contact with a Druid priest or priestess because the teachings were so deeply ingrained. Just because Voodoo isn’t a book-based religion doesn’t weaken it in any way.

 just jane modern doughnuts voodoo GIF

  1. Zombies are more about slavery than they are about Voodoo. Zombies in movies are supposed to be the reanimated corpses of dead people enchanted by an evil sorcerer and made to do the sorcerer’s will and/or the reanimated corpses of dead people brought back to semi-life by a passing comet which also gives them an unquenchable taste for warm human brains. Ok—this could account for maybe ten percent of the zombies wandering around the world today—and I sincerely hope that ten percent are on TV. In the beginning of zombie lore, zombies were the undead souls of  West Indies slaves who, rather than face a life of degradation and misery, killed themselves hoping to return to the kind of limbo between lives. Unfortunately, suicide disqualifies you from such a thing and those souls were doomed to walk the earth imprisoned in their corpses because the afterlife was closed to them. A much worse story.

  1. Animal sacrifice—Ok, this really happens. The energy of the animal is thought to be useful to the gods and to those who want to communicate with them. The animal is ritually killed and its energy offered to the Loa as a gift. But nothing goes to waste—the sacrificed animal is usually eaten by the participants in the celebration. Good thing chicken turns out to be a favorite of the Loa as well as tasty cooked nearly anyway but particularly good blackened with a little Cajun red sauce on it.

And it’s back to work for me. See you next week.

A Cold Spring–Episode 26: Zed

This is IT!!! The last post for the fabulous 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge and the LAST DAY TO VOTE FOR Zoraida Grey in the first round of the Rone Awards. 

She’s in the Long Paranormal category at  InDtale Magazine . You will need to register but it’s a free and easy process. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones.

Thanks so much for sticking with me through the challenge. Here’s the last episode, but if you are just discovering the story or if you’ve been hanging on for this final pdf–just scroll past Episode 26–no peeking–to find the link to the pdf.

Episode 26: Zed

The day is nearly spent yet we’ve reached no agreement. The time crystals are safe in Maddock’s pocket and both Darkmores and La Croixs seem satisfied to let them remain there. Lucia sleeps, cocooned in a soft, blue hex, but her fate is the subject of much discussion.

 

“My wife and my grandchildren died at that woman’s hands. In the old days, we would have beheaded Lucia strait away.” Magnus La Croix rages at the combined council of Darkmore and La Croix elders. “I’ve waited a thousand years for this.”

 

Maddock shakes his head. “Until we can offer life as a reward, death as punishment is little more than revenge.”

 

“You dishonor those who died. You dishonor those who remained scarred by what Lucia did.” Magnus points toward Mayebelle who glares back with her good eye. “How can we allow Lucia to live? She shows no sign of remorse and would visit the same tragedy on us again if she could.”

 

Aurora La Croix, sitting between Maddock and Clarissa on a mound of cloaks and leaves near the bubbling stream, tips a goblet of clear white wine to her ruby-tinted lips. She’s had time to reapply the beauty glamour, I see. I pat my own unruly hair and pinch my cheeks to heighten the color. Appearance isn’t my primary concern, but I’d hoped my first event with my new in-laws would be more glamorous. I’m comforted in that the entire group of Darkmore and La Croix relatives bears traces of the long night and disturbing morning.

 

Aurora, her palate clean and her throat clear, levels a squelching gaze at her third cousin on her father’s side. “Sit down and be quiet, Magnus. We all lost family but what’s done is done. The old ways didn’t work. Aren’t the signs clear enough for you?”

Magnus eyes Aurora with a cold blue eye but clamps his teeth together, unwilling to challenge Aurora further.

 

Maddock pours Magnus another drink and hands the goblet to the still fuming man. “I understand your anger. We all share it. But I’m not willing to mar my daughter’s first day of life with murder. How can we teach our children mercy if we don’t practice it ourselves? Is her first lesson to be that murder begets murder? We must find an alternative.”

 

My child dozes in a sunbeam, her surprising thatch of reddish hair catching the shimmer of the first day of spring. Whatever effect the time crystals have had on the outside world, the past day rocketed my life from despair to hope and I am grateful. The memory of exile seems only the shadow of a dream—soon forgotten.

 

I hand the baby to Mayebelle and stand so everyone can hear me.

 

“I have an idea.”

 

****

 

Our new house rises on a prominence overlooking the lake which now fills Highmoor Valley.  On calm days, Maddock and I take our ginger-haired, indigo-eyed daughter boating, skimming on the crystal surface. At a certain point, midway across the lake, she loves to peek over the rails, peering into the blue depths. If the day is clear and calm and the sky a particular shade of blue, the murky outline of Old Castle Highmoor flickers into view far below.

 

It is a mirage, a strange side effect produced by a single time crystal spinning inside a black witch stone. Inside the mirage, Lucia wanders in the Time Before—a time of joy and hope for her––an eddy far from the rushing stream of Time, cut off and inaccessible.  She won’t be alone, as I was in my exile. Her memories of the Time Before populate her world.

 

Outside Highmoor Province, times have changed, but witches adapt. Our guests ventured forth, scattered again to the four winds, but a celebration for the  coming Vernal Equinox promises Darkmores and La Croixs will soon fill the valley with magical chatter and off-color jokes and reminiscences of old times.

 

Our families have no room for ancient fears and so Maddock and I name our indigo-eyed daughter Lucia. The Time Before is real only in the mirage at the bottom of the lake. The Time After and The Time to Come are stored in a clear quartz vial. In this Time That Is, Maddock and I are content to remain at home in Highmoor province.

 

A new life stirs inside me and soon little Lucia will have a brother––time enough later to introduce them to the outside world. Today, Lucia and I will play in the garden where thirteen cherry tomato plants stretch prickly, aromatic leaves to the sun.

 

Download the pdf or read the story in the file below.

A Cold Spring_4302017