Tag Archive: Paranormal

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

Novel Magic: Why Be Normal When You Can Be PARAnormal? by Debra Doggett

Bone of My Bones by Debra Doggett at Sorchia's Universe www.sorchiadubois.com

It will be a sub-zero diurnal passage in the infernal pit of Abaddon when any miscreant soul dares call Sorchia’s Universe NORMAL. We totally and unequivocally agree with our guest, Debra Doggett. Normal is for wimps!!

Tell us what you think and check out her new book while you’re at it!

Why Be Normal When You Can Be PARAnormal?

By Debra Doggett

It’s possible that I’m the most mundane person you’d ever meet. I can’t predict the future, read auras, uncover psychic secrets, or reveal your past incarnations. Also, I don’t suck blood, howl at the moon, or transform into another, far more exotic shape. Probably I could make you smile, but that isn’t as hard as it sounds with most people. None of those gifts were part of my inheritance from my very nice, but mundane parents. Life, from this beginning, should have been quite normal.

The gift I was born with, however, is imagination. Lots and lots of imagination. Never one to waste a gift, I found that my imagination preferred people, places and things that were far from normal. Be a cheerleader? Nope, who settles for that? I wanted to be a time traveler instead. Trapped at home with small children? Minions, where do you think the idea of minions came from? Trust me, children really go with the flow when it involves imagination.

Imagination puts me anywhere I want to be, offers me any skill that intrigues me and places some of the most interesting people right in front of me. When I first began writing, I listened to as much information on the craft as I could find. Some folks will tell writers to write what they know. This piece of advice stuck out in my mind. I did take that one to heart, though I doubt it was in the way they meant. I do know what the bloodlust of a vampire feels like. My imagination tells me (along with the imagination of some other wonderful writers). I know how breathless it can be hurtling through space, or how the moonlit howl of a werewolf mid-transformation can speed up your heart.

Someone once asked me how hard it was to come up with my ideas. I didn’t know how to explain to them that there was never a time, day, or night, when ideas weren’t whizzing through my brain. My mind, my imagination, operates at warp speed with no notice of time. Not a good pace for sleeping, but one that means I must only grab a thought and go with it and bam! it’s another story. Thanks to my imagination, I can take that thought far beyond what’s normal.

 

A little About Debra Doggett

I’ve been many things in my life: actor, filmmaker, historian, writer, but putting words to paperDebra Doggett at Sorchia's Universe www.sorchiadubois.com is the most satisfying. After years of moving around the US, I’ve settled in the desert of New Mexico, a far cry from my birthplace in Louisiana. You never know where life will go.

 

Bone of My Bones excerpt

“How old are you?”

“Excuse me?” The man finally decides to talk and that’s what he asks me?

“On the phone you said Alexis was mentoring you in the Craft.”

“Wouldn’t it have been easier to ask how long I’d been studying with her?”

He shrugged. “You want to know something, you need to ask specific questions.”

So he wanted to know how old I was? Now that was a loaded question if ever I heard one. The kind a smart man would steer clear of. And Matthias Romero struck me as a smart man. It made me wonder what he really wanted to know, if he had some ulterior motive for asking. I pondered the answer for a minute. Did I lie and tell him I was older, and therefore wiser? Or did I knock off a couple of years so he didn’t wonder why the hell I wasn’t better at this at my age? Did I go for the hot factor? Was it hotter to be 25 than 30? How old was he? I compromised and went with the truth, something I wouldn’t have to try and remember later.

“I turned twenty-eight last month.”

He just nodded. I couldn’t tell from the look on his face if he’d gotten what he wanted or not from my answer. Maybe all he wanted was to see if I’d lie to him. Then I felt it, not strong but subtle, a bare ripple around the edges of my thoughts. In a reflex action, I pushed back and the ripple broke.

“You’re reading me!”

I stopped and let go of his hand, both angry and astonished. No one had ever put the moves on me in that way before.

“Not anymore. You stopped me. Nice to know you noticed, though.”

“Nice to know I noticed? You do something that, that…”

“Rude.”

“Yeah, that rude and all you can say is nice to know you noticed?”

“Nice to know you noticed and knew what I was doing.” He started walking again. “And that you’re capable of doing something about it. That helps.”

“Helps?” I tried not to screech. “It helps?”

Bone of My Bones by Debra Doggett at Sorchia's Universe www.sorchiadubois.comHe started walking, careful not to touch my hand this time.

“Most women get flustered when you ask them their age. It throws them off, makes it a good time to check how sensitive they are.”

Was he kidding? He had been rude, but I passed the test. I had a hard time deciding whether to be furious or flattered as I reevaluated my infatuation with Mr. Tall, Dark and Strange.

 

 

 

You’re gonna want your own copy now, aren’t ya?

Wild Rose Press

Amazon

 

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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.

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.