Must calm down, I thought to myself as I pulled up outside of Chain & Sprocket. As a concession, he had agreed that the interview could take place in his office at the workshop. That was a concession? It could have been loaded with stereotypes: dirt, grease, tough and scary bikers, not to mention the other members of his Pack. Instead, the place was almost surgically clean, the floor scoured. The door opened into a showroom of sorts, with the British classic bikes on display, each one lovingly surrounded by a protective rope. Perish the thought that anyone might touch them, clearly. Pride of place went to a Vincent, and I had to admit to drooling over this thing of beauty. This was THAT BIKE, the one that Fane's former Queen had given him when he had first become Alpha. It seemed strange in some respects that he had kept it, but then again, it was a thing of beauty ... Did I mention that I was nearly drooling?
Approaching the counter, I was met by the smiling visage of Bhavita, herself almost a myth. This was the woman whom Fane had hired as the business' desk jockey, at the time when he was a confirmed hater of humans. She was the face of the business. She had stood up to some fairly formidable individuals. Fiercely loyal to her employer, she had been responsible for his changing attitude to humans.
According to all the books, Hellhounds see humans as little more than a food source; they are prey, and little more than that. Yet this individual had changed that, at least as far as Fane was concerned. The question was would I meet the human hater, or would I meet the reformed Hellhound? I had been asked to submit a list of the questions I wished to ask. No problem there, but what I didn't know was which questions off my list he would deign to answer. And make no mistake, when Bhavita showed me through to his office, 'deign' was the correct word. Standing 6ft 7in tall, dressed casually in leather trousers, bike boots and a grey cotton t-shirt, there was no doubt about him being an Alpha. I could not help but wonder how anyone might be deluded into thinking that he was subservient to anyone, even if she was a former Queen of Hell. Well, let the fun and games begin.
The grin was all predator as he waved me to a chair. Bhavita shut the door behind her. To my surprise, Fane made me a cup of coffee. He didn't bother asking how I took my coffee. It was a case of drink what you are given and be glad of it. Just as well I drank black coffee then.
Taking a seat, he stretched his legs out in front of himself. That'll be a 33" or 34" inside leg easily, I thought. He had a half smile on his face. He knew I was nervous. Damn him. Okay, I could do this. I have been in sales for nearly 20 years. Asking questions is my job. Eliciting information is my job. So, how bad could this be?
"I hope you brought your list of questions with you."
Damn, even his voice rippled with the sort of power that made it clear that he was the boss, the one in control.
"Unsurprisingly, I won't be answering them all." He gave a bark of laughter. "You honestly expected to ask me if I believed in God?"
He shook his head, clearly thinking that I had given an excellent example of the idiocy of the human species. "I am a Hellhound, or did you forget that little detail? Your Christian ideal of God is nothing, a neophyte in comparison to those with whom I must interact."
He took a sip from his own mug of coffee. "So, you may ask your questions. I will tell you if it is one I have chosen to answer." A raised brow was all the indication he gave of his readiness.
I indicated the bikes out in the showroom. “So, are the British bikes an indication that you have changed Chain & Sprocket to your preference, rather than your sister’s choice?” It was sort of one the questions on my original list, but not the exact wording.
The mug of coffee slammed down. “That was not on your list of questions, human.” The attitude took a downhill slide very abruptly. “That was the deal. I would answer a selection of questions from your list.”
“So, is this reaction part of the impression that you wish to make on people when they first meet you?” Hey, what’s the worst he could do to me, I asked myself? Well, other than kill me.
Fane stood. Standing upright he was intimidating. The step forward towards me made him even more so. “You really seem to struggle with this concept that I … am … a … Hellhound.” He smiled. A cold smile. A killer’s smile.
“I could lose my temper, but that would mean that I would set the smoke alarms off. Humans do make a lot of smoke when they burn, you know?”
From snarling to a pleasant conversational tone. Jekyll and Hyde much indeed, I thought, recalling how Stefania had described him in “Fane”.
“Clearly you like to intimidate.” I was recalling the way I had stood up to one of my teachers in school, when my class-mates thought he was going to tear into me. I may have been shaking inside then, just like I was now, but damned if I was going to show it.
“Do you maintain that attitude once someone knows you more?”
For a moment, Fane glared at me, before he resumed his seat. He took another long slurp from his coffee mug. “You are ballsy; I will give you that.” He commented. “So, yes, in answer to your question. I like to push people on a first meeting. It is interesting to see how they react. Do they expect a stereotypical Hellhound Alpha, or do they know that I am playing them? You know a bit like a cat plays with a mouse.”
He scrunched up a sheet of paper into a ball, tossing it from one hand to another. “You know, bat you around, a bit like this paper, until …” The ball of paper was dropped to the floor, and the decidedly large biker boot landed on it with a resolute thud. “… until bam! Squashed.” He smiled, that predator’s smile. “Or maybe not. Maybe I will be nice. Maybe I will let you walk out of that door.” He picked up the squashed paper ball, and tossed it into the bin. “Next question.”
“Right.” I nodded. “So, what’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? What did you learn from it?” I tapped the stylus on the top of my iPad. “I am going to take a guess it was something to do with your sister.”
“Very clever, human. You are right. The worst thing was the realisation that I didn’t have to swear myself into the virtual slavery of being an Alpha in service to a former bride of the Hunter.” Another pause as he drank from the coffee mug. “My dam raised me in the expectation that I had what it took to be an Alpha. She knew that much. But, she believed that the only way for me to be an Alpha was to swear my oath the our now former Queen. Until Roxana died, that was my belief also. But, what I didn’t allow for was that my sister was also a Hellhound. We are not some pathetic Hollywood wolf-shifter species. We are Hellhounds. My sister was more than capable of protecting herself. The question is whether I would have learnt enough without the Queen’s training of me to beat Aurelija and take the title of Alpha?”
“And the second part of the question? What did you learn from it?” I was dogged in my determination. “What did I learn from the experience?” I learned that I must know my Pack. I must know their capabilities and I must be ready to trust that, with the correct encouragement, they will act in the way that I need them. Then again, if Roxana hadn’t made her opposition to my former Queen so clear, would the bitch have killed her?” He gave another bark of laughter. “I might still be in service to her. Now there’s a thought.”
The last response from Fane made me think that perhaps he was willing to reveal more about himself. After all, at the end of Fane all that we knew of him was that Roxana had died, and he had split his Pack from his former Queen, binding them to himself instead. Surely there was more to come. The change in Chain & Sprocket hinted at that much. So, it led to the 'obvious' question off the list which I had submitted to the Hellhound Alpha.
"My final question ..." I was not willing to admit that I felt I had managed well just to reach this point. I cleared my throat. "My final question is this. How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?"
I told myself that the last thing I could show right now was fear, but then I forgot one key thing. Fear is what Hellhounds can scent from their prey, and the way that Fane's eyes narrowed, that infinitesimal flare of his patrician nose, and that slowly, so slowly, growing smile, all of them told me that I could try all that I wish, but the Hellhound Alpha sitting in the really quite small office with me could not only smell my fear but he relished in that scent. Nectar to a bee. That would be it.
“What the fuck are you? Some kind of agony aunt? Or do you just have a fucking death wish, human?" The smile was more than just a hint now. "Do you appreciate what it means that I have broken my oath of loyalty to my former Queen? Let me explain Hellhound politics to you. If you thought human elections could be cut-throat and full of vituperation, you have never seen the Hellhound version."
“Well, I know it was an oath, so does that make you some kind of oath-breaker and thus a sort of outlaw?" I was taking a guess, if he said it could be worse that some of the anger and hatred generated during a political campaign.
“Hellhounds are created with one purpose and one purpose only: we exist to serve our Queens. We are their bodyguards and we are the ones who provide their food in the negative human emotions. The Queen's Alpha conveys that 'food' to her, and in return, either she will share some of that bounty with her pack, or ... other things might happen.”
I had heard rumours of those 'other things', and certainly, Fane showed no signs of impairment. Then again, after nearly six months since seeing his Queen, it was not surprising that he would have healed. "I tore my Pack from our former Queen. Not just said, see you later. I tore us from her service. The Pack is now bound to me, through my use of blood magic: my own blood and that of my late sister, Roxana."
Fane's voice had taken on a patient tone, almost like he was explaining to a child. I was too fascinated to take offence that he might consider me as such. "With the energy that my Pack generates now flowing into me, I am the sole beneficiary, but it is a positive feedback loop. What they generate, I refine and feed back to my Pack. You humans might say "You scratch my back, I will scratch yours". So, how do I feel abut my life right now? Pretty fucking good."
I had the impression that there was more.
“I will give you this much, human." Fane leaned back in his chair, the leather squeaking under him. I jumped when a cat, incongruously wearing a leather vest, jumped up on the desk, before I recognised the workshop pet, Thing.
Fane laughed at the visible sign of my tension. "It's only a fucking cat, human." He seemed to find this more than just amusing. "I will admit that there are things I wish to change. But ..." Again there was that smile. "... the point of this interview is that you find out about me, and I reveal just enough that it might tempt someone to read more about me. Am I correct?"
Fane sat up, leaning towards me, steepling his fingers, elbows on his knees. "Suffice it to say, there will be a couple of fairly major changes to the Anghelescu Pack in the very near future." Again that smile. "Some fairly major changes." He repeated. "They will involve all my Pack, not just me. Also, you may be certain that my former Queen is not going to just give up on my being her Alpha. She needs me as much as I might have needed her in the past. Roxana used to call me the 'fucking Energizer Bunny', and that is at least part of what I am to her. But I have also set a dangerous precedent. I broke free from my Queen, and my Pack thrives despite us not having a Queen to lead us."
He smiled. The smile was wider. "Think about that, human. My Pack is thriving. We will continue to thrive and our former Queen will not enjoy any of that power. Do you really think she will let bygones be bygones." He sat back in the chair again, watching me, waiting for my reaction.
The swallow was inadvertent, I swear it was. "I suppose when you put it that way, no, I doubt she will let you just continue on your merry way." My voice was quiet. From what I knew, his former Queen was beyond vicious, and in breaking away, Fane had harmed both her power base and her reputation. Shit hitting the fan was an understatement.
There was also the unknown of his relationship with Stefania, whom I understood had been appointed temporary Pack Beta following Roxana's death. "She's going to come after you, is that what you mean?"
“State the bleeding obvious, why don't you, human." Fane's tone was derisive to say the least. "Of course she will come after me. She will want me back in service. More than that, she will want me to be her obedient slave. If she succeeds, anything she did to me before will seem mild in comparison." Again that smile, the relish in the challenge facing him. "Having enjoyed six months of freedom, I have no intention of becoming a slave again. Of that you may be certain."
Standing, he moved to the door. "Interview is over."
Jo Pilsworth is the lead author of the name 'Katie Vincent', a group of friends from around the world who met through a mutual love of Sherrilyn McQueen's Dark Hunter series. The concept of the "Diaries of the Cwn Annwn" was born from the Welsh legend of the Cwn Annwn, spectral hounds in service to the Welsh Goddess of the Underworld, who are tasked with bringing her the souls of those who do evil.
After two decades in the medical sales industry, Jo switched careers to retail management. Home continues to be a small village north of Cambridge, U.K
This is a conversation between Esta—the main character of the Chaos of Esta Anderson series—and Bee, a new character first introduced in the Third Name’s a Charm charity anthology. Bee owns a small occult shop which they’ve just opened, and Esta, thrilled to finally have an occult shop in her area, went to check it out on her way to her handsome vampire bookseller. Bee mistook Esta’s look of wonder for being lost and offered her a warm welcome chat away from the shop floor.
Bee: What brings you to my humble shop, Esta? You looked a little lost there. First time in a shop like this?
Esta: I… don’t really know. I’m not lost, though. I have time before I’m meeting someone and thought I’d have a look. I’ve wanted a shop like this near me for years. glances at a sign on the wall behind Bee “This is a Veiled safe space”?
Bee: laughs Yes! Hmm. I’m not sure how to read that look on your face. What do you understand under Veiled?
Esta: … Fairies. Vampires…
Bee: laughs Ah, then I see why you’ve found your way to me. As the sign says, we’re a safe space for everyone regardless of gender, sexuality, or background, and that includes Veiled background. Obviously, that doesn’t work on the shop floor, but back here when it’s just you, me, and the cards? Feel free to let your wings out, your fangs show, etc.
Esta: I had no idea shops like this existed! I mean, I doubt it’s common, but still. Oh, and I’m not one of the Veiled, but thanks for the offer.
Bee: Then how do you know about them?
Esta: Long story. I stepped into this void lake in a lucid dream and it started a whole thing. glances at the sign again Is it okay to just… have that out? I mean, I know not just anyone can see since it’s back here, but don’t you ever get humans who ask about it but have no idea about the Veiled?
Bee: Not as often as you might think. It is a new shop, though, so I haven’t actually done that many readings. I guess we’ll see. If anyone asks, I have a back-up answer—it’s a veiled safe space because we’re hidden back here. Get it? Like we’re hidden behind a veil? You don’t have to laugh, I know it’s bad.
Esta: chuckles No, I can see that working. glances at tarot deck on the table So, you do readings back here?
Bee: Sure do! Although, truth be told, I could use another pair of hands. It’s just me and Jirina and she doesn’t work every day, so I can’t always leave the shop floor. Do you want a reading?
Esta: Oh, no, I just noticed the deck. I recently got my first one, but I don’t know if I’m any good. My neighbour is teaching me—she’s a witch—but she’s trying to teach me so much other stuff besides and— blushes Sorry. I get carried away when I’m excited, and I can’t often just talk about this stuff.
Bee: winks Well, be sure to recommend us.
Esta: Will do. sighs I wish I could work here, but I doubt I have the time between my gallery job and my neighbour teaching me.
Bee: Shame. It’s hard to find people who are open-minded enough to work in a witchy shop and who know about the Veiled, harder still to find someone with both qualities who also practices witchcraft.
Esta: blushes again I don’t actually practice. I just get taught by a witch.
Bee: winks You learn to read tarot and respect the Veiled’s privacy. That’s good enough for me. laughs Oh, hun, I can tell by the way all those words just poured out of you. You were clearly dying to talk to someone about the Veiled community, which tells me you normally keep it a secret just fine. Well, if you ever do want a small side hustle, my little shop would be happy to have you. In time you could even take some of the tarot readings off me. I just know I could find a place for you. Hekate doesn’t place anyone onto their path for no reason.
Bee: The deity I work with. She chose me as much as I chose her. She calls to many new witches, but I stayed after her initial guidance. I’m too grateful to just go away. nods towards shop floor I’ve a feeling Jirina will be the same.
Esta: Wait, deities are of the Veiled? I thought they were… you know, their own thing.
Bee: laughs I suppose you could say that! Honestly, I don’t have all the answers either. You know, I sell a few good books on the subject—not just on Hekate personally, though I have a few, but about deity work in general.
Esta: Thank you, but my neighbour has already given me so much to study. I think I’ll just ask her when I’m ready for more. pauses How much do you pay, out of curiosity?
Bee: I’m afraid all I can offer is minimum wage with some great benefits, if I do say so myself. You can read whenever no one needs your help, you’re bound to learn some magick along the way, and you get to talk to other people on the same path as you every day. Most people who come in here are either interested or have been practicing for varying lengths of time, but I won’t lie and say we never get any bigots who come in here just to cause a fuss. Nothing a good banishing spell can’t fix though.
Esta: What kind of magic do you practice? Magick with a k or… My neighbour mentioned there’s a difference. I figured, if you do actual banishing spells…
Bee: I’m the non-flashy variety. Anyone can do banishing spells—you don’t need to be able to throw fire around for that. Can’t say mine are as effective as a witch’s who uses the kind of magic you see in movies, but it’s served me just fine so far. For anything else, I have the police on speed dial. Not that I’ve needed it, but again—new shop.
Esta: gets a text and checks I need to go, but thanks for the chat. I really do wish I could work here.
Bee: And I meant what I said: I’d be happy to have you if you change your mind.
Esta: smiles Thanks. I’m sure I’ll be by again.
Bee: smiles Then I’ll see you later.
Sarina Langer has written short stories since she was seven and worked in a library for a few years after university. She's currently working on four series. The Relics of Ar'Zac trilogy is her debut series and features a homeless orphan with visions of death, who's destined to save the world from the Dark One and lead the gifted--people with magic--out of oppression.The Darkened Light duology features four misfits and what happens when one power-hungry mortal opposes the goddess of the dead. The Blood Wisp novella trilogy takes place in the same world as the Relics of Ar'Zac series and features that world's first vampire. Sarina's youngest WIP, the Dreamer trilogy, is her first adventure into urban fantasy and features a girl who walks her dreams at will,a mysterious door, and a sarcastic feline spirit guide. Sarina lives in Southampton,UK, with her other half and her cat familiar.
This blog is officially 10 years old today! Wow, time does fly. I cannot believe it has been that long. Thank you to everyone who has taken part and read the blog. I really appreciate your support.
2024 will bring brand new interviews, articles and more.
Here is to the next 10 years :)
Do you have a writing schedule?
In the past, I would write whatever I wanted, often abandoning certain projects for a long time for new ideas. While this was fun, it didn't help me finish a series or I forgot to release a book I promised. As a writer, this isn't a good thing. Readers like consistency and they want to complete a series as quickly as possible.
In 2018, I started creating a yearly schedule for myself to ensure I met deadlines and completed the books that needed to be completed. While I originally found it to be a little stifling due to my ADHD, in time I got used to this new system and turned it into a challenge instead.
A few months before a new year, I will map out what books need to be written and when they are due. Unfortunately, in the beginning I had a habit of overestimating my time and ability and adding far too many projects and not taking into account free time for myself. As you can imagine, I soon became burned out.
Here are some important things to consider if you are making a schedule for yourself -
A schedule can be a great way to keep on top of your writing and to ensure you are releasing books in a timely manner for your audience. There are a lot of free programs online to help you plan or you can keep a simple diary.
1) Tell us about your book
This year has been rather rough but there is one story that I always manages to save me.
The title of the book is When the Wind Blows. One night I went to sleep had a dream about a young girl trying to find her way back to her brothers, she mets this man Michael and they fall in love. He promises to bring her back home to her brothers.
2) What themes does your book explore?
The theme for this story is love does die and the promise that her brothers and Michael give to Athalia.
3) Tell us something unusual about your main character.
Athalia is never afraid to fight for the people she loved and determination to find her way home.
4) Is this a standalone book or a series?
There is another part to this story--it is a novella called Love Doesn’t die and it based on what happens after the dream.
5) What is next for you?
Homecoming and a few shared series. I don’t titles for them yet but one is called Matteo, and the Last Billionaire.
6) What genres do you write in and why?
It’s kind of hard to say what genres I write because I write whatever idea pops in my head.
7) Describe your writing style?
I was told by others I have a niche for storytelling and a compelling voice.
8) What inspires you to write?
Writing to me is like Breathing-- I need to help me get through the rough patches.
9) Who are your favourite authors?
Stephen King, The Stand will always be the best book, it captivated me and I read the book in one sitting, I couldn;t move nor put it down.
Jude Deveraux-- A Knight in Shining Armor
Anne Rice--The Vampire Series and Witching Hour
J.R.R Tolkien--Lord of the Rings
Edgar Allen Poe--Everything
JKk Rowlings--Harry Potter
Jodi Picoult--The StoryTeller
Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead)
When the Wind Blows Blurb
A whisper in the wind, “love never dies,” proves to be more than just a figment of Athalia’s imagination. Her life was normal, bordering boredom, but one night of sleep opens her eyes to a past life she never knew existed.
Time travel with Athalia, a seventeen year old girl with no idea what to do with her life, as she discovers dreams are so much more than just dreams.
Back in time, Athalia is sent away from her brother’s castle to live as a peasant. Unsatisfied with this life, she sets off on an adventure to find her way home.
She doesn’t expect to fall in love with her champion.
Or learn why she was sent away in the first place…
Born in a small Pennsylvania town called Altoona.
Story telling came natural ask the nuns at Sacred Heart Church.
Because of You, is her debut novel, the first of a series.
Editing is key when it comes to polishing your book and creating the best product possible. Before you send your book to an editor, you must first do a self-edit. Here are a few common mistakes writers make and what to look out for.
1) What genres do you write in and why?
I write mostly urban fantasy but occasionally I will dabble in poetry or literary fiction. I was a teenager in the era of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I saw the movie when it was new, and I was fairly impressionable which meant it kind of became my whole identity. I loved the ultra-femme heroine battling against (primarily) male enemies with superhuman strength. She was the kind of girl I thought girls should look up to. At the time, I was writing psychological horror/thrillers a la Fear Street but as I got older, I saw more of that Buffy influence in my writing. All of the elements of horror were still present—shadow creatures, vampires—but in a less horrific way.
It wasn’t until recently, probably in the last ten years or so, that I learned about urban fantasy. Ironically, I learned a lot from reading male protagonists like Harry Dresden but the more I dug, the more I learned, Buffy was the rule, Dresden was the exception. Urban fantasy had come out of a rebellion against the predominately male gatekeeping in high and epic fantasy and as such urban fantasy was predominately female battling against (primarily) male enemies with superhuman strength. In essence, urban fantasy adopted me rather than the other way around.
2) Describe your writing style
I try to keep narration informal and conversational, as if I were telling the story to a friend, adding in bits of humor to keep things from getting too dark. I weave music in wherever I can, as well, through visual allusions to lyrics, character names taken from songs, or characters who are musicians.
3) What inspires you to write?
I get a lot of ideas from dreams and music. Music is probably truly the only thing that has been present in my life longer than stories. I learned to read and play songs on the jukebox about the same time.
4) Who are your favourite authors?
Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Jim Butcher. I admire the way all of King’s hundreds of stories connect in some way. I love Gaiman’s use of whimsy to offset sometimes extreme darkness. And I have a great appreciation for Butcher’s adaptability. Many only know him for the Dresden Files but he has completed another series of high fantasy called the Codex Alera and it is a completely different style and I only hope I am able to create such notable distinction in my varied series.
5) Tell us something unusual about you
I didn’t learn to ride a bicycle until I was eleven years old and the counsellors at a sleepaway camp didn’t give me a choice. I never got very good at it.
As you may know, we launched our official podcast in late September. Season 1 consisted of six episodes and concluded on Nov 1st. Season 2 will launch in late February 2024. The aim of the podcast is to help new and struggling writers to improve their craft and hopefully improve their sales. You can follow the link below to listen to our first six episodes.
We love feedback so please do get in touch if you have any topics you would like discussed in the future.
1) Tell us about your book
Under Fire is the first book in a new series featuring a dragon shifter called Seraphina. She loses her memory and is trying to figure out who tried to kill her. Her life is saved by a vampire named Victor, but she isn't sure what he wants from her.
2) What themes does your book explore?
Finding your identity, trust and dealing with trauma.
3) Tell us something unusual about your main character?
Well, apart from being a dragon shifter, we later learn that she can do things few dragon shifters can do, especially the females. She can walk through fire without being burned and she can manipulate fire too.
4) Is this a standalone book or a series?
This is the first book in a five book series. The first four books are up for preorder now and the fifth will go up in late September.
5) What is next for you?
I have two other series' planned - a paranormal academy duology and my series Grimm Descendants which I am very excited for. I will also be writing a few short stories for some boxsets early next year.
Addison Sinclair is a UK author who writes paranormal fantasy books featuring dragons, fantastical creatures, and even the Big Bad Wolf himself.
A huge book nerd, you will often find her reading or doodling in her many, many notebooks.
You can join Addison's newsletter to receive a free book and keep up to date with all her latest releases.
Guardian of Monsters
Sleuths of Shadow Salon
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Private Investigation Thriller
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
Date of Publication: August 6, 2023
Number of pages: 236
Word Count: 65k
Cover Artist: Christian Bentulan
Tagline: Supernaturally on the case! Celestine LeBlanc and Luna Finley are the Sleuths of Shadow Salon.
Guardian of Monsters (Sleuths of Shadow Salon, urban fantasy PI series, Bk 1)
Celestine, witch and wolf shifter has a talent for prophetic drawings. She’s shocked when she draws her landlord Ray with his eyes gouged out and a strange winged-mermaid leaning over him. Later she finds an eyeless Ray dead on the sidewalk. All she wanted to do was open a gallery, but first she must apprehend his killer. In a note she found after he died, Ray revealed he wasn’t just a leather-smith but a supernatural pirate mage. Years back, his Jekyll crew trapped the evil Demon Three Eyes clan. Ray had feared they’d escaped, were stalking him, and would soon wreak havoc on Savannah.
Oryn, a fellow student in Celestine’s continuing ed art class, is a fae and a thorn in her side, when he asks nosy questions about the case. Yet, she’s drawn to him when he’s her masseur at the spa she frequents, and he’s clever at brainstorming leads regarding Ray’s case. He insists his air magic could come in handy.
When pirates in Ray’s old crew are murdered, their body parts stolen, Celestine puts more horrifying clues together. She’ll need everyone on board, including Oryn and Luna, a mermaid asking to show her sea-glass sculptures at Celestine’s new gallery—the very same mermaid in Celestine’s tragic drawing of Ray. Otherwise, the lethal monstrosity Demon Three Eyes is unleashing on Savannah will destroy the city and everyone in it.
This series may appeal to fans of Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris.
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Mics were thrust in her face as she stepped toward the front stairs.
“How do you feel about Ray Bartello’s murder?”
“Do you have a statement for the press?”
“Is it true that your drawing predicted Bartello’s death?”
“Why would you draw him eyeless?”
“Are you the murderer?”
She waited until that last crappy question—more an accusation—to say anything. Then she stared at the reporter. With scalding rage contained in a deceptively quiet hiss, she said, “Ray Bartello was a good friend of mine. I’m heartbroken by his passing.”
She glanced at Oryn for moral support. His slightly narrowed eyes seemed to say, Go slow, you don’t owe them. She agreed. After the supernatural attacks, she was not going to hint that she knew a damn thing, because the more that bad entities knew she was trying to figure out the case, the more they would try to maul, even kill her. Oryn gave a faint nod, his eyes tinting green. She went on.
“I know nothing about how this happened. You could camp here for days, and I still couldn’t tell you more. The proper place to provide any tips or leads is to the Savannah Police.”
As she pushed through the group, Oryn walked slightly behind her, since the reporters were busy photographing them together, no doubt fuel for salacious media.
“How do you know Miss LeBlanc? Are you dating her?” some ballsy reporter asked Oryn. He didn’t answer.
“Did you know Ray Bartello? Did you or Miss LeBlanc have a fight earlier on the day he was found?” asked another.
“Can you tell us anything more about the case?” asked a third.
Oryn face wrinkled in disgust. “Look, Miss LeBlanc needs peace. She’s said what she can. Yes, we’re friends, not that it’s your business,” he added sharply. “You may as well go get some sleep. Camping out here won’t get you what you seek.” He swept his arm around
Celestine, and they hurried up the stone stairs leading to her place.
Oryn stopped on the stoop while Celestine unlocked the door. “So, I’ll see you at class tomorrow? Will you be okay?” he asked. “If you want, I can cast a few air wards around the house so you can get a worry-free night’s sleep. Otherwise—”
“It’s not your job to protect me,” she said, gazing up at him and realizing how very much taller he was, next to her five-foot, seven-inch frame. Good goddess, the man must be six and a half feet tall if he’s an inch.
Witchy and Supernatural Power of the Feminine Fun Facts!
Compiled by Author Catherine Stine
Before people had hospitals and surgeons to fix people, they had midwives and herbalists. When babies or moms died in childbirth, or the herbal fix was insufficient to cure what we would now know was a fatal disease, who do you think was blamed? The same women who delivered babies and gave expert herbal remedies! In a fearful and ignorant world, they were labeled as witches, or agents of the devil.
Ironically, in ancient Rome even though women were housebound with zero political power, the most revered, influential people were the high priestesses presiding over the oracles, such as the one at Delphi. These women were said to be able to predict the future, wield supernatural powers and have innate knowledge of the divine realms. Greek citizens would go on pilgrimages to seek out their womanly wisdom.
In Chaucer’s and Boccaccio’s European middle ages (mid 1300s) people were expected to be devout in their Christianity. Many believed literally in the devil and the power of witches. Interestingly, as devout as they were to the going religion, they also prayed to the sprites and night nymphs of their recently dropped Pagan beliefs. They also believed in Fortuna, or the wheel of Fortune: that fortunes rose and fell by the whirl of a wheel, often portrayed by a beautiful woman, Fortuna. How’s that for supernatural female power!
During the Victorian Era in 1899 Charles Godfrey Leland published a book called Aradia or Gospel of the Witches. This Aradia goddess, the incarnation of Diana/Artemis was going to bring magic to the Victorians and hopefully free women from the oppression of the times.
Tamsin Blight 1798-1856 was a famous English witch healer, able to remove curses or spells from a person. She was also said to have put spells on those who displeased her. She was also known as Tammy Blee and Tamson.
In the 1920s and 30s there was a craze for psychics, card readers, and mediums who claimed they could communicate with people’s dead relatives. Harry Houdini, the famous magician, ironically made it his life’s work to try and debunk these folks. Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes series was a huge believer in the supernatural. He had heated debates with Houdini.
The Tarot fascinates me. I collect cards for their variety and amazing images. They are thought to have originated all the way back in ancient Egypt, as a cosmic source of wisdom and divination of the future. The Egyptian word TAR means royal and ROmeans royal – thus the royal road to wisdom. Later, in northern Italy, a complete deck for card playing and gambling was devised. In France in the 1700s, a “cartomancer” named Jean Baptiste-Alliette created the imagery in the decks we often see today. There are cups, swords, wands, and pentacles. And the Major Arcana cards that hold great symbolism, such as the hermit, the world and the death card (which can also mean rebirth!)
Here’s a playlist I created for the spooky season with all things supernatural. Enjoy!
I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
You Make me Feel Like it’s Halloween – MUSE
Wake the Witch – Karliene
Alice Underground– Avril Lavigne
Season of the Witch – Donovan
Heartless – The Fray version
Black Magic Woman – Santana
Hunting for Witches – Bloc Party
Heavy Like a Witch – All Them Witches
Do You Believe in Magic? – Lovin’ Spoonful
About the Author:
Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal, urban and historical fantasy, all with romance and suspense. Witch of the Wild Beasts won a second prize in the Romance Writers of America’s Sheila Contest. Other novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books. She lives in New York State and grew up in Philadelphia. Before writing novels, she was a painter and fabric designer. She’s a visual author and sees writing as painting with words. Catherine loves spending time with her beagle Benny, writing about supernatural creatures, gardening and meeting readers at book fests. Learn more at catherinestine.com
1 signed paperback of Guardian of Monsters with stickers and a bookmark.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”