2nd installment in the serial saga

The Witch’s Dream OUT ON AUDIO NOW!




Like experiencing Black Swan for the first time!

Black Swan – A Return to Romance – Tuesday, Feb. 11th

Here’s the new look for The Witch’s Dream.AmazonWDdemon600x800

Interview with Ram #2

An Update with Rammel Hawking

by Victoria Danann

 

 

me: Sir Hawking, it’s such a pleasure to interview you again. A lot has happened since the last time we talked.

 

Ram: Aye. Some good. Some bad.  

 

me: Yes. Well, that’s life.

 

Ram: No. ‘Tis no’ life. ‘Tis commercial fiction that has us runnin’ all over the Western world barely recoverin’ from one horrendous injury before you have us doin’ bleedin’ sheet time again. And, when I say “bleedin'”, ’tis meant literally.

 

me: Yes. I know, but let’s focus on the great things that have happened. You’ve been inducted into the Hall of Heroes. You’ve got a beautiful, healthy, charismatic baby boy…

 

Ram: I’m no’ complainin’ about Helm and you know it. He’s bloomin’ perfection. ‘Tis the hero thin’ that turned out dubious because now my wife thinks I should conduct myself with a certain decorum befittin’ the honor. Great Paddy.

 

me: She’s very proud of you.

 

Ram: (He smiles.)

 

me: See? Your life isn’t so bad.

 

Ram: It has its moments. But you’re always trickin’ us into believin’ we’re doin’ one thin’ and then you sprin’ somethin’ entirely different on us and we’re goin’ in a bloody different direction. We never have a chance to decide if we’re comin’ or goin’.     

 

me: Give me an example.

 

Ram: You think I can no’ come up with one? Right off the top of my head? How ’bout this? You led us to believe we were retirin’. Gonna enjoy life! Fruit of the vine and all that. So I’m busy bustin’ hump to get Elora’s dream home finished before the baby comes. Matter of fact that’s where I was when she was bein’ attacked by fuckers from her dimension of origin.

 

me: (I have to laugh.) Dimension of origin?

 

Ram: Aye. You have a problem with me callin’ it that, Mistress?

 

me: No. Not at all. It’s just that the phrase “dimension of origin” seems so politically correct and academic. I guess I wouldn’t have had you say that because I would have thought it was out of character.

 

Ram: (Scowls.) You think I’m no’ bright?

 

me: Of course I don’t think that! You wouldn’t have made it through Black Swan training if you weren’t smart.

 

Ram: (Nods) Exactly right. In the future, if you’re wantin’ to know what is or is no’ in “character” for me, then just ask me. ‘Tis what you should have been doin’ all along anyhow.

 

me:  Quite right. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

 

Ram: Because your vanity does no’ have limits.

 

me: Did you enjoy that?

 

Ram: (grins)

 

me: Okay. If it makes you feel better to say such things to me, go ahead.

 

Ram: Well, if you’re serious, I have quite a lengthy list of thin’s I’d like to say to you.

 

me: (My turn to show him a third finger.)

 

Ram: (grins)

 

me: This might be a good time to switch topics. You’ve collected quite a fan base since the last time we talked.

 

Ram: Really?

 

 me: Yes. You’re the focus of nocturnal fantasies for a growing chunk of the fairer sex.

 

Ram: Fairer sex, is it? I do no’ believe women are especially fair. Selfish or self-involved maybe.

 

me: No, Ram. The expression doesn’t mean fairness as in justice. It means the prettier sex.

 

Ram: Duh! It was a joke!

 

me: Well, forgive me a moment of being uncharacteristically dense.

 

Ram: (Laughs and shakes his head.) You probably think bein’ dense is “out of character” for you.

 

me: (blink, blink) What does that mean?

 

Ram: Have you seriously never considered that you may be just one of the characters in this story? ‘Tis your job to play the spy who lurks and journals on what those of us with real lives say and do. 

 

me: Is that what you think?

 

Ram: (smiles) Nah. I’m just fuckin’ with you. 

 

me: Okay. Back to your fans…

 

Ram: Look. I do no’ want to seem rude or unnecessarily conceited, but attractin’ the fairer sex has never been a problem for me. ‘Tis no’ very surprisin’ that some would like to picture themselves in my mate’s position. (He chuckles.) Or maybe I should say positions.

 

me: Hmmm. No doubt. Well, let’s wrap this up. Why don’t you tell me where you see yourself in five years.

 

Ram: (narrows his eyes) ‘Tis a trick? I tell you what I’d like so you can make sure it does no’ happen?

 

me: You know it truly hurts that you think I’m so devious. Of course I want to see you get your happily ever after.

 

Ram: If I’m feelin’ distrustful of you, ’tis entirely your own fault. Reapin’ what you sow, you know.

 

me: Okay.

 

Ram: I’d like us to be home on the farm, feeling safe and secure, raising elfren and Alsatian dogs. I want my mate happy every second of every day. She deserves it.

 

me: I’ll see what I can do.

 

5/25/2013 Moonlight Release

The Magic Touch GIVEAWAY Hop April 20-30

BOOKMARKFIND THE GIVEAWAY after excerpt.

As a semi-famous witch, I’m qualified to talk about real magick. As a paranormal romance author, I’m qualified to talk about fantasy magic. This excerpt from The Witch’s Dream is a bit of both.

The room was round. The architect had initially grumbled about wasted space, but she had persuaded Simon by pointing out that maximum results require maximum equipment. The east wall featured a small window, placed high up, with wind chimes hung from the ceiling so as to hang in front of the window’s perfect center. Another wall featured a fine stone fireplace that looked considerably older than the building in which it was housed, as if it had been transported from elsewhere and reassembled. Another wall featured a fountain flowing from the mouth of a dragon-faced gargoyle into a wide pedestal bowl. The last wall featured an indoor garden of herbs and flowering plants that were thriving with a combination of magick and semi-fluorescent lights.

The walls and ceiling were painted the same pale gray as the polished, flagstone floor. Litha went immediately to the fireplace where she lit seven candles of various colors. The small window provided some light, but not so much that the reflection of the candle flames couldn’t be seen on the smooth stones.

Other than the features representing the four ancient elements, there was nothing else in the room except for the large globe in the center of the room nestled in the cradle of a priceless dragon’s wings. The centuries-old dragon statue, beautiful, powerful, and magnificent in its own right, had been taken from a pagan temple in Teutonia two millennia past for safekeeping else it be destroyed by misguided Christians like so many other thousands of priceless artifacts.

Objects of power were not created deliberately nor did they spontaneously spring into being. They came from humble beginnings, being no more extraordinary than a typical river rock or knife or fork. Objects became infused with power when energetic residue was repeatedly transferred from beings with accumulated magickal power. The exact number of contacts that equaled critical mass was non-calculable.

Sometimes objects of power are identified by those who are either talented or proficient in the occult. When not discovered as such, their energy sometimes went awry, their very presence wreaking havoc without intent, direction, or cause. The Order had been collecting these artifacts for centuries, rescuing them from destruction by zealots and protecting the human population from the effects of wayward magicks. The location of the treasury had moved around from time to time, often dependent on wars and the dangers they posed.

At present the artifacts not in use were stored in what many agreed was the best location to date: the western boundary of Idaho Springs, Colorado. The vaults were located deep under the Rocky Mountains – which would withstand any destructive device available to date. It was cool, dry, near the Interstate, and only an hour away from a major airport. In short, a perfect storage facility. The excavation currently underway in Brazil was rendering frequent additions to the cache. Only an institution with The Order’s connections could remove articles of antiquity from the locations of their discovery with impunity.

It was Litha’s great honor to have the dragon temporarily in her keeping, as he had been recognized as a potent object of power and in service to magick for millennia. The proud Teuton dragon currently served as The Order’s own version of Prometheus, silently holding the world on its shoulders while also protecting its treasure: a precious crystal ball held lovingly in its curved claws. The multifaceted crystal ball picked up every color in the room and reflected it back onto walls and ceiling as rainbow prisms. The effect was a space that was magical as well as magickal.  Litha’s dragon, and she thought of him that way as she was his temporary caretaker, was charged with several tasks and he performed each admirably.

The globe, rendered in shades of green and brown, was perhaps a foot and a half in diameter and hinged, very much like one of those liquor cabinet parlor tricks. It would separate at the equator and become two parts of a sphere, one half stationary, one half lid. When opened, it revealed one of Litha’s two most prized treasures, a concave, black glass scrying plate the same diameter as the globe’s equator. The dragon stand had been built so that, when standing barefoot, the scrying plate was at exactly the same height as Litha’s navel.

She reached out and lovingly ran her hand over the dragon’s head as if he was a living pet. Sometime during the past two thousand years, his eyes, had been replaced with black glass. The candle flames and rainbow prism danced together in his eyes, making them seem so intelligent and lifelike that it was easy to imagine him as a familiar.

Litha pulled her red robe closer as she paid homage to the Spirits of the Four Winds, whom she would be summoning to assist with Locating Magicks. Real witches were risk takers, came with the territory. Even so, few witches would have dared wear red when practicing the magickal arts because the color red possessed powerful attraction properties. That meant red can be a shortcut in summoning, but that it also attracted the bad as well the good. Litha came from a rich history of witch ancestors who tended to act according to a philosophy of “great gambles bring great rewards” and at some point, it had become part of the family’s genetic legacy. It was partly natural to her and partly logical since Litha knew she was powerful, or practiced, enough to hold a sufficient protection barrier while admitting friendlier Powers of Assistance and accepting their help.

The witch took up a large purple candle and began circling the globe in the center of the room in a clockwise direction. She carefully counted nine revolutions as she sang an old medieval melody with lyrics written and substituted by the witch herself. Her singing voice was quite pleasant although the quality of performance would have no bearing on outcome. The melody was not more magickal because it was medieval. It was simply a useful hook on which to hang the quatrains she had quickly, but specifically composed for chanting, which would be crucial to outcome. She wrote the four-line rhymes in her head while she was bathing and now repeated them in magickal form while she raised energy by stirring the atmosphere into the equivalent of a small whirlwind.

After completing nine circles and chants, Litha used the flame of the purple candle to light a large white candle with three wicks. She then sprinkled a mixture of Dragon’s Blood resin, Solomon’s Seal, white sage, and crystalline salt directly onto the candle’s flames. When the herbs caught fire, she invited into the circle those who could be of service whether spirits, guides, or elementals, with the caveat that they were welcome so long as they wished her well and would not prove to be a lot of trouble later on.

When she was satisfied that conditions were optimum, she opened the globe. She always felt a rush of satisfaction upon viewing the gleaming surface with alphabetical, numerical, alchemical, and Theban script symbols etched on its surface in circular patterns. Taking hold of the pendant necklace that she always wore, she pulled downward to remove the outer cover, which was a crystal with planed edges forming a heptagon. No one would guess that the crystal was a cover disguising a pendulum of black opal, perfectly weighted for scrying, encased in a Celtic knot filigree of white gold matching the necklace chain.

The pointed stone was the rarest black opal, alive with deep red flecks called “fire” by jewelers. Litha’s pendulum had been hand crafted for her by the monks of Cairdeas Deo and given to her on her sixteenth birthday. Or, rather, the day that had been arbitrarily established as the day they would celebrate her birth.

That birthday was a milestone because it was the day she had been given the freedom to legally drive by herself. In the process of celebrating by doing exactly that she came across a scene that would forever be etched in her heart: a pink Italianate villa sitting high above the Sonoma Coast with vineyards terracing toward the sea, neighboring hills covered with flowering yellow mustard so that it looked like something from a fantasy. She had pulled the car over, taken a mental snapshot, and knew that someday she would drive through the gate and it would be hers.

She ran her finger over the pointed end just to reestablish the connection – which was never really broken.

When she held the pendulum over the glass, it immediately dropped into place and stilled, awaiting instructions from its mistress. She began to trace Katrina’s name, one letter at a time, while picturing Katrina – replaying the snapshot moments of their brief time together – and “hearing” the sound of her voice. Then she began to add details about Katrina’s current situation and state of mind that had been gained from Aelsong’s visions.

By the time she reached the “i”, the pendulum was moving on its own to complete the specification ritual. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see candle flames dance and flicker as if a draft had blown through the room. For Litha spontaneous movement of air was a more or less commonplace occurrence, at least when she was scrying. If others preferred to think of the phenomenon as invisible, or discarnate entities, it made no difference to her.

She closed the globe and moved so that she was facing Scotia, then held the pendulum above it simply saying, “Where?”

The pendulum did not move. Which was a first. Frowning, Litha repeated her command a little more firmly, “Where?”

No response.

She lowered the pendulum, took it in her hand, and rolled it around in her palm a few times while deliberately focusing on an image of Katrina.

Again, she held the pendulum above the globe. “Where?”

No response.

Remembering that Aelsong had said Katrina was no longer in the same reality, she decided to alter the question. She held the pendulum above the globe and asked, “Near where?”

Almost instantly it began to pull toward the east like it was magnetized. Allowing enough slack so that it could go where it wanted, Litha allowed the point to slide over the map of Europe. Across France. Past Genoa. It came to rest just south of Florence. Siena.

“Got it.”

WDcover600x800CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 3 people will win copies of the E-Box Set.

EVERYBODY WHO ENTERS WILL RECEIVE A BOOKMARK (shown left) when you join the mail list. You must leave your physical address to get the bookmark. Enter into the “COMMENTS” section or email me – vdanann(a)gmail(dot)com

In CELEBRATION OF THE 1st ANNIVERSARY OF BLACK SWAN.

Sunday, April 21st will mark the anniversay of the publication of the first Black Swan installment. Since then the series has won multiple awards and hit the top of best seller charts in mu…ltiple categories. To thank everybody for the success of this series, The Witch’s Dream will be FREE on Amazon for one day.  Tell your friends that they can get both Books 1 and 2 for FREE this Sunday only.

My Familiar Stranger, The Order of the Black Swan, Book One FREE everywhere!

Amazon                BARNES & NOBLE              iTUNES                    SMASHWORDS

MAGICTOUCH

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This Hop is hosted by author Kallysten and book blog Riverina Romantics. In addition to individual prizes provided on each blog, we are offering assorted swag to the first 100 participants who simply tell us they want some! See all details and sign up here.

By |April 20th, 2013|Blog Hop, The Witch's Dream: Demon in the Details|4 Comments

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MY "Review" of The Witch's Dream

Following is a “review” I wrote for Goodreads on October 12th. It probably should be called “Author’s Notes” instead, but I take media outlets where I find them.

I wrote it so I might be biased. Since I rarely get an opportunity to give my opinion, I’m going to grab the chance.

Every book in this series – at least through the first seven – will pick up where the last ended. In that sense it’s a true serial. I’m in the process of creating a saga, a single story told through a series of books.

The way I see it, Book One, My familiar Stranger, drew the parameters of the world, introduced the main characters, and set up the story.

This second book is pure romance. I have informally subtitled it “a love letter to Paranormal ROMANCE”. It might be seen as the second act in a three act play.

Book Three, The Summoner’s Tale (to be released Valentines’ 2013), is a fasten-your-seat-belt sort of climactic ride wherein I have the opportunity to resolve some things in ways that will be surprising to readers and, I believe, satisfying as well. http://www.VictoriaDanann.com/BlackSw….

When I started writing the series, I promised to begin introducing some real life anecdotes from my years as a practicing “metaphysician”. The firefly picnic is based on a real life event.

When The Summoner’s Tale is released, I plan to also release the first three books as one volume and am very excited about that. Readers who discover the series thereafter will be able to read the story as conceived without intermission. For those of you who joined me on the adventure early, thank you very much. Without YOUR support we never would have completed the first “volume” of three.

Best and Worst Reviews… EVER!

If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know I don’t publish a lot of reviews. In fact, out of the nearly 200 combined reviews I have received in less than six months, this will be the third time. When I came in this morning, there were new reviews for both My Famliar Stranger and The Witch’s Dream, written by the same blogger, Gaele, for Booked and Loaded Blog and it gave me the idea of doing a best/worst post.
I’ve been blessed with a lot of attention for my books. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it’s an Amazon record for a first book of an unknown Indie author.
Now that The Witch’s Dream has been out for a week and I’m starting to get some feedback from people who read both books back to back, it’s very gratifying to learn that the flow is seamless.
So, what’s so special about these reviews? Well, see for yourself and then I’ll share the worst.

5.0 out of 5 stars Elves and Vampires and Knights – Oh My !, October 23, 2012

Take one parallel universe jump, an elite paramilitary company of knights who are tasked with eradicating vampires, a vampire with a `life wish’ and then blend in a liberal sprinkling of characters drawn from old European religious idolatry, superior advanced medical technology and a touch of humor and you start to define the basics in this book.

Created with a deft hand, each character is so well developed and defined that their voices are unique and specific, although their development is gradual, as befitting of plot and action. The rest of the story is just as well-crafted, almost to the point that you aren’t 100% certain that the world described is not just outside your door. The author has done a stellar job in creating the world, those who live within it, and a story-line that both compels you to read as you rush through to see just what happens next, and who gets the girl.

Reviewed for Booked and Loaded

5.0 out of 5 stars I am now purchasing the paperbacks…. to read repeatedly., October 23, 2012

Picking up momentarily after the close of My Familiar Stranger, this book also manages to encourage the page-turning, what comes next of the first. Adding to the already established mix of Beserkers, Elves, Demons, Vampires and the Order of the Black Swan, we find touches of majik and mysticism in the form of a lovely witch, and a werewolf to fill in those spots that you didn’t realize needed filling.

The spells are all as close to real as one will find in any careful writer’s book, the language is poetic and the characters are even more intriguing and palpable than before. Readers who are introduced to this series with this volume will find themselves wondering, the author has specifically created these stories to read in order to best follow the action. It is no hardship to read the two, believe me – the writing is tight, descriptive and flows neatly along a path that often is twisty, but always seems to resolve with a satisfying feeling of “what will they get into next”.

This world is so unique and the writing so constant and detailed with little pieces of information drop like breadcrumbs until the loaf is completed. You will be turning pages as you need to get to the end – and then re-reading as you await book 3 in this series.

I was provided an eBook copy from the author for purpose of review for Booked and Loaded. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Dear Gaele –
Thank you for noticing that every character is an individual personality. My M.A. in psychology doesn’t help with creating them, but my interest in people, how they behave, and trying to sort out why they do what they do has been a help.
Thank you for saying the language is poetic. Sometimes I rework a single sentence several times because I’m not satisfied with the way it “sounds”.
The spells are close to real, but with enough detail disguised, withheld, or scrambled so as not to endanger a misguided reenactment. Thank you for noticing the authenticity.
Thank you for noticing that the world of Black Swan is unique. Before I started writing, I spent two years reading everything PNR that had garnered success so that I would know what had already been done.
Bread crumbs along the way… Thank you for noticing the complexity of the weave of the story. It takes a lot of organization to make sure the timeline is correct and all the details hold together on close examination. In order to be sure that everything makes it into the final cut I have to write the book and then let it simmer in my subconscious for four to six weeks during which I will wake nightly with a thought about something else I want to include. The Witch’s Dream was 70,000 words that expanded to 100,000 during this process.
I don’t think there could be any greater compliment than to say that you’re also buying the books in paperback form and that you plan to reread. Thank you for that as well. (Truthfully, I reread these books once every couple of months. After enough time has lapsed I find myself stopping after a passage thinking, “Did I really write that? It was pretty good!”)
I personally plan to follow your reviews and seek out books you recommend. -V

NOW FOR THE CASTOR OIL PORTION OF THIS POST… ugly, uglier, ugliest.

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful

2.0 out of 5 stars Very poor writing and character development, July 8, 2012

By Alexis D. (San Francisco, CA) – See all my reviews Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: My Familiar Stranger – A Paranormal Romance (The Order of the Black Swan, BOOK ONE) (Kindle Edition)

Obviously I’m in disagreement with most other reviewers here, and I’ll be up front: I couldn’t even finish it, probably made it about a third of the way through the book. The plot sounded interesting, and as a frequent romance reader of all sorts from historical chaste novels to the down & dirty stuff, I usually make it all the way through. I just found the poor writing too distracting. Character development was terrible and everyone was two dimensional. I’m all for the sudden soul mate stuff but Ram didn’t even know her or try to get to know her, and his thought pattern was juvenile. Storm was the most interesting and authentic character. Elora herself was an unlikeable character, and the construction itself was just really bad, even for a free book. This is the type of book that makes me miss bookstores, where you rarely found a book that wasn’t at least worth reading all the way through instead of today’s self-published and ratings-manipulated lists. sigh.

Yes. I’m super sensitive as you would expect any author of intense emotion-driven plots to be, but even I laughed out loud (literally) when I read the title of this review. I did find it alarming that 4 out of 9 people found this “helpful”. YIKES! Really?
Shortly thereafter one reviewer admonished this person by saying that s/he didn’t think it’s fair to an author to leave a review when you didn’t finish a book, particularly when many of your complaints would have been addressed and resolved had you read further.
Seriously, one of my favorite all time reviews is the one that begins, “I didn’t finish this book so I’m not going to leave a review.” I’ve thought about sending that one in to Jay Leno. 

The Witch's Dream Releases Under the Auspices of the Hallows Spirit

Released October 14th.   Amazon BEST SELLER in Fantasy Romance.

a love letter to Paranormal ROMANCE

In keeping with the season, I’m including an excerpt from the book at the end of this post that described a witchcraft event. (Not to be confused with Wicca. All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan, just as all Christians are not Catholic.)
Litha Brandywine is a witch who is employed by The Order of the Black Swan and, when it comes to events of a paranormal nature, she’s the best tracker alive. In the scene cited here, she is performing a rite to locate a missing person.
Though the book has been out for less than a week, several people have commented about the details of the working described. Let me take the opportunity to say that this is a work of fiction. The magick described in the book is based on actual practice, but, according to the very wise policy originally established by the Egyptian Mystery Schools, I would never accurately recreate the details of a spell or method that could hold a potential of harm in the wrong hands; either to the would-be practitioner or others. Enough things are depicted to convey the feeling, but enough details are always scrambled, disguised, and withheld to prevent misuse as a result of the description.
READING THE SERIES IN ORDER HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  MyFamiliar Stranger, BOOK ONE. This series is a true serial in the sense that every book begins where the last ended. BOOK TWO, The Witch’s Dream is a PURE romance and might be seen as the second act in a three act play.

DESCRIPTION: From New York to Ireland to Edinburgh to Siena to the Texas Hill Country to Napa Valley, a secret society, a witch, a demon, a psychic, a berserker, an ex-vampire, modern day knights, heroes, werewolves, elves and fae come together where emotions intersect. The story maps a trail from rages to epiphanies, but, in the end, proves that true love can find you in the strangest places, when you’re least expecting it, even when you’re far, far from home.

He was left behind when Elora Laiken made her choice. Now he’s had it with love, but a transplanted witch who happens to be the world’s best tracker hopes she can change his mind.

The Witch’s Dreambegins with B Team on temporary assignment to Black Swan headquarters in Edinburgh where they are supposed to fill in for stretched-thin resources and assist with a werewolf issue. They’ve been given permission to stop in Ireland for a few days and help celebrate a handfasting at the palace in Derry.When they reach Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding quickly turns all business. A missing person report turns into a demon abduction. A simple werewolf sanction becomes a diplomatic issue requiring the one thing Elora is no longer willing to give – finesse.

INCLUDES: The first chapter of the third book, The Summoner’s Tale.

Erotic content: 18+ A few steamy scenes. No menage. No BDSM.

EXCERPT.
It was Litha’s great honor to have the dragon temporarily in her keeping as he had been recognized as a potent object of power and in service to magick for millennia. The proud Teuton dragon currently served as The Order’s own version of Prometheus, silently holding the world on its shoulders while also protecting its treasure: a precious crystal ball held lovingly in its curved claws. The multifaceted crystal ball picked up every color in the room and reflected it back onto walls and ceiling as rainbow prisms. The effect was a space that was magical as well as magickal.  Litha’s dragon, and she thought of him that way as she was his temporary caretaker, was charged with several tasks and he performed each admirably.
The globe, rendered in shades of green and brown, was perhaps a foot and a half in diameter and hinged very much like one of those liquor cabinet parlor tricks. It would separate at the equator and become two parts of a sphere, one half stationary, one half lid. When opened, it revealed one of Litha’s two most prized treasures, a concave, black glass, scrying plate the same diameter as the globe’s equator. The dragon stand had been built so that, when standing barefoot, the scrying plate was at exactly the same height as Litha’s navel.
She reached out and lovingly ran her hand over the dragon’s head as if he was a living pet. Sometime during the past two thousand years, his eyes had been replaced with black glass. The candle flames and rainbow prism danced together in his eyes making them seem so intelligent and lifelike that it was easy to imagine him as a familiar.
Litha pulled her red robe closer as she paid homage to the Spirits of the Four Winds whom she would be summoning to assist with Locating Magicks. Real witches are risk takers, comes with the territory. Even so, few witches would dare wear red when practicing the magickal arts because the color red possesses powerful attraction properties. That means red can be a shortcut in summoning, but also attracts the bad as well the good. Litha came from a rich history of witch ancestors who tended to act according to a philosophy of “great gambles bring great rewards” and, at some point, it had become part of the family’s genetic legacy. It was partly natural to her and partly logical since Litha knew she was powerful, or practiced, enough to hold a sufficient protection barrier while admitting friendlier Powers of Assistance and accepting their help.
The witch took up a large purple candle and began circling the globe in the center of the room in a clockwise direction. She carefully counted nine revolutions as she sang an old medieval melody with lyrics written and substituted by the witch, herself. Her singing voice was quite pleasant although the quality of performance would have no bearing on outcome. The melody was not more magickal because it was medieval. It was simply a useful hook on which to hang the quatrains she had quickly, but specifically composed for chanting which would be crucial to outcome. She wrote the four-line rhymes in her head while she was bathing and now repeated them in magickal form while she raised energy by stirring the atmosphere into the equivalent of a small whirlwind.
After completing nine circles and chants, Litha used the flame of the purple candle to light a large white candle with three wicks. She then sprinkled a mixture of Dragon’s Blood resin, Solomon’s Seal, white sage, and crystalline salt directly onto the candle’s flames. When the herbs caught fire, she invited into the circle those who could be of service whether spirits, guides, or elementals with the caveat that they were welcome so long as they wished her well and would not prove to be a lot of trouble later on.
When she was satisfied that conditions were optimum, she opened the globe. She always felt a rush of satisfaction upon viewing the gleaming surface with alphabetical, numerical, alchemical, and Theban script symbols etched on its surface in circular patterns. Taking hold of the pendant necklace that she always wore, she pulled downward to remove the outer cover which was a crystal with planed edges forming a heptagon. No one would guess that the crystal was a cover disguising a pendulum of black opal, perfectly weighted for scrying, encased in a Celtic knot filigree of white gold matching the necklace chain.
The pointed stone was the rarest black opal, alive with deep red flecks called “fire” by jewelers. Litha’s pendulum had been hand crafted for her by the monks of Cairdeas Deo and given to her on her sixteenth birthday. Or, rather, the day that had been arbitrarily established as the day they would celebrate her birth.
That birthday was a milestone because it was the day she had been given the freedom to legally drive by herself. In the process of celebrating by doing exactly that she came across a scene that would forever be etched in her heart: a pink Italianate villa sitting high above the Sonoma Coast with vineyards terracing toward the sea, neighboring hills covered with flowering yellow mustard so that it looked like something from a fantasy. She had pulled the car over, taken a mental snapshot, and knew that someday she would drive through the gate and it would be hers.
She ran her finger over the pointed end just to reestablish the connection – which was never really broken.
When she held the pendulum over the glass, it immediately dropped into place and stilled, awaiting instructions from its mistress. She began to trace Katrina’s name, one letter at a time, while picturing Katrina – replaying the snapshot moments of their brief time together – and “hearing” the sound of her voice. Then she began to add details about Katrina’s current situation and state of mind that were gained from Aelsong’s visions.
By the time she reached the “i”, the pendulum was moving on its own to complete the specification ritual. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see candle flames dance and flicker as if a draft had blown through the room. For Litha spontaneous movement of air was a more or less commonplace occurrence, at least when she was scrying. If others preferred to think of the phenomenon as invisible, or discarnate entities, it made no difference to her.
She closed the globe and moved so that she was facing Scotia, then held the pendulum above it simply saying, “Where?”
The pendulum did not move. Which was a first. Frowning, Litha repeated her command a little more firmly, “Where?”
No response.
She lowered the pendulum, took it in her hand, and rolled it around in her palm a few times while deliberately focusing on an image of Katrina.
Again, she held the pendulum above the globe. “Where?”
No response.
Remembering that Aelsong said Katrina was no longer in the same reality, she decided to alter the question. She held the pendulum above the globe and asked, “Near where?”
Almost instantly it began to pull toward the east like it was magnetized. Allowing enough slack so that it could go where it wanted, Litha allowed the point to slide over the map of Europe. Across France. Past Genoa. It came to rest just south of Florence. Siena.
Got it.”
Hope you enjoy this book and have a wonderful
Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowstide, Hallowmas, the Great Sabbat, the Feast of the Dead, or Witches’ New Year. For Witches who practice one of the branches of magick based in Celtic heritage, it is called Samhain. Pronounced like sau’-wan.
(The image is one my illustrations. It first appeared in Seasons of the Witch in 2011.)
My Best,

An Interview with Rammel Hawking

A Conversation (Intervention) with Rammel Hawking

me: Sir Hawking, it’s such a pleasure to get to interview you in person.

Ram: (third finger)

me: (sigh) Okay. What is this about?

Ram: Well, forgive me if I do no’ sound polite, but I can no’ say ’tis a pleasure bein’ interviewed by you.

me: Why not?

Ram: Why no’ indeed. I only agreed because of the chance to say fuck you in person.

me: Okay. What exactly is the problem? You did end up with everything you ever wanted, didn’t you?

Ram: Aye. No’ denyin’ that. My problem is not with endin’s. ‘Tis with the bloody well fucked up middles.

me: I see.

Ram: No. You do no’ see. You sit there in your tidy, little, safe, air conditioned version of reality without a single bloody care for what you are puttin’  me through. Have you ever had a broken rib? It hurts! Do you know that?

me: Well, I…

Ram: You write like ’tis nothin’. And ’tis nothin’ compared to a concussion and a hundred and forty three stitches. How would you like to have to face your mother lookin’ like that?

me: Um, that doesn’t happen until Book Two, The Witch’s Dream which was just released today.

Ram: So just because they have no’ read about it yet means it did no’ happen? (chuffs) My mother cried for hours when she saw me lookin’ like this. That was a bloody fun time I can tell you.

me: I’m, uh, sorry. I didn’t realize she would take it so hard…

Ram: Come to think of it, I should have brought her with me. (evil smile)

And what about that bit between me and my da – when he asks how the other fella looks? And you make me say the other fella got away with no’ so much as a scratch? To add insult to injury you made me smile while I said it! So then he asks me to explain how it happened and I have to tell the fuck all, king da’ of Elfdom that I got a hundred and forty three stitches in a knife fight in a bar!

me: (sigh) I admit that was an understatement but, technically, it was true. You did sustain your injuries in a knife fight in a bar.

Ram: (gaping) You are cold as Paddy’s feet on a February morn.

me:  Now wait a minute…

Ram: Just gettin’ started.  

me: Oh here we go. (Muttering to myself at this point.)

Ram: Can you even begin to imagine that three months feels like an eternity when you’re an elf waitin’ on his mate to make up her mind?

me: Well, I have a pretty good imagination…

Ram: Oh? You can imagine how it feels to have a ragin’ cockstand for weeks on end that does no’ even wane when you sleep? Balls achin’ like they’re bein’ squeezed. Just how is it exactly that you can imagine that, Mistress? How about this one? Can you imagine how it feels to wake and find your love lookin’ back at you with vampire blues? Let me tell you how it feels. Your insides go completely cold. When that chemical hits the bloodstream it truly does feel like ice in your veins.

me: I’m sure that was a very unpleasant experience…

Ram: Unpleasant? You really are a stonehearted bitch. I feel like kickin’ the legs out from under your chair.

 me: (Trying not to laugh.) I was feeling really bad for you, and a little guilty, right up until you just threatened to dump me on my can. Which was very un-knight-like behavior. I never would have written you that way.

Ram: Oh no? Well, I have a surprise or two and here’s the first. You’re fired.  

me: You can’t fire me, Ram. I’m the Creator.

Ram: You know, you sounded just like her when you said that. ‘Tis very disconcertin’.

me: Well, you know there’s probably something of me in every one of the characters.  

Ram: Characters, is it? “Tis all we are to you? (Looks like his feelings are hurt then curses in Irish under his breath.) Right. Well, that explains a lot. You want to know who’s the real villain in your stupid stories?

me: I see where you’re going with this, but, Rammel, writing villains is not the same thing as being a villain. My stories are just a reflection of life.

Ram: (sneers) Aye. A House of Mirrors reflection.  

me: Well, yes. Otherwise, it’s called the daily news. How about this? I’ll give you a reprieve and visit the less pleasant stuff on somebody else for awhile.

Ram: You do no’ seem to be gettin’ it. ‘Tis no’ up to you anymore. Consider this an intervention. You’re hurtin’ people. ‘Tis goin’ to stop. 

me: Okay, look, everything you say is true, but you’ve left out the other side. And I really do love you. Probably more than any other of you, uh…

Ram: (narrows his eyes) …characters. I might be willin’ to let bygones go, but it works both ways.

me: What does?

Ram: I know what you’re thinkin’. I heard your twisted mind riflin’ through possibles and sortin’ out what you’re plannin’ to do to us in Book Three.

me: You did? (I swallow.)

Ram: Aye. And some of it ’tis nothin’ less than sick. We’re all thinkin’ perhaps ’tis time for you to see someone.

(My husband walked in just as I was concluding this interview. He asked what I was doing and, without really thinking it through, I made the mistake of telling him the truth after which he replied that he had always wondered how I can be content to be alone for extended periods of time only to find out that I only appeared to be by myself.)

The Witch's Dream BOOK TRAILER

In some ways this book trailer will be sweeter AFTER you read the book.  Click the post title to enlarge the video for viewing.

My very, very special thanks to Derik Nelson, the genius behind the gorgeous voice, spellbinding acoustic guitar, and brilliant arrangement of “Never Gonna Give You Up” which is an integral part of the story.

I have this music on every single jog playlist on my iPhone. I listen to it every day and always hear something I didn’t hear before. Derik – you’re the best.

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