Friday, 12 May 2017

The Naked Magician

Can modelling for the village life art class really be worth it?

~ Gerald craned his neck to catch sight of a small group of what appeared to be mostly women huddled together in what looked like – much to his relief - a densely bordered shrubbery. The low croaking and head bobbing reminded him of the hens his grandmother used to keep in her garden. They were pointing at something he couldn’t see, and then one of them stepped back to reveal a bright pink chaise-lounge on the lawn. Large sketch pads clutching tightly to heaving chests, flapped up and down in unison...
The faint flutter in his stomach took him by surprise along with the claw-like grip on his arm.
      “Perhaps we’ll leave the niceties till afterwards and get down to it...”Cordelia whispered a little too closely for comfort, “Why don’t you get yourself ready in the bathroom and join us in the garden Gerald?”  
Before she slithered off, he took the large pink towel from her other claw and locked the toilet door behind him. He was sweating and he was nervous but he was not backing down. As he peeled off his clothes, he called in every guardian he could think of from the magical realms and surrounded himself in the best protection he knew. Silver bands of barbed wire rippled around his naked body, bronzed by the sun.
Now, every bit of murky and negative energy coming his way would transmute into pure creativity for his own use.
He’d not studied the sacred art for nothing.
Slipping between the worlds and oblivious to his surroundings, he strutted out into the hen's enclosure and removed his towel. ~

Catch up with this new character in The Madness & the Magic's sequel coming soon!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Two Heads Are Better Than One...(I think)

When Your Character Takes Over Your Life...

I'm not joking.
It's all getting very confusing. I blame myself of course, but then again I could also blame Minerva, as she's the one who's taking over. She can be quite overpowering at times.
See what I mean?

This is no laughing matter, I can tell you.
It's not normal is it?
Although to be fair, I've never understood the word or had any interest in its meaning anyway.

And it's never sounded more foreign since Minerva arrived on the scene. She doesn't really fit into any kind of box, as she tends to be one of those women who think far enough outside it to be off the radar most of the time.
And who can blame her?
I don't.

She's my kind of woman and definitely my kind of Witch. We have so much in common it's not real...or is it? Surely it's just a matter of belief, like magic.
And if we make real what we believe in, then anything's possible right?
Well it is with Minerva anyway.

I knew when I wrote the first book - The Madness & the Magic , that I'd barely scratched the surface with the characters. It was a brief introduction, just enough to get the taste buds going, but it served its purpose and got them out there.
Now, I can really get my teeth into them and have some fun. Minerva, of course being the one I identify with most for obvious reasons...but I have great empathy with Isis and her nervous disposition, although she is getting stronger I must admit. There is life after Derek you'll be pleased to hear and who knows what or who could be lurking around the corner for her?
Now that would be telling and quite rude and I don't want to get into the habit of spoiling I?

Then there's Ronnie who's third eye issues would be enough to send the sanest among us over the edge. Or in Minerva's case that might be over the hedge. Hang on, I've not written that yet.
That's one for tomorrow's instalment, I can see it now...
How small in some ways my world has become since surrendering to the writing of this sequel. But total immersion IS the only way to really do something properly I'm finding. And when it comes to the world of the imagination, it's as big as you want it to be and that's what I love about it.
Who needs boundaries? Stories certainly don't. Ever.
Minerva hates them and strangely and madly enough, I know just how she feels.

Monday, 20 February 2017

On With the Job

Mastering the Craft

As a stay-at home mum I don't have a job as such...oh alright, I do - but there's no wages. The husband smiles at me a lot, plays a mean guitar in our band ~ Morrigans Path and takes me to the Waffle Bar on a Sunday. That'll do me thanks very much.

For my birthday before Christmas, he treated me to an online business course in self-publishing. Very nice I hear you say, what a lovely husband you have and I would say yes he is, but not one without an ulterior motive.
There's a greater plan at work here...
One which involves me rolling up my sleeves and knuckling down to the business of writing. And I mean proper writing. The kind of writing which starts at an unearthly hour and continues, with the odd break or two for dog walking and domestic chores; but for the most part of the day - I'm writing.

It's serious stuff. I do have a sequel to write after all. The Madness & the Magic has been out over a year now and the second book has been marinating for a while but with no real momentum behind it.
Time for a change.
I'm not content with being a housewife anymore, the same way as the husband's had enough of being the breadwinner, plus he wants to retire... Can't blame him, forty years in the same job - I'd say that's pretty good going.
And the good news is I'm loving it, I get to do what I love all day, every day. There's a lot to learn once I have this next book written... tackling the self-publishing process will be a challenge but there's so much support from the course I'm doing with Mark Dawson I'm confident I can do it and determined I will.
And of course, the husband is happy. He gets early retirement if all goes to plan... but I must admit to a minor ulterior motive there too. The business side of things would benefit from a far more logical and practical mind than yours truly. Which means I could get on with the job of writing and the business management would be taken care of by one better equipped to deal with it.
Horses for courses, right?

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Book Review: Initiation ~ Rayna Noire

Witch Lit Time Traveler...

If you like a bit of Witchy weaving back and forth in time, with believable characters and a good storyline; then this is for you.

Initiation is the first in The Pagan Eyes series from author and historian, Rayna Noire.

We see the introduction of the Carpenter family, all facing their own personal issues...but this is about Leah, a psychic teenager with more than the usual high school lessons to try and figure out...

Slipping back to another century, she discovers and joins three new friends from the burning times as they run from the witch hunters...  Tracked down by angry peasants and drunken knights and betrayed by those hungry for power over others; Leah not only learns to appreciate her family more, but also in the eternal powers of the universe which transcends all time.

In finding her lost grandfather and helping to redress the karmic balance of a previous life she discovers a belief in herself she never could have imagined before.
Initiation is a coming of age story. Fast paced and intriguing, it is the story of a young girl growing up to believe in the biggest magic of all...herself.
Well done to Rayna Noire.
Great Witch Lit.
For more info about the author and her work, please visit: Rayna Noire

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Madness & the Magic... Sequel Snippet...

Why is Minerva mad now?

Minerva’s culinary skills left quite a lot to be desired. More often than not cooking was something she did because she had to but rarely enjoyed it. The only exception was if she was looking after her granddaughter when Ronnie wasn’t around. She revelled in the simplicity of chopping up apples and making soldiers for the boiled eggs which Morrigan loved. Who wouldn’t delight in the joys of baking with a two year old?
 A messy kitchen was after all a lived in one wasn’t it?
The doorbell interrupted her ponderings and in two shakes of a goat’s beard, David was standing in front of her, glowing like an angel. Perhaps it was something all vicars did.
            “Sorry I’m late, had a bit of church business to attend to,” he looked past her and grimaced at the smoke before kissing her softly on the lips, “I’ll take over shall I?”

        “It’s all yours chef,” Minerva purred, “As am I.”
David laughed and placing his jacket on the hat stand, proceeded to open a window and let the smoke out.

        “What time is everyone coming?” He said scanning the room.

         “About eight-ish I think,” said Minerva, “Can’t have a Last Supper starting too early can we?”
David looked at her, “Last Supper..?”
       “You know what I mean David,” said Minerva handing him a bottle of beer and pouring herself a brandy, “Before a certain person arrives next week...”

    “Your mother!” said David.
He never drinks from the bottle, thought Minerva.

    “Quite,” she said, “If ever there was a reasonable and valid excuse for my madness, she is it. I’m dreading it David... Have you any words of heavenly wisdom? Because by the Goddess, I need it now more than ever!”
     “It won’t be forever Minerva.”

She could hardly hear him, “No, but it will feel like it and that is far worse as far as I’m concerned... Have you any idea what I am about to endure and more to the point, will you help me bear it, this heavy cross in the shape of my mother!”
      “Minerva, there’s no need...”

    “There is every need David,” said Minerva through clenched teeth.
He’d not seen her this mad since they’d moved her mother out of her house with all the bags. The Squalor Skips episode was burnt into his memory by the hand of god, a touch of divine pyrography. It was a painful thing to remember, but poor Minerva had suffered the most. He thought she’d struggle to get over it...and somehow she did and they’d got through it together.

      “Sometimes it helps to see no barriers Minerva,” said David quietly, “Only obstacles to overcome...”
      “David,” she was talking under her breath now, “The only thing I can see at the moment is my mother living in this house, my house. Overcoming that does not feel all.”

There we are, a taster of what's to come...
If I keep bashing away at this, the first draft will be done by the end of this month and I'm hoping the finished product will be ready in a few months.
Everything crossed and keeping you posted.

 The first book... The Madness & the Magic


Friday, 14 October 2016

A Witchanory Short Story


Excuses... Excuses

Grimelda picked up the large wooden spoon worn down by the passage of time. It fitted snugly in the palm of her sweaty hand. It was hot by the hearth fire but the heat didn’t bother her.
She had work to do.
She leaned over the old, cast iron pot and drove the spoon into the mixture. Bubbles surfaced and popped as she stirred through it... round and round the spoon went.

Entranced and at one with the action like any magician should be, she smirked. This was, after all, how magic happened.
She began to murmur under her breath as she stared, transfixed at the pot beneath her.

“Many kinds for many uses
All different sorts of lame excuses
Worn out ones which need refreshing
A hint of nice and gullible dressing
Stir it in and make them ring true
Believable to those they’re made to
Selling well and we shall see
Every penny comes to me…

As I will so mote it be!”

Grimelda repeated the words over and over, chanting into the night and walking in slow and deliberate steps around the fire and bubbling pot. She went on for hours and hardly noticed the knock when it came. A low thud soon turned into a loud rap and startled her out of her trance.
      “Who goes there and what d’ya want?” She cried out to the door.
   “I’m in awful trouble Grimelda," wailed a small voice, "I need an excuse if you can sell me one...please!”
She detected desperation and her eyes narrowed to dark slits.Nice and quick, just how I like it, she thought, as she made her way to the door. When she opened it, the first thing she saw was a watery sun rising in the distance – and then the early riser in front of her. A small child, no more than ten by the look of him. He looked bewildered and bedraggled and she beckoned him impatiently to come in out of the rain and closed the door behind them.
    “Well child... be specific now and I’ll see if I can oblige you," she clipped,  "But remember I need payment for I am not a charity and I’m definitely not your friend.”

   “Oh I know that Grimelda.. I don’t have any of those anyway...” the voice trailed off, barely audible.
   “Spit it out child, I don’t have all day!” She placed her hands on her hips and stared down at him. He had big, round eyes with a silly, pleading look. She cared nothing for children and certainly not this one. He was pathetic.
  “I can’t do the fields today, I wasn’t there yesterday and I probably won’t be there tomorrow. Me Mam’s crook and Dad’s inside.. for now anyway.. I need a good excuse or else Mr Broadside won’t have me back after!”

 The round eyes bore into Grimelda’s and she let out a heavy sigh. What a sad story to be told and for what sorry excuse to be sold? She grabbed her chin and pulled it hard. She needed time to think…
       "And just what are you going to cross my palm with then?" She spat at the urchin, "I'll not give it a moment's thought before you do, mind!"
He shifted from one skinny leg to the other and banged filthy hands against torn britches,    "Well..." he faltered, "I can do chores... I'll do anything!"
Grimelda ran her tongue across her bottom lip. It wasn't every day a serf appeared at her door and the pot still not cold...She prided herself on a job well done.
   "How much time have you got?" She narrowed her eyes at him.
He glanced quickly at the pale sun in the sky, "About an hour, two at the most..."
   "You can sweep all the floors and fetch me some water from the brook which is a fair distance away, and after that you can skin the rabbit hanging over there," she pointed at the fireplace where a rabbit hung from a bent up hook, "And get a stew ready for the pot..." 
Her mouth watered and her eyes gleamed at the pathetic boy.
She knew she had him.
Scamps like him didn't have any choice, hands tied by circumstances beyond their control.
   "Thank you Grimelda," he said, "And will the excuse be ready for me then?"
   "That's something I shall see about only if you do a good enough job boy!"
   "But you said..."
   "I say what I like and you'll do what I say if you have any wits about you at all," she hissed, "And then we'll see about that shall we? You must prove yourself or your job will be lost and your mother will perish no doubt...up to you!"

The child looked terrified and she took pleasure in it, "And that's the first thing you can mop up!" She screamed at him, glaring at the dark stain spreading down his filthy trouser leg before hobbling off to bed. It had been a long night and she grabbed a bottle from the shelf and drank straight from it.
The boy caught the hint of whiskey as it mingled with the urine, warm against his skin. There was something familiar about it...
It carried the faint offer of an opportunity.
He could smell it.

While the old woman slept heavily the boy worked hard and quickly, driven by a mixture of fear and the slow dawning of a feeling new to him. It made him shiver and he was drawn to the hearth fire still smouldering and the pot still warm above it.
He was thirsty.
The faint aroma of a herbal brew was enough to quell any uncertainty and he took the spoon and helped himself. It wasn't bad. Just an odd bitterness to the taste but he could put up with that, it was after all, warm and wet. A little sustenance for a lot of toil - a fair exchange he thought.
He became drowsy and rested by the hearth until the stirrings of the old crone startled him. She was as ugly to listen to as she was to look at...everything about her was in shadow as she emerged from an unlit corner of the room. He could tell the sun never showed it's face here and why would it?
    "Have you finished the work boy?" She croaked at him before spitting on the floor,   "There'll be no excuse for you if you're not done."
He looked on as she made her way to the fire, swaying and belching out loud. The stale liquor stinking her breath and clothes. She was foul.
   "No, I didn't finish it all," he said looking straight at her, "But I have good reason."
   "Good reason? Good reason?" She roared at the boy, "There are no good reasons to be had for anything do you hear me?"
   "Well alright then, an excuse. I have a good excuse," said the boy quite confidently.
   "An excuse..?" Grimelda recoiled like a snake and stumbled against the wall, "I've never heard such rot and excuse..?
The boy looked through her.
    "It had better be a good one then..." She said sliding down the wall, not feeling altogether well.
    "Oh it is," he said picking up the spoon by the pot, "I was thirsty and drank some of this you see..."
 Grimelda was confused. It was a battle she was not used to and she was losing it.
   "Yes," she said faintly, "I do"
   "I thought you might," said the boy taking the pot in both hands with a strength he didn't know he had, "It's a good enough one isn't it?"
 The old woman said nothing, only staring vacantly past him as he made his way to the door, "Yes of course," she muttered, "It must be..."
   "Yes I thought so," said the boy as he closed the door behind him.
Just like Mr Broadside the governor would think so when he told him. Just like the doctor would think so too when called for his mother and just like the jailor would also think when he next went to visit his father. He could see the fields, smell the laudanham, hear the jangle of the prison keys.  
No, good excuses were not hard to find at all.