Monday, October 18, 2021

Neely Powell's Top Ten Favorite Witches

Moira Franklin, Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

The wonderful Alpha and Omega (Charles and Anna Cornick) series by Briggs has one of my favorite witches in this book. Moira is married to Tom, a werewolf and second in the Emerald City pack in Seattle. Tom and Moira help Anna battle vampires that attack while the three are shopping. Moira is wonderful because she is a true white witch. In order to defeat her evil father, she needed a blood sacrifice and used her own eye. Such a sacrifice! Briggs also wrote a short story about how Tom and Moira met. Moira now wears wrap-around sunglasses because her eyes are so badly scarred. Though this is all I’ve read of the witch, I find she stays with me as a compelling character.

The Witches of Eastwick 

Though the book by John Updike is much darker, this movie, featuring Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Cher is dynamite. The three innocent young women don’t realize they have witch powers until Jack’s character helps them discover their hidden depths. Of course, you must have conflict, and the local devout Christian (Veronica Cartwright) wants their evilness revealed. It’s a fun movie with the dark side of magic. Like most movies, it drifts a long way from the book’s story, but I’d watch Jack Nicholson read a cereal box. Great movie for witch lovers everywhere.

Lily Ivory, The Witchcraft series by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory is a powerful solitary witch. Abandoned by her father, given to her grandmother by her mother, and banished from her hometown in Texas, Lily spent most of her life traveling. Now she is settled in San Francisco, making friends, running her own shop, and solving murders. For a witch, Lily is wonderfully innocent and naive. She has an affinity for vintage clothing and has a lovely shop that attracts a variety of customers. She’s involved in so many murders that a local homicide detective, who believes in her powers, becomes a good friend. I like Lily because she always seeks the good in people but puts all her efforts into destroying the evil she finds.

Endora, Bewitched

The thorn in Darrin Stephens’ side is his mother-in-law, Endora. She’s the perfect nemesis because he has asked his beautiful witchy wife to live with him as a mortal. He wants her to leave her magic in the closet, as it were. Endora, clad in wonderful kaftans and scarves, Is the perfect witch, popping in and out of their lives at will. As Samantha’s mother, Endora resents her daughter’s desire not to be magical and spends much of her time casting spells on Darrin and generally bringing chaos to his workplace. What’s not to love? Add to that Samantha’s other relatives, you’ve got a great sitcom. I think of it often and always twitch my nose. Alas, nothing happens.

Brenna Connelly Burns, Awakening Magic by Neely Powell

Brenna is a young witch, full of rebellion and a desire to do more, with no definite goal in mind about what that is. She has returned to New Mourne after living in Atlanta. A gifted artist, she’s working on illustrations for a friend’s children’s book. She’s unaware her family has lived under the curse of the Woman in White for centuries. However, she and the four younger witches in the coven determine they will not just accept their fate as their ancestor witches have done. When she begins to feel the full impact of her power, she believes she can end this curse before another generation is damned.

Wicked Witch of the West, Wizard of Oz movie, 1939

Many people don’t know that L. Frank Baum’s fanciful 1900 book is quite different from the movie. In the novel, the Wicked Witch of the West had one eye, flew by umbrella instead of a broom, and wasn’t green at all. Thank goodness they changed her. She may be the stereotypical, hook-nosed witch as portrayed by Margaret Hamilton, but she is magnificent in her wickedness. The way she buzzes Munchkinville on that broom and orders her monkeys to fly—oh my, it’s divine! She’s the first film character that gave me nightmares. Maybe not good for my parents, but she lit my imagination on fire. 

Gillian Holroyd, Bell, Book and Candle movie, 1958

Portrayed by the gorgeous Kim Novak, Gillian lives in Greenwich Village, runs an art gallery and is really a witch. Her handsome neighbor, Shep, is portrayed by Jimmy Stewart at his charming best. Gillian is aided by her witch aunt and warlock brother in luring Shep away from his current fianceé It’s a lot of fun. For the conservative 1950s, the sexual chemistry between Stewart and Novak is off the charts. She’s like a cat on the prowl, and even when I was younger I liked how she owned her sensuous nature. Warning: this movie is well before Women’s Lib. However, it always gives me that happy “Awww” at the end. 

Nell Channing, Dance Upon the Air, Book #1 Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts

On the run from a dangerous past, Nell is unaware of her magical abilities. But she finds her true self and her sisters of the heart on this enchanted island. It’s the home she’s sought all of her life. Nell’s quiet power comes from the strength and confidence she builds day by day. She’s found the courage to face her darkest fear and realize she deserves the greatest of joys. In this trilogy are three complicated and intriguing witches, but it’s Nell who drew me in with her gentle ways and core of strength. 

Sally Owens, Practical Magic movie, 1998

In every family, there’s a practical member, one who throws the lifeline, rights the ship, and keeps a steady hand on the wheel. That’s who Sandra Bullock plays in this wildly entertaining movie. It’s Sally’s loyalty to her sister I love the most. Even though the women in Sally’s small town have ostracized her for being a witch, she sets aside her feelings and calls on them to help save her sister. I like Sally for being sensible, but it’s when she lets her hair down a little, I wish she was my friend. I defy you to watch the margarita scene and not want a tangy frozen drink of your own.

Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac song, 1975

Full disclosure: Rhiannon is not a witch, but a legendary Welsh goddess who chooses a mortal man instead of a god. She’s punished, of course. Songwriter Stevie Nicks didn’t know the full story when she introduced it as “a song about an old Welsh witch.” So Rhiannon lives in my mind as a witch. The image merges with Nicks’s own stage persona with her flowing black gowns and an air of danger and mystery. I really wanted to be Steve Nicks, wore feathered earrings and necklaces, and tried to convince myself I had the magical powers of Rhiannon. Sadly, I’m not a witch or as sexy as Stevie, but I can still dream when I hear this song. 

Healing Magic
The Witches of New Mourne 
Book Three
Neely Powell 

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: Oct. 18, 2021
ISBN Paperback: 978-1-5092-3960-3  
ISBN Digital: 978-1-5092-3961-0
Number of pages: 279
Word Count: 65,001 
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Tagline: An empathic witch. A magical warrior. Joined by love, they battle a demon and an evil spirit.

Book Description:

Eva Grace Connelly is a witch and a beloved healer. Rodric McGuire, paranormal expert and descendent of faerie warriors, adores the flame-haired beauty. But their future is on hold as a family curse threatens her life. 

Centuries ago, the Witches of New Mourne struck a dark bargain with the Woman in White. In exchange for peace, the malevolent spirit takes a Connelly witch from each generation. 

Eva Grace is convinced she can heal the ghost's troubled spirit and end the reign of terror. But violence and family heartbreak challenge that resolve. As Samhain approaches, the Woman and her vile demon have control. 

Is sacrifice the only road to peace? Can Eva Grace and Rodric uncover the secrets and lies at the heart of the curse?

Amazon     BN

Excerpt 1:

Rodric watched as Eva Grace fell into the raging river. A wicked and powerful energy kept him in place. Below, she was caught in the swirling waters of a huge vortex.

A deep rumble moved through the air. Laughter, Rodric realized. The demon was laughing.

“Damn you!” Rodric yelled. “You’re a coward controlled by your mistress.”

As thunder boomed, the water shot up and Eva Grace was level with Rodric. Treasures the faeries had given her gleamed at her throat, and the demon made the earth shake.

“Give those to me,” the creature roared.

The demon couldn’t just take them, she’d have to give them to him. Which meant Rodric could save her. But how?

“Help me,” he called to his ancestors. “Help us!”

A thick rope appeared in his hands. He made a loop and threw it with all his strength toward her. She fought to get the loop over her head, but the effort cost her.

The demon roared at Rodric. “Tell her to save herself. Give me what I need.”

“She’s not giving you anything,” Rodric shouted.

“Maybe to save you.” A lightning bolt struck just feet from Rodric.

Summoning all the magic in his blood, Rodric slowly began to pull Eva Grace up from the river.

About the Author:

Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell are the writing team of Neely Powell. They met working at a rock ‘n roll radio station, discovered they’d both rather be writing fiction, and have been close friends ever since. Their path to cowriting paranormal romance took some detours. 

Leigh’s resume chronicles a diverse career as a disk jockey, newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter, magazine writer and editor. Jan wrote 24 romance novels as Celeste Hamilton for Silhouette and Avon Books and then built a career in corporate communications and public relations. 

Neely Powell became a successful team when they turned their attention to shifters, werewolves, witches, ghosts, fae and all things supernatural. 

Their first novel was TRUE NATURE from The Wild Rose Press, followed by AWAKENING MAGIC and HAUNTING MAGIC. The Witches of New Mourne trilogy will conclude in October 2021 with HEALING MAGIC. 

Their rules for maintaining a partnership are simple:  be honest, be kind, and bring Diet Coke and chocolate.

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Heavenly Desire by J.L. Sheppard #PNR

Heavenly Desire
Elemental Sisters 
Book Three
J.L. Sheppard

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Jeanette L. Sheppard
Date of Publication: October 1st, 2021 2nd Edition
ISBN: 978-1732218154
Number of pages: 330
Word Count: 84,607
Cover Artist: Victoria Miller

Tagline: He’s fallen for the woman he’s entrusted to protect, a woman who could never be his…

Book Description:

Jade Ashley has a past she desperately wants to forget and a destiny she isn’t yet aware of. That changes when she meets Clyde, who saves her and inadvertently exposes her extraordinary abilities. She soon learns he’s her guardian angel sent to reunite her with her long lost sisters, who, like her, are part of a new breed of immortals prophesied to determine the outcome of the upcoming war.

Clyde battles the one thing that will lead to his fall from heaven—his newfound emotions, forbidden among his kind. Nonetheless, the Angel Lords promise to promote him to warrior when he completes his last assignment—to find Jade. But finding her, seeing her in the flesh, sparks a new emotion, an emotion too powerful to put into words. For the first time in two thousand years, he curses his existence, knowing she’ll never be his.

Book Trailer

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He bent toward her, wrapped one arm around her waist, the other around her back, buried his face in the crook of her neck, and inhaled. Exactly what he wanted, exactly what he needed. Holding her close, giving in to what he wanted, he forgot why he shouldn’t hold her, comfort her.

After a moment, she pressed her full lips against his cheek.
It was an innocent kiss. There was no passion behind it, but an unconscious, consuming need, one he’d never felt, swelled inside him—desire. Exciting, overwhelming, and terrifying, blocking logic and reason.

All he wanted then—a kiss, a real one. How would her lips feel against his?


And in concluding this, he realized he wanted her not only to be his, but he wanted her in the way a man longed for a woman.

To want what he did and feel what he felt was absurd, ridiculous, and confounding.

Carnal desires were for others, for all others except his breed, and yet he felt it so deeply it seared him.

The desire that gripped him didn’t release him, even after she unhooked her arms from around his neck and the warmth of her body melted away.

There he stood, immobile, battling the desire she’d ignited. He didn’t want to leave yet knew he had to before he did something he’d regret.

He willed his body to move. Finally, he placed one foot behind the other, stepped back, turned, and strode away, praying the yearning he had no right to feel for a woman who’d never be his would fade.

About the Author:

J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in South Florida where she still lives with her sons.

As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal, and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years.

It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was first published in January 2013.







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Honour’s Rest by Judith Crow #YAMagicalRealism

Honour’s Rest
The Rite Way
Book 1
Judith Crow

Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism
Publisher: Crowvus
Date of Publication:11th October 2021
Number of pages:289
Word Count:84525
Cover Artist: Clemency Crow

Book Description:

“So, it’s – what – like magic?” 

No, according to Pen’s uncle, the Rite is not magic at all. But, if it’s not magic, then how could Pen push the school bully into a pond while he was really studying alone in the library? 

When Pen’s family realise he has the Rite, he is sent to live with his Uncle Napier, who can help him control his ability. 

But Napier has other duties. He is the Rendelf, in charge of the Rite in the UK, and he has gathered many enemies over the years… 

…enemies who would be delighted to use Pen against him.

Amazon     Crowvus

Except One (950 Words):

Pen knew that Marley had been studying from different books, books that had highlighted the role of how to interpret and use the Rite, whilst he had only been reading about the importance of the thaumaturge and the history of different Rendelfs who had lived and died in Honour’s Rest. Nothing would come naturally to him, he was sure, but he thought of what he would most like to do and was both shocked and pleased when he heard a cry of impressed surprise from Marley.

He turned around and saw that, just as he had intended, Marley was being harassed by a curtain which had taken the form of a lady in crinoline, just as those in Orkney had done. However, the curtains in Honour’s Rest were far larger, so Pen couldn’t help but laugh as the curtain-ladies almost enveloped his friend in their voluptuous folds.

“Now something darker, I think,” he heard Napier’s voice say, but Pen tried to close his mind to his uncle’s words and focus only on the laughter of his friend. He would not be tricked into using the Knave’s Rite, he told himself. For the first time, he found himself breathing the Rite. He could feel it flowing through him, permeating every sense he possessed and filling his mind with the knowledge and freedom it offered.

Suddenly, he felt a sharp stinging sensation against his cheek and his left eye began to water. He heard Marley’s laughter stop and turned around to face his uncle, in time to duck as Napier flicked an elastic band straight at his face.

“Stop it!” Pen shouted, desperate not to lose the Rite he was only just beginning to find. Napier paid him no attention but just flicked another band into his face. It hit the lid of his watering left eye and Pen felt the pain mixing with the Rite which was coursing through his body. It no longer felt like a freeing experience, but he and it were wrapped around one another to take revenge on the man who was causing him pain. Another elastic band whipped against his ear and he turned back to face his uncle, his eyes burning with anger.

“Stop that!” he screamed again, and he felt the force of his anger leave him for a second and strike Napier. He thought his uncle would fall, but Napier seemed to catch Pen’s anger in his hands and, after moulding it slightly for a moment, he threw it back at his nephew.

Pen felt himself growing angrier. He could almost visualise the Knave’s Rite weaving its way around his body, his blood coloured by it and his watering eyes glowing as furiously red as they felt. He could see his uncle winding that invisible skein around his fingers, and Pen wanted to snatch it away and leave Napier helpless to whatever revenge he chose to take against the man who had so painfully dragged him from the happiest state he had ever known.

He glanced up at one of the enormous swords which was hanging on the wall and imagined himself severing the Rite which kept it there. His own was more powerful, as it lived and breathed along with him. Pen could see his uncle still winding the ridiculous invisible skein around his fingers and felt a sudden superiority. He did not need music or ridiculous hand gestures to wield the Rite. He could do whatever he wished just by thinking, breathing, knowing…

“That’s enough,” he heard Napier say, but that only made him angrier.

It was fine then, he thought bitterly, for his uncle to make him experience the Rite like a performing monkey and then shock him out of the experience through pain.

The sword began to shuffle away from its moorings, causing a cascade of dust and spiders’ webs to fall the twenty feet. He heard Marley calling his name, but he didn’t care. At that moment, he just wanted to show his uncle that he had the power, ability and focus to punish him for his actions.

“Stop that!” Napier shouted, just as his nephew had done seconds before. But Pen was no less stubborn than his uncle, and the sword continued to move across the room. “Stop that now!”

The hint of panic in Napier’s voice gave Pen a sense of satisfaction. He had achieved what Marley had not. He could see Napier’s fingers working frantically as he wound the Rite around them. The sword was now above his head, the pointed tip of the blade only six feet above him. With an angry cry, Pen sent it crashing down, commanding it to reach its target no matter whether or not Napier stepped out of the way.

There was a loud crash of metal as the sword fell on the floor, and the noise seemed to bring Pen back to his senses. The anger was gone, but it had been replaced with a sickening feeling of remorse and guilt which was already feasting on his insides.

“I’m so sorry,” he said.

His uncle’s face was almost as white as his right index finger, around which he had pulled the Rite tightly to prevent the sword from hitting him. Napier looked at him in silence for a few moments before shaking his head.

“It can’t be helped,” he said, his voice as calm as ever. “I should have known you had it in you. And every Rendelf must face the darker side of his apprentice sooner or later. I should be grateful it happened before you have full control of the Rite. I’ll tidy this place up. You two go and enjoy what’s left of the sunshine.”

About the Author:

Judith was born in Orkney, grew up in Lincolnshire and now lives in the far north of Scotland. Her work draws inspiration from folklore, experience and the natural world.

The Backwater, Judith’s debut book, was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2019.
Judith followed this with Dance With Me in 2020 and her next novel, Honour’s Rest, will be published in October 2021.

When she isn’t writing, Judith is a teacher at a primary school in Caithness. She sometimes finds that writing gets usurped by crafting, music, and being a generally doting spaniel owner.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Behind the Veil by E. J. Dawson #GothicSuspense

Behind the Veil
E. J. Dawson

Genre: Gothic Suspense
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust
Date of Publication: 1st October 2021
ISBN: 9781942856931
ASIN: B0981C89JL
Number of pages: 252
Word Count: 86k
Cover Artist: Violeta Nedkova

Tagline: To catch a killer or save her sanity

Book Description: 

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

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Excerpt Three:

Finola lay in a room better suited to a princess.

A four-poster bed draped in gauze shrouded the figure within. A pale pink duvet covered the slight frame, illuminated by a rose glass lampshade held aloft by a fairy cast in bronze.

Pretty as it was, Letitia focused on the girl in the bed.

Finola’s breathing was labored, her eyes twitching beneath her lids and forehead clammy, with threads of auburn hair sticking to her skin.

Letitia studied her for several moments.

There was no darkness attached to the girl, though the room’s low light gave too many shadows for Letitia’s liking. Ever wary of self-protection, she took hesitant footsteps closer.

When she stood at the foot of the bed, and was sure there were no dark specters here, she took Finola’s measure.

Finola was drugged, but from the girl’s eyes flickering in uneasy sleep it wasn’t working. Even with the morphine, Letitia could tell what the others could not—Finola would still have the nightmares.

A nurse sat beside the bed, and Letitia looked to her, letting a sliver of the nurse’s personality in.

A warm autumn breeze regarded her, refreshing though it was weak. The nurse stared at Letitia but made no comment at Letitia’s scrutiny.

“What’s your name?” Letitia asked, coming around the bed to offer her hand.

“Nurse Hopkins.” Hopkins had curling brown hair and hard dark eyes. A firm hand gripped Letitia’s gloved one, and she maintained eye contact. There was a hardness within the nurse, and Letitia guessed she’d served in the war. Not on the front lines, but she was toughened by her experience.

“What can you tell me about Finola’s condition?” Letitia asked. Mr. Driscoll came up beside her, and Letitia held up a hand to silence him. He glared but nodded permission for Hopkins to speak when the nurse hesitated.

“She has terrible night episodes,” the nurse said, “like those of the soldiers coming back. When she’s awake she cries a lot, she…bathes often but won’t eat much.” The nurse’s glance dipped between Finola and Mrs. Quinn as though she would say more, but she pressed her lips together.

“What else?” Letitia’s gentle tone, and the retreat of Mr. Driscoll’s looming form, let loose the nurse’s tongue.

“I walk with her in the gardens,” she said. “She…doesn’t like people to touch her. Appears distracted and nervous, takes to fright, doesn’t like strange men—the gardeners and delivery men and such.”

It was succinct but what Letitia needed to hear. “Thank you, could you give me a moment?”

The nurse needed another nod from Mr. Driscoll before she took her leave.

“Well?” Mrs. Quinn asked, standing on the far side of the bed, touching her daughter’s forehead. The girl flinched, and Mrs. Quinn drew back her hand with a disappointed frown.

“Please don’t,” Letitia asked, and Mrs. Quinn’s glower turned to acute displeasure.

“She’s my daughter and she’s sick.” Mrs. Quinn’s voice held a razor’s edge that hadn’t been there before.

“She also can’t distinguish who is touching her when she’s dreaming,” Letitia said, and Mrs. Quinn covered her widening mouth, gaze darting between Letitia and Finola. She must come do this often, and what should have been the comforting gesture of a mother made the nightmares worse.


About the Author:

Beginning a writing journey with an epic 21 book series, Ejay started her author career in 2014 and has taken on the ups and downs of self-publishing with her fantasy series The Last Prophecy since 2016. At the start of 2019, she put the series on the backburner to write Behind the Veil in 25 days, and signed a publishing contract for the gothic noir novel to independent publisher Literary Wanderlust. Behind the Veil is set for release on the October 1st 2021. She resumed self-publishing a scifi series, Queen of Spades released across 2020 and 2021, as well as signing another contract with Literary Wanderlust for NA fantasy, Echo of the Evercry. Believing in more than one path to a career in publishing, Ejay pursues self-publishing alongside querying traditional publishers with multiple manuscripts.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Release Day Blitz A Place of Magic by Merrie Destefano #ReleaseDayBlitz #UrbanFantasy

A Place of Magic
Merrie Destefano

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Ruby Slipper Press
Date of Publication: October 12, 2021
Number of pages:320
Word Count: 73,000
Cover Artist: Elona Bezooshko, 
Psycat Digital Ink and Motion

Book Description:

Halloween is the wrong time to visit Ticonderoga Falls.
Dangerous monsters hunt in the nearby woods.

The Prey...

Maddie MacFaddin.
For her, the nearby forest holds many memories, some joyous, some forgotten. But she has no recollection of Ash, the dark, magnificent creature who saved her life as a child, or that his kind preys upon humanity.

The Monster...

Ash, a Darkling fae.
Trapped in Ticonderoga Falls for a century, he’s required to host a Hunt once a year. Then, hungry, shapeshifting faeries will descend upon the villagers and harvest their dreams.

The Hunt...

There are rules about harvesting humans; the poor creatures are so delicate. If you take too much, they’ll die. Without dreams, they perish. And perish they do—now and then—despite Ash's efforts to keep them safe. Then he realizes Maddie is the prey his unwanted guests are after. But, try as he might, this time he’s not strong enough to protect her. The entire village is in danger.

Soon the Hunt will begin. And no one will be safe.



He nodded, head lowered. Then he lifted his gaze until he was staring into her eyes. One hand rested on her shoulder. “I won’t tell anyone your secret, Elspeth. You’re safe with me.”

Then he leaned closer, his scent overwhelming, his thoughts like the wind through the leaves, a wild rushing, his skin like the embrace of the forest. His lips touched hers and she could hear his heart beating. She slid her arms around his waist, leaning into the kiss, suddenly wanting more. She wanted to cast an enchantment, to lead him into sleep, to harvest his dreams. Wanted to walk into a dream with him, to see the hidden world on the other side of his eyelids. Wanted to know everything about him.

The kiss had only just begun and already she wanted another.

His arms were around her then, and the winter chill disappeared. In its place, fire crackled through her limbs, from her fingertips to her feet.

She could see it then, the world inside him. Tender and gentle as a spring morning, the shadows of night lingering at the edge of the wood, a handful of stars scattered across a pale sky.

She never knew that humans could be filled with so much magic.

It was her first Hunt and she had chosen her prey wisely.

About the Author:

Multiple-award-winning author Merrie Destefano writes lyrical tales of magic, mystery, and hope. Her traditional books have been published by HarperCollins, Entangled Teen, and Walter Foster, while her indie imprint is Ruby Slippers Press. Her novels have won awards in both the science fiction and fantasy categories.

She worked for Focus on the Family, The Word For Today, Engaged Media, and PJS Publications, and her magazine experience includes editor of Victorian Homes magazine, Zombies magazine, Haunted: Mysteries And Legends magazine, American Farmhouse Style magazine, Vintage Gardens magazine and founding editor of Cottages and Bungalows magazine. Her co-authored art books include How To Draw Vampires, How To Draw Zombies, and How to Draw Grimm’s Dark Fairy Tales. Her edited books include The Man God Uses by Chuck Smith, Oil Pastel Step-By-Step by Nathan Rohlander, and The Art of Drawing Fantasy Characters by Jacob Glaser.

Born in the Midwest, Merrie now lives in Southern California, where she runs on caffeine, and shares her home with rescue dogs and cats. And although she dearly loves science fiction, in her heart of hearts, she still doesn’t believe airplanes should be able to fly.









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Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular The Wantland Files by Lara Bernhardt

I remember thoroughly loving a book called It’s Halloween by Jack Prelutsky when I was little. 

This is a book of poems, and that appreciation only increased the older I got. 

The works of Edgar Allan Poe intrigued me beginning in high school. I liked all his writing and was particularly fascinated with The Raven

His poem Spirits of the Dead is perhaps less well known, but perfect for Halloween:

Spirits of the Dead
By Edgar Allan Poe

Thy soul shall find itself alone
’Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone—
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy:
Be silent in that solitude
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee—and their will
Shall then overshadow thee: be still.

For the night—tho' clear—shall frown—
And the stars shall look not down,
From their high thrones in the Heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given—
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee forever:

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish—
Now are visions ne'er to vanish—
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more—like dewdrop from the grass:

The breeze—the breath of God—is still—
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token—
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

The Wantland Files
Book One
Lara Bernhardt

Genre: supernatural suspense
Publisher: Admission Press
Date of Publication: December 16, 2016
ISBN: 978-0998426105
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 73,470
Cover Artist: BEAUTeBOOK

Tagline: She sees dead people. He doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Book Description: 

The X-Files meets Ghost Hunters when psychic Kimberly Wantland is forced to collaborate with skeptic Sterling Wakefield as she investigates a ghost terrorizing a young family in the season finale of her hit television series The Wantland Files.


The frigid blast hit her, not a tidal wave crashing over her, but an iceberg, solid and powerful. And furious.

The icy shock took her breath away. She gasped.

The entity dropped from above and sailed past, blowing her hair behind her.
Strong, warm hands grasped her arms, intent on steadying her. She shook free as Drew screamed.

“I told you to stay with the boy!” She crossed the room in three steps and knelt beside the toddler bed.

Drew no longer sat in the corner.

“Kimmy? What’s happening?” Michael called from the door.

“Just keep recording! She’s here. She’s powerful. Keep the cameras rolling.”

Danielle’s voice joined the fray. “What’s wrong? Drew! What’s happening?”

“Stay in your room,” she commanded as forcefully as she could with lungs chilled by the dark entity. “Stay with your baby!”

Her fingers trembled as she searched the bed. Every square inch of the miniature thing. Her chilled hands were not so numb that they would miss a toddler’s body. Where was he?

Frantic and scared, she lost control of her extrasensory perceptions. She stopped running her hands over the bed and held still. Clutching her crystal, she breathed deeply. Where was the entity? Where was the boy?

About the Author: 

Lara Bernhardt is a Pushcart-nominated writer, editor, and audiobook narrator. She is Editor-in-Chief of Balkan Press and also publishes a literary magazine, Conclave. Twice a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Fiction, she writes supernatural suspense and women’s fiction. 

You can follow her on all the socials @larawells1 on Twitter and @larabern10 on Facebook, BookBub, and Instagram. 

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Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Celia Breslin's 2021 Halloween Viewing Picks #HauntedHalloweenSpooktacular #PNR

Celia’s 2021 Halloween Viewing Picks

My family watches (and binge-watches!) paranormal shows year-round, but especially during Halloween month. Here are our top ten recommendations for Halloween this year. 

* Ash vs. Evil Dead: a comedy horror series with the fabulous Bruce Campbell as Ash, our hero with a chainsaw arm.

* Castle Rock: Stephen King fans, check out this super creepy psychological horror series.

* Daybreak:  A fun, comedy adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world with teens battling zombies.

* The Expanse: a science fiction series that’s both crime drama and political thriller, with war tension, a missing person, and a shocking conspiracy.

* The Haunting of Bly Manor: wonderfully creepy gothic horror, ghost story set in a gorgeous, scary mansion.

* The Irregulars: A supernatural crime drama set in Victorian London, with a band of misfits, Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes, and assorted troublesome, supernatural beings.

* Locke and Key: spooky fantasy series in which three siblings deal with magical reality-warping keys, demons, and superpowers.

* Stranger Things: outstanding science-fiction horror with spunky kids, secret government antics, and creepy creatures.

* The Umbrella Academy: fantastic fantasy adventure series in which seven adopted siblings with superpowers deal with family drama, time travel, and saving the world.

* The Witcher: don’t miss the adventures of Geralt, our sexy, handsome, and fierce monster hunter as he navigates a dark fantasy world fraught with peril.

Happy viewing!

Eva’s Homecoming
Heartland Fae 
Book One
Celia Breslin

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Celia Breslin 
Date of Publication: February 2022 
ISBN: 9798201153793
Number of pages: 79 
Word Count: 21K 
Cover Artist: VWZDesigns 

Tagline: A curse stole her away. Can true love lead her home?

Book Description:

After several years away for school and work, Eva O’Reilly is finally home. The West coast was fine, but her heart belongs to the Heartland and the town she grew up in. Sadly, with her mother’s sudden passing and no other living relatives, Eva is alone. And hurting.

Angus of the Tuatha Dé Danaan is elated his one true love has finally returned, and he’s determined to win her heart all over again. There are just two problems: she can’t see him or remember the Fae folk even exist.

As Eva mourns, Angus fights to dispel the veil keeping them apart. With the aid of a gang of flower fairies and the kindly elderly Wiccan next door, these cursed lovers may well receive a second chance at their happily forever after…

Currently appears in the anthology Flip The Trope: Romance Gone Wild

Novella Release February 2022

Anthology available at Books to Read  

Amazon     BN     Kobo     Apple


Angus stood in the center of the garden, throat tight and burning, a huge gulp of air trapped in his lungs.

Around him, a dozen diminutive flower fairies cavorted among the flora, chortling with glee. “She’s here, she’s here, our Eva is here!”

His gaze targeted the back door, body taut as he awaited his first glimpse of the female he loved. The only one he would ever love. Mo chroí, my heart. My heart walks the world, outside my body. “Come back to me.”

His voice was barely audible above the incessant chatter of the flower fairies. “We sang to her. She heard us! She liked it.”

“Hush,” he commanded, and they fell silent, vibrating with gleeful anticipation.

Seven years without her. The longest, loneliest bloody years of his basically eternal existence…


Eva stared out at the yard with haunted, brown eyes. Dark circles like the ones she’d sported months ago at the wake and funeral marred the perfection of her milky skin. He wanted to lay gentle kisses on her eyelids, nip the tip of her nose with its light dusting of freckles, lave her lips with his tongue then push it between those perfect lips…

“See me, Eva,” he whispered.

“See us,” Rosina echoed.

Eva cocked her head and touched her ear as if in response to their words. The incessant giggling of the flower fairies ceased, an expectant hush falling over the garden.

Though consumed with sorrow, Eva surveyed the yard with appreciation. Angus and the flower fairies had been tending to the yard and garden since she’d left. There was little to be done in the winter months but in the Fall, they’d trimmed and raked, then planted, pruned, and watered in Spring and Summer. Jasmine, lavender, and other blooming plants scented the air, and he watched his female take a deep breath.

Her shoulders seemed to lose some tension as she took in the neatly trimmed yard and carefully curated garden. “It’s perfect,” she said.

Angus’s heart swelled with pride at a job well done only to stutter in agony when her lovely brown eyes lingered on the central spot where he stood yet looked right through him.

“No. No, no, no,” he whispered. See me this time, Eva. Let the curse be gone.

Mrs. Murphy joined Eva near the door. “He tended it for you. From the moment you went off to school.”

“What?” Eva scanned the yard, then returned her attention to the spot where he stood surrounded by the flower fairies, all of them quivering with excitement.

“The garden, girl. He looked after it for you.”

Lines formed in Eva’s forehead, and her attention shifted to Mrs. Murphy. “I don’t understand, who did?”

He bowed his head and rubbed his brow. Each time she returns she still cannot See. My fault. All of this. Mine.

About the Author:

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for werewolves, vampires, and the Fae. When not writing, you’ll find Celia exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to fantasy TV shows and movies.



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