WIP Progress Meter

Friday, January 20, 2017

It's The End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine

I've had a song going through my head for the last few days, as the Inauguration approaches and we bid goodbye to a president I liked a lot, opening the White House doors to one who, if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you will not be surprised to hear, I do not.

But this post isn't about politics, really. I try not to be too loud about my own personal views on such things, since I know that not all of my readers share those views, and I respect everyone's right to hold their own opinions.

This post is to address my own depression on this day, in part because I know that many of the folks I'm friends with are also feeling sad, angry, and fearful. None of which are helpful, in the long run.

So I'm going to stay off of social media today, avoid the news, and remind myself (while working, and then later, writing and probably drinking wine) that what we think is the end of the world rarely is. I am going to do my best to stay positive in the face of a lot of negativity. I'm going to try to do as President Obama urged in his last press conference, and remain hopeful.

It may be the end of the world as we know it, but I think we'll be fine.

Big love to you all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Magic and Mystic Turn 15!

If you are a regular here, you have probably heard quite a lot about Magic the Cat (Queen of the Universe) and her brother, the giant gray kitty Mystic. To me, they will always be my "kittens," since I got them, along with their mom, from the shelter when they were only about ten weeks old.

So tiny and adorable! But the size of Mystic's feet should have warned me...
Who could have resisted those faces?
 And yet, somehow, today they are turning fifteen. I don't know how it happened. (After all, I'm not getting any older, right?) We lost their mom last March, so I confess that it is a little scary seeing them getting older. But mostly they're pretty healthy, aside from some arthritis in her back that makes it hard for Magic to jump up on the couch and the desk anymore. Here are the new stairs I bought to help her out, along with an ottoman by the couch. (She picked up on the ottoman right away...the stairs are taking a little longer.)

Magic enjoying the sun.
 I confess, as much as I love all my cats, Magic and I have always had a special connection. Until a few years ago, this was one of her favorite positions. Especially if I was cooking. She would leap straight up from the floor to my shoulders. Needless to say, this worked a lot better in the winter when I was wearing a lot of layers... (She also co-wrote a number of my Llewellyn books.)

When they were younger, the siblings were also quite close. (You can see mom Minerva in the background. I'm pretty sure she was saying, "You two get along now.") As they got older, that was no longer true, in part because Mystic liked to throw his considerable weight around.

Although as you can see, he is usually pretty laid back.

Don't bother me...I'm napping.
 This picture was taken last week, on a cold but sunny day. You can see they've carefully spaced themselves out with Angus in between.

Truth be told, it doesn't matter if they are fifteen or five, they will always be my babies.

So I'm going to celebrate their birthday the same way I celebrate everything else--with a giveaway! Happy birthday, babies. Mama loves you more than the moon and the stars and chocolate.

Mystic, checking out the goodies

My yearly calendar, featuring book covers and cats, plus a Magic the Cat notebook and mousepad, a cute card from one of the shop artists that I think looks like Mystic, and a little black cat.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Tarot Deck is OUT! Deborah's Limited Edition

Happy New Year!

And a very happy one it is indeed for those of us who have been waiting for the arrival of the EVERYDAY WITCH TAROT -- it got back from the printer early, and even though it wasn't supposed to be out until January 8th, it is available NOW from Amazon, Llewellyn.com, and probably anyplace else, including your local Indy bookstore, who can special order it for you.


Plus, it is #1 in New Releases in the Tarot category on Amazon, which needless to say makes me and illustrator Elisabeth Alba very happy!

Day one
 As some of you know, Elisabeth came up with a wonderful limited edition (30 only) set that includes signed bookplates (we're getting together mid-month so we can sign them together!), an original mini-sketch by her, a tin for the cards, and more. It sold out in the first couple of days, which was great, but a few people were sad that they hadn't been able to get one. We don't like sad around here!

So I've been hinting on Facebook that I was going to try to come up with a limited edition of my own, and here it is. Right now, there are only 10 sets available. I had the bags (large enough for both the deck and the book, plus all the other goodies, in case you wanted to keep them together) made up especially for this by one of the artists at my shop, and the little notebooks (to keep track of your readings) made special by another artist. The bookmarks are from the shop too, as are the candles. I didn't want to order too many, in case people weren't interested. But I have enough of the cool cat material to make another 10, probably, if the demand is high. Once that runs out, we've hit the limit for sure!

Here it is: The set includes the tarot deck itself (with the book signed by me, and also by Elisabeth if it is ordered before her visit and you don't mind waiting for her to get here), the bag, the cute little book--it has a kitty on it too!--with a broom pen to write in it. There is also a mini-smudge stick, a candle, and a small amethyst crystal, plus a kitty bookmark to use with the tarot book.

All these limited editions will be slightly different. As you can see, there are variations in the bags (different fringes), two different colors of candles, two different kitty bookmarks, and of course, the crystals are all individual. I'll take requests for preferences as long as I have the ones you want.

Variety is the spice of life! These are going to be one-of-a-kind.
Each set will cost $60, including the $30 card set itself, plus shipping. (Probably about $8 if you are in the States, more if you are outside the country.) I have no idea if anyone will be interested, or if they will disappear as fast as Elisabeth's set did. I guess we'll see! But I did want to offer something to the people who missed out on hers, and my set is a bit more magic-centric, as it were.

If you want one of these, email me at magicmysticminerva@yahoo.com -- first come, first served.

So, I admit I'm curious...did you get a set of the tarot cards? If so, have you received them yet and what do you think? Elisabeth and I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Gratitude Giveaway and Year's End Summary

Well...this has been a year, hasn't it? Lots of good things, and lots of bad, alas. But in the end, I am still so grateful for all I have. And especially grateful for YOU, my friends, readers, and fans. So I'm doing one last giveaway this year for no reason other than to say thank you for taking this journey with me. Thank you for buying my books, and for putting up reviews (really, THANK YOU), and for generally spreading the word and being supportive. Y'all make the hard work worth it. So I'm doing this:

Carried away? Moi? Never.

So, here's this year in review--briefly, because otherwise we'll be here all day.
Good stuff:
Well, I had two books out, which is great. WICKEDLY POWERFUL was the third Baba Yaga novel, which was then followed by DANGEROUSLY CHARMING the first Rider novel.

Got to go visit my friends in Connecticut, got visits from pal Bethany and her charming hubby Jarrod, and my stepdaughter Jenn, and FINALLY met long-time author pal Alex Bledsoe in person at Robercon (where I also got to hang out with the fabulous Tamora Pierce, which is always a joy).

Terry and Glenn in Connecticut

Jarrod, Bethany, and me

My kid and her two moms (no, not THAT kind of two moms)

Alex, me, and the fab Tammy
Plus, of course, the tarot deck is coming out any minute, so that might end up counting toward this year too.

Mind you, there was a lot of not great stuff too. I lost Mystic and Magic's mother Minerva in March (wow, that's a lot of M's). Had to rehome little Luna, because she couldn't adjust to the other cats (although she IS blissfully happy at her new house and I get to visit often). Angus was sick for months with an eye infection, then Mystic got seriously ill and almost died. (They both got better. That definitely counts toward the "good" column.) I seriously hurt my knee on the first of April, and it is still taking it's slow time recovering, and then I got shingles (which are brought on by stress, so I blame the election, plus all that other stuff...). Plus, you know, life.

Overall, I'd have to say it was a pretty tough year, where the not-so-great stuff often overwhelmed the great. But I survived and have hopes that next year will be better. And in the meanwhile, I still have a lot to be grateful for, including all of you. So thanks! And now, I'm going to do one last giveaway for the year, just because I can. Maybe it will finish off a few other people's years right.

Here's what we've got! A Fire tablet, a set of ALL FOUR BOOKS (signed, of course), winner's choice of one of three book cover notebooks, and a Deborah Blake calendar for 2017 plus a broom pen to write in it with. Four prizes, four winners. Woot!

No, Magic the Cat doesn't come with the prizes.

Winner gets his or her pick!

No, Angus doesn't come with the prize either. But his picture is in the calendar.
As always, all you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You get credit for anything you've already done, like following the blog, or signing up for my newsletter. And because it is my big end-of-year giveaway, I'm opening it up internationally. There is no purchase required, although of course, if you want to give ME a year's end present and buy one of my books, or put up a review for one you read, I won't tell you not to!

Good luck, thanks for everything, and happy holidays, whichever one you happen to celebrate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ONE MONTH until Tarot!

*Cross-posted at Elisabeth Alba's blog

Only one month left!!! ONE MONTH!!! It’ll be here before we know it. 2017 is looking up! Elisabeth and I can hardly contain ourselves, we’re so excited to see the Everyday Witch Tarot in person. So we’re going to throw another GIVEAWAY!

But first! We’d like to announce that we are now taking pre-orders for the Everyday Witch Tarot Special Edition. “Special Edition?” you ask. “What’s that?”
Here are the details!

There are only 16 spots left, so order yours today for the special price! After publication on January 8th, the price will go up to $90. See that dragon sketch above? One of our early collectors requested “dragon” for her keyword. Elisabeth had a lot of fun with that one!
One thing I love about this Special Edition is that I get to meet Elisabeth Alba in person! We’re going to meet up in January after the deck comes out to sign everything together. I’m really excited! There will definitely be a blog post with photos of the meeting, signing, and merrymaking.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!
This time I'm is giving away either Llewellyn’s Witch’s Coloring book OR the Hip Witch Tarot – your choice of one! Elisabeth is giving away a signed print of the Ace of Cups. Good luck, and start counting down the days with us until January 8th!

Signed print of the Ace of Cups

Winner's choice of coloring book or this funky tarot deck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Natalie Zaman and Magical Destinations of the Northeast

As most of you know, I live in the northeast USA, so you can imagine how happy I was to discover that Llewellyn was putting out a book called MAGICAL DESTINATIONS OF THE NORTHEAST, by Natalie Zaman. They sent me an early copy to look at so I could blurb it, and man, is this book fun! So I asked Natalie to stop by the blog and say hello, and tell us what kind of cool magical places one might find in New York State in particular.

Are you as thrilled as me that the new Harry Potter film is set in America? And in New York!!!

Personally, I can’t wait to look for all the magical spots as they’re portrayed in the movie…

But wait.

New York—and not just NYC—is already a magical place. I’m delighted that Deborah Blake (insert fan girl moment!) invited me to do a guest post on her blog about this very subject—so in honor of her (she is a New Yorker!), Harry Potter and all things beasty, here are some places where you can really find Fantastic Beasts in the Empire State (and some are totally free!):

If you find yourself east of the Hudson River near the Connecticut border (South Salem, NY), you can run with the WOLVES at the New York Wolf Conservation Center.

MOOSE—not just in Maine anymore! Visit Adirondack Park for a potential moose sighting. They’ve been in the park since 1980!

Narrowsburgh, New York is the EAGLE Capital of the northeast. In addition to the 20 pairs of nesting eagles who are current residents, up to 200 birds winter here from points north in Canada. Visit Narrowsburgh is January and February to see eagles flying overhead.

Visit all sort of other BIRDS at Berkshire Bird Paradise—the largest avian sanctuary in the state.

New York state is home to several FARM SANCTUARIES, places where animals of all shapes and sizes, some abused and abandoned have found forever homes where visitors are welcome. Check out the Catskills Animal Sanctuary, Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

ADOPT a pet in/from New York? I did! Check out Time Out NY’s picks to adopt a pet in New York City. The New York Humane Society has been helping animals for over a century, and Rescue Me maintains listings of rescue agencies and shelters by state.

And of course, the Big Apple is home to many fantastical creatures…

  • Take an OWL or BAT tour in Central Park, the city’s largest green spot. 
  • The Cloisters is home to the famed UNICORN tapestries. 
  • Rub the snout of the BOAR in Sutton Place Park for good luck! 
  • Strike a pose with the Library LIONS at NYPL’s main branch on 53rd Street. 
  • BULLS and BEARS—Oh my! Visit these icons of tenacity and strength on Wall Street in the Financial District. 
  • Suspend expectations as you gaze at “Gran Elephandret” in Union Square between 14th and 17th Streets, an ELEPHANTINE rendition of The Hanged Man. 
  • Visit the Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn to see the wildlife (there’s lots), and pay your respects to Henry Bergh, the founder of the ASPCA (there are also several beloved pets buried in the cemetery as well). 

  • Find more fantastic beasts near you by visiting Animal Tourism—there are listing by species and state Visit the Ephemeral New York blog to find more animal sculptures and art scattered throughout New York City.

    With love from the Wandering Witch

    Natalie Zaman is the author of Magical Destinations of the Northeast and co-author of the Graven Images Oracle deck (Galde Press). A regular contributor to various Llewellyn annual publications, she also writes the recurring feature “Wandering Witch” for Witches & Pagans Magazine. When not on the road, she’s busy chasing a flock of free range hens around her magical back-garden. Visit Natalie online at http://nataliezaman.blogspot.com.

    Sunday, November 27, 2016

    Holiday Gift Specials from Yours Truly!

    So, I've had a few requests for signed books for people to give as holiday gifts, and of course, Elisabeth Alba and I have been playing around with some ways to allow people to give the EVERYDAY WITCH TAROT as a gift even though it isn't actually out until January 8th...so here's what I've come up with. Feel free to email me, or message me on Facebook with orders, special requests or questions. Some of the additional goodies are in limited supply, so if you're interested in them, let me know right away. (The best email to use for this is magicmysticminerva@yahoo.com or Facebook message me.) Or you could leave me a message here, but if you do, make sure you leave an email for me to use to get back to you.

    I will happily send out any signed book (although with a few little goodies like paper bookmarks, and such) for the cost of the book plus shipping. In addition, here are a few specials just for the holidays:

    A full signed set of all three Baba Yaga books plus the new Rider book, Dangerously Charming, plus the simple goodies mentioned above. If you get the full set, I'll throw in FREE SHIPPING. (So the set would be $32.)

    The Complete Set!
     For an extra $10, I'll throw in one of the following:
    A Dangerously Charming notebook (only one available)
    A Wickedly Powerful notebook (only two available)

    Notebooks! With lined paper.
    A motorcycle bookmark (5 available)
    A pentacle bookmark (1 available)
    A dragon keychain (5 available)
    or one of the two remaining limited edition etched keychains (they say Dangerously Charming) with motorcycle dangles.

    Bookmarks and keychains!
    Any of these options would be $42. The free shipping options are for the USA only, alas, although I will happily send any of these anywhere if you don't mind paying whatever the shipping is for International. I'll be taking payments through Paypal, which is easy to use.

    If you want to give the tarot cards as a gift, I've got 40 gift cards that I'll send out for free (but when they're gone, they're gone) so you can give the recipient something to show them what they'll be getting. Elisabeth also has a downloadable option if you'd rather do that or if you're outside the USA. It has a picture of the Strength card on the cover, along with "A Gift for You," and the inside has a gift note. The back has a holiday greeting and signatures from me and Elisabeth.

    Gift cards front, middle, back
    Plus, of course, I have all the jewelry I've made. I don't know if I'll have time to get anything much up on Etsy (it annoys me), although I do have a shop there https://www.etsy.com/shop/deborahblake -- but you can also check out the pictures I've put up on Facebook, or email/message me if you are looking for something made from a particular stone.

    So, there you have it; a few holiday gift specials from yours truly. I've never tried doing this before, so I guess we'll find out together if it is something people are really interested in. Let me know if you think of something clever I've forgotten! Happy holidays.