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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Vacation in Paradise

As most of you know, I primarily travel for author-related things, like conferences, or to see family (usually combined with some kind of work thing). Last week, I took an actual vacation, to visit my friend Terry, who currently lives in Stuart, Florida. Stuart is about 40 minutes north of West Palm Beach, right on the St. Lucie river (an estuary). The ocean is 20 minutes from Terry's house.

I went there last September for the first time and we had an absolutely fabulous time together. This visit didn't go quite as smoothly...I came down with a horrible cold (including a fever, which I rarely run) and the airlines messed up my flight home on Monday, so I didn't make it back until Tuesday.

But Terry and I are troopers, and we have been friends for thirty years (gulp), so we just made the best of it. And while I didn't feel great for most of the trip, we managed to have a good time anyway. Here are a few pictures to give you a glimpse of my sort-of vacation.

One of my favorite places to visit, this beach is nicknamed "Bathtub Beach"
 There was one mom and her small child there when we got there on Saturday morning early. Otherwise we had the place to ourselves, and wandered up and down the shoreline with our feet in the water until the 90 degree heat drove us away around 10:30.

Its real name.
 I took a picture of Terry taking a picture of the cool coral formations. Yes, that's coral.

The two of us. My sunhat got a little crushed in my suitcase, but I was really glad I had it.
 As always, we ate REALLY well.

Pina colada toast
 On Sunday, we went to the Fort Pierce pier, and saw these cool pelicans fishing.

 The sky at the pier is always amazing.

Then went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants right on the St. Lucie River. I got one of my favorites, Oysters Rockefeller, which I can't get at home. Yum.

Even better than the food was the fabulous view.

This is Lily. She and her pal Murphy kept me from missing my own cats quite so much.

That's Murphy, on the couch. She is into everything!
 But probably the most memorable moments of the trip came on our two-hour sunset cruise down the St. Lucie River on Friday night. (The fever hit half an hour in, which wasn't fun, but it was still amazing.) Because it is an estuary, we even caught a brief glimpse of a few dolphins--too quick to get a picture of--which made my night.

Of course, the captain's cute young assistant (Australian accent and all), helped a bit too. I'm pretty sure this picture alone means I can take this trip as a romance book research expense.

 Terry and I were pretty happy to be sharing the adventure together. Old friends are the best.

The ship was a 3-masted sailboat, and the captain shared all sorts of cool facts with us, which made the two information geeks very happy. LOL.

We got a kick out of the fact that the boat was named "The Lily"

On the way back, we saw the sunset. This amazing sky was on the other side of the boat.

And this was the sunset itself.

 Pretty spectacular, isn't it? Out on the water, it was even better.

So even though my vacation shopping mostly looked like this:

I still had a pretty good time. It wasn't the relaxing and rejuvenating vacation I'd hoped for (and I gave poor Terry my cold before I left, which seemed like a poor return for her hospitality), it was still a great break from my regular life. And all that ocean made me very happy.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Happy Beltane!

Happy Beltane to those of you who celebrate! (And happy May Day to all). I hope you get to dance and rejoice with the coming of spring.

I'm looking forward to going to a slightly belated celebration this Saturday, given by the Binghamton Pagan community about an hour away. I won't be able to stay for the ritual, which is fairly late at night, but my friend Ellen and I will at least be going for the Women's Mysteries and the Maypole dance. Then we'll head over to our Blue Moon Circle sister Robin's house nearby for dinner with her, her hubby, and my beloved goddesschildren Nate and Sophie.

The weather even looks like it might cooperate!

This is from one of the first Beltane celebrations we went to there way back in 2007. I can't believe that was 12 years ago! Or that, as of spring equinox this year Blue Moon Circle has been in existence--in one form or another--since 2004. How time flies when you are having magical fun...

I hope you have magical fun today and all days.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Wickedly Unraveled Book Release Day

If you’ve been waiting for the next book in the Baba Yaga series, the wait is over! Yes, today is release day for WICKEDLY UNRAVELED. I hope you’re as excited as I am.

 This book is based on an idea I submitted a couple of years ago, when the Baba Yaga series was still being published by Berkley. But when they decided not to continue with the series, I figured it would never get written. Then I self-published the final Broken Riders book, DANGEROUSLY FIERCE, followed by a novella (Dangerously Driven) and it turned out that my readers wanted more. Yay for my readers! My readers rock.

I loved writing this book because I got to return not just to the world of the Baba Yagas, but specifically to Barbara Yager, who I confess was my favorite of them all (shhhh, don’t tell the others). When I told my agent that I wanted to write about Barbara again, she said, “You can’t do another book about a character who has already gotten her happily ever after…a married one to boot. That just won’t work in romance.” Then she saw what I had figured out, and basically called me an evil genius. Snicker.

Here’s the back cover copy:

The Baba Yagas have incredible power, but even that may not be enough to save their world when magic goes horribly wrong and all their happily ever afters are gone in an instant.
Barbara Yager is used to traveling alone as she tends to her duties as a Baba Yaga. She sometimes brings Babs, the adopted daughter she is training, but her sheriff husband stays behind. This trip, though, she has made an exception. After all, the task seems so simple, and shouldn’t take long to accomplish. When it is done, the three of them can indulge in a long-overdue family vacation. What could it hurt?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. What Barbara thought was a minor problem ends in a violent magical confrontation she never expected. The resulting backlash sends them all into a warped timeline where Barbara and Liam never got together, and only Barbara and nine-year-old Babs remember the truth. Liam is still trapped in his grief and all the good they’ve done together in the past few years has come undone.
Even worse, her Baba Yaga sisters, Beka and Bella, don’t believe her, and the wicked Brenna is still out there, planning who knows what kind of mischief. The children stolen by the rusalka Maya are trapped in the Otherworld and she is loose in this one and up to no good. It is up to Barbara, Babs, and their faithful dragon-dog companion Chudo-Yudo to knit together the unraveled timeline and make things right again, before it is too late and Barbara loses her one true love forever.

Will Barbara get her happily ever after back again? You’ll have to read the book to find out! It’s available in both print (Amazon only) and eBook from all the usual online retailers, and you can also request that your library or local Indy bookstore get a copy.


Of course, because I’m me, I’m doing a huge giveaway to celebrate!

There are THREE prizes: a cool notebook with the cover from the last Broken Rider's novella plus an adorable dragon, a pen, magnets, and bookmarks OR a $10 Amazon gift card OR the grand prize, a Fire 7 tablet! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to be entered. Open internationally, no purchase necessary to win. (Although of course, I'd love it if you'd buy the book.)

As always, if you buy the book and love it, I’d really appreciate it if you could take a minute to put up a quick review on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N. Not to mention spreading the word to all your friends. If this book does well enough, I have an idea for the next one…

Welcome back to the world of the Baba Yagas—I hope you have as much fun reading WICKEDLY UNRAVELED as I had writing it.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 8, 2019

Little Book of Cat Magic Review and Giveaway

As most of you know, THE LITTLE BOOK OF CAT MAGIC came out from Llewellyn (and me!) last October. Because there were some issues with the way the cover came back from the printer, there were problems with people getting the copies they'd preordered or getting the book when it first came out, and because of that, the book--which has a special place in my heart for obvious reasons (it was the last book that featured Magic the Cat)--hasn't gotten either the sales or the reviews or the recognition we would normally have expected.

This makes me kinda sad.

On the other hand, my Llewellyn publicist just forwarded me this fabulous review, by Anna Jedrziewski, which is going to be in the May/June issue of Retailing Insights.

The Little Book of Cat Magic: Spells, Charms & Tales
Deborah Blake
$15.99  P, 978-0-7387-5323-2
Llewellyn Publications, llewellyn.com
Many people interested in the occult sciences have cats. (Blake points out that no one ever really owns a cat.) Those who prefer dogs might not get this book. Those who already have an established admiration for felines should be bowled over by Blake’s humor and knowledge of cat history and trivia. (Evidence of cats living among people dates back 100,000 years. Egypt is where cats “first rose to power in their attempt to take over the world”. The prophet Muhammed loved cats. In early Japan, only the nobility could afford cats. The first association between cats and witches comes from Greek mythology. In the 1200’s, the Catholic Church officially declared cats evil and in league with the devil, resulting in a global massacre. It was Queen Victoria who rose in their defense, restoring them to their former glory.) Moving on to more serious considerations, this book records cat myths, folklore and tales, and cat deities. It includes volumes of serious information about connecting with and caring for felines. Of course, Blake delivers on the magic component with an indepth chapter on cats as familiars and another chapter on cat divination. There are even cat crafts and recipes. The book contains lots of quotes about cats. I’ll leave you with this one:
Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.
Cats have never forgotten this. —Terry Pratchett

Isn't that great?! Of course, a professional review is a wonderful thing, but folks who go to places like Amazon and Goodreads like to read reviews by fellow readers like you. So I'd really love it if you read the book (and liked it), if you could take a minute to leave a review saying so. You have no idea  how much this helps. And there are only 13 reviews on Amazon. Sniffle.
You can leave a review using these links for Amazon or Goodreads or B & N (It doesn't have to be long or complicated.)

Of course, if you haven't read the book yet, you can't write a review. So you could go out and buy a copy (you know I'd love that) or you could, I don't know, enter this contest to win a signed copy, along with a cute stuffed black cat and a black cat bookmark.

Either way, I appreciate you giving this book some love. I'm sure that wherever she is, Magic the Cat does too.

All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Yes, you can take credit for things you've already done, like following me on Twitter or signing up for my newsletter. No, there is no purchase necessary, and you don't have to review the book to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Ta da! I have a cover reveal for the next Baba Yaga book, Wickedly Unraveled.

This book features Barbara Yager, the Baba Yaga from the first book in the series, Wickedly Dangerous (she was always my favorite...don't tell the others). It was tricky to do the cover, since the first one came out from Berkley and this one is being self-published--which meant I had to use a different cover model. Luckily, I was able to find one who looked pretty close. Believe it or not, it was harder to match the dog!
Thankfully, I was able to work with the same cover artist who did Dangerously Fierce and Dangerously Driven (the Rider book and novella), so she already had a sense of how the covers for the series were supposed to look, and I knew we worked well together. (Su, from Earthly Charms, in case you were wondering.) It took us a few tries, but this is what we finally came up with. I hope you like it as much as I do!
Note: I'm not sure exactly when the book will be out. Revisions are finished and it is off to my copy editor. Once I've made any needed changes, the book will have to be formatted and uploaded. But hopefully less than a month!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Oracle Deck Coupon Code and Book Signing Event

Hi All and HAPPY SPRING!!!!

Or as we refer to it here in upstate NY, happy "theoretical calendar spring," although today at least the sun is out and the spring birds are singing, even if it is still only in the 20's. Today is not only the Spring Equinox (Ostara, for those who observe the Pagan holidays), it is also the night of the full moon. So it's a great time to do magical work for your goals in the coming months, or for balance in your life, since the equinox is the only time that day and night are in perfect balance.

I meant to do a nice detailed post about my trip to California and PantheaCon, but I came down with the plane plague a couple of days after I got back, and I'm only just starting to catch up with things. Hopefully I'll manage a belated post soon, if people are still interested in hearing about it.

In the meanwhile, I have two quick announcements:

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting the release of the Everyday Witch Oracle Deck in September, the lovely folks at Llewellyn gave me a coupon code to take to PantheaCon, and they are allowing me to share it with you! If you go to their site and pre-order the deck before March 31st using the coupon code WITCHYORACLE19 you can get 20% off! (See how much I love you?)

You can preorder here. Everyday Witch Oracle Deck (Remember that this coupon only works at Llewellyn's website, and only until the end of the month.)

I can't wait!
If you happen to live near the Albany, NY area, I will be taking part in a multi-author book signing event at FLIGHTS OF FANTASY BOOKSTORE on Saturday the 23rd from 6-8 PM. I will be in great company, with Anne Bishop, Julie Czernada, and Kristen Britain. I hope you can join us!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Cover Reveal! Everyday Witch Oracle Deck

As many of you know, illustrator Elisabeth Alba and I have been working on The Everyday Witch Oracle Deck, which will be out on September 8th from Llewellyn. We had such a blast working on the Everyday Witch Tarot (which, incidentally, I just saw was on sale on Amazon for only $19.82 instead of its usual list price of $29.99) that we just had to find another project to work on together. If anything, this one was even more fun!

One of the best parts is being able to do the cover reveal. Llewellyn picked two cards that were both of our favorites, so we're especially excited. So with no further ado...

The kit cover:

The book cover:

And here is a picture of the back of the cards. Four cats, each representing one of the four elements. Which one is your favorite?

 And as a bonus, a picture of Elisabeth with all forty finished original paintings!
(If you look closely at her, you will see that she is busy creating something else...a little human being. Whoo hoo!)

We are both so proud of this deck, and we can't wait for it to come out. We hope you'll all love it too. What do you think of the covers?