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Monday, October 16, 2017

Season's End

It is always a little bittersweet to get to this part of the fall, when I put the garden to bed, put away the outdoor furniture and fountain, and start cleaning the house to prepare for a long winter stuck inside. (I do a "fall cleaning" blitz rather than a spring one, usually.)

On the one hand, it is something of a relief to have one less thing on my plate--and the garden is a fair amount of work. On the other, it provides a bit of therapy and lots of lovely fresh veggies, which I'll miss. Still, this part of the year always rolls around, and here we are again.

Two weekends ago, my sainted friend Ellen (who will work for veggies and beer, bless her) helped me tear out the rest of the garden and put it to bed for the winter. I just left the basil (since we have been having a run of unusually warm weather, and I hadn't made the second batch of pesto yet). All I have left to do now is cover the beds with straw and pull the pump from the new pond.

Ellen taking down the last of the tomato cages.

An amphibian supervisor next to the asparagus bed.

It seems so empty now. The greenery you see is outside the garden. And mostly weeds.
Then I spent much of this last weekend putting up the last of the harvest, turning my bounty of golden delicious apples into applesauce (they're not really the perfect apple for that, being a bit too sweet, but they're ugly little organic apples and aren't great for eating out of hand) and much of the remaining basil into pesto. Everything that's left will probably die in the frost we're expecting tonight, but I've left it for the bees for now.



Applesauce prep. Thankfully, the slow cooker makes applesauce cooking a lot easier than it used to be.

Mystic supervised me in the kitchen.

Magic supervised me as I prepped the basil in front of the TV. It takes a long time.

Pesto ingredients. The flavored sea salt has citrus in it, made by my friend Chris. The garlic is from my garden too.

A fraction of what I ended up with. Pretty, isn't it?
I also had a visit the weekend before last from my pal Princess Alethea Kontis and her friend Lillie (Alethea lives in Florida, but was in the area visiting Lillie), which was lots of fun, and then a brief drive-by visit this last Sunday from pal Karen Buys as she drove from Bouchercon in Ontario back to her home in New Jersey. She brought me chocolate. Really good chocolate.

Princess Alethea!

Plus, I got to spend an unexpected three hours with Magic the Cat at the emergency vet on Saturday morning (we at least got to see her regular vet, who happened to be working, and it looks like it was nothing major), although I still managed to make a dump run with a borrowed truck-and-strong-guy to clear out the barn. YAY!

What have you done these last couple of weekends to celebrate the season's end?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Year and a Day of Everyday Witchcraft Release Day Giveaway

Okay, so the book actually came out in print a few days early, and some people already have it. (THANK YOU so much to those who have posted reviews! SMOOCHES!) But today is the official release date for A YEAR AND A DAY OF EVERYDAY WITCHCRAFT, my latest book from Llewellyn. As you might guess from the title, it is a 365 day book (well, 366) that is part devotional, part daily reminder to put spirit into your life. Here is the description:
Enjoy the Sacred Wisdom of Witchcraft Every Day
Connect with your witchy self each and every day using quick, easy, and fun practices. This handy book features simple yet meaningful ways to integrate witchcraft into your daily life, inspiring you to take your magic to a new level whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner.
Deborah Blake guides you on a journey through the Wheel of the Year, providing witchy wisdom, affirmations, spells, questions to ponder, and much more. From working with herbs and gemstones to connecting with deities, A Year and a Day of Everyday Witchcraft explores a variety of modern Pagan practices to help you get more in touch with your personal path of witchcraft.

It is the #1 New Release in Wicca over on Amazon, which is pretty cool.

 As are the rankings :-)

So of course, I'm going to have to celebrate with a giveaway, right? I have two remaining ARCs (advanced reader copies), which are almost exactly like the actual book, only not quite. Plus a couple of fun witch's shoe pens for Halloween/Samhain. So we're going to have two winners to celebrate, instead of one. Because that's how much I love you people.

Look how cute!

Magic approves.
 As always, no purchase is necessary (although the author would be very happy if you would leave a review, tell all your friends, and such). And you get credit on the Rafflecopter form for anything you already do, like follow me on Twitter. Happy new book day!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

RoberCon with Faith Hunter

One of the best things about being an author (besides writing books, of course) is being able to meet and get to know some of the other authors I like and admire. Many of these folks are people I follow online and become friends with, so it is a great joy when I finally get to meet one of them in person.

My "local" SF/fantasy convention, RoberCon, held every year in the Roberson Museum in Binghamton, NY (a little over an hour from where I live) has done an amazing job the last few years of moving this dream forward, by inviting as Guests of Honor a number of the folks on my "Want to Meet" list. Two years ago it was the amazing Tamora Pierce, last year it was longtime pal Alex Bledsoe, and last weekend it was the fabulous Faith Hunter.

Faith and I had been online friends for years, and I always thought she seemed very nice, but she is even more lovely in person (and her husband Rod is a hoot). As always, my best friend Ellen came along as my driver/tote-r of heavy bags of books. One of these days I am going to get her a badge that says "entourage." We had a great time, I also got to see the lovely Nancy Holzner, the astonishing con chair Crystal Sarakas, who somehow pulled this all together, and a bunch of other lovely folks. I also sat on a number of fun panels (including one on dragons!), met up with my friends Robin and George and their kids Sophie and Nate for a couple of hours on Sunday, and went out to a delicious dinner at the always fab Remlik's restaurant.

I can't share my food with you, but here, have a few pictures from the weekend.

Saturday's book signing

The dragon panel. Yes, I AM wearing a dragon hat.

At Remlik's for dinner. They gave us our own room :-)

Laughing it up with Nancy Holzner and Faith Hunter
 There are lots more pictures on Facebook, but this last one should give you some idea of how much fun we had together. I hope I'll see you (and someone else on my list) there next year!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wickedly Spirited Release Day!

Whoo hooo! Wickedly Spirited is out today! This is the third novella in the BABA YAGA SERIES, and falls between the events of Dangerously Charming (the first Rider book) and Dangerously Divine (the second Rider book, out November 28th). It features the teen Jazz we first met in the story of the third Baba Yaga in Wickedly Powerful.

I hope you like it!

Wickedly Spirited on Amazon
Wickedly Spirited on B&N
Wickedly Spirited on Books a Million
Wickedly Spirited on iTunes

Monday, September 11, 2017

Kindle & Kitty Giveaway!

I'm going to be traveling for a chunk of the time leading up to release day for the newest Baba Yaga novella, Wickedly Spirited (have I mentioned it is only $1.99?), so I thought I'd leave something here to entertain you.

And because I know some folks are sad that the novella isn't available in print (it's too short for the publishers to do that), I'm going to do a giveaway for a Kindle Fire 7 Tablet! And a cute kitty that looks a bit like Koshka, the Norwegian Forest cat who is featured in the novella.

Cute and fun!
As always, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below, you can take credit for things you've already done (like following me on Twitter...you already do that, right?), and no purchase is necessary. Now, you all just talk among yourselves until I get back. Feel free to talk about me :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Coming soon to an eReader near you!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Visit to Animal Adventure Park and April the Giraffe

Things have been a little crazy here (what's new, I know) and I realized I never put up a blog post about my visit to Animal Adventure Park last month. Many of you might have followed along last February and March as much of the world watched April the giraffe's pregnancy progress, and the birth of little Tajiri. I certainly got caught up in it, in part because the park is practically in my friend Robin's back yard in Harpursville, NY, less than an hour from where I live.

It had been one of my goals to get to the park to meet April in person, and in August, pal Ellen and I made the trip, joining up with Robin, her daughter Sophie, and Sophie's friend Rosie. It was a blast. It is a small park, although expanding all the time, and it took us about two hours to get around the whole thing, including a chunk of time spent with April, Oliver, and little Taj (who was asleep during our visit, alas, so we could only peek at him). April really is just as sweet as she seemed with the keepers who take care of her, and Sophie and I both took turns letting her take carrots (the giraffes' favorite treat) from our mouths. Here are a few pictures from the day:

Me and April the Giraffe!

Sophie said April's tongue tickled her

More carrots please!

Little Taj!

Sophie, Rosie, me, Ellen, and April

Daddy Oliver

Look how tall!

Ellen made friends with the camels

Lots of different kinds of animals, not just giraffes

Can you tell I was happy to be there?
It was a terrific day, spent in terrific company, and I'm already looking forward to going back next year.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wickedly Spirited Giveaway

I looked at the calendar and suddenly realized it is SEPTEMBER. (Seriously, how the heck did that happen?) And that means that the next Baba Yaga novella, Wickedly Spirited, is coming out in less than three weeks!

Wickedly Spirited is the story of Jazz, the teen who Bella met in WICKEDLY POWERFUL, the third novel. (You read that one, right?)
Jazz, the powerfully magical teen first introduced in Wickedly Powerful, is now being trained as a Baba Yaga—and she’s determined to free the Broken Riders herself.

Jazz had a rough life before meeting her guardian, and she knows she’s lucky that Bella is training her to be a Baba Yaga. But the gifted young witch is frustrated by the slow pace of her lessons. Jazz knows she’s capable of even greater magic, and she wants nothing more than to find a spell that will give the Riders back the immortality they lost.

With the reluctant assistance of Bella’s dragon-turned-cat Koshka, Jazz travels to the Otherworld to get the necessary ingredients to perform the spell. A willful young witch, dangerous magic, and one powerful wish—what could possibly go wrong?
I had so much fun writing Jazz's story--she is, as the title says, spirited, and a completely unconventional Baba Yaga in training. And the novella features Bella's Chudo Yudo, Koshka, the dragon who is disguised as a giant Norwegian Forest cat. So obviously, this giveaway had to include a stuffed cat. Plus a signed copy of WICKEDLY POWERFUL, in case for some bizarre reason you haven't read it yet. And a broom pen, just because.

So cute!

Magic the Cat approves.
As always, all you have to do to enter is fill in the Rafflecopter form (and you can take credit for following me on Twitter and things like that if you've already done them). Of course, I hope that you will order the novella, because, really, Magic likes to eat. But also, because this is probably the last Baba Yaga novella, so you know you want to. And as always, I really appreciate you spreading the word!

Wickedly Spirited on Amazon
Wickedly Spirited on B&N
Wickedly Spirited on Books a Million
Wickedly Spirited on iTunes

a Rafflecopter giveaway