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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Simple Samhain Rituals for the Witchy and not Witchy

The bulk of this was originally posted over at the PaganSquare Blog (the Witches & Pagans Magazine site--check it out if you haven't been there yet!) but I thought I'd share it here too, for my regular readers.

Samhain (the pagan holiday that Halloween was taken from) started early here, with my friend and fellow Blue Moon Circle member Ellen coming over to help me carve pumpkins that we're going to use to hold the quarter candles for our ritual tonight. Fittingly, Samhain the cat (so named because of her black and orange colors) insisted on helping.
Well, she seemed to think it was helping. I'm not so sure Ellen agreed.

Tonight, we will gather in circle to celebrate the holiday, but you don't have to be a witch to tap into the energies of the night...



Samhain is the Witch’s New Year; both the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. It is a time for letting go of all the things that no longer work for us, and saying goodbye to those we have lost in the last year. It is said that the veil between the worlds is thinnest on this night, and so we pay respect to our ancestors and those who have gone before us. You can see how the “ghosts and things that go bump in the night” aspect of the holiday came about!

It is also a celebration, and as the final of three harvest festivals in the Pagan Wheel of the Year, it is often used as an excuse to gather with like-minded friends and feast on seasonal foods like corn, squash, and apples. You don’t have to be a Witch to bring some of the more relevant Pagan aspects of the holiday into your life, either. Here are a few small, simple rituals you can do, no matter what spiritual path you follow, that will help you to tap into the special energy of this singular night.

Set up an ancestor altar: Take a small table or your mantle top (any place that is safe from children and pets) and spread a pretty cloth on it. The holiday colors are black and orange, but you can also use something with sparkly moons and stars, or a cloth that has particular meaning to you. (For instance, my grandmother was a weaver, so I tend to use something she made.) On the altar, place photos or representations of any deceased family members, friends, or pets. For each one, light a black or white candle (tea lights will do) and set it in or on a fire-safe holder. You can say a prayer, talk to the deceased one, or simply take a moment of silence to remember those you have lost. This doesn’t have to be sad! Focus on the positive aspects they brought to your life, and what you still carry in your heart. Leave the candle burning, if it is safe, or say a quiet goodbye and blow it out.

Celebrate the harvest: Take some time to appreciate the gifts of the season, and all that you have harvested in the year now behind us. You can make a harvest feast for yourself, or invite a few friends over to share it with you. Be sure to use seasonal foods (I’m a big fan of apple pie, in case you were thinking of inviting me) and either go around the table or sit down before hand and talk about the things you are grateful for, and what you anticipate harvesting at a later time.

Tune in to the dark: Samhain is a great time to ask for guidance from your ancestors, the spirits, or the universe (however you want to look at it). You don’t have to be a professional tarot card reader to tap into the openness of the night. If you have a tarot deck or a set of rune stones, you can form a question in your mind and then pull a couple of cards or stones to try and get an answer. Remember, this is more about gut feelings than intellect. You can also meditate on a candle flame, or look into a dark bowl filled with water. Open your mind, and see what comes.

Whether you do a ritual or not, I hope you have a fun and not-too-spooky Halloween!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

We have four lucky winners for my Biggest Giveaway Ever! Congrats to

Marilyn K. who won the necklace (email me at magicmysticminerva at yahoo and we'll talk specifics)

Autumn Raine who won the free class registration (if you want to take the current one, let me know ASAP! Otherwise you can take one of the ones we're giving next year)

Cristina Potmesil who won the signed book (email me to let me know where to send it)

Aphrodiasties LeFay who won the $25 gift card (I'll need an addy for you too)

Thanks so much to everyone who took part, and spread the word about the new book. I wish I had enough prizes to give one to each of you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This Saturday

I've got a busy pre-Halloween Saturday coming up. I'm doing a book signing at my local (fabulous) Indy book store, The Green Toad at 198 Main Street in Oneonta from 1-3. If you live in the area, I hope you'll stop in and say hi, and get a book signed! (I am bringing candy...)

The Green Toad

And later that evening, I'll be a special guest on a new paranormal podcast from 9:30-10:30 EST. You can even call in and ask me a question if you want. You can listen on your computer or any ol' fancy device at Podcast to the Mysterious Realms show. It's going to be fun!

I hope you'll join me at one place or the other this Saturday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BIG NEWS!

Hey all!

Just a quick note to let you all know that I just signed a contract with Llewellyn for BOOK #7! Huzzah!!!!!

Thanks to my lovely editor Elysia Gallo (who suggested the idea) and my lovely agent Elaine Spencer (who takes care of all that tricky paperwork so I don't have to), I will soon be hard at work on:

A Broom for Every Witch: The Legends, Lore, and Craft of Broomstick Magic
(Keep in mind, this is just a tentative title, and may change before the book comes out.)
The book will probably be coming in some time in Winter of 2014

Of course, I would usually do some sort of big giveaway to celebrate the news...but er...I'm already doing one :-)

So here's a little something special to add on top of that one!

I will give away a copy of the new Everyday Witch Book of Rituals book to someone who does the following:

1) Buys the book and/or tells me they've already bought it and/or emails me a picture of themselves with the book (this can be in a bookstore, if you don't want to purchase the book). Send the pictures to me at magicmysticminerva at yahoo (I will probably put them up here, so let me know if you don't want your picture up, or send me one of your cat with the book instead--lol)

OR

2) Signs up for the upcoming Celebrating Samhain and Ritual Basics Class or tells me they've already done so.

OR

3) Puts up a review of the most recent book or any of my other books (nonfiction or fiction) at Amazon, B&N or Goodreads

4) Follows this blog, if you don't already

Note that it is not required that you purchase anything to take part in this giveaway.

And don't forget to comment here to tell me about 1, 2, 3,or 4 so I'll be sure to enter you! This giveaway is only good until Sunday at 6 PM, when the registration for the class closes. I'll announce the winner then. 

YAY! BOOK # 7!!!!!!! 
     

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Last Workshop of the Year!

I can't believe it, but this month's class over at the Witchcraft and Writing Workshop loop
is the LAST ONE FOR THE YEAR! When Heather Long and I started this endeavor at the beginning of this year (mostly as an experiment, because people had been asking me to give classes on witchcraft for Wiccans and authors for ages), we weren't sure if there would be enough interest to keep it going.

To which I simply say...boy, were we wrong! The participants have been enthusiastic, fun, smart folks, and I have been having a great time giving the classes. But we are heading into my crazy time of year, when I need to focus on finishing the current novel, making jewelry to sell at the holiday season, and running The Artisans' Guild. So the upcoming class, which starts on the 29th, is the last one for the year. Based on how many people sign up for this one, we'll decide how many workshops we want to try to give next year.

Registration closes at 6 PM sharp, EST on Sunday 28th, so go to the link above and register NOW. *taps foot* No, really, I'll wait :-) I'd love to see the class fill up by the end of the day.

Oh, and did I mention that I'll be GIVING AWAY a signed copy of the Everyday Witch Book of Rituals to one lucky class participant? (Considering that the book costs more than the entire class, that's a pretty good deal!)

And don't forget, you still have a few days to enter my BIGGEST CONTEST EVER. You can come back every day and click on a couple of the options more than once. (And that one lucky person will win a free class registration. If you are waiting until the end of the contest to register, don't--we'll either refund your registration fee if you win, or give you a free class next year.) And pretty please, I'd love it if you would spread the word about the contest, the class, and the book. Thanks--you guys are the best!

Here is the info about the class:
For: Practicing Wiccans, witches and more. (If you are writing a witchy character, or one who associates with witches, there will probably be some helpful info here.)

Time: 3 Days
Dates: October 29-31
Cost $15
Optional Texts: Everyday Witch Book of Rituals


Day One –
Samhain, Halloween, and All Hallow’s Eve: Celebrating October 31st past & present
The Witch’s New Year: Saying goodbye to the old and welcoming in the new
Mourning the dead, ancestor altars, and the dumb supper
Q & A
Day Two—
Ritual basics: circle casting & purification, creating sacred space, elements of ritual
Staying safe and keeping focused: what to do and what not to do during ritual
Ritual etiquette for practicing with others
Q & A
Day Three—
A Samhain ritual
A Full Moon ritual
Giveaway of Deborah’s New Book!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Biggest Givaway Ever!

I've been promising to give away another copy of the new book, Everyday Witch Book of Rituals, and as you can see from the giveaway taking up half the blog above, I might have gotten a little carried away.

I'm not only giving away a signed copy of the book, but I'm also giving away a free registration for the next online class, a piece of my handcrafted gemstone jewelry (perfect for yourself or to give as a gift for the holidays), as well as a $25 Amazon gift card. Which, of course, you could use to buy yourself a copy of the book, if you don't already have one :-)

I'm experimenting with "Rafflecopter" which I've seen other people use, and which seems to make participating easy, on whichever level you choose. You can do one thing or many, and add up points as you do it. And some of the options can be done every day until the contest ends next Saturday the 27th.

The prizes will be given to randomly chosen winners. I hope you all take part and have fun! 

Here are links to the book on
Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jewelry, Jewelry, Jewelry

When I used to do the Farmer's Market with my pal Ellie (a potter who started The Artisans' Guild with me), we would do what we called "the jewelry chant" under our breath as people looked at my things.

"Jewelry, jewelry, jewelry" *lalalalalala*

Okay, maybe you had to be there.

But you don't have to be here to see some of the pretty new things I've made. You can check them out on Etsy My Etsy Shop or at my (rarely used) Pinterest account Deborah on Pinterest. I also posted a few on Facebook, if you happen to follow me there.

There is one particularly stunning traditional witch's necklace made of amber and jet, just in time for Samhain/Halloween...

Anyway, if you like jewelry, feel free to take a peek (not too soon to think of present-buying, after all). Remember that all my jewelry is one-of-a-kind, so when it's gone, it's gone.

If you do go look, come back here and tell me which ones are your favorites!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guest post at Llewellyn blog

Oopsie.

I forgot to mention earlier that I have a guest post up on the Llewellyn blog, talking about the changing season.

If you're in the mood, how about going over there and leaving a comment, so those lovely people don't think nobody read it.... (sniffle)

Llewellyn blog post

Thanks! Did I mention how much you folks rock?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Very Important Poll! (About contests)

No, this has nothing to do with politics. (I like you people, I wouldn't do that to you.)

I'm going to be doing another giveaway/contest here, and I was wondering what y'all would like to have as prizes. I think I will do more than one, so check out the poll above, and pretty PLEASE vote and tell me what you'd like best!

And pass the word to anyone you think might want to take part.

Thank you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Feline Friday

Yes, it's Friday again! And I'm rushing to get out the door for a long day spend at the store, culminating in a party to celebrate our 13th anniversary at The Artisans' Guild! (If you're in the Oneonta area, come join us at 148 Main St from 5-7...I'll be there signing copies of my new book. Also, we're having a Brewery Ommegang beer tasting!)

In the meanwhile, I got an email from my mother saying: I've been reading your blog...where were the cute cat pictures last week? Since it was her birthday this week, here you go, mom.





Monday, October 1, 2012

Kate George Guest Post: Crazy Little Thing Called Dead

One of the best parts of being an author is that (if you're lucky) you end up with a lot of author friends. I first "met" Kate George when we were both part of a great online group started by Lani Diane Rich (another fabulous author)--The Betties. Raise your hand if you're a Betty! [My nickname was Witchy Betty, for obvious reasons.]

Later on, Kate and I got to be roommates at the New England Chapter RWA Conference in Salem, where I discovered that not only was she a terrific writer, but an all-around cool chick. Since then, I've gotten to read some of her work in progress, and of course, her first two published books. The third in the series is out now, and I asked her if she'd like to come share a little bit about it with all the cool people who hang around here :-) Isn't that a great cover? (And I love the title...)




Crazy Little Thing Called Dead: The Song and Dance

When Deb asked me if I wanted to guest blog I asked: “What would you like, a blog post, an interview, song and dance?” 

Deb wrote back “I’d like the song and dance…” [Deb's note: really, she should know better]

Luckily the song and dance is what I’m best at.

The publisher of my first two paperbacks, Moonlighting in Vermont and California Schemin’, didn’t do much editing. I wrote the book the best I knew how and if she liked them she published them. She had a copy editor go through them, but there were no major revisions.

I decided to do things a little differently this time. I’m going Indie – releasing both the paperback and the e-book myself. That being the case I hired an editor to do a read through for content, plot line, character, stuff that’s really important for a good book.

And because I hired a good editor, who is tough and wants me to improve my game, I found myself in revision hell for the first time in my life. I’d never had to seriously alter a book after it was finished before. At one point in the process I seriously doubted I’d be able to make it work. But I carried on, slogging through, cutting scenes left and right. Crossing my fingers that I wasn’t totally destroying the story. I probably re-wrote half the book.

I took two days off from the day job when it was clear I wasn’t going to finish in time if I didn’t.
And I did it. I revised that sucker to within an inch of its life. I think it’s a stronger story. I know the characters’ motivations are stronger, clearer and they have a reason for everything they do, and it’s not just because it makes the story work.

The problem is with all that revision I might have missed something. Some odd plotline may not have gotten resolved. Some name change that might have got missed. I have a copy editor; I’m not worried about that. But what if, in all the cuts and moves and do overs I left something that should have been cut, or cut something that should have been left. It’s a little intimidating.

There’s one other thing. I did something in this book that could make readers hate me. That scares me a lot. It had to happen, in order for Bree to get mad enough to take revenge it had to happen. But some readers are not going to like it. I may lose readers over it. That’s kind of scary for me.

I know Donald Maass says to take your characters and put them in the worst possible scenarios. Make them survive horrific things. I did that, and now I’m scared. Readers might decide I’m not reliable. But the story is strong. The motivations are strong; the writing is clear and to the point.

This is where the song and dance comes in. If I tap dance loud enough, sing well enough maybe I can distract my readers just enough that they forget I committed a heinous act and put my characters through hell.


From Deb: So, what do you think? Is it okay for an author to do terrible things to her characters? 

If you want more info about Kate, you can check her out here:

Here's her author page on Amazon Kate George Author Page 
And here's where you can find the new book! Crazy Little Thing Called Dead



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