Monday, June 29, 2015

At the New York Faerie Festival

Despite a cold and rainy day, tradition prevailed and I went on my yearly pilgrimage to the NY Faerie Festival -- what the organizers call "a Renaissance Faire with wings," and what I just call a lot of fun. This was the seventh year of the event, and it keeps getting better and better. (The local paper said there were thousands of attendees, even with the bad weather.)

Traditionally, my pal Ellen and I drive the hour or so to get there and meet up with our friend Robin (who lives five minutes away from the festival) and her two kids, my goddess-children Nate (7) and Sophie (8). This year Nate had to go to a birthday party, but Sophie brought her best friend, the charming and adorable Aubrey, who had never been before, and we all had a blast.

I made some new friends (and in case you're wondering what I was dressed as, it was "a very wet witch.")

Me, Robin, Sophie, and Aubrey

Ellen and two very happy girls

Robin was captures by some goblins who seem to have left their mark on her

A very tall faerie creature

A traveling magician enthralled the girls with his uncanny skills

 The girls look a little dubious about their meeting with the Faerie Queen...and rightfully so. I'll bet you thought she only existed in my books!

There were lots of amazing crafters. I mostly restrained myself, only getting a pottery beer glass, two dragon soaps, and an herbal roll-on.
All in all, it was a lovely day, despite the rain, the chill, and the accompanying mud. After all, any day spent with those you love is magical!

Monday, June 22, 2015

COVER REVEAL! Wickedly Powerful

I don't suppose anyone out there is interested in seeing the cover of the next Baba Yaga book, Wickedly Powerful. What, you are? You're sure? Okay, here is the cover of Bella's story, coming in February 2016. What do you think? [I have to confess, I just love it!]

And yes, we finally have a cat on the cover! That's Bella's Chudo-Yudo, a dragon disguised as a huge Norwegian Forest Cat (she calls him Koshka).

Thanks again to my pal Alex Bledsoe for the great quote on the cover!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Baba Yaga Book 3 -- Finished!!!! (Giveaway)

I just finished writing the first draft of the third Baba Yaga book, WICKEDLY POWERFUL. Booyah! This one was more of a struggle than usual for a number of reasons (including the serious side-tracking that came with my step-daughter Jenn's mom Jo having a massive heart attack in March) but it is finally done, done, done! I had to stop in the middle and redo the entire front end because it had Issues, but I think shaped up pretty well in the end. I sent it off to my agent Elaine Spencer at the beginning of the week, so now I just hope she agrees! (And that after I do whatever revisions she suggests, and I send if off to my editor Leis, she agrees too! Although even if she loves it, there will be more revisions.)

I got to see the cover for the book and OH MY GODS I love it! I'm just waiting for the word that it is okay to share, and then I will let you have a peek too, I promise! [I also got to see the cover for VEILED MAGIC, the non-Baba Yaga series book coming out in ebook form in November, and that one rocks too!]

Next up is the fourth book in the Baba Yaga series. The next three (in theory--I only have a contract for the next two, so we'll see) will center around The Riders, although the Baba Yagas will make appearances I'm sure. Do you want to try and stop them? No, I didn't think so!

Book four is going to be Mikhail Day's story. I'm still playing with titles (since the "Wicked" titles only work for the not-so-wicked witches). What do you think of LIGHT OF DAY? (With the following titles being something like DARK OF KNIGHT/RISING SUN or SUN RISING) Or do you prefer something that plays on the original Wickedly titles like DANGEROUSLY CHARMING? Inquiring minds want to know.

But here's the big question: Who comes next after Day? Do I write book five about Gregori Sun (the Red Rider) or about Alexei Knight (the Black Rider)? I can't decide, and I need to make up my mind once I start working on the extended outline for Day's book. (I'm doing some research and character studies right now.)

So here's the deal! Give me your answer to either or both of the questions (title/which Rider) in the comments here, and I'll pick a commenter at random to receive a signed copy of the Baba Yaga book of her or his choice.

Also, did I mention I FINISHED?!!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Giveaway: Long Black Curl

As most of you probably already know (unless you're really new to the blog), I read A LOT. I also have a lot of friends who are authors. As you can imagine, this works out pretty well. Except for my budget and my overflowing shelves...

Like most folks, I have some authors who are "must buys." Any time they put out a book, I get it automatically. Sometimes even in (gasp) hardcover, if I can't wait the extra time for it to come out in paperback. Not all of these authors are friends, of course, although many of them are people I have stalked followed online long enough that they at least know who I am. (Snort.)

Here is a pile of what I've read in the last couple of months (not counting the books I read on the Kindle at night before bed, when my eyes are tired). Luna clearly had her favorite. When I got the book I put it down on the couch next to me and when I turned around, this is what I saw. Isn't that adorable?

Long Black Curl with a short tortie cat

Large pile of books with a curious yellow cat
You can see from the pile of books that I read a fairly eclectic selection. The bottom two are British contemporary romances, then there is one by an American author (I'm very picky about which contemporaries I read, but I do have a few favorite authors). Then there are a couple of my "must buy" folks who write fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal romance: Maria V. Snyder, Devon Monk, and Lisa Shearin. Plus a new-to-me author I discovered at Rober-Con last year, Laura Anne Gilman. I'm currently binge reading her Paranormal investigations series.

If a book is in this pile, you can safely assume I am recommending it wildly.

And then there is Alex Bledsoe, whose book, LONG BLACK CURL, Luna is so enamored with. Alex and I go way back--we both had stories in The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction--and although we haven't yet gotten to meet in person due to distance (he lives in Wisconsin, I live in upstate NY), we truly are friends. In fact, if you have a copy of WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, his name will probably look familiar to you. That's because he wrote one of blurbs on the back. (He called it "Paranormal romance at it's best"!)

Alex has a couple of fabulous series out. LONG BLACK CURL is the third in his "Tufa" novels. Here's the summary:
Long Black Curl: a brand-new tale in Alex Bledsoe's acclaimed urban fantasy series, where magic is hidden in plain sight and age-old rivalries simmer just beneath the surface

In all the time the Tufa have existed, only two have ever been exiled: Bo-Kate Wisby and her lover, Jefferson Powell. They were cast out, stripped of their ability to make music, and cursed to never be able to find their way back to Needsville. Their crime? A love that crossed the boundary of the two Tufa tribes, resulting in the death of several people.
Somehow, Bo-Kate has found her way back. She intends to take over both tribes, which means eliminating both Rockhouse Hicks and Mandalay Harris. Bo-Kate has a secret weapon: Byron Harley, a rockabilly singer known as the "Hillbilly Hercules" for his immense size and strength, and who has passed the last sixty years trapped in a bubble of faery time. He's ready to take revenge on any Tufa he finds.
The only one who can stop Bo-Kate is Jefferson Powell. Released from the curse and summoned back to Cloud County, even he isn't sure what will happen when they finally meet. Will he fall in love with her again? Will he join her in her quest to unite the Tufa under her rule? Or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the people who once banished him?
As always, Alex is going to send me my very own signed copy. (Woot!) But I couldn't wait to read it, so I bought one for myself...which I am now going to give away to one lucky reader! [Because it is a hardcover, and therefore heavy, I'm afraid I'm going to have to restrict this giveaway to USA only. Sorry foreign peeps.] I loved this book beyond measure. Alex is one of the best writers I know, which is really saying something. The Tufa are a fascinating mixture of fairy lore and Southern rural life, all wrapped up in magic and music. You WANT to read this series.

To enter, you can follow Alex on Twitter and/or leave a comment here. Tell me if you have a favorite author or authors, or if you have read any of Alex's books. This is a short one, so don't wait to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 8, 2015

Magical Monday: A Prosperity Spell

I asked folks over on My Facebook Page what kind of spell they'd like for this week. Naturally, I got about sixty different answers. (Thanks, guys. BIG help.) But a number of people asked for prosperity, so I'm going to share my favorite prosperity spell with you. I have a few, but this is the first one I wrote (for my first book, Circle, Coven & Grove) and it has worked well over the years for me and others.

Prosperity magick is often done on Thursdays, using a green candle. If you want to add a stone to the mix, many of the green stones, like malachite, jade, or aventurine, are also associated with prosperity.

One of the things I always suggest when doing prosperity work is to keep an open mind. If you ask for one specific thing, like money, you might or might not get it. But if you leave room for the Universe to improvise, you might end up getting just the right thing and the right time to fill whatever need you have.

When I am going to do this spell, I often take a green votive and using the tip of my athame or a toothpick, scratch a few rune symbols (such as Uraz and Gifu) into it, along with  my initials.

God and Goddess hear my plea
Rain prosperity down on me
Bring in monies large and small
To pay my bills, one and all
Money earned and gifts for free
As I will, so mote it be

Note: If you are concerned about getting your prosperity in a way that is less than positive (a relative dying, for instance), you can always add at the end of this or any other spell: For the good of all, and according to the free will of all, so mote it be.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Weedy Wednesday: The Garden Before & After plus Free Book!

It has been a strange spring, weather-wise, and getting the garden in has been trickier than usual. (It has either been way colder than usual or way hotter than usual, and we haven't had our usual spring rains until just last week.)

But as of last weekend, everything is finally in the ground and about 70% mulched (I have to buy more straw later this week before I can finish the rest). I'm a lazy gardener, really. I tend to do a lot of work in the beginning so I don't have to do much later.

Here's what it looked like a few weeks ago:

Garlic was about the only thing growing, since it gets planted in the fall.

A tiny patch of spinach that overwintered.

Yes, that says 90 degrees F. In early May.

The peas are one of the first things to sprout.
Here's what it looks like now:

The garlic!

Spinach patch with new planting of spinach & lettuce and a tomato.

The peas, mulched with straw to keep the soil moist and keep weeds down.

Another finished bed.
Who can tell me what I planted in the bed above? I'll give you a hint: there are two varieties of one kind of vegetable on either side of something different in the middle. The first person who guesses right gets a free signed book! (Or his or her choice, even.)