Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Witches Almanac #36: New Articles

The Spring 2017-2018 edition (issue 36) of The Witches Almanac would make a good Yule gift. This issue's theme is Water: Our Primal Source.

In addition to its usual features — Moon Gardening, the Moon Calendar, Moon Cycles, and Presage, where astrologer Dikki-Jo Mullen gives us the astrological outlook for the upcoming year — it also contains numerous articles not related to water, including the following that I contributed:

"Corpse Doors"
"Easter Witches"

From the Nordic countries we find two fascinating bits of folklore, one ancient (“Corpse Doors”), and one extending into the current time (“Easter Witches”).

The Witches Almanac is widely distributed. You can find it your local bookstore, chain bookstores, Amazon, and, of course, www.amazon.com, where you can also buy back issues.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

And now back to writing...

Due to the release of Wicked Witches, an anthology in which my short story “The Witch’s Apprentice” appeared, October and the first part of November were fun, but busy, months.

I combined my appearance at the New England Horror Writers' booth in Salem with some visits to friends and familiar businesses. Of course, Salem is extremely busy in the last days before Halloween, so there was just enough time to say hello and "I'll come back after things wind down."

Yesterday was a fun reading at Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a great little independent shop. The audience was great, the readers were great, and the shop personnel we great. It was a good cap to the Halloween season.

But now it's time to write again. I didn't manage to come up with an idea for a book for NaNoWriMo this year because I was too busy with the promotion for the new anthology. Next year I'll have to make sure I have something in mind before the end of August because things just get too busy once September rolls around. Do you find that, too? It seems that everything quickens. Families have to get children ready for school. College students are preparing for the next year. And for some reason, businesses pick up the pace. Maybe it's because now that vacation season is over, it's time to start new projects and finish old ones.

Even without NaNoWriMo, I have some short stories and non-fiction articles to keep me busy over the winter.

Have a safe holiday season, keep a cool head, and light a candle for world peace. We need it now.

Morven

Monday, November 07, 2016

Book Review: Rejection Proof

Rejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anything of Anyone at AnytimeRejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anything of Anyone at Anytime by Jia Jiang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a writer (or job-seeker), you face numerous chances of rejection. I saw the title of this book and thought it might have some useful information and decided to give it a try.

Though it's probably more useful to job-seekers, salespeople, or those seeking funding, it does have some aha moments for the rest of us. I found the following statement very useful for writers, job seekers, and probably actors and other creatives: "The rejection is more about the rejector than the rejectee."

Think about that for a minute. They're not rejecting you, they're rejecting your work, and most likely because it just doesn't appeal to *them*. It doesn't mean it's bad, but that it just doesn't appeal to them. Would/should a parsnip be offended if someone said, "No, thanks" at Thanksgiving dinner? No. It's personal taste (literally, in this example).

If you're having trouble dealing with rejection, this might help. I didn't particularly care for the narration style, but, hey, that's me. I listened to a sample on Audible and decided to go with it anyway. You might find a hardcopy or ebook better.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Author Event in Cambridge, MA, Saturday 11/19/16

Come join the New England Horror Writers at the Boston area's premier SF book and game store to celebrate the release of the Wicked Witches Anthology. I'll be one of the authors who will be reading from their pieces in the anthology. "The Witch's Apprentice" is a humorous, yet chilling, tale of what happens when an impatient neophyte decides to kick it up a notch.

Other authors reading their work are
James A. Moore
John M. McIlveen - Unable to attend
Errick Danger Nunnally
Remy Flagg
Doug Rinaldi
Trisha Wooldridge
Izzy Lee
Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert

Saturday, November 19, 2016
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Pandemonium Books
4 Pleasant Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
www.pandemoniumbooks.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"The Witches' Apprentice" Published in Wicked Witches

My short story "The Witches' Apprentice" appears in the latest New England Horror Writers anthology. Wicked Witches: An Anthology of the New England Horror Writers, edited by Scott Goudsward, David Price, and Daniel G. Keohane, pays tribute to those whose ancestors were accused, hung, pressed, drowned, or burned at the stake. "Enter these pages, wander the hard roads of Colonial America or modern corporate boardrooms, to face the Witch." Each writer interprets that theme in their own way, adding spice to this brew of fiction.

Grab a hot cider (or your tipple of choice) and curl up to a good read of chilling stories by G.D. Dearborn, Barry Lee Dejasu, Peter N. Dudar, Jeremy Flagg, Joshua Goudreau, Catherine Grant, Jan Kozlowski, Patrick Lacey, Izzy Lee, Nick Manzolillo, John McIlveen, Paul McMahon, James A. Moore, Errick A. Nunnally, Ogmios, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Doug Rinaldi, Rob Smales, Morgan Sylvia, K.H. Vaughan, Morven Westfield and Trisha J. Wooldridge. Introduction by Penny Dreadful; Cover art by Mikio Muraka

The book's official release will be at the Salem, Massachusetts Outdoor Market on October 29, 2016. If you've never been to Salem, MA during Halloween, maybe this is your year! Drop by the New England Horror Writers' booth and say hello. Printed copies of the book will be available for sale.


Wicked Witches
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: NEHW Press (October 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 099818540X
ISBN-13: 978-0998185408
Book Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book Review: Spellcaster (#1)

Spellcaster (Spellcaster, #1)Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I picked this book, I didn't realize that most of the characters would be in high school. I wasn't sure if I could identify with that age group, but I kept on listening because I was curious how the author presented magick.

She presented it well, and differently. The spells weren't theatrical, but powerful in a subtle, frightening way. I won't spoil things here, but the ingredients and the way Nadia, the main character, assembled them was unique.

And I shouldn't have worried about the age group; it dealt with themes we deal with at many different stages in life: not fitting it, being abandoned, and knowing you have to do something very difficult to save others.

I'd definitely recommend it for young adults, and suggest that this isn't the only age group that would appreciate it.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Assume Goodwill

Yesterday I was in line at a department store. The woman in front of me was doing what I usually do while the cashier is ringing up my purchase: removing hangers,  putting things in piles. The cashier reached over and said curtly, "I can do that."

Later, while the cashier rang up my two items, she said, "Thanks for letting me do my job."

I usually remove hangers and, in grocery stores, bag my own items. Cashiers usually thank me. They're happy that they can get a customer through the line quicker. And I'm happier because I have something to do besides stand there being bored.

So what happened with yesterday's cashier? Why was she visibly upset that the customer tried to be nice to her? Who knows. Maybe she has an idiot manager who thinks that cashiers aren't doing their job when customers help. Or maybe she just didn't assume goodwill.

Assume goodwill. I saw that sign on someone's office wall a few years ago, and as I waited for the person to conclude a phone call, I pondered the meaning. Assume goodwill. Then it hit me. It was referring to others' motives. Was that person who was taking the phone call trying to make me look small and unimportant? Or was there an emergency or other reason that the person had to take the call?

The person hung up and apologized. Had I assumed the worst -- that I was being disrespected -- and ripped her a new one -- I wouldn't have had that job very long.

In politics, both governmental and social group politics, I see many instances where deep rifts and lost friendships could have prevented if only the people had seen the sign I saw that day: Assume goodwill.

Think about it. Not everyone is out to get you. Assume goodwill and go from there.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Author Event Tomorrow (Sunday, April 24, 2016)

Just a reminder that tomorrow's five-author event at Some Enchanted Evening in Spencer, Massachusetts, starts at 1 pm. Join Jennifer Allis Provost, Morven Westfield, Becca Boucher, Diane Haynes, and T. J. Wooldridge for fun, refreshments, reading, and prizes.

For complete details, see http://morvenwestfield.blogspot.com/2016/04/five-authors-prizes-and-fun-april-24.html

Monday, April 11, 2016

Live on The Women Show

I'll be joining two other members of Broad Universe on member Elizabeth Black's online radio show this Thursday, April 14, 2016 from 6:30-7:00 PM Eastern Time. It'll be me, Trisha Wooldridge, and Terri Bruce.

Listen in, if you have a chance.

Here's the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bennetpomerantz2/2016/04/14/the-women-show-with-your-host-elizabeth-black

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Five Authors, Prizes, and Fun April 24


Five Authors. One event.

Sunday, April 24, 2016, 1-3 pm


Join five local authors for fun and food, readings and refreshments, prizes and pretties, cookies and chocolate, and books, all at the beautiful Some Enchanted Evening shop in Spencer, Massachusetts.

Join us for a few hours of exciting readings,  Q & A, and schmoozing with the authors.We've been working hard to put together creative raffle baskets with different themes: Celtic myth, dragon, vampires, and fairies, and everyone attending has a chance at winning.

Who are we?


Becca Boucher was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and remains a lifelong New England resident, which can be seen in the settings of her novels. Her first published work appeared in the Write More Publications anthology Novel Hearts (2013), which was followed by her novel Hunting The Moon in the fall of 2013. Hunting The Moon is the first in a three book paranormal romance series set in central Massachusetts. The second book, Midnight Raven, debuted in May 2015. Both books follow two women as they navigate a chilling Celtic curse, and a vengeful fairy. Besides paranormal romance, Ms. Boucher writes military fiction. Her short stories "Panel 35" and "The Shadow Soldier" are now available in a special print edition. Ms. Boucher is a freelance blogger and writer, and mom to two wonderful sons.

Diane Haynes grew up drawing and painting. Writing was relegated to daily reports written while working with disabled adults. Although she’s written at least a dozen short stories over the years, most were quickly relegated to notebooks in a drawer. Her series The Enchanted Forest, which featured YA Fantasy/Romance, Rift Healer, Sirocco, and Still Hunt, were published by Crescent Moon Press in 2012-2014. Diane lives in Central MA where she and her husband care for their rescued Basset Hounds, Ruby and Boris, whose sad pasts do nothing to diminish their willingness to be naughty. Check out her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DianeMHaynes/

Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies, too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior. Connect with Jenn online at www.authorjenniferallisprovost.com.

Morven Westfield is a fiction writer who lives in Central Massachusetts. The author of a two-book series in which a coven of witches investigate evil in the form of vampires, she regularly contributes non-fiction articles on folklore and the supernatural to The Witches Almanac. Like many writers, she keeps a messy office and drinks way too much coffee. See more at www.morvenwestfield.com.

Under her full name, Trisha J. Wooldridge writes grown-up horror short stories and weird poetry for anthologies and magazines that occasionally win awards. In her child-friendly persona of T.J. Wooldridge, she writes scary children’s novels. She’s also a freelance editor, copywriter, and journalist with info at www.anovelfriend.com. As if she weren’t busy enough, Trish is also a partner in the webcomic Aurelio at www.thevampireaurelio.com.


Some Enchanted Evening
234 Main St., Spencer, MA 01562   
1-508-885-2050
Facebook
Website
Some Enchanted Evening


Morven Westfield and T.J. Wooldridge are both members of Broad Universe, an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres. For more information, see www.broaduniverse.org.





Monday, March 21, 2016

World Backup Day - March 31

Don't be an April Fool.
Be prepared. Back up your files on March 31st. 

What a tagline! It's so apt! With all the methods of backing up, there's no reason not to, yet I can't tell you how many writers have told me they've lost irreplaceable works in progress. I'm sure it doesn't stop with them; how many musicians, visual artists, and photographers have suffered the same fate?

World Backup Day "is a day for people to learn about the increasing role of data in our lives and the importance of regular backups." The web site quotes some scary statistics: 30% of people have never backed up, 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses each month, and 113 phones are stolen every minute.

Add to that the number of hard disk failures and accidents (dropping a laptop, spilling coffee on a laptop, dropping your cell phone in the toilet, tripping over a power cord and pulling your computer off your desk) and it gets scarier. Add to that home break-ins and natural disasters like floods, fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes. As they say on the web site, "What would you do if you lost everything?"

Don't know how? They even provide instructions for backing up to a USB drive (for Windows and Macs) or online here.

In my humble opinion, to really be safe, you need to back up somewhere online because if natural disasters hit or someone breaks into your house and finds your USB sticks, it doesn't matter how many backups you have; they're all going bye-bye.

Can't afford an online backup service right now? They even provide suggestions for free places to back up. You could also try making an extra backup stick and leaving it with a friend. Just make sure that it's password-protected in case it gets stolen from your friend's house.

World Backup Day has a pledge. I'll be signing it.* Won't you?

*I'll be signing it, but I may cheat and back up the day before, just to avoid internet congestion.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Bookreview: Spellcasting in Silk

Spellcasting in SilkSpellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Series for her characters, her setting, and the way she handles magic. It's believable, but not boring.

Uh, maybe I should take back that part about "believeable." Lily has a familiar, a gobgoyle (half goblin, half gargoyle), who provides occasional comic relief and sometimes needed assistance in this cozy paranormal mystery.

Lily Ivory, who is revealed to be a powerful witch, was trained by her Mexican grandmother. The cross-cultural aspects are both beautiful and well-explained, adding depth to the story and intriguing this east-coast reader who has little exposure to Mexican-American magic.

I wasn't expecting the magical aspects of the ending of this book, but it made complete sense. I did guess who might have done it, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment.

The voice talent, Xe Sands, is once again more than up to the task. I really enjoy her voice and characterizations.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 29, 2016

Independent Bookstore Day 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016 marks the second annual Independent Bookstore Day. This one-day-only event started out as the California Bookstore Day, going national in 2015. Initially 93 stores participated, but grew to 350.

Members of regional Independent Bookseller's Associations who operate a brick-and-mortar store are eligible to participate, selling IBD merchandise (tote bags, t-shirts, and so on). They also sell special or limited editions of books (for example The Neil Gaiman Coloring Book, Brandon Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive), all in the spirit of helping to strengthen and restore the tradition of independent bookstores.


To find a participating bookstore near you, go to http://indiemap.bookweb.org/


Friday, February 05, 2016

Whereafter

I'm pleased to participate in the reveal of a friend's new book, Whereafter.

whereafterbanner

About the Book

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00074]
Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Mictlan Press
Number of Pages: 345
Genre: Paranormal / Contemporary Fantasy
Stuck on an island encircled by fire and hunted by shadows bent on trapping them there forever, Irene and Andras struggle to hold onto the last vestiges of their physical selves, without which they can never return to the land of the living. But it’s not just external forces they’ll have to fight as the pair grow to realize they have different goals. Irene still clings to the hope that she can somehow return to her old life—the one she had before she died—while Andras would be only too glad to embrace oblivion.
Meanwhile, Jonah desperately searches for a way to cross over to the other side, even if doing so means his death. His crossing over, however, is the one thing that could destroy Irene’s chances of returning home.
Too many obstacles, too many people to save, and the thing Irene most desperately wants—to return to her old life—seems farther away than ever. Only one thing is clear: moving on will require making a terrible sacrifice.

About the Author

Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.
Contact Details
Website/Blog: www.terribruce.net

Giveaway

Win a $15 Amazon gift card!

Book Excerpt

Andras grunted, the sound filled with suspicion. Irene bent down to tie her shoelace, as much to avoid eye contact as anything. When she straightened up, something in the distance caught her eye, shimmering like a mirage. She squinted, not sure she was really seeing what she thought she saw.
“You know, now might be a good time for you to tell me what it was like to live in a castle,” she said.
Andras shook his head, sadly, as if Irene had disappointed him. “You cling too much to the past. Forget the trappings of life. Free your mind from these longings, and so, free your soul. Only then will we be able to escape these shackles and enter Heaven to rest at the side of God.”
Why did he always have to argue about everything? “For God’s sake,” she said, exasperated, “just answer the question!”
“Wherefore?”
Irene pointed to the hulking structure in the distance. “Because,” she said as Andras whirled around to see what she was pointing at, “correct me if I’m wrong, but that looks like a castle.”
“Wow!” Irene said, her eyes roving over the dark, crenellated structure hulking in the far distance. It gleamed dully, the color of burnt blood in a fading afternoon sun. “What the hell do you think that is?”
Andras grunted. “As you said—Hell.”
Irene frowned at him, but her lips quirked in amusement. “Why do you have to be so negative? It could just as easily be Heaven. God is supposed to live in a palace, right—the whole ‘my father’s house has many rooms’ thing? A castle is just a type of palace.”
Andras gave her a dry look. “Does that look like Heaven?”
Irene was on the verge of agreeing that the castle did not in any way look how she imagined Heaven when it shimmered, as if the fading sunlight had been redirected by mirrors. Light rippled across the castle’s surface and the dull, dark, burnt-blood color transformed into gleaming, bright, silver-white. Crisp white pennants flapped from the corners as if whipped by wind. Irene thought she could hear them snapping crisply.
Irene looked at Andras, and he looked at her. His expression made it clear that he had seen the same transformation she had. It was as if the building was trying to trick them into coming closer.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Review: The Chimes

The ChimesThe Chimes by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Extremely well-performed. The voice actor never slipped into the wrong voice, read with just the amount of drama. The only problem I had was when he was speaking in a ghost voice, at lower volume, but that's because I listen when I'm walking and I had the volume adjusted for the other voices. Otherwise, it was excellent.

Regarding the story, I never read this book in school, so I was unfamiliar with it. It seems wrong to comment on the writing style for a novella written in 1844, and in England, where the language and writing style is so much different than it is in 2016 America, so I won't except to say it's not that difficult to follow.

The major thing to remember is that Dickens was not only a writer, but a social critic. Listen to what he says, and enjoy a moment of gratitude for what we have now, and a sigh for vestiges of social problems that remain.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: The Box Jumper

The Box JumperThe Box Jumper by Lisa Mannetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A dreamy, fascinating story woven around the intersection of magician Harry Houdini, writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the narrator, Leona. As the narrative unfolded, I found myself going back, eager to understand the nuances of the telling. The author's notes at the end put some things in perspective and this is one of those rare books that I'd like to read again someday.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Arisia 2016

Arisia, the first event of the convention year, is a volunteer-run convention that covers all aspects of science fiction and fantasy literature and media. Held at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, it's different from other science fiction conventions in at least two respects: panels and activities run nonstop throughout the night (yes, you can attend a panel or join an event at 2 a.m. if you're still awake) and it has as many lifestyle panels as literature/media/gaming panels.

I'll be attending, both as a fan and as a member of Broad Universe, an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.

The New England Chapter is very active, blessed by short distances and a number of fantasy, science fiction, and horror conventions all within commuting distance. They organize a Broad Universe party table  in the Dealer's Room. (If you're in there, stop on by and say hello.)  

On Sunday, January 17, at 10:00 AM, various members will read from their published works or works in progress in the Adams conference room. (If it's been moved for some reason, look for Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading in the official program.) I'll be reading from "The Fortune Teller," a short story that was published in Snowbound: With Zombies in September.

Some of the Broad Universe members (from the New England chapter and elsewhere) who will be reading include:

Connie Wilkins
Elaine Isaak
Lisa Evans
Morven Westfield (me)
Randee Dawn
Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert
Trisha Wooldridge