Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gifting Books ~ A Christmas Giveaway Hop


gifting books giveaway hop
#XmasGIVEAWAY
 
Gifting Books Christmas hop was organized by Reading Romances!
 
Happy Holidays! I'm giving away an e-copy of The Selkie Enchantress (Seal Island Trilogy, Book 2) to one winner! This giveaway is open internationally.
 
 
The Selkie Enchantress (Seal Island Trilogy, Book 2) ~ In this modern-day fairy tale romance, Irish islander, Caitlin Conner, has been in love with professor of Irish folklore, Liam O'Sullivan, for as long as she can remember. But just when he's starting to look at her as more than a friend, a mysterious woman arrives on Seal Island and captures his heart. As Caitlin discovers the truth behind the woman's lies, she realizes Liam is trapped in a dangerous enchantment and the only way to break the spell is to uncover a secret Irish fairy tale that has remained hidden for hundreds of years. But when the petals of a white rose grown in winter start to fall, the legend is set in motion. And Caitlin must find a way to change the ending before the last petal falls.
 
What you can win here: The Selkie Enchantress (e-copy)
Number of winners: 1
Open to (INT, US or US/CAN): INT
How to enter: The only *mandatory* entry is that you follow my blog via Google Friend Connect. The rest of the entries are optional, and each will earn you an additional chance to win! Simply fill out the rafflecopter below.
 

Thank you so much for entering.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy, Book 3) ~ Coming Soon!


 
Happy December, everyone! I have news on The Selkie Sorceress... :) I'm about a third of the way through the story now, and hope to release it in March/April 2013. As soon as I have a firm date, I'll send out another update. I'm having so much fun writing Sam and Glenna's story and I can't wait to share it with you! In the meantime, the lovely and talented Melpomene Selemidis tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop to answer some questions about The Selkie Sorceress, including which actor and actress I'd choose to play the lead roles!

What is the working title of your book?
The Selkie Sorceress

Where did the idea come from for your book?
The Selkie Sorceress is the third book in the Seal Island Trilogy. It's a magical Irish romance starring Glenna McClure and Sam Holt, secondary characters from The Selkie Spell and The Selkie Enchantress.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Fantasy Romance/Irish Fairy Tale Romance

Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?
The incomparable Viggo Mortensen as tough-minded American detective Sam Holt


The sultry beauty Kiera Knightly as clairvoyant Irish artist Glenna McClure


What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Glenna must find a way to stop Sam from uncovering a dark secret that could destroy the lives of everyone on Seal Island, but in order to stop him she will have to face the terrible curse that has haunted her all her life.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The Selkie Sorceress will be self-published.

How long did it take for you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It takes me about six months to complete a final draft of a novel.

What other books would you compare this story to?
Readers of Nora Roberts magical Irish trilogies might like the Seal Island Trilogy.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?
My readers! I am so overwhelmed by the incredible feedback I've gotten from readers about The Selkie Spell and The Selkie Enchantress. Their encouragement and enthusiasm inspires me more than anything. :)

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
The Selkie Sorceress is a modern-day fairy tale set on a magical Irish island where wild roses hold secrets to powerful enchantments that can only be broken by true love's spell. The magical roses in this story are orange, and they only bloom at midnight. But when the mysterious roses growing outside Sam's cottage begin to turn black, Glenna knows that she will have to break the curse that has haunted her all her life before the final petal fades to ash.

***

I hope you enjoyed my post on The Selkie Sorceress. What did you think of the actor and actress I chose? Who would you choose to play Sam and Glenna? (Thanks again to all my Facebook fans for weighing in on this question over the past week!)

Lastly, because it's December and the season of giving, I'm offering a special holiday surprise! Today through Friday, The Selkie Spell is FREE and The Selkie Enchantress is on sale for 99cents on Amazon! Please treat yourself to one (or both!) of my magical Irish romances. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meet Angie Richmond ~ Writer, Artist, and All-Around Creative Soul


Back in October, I entered the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction contest run by Anna Meade of Yearning for Wonderland. My entry, Scarlet's Rose Petal Revenge, won the fan favorite contest AND it was chosen as one of the final four winners in the judged contest!! Thank you again to everyone who voted and to Anna for running such a fabulous contest. :)

Of course, the best part about the contest was the amazing prizes. As winner of The Dark Arts Package, I won an original art canvas designed by Angie Richmond (see above) with a quote from my story on the piece! (We chose the quote: "When a hot wind blows through the windows at night, the roses rattle like bones.") I was so excited to receive this prize in the mail and it's hanging in my bedroom now so I can see it every day. :) I've invited Angie onto the blog to tell us a little about her life as an artist, writer, and creativity consultant!


Sophie: What was the first mixed media art piece you created and how did you come up with the idea?
Angie: I suppose in some form or another I’ve been creating mixed media art for many years, but if I had to select one that really kicked off my current work I’d say it was a piece that I created in honor of my step-brother who passed away in a car accident earlier this year. After I found out, for some reason all I could think of was creating a tribute for him. He loved dragons so I started there. It started off as a way for me to deal with the loss. I didn’t put much conscious thought into it. It was all visceral.


Sophie: In your Etsy shop you describe your mixed media art as "combining my love of birds with my love of words." Can you tell us a little more about your love of birds and how they inspire your artwork?
Angie: I first realized that I had a thing for birds when I was working through Julia Cameron's book The Artist Way. Every morning I would get up at 5:00 am, head to my sitting room and write my morning pages. Now I'm not sure what it's like where you live but at 5:00 am it's pretty quiet -- except for the birds. I found myself starting my pages in the same way every morning:
  1. I hate mornings 
  2. I can hear the birds chirping
They always managed to pull me out of my funk at being up so early. Then I started really paying attention and noticed that I unconsciously decorated my entire sitting room in a bird & tree theme. It just seemed natural to incorporate both of these into my artwork. 


Sophie: As an artist and a writer who also works a full time job, do you have any tips for how busy people can learn to live more creative, artistic lives?
Angie: I hear this all the time – I’m too busy! – But when you actually stop and look at how you spend your time, you realize it’s just not true. We all have the same amount of hours each day; it’s just how we choose to spend them. I find the biggest time drain is TV. Most people I know who say they don’t have time to be creative spend at least 3 hours sitting mindlessly in front of the television. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-TV, it’s just that collectively as a society we spend a lot of time plunked down on the couch. So I have two suggestions:
  1. Keep a time log to see where you are spending your time and where you can “trim the fat”. This is a HUGE eye opener! Keep a small notepad and pen on you and just make quick notes – nothing too extravagant or else it becomes too much of a chore. Then after tracking for a few days or a week, you’ll see where you have time.
  2. If TV is integral to who you are then consider multitasking. Yes I realize there is an ongoing debate on whether humans can effectively multitask – but let’s pretend that’s not an issue.  Sometimes I just like hearing the TV and so I have it on in the background while I do more productive things like working on my art. Then again I enjoy being busy so I tend to take every spare moment I have and put it towards creativity J
As for actually being creative, there are so many ways to infuse creativity into your life! The first step is thinking about what interests you and then just going for it – without fear – because in my experience fear is what holds us back from trying new things. But that could be a whole other post ;)


Sophie: You recently started a new business called Creative Living Strategies. Can you tell us a little about it?
Angie: I did! Creative Living Strategies is my creativity & life purpose coaching business. My focus is helping clients in three main ways:
  1. Self-discovery
  2. Creativity infusion & exploration
  3. Career transition (in particular into non-traditional careers or “creative” careers)
But that’s just a starting point! As a coach it’s my job to work with clients to achieve whatever goal(s) they wish to accomplish. I’m there to help them stay focused, challenge them to push past their perceived limitations and uncover all those fabulous strengths they have while fine tuning the ones that need a bit of help. I’m passionate about creativity and doing work that I love - helping people discover and follow their passions – well that’s what I love to do!
 
***
 
Thank you so much for coming on the blog today, Angie! To find out more about Angie Richmond, visit...
 
Coaching Website: Creative Living Strategies
Website: Write Me Happy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magical Gemstones of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends ~ by Marsha A. Moore


Dear friends,

I'm pleased to welcome Marsha A. Moore, author of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends, onto my blog today. Marsha's series and my Seal Island Trilogy have been linked up on Amazon for a few weeks now so naturally, we started chatting on Twitter. :) I picked up the first book in her series and thought it was a fun, magical read. But what really caught me was Marsha's use of magical gemstones throughout her stories. I have always been fascinated by gemstones and their magical powers, and Marsha has kindly offered to share some of her knowledge with us today! Marsha is also celebrating a brand new release--Lost Volumes (Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three). Please join me in welcoming Marsha and I hope you enjoy her guest post!


Thank you, Sophie, for inviting me to be your guest today. I’ve long been fascinated with gemstone lore, and it seemed natural to include that as a major part of the magical systems in my Enchanted Bookstore Legends. I’m glad to be able to share this with your readers.

Magical Gemstones of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends
by Marsha A. Moore
 

When my heroine, Adalyra McCauley opens an enchanted book she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save Dragonspeir from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. In my latest release, Lost Volumes, the third book of the series, Lyra learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague at the hands of the Black Dragon. She doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra.
She puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.
In order to overpower his efforts, Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.
Throughout her quests in the Legends, Lyra and Cullen use and encounter many gemstones imbued with magical properties. Learning the properties of these stones is something Lyra must master in order to succeed and survive. I’ve long been fascinated by gemstone lore, and incorporating this into Lyra’s adventures has been a special treat for me. I’ll share a few of my favorite examples:
Obsidian has always been valued for its protective abilities. It has been associated with the inner mysteries of the Goddess, symbolizing entrance to the labyrinth, and the womb or the subconscious self.
In Lost Volumes (book three), a set of Axiolite Obsidian stones, paired by exact banding of their white inclusions, serve as the tool to open the portal to the mysterious underground world of Terza. The Imperial Dragon, Head Guardian of the Alliance, opens the connector for the first time in over a hundred years. Lyra and Cullen must travel there and barter for a black magic cure to the deadly disease plaguing Alliance residents.
When the couple travels into Terza, the walls are dotted with obsidian stones. The magical white inclusions glow, providing dim light as they traverse dank tunnels inhabited with oversized rats, rat-people called Rotters, and undead skeletal people called Vizards.
Moonstone and Onyx Moonstone has been called a visionary stone by some, moonstone brings inspiration, strengthens intuition and sensitivity, enhances creativity, allows the wearer to see situations from different angles, and helps one to see things more clearly. It has even been said that moonstone has the power to grant wishes. Onyx is generally believed to help with objective thinking and spiritual inspiration, which helps the wearer move beyond bad relationships and old hurts.
In Heritage Avenged (book two), a large rainbow moonstone is used as the focal point of an instrument which interprets information hidden in the stars. It is the focal rondure of the Spheres of Sidus. That device helps answer a chosen question from the reader’s past. Three onyx balls are positioned according to current positions of the birth stars of specific ancestors. The onyx balls of the Spheres of Sidus relate to past relationships. When, at last, the moonstone rondure is placed and given sufficient power, it conjures an answer in the form of a hologram-like image.
Ruby has energy that is intense and vivid, helping you see your own strength. It is said that the power of Ruby will encourage you to follow your dreams and bliss, to change your world.  It encourages leadership and increased concentration, with sharpness of intellect.
In Heritage Avenged, Lyra is drawn to a ruby displayed by the Dark Alchemist, Tarom. She is born under the Aries fire sign and cannot resist the powers of the fiery ruby. He knows this and tempts her with a taste of what the ruby’s energy can do to multiple her own powers, eliciting dark qualities of greed to pull her off her path of what is noble and good.

In Lost Volumes, when Lyra travels into Terza, she learns about how the first Scribe also fought against the seductively powerful Emtori Ruby she was expected to remove from the collection of the Black Dragon. Lyra discovers the ruby remains hidden rather than destroyed as most thought.

Heliodor, also called Golden Beryl, has long been cut into spheres for scrying since it enhances the owner’s psychic awareness.

In Seeking a Scribe (book one), Lyra is given a gift from each of the four Guardians—the Phoenix, the Tortoise, the Imperial Dragon, and the Unicorn—the four Chinese sacred animals who balance all of creation through their influences on the elements of fire, water, air, and earth, respectively.

The Unicorn’s gift to Lyra is a scrying stone of heliodor. The golden hue of the stone he matches to the unique color of her visible scribal aura. An aura is an extension of power from the soul of a magical being, which can expand and surround their entire body. To use her heliodor, Lyra concentrates on one single question about a future event. The stone answers with an image she must decipher. Faced with dangerous situations, she’s glad for any guidance, even if cryptic.

Jade has long been revered as a symbol of love. In ancient China a prospective bride would present her betrothed a jade butterfly to seal their engagement. Likewise the bridegroom would give his sweetheart a gift of jade before their wedding. This gem is considered one of the most important symbols of purity and serenity.

In my Legends, once love grew between Lyra and Cullen, it is visibly connected through a gift of lovers’ paired jadestones. Only one set of these powerful stones exists in Dragonspeir. The gems are mounted into two ornate brooches, male and female settings. The two call to each other and bond Lyra and Cullen’s magic, enabling them to locate each other and use their combined magical powers as one extremely strong unit. This proves invaluable in many dangerous situations.

As their love deepens in Heritage Avenged, the gems have more uses, being able to store large quantities of energy. In one horrific moment, Lyra’s jadestone is stolen from her, just when she is depending on it to save Cullen’s life. She struggles to get it back, and when she does, she is rewarded with answers to many of her deepest questions.

Jet wards off dark magic by balancing the emotions of the wearer to protect him/her from possession.

It’s no wonder that a necklace of jet was created for the first Scribe to protect her from being mentally possessed by evil forces of the Dark Realm in Dragonspeir. After the Black Dragon trajects his magic through Lyra in the first book, Seeking a Scribe, Cullen gives her that ancient necklace and initiates its magic once again. In Heritage Avenged, Lyra discovers that jet necklace absorbs and protects her from dark powers shot at her by the Imperial Alchemist and Lord of the Tempestas. However, in Lost Volumes, the powers of the alchemist are so strong that the jet pendant burns Lyra’s skin as it absorbs and protects her from his evil strikes.

Opal is considered to be able to confer the gift of invisibility on its wearer.

A mysterious benefactor sends Lyra a gift of a rare opal invisibility ring at just the right moment at the end of the first book. During Heritage Avenged, a man steals this ring from Lyra along with her jadestone. However, in this case, the joke is on the thief since the gem will only unlock its magic for females.

Sapphire has been associated with divine favor. The Buddhists believed that the sapphire favored devotion and spiritual enlightenment. The ancient Greeks linked sapphire with Apollo, and wore it as an aid to prophecy when consulting oracles. It is worn and utilized in rituals to strengthen the ability to tap and send forth power.

Blue is the designated color of allegiance to the Alliance. The highest magicals in the Alliance each possess a sapphire, including each of the four Guardians. Cullen’s wizard staff bears a sapphire at its apex, which channels his power into sharp streams.

Amethyst and Iolite Amethyst can be used to increase psychic awareness, to sharpen the 'sixth sense.' Similarly, iolite stimulates the wearer’s spiritual awareness, guide him/her to a higher awareness, and awakens inner knowledge. Iolite helps its owner to open the door to the knowledge of the Universe.

Both of these purple gems are worn by several magical residents of Dragonspeir who don’t align their support with either the Dark Realm of the Black Dragon or the Alliance of the Imperial Dragon. Colors are worn to display allegiance, red for the Dark Realm and blue for the Alliance. Purple, an intermediate color, indicates these individuals stand apart. Included in this group are the alchemists for both realms, as well as many of the magical nomadic tribal peoples who are sky readers. These renegades pose as much threat for Lyra as the Dark Realm, pursuing her for her unique scribal aura.

I’ve always enjoyed the legends and lore of gemstones. Their mystical qualities added another layer of magic to my Legends. To see these amazing stones in action, read the Enchanted Bookstore Legends: Seeking a Scribe(book one); Heritage Avenged (book two); Lost Volumes (book three).

***

To find out more about Marsha, visit...  

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarshaAMoore
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marshaamooreauthorpage

Amazon links:
Seeking a Scribe (Enchanted Bookstore Legends One)
Heritage Avenged (Enchanted Bookstore Legends Two)
Lost Volumes (Enchanted Bookstore Legends Three)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Magical Surprise from the Seal Island Selkies!


This week, I'm celebrating the one year anniversary of the release of my debut novel, The Selkie Spell. To show my gratitude for all my wonderful readers, The Selkie Spell will be ON SALE for $.99 and The Selkie Enchantress, will be FREE on Amazon from November 7th - November 9th!


This is my way of saying thank you to every single one of you who have blessed me with your kindness and generosity on this amazing journey. I hope you'll treat yourself to one (or both!) of my Irish fairy tales this week. Because, really, who couldn't use a little more magic and romance in their life? :)
 
 
But that's not all!!
 
Because I'm a huge fan of birthdays and there's nothing I love more than giving presents, I'm giving away a Crystal Journey Herbal Magic Love Candle to one lucky winner!! 
 
 
Raffle runs from Nov 7th - midnight Nov 9th
One Winner will be chosen
This giveaway is open to *US Residents only*
All you have to do to enter is use the rafflecoptor below!
  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How Ancient Celtic Traditions Influence Our Modern Notions of Halloween ~ by Diane J. Reed

Photo Credit: http://tinyurl.com/8nxdq78

Diane J. Reed, author of the magical love story Twixt, has a special surprise for us today! Earlier this month, Diane mentioned she was giving a book club talk on the link between ancient Celtic traditions and Halloween. Oh, how I wanted to go to that talk! But since we don't live anywhere near each other, I asked Diane if she'd be willing to share some of what she talked about in a guest post!

š The Past is Present
How Ancient Celtic Traditions Influence Our Modern Notions of Halloween
By Diane J. Reed, author of TWIXT
 

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story or relish the spooky fun of Halloween? As with many holidays, this celebration has had a variety of influences over time (not the least of which is modern marketing—check out the displays at Target!). But many scholars believe one of its earliest origins is with the ancient Celts of Ireland and their festival of Samhain (roughly translated as “Summer’s End”). The Celts celebrated the culmination of their harvest season and start of their new year on November 1st with festivities and bonfires that included rituals for honoring the dead. Why? Because according to their sense of time, depicted as the Wheel of the Year that marked their planting, growing, and harvesting periods, two crucial dates--Beltane in spring and Samhain in fall--represent a unique moment when they believed the "veil is thinnest between worlds," making it easier for them to communicate with their ancestors and other supernatural entities. Hence, our modern images of spooks and trick-or-treaters harkens back to the idea that the Celts believed that spirits more easily roamed the earth during this time, and it would be best to either appease them or to ward them off! So to keep less desirable spirits at bay, the Celts carved scary faces into turnips (the predecessor to the jack-o-lantern) and offered treats (such as homemade biscuits and cakes) to the more agreeable spirits, such as their deceased relatives or roaming bands of fairies (a.k.a. the "good people"). Divination was also thought to be more accurate this time of year, so many prophetic rituals were employed that included peeling apples in a continuous strand to see if their falling shapes revealed the initials of potential lovers, or glancing into mirrors and squinting to discern if the faces of their next suitors might appear. Over the centuries, as the Celtic lands became Christianized, Samhain eventually was relagated to the religious holiday of All Hallows Eve on October 31st, which later morphed into what we call Halloween. 

What’s important to note, however, is that for the Celts, this other “realm” that was so near throughout Samhain was never considered very far away during the rest of the year. For the Celts, the past is always present—in every mound, tree, boulder, lake or mountain. These places are rife with history and lore that to the Celtic mind were alive and animated “now,” not just “then.” In modern times, we tend to think of life as linear, with one event following after the other (and there’s no going back!), as though life passes by on a conveyor belt or sweeps down a river. But try to imagine, if you will, that time has parallel dimensions that are not a line but are rather a circle or connection of spirals. “What lies beneath” might be a more appropriate catch phrase, because instead of viewing time as a swift moving stream, ancient Celts viewed it as more of a lake. We who are living now are simply leaves floating on the surface of that lake—but underneath us is a vast depth filled with All-Time, a combination of the lives of our ancestors who are still active in their realm as well as mythical/historical figures and events, and that dimension continues to have enormous influence on the future. So even though the Celts believed in reincarnation, they often didn’t communicate their thoughts about those earlier lives as distant or long forgotten. In fact, to have shapeshifted in various births from a raven to a seal to a horse to a stalk of wheat made one a rather wise, well-rounded person and better suited to a place of leadership in society. To such minds as the Celts, Samhain is just one more opportunity to listen to the wisdom of all that has come before and all that will be, and to dance around the bonfire in celebration of the spirits from the past, present, and future that come together in that joyful circle. Could it be that our enjoyment of Halloween is linked not only to this merriment, but also to our longing for a spiritual connection? For although we get to dress up and try on fun or scary “masks”, we also get to entertain the notion for just one night that the spirit world might not be so far away after all—and that the past might actually be present in such a way that comforts and guides us to our futures.
 
* * *

I hope you enjoyed Diane's guest post. We'd love to hear from you! Drop us a note and let us know how you're planning to celebrate Halloween this year. And in case you need a special treat for the "roaming bands of fairies," check out Diane's incredible Enchanted Irish Fairy Cake Recipe. Though... you may not be as willing to share them after you taste the icing!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

One Year Blogiversary and Invitation to Party!


Today is my one year blogging anniversary. It's hard to remember what life was like before jumping into this blogging, tweeting, publishing party. Being able to share my stories with the world has been a dream come true for me. I am so grateful for every reader who picked up a copy of The Selkie Spell and The Selkie Enchantress this year. Thank you.

But for all the amazing things that have happened this year, this journey would not have been the same without the incredible blogging and twitter friends I've met. Your support, encouragement, kindness and friendship has meant so much to me. And I can't imagine a better way to celebrate than by throwing a virtual party for all of you!

Here's how it's going to work... I want you to go through your own blogs (or websites) and find a post that you wrote before you had the following you have today. Dig out a favorite post that didn't get as much love as you thought it deserved, dust it off, and paste the link in the comments section below. Feel free to give us a little teaser line so we know what it's about. :)

Have fun with it! Then mingle through the comments section, say 'hi' to the other bloggers, click on a few links and maybe leave a comment or two. Who knows... you might make a new friend or find some new blogs to follow. Maybe a few of them will even follow you back!

All I ask in return is that you consider following my dear friend, Susie Lindau's wildly popular blog ~ Susie Lindau's Wild Ride. Susie was one of the first bloggers I met last year. Her blog is funny and clever and you never know quite what to expect. The virtual Promote and Party Day was her idea and she's hosted several now on her blog. I always have so much fun at her parties, I asked her if I could borrow her idea just this once, and she has kindly granted me permission. :)

So to kick off the festivities, here is my first ever blog post from October 11th, 2011: Sunflower Dust. Now grab a drink, join the party, and share something fun in the comments section below!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Behind the Curtain ~ Scarlet's Rose Petal Revenge


Photo Credit: gypsypurplefashion.tumblr.com

I said I did not want the roses. But he sent them anyway--a dozen long stemmed roses after every show. I tried giving them away, dumping them in the trash. I threw them at him once, when my temper flared as red as the scattered petals.

But he will not stop.

He lingers until the rest of the cast is gone, until the theatre is empty, but for me. I stay late to practice my lines on stage, when the chairs are empty, when my words echo through the auditorium. I close my eyes and imagine it's only me.

But he watches from the wings. I hate that he is there.

He always includes a card with the roses, two words scrawled on one side: With love. The words make me sick. Anything from him would make me sick. He laughs when I tell him. He thinks I'm joking.

I never joke.

But I'm taking the roses home now. I've found a better use for them. I'm lobbing off the tops and hanging them upside down, leaving only the thorny stems. I'm letting them fade to brittle, dried-out sticks. When a hot wind blows through the windows at night, they rattle like bones.

He says I owe him. He made me a star. Before he found me, I was nothing. Without him, I'd be nothing again. I'd rather be nothing, than surrounded by roses and him.

I brought them with me tonight, tucked into a brown bag under my dressing table. I wait for everyone else to leave, and step out onto the stage to practice my lines. I know he's there. I can feel his eyes on me, hear the slow slosh of liquid as he downs the last of the red wine.

I take my time, until his chair creaks and the bottle falls with a clatter. Through a gap in the curtain, I see he's passed out. Quietly, I lay the stems across the dusty stage floor, under the hem of the red velvet curtain. I strike a match. The black thorns sizzle and pop.

My heels click through the deserted halls of the darkened theatre, smoke trailing in my wake. Behind me, I hear a man's primal scream. I slip out the door and lock it. The rest have already been barred. I lay a dozen roses across the final latch.

With love.

***

Dear friends, this is my third attempt at flash fiction. The lovely Anna Meade (@ruanna3) of the enchanting Yearning for Wonderland blog announced the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Contest a few days ago and I could not resist entering. Scarlet's Rose Petal Revenge (398 words) is darker than my usual writing, but with Halloween around the corner it seemed fitting to add a touch of darkness. I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Friday, August 31, 2012

A Magical #BlueMoonParty to Celebrate The Selkie Enchantress Release!


I am so excited to announce the release of The Selkie Enchantress, the second story in the Seal Island Trilogy! It is available now on Amazon.com. In this magical sequel to The Selkie Spell, Caitlin Conner must find the key to unlocking a mysterious Irish fairy tale that has remained hidden for hundreds of years to rescue professor of Irish folklore, Liam O'Sullivan, from a powerful enchantress's spell.

To celebrate the release of The Selkie Enchantress on the same day as the Blue Moon, I'm throwing a #BlueMoonParty on Twitter to celebrate all things magic and fairy tales. Since parties are always more fun with friends, I've banded together with two of my favorite magical people to bring you some very special surprises today. :)

Ever since meeting Fairy artist, Liza Lambertini, on Twitter many moons ago, I began pestering her for a selkie silhouette. She created this stunning Selkie Drawing Down the Moon silhouette earlier this year, which she posted on the same day as my birthday! Of course, she had no idea it was my birthday, but that just made it even more magical.


Today, Liza is revealing a brand new Blue Moon Selkie silhouette! If you look closely, you'll see this selkie is holding a rose and the magical petals are falling into the sea. So beautiful... :) To see more of Liza's amazing fairy art, flutter over to faeriewood.com.


I am blessed to have met so many wonderful people on Twitter this year. To kick off the Blue Moon celebrations this week, my lovely and talented author friend, Diane J. Reed, posted A Special Blue Moon Spell on her website banditsranch.com. So... get your wishes ready! And, as if that's not enough, Diane is offering her magical Irish fairy tale, Twixt, for sale this weekend at $.99!!


I loved this magical love story and after reading it, I started bugging Diane for her Enchanted Irish Fairy Cake Recipe which is featured in Twixt. I've made these fairy cakes twice now and they are amazing! I'm pretty sure she wouldn't mind if you added a touch of blue food coloring to the icing in honor of the Blue Moon. *wink*

Are you feeling the magic yet? I hope so. :) And I hope you'll help us celebrate this unique magical event by popping into the #BlueMoonParty on Twitter today. Tweet us your favorite Blue Moon outfits (sparkly blue heels are encouraged!), Blue Moon cocktails (Blue Moon margaritas, anyone?), and pictures of the Blue Moon rising in the night sky! If you need some inspiration, take a peek at the gorgeous Blue Moon group board on Pinterest, which so many of our wonderful fairy tale friends have contributed to. Tweet to us @SMossWrites, @DianeJReed, @LizasArt, or use the hashtag #BlueMoonParty. And there might be a super secret, extra special surprise for whoever has the best outfit! :)

I will be wearing this dress:


In my imagination, I will be wearing these shoes:



In reality, I will probably be wearing something more like this (Thanks, Meg! @charitygirlblog):



Wherever you are, and whatever you're doing to celebrate, I hope your Blue Moon Friday is filled with love, laughter and magical surprises!



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sleeping Beauty's Rose Petal Dreams

Photo credit: http://www.viona-art.com/portfolio/archive/fairytale

If roses were dreams, mine would be pink. Not frilly and edged with lace. But thick, suffocating folds of mauve, like the velvet gown I wore to last night's ball.

They call me Beauty. But they do not know my name. The name I was born with--Briar Rose. They do not know that underneath the surface, my thorns are black, and sharp as the beak of a crow.

They're breaking in. It was only a matter of time. The roses are snaking in the windows, twisting up the bedposts, curling around my wrists.

They said it was the witch who cast the spell. But it was me. I pressed my flesh into the tip of the needle. I let the drop of blood fall. I know what they want from me. But I cannot do it.

For it is not a prince I seek. But a man of the woods. One who does not fear the thorns. Or the wall of roses--a hedge, thick and tight as a corset, encircling this forgotten palace where I lay. In the highest chamber, in the tallest tower. Dreaming of roses. And him.

No. A prince could not give me these dreams. These rose petal dreams that blind me with longing. He, only he, will know to look for me here. The one who will not recognize me as Beauty. But as Briar--a tangled knot of thorns and velvet petals.

***

This is my second attempt at flash fiction. You can read my first, "Drinking in a Lavender Rose Petal Spell," here. I find flash fiction so soothing. It's much more freeing than writing a novel. Because you can give into a creative impulse instead of worrying how each sentence is going to affect every little thing that comes after. I'm used to writing novels. Novels take so much time and patience and thought. Flash fiction is really just a "flash" of inspiration I might get walking or gazing out the window or finding a pretty picture on Pinterest. Loads of beautiful images to spark the imagination on Pinterest. I hope you enjoy my twist on Sleeping Beauty. I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Magical Trip to the Sea


The Selkie Enchantress is with my beta readers now and as soon as I hear back from them, I'll pick a release date for book two of the Seal Island Trilogy! I'm so excited to share Caitlin and Liam's story with you. I had a blast getting to know these characters and I think you're going to be very suprised by the ending... :)

To celebrate finishing The Selkie Enchantress, I took a wonderful trip to Southern California to visit my close friend and writer pal Juliette Sobanet--Chocolate for Writers--and attend the annual Romance Writers of America conference. We spent the first few days in San Diego hanging on the beach and soaking up the beautiful ocean views.


First glimpse of the sea in Del Mar!

Sometimes we switched spots, opting for a cliff view instead. :)

Could sit here all day long.

One sunny afternoon, we wandered into the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens in Encinitas. I'm not sure how much "self-realizing" we did, but the gardens were gorgeous.


Ocean view from the meditation gardens.

Juliette and Sophie.

Magical doorway to the sea...

Like something from a dark fairy tale!

Of course, my favorite part of the trip was driving down the coast to La Jolla Cove to visit the San Diego selkies.


View of the California coast from La Jolla Cove.




I found them! I found the San Diego selkies!!




How cute are they all cuddled together like that?

The two in the water were making some serious noise!

I had to get a pic with my favorite magical sea folk. :)

We spent the rest of the week in Anaheim, at the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference. It's always fun to go to workshops, meet your favorite authors, and make new friends. Especially if it's the kind of friend who will smuggle a bottle of wine into the Golden Hearts/Rita Awards Ceremony with you. (Thanks, Marion!) Marion lives in the UK and writes New Adult fiction--check out her blog at Marion Croslydon. She's releasing her first book in October so look for her to make big waves this fall!

I'll be posting more news on the countdown to The Selkie Enchantress very soon!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunshine and Sweet Tea


Yesterday I typed the last word of The Selkie Enchantress, the second story in my Seal Island Trilogy! I have been writing like mad for months and editing as I go, so I should be days away now from sending it off to my beta readers. I can't wait to hear what they think. Now that I have a moment to breathe, I look forward to giving my blog some love again. :)

I love blogging. I really do. I didn't know what to expect when I started, but it seemed like a fun idea so I figured I'd give it a go. What I didn't expect was how many amazing people I would meet through blogging. And Twitter, of course. I think of them as one and the same, really. Twitter is sort of like a doorway to invite people into your home (or your blog) where they can learn more about you and get a glimpse into who you really are. I've learned what to expect from my favorite bloggers, what kind of conversations we'll have, what issues we'll discuss. Some of these blogs have become places I visit regularly--comfortable, familiar places where I can kick off my shoes and stay awhile.

This week, three lovely bloggers I met through Twitter nominated me for a sunshine award. If you're not following them already, you should!

Lisa Shambrook ~ @LastKrystallos

Meg McNulty ~ @charitygirlblog

Rebecca/Moonduster ~ @moonduster

As for the award, I'm supposed to tell you ten things about myself, so here goes...

1) I love bluegrass music, especially the sound of the fiddle.

2) I always have a candle burning, probably because I'm an Aries (fire sign).

3) I love almond-scented things, oils, lotions, soaps. Yum.

4) Most of my wardrobe is blue, probably because I blush a lot (Irish complexion). Blue cools me down.

5) I think biking is the secret to happiness.

6) I love to watch the moonrise over the cornfields at night.

7) I write best when it's raining outside.

8) I grew up riding horses and I hope to get back into it one day.

9) I've only been to Ireland once. I can't wait to go back.

10) I have a green thumb, and love to garden.

To spread the sunshine love around, I'm supposed to nominate ten more bloggers, but I think I'll dedicate this particular award to the memory of someone who was a ray of sunshine to me when I moved into my first apartment in DC several years ago. Patsy Jo was my next-door-neighbor. She was in her late-sixties, had a thick North Carolina drawl, lived in the district for decades and worked on Capital Hill her whole life. She knew everyone.

I knew no one, and every night when I came home from work, I'd pass by her door, which was always open, and she'd call out asking if I wanted a glass of sweet tea. Which she made fresh. Every day. Her King Charles Spaniel, Dutchess, would be sitting out on her brick stoop, wagging her tale. I'd wander over and she'd have me pick some fresh mint from the garden and we'd sit outside, sipping tea and greeting the rest of the neighbors as they came home. After we all got to know each other a little better, that turned into vodka, but who's keeping track? I have since moved many times into different places around the city, but this first home and the wonderful neighbors I met living there will always hold a special place in my heart.

My first garden which Patsy helped me create.

The same garden, mid-summer.

And look how beautiful it grew by early fall!
I hope Patsy's sweet tea recipe will bring a little sunshine to your day.

Patsy's Southern Sweet Tea
(No measurements, add ingredients to taste)
Boil a big pot of water
Melt sugar into the water
Turn off the heat
Add tea bags
Add cloves
Let the tea cool
Add lemon
Fill a tall glass with ice, fill it with sweet tea
And don't forget the fresh sprig of mint from the garden!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Solstice Selkie Spells

Photo Credit: PhotoBucket http://tinyurl.com/8kh2j78
Summer in Ireland is pure magic. Fiddles and flutes beckon you out of colorful shops into cobblestone streets. Laughter and rich lilting Irish voices spill out of packed pubs that smell of wet wool and pipe smoke. You can strike up a conversation with almost anyone and they'll spin you a tale if you buy them a pint.

One of my most magical memories is of the enchanted island of Inishbofin. It was late--nearly eleven at night--but the sun was just dipping into the ocean. I sat at a picnic table outside the pub surrounded by islanders, sipping a Guinness and watching the clouds edge with pink. A handful of children kicked a soccer ball around, chasing each other through the rutted streets.

The call of the sea was strong that night, a restless luring whisper of magical things to come. If I'd known what I know now, I would have gone down to the beach on that enchanted solstice eve. I would have hidden behind the rocks and waited, hoping to catch a glimpse of the selkies casting their summer spells.


But perhaps, somehow, I knew deep down they were there. Even if I could not see them. I felt their magic. I knew they existed. And I believed. I think that night the selkies cast a spell on me--a powerful, dream-come-true spell. That one day I would be an author. That strangers would read my stories. That they would ask for more.


I hope I can return one day to that beach and thank them. For sharing their fairy tale, for letting me tell their stories. I would bring a handful of rose petals, and sprinkle them into the waves. And whisper words in Gaelic. That only they would understand.


On this glorious eve of the first day of summer, I ask only this... What is your most magical memory?