Happy Halloween! Don’t forget – there’s still time to leave a message for a chance to win a free ebook download of Sea Wolf Magick from my earlier post on Sunday! If you missed it, go back and check out a few excerpts I shared from my new Highlander Magick Series in time for some Halloween Magick!
Click here: Samhain and Halloween in the Highlands
In the meantime – I wish to thank my dear friend, and talented author, Beth Trissel for allowing me to share her wonderful post and expertise on a few herbal plants for Autumn!
Beth Trissel writes:
Samhain (pronounced sow-en or sam-hayne) is from the Celtic ‘Samhuinn’ which means summer’s end. For Wiccans and Pagans, it’s a Sabbat to honor their ancestors. Samhain is believed to be the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, and séances often held.
Since approximately the 8th century, the Catholic Church declared November 1st as All Saints Day which became the festival to honor any saint who didn’t already have their own day. The mass conducted on All Saints’ was called Allhallowmas – the mass of all those who are hallowed. The night before became known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually evolved into Halloween.
Some of the herbs associated with Samhain from Morbid Outlook (Ask Witch Hazel): “Calendula (comfort, health, psychic dreams and protection), mandrake (money, love, sexual potency and fertility, protection and exorcism), mugwort (healing, protection, psychic powers, and strength), oak leaves (prosperity, protection, health and fertility), rue (health and comfort), sage (aiding memory, wisdom, protection and purification), and wormwood (divination, love and protection).” (sage and larkspur in our garden)
From The Scot’s Herbal by Tess Darwin: “All Hallows (traditionally the first day of the Celtic year) was a curious mixture of Pagan and Christian belief. In a fertility ritual enacted at Aberdeenshire until the last century (19th) farmers gathered the year’s first seaweed crop on New Year’s morning and placed a small heap at the door of each farm building, then shared the rest between the fields.”
She goes on to say, “Hazelnuts were used in divination rites on Samhain (Hallowe’en). The feelings of one’s sweetheart could be ascertained by asking questions of the nut, then throwing it into the flames and watching the way it burned or jumped to reveal the answer.”
“Hazel was also sacred to witches, who sometimes used it for broom sticks, because it symbolized female wisdom. On the other hand, finding two nuts naturally joined together, called St. John’s nut, was a good omen and it could be thrown at witches, presumably to protect oneself against the evil eye.”
“Elder, often known as boun-tree in Scotland, and second only to rowan for protection against witchcraft and evil spells, was often planted at the back of a house and rowan at the front. A cross made of elder was hung on stables and byres to protect the animals within.” (Elderberries)
Extra safety precautions were taken during Samhain because of the thinning veil between the natural and supernatural worlds and fear of evil powers or enchantments slipping through. Prudent persons used every sacred tree and herb available for protection.
Also interesting from The Scot’s Herbal: “Hallowe’en rituals such as apple-dooking and throwing apple peel, removed in one long strip, over a girl’s shoulder to reveal the initial of her future husband, are the survival of Celtic Samhain rites of divination and prophecy.”
And don’t forget – for a chance to win a free download ebook copy of Sea Wolf Magick, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you love about mythical creatures and this magical time of year!
The winner will be chosen on Monday, October 31st- HALLOWEEN by 8pm EST.
I LOVE Autumn, colorful fall leaves, pumpkins, Indian corn, scarecrows and yes, Halloween! What a perfect time of year to center the first two books of my new Highlander Magick Series!
I always loved hearing the fairytale “Beauty and the Beast” and with my love of animals and all creatures, I created two handsome Highlander heroes with beauties of their own!
Between Duncan (a cursed night beast for eternity), and Quinn (the seafaring Lycan), I still can’t decide which one I like best! I hope you enjoy a few excerpts.
From Mortal Magick – Book 1
Doomed for eternity to wander nights as half man and half creature, rugged Highlander Duncan McCord discovers his curse is the least of his problems when he sets out for a cure and rescues the beauty determined to help tame his beast.
Duncan lunged from the damp forest floor. His splayed hooves clip-clopped on top of a boulder. His nostrils flared from the irresistible lingering lavender scent. He cocked his head to the side. His keen hearing caught her every breath as each step she took brought her dangerously closer. “Aye, the fool-headed woman! She’s done wandered off again.”
He snarled at a shooting star plummeting to the ground. Like a bubbling cauldron of fire, it spit an outburst of flames across the moonlit sky. “Aye, the bonny wee lass is headed straight for a trap.” Clenching his fists, he veered back his head and wailed.
When a modern-day reluctant witch, Keara, gets whisked back to the 18th century mystical Isle of Skye to learn lessons in magic, she faces the true test of love when she meets the man beyond her wildest dreams burdened with dark secrets from his past.
Keara’s fingers sank into long, soft tassels and she tucked the cover tighter under her chin. She was freezing. She snuggled deeper beneath the heavy blanket. Beth must have the air-conditioner turned on full blast. Her nose and cheeks felt as cold as icicles. The mattress was a lot firmer than normal. Her nose wrinkled. What in heaven’s name is that damn smell?
She rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Instead of the vanilla-cream-painted ceiling in her bedroom – her eyelids fluttered open to discover cotton-ball clouds floating in the mist of a clear-blue sky directly overhead. She bolted upright. In place of the pretty, quilted comforter – she stared at the shaggy animal pelt draped over her. And it reeked.
She closed her eyes and concentrated, trying to recall what happened. The last thing she could remember was discussing Highlanders and romance novels with Beth and getting a terrible headache. She must have blacked out. Her fingers gently rubbed the substantial lump on the back of her scalp. Everything else seemed a fuzzy blur except the strange dreams about a gigantic beast carrying her in his arms.
Nothing appeared familiar. There were no signs of people, houses, or roads close by. Just herds of sheep grazing in open green meadows filled with wildflowers. The perfect setting for a picture postcard. Thick forest glens and snowcapped velvet mountains in the distance stretched for miles.
Keara jumped when she heard the warm, rich sounds of laughter. The heavy pelt fell from her grip. A faint gasp escaped her quivering lips. A bulky nightshirt that had obvious seen better days now covered her. She eyed the sharp rock she’d just discarded. It lay in front of a small, crackling fire. She grabbed the stone and hid it beneath the sheepskin for the time being. It might come in handy as a weapon.
She scanned the area for her clothes. Strange animal tracks led away from the fire toward a boulder. The hoofmarks were soon replaced by human footprints.
Something weird was definitely going on here. There had to be a logical explanation for this. She was probably just hallucinating.
Please help me welcome a dear friend and talented author, Maeve Greyson, as my special guest today! I not only feel honored to have her here, but Maeve is sharing a rare and special treat with everyone! Today we have the wonderful opportunity for a wee glimpse inside an author’s “writer’s cavern”! I’m sure you’ll enjoy this as much as I did! Make sure to grab that cup of herbal tea, or hot coffee, and grab a pastry – and get ready for a terrific post from a very special lady! Please feel free to leave a comment or two, and let Maeve know how much you enjoyed her lovely photos and post!
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the term “man cave” but have you ever heard an author say, “See ya later. I’m holing up in my writing cave until I finish this scene.”? Our creativity caves can be anything from a super-organized home office to our favorite recliner or spot on the couch
My cave was once my youngest daughter’s bedroom. She’s in her thirties now with a preteen daughter of her own but as you can see in the pictures, part of her childhood is still alive on the walls of my writing cave.
Forever ago, when my daughter was a preteen, she asked that I paint a jungle scene on her bedroom walls, complete with a waterfall and an assortment of flowers, birds, and animals. Blessed with the gift to envision, sketch out, and then paint just such a sanctuary, I have since been forbidden to ever paint over it even though she left the nest long ago.
And I must admit. I kind of like pausing in my writing, looking up from the screen, and letting my eyes rest on the not quite so bright as he once was yellow bird or the slightly faded panthers. If you’ll look closely at the panther stretched out over the top of the closet door, you might notice a crack in his right paw. The earthquake we had a few years ago left that little reminder. This room is filled with years of memories.
In the picture of the ceiling with the leaves and tree branches, you’ll see where my daughter stuck little plastic stars that we found at the craft store. To this day, they absorb enough light during the day, to emit a soft greenish glow for a little while once nighttime falls. She was scared of the dark as a little girl. Those glowing stars eased her to sleep many a night.
I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting my writing cave today. I know I’ve very much enjoyed visiting Patty’s lovely cyber-home and sharing my pictures with you.
I’ve got a new release coming up on October 11th that was born in my little corner of make-believe. If you like time-travel, hunky Highlanders, and the feisty women who tame them, you might enjoy my Highland Hearts series. My Seductive Highlander is the finale of the four book series.
In this scintillating novel from the author of My Tempting Highlander (“Another exciting and heartwarming time-travel romance.”—Vonnie Davis), the ladies’ man of Loch Ness meets a hot-tempered lass who sets his heart aflame. Though part of a legacy of time-traveling sisters, Lilia Sinclair is planted firmly in twenty-first-century Edinburgh. Her granny’s matchmaking with thirteenth-century Highlanders isn’t about to lure her into the past, especially as ancient Scotland enters troubled times. After all, Lilia is blessed—or cursed—with dire prophetic visions. To protect herself, she’s put up an icy emotional wall no man could cross—until a pair of gorgeous, rippling arms breaks right through. Graham MacTavish is pure trouble. Once the dragon bound to Loch Ness, he’s transformed into a philanderer of the first order. In fact, because of his dalliances with other men’s wives, a rival clan wants his head on a pike. Before he provokes an all-out war, Graham is banished to the twenty-first century, where he must win Lilia’s hand—or return to die. But after meeting a lass as fierce as any Highland warrior, Graham knows one thing: life with Lilia, in any century, is a fate to embrace. Praise for My Seductive Highlander “Ms. Greyson pens a masterpiece of visions, kilted passions, and humor to cast a spell of utter delight over her readers. My Seductive Highlander is a perfect romance you won’t want to miss.”—Vonnie Davis, author of both the Highlanders Beloved and the Black Eagle Ops series
Thanks for joining me! I’m delighted you’ve stopped by to help celebrate the release of Sea Wolf Magick – Book 2 of my Highlander Magick Series – So grab a spot of tea or coffee, and make yourself comfortable, while I share a wee preview of a few of the places and “creatures”, Beth and Quinn come in contact with on this magical journey fueled by Fire and Ice – Join them as they travel from the Mystical Isle of Skye Scotland to the enchanting land of Iceland, in search of a magical cure . . .
I was fortunate to find some photos of things I pictured in my mind, while writing this story
Of course with adding new characters . . . .
I’ve included new mythical creatures along with other animals I’m sure you’re already familiar with –
there’s still more to see . . . Continue reading →
Wee Darby and I are thrilled, and feel honored to have the very talented author and photographer, Vonda Sinclair, as our special guest today! Vonda has been kind enough to share some of her gorgeous photographs she’s taken on a few of her visits to Scotland.
So grab a spot of tea (or coffee), and a scone or piece of shortbread, and get ready for a real treat! Please help me welcome her by leaving comments. Vonda has also been gracious to offer one lucky commenter, one of her free audiobooks! (Calm down, Wee Darby, 🙂 No, I’m afraid this offer is for our “guest commenters” only 🙂 So make yourself comfortable and get ready to meet, Vonda Sinclair!
I wish to take a wee moment to thank you for being with us and doing this interview! Since Vonda writes historical romance – I thought we might have a wee bit of fun by doing something different today . . .
1st – If you had to pick “just one” of your books – which would you choose as your favorite and why?
First of all, thank you for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog! As for the question, it’s a difficult one. LOL I love different things about each of my books. My Fierce Highlander is the first book in the series and I love it for several reasons. The hero, Alasdair, is not only fierce in battle and in his passion for the heroine, he is also sincere and feels things deeply. He’s a serious, caring and compassionate leader for his clan. Gwyneth is an unusual heroine for the genre of historical romance. I enjoyed writing them both. Her son Rory is a cute lad, a wee warrior in training. The bond that develops between Rory and (his future stepfather) Alasdair is touching. The book is free right now for those who would like to read it.
The second book in the series, My Wild Highlander, was a lot of fun to write because of Lachlan (Alasdair’s younger brother.) He’s a charming rogue used to seducing all the lasses. What happens when the king convinces him to marry a prickly half-French lass? Lots of fun watching them clash. My last release, Highlander Unbroken, is a bit different in that both the hero and heroine have endured extremely difficult times in the past. The hero, Neacal MacDonald, was tortured by an enemy clan, and the heroine, Anna, endured the deaths of her first husband, her unborn child and watched her sister be abused and horribly injured. Both are survivors and have discovered a strength they never knew they had but both were still hurting. Together, can they better heal from their past traumas? It’s a story with a lot of darkness and emotion but also healing and hope.
2nd – Through all your travels, do you have a specific location (or castle), you enjoy visiting the most?
It’s difficult to choose only one. Eilean Donan is a favorite I’ve visited a few times. The location, sitting in the middle of three lochs, is spectacular. I love photographing it from different vantage points and in different types of light. I also love Dunnottar near Stonehaven. The highlight of my most recent trip to Scotland in September was visiting Castle Tioram, in the Lochaber region on the west coast. This castle is the inspiration for the setting in two of my recent stories, Highlander Unbroken and My Captive Highlander. I fictionalized it and changed the castle’s name to Bearach. Visiting this castle was a dream come true. I had been looking at photos of it for many years, but it’s so remote I feared I wouldn’t get to visit it. I figured out if we could stay in Glenfinnan, which in itself is slightly remote, then we could visit Tioram, taking a whole day to do so. The drive out from Glenfinnan to the castle is about 25 miles on narrow, curvy roads, a lot of them single track. The scenery is so stunning multiple stops for photo ops were required. LOL The castle is in a derelict and ruined state. It’s dangerous to go inside because of falling masonry and stones. We walked all around it taking photos. It’s an inspiring and beautiful place.
3rd – If you found yourself transported back, centuries in time – what time period and location would you hope to find yourself in?
The early 1600s Scotland so I could do first hand research for the time period I write about. 🙂
and – Which one item from the present would you take back with you?
If I knew I wouldn’t be able to return to present day, I would take a photo album containing pictures of all my loved ones, pets, and places/ things I love.
and 🙂 Which 2 characters in your books would you enjoy meeting, live in person once you reached your destination?
I don’t think I could choose just two. 🙂 I would want to meet the whole gang from my Highland Adventure series. They are all linked by family or friendship and they all care about one another. They share a great bond and help each other when needed.
4th – Your photographs are gorgeous! (I have learned in the past – cameras are definitely not my friends when I “really” want/need them to be 🙂 Are there any other hobbies you enjoy?
Thank you! Yes, I enjoy gardening, especially growing flowers. I also love hiking or walking in nature, on trails through the woods, up mountains, and visiting waterfalls or other beautiful or interesting sites. I also love traveling.
(Patty chiming in here for a wee minute) Thanks for sharing with us, Vonda, and Fantastic answers 🙂 I’m like you, I would want the opportunity to meet all my characters too! I’m sure our guests might have questions they would like to ask you as well 🙂
***click here to continue reading – there’s more to see 🙂 Continue reading →
Wee Darby and I are honored to have my dear friend and mentor, Beth Trissel here with us today. To help celebrate my birthday, and Beth’s new young adult fantasy release, Beth has agreed to share a few of her garden expertise secrets, regarding specific flowers to attract fairies to your garden.
Please join me in welcoming Beth to my site by leaving comments.
Thank you, Patty, for having me on your lovely blog to share about plants for a fairy garden and my new YA fantasy, Curse of the Moon (Book 2, the Secret Warrior Series).
Who doesn’t want to attract fairies to their garden? Of all the herbs associated with the little folk, the most important one is thyme, which I love. I’m forever planting more varieties of thyme. In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania, the fairy queen, sleeps in a bed of wild thyme growing on a bank. Sure. Why not?
Foxglove is also essential for a fairy garden. According to legend, fairies sleep in the bell-shaped flowers, and wear them as gloves. Which use they prefer, probably depends upon the size of the fairy. Other common names for foxglove include fairy fingers, fairy thimbles, and fairy cap.
Another favorite herb is saffron, which disappeared from my garden after a bad winter. Fairies are said to be especially fond of this culinary herb/spice used for flavoring cakes and dyeing cloth. Other recommended plants are fragrant rosemary and roses. Roses are much loved by fairies for their beauty and divine scent, and by me.
Not to neglect bluebells, also beloved by fairies. These beautiful blue flowers that carpet woodlands in spring are also known as harebell, Scottish bellflower, and fairies thimble. It was, and maybe still is, widely believed that fairies live among the flowers. Another name for bluebells is Dead Man’s bells because fairies were thought to cast spells on those foolish enough to pick or damage the delicate blossoms.
When meandering through drifts of bluebells, it’s wise to stick to the path, or you may stir up the wrath of fairies and release the spells trapped in the blooms. Never a good idea, and one that would be echoed by our resident fairy expert, my 11-year-old niece, Cailin, who warns never step into a circle of flowers or go anywhere without the fairies’ permission, or they will get very upset. And you do not want an upset fairy, or fairies, on your hands. Particularly the furious wind fairies, but that’s another story.
Clap if you believe in fairies. I hear Patty clapping.
*** Patty has to chime in here for a wee minute – The majority of these gorgeous flower photos were taken in Beth’s own lovely gardens, (except for the bluebells, which I can honestly say I’ve visited the mystical Glens of Antrim which is known for its magical fairy Glens) ok, back to Beth . . .
Fairies do not feature in Curse of the Moon, but shifters, witches, magic, and spells do. Each book expands the fantasy, creatures, and characters in the one before it. The Secret Warrior Series took years percolating in my mind before I wrote a word. Although the setting is present day in our Virginia Mountains, I’ve drawn on my knowledge of colonial America, Native Americans, particularly the Shawnee, the mountain people, herbal lore, and my wild imagination. Book 1 in the series is The Hunter’s Moon. Yes, you need to read them in order.
Blurb for Curse of the Moon:
The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch–without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right? But when the witch puts a spell on her younger brother, Morgan has to do the witch’s bidding to save him. Fortunately Morgan isn’t alone. She has Jackson to lean on, a few witches coming into their powers, a secret warlock, and the always mysterious Chief Okema. What could possibly go wrong?
Excerpt from Curse of the Moon:
“Maybe you’re an Allasomorph,” Jimmy suggested. “They have their own planet and several moons.”
“Great. Because I’m not weird enough?”
A scraping noise and the kitchen door opened, letting in the autumn chill and Jackson’s highly unusual grandmother. Miriam held a basket of eggs gathered from the red and bronze chickens in the sturdy coop out back. Her slender figure was wrapped in a gray wool shawl, her lined face rosy beneath the matching scarf knotted at her throat. Her long silver hair and blue, beaded skirts whipped in the wind.
She shut the heavy door and glanced at the assembly around the table. Brown eyes, the dark hue of Jackson’s, rested on Morgan. Her gaze widened, then narrowed in an expression of somber awareness. “Oh my.”
If anyone apart from the unfathomable Chief Okema possessed the knowledge to aid her, it was this gentle healer. Wisdom flowed through Miriam’s veins like clear mountain water. Not only was she Jackson’s grandmother, but a descendent of the Star People, a mysterious race of space aliens Okema prophesied would someday return. What that meant for Miriam, and ultimately Jackson, Morgan didn’t know. Only that without help from this wise woman, or someone, she was doomed to a whole other world of weird.~
continued . . . . .
*** Allie will be drawing a name from the people that leave her a comment at the end of her post, for a chance to win a free ebook copy of Teardrops of the Innocent!
Please help Wee Darby and me make Allie feel welcome by leaving a comment ~ or two 🙂 All right then, lets find out a wee bit more about Allie and her newest release:
Teardrops of the Innocent
Allie, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, Patty, thanks so much for having me on your blog today. I grew up in Virginia and from the time I was 10, I loved reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries, never suspecting they would inspire me to two careers. After a long first career in law enforcement, I finally retired and had the time to start writing the many stories that have been in my head all my life. Because of my police career, I always figured my first books would be some kind of a police story, but that’s not how it turned out.
What inspired you to write Teardrops of the Innocent: The White Diamond Story as your debut?
I’ve been interested in family ancestry for a long time, and in the past ten years have delved into the family histories of my family as well as my husband’s. I always knew that one of my mother’s grandmothers was French, but I never had much information. Then I had an interesting conversation with my then 88-year old uncle just before he died. He was the last surviving sibling of my mom’s family and he mentioned that we had a French ancestor who was a Revolutionary War hero. I was very fortunate to discover that the genealogy had been posted by another researcher, where I learned my ancestor came from France to fight against the British in Canada, and he married a woman from Acadia. After the war, many French and locals were expelled for supporting the fight against the British, and the family settled in New York and eventually spread to New England states. These ancestors intrigued me and eventually inspired the colonial characters who appear in flashbacks throughout the True color Series. I got the idea to turn this into a ghost story so that my modern characters could discover their roots through genealogy research much the same way I did. However, their discoveries are enhanced by paranormal events. The main character, Stephanie, learns shocking news about her family and sets out to trace her family tree.
She knows she may find skeletons in the closet—she just doesn’t expect to find one buried in the back yard!
****Make sure you click on the “continue reading” icon directly below this sentence, so you can read more of Allie’s post and leave a comment 🙂
I am “thrilled” to share my latest news about my debut novel, Mortal Magick, the 1st book in my new Highlander Magick Series, is now available and sitting on the shelf at the famous Nora Roberts, “Turn the Page Bookstore” in Boonsboro, Maryland. And I can’t help but share my brand new cover with everyone too:
“Sea wolf Magick”
which is scheduled for release the end of this May.
“I know in my heart, my parents are smiling down on me”
(Aye, a grand couple – indeed!!!)
When a seafaring Highlander Lycan rescues a cursed witch from the clutches of evil, a magical voyage fueled by fire and ice ignites more than just passion across the high seas.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!
Top o’ the mornin’ to one and all~
Magical Ireland – A gorgeous country filled with mystical castles, where the countryside’s graced with patchwork green rolling hills – scattered with frolicking, bleating sheep. And most importantly, an enchanting home blessed with heartwarming lovely people – just waiting and willing to make you feel right at home.
I promised to share a few photos the St. Patrick’s church I visited a few years ago – The door is always open to welcome visitors from far and near. Continue reading →