Tag Archives: witches

Featured Guest Article – The Witch of Vienna by Cat Cavendish

On the site today, I’d like to welcome back the amazing author Catherine Cavendish. She just happens to be one of my favorite Gothic and horror writers with whom I share a love of history and legend. It’s always a real treat for me when she releases a new book, as not only do I want to devour it, but also I get to host these wonderful articles that I hope historical and Gothic/horror readers will both enjoy. She’s just released a new book with Lyrical Undergroud (Kensington) called Wrath of the Ancients (Oct. 24) and you won’t want to miss this one. Perfect for a Halloween read. Enjoy reading about the life and trial of The Witch of Vienna….I’ll be back with a review of this book soon!

Elisabeth Plainacher – The Witch of Vienna

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My latest book – Wrath of the Ancients – centres largely on sinister and ghostly activities within a magnificent haunted house in Vienna, Austria’s elegant and fascinating capital.

Vienna is the sort of city where ghosts walk by your side at night through quaint, winding streets in the old part of the city. Music forms the breath of the city and you can almost hear the haunting strains of The Blue Danube as you wonder at the grandeur of its many palaces.

But this isn’t by any means the whole story. In fact, you could travel a vast distance to find a more quirky, original and enigmatic city – but one with its own dark past.

Compared with many parts of Europe, Vienna’s history of witchcraft is relatively bloodless. Only one recorded execution of a convicted witch compared with hundreds in, say, Scotland.

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Her name is variously given as Elisabeth, Elise or Elsa Plainacher and toward the end of the 16th century, she was living in Lower Austria where she had married and given birth to a daughter, Margaret. The girl grew up, married and bore four children of her own but, sadly, she died and Elisabeth took it upon herself to raise the children while Margaret’s husband went his own way.

More tragedy abounded when one after the other three of the children died. Elisabeth was a practising Lutheran and took her remaining granddaughter, Mary, to church every Sunday.

Mary grew into a teenager and developed epilepsy which was then seen as a devil’s curse. She was subject to Grand Mal seizures, and tongues began wagging. Meanwhile Margaret’s widower came back on the scene. He was a Catholic and started pointing the finger at Elisabeth, accusing her of practising witchcraft, casting spells on his sick daughter. Furthermore, he accused her of killing his three other children and murdering her own husband.

The case came to the attention of a fervent Jesuit priest – Georg Scherer – whose lifelong mission was to rid the world of witches. He examined the girl and performed a series of exorcisms, claiming to have released 12,652 demons from her body.

Scherer and his fellow priests pressured Mary to say that her grandmother kept demons in bottles in the form of flies and that she had used these to bewitch the girl. Finally, Mary broke down and said that Elisabeth had indeed bewitched her by giving her an apple infected by the devil. She had eaten it and had become possessed.

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The bishop of Vienna, Kaspar Neubeck, arrested Elisabeth and tortured and questioned her until she too broke down and agreed that she had indeed fed her granddaughter the poisoned apple. Quite which forms of torture were used to extract such a bizarre confession are unrecorded but it doesn’t take too much imagination to conclude that she must have been under unbearable strain.

Having confessed to witchcraft, she was tied to a horse and dragged through the streets of Vienna to Richgasse. There she was bound to a stake and burned to death. The year was 1583 and she was 70 years old. Here in Vienna, at least, there were many who did not agree with the severity or nature of the punishment. Indeed, the mayor of Vienna found the woman’s confession so improbable that he appealed to the Emperor, Rudolf II to overturn it. But Georg Scherer remained steadfast and applied ecclesiastical pressure on the Emperor who, also being Holy Roman Emperor, found himself in an impossible situation. The mayor’s petition was denied. Scherer later preached a lengthy sermon urging the need for vigilance against the ever-present threat of witchcraft in all its many forms.

As for Elisabeth, she did at least have a couple of streets named after her – one in Vienna and the other in her home town of Mank.

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Wrath of the Ancients, Synopsis –

Destiny In Death

Egypt, 1908

Eminent archaeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber of Cleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .

Vienna, 1913

Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.

Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .

Purchase Wrath Of The Ancients –

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Catherine Cavendish, Biography –

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Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle CurseSaving Grace Devine and many more. She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshiped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

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 Thank for sharing this with us, Cat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Historical Witchfinding 101 featuring Matthew Hopkins: Article by Catherine Cavendish of The Pendle Curse

Catherine Cavendish, an author friend of mine who writes great gothic ghost tales from the UK, just released her latest novel with Samhain Horror, called The Pendle Curse, on Feb. 3, 2015. A mix of history, the paranormal, and subdued creepiness, her novels put a modern twist on the classic atmospheric telling of tales. This current novel delves into a past that includes a harrowing tale of witches.

Of course, as most readers know, I love to read anything to do with witches as well, so I’ve been highly anticipating this novel! My review will come soon, but in the meantime, take a moment to learn about the most infamous witch finder of all time, Matthew Hopkins.

Have  you heard of England’s Matthew Hopkins? The Infamous Witchfinder General

by Catherine Cavendish, author of The Pendle Curse

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A photo of Matthew Hopkins / Photo supplied by C. Cavendish

My new novel – The Pendle Curse – has some of its roots in a true story. In August 1612, ten men and women were convicted, in Lancaster, England, of crimes related to witchcraft and subsequently hanged on Gallows Hill. They became known to history as the Pendle Witches. Their trial created a template for others to follow, and one who was no doubt inspired by it was none other than the most infamous witch hunter of them all. The self-styled, ‘Witchfinder General’, Matthew Hopkins.

Hopkins was born in 1620 and little is known about his early life. His most famous career lasted just a couple of years – between 1644 until his retirement in 1647, but in fourteen months of that time, he managed to be responsible for the deaths of some 300 women, mainly in the eastern counties of England. All were convicted of witchcraft, on his authority. The total number of executions for witchcraft between the 15th and 18th centuries amounts to less than 500. Matthew Hopkins and his colleague, John Stearne, certainly contributed more than their fair share.

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Since the Lancashire witch trials of 1612 that convicted the Pendle witches, the law had been changed. It was now necessary to provide material proof that accused person had practiced witchcraft. It was the role of Hopkins and Stearne to provide evidence that the accused had entered into a pact with the devil. A confession was vital – from the human, as the devil would hardly confess.

Hopkins travelled freely throughout eastern England, although Essex was his centre of operations. His career as witchfinder began when he heard a group of women talking about meeting the devil in Manningtree in March 1644. Twenty three women were tried at Chelmsford in 1645. Four died in prison and nineteen were convicted and hanged. Hopkins was well paid for his work and this may well have spurred him on to be even more zealous. He and Stearne travelled with a team and wherever they turned up, the local community found themselves handing over significant amounts of money. In Ipswich, this was so great, that a special local tax had to be created to fund it!

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Hopkins’s methods were dubious to say the least. He would employ torture, including sleep deprivation. He would ‘cut’ the arm of a witch with a blunt knife and if, as was likely, she did not bleed, she was pronounced a witch. He was also a great fan of the ‘swimming’ test, or ducking. As witches were believed to have renounced their baptism, water would reject them. So, they were tied to a chair and thrown in the river. Those who floated were guilty. Those who drowned were innocent.

Hopkins also favoured the practice of ‘pricking’. Basically this involved searching the accused’s body for any unusual blemishes or moles. A knife or needle was used to test the mark. If it bled, on being pricked, the woman was innocent. If it failed to bleed, she was guilty. It has long been alleged that many of these ‘prickers’ had a retractable point, so that the hapless prisoner would be confirmed as a witch when the mark failed to bleed. What better way for a ‘witchfinder’ to enhance his reputation than by identifying so many ‘witches’?

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Hopkins and his merry band spread fear all over the countryside, but their reign was short-lived. John Gaule, vicar of Great Staughton in Cambridgeshire, preached a number of sermons denouncing him. His opposition began when he visited a woman who was being held in gaol on charges of witchcraft, until such time as Hopkins could attend to investigate her guilt or innocence. Gaule heard of a letter Hopkins had sent, where he had enquired as to whether he would be given a ‘good welcome’ in that area. A good, financially rewarding welcome no doubt. At around the same time, justices of the assizes in Norfolk questioned Hopkins and Stearne about their methods of torture (which was outlawed in England) and the extortionate fees.

The writing was clearly all over the wall. Their reign of terror was over. By the time the next court session sat, both Hopkins and Stearne had conveniently retired and the infamous Witchfinder General had put away his witch ‘pricker’ for the last time. But that was, sadly, not the end of his story.

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Hopkins published a book, called The Discovery of Witches, in 1647, where he outlined his witch-hunting methods. This ensured his legacy lived on – and expanded far beyond the shores of his native England. Witch-hunting in New England began, according to his methods, and, in 1692, some of Hopkins’s methods were once again employed at Salem, Massachusetts.

Now, here’s the cover and blurb for The Pendle Curse~

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Four hundred years ago, ten convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. Now they are back…for vengeance.

Laura Phillips’s grief at her husband’s sudden death shows no sign of passing. Even sleep brings her no peace. She experiences vivid, disturbing dreams of a dark, brooding hill, and a man—somehow out of time—who seems to know her. She discovers that the place she has dreamed about exists. Pendle Hill. And she knows she must go there. But as soon as she arrives, the dream becomes a nightmare. She is caught up in a web of witchcraft and evil…and a curse that will not die.

Here’s a short extract from the beginning~

His spirit soared within him and flew up into the storm-clad sky as blackness descended and the rain became a tempest.

He flew. Lost in a maelstrom of swirling mists. Somewhere a baby cried until its sobs became distorted, tortured roars. Beyond, a black void loomed. He saw Alizon’s spirit just ahead and tried to call out to her, but his voice couldn’t reach her.

Beside him, another spirit cried out. His mother. He flinched at her screams before they were drowned in the mass—that terrible parody of some hideous child.

The blackness metamorphosed. An amorphous shape formed as his eyes struggled to see with their new vision—the gift of death. Small baby limbs flailed towards him. Eyes of fire flashed as a toothless mouth opened. Screeching, roaring and demanding to be fed. Demanding its mother.

His spirit reached out for his lover. Tried to pull her back. “Alizon!”

She turned anguished eyes to him. “It calls to me.”

He recognized it instantly. The blazing fire. The devil child. That cursed infant had come for them.

Again he reached out with arms that no longer felt connected to him, but he was powerless to stop Alizon being swept away, deep into the abomination’s maw.

“No!” His cry reverberated around him—a wail of anguish in a sea of torment.

Then…silence. Only he remained, drifting in swirling gray mists of time.

“I will find you, sweet Alizon. One day I will find you. And I will find the one who betrayed us.”

From somewhere, he heard an echo…

You can buy The Pendle Curse here~

Samhain Publishing

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Catherine Cavendish, Biography~

Catherine CavendishCatherine Cavendish – Cat to her friends – lives with her husband in a haunted 18th century building in North Wales. Fortunately for all concerned, the ghost is friendly and contents herself (she’s definitely female) with switching on lights, and attempting to discover how the TV and washing machine work (it’s a long story!).

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She is the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits In The ShadowsThe Pendle Curse is her latest novel for Samhain; her first  – Saving Grace Devine – was published in 2014.

Her daily walks have so far provided the inspiration for two short stories and a novella. As she says, “It’s amazing what you see down by the river, as it flows through a sleepy rural community.” Those with delicate constitutions are advised not to ask!

You can connect with Cat here~

Catherine Cavendish (website)

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Emily Croy Barker Talks about the Transition from Journalism to Fiction to Write A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

Today, I have a guest article from debut author Emily Croy Barker, who has written A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic!  Published by Viking Penguin, it’s probably one of the hottest reads of this summer and fall.  I’m currently reading it, so a review will come later.  However, right now you can check out what Emily has to say about her decision and transition to step over from journalist to fiction author.  If you are interested in what the book is about too, you can see the information below the article.

If you know me, or are an avid reader of my blog, you know that I interview many men and women authors who’ve come from journalism backgrounds.  As a journalist and aspiring fiction author myself, this topic always interests me as many find it easy, some find it helpful, while others struggle. Now I’m waving my wand and mind-bending you to read the article…hehehe…but first the book cover…

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A Journalist Turns to Fiction

By Emily Croy Barker, author of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

I’ve been a writer and editor for more than 20 years, and for the majority of that time, the writing I did was all journalism—mostly long features for business magazines like The American Lawyer and Inc. When I started writing The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic almost eight years ago, it was strictly for my own enjoyment. I’d dreamed up a couple of characters that I couldn’t get out of my mind, a woman trapped by enchantment and the magician who becomes her ally and teacher. Once I’d figured out a little bit more about who they were and how their stories were linked, I decided that I’d better start writing this down.

Writing fiction instead of nonfiction felt a little bit as though, after I’d mastered one dance—the foxtrot, say—the music changed and I was suddenly trying to dance swing. Some previously learned lessons helped me with this new dance. I already knew how to keep typing, resisting the temptation to turn off the computer and flee, even when I became convinced that what I was writing was crap and that no one would ever want to read it. And I knew that sometimes, when you really get stuck, it’s fine to go off and take a bike ride or watch a movie and come back the next day to try again. I had written long articles about people doing deals or starting companies or arguing in jury rooms; I had learned to look for “color” and the famous Telling Detail; to listen to how people talked; and to pay attention to what they said and what they didn’t say.

That all turned out to be quite useful in fiction-writing. But the actual process of stitching together sentences to make a fictional narrative was daunting at first. Beginning writers are always told, “Show, don’t tell,” which is very good advice. On the other hand, you can’t show everything. I had to learn where I could condense and where I could leave something out altogether. It took me a while—probably one reason why my first draft ended up being 1,300 pages long—and I know there’s still more to learn.

One change from journalism that I loved was being able to make things up. No more coaxing anecdotes out of reluctant or forgetful sources, no more worrying about holes in the story. And yet this new freedom was also a little scary. Suddenly the entire burden was on me to create a credible world. I could no longer rely on details scrounged from reality. What if I got things wrong?

Thankfully, I was writing fantasy about an alternate world, so most description came straight from my imagination. The main thing I had to be concerned with was consistency. If I were to write a police procedural, say, where I had to think about what kind of car a certain character would drive or which make of gun she would carry or whether it really makes sense for a transgender Russian emigré to be running a vegetarian restaurant in a small city in North Carolina, frankly I would be a nervous wreck.

Good journalism and good fiction are both about telling stories and as such, they are hugely satisfying. I have to say that fiction is a bit more fun. Maybe it’s because, when I was sweating over crafting the perfect lede for a magazine article or explaining some complicated twist in a deal or litigation, I was always keenly aware that I was writing for someone else, the readers of American Lawyer or Inc. Will they like this? Will they get this? With fiction, though, I’m writing for a smaller audience: myself. Because if what I’m writing doesn’t move me or excite me or pull me along—if it doesn’t come alive for me—I’m absolutely sure it won’t do that for anyone else, either.

emily photoEmily Croy Barker, Biography~

A graduate of Harvard University, Emily Croy Barker has been a magazine journalist for more than 20 years. She is currently executive editor at The American Lawyer magazine. This is her first novel.

Learn more about Emily and the book, including excerpts, maps, extras and more at www.emilycroybarker.com.

 A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, Synopsis~

Thinking Woman's photoNora’s life is not quite going as planned. The man of her dreams is getting married, but not to her; her academic career has stalled; and there’s a mouse in her kitchen… Getting away for the weekend for a friend’s wedding seems like perfect timing, especially when she stumbles across the unfeasibly glamorous Ilissa, who immediately takes Nora under her wing.

Through Ilissa, Nora is introduced to a whole new world – a world of unbelievable decadence and riches where time is meaningless and everyone is beautiful. And Nora herself feels different: more attractive; more talented; more popular….Yet something doesn’t quite ring true: Was she really talking to Oscar Wilde at Ilissa’s party last night? Or transported from New York to Paris in the blink of an eye?

It is only after Ilissa’s son, Raclin, asks Nora to marry him that the truth about her new friends becomes apparent. By then, though, it’s too late, and Nora may never be able to return to the world, and the life, she knew before.

If she is to escape Raclin and Ilissa’s clutches, her only real hope – and an unlikely one at that – is the magician Aruendiel. A grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past, he might just teach her what she needs to survive and perhaps even make it home: the art of real magic.

For fans of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, or Lev Grossman’s Magicians series, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker is proof that magic not only exists but—like love—can sweep you off your feet when you least expect it…

Praise for A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

“A marvelous plot, clever dialogue, and complex characters… With the intimacy of a classic fairy-tale and the rollicking elements of modern epic fantasy”
Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy

“Centered on more adult concerns than the Harry Potter books, Barker’s debut is full of allusions to dark fairy tales and literary romances. If Hermione Granger had been an American who never received an invitation to Hogwarts, this might have been her story.” —PEOPLE magazine

For Purchase~

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Womans-Guide-Real-Magic/dp/0670023663/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16158565-the-thinking-woman-s-guide-to-real-magic

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780670023660/emily-croy-barker/thinking-womans-guide-real-magic

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-thinking-womans-guide-to-real-magic-emily-barker/1108935054

Watch for upcoming review of the novel, and Q and A with Emily Croy Barker, including a giveaway!

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Don’t Ever Sneak Around Abandoned Cabins in the Woods: Why? Read The Witching House by Brian Moreland

Congratulations to Brian Moreland today on the release of his novella The Witching House!  Witches might be a new trending theme for books right now, but I’ve always loved stories of witches.  Even when I was little, and not allowed to watch, talk, or even think about scary topics (my mom didn’t like it and I had horrible nightmares of a genie), I WAS allowed to read stories of witches. Maybe it was due to Wizard of Oz, or my paperback Tilly the Witch book, but regardless my mom was okay with storybook witches.  I’d pretend I liked only good witches and then imagine myself dressed as an evil witch with only some redeeming traits. Ha!  I was thrilled when she sewed me a black witches costume and cape one year for Halloween when I was about 8-years-old, so much so, I still have it.

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Continually over the years, I’ve liked, hated, and either way been enthralled by witches. When one of my favorite authors, horror writer Brian Moreland, decided to put out a novella called The Witching House, I was ecstatic to see what kind of evil tale he had come up with that surrounded witches.

The Witching House, by Brian Moreland, and its short story prequel, The Girl from the Blood Coven, was a completely original tale in which we are led to wonder who a demented serial killer might be that murdered 25 witches who lived as a coven in the Texas woods.  By the end of the prequel, I was entranced by some sick individual and needed to find out what heinous explanation he had for committing the atrocities we read. The shocking conclusion was enough to make me want to start right in on The Witching House IMMEDIATELY, which would take me forward into the present day.

The Witching House pulls us in at the start with a group of four, two couples, who go on a ghost hunt adventure. As I read, I catch myself waiting around every corner for something sinister to appear or happen. For a little while I am learning about the characters, especially Sarah and Dean, as Sarah works to overcome her fears. I listen to their banter and everything seems normal.  As a floor board creaks or a shadow is seen out the corner of an eye, the book begins to seep in creepiness.  Soon enough, we understand that the ghosts of the Blevins Coven are not the only supernatural forces in this cabin.  As well, everyone is not who they seem!

It was pure entertainment to explore the musty cabin with them and even experience the horror they begin to unravel.  Brian spins an unique and imaginative tale of what lurks in the basement of a secluded cabin.  Being always torturously petrified of my childhood basement, I now have proof of why! I want to share with you so badly what is lurking there and why the whole idea is so incredibly cool. But I can’t spoil it, because I really want you to read this book! You’ll love it!

Instead, I will say that I did LOVE the way that Brian connected the supernatural entity in the basement to nature. It has been one of my very favorite things that I’ve seen him do with a book yet.  Growing up in the woods, and with that eerie basement again where it was always damp and cold, mildew liked our old stone, and moss was forever on everything around our house, I could totally relate to how these parts of a property or home could also become a part of the supernatural as they take on a life of their own.

Brian manages to give us not only a fun story in these shorter works, but he packs in good magic vs. black magic and how they relate to each other, underlying themes of overcoming fear, attributes of cults in history and how they can lead to dangerous ends, family relationships (even strange ones), and romance! Plus he adds mystery, suspense, and additionally, hope! And curses….oh, the CURSE!

This book is a definite WIN, worth the money, and I urge you to read both The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House before summer is over! They’re a manageable length for quick reading, but packed full of amazing prose that you won’t want to put down.  You’ll read them both in one sitting and they are pretty inexpensive too. I hope I see more exciting tales like this from Brian in the future.

I would highly recommend this novella to any horror genre lover, but also to any mainstream readers who want a more pulse pounding tale.  There is some romance, but not overly explicit, and he keeps it low on the blood/gore meter, which is why it’s great for overall reading by anyone who just wants a good creepy time.

* I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

The Witching House, Synopsis~

200_Witching_House_smallSome houses should be left alone.

In 1972, twenty-five people were brutally murdered in one of the bloodiest massacres in Texas history. The mystery of who committed the killings remains unsolved.

Forty years later, Sarah Donovan is dating an exciting man, Dean Stratton. Sarah’s scared of just about everything—heights, tight places, the dark—but today she must confront all her fears, as she joins Dean and another couple on an exploring adventure. The old abandoned Blevins House, the scene of the gruesome massacre, is rumored to be haunted.

The two couples are about to discover the mysterious house has been waiting all these years, craving fresh prey. And down in the cellar they will encounter a monstrous creature that hungers for more than just human flesh.

ORDER The Witching House at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Samhain Horror (30% off for limited time).

Author Brian Moreland, Biography~

368_Facebook_authorBrian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His first two novels, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, are now available. The Witching House released August 6, 2013, and novel The Devil’s Woods will release December 2013. He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and eating cookies. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://www.brianmoreland.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1150022.Brian_Moreland

Brian’s Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

Coaching for Writers blog:  http://www.coachingforwriters.blogspot.com

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Details for You to Attend a Virtual Book Celebration for Brian Moreland and Kristopher Rufty

You’re most likely strolling through Facebook in the evening right? Posting your favorite book, cartoon, and chatting with friends in between watching a cool show or settling down for the evening? We’ve got a fun VIRTUAL party you can drop by for as well to help congratulate and celebrate horror authors Brian Moreland and Kristopher Rufty’s newest releases! We’ve got some prize packs you can enter to win, courtesy of Samhain Horror and the two authors.

DETAILS ABOUT PARTY:

The virtual party sponsored by Hook of a Book (www.facebook.com/HookofaBook) page takes place on the actual wall of the Facebook page (not on the invite wall if you have a FB invite) from 9 to 11 p.m. EST, on Tuesday, Aug. 6.  Attendees are able to ask Brian Moreland and Kristopher Rufty any questions they want by PRE-ASKING or asking during the party via an email submission which will then be posted by the moderator to the Hook of a Book wall. Attendees can see questions answered and be able to comment.  These two authors are so personable and interesting so you won’t want to miss the action.

ABOUT THE BOOKS

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Brian Moreland has released a short story prequel called The Girl from the Blood Coven that you can download FREE now! Click Here for Kindle/Kindle App download:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CI3WCEO.  The novella is called The Witching House, also in e-book, and is available to read Tuesday:  http://www.amazon.com/kindle-store/dp/B00CJ96E78.

OakHollow

Kristopher Rufty’s Oak Hollow is a full-length novel that will also be available to read in e-format or paperback on Tuesday, click here for Kindle/Kindle app download:  http://www.amazon.com/Oak-Hollow-ebook/dp/B00B4QJK82

You can also order books from the info detailed in the notes section on the Facebook page during or anytime after the party (30% off at Samhain link there for a limited time) or enter the giveaways. We’re giving away several prize packages that include book copies! All that ask questions will have a chance to win or you can email to enter! Those who ask questions get extra entry points! Or just hang out and have conversation in the comments.

HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS:

Please pre-ask questions using email listed below or Erin will also take limited questions during the party which will go in a queue to be asked in order received.  Email Erin at to hookofabook@hotmail.com (subject: Brian or Kristopher question). Again, emailing a question enters you or you can email just to enter to win.

The night of the event you can also inbox message Erin Al-Mehairi on the Hook of a Book Facebook page (below) if you can’t email and it will go into the queue.

Please, NO attendees should post questions to the wall of the party just because it gets too confusing. If questions appear on the wall, Erin will put in to the queue and then re-post the question as a status. Authors won’t answer those, but will wait for them to be re-posted and then answer. However, you can post to the wall to say congratulations and authors can comment on that too.

REFRESH YOUR BROWSER!

Please remember that refreshing your browser is very important to see all questions and answers ongoing during the event. Also remember to be patient. The moderator, Erin, is constantly working in the background and will be taking your emails, inbox messages, posting questions, and monitoring the party all at once.

You can RSVP or see more about the event here:

https://www.facebook.com/HookofaBook?ref=hl#!/events/211105749048244/

You also have to “like” the Hook of a Book page here: www.facebook.com/HookofaBook

About Hook of Book Facebook Page~

Like the Hook of a Book Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HookofaBook!  We post reviews and interviews from this site there, but it also gives us the opportunity to talk books with you more, feature upcoming covers and releases, post free or discounted books, discuss literature, and showcase books we have on list to review. We’ll talk about the book, publishing and writing industry.  We’ll probably also talk grammar tips and ask lots of questions, as well as post interesting historical articles, art, photos, and other things we find intriguing.

Authors Brian Moreland and Kristopher Rufty~

You can view some recent guest posts by Brian Moreland on Hook of a Book HERE (click on HERE), Also HERE, and HERE, complete with The Girl from the Blood Coven review, book(s) information and biography. Review of The Witching House to appear on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

See my review of Kristopher Rufty’s Oak Hollow by clicking HERE, complete with book information and biography.

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Brian Moreland Talks Behind the Scenes of Writing The Girl from the Blood Coven

Author of the surreal, supernatural, and scary, Brian Moreland probably doesn’t need much introduction at Hook of a Book anymore. He’s become one of my favorite authors, people, and friends. He’s a class act and a superb writer that stands apart in a sea of writers in today’s market. I don’t just feature him here or review him, no, instead I truly believe he’s one of the best you’ll read or learn from. To the readers, don’t miss his stories and to other authors, take your cue from his expertise. You won’t be sorry either way.

So without further discussion, check out Brian’s guest article about how he came to write The Girl from the Blood Coven and get some tidbits of trivia into both the short story, and the novella it leads off, The Witching House.

Girl from the Blood Coven - Scott's version

Moments on Writing The Girl from the Blood Coven
by Brian Moreland, Author

I’ve always loved writing short stories. I wrote a bunch of them in college when I was first learning how to write horror fiction. I’ve since graduated to writing longer forms of storytelling, like novels and novellas, and I’ve been lucky enough to publish a few of them. After I wrote my most recent novella, The Witching House, I decided there was a lot of history about the coven that I thought would be fun to explore in a short story, so I wrote The Girl from the Blood Coven, which is set in 1972 on the night the coven was massacred. It’s written from the point of view of a small town Texas sheriff who investigates the murder scene at the Old Blevins House after a young witch, Abigail Blackwood, enters a roadhouse tavern covered in blood.

I actually wrote the short story after I finished editing the novella. I was staying at a cabin in the East Texas woods just miles from where the story takes place. I was so inspired during that time that I wrote The Girl from the Blood Coven in two days back in February 2013. I designed the cover art myself the very next day. I noticed that my publisher, Samhain Horror, had released a few free short stories that lead into novels and novellas of other authors, so I told them about my short story and how I’d like it to be a prelude to The Witching House. They agreed to release The Girl from the Blood Coven as a free ebook in July 2013, one month prior to my novella.

With my two witch stories, my style of storytelling is very different from my historical horror novels. I grew up loving horror films from the late Sixties and early Seventies, like I Spit on Your Grave, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Squirm, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things and of course the scariest of them all, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There’s something about those washed out, grainy movies that make them scarier than movies made today. Those movies, along with the real case of the Charles Manson Family, inspired me to create my hippy cult of witches who had been living on a commune in East Texas in the late Sixties-early Seventies and were massacred.

Another bit of trivia: I came up with the Blevins name from a street sign I used to pass years ago while driving along Interstate 35 from Dallas to Austin. The sign read Old Blevins Road. Its bridge crosses over I-35 just south of Waco, which ironically is near where the Branch Davidian cult massacre happened. Old Blevins always sounded like a creepy name to me and seemed to fit the clan and the name of their house.

After vampires and zombies have dominated books and movies for the past decade, witches seem to be making a comeback this year. With The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House, my aim is bring something fresh and different to the witch genre. The stories are meant to be good scary fun and I hope you enjoy them.

The Girl from the Blood Coven, Synopsis~

Girl from the Blood Coven - Scott's versionThe Girl from the Blood Coven is a short story prelude to The Witching House. It’s the year 1972. Sheriff Travis Keagan is enjoying a beer at the local roadhouse, when a blood-soaked girl enters the bar. Terrified and trembling, Abigail Blackwood claims her entire family was massacred at the hippy commune in the woods. Sheriff Keagan knows that Abigail’s “family” is a coven of witches that inhabit the Blevins house. They’ve been rumored to be practicing blood sacrifices and black magic. When the sheriff and his deputies investigate the alleged murders, they discover what happened at the Blevins house is more horrific than they ever imagined.

Download The Girl from the Blood Coven at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Samhain Horror.

The Witching House, Synopsis~

200_Witching_House_smallSome houses should be left alone.

In 1972, twenty-five people were brutally murdered in one of the bloodiest massacres in Texas history. The
mystery of who committed the killings remains unsolved.

Forty years later, Sarah Donovan is dating an exciting man, Dean Stratton. Sarah’s scared of just about everything—heights, tight places, the dark—but today she must confront all her fears, as she joins Dean and another couple on an exploring adventure. The old abandoned Blevins House, the scene of the gruesome massacre, is rumored to be haunted.

The two couples are about to discover the mysterious house has been waiting all these years, craving fresh prey. And down in the cellar they will encounter a monstrous creature that hungers for more than just human flesh.

Pre-order (or order after Aug. 6) The Witching House at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Samhain Horror.

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More Articles, Facebook Launch Party~

I hope you enjoyed learning about how these two great witch stories got their start.  You can see my previous post about The Girl from the Blood Coven and download it free by clicking HERE! Also, you can see Brian’s recent article on my site about creating his characters by clicking HERE. Stay tuned for my own review of The Witching House, which is such a unique horror-filled yarn of spellbound witches and the battle between good and bad magic, and pre-order now for Aug. 6 release!

Join Brian, Kristopher Rufty, and I on Aug. 6 for a Facebook party for the launch of Brian’s The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House, as well as Rufty’s Oak Hallow novel. We’ll be answering questions and having fun at www.facebook.com/HookofaBook! Watch for more details.

*********************************************************************

Author Brian Moreland, Biography~

368_Facebook_authorBrian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His books include Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House, and The Devil’s Woods (coming December 2013). The Vagrants comes out May 2014. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is joyfully writing his next horror novel.

You can join his mailing list or learn more at http://www.brianmoreland.com/

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Like Brian’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland

Brian’s Dark Lucidity blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

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The Girl from the Blood Coven by Brian Moreland is a FREE Prequel that Will Put You Under a Spell!

Girl from the Blood Coven - Scott's versionThe Girl from the Blood Coven, by Brian Moreland, is a short story that released today (July 2, 2013) for FREE as a prequel to Brian’s upcoming novella The Witching House, which will release August 6, 2013.  If you’ve not read Brian’s work before, now is the perfect chance to try him out at no cost, which isn’t really a risk as he’s one of the best horror and supernatural writers on the planet. If you’ve read him, what are you waiting for? You know this is good!

It’s short because it’s a prequel, but it packs a punch and send the reader spiraling out of control to get their hands on The Witching House, which is really quite morbid within itself as since it isn’t available yet it just leaves you hanging there, without resolve and wanting more!! You’re caught holding your breath, between life or death….ok, maybe not that bad, but I was caught up in the story and ready to figure out the mystery!

Brian is the kind of writer that grabs you from the start. His writing is always crisp, his imagery perfection, his suspense on target, and his characters interesting. Going again in the direction of a serial killer plot in the short story, Brian wraps us up into a supernatural crime mystery. His serial killer may be either someone or something, I don’t know yet, but what I know is that it’s horrible. And I’m scared and creeped out.

By the time I am done reading about the Blevin’s Coven murder, where 25 people are horribly killed with one surviving witch that leads the detectives to the house in the middle of the Texas woods, I am ready to solve the murder and am fully invested in the story line. The short story won’t take you more than an hour to read, then you’ll probably re-read it again as you’ll crave more of Brian’s story as you wait to get your hands on The Witching House.

Brian ‘s mixture of crime, drama, suspense, horror, the supernatural, the occult, and some sort of history (this time fictional) always makes his stories jump off the page as if they should be on the big screen. The Girl from the Blood Coven is your ticket into a world of dark imaginings and it’s only just the beginning.

The Girl from the Blood Coven, Short Story, Synopsis~
Samhain Publishing, Horror

Girl from the Blood Coven - Scott's versionThe Girl from the Blood Coven is a short story prelude to The Witching House. It’s the year 1972. Sheriff Travis Keagan is enjoying a beer at the local roadhouse, when a blood-soaked girl enters the bar. Terrified and trembling, Abigail Blackwood claims her entire family was massacred at the hippy commune in the woods.

Sheriff Keagan knows that Abigail’s “family” is a coven of witches that inhabit the Blevins house. They’ve been rumored to be practicing blood sacrifices and black magic. When the sheriff and his deputies investigate the alleged murders, they discover what happened at the Blevins house is more horrific than they ever imagined.

GET IT FREE NOW!~

Download The Girl from the Blood Coven at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Samhain Horror.

THEN~

Pre-order The Witching House at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Samhain Horror.

Author Brian Moreland, Biography~

368_Facebook_authorAuthor Bio: Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His first two novels, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, are now available. His upcoming novella, The Witching House, will release August 2013, and novel The Devil’s Woods will release December 2013. He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and eating cookies. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://www.brianmoreland.com/

 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1150022.Brian_Moreland

Brian’s Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

Coaching for Writers blog:  http://www.coachingforwriters.blogspot.com

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One of My TOP books: A review of “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe

I just finished “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe and it is officially one of my top new favorite books! What an amazing read surrounding the historical time period of the Salem witch trials.

Main character Connie Goodwin, while doing research for her doctoral dissertation and trying to clean-up (at the request of her mother) her grandmother’s ancient-looking, overgrown abandoned house near Salem, discovers much more than she ever bargained for in regards to both historical evidence on the Salem witch trials and her own family history.

This book flips back and forth with effortless ease between characters of the 169os in Salem and nearby towns and Connie in the modern era of 1991. As a reader you’ll never feel lost, only more and more intrigued by the mystery that Connie is uncovering. In fact, the book will drawn you in so far, you’ll feel as if you are in the book too. 

When she finds a key and a little piece of paper in a dust-covered family heirloom Bible with the name Deliverance Dane on it, she starts to unravel a story of a woman you’ll never forget. I guarantee you’ll never think of the Salem witch trials, or the women accused, the same ever again. Connie’s dissertation work depends on finding a Physick (or recipe) book, but it becomes so much more than that to Connie. It is a story of redemption for the character, Deliverance Dane and all her descendants, as many who were accused and killed during the witch trails were unjustly sentenced.

I was always intrigued by the Salem witch trials. Maybe it is just because I am interested in all things history. But I always felt there was more to the story than just that these women were accused of being witches. Evidence, as the book follows, points to the fact that these women were God-fearing women who happened to have the medicinal gift of using various herb concoctions and prayers to promote healing. Since it was before the time of medical doctors, these women took care of the people in their communities.  

I think that Howe did a superb job in educating the reader about the history of this time period through the eyes of the accused. She gives us an historical look at the stereotypical descriptions of witches and why they came about, but also reminds us that they were regular Puritan-garbed women.  I mentioned to Howe that I was curious about how many of these women seemed so religious and used prayer along with their concoctions. It seemed that their gifts of healing were God sent. Many women and their husbands were respected members of their Puritan communities.

Howe replied to me on Facebook, when I mentioned my curiosity about the accused being contradictorily Christian: “I address that question a bit in this talk given at Google last year (careful, it’s about 30 minutes long) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5L36OrxM-c.”  For more video on the book and why and how she wrote it, view here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_OBQ3QSb4g&feature=related.  She has some great interviews on YouTube.

 The author, Katherine Howe, is in fact a descendant of both Elizabeth Proctor(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Proctor), who you might know because her character was fictiously dramatized for The Crucible, and Elizabeth Howe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_How), the latter who did not survive the Salem witch trials.

Not only was the story good and the plot tight, it was great writing overall. Her vocabulary is phenomenal and her voice is so strong and poignant. The characters are firmly formed, detailed, and delightful.  You will leave this book with an emotional attachment to the characters and to the souls of the women who endured the Salem witch trials. She could very well become one of the best known American historical fiction writers ever.  In fact, she recently told me via Facebook that another book is on the way this year, not a direct sequel though, and I can’t wait to read it. However, I did hear that a sequel including Connie will come at some point.

I don’t often read books over again, but this is one I would even though I’ve discovered the mystery already along with main character Connie. It is completely spellbinding and mystical (and no, I’m not even trying to make a play on words with “spell”). Her story and her writing truly do amaze me and I hope to continue to read much more of her in years to come.

If you’d like more information on the author Katherine Howe go online to www.katherinehowe.com and view her awesome website, and for the book http://www.physickbook.com.  Here’s a trailer for the book as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcJxKLw8-M8&NR=1.

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