ALPHA MALE MADNESS HOP 15

THIS PARTY IS OVER.
APRIL 11-18 HOP DESCRIPTION: Alpha Males. You know you love em. And so do we! We’re celebrating them and all their delicious alpha male glory for an entire week with giveaways at every single blog. Stop by and check out which males are making us pant with all that sexy swagger they have going on.
If you haven’t read Knights of Black Swan, winner of BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES of 2013, the journey starts here. This book is FREE and it just topped 600 reviews on Amazon. Book #1 My Familiar Stranger
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VICTORIA’S SITE GIVEAWAY:
On April 21st…
my interview with PNR Radio will air,
I will be doing a take over on Wicked Women Book Blog,
and I will be revealing the finalized cover for my Book #7, Solomon’s Sieve.
I’m giving away a signed copy of the Solomon’s Sieve cover. Leave a comment and tell me why you want it!
THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY. Please continue your hop along.
1. herding cats & burning soup 2. Amanda @Where the Night Kind Roam
3. Delighted Reader 4. Wickedly Delicious Book Blog
5. HEAs Are Us (US) 6. Booklover Sue (US)
7. Book Lovin’ Mamas (US) 8. All About High Heat Romance
9. Novel Broads 10. Ambrielle Kirk (US)
11. Natasha Blackthorne 12. Eargasms Audiobook Reviews
13. Victoria Pinder 14. Cerian @ Rookie Romance (INT)
15. I Smell Sheep 16. Christine Murphy – Romance Priestess
17. Knights of Black Swan 18. Justus Roux
19. Daryl Devore 20. Salacious Reads (US)
21. Joanne Jaytanie ~ This is not your mother’s romance 22. BIBLIOPHILE MYSTERY (INT)
23. MYTHICAL BOOKS(INT) 24. Lucy Felthouse
25. When Danger Lurks…A Romance From Male Perspective (INT) 26. Amber Daulton
27. Passionate Encounters 28. Dianne Duvall – Paranormal Romance Author
29. Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn (INT) 30. Holley Trent (INT)
31. Susan Arden – Bad Boys 32. Rage, Sex and Teddy Bears
33. A.R. Von DreamZ of Dragons 34. Romance Book Junkies
35. Margo Bond Collins~Words, Words, Words 36. Michelle Fox (US)
37. Bridget Blackwood 38. Kiru Taye (INT)
39. Brenda’s Blog 40. Crystal’s Many Reviewers
41. Clara Bayard 42. Sharonda @ Salacious Reads
43. Misa Buckley 44. Tory Richards
45. Jill Prand 46. Elisabeth Staab
47. Felicity Heaton – Paranormal Romance Author (INT) 48. Bitches Be Writin’
49. Literal Hotties Naughty Book Reviews 50. Buried Under Romance
51. For the Love of Bookends 52. Houston Havens – Author (INT)
53. Dani Harper – Paranormal Author (INT) 54. Yolanda Ashton
55. Bookswagger 56. Normandie Alleman (INT)
57. Lisa Beth Darling (INT) 58. Mary @SweepingMe (Int)
59. Read for your future 60. Ann Gimpel’s Blog

Victoria is SERIOUS ABOUT SHIFTERS 33

 
Welcome to my stop on the Seriously Shifter GIVEAWAY Hop.

Late summer I will be launching a new series entitled Exiled.

Following is the introduction that was given in Book 6 of the Knights of Black Swan, A Tale of Two Kingdoms.

Rosie had waited on a tabletop boulder on a windswept mountaintop of Prescient Dimension where she went when she needed to contact Kellareal for longer than usual. She explained that she wanted a change of environment, where she could take a break from her life and rethink the direction of things.

She knew she’d pushed things with Glen, but she also knew that, despite her feelings and desires to the contrary, the relationship wasn’t serious and wasn’t going to be. Not for a while. He’d made his decision. He was going wherever Z Team went and at least she had enough pride to know she wasn’t going to follow along like a camp whore. Even if he’d let her. Which he probably wouldn’t.

So she’d take a lesson from that and maybe look for a little adventure of her own while she was young. While she was young.

The breeze that blew her wild hair back from her face grew a little softer. Kellareal appeared to float down from the sky wearing a long white robe that billowed around him, arms outstretched as if inviting embrace, and landed in front of her soundlessly. She knew he would want to be congratulated on the theater, so she clapped. He bowed.

“Lally. How long do you think I’m going to live?”

“You called me for that?” He picked up a pebble, sat down beside her, and threw it out over the canyon overlook. “We may have to rethink your summoning privilege if you’re going to abuse it, young lady.”

“No, that’s not why I called, but since you’re here…”

“Well, your elemental side is very long lived, meaning eons. Your human side is cursed with short life under the best of circumstances. Then there is the issue of fragility, the moment to moment uncertainty, the… risk, if you will, of being human. I tell you, it causes me to marvel constantly at their courage. Living under those circumstances, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t just curl into a ball and hope for sudden death to put an end to the suspense.”

“If they only knew how cynical real angels sound, you would never get your own TV shows.”

“Hmmm. No doubt.” He grinned. “But a few feather sightings would bring them right back around.”

Rosie giggled. “You’re hopeless.”

“And is that why you wanted to see me?”

“No. I need to get out of town for a while, change of scenery. Maybe I need to broaden my experience.”

“Get out of town,” he repeated drily. “What does your mother think of this?”

“She thinks she can get in touch with you if there’s an emergency and that you’ll know where to find me.”

The angel pursed his lips, stood and paced for a while. “Vacations are fun. Sabbaticals are informative. Quests are enlightening, sometimes cathartic. Retreats are rejuvenating. Treks are adventurous. This?” He stopped and looked at Rosie. “This sounds like running away. Hard to put a noble spin on running away.”

“I’m not necessarily asking for your blessing, Lally. Just a place to…”

“…hide?”

Rosie flushed. “It’s a favor.”

Kellareal looked at her for a long time. “I can’t decide without hearing the whole story. I want to know exactly what it is you’re running from and what you’re hoping to gain.”

By the time Rosie finished spelling it out, she was sorry she had started the whole thing. Spelling out what had brought her to that mountaintop sounded spoiled, selfish, childish and silly, even to herself as she said it. She supposed that was one of the angel’s goals in having her connect the dots out loud. She hoped that the worst of it, humiliation-wise, was over.

“Have you thought about how long you want to be away?”

She hadn’t thought about it.

“Do I have to decide that now?”

“No. I suppose you can do a pay-as-you-go plan.”

“Wait. What do you mean pay-as-you-go?”

The angel took her elbow and pulled her to her feet. Standing several inches taller, he looked down into her face. “You’re right, Elora Rose. It is time for you to learn something of the world. First lesson, nothing’s free.”

A few minutes later they were standing on the periphery of an enclosure – a crude, gray stone wall. From what Rosie could see, there were homes and buildings built around a park-like commons area with sparse gas lighting, but the overall impression of the place was of a fort. Through a break in the wall that formed a gate with iron bars, she could see that they were on a hilltop overlooking the lights of a large town.

The air was scented with the welcoming smell of wood burning fires releasing white smoke into the atmosphere. The prominent feature of the compound was a long row of motorcycles, some of which had parts shiny enough to reflect in the cold moonlight.

beast background“Where are we?” Rosie asked.

“It’s a project of mine, Rosie. A secret. You can’t ever tell anyone.”

“Okay.”

“Promise.”

“I do.”

“They’re what’s left of Telstar.”

“Telstar? Isn’t that one of those worlds that went crazy with genetic engineering?”

“I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘went crazy’.”

“Okay. Let me put it this way. You start out with a wolf. You end up with a Shih Tzu or a Pug. You start out with a human, you end up with a …”

“The flaw in your argument is the owners of dogs like that would say they’re an improvement on the prototype.”

Rosie blinked. “So you’re saying you’re taking me to a place where I should be prepared for…” She left the end of that sentence for him to fill in the blank.

“Okay. Consider this your briefing in a nutshell. There were some experiments that went on for a couple of generations. People became concerned and even invoked religious invective to fuel a movement to eradicate all the produce of the experiment.”

“Produce?” He nodded. “You mean the people?”

“That is what I mean and I, ah, intervened. I saw an opportunity to solve two problems. There was a group of people here in need of protection, which is one of the ways Telstar skills might be used. This group was under threat of genocide. I knew the Telstar survivors would relate. So I paired them with the humans that needed them. “

He waved his hand at the darkness. “It’s pretty here. This dimension hasn’t been ruined yet. Lots of everything. Gives them a chance.” He looked at Rosie. “You know?”

“Wasn’t that against some rule?”

The angel pursed his lips and heaved a big sigh. “Rules need to be placed in the context of knowing the rule makers. And their agenda.”

Rosie studied his face in the darkness. “Lally, you’re an anarchist.”

“Guess that depends on who you talk to.”

“Are there others?”

“Other elementals who think like I do?” She nodded. “Yeah. Anyway. They’ve been here for a while now. Some have started families. Their own take on culture is starting to emerge. Interesting to watch. The one in charge of the place is a nice fellow with a nice family. Owes me a favor. Simple as that.”

“Does everybody in the multiverse owe you a favor?”

His mouth twitched at the corner as he looked down at her. “Working on it.” His eyes drifted back to the settlement. Rosie thought she saw a hint of pride. Proud sponsor perhaps.

“This could be a good place to get your thoughts sorted out. They’ll give you a job and who knows? Maybe a new perspective. So welcome to the EC. That’s what they call it, short for Exile Camp. By the way, don’t mention Telstar. They don’t like to be reminded. I don’t blame them. They left that behind to start a new life.” He turned to face Rosie. “A new world really.”

She looked around again. “What’s with the motorcycles?”

His expression was definitely sheepish. “Oh, they, the Telstar, like them. A lot. So they became part of our arrangement. I made an adjustment to the engines so they’ll run on water and threw tools and maintenance stuff in with the deal.”

“Are you saying that they’re weren’t motorcycles here before?”

“No. Every dimension develops differently. You know that.”

“Well, yes… So how did you get motorcycles here?”

He laughed. “Rode them.”

“You did not.”

He nodded, grinning. “One at a time.”

“I didn’t know you could ride a motorcycle through the passes.”

“For all I know, I’m the only one who knows it. Let’s keep it that way. Okay?”

She shrugged. “Okay. What do they look like?”

“Look like?” Kellareal laughed out loud. “Oh, sweet baby.”

MY GIVEAWAY…

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One signed copy of MOONLIGHT: The Big Bad Wolf. Winner of the REVIEWERS CHOICE AWARDS  Best Vampire~Shifter Novel of 2013, the Paranormal Romance Guild.2013PRG1st place High Res

For a chance to win, leave a comment telling me why you’d like a signed copy of Moonlight.

THANK YOU for visiting my stop on the hop. To continue go here… http://theherdhops.blogspot.com/p/march.html

2nd Annual HEARTS ON FIRE Blog Hop 51

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Welcome to the 2nd ANNUAL HEARTS ON FIRE Blog Hop.

WINNER ANNOUNCED 2/18/2014: Ellen Sandberg

Here’s how to hop…

1.) Kym, Eve, and Victoria have supplied the first nine items on the list of Top Ten Favorite Valentines/Romantic movies and Top Ten Favorite “pick up lines”. YOU provide #10. Comment with your answers and email to enter for the site prize.  My site prize is a heavy canvas Black Swan messenger bag in yellow.Store1

2.) Then go to the next hop site on the list below and repeat.

3.) Don’t forget to go here to also enter the GRAND PRIZE RAFFLE.

(20 carat lab ruby, signed paperback series of Immortals of New Orleans – Kym Grosso, and signed paperback series of Black Swan – Victoria Danann, plus a fabulous SWAG bag from Eve Langlais.)  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTVjN2Q1MGI3NjJkMGNiZTA0OGU5OGUwYjdhODRmOjIx/

TOP TEN FAV VALENTINES/ROMANTIC MOVIES

1. The Princess Bride – Eve (because I love a giggle with my romantic fairy tales)

2. Pretty Woman – Eve (gotta love a poor girl/rich guy flick)

3. Warm Bodies – Eve (Zombies can be sexy, lol)

4. Sabrina – Kym

5. The Proposal – Kym

6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Kym

7. A Walk in the Clouds – Victoria

8. The Notebook – Victoria

9. Made in Heaven – Victoria

10. _______________________ What’s yours?

TOP TEN FAV “PICK UP” LINES

1. Eve’s Corny p/u lines: Did you sit in a puddle of maple syrup? Because you have a swe-e-e-t ass.

2. Eve: Do you live in a corn field? Because I’m stalking you.

3. Eve: Your lips look so lonely. Would they like to meet mine?

Note from Eve: Funny how most pickup lines are from guys to girls, and have to do with sex. lol. Then again, can you imagine a woman going up to a guy and saying “Hey gorgeous, I brought along my ten inch ruler because I’ve got a feeling you’ll measure up.” Hehehe.

4. Kym’s Corny p/u lines from movies: “Do you wash your pants in Windex? Because I can see myself in them.” ~Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,

5. Kym: “You know, it’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section… Because you could melt all this stuff.” ~My Blue Heaven

6. Kym: “I couldn’t help but notice that you look a lot like my next girlfriend.” ~Hitch

7. Victoria’s fav lines that actually worked on me: (The lifeguard.) “You all might as well go home because this storm isn’t going away. (looks at me) Except you. You stay and we’ll go swimming.”

8. Victoria: “Have you seen Jeff?” “Who’s Jeff?” “Who cares? What’s your name?”

9. Victoria: “You’re my pick for student body president. Run and I’ll make sure you get elected.”

10. ___________________ What’s yours?

Thanks for stopping by. Your next stop on the hop is…

Hot Halloween Heroes Giveaway Hop 24

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HOP PRIZE: Signed limited edition cover of the upcoming release A Tale of Two Kingdoms. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

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BIG NEWS FROM BLACK SWAN…

On December 8th, the Black Swan box set INCLUDING THE NEVER BEFORE RELEASED Book Six, A Tale of Two Kingdoms, will be available for one week only for $0.99. PREORDER at Smashwords, B&N and Apple starting mid-November. Look for it under Black Swan Collected Tales. Be sure you don’t miss out. BoxSet3DCover

 

If you don’t already belong to our mailing list, sign up now and we’ll let you know when it’s available for order  MailListGraph2

Click here to VISIT THE NEXT STOP ON THE HOP, but PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE BEFORE YOU GO! THANK YOU. Sponsored by http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk

CABAL of HOTNESS Giveaway Hop 36

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BIG NEWS FROM BLACK SWAN…

On December 8th, the Black Swan box set INCLUDING THE NEVER BEFORE RELEASED Book Six, A Tale of Two Kingdoms, will be available for one week only for $0.99. PREORDER at Smashwords, B&N and Apple starting mid-November. Look for it under Black Swan Collected Tales. Be sure you don’t miss out.

If you don’t already belong to our mailing list, sign up now and we’ll let you know when it’s available for order MailListGraph2

SITE PRIZE…

Leave a comment to tell me why you’d love to win a print of my Black Swan covers signed by me. – Victoria

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HOP PRIZE…

Grandprize: Choice of Amazon or B&N $100 gift card.

Second place:  Choice of Amazon or B&N $50 gift card.

3rd place:  Choice of Amazon or B&N $25 gift card.

CLICK “HOP PRIZE” to go to RAFFLECOPTER for entry.

Please hop to the next stop, but like my Facebook page before you go. Thank you.

It’s a BIG OCTOBER. Reply

October 30th on Alphas, Authors & Books Oh My … My list of the top gothic horror books that gave roots to modern paranormal romance.

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Don’t miss the interview with Stalkson Grey at Paranormal Cravings on October 31st!!

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The incubus, Deliverance, is NOT getting his own book, but he IS getting his own hour at this fabulous paranormal speed dating event.

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Great Chances to win Black Swan E-Books for yourself or friends by particpating in these blog hops.

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THE GREAT EQUINOX FALL RELEASE HOP 9

release1finalWE HAVE WINNERS!

(One) Grand Prize: Kindle Fire (U.S.only) plus $100 Amazon Gift Card plus e-copies of all sponsored releases
MICHELLE BLEDSOE
(Two) First Prizes: $100 Amazon Gift Card plus e-copies of all sponsored releases
LISA HIGH and SALENA HARTSELL SMITH
(Three) Second Prizes: One e-book from every participating author. LINDSAY THOMPSON, ANTOINETTE MICHELLE, and EMILY WELLS

Hello and Welcome to my stop on The Great Fall Equinox Release Day Hop!!  I am sponsoring this Blog Hop to celebrate the release of Gathering Storm, September 19th.

4ce53-gscover600x800LISTOPIA One More Chapter’s Top Books of September 
The Order of the Black Swan, Book 5. 
Release date September 19th, 90k words
 GENRE: fantasy romance, scifi romance, paranormal romance
BUY ON AMAZON B00FAA18QK
READING THIS SERIAL SAGA IN ORDER HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Try before you buy. Book 1, My Familiar Stranger, is permafree everywhere.
Legendary Black Swan knight, Sir Engel Storm, is REALLY not himself. B Team reunites to try and preserve his reputation. Jefferson Unit is left defended by a skeleton crew of scoundrels when Ralengclan launch an assassination attempt on Elora Laiken. This book explores two age old questions. Do you believe in destiny? Do you think any part of it is predetermined by fate?
and a big thank you to these talented author co-sponsors: 
Blood Brothers by Susan Arden
Love’s a Witch by Hope Welsh
Underneath It All by Cassandra Carr
From Chemo…with Love by Teresa Jones
Lust Emergency:  Uniform Encounters 3 by Morticia Knight
Halo’s Wish by Sharon Kleve
Wunder, Book 2:  Reunion
Fractured Legacy by Skye Callahan
Pink Girl by Kate Baum
Speakeasy Dead by Vicky Loebel
Burlesque! Le Cirque d’Amour by Michelle Fox
Vampire’s Fortune, Fortune Teller’s Curse by Kara Ashley Dey
Leap of Faith by Michelle Cary
The Heart of a Hunter by Natalie-Nicole Bates
The Sheikh’s Crowning by Gemma Juliana
A Knight of Passion by Tarah Scott
Wicked Secrets by Eliza Lloyd
Loco, Razer 8 and Ghost by P.T Macais
Alpha by Fierce Dolan
Tunneling For Revenge by Travis K. Sharpe
Fast Balls by Tara Lain
Bedroom Games by Charity Parkerson
Armed and Desired by DC Stone
Consume Me by Paige Matthews
click here to enter the drawing PRIZES by RAFFLECOPTER:
 
(One) Grand Prize: Kindle Fire (U.S.only) plus $100 Amazon Gift Card plus e-copies of all sponsored releases
 
(Two) First Prizes: $100 Amazon Gift Card plus e-copies of all sponsored releases 
 
(Three) Second Prizes: One e-book from every participating author. 
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BAD BOYS of Romance Giveaway Hop 27

946626_645208502175158_872620078_nSo what are “bad boys” anyway? I’ll bet you never needed it defined for you. I think women come with a vague sense of what it means.

The social scientists have a name for the phenomenon. It’s called The Dark Tryad. Seems that heterosexual women are predisposed to the attraction – not all, but a lot.

Here is the triple threat that typically defines a fantasy/romance version of bad boy.

1. He’s a love ’em and leave ’em player with magnetic good looks and fever-hot sensuality.

2. Hes’ a problem-with-authority rebel who may express that defiance in style choices that are antiestablishment, but nonetheless cool.

3. He’s often emotionally damaged, tragically misunderstood, but vulnerable to the one woman who will heal his wounds, polish his rough places, and turn him into a true blue whipster.

So far the men of the Black Swan saga have touched on bad boy without being fully baptized. However, members of Z Team, introduced in Book 4, Moonlight, are definitely going to go there.

Feel free to tell us about some of your favs even if they aren’t my characters. Some of the ones I love (by other authors) are Barrons from Fever Series and Kellan from Thoughtless trilogy.

Rafflecopter Link for GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY

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CONTINUE THE HOP

Love of Mythology GIVEAWAY Hop 33

American_godsOn the third week of second grade my class was introduced to the concept of “library”. We were told we could select one book, take it home, read it, then bring it back. My choice was a child’s version of Greek Mythology. I was hooked. Eventually I took an ad hoc degree in mythological studies. All this is to say that I have been a serious fan and a lifelong fan. American Gods is raw, unromantic, and probably more appealing to men than women, but it is also an educated, thoughtful, clever treatise on the subject of our relationship with “gods”.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: American Gods is a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel by Neil Gaiman. The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn Shadow. It is Gaiman’s fourth prose novel, preceded by Good Omens (a collaboration with Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere, and Stardust. Several of the themes touched upon in the book were previously glimpsed in The Sandman graphic novels.
Mythological themes are subtly woven into my paranormal romance salad. If you are are a lover of myth, you will recognize some of them.
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To win an e-copy of the first three books, leave a comment on this post with your email. A total of THREE (3) will be given away at the end of the HOP.
MythGiveawayHopButtonTOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY…The Grand Prize Consists of the following:

 $45 Amazon GC or $45 worth of books at TBD.

ebooks from Patricia Bates

a prize from Lisa Beth Darling

an ecopy of Sunburn by Rosanna Leo

                                an ecopy of Ain’t No Bull by Danica Avet

                                  an ecopy of Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PROCEED TO THE NEXT STOP ON THE TOUR…
http://booklovershideaway.blogspot.com/2013/02/for-love-of-mythology-giveaway-hop-sign.html?zx=e894b68c0ecd3ed8

The Magic Touch GIVEAWAY Hop April 20-30 4

BOOKMARKFIND THE GIVEAWAY after excerpt.

As a semi-famous witch, I’m qualified to talk about real magick. As a paranormal romance author, I’m qualified to talk about fantasy magic. This excerpt from The Witch’s Dream is a bit of both.

The room was round. The architect had initially grumbled about wasted space, but she had persuaded Simon by pointing out that maximum results require maximum equipment. The east wall featured a small window, placed high up, with wind chimes hung from the ceiling so as to hang in front of the window’s perfect center. Another wall featured a fine stone fireplace that looked considerably older than the building in which it was housed, as if it had been transported from elsewhere and reassembled. Another wall featured a fountain flowing from the mouth of a dragon-faced gargoyle into a wide pedestal bowl. The last wall featured an indoor garden of herbs and flowering plants that were thriving with a combination of magick and semi-fluorescent lights.

The walls and ceiling were painted the same pale gray as the polished, flagstone floor. Litha went immediately to the fireplace where she lit seven candles of various colors. The small window provided some light, but not so much that the reflection of the candle flames couldn’t be seen on the smooth stones.

Other than the features representing the four ancient elements, there was nothing else in the room except for the large globe in the center of the room nestled in the cradle of a priceless dragon’s wings. The centuries-old dragon statue, beautiful, powerful, and magnificent in its own right, had been taken from a pagan temple in Teutonia two millennia past for safekeeping else it be destroyed by misguided Christians like so many other thousands of priceless artifacts.

Objects of power were not created deliberately nor did they spontaneously spring into being. They came from humble beginnings, being no more extraordinary than a typical river rock or knife or fork. Objects became infused with power when energetic residue was repeatedly transferred from beings with accumulated magickal power. The exact number of contacts that equaled critical mass was non-calculable.

Sometimes objects of power are identified by those who are either talented or proficient in the occult. When not discovered as such, their energy sometimes went awry, their very presence wreaking havoc without intent, direction, or cause. The Order had been collecting these artifacts for centuries, rescuing them from destruction by zealots and protecting the human population from the effects of wayward magicks. The location of the treasury had moved around from time to time, often dependent on wars and the dangers they posed.

At present the artifacts not in use were stored in what many agreed was the best location to date: the western boundary of Idaho Springs, Colorado. The vaults were located deep under the Rocky Mountains – which would withstand any destructive device available to date. It was cool, dry, near the Interstate, and only an hour away from a major airport. In short, a perfect storage facility. The excavation currently underway in Brazil was rendering frequent additions to the cache. Only an institution with The Order’s connections could remove articles of antiquity from the locations of their discovery with impunity.

It was Litha’s great honor to have the dragon temporarily in her keeping, as he had been recognized as a potent object of power and in service to magick for millennia. The proud Teuton dragon currently served as The Order’s own version of Prometheus, silently holding the world on its shoulders while also protecting its treasure: a precious crystal ball held lovingly in its curved claws. The multifaceted crystal ball picked up every color in the room and reflected it back onto walls and ceiling as rainbow prisms. The effect was a space that was magical as well as magickal.  Litha’s dragon, and she thought of him that way as she was his temporary caretaker, was charged with several tasks and he performed each admirably.

The globe, rendered in shades of green and brown, was perhaps a foot and a half in diameter and hinged, very much like one of those liquor cabinet parlor tricks. It would separate at the equator and become two parts of a sphere, one half stationary, one half lid. When opened, it revealed one of Litha’s two most prized treasures, a concave, black glass scrying plate the same diameter as the globe’s equator. The dragon stand had been built so that, when standing barefoot, the scrying plate was at exactly the same height as Litha’s navel.

She reached out and lovingly ran her hand over the dragon’s head as if he was a living pet. Sometime during the past two thousand years, his eyes, had been replaced with black glass. The candle flames and rainbow prism danced together in his eyes, making them seem so intelligent and lifelike that it was easy to imagine him as a familiar.

Litha pulled her red robe closer as she paid homage to the Spirits of the Four Winds, whom she would be summoning to assist with Locating Magicks. Real witches were risk takers, came with the territory. Even so, few witches would have dared wear red when practicing the magickal arts because the color red possessed powerful attraction properties. That meant red can be a shortcut in summoning, but that it also attracted the bad as well the good. Litha came from a rich history of witch ancestors who tended to act according to a philosophy of “great gambles bring great rewards” and at some point, it had become part of the family’s genetic legacy. It was partly natural to her and partly logical since Litha knew she was powerful, or practiced, enough to hold a sufficient protection barrier while admitting friendlier Powers of Assistance and accepting their help.

The witch took up a large purple candle and began circling the globe in the center of the room in a clockwise direction. She carefully counted nine revolutions as she sang an old medieval melody with lyrics written and substituted by the witch herself. Her singing voice was quite pleasant although the quality of performance would have no bearing on outcome. The melody was not more magickal because it was medieval. It was simply a useful hook on which to hang the quatrains she had quickly, but specifically composed for chanting, which would be crucial to outcome. She wrote the four-line rhymes in her head while she was bathing and now repeated them in magickal form while she raised energy by stirring the atmosphere into the equivalent of a small whirlwind.

After completing nine circles and chants, Litha used the flame of the purple candle to light a large white candle with three wicks. She then sprinkled a mixture of Dragon’s Blood resin, Solomon’s Seal, white sage, and crystalline salt directly onto the candle’s flames. When the herbs caught fire, she invited into the circle those who could be of service whether spirits, guides, or elementals, with the caveat that they were welcome so long as they wished her well and would not prove to be a lot of trouble later on.

When she was satisfied that conditions were optimum, she opened the globe. She always felt a rush of satisfaction upon viewing the gleaming surface with alphabetical, numerical, alchemical, and Theban script symbols etched on its surface in circular patterns. Taking hold of the pendant necklace that she always wore, she pulled downward to remove the outer cover, which was a crystal with planed edges forming a heptagon. No one would guess that the crystal was a cover disguising a pendulum of black opal, perfectly weighted for scrying, encased in a Celtic knot filigree of white gold matching the necklace chain.

The pointed stone was the rarest black opal, alive with deep red flecks called “fire” by jewelers. Litha’s pendulum had been hand crafted for her by the monks of Cairdeas Deo and given to her on her sixteenth birthday. Or, rather, the day that had been arbitrarily established as the day they would celebrate her birth.

That birthday was a milestone because it was the day she had been given the freedom to legally drive by herself. In the process of celebrating by doing exactly that she came across a scene that would forever be etched in her heart: a pink Italianate villa sitting high above the Sonoma Coast with vineyards terracing toward the sea, neighboring hills covered with flowering yellow mustard so that it looked like something from a fantasy. She had pulled the car over, taken a mental snapshot, and knew that someday she would drive through the gate and it would be hers.

She ran her finger over the pointed end just to reestablish the connection – which was never really broken.

When she held the pendulum over the glass, it immediately dropped into place and stilled, awaiting instructions from its mistress. She began to trace Katrina’s name, one letter at a time, while picturing Katrina – replaying the snapshot moments of their brief time together – and “hearing” the sound of her voice. Then she began to add details about Katrina’s current situation and state of mind that had been gained from Aelsong’s visions.

By the time she reached the “i”, the pendulum was moving on its own to complete the specification ritual. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see candle flames dance and flicker as if a draft had blown through the room. For Litha spontaneous movement of air was a more or less commonplace occurrence, at least when she was scrying. If others preferred to think of the phenomenon as invisible, or discarnate entities, it made no difference to her.

She closed the globe and moved so that she was facing Scotia, then held the pendulum above it simply saying, “Where?”

The pendulum did not move. Which was a first. Frowning, Litha repeated her command a little more firmly, “Where?”

No response.

She lowered the pendulum, took it in her hand, and rolled it around in her palm a few times while deliberately focusing on an image of Katrina.

Again, she held the pendulum above the globe. “Where?”

No response.

Remembering that Aelsong had said Katrina was no longer in the same reality, she decided to alter the question. She held the pendulum above the globe and asked, “Near where?”

Almost instantly it began to pull toward the east like it was magnetized. Allowing enough slack so that it could go where it wanted, Litha allowed the point to slide over the map of Europe. Across France. Past Genoa. It came to rest just south of Florence. Siena.

“Got it.”

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In CELEBRATION OF THE 1st ANNIVERSARY OF BLACK SWAN.

Sunday, April 21st will mark the anniversay of the publication of the first Black Swan installment. Since then the series has won multiple awards and hit the top of best seller charts in mu…ltiple categories. To thank everybody for the success of this series, The Witch’s Dream will be FREE on Amazon for one day.  Tell your friends that they can get both Books 1 and 2 for FREE this Sunday only.

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