Which Wand for a Witch? #research #magic #magick #FuryFallsInn #amwriting #amreading #American #histfic #historical #fantasy #fiction #books

Last time I talked about how my characters in the Fury Falls Inn series have to learn the basics of magic. For Cassandra Fairhope, she also needs to learn about her wand and how to use it. Now, after doing a bit of research I can tell you that there are a wide array of opinions on what wood to use, whether to use a fallen limb or cut a fresh stick, whether to decorate it with sigils or other symbols, and more. I needed to decide what wood her wand would be made from so I consulted my two references for their views on wood choices as well as the Grove and Grotto site that provides in-depth information about a lot of wand woods.

Sabin’s advice for people who want to follow Wiccan ways is slightly different from de Angeles’ guidance for people who want to practice witchcraft. Sabin says the wand is “a fancy stick” used to focus energy. She also recommends knowing how to focus energy without using a tool such as a wand for instances where you don’t have one at hand. She says the most common woods for Wiccan wands include oak, ash, and willow. But she adds that a wand can be made of anything including copper or silver or bone among other options.

De Angeles insists that the wand must be made by hand, whether it is “simple or carved, inscribed, or painted with the sigils of magic.” She identifies two types of wands, one that is “permanent” used for your rituals and one that is “created for specific purposes” and then “buried after use.” She provides the length, too. It should be “from (approximately) the tip of your middle finger to the inside of your elbow.” She lists the traditional sacred woods as willow, hazel, oak, rowan, hawthorn, blackthorn, birch, beech, applewood, and elm.

So what kind of wand did I choose for Cassie to use in my series?

I scanned the list of woods at Grove and Grotto to get more information as to meanings and properties of various woods. I was looking for qualities and properties that meshed with what Cassie’s world view and desires are. Then I had to make sure the wood was readily available in Alabama so she would pick up a branch of the tree and use it for her wand. After all, the series is set in 1821 and while international trade was huge even then, it would be far easier to pick from available woods instead of importing a more exotic one. So I visited Flora of Alabama to find out which kinds of trees grow there.

I settled on cherry because of its availability and its specific properties. Especially, “harmonious, feminine energy, good for healing, love magick, unity, and community.” Those aspects of the wood’s properties would call to Cassie at an instinctual level.

You’ll notice I didn’t follow either Sabin’s or de Angeles’ advice as to which wood to use. That’s because I really believe in going with your instincts and I think Cassie would be drawn to something more domestic and relevant to her world. Cassie is a unique individual and so is her wand.

Here’s a short snippet from Desperate Reflections where Cassie’s aunt is giving her the first lesson in how to use a wand. In fact, it’s the first time Cassie finds out she has a wand of her own that’s been locked away in one of her mother’s trunks…


Cassie yanked the keys from her pocket before she could change her mind. Soon the lid was up and the array of jewelry boxes, old books, and keepsakes were exposed. Hope leaned over the open trunk, reaching in to lift first one then another of the heirlooms to inspect. Thankfully, replacing each as she sifted and sorted through the collection.

“Aha!” Hope rummaged deeper into the trunk, and then held up a twisted piece of reddish-brown wood. “I found it.”

“What is it?” Surely that thing wasn’t for her. Something else must have been calling to her.

“Why, your wand, of course.” Hope handed it to her, handle first, a scowl descending on her features. “My sister didn’t even let you keep the wand you made as a girl?”

“I didn’t find out I was a witch until a few weeks ago.” She tentatively accepted the tapered wand. The smooth wood warmed to her touch, humming softly, much like a kitten purring in its sleep. “I don’t recall making it.”

“I was there the day you found the fallen limb of a tree and held it up with such joy on your face.” Hope shifted to aim a bemused expression at her. “Your father shaped the handle into that slow twist and then let you sand it smooth with your little hands. I think you were two or so at the time so it’s quite understandable you don’t recall doing so.”

Gripping the handle of the wand, she gave a tentative flick of the blunt tip in the air. Nothing happened. “How does it work?”

Hope chuckled and shook her head slowly. “Not like that. You must have a purpose and intent in mind when you use it to direct your will.”


Tomorrow, May 11, Desperate Reflections will release! I hope you’ll read it and let me know what you think of the story. It’s the third story in a six-book series, so three more to go!

May a good story take you to new imaginative places! Happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers. Abram must protect his vulnerable sister from all of it. Before the dark side of magic ensnares her.

When Abram Fairhope grudgingly travels to the Inn, he has no idea of the dire revelations about to upend his life. His only desire is to fulfill his familial duty and then get back to his job as senator’s aide. But the shocking truth of his very nature destroys his carefully laid plans. Worse still, he must use his newly revealed ability to shield her from terrible danger. Threats exist from within and without, especially the surprisingly pretty woman his jaded heart can’t seem to ignore. Can he keep his sister safe and still protect his heart?

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Getting to know Monique Singleton #author #psychological #suspense #fantasy #storyteller #amreading #amwriting #fiction #books

My guest today comes to us from Holland and has an intriguing background to draw on for her writing. Please help me welcome author Monique Singleton! Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her and her stories, shall we?

USA Today Best-selling Author Monique Singleton writes compelling stories that mix fantasy with realistic psychological suspense and unique insights into the mind of the main characters.

As the daughter of a British soldier and his Dutch wife, Monique was born in an English military hospital in Germany. The family toured the world where she was exposed to different cultures in many countries. Finally settling down in the Netherlands she pursued a career in Art and later in ICT.

Monique started to put the scenes she had running around in her head down to paper. Scenes led to a story, the story to a book, and the first book to a series. In addition to her writing, Monique still holds down a full-time job as a business consultant. She lives in a beautiful old farmhouse in the south of Holland with her two sloppy monster dogs, some horses, and a cat.

The cat is the boss.

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Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?

Monique: None of the characters actually arrived fully developed. They evolved during the different books. I don’t outline my books. I am what they call a “Pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. This means that subjects, plots, and characters can change during the writing process.

Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?

Monique: The main protagonist was the first idea. She was not a clear and precise character, not at the beginning. She grew with the story.

Betty: Which character(s) were the hardest to get to know? Why do you think?

Monique: I think the main characters are the most difficult to get to know. In Primal Nature that’s definitely the case for the main protagonist because she herself does not understand what is happening to her.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Monique: I did a lot of research with regard to locations, cultures (Maori cultures in the other books of the series) and also research on the riders of the apocalypse. Even with Fantasy, it has to be right.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Monique: I wrote one major draft but changed it a bit on the way. After that I went back and re-edited the draft. I guess that constitutes a new draft. All in all, I think there have been 4 or 5 releases. I still change things as I learn more about writing.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Monique: This was the first book I wrote. It took about a year to write, and another five years to pluck up the courage to publish it. Most books take me 4 months to write. Then the laborious editing process starts.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Monique: No specific rituals. I do usually read what I wrote last time and go on from there. I do not write sequentially. I write what comes to mind.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Monique: One of my overused words is “OK”, or “So.”

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Monique: Terry Pratchett. He was a fantastic author who regrettably is no longer with us. Though his genre was different from mine, he is a great role model.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Monique: No special place or time. I do a lot of reading in the bath.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Monique: I work 4 days a week as a business consultant in IT. I very much enjoy that as well.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Monique: Deciding to self-publish and taking the first step.

Betty: What other author would you like to sit down with over dinner and talk to? Why?

Monique: Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowling, and so many more.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Monique: Success in writing would be if people enjoy my books and maybe some will take a step back and think of some of the social subjects I write about.

I would love to write full time. My ultimate fantasy is to see my work on film or on a streaming site.

Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?

Monique: The stories ran around in my head for a long time. I have always been a very creative person fascinated by Fantasy. This resulted in scenes that formed in my mind that I just had to put down to paper. The Primal Series is about a flawed heroine. Someone with good and bad points. Someone like us.

Immortality comes at a high price: her sanity.

Known simply as subject 336, she was the unwilling subject of sinister and brutal experiments designed to replicate her enormous strength, healing powers, and apparent immortality.
It didn’t work out that way. Instead, they unleashed her primal nature.

Now they’re dead, and she’s lost.

From the sweltering heat of the Mexican desert, her journey leads her to the tropical jungle of the Columbian Amazon.

Against the backdrop of the Third World War, she fights her own gruelling battle to come to terms with what she is: a killer, a monster, or maybe worse.

The world is at war, and she is caught up in the middle.

Joining the revolution, her newfound talents sway the balance of war in their favour.

But is she a blessing, or a curse?

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Thanks for letting us take a peek at your writing inspiration and process, Monique. Your story sounds intriguing and inspiring.

Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Book Sale in Honor of a New Release #sale #FuryFallsInn #amwriting #amreading #American #histfic #historical #fantasy #fiction #romance #books

It’s May and that means my next release is only days away! So I’ve decided to put the first two books in the series on sale for the month of May to encourage readers to catch up on what they may have missed. Desperate Reflections (Fury Falls Inn historical fantasy series Book 3) will release on May 11, 2021, and it’s chock full of surprises, secrets, magic, ghosts, and food! If you haven’t read the first two books in the series now is your chance to grab a Kindle copy of each and save money at the same time.

Here’s what the first two are about:

Cassie Fairhope longs for only one thing: to escape her mother’s tyranny. She has a plan, too. Seduce the young man, who is acting as innkeeper while her father is away on business, into marrying her. He’s handsome and available even though he doesn’t have feelings for her. Marriage is her only escape. Despite her mother’s strenuous objections.

But Flint Hamilton has his own plans and they don’t include marriage, even to the pretty temptress. He’s focused on securing his reputation in the hostelry business to make his father respect him. He quickly learns that running a roadside inn in northern Alabama in 1821 means dealing not only with the young woman and her hostile mother but also with horse thieves and rogues.

When tragedy strikes, Cassie and Flint are forced to face unforeseen challenges and dangerous decisions together in order to attempt to rid the inn of its newly arrived specter—who doesn’t have any plan to leave…

Only $.99 for the Kindle copy! $3.99 elsewhere

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Giles Fairhope reluctantly journeys to the Fury Falls Inn for one reason: his beloved sister Cassie needs him after their mother was murdered. His father and three brothers are far away, so she’s alone, without any family, in the wilderness of 1821 northern Alabama. He plans to find his mother’s killers, ensure Cassie’s safety, and then go home. Cassie begs him to stay until their father returns, but Giles has absolutely no desire to see him. When Cassie tells him their mother’s ghost haunts the inn, he suddenly faces his dead mother amidst shocking memories from his past and unexpected changes in himself.

His mother’s ghost insists he find not only the killers but a stolen set of keys. Keys which unlock more than an attic door but also surprising and dangerous family secrets. The revelations change everything he thought he knew about his family and threaten his sister’s safety and perhaps even her life…

Only $1.99 for the Kindle copy! $3.99 elsewhere

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Of course, you know there will be more: magic, ghosts, secrets, and food! Pre-order Desperate Reflections to grab your copy today! (Note that you can pre-order the ebook now but the paperback won’t be available until May 11.) Thanks!

Now back to writing book 4 in the series… Until next time, happy reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit www.bettybolte.com for more on my books and upcoming events.

Fury Falls Inn in 1821 Alabama. A place for ghosts, witches, and magic. A place of secrets and hidden dangers. Abram must protect his vulnerable sister from all of it. Before the dark side of magic ensnares her.

When Abram Fairhope grudgingly travels to the Inn, he has no idea of the dire revelations about to upend his life. His only desire is to fulfill his familial duty and then get back to his job as senator’s aide. But the shocking truth of his very nature destroys his carefully laid plans. Worse still, he must use his newly revealed ability to shield her from terrible danger. Threats exist from within and without, especially the surprisingly pretty woman his jaded heart can’t seem to ignore. Can he keep his sister safe and still protect his heart?

Books2Read     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Apple