Today is extra special in that I’m inviting you all to be a part of the book launch for my latest book, Hunter’s Moon Magic, available now with Liquid Silver books http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com. It’s a sexy, emotional, historical piece about a woman who is essentially murdered and her tale of love that spans three centuries.
Do you believe in ghosts? This is a question that I see bandied about the ‘net occasionally. For me, I’d have to say yes, I do. The ones that have sailed through my life have been of the friendly variety that whisper in the darkness or brush past me with barely a touch. I haven’t had cause to encounter an annoying ghost (unless you want to count the whole fire alarm debacle about a year about, but we won’t talk about that).
In fact, the spectral inhabitants among us fascinate me so much, I’m beginning to see a pattern of putting ghosts into a lot of my books—The Haunting of Amelia Pritchart, The Art of Fang Shui, Vegetarian at Midnight, just to name a few.
Now, before you go and call the Ghostbusters, stop and consider that maybe these realm travelers need to teach you something before they can move on.
Here are the book launch party details. I have a packet of book swag and a cute little writing pen shaped like a witch’s broom (with actual bristles) up for grabs. All you need to do is leave a comment (with email address) And I hope you’ll go pick up a copy of Hunter’s Moon Magic.
Blurb: Judith Goode, wrongly accused of witchcraft during the trials in 1600 Massachusetts, casts a spell on the black velvet dress she intended to wear for her lover’s return. If she can’t realize true love then she wants to ensure that any woman who wears the dress will but fate has other plans.
Even though Judith is now in ghost form, her quest to unite her soul with her lover’s burns strong. The enchanted dress has survived for two hundred years and is now in the hands of Carolina Cox who wears it to a masquerade where she meets Paul Brown. Love blooms and is realized yet life’s problems prevent a perfect match.
Disheartened through the years, Judith gives the attempt one last time in modern day Indianapolis by putting the dress in the hands of Jacob Howson, one of her last living ancestors. He’s a computer programmer looking for love and finds it by literally running into Lexy Brown at a dry cleaner.
Sometimes the love worth waiting for can be found under the light of a Hunter’s Moon.
Excerpt from Chapter One
October 29, 1692 Ipswich, Massachusetts
Brilliant moonlight streamed through the window, competing with the weak glow from the candle on the worktable. Judith Goode snipped off the last thread and placed the scissors into a basket near her elbow.
Standing, she shook out the length of black velvet pleased with how the dress had turned out. A round full skirt fell to the floor in elegant waves with faint glimmers of silver thread gleamed in the folds. The bodice was a masterpiece of scooped neck trimmed with runic symbols in the same silver thread, designed to catch an admiring gaze.
Black satin ribbons crisscrossing under the neckline would lend the dress structure and matched the tiny stain bows on the tops of the fluttered, capped sleeves.
The ideal gown to wear for a romantic tryst, especially since the fabric had been given to her from her lover when he had returned to port from his last trip.
Unfortunately, she would never be allowed to wear the dress--unless they hanged her in it.
Hearing an angry assortment of voices just outside her modest cottage, Judith folded the gown and placed it into a reed basket. The tinkle of breaking glass sounded, followed by a scuffle and several loud shouts for the ‘Devil’s Follower. They’d branded her a witch, and she didn’t correct them.
It wouldn’t have mattered.
She was different from the others in the village. A healer, and not disposed to spending hours on her knees in the church, Judith was automatically dubbed a follower of the occult.
The gray streak down the middle of her black hair didn’t help matters. Nor did her affinity for bathing naked at the shore on the nights of the full moon for no other reason than she admired the silvery light.
To these people, if you looked and talked differently from them, you must be evil--bad--not worthy of redemption and no amount of explanation would change their narrow minds. She’d tried twice before to plead her case. Now luck had abandoned her.
Judith wanted no part of the religious bigotry, their interpretation of salvation for the sake of public cleansing and a way to gain land and property.
Their way was not the only way to live a life.
Outside, shouts from men and women alike drew closer. Her breath quickening, Judith opened a carved trinket box on her worktable and withdrew a small sachet of cloth. A secret smile curved her lips. If she couldn’t wear the gown, at least she could ensure the women who did would have a happy life. Tucking the sachet between the folds of the dress, Judith nodded in satisfaction. The herbs were good and would not fail.
A few sprigs of basil for love, a couple dried fruits of the cayenne pepper plant for the fire of the spirit, chamomile flower heads for relaxation and protection, and cinnamon sticks to lure a male; Judith knew the basic ingredients for a love spell would have far reaching implications as much as the words she muttered over the fabric.
“May the women who wear this dress find their true love. May desire overcome them in such a way they cannot deny its call. May the women whose lives touch this dress be happy throughout all eternity with the men of their dreams, the mates of their hearts, and the keeper of their souls.”
After she recited her spell, Judith’s attention wandered to her absent lover. He’d been away, along with her brother, on a fishing ship for months and this time when he returned, she and Percy planned to be married. After three years of courtship and clandestine meetings, he’d offhandedly asked for her hand one evening over dinner. Judith agreed and the small, private ceremony was planned. Now, a few days shy of their reunion, the elders of the village were hell bent on ferreting out witches.
Not that they would even know a real witch if they bumped into one at the market. Hysteria reined in the small towns and anyone they couldn’t understand was immediately suspect.
Above everything else, Judith vowed never to reveal Percy’s name to the elders for fear an appointment with the gallows would await him, too. The only reason she embraced her destiny with calm was she knew Percy would live to tell her tale. A twinge of regret tickled her stomach. They’d talked at length of this very occurrence. It was always a risk, but she wished she could see him one last time.
With a sigh, she gave the plush velvet one last loving stroke then scattered a few red clover flowers for good luck and two dried hibiscus flowers for attracting love on the top. A folded quilt completed the contents of the basket and hid the gown from view.
It was all she could do.
A prayer that the frock would find its way into good hands escaped her lips shortly before an insistent pounding rained on her front door. With a gasp, Judith scooped up the basket and padded across the simple wooden planks of the floor to her kitchen window. Releasing the catch, she swung the casement out. “Hide it well, Jenny. Make certain my brother receives it and cares for it. Someday, somehow, Percy and I will be reunited, even if it takes two lifetimes to accomplish.”
“Yes, ma’am.”The melodious whisper of her apprentice seeped in from the darkness beyond. “You needn’t worry. I will take care of it. Godspeed”
Another round of hammering on the door brought Judith’s attention to matters at hand. She wiped her sweaty palms on her humble white apron.
Her heart raced in time to the blows.
She swung the window closed and pulled the curtains.
Then, with a deep breath, she tied the strings of her bonnet beneath her chin, crossed to the door, and unlatched the locks.
Time to usher in her fate. Judith straightened her spine. She would not meet death with tears.