Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween From All The Galdorheim Witches

THE COMPLEAT AND TRUE HISTORY OF THE WITCHES OF GALDORHEIM IS A 5-BOOK EXTRAVAGANZA OF THE ENTIRE WITCHES SERIES. DON'T BE SHY. COME HERE TO FIND THE SECRET CODE.

EPUB, MOBI, and PDF at Smashwords
Secret Coupon Code for Free Copy at Smashwords
(Highlight to Reveal): JJ85S 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Halloween is for Creatures


Creature Feature

I'm done writing the fifth book in the Witches of Galdorheim series. Maybe it's the 4th, since one of the volumes--a prequel short story--is outside the activities of the other three books. This one is Rune's book. It's what happened to Rune at the end of "Scotch Broom." Rune not only connects with his father, but meets a variety of other interesting beings during the visit.

Biel the Mahr: The Mahr are a race of giant vampire moths that dwell in the Carpathian Mountains. When a person was bitten by one of the Mahr, the creature would host the body of that person. A Mahr can be killed, and thus returning the soul to the original owner, by driving a wooden stake through its heart, or by finding its lair and exposing it to daylight. In Poland, they are called Mora and in Bulgaria Morava. The Mahr needs substantial quantities of blood to survive cocooning for several years.

Early on in the book-which-will-not-be, Rune and Drakos must fight off a Mahr named Biel. Not usually enemies, Biel is upset because Drakos has banned blood-taking in the area enforcing the rules via his control of a variety of folkloric creatures which were to be determined if the book had been written.

Igosha: In Russian folklore an Igosha is a household sprite, a handless and legless monster. Legends say that an Igosha is the spirit of a new-born baby who died without being christened. I thought Igosha would be a nice addition to the house of vampires. He is cared for by Tao Lung, an ancient Chinese vampire.

Excerpt:


Botchling from Witcher Game
Tao Lung had found the poor creature in his travels and, at first, believed it had been grievously injured. Igosha was not injured but created from a dead baby, a cruel joke of an evil wizard. He had promised to bring the baby back to life for a huge fee. He performed the spell. The sad couple were overjoyed and paid the wizard with their entire life savings. After the wizard departed, however, the baby’s arms and legs shrank, its hands and feet disappeared, and its tongue removed so it could never speak.

Tao Lung adopted the creature, of course. While Igosha could not speak, having no mouth thanks to the wizard, it could understand and faithfully served Tao Lung in any way it could. The company of vampires had accepted the deformed creature as one of their own.

Thorolf Draugr: Thorolf also came to the vampire castle with another. Lyonel Perabo, a French vampire, joined forces with a Draugr from Norse tradition. The Draugr is pretty much a flesh-eating zombie, but Lyonel is so charming, the two become friends and fellow hunters. 

Excerpt:

Tall and elegant, Lyonel Perabo, with his long black hair, goatee, and mustache was the consummate Frenchman. Centuries ago, he decided to leave France to follow the slaughter of the Viking raids. He had thought it a convenient way to sup on human blood since the battlefields lay strewn with the near dead. When the Norsemen stopped their raids, Lyonel moved on.

To his perplexity, a deformed creature followed Lyonel from the battlefield. Eventually, he spoke to the being and discovered it was a man morphed into monster called Thorolf Draugr. The two formed a mutually beneficial partnership. They hunted together—Lyonel for the blood and Thorolf for the raw flesh.

More wars and years went by. They roamed the lands from south to north. It became more difficult as the years went by. Lyonel and Thorolf had wandered into Slovakia’s Tatras Mountains whilst stalking a Gypsy caravan. Unfortunately for Lyonel, the gypsies were well-versed in vampire ways. Turning the tables on Lyonel and Thorolf, the gypsies cornered the pair shouting curses and holding up crosses sharpened into wooden stakes. Thorolf, however, roared and attacked, unfazed by the anti-vampire talismans. The gypsies had never encountered a creature like the Draugr before. Thorolf attacked the attackers, throwing bodies, alive and dead, every which way. Realizing the monster was beyond their abilities, the gypsies turned tail and ran. Lyonel called off Thorolf, not wanting to lose his dear companion.

* * *

BLOOD TIES TESTED - FINAL BOOK OF THE WITCHES OF GALDORHEIM SERIES
Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Following the events in the series Witches of Galdorheim, this additional tale relates what happens to Katrina the Witch's younger brother, Rune. Half vampire and half warlock, he faces life with a wisecrack and some powerful magic. Whatever happens, he does not want to be a vampire like his father. Unfortunate events lead him to fatally call on his vampire half. This failure leaves him in anguish. How can he assuage the guilt he feels? His mother thinks he needs to visit dead old dad, a vampire residing in the Tatras Mountains of Slovakia.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Halloween is for Evil Goddesses

SCOTCH BROOM on Smashwords

HALLOWEEN IS FOR EVIL GODDESSES

Cailleach the Winter Goddess

Cailleach is a goddess in the Scottish Celtic pantheon. Descriptions of her looks and personality run the gamut from ugly monster or beautiful protector of the land. This split personality goddess is the winter counterpart to the beautiful Bride (Bridget), the goddess of spring.

Living in the Otherworld after the Celts have stopped worshiping the old ones, Cailleach has let herself go to seed. She spends her days attempting to make sense of the hags’ potion in MacBeth (Double, double, toil and trouble). When she hears that a witch has come into the Otherworld, she begins to scheme. If Cailleach can only steal the witch’s magic, she can be young and powerful again. But the crone is cautious, she sends her minions out to learn more about the witch and to lead her to the goddess. While waiting for news, she learns that yet another witch has entered the Otherworld, but this one doesn’t make any sense. Cailleach determines this being is male, thus a warlock, but also smells of vampire. She decides to draw in this one like she plans for the first. But first, she decides to do a little homework.

She sends Bodach, the black giant, to give a message to Glaistig, the only Scottish vampire, to scope out just exactly who or what this male is: warlock, vampire, or both.

She is depicted as as having an eye in the middle of a blue-black face, long red teeth, and matted hair. In several stories she appears before a hero as a repulsive hag and suddenly transforms herself into a beautiful girl. At winter’s end, some accounts say the Cailleach turned into a grey boulder at Beltane until the warm days were over. The boulder was said to be “always moist’, because it contained “life substance’. The Cailleach Beara is ever-renewing and passes through many lifetimes going from old age to youth or flesh to stone in a cyclic fashion.

The Cailleach is seen as a seasonal deity or spirit, ruling the winter months between Samhain (October 31st) and Beltaine (April 30th), while Bride rules the summer months between Beltaine and Samhain. Some interpretations have the Cailleach and Brìde as two faces of the same goddess.

She is a bringer of snows, death, and sharp storms. On Samhain the Cailleach leaves her mountains and walks the Land. The Cailleach then proceeds to "wash her plaid". Her plaid represents the sand. When the Cailleach is done the plaid is white and the Land is covered with snow. She is said to ride on the back of a wolf carrying a wand made of human skin, that she uses to strike down all signs of growth. Behind her follows cold winds, blizzards, and ice. In Scotland, where she is also known as Beira, Queen of Winter.

It’s easy to see why Cailleach is so interested in regaining her strength, to become what she had been in the olden times.

Excerpt from Scotch Broom

Cailleach groaned when she leaned over and lifted her bare foot high enough to clip her toenails with the gardening shears. She looked up and sniffed twice. The hag dropped her bare foot, stuffed it into her flipflop, and shuffled to the door. Throwing it open, she held her head high, closed her eyes, and sniffed some more.

“Drat! Not another witch.” She sniffed again. “Wait, a warlock. No, a vampire. Hmm.” She closed the door and slumped into a chair. “This is confusing. Maybe there are two.” She went to the woodshed door. Cailleach rapped three times and then stood back as it creaked open.

Bodach, her roommate and minion, dragged his crippled body out of the small hatch. “Yes, Mistrezz,” he slurred, casting one protruding eye upwards.

“We have another foreigner in the swamp. Get out there and find a skrat to check. No, not a skrat. I smell vampire. Find Glaistig and send her to investigate.” Cailleach patted him on the head. “There’s a good boy.”

“Can you tell me where Glaistig is hiding?” Bodach examined his armpit and sniffed.

“Go to the standing stones on the north side of the loch. She has a cave there.”

“Yes, Mistrezz.” Bodach dragged his limp legs behind him. He began to unfold in a way the eye could not follow. When he reached the door, he needed to bend and shuffle through sideways to fit.

“Bodach, stay with Glaistig and do as she says. She might need some muscle.”

“Yes, Mistrezz.” Bodach ducked and went to seek Glaistig, the Gray Lady.

Cailleach closed the door behind the giant and sat again. She twanged the long hair protruding from the wart on her chin. “This is all very disturbing. Two foreigners stomping around in my bog within hours. This second, though, he’s strange. Yes, male. That much is clear. But I smell on him both warlock and vampire. Very odd, indeed.”

She went to the dusty bookshelf beside the fireplace. As she tapped each book with her gnarled finger, it spoke its title aloud. The Compleat Book of Bats. Care and Feeding of Monsters. Selling Love Potions on the Internet. Vampires: The Myths and the Facts. She took this one off the shelf and flipped through the pages. An occasional groan or scream emitted from the book, depending on the chapter topic.

“Ah, here it is. ‘Vampire Half-Breeds.’ Hmm. ‘Cross breedings with werewolves, ghouls, and Sasquatch have been cited, although most of these stories are second-hand accounts at best. It is believed that vampires could breed with any species; however, it is most likely this only occurs when the other creature is in an altered form. The werewolf, for example, must be in its wolf mode, not its human aspect.’”

Cailleach stuck her finger in the book to hold her place and plopped down on her rocking chair. She must be mistaken about the invader. This was a scholarly work, although a little dated having been written in 1549. But it seemed to deny the possibility of a warlock-vampire mix. She’d have to study this a bit more. Still, the vampire smell was strong. Without her power, all she could do was wait for Glaistig to report. The only known true vampire in Scotland, Glaistig wouldn’t waste a minute of darkness beating feet to catch up to the male, determine what he was, and report back.

Satisfied she could do nothing more, she leaned back in her rocker, intending to read the rest of the chapter. But sleep overtook her, and she was soon snoring in her chair.
* * *

A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Halloween is for Sorceresses

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Mordita the Witch (She Prefers Sorceress)

Hands down, readers' favorite witch on Galdorheim is Mordita. She's powerful, all right, but it's her wicked sense of humor that makes her a fan fav. She also has some secrets, which are revealed in Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim, Midnight Oil.

Kat meets Mordita in Bad Spelling. In Midnight Oil, the two have become close friends. Even Aunt Thordis gets along with the sorceress since Mordita helped rescue Kat and Rune. Well, they pretty much rescued themselves in Bad Spelling, but Mordita's skill with a scrying crystal helped greatly.

While Mordita has tons of magic, she prefers to maintain her old hag appearance just to keep the Galdorheim witches from stopping by to visit. Mordita is alone, and she likes to keep it that way. She's not quite alone if you want to count a fat orange tiger cat named Kudzu.

Mordita is a mystery. Why did she come to Galdorheim if she doesn't want to consort with the witches and warlocks? Learn Mordita's deepest secret in Book 2 - Midnight Oil (#free later this month).


EXCERPT FROM BAD SPELLING

Kat woke in the dark and dressed without turning on a light. She slipped out the front door and jogged down the empty main street. When she reached the very edge of the village where a gate barred the way, she stopped. This was the home of Mordita the Sorceress.

Unlike the neat houses lining the rest of the street, Mordita filled her yard with brambles and poison oak. Translucent green slime covered the stone path from the gate to the door. It twinkled in the early morning sunlight. Pretty, but it made walking hazardous.

When she neared the dilapidated front door of the house, she hesitated. What am I thinking? Mordita would as likely turn her into a toad as help her. Still, she knew Mordita wouldn’t tell anyone what Kat wanted, if only to thwart the other witches. Aunt Thordis despised Mordita. The feeling was mutual.
Kat rolled her shoulders, took a deep breath to get herself ready, stepped up to the door, and spoke to the knocker. “Hello. I’m here to see the lady of the house.”

The knocker just hung there, a plain old horseshoe turned upside down with a spike on a hinge attached at the top. Kat reached out to raise the spike, hesitating just before she touched it. When her finger came to within a fraction of an inch, a blue spark of electricity arced from the spike to her hand. The knocker cackled with maniacal laughter. Kat tried to shake some feeling back into her fingers. Then the door swung open with a spooky-sounding creak.

Kat peered into the gloom, but it was too dark to make out any details. She shrugged. An open door was an invitation to enter, so she stepped over the threshold and into the Sorceress’ abode.

“Madame Mordita,” she said, not daring to raise her voice above a whisper. “Ahem. It’s Katrina, Ardyth’s daughter.”

Outside, the safety committee had peppered the village with spirit lights to ensure the safety of the residents. Mordita’s home did not have a spirit light in front of it, though. When the municipal-care warlocks set one by her gate, it disappeared by the next night. The front room was gloomy, with only a glow from the fireplace casting weird shadows on the walls. Looking left and right, Kat noticed shutters covered the two front windows, one on either side of the door, so even during the day little light could seep into the house.

Something touched her shoulder, and Kat jumped. She suppressed a full-out scream and squeaked, “Erk!” She whirled around while grabbing her shoulder, but whatever touched her was gone.

She saw a hazy form floating toward her from the other end of the room. It must be Mordita, who had a flair for dramatic entrances. When the ghostly shape stopped before her, it thickened and became opaque.

“Well, well. Thordis’ niece. What did your auntie do? Send you because she’s afraid to face me?”

“Of course not. Aunt Thordis has nothing to do with why I’m here.” Right away, Kat regretted sounding so abrupt. She needed Mordita’s aid and insulting her wouldn’t help.

She pasted a sweet smile on her face and continued. “Of course, if Thordis did want something, she’d be too afraid of you to come herself.”
* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Can Kat find her magic in time? If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman. The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Halloween is for Magic Charms


How Charming!

A magical item comes in handy in the Galdorheim series. In Scotch Broom, the charm bracelet gifted to Kat by Mordita is an integral part of the plot.

Charm bracelets aren’t just jewelry. The wearing of charms may have begun as a form of amulet to ward off evil spirits or bad luck. During the pre-historic period, jewelry charms would be made from shells, animal-bones and clay. Later charms were made out of gems, rocks, and wood.

For instance, there is evidence from Africa that shells were used for adornments around 75,000 years ago. In Germany intricately carved mammoth tusk charms have been found from around 30,000 years ago. In ancient Egypt charms were used for identification and as symbols of faith and luck. Charms also served to identify an individual to the gods in the afterlife.

During the Roman Empire, Christians would use tiny fish charms hidden in their clothing to identify themselves to other Christians. Jewish scholars of the same period would write tiny passages of Jewish law and put them in amulets round their necks to keep the law close to their heart at all times. Medieval knights wore charms for protection in battle. Charms also were worn in the Dark Ages to denote family origin and religious and political convictions. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the information on the history of charms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charm_bracelet).

And, of course, we should not forget Lucky Charms (General Mills) which provide us with food just like Kat’s little pig charm does in the story.

So, here is it. Scotch Broom complete with the most charming bracelet. If you can't quite make out the figures, here's what they are and what they represent as related to Kat by the gifter, Mordita.

Excerpt from Scotch Broom: 

“Hold out your hand,” Mordita ordered. Kat laid the gift packets on a side table and held out her right arm. Mordita grabbed her wrist and Kat felt something slide around it followed by the faint snick of a latch. Mordita let go. “Look closely, and you’ll see the charms on the chain.” Kat examined the bracelet. Five tiny charms hung from it, evenly spaced around the bracelet’s length.

I can’t quite...oh, now I see them. Thanks, Mordita. It’s very, umm, pretty.”

“Fiddlesticks. These are useful charms. They’re not meant to be just decorative.” Mordita held up Kat’s wrist and poked one of the charms. It squealed. Kat jumped. “Shush, you silly thing,” Mordita said.

“This little piggie provides food where none is to be found. Nutritious food, that is, so don’t be hoping for candy.”

“Oh. That’s handy.” Kat peered closer at the pig charm. It looked back at her and winked. She grinned. What a great charm, she thought, and charming, too.

Mordita poked at another charm, and Kat heard a muffled purring sound. “This little kitty finds a warm place for you to stay. Nothing fancy, just basic shelter.”

Mordita stroked the next charm, and a muted honk came from the tiny goose. “Early warning system. Activate it when you want protection from unpleasant surprises.”

Kat laughed. “I might need that the second I put foot in Great Britain. It’s all new to me.”



Poke. Whinny. “This pony will bring transportation, for example, a cab in London. The drivers would as soon run you over as pick you up.”

“Cab? I don’t know— Is that a vehicle you can hire to take you places?”

“Indeed. Now, use this last one only in case of dire emergency.” Mordita pointed at the charm but didn’t touch it. “Best let sleeping ogres lie. You’d better have a desperate need for an eight-foot tall, five-hundred pound, angry ogre.”

Kat gave the charm a dubious look. “Will it attack me?”

“Of course not. I imprinted your personality on all the charms. They will serve you and only you. Of course, you must have the bracelet on for the charms to work.”

“This is a great gift, Mordita. I can’t thank you enough.”

“Not at all. Hopefully, you won’t have any need of the ogre.”
* * *
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Halloween is for Lousy Witches

Bad Spelling - At Smashwords All Formats

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Katrina the Teen Witch

Tap tap tap squeal!!

Is this thing on? Oh. I don’t need a microphone? Alrighty then.

My name is Katrina Galdorheim, but I'd rather you call me Kat. Try to convince my mother and aunt of that and you’d most definitely bring on one of her lectures. Especially if you try to argue with Aunt Thordis about ANYTHING! She’s the chief administrator and de facto mayor of our little island village full of witches and warlocks.

So when she implies I’m a L-O-S-E-R, everybody pretty much agrees with her. Oh, most of the other witches are nice enough to me, but the whispers behind my back are none too subtle.

A couple more people to introduce for this story.

My mom seems like a ditz, but her magic is just as powerful as Aunt Thordis’s. I think Mom just likes to be the total opposite of her overbearing sister. Don’t tell Aunt Thordis I said that.

My only real friend is Rune even if he is my brother (half) and crazy good at magic. Everything comes so easy for him and it’s enough to make me insane. The only thing he does have trouble with is keeping his vampire half in control. I know how hard it is for him. If he sees even a drop of human (well, witch or human) blood, he totally freaks. Eyes go blood red, canines grow. Yeah. Seriously. But he’s working on it, and will beat the blood-sucking monkey on his back someday.

What else can I say? This book is about me mostly, though mom, Aunt Thordis, and Rune all play a big part in it. So my problem is that I can’t cast spells without them going wrong. Not just little, teensy so-what wrong, but big, gigantic, totally outrageous wrong.

When you’re living on an island populated by witches, and the island runs on magic, being magic-challenged doesn't just suck, it's downright dangerous.

This excerpt makes clear just how much of a klutz I am. Don't worry, though. Things get worse, but eventually they do get better.

Bad Spelling - Chapter 11 Excerpt

Rune stepped in front of Kat, holding his hands palm outward toward the bear and stumbling through an incantation. It didn’t do any good. The bear growled deep in its chest and moved one huge, black-clawed paw closer. It took another step, its big head still weaving back and forth as it sniffed the air. Kat caught a whiff of wet bear fur when the bear spread its jaws wide and roared. She flinched at the fishy smell as much as the sound.

Kat’s contact with the bear wasn’t very strong, but she got a frighteningly clear impression of hunger and curiosity. It didn’t know what they were, but it was most likely thinking of them as dinner.

She screwed her eyes shut, clenched her fists, and did her best to send soothing thoughts toward the bear, hoping it’d think of them in a kindly, rather than culinary, fashion. Suddenly, she heard a tremendous splash. The bear let out a surprised grunt. The ice lurched under Kat’s feet, almost knocking her over.

Her eyes snapped open to see the bear beating a hasty retreat across the ice. Where the bear had stood, a much larger creature now occupied the space attired in startling black and white and sporting a wide, tooth-studded grin. An orca perched before her with nearly a third of its body up on the ice floe—the ice floe that now tilted alarmingly, cracking under the whale’s weight.

“Run!” Kat screamed, grabbing Rune’s arm and pulling her brother around. They went slipping, sliding, and scrambling back the way they came.

Over the cracking and groaning of the ice breaking up, Kat heard a loud chitter, and then a high-pitched whistle. She stopped so suddenly Rune ran into her. Catching him before he fell, she moved him to one side and turned back toward the orca, her eyes wide with surprise.

“What did you say?” she asked.

Chchchchch skreak!” the orca answered.

Rune looked at the orca; then his sister; then back to the orca. He leaned close to Kat’s ear. “You understand it?” he whispered.

Kat nodded, edging back to the orca, careful of her footing on the slippery ice.

Kakkakakkak cheechee,” the orca screeched.

“Thank you. I didn’t think the bear seemed very friendly either.”

Kat looked over at her brother, who stood staring at her open-mouthed. “Better shut that, little brother, before your teeth freeze.” Her eyes sparkled with delight. Rune closed his mouth and zipped the hood up over his face.


BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?


MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?


SCOTCH BROOM - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

BLOOD TIES TESTED - Sequel Short to Witches of Galdorheim
Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Short Story
This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.