Marva Dasef's Blog, page 5

October 21, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHESThe entire Witches of Galdorheim ebook series will be 99 cents each throughout October.BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book MIDNIGHT OIL Kindle Ebook  Nook Book SCOTCH BROOM Kindle Ebook  Nook Book SPELLSLINGER #Free on #Smashwords 
Wizards, Sorcerers, Magicians, Warlocks

These are the males of the species Homo Spellcasterus. Please comment on how you use these terms in your own writing. If you’re not a fiction writer, feel free to give your opinions as well.
A magician, wizard, sorcerer or a person known under one of many other possible terms in fiction is someone who uses or practices magic that derives from supernatural or occult sources. Warlocks, who are normally the male counterpart of witches, tend to be portrayed as evil, perhaps because ‘war’ is part of their title, and who doesn’t hate ‘locks’?
To supply some examples:
Wizard:In medieval chivalric romance, the wizard often appears as a wise old man and acts as a mentor. Long, white beards and robes seem to be required for most wizards.
Wizard of OzDumbledore and Harry PotterDiscworld has a plethora of wizards, many ineptGandalf in Tolkien’s Middle EarthDC Comics and Marvel Comics both have wizardsDungeons and Dragons and similar role-playing gamesand Mr. Wizard, the science guy before Bill Nye the Science Guy
Copyright Disney Inc.Sorcerer: Often an alternate term for Wizard. Many of the above mentioned wizards are sometimes referred to as sorcerers (except Mr. Wizard), but there doesn’t seem to be much consistency in doing so.
Magician: This seems to be the catchall phrase for spellcasters, but also includes stage performers with sleight-of-hand tricks, showgirl sawing, and disappearing and reappearing showgirls and white tigers.
Warlock: In Medieval tradition, warlocks are male counterparts to witches. However, modern Wiccans consider the term pejorative.
In some role-playing games, warlocks are demon summoners. After obtaining said demon, they can control them, make them pets, change their litterbox, etc. This usage may stem from the derivation from the Old Norse varð-lokkur meaning caller of spirits. However, the Oxford English Dictionary (the definitive source for all things magic) does not concur. The Oxford suggests the term warlock comes from warloke meaning to secure (a horse) as with a fetterlock. How this translates into a spellcaster, I have no idea.*
My Mashing Isn’t Very Up. I tend to use the standard definitions, although the Witches of Galdorheim series refers to male witches as warlocks. I see nothing pejorative about it. My apologies to any offended Wiccans.
* An excellent article “What is a Warlock?” gives an interesting take on warlocks http://www.boudicca.de/warlock-e.htm

MIDNIGHT OIL Kindle Ebook  Nook Book  Audio Book
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.





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Tales of a Texas BoyMissing, Assumed DeadBad SpellingMidnight OilSpellslinger (listen to this entire short book on SoundCloud for free)

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Published on October 21, 2014 07:00 • 1 view

October 20, 2014

Here's a reminder I have several books in the KindleUnlimited program. I'm a subscriber myself and, so far, finding it an excellent way to get books which cost way too much with the regular Kindle price. "Too much" in my opinion is more than $3.00 for a single title. Boxed sets (like my Witches of Galdorheim 3-book volume) can certainly cost more.

Here are my KindleUnlimited books. Click on them to go to the product page on Amazon.

Free on the KindleUnlimited Plan:
Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie
Quest for the Simurgh - Faizah's DestinyWitches of Galdorheim Boxed SetMissing, Assumed Dead (also in audiobook)Lemons and Other Kid TalesFish Story - 3 Short Stories




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Published on October 20, 2014 09:58 • 1 view

October 19, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHESThe entire Witches of Galdorheim ebook series will be 99 cents each throughout October.BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book
MIDNIGHT OIL Kindle Ebook  Nook Book SCOTCH BROOM Kindle Ebook  Nook Book SPELLSLINGER #Free on #Smashwords 
CAIT SIDHE 

Many many, many, many writers are in love with the Celtic myths. I’ve delved into them, too. However, I’m not a big fan of the flitty little cute faeries (or fae or fairies). In Celt mythology, there’s a fairy (or fae or faerie) for just about any purpose. The “serious” fantasies love the idea of the fairy troupe. More than a few equate fairies to Arthurian legends, more specifically Merlin.

The third book in the Witches of Galdorheim series, Scotch Broom, is set in the Scottish Highlands. Of course, I had to include at least one fairy in the mix or I’d be violating some unwritten fantasy rule.

If you write Celtic fantasy, then you know that Sidhe is pronounced Shee in Ireland and Sith in Scotland. I wonder where George Lucas got Sith lords? Hmm.

Anyway, I found a particular sidhe I liked. She’s a big black cat with a white chest. Aha! I used to have the model for said cat (in a much reduced size) sitting at my door every morning demanding a handout. We called her Bitch Kitty. Yes, she had attitude in spades. So, she's my model for Cait Sidhe, a companion to my erstwhile heroine, Kat.

My Mashup: From Scotch Broom

Kat has already found two companions: Sianach a stag and Cusith (another sidhe) a giant, green hound. They’re tromping through the swamps trying to find the Trow King’s hall in the middle of the Otherworld (the alternate magic world in the Scottish Highlands).

Excerpt:

They marched on in a straight line, having no better idea of which direction to go, while Cusith zigzagged ahead of them with his nose close to the earth. Suddenly, the green hound raised his head and bayed. A moment later, he galloped across the moor, water splashing when his huge paws hit the tiny pools.

“What’s up with him?” Kat asked.

Sianach lifted his chin for a better view. “He appears to be in pursuit of an animal of some type.”

“I hope he’s not hurting some little swamp creature.”

“If he is, then the beast is making Cusith pay for the privilege.”

Kat and Sianach walked faster after Cusith, the dog’s trail marked by flying grass and water. When Cusith finally stopped, Kat and Sianach trotted to catch up. The hound was standing over something furry and black that lay on the ground beneath his huge paw.

“No, don’t! Don’t hurt it,” Kat called out. Cusith turned his head toward her, tongue lolling.

“I won’t. It’s not food.”

Kat reached Cusith’s side and knelt down to examine the raggedy clump of ebony fur. It leapt up, scrabbling for a foothold, but Cusith clamped his paw down harder to hold it still.

“It’s a cat!” Kat reached out with her mind but met the same blank wall she had with Sianach and Cusith. So, she tried the old-fashioned way. “Here kitty, kitty. Nice kitty.” An ear-splitting yowl almost knocked Kat back on her rear.

“I am not your ‘nice kitty,’ you rude thing! I am Cait Sidhe; I’ll have you know. Surely, this stag...and mutt...have heard of me.”

Sianach, who stood to one side to stay out of the fray, nodded his elegant head. “Yes, I know you. Not that it is a pleasure.”

The cat hissed and swiped a pawful of razor sharp claws across Cusith’s foot. The big dog quickly released the black cat. “Sorry. Just having some fun.”

Cait sat up and licked a couple of swipes over the white spot on her chest.

“Now you’ve covered me with mud. It’ll take hours to get clean again.”

* * *
SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.






WRITE A COMMENT - WIN A FREE AUDIO BOOK OR EBOOK OF YOUR CHOICE OF MY BOOKSTales of a Texas BoyMissing, Assumed DeadBad SpellingMidnight OilSpellslinger (listen to this entire book on SoundCloud for free)

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Published on October 19, 2014 07:00 • 1 view

October 17, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES
The entire Witches of Galdorheim ebook series will be 99 cents each throughout October.
BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book
MIDNIGHT OIL Kindle Ebook  Nook Book
SCOTCH BROOM Kindle Ebook  Nook Book 
SPELLSLINGER #Free on #Smashwords 

Crystals, water, fire, clouds, steam, chicken bones. All of these objects have been used to see into the past or future. Well, that's the story anyway. You recall the Penseira from the Harry Potter series. That, too, is a scrying object, but recalls memories of the person using it.
In Bad Spelling, the witches use a scrying crystal. They can see the past only, but the past can be just a seven-second delay behind.
Kat wants to find out about her father's family. Boris was a marooned Siberian fisherman who happened to get stuck on Galdorheim Island. Kat's mother liked his looks, rescued him, and they hand-fasted. Kat was the result of the union. Shortly after her birth, however, Boris was trapped in an ice cave collapse. His body remains encased within the glacier.
Kat asks her mother to trace Boris's path back to his origins. Ardyth had never done this before because it was against witch code to scry a person without their permission. When Kat points out that Boris could hardly object, Ardyth agrees to scry Boris's past.
The crystals I describe aren't the standard Gypsy crystal ball, but natural morganite crystals. Out of the rough crystal structure, the witches shape a scrying crystal from the pure morganite.
Excerpt from Bad Spelling

Ardyth rummaged through a box on the floor and extracted a large chunk of Morganite beryl. “Ah, here it is. I haven’t used this in years.” She placed the pink, six-sided crystal on the table. She opened a crate standing near the worktable and rummaged through it. “Did you know the Druids used beryls for scrying? Morgan Le Fay learned how to use them from Merlin. He was a Druid, you know.” She pulled a white cloth from the crate and laid it flat on the bench, setting the beryl precisely in the center.
Ardyth lit two candles and placed one at each end of the table. “You don’t want the candles so close the flame reflects off the crystal.” She explained each step to her daughter, who hadn’t participated in a scrying before. Ardyth held her hands, palms facing inward, on each side of the crystal, close yet not touching. “There. Now, I can take a peek and see what reveals itself. Sometimes it’s stubborn and doesn’t want to cooperate.” Ardyth leaned closer and peered into the beryl. “The idea is to look into the center of the crystal, not the surface.”
Kat whispered, not wanting to distract from the rite, but eager to learn. “It’s so rough, how can you see—?”
“Shush,” Ardyth hissed, her eyes rolled back under her lids, revealing only the whites. It made Kat queasy when she tried to do the same.
“O Crystal, show me what I seek.”
Kat held her breath. Would she be able to see the vision, too?
“Ahem, Crystal, let’s get a move on. I haven’t got all day.”
Kat smothered a giggle.
“Ah. There it is. Uh huh. Yes. Okay, a bit south now. Further east. There! Stop.”
“Are you giving it directions, Mom?”
“Of course. The witch directs the crystal; it does not lead the witch.”
“Um, okay.”

BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book  Audio Book
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed.





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Tales of a Texas BoyMissing, Assumed DeadBad SpellingMidnight OilSpellslinger (listen to this entire short book on SoundCloud for free)
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October 15, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES
The entire Witches of Galdorheim ebook series will be 99 cents each throughout October.
BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book
MIDNIGHT OIL Kindle Ebook  Nook Book
SCOTCH BROOM Kindle Ebook  Nook Book 
SPELLSLINGER #Free on #Smashwords
Glaistig the Scottish Gray Lady

In Scotch Broom, I present Glaistig as a vampire woman who has entered the Otherworld because she no longer wants to live from the blood of humans. Within the magical realm, she can safely feed on the various magical creatures without killing them. Once I discovered her, I knew she had to be part of this story. While a vampire, she’s got a soft side that appeals to Rune. In other words, she’s not all bad; she’s just been fabled that way.
I discovered Glaistig at Monstropedia, a must-have link for paranormal and fantasy writers. The picture is from that site so it might be misuse of copyright. But they started it! ( http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Glaistig )
According to one legend the glaistig was once a mortal noblewoman, to whom a fairy nature had been given or who was cursed with the goat's legs and immortality, and since has been known as The Green (or Gray) Lady.
In most stories, the creature is described as a beautiful woman with dusky or gray skin and long blonde hair. Her lower half is that of a goat, usually disguised by a long, flowing green robe or dress.
In the diverse and changing traditions of the Highlands, the Glaistig was seen as both benevolent and malevolent towards humans. In one aspect she even takes the role of the Banshee, wailing at the death of important people.
The glaistig may take the form of a beautiful woman, especially one already known to the male victim; after offering sexual favors like a camp follower, she leaves her male victim with his throat cut, every drop of blood sucked from him. Other such tales have her casting stones in the path of travelers or throwing them off course.
In some variant stories the glaistig may be seen as benevolent, fond of children and a protector of old people. Libations of milk were poured for her, especially on selected stones; this veneration may be linked with older fertility customs. The glaistig has been described in some folklore as watching over children while their mothers milked the cows and fathers watched over the herds.
The glaistig frequented the lonely lochs and rivers in the Highlands of Scotland, such as Ardnacaillich, Donolly Castle, Loch Fyne, Crathes Castle and in Wales at Caerphilly.
Excerpt
Rune, Kat’s brother, is searching for his sister while Cailleach is searching for both Rune and Kat by sending one or more of her minions to find them. Glaistig’s job is to find Rune, determine whether or not he’s a vampire, and to bring the boy to the goddess.
As the sun eased down to hide behind a mountain range to the west, a movement to his left caught his attention. It looked like a tendril of smoke rising from the swamp. Since it was unlikely anything could burn in the bog, he watched the gray mist with interest. He notched up his vampire vision to watch. The smoky mist grew opaque then solid. A figure formed, but as if a statue made of granite, it was solid gray. Watching closely, Rune waited to see what this might be. He had studied all types of magical beings and couldn’t recall one like this.
The smoke woman, for he now recognized the shape as female, wafted toward him on the air. When it stopped a few feet away from him, it slowly gathered color from the moors. Heather green, water blue, dried grass yellow. The colors mixed and swirled and finally settled on the figure, giving her the approximate colors of a woman with blonde hair, a pale, gray face, and dazzling blue eyes staring at him in silence. She wore a long dress and cape, both the color of morning mist.
Rune ventured a greeting. “Hello?” The woman didn’t speak, but she moved again, this time circling him. Rune turned to keep her in his sight.
“I am Glaistig.” Her voice was as soft as the smoke from which she formed.
Without his vampire hearing, Rune wouldn’t have been able to hear the whisper. “Ahem. I’m Rune. Nice to meet you.” Rune wondered whether to offer his hand to shake and decided not to risk it. He’d heard some magical beings poisoned those who touched them.
The pale woman looked him up and down and then nodded slightly. “You are vampyr?”
“Um. Is that a problem?”
“Not at all. I am also.”
“Oh. I should have guessed. Night. Smoke. Oh! I remember who you are!” Rune snapped his fingers. “Glaistig, the Gray Lady. But you’re not a true vampire, are you?”
“It depends upon my mood and how a person treats me. If I meet a man on the road, and he tries to grab me, I dance away and let him follow. I lure him to my lair. Then, I take his blood. But if a man tips his hat and wishes me a good evening, I leave him with a smile.”
“That’s a relief. My name is Rune, and I’m here looking for my si—” Rune stopped and considered that if Glaistig was a vampire and thought he was too, he shouldn’t mention he had a witch sister. “Uh, a female friend. Have you seen a girl with black hair?”
“I have not, but Cailleach may be able to help you.” Something darker than the blackest shadow lumbered out of the night. Glaistig glanced at the giant coming up behind her. “It’s all right, Bodach. This man is a vampire.”
The giant halted by her side and glared down at Rune, who swallowed hard and craned his neck to look up at the ugly face on top of the nine-foot tall body. The giant sniffed. “As you say, Glaistig. We take him to Cailleach?”
“Yes, we do.” Turning to Rune, the Gray Lady beckoned with her index finger. “Come, Rune. We shall visit the goddess.”
“Well, that’s okay. I’ll just look over there,” Rune replied, pointing in the opposite direction of where Glaistig appeared to be headed.
Bodach took two long strides and grabbed Rune’s arm before he could react.
“Uh, since you put it that way.” He pulled his arm away from the giant and followed Glaistig.
The Gray Lady smiled at him. “I’m so happy you agree. Bodach is Cailleach’s very faithful servant. I doubt he would take no for an answer.”
Rune nodded glumly. It looked like he was stuck for now. Still, it might be a good thing. This Cailleach might be able to help find Kat. But why would being a vampire all of a sudden be a good thing? He could sense that if he had not been a vampire, Bodach the giant, would now be crushing his skull between his two gigantic hands. And who was this goddess Cailleach? The name didn’t ring any bells.

Rune followed Glaistig, with Bodach close on his heels. Over the thumps of Bodach’s heavy footsteps, he heard the skittering sound of a small animal in the grass as they walked away.

* * *
SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge, but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.






WRITE A COMMENT - WIN A FREE AUDIO BOOK OR EBOOK OF YOUR CHOICE OF MY BOOKSTales of a Texas BoyMissing, Assumed DeadBad SpellingMidnight OilSpellslinger (listen to this entire book on SoundCloud for free)

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Published on October 15, 2014 07:00 • 1 view

October 13, 2014

Christopher Columbus was a real life monster. He shouldn't be honored, I don't care what the Italian-Americans think. For one thing, Columbus never set foot on American soil, but he did ravage, loot and pillage the Caribbean. Last year, I suggested this should be renamed to Saint Bartolome Day. How about we honor the people he worked so hard to destroy through his greed and cruelty. Chief Joseph was a great leader and worthy of honor.

Read the Myths and Facts About Columbus in this article from Indian Country Today.


I have had Native American characters in a couple of my books. This gave me the opportunity to do a bit of study on the tribes in Oregon. I in no way pretend to be expert on anything Native American, but I did share some aspects as they fit into the plots of my books. I don't mean to make this self-aggrandizing, but I'm a writer. I can't help it.

EAGLE QUEST
Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual junior high school crowd as they are from each other.

Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight camp out as they encounter a black bear, a retired forest ranger living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other. 


MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its deadly secrets.
When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.


And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.

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Published on October 13, 2014 00:00 • 2 views

October 11, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES - The entire Witches of Galdorheim series will be 99 cents each during October. Available for Kindle and Nook.
SPELLSLINGER #Free on #Smashwords
In "Bad Spelling," Sami shamans play a major role in tribal life, but they have a big effect on Kat's life as well. Kat's father is a Sami tribesman (he's the one caught between life and death in an ice cave). That's why Kat is searching for the Samis. Another character, Andy, has an interest in the Samis as well. Both depend on the decision of the shamans. Will they live or die?

Trolls aren't ugly like this.Andy is a troll...sort of. Stolen at birth by the Trolless Gorm to replace one of her newborn triplets, Andy is through and through troll. He loves his brothers Endy and Indy, respects the troll King Ole, and is overall pretty happy being a troll.

However, when Gorm is near death, she tells Andy that he's bortbyting, a changeling. His real family is the Sami tribe of Siberia. Well, we already know that Kat's father is a Sami from Siberia. Hmm. Coincidence? I think not.

Let's talk about the Siberian side of the family.

The Samis (also spelled Sámi or Saami) are a widespread extended clan of people closely related to the North American Eskimos and Aleutes. You've heard of Samoyed dogs, the breed of sled dog bred by these northernmost indigenous people. The Lapps are the same people just a little further west. There is lots of interesting information on the Sami people out on the internet. I discovered them by trundling around the web looking for an indigenous people living in Siberia. I wanted Kat's father to be completely different from the Euro-Nordic witches of Galdorheim. I hit the motherload with the Samis. These are the perfect folks to be the middle link between witches and trolls. The Free Encyclopedia is a treasure trove of information. I spent a lot of time following links and reading. These are people not widely known by the "civilized" world.


The Samis of Siberia are primarily hunter/gatherers with fishing being a major food source. You can imagine that near the Arctic Circle, farming is not possible. Russia pulled the same dirty trick on the Samis as the US pulled on the indigenous tribes of North America: relocation. They moved them all next door to the Barents Sea, which, naturally, is not a desirable piece of real estate. I know we could all go on and on about the injustices of the world, but that's not what I'm doing here. I encourage you to follow the links from the Free Encyclopedia. It's an addictive trail of fascintating information.

But the central idea in the Witches of Galdorheim books is the existence of this type of people exactly where they are in Siberia. Worked out great for my story. In "Bad Spelling," Kat has to deal with a shaman of the Sami people. First she has to find him, and that's a pretty long journey in itself. Along the way, she meets Andy and they travel to the Siberian north to find him.

The Samis practice shamanism with various shamans handling different parts of life.

The Tadebya advises on the right time to go fishing or move the village (the Samis are nomadic). He handles the practical day-to-day needs of the people.

The Vidutana deals with the heavens so is the go-to guy if you're in need of heavenly guidance.

The Sambana is more like the crazy monk living in a cave somewhere. Everybody around knows he's got some kind of power, but he's also dangerous. He can cast evil spells, deals with black magic, and is an all-around unsavory character.

This is very simplistic, and you won't have to try very hard to find differences in my interpretations of shamanistic matters with real-world examples. But, hey, I'm writing a fantasy here and am allowed to mess with all things magical to my heart's content.

BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book  Audio Book
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed.




WRITE A COMMENT - WIN A FREE AUDIO BOOK OR EBOOK OF YOUR CHOICE OF MY BOOKS

Tales of a Texas BoyMissing, Assumed DeadBad SpellingMidnight OilSpellslinger (listen to this entire short book on SoundCloud for free)
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October 9, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES - The entire Witches of Galdorheim series will be 99 cents each during October. Available for Kindle and Nook.

Using Runes to Cast Spells [Tweet This]
What is a rune? Besides my second most important character in the Witches of Galdorheim series, that is. Briefly, runes make up the oldest Norse alphabet. Yes, those Vikings were busy writers as well as raiders and looters. The Eddas are Norse adventure novels (okay, they’re generally written in poetry form). But well-known books such as Beowulf weren’t written in runes. Believe it or not, Beowulf was written in Old English, not Old Norse. Or maybe that’s the only translation that lasted through the centuries.
Today, we can see runes written centuries ago on large stones dotting the Scandinavian countryside, but very little on a portable media like paper. The Eddas were more an oral tradition, than written. The Skald (poet) of a Viking Lord’s staff memorized hundreds of stories. Skalds’ storytelling helped people from going crazy during the long, dark winter nights. After all, without any schools, few people could read anything. Runes used as symbols, however, were recognized by everyone. Think about traffic signs. Many today have no words, but are universally accepted signals for concepts. Stop, School Zone, Yield, Train Crossing...you can figure out what they mean whether you can read the language or not.
Some Skalds did record their tales on paper made of very thin animal skins called vellum. From these fragments, scholars (hm, that sounds a lot like Skald, doesn’t it?), could reconstruct the runic alphabet. Often the story is accompanied by pictures. A very early graphic novel perhaps.
Many fantasy novels based on Euro-centric mythologies use runes in their plots, be it a tattooed rune on the hero’s chest, the discovery of a runic tablet that leads a worthy band of heros on a quest for dragon’s gold, or a villain who casts his dark spells in the ancient runic language. All very cool stuff.
Runes are not just fantasy made up by Tolkien. I researched runes and found a few I could use to give some depth to the magical language of the witches.
Elder Futhark is the oldest known runic alphabet. Each rune has a name. Each rune is also a word of power. The Rune markings in the graphic (see below) match the interpreted Elder Futhark (the Runes in spoken form) shown in the excerpt. The name of the language comes from the first six letters that make up the Runic alphabet.

In one sense, Futhark is simply an alphabet like ours. But in terms of magic, runes are like hieroglyphics in that each rune stands for a word or concept rather than simply a letter of the alphabet. They can be used either way. In magic, the runes are used as words of power which enhance or direct a spell. I found a handy phrase chart and used some real runes in the series, but had to use the interpreted spelling in a form one can sound out even if you don’t know what they mean.
The origin of the runic alphabet might have come from early Greek and Roman alphabets called Italics. If you read about Futhark, you’ll see it’s far more complicated than this easy explanation. It’s mostly guesswork on the origins of runes, but the fact is runes appear on stones in the Scandinavian countries, not Italy.
As language developed, written runes were set aside for the more modern Roman alphabet. But the use of runes as words of power survived even Roman conquest thanks to the Druids, the ancient pantheistic religion later smeared by accusations of witchcraft and magic.
Well, witchcraft and magic are fine by me. I wish they really existed. Considering the popularity of fantasy books incorporating magic, I’d say a lot of people wish magic was real.
In the Witches of Galdorheim books, I decided to use runes as the magic language. I call it Old Runish. Kat, in Bad Spelling, just can't get the pronunciation of the runes right, mistaking îgwaz for perßô. The results are often spectacularly wrong. In other words, she is a really bad speller.
Here’s a fun link to a translator. Click on the Launch Interactive link, then type in your name to see it written in the runic alphabet. I typed in Bad Spelling. This is what I got. Click here to try your own:

Aunt Thordis is the top witch on Galdorheim and a master of Old Runish spells. If magic can be done, she’s the one who can do it. In the following excerpt, Thordis seeks information from Kat’s flash frozen father. She wants to know why Kat is such a lousy speller and suspects the girl’s father has something to do with it. Thordis invokes a runic spell to break through to the man’s frozen brain for answers. She must be careful, however, since the spell is used to re-animate the dead. Here's a spell in Elder Futhark and the translation of the spell. It’s pretty creepy.
Þat kann ec iþ tolpta,ef ec se a tre vppivafa virgilná:sva ec rist oc i rvnom fác,at sa gengr gvmioc melir viþ mic.”

I know a twelfth one if I see,up in a tree,a dangling corpse in a noose,I can so carve and colour the runes,that the man walksAnd talks with me.--From the Hávamál, an Old Norse Edda (collection of proverbs) from the 10thCentury

BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book  Audio Book
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed.





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October 7, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES
The entire Witches of Galdorheim ebook series will be 99 cents each throughout October.
BAD SPELLING Kindle Ebook  Nook Book
MIDNIGHT OIL Kindle Ebook  Nook Book
SCOTCH BROOM Kindle Ebook  Nook Book 

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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.
From the Monstropedia on Cailleach
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:
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.

* * *
SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of GaldorheimA magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Ebooks:Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKR8XRGNook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Scotch-Broom/Marva-Dasef/e/2940149546961/?itm=7&USRI=marva+dasef
Print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481852418/

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October 5, 2014

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES - The entire Witches of Galdorheim ebook series will be 99 cents each throughout October.
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Elemental Spirits in the World of Magic [Tweet This]
Earth, Wind, and Fire. Wait for it .... Water. The four classical four elements have been part of mythologies since the first time a smarter than average Cro Magnon decided to cash in on his superstitious tribe claiming to have a direct hot line to the somewhat amorphous deities.

Deities and demons have proliferated over the intervening 20,000 years or so, with the winners being those smarties who knew how to cash in on fear.

Earth: The ground shakes and splits open. Uh oh, the earth god is ticked. If you’ll just give me your hard-won haunch of mammoth, I’ll intercede on your behalf.
Air: Windstorm coming up. Boy, are you in trouble for holding back on my share of the cave bear hide. Ol’ Wind is mighty pissed.
Fire: See what happens if you don’t listen to what I say. Your whole forest burns because you all are bad people. Just lay a pile of pretty shells at my feet and I’ll see if I can placate the Fire Demon.
Water: Oopsie, a flood. Well, wasn’t I the smart one for building that big boat. Did I mention the fare? All proceeds go to the Water God, of course.

The natural elements wreak havoc and a clever guy makes out like a bandit. As time marched on, the elementals took on different names and personalities. The shyster’s way of collecting for multiple personalities for those four basic elements.

Before a caveman could count, um, one. The world was littered with all sorts of mythological beings lined up by the wise shaman to collect trade goods from the fearful masses.
Besides a plethora of gods and demons which I have mentioned some of already, I selected a lovely forest elemental (notice how the element population is dividing and growing) named Ajatar. She happens to be a Finnish spirit and is the main troublemaker in my second book of the Witches of Galdorheim, Midnight Oil.

Ajatar was known as the Devil of the Woods , so I set her in a magically protected forest glade. She controlled her local flora (writing tree roots, fast-growing brambles) and snakes to protect her cache of boxes, bottles, pots, a bent bicycle tire, laundry detergent, dried flowers, old tennis shoes, and Andy.

Oh, right, Andy happens to be a changeling, a human who spent much of his life in the Troll Kingdom and is now Katya’s main squeeze. Ajatar kidnapped him to draw out her sister, Ilmatar, an air spirit who had been hiding out on Galdorheim disguised as the old witch (she prefers sorceress) Mordita.

Lots of stuff happens, but the sister finally come together in an epic battle (they’re fighting over a man, wouldn’t you know). Ajatar takes her dragon form, while Ilmatar becomes a giant white roc.


MIDNIGHT OIL Kindle Ebook  Nook Book  Audio Book
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.




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