Genre: YA Paranormal/Wiccan
Publisher: Sleeping Dragon Press
Date of Publication: September 28th
Number of pages: 270
Word Count: 65,015
Cover Artist: Dawne Dominique
Stella’s college life transforms from sweet to rancid when her boyfriend asks her to do the unthinkable. How did she end up holding her best friend’s future in her hands? Anything she does will trigger the disastrous conclusion. If that isn’t bad enough.
Add in a lunatic minister, a demi-goddess, and a walk through another dimension full of vindictive shrubbery and wildlife. It’s far from the typical freshman year.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/4AfW7s42QuY
Available at Amazon
One of the girls immediately stood up, teetering a little in her sky-high heels. Shouldering her expensive purse, she remarked over her shoulder. “We’ll be back when the cute guys are working.”
Her friend got up more slowly, returning Stella’s glare with a malice-filled one of her own. “Don’t think it’s over, bitch. You may be head witch, here, but not for long.”
Instead of answering, she merely watched the girls leave. Silence at the right time could be powerful too. Too many people made the mistake of thinking they had to respond to everything. Miss I’m All That thought she’d wounded her by calling her a witch. Hah, she had no clue how right she was. As for being a bitch, well it took one to know one.
A few of the students started clapping. A couple more thanked her. She nodded, accepting their appreciation and muttered, “No problem.” Keeping her back straight, she strode toward the open door, sanctuary. She preferred to be on the anonymous side of the Plexiglas. Closing the door behind her, she released a huge sigh. Thank the Goddess that was over.
Lauren popped to her feet and wrapped her in a huge hug. “Thank you so much, I could never have gotten them to leave.” Stella was about to admit her doubts about getting the two to leave when Mitch came over. Lauren still held her in an impromptu embrace when Mitch awkwardly patted her on the back. The slight contact left behind a psychic handprint. Her eyes met his over Lauren’s shoulder. Did Mitch follow the Goddess? Have a bit of magick in him?
Technically, everyone possessed some earth magick, but few knew how to wield it. Often simple divination magic came under headings like hunches and lucky guesses. Others blessed with the ability to enchant often used their skills as a form of manipulation. Most who identified with the earth-based religions enjoyed spending time in nature. His warm hazel eyes twinkled as he spoke, “You were glorious.”
Glorious? No one had ever called her glorious. A bubble of warmth expanded in her chest. If all it took to be glorious was to kick two mean girls out of the lab, she might do it more often. The problem was if she did, she’d end up losing her job because one of their daddies would accuse her of harassment, terroristic threatening, or similar nonsense. A huge smile blossomed on Mitch’s face, animating his features. Goodness, he was even handsome when he forgot about trying to make himself invisible. A decent haircut, new frames, and more self-confidence and he’d be the one the mean girls came back to attempt to wrap around their manicured fingers. The thought dimmed the warmth spreading through her. None of them was worthy of Mitch.
A familiar scent rode the air. It didn’t blend with the smell of dust, monitor wipes, or the metal smell of CPUs. Her nostrils flared a tiny bit as she tried to draw the aroma in. Sandalwood, she was almost sure of it. Sandalwood incense was a favorite for meditation, but there would be no incense in the lab. It could be sandalwood oil, which sometimes showed up in men’s cologne and love potions.
The sunlight hit her as she pushed the heavy exterior door open. Her feet stumbled to a stop, her pupils adjusting to the bright light. A student behind her shoved past, jostling her a little. Voices made her step out of the way before someone else rammed her.
Wasn’t that Cam near the weeping magnolia tree talking to Carlotta? The exotic Puerto Rican had most of the males on campus running into walls. The beauty not only had plenty of curves, but her accent attracted too. Stella’s mother always said men loved anything new and different. At the time, she thought her mother meant cars.
Seriously, she left class for him and here he was flirting with Senorita Skank. Well, screw him. Maybe she’d just return to class and hope the prof hadn’t noticed her exit. Not likely. The best she’d do was go to her room and study. Of course, she’d have to walk past Cam, unless she wanted to make a half mile detour. No problem, she’d pretend she didn’t even see them.
Don’t act upset. Shouldering her backpack, she speed walked in the direction of the couple. Almost past, the pain that grabbed her heart when she first saw the two of them squeezed a little tighter. Once she was in her room, she’d locate her Wiccan books. For Cameron, she’d dropped everything from her interest in Art Club to observing her Wiccan faith. Her mother had warned that men take everything but leave you with nothing. Her mother’s newest obsession was the church, which seemed to demand everything too.
Cam’s deep voice called after her, “Stella, wait.”
His voice as warm and smooth as caramel had actually won her over initially. That and the fact that he didn’t give up easy since he asked her out six times before she’d agreed. It baffled her that he wanted to go out with her. Rumors had him practically dating everyone in her dorm, but never more than once.
Realistically, he should have moved on after their first date. Maybe this was her wake-up call. Cam’s hand latched onto her arm, pulling her to a stop. “What’s wrong with you? You act like you didn’t hear me.”
The impromptu sprint ruffled his hair, making him look even sexier with his well-shaped brows arched over his brown eyes. Stella often wondered if he’d had his eyebrows shaped, but never felt like she knew him well enough to ask, despite sleeping together. He’d probably lie about it anyhow.
“Looked like you were busy. I didn’t want to interrupt.” Her shoulders went up in a shrug, hoping it llooked like she didn’t care too much.
His brows lowered as he grinned, displaying for a moment that wicked smile that devastated feminine hearts, especially hers. Stella’s ire began to melt away under the full wattage of his smile.
“You think.” He shook his head as if what he was about to say was ridiculous. “I was flirting with her?”
Stella chose not to point out that, in truth, she was hoping he’d find romantic ways to demonstrate his love. Even her roommate Cece’s stoner boyfriend planned a romantic treasure hunt with the treasure being him stretched out nude beside a picnic basket in a wooded glen. She wasn’t hoping for a naked picnic, but anything to demonstrate her specialness would be nice.
“Ohhh,” she stretched out the word not knowing how to reply. A couple of girls passed by and gave Cam a thorough once over while giggling. Her presence didn’t seem to deter them one bit. It reminded her of how lucky she was to have him as a boyfriend when so many other females wanted him.
A bird high up in the tree began to sing. It sounded so carefree and joyous that she envied it. The tiny, feathered creature had a simple life and didn’t have to try to understand its mate’s cryptic suggestions. It could be singing because the sun was shining or because it just felt like it.
Cam tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear as the wind pulled at her long hair, whipping it around her face. He’d used the same gesture on their initial date. At the time, she considered it incredibly tender. Then, her hair blowing in her eyes somehow shielded her from the effect of his seductive glance. Strange, she needed some sort of a barrier between her and the man she should love.
Mitch chuckled in a half-hearted way that caused her to shut down her own inner pity me show. It was far from a real laugh. That type of thing you do when you’ve done something stupid and there’s no one to comment on how stupid it is, so you end up ridiculing yourself.
“Yeah, I threw a party.”
Well, that didn’t sound like the shy male she knew. “Really, who did you invite?” Part of her was miffed she wasn’t invited, but she’d never admit it.
“Oh, the usual.” He held onto the last word stretching it out. Holding up a fist, he began to count putting up his index finger. “There was me.”
Well, she expected that.
His middle finger joined his second one. “Myself.”
Oh, she knew where this was going. She wondered if she should stop him but didn’t. He certainly had the right to feel sorry for himself.
His ring finger popped up. “The ghost of my father telling me how disappointed he was in me.”
For a second, she wondered if his father’s ghost did materialize. Stella believed in ghosts in theory but had never ever seen one.
His pinkie came up slowly. “Then there was my roommate’s friend, I invited over for the night, without his knowledge, of course.”
Roommate’s friend and why would he invite this friend over without his roommate knowing. She knew Jake, his roommate, had a girlfriend because Mitch had mentioned the awkwardness of going back to his room and trying to pretend that they weren’t doing it about six feet from his head. Dorm rooms were tiny unless you paid the extra two thousand to score a room in the newer dorms. Scholarship students never merited this.
She couldn’t quite remember the name of Jake’s girlfriend.
It was a cutesy name. The type girls gave themselves like Candy, Treasure, or Precious. Did Treasure, or whatever her name was, cheer him up? Knowing Jake, Mitch was a definite step up, but still the thought made her uncomfortable. She wanted to ask but didn’t. Instead, she folded her hands in her lap wishing there was something she could do.
Jumping to her feet, she announced, “I’ll go check on that pizza.” Suiting her actions to her words, she rushed to the door before he could say anything else.
About the Author:
Affirmation Rayna Noire
Witches, the Craft, & Things that Go Bump in the Night
As a reader, I’ve read several books, which allows me to see various trends. Currently trending is the female Grim Ripper, who is more hip than solemn. So why did I decide to go with a Wiccan family that includes a ceremonial magician, a time traveling gypsy with the sight, a sassy Tarot reader, and even a demi-goddess? First, I knew I wasn’t fast enough to follow trends. I had already missed zombies, shifters, and now, reapers. Unbelievably, I chose to base my stories on actual people as opposed to Hollywood version of what witches are. This means they can’t blink themselves to various places, although there are portals. I’ll come back to that later.
In the latest UK Census, Pagans (who classify themselves as Wiccans, Druids, Pantheists, Heathen, Shamans, and other Earth-based faiths) had no box to check as far as religion. Thousands wrote in their faith making Paganism the fifth most popular religion in the United Kingdom. Actual numbers are around 54,000 from those who chose to identify. There could be many more. It seemed suitable that this segment of the population should have books pertinent to them. It would enlighten those unfamiliar with Earth-based faiths in a factual and entertaining manner. People fear what they don’t know.
In the series, I chose to use Dianic Wiccan where the characters worship the Goddess as opposed to any male oriented deities. This is rather like trying to explain the difference between being Catholic and Baptist. It’s similar, but not the same. All Wiccans respect the planet and her elements. Dianic Wiccans recognize the Divine Feminine and the miracle of creation. The entire female offshoot came about in the 70’s due to Z Budapest. Even though raised in a family that honored the old ways, she was tired of the male deities hogging all the glory and shaped the Dianic version named after the Roman Goddess Diana.
Not all Wiccans are witches and all witches are not necessarily Wiccans. It would be like saying all Republicans are Christians. Movies make this toe stub blending Wiccans and witches. Ironically, the television version of witches melting when wet and casting evil spells is the one that dominates. Wiccans are loving individuals who prefer peace over conflict. They also have the rule of three, which specifies whatever you do will return to you threefold. This doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to them. All the characters in Pagan Eyes have the same issues as any other young adults including self-identity, bullying, sexual assault, even suicide.
Now, about those portals I mentioned. Einstein espoused that time wasn’t linear, but folded upon itself as if a long ribbon. This results in people often glimpsing other times, videos, or photographs of time travelers, possibly even Deja Vu. The prevailing theory is that portals exist along magnetic grids. Often the sites gain significance such as Stonehenge. Sometimes people can pass through the portals at particular times. It isn’t a revolving door, but rather a brief blink in time. Writers took this possibility and ran with it. Perhaps you’ve experienced an unexplainable moment or possibly met a time traveler.
Where are you from?
Tell us your latest news?
Affirmation just came out. I also have a cozy mystery I’ve written with my husband due out in November.
When and why did you begin writing?
When I started writing at the young age of six, it was to provide a more exciting ending for the school reading books. The westerns my father watched influenced my early efforts. Now, news stories, overheard conversations, dreams, even what if musings make it onto the page.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Mrs. Pate, my 5th grade teacher, wrote in my permanent record that I was an imaginative writer. It might be code for creative liar.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a release for me while in an unhappy marriage. It has never been published. Ironically, it is a romantic comedy.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I must since readers tell me they like my style. I use realistic people as opposed to beautiful ones. There are mistakes, misunderstandings, maliciousness and humor in the story. Often, I sneak in a pet when possible. Both my older and female characters are strong, fully rounded characters as opposed to be two-dimensional. I think it is important to stay away the easy stereotypes.
How did you come up with the title?
A friend, LaNora Mangano, came up with it. I was trying to have titles that were similar, but still embraced the book’s meaning.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’ve spent a great deal of time teaching in high school. In that time, I’ve watched the female students debase themselves, throw away their future prospects, even attempt suicide when a certain boy rejects them. My primary message is to be true to yourself. The secondary message is if someone doesn’t accept you the way you are then you don’t need him or her.
How much of the book is realistic?
There is always literary license, but I would say it is between 80-90% could happen.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Female students crying their hearts out in the school restroom influenced me as well as my own work with the campus computers when I was in college. A similar incident happened while I was in college.
What books have most influenced your life most?
To Kill a Mockingbird probably because I taught the book, went over it several times, and saw the various layers that made up the characters. Atticus Finch was willing to stand up for someone no one else would.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Jayne Ann Krentz (who also writes as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle) is a wonderful writer and person. I’ve had the privilege of meeting her on three separate occasions and she was both funny and authentic.
Her books contain likable unique characters that get themselves in dangerous situations. The dialogue between the characters has me rereading her books.
What book are you reading now?
I finished Wife by Wednesday by Catherine Bybee. I’m in the middle of Second Vision.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Sometimes I’m slow to pick up new authors just because I’m writing so much. Lily Iona Mackenzie is new to me and provides an enjoyable read in her book, Fling!
What are your current projects?
I’m working on Reclamation, and then I’m starting on my Druid Series.
What would you like my readers to know?
I’m open to suggestions as far as what to write next.
I’ll be at the Fishers Library on October 10th for their Author Faire.
I’ll be at the Indianapolis Fairground for the Christmas & Hobby Show on November 14th & 15th signing books.
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