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Posts Tagged ‘Witches’

I often write in my bio to be used at the end of a story or the back of an anthology or book which contains my writing that I believe the world is still filled with mystery, magic, and miracles. And I do still believe. But I think the number of us who still listen to the voices of the cicada and crickets in September as they foretell the arrival of autumn is growing smaller.

When the first star appears in the dusky sky, less and less of us make a wish. When salt spills, fewer and fewer of us toss a few grains over our left shoulder into the devil’s eye. And I don’t know many other people who still make sure they put their right shoe on first in the morning so they’ll have a good day.

The magic which permeated our lives and world is slowly vanishing. Perhaps it’s because many people don’t believe any more. Perhaps it’s because the hum of air conditioners and thrum of automobile’s have made it too hard for us to hear the whispers of fairies in the garden.

I’ve heard the term, Granny Witch, used to describe women who dabbled in herb-craft, storytelling, and maybe a bit of dousing. The women who say a prayer or make a wish for good health as they knit a blanket for a baby. The girls who add not just sugar and flour, but blessings, to every cake they bake.

I suppose as a teller of stories, a grower of herbs, a star-wisher, cloverhand, and knitter & crocheter of special gifts, I qualify as a Granny Witch. and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

Here’s the link for a fabulous essay on Granny Witches at Appalachian Ink, the blog of writer Anna Wess.

 

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I am a fan of Deborah Harkness’s All Soul’s Trilogy which begins with A Discovery of Witches. I really appreciate her focus on historical detail as well as her unique take on witches, vampires, and daemons.

As a reader and writer, I like learning about an author’s take on their book, characters, writing habits, etc. – which is why I’m delighted to share a link to a Goodreads question session with Deborah Harkness. The author spent lots of time answering extra questions from her readers, so there’s lots of information.

I hope you enjoy Deborah Harkness on Goodreads as much as I do.

And if you visit the site, please take the time to visit my page and become a friend and fan. Also, if you’ve read one of my books, please post a rating and/or review. Thanks. 🙂

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794 Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Even as a child, it seemed the world was awash in magic and mystery on October 31. Here’s a hodge-podge of Halloweenie treats for my readers to enjoy:

The link to a FREE Day of the Dead story.

A link to an article about creepy (and probably haunted) homes.

A link to some witch costume update ideas.

A link to an article about ghost towns.

IMG_2395 And last, but not least, a marvelous Edgar Allan Poe quote: “Dim vales- and shadowy floods-/ And cloudy-looking woods,/ Whose forms we can’t discover/ For the tears that drip all over!/ Huge moons there wax and wane-/ Again- again- again-/ Every moment of the night-/ Forever changing places-/ And they put out the star-light/ With the breath from their pale faces…”

Have a marvoulous, magical, mysterious Halloween – Vonnie

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The wisewoman is a character I often use in my fiction. She’s attuned to nature, knowledgeable about animals and plants, and a healer. She’s both midwife and dark angel who opens the doors of birth and death. Usually, she’s been apprenticed to an older wisewoman or is a member of a loosely aligned society of wisewomen. She’s also the owner of a diary, journal, or book of recipes given to her by a now-deceased mentor.

My wisewoman is always a respected member of the community. Loved by some, feared by many, she seems to possess supernatural knowledge. In my stories, the wisewoman is observant, intelligent, intuitive, and empathetic. Using the same information available to the other characters plus her experience and special book, she’s able to find a solution to the problem facing her or another character. Does she do magic? Maybe. I usually leave that up to the reader to decide.

In my eshort, For the Good of the Settlement, the wisewoman and her pet squirrels must decide whether or not to commit murder http:tinyurl.com/vonnie-settlement They’re basically “good,” but will they choose a dark solution to their problem? In my as-yet unpublished novel, The Enchanted Skean, there’s a number of wisewomen who interact with Beck (the main character) as he journeys across the land of Dobran. All of these wisewomen are healers, have special books, a favorite animal, and words of advice for my hero. All of the wisewomen seem to help Beck – but do they assist him out of kindness, for money, or for some ulterior motive?

 I’ve been asked: “Are your wisewomen actually witches?” My response is: no and yes. If you mean “devil-worshipers,” the answer is: no. If you mean “broom-riding hags out to do evil,” again the answer is: no. But if you’re asking if my wisewoman characters might have been accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts because they were a little “different,” the answer is: yes.

 Many of the women accused over the centuries of being witches were nothing more than healers. Their power over disease was viewed as magical. If a woman was able to cure an illness, some people suspected she might be able to cause illnesses. So a wisewoman healer was often called a hedge witch, and though a part of a community was set apart from that same community because of her oneness with nature.

Wisewoman, village elder, healer, or hedge witch – I like nothing more than to toss into my fiction a powerful, mysterious female character. The question is, do readers like to read about such characters?

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 As I sit with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit open on my lap, I’m thankful for the wonderful speculative fiction that I read as a child. It was those books from long ago that stirred my imagination and inspired me to write stories.

I still have a stack of 10-page fairytale booklets, published by The Platt & Munk Co., Inc. in the early 1930s, given to me 1 at a time for “something to look at” when my parents visited with an elderly friend on the other side of Baltimore.

Before I entered kindergarten, I’d taught myself to read during those visits using Cinderella, Chicken Little, Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Tom Thumb. And who knows, maybe the seed for the precocious opossum in Assassins formed as I read Platt & Munk’s Puss in Boots.

Three of my favorite books when I was a second grader were Ruth Stiles Gannett’s My Father’s Dragon series. In her tales, right under the noses of people in the “real world” lived a family of blue and yellow dragons. I had such vivid memories of the beautifully-colored dragons. I didn’t realize until I bought a copy of the books years later as an adult that the pictures were rendered in pencil. The stunning hues of the dragon family had been imagined by me. And dragons remain one of my favorite things to draw and write about.

Perhaps the most serendipitous introduction I had as a preteen student to the world of magic and folklore came from the librarian at Perry Hall Elementary. In the fifth grade, I’d rush through my regular classwork, and then, ask to go to the library to help put books back on the shelves. By the end of the year, not only did I know the Dewey Decimal System quite well, but the librarian gifted me with 2 slightly damaged books.

The first gift book was Lupe de Osma’s The Witches’ Ride and Other Tales from Costa Rica. I was immediately infatuated with the ghosts, witches, fairies, and other magical beings written about in that book. The beginnings of Bells? The second gift book was about prehistoric creatures that never existed. Among the critters written about were mermaids. The beginnings of Sideshow by the Sea?

Writers tend to write about what they know. What I’ve known since toddlerhood was fairy tales, folktales, myths, legends, and magical creatures introduced to me by books.

Still an avid reader, I gravitate to work by Neil Gaiman, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles de Lint. It’s the fantastical and sometimes dark worlds created by these writers that draws me in. And as a writer, I strive to create my own darkly magical worlds for my readers to enjoy.

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