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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3 Most Haunted Cities In the USA

The Three Most Haunted Cities in the USA:
New Orleans, San Francisco, and San Antonio

Photo by Ariella Moon

Haunted cities aren’t the best place for a shaman. Horrific people and tragic events leave ominous or heartbreaking energy imprints on buildings, battlefields, prisons, and long-gone field hospitals. Luisah Teish, author of Jambalya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals  (Harper One 1985), identifies New Orleans and San Francisco as “psychic seaports.” In regard to New Orleans, Teish explains:

“Visitors to the city become `tipsy’ after being there only a short time. `Tipsy’ is the name given to that state of mind that precedes possession.”

I believe tourists drink heavily in New Orleans to dull the waves of psychic energy. Personally, I avoid the French Quarter even though I love its architecture. But research for my fourth novel in the Teen Wytche Saga, Spell For Sophia (November 2014, Astraea Press), compelled me to visit the Big Easy. Two months later, I landed in San Antonio for the Romance Writers of America national conference. San Francisco? After decades of living near “the city” I no longer feel its psychic pulse. But what should you do if you if you visit a haunted city?
The Alamo, as drawn in 1854

3 Tips for Avoiding A Psychic Assault

1.     Research. Highly haunted cities have violent or catastrophic pasts and a high concentration of fatalities within a narrow vicinity. New Orleans has experienced multiple battles, slavery, plagues, and floods. It has also housed some notoriously macabre personalities. In San Antonio, roughly 800 people died during the 13-day siege at the Alamo. San Francisco lost an estimated 3,000 people during the 1906 earthquake and the fires that followed. Research will warn you which buildings and areas to avoid.

1906 San Francisco Earthquake
Looking toward the fire on Sacramento Street
Photo by Arnold Genthe

2.     Shield. Do not walk around with an Open-to-be-Haunted attitude. Nasty entities and energies will react as though issued an invitation to harass, frighten, and invade you. Instead, envision yourself completely covered by a silver psychic HAZMAT suit. Then mentally pull in the suit until it becomes a second-skin superhero suit. Visualize it deflecting unwanted energies and entities.

3.     Fight Magic With Magic. Wear an amulet, a magically charged protective item. In Spell For Sophia, Breaux, the grandson of a voodoo priestess, gives Sophia a silver dime on a red string to ward off evil. Some people wear a cross. Others carry jet, a stone that protects against evil spirits. An amulet could be a symbol of your ancestors or your totem animal. I wear amethyst, a healing stone that also wards off danger.

New Orleans, San Francisco, and San Antonio are beautiful cities, well worth visiting. Just be informed, shield, and wear or carry an amulet so you can have a magical time minus the evil entities.
~Ariella Moon
Copyright 2014 Ariella Moon

Monday, September 22, 2014

Take a Shamanic Journey During the Autumnal Equinox

Shamanism and the Autumn Equinox
Monday, September 22
7:29 PM Pacific Daylight Time

[[File:Tokoroa (May 2012).jpg|thumb|Autumn in the New Zealand town of Tokoroa.]]

The Autumnal Equinox, known among pagans as Mabon, marks the final harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year. In traditional cultures, communities would gather to ritually thank their ancestors and/or regional spirits or deities for abundance. Shamans often led the rituals. In some cultures, the shaman would open herself or himself to receive messages for the community from the ancestors or gods. Often the message warned the community to take collective action to ensure its survival through the winter or abundance in next year’s harvests. End strife. Pray for rain.

In the northern hemisphere, days shorten. Nights lengthen. Our physical world grows increasingly dark. During Autumnal Equinox light and dark are in balance. Enter stillness and envision what a balanced life would look like to you. Identify your inner darkness. Recognize your inner light. Begin your shamanic journey inward.

As you journey, shake a rattle or drum to call forth your inner darkness. Leverage the energetic force of the equinox to befriend or banish your inner darkness. If it no longer serves your highest good, then why retain it?

Know that you are strong enough to shed your demons. Believe that the coming dark of winter is a time of reflection and gathering strength. Your shamanic journey can be made in small bursts of courage and repeated as often as needed. After all, it is a journey. You’ll know when to quiet your drum or rattle and sit unafraid in the silence.

~Ariella Moon

© 2014 by Ariella Moon
Coming in October: Witchy Wednesdays
Coming in November: Spell For Sophia, Book #4, The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon

Monday, September 15, 2014

Food and Fragrance Blog Hop Tour

Food and Fragrance Blog Hop

I’d like to thank author Jennifer Comeaux, author of Crossing the Ice, for inviting me to join the Food and Fragrance Blog Tour.

Food! I made myself hungry with all the brownies and pizzas in Spell Check, Book #1 in the Teen Wytche Saga. By the time I wrote the third book in the series, Spell Fire, I had switched to healthier fare — turkey sandwiches and organic apples. Expect sugar and spice in my upcoming  fourth novel, Spell For Sophia, Young Adult fantasy romance (Astraea Press, November 2014).

Fragrance! As you’ll see below, an angry spell book can be pretty noisome!

If my character were a glass of wine...
Sophia, is a foster teen that makes the mistake of looking-up her lawless bio-parents. Wine? My beta reader suggested Malbec because Sophia is fiery, complex, and Latina.

Feta Avocado Chicken Salad
What sort of meal is my book?
Spell For Sophia is a paranormal romance with an awesome New Orleans time travel twist. Sophia is fond of gumbo and beignets. But her BFF Ainslie loves California Cuisine. Spell For Sophia is both — a mashup of flavors and cultures — fresh, organic, varied, and satisfying. 

The enduring power of friendship is an underlying theme in three of the books in the Teen Wytche Saga, including Spell For Sophia. When long-separated friends Sophia and Ainslie think of each other, they think of sleepovers and munching popcorn popped in Ainslie’s home theater popcorn machine.

Your character's choice of candy?
Candy is in short supply when Sophia takes refuge with a voodoo priestess who has withdrawn deep in the bayou. The hero, Breaux, is the kind of guy who’d give Sophia Dove Dark Chocolate with Almonds. He’d want her to feel special, eat candy that has some nutritional value, and heed the advice printed on the inside of the purple foil wrapper.

What sort of fragrance would be associated with your book?
Alas, swamp water and brimstone! In the Teen Wytche Saga, an ever-expanding group of teens protect a grimoire that keeps morphing in appearance and magic. In Spell For Sophia the spell book has gone dark and voodoo. If you dare open it, the grimoire will emit a foul mist.

What is your most memorable meal?
Thanksgivings were always insane.  My mother has been known to tell everyone to bring dessert. It took my siblings and me a few years to catch on and to offer to bring healthy side dishes. Otherwise, Thanksgiving was turkey, mashed potatoes, and a lot of pies. No wonder I have a sugar addiction!
How would you describe your writing?
Deceptive. New readers to the Teen Wytche Saga might expect the books to be frothy because they are sweet romances. They'll discover the serious, often life-altering issues my characters face — parental death, sibling rivalry, mental illness, child abduction, poverty, and more.

Preferred salty snack? Almonds or popcorn!

Find out more about the Teen Wytche Saga here. 

Next up on the blog tour will be Krysten Lindsay Hager, who will tell us about her latest release, True Colors, and Teresa Howard, author of the new historical romance, For Love Alone.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Shea McIntosh Ford on The Stone of Kings

I love a good faerie tale, don't you?

I'm pleased to turn the blog over to Shea McIntosh Ford, author of

The Stone of Kings

Thanks so much, Ariella, for hosting me today! I’m thrilled to introduce The Stone of Kings to everyone! I’m one of those quirky folks who actually like to write research papers. After I finished college, I would get cravings to be assigned a research project. TSOK is a blending of my love of research and history with my love of fiction. I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much I did writing it.

Just open the book…

Twelve year old Ardan is hopelessly distracted because he wants to meet a real faerie. But when he gets his hands on a mysterious red book loaded with faerie spells and accidentally sends himself three hundred years into Ireland’s future, he soon learns that there are more important things on which to focus his attention. Throw in some immortal druids, fun storytelling, a touch of forbidden romance, along with the music and antics of the legendary Irish harper, Turlough O’Carolan, and you’ll become swept up in a very real Irish mythological adventure.

Excerpt 1:
Abandoning his work as he was so prone to do when he got excited about something, Ardan led Thomas into the library, but not before doing the forbidden—he opened its closed door.

Once inside the room, both of them forgot about looking for a story book. On Bresal’s handcarved writing desk was his curious little red book. The old scholar must have been distracted by the sight of his musician friend nearing the cottage from the library window and neglected to hide the book as usual. Its pages lay open, and unmistakable magic hovered over the leaves. They heard light random notes, like the sound of the tiniest of wind chimes played by a faint breeze. As they gaped, they noticed each tinkling sound corresponded with a tiny point of light which would burst and disappear above the book.

Thomas breathed out a gasp of surprise. “Who is this Bresal fellow anyway?”

Ardan could not answer. He began to wonder the same thing. His pulse quickened as he neared the book. 

“What are you doing?” Thomas dropped his voice to a whisper as he grabbed onto the boy’s shoulder. The color in his face had drained away.

“I merely want to read it,” Ardan said. He shrugged away Thomas’s hand.

“I do not think we should go near it.”

But Ardan continued nearing. Despite his own warnings, Thomas followed closely behind. Ardan picked up the book and began to turn the pages. He expected to hear more sounds and see the lights dance quicker, but instead, these features decreased until the pages settled again.

“What does it say?” whispered Thomas.

“Some is in Irish and some English.” Ardan’s gaze, as expected, went for the Irish text. He read aloud, “Solas agus airy biedh tú, Leabhar na mianach mo lámha chun saor in aisle.”

Right away, the tinkling noise intensified as did the lights. But what shocked Ardan was the book lifted from his fingers and hovered in front of him.

“Saints be blessed,” said Thomas and he let out a burst of highpitched laughter.

They both stared in awe a moment until Ardan saw Bresal and Turlough advancing toward the house from their walk in the garden. “No,” he gasped. His heart hammered at the trouble he would be in if Bresal found them out.

“Does it say how to reverse it?” asked Thomas, his voice raised in pitch.

Ardan’s gaze scanned the pages, desperate to avoid punishment, but none of the lines written in Irish appeared to fit the need. When Ardan reached for the book to try another page, it shied away from him. Frantic, he read aloud one of the English lines without comprehending the meaning.

“A need I have to mend a mistake, a new time please, for lives are at stake.”

Nothing happened.

“This sounds like the right one,” said Thomas. “Perhaps you should say it in Irish.”

Ardan could not find the Irish counterpart and so struggled a moment with the translation then said, “Is mór agam a cheartú botún, le do thoil A am nua a shaoradh ó na terror.

The book filled the room with such a bright light, Ardan could see nothing else.

Excerpt 2:
“I think the young boy has a gun.”

Hannah heard Stephen’s voice cry out to the guards as she neared her car. While she smashed the button on her keyless entry over and over, she wheeled Thomas’s chair around the oak tree and flung open the passenger side door. Thomas pulled himself in the car remarkably fast for someone with a wounded foot, and Ardan clambered in on his lap. Hannah heard Thomas cry out in apparent pain as she closed the door and guessed Ardan must have stepped on Thomas’s injured foot.

She ran around to the other side and glanced up to see the guards were feet from her car. They would be able to stop her from shutting her door. But she got in anyway, and was surprised she still had time to turn on the engine. The guards should at least be at her window by now. But when she took a quick look up, they were not there at all. She put the car in reverse and ignored Ardan who cried out, “We are going backward,” in Irish. She saw guards on the ground under the oak tree. One grasped an ankle, the other clutched a knee. She also noticed, just before peeling away, the roots of the oak tree had come up high out of the ground, and she was certain the tree’s roots had been under the ground the last time she saw it. The boys apparently noticed it too. They gaped as she sped away.

“Bless my soul,” Thomas breathed. “’Twas as if the tree was helping us.”

Hannah let out a burst of nervous laughter. She was jittery because of the excess adrenaline coursing through her body, and she was incredulous at the scene her eyes had just shown her. Her throat became tight and caused her next words to come out like a squeak. “It isn’t possible.”

“But ‘tis possible. Ardan and I were born over three hundred years ago,” Thomas stated.

Buy Links:

Author Bio:
Shea McIntosh Ford is also the author of Harp Lessons and lives in Florida with her loving husband of eleven years and two boys, ages four and six. Growing up, she lived under the delusion that prejudice and bigotry were no longer being taught to children. Oh, how much she has learned. After feeling powerless as a first year teacher when one student adamantly said that Americans should send ALL Mexican’s back to Mexico, Shea has found her voice through her writing. While she knows that bigotry probably won’t be eradicated altogether, at least she’s doing her part to help decrease it.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @SheaFord1