Kindle Book Deal

Where the Moths Dance Amazon are running a Kindle Countdown Deal for my YA novel, Where the Moths Dance, from June 10th to June 17th. For one week only, Amazon.com customers in the US can buy the ebook for $1.99 (usually $4.99), so if you haven’t already read it, hop on over to Amazon.com and pick up a copy.

Sixteen-year-old Jessie Hale lives in the caretaker’s cottage at the bottom of Gum Tree Hill Cemetery. She feels more comfortable surrounded by the dead than the living, and the graveyard is her sanctuary, a place to escape from her troubled home life and from her mother’s despicable boyfriend, Conrad.

Elliott Rossi has found a way to come back from the dead. He needs to warn Jessie about a demon who can also access the living world and has his new prey firmly in his grasp.

When Jessie learns who has become the demon’s latest victim, she must enlist the help of her friends to battle the evil that has invaded her sanctuary, turning her life upside down and threatening to destroy everything she cares about.

Then there is the small matter of falling in love with a dead boy.

Advertisements

Character Profile: Midnight Max

Midnight Max

Home:
Gum Tree Hill Cemetery in the small township of Quindlan.
Midnight Max has lived in the graveyard all his life. He knows every gravestone and every tree. He takes shelter from the bad weather in the caretaker’s shed, and he knows the best places to hide when strangers come up the hill in their loud cars and invade his territory. He lives his life by the moon phases and the seasons, taking comfort in all that is familiar.

graveyard

Friends:
His friends are the crows that live in the gum trees, and Jessie, the girl who moved into the old caretaker’s cottage down the hill. Jessie spends a lot of time in the graveyard talking to herself, and sometimes she brings him a saucer of milk or a tasty morsel to eat. At first he was wary of her, but now he trusts her and senses that, like him, she just wants a quiet place to hang out, away from the rest of the world.

Personality traits:
He is a loner and a hunter, and he loves to explore, although he never ventures far outside the perimeter of the graveyard. Fiercely protective of his territory, he is more than capable of defending himself if need be.

Midnight Max1

Herbs That Protect

Through the centuries there have been many herbs steeped in myth and magic. Certain herbs were considered to have strong protective properties and people would grow them outside their houses, hang bunches or wreaths around doorways and in their homes, sprinkle them in the corners of rooms, or carry them on their person in sachets to protect them from evil spirits, ghosts, witchcraft, or black magic.

In the Middle Ages, vervain was used as an ingredient in a holy salve to protect against demons and disease, while nettles provided protection against sorcery.

Vervain

Vervain

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle

In past times, many people believed that certain herbs, such as bay, elder, rue and basil could provide protection against witchcraft. Nicholas Culpeper, a well-known English botanist, herbalist, and physician in the 17th century, wrote that the bay tree ‘resisteth witchcraft very potently,’ and ‘neither witch nor devil, thunder nor lightening, will hurt a man in the place where a bay-tree is.’

Bay

Bay

Elder was planted outside the door to protect the home against evil and black magic, while fallen branches were brought inside and hung over doorways to protect the home.

Elder

Elder

Basil is a herb that is steeped in folklore. Used for purification and protection, it was said to have grown around Christ’s tomb after the resurrection. Some Greek Orthodox churches use it to prepare their holy water, and put pots of basil below their altars.

Basil leaves or an infusion of basil were sprinkled around the floors to prevent evil from entering the home.

Basil

Basil

Rosemary is also used for purification and protection and can be grown at the doorway of a house to protect those within.

 

Rosemary

Rosemary

St. John’s Wort was considered a magical plant that provided protection from evil spirits and ghosts. Branches of the shrub or stems of the herb were hung in homes to protect the occupants.

St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort

Foxgloves, also called fairy’s gloves and witches’ thimbles, were grown in the garden to protect the home and property from evil spirits.

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

Other herbs used to protect against evil include angelica, sage, wormwood, yarrow, horehound, eucalyptus, lavender, white clover, and hyssop.

Angelica

Angelica

Yarrow

Yarrow

Sage

Sage

Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop

white clover

White clover

Lavender

Lavender

Herbs used for banishing ghosts and evil spirits include mallow, belladonna, henbane, and nettle.

Mallow

Mallow

Belladonna

Belladonna

 

 Vervain, stinging nettle, elder, St. John’s Wort, angelica, yarrow, mallow and belladonna images are from Pixabay.
All other images are my own.

 

Character Profile: Violet Parslow

Violet

 

 

 

 

 

Age:
16

Family:
Lives with her parents in the township of Quindlan. Her Aunt Tamilda is a Wiccan High Priestess.

Personality traits:
Violet is very much an individual, with a purple streak down her hair, multiple piercings, and a dress style consisting of miniskirts in shades of purples and blues and emerald greens, worn over black leggings, and accompanied by Doc Marten boots.
She loves everything to do with magic – crystals, herbs, candles, spells, and she wears a silver pentacle around her neck.
She embraces nature and sees the magic in everything around her.

 

 

 

 

 

Best friends:
Jessie and Brodie

School:
Attends Quindlan High, but is not very academic. She would rather be out experiencing life.

Favourite colour:
Bohemian colours of deep purple, emerald green, turquoise, and ruby red.

Favourite food:
Chocolate peppermint muffins.
She enjoys cooking, and loves to add herbs from her potted plants to her recipes—rosemary shortbread, mushrooms stuffed with basil and thyme, nettle quiche, lavender ice-cream, angelica and blueberry cake, lemon balm tart, rose petal jelly, violet cheesecake.

Favourite activities:

herbs

Herb crafts, candle making, tarot reading, learning about Wicca and magic from her Aunt Tamilda.

candle

Favourite music:
Celtic music

Favourite TV shows:
Witches of East End, The Secret Circle, Charmed

Favourite flower:
Moonflower (also known as Angel’s Trumpet)—a plant with fragrant, white, trumpet-shape blooms that unfurl in the evening and stay open until the sun rises. Highly poisonous.
moonflower

 

 

 

 

Candle and moonflower images are from Pixabay. All other images are my own.

Art Journal Page

This page in my art journal was inspired by my novel Where the Moths Dance.

The full moon bathes Gum Tree Hill Cemetery in a violet glow, casting silvery shadows across the stone angels. The wind whispers through the towering gum trees that encircle the graveyard, offering protection to all they encompass. Midnight Max, the cemetery cat, prowls stealthily between the graves, keeping a close vigil over his domain, while a solitary crow watches silently from its perch atop a gravestone. Overhead, attracted to the moonglow, moths perform a clumsy dance through the night.

While the dead rest, the graveyard is alive.

Mixed-media moths

 

Mixed-media moths

 

Mixed-media moths

 

Mixed-media moths

 

 

 

Banana Cranberry Cake

This is Jessie’s favourite cake!

Banana cranberry cake

 

125g butter
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
3 small bananas, or 2 large bananas, mashed
½ cup cranberries
1½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup milk

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in the mashed bananas.
Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, alternating with the milk.
Fold in the cranberries.
Pour mixture into a greased or paper lined 20 cm round cake tin.
Bake at 160º C for 1 hour or until cooked. Leave to cool, then ice.

Chocolate Icing

1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons butter, softened
grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange juice

Sift together icing sugar and cocoa. Add other ingredients and mix together until it is a smooth, spreadable consistency.

Character Profile: Jessie Hale

Jessie

 

 

 

 

 

Age:
16

Home: 
The caretaker’s cottage at the bottom of Gum Tree Hill Cemetery, in the small town of Quindlan.

Personality traits:
A night owl, she feels at home beneath a veil of darkness, surrounded by the dead, with the moon and Midnight Max for company.
Enjoys spending time alone, but is fiercely loyal to her family and friends.
Can be stubborn and strong-willed, especially when fighting for something she believes in.
Will stand up to her fears and face them head-on.
Curious and questioning.
Open-minded, she is willing to give anything a go, and to believe the impossible.

Best friends:
Violet and Brodie.

School:
Quindlan High

Favourite colour:
Purple

Favourite food:
Pizza, anything spicy, and banana cake.

Favourite activities:
Reading, listening to music, hanging out in the graveyard, talking to the dead.
graveyard

 

 

 


Favourite band:
Evanescence

Favourite TV show:
Ghost Whisperer

Favourite flower:
The blood-red rambling rose that entwines the iron gates at the entrance to the graveyard.
rose

 

 

 

Greatest fear:
The wispy gray strands of fog that linger in the graveyard long after the morning mist over Quindlan has dispersed.