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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Holiday Secret Even My Best Friends Don't Know

I admit it--Christmas has never been my holiday.

Not that I have anything against it, it just was never a big part of my life. I grew up Jewish and celebrated Chanukah. Then as an adult, I became a Pagan and now I celebrate Yule (the Winter Solstice). There were a couple of years in there when I was married, and put up a tree with my then-husband for my step-daughter, but otherwise, Christmas was pretty much something my friends celebrated that  didn't have much to do with me.

This is sometimes a good thing, especially since I have to work Christmas Eve every year until The Artisans' Guild closes at 4PM (we have a running joke about it at the shop, since the glass blower who usually works with me is a Buddhist...but that way everyone else gets to be with their families). And I never have to worry about masses of decorations and such during what is my busy season. I still give my friends presents of course--for Christmas, or Chanukah, or Yule...

All of which makes my holiday secret even more ironic, and a little giggle-worthy. Even my friends don't know what I'm about to tell you. (I'm not ashamed or anything...it has just never come up. Really.)

I have two weaknesses at this time of year: Hallmark Christmas movies and romance novels about Christmas. I KNOW--I said it was ironic!

This year's reading, among others.
 I don't know exactly what it is that draws me to these admittedly sappy movies and books about a holiday I don't even observe. There is something warm and comforting about them, I suppose, that makes me happy during the harried madness of the season and the cold and dark of the winter nights.

So, now you know my secret. Shhhhh...don't tell anyone. But you can tell me--do YOU watch Hallmark Christmas movies or read holiday-themed books? (And if so, which are your favorites) It's okay if you do. Your secret is safe with me.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

I'm a Cover Model--This Month!


As some of you know, I am actually on the cover of the next Witches & Pagans Magazine, and the lovely C.S. MacCath does an in-depth interview with me inside. The magazine has just gone to print! And there is a 72 hour special advance-buy price, if any of you are interested in getting a copy.

(Mom, I'm looking at you.)

ORDER A COPY

Gee, that woman sure looks familiar....
Here's the summary, snitched from the newsletter (but really, it is all about me, I'm sure you agree). Let me know if you're going to be getting a copy. I'll probably do some kind of W&P giveaway...

The new Witches&Pagans magazine issue
“Wicca & Witchcraft”
is at press.

Order in the next 72 hours, you can get this issue at a special introductory price of $6.45!

A short descripition:
Meet Magickal Witches: Two charismatic ladies light up this special issue concentrating on Witchcraft and Wicca. In “Craft of the Wise” we meet a reigning Queen of Gardnerian Witchcraft, the distinguished Wiccan elder Patricia Crowther. Ms. Crowther has been part of the Craft for over fifty years, and in this conversation with Michael Night Sky, she remembers back to the days of Gerald Gardner when Wicca was new and shares her observations on the state of witchcraft today.

Deborah Blake specializes in teaching her readers how to bring magick to everyday life. In this interview, "(Not Just) Your Everyday Witch" we sit down with the charming and vivacious author of seven books on practical magick to find out how she keeps her own world magickal. (Spoiler: she's got a black cat named "Magic" who helps out quite a bit.) Find out what makes Deborah tick — and what new projects are in the works for her — in this exclusive interview by C.S. MacCath.

Chase Down the Great Beast — in London? Nomadic magickal travel writer and explorer Natalie Zaman recently crossed the Atlantic to hunt for traces of the mysterious magician Aleister Crowley. Follow her as she day-trips around London on the trail of the Golden Dawn and find out what she uncovered in "Wandering Witch Goes to London."

Explore the Heart of Wicca and Witchcraft: What is the one piece of liturgy that most Wiccans share? The answer is the “Charge of the Goddess.” Sable Aradia parses the poem for the deeper meanings that illuminate the heart of Wiccan theology. Is Wicca an ancient tradition, or a new religion? Ivo Dominguez, Jr. helps untangle the ways in which the history of Wicca reveals the heart of this magickal path. Mike Howard discusses the roots of traditional British sorcery in “Witchcraft before Wicca.”

The Culture of the Craft: Catt Foy investigates what’s actually in that Witches’ cauldren in Shakespeare’s MacBeth.
What’s in your Spellbook? Cory Thomas Hutcheson uncover the secret depths of the magician’s book of wisdom.

PLUS: Our columnists speak out: Raven Grimassi extols the value of unwritten tradition; Archer shares the lore of magical elixirs ; HecateDemeter incites us to consider the radical acts of witchcraft while Ashleen O'Gaea introduces us to her tradition: Adventure Wicca. Jason Mankey claims the title of “Witch;” John Michael Greer challenges us to embrace a Pagan view of time; and Fritz Muntean excoriates mythical origin stories. Plus two new columnists: Diotima Martinea introduces a new column on Pagan astrology; and rabble-rousing activist H. Byron Ballard introduces us to her flavor of down-home Southern witchcraft. Plus letters, reviews, Pagan poetry and lots more! 88 pages, published in December, 2014.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ultimate Baba Yaga Blast Giveway! And Book Signing


I had a fabulous time yesterday in Albany at the Flights of Fantasy bookstore doing my first "real" book signing as a novelist (other than small things around my own area). As a bonus, I got to see my sister Sarah (and fab brother in-law Rich) who live near there, and check out the Barnes & Noble, which only had one copy of the book left

My sister is the good-looking one to the left. On the right you can see my stalwart friend Ellen, who did the driving.

At Flights of Fantasy

I shared the signing with a fab SF/Fantasy author named Ryk Spoor

Got to see a longtime fan, Josephine F.

As well as the radiant Rebecca Elson of The Magical Buffet, who brought me goodies!

And got a surprise visit from a formal local and Blue Moon Circle regular, Lauren, which made my day!
The book signing was kind of the highlight of a truly fabulous book release week. I've been working hard, but having a lot of fun, so I have a couple of gifts for you folks, who have all helped to make the release of both Baba Yaga books, WICKEDLY DANGEROUS in September and WICKEDLY WONDERFUL on December 2nd so successful.

First of all, I have a fun, FREE Baba Yaga short story for you! The lovely folks at Literary Escapism do a cool thing where they ask various authors to write a short short story about their protagonists going holiday shopping. Of course, since Beka is a witch, she goes Yule shopping, and needless to say, it isn't all that simple. I hope you enjoy this story, since I had a lot of fun writing it.

And, of course, I had to do one last big, blowout giveaway! I can't express how much I appreciate everyone's support--buying the books, and posting reviews, and spreading the word. But maybe this will help.

It's a GIANT GIVEAWAY!
 I'm giving away the ultimate Baba Yaga series prize pack: signed copies of both books,  Wickedly Wonderful mug, a Chudo-Yudo dragon necklace (because we're all about the dragons around here), bookmarks, postcards, magnets, and two dragon temporary tattoo booklets!

A closeup of the Chudo-Yudo necklace

The mug
This would make the perfect ready-made holiday gift for a friend who likes paranormal romance...or for yourself, of course.

So THANK YOU, so much for being such a great cheering section, and good luck to you all!

(USA only, due to the weight of all that booty, but if you are out of the country, you are welcome to enter and I will send you a modified prize pack.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 5, 2014

Feline Friday: Mystic's Surgery Edition


Some of you are already acquainted with my cat Mystic the Magnificent, brother of the slightly-more-famous Magic the Cat (Queen of the Universe). Mystic is my big guy--a little over 16 lbs, with shoulders that stand about 3 inches above those of his sister and mother. He's mostly a gentle giant, when he's not trying to kill poor Samhain (who weighs a tad over 6 lbs and never did anything to him other than to refuse to back down in the 8 years she's lived here) or pick on his mom or sister. But really, just a big Pooh Bear most of the time.

About 7 months ago, I found a little lump at the base of his neck. Nothing much--about the size of a pencil eraser--but it didn't go away, so I took him to the vet. She poked and prodded it, said it was probably nothing, and to just keep an eye on it. (Have I mentioned that I love my vet? I do. She's the best.)

About a month and a half ago, I took Mystic, Magic, and their mom Minerva for their yearly check-up and shots (yes, it IS fun taking them all at once, thank you for asking). Dr. Baker looked at the lump, said it looked exactly the same, and to watch and wait.

So naturally, two weeks after that, the lump suddenly got much bigger. It was obvious he'd been kicking at it, so it may have been just the area around it. Back to the vet we went, and she said, "Yup. We should probably take that off." Scheduled surgery for a week later.

At which point I looked at the lump, and it was right back to its original size. *headdesk*

I deprived him of breakfast and dropped him off before work anyway, with the message that the doc should do what she thought best. She voted to "watch and wait" again, and home we went.

Upon which he kicked at the lump again, and it got bigger. Again. *repeat headdesk*

So this Monday we went through the whole thing again (except that now he was wise to me and hid behind the furniture and made me chase him around for 15 minutes before I could stuff him in the carrier) and this time the danged lump came off. (Along with a sizeable chunk of my wallet.) The vet sent the lump out for a biopsy, and we should hear back sometime next week. I'm not too worried, really, but a few crossed fingers and some aggressive wood-knocking might be good.

Here's poor Mystic after. He came home wearing a surgical stocking to keep him from scratching at the stitches, but as you can see, it didn't really fit well. Bad spot, large cat. Also, he unraveled part of it and tried to choke himself.
They shaved a LOT of fur.
 So I went to the pet store to look for an alternative. Unfortunately, he is SO big, most of the kitty things didn't work. But I did find this cute kitty pirate harness with hoodie.
Like, man, he's the Cat in the Hood

Cute, isn't it?

Mystic didn't think so.
Needless to say, the cat was not amused. My cats don't go outside, so they've never even worn collars. This is my friend Julie's coat he's sitting on. I think he was hoping to go home with her.

This one worked for a while, until Wednesday night, when the incision must have really started itching. It did seem to keep him from getting at the stitches, but it didn't really go up high enough, and by Thursday morning, it looked like this.
Guess I'm not going to be able to take this one back to the store.
 So Thursday after work, I went back to the pet store and found this cool coat meant for a small dog instead. Is it just me, or does he look a little like The Fonz? That's Minerva, looking extremely dubious.

Coolest cat on the block. Also, no way to reach the stitches, because of the collar.

He's still unimpressed.


Hopefully, this will keep the stitches intact until we go back to the vet next Wednesday to have them removed. Anyone else have any cat (or dog) surgery stories to share?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wickedly Wonderful Giveaways!


I was surprised that no one said "Congrats!" on my release day post on Tuesday. I guess you were all out buying WICKEDLY WONDERFUL, right?

Of course, lots of people said lovely things on Facebook, and THANK YOU so much to all those who spread the word. And of course, to those who did run out and buy the book, you have my undying appreciation. SMOOCHES.

I'm all around the interwebs this week, with lots of guest interviews on various reviewer's blogs. (And getting lots of good reviews--WHEW.) Most of them are giving away a free copy of the book, too.
A few places I am today:
An Interview with author D.J. Martin (includes a signed book and swag giveaway from me)
Fun and silly interview at I Smell Sheep blog (includes a book giveaway)
Fabulous review at I Smell Sheep--I got 5 Sheep!
Author Karen Rose Smith talks about the book

 And I'm giving away one more signed copy of Wickedly Wonderful on Goodreads. The contest ends December 14th, so don't wait!



 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 



   

        Wickedly Wonderful by Deborah Blake
   


   

     


          Wickedly Wonderful
     


     


          by Deborah Blake
     



     

         
            Giveaway ends December 14, 2014.
         

         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         

     

   

   


      Enter to win


But the big news is that I will be doing one more MEGA GIGANTIC giveaway here, probably starting Saturday. So be sure to check back. Here's a preview:
Yep--all of it! So keep your eyes open. I'll be putting the giveaway up here soon.

In the meanwhile, I'm dying to know...has anyone started reading the book? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

RELEASE DAY!



It is finally here—Book Release Day for my second novel, WICKEDLY WONDERFUL! I’m excited and a little freaked out, all at the same time. I sure hope that people like it as well as they liked the first book!

(You read Wickedly Dangerous, right?)

I have been truly honored and blessed by the enthusiasm of friends, fans, and followers, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the cheerleading, and for those of you who were kind enough to spread the word about the book. I hope you’ll help me to do so today, of all days!

If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll no doubt see me posting about the book release—I would really appreciate it if you could help me to get the word out.


 
I know I said I wasn’t going to do any more giveaways, but how could I let Book Release Day pass without one? I’ve got one signed copy up as a Goodreads giveaway, so be sure to go enter right away—it is only on for a couple of weeks. (Go HERE, and the giveaway will be lower down on the page.) And I’m giving away books at a few of the places where I will be guest blogging to promote the book. Will I do another fun giveaway on my blog too? I guess you'll have to keep stopping by to find out!

Also, I’ll be at a (more or less) live event on Tuesday the 2nd (today) at Bitten by Books, where I’ll be answering questions, chatting with folks, and giving away $50 in Gift Cards! I hope you will come join me. http://bittenbybooks.com/  (This event starts at 3PM EST/noon PST, but the contest will be open for a couple of days.)

Here is the direct link to the contest, which runs until the 5th http://bittenbybooks.com/author-deborah-blake-release-party-and-50-00-gift-card-contest-live-here/

Check out my blog all this week for other blogs where I’ll be popping up!

Speaking of which, if you live anywhere near Albany NY, I’ll be having a book signing on Sunday, December 7th, at a great Indie bookstore, Flights of Fantasy, at 2 PM. Check out their website for directions and more info. http://www.fof.net/  I hope I’ll see a few of you there!

Don’t forget that if you loved Wickedly Dangerous and want to read the third book in the series, Berkley will be basing their decision on whether or not to publish it on how good the sales for the first two books are. No pressure, right?

Buying links:
B&N 
Or look for it at your local Independent bookstore!

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement—I appreciate it more than words can say. Feel free to send me a picture on Facebook or by email (magicmysticminerva at yahoo) of the book in the wild if you spot it in a bookstore, or of you with the book if you’ve picked one up. This would make my day! And I hope you’ll stop by the blog and say “Hi and happy book release day!”


Holy crap—IT’S RELEASE DAY!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winners! and an Exclusive Excerpt


Congrats to Kay, Maddie Rose, and Kit--you all won copies of Wickedly Wonderful from the latest giveaway. (If you've not sure it is you, go check your comments: I replied there that you'd won.) You should each email me at magicmysticminerva at yahoo and let me know where to send your book!

And if you didn't win, don't worry, because I've got a few other things up  my sleeve. Today I'm over at Fang-Tastic Books where there is an exclusive excerpt so you can get a sneak peak of the book, as well as a giveaway running all week (a signed copy of the book plus some swag!)

I'm also giving away a copy on Goodreads (that contest runs through the 13th).

Want more? Of course you do. Tomorrow is RELEASE DAY! And to celebrate, I'll be at Bitten by Books giving away $50 worth of gift cards (USA only, I'm afraid) and chatting with people. The event goes live at noon Pacific, 3 EST time. Feel free to stop by and say hello. In the meanwhile, you can get an extra 25 entries by going there ahead of time and RSVP-ing via this link! http://bittenbybooks.com/author-deborah-blake-release-party-and-50-00-gift-card-contest-122-rsvp-here/ 

Also on the 2nd, I'll be interviewed over at Delighted Reader which should be a lot of fun.

I'm pretty excited about this, my second novel, finally hitting the shelves! Tell me, are you planning to read it?

 

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