Hey, all! 🙂 I know it’s been a while since I posted. Life and work has been crazier than ever the past few months, but I’ve made time today, to let you all know about a fabulous new anthology that I was lucky enough to be a part of!
~*~ BLURB ~*~
Welcome to Little Raven: an unsullied, beautiful woodland hamlet in the heart of the Midwest. The sort of place where furry creatures romp about and spend their days bursting into song.
Actually, that’s a giant pack of lies.
Little Raven is a town…for witches.
And some of those witches might have bent the rules. A teensy bit. When six magical miscreants dabble with black magic, they end up together at Incantations, the town’s rehab center for witches gone awry. It’s a slap on the wrist for naughty witches. Pretty much a daycare center so they don’t wander off and start turning people into newts on a whim. Each witch must work through her addiction to black magic, and follow the tenets designed to lead them back to the path of the straight and narrow, as boring as that sounds. Even if following the tenets sucks worse than a group round of kum-bay-ya. Which sucks. Horribly.
We will admit we are powerless over magic—that our lives have become unmanageable.
We will make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Goddess as we understand Her.
We will make a searching and fearless moral and magical inventory of ourselves.
We will admit to the Goddess, to ourselves, and to another being the exact nature of our magical wrongs.
We will make a list of all persons or beings we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.
We will make direct amends to such beings whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
We are entirely ready to bow before the Goddess and have Her remove all our defect of character, even at the risk of being entirely stripped of our magic.
But this is just the start. There’s something rotten in Little Raven, something that seeks to take all the magic it can, and devour the inhabitants in the process. It will take the strength and power of all the witches to defeat the darkness seeping into their town, beat it back, and be rid of it forever…and maybe just make it through rehab while they’re saving the world.
~*~ COVER ~*~
~*~ EXCERPT ~*~
The silence in the circle of witches spoke volumes. Giving a sharp toss of her head, Catherine raised her eyebrows in a, ‘Nothing to say?’ gesture. Someone let out a low sigh. Even Miss Safety-Pin had fallen silent, chewing her lower lip. Catherine licked her lips, gazing around the wan faces as though for approval, tapping her fingers against the side of the plastic chair. She had a sudden mad urge to feel the bobbled surface of the moulded plastic, but her gloves remained on as she waited for someone to speak.
Counsellor Fitzsimmons was the first person to shatter the cloud of melancholy above the group, tapping his pen nervously against the clipboard. It took him a second or two, but his training kicked in once more, and he beamed in what Catherine supposed was meant to be sympathetic. It looked more insincere than his usual grin. There was something off about his smile that she was starting to hate. Every time she came to these sessions, her unease with Fitzsimmons grew, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. “Er…thank you for sharing with us, Catherine. That must have been very hard for you.”
“Yeah, it was super difficult. Now I feel all enlightened and shit,” she spat, scraping back the metal legs of the seat as she rose up. It wobbled but stayed upright, not that she gave it a second glance as she made her way over to the exit. “Prison sounds like a barrel of laughs compared to this. I’m sharing fuck all with anyone else,” she called over her shoulder as she strode away, flicking a stray lock of hair from her eyes. The swing doors squeaked as they opened and closed behind her, a draught filtering through from the motion and running along her spine.
Heels tapping loudly through the tiled reception, Catherine almost didn’t hear the thud and wail of the swing doors opening once more. Pausing, but not turning around, she sighed and snapped, “Counsellor Fitzsimmons, I really don’t need your particular brand of happy-clappy right now, okay?”
“Do any of us? I don’t have the voice for kum-bye-fucking-yah any more than you do.”
The shock of Circe’s cutting tone made Catherine whizz around so fast, her coat fanned out as though in a waltz. Pulling her shades down just enough to peer over the top of them, making sure she wasn’t seeing things, Catherine gave a surprised cough. “Miss me already, Fork-face?”
Circe gave a self-satisfied smirk, folding her arms and tilting her head. “Yeah. Your quips are getting so much better. I might be able to consider one of them imaginative soon.”
Catherine opened her mouth to retort, but instead let out a heavy sigh, pushing her glasses back and pointing at the door. “Well, I’d love to stay and slag you off, but frankly I’ve got better things to do. Like going to jail. Bye.”
As she turned to clack angrily away, Circe reached across and put her hand out in front of her, making it obvious she didn’t wish her to leave. Catherine halted and glared down at the hand, waiting for it to move, but it never shifted. Circe lowered her voice. “Look, I couldn’t really give a toss what you want to do, but I want to do this. I need to do this. And now we’re in the,” her hand finally moved as she made air quotes, “’buddy system’, you need to be here. If you leave, I’m going to fail. And I can’t fail.” For the first time since the group had met up, Catherine thought she saw a light dull in Circe’s eyes, a panicked moment of fear, before it was replaced with the hard-ass glare once more.
Shaking her head, the British witch sucked in her bottom lip, as though holding something tightly in her chest. She was sure there was something. It rammed against her ribs, a lump the size of all her fear and upset. “And what the hell is in it for me? I’m not doing that sharing crap again. I can’t. I don’t know what’s happened to you all, and maybe I’m heartless for not caring. But you all seem pretty okay on the surface.” Wondering if she would regret the move later on, she whipped off her glove, waggling the fingers of her hand in Circe’s face. The other witch winced for a split second at the burnt flesh. “See that? Every time I get undressed on a night, get dressed on a morning, look in the mirror without glasses, I’ve got a reminder. It’s never going to leave me, even if I get through this.” Replacing the glove, Catherine stared down at her polished boots, noting the tiny cracks in the leather. “It’s not the reminder of my problem, or my crime, or even the fact I’ll always look like some sort of nightmare freak. It’s the reminder of a dead friend, and a murderer who got away. If that jumper-wearing prick thinks I’m going to tell everyone about that every time I’m here—“ As her finger jabbed towards the glass doors, her voice cracked on a sob, a sound she didn’t recognise. She hastily swallowed it back, taking in a deep breath to hide the tears that pricked at the corner of her eyes.
Circe’s face, thankfully, didn’t change. I couldn’t stand it if she was sympathetic, I’m not ready for it. Point to Safety-Pin. Instead, she gave a stiff nod and gazed over to the group within. “Agreed. I don’t need to hear it again. No offence. How about this; every time Sweater-Dick asks you to spill your life-story, I punch him for you?”
The question was so unexpected that Catherine let out a dry chuckle, before she could stop it. “Fine, deal.” She sobered. “But seriously, I’m not going there. And for the record, this doesn’t make us friends. At all. We’re not in a fucking Disney movie. I’m not going to repay you by saving your life in some dramatic cliff-fall or something.”
The punky witch gave an unladylike snort. “Trust me, Estee Lauder, we’re not friends. I’d rather poke my eye out with a knife.”
“Easily arranged. You’ve probably got one somewhere on your person.”
Circe grinned, and merrily flipped her the bird before turning back to the glass doors. Catherine steeled herself for entering once more. She hated the idea of going back in. After all, it ruined a perfectly good dramatic exit. Damn it. Get in there, Cath. You know you need to. She pressed her fingers together with a shiver, feeling the pattern of the butchered skin underneath the textured leather.
Keeping her head down, she crossed quickly over to her chair and slumped down into it. To her relief, no one except Counsellor Fitzsimmons paid her the slightest bit of attention, and he merely nodded gratefully at her return. She sulkily hunched her shoulders up and leaned back, preparing to be amused by the spectacle before her. Floaty Trista and Crazy Robie stood in the centre, acting out some banal scenario. Giving a glance over to Circe, she was rewarded with an ugly scowl. Catherine smiled to herself and turned back to falling asleep once more in her chair, folding her arms. See? Everything back to normal.
Taken from ‘A Closet Full of Demons’, from ‘Rehab is for Witches’. Copyright 2014 © Miranda Stork
~*~ LINKS ~*~