Fall is my favorite time of the year and an opportunity for me to share three unusual witch facts with you. Why? Well, of course, because I write about witches. But since my witches live primarily at the beach, and since that might seem peculiar to you, I thought I’d share a few other things you might find different, unusual or just plain funky about my favorite subject—witches!
Many practitioners of witchcraft were originally respected as healers, providing helpful healing aids to their villages. Using plant based remedies they created tinctures, oils and healing potions which they shared freely throughout their communities for the purpose of curing everyday maladies. Many were known for having vast gardens, where they harvested plants and flowers for medicinal uses. The popularity of using natural plants and flowers as healing tools is on the rise again today. Herbal Medicine, Natural Remedies by Anne Kennedy is a great resource for info on this.
(My book, The Witch of Bergen shares a witch who is one hunky healer)
People who practiced witchcraft experimented with herbs and potions in rituals that may have used the Mandrake plant. Mandrake contains scopolamine and atropine, two alkaloids that cause feelings of euphoria in low doses and hallucinations in higher doses. The rituals—performed in the nude—called for the participants to rub an herbal ointment containing the mandrake on their foreheads, wrists, hands, and feet as well as on a broomstick that they would ride. The ointment would be absorbed into their system, causing a floating sensation—and their description of that feeling is what perpetuated the image of a witch flying on a broomstick. Adapted from an article in https://mentalfloss.com
Others believed that brooms were never “flown”, but rather used to sweep rooms clean to allow for a sterile environment for creating powerful potions.
There is and it’s not Salem, Massachusetts! It is Vardo, Norway. It’s dark, cold and hard to get to, but what else would you expect from a place that honors witches? Called the Steilneset Memorial it recognizes the ninety one victims of the witch persecution that started in Norway in the early 1600’s and ended in 1692. 135 people were prosecuted for the crime of being a witch with 91 of them actually dying at the stake for their crime. The structure itself is a bit haunting, but none the less memorable. When I was in Bergen, Norway, I attempted to go there. But the train trip required was far too long and I had to put my trip off for the next time I’m in Bergen. I hear visiting there at midnight will set your teeth to chatter!
Just a few thoughts on witches to warm a cold October day.
If you’ve read any of my books, you know that I write about witches—nice witches thrown into every day dilemmas where their magic sometimes is and sometimes is not very helpful. Recently, I’ve had a new story buzzing around in my head, just ready to pop out. I can see my characters and yes, they have paranormal powers, in fact they’re all witches. I may throw in a warlock or two, although I’m not yet sold on that inclusion. I have a sense of where I want to take my characters, what conflicts they’ll meet along the way and even who my villains might be.
But I thought I’d try something different this time, something I’ve never done before. I thought I’d start with a house. Not just any house, but a place with its own personality. A house capable of hosting all sorts of exciting, mystically challenging; paranormal activity. The exact house to function as the hub of my story.
With this in mind, I went in search of the perfect abode for my witches to call home and that’s where I ran into my own dilemma . . . which house to choose? I combed various neighborhoods, searched the internet, looked through real estate sites and visited a historical site or two on a quest to find the right domicile. Once committed to a place, I think the rest of my story will naturally unfold itself.
I’m down to four houses scattered throughout Europe and the U.S.A. and I would love your input. Not only which house would you choose, but why? I chose each house for a different reason and I’ll be curious to learn which house captures your imagination.
One more thing, if you are curious about the stories I’ve written, you can find The Witches Of New Moon Beach in a new boxed set right now on Amazon and Smashwords. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Oh, and those of you who have been following my travels/struggles towards my sixty-fifth birthday – I’ve managed to complete every goal but one. I sadly have not lost my twenty pounds. However, not one to give up, I’m still working on it, including walking 45 minutes a day!
Happy New Year to you all and I can’t wait to hear from you!
I enjoy including interesting quotes when writing my blogs and even sometimes in my books. So I’m always looking for new ones to add. Many times I find the quotes inspirational, sometimes funny and often motivating. While I love to include comments from famous world leaders, educators and even fellow authors—I’ve rarely included any quotes offered by actors. Not that I intentionally rule them out—it’s just been that way… until today.
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
What famous human being uttered those profound words, you ask. It may surprise you to learn that the insightful thoughts were offered up by none other than Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. He said them while celebrating his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week. When asked what the recognition meant to him, he shared that it was all about family…about working hard and surrounding himself with good hard-working people…about the happiness he found in always sharing his gratitude for his friends, family and for his professional success.
His words struck me and I decided to try to put them into action. I thought—I should be more like him. It’s not that hard—after all, I can be a nicer personcan’t I? But man, during this crazy holiday season, it turned out to be a lot harder to do than I had expected.
Whether I was interacting with a cranky postal worker, a harried sales clerk or a nasty fast food server – I challenged myself to try and remember The Rock’s words…”it’s important to be nice”. It was exhausting at first and at times I had to grit my teeth and force a smile on my face. It would have been so easy to give up and succumb to my feelings of frustration and fatigue.
But once I got started, I have to tell you that I found that the tides quickly turned when I took the time to offer a kind word of understanding or gratitude when confronted with an unpleasant individual. I’m not sure if my smile and nice words embarrassed others into change or made them just stop a moment to think about how they were acting—but more than once I heard surprise, relief, and far nicer words offered back to me in place of anything negative. And it felt pretty good and rather empowering to project niceness in place of nastiness.
Thanking the grumpy postal worker for her hard work during these busy days caught her totally off guard. She actually stopped, looked me in the eye, and touched my arm as she smiled and thanked me for noticing and wished me a Merry Christmas too! I admit that I had a little more of a struggle with the store clerk who rang my sale up wrong not once, but twice. Yes, I really did want to choke her until I noticed her eyes filling with tears as she looked at the long line of unhappy folks waiting behind me. I turned around and faced the formidable crowd, smiled and said, Ain’t Christmas great! I’m sure that a few of them wanted to kill me right there, but it seemed to give the kid behind the counter enough time to figure out her mistake and to actually ring up my order correctly. I left wishing her a Merry Christmas and she sighed a thank you and squared her shoulders ready to take on the next customer with a smile on her face.
It hasn’t been easy and I haven’t been always been successful. More than once I’ve had to choose to swallow a comment with a smile rather than announce what a craptacular job I thought someone was doing. I’m glad that I happened to hear The Rock the other day and I actually appreciate the challenge he unknowingly sent my way. It’s been tough to say the least, but I’m going to keep trying to be nice…because it’s important!
Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
My favorite part is the research; learning more about magic, spells, historical witches and current practices. Healing crystals and common rituals intrigue me and I love visiting stores, books and websites that focus on the use of crystals and gemstones to improve life for us mere mortals. I’ve met some of the most interesting people while scouring through New Age shops from Carlsbad to Solvang and often model my characters after those I’ve met. I fill my stories with light-hearted spells, mystical facts and quirky characters intended to make each book not only engaging and believable but also colored with unique, factual details.
But lately I’ve received some rather interesting e-mails, Facebook, Twitter and website contacts from readers—that have me wondering. I’ve paraphrased a couple and cleaned up one in particular.
I just finished your book – Have you cast a spell on me? I think I’m in love. (So, okay, that one was actually kind of cute.)
Can you cast a spell on me? My life sucks!
Can you cast a spell for me? I want to be rid of him…or her…or them…for good! (Heavy!)
Are you bewitched…are you sure? How can you be certain?
[tweetshare tweet=”Have you cast a spell on me? I think I’m in love. @MeriamWilhelm” username=”A_SliceofOrange”]
I’ve even been asked if I use frogs when creating my home-grown spells, prefer to wear the color black or know any single, available witches. (I cleaned up that last request!) My favorite comment dealt with the fact that the witches in all of my stories live at the beach—New Moon Beach. “I understand you live in Southern California and I have visited many of the beaches there. Unfortunately, I am very disappointed to tell you that I have not had even one witch sighting yet. Can you please direct me to the correct beach?” Hmm…
Sure, I write about the supernatural and I always try to include interesting magically accurate tidbits – not only in my books but also in my monthly newsletters. (If you’d like to receive my newsletter just sign up at my website www.meriamwilhelm.com – You can also find all of my books there!
However, although I’m tempted to say otherwise, and I hope I don’t disappoint you too badly – I am not a practicing witch. Yes, I love to dress in black – who doesn’t? I wear healing crystals all of the time and really do believe in their powers. I’ve met several attractive witches over the last couple of years – but I have no idea if any of them are single or available. And no frog has ever been injured during the conjuring of any of my literary spells.
I will continue to quench my curiosity by searching out new and entertaining bits of info about the supernatural world of magic. And I hope that you’ll consider jumping into one or more of my stories. Oh, if you have anything magically interesting that you’d like to share with me just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org It just might end up in one of my books!
If you share my passion for the mystical world and you’re looking for a few good books to learn more about witches, magic spells or crystals – here are a couple of my favorites.
WICCA A GUIDE FOR THE SOLITARY PRACTIONER by Scott Cunningham
Crystal Muse Everyday Rituals To Tune In To The Real You by Heather Askinosie & Timmi Jandro
Healing Crystals by Cassandra Eason
Everyday Witchcraft Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World by Deborah Blake
OH, AND PLEASE CHECK OUT MY LATEST BOOK MURDER BY MAGIC
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
I hit an unexpected writer’s block this past year. I sort of lost my way and it had me really wondering what to do next with myself. I have always been a goal driven person who needed to be reaching for that next carrot in order to feel good about myself. Yes, I agree that may not be the healthiest way to live, but I guess it’s just how I’m wired. The other part of me is that I expect that dedication and hard work will more times than not – result in success. But it’s the definition of that word – success – that suddenly had me paralyzed, and more than a little uncertain of my writing future.
It all started three and a half years ago. After thirty-five years in education, I retired. I had loved being an elementary school principal and there were still a thousand stories, strategies and recommendations racing through my head. I wanted to share all that I had learned and decided to try writing parenting books. I poured out my heart and soul with strategies on bullying, homework issues, parent/teacher relationships and more.
Six books later I realized that I was getting bored talking about the same old stuff I had for the last thirty-five years. I needed to do something different. I took a chance, deciding to throw my hat into the world of fiction writing. And I had a blast creating my first fictional series The Witches Of New Moon Beach. I created a welcoming – albeit quirky, action packed world filled with witches, magic and love, all at the beach.
Although I was happy with how the series did, I guess I had hoped for more. After all, I felt like I had worked really hard, spending endless hours in front of my computer. Suddenly I was wondering what the “more” was that I was looking for? More sales..more exposure more…
A couple of my friends gently suggested that I might consider giving up. Why spend so much time if it wasn’t truly productive. “I mean are you even making any money?” one asked. Others said that I should give in to the fact that the e-book market may have shrunk. Maybe I’d missed my chance and I’d never make it big. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough. It left me considering, who was I to think that I might actually make it in this gigantic world of publishing?
It was my husband who caught me feeling down one day and said something rather life changing – Get Real! What the heck did that mean, I asked – not really wanting to know the answer.
Then he asked me four powerful questions.
1) Did I still have a passion for writing?
2) Was I having fun?
3) Had I done all that I could to improve my writing skills and publishing opportunities?
4) Was I really ready to throw in the towel and walk away from writing?
After dropping these atomic questions on me, he calmly reassured me that whatever my answers were – he’d still have my back.
I spent a lot of time thinking about his queries. And in the end, it was the answers to those questions that helped me to redefine my idea of success and happiness.
I do have a passion for writing. I love creating fictional worlds over which I have total artistic freedom and control. My mind is constantly spinning with new characters, themes and plot lines.
I love creating new characters. It’s fun. In fact, I wake up at night to jot down new ideas that just popped into my head while I was supposed to be sleeping. I carry around my Book O’ Names with me so that when I hear an unusual name I quickly jot it down for later use.
Ouch! No, I hadn’t done everything that I could to improve my writing skills. I listened to writer podcasts, read articles by other writers and secured new support software. I knew that I needed to do a better job editing my books. I’d been zinged for it in the past and recognized that it was one of the areas I could strengthen. I secured the help of a fab editor – Jenny Jensen. She has been a godsend and has made all of the difference in the world in helping me to tighten up my story lines and confirm correct grammar usage. Most importantly, I feel better about my work with her support.
Hell No! I am not ready to throw in the towel. I love writing and even though I still hit bumps in the road; writing makes me happy.
So what did I do with all these newly found answers? I put my head down, recognized that this was what I’m meant to be doing right now – and wrote. I reawakened by imagination and had fun creating a new story – one that I am ready to share with you.
Murder By Magic is my first cozy mystery and I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
And should you feel stuck along the way, you are more than welcome to borrow my husband’s four questions to get you headed in the right direction – right for you that is!
Oh, and thank you Paranormal Romance Writers Guild for giving me a 5 star review!
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