Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome the awesome Marsha A. Moore with her book Witch’s Mystic Woods.The fourth book in Coon Hollow Coven Series.
We will have info about the book and Marsha. Plus we have a interview and a great excerpt from the book.
Make sure to check everything out and go and show some love and add her books to your TBR 😉
Happy Reading 🙂
The Lockwood witches are the only tree mystics known to the Midwest, and soon Larena will be the last. Their heritage is crumbling—but not if Larena can save it.
With loving care, Larena helps her mother Irene face the final journey of severe dementia. Corporate vultures, envisioning a mall project, are circling to take the Lockwood land and antique store by eminent domain upon Irene’s death. Their success will lay claim to the souls of Larena’s deceased father and grandfather, both tied for all eternity to the family’s land.
Using rare, inherited magical skills, Larena communicates with trees and crafts their wood into enchanted furniture, which bring blessings to future owners. An unscrupulous witch, working with the corporation for a share of the profits, sabotages Larena’s mysticism to curtail her livelihood. One charming vulture, Reid Peterson, preys upon her heart. Armed with only grit and attitude, Larena fights to stand her ground.
Local seers and fae alike foresee a shift with the concurrence of Winter Solstice and the coming new moon. Otherworld energies will then become available to an unnamed person in desperate need. Larena must be that person—or her heart, home, and heritage will be wrenched away.
The Coon Hollow Coven Tales series is about a coven of witches in a fictitious southern Indiana community, south of Bloomington, the neck of the woods where Marsha A. Moore spent her favorite childhood years surrounded by the love of a big family. The books are rich with a warm Hoosier down-home feel. There are interesting interactions between coven members and locals from the nearby small town of Bentbone. If magic wasn’t enough of a difference between the two groups, the coven folk adhere to the 1930s lifestyle that existed when the coven formed.
A note to readers: ALL THE COON HOLLOW COVEN TALES NOVELS CAN BE READ AS STAND ALONE BOOKS. The series is about one community, and its residents may pass in and out of various books, but each book has its own unique and special story to be told.
Hello Marsha. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, it is lovely to have you.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Prior to writing, I always do considerable research into non-fiction books, references on the specific witchcraft practices I intend to include in my upcoming book.
In the current series I’m writing, Coon Hollow Coven Tales, the setting is inspired by my favorite place I lived when I was a child—Brown County, Indiana. I often return, not only because I love the area with its rolling hills and wooded ravines as well as the thriving artists’ culture, but to recharge my creative inspiration. There is a unique quality there that I strive to include in the series. I’m sure it’s pure magic!
For the book I’m currently writing, Witch’s Windsong, my research has been more involved. The main character is a trained shaman. In order to portray him with depth, I’ve spent time with two shamans to learn about their backgrounds and unique paths. One, the head shaman at the Zuni Pueblo, I visited while on a recent vacation to New Mexico. The other, a local shaman, trained by the well-known shaman Sandra Ingerman, taught me how to do shamanic journeying into the spiritual world. These personal experiences were absolutely necessary and also inspiring.
What is your best cure to get out if a reading slump?
I have never had a reading slump, and seldom a writing slump. Usually getting out for a kayak ride or a walk in the woods—time in nature—helps me determine how to get my characters to move forward toward the next plot point I wish them to reach.
If you didn’t write, what would you do instead? Are there any other talents you are hiding from us?
I have too many interests and hobbies. I mentioned some in my bio: painting, drawing, yoga, kayaking, and cycling. I also am a knitaholic and knit during evening TV watching or while traveling, basically any bit of free time. For any readers who are knitters, I’m on Ravelry with the username MarshaAMoore. I also like to refinish furniture and have recently fallen in love with chalk paint. I’m crazy about gardening…every flower, herb, veggie, bush and tree fascinates me, all except the lawn grass, which is my husband’s job. Learning how to garden in Florida has been a fun challenge. And I love to read. If I could read while knitting, life would be awesome!
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Joining professional writing associations helped me connect to workshops to learn my craft and also to fellow authors who have helped me in countless ways through the years. I found the critique group I work with through Florida Writers Association. Together, we have learned and grown and supported each other through years of difficulties and successes.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I work daily with hundreds of authors in my genre in order to better market my books. Their help is invaluable for me to discover and create new ways to reach readers.
With her Troy pendant swinging from her neck, Larena dashed across the crunchy ice-covered lawn to the trailhead. Upon ascending the hill, her feet seemed to float above the ground. She climbed effortlessly past the crest and reached the small, secret ravine in minutes, calm and not gasping for breath like after the previous trip.
At the edge of the nemeton, she stood in awe as she examined the dozen trees marking the circle around the clearing. Gnarled and misshapen, they resembled human forms, like old crones bent and dancing around a ceremonial sabbat fire. A slight breeze stirred their branches as if motioning for her to join them.
Encouraged, she took a tentative step closer to the demarcation between two of the grand trees. Outside the clearing, ice coated dried leaves of crumpled, dull weeds. Across the boundary, grasses dressed in brighter-than-autumn metallic shades of rich rust, warm amber, and brilliant gold danced in waves sweeping away from the point where she stood.
With her heart free and eager to fully embrace the nemeton’s welcome, Larena lifted the face of the Troy pendant into her view. Mentally walking into the labyrinth, she slid the toe of one boot over the line.
In an instant, the grasses reversed their motion. Waving toward her, they burst into flames that licked the hem of her skirt. She tried to step back but tree limbs lowered and twined in her hair and around her arms. Trying to hold her in the fire.
She screamed, or at least air rushed from her diaphragm and out her mouth, yet she produced no sound. She thrashed against her captors. The wool of her skirt smelled acrid, like burnt hair.
Her legs tightened, prepared to run. She searched for a way out. A sea of flames filled the glade and undulated on the whipping grasses. Retreat was the only escape.
With arms clamped against her sides to avoid the trees’ grasp, Larena dug her hands into her pockets. There, her fingers found Grandpa’s pendant. She’d forgotten to return it to the safe. She yanked it out. Held it before her like a tiny shield. Would its magic protect her? Her heart raced, as if it would explode. Without another choice, she had to trust. In what seemed like several long minutes, her thoughts tracked to the story Grandpa told her. How he returned from the nemeton to find the best magic—the letter that concluded his military service and his wife expecting their first child—of hope and love.
A violent wind tossed her out of the circle, off her feet, and into a fast-rolling motion across icy fallen leaves. Her stomach clenched rock hard. She must have spun thirty feet before coming to rest at an old oak that had welcomed her two days ago. Twisting back and forth, she checked and patted her clothing to make sure nothing still burned. One side of her skirt and coat hem were charred black. With a hand on the trunk to balance her, Larena staggered to her feet and conveyed to the oak, “What just happened?”
No response registered against her fingers, and she took another look at the tree. It was certainly one she’d spoken to before. Why didn’t it respond? She gasped. Had the nemeton stolen her magic? She sent another message and again received no reply. Her pulse thrashed against her eardrums making her dizzy.
She staggered away from the nemeton, touching tree after tree, trying unsuccessfully for communication, until at last she gave up and sunk onto the frozen dirt. Careful to avoid contact with any tree or plant she could no longer befriend, Larena clutched herself tight into a ball. She hugged her knees and buried her head, letting tears flow.
Only when the wind carried a shrill note to the hill’s crest where Larena sat did she stir. It was her name and Betty’s voice laced with alarm.
Larena crawled to her feet and ran down the hill.
“Larena, come quick.”
With a leap, Larena jumped the stream, not breaking stride until she reached the back-porch steps. Panting, she rushed through the door, muscles still pumping with adrenaline. “What’s wrong?”
Betty met her a few steps from where Mom sat propped up by pillows in the wheelchair. “She’s started fallin’ sideways in her chair and can’t sit up on her own. I’m afraid she’ll hurt herself. I need your help to get her into bed.”
Mom’s eyes were glazed over, distant and emotionless as the women hoisted her from the wheelchair and lowered her onto the bed. Her lips opened and closed but no words formed.
“I’ll stay to help you get her changed for the night and longer if need be.” Betty’s large brown eyes narrowed to slits and lines crisscrossed her forehead.
“Did this just happen?” Larena asked. “I called you not long ago.”
“Yep. Came on quick. Hopefully this is just a phase and after a good night’s sleep she’ll be better.”
Larena raised the rails on her mother’s rented hospital bed, and one of Mom’s hands clutched the bar as if she, too, was frightened. Larena stood at the bedside speechless, struck dumb by the coincidence of what happened to both her and her mother at the same moment. Had the nemeton been so power-hungry it stole not only Larena’s witchcraft but also her mother’s life and breath? Why had Larena taken such a dangerous chance? So foolish.
Betty took hold of Larena’s hand. “Land sakes, what happened to your coat? And your skirt? They’re burnt.”
“I’m fine. The pyrography tool’s wiring sparked.” Numb with fear and blame, she didn’t know how to explain.
“Go change your clothes.” Betty urged. “I’ll stay here and keep watch.”
Larena gave a single nod. Her body moving with little awareness, she managed to peel off her coat as she glided to the basement and stuffed the garment into the washing machine. Although the coat was beyond hope with burns through the outer fabric, she couldn’t afford to buy a new one. Maybe she could still wear it around home. On her way back through the kitchen, the phone rang. She answered, unaware of picking up the receiver.
“Hi, Larena. It’s Reid Peterson. I hope you liked the flowers. I wanted to ask you to dinner sometime, maybe this weekend at the steak house. Does that sound like—”
Without a word, she hung up and looked up to his vase of flowers that had thrown off her focus and ruined her Troy pendant. And cost her everything. The bouquet hit the trash.
Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and paranormal romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.
The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing, as well as other pursuits of watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. Her practice helps weave the mystical into her writing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors where she’s always on the lookout for portals to other worlds. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!