In Defense of Witchery by Sorchia DuBois
When I was a kid and my mom read fairy tales to me, I rooted for the wicked witch. Honestly, what are you supposed to do when pesky little kids barge into your quiet house in the woods? Admittedly, cooking them in an oven might be a bit of overkill, but it’s legal in Texas, I think.
How are you supposed to react when a too-sweet-to-be-true child drops a house on your sister and then sings a rousing chorus of “Ding, Dong, The Witch is Dead?” And how much sweetness and light can anyone stand from a step-daughter, anyway? Seriously, what if you woke up with a hangover and some little twit was singing “Someday My Prince Will Come” while she popped open the blinds? Death is too good for a person like that.
Witches are the smartest people in those stories which may be why nobody likes them. Wise women and soothsayers, herbalists and healers existed in every culture, but the ways of the wise seemed unfathomable to your everyday, run-of-the mill peasant who was just trying to eke out a living.
Witches lived on the outskirts of civilization, but they were sought out for their ability to ensure a good harvest or hunt, their healing herbal lore, and their knowledge of the natural world. Witches brewed beer, distilled liquor, made bread rise, ensured a safe pregnancy and a healthy newborn, concocted love potions, and kept storms and evil chance at bay.
It wasn’t until Christianity came along that witches got a bad rap. The Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of the Witches) set European culture off on weekend witch hunts, witch burnings, and the Spanish Inquisition (because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.) Witches went underground and many haven’t surfaced since, but they are still around.
The next time you go to the grocery story, hang out in the natural food or produce aisle. The young woman with three kids in tow rummaging through the tomatoes for just the right one may be a witch. Venture outside on a stormy day or walk the backroads under the full moon and you may be surprised to meet the local librarian or ninth -grade English teacher. The house that wins the prize for BEST Halloween decorations may be one way a witch takes a tiny step out of the broom closet.
You’ll also find witches in my books— Witches, witches, everywhere you look. Tall witches, short witches. Powerful female witches and handsome, seductive male witches. Witches who want to watch the world burn and witches who want to save it.
In Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, Zoraida always knew more than one witch peeped from the branches of her family tree. Crazy Granny trained her in the ways of the Craft and Zoraida settled into a comfortable life running a smoke and magic shop in tiny Bear Hollow, Arkansas. True, she sells more weed than magic, thanks to her on-again, off-again boyfriend, but magic is in her blood.
The last thing Zoraida wants is to disrupt this quiet life. Granny as other ideas. She tells Zoraida a tale of treachery and betrayal.
“I’m dying,” Granny says, “And the only thing as can save me is that healing crystal. They stole it a long time ago. You’ll have to steal it back for me.”
To save Granny’s life, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu travel to Scotland to repossess the healing crystal, but they soon discover Granny left out a few important details.
Zoraida steps right in the middle of a clan war, witch style. To make matters worse, Granny saw to it that Zoraida holds a key piece to the power struggle. Trouble is Zoraida has no idea what that piece is until it is almost too late.
Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is part one of the Zoraida Grey series. Parts 2 and 3 will be out in 2017 along with an anthology of Zoraida Grey stories.
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Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.
Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Not by a long shot.
“Tell me the truth!” His whisper sinks into my stomach like rotten meat. His fingers tense on my neck.
He is in my head, but I’m in his as well. “This is why you brought me down here. You’ve been playing me along all day.”
“Of course I have.”
“What makes you think it will be so easy?”
His tone is measured, not cruel, but not comforting either. “Do you think you can waltz in here and do as you please? You’re not in Kansas anymore.”
“You mean I’m not in Arkansas anymore.” My voice rasps under the pressure of his fingers.
Pain in my temples pulls me deeper into the abyss. He pushes the spell into my head.
I open my mouth to scream but forget to do it. How much of this ensorcellment is due to his spell and how much to the smell of peaty whisky on his breath, to the warmth of his muscular arms, to the solid weight of his body against mine?
What is this strange pleasure, even as he pries open my mind, as he pushes his will into mine, as he touches my most private thoughts? All memories of the healing crystal, Granny, and the temptation of the black stone disappear in a puff of desire.
His fingers loosen and, feather light, he caresses my throat, my shoulders. Warm, moist breaths in my ear, warm, soft lips on my hair. He leans against me, and my body arches toward him.
He’s in my head, and I don’t remember inviting him.
Hi, I’m Sorchia. I live in deepest, darkest southern Missouri and when I write about living in the woods with a bunch of cats, I’m writing what I know. I’m a proud member of the Ross clan and attend Scottish events whenever I can. My stories are littered with discarded kilts and the men who wear them along with spooks, monsters, the odd dragon, and, of course, witches. The darker side of magic is a specialty though my characters don’t always use it for evil—sometimes a gal just needs to be at the front of the checkout line and sometimes she just needs to curse someone with boils. Depends on the day.
Dark humor and sarcasm make me laugh. I could lie in bed and read ancient tales and folklore all day and all night. Many of those old stories make their way into my books. I like a wee dram of good Scotch—Laphroaig is my favorite—and my characters can often be judged by their taste in liquor.
My characters hold strong beliefs because I believe fiction can change the world. I am a sucker for a happy ending, but the way to it is dangerous and scary. Romance, magic, mystery, and a fair number of off-color jokes and downright bad puns keep it light.
I’d love to hear your ghost stories and your favorite fairy tales. Let’s bewitch each other.