Thursday, October 1, 2015

Release Day: Witch Wood by Melanie Karsak

Happy release day to Melanie Karsak!  Melanie launches off the Blazing Indie Collective's Witching Hour Collection with her novella, Witch Wood.


 

Witch Wood is a tie-in novella that compliments The Harvesting Series, an award-winning dark fantasy/zombie mashup, by Melanie Karsak. Witch Wood can be read as a stand-alone or as part of The Harvesting Series.

Harm none, and be ready for zombies.

In the little town of Brighton, Amelia’s practice of Wicca marks her as a curiosity both at home and at school. But Amelia can’t change what she is. Knowing how to see auras, heal, and cast spells comes naturally to her. Only Madame Knightly, the ancient matriarch and owner of Witch Wood Estate, to whom Amelia plays caretaker, doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, the crumbling old mansion is full of oddities.

 However, when modern treatments fail to make a dent in the flu outbreak sweeping the globe, those who once ridiculed her white witchcraft turn to Amelia for help. While her eucalyptus tinctures prove no more effective than western medicine, her spell-casting is another matter. The residents of Brighton soon depend on the very magic they once ridiculed to save their lives.



 



The aura around Mrs. Delaney had faded from vibrant green to dull, sludge-colored green-brown as the last class of the day wore down to its end. Despite the fact she was still standing at the blackboard lecturing, a patient smile on her face, her energy told another tale: she was about to drop. She turned and jotted some notes on the board. I noticed that the chalk tray had left a white line of chalk across the back of her black skirt in a none-too-flattering spot. I hoped the boys wouldn’t notice.

“Witch,” a whisper came from behind me. “Amelia…hey, witchy woman.”

Nate must have gotten bored. Instead of just texting like everyone else, he was about to launch into his tired barrage. I ignored him, hoping it would dissuade him, but pretending he didn’t exist rarely phased him. He was the glowing center of his own universe. Other people’s perceptions didn’t matter to him.

“Ah-meel-ya,” he chanted. “Witch, why don’t you let me put some sex in your hex.”

I looked at Zoey who was sitting beside me in the next row and rolled my eyes.

I was so over with this day. With half the class out sick, Nate—hipster extraordinaire and total douche—was running low on girls to hit on. Jenna and Sam, who sat behind Zoey and me, usually acted as a buffer. For some reason I never understood, they both liked Nate’s attention. But they were both absent. If I didn’t know it would come back on me tenfold, I’d cast a spell to silence his disgusting mouth. But I was a good witch, Glinda without the bubble, and I had no business casting hexes.

“Rhyming? I didn’t know you were that smart, Nate,” Zoey, who was less patient than me, shot back.

“Logan, you smell fish?” Nate whispered to Logan who sat beside him. “Zoey, close your legs.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I glanced at Logan. A newcomer, Logan had moved to Brighton at the beginning of the year. I could see him and the soft purple and indigo glow that always surrounded him.

Logan shifted uncomfortably then frowned at Nate. “Don’t be a dick. Sorry, Zoey. Nate doesn’t have any manners.”

Nate laughed. “Whatever. Oh, Edward Cullen, you’re such a gentleman,” Nate teased him. “Like Zoey and Amelia even matter.”

Since he first started school, Logan had always lingered on the outskirts of Nate’s tribe. It seemed that he wasn’t actually a jerk like Nate and his friends. And then there was the other thing about him that set him apart. He was an A student, too busy actually paying attention to what Mrs. Delaney had to say in class to be a jerk. And today, Mrs. Delaney’s lecture focused on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

I scanned around the classroom. Of the less than a dozen students in class, half of them were on their phones. Mrs. Delaney was explaining—mainly to the board at this point—the meaning of the witches’ chant in the play.

“Hey, Amelia, can you brew me a love potion to get Jenna to suck me off?” Nate whispered.

“Could you be any more disrespectful?” Logan chided just as Mrs. Delaney, who’d finally had enough, turned and faced the class.

“In the back…shush. Now, someone tell me, which goddess is said to have been insulted by this play? Anyone actually paying attention? Which goddess cursed Shakespeare’s work?”

I glanced back at Logan through my long, wheat-colored hair. Most days we would race to be the first to answer but not today. The last thing I wanted to do was draw more attention to the fact that I knew about witchcraft. While I’d been practicing Wicca since I was thirteen, the year I stumbled across a used copy of Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham in a used bookstore, I’d always been different. Being Wiccan meant promoting peace, protecting my environment, and feeling at one with the Great Mother. The idiot behind me, however, didn’t know the difference between a devil worshipper—which I was not—and Samantha from Bewitched. And I wasn’t in the mood to explain to him that I only performed good magic, earth and healing magic.

 
 
About the author:

Melanie Karsak is the author of the bestselling series The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and numerous other works. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master's degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, Shakespeare nerd, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

 

Keep in touch with the author online.


Twitter: https://twitter.com/melaniekarsak

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieKarsak

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/melaniekarsak/

 

Author Interview:
 It's almost Halloween! What's your favorite witch movie or novel?

I like my witches a little old fashioned. I would start with The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley to see the roots of the modern pagan movement. In terms of movies, I would definitely avoid seeing “The Blair Witch Project” again because I totally puked my guts out midway through that cult classic, but I like something light like “Practical Magic” as well.

 
What was the inspiration for your witch novella?

The Harvesting Series is a genre mashup. It begins like a classic zombie horror story then the series begins to slowly reveal that there are other supernatural forces in our world…vampires, fey shifters, and so on. These dark forces have been trying to exterminate us for eons, and they finally discovered a way by causing a virus that turned mankind into zombies. Along the way, some people with special powers emerge…a medium, a tarot reader, and in this novella, a white witch named Amelia. Mankind is about to make their last stand, and they are going to need Amelia’s help.

 
Tell us about your main character: white witch, dark witch, or something in-between?

Amelia is a Wiccan, a white witch. She’s someone who has a special gift. She can see, and heal, people’s energy, their auras. She’s also not bad at casting spells and doing herb work. Her special talents have always set her on the outskirts in the past, but that’s about to change.

 
Do you believe in magic? 

Yes, I do. I do believe people have the ability to use energy to influence their environments in positive or negative ways. 

 
What else should we know about your novella?

 This novella is a tie-in for my larger series, but it hold its own as a stand-alone. We will see Amelia face the early days of the outbreak and how she and her friends handle that situation. There is an epilogue at the end of the novella that features characters from the main series, so if that strikes your fancy, check out The Harvesting after you read Witch Wood to get started!

 

 

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