Spellbinding Gifts, Post-Winter Solstice Goodies and Stuff...

Some gifts keep on giving... Cliché, I know, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

Precious Winter Solstice Gifts…
1. Peace of Mind from Papi – my dad had surgery a couple of weeks ago. He knew about the procedure for a while, but didn’t tell me about it until it was completed, and he was safely home. Some might see his behavior as a terrible thing, but Papi knew I had been stressing out about a lot of other things, and he wanted to lighten my load. Can you tell why I love the man so much?

2. A book edited by my Piano Man and written and illustrated by the Little Princess – this present had me in tears. I was reading and crying. It was just perfect. I will write a full length review of the text very soon. Right now, I must share a bit about the talented writer’s bio: “[The Little Princess] studies writing at Pearls Yonkers School.” Her very own charming words, isn’t she adorable?

3Lavender Felted Soap from Grandma and Papa – I’m sure you know I was sniffing and screaming. My first soap of the kind, can’t wait to enjoy it!

4. Wand, Lavender and The Green Witch Herbal from Familiar Creations by Mina and her Hubby – the wand is shaped as a helping hand; it touched my heart and lifted my soul in a moment of extreme need. The lavender found its way to my pillowcase, and the book, well… I’m grinning at it with pure witchy reader’s lust. Even the cover looks delicious, yum!

5. A Zombie’s Guide to the Holidays from Zombie Girl Shambling – You just can’t have a holiday without zombies. Ask goddess from Sugar and Cyanide, she’ll tell you all about it. Thanks Dana!

6The Spirit of Flight and a Moon Goddess Journal from Peter Pauper Press – this was one of those unexpected surprises, and it made me smile. I love Josephine Wall’s art, and adding the visual stimulation to a book and a journal is just brilliant.

7. I would list the holiday cards, books, gift cards, Kindle bucks… but you’ll probably beat me senseless for having to read about it all, so I’ll just say Thanks sooo much to everyone who brightened my Winter Solstice. You didn’t have to, and that’s what makes the whole bit so freaking amazing!

Lyn from the Witch Blog had a great idea, and I’ve joined in the fun, for I like to think that I Can Change ONE Thing (in my life). Instead of resolutions, she has decided to change one little thing at the time each month. I’m better when I compartmentalize my to dos, what about you? Will you try it?

Staying Off My Broom in 2012…
I was wicked, wicked, wicked during the Winter Solstice week. But there was pie, chocolate, mangoes... and, um... grapefruit! I know what you are thinking, Grapefruit, Magaly? Really? Trust me, luvs, after you eat 5 grapefruits in less than a couple of hours, bits of your body start wondering what’s going on. The rest of my hot witchy me remains wonderful, though. And I enjoyed being off my broom so much that’ll stay that way for 3 more months!

A Spellbinding Gift for You…
Guess what, my Wicked Luvs? Peter Pauper Press wants to spread that giving feeling, and I’m delighted to oblige.

I rarely accept giveaway proposals from individuals who don’t actively follow Pagan Culture, but the letter—and the little extras—Suzanne Schwalb added to my Creepmas winnings were just too sweet not to extend to you.

So from them, through me, to you, here is The Little Box of Spells ;-)

This is all you need to do to enter this Spellbinding giveaway:
Mandatory Entry – Visit Peter Pauper Press, then come back to tell me which of their lovely products you would like to give to a love one, and why you think he or she will love it. Please take a moment to link your comments.

Extra Entries:
1. Be a Wicked Darling (follow Pagan Culture through GFC)
2. Blog about this entry, and leave a link to the post
3. Tweet about this entry, and leave a link to the tweet
5. Leave a comment telling me a bit about the most meaningful gift(s) you received this Winter Solstice.
* This giveaway ends January 5th at 10:13pm EST. 

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Two Halves of a Dragon’s Heart

Journeys are full of challenges and admissions… the story of me—particularly my heart’s journey—is no different.

I’ll begin with a quote from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“You must understand that love never keeps a man
from pursuing his Personal Legend.
If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love…
the love that speaks the Language of the World.”

And I’ll finish with the tale that made me fall in love with stories:
Two Halves of One Dragon’s Heart 

I can’t remember how old I was when the wisest Witch I’ve ever met told me that every living thing begins existence as a dragon. “A human being,” she said “is a tough dragon soul, formed by opposite halves of a perfect heart. So flawless and so in love is this Dragon’s Heart that the Gods get envious; out of jealousy, they cut the heart in half before birth and send the pieces in separate ways.

The human body then becomes fragile. But sometimes—many times, actually—a person gets lucky enough to find his or her other half. When the two halves come together, they transform and become a complete Dragon’s Heart: perfect for each other, unbreakable and strong, in love, one.”

I gave my heart to a man many years ago. He gave me his, too. We were happy. We got married. We loved and hurt each other… a lot. I ran from the pain that was him. It felt like we gave up on each other. I was pretty sure the other half of my dragon had stayed with him.

Then I met my Piano Man and  began to wonder if the Gods in the witchy story didn’t, perhaps, bless humans with their cutting curse. If the dragon is born whole, the two halves never get to choose. But after the severing, the decision of whom we allow to complete our Dragon’s Heart becomes ours and ours alone. Mine...

If I’m the everlasting owner of half of my Dragon’s Heart—and I know that I am—then I claim the right to author and live my own story.  I get to choose the love legend “that speaks the Language of [my] World.” I love that… a lot.

And I believe that outlook on love is not limited to romantic relationships; at least not in my case. For it extends to the way I relate to my family, friends, and to my spirituality, too.

I love my kin because they deserve it;
             not because we share blood.
I love my friends because they are amazing;
             not because it’s the right thing to do.
I love my witchery because it’s part of me;
             not because someone says I’ll burn if I don’t.

I love my Piano Man because his love helps me understand all of the above. He knows what I have to give. Yes, his half of Dragon’s Heart makes my half feel more whole than it has in a long, long time.

I don’t love my Piano Man because he loves me,
            but because loving him brings out the best me there is right now.   

What about you my Wicked Darlings, do you believe in one fated love or do you think that the choice lies within the heart of the lover?
A cake topper from Offbeat Bride. Different, huh? 


I was on the phone with a schoolmate, discussing next semester’s schedule, when she asked me, “What was your favorite holiday read, this year?”

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson,” I answered right away.
My schoolmate reminded me that Speak was not about holidays, but a book that tells the tale of a girl who experiences the worst of atrocities and then can’t talk about it. I pointed out that at some point in the story the protagonist receives a gift, from her parents, that leaves her speechless, too. Not because of the present itself, she was just so happy her parents—whom she believed never paid any attention to her—knew exactly what to get her.

That was what I liked most about Speak, and I must say that it is one of my favorite bits about the holidays. It is just wonderful to see that those I love care about me enough to know what would make me happy. I’ll tell you about the actual gifts, I got this year, in a couple of days. For now, I invite you to read Speak, my Wicked Luvs.

I also invite you to congratulate Jonquil. Yep, she won my Skully Winter Solstice Blessings Witchy Tarot giveaway. Congrats, Jonquil! Send me your mailing info, and I’ll forward your gift.
Happy Holidays, my Wicked Darlings.
I pray your love ones fill your life with smiles ;-)

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An Unexpected Gift

“You must’ve gone into one of your Witchcraft lectures again,” my friend sat next to me in the classroom.

“What are you talking about?” I almost didn’t ask. My friend had been acting weird lately, and I wanted to avoid long conversations.

“This girl I work with was saying how you were talking nonsense about Witchcraft being about spirituality, and—”

Nonsense?” the word tasted nasty in my mouth.

“She was the one who said it; don’t look at me like that.”

I wanted to ask who, but thought better about it. “Guess people have the right to be stupid. I’ve got to go to class.” I stood up.

“She’s in your class, you know?”

That got me more interested than I cared. “Who?”

My friend sighed. “I didn’t want to tell you because I know you like her. Remember the Jewish girl you said was really smart and sweet; the one in your Magical Realism class?”

“Esther!” I couldn’t hide my surprise. I had, indeed, said Esther was smart and sweet. I enjoyed having a class with her because her critiques of stories were always thoughtful. A week or so before, I had mentioned to my friend that I was going to ask Esther if she was interested in forming a writing group. “I was not expecting that.”

“I know,” my friend put an arm around my shoulder. “That’s why I didn’t want to tell you. Sorry.”

“Don’t be,” I said. “It’s alright. I don’t really know Esther anyway.”

I didn’t approach Esther about the writing group or about anything else. Two semesters went by. My friend and I started being not so friendly after she asked me out, and couldn’t understand when I told her: one, I’m in committed relationship, and two, I’m straight. Then Esther and I ended up in a children’s literature class together, and she wrote “The Witch’s Dance” as one of her class assignments. I read the tale, and fell in love with Amelia, Julie and Ms. Pur.

And I realized the person, whom I thought to be my friend, had lied to me. It didn’t take long to figure out why. She had asked me to be her writing partner. I was honest, and said that I didn’t think we made a good writing match. She writes Victorian literature and I’m in love with urban fantasy and magical realism. And maybe the whole bit about her wanting to get in my pants might have been a factor, too.

Anyway, after reading “The Witch’s Dance,” I approached Esther and asked her if she would like to guest post at Pagan Culture. I told her I had a reason, but she will be finding out the details through this post. I wanted to savor my unexpected gift, for a while, and then share it with you, my Wicked Darlings.

Esther’s “The Witch’s Dance” is one of those gifts that keeps on giving—cliché, but true. I love knowing that although our beliefs are completely different, the fact that she is Jewish and I’m a Witch doesn’t keep us from enjoying the magic of words.
Thanks a million for your witchy tale, Esther, and for allowing me to share this virtual gift with the world. Okay, the world that reads Pagan Culture ;-)

And to you, my Wicked Darling Luvs, read “The Witch’s Dance” and ask Esther a question about her story, for an extra entry on my Skully Winter Solstice Blessings Witchy Tarot Cards giveaway (say that 13 times fast!). Also, visit The Village Witch and tell Sally her Yule Magic Blog Party with a virtual magical gift rocks!! And... follow Reader’s Dialogue, Esther’s blog, for another entry. Happy Winter Solstice, my Luvs!!!  

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“The Witch’s Dance” by Esther Bernstein

Julie had a new neighbor. She and her friend Amelia watched the movers carry large pieces of furniture into the house across the street, dark wooden tables and chairs and desks and armoires.

“Everything is so dark,” Julie said. “Who would want black furniture?”

“It’s not black. It’s called cherry wood,” Amelia said wisely. “It’s because the wood is the color of cherries. It’s really a dark red.”

“Ok, but still, who would want to live with such dark things in the house?”

But before they could see the people who were moving into the house, Amelia had to go home and Julie had to go to bed.

The next day, as Julie left to go to school, she looked over at the new neighbor’s house and saw the curtains twitch as if someone was looking out the window. But she couldn’t see who was standing there.

“Did you see them?” Amelia asked in school.

“No, I couldn’t see them. But the drapes are black also. Isn’t that weird?”

“Wow, that is weird. First the dark furniture, now the dark drapes… What’s with these people?”

All day long, Julie and Amelia wondered about the new neighbors, and they rushed off the school bus and raced through their homework so they could watch the house across the street. Nothing happened for a long time. Then, when it was already dark but not yet bedtime, Julie and Amelia saw something happen. All the lights in the house across the street went off. And then a glow seeped through the sheer black drapes – a flickering light that danced over the shrubs and tree in the yard.

“That’s candles,” Amelia whispered. “That’s what makes a flickering light like that.”

And then they saw it. Shadows in weird shapes moved in the flickering light, casting long and twisted shadows on the lawn in front of the house.

“Sh!” said Julie. “Do you hear that?”

Julie and Amelia strained to hear, and what they heard was weird sounds coming from the house across the street – high-pitched screeching sounds that ran shivers down their spines. The two girls stared at each other with wide eyes.

“What is that?” whispered Julie.

“I don’t know!” Amelia whispered back. “But it sounds scary. What are they doing?”


The girls jumped in fright. But it was just Julie’s mom, telling them it was time for Amelia to go home. As she left, Amelia said urgently to Julie, “Make sure you see them tomorrow!”

But again the next morning, all Julie saw was the drapes moving and a tall figure standing in the window.

And that afternoon, Julie and Amelia saw the new neighbor. It was a woman, slender and tall, and all dressed in black – a long black dress, a black shawl, black shoes, a black coat, and a wide-brimmed black hat.

“I knew it!” Amelia said. “She’s a witch! She was doing magic yesterday! That’s why she had candles, and that’s why there was that horrible screeching, and that’s why she was making weird motions!”

“But look at her hat,” Julie said. “It’s not pointed!”

“Of course not,” Amelia said confidently. “She doesn’t want anyone to know she’s a witch. But you better make sure to stay away from her.”

“I will!” Julie said fervently.

And for three weeks, she did. She looked over at the house across the street, and she shivered when she saw the flickering lights and the weird shapes and heard the screeching sounds coming from the house. But she saw the tall woman only a few times, and she made sure the witch never saw her.

But then one day, as Julie and Amelia were walking form the bus to Julie’s house, they saw her – the witch was coming out of Julie’s house! They stopped at the gate and watched in horror as Julie’s mom stood in the doorway and the witch made her way down the path. She passed by the two girls in the gate, and her lips twitched when she looked at them.  And then she was gone, and Julie and Amelia unfroze and raced into the house.

“What was she doing here?” Julie demanded.

She? Ms. Pur was inviting us to her house next weekend for a special party.”

“A party?” yelped Amelia. “In her house?”

“We can’t go!” Julie said urgently. “She’ll – she’ll – ”

“She’ll what?” Julie’s mom asked with an amused smile.

“She’ll chop us up and put us in a pot of boiling water!” Amelia said.

Julie’s mom frowned. “Why in the world would you think that?”

“She’s a witch, Mom!” Julie said.

“Nonsense. She’s a perfectly ordinary woman, and we’re going to be friendly neighbors and go to her party.” And she wouldn’t listen to any more arguments.

So next weekend, Julie got dressed in her nice clothes and waited for Amelia to come over – she made Amelia promise to come so they could get away from the witch together if they had to. They walked over with Julie’s mom, and joined all the other neighbors in the yard of the house across the street, where tables with trays of treats were set up.

Ms. Pur moved among the neighbors, chatting with them and making sure all the kids got some treats. She was dressed all in black, as usual, but now she had two bright spots of rouge on her cheeks. Julie and Amelia shrank away when Ms. Pur came to speak to Julie’s mom, but Ms. Pur just smiled.

“An evil smile,” Amelia whispered to Julie.

After some time, Ms. Pur invited everyone into her house. They all trooped into a room with walls completely covered by mirrors, with long round bars at waist height.

The sheer black drapes were drawn shut, and the lights were all off, but there were flickering candles set in spots all over the room, reflecting eerily off the mirrored walls so that the light seemed to permeate the room and beyond.

“You know what that means?” Amelia whispered to Julie. “It means the witch is going to do some magic now. We’re all doomed!”

Julie shivered and pressed closer to her mom.

Then Ms. Pur stood in front of the room and everyone got quiet to hear her.

“Thank you all for coming today,” she said in a soft, sweet voice.

“That’s not her real voice,” Amelia whispered. “Wait – soon she’ll cackle and then everyone will see she’s a witch.”

“I invited you here to introduce a special program I’d like to set up in this neighborhood.”

Julie could imagine what kind of program it was – one after another, the ideas came to her – boiling snakes and talking ghosts and the river flooding and –

Ms. Pur glided over to a stereo system set into the dark wood of the furniture and pressed play. High-pitched sounds came out of it. The sound of violins playing filled the room. Julie looked at Amelia.

“That’s not screeching!” she whispered. “That’s music!”

Amelia looked confused. “I thought it was the people she was torturing!”

And then Ms. Pur started dancing. Her arms bent, her feet came up, and she whirled across the floor in a gorgeous flow of movement.

“And that’s not weird magic motions!” Julie whispered.

Amelia didn’t answer. She was staring at Ms. Pur in awe.

Ms. Pur glided to a stop and bowed deeply as all the neighbors clapped.

“I used to dance in shows in New York,” Ms. Pur said. “Now I want to teach dance of all styles to anyone who wants to learn. I’ll have – ”

“Me! Me!” Amelia had pushed her way to the front of the crowd and was raising her hand and standing on tip-toe. “I want to learn how to do that!”

Ms. Pur laughed. “I have my first student!”

Julie and Amelia signed up for the children’s class while Julie’s mom signed up for the adult class.

One week later, Julie and Amelia stood with a group of ten girls and ten boys in Ms. Pur’s studio, gazing in awe at the mirrors and bars, now in the bright light of fluorescent lights. They were dressed in the black leotards and black slippers that Ms. Pur had instructed them to buy, and which their mothers had bought online.

Ms. Pur clapped her hands, and all the kids got quiet and turned to her. “Welcome to our first class,” she said in that soft voice. “We’ll be starting ballroom dancing today, and we’ll work on that for a while. After that, we’ll move on to some basic ballet, some contemporary, and,” her eyes twinkled, “we’ll even do some hip-hop. How do you like that?”

The boys hooted, and the girls laughed and then clapped and cheered. Ms. Pur laughed.

“Let’s get started, then.”

For three months, the group learned ballroom dancing. They practiced swing, the waltz, salsa, and even the tango. And then one day, Ms. Pur called their attention at the end of class.

“Girls and boys, I think you’re ready. It’s time for our first recital.”

So the next week, all the parents came, and Julie and Amelia’s group, along with the other age groups of kids that Ms. Pur taught, performed spectacularly. They danced in a room in Ms. Pur’s house, set up just like a theater with a stage and audience seats – and when the lights dimmed and the candles cast their flickering lights over the stage, everyone felt the magic.

Esther is an English student who focuses on medieval literature—it’s just so magical! Though not Pagan herself, she loves everything ‘witchy’ and is an avid reader and writer of fantasy, especially Young Adult. This is her first published work, and she is proud to have it hosted on Pagan Culture!”


Stop by Reader’s Dialogue, my Wicked Darlings, and devour one of Esther’s latest reviews. I’ve taken the liberty of tasting a few, and yum, yum, yum!

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Skully Winter Solstice Blessings

Receiving blessings when I need them
is much more amazing than being blessed when I want to.

That was the song that filled my heart’s ears when I got Shelle’s Winter Skully. I love the sun on her chin, the bright yellow daisies around her eyes, the candles burning in the Yule Log, the snowy trees in the background, Froggy playing with her holly earrings… I’m enchanted by the whole.
I got Winter Skully a few days ago. I was feeling gloomy; so much that I woke up at 5:13 am—as always—but didn’t type a word for hours. I stared at my screen for a while, looked at pictures for another while, and cried for J-Man for the longest of all whiles. I was supposed to be writing “Kissing the Witch”… but couldn’t get myself to do it.

I opened my email instead, and saw Shelle’s name at the very top. She had sent me Pagan Culture’s new banners and buttons, aren’t they precious? Shelle and I had not agreed on a day for Winter Skully, but I got the ACEO exactly when I needed a bit of sunshine in my life. Arent they lovely?
I believe they are adorably appropriate, indeed... 
I also think that the best blessings are not the ones I plan,
or the ones I tell others I must get;
not even the ones I celebrate because of ancient traditions.
To me,
priceless blessings,
are the ones that brighten my heart and push away the gloom.

Bright pre-Winter Solstice Blessings, my Wicked Darlings.

And here is something I hope put a shiny smile on one of your faces:
This is all you need to do to enter this pre-Winter Solstice giveaway:
Mandatory Entry – leave a comment telling me about the last unexpected blessing you received. Include an email address.

Extra Entries:
- Become a Wicked Darling (follow Pagan Culture through GFC)
- Blog about this entry, and leave a link to the post
- Tweet about this entry, and leave a link to the tweet
- Stop by my Blog Circle, and grab a Winter Skully button… or three 
- Join my Witchy Books Reading Challenge 2012 
- Visit one… or thirteen of AstraeaSapphire’s Yuletide Blessings blog partiers, and come back here to tell me what you liked best.
* This giveaway ends December 23rd at 5:13pm EST.

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Kissing the Witch

“…live me in words, Mags.” I’ll tell you about this phrase in just a bit. First let me share some logistics. Life must go on, right?

Witchy Books Reading Challenge – I will review and add titles to my list as I go, but I’ll publish a collective review post, near the end of every month.

“Are You Okay” Messages – I want to thank those of you who have emailed or messaged me via Facebook and Twitter to ask if I’m okay. I would love to respond to every single email right away, but there are a lot of you—this makes me giggle between tears because I can be quite the sensitive silly Witch. Yes, I’m okay. I promise. And I’ll answer your individual emails soon.

LGBT Reading Challenge 2012 – I’m very excited about this new reading challenge, hosted by Natazzz (isn’t this the coolest nickname ever?). I spent the last six months studying gay identity in literature, and the experience left me wishing for more.

That is the first reason why I want to read more LGBT books… the second has to do with the words I quoted above… a friend of mine, a beautiful and loveable young man, traveled to the Summerlands a couple of weeks ago. No blood relative showed to his bedside during his last moments. Only a witchy friend and a goodhearted rabbi held his hands as my friend let go of flesh and embraced spirit.

I called his family and told them he was in his last moments. At first, everybody refused to go to the hospital. They belong to an orthodox religion that has no love for the gay man whose blood they share. In the end, the mother and sister decided to visit him. They didn’t make it in time.

The father told me, “My son died to me and to God when he touched another man in a degenerate way.” To you, sir… to you, sorry excuse for a parent, and even poorer pretext for a human being, I say, SHAME on you a 1000 times! I hope loneliness and guilt suits you. I’m glad J-Man was nothing like you. I will also tell you that although individuals like you walk around in shells that house rotting souls, the child you rejected will never die. He lives in the hearts of the people who loved—and still love—him.

Today, I honor J-Man by sharing and following his last words: “Don’t let me die, Witch. Don’t let him and his reading of holy words kill me. I know God, my God, my Maker… the One who gave me enough love to share with whoever I chose… I know that God made me right. Don’t let Father trick people into believing I wasn’t here, ‘cause I was. And I loved so much, didn’t I? I know you’ll live me in words, Mags; live me in words.” 

Yes, J-Man, I’ll live you in words and in light…
Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins was J-Man’s favorite book.
I used to tease him about liking the book, say, “You are a lesbian trapped in the soul of a gay man.”

He would go on one of his Emma Donoghue rants, and tell me, “No, Mags, I’m the brother of the spinster. I’ve pricked my fake skin with a needle, and let out my real voice. So come kiss me, Witch.”

He had 1013 ways of citing his favorite, retold, fairy tales. I’ll miss them all

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Frogs, Daisies and Skull

I’m enchanted by frogs, daisies and skulls. Aren’t these earrings just lovely?
Green Color Emerald Frog Stud Earrings
Sterling Silver Gold Overlay Two Tone Daisy Flower Earrings
Sterling Silver Skull & Crossebone Stud Earrings 
After saying that, let me move on to a bit that might make me sound like an ungrateful jerk.

I have very caring friends. One of them emailed me a few months before I turned thirty-four, and asked what I wanted for my birthday. “The Mother aspect of my Goddess really needs a Horned God,” I replied.

A few weeks later I got a package from my friend. I opened it with excitement (and a big knife) and found this:
“Really?” I said. “Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam for a Witch’s altar? Are you freaking serious!”

Thank goodness she wasn’t serious. The statue was a gag gift. She wanted to hear what I would say after I opened the box. I said a lot of things, but that would be a different post. My friend made it all better by later sending me this lovely Horned God.
He goes perfect with the Mother, doesn’t he?  

We have been friends for a long time, so she always knows what to get me. The truth is that a person who reads Pagan Culture doesn’t need to know me all that long to figure out the kinds of things I like. For instance, I did some ghostwriting for an author friend. She has helped me in the past, so I didn’t feel right charging her for the work. She wanted to give me something anyway, and she made my winter with the practical and super cute pairs of boots I talked about in my “Friday Lavender” post. 

I can’t say the same about some my closest friends and certain family members. They are not the best on the giving the right things department. Last All Hallow’s Eve, I got three copies of Kim Harrison’s Once Dead, Twice Shy; two copies of Llewellyn Witches’ Datebook, an illustrated Christian Bible and some gifts I still have no clue what to do with—I actually don’t know what they are.

This year, I’ve decided to make my wish list public, in hope that my darling family and friends will take a look-see when in doubt. I’ve even added things other than books to it. Okay, so I revised the list after someone made fun of me for wanting only books. Here are some of the things currently on wish list:
Oracle of Shadow & Light by Jasmine Becket-Griffin
Colorful Drip Candles
Mythologies of the World by Michael McKenzie 
And when in doubt, frogs daisies, and skulls are usually a safe bet ;-)

So… how many naked Adams do you think I’ll get this year? And what’s on your winter holidays’ wish list, my Wicked Luvs?

And are you wondering who won Dracula in Love?
The Wicked lucky winner is KimR
Congrats! Please send me your mailing info, and I’ll sent your book ;-) 

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Winter Solstice Tree

Welcome to Pagan Culture’s Yuletide Ball, my Wicked Darlings. I hope you enjoyed your flight here. Did you remember to wear enough layers to keep your bits warm during the journey? Of course you did. “According to Granny Weatherwax, [witches are] ‘people what looks up’.

She didn’t explain. She seldom explained. She didn’t mean people who looked at the sky; everyone did that. She probably meant that they looked up above the everyday chores and wondered, What’s all this about? How does it work? And possibly even: Is there anything worn under the kilt? Perhaps that was why odd, in a witch, was normal…” and every normal person who has read Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith knows a witchy woman needs no reason to share a few witty words.

Or her unfinished Winter Solstice Tree…
Don't you think the berries and flowers make this holly look sooo pretty?
This pretty holly was a present from someone who believes in my writing, and who was pretty sure I was going to curse him for taking me to the worst winter gathering in history. I forgave him though, even if one of the guests told me, “Your short story was gut-moving [Interesting choice of words, I though] but I think it would be much better if the main character didn’t practice an evil religion; people don’t like that. [Woman, I thought some more, say my Witchcraft is evil again, and I’ll show your gut and teeth some real movement].”

I’m pretty sure the look on my face, while I was thinking those moving words, was what convinced my friend he needed to get me something that would assured the future fixity of the woman’s teeth. The holly brought pretty thoughts and some smiles, too.

And while on the subject of uncanny things that go on in my head… Would you like to know the first thing that came to mind when I joined this party? I thought, This party button really reminds me of the cover of Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. Hm, I guess I’ll give away as a party favor. Yep, I will.
This is all you need to do to enter this bloody wintry giveaway:
Mandatory Entry – leave a comment with your thoughts about this post, and about people who say/do/show inappropriate things during public gatherings. Include an email address.

Extra Entries:
1. Be a Wicked Darling (follow Pagan Culture through GFC).
2. Blog about this entry, and leave a link to the post.
3. Tweet about this entry, and leave a link to the tweet.
4. Stop by my Blog Circle, and grab a button… or three.
5. Comment on one (or all) of The Witches Yuletide Blog party posts; then come back to tell me what you liked, disliked, or absolutely loved about your visit.
* This giveaway ends December 12th at 5:13pm EST.

And because random witchy goodness seems to be the name of the game, please visit Pagan Pages Blog Hop. This cyber treasure hasn’t been around for long, but I’m already harvesting its fruits. Go on, my Wicked Luvs, do a little winter picking ;-)
Also, guess who still Getting Off Her Broom? Me! I didn’t post last week because I was on partial blogging leave. I was a little sick, too. I’m blaming it on end of semester stress and stuff... I only exercised once, for about ten minutes before my head nearly exploded. I’ve walked—I live in New York after all—but no calisthenics. I’m eating well, my weight is healthy, and I’ve been watering my hot self often ;-) *grins and does a little mental dance*

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Reality Loaded Fiction

“My job is to make things up, and the best way to make things up is to make them out of real things…”Terry Pratchett

Someone said to me, “It is impossible to write urban fantasy that touches readers at any kind of realistic level. The genre is too wild and fanciful to allow for significance.”

I told him, “I hope life in your icy, boring, little box grows to be less miserable and lonely,” and I walked away glaring.

Most of you already know how I feel about this kind of close-minded literary outlook. I believe every book is a world, and the minds of authors are filled with different realms, waiting to be explored and enriched by readers’ interpretation. If all writers based their worlds in the same reality, the reading universe would be a sad, dreary place.

It is true that great books are made of real life journeys. That is the reason why I subscribe to that philosophy. But unforgettable reading experiences are lived in word-worlds were writers share their special—and very personal—kind of magic.

These thoughts came to mind after I shared the first chapters of my Works in Progress… with a professor and an editor. I’m overjoyed to say that the editor’s reaction was somewhere between a loud reading climax and a vicious “This is not it, right? Give me more, give me, give me, give me!”

The professor, on the other hand, said my tales “Were nothing more than great ideas, corrupted by an imaginative little girl who is depriving an intelligent woman of her opportunity to ascend to greatness.”

Scarred and Blood Grudge develop in very different worlds. Scarred is set in place that is exactly like ours. In Blood Grudge, the things of myth and imagination come out to play, love, and hurt. And both novels-to-be were birthed out of the real womb that is my witchy writer’s mind; a place where my realities, fears, dreams, fantasies, nightmares, hopes… have merged to create the stories I hope touch different people in very real different ways.    

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson took me into the terrifying reality of young girls living through the nightmares that are eating disorders and cutting. I’m lucky, lucky, lucky, for I’ve never experienced any of the two. And I’m grateful, grateful, grateful, for Laurie’s writing reality touched my heart and made me feel.

Some expert’s study of body mass index says that according to my height, my ideal weight should be 117 lbs. Well, here is what I have to say to the expert:
 123.5 lbs.
And loving every ounce of it
Heavy with thick “unexpected laugh[s]”
And loving that, too 

Care to share fictional titles that have touched your souls, my Wicked Luvs?

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