Posts Tagged Carole Lanham
Oh, Pye, Pye, Pyewacket. What’s the matter with me? Why do I feel this way?
The time has come to put up the brooms, lid the caldron, pull off our pointy shoes, and tuck the striped socks back in the drawer. Witch Awareness Month is over and I’m feeling fairly glum about that. Yes, I know. I know! It’s been a perfectly magical month and I’ve no business complaining. Still, I will miss it tomorrow. I will miss the excuse to linger daily on all things witchy and dark.
This April we’ve seen many good and/or black and white movies, enjoyed lots of reviews, read some excellent short fiction by the likes of Simon Kewin, and reminisced about the witches who filled our childhood with fear and warm-fuzzies and fun. We’ve also learned a bit about young Madoka Kaname, the Salem witch trials, Tansy and Norman, witchcraft in the time of the Crusades, Rebecca Hamilton’s new book, the adventures of Willow and Madmartigan, witches in computer games, a highly unique film from the 70s, the Wyrd Sisters, the greatness of Oz, and the spooky ways of the Pendle Witch area of England and the town of Burkittsville.
Oh, how can I say goodbye to such things?!
Fortunately, like Christmas, Appreciation Months come once a year, and there’s always something special to look forward to, be it zombies, ghosts, or vampires. You never know what you’re going to get, which keeps things interesting. My favorite part about Witch Awareness Month has been unlocking and re-visiting old memories that were buried under dust. No sooner had WAM opened up shop, when a flurry of old picture books came flooding back to me. Like a zap of lightning, I suddenly remembered my girlhood wish to twitch my nose and have my room be sparkling clean. Cats I’ve known, Halloween costumes I’ve worn, spells I’ve whispered under my breath… these things were alive for me once more this month, and I’m glad. It was a joy.
I’d like to say thanks to the WAM team for keeping us up to our ears in charmers, conjurers, and all manner of lovely sorcery. And a big thanks to all who participated, or even just stopped in for a little spell. If you’d care to leave a comment here or on FB, we’d love to hear what you liked most about WAM. Got a feeling I’m not the only one whose feeling sad that we’ve come to the end.
A little while ago, we at Witch Awareness Month, announced that Morrigan Books YA novel, Hedge Witch by Simon Kewin is to be released Halloween this year and now we announce that Morrigan Books will also release a new novella from Carole Lanham, author of The Whisper Jar.
Cleopatra’s Needle will be released as an e-book soon, followed by a paperback version and a special edition hardback (containing extra artwork). All commenters to this post and/or the Witch Awareness Month Facebook page entry will be submitted to a draw and the winner will receive a personalized, signed copy of the hardback when it is released.
To whet your appetite, we have chosen a short passage from the book, to give you a taste of what is to come…
15 April 1896
We’re taking turns doing it. Every afternoon, we sit in the wash house and try our hand at calling him with our minds. Practice is vital, according to Bethan. Well, it goes without saying, she got her turn first. Sure enough, five minutes later, he appeared at the door, broom in hand, smiling sheepishly. Most of the time, he acts grumpy about that time we tied him to the chair but when Bethan called him, he behaved as though all was forgiven. ‘Do you want another kiss?’ Bethan asked. ‘Yes please,’ he said then shook his head, as if to clear it, and scurried away. We laughed to see him so rattled.
When it was my turn, I pictured him kissing me like he did that day in the kitchen. I remembered the feel of his lips on mine and how hard he was breathing when he opened his mouth. It took longer for me to summon him and when he finally came, he looked hesitant. I closed my eyes and thought of what I’d most like him to do. Boy leaned forward and ran his tongue slowly along the seam of my lips. ‘M-mm,’ he said. Then he ran away.
Bethan pronounced it a failure because I wasn’t able to hold him there, but I don’t care. He didn’t put his tongue on her. Gwendraith made him touch her breast yesterday before he ran off but that only made her giggle. It wasn’t good like when he kissed me.
(More information and release date soon.)
[Written by Witch Awareness Month team member, Carole Lanham]
The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone…
~Arthur Miller The Crucible
I have a real soft spot for this story, having played doomed old Rebecca Nurse in a stage performance a couple of years ago. It’s an intense show when done live on stage. It adds a certain weight of responsibility to the telling when you realize that the people whose lives we glimpse in both the play and the film are not simply characters, but real souls who were forever marked by this nightmare. None of the names have been changed. The trial, the hangings, these are difficult to imagine when you live in a world where young girls get gobs of candy for dressing up as witches once a year, but The Crucible really happened.
In my opinion, there is a certain extra bit of excitement that comes with any live production, but director Nicolas Hytner has taken a much-loved theatrical script and created a biting film that raises goose pimples and stirs up an added level of complexity. By giving life to scenes that happen off stage in the play, the film hits with a powerful punch.
The theatrical version begins after the girls have been discovered dancing at night, thus, an intriguing and critical piece of this grim puzzle is left to the imagination. It works in the play but Hytner begins his film by rubbing your face in a scene that is as shocking as it is illuminating. The girls bear their breasts as they dance around a boiling pot and Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) drinks animal blood. Smeared lips and fevered words expose the depth of these girls’ desperation in this repressed society to conjure the forbidden. When Abigail’s uncle, the Reverend Parris (Bruce Davison) spies them in the woods, it sets off an insidious chain reaction. Accusations fly and hysteria ensues. Denial becomes ”proof” of guilt. A mad paranoia overtakes the village.
Abigail’s secret love affair with an older man, John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis) is brought to light. Proctor is a farmer whose household once employed Abigail as a servant. His prim wife, Elizabeth (Joan Allen), has never forgiven him for betraying her. Still smitten with John, Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft and, despite her lily-white reputation, the woman is taken away and locked up.
Allen plays Elizabeth pitch perfect. Pious and just a shade sanctimonious, she is a cold fish in the face of Ryder’s mesmerizing schoolgirl tantrums and spellbound eye rolling. Likewise, Day-Lewis is an actor who never disappoints and his layered performance of John Proctor is no exception. Between his fiery confrontations with Ryder and his frustrated, regretful, battle-wearied scenes with Allen, he makes for a sympathetic character, past mistakes not withstanding.
As the movie progresses, there is a transfer of power from the town leaders to the hysterical young women who have the ability to point out witches. Those who will not confess are hanged. The story ends in tragedy when John Proctor must choose between the truth and a lie that has the power to save his life.
Playwright Arthur Miller used the witch trials as an allegory for McCarthyism. In today’s society, one might look for similarities in the way the media inflames, corrupts, and all too often informs the way we think. In this manner, the story of The Crucible is sadly timeless.
If you haven’t ever seen the film, don’t miss your chance. It’s a piece of thought-provoking work.
[Written by Witch Awareness Month, team member, Carole Lanham]
Sophia’s family has skeletons, but they aren’t in their graves…
At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her.
Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she’d settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous.
One of them is a man named Charles, who Sophia falls for despite her better judgment. He has connections that might help her unveil the mystery surrounding her ancestor’s hanging, but she gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust him.
Survival in his world, she learns, means not asking questions and staying out of the immortal council’s way. It’s a line she crossed long ago. If Sophia wants to survive the council and save the people she loves, she must accept who she is, perform dark magic, and fight to the death for her freedom.
The Forever Girl is not your mother’s witch story. Steeped in a lore that is colorful and complex as a cup of wild flower tea, Rebecca Hamilton delivers an utterly unique take on the Wiccan life that will leave you thirsting for more. If you like your fiction coated with a nice thick layer of dusty, gothic goodness (and who doesn’t?!), fear not, you’ll find plenty of that between these pages. But Sophia is tender and fair and full of heart. She is a forever girl, and that is an altogether different thing.
Like a breath of fresh air in a spidery attic, The Forever Girl mixes up a heady brew of blood-suckers, shape-shifters, and all manner of vile beasties that are both comfortingly familiar and surprisingly strange. Always, there is a sense of purity blossoming amid the forces of darkness, giving this story a magic that’s all its own. When Sophia steps beyond the veil, a mysterious new world is revealed where all the rules are changed — A lick of blood heals bones and makes the air smell like watermelon candy. A moat of daffodils repels unwanted guests. A green-eyed squirrel carries the ability to read auras. It’s this unique blend of beauty and grim complexity that’s made the book such a hit with readers.
The Forever Girl is not about black and white witchcraft. Rather, it’s about the wide range of color that falls between evil and grace. Packed with elements of paranormal fantasy, horror, and romance, this story is the first in an exciting new series and one that no true lover of witch tales will want to miss.
You can find The Forever Girl at the following locations:
Buy this book:
For more about Rebecca Hamilton, please visit http://www.beccahamiltonbooks.com/
Carole Lanham is the author of The Whisper Jar and The Reading Lessons. Connect with her at carolelanham.com & horrorhomemaker.com