Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blogtour and GIVEAWAY - Whistle Down The Wind by Sibelle Stone


Mega-long post today. Not only an awesome guest post from Sibelle Stone about faeries, or just that and an excerpt, but a giveaway on top of that. Sibelle is giving away a copy of Beneath a Silver Moon -winner’s choice of format, either a free Ebook or a print copy- and one $10 Starbucks Gift Card open to US Shipping.

So that's why today is G for Giveaway. Be sure to leave a comment with your email so a winner can be picked and contacted.

 



Fairy (Faery) Lore
 
Sibelle Stone

My new Mystic Moon series features four sisters who are Elemental Witches. In building my world I used Restoration England as the setting, but I decided that if witches were being tortured, prosecuted and executed, I’d give some the women a fighting chance. The story question is: what if a woman is accused of using witchcraft, and she actually has magical abilities?

I gave each sister a specific elemental spirit connected with their magic. Each witch controls, well actually works with an element, air (the wind), fire, water and earth. The spirits connected to each element are very specific - Air -sylphs, Fire - salamander, Water -undines and Earth -gnomes.

I based the elemental beings on fairies (faeries) -- supernatural spirits who are thought to exist in a realm between heaven and earth. There are fairy legends throughout the world. They are said to be of various sizes, sometimes described as tiny, butterfly like creatures, but there are stories of human size fairies too. All of the legends assign magical powers to these creatures.

Because I wanted my story to begin in the British Isles, I researched various magical belief systems. Celtic supernatural legends, stories and folktales appealed to me the most. This narrowed down my choices for fairy characteristics. I decided my fairies would be nature spirits, that they would work with my witches in order to gain something for themselves. They love to bargain, but eventually as a Glyndwr witch comes into her power, (because it made sense to me that if you possessed these powers, you wouldn’ t know how to use them all at once) the elemental works with her to increase their own magical abilities. It’s a symbiotic relationship, with each party getting something from the arrangement.

Because fairies can be good or bad, (or in-between) and ugly or beautiful -- I ascribed the various characteristics based on the type of element the witch controlled. Catlin, the heroine of the first book in the series, Whistle Down the Wind, is an air mage, so she can control the wind and storms. I perceive her elemental creatures, sylphs, to be tiny winged creatures, they appear to humans as silver motes floating in the air. In the blink of a human eye, they can disappear. Catlin can hear them speak, but should they ever decide they no longer wish to work with her, they can drive her mad with their voices.

Because there are so many legends about fairies seducing human women, I decided that my sylphs would be seductive, sensuous creatures. In one of the earlier chapters of the book, they urge the heroine to kiss the hero. Fortunately for them, it doesn’t take a lot of encouragement to get the couple to share their first kiss.

I look forward to writing the next book about Catlin’s eldest sister, Aelwyd, who is a fire adept. She has extensive magical powers, and her tiny elemental creatures are usually referred to as salamanders. I decided that I preferred the name, fire dragon. While Aelwyd tries to be composed, controlled and self-possessed, her elemental beings can influence her to be as fiery, emotional and passionate as they are.
 
If you truly love learning about faerie lore, I encourage you to visit http://faerieworlds.com/

I’ve attended several of these events, and they are delightful fun. The costumes are gorgeous, the people friendly, the music amazing and the general feel of each event is a celebration of all those who love fairies and the many stories surrounding their existence.

Images from Faerycon West - February 2012


Whistle Down the Wind
Book One The Mystic Moon Series - Featuring the Glyndwr sisters
Elemental witches!
Genre: Historical romance with paranormal elements
Publisher: Moon Valley Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9839103-2-9
Page count:  360
Blurb:
Escaping from the persecution of the European witch hunts, a beautiful witch with the power to control the wind joins forces with a handsome Cavalier on a mission to save the King of England and the colony of Virginia.

Catlin Glyndwr is a tenth generation Mistress of Elements -- a hereditary witch who can call upon her elemental spirits for assistance in casting spells.

Accused of witchcraft in seventeenth century England, she faces the hangman. Even though she took a vow never to hurt anyone with her magic, if her true powers are revealed, she’ll be executed.

Sir Griffin Reynolds is on his way to the colony of Virginia, on a secret mission to locate Puritan rebels intent upon seizing the throne of King Charles II. When his best friend becomes deathly ill while interrogating a beautiful Welsh maiden accused of using magic to attack a local official – Griffin is forced to strike a bargain with her in order to save his friend’s life.

When Catlin and Griffin travel together on a voyage to the American colonies, they try to resist the pull of erotic sensuality that flares between them. It is a temptation they both soon crave. But danger lurks aboard ship and evil haunts Catlin. She must learn how her destiny is linked with that of the man who has vowed to protect her.

In a dangerous and unexplored world, where superstition exists along side the new discoveries of science, powerful elemental spirits are capable of assisting the magical adepts. But there is always danger in harnessing magic and a price to pay when one calls to the spirit world for help.

While Griffin tries to deny his attraction to Catlin, she works her own special magic on his heart and he discovers he cannot resist falling under her sensual spell.

Together, Catlin and Griffin learn that a journey of the heart requires courage, trust and the ability to believe in the astonishing gift of love.

Tagline: A beautiful witch discovers there’s more then one way to be wicked!


Short Blurb:

Whistle Down the Wind

By Sibelle Stone

Escaping from the persecution of the European witch hunts, a powerful witch with the ability to control the wind joins forces with a handsome Cavalier on a mission to save the King of England and the colony of Virginia while a dangerous stranger hunts them both. Book One: Mystic Moon Series.





Author Bio

Sibelle Stone is the pseudonym for award winning historical romance author Deborah Schneider. Sibelle writes sexy steampunk and paranormal stories, filled with magic, mad scientists, dirigibles, automatons, and creatures that would scare the panties off Deborah. In her spare time Sibelle enjoys dressing up in Victorian ensembles, modding play guns into something that looks a bit more sinister and wearing hats.

Author Bio: Deborah Schneider

A lifelong love of American history led Deborah Schneider from teaching high school to writing novels. Her first book, Beneath A Silver Moon won the Molly award for “Most Unsinkable Heroine” from the Heart of Denver chapter of RWA and was later a finalist in the New Historical Voice Contest in 2000. Her most recent release Promise Me won the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Western Romance. Her first steampunk story, No Ordinary Love was published in fall 2011. Deborah is employed by the busiest and best library system in the U.S. She’s received the “Open Book Award” from Pacific Northwest Writers and was named “Librarian of the Year” by Romance Writers of America in 2009.




Shrewsbury England
1664


Prologue



Twilight shadows chased Catlin Glyndwr down the cobblestoned streets of Shrewsbury. The mist reached out to snatch at her, like skeletal hands creeping across the graveyard when the moon is dark.

I'll never reach home before dark. Catlin pulled the velvet cape tightly around her shoulders and quickened her step. Her heart thumped like a bodhrán drum.

Danger lurked in the darkness of Shrewsbury. Hunters searched for those who dared leave the safe confines of their homes to wander at night. These hunters were especially interested in any woman bold enough to walk the streets after dusk. Such women quickly came under suspicion.

Catlin had planned to make her visit to the tiny, shabby hut brief. But the Widow Holton had been too feverish to rise from her bed. After glancing around the dingy one-room hovel with no fire to keep the Widow and her three children warm or to cook, Catlin hadn’t been able to turn her back on the impoverished family.

She’d prepared a stew from the foodstuffs she carried in the basket with her herbs and tonics. She had even taken the time to stir up a pot of porridge for the next day, when she promised the Widow she’d return.

Catlin’s feet scrambled against the rough stones, and she stumbled on the rough cobblestones. She adjusted the basket on her arm just as a glimmer of light diverted her attention.

A warning?

She didn’t have time to respond as a thick arm shot out from the darkness, grasped her around the waist, and pulled her into the shadows.

A leather-gloved hand covered her mouth, smothering her scream. Her stomach heaved, in danger of purging her hastily eaten meal.

Not that screaming would do any good. Lately, the good people of Shrewsbury kept their doors barred and their shutters fastened after the sun set. They’d grown accustomed to hearing screams in the night and accepted that sometimes women simply disappeared without a trace.

Fear made them silent allies in the sick drama being played out in the lanes surrounding their homes and businesses. Too many living in the village of Shrewsbury chose to look the other way, or to pretend that whatever happened ’twas God’s will.

“Stay silent,” a voice warned from behind her as the sharp prick of a knife blade pierced the side of her throat.

The arm dragged her farther back into the alley. Catlin knew any effort to resist the man holding her captive could easily result in her death. She fought the tremors making her so weak, if she wasn't held so tightly she'd collapse.

As a candle passed before her face, Catlin tried to shrink back from the stinking hulk holding it. He leered at her with a toothless grin.

“One of dem Glyndwr sisters, Bodwell.”

A muffled laugh echoed behind her. “Then ’tis a good night of hunting indeed, Scapes.”

Symon Bodwell, the witch hunter, was not known for his compassion or fine manners. He was probably the most despised man in Shrewsbury, yet the license dispensed from the Bishop had given him power and authority over almost everyone in the village.

The iron grip holding her prisoner slackened. Huge hands shoved her roughly against a wall. She crumbled to her knees, and tears washed the back of her eyelids.

I must not be afraid, for fear is the thing that feeds creatures like Bodwell.

“Leave me alone,” she finally gasped. Her arm ached from the assailants grip and her ears still rang from her collision with the wall.

Symon Bodwell, his thin lips formed into a sneer, glared down at her with a hatred so fierce, if she wasn't already forced against the wall, she'd have clamored away from him.

“You are not in a position to give me orders, witch.”

Catlin tried to swallow her fear. The man couldn’t possibly have proof of his accusation. She and her sisters were careful about practicing the craft. Their recent celebration of Beltane, in the quiet of her sister's home instead of out in the fields, had been modest compared to their rites back home in Cymru.

“You’ve attacked an innocent woman, Bodwell, and I can assure you I shall write to the Justice of the Peace to complain about this treatment.” Her voice echoed high and thin with fear.

Bodwell’s mouth twisted into a cruel smile at her words.

“Save your ink and paper, for Lord Cranborne is soon headed to the grave from what I hear,” he snarled. The tone of his voice was as harsh and cold as the winter winds that blew in from the ocean near her ancestral home. “He’ll not help any such as you, witch.” Catlin shivered at the menace in the man’s words.

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” she protested, hating the weak tremor that entered her voice. Her stomach clenched again, and Catlin feared she would humiliate herself by spewing. She couldn't help it, deep down, she was terrified. She was sure these men could hear the staccato beat of her heart, banging in her chest.

Symon Bodwell hovered above her like a specter for a moment, then grasped the fabric of her cape and pulled her roughly to her feet.

“There are ways to escape the gallows.”His other hand slipped beneath the velvet cape to roughly grasp the fabric covering one of her breasts. He yanked her even closer, so his face was only inches from hers. The pungent odor of onions clinging to his breath made her gag. She swallowed to keep her stomach from spilling its contents on his boots.

Catlin gasped as he continued to squeeze and mangle her breast before his hand moved lower. Ice spilled through her veins as she realized his intention.

“Lean back against the wall and spread yer legs.” He pushed her backwards again. “If ye please me, I might let ye live so’s I can enjoy ye again.”

Catlin tried to scream, but the gloved hand covered her mouth again. Bodwell released his hold on her arms to yank at her gown and petticoat, lifting them to bare her legs.

The man planned to ravish her, and he thought she'd meekly acquiesce to his demands. The chill of fear quickly turned to white hot rage. Death couldn't be worse than allowing this monster to steal her virginity. Catlin balled her hands into fists and prepared to lash out and fight the man intent on raping her.

“Leave her,” another man’s voice called out from the darkness. “You were told to capture her and I’ll not have the goods sullied before you hand her off to me!”

The accent was polished, deep enough to reverberate in the alleyway. She recognized beneath the words lingered an ugly, evil thread of dark magic. She sensed the greater threat came from the man hidden from view.

Bodwell turned away from her, his gaze scanning the darkness. “I wasn’t expecting ye here tonight, milord,” he said, backing away from Catlin. His arrogant sneer had turned to a simpering whine.

She seized the opportunity to quickly draw a sigil in the air before closing her eyes to gather her power. She cleared her mind of the fear and drew on the ancient and familiar words she'd learned from her mother. Energy spiraled through her body, making her fingertips tingle and her heartbeat slow to an easy rhythm.

She called on her sylphs for help, and a quick breeze assured her they’d heard her plea. Within moments, the breeze transformed into a whirlwind that gathered dust and dirt to pelt her attackers with debris.

The two men who had cornered her started to cough and hack, giving her the chance she’d been waiting for.

Gathering the magical power building within her, she hurled it at her captors. Bodwell slammed backwards into the man holding the candle. They both toppled to the ground, spitting and swearing.

Catlin sketched a different sigil in the air and small dots of light began to flicker around her. She pointed her finger at the two men and chanted in the ancient language of her ancestors.

"Doethineb, cryfder, ammddiffyn rhag!"

Wisdom, strength, protection. An ancient spell.

Sparks of light flew from every direction and attacked the men, making them swat at the air around them as if warding off angry hornets.

Catlin circled away from her attackers, working hard to keep her trembling body under control.

“I’ll see all ye Glyndwr sisters dancin’ at the end of a rope. Wait and see.” Bodwell’s voice trailed behind her, his vile threats laced with swearing.

“You fools,” the stranger howled, “she’s escaping!”

A spiral of dark magic followed Catlin as she stumbled through the darkness. Her sylphs acted as a shield, protecting her from its evil touch. Fear gripped Catlin’s heart as she slipped through the murky ink of night, toward the safety of her sister’s shop. Away from the immediate danger, but she sensed a terrifying malevolence hunted her and her family.

Copyright 2012, Deborah Schneider



If you've made it this far, thank you from both me and Sibelle.

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