Guest Post & Giveaway: Never Judge a Witch by her Leather by Heather Long *~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~

~*~*~*~*~*~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~*~*~*~*~*

Today it’s my pleasure to have author Heather Long here at Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings. I met her at a Sherrilyn Kenyon signing this past summer and I’ve stayed in contact with her since. Heather will be talking about her soon to be released urban fantasy Prime Evil and the roles witches play in her novel. Her first novel Remembering Ashby, a historical paranormal romance is currently available through Sapphire Blue Publishing.

Added after posting: Heather just found out that Prime Evil will be released this coming Monday, November 16, 2009. Congratulations Heather!

Heather would like to give one lucky commenter a $10 Amazon gift certificate. Details are at the end of this post.

Welcome Heather!

What image does the word witch conjure? Do you see a green-skinned, hooked nose Margaret Hamilton with her black dress, black hat and too white teeth? Do you see the pink-festooned ball gown with her too tall crown ala Glenda? Do you see a blonde woman in a mini-skirt dress and apron who wiggles her nose? These witches are all valid images harvested from our popular culture. I am a huge fan of witches in all their many colors, adjectives and spell books from San Francisco’s Charmed trio to the Salem witch trials version of Gossip Girl.

East Coast Witches

PrimeEvil_LgWebIn my soon-to-be-released urban fantasy: Prime Evil, I introduce another image of the witch to the pop culture lexicon. Chance Monroe is a hedge witch. I use the term hedge because she is not a witch in the sense of owning a grimoire, casting spells in a cauldron or brewing potions. Though arguably, Chance does have the family almanacs (much like a farmer’s almanac) that details weather history, growth cycles and various supernatural phenomena that can be a problem.

Chance lives in Leesburg, Virginia. Leesburg is located in the northern portion of the state. It is the perfect combination of rural majesty and urban sprawl. Just thirty-five minutes from D.C. (on the Greenway) and closer still to West Virginia, it is mystic and modern, provincial and polished, and rusty and recent. Nature can border your portion with the National capitol just a few minutes away.

Virginia is both East Coast sophisticate and southern belle charm, combining revolutionary and civil war history with the corridors of technology. I chose Virginia as the setting because it is one of the first states to be settled, it does have that southern charm and numerous battlefields and because I know and love the state very much.

Witchy Women

Prime Evil features two prominent and distinctively different witches. Chance, the hedge witch, works with the Earth, helping clients who have fairies in their gardens, grafters in their fields and even imps in their homes. She works in concert with the Earth, submersing her consciousness with it, pulling energy and restoring balance. Her magic very much tethered to the earth, a tether that binds her to the area of Northern Virginia. She cannot travel from it without going mad with the need to return.

She is a hereditary witch as are most of the witches portrayed in this world. She inherited her abilities and her responsibilities from her grandmother, who in turn inherited it from her mother and so on. The gifts are Druidic in nature, tied very much to the family’s origins in Western Europe prior to settling in the colonies and marrying the natives. When druid married shaman, they produced the first hedge witch and forged the symbiotic relationship family and land.

Her best friend, Sydney is a witch of an entirely different sort. Her family possesses clairvoyance, uncanny psychic clarity of the future. She is capable of brewing up a mean potion and hexing a man’s balls blue, but like Chance – she has rules and family traditions that curb her powers. The women complement each other, but Sydney has a large and sprawling family where’s Chance’s family seems to have dwindled with the spreading urbanization.

Sneak Peak

Here is a taste of Sydney and Chance from the upcoming release:

I stole another long drink of coffee while the phone rang and was not at all surprised when Sydney answered the phone with an exasperated tone. “It’s about time you called me back.”

“Good morning to you, too, Syd.”

“Oh, sorry, Chance. I thought it was John. He was supposed to call me back this morning to make a date, and I haven’t heard from him,”

“Well, I’m sure your charming ways will bring him around,” I teased her. John was the current flavor of the month. Sydney’s on-again, off-again romantic woes were often a topic of conversation over a pair of chai lattes when we’d get together. John just seemed more stubborn than the rest, sometimes on for six months, but often off for longer, and in the five years of their tempestuous relationship, I’d never heard Sydney threaten to find someone else.

“Don’t be a nit.” Sydney laughed over the phone. “And it’s about time you called me. I’ve been worried for days. I heard from Millie who talked to Jenna and she heard from Betty that Jack was back in town.”

“Been and gone,” I quipped, flopping back in the chair and propping my foot on the desk.

“Really? Well that’s a bummer. I was thinking I’d ask the two of you over for dinner. It’s been years, but I think Jack liked the quesadillas I used to make.” Sydney’s voice held an undercurrent of coyness, and I imagined the thoughts running rampant through her head were the wild and dirty variety.

“Syd, I’m pretty sure you didn’t leave me the ominous mojo message because you wanted to invite me and Jack to dinner.” I couldn't keep the smile. Only Sydney. She could crack a mime.

Elemental Nature of Witches

As you can see, the two women are great friends and very different. For me, the best part of witches is not their spells, their black hats, or their leather jackets – it is their elemental connection and sisterhood beneath the skin. What do you love about witches?

About Heather

Heather Long lives in North Texas with her husband, daughter and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel: The Forgotten.

Places you can find Heather Long: Web Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | MySpace


For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate:

  1. Answer Heather’s question “What do you love about witches?” and/or leave a comment or question for Heather.
  2. For an extra entry, spread the word about this giveaway: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. - leave a link in the comments.
  3. Leave your email with your comment ONLY IF it is NOT part of your profile.
  4. This giveaway is open to Everyone.
  5. Giveaway ends on Monday, November 23rd at 8PM CST.

Good Luck!


Unknown said...

Hi Heather :)
How excellent to find you here. Thank you for sharing the excellent post on witches and the fabulous sneak peek to PRIME EVIL.
My favorite witch right now is Linda Wisdom's Jazz from her HEX series which I am currently reading.
What's THE FORGOTTEN about? Is it a sequel to PRIME EVIL?
All the best,

Heather Long said...

Hey Rob, it's great to see you here! I love Donna's blog and I confess that I visit here often so it's a real kick to be featured.

The Forgotten is actually the 'sequel' to Remembering Ashby and picks up about five years after Forget to Remember which is available as a free read on my website.

The sequel to Prime Evil is tentatively titled "Seismos."

Chris said...

I think, due to the sorts of witch books I've been reading lately, I'm more likely to think chick lit heroine than Wizard of Oz when I think witch!

Sheere said...

I love their power! They can be bad withces or good, and even clumsy ;)
+1 tweeted

Shirin Dubbin said...

Great world building. The idea that Chance's family, through their connection to the land, has dwindled with spreading urbanization really struck a note with me.

Oh and the fact Sydney can hex a man's balls blue! +giggles+ Very cool stuff.

I've been looking forward to Prime Evil. When does it release?

Mitz said...

Hi Ladies, great interview. Prime Evil sounds pretty awesome, I'd love to read this. I'm going to have to put on my WL.
I think it would be cool to be a witch because they have so many various different powers. I could be evil or nice...LOL


Blodeuedd said...

I am in :D and I twittered it.

Witches, well, have not read much about them. But I loved Charmed, and it was the powers that i liked, and that they were nice witches

Cheeky Girl said...

Loved the post and the great excerpt!

What I love most about stories with Withces, is the idea that they hold within themselves all this immense power to overcome problems and stay safe. It's incredibly impowering to women to read these characters and take in the idea of an inner power providing strength.

Anonymous said...

What I love about witches is how they defy gender stereotypes. No one's telling THEM what women "can" or "can't" do!

Sewicked said...

Knowing several pagans, my images of witch have departed the pop culture image. So what I love about witches is their reverence for Earth & nature. Plus, they usually have really cool clothes & toys (cloaks, wands, cauldrons, etc).
I posted this on twitter (Sewicked)

Wicked Walker said...

I love the magic that they can create!

i tweeted:

Ellz said...

I have always been fascinated by witches. Magic is one of the paranormal things that actually sounds like it could be real. I think bubbly cauldrons are fun too!


Elie (Ellz Readz)

Pamk said...

I love that they can be and do pretty much whatever the writer can imagine and make the reader believe. When I was growing up I wanted to be Samatha from bewitched. But I guess for a few poeple I knew along they that it was a good thing i wasn't lol.
I posted this contest on my contest list on my blog.

scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

This looks like a great read!What I love about witches and magic in general are the decisions that came along with it-do you use your power for good or evil? Personal gain or for the greater good? It always makes for an entertaining story.

Janece Suarez said...

1. What I love most about witches is that they can be so many things...earthy, sexy, shy next door neighbor, fireball-in-your-face magical or barely managing to heat water for cauldron. TONS to choose from, all interesting potential characters. =) This book sounds wonderful, btw!

2. I twittered about the contest:

Thank you for the contest and especially for the interview and glimpse into the story!


Janece Suarez said...

Whoops forgot an email! O.O


Janece aka Nece

Cherie J said...

What I love about witches is their ability to use their power to help others. That makes them super heroines. Of course if they use their powers for bad then that makes them villians.

tetewa said...

They have the abilities to cast spells and powers!

Heather Long said...

Chris, I like to think of my collection as Witch Lit, because I enjoy books with witchy women in them whether they urban fantasy, paranormal romance or fall somewhere between horror and contemporary fiction ala Anne Rice's witch novels.

Sheere, yes they can be clumsy! It always cracks me up when you see paranormal beings flub it up!

Shirin, yes, Chance's family has dwindled with the urbanizaton of their area. In fact, Chance is one of three living members of her bloodline which we will explore more in book 2! Keep your fingers crossed that Prime Evil will be out next week - we had some delays due to technical issues.

Mitz, thanks! I appreciate the kind words. I think with witches, it really depends on where or how they get their power. Power, in and of itself, is relatively neutral -- it's where it comes from. A witch that rises magic through fear and pain can't be a very nice witch after all.

Blodeuedd - Yay! Charmed was such a great show. I was a huge, huge, huge Prue fan. Missed her terribly after she left.

Back soon!

Heather Long said...

CheekyGirl - I'm not sure whether it is the immense power they hold within or the connection to immense power that they can forge. Most witches (i.e. not wizards or ceremonial magicians) do not need the kind of prep time -- so they are better at the paranormal trouble shooting.

Marsha - Fair point. Stereotyping someone who can hex your balls blue might be a bad plan! On the other hand, modern culture does tend to stereotype witches as the strong, don't need male types -- that literature must in turn soften. I think Maguire did this so well in his series Wicked -- can you ever imagine feeling sympathy for the Wicked Witch of the West?

Sewicked - I'm glad you brought that up! I meant to make that distinction when I wrote this, but skated right past. Chance is more of an agnostic than she is a pagan. After all, she is intimately connected with the Earth, the concept of Mother Earth is very, very real to her, but she doesn't worship the Earth necessarily. In contrast, Sydney is a witch by hereditary and a Wiccan by choice. There's more on this in the second book Seismos.

Stacy - I love the magic they can create too!

Elnice - I believe in magic, so I know it is real. Bubbly cauldrons are fun -- just be sure to have a pot holder on hand -- iron kettles get hot!

Thank you so much everyone who is stopping by! Will be back soon for more responses!

Brenda Hyde said...

I'm with you, I like the friendships, the loyality. I also like when they are portrayed as caring, grounded women who care about the world, nature etc. The magic is cool too:) Black leather on a witch is always a good thing.

CrystalGB said...

I like witches because they have powers and have a mystical quality about them.

jeanette8042 said...

I love how witches are still humans in a sense but have awesome kickass magical powers at the same time!

Gina said...

I love the sense of mystery there is to being a witch. When I got interested in witchcraft, the first thing that I started with was scrying. In my family, I have predicted the sex of every baby for the last 7 years. I have never been wrong. My family calls it my "spooky gift". As I explore more, witchcraft and witches never fail to interest me. Also, any literature where there is a witch is bound to be interesting. Can't wait to read your book.

Rosie said...

I think I'll always love the Charmed witches. They always wanted to good for the world! I so miss that show.


Anonymous said...

I love the sense of connection to the earth and nature. That idea of having a sense of the bigger universal picture.

I tweeted about the giveaway!

SusiSunshine said...

Hey you two!
I so love witches. I don't know why not more PNR's are about them. Or perhaps I read the wrong one. When I think of witches I always think of strong and independent woman. Like the Charmed sisters. I love the picture of the leather jacket and kick-ass girls. Are in this world you created also other kind of witches than the 2 you mentioned?

I tweeted the contest:

Loved the post!
Wish you both a wonderful week!

Erotic Horizon said...

Hey Donna..

thanks for letting us know about this wonderful book by bringing the author home with you...

Heather lovely ot hear about this book - I'll definitely check it out..

Do you know if there is a UK release date as yet, or will the book be released in other format to print as well..



Heather Long said...

PamK - I loved Bewitched. Endora was always my favorite and I could never imagine being Samantha -- giving up my magic to please my husband. On the other hand -- she still ended up using it a lot.

A Buckeye Girl Reads - The great thing about Chance is that her calling is also her business. She works for a lot of locals, solving problems, tending crops and even the odd trouble-shooter here and there. She doesn't advertise though, her business comes through word of mouth more often than not. The only reason she charges is that the idea of exchanging food and goods for services isn't as practical in the modern age.

Nece - Earthy is the best word for Chance -- down to earth, practical -- warm tones, browns and greens. She's rugged, but not rough. I also like the idea that growing things is not really a problem for her. In fact, my black thumb went away after the first story I ever wrote about her. I should post pictures of my roses -- both before and after!

Cherie - Absolutely -- power is just that, power. It's how they use it that makes a difference.

Tetewa - Chance doesn't get to cast a lot of spells, but she does get to weave her power!

Moonsanity - I love women who empower other women. For Chance and Sydney, their friendship is very much about supporting, caring and being there for each other. Competition and bitchiness is playful if at all.

Crystal - I think the mysticism is that inner femininity that we associate with the earth.

Jeanette - Yes, witches are very human and flawed as humans can be.

Gina - How cool is that! I have always been one to trust my gut instincts. Whenever I've gone counter to the gut for whatever reason, it's always turned out to be the completely wrong thing to do!

Rosie - Yes, they wanted to save the world and sometimes, even their best intentions got them in trouble because at the heart of it, they were human

Dyockman - Absolutely. We are a single thread in a great big tapestry.

Susi! - Hey darlin'! I adore witches. I think I am even more selective about my witches than I am my vampires, hence my agony over Eastwick's cancellation! As for witches of other types? Well -- I will tease you with the fact that we meet at least 11 other witches in the first couple of chapters of Seismos.

E.H. - Prime Evil will only be released in eBook form. If you have a kindle, you can get it from Amazon -- if not, you can also get it in PDF from our publisher (and I think it will sell overseas, if not, be sure to let me know and I'll make sure to hook you up!)

I am dancing on air from all the wonderful comments today! Thanks so much for the enthusiastic welcome!

Tricia said...

I think what appeals most to me about witches is the underlying sisterhood bond.

Valorie said...

I love that they can do magic, yet they are not typically paranormal. Witches can be regular men or women with magic skills.



Jenny N. said...

Witches can be very sassy and sure of themselves and they are confident in their magic.

+1 Tweeted:

Abigail said...

Another one for the tbr pile. I don't know if I should thank you or not Donna :)

I like that witches, specifically females, can still be forces to reckon with without necessarily being amazon warriors.

I posted this on the Contests & Giveaways section on my sidebar

Martha Eskuchen said...

Hi Heather! Good blog and I like the sound of Prime Evil! Congrats and best wishes on the release!

I like Rachel Morgan as a good witch and her partner Jenks is great!! My daughter loved the Charmed series and I enjoyed watching that with her. I guess what I love about witches is "magic"! Who can't use a little magic in their life! *BG*

Thanks for the giveaway. mesreadsATgmailDOTcom

Linda Henderson said...

I like their knowledge and power. I enjoy reading books with witches in them.

seriousreader at live dot com

Heather Long said...

Tricia - Sisterhood is a very important to me and you'll see it touched on in the first book, but we'll really dig in in the second.

Valorie - Yeah, Chance is definitely not an amazon. I remember years ago, Mercedes Lackey wrote about Tarma and Kethry and their sword Need. In Tarma's hands -- the sword mistress was able to resist all magic while in Kethry's hands, the sorceress could fight like a demon. I like human flaw in my characters and the need to protect them from some aspects.

Jenny - The sassiest witches are the best.

Abigail - Yay! Glad I am on the TBR pile, I hope you enjoy it.

MarthaE - Isn't Rachel fabulous? Even when she's screwing up royally she's fun and Jenks is hands down one of my favorite fairies EVER.

Linda - I like how you used knowledge instead of wisdom, I think wisdom definitely comes from experience and my witches are working on it, but they aren't there yet

Patti (@TheLoveJunkee) said...

I love witches and this book sounds wonderful! There are several things I like about witches - Sisterhood, closeness to the earth, they seem to have a cool and funky fashion sense too! :)

posted on my contest sidebar:

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather! Just wondering if you always had an active imagination when you were a kid, as well? I think it's great. Your books sound awesome. Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.

The Scarf Princess said...

Witches are cool because of their magical abilities. I wish I would be able to snap my fingers and have a clean home or an entire meal. I also like that they aren't all bad, that there are many who do good.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Cathy M said...

I love reading paranormal romance stories, so anything supernatural grabs my interest. Favorite witch stories give me magic, strong characters with hidden depths, who are very mysterious with their powers.


kalynnick said...

What I really like about witches is that can do spells...I thinks that so cool!

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

Sue A. said...

I enjoy witches in fiction, because it is always so interesting to watch how far they will go with their powers to get what they want.

Anonymous said...

Thinking back over all the paranormal I read, I just realized that I haven't read many with witches. I'll just have to move this book to the top of my TBR pile. I love the idea of the sisterhood and their closeness to earth. I can see a witch being in a healthcare profession, say a nurse or doctor and using their powers to help those in need.

Heather Long said...

Patti - Sisterhood and the affinity for the Earth is vital. Not sure if the fashion sense is funky or just what exists in absence of my own!

Wanda - I had a wild imagination when I was a kid. I used to daydream, make up stories and of course, insert myself into multiple tales as well. It's rather entertaining to watch my daughter do now what I did then.

Joder - I am so there with the snap your fingers to a clean house. I would even settle for a house elf to do some general straightening!

Cathy M - I think we need that element of mystery, particularly sense the more you know about a trick, the less magic there really is. In many ways, a good magic story is like a good con movie -- the audience gets to participate in the con.

Kalynnick - I like the idea of spells too. Just not ones that have to be recited backwards!

Sue A - I think it's the very human element of witches that draws many people!

Alterlisa - Yay! I hope you enjoy it and yes, the healthcare profession is idea. Just check out Kat on Eastwick! Just two more days until it's out there!

ikkinlala said...

I like that they're so often connected to the land and to plants.

Cherry said...

What do I love about witches? Witches are human (or I think they are) but they have the knowledge and magic to do all sorts of things! Like brew a spell of mischief!!!! :)

Heather Long said...

Cherry - I love the idea of brewing up mischief. I wonder how much havoc I could do with a half-cafe cup of mischief!

Ikkinlala - I love the affinity for plants. I think because it reminds me of all the greenery my parents kept up even when we lived in apartments!

Beth (BBRB) said...

What do I love about witches? Their power!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Heather Long said...

Hey Beth! Thanks for coming by. Yes, their power is intoxicating because it comes in so many different layers.

Bunny B said...

I love the power and mystical aura that witches have! I think it's so cool!

Alessandra said...

Wow, great contest! What I love about witches is that they can do magic, either for evil or good purposes. Plus, they can fly on their brooms ;)

+1 tweeted about the giveaway here:


Milka said...

I love the magical things and witches are magical. :)They are also really interesting.

Hannah said...

What do I love most about witches? Well, when I was a young girl I used to wish I was a witch so that I could give warts to all the kids at school who picked on me. Haha. Thanks so much!

tauntsociety AT gmail DOT com

Heather Long said...

Bunny B - I think that mystical aura we associate with many witches may have a lot to do with their self-confidence, they are incredibly comfortable in their own skins.

Alessandra - LOL when I was growing up I used to have a broom that I would 'fly around' on. My grandmother suggested that I be a modern witch and use the vacuum cleaner instead -- I would race around with it -- vacuuming and cleaning, while playing. Sneaky grandmother!

Milka - I think the association of witches with the divine feminine gives them that magical appeal.

Hannah - I must confess I thought a boil or three on some of the irritating butts I went to school with was a pretty good idea.

Mitz said...

Hello Again Heather,
I just had to come back and say I've read a few reviews for Prime Evil and now I goota have it. I love how you have more than 1 type of witch in this book and their friends, that could make life very interesting. I also looked at Never Judge a Witch by her Leather, great title. Sounds like a cocky heroine, I like it already.
Congrats on your Release!!!!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

I love that witches are powerful and they can be good girls OR bad girls. It switches. :)

lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

buddyt said...

Witches are great characters to have in a book although I must admit I lean towards preferring them in a sort of medieval setting rather than a more modern one.

Some authors make the mistake of making them all powerfull but I think it works better when they are different abilities due to there talents and rely on learning more and more as they grow.

Anonymous said...

I love that they are mystical/mysterious.
Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Ladytink_534 said...

I've always been fascinated by witches. I think it's the magic or even the idea of magic but it's also how confident most of them are portrayed.

Reuben said...

What I love about witches are their love potions! I've been on the recieving end of one or two and they made for very memorable evenings ;)

Sign me up for the giveaway please!

zachsgran said...

I like the mystery surrounding them
zachsgran1 at yahoo dot com

Lea said...

Hi Donna and Heather:

I was just over at Susi's blog and read your interview and information about Prime Evil which sounds like a thrilling read.

What I like about witches in literature is their diversity, they can be evil or good or sometimes a combination of both. I also like the varying powers they can be given depending on their origins.

Thanks for the giveaway!! Good luck with "Prime Evil", I've added it to my list.


Nicole said...

I like the magical side of witches, particularly what they can do and influence.

ParaJunkee said...

Great post. These books wonderful.

I like witches because they are just like you an me with an extra little *umph*.

Please sign me up for the giveaway
rrivera39 (@)

I tweeted:

tmc480 said...

like the power they possess
tmc480 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

witches are powerful, mysterious, and secretive
rjs682 at yahoo dot com

Free counters!
Flag Counter added on October 8, 2010