author stories

Please Join Me For A Taste of Wormwood Tea

In writing my Actual Magic series for Young Adults,   I drew upon all my favorite story books I loved as a kid to create my own.  As you may already have guessed, wormwood tea doesn’t really exist.  I borrowed the wormwood reference from another children’s author whose work was popular in the last century.  What author am I referring to?  The correct guess will win you a Kindle!  Send your answer to the contact email address on my website.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Of course, I am.  Emily, you just need to calm down.  Tell you what, you and Cupid have a seat on the porch and I’ll fix you a cup of my special tea.”

Her neighbor grimaced.  “No thanks, I’ll pass.”

“Why?”

“The last time I drank your special tea I landed in the emergency room and had to have my stomach pumped.”

Morgann covered her urge to giggle with a sympathetic groan.  “How was I supposed to know you were allergic to wormwood?”

“Whoever heard of wormwood tea?”

“Me.”

“Well, nobody else has, and believe me, I checked.  I even Googled it.”  Emily flipped open her cell phone.  “I’m calling the police.”

Morgann quickly reached out to snatch the phone.

Emily easily sidestepped her hand and batted it away.

“Emily, be reasonable.  What would it take to convince you my house is empty?”

“Let me and Cupid inside so I can take a look around for myself.”

“The dog stays out,” Morgann countered.

“There’s no deal unless Cupid goes inside to watch my back and help me investigate.”

Morgann acknowledged the ‘watch my back’ remark with a sweet smile.  “No dog.”

“No dog, no deal.”  Emily pressed the nine button on her key pad.

“Calm down!  There’s no need to involve the police.”

“If Randolph’s calling for help from somewhere inside that house, that means he’s in trouble.  Why don’t you want me to get him some help?  You’d want me to call for help if it was you.”

“Emily, Randolph called me from Japan just this morning.  He’s in perfect health.  He has a lot of meetings over the next few days, but he’s just fine.”

“Well, then, someone inside that house is calling for help, and they don’t sound fine to me.  In fact, the voice sounded quite weak.  If you’ve been making Randolph, or someone who sounds just like him, drink that wormwood tea of yours, there’s no telling what kind of shape they’re in.”

“Randolph loves my tea,” Morgann said, a little too defensively.

Emily hardened her gaze and stared at Morgann.  “He’s dead, isn’t he?”

Posted by Deborah McTiernan
Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic
Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

photo credit: Silvia Sala via photopin cc

Please Feed The Man Living In The Box Under Your Bed

Please feed the man living in the box under your bed.

In writing my Actual Magic series for Young Adults, I drew upon all my favorite story books I loved as a kid to create my own.  Does anyone out there in Cyberland know where the idea to store Lilly’s dad in a box under her evil stepmother’s bed came from?  The right guess will win you a Kindle!  Send your answer to the contact email address on my website.

Here’s an excerpt:

Morgann placed the steaming bowl of oatmeal on the night table.  “It’s too dark in here.”

She aimed her index finger at the big bay windows.  The drapes whipped open and the sunlight streamed in.

With a careless flick of her wrist, the long, wooden box under her bed rolled out as easily as a dresser drawer.

Good thing she’d remembered to install casters on the bottom of the box before putting it to use.

“Wakey, wakey my sleeping prince,” she said cheerfully as she rapped her knuckles lightly on the lid.

She grabbed the knob on the top of the box and raised the hinged lid.  “Ready for some breakfast?”

Morgann looked down to find her new husband’s eyes wide open and glaring at her.

Uncomfortable under the scrutiny of his intense stare, she slammed the lid shut and quickly shoved the box back under the bed.

“I’ll feed you later when you’re in a better mood.”

Posted by Deborah McTiernan
Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic
Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

lilly noble & actual magic

Attend a Seance

In writing my Actual Magic series for Young Adults, Lilly Noble & Actual Magic, I drew upon all my favorite story characters I loved as a kid to create my own.  Meet the wicked stepmother, the evil queen, and Diabolique.  Morgann is every villain you’ve ever read, and ever met.  When you think of Morgann, which fairy tale character springs into your mind?

Here’s an excerpt:
Placing her fingertips lightly on the Ouija board’s oval pointer, Morgann closed her eyes.  “Henry, I know you’re in here.  I can feel you!” she hissed.  “Look, I don’t know why you won’t talk to Freda today, and quite frankly, I don’t care.  But, you heard her.  She still loves you.  Why she loves you so much is beyond me.”

Whatever affection this woman had for her dead husband was none of her business.  She preferred to keep it that way.

“I’m just here to help you communicate with each other.  But Henry, if you don’t want to, that’s fine by me.”

She paused and waited for a response that did not come.

“Henry, I know you can hear me.  Are you listening?  By the way, that was a nice trick you pulled with the candles earlier.”  She didn’t think he had anything to do with her inability to light the candles, but it didn’t hurt to make him believe she did.

The pointer beneath her fingertips vibrated, and then quieted.

“Okay, Henry.  I felt that.  Does that mean you are listening?”

The pointer vibrated again.

First a response.  And, now a confirmation.

Morgann was cautiously optimistic.  No, she was ecstatic.  “Okay, good job, Henry.”  A spirit moving objects on the physical plane was always a good sign.

She paused for a moment, thinking about the best way to approach Henry with her idea of bringing other spirits to her.

“Henry, are you alone?”

The pointer remained quiet.

“Is that a ‘no’ Henry?”

The pointer vibrated.  It was a confirmation that the silent pointer meant ‘no’.

“Okay.  So, there are others with you?”

The pointer vibrated, scooted a short distance across the message board, and stopped.

Morgann opened her eyes to see the pointer had stopped at ‘yes’.  Excellent!  She was making progress.

Unfortunately, Henry was also gaining strength.

“Henry, is there anyone with you today who would like to say something?”

The pointer circled the Ouija board and stopped on ‘no’.

Morgann heard the toilet flush in the bathroom down the hall.  Freda would return any second now.

“No one around you wishes to be heard?” she asked, addressing the board.

This time, the pointer moved around the board with short, sharp, angry angles, before coming to rest on ‘no’.

“Okay, Henry.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to upset you.”  At least she had Henry communicating with her.  If there was even the slightest chance of establishing a rapport with this spirit, she knew with Freda out of the room, now was her best time to do it.

“Is there anything you want to say to just me today?  Anything at all that would help you feel better?”
The pointer suddenly shot from beneath Morgann’s fingertips.

Moving rapidly across the Egyptian alphabet on the message board in quick jagged bursts, the wooden indicator spelled out a message.

Posted by Deborah McTiernan
Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic
Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

photo credit: dragonoak via photopin cc

Visit Raven’s Landing, Maine

In writing my novel, Lilly Noble & Actual Magic, I remembered as a kid, I found scary places both intriguing and terrifying. Again and again, I felt drawn to the unknown like a moth to the flame. 

Here’s an excerpt from Lilly Noble & Actual Magic :
At the front of the ship, a distant fog-blurred smudge of gray grew massive and darkened. A tall, black chunk of rock jutted out of the Atlantic Ocean’s choppy waves. At last, the island. As the ferry drew closer, she made out the silhouette of impressive stone structures crowning the cliffs.   Bonaventure’s Academy, with its huge blue and gold domes capping cobbled walls of mortar and stone, looked like a medieval fairy tale castle.
She caught her breath and swallowed hard. “The school is beautiful. What’s it like on the inside?”
“I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Just wait, you’ll see. But, you’re going to love it.”
The bluff dropped off into a sheltered cove with a rocky breakwater and a generous swath of jade-colored sand.  A sun-bleached wooden pier stretched from a boardwalk of businesses at the dunes’ edge, out into the deep water.
Thin strands of jellyfish, clam shells, driftwood, and seaweed cluttered the tide line. A tornado of big black birds cartwheeled and cawed in the swirling mist.  Zymura gestured to the rapidly approaching chunk of land.
“Welcome to Bonaventure’s Academy of Magic.”  Lilly nodded. “Those birds, are they vultures?”
“They’re ravens.”
“Oh, right. Raven’s Landing Island, I get it. What are they circling over?”
Shivering, Lilly tugged her coat tight around her shoulders and yanked the zipper up to her neck. “I have no idea, but now that I think about it, they always seem to be in the same place.”
“They’re kind of creepy.” Searching her pockets, she found her mittens and pulled them on over her hands. “Yeah, well, they’re ravens. What can I say?”
Posted by Deborah McTiernan, Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic ~ Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

See Real Friendship in Action.

 

In writing my Actual Magic series for Young Adults,  In creating characters that really mattered to me, I also explored their friendships and bonds with one another, and what those relationships brought to the power of the story.
 

This scene was about establishing trust.
Here’s an excerpt:
 
Lilly decided to test her theory connecting the smell of sweaty feet to someone telling her a lie. “Zymura, do me a favor?”
“What?” “I want you to lie to me.” The girl hesitated. “Uh. Okay, why?” “I want to know if I have the power to detect a lie,” she said nervously, almost giggling again. “The only way I can think to test myself is to know that what you’re saying to me isn’t true before you tell me.” “Oh, I get it. Good idea. Okay. Let me think,” she paused, gazing upward for a moment. “I really hate this school,” Zymura said, twisting her face in disgust for dramatic effect.  The air immediately saturated with the sickening stench of stinky feet.
 
Lilly held her breath and controlled the urge to gag against the smell.
“Well? Anything?” Zymura asked, looking at her curiously. “Yeah, you really stink.” “Thanks,” the girl said with a grin. The salt sea air rushed in, replacing the stench.  Lilly breathed a sigh of relief. She was satisfied that she’d proven her theory correct. She did, indeed, possess the power to detect a lie.  Then as an urgent afterthought, she added, “We’ve got to keep this a secret though.”
 
Zymura quickly nodded her understanding. “Right! What good is the ability to detect a lie if everyone knows about it?”
Posted by Deborah McTiernan, Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic
Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

Guest Post : Catherine Carrigan / It’s Not Where You’ve Been, It’s Where You Are Going

Hi Everyone, this week I am sharing another blog post from the website one of my favorite authors, and someone I am proud to call my friend.Catherine Carrigan, author of What Is Healing? Awaken Your Intuitive Power for Health and Happiness, http://amzn.to/GRTW7z, a Health Intuitive, wrote this blog post.

You can find out more about Catherine and her wonderful new book on her blog, http://www.catherinecarrigan.com Catherine’s book is also available on Amazon as an audio book. Catherine’s book, What Is Healing? Awaken Your Intuitive Power for Health and Happiness, has been consistently trending Number 1 as a Best Seller on Amazon in two categories – medicine and psychology and alternative medicine reference books.
Here is Catherine’s blog:
It’s Not Where You’ve Been, It’s Where You Are Going
Posted on Feb 12, 2014 by Catherine Carrigan
Too often in life, our past consumes us, mentally, emotionally and energetically. What other people did or did not do. What we did or did not do. Things we appear to have missed out on. Prayers that seemingly went unanswered. Resources we believe we might have needed but didn’t have. “Accidents” that apparently happened. When we focus so much of our energy in this way – on what happened in the past – we actually steal energy from where we are going.

 

We are so energetically and emotionally encumbered that we have little to no energy to run the present, much less move forward courageously into our future. We feel exhausted and depressed. If 50 percent of your chi is in the past, how can you move forward full on? It’s not about where you have been – what’s important now is where you are going. Why is this the case? If you listen to the story about your past, more than likely you will hear the story about your wounding.

 

The truth is, your wounds can stop you in your tracks or they can even kill you if you let them. Your wounds can either be the place where you allow the light to get in or where you shut down totally and never grow out, grow up or move on. How do you stay focused on where you are going?

 

1. Recognize that you have gifts that you alone are here to give the rest of the world. Ask yourself, “What would happen if I wasn’t here to make my contribution?”

 

2. Focus on who you are serving. Chances are there may be others on a similar path, but only you can contribute your specific vibration. Even if 100 other people are saying the same thing, maybe somebody needs to hear your message the specific way you say it. Maybe someone needs to receive your energy in the way that only you can deliver it. Recognize that your purpose is bigger than you, it’s bigger than we and it’s all about US.

 

3. Realize that it took inner strength to get you as far as you have already come in your life. Call on this strength to move forward. If you have overcome even one challenge in your life so far, you can use those very same inner resources to move forward in every other area.

 

4. Honor the truth that you are not your challenges, you are not your illness, you are not your wounds. You are a soul with limitless resources.

 

5. Know that there is no such thing as a vacuum anywhere in the universe. That means that you already possess everything you need to move forward in this moment. Even if it’s just a phone number, you have what you need right now to move ahead in this instant.

 

6. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of any challenge, simply ask yourself, “What’s my next step today?”

 

7. Motivate yourself with positive thoughts. When I was writing my second book, What Is Healing? Awaken Your Intuitive Power for Health and Happiness (Total Fitness: Atlanta, 2013), I knew that my first book was the best-selling book of the original publisher and had been translated into Chinese.

 

I knew that I had the ability to write from my heart in a way that is transformative for other people. As I was writing my book, I kept telling myself, “Knock it out of the park.” In other words, I knew what I was capable of, and I went for it.

 

My book went to No. 1 in two categories on Amazon in 2013 and so far has 20 five-star reviews. I dug deep inside, wounds and all. One of the best ways to have a great attitude is to bless your past and move forward anyway. It’s not where you’ve been, it’s where you are going.

 

Thank you, Catherine!
Posted by Deborah McTiernan Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic Paranormal books for teenagers Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

Crafting a Scene from a Single Idea

How I Craft a Scene from a Single Idea, and then Weave it into the Story

Title: Discover the Magic within you to believe in yourself.
In writing my Actual Magic series for Young Adults, I drew upon all my favorite story characters I loved as a kid to create my own.
Here’s an excerpt:

 

“You will learn that the way you think holds the key to all things magic. Have the courage to imagine only great things. By pushing your minds far beyond what you already understand, you will discover what is yet to be.”  Mondragon took his place next to her.  “Good afternoon, Bea,” he whispered hoarsely into her ear as if they were lovers.  The wide grin on his face told her he’d been up to something.  Probably something that, when she found out later what that was, she wouldn’t like it.  She ignored him for the moment.  She was too deep in her speech to bother with him now.  At least this time he showed up.

 
“The Bonaventure-Mondragon is awarded to the student or team of students who push their minds far beyond our known supernatural reality and create a thought or a way of thinking about our world that we’ve never before considered.” “Like a frog with wings?” Morlock teased with a twinkle in his dark brown eyes.  “Not if you’re casting about for something else,” she smiled at the students.  Mondragon knew better than to interrupt her during her orientation speech. What was going on with him?  “What if that is exactly what you want?” he persisted.

 

She shrugged and studied him. Whatever Mondragon was up to, he’d better have a good explanation for why he was acting like this. “Well, then, a winged frog would definitely be a success.” Beatrice pointedly returned her attention to the students. “Your grades will be decided by the number of successful spells you cast, not by the size or the perfection of your results.  And remember this: The Bonaventure-Mondragon Award isn’t just a competition. It’s also about cooperation, how fairly you play the game, and what you learn about yourself along the way. While you attend school here, you will do no harm to yourselves or to others as you study and learn. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll make friends — real friends you’ll keep forever. Boys and girls, attending the Bonaventure Academy of Magic is as much about your character as it is about the magic. Keep that thought in mind should you be tempted to cheat, or steal, or sabotage someone else’s spells.”

 

Posted by Deborah McTiernan Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

Crafting The Story

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Crafting the first few paragraphs of a brand new story presents an amazing challenge to every writer. That handful of words must convey to the reader not only the story’s who, what, where, when, and why, but also, its mood, tone, and voice.A daunting task!

Before I began I knew a few things about Lilly. I knew what happened to her before her story began, what frightened her most, who was now missing from her life, and the emptiness she felt because of it.  With the first draft, these opening paragraphs were initially a huge twenty-six pages long.  I knew I had to pare it down!  After much editing, here is the opening gambit.

Lilly Noble & Actual Magic  Page 1

Lilly Noble shivered violently against the blustery chill, but underneath all the layers of clothing she wore, she also trembled with fear.  Was she being sent away to the strange new school as punishment, or because her father couldn’t bear to look at her anymore?  Since the accident, his abrupt mood swings and sudden naps whenever she walked into the room he occupied made her wonder if he blamed her for the car accident that took her mother’s life.  About that particular day, Lilly could remember not a single detail. The lingering amnesia that the doctors had said was a side effect of the coma left her with an untrustworthy memory.  If there was a good thing to come out of leaving home, it was that Lilly would be far away from Morgann, her new stepmother.  The woman’s unblinking glare barely concealed a simmering hatred, and the rancid aroma of stinky feet seemed to cling to her like a nasty cloud.  With a brilliant flash, lightning ignited the gloom overhead.  Thunder rumbled and echoed across the sodden gray skies like eerie voodoo drums.  The ferryboat chugged mightily forward, lurching across the heavy North Atlantic chop. A fog horn bellowed somewhere off in the distance.  Its lighthouse remained a phantom, thanks to the drooping clouds obscuring everything, and bleeding all the light from the late summer afternoon.Something inside the fleur-de-lis locket at her throat slithered and hissed. Lilly closed her fist over the pendant to block out the sound. She wanted to toss the thing into the sea, but it had belonged to her mother, and her father said its luck would keep her safe while she was far away from home. Lilly decided she could use all the luck she could get, even if it came in the form of a creepy locket.

To all of you editors and would-be editors out there in Cyberland – did I answer all of those initial story questions?

Posted by Deborah McTiernan, Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic
Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!

photo credit: madamepsychosis via photopin cc

The Joy of Fudge

The Joy of Fudge!!
What is your favorite holiday gift to give? Year after year, my favorite is fudge. Soft, creamy, sweet, chocolatey, and sometimes with a crunch, fudge is a timeless and delicious holiday favorite. There’s classic fudge, simple fudge, microwave fudge, peanut butter-chocolate fudge, easy white fudge, easy chocolate fudge, and my personal favorite, butterscotch fudge. Fudge makes the perfect gift to bring to the hostess of any holiday party, the ideal treat to share at potlucks and office get-togethers, and a great way to remember to the neighbors.
It’s always the right color, the right size, the right price, and it fits every menu. The perfect container to store and present this delicious confection is the cheerful holiday tin. This time of year, holiday tins are abundant and inexpensive . They come in several different sizes, a variety of holiday colors, and celebrate all denominations of holidays.
These cute little devils line at least one store shelf at your local Target, Walmart, Kmart, grocery store, variety store, and dollar store, and are even available on Amazon! (I love Amazon!!) The Dollar Tree happens to be my favorite place to obtain these colorful metal treasures. And, get this! I can buy my favorite sizes at the reasonable price of two for a dollar! Why is the cost of these tins important to me? Because I make and give away about fifty pounds of fudge every year. Fifty pounds of fudge fills a lot of tins.
The very best thing about this creamy confection is that everyone absolutely loves it, and none of it goes to waste. Seriously! How did I arrive at this very bold conclusion? Easy! You can tell fudge is a holiday favorite by how quickly it vanishes from a freshly opened tin. Just like magic! With Thanksgiving lurking just around the corner, the calendar is telling me it’s time to pull out my heavy sauce pan, line my cookie sheets with buttered foil, and buy all of the ingredients. So, how do I unwind after a busy weekend of creating candy? I park myself in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee and the fudge scrapings from my sauce pan, of course!
Happiest holidays to you and yours!
Thank you for visiting my blog! Posted by Deborah McTiernan
Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic – Amazon Best-Selling Author – Paranormal Books for ages 9-12 and Young Adults
Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within
Follow your dreams or follow the crowd.

Keys to a Magical Life

A Few Keys to a Magical Life
FOCUS: What you focus on moves you in the direction of whatever you desire. Pay attention only to the task at hand, and never to the end result. Ignore emotional pressure. Emotional pressure isn’t real, it clouds your thinking by making you anxious, and interferes with your decision making process.
For example: If you feel you need to win, you will become fearful of losing. Decisions made based on fear can become self-fulfilling prophecies because the choices you make to avoid failure are emotional, not logical. When fear is absent you enter the zone. Inside the zone, everything becomes pure action. You care less about the outcome, become aware of only what you are doing, and will take the next best action.
YOUR IDEAL STATE OF MIND: Focus only on your objective, and not on yourself. When you stop worrying about the outcome, you become unconcerned with the opinion of others. Automatically, your ego disappears and you stop second-guessing yourself.
CREATE YOUR PERFECT IMAGE IN YOUR MIND: Imagine how will you feel. What will you look like? How will you dress? How will you sound? Create a unique, complete, and precise picture of exactly how you want the reality of your dreams to unfold. See yourself succeeding in every aspect in your life. Think about how you will treat others. Keep kindness uppermost in your mind, extend it to everyone, including those who perhaps have not been so gracious to you. By changing the things you say and do to others, you’ll shift their attitudes and actions toward you. This is where the real magic begins.
RESPECT EVERYONE: Stop trying to convince others of how great you are, and instead show people how wonderful and amazing they are. Do not try to get people to believe in you; show them how to believe in themselves. Change how people see their world, and change their lives. When you focus on the good in others, positive people and positive experiences will flow into your life. It’s that simple.
Posted by Deborah McTiernan – Author of Lilly Noble & Actual Magic – Paranormal books for teenagers
Dares readers to believe in themselves and discover the magic within!