The lovely Alice Renaud is visiting today to tell us about her latest release, an anthology jam-packed with love and magic and mysticism and all the things. I can't wait to curl up with this entire collection!
Take it away, Alice...
When I say “a special time of year”, what do you think? A lot of folks will answer, “Christmas”, but maybe a different season, a different date, comes to your mind? I love Christmas, in the UK, we start celebrating it in early November – if you’ve seen our winters, you’ll understand why! But other dates have a special place in my heart.
I love the times when one season changes into another. Those turning points of the year were major feasts in the old, pagan, Celtic calendar. They had evocative names: Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasa, Samhain. At those times the barrier between this world and the Otherworld became thin and transparent… so much so that the gods and monsters of the Otherworld could cross into our universe and walk among humans.
Imbolc, the spring festival on 1 February, and Lughnasa, on 1 August, are all but forgotten. A trace of them remains in the old church calendar. In my church (Anglican/Episcopalian), 1 February is marked as Candlemas, the day when candles used to be blessed – a remnant of the old festival of light and new birth. 1 August is Lammas Day – the first day of the harvest.
The summer and winter feasts have fared better. Samhain was adopted by the Catholic Church, and became a festival to commemorate the dead: the feast of All Hallows (All Souls), on 1 November. The day before was All Hallows’ Eve… Halloween. The monsters are still here, though these days they’re mostly kids in masks, going door to door to ask for candy. Trick’ o treating is actually an old Irish and British tradition, which Irish immigrants brought to the New World.
I do love Halloween… but I also have a special affection for the summer feast of Beltaine, Walpurgis in Germany, on 1 May. May Day in England used to be a day of merry-making. Folks would cut branches of flowering trees, especially the May thorn (or hawthorn) and decorate their houses with them. Sweethearts would take advantage of the warmer weather to kiss and cuddle outdoors, away from their families’ prying eyes. There was dancing, music, eating and drinking.
When I arrived in England twenty-odd years ago, I was delighted to discover that the old traditions still endured, or had been revived. Every May Day there is a fair in the park close to my house, with traditional folk dancing and other entertainment. Ice cream and cakes have replaced the hog roasts… but the beer still flows and the hawthorn still flowers.
In my story The Sweetest Magic of All, the apprentice witch Sapphire and the warlock Aaron meet at midsummer (another special time of year) and go back in time to the 17th century, to locate a magical amulet. They arrive on May Eve – Beltaine, Walpurgis night. A time of magic, when normal rules are suspended. The magic of that special time of year has a powerful effect on them, which they hadn’t anticipated!
Mystic Desire is a collection of brand new supernatural romance stories by award-winning BVS authors!
The Sweetest Magic of All by Alice Renaud: When a sexy apprentice witch and a hot warlock go back in time to locate a magical amulet, they find more than they bargained for. It's May Eve, the most magical night of the year, and normal rules don't apply...
An Awareness of Evil by Dee S. Knight: Only two things stand between evil and a small girl: the visions of Amanda McMasters and Detective Brendan Gilchrist. Neither can afford to be wrong.
Dream Catcher by Callie Carmen: Long ago a medicine man had made a matched set of dream catchers as a wedding gift to protect the Chief’s daughter and her warrior husband. He had called upon the benevolent spirits to keep the two soul mates safe and in a loving, healthy marriage. It was foretold that if the two dream catchers were ever divided the new owners would be drawn together as soul mates. Was that possible?
Love from the Mist by Patricia Elliott: When Jace Warden learns that his brother plans to announce his engagement at a family get together, he flees to the other side of the world to escape the joyous celebration. Or at least attempts to… His plane never makes it, and he winds up trapped on an island. Little does he realize, he’s not alone; there’s a mischievous little entity milling about, and she wants to play.
Love that Binds by Carol Schoenig: On the outskirts of a small town where nothing grows, a young girl, Ianthee, is being bullied and accused of being a witch. Young Caleb, inexplicably drawn to Ianthee, comes to her rescue. Before they can explore their feelings, Caleb and his family disappear. What happened to him, and what part does a long-ago legend play in their lives?
The Mortal Vampire by Suzanne Smith: Remy enjoys life as a vampire, never giving a thought to sucking every last drop of tasty blood out of his unfortunate victims and leaving them door nail dead. But his cold and carefree existence changes the day he crosses paths with the beautiful and mysterious mortal Angela.
Through the Veil by Jan Selbourne: A beautiful March day in 1875 ends in tragedy when the wagon carrying Helen and Marcus plunges down the mountainside. Generations pass before Rachel Finlay finds an old sepia photo of a man and woman. She knows them, but she’s never met them and now, for the peace of mind she desperately craves, she goes back to where it began. In time, through the veil, knowing she may never return.
Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she's a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and lovelorn witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” will be out later this year. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!
You can get in touch with Alice here:
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Renaud/e/B07L52P17B