Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Of The Blood Of Witches

During World War II, British witch Vivian Eldon works with a network of witches to prevent a Nazi invasion. Assisted by intelligence officer Commander Ian Fleming—the future author of the James Bond novels—and flamboyant MI-5 astrologer Captain Louis de Wohl, the Eldon family becomes the magical force behind the Miracle of Dunkirk. Coming Soon!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Witch Hunt: Of the Blood - Excerpt


My novel Witch Hunt was first published by Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books in 1990. It's the tale of 300+ years in the history of the Hawthornes, a family of hereditary witches. The novel takes the family from the Salem Witch Trials into a modern-day witch hunt. My publisher wanted to market it as a horror novel and insisted I add an abundance of gratuitous sex and violence. I was young, naive, and did what I was told. It was a decision I always regretted. So, I petitioned for my rights to the novel, rewrote it, and published what I like to call "The Director's Cut" edition. Since its release in 2010, it has become my bestselling novel ever. Over the course of time, the novel has been translated into German and Turkish, and there was even talk of a TV mini-series. 

Since its initial release, fans have requested a sequel. It took a long time before I was inspired with a plot good enough to complement the original novel. I'm planing a 2013 release of that sequel: Witch Hunt: Resistance. It's the story of the Witches' Underground Resistance Movement and begins right where Witch Hunt left off.

In the meantime, I thought it would be wonderful to address the many fans who requested to learn more about some of the historical characters from the first novel. I selected writers whose work I admired, asked them to choose a character from the original book, and write a novella about him or her. The result is Witch Hunt: Of the Blood. This anthology also serves as a bridge to the upcoming sequel.

Regarding my own contribution to this anthology, when I was a child I learned about the role the British witches played in preventing the Nazis from invading England, and I always wanted to write a novel about it. Unfortunately, sidetracked by other writing projects, I never got around to it. When the idea for this anthology arose, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to tell the story via Vivian, the young English witch brought to America during World War II to marry into the Hawthorne family.

Please enjoy an excerpt from my novella, "Of the Blood of Witches,"  wherein seventeen-year-old Vivian Eldon and her magical circle work to stop Hitler. The story is a prequel to Vivian's appearance in Witch Hunt.

***

Dylan charged into the room without knocking. “Quick! Come quick! Rhonda’s got an astral visitor and it’s awfully serious.”

Vivian rushed to follow Evelyn and Dylan.

“A little Gypsy girl named Lala, who used to be a friend of Rhonda’s, appeared asking for help,” Dylan told them as they hurried toward the far wing of the mansion. “From what Lala’s said so far, she and her family are in one of Hitler’s prison camps. There’s a big ditch filled with burning petrol and the guards are pushing the Gypsies into it: men, women, children, old people. They’re burning them alive!” Dylan’s shaking voice broke. “Lala saw her parents pushed in and the trauma caused her to come here. Father says the girl’s manifesting astrally, but all of us can see and hear her so I think the extreme circumstances made her bilocate. Lala and Rhonda have a psychic connection and used to work magic together before the family returned to Europe.” Dylan turned to look at them with anguish. “You know how the Gypsies are hated here in England. They thought they’d be safer in Europe.” Tears exploded from his red-rimmed eyes. “I’m so ashamed to be English. Shame on us. Shame.”

They arrived at the bedroom Morgana and her daughter were using. A small crowd of houseguests gathered outside the door, quietly listening to what was happening inside. Vivian pushed her way through the bodies to the threshold where she could see Morgana and Rhonda sitting on the bed with a little girl about Rhonda’s age perched between them. Lala had fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes—common among the Romanichals who lived in Britain—and yes, their people were greatly discriminated against. Vivian cringed when she recalled seeing the signs outside business establishments that read, NO DOGS OR GYPSIES. She suddenly shared Dylan’s shame.

Lala whimpered. “I’m next! I’m trying to hide behind bigger people, but the bad men are going to throw me in anyway.” Her whimpering morphed into inhuman shrieks of abject terror.

Morgana grasped Lala by her arms and drew her close. “Do what I say! Right now! Look in my eyes, right now, and don’t look away!”

Lala continued to shriek and Morgana gave her a fierce shake, repeating her command. Rhonda leaned into Lala and whispered something no one else could hear. Almost immediately, Lala settled down enough to allow Morgana’s magical eyes to seize hers.

Morgana said, “You’re swimming in the sea with me. We’re together in the cool, fresh water. Do you feel it?”

Lala didn’t respond, so Morgana shook her again. “Do you feel the water, Lala?”

Rhonda grasped Lala’s hand. “I’m swimming with you too! Do you see the dolphins? They’re swimming with us, taking us far away from the shore.”

“Look deep into my eyes, Lala,” Morgana said. “They’re green, just like the sea. Dive into them.”

Lala quieted down and managed a tiny, little nod.

“That’s it,” Morgana said. “The water is so cool and soothing.”

Lala jerked, coughed, and uttered a brief shriek.

“Oh! The dolphins are singing to us, Lala!” Rhonda shouted. “Do you hear their squeals? That’s their song and they’re singing it just for us.”

“Cool, refreshing, life-giving water,” Morgana said, grasping Lala more tightly. “Such cold, wet water all around us.”

“The water feels so good,” Lala whispered. She looked away from Morgana’s eyes and stared into Rhonda’s. “I love you, but I’m going to swim far away with the dolphins now. Let me go.”

“I love you too, Lala,” Rhonda managed to say through her thick veil of tears. “Go play with the dolphins and be happy.”

Rhonda and Morgana released their holds on Lala at the same moment and she disappeared, the ghost of a hopeful smile lingering for just a few seconds. A faint whiff of smoke followed. Then there was a moment of terrible silence before Rhonda’s screams filled the air. Morgana drew her daughter close and gently rocked until the screams faded. “I am so proud of you,” Morgana said. “You’ll never know how proud.”

Fighting back tears, Vivian quietly closed the bedroom door, turned, pushed her way blindly through the crowd, and raced back to her room. She changed into her riding clothes and ran out to the stables where she mounted Epona bareback, urged her into a gallop, and headed out toward the distant meadows.

“Oh Goddess,” Vivian murmured. “Oh Goddess.” She chanted it over and over again like a mantra, hoping it would dull her horrified reaction to the travesty she had just witnessed. “What has Hitler unleashed upon the world? It is beyond evil. We have to stop him before he does worse things. Oh Goddess!”

Perhaps the Divine Lady took pity on her, or perhaps Vivian’s bond with Johnny was stronger than she knew, but through the pounding of her blood and Epona’s hooves, she heard the distant roar of an aircraft engine. Vivian scanned the skies until she saw the plane—his plane. Johnny had previously flown over Hollywood Manor while headed across the Channel on sorties, but that he would appear right at this moment was nothing short of miraculous.

Johnny dived as low as he could safely fly and tipped his wings to her, back and forth and back again—a special salute he had greeted her with before. Holding onto Epona’s mane with one hand, Vivian used her other hand to pull a red scarf from her head and wave it high in the air. She shouted to him at the top of her lungs, knowing he couldn’t possibly hear the words but hoping he’d capture the message.

“Stop them, Johnny! Don’t do it for England. Do it for humanity!”



***

Witch Hunt: Of the Blood

Five novellas based on Devin O’Branagan’s bestselling novel, Witch Hunt!

You’ve closed the cover on Witch Hunt, but the story isn’t over … yet! Devin O’Branagan has handpicked writers to take up her characters’ stories and explore what happens next.
The anthology begins with O’Branagan’s own novella about Hawthorne matriarch, Vivian. Vivian and her fellow British witches work together to prevent a Nazi invasion during World War II. Then there is Colonial maiden, Bridget, who struggles with the guilt of failing her family in Salem, 1692. Her younger sister, Prissy, mysteriously disappears and finds another magical world. Julia, torn by family loyalties, love, and her spiritual quest, pays a huge price to continue the bloodline. And Miranda uses her powers against the great influenza outbreak of 1918—but finds the ultimate foe is prejudice against her kind.

Discover what was left out of Witch Hunt and revisit your favorite characters with these exciting novellas. The story isn’t done until the battle’s lost and won.

This anthology contains novellas by Devin O'Branagan, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh.

All five authors of the anthology are available for discussion at Devin's writers' forum. This is the link to chat with them: Chat With The Authors!

Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is available in both print and eBook formats and may be found at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords. (Smashwords provides copies compatible with almost all types of eReaders including Sony, Apple, Kobo, etc.) It is also available internationally via Amazon worldwide!


Two of the stories in this anthology are bridges to the upcoming sequel, Witch Hunt: Resistance, which will be released in 2013.

 The original novel, Witch Hunt, is available as both a paperback and an eBook. It is available at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords. It begs the question, "Could it happen again?"



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Imagine


Imagine you’re a seventeen-year-old cowgirl living on an isolated cattle ranch in Montana, being raised by your father, a redneck Texan who thinks gays and lesbians are, “unnatural and disgustin’.”

Imagine your mother abandoned you when you were twelve and the only sex education your father provided was, “You’ve seen the critters go at it. Figure it out from there.”

Imagine that what you want most in life is your father’s love and approval.

Imagine you discover you’re gay.

In my paranormal thriller, Threshold, the pieces of seventeen-year-old Leah Dillon’s confused sexuality fall into place during an encounter with sexy ranch hand, Nita. The two young women are caring for a colicky horse:

     “Any particular boy you’re hot for?” Nita asked.
     Leah shook her head. “That’s the problem, I guess. Just not been in love yet.”
     “Never felt fire in your belly for anyone?”
     Leah stopped walking Dixie and stroked the horse’s face, certain that her own face reflected the same shade of red. When it came to the land of sex, Leah had always been a foreigner unable to speak the language or navigate the terrain.
     Nita stood, walked to them, and offered Dixie a handful of hay. The horse nibbled cautiously at first, and then with greater interest.
     Relief blew through Leah. “Her stomach’s okay. She’s going to be fine.”
     Nita stepped closer to Leah. When Leah turned to look at her, Nita grabbed her by the hair at the back of her head, pulled her face close, and drew her lips to her own. Startled, Leah tried to resist the unexpected, but weakened as Nita’s kiss stole her breath. Like Dixie, she discovered her appetite, and it grew by the moment. Hungry, she devoured the food Nita offered. Thunder filled her blood. A rumble escaped her throat. Limbs trembled in the wild wind.
     Nita pulled back and slipped her hand into Leah’s waistband, hot palm against bare skin. Lightning struck with such force that Leah staggered.
     “Now you’ve discovered fire in the belly,” Nita whispered. “Figure out what to do with it.”
     When Nita strode out of the barn, Leah stood like a young tree in a fierce storm, its tender roots desperately clinging to hold on to a turbulent new world.

Threshold is told from three revolving viewpoints. Besides, Leah, we meet her younger brother, Cole, who drowns, has a near-death experience, and returns with a mission. And Elijah Thunderbird, a Native American shaman, is the manager of the Dillon ranch and Cole’s spiritual mentor. Through these three characters, the novel explores issues of life, death, and the transformative power of love.

In Threshold, Leah’s father, Ty, brings home a new wife named Branwen. Conflict instantly arises between Leah and her stepmother and escalates to the point where—when Branwen finds Leah and Nita making love—she threatens to “out her” to Leah’s father.

     “Nita! I need some help! Dixie got away from me and—what the hell are you two doing?” Branwen’s voice cut through Leah like a knife.
     Nita leapt off Leah, hastily buttoned her own shirt, and retrieved Izzy’s for Leah.
Leah frantically squirmed her way into the sweatshirt.
     Branwen stood a few feet away, her face even whiter than normal, and her burgundy lips parted in surprise.
     Leah’s mind tried to think, but it was impossible. “It’s okay, I’m gay,” she managed to blurt out, then slapped her hand across her mouth to shush herself. Well, that certainly hadn’t been the proper response, had it?
     “Mrs. Dillon—” Nita began.
     “Tell it to Ty,” Branwen said ominously, then turned toward the door.
     “Wait!” Leah cried. “Branwen? Wait!” She stumbled after Branwen, grabbed her arm, and clumsily swung her around. “You’re not going to tell Dad?”
     A smile danced on Branwen’s lips. “Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?”
     Horror filled Leah and she sank to her knees, not too proud to beg. She clutched at Branwen pitifully. “Please, oh God, Branwen please don’t tell him. I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you. I’ll never do anything again. But God, don’t tell.”
    Branwen glanced at Nita and then back at Leah. “If I were you, I’d make sure your girlfriend gets out of here in a hurry.” Branwen shoved Leah away. “You’ll have to excuse me now, but I’m late for that lunch with your father.”
     Leah couldn’t breathe. It was all too horrible to bear.

Imagine the only solution you can think of rather than face your father’s disgust and hatred is to commit suicide.

70% of all teen suicides are gay or lesbian. Can you imagine?

Threshold is available in print and as an eBook. Learn more about it HERE.



Copyright © 2012 by Devin O’Branagan



Thursday, July 26, 2012


Wow, it has been an exciting month since my new novel, PRETTY SACRIFICES, was released! In the first week, PRETTY SACRIFICES hit Amazon's bestseller list. Reviews have been wonderful:

"Thrilling, emotional, mysterious, amazing!"

"Devin O'Branagan's best book yet!"

"Imagination at its best!"

"A great and stirring tale!"

"An adventure with depth!"

"Terrific follow-up to GLORY!"

PRETTY SACRIFICES is the second book in The Legend of Glory trilogy. In the post-apocalyptic world following a pandemic, dark angels arrive in Glory's small hometown to claim the eternal souls of her loved ones. Targeted by evil because of her heroism during the great plague, Glory fights back with the help of gutsy young witch Kaia, inexperienced guardian angel Sasha, and her intrepid demon-fighting dog Hallelujah. Complicating everything, a rift in time reunites Glory with an old flame and forces her to pay a huge price for love.

I had more fun writing this novel than any that have come before. A plot-driven writer, I worked from a tightly constructed outline, but my characters kept changing directions on me. There were three huge plot twists I totally wasn't expecting, and this sort of thing has never, ever happened to me before. I fought it at first, but then surrendered to the characters and am so glad I did. My fan mail indicates that my readers are glad I did too!

All of the fascinating characters introduced in GLORY return in PRETTY SACRIFICES: seventeen-year-old Glory and her feisty dog Hallelujah, the witches of the Moonstone and Starlight covens, a family of angels, a family of vampires, and the amazing Goth Girls gang of vamps-with-attitude. New, colorful characters abound, including the precious four-year-old Belle Starr and a mysterious physics professor who may hold the key to Glory's ties to the 19th Century. Linking them all, the demoness Nyx returns with vengeance in mind.

GLORY was nominated by the American Library Association for their Best Young Adult Paperbacks List of 2011. PRETTY SACRIFICES is a thrilling continuation of that tale. The third book in the trilogy, GENESIS, will be released in 2013.





Monday, February 13, 2012

"Is Your Pet a Familiar?" Guest Post by Donald Michael Kraig

Note by Devin O'Branagan: In San Diego, in the late 1970's, I belonged to a circle of special friends that included Scott Cunningham, Raven Grimassi, and Donald Michael Kraig. We worked in circle together and often joked that there must have been something in the ritual wine that inspired us to all become writers. I am proud to have my good friend, Donald Michael Kraig (author of Modern Magick) as my guest blogger today:

Although it happened over two decades ago, I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was in high school and still living with my parents and brother is a small, West Los Angeles home. We had a small back yard—very small—but instead of a wall behind us there was only a chain link fence opening to an enormous, well-tended yard, making our small yard look huge. We had the benefits of a large back yard without the trouble to keep it looking nice.

We also had a family pet, a dog named “Rummy.” Actually, he was the third dog of that name. All of them were mutts that were mostly cocker spaniel. The brownish color of their coats, similar to the color of rich rum, was the source of the name. Well, and the fact that my father worked for Rums of Puerto Rico also had something to do with it.

Every dog has its own personality. Rummy III was mostly quiet except on two occasions. If someone went by the house he would go crazy, barking up a storm. If it was an adult coming by, he was ready to attack. If it was a child, he wanted nothing better than to go out and play. He loved children but hated new adults.

The other time he became highly active was when we, his family, came home from being out of the house. He’d bark, run around, and jump up on us in greeting. We’d have to gently put our knees into his chest to get him off of us. This wasn’t like a sudden knew or a kick, it was a determined but gentle shove. We’d also have to pet him and compliment him to get him to calm down.

Psychic Pets
Is your pet psychic? I have no doubt that Rummy was. Living in Los Angeles, my father commuted, by car, to work. Every late afternoon hundreds of cars of every make and model would drive by our suburban home. We never knew exactly the time my father would arrive home from work because the traffic could be good or quite bad. And yet, every day, five days a week, about four or five minutes before my father drove into our driveway, Rummy would start to go crazy, running around the house and barking. He wouldn’t stop until my father had shoved him off with a knee and then spent a few minutes petting him.

How did Rummy know? Could he really tell the difference between the sounds of the engine in the car my father was driving from the engines of other cars? I don’t think so. And when my father got a new car Rummy was still able to perform this feat. My only skeptical solution is that the dog had some psychic bond to my father and could sense him when he was close.

But this wasn’t the only instance of Rummy’s psychic abilities. He seemed to do very well on his own, only asking for attention if I were feeling down or depressed. How did he know that I needed him to come up and stick his nose into my hand, asking for and giving affection at just that time? What could he detect and how did he know to choose to act on it?

The most amazing bit of psychic activity he exhibited had to do with my grandmother. She was over 70 and had fallen and broken her hip, requiring hip replacement surgery. We decided to have her come and live with us for a few weeks until she could live more independently.

We brought her home from the hospital. Rummy jumped on my mother and me, then on my father. Now, he was only about 20 or 25 pounds, but it could have been a disaster if he had jumped on my rather frail grandmother. After making the rounds of us, we were frankly terrified that he was going to jump on her. Instead, he looked at her quizzically, then put his muzzle into her hand and gently rubbed against her hand.

How did he know? Did he sense something in her? Did he sense our worry and then acted appropriately? What amazing psychic senses did he have that would allow him to do these things?

Familiar?
According to the book, The Witch’s Familiar by Raven Grimassi, a familiar is an intelligent spirit that would dwell within the physical body of an animal. A Witch could get information and advice from such a familiar.

Well, I’d say that many of us have pets with amazing abilities that we can only call “psychic.” Grimassi gives one explanation as to how they seem to know what to do at important junctures in our lives.  But it is only one solution to this phenomenon.

I know Rummy was, in some way, psychic. Now I live with a dog that is mostly a beagle mix. His personality is completely different from Rummy’s, and yet he, too, exhibits psychic abilities. When we have guests in our home, “Charlie” will inevitably lay next to a person who is ailing, as if he is trying to help heal the person with his own doggie energies.

What about your pet? Is he or she your familiar? Does it have inexplicable abilities? Please share some of your experiences at Facebook or Twitter. Also, please visit my website at www.ModernMagick.com



Monday, January 23, 2012

Put Down the Witch and Slowly Step Away From the Demon

The novel I am currently writing is the sequel to my urban fantasy, GLORY, titled PRETTY SACRIFICES. It's filled with angels, witches, vampires, and demons. The past few days I've been working on a scene where the teenage witch, Kaia, confronts a demoness. The scene has been very intense, and as my readers will attest, my characters are always vivid and realistic.

Last night I had a dream wherein I got up from bed and went down to my kitchen. I found Kaia and a young man standing at the kitchen counter, deep in conversation. The man seemed ordinary enough: dark eyes, a bit on the short side and, as Kaia would say, "really cute." However, when I looked him in the eyes, there was something so evil about his intense stare that my mind said, "He's a real demon and this isn't just a dream." True terror filled me.

Now, even though I've been writing supernatural fiction since I was five years old (at which time I wrote a ghost story), woo hoo things just don't usually happen to me. (Okay, so I did see my dog a few times after her death, I had a near-death experience, and my intuition is stunningly accurate, but never before has a demon stood in my kitchen.) My life is petty mundane.

However, my dream became what is known as lucid, I instantly grew aware of the fact I was dreaming, and I knew in my soul that this cute young man standing in my kitchen was some sort of malevolent being. Perhaps my research for the novel had attracted unwanted attention from the dark side. I had been speaking with experts in the field of demonology and reading everything I could get my hands on regarding the subject.

Not sure if Kaia was just a dream character or another real spirit of some kind masquerading as my mental image of Kaia, my maternal instincts kicked in and I scooted her back away from the demon, then willed myself to wake up. Immediately, I found myself in my bed, but unable to awaken. Using force of will, I tried to fight my way to consciousness and open my eyes. The bed started shaking and I clutched the side of it so I wouldn't fall off, but I couldn't hold on and I crashed to the floor...which did succeed in awakening me.

Honestly, in the next few seconds this is what happened:

I thought about going for my gun, but even if it had silver bullets, the demon wouldn't be susceptible.

I thought of calling the police, but what the hell would I say?

The very next thought...I swear...was, "Oh, this would make a great blog post!" (Writers are a special breed, and a little scary in their own right.)

So, I said a prayer for protection, stood up, dusted myself off, and with great fear and trepidation walked though my house turning on every light. Then I made myself a strong cup of coffee, sat down at my computer, and began to write this blog. As I did, the laptop acted possessed: the screen winked on and off, and the program froze several times. Sometimes the pesky Internet Demons of Doom do mess with me, so I convinced myself that they were the ones wreaking havoc and, despite my trembling fingers, typed away.

Now, I am relatively sane. I realize this could have all just been a manifestation resulting from the imaginary demons I've been creating, but my intuition told me it was something else. Did I mention my intuition is stunningly accurate?!

Of course I will continue to write my novel, and I will publish this post and risk ridicule. In my novels, good always overcomes evil. I dedicated GLORY "To all those who fight the good fight against evil." Perhaps by not letting this incident get the better of me, I'm doing just that.

"A fantasy on the shoulders of a strong willed girl, Glory is not to be missed." - Midwest Book Review


GLORY was nominated for the 2011 Best Popular Paperback for Young Adults List, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association.

Seventeen-year-old Glory Templeton's blood holds the cure for a deadly pandemic-plague and she embarks on a quest to save humanity. When evil forces conspire to stop her, three supernatural beings are assigned to be her guardians. Forbidden love, ancient secret societies, mysterious astronomical monuments, witches, angels, vampires, and demons all contribute to the high adventure that tests the character of this remarkable young woman.  The legend of Glory begins!


I would love to hear your thoughts! 
Please join me on TwitterFacebook, or my own discussion forum.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Novel About Near-Death Experience

Cole Dillon drowns in Deer Lake shortly before his thirteenth birthday. Elijah Thunderbird, a Native American shaman, travels between the worlds to bring Cole back from death. Unfortunately, Cole isn’t supposed to survive, and with the natural order disrupted, dark spirits follow them home.

During Cole’s near-death experience, he is assigned an important mission that involves saving the lives of many other children. However, when he is revived, he can’t remember the details and undertakes a challenging quest of discovery.

Meanwhile, the dark spirits begin to manifest in the lives of the local town residents, bringing hatred and death. When shamanic visions reveal that many young lives are indeed in imminent danger, Elijah has to help Cole find the courage to do what is required of him before it is too late.

As Elijah tries to help Cole, he struggles with his own personal demons, and both men—one young, one old—must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to save others.

Assisting Elijah is Quinn Byrne, the powerful High Priestess of a San Francisco-based coven. A true woman of power, she clearly sees what must be done, as painful as it will be for all involved.

A moving paranormal thriller about courage, faith, and the transformative power of love.

To read an excerpt, follow THIS LINK

Available as a print and eBook!