Thursday, December 16, 2021

Guest Blog by Vicki-Ann Bush Spells, Rituals, and Little History About Me

Spells, Rituals, and Little History About Me

Growing up in an Italian Catholic family there was church on Sundays, holidays, and Parochial school. However, buried in a deep web of stories, there was another culture my family brought with them from Naples. 

As a child, I’d listen with unwavering attention to the encounters my mother and grandmother would tell me. One of the main concerns was always the Malocchio, or evil eye. They believe not only could you be cursed but also over-looked. Admired or lusted so intently, it made you physically ill. Wearing a small token of  red, like a ribbon, or a patch of material in your pocket when in public, was the protection we were all taught as children.However, if you forgot or someone was extremely strong willed, and they cast the evil eye, then you needed help. The repercussions of thisoften show up with intense, unbearable headaches that nothing medical seems to help. They appear instantaneously and grip the person with such pain it renders them helpless.

In my family they conducted two forms of rituals. The first involved the victim (usually an infant) being passed over fire while the matriarch chanted the words to rid the child of the curse. This happened to my mother. 

My grandmother told me one day she was sitting on the stoop in front of their home and my mom was in her carriage. A woman paused to admire the baby and wouldn’t stop commenting on how beautiful she was. A few minutes after the woman left my mom began to  wail. Nothing my grandma did could get her to calm down.

Hearing my mother’s screams, my great-grandmother came outside and told my grandma to bring the baby inside. Once in the kitchen, my great-grandmother proceeded to low light one of the jets on the stove and carefully held my mom above the flame. Passing her back and forth as she uttered a prayer in Italian. Within a few minutes my mom stopped crying and was fine.

Years later, my mom again had been over-looked. This time a woman in a bakery complimented her several times and wouldn’t stop staring. By the time my mom left the store her head was splitting with pain. This time, my dad’s grandmother performed the ritual of the knife with the red handle. Chanting over my mom in Italian, my great-grandmother yawned uncontrollably as she passed the knife over my mother until it was time to dispel the curse. Throwing the knife across the room, my great-grandmother collapsed in a chair from exhaustion. My mom was instructed to lay down for a few minutes and everyone was warned not to touch the knife for three days. It’s believed that if you do, the curse will be transferred to whomever disobeys the instructions and they will then inherit the excruciating headache. Mom felt completely better in a few minutes, and my great-grandmother was fine too.

As I got older, I realized how much of my family’s history was based on rituals from the old country and cloaked behind the words, “an old wives tale.” 

Choosing to embrace my heritage, when it came time to write the spells for the Alex McKenna series, I decided to create my own. Using the strength of my mom…grandma…great-grandma, and my ancestors before them, I let their light guide me. 

In Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning, which releases September 2022, Alex is banishing an evil spirit from his house. The spells are spoken in Italian in the books because that’s how my ancestors performed them. I’ll use English…

I call to the spirits who have gone before me, blood to blood past to present. Protect us. I abolish all that is evil. I am the light to extinguish your will, I am the strength with the power of my ancestors. Leave this house!

Alex McKenna and A Winter’s Night
Alex McKenna Series
Book Three
Vicki-Ann Bush

Genre: YA, Paranormal, LGBTQ
Publisher: The Parliament House
Date of Publication: December 14, 2021
ISBN: 9781736981900
Number of pages: 296
Word Count: 78,682
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton Machova

Book Description: 

For a minute everything in Alex McKenna’s life was perfect. He only had one year left of high school, his girlfriend Margaret, was the love of his life, and he couldn’t ask for a more supportive family.

His psychic powers were growing and he was learning more and more about his family’s ability as Strega witches. Yup…things were good.

Until the night it all fell to pieces. 

As Margaret lay in the hospital after a serious car accident, her disembodied spirit searches for a way back to the living. Alex is desperate to save her and the victims of his next case. An ominous being haunting the hospital and stealing the souls of infants and the elderly, sending them straight to hell.


“I love you.” Margaret leaned in and kissed his cheek. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Our usual spot?” Alex said coyly.

“Of course.”

Alex lingered as he watched the little green Hyundai pull away. A cold tickle ran along his left arm. He pushed the sleeve of his hoodie up to the elbow. A scant number of bumps cascaded from his bicep—goosebumps. He quickly surveyed the area. No sign of any afterlife activity. Maybe you’re just cold, McKenna. He chuckled to himself. Dismissing the incident, he scurried into the comfort of forced heat and a billowy comforter.

Nestled tightly under a pile of covers that adorned his bed, he slid his arm out and quickly checked it again. The goosebumps were higher and now mapped their way over most of his
arm to his shoulder. Something was going on, and it wasn’t just from the chill of a winter’s night in Floral Park, New York. Ever since he could remember being aware of his connection to the
dead, his goosebumps served as a sort of warning. Whenever he encountered a spirit or something was about to happen, they’d stand at attention and alert him. The size and severity were the key. The worse they were, the bigger the issue. Tonight’s warning system started to worry him. They’d grown considerably in the past hour, indicating danger.

“Jacob, can you let me see you?”

The precocious six-year-old materialized. He was sitting in the chair at Alex’s desk.

“I knew you were here.”

“How? Goosebumps?”

“No. Well, yes, but no.”

“You’re silly, Alex.” Jacob giggled.

“I knew you were here because I smelled peanut butter. You playing with Wilby again?”


“I’ll take that as a yes. And I do have goosebumps, but they’re not from you. Something else is going on, but it hasn’t revealed itself to me yet. You hear anything or see anything different lately?”


“Okay, buddy, thanks. And stop hiding the peanut butter from Wilby. You’re making him crazy. Besides, when he gets the Know and can see you, he’s gonna want to get you back.”

“But it’s fun. And I think he knows it’s me.”

“I’m sure he does. But he can’t see you yet, and that’s not nice. Get it?’

“Yeah.” The little boy twirled in the chair.

“Goodnight, Jacob.”

“Goodnight, Alex.”

Alex rolled over to his side and faced the wall. The looming feeling of dread had left him restless and unable to fall asleep. He decided to try a technique his great gram had taught him. Closing his eyes, he imagined a large, two-story house with a wraparound porch in the country. He was sitting on the steps facing the backyard. An old-fashioned clothesline ran the length of the yard from the detached two-car garage to one of the posts supporting the porch roof. Stark white cotton sheets were clothes pinned to the line and gently waving in a light breeze. The sun was bright but not hot, and Alex held a cool glass of lemonade—homemade, not that powder, store bought imitation. He took a sip. The chilled sourness coated his throat, quenching the thirst he wasn’t aware of. It felt good. Looking up to a canvas of baby blue and white puffs, he smiled. Life was perfect.

His eyes grew heavy and fluttered gently. He took a deep breath and sighed. The weight of sleep pressed softly on his limbs, spreading peacefully over the rest of his body. He tilted
his head to let a brush of warmth paint across his cheek. This was a good place. A safe place. As his breath slowed, he turned on his back and wriggled slightly into the curves of the mattress.

The night was taking him.


Startled, Alex abruptly sat up.


“Yeah. I feel weird.”

Alex rubbed the impending sleep from his eyes and turned toward the bedroom door.

“Where are you? The room is too dark. I can’t see you.”

“I’m right here in front of you.”

“Hang on.” Alex reached for the chain on a small lamp sitting on the end table by his bed. Yanking on the brass string, the 25 watts emanated a soft halo of dim light. “Okay, stop messing with me. Where the hell are you? Are you in the closet?”

“No. Alex, I’m right here. I’m scared. I don’t feel right at all.

What the fuck is going on?”

The runaway train racing along his veins acted like a puppeteer pulling the strings. Alex leapt out of bed. The slick, newly waxed oak floors would normally make him wince in the
dead of winter. The extreme temperature piercing the pads of his feet and travelling along the muscles in his calf was the reason he normally slipped on a pair of thick socks, but not tonight. He barely felt the sub-zero temperature razor his flesh as he pivoted around, searching for his love.

“Alex, look at your arms.” The little boy pointed.

“Jacob, what are you doing?”

“Please, Alex. Your arms.”

Alex unzipped his hoodie, swiftly pulled it from his body, and threw it on the bed. Extending his arms in front of him, he stepped closer to the light. The bumps had gathered in a tight pattern completely covering every space of smooth flesh. He lifted the front of his tank; the same formation had taken over his belly and chest.

“Margaret! Where the fuck are you?”

“Alex, she’s standing right beside you.”

“You can see her, Jacob?”

“Yes.” The boy squeaked.

“Wait. Jacob?” Margaret asked.

“Margaret, can you see Jacob?” Alex’s voice cracked.


“No, no, no.” Alex paced the room. “Babe, what’s the last thing you remember?”

About the Author:

Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting the sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.

Released in September 2019 from The Parliament House, Alex McKenna and The Geranium Deaths. The first book in a YA, Paranormal, LGBTQ series, that features a seventeen-year-old, transgender boy with paranormal abilities.

Book Two, Alex McKenna and The Academy of Souls debuted October 2020.

Vicki-Ann has several titles that have received Reader's Favorite Five Star seal, as well as the 2017 and 2018 winner of, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Most recently, Alex McKenna and The Geranium Deaths, received the Gold medal in the Readers Favorite Book Awards for Young Adult, Paranormal.

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