Monday, February 28, 2022

Neely Powell's Top 10 Favorite Witches

Moira Franklin, Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

The wonderful Alpha and Omega (Charles and Anna Cornick) series by Briggs has one of my favorite witches in this book. Moira is married to Tom, a werewolf and second in the Emerald City pack in Seattle. Tom and Moira help Anna battle vampires that attack while the three are shopping. Moira is wonderful because she is a true white witch. In order to defeat her evil father, she needed a blood sacrifice and used her own eye. Such a sacrifice! Briggs also wrote a short story about how Tom and Moira met. Moira now wears wrap-around sunglasses because her eyes are so badly scarred. Though this is all I’ve read of the witch, I find she stays with me as a compelling character.

The Witches of Eastwick 

Though the book by John Updike is much darker, this movie, featuring Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Cher is dynamite. The three innocent young women don’t realize they have witch powers until Jack’s character helps them discover their hidden depths. Of course, you must have conflict, and the local devout Christian (Veronica Cartwright) wants their evilness revealed. It’s a fun movie with the dark side of magic. Like most movies, it drifts a long way from the book’s story, but I’d watch Jack Nicholson read a cereal box. Great movie for witch lovers everywhere.

Lily Ivory, The Witchcraft series by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory is a powerful solitary witch. Abandoned by her father, given to her grandmother by her mother, and banished from her hometown in Texas, Lily spent most of her life traveling. Now she is settled in San Francisco, making friends, running her own shop, and solving murders. For a witch, Lily is wonderfully innocent and naive. She has an affinity for vintage clothing and has a lovely shop that attracts a variety of customers. She’s involved in so many murders that a local homicide detective, who believes in her powers, becomes a good friend. I like Lily because she always seeks the good in people but puts all her efforts into destroying the evil she finds.

Endora, Bewitched

The thorn in Darrin Stephens’ side is his mother-in-law, Endora. She’s the perfect nemesis because he has asked his beautiful witchy wife to live with him as a mortal. He wants her to leave her magic in the closet, as it were. Endora, clad in wonderful kaftans and scarves, Is the perfect witch, popping in and out of their lives at will. As Samantha’s mother, Endora resents her daughter’s desire not to be magical and spends much of her time casting spells on Darrin and generally bringing chaos to his workplace. What’s not to love? Add to that Samantha’s other relatives, you’ve got a great sitcom. I think of it often and always twitch my nose. Alas, nothing happens.

Brenna Connelly Burns, Awakening Magic by Neely Powell

Brenna is a young witch, full of rebellion and a desire to do more, with no definite goal in mind about what that is. She has returned to New Mourne after living in Atlanta. A gifted artist, she’s working on illustrations for a friend’s children’s book. She’s unaware her family has lived under the curse of the Woman in White for centuries. However, she and the four younger witches in the coven determine they will not just accept their fate as their ancestor witches have done. When she begins to feel the full impact of her power, she believes she can end this curse before another generation is damned.

Wicked Witch of the West, Wizard of Oz movie, 1939

Many people don’t know that L. Frank Baum’s fanciful 1900 book is quite different from the movie. In the novel, the Wicked Witch of the West had one eye, flew by umbrella instead of a broom, and wasn’t green at all. Thank goodness they changed her. She may be the stereotypical, hook-nosed witch as portrayed by Margaret Hamilton, but she is magnificent in her wickedness. The way she buzzes Munchkinville on that broom and orders her monkeys to fly—oh my, it’s divine! She’s the first film character that gave me nightmares. Maybe not good for my parents, but she lit my imagination on fire. 

Gillian Holroyd, Bell, Book and Candle movie, 1958

Portrayed by the gorgeous Kim Novak, Gillian lives in Greenwich Village, runs an art gallery and is really a witch. Her handsome neighbor, Shep, is portrayed by Jimmy Stewart at his charming best. Gillian is aided by her witch aunt and warlock brother in luring Shep away from his current fianceé It’s a lot of fun. For the conservative 1950s, the sexual chemistry between Stewart and Novak is off the charts. She’s like a cat on the prowl, and even when I was younger I liked how she owned her sensuous nature. Warning: this movie is well before Women’s Lib. However, it always gives me that happy “Awww” at the end. 

Nell Channing, Dance Upon the Air, Book #1 Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts

On the run from a dangerous past, Nell is unaware of her magical abilities. But she finds her true self and her sisters of the heart on this enchanted island. It’s the home she’s sought all of her life. Nell’s quiet power comes from the strength and confidence she builds day by day. She’s found the courage to face her darkest fear and realize she deserves the greatest of joys. In this trilogy are three complicated and intriguing witches, but it’s Nell who drew me in with her gentle ways and core of strength. 

Sally Owens, Practical Magic movie, 1998

In every family, there’s a practical member, one who throws the lifeline, rights the ship, and keeps a steady hand on the wheel. That’s who Sandra Bullock plays in this wildly entertaining movie. It’s Sally’s loyalty to her sister I love the most. Even though the women in Sally’s small town have ostracized her for being a witch, she sets aside her feelings and calls on them to help save her sister. I like Sally for being sensible, but it’s when she lets her hair down a little, I wish she was my friend. I defy you to watch the margarita scene and not want a tangy frozen drink of your own.

Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac song, 1975

Full disclosure: Rhiannon is not a witch, but a legendary Welsh goddess who chooses a mortal man instead of a god. She’s punished, of course. Songwriter Stevie Nicks didn’t know the full story when she introduced it as “a song about an old Welsh witch.” So Rhiannon lives in my mind as a witch. The image merges with Nicks’s own stage persona with her flowing black gowns and an air of danger and mystery. I really wanted to be Steve Nicks, wore feathered earrings and necklaces, and tried to convince myself I had the magical powers of Rhiannon. Sadly, I’m not a witch or as sexy as Stevie, but I can still dream when I hear this song. 

Awakening Magic   
The Witches of New Mourne
Book One
Neely Powell 

Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Publisher: Findaway Voices
Date of Publication: 2020 
ISBN: 978-166-4926707  
Number of pages: 332
Word Count: 65,001
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description: 

An enchanted town. A vengeful spirit. A powerful coven under siege. For generations the Connelly witches made a great sacrifice to protect their town. In exchange, New Mourne remained a refuge for humans and supernatural beings to live in peace. 

Now Brenna Burns, or another chosen female of this generation, is next in line to die—unless Brenna can find a way to end the curse of the malevolent Woman in White. With coven protections breached, Sheriff Jake Tyler joins the battle. The witch and the shapeshifter search for answers to break the curse, becoming closer every day. Passion overrules reluctance as their romance intensifies. But how can love grow when murder and violence threaten their world? The time for sacrifice draws near. 

The powers of the Connelly witches may not be enough to defeat the dark magic that holds New Mourne. As the demonic influence drains the small town of its peace, the coven struggles to break its deadly bargain with the Woman in White.

Excerpt Awakening Magic:

Connelly land had been stained by death But Brenna was determined to vanquish any trace of dark magic from this sacred clearing. “You’ll not take this from me.”

She wanted the Woman in White to appear and answer her. She wanted to challenge the spirit’s right to inflict misery on her family yet again. The only response was the sudden, sharp screech of an owl.

Brenna learned as a child that barn owls didn’t hoot. Their call was shrill, almost a scream.

“You feel it, don’t you?” she said to the bird. “This beautiful place is soiled.”

The owl fell silent as Brenna set up her candles at five points. With a flick of her wrist they flamed to life. Then she shed her clothes and shoes. Skyclad, she lifted her hands, palms up, and chanted, “Dirt from the earth, wind through the trees, water to cleanse, salt to set free. Banish the evil, honor my plea. As I will, so mote it be.”

She poured salt and water in a wide circle and repeated the cleansing spell. The calm and beauty of her family’s land pushed against the darkness. The owl called out another warning.

Brenna opened her eyes and locked gazes with a white tiger. Huge. Predatory. Standing like a statue just beyond her charmed circle. His tongue flicked around his mouth and displayed gleaming, sharp teeth.

Brenna expelled a deep breath. “God, shifter, you scared me.”

Haunting Magic 
The Witches of New Mourne 
Book Two
Neely Powell

Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Findaway Voices 
Date of Publication: 2/15/2021
ISBN:  978-166-9617143
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 55,000
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description:

Fiona Burns, a witch who sees dead people, meets Hollywood producer Bailey Powers, who sees her as the next cable star—and a fake. Even so, she’s tempted by the dynamic producer in more ways than one. But she has a big distraction—a vicious curse on her family coven. The ghosts of New Mourne warn of the return of the Woman in White, a vengeful spirit who claims the life of a Connelly witch from every generation. 

During the battle, Fiona unwittingly fuels the demonic forces, and black magic brings death and heartbreak to her family. Initially a skeptic, Bailey is soon caught up in her supernatural battle with forces of evil. He’s also beginning to think Fiona can help him escape his haunting past. 

With magic and mayhem at war and survival on the line, the Witches of New Mourne face a new challenge from their ancient foe. They discover that not all dark deeds are borne of the Woman but a demon who is bent on gaining the Woman’s powers for his own. Will another generation fall? Or does the curse end here?

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Excerpt Haunting Magic:

Overgrown weeds covered the back of the cemetery. In the deepening gloom, Fiona stumbled over a stump. The baby’s screams filled her head. She had to help this child.

The grave markers in the back of the cemetery were the oldest ones. Some of them were so weathered it was impossible to read the names and dates on them.

When they reached the back corner, Fiona knelt. All she could hear was the baby’s cry. She dug through the weeds and scruff in front of her, ignoring the sting of thorns on her hands.

Bailey dug with her, and soon she touched the cool stone of a broken grave marker.

“Baby MacCuindliss” was carved in uneven letters deep in the stone.

“This is the Woman in White’s baby.” Fiona traced the name on the marker with tender fingers. “Please don’t cry,” she whispered. “I’ll try to find your mother, I promise.”

The baby’s cry faded to a whimper. The mist blew away, leaving Fiona and Bailey under a canopy of threatening clouds.

“MacCuindliss,” Fiona breathed. “The Woman’s name.”

Lightning streaked over the mountains, and the ominous stink of sulfur infused the air.

Audio Book Trailer

About the Authors:

Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell are the writing team of Neely Powell. They met working at a rock ‘n roll radio station, discovered they’d both rather be writing fiction, and have been close friends ever since. Their path to cowriting paranormal romance took some detours. Leigh’s resume chronicles a diverse career as a disk jockey, newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter, magazine writer and editor. 

Jan wrote 24 romance novels as Celeste Hamilton for Silhouette and Avon Books and then built a career in corporate communications and public relations. 

Neely Powell became a successful team when they turned their attention to shifters, werewolves, witches, ghosts, fae and all things supernatural. Their first novel was TRUE NATURE from The Wild Rose Press, followed by AWAKENING MAGIC, HAUNTING MAGIC, and HEALING MAGIC. 

Their rules for maintaining a partnership are simple:  be honest, be kind, and bring Diet Coke and chocolate.

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