Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Taste of... Easy Bake Coven

Ok keep in mind this is a really rough draft (as in 90k in 4 weeks rough), but since I have been talking about it so much I figure it is only fair if I share a little with you guys. After today I will start talking about the book I am going to publish hopefully around May if all goes well.

(Picture by Kim check her out here)

Chapter One

“Gram… I’m a witch!”

“Uh… one more time, only with less enthusiasm. When you do that fake excited thing you do, you get this crazed look in your eye, it’s sort of creepy. Also open-mindedness and old generations… not really a match made in heaven.”

I nodded squaring my shoulders and rolling my neck “Gram, you might want to sit down, but you know that thing we don’t talk about and how I never really fit in… well apparently I’m a witch.” I tried again considerably more sedated.

“They don’t make you a witch, Selene, it’s just your personality.” Katrina laughed hysterically along with Kristin, Devin, and Jessica. I was less amused.

I swung a throw pillow from a nearby chair at them as they feebly tried to block with their forearms. “Damn it, I’m serious. I want to tell my grandma. She’s my only family… I have to tell her.”

“Selene, you’re so pretty.” She laughed because that was code for you are dumb “We are 26, I’m just sayin’, if you haven’t told her by now…” Kristin trailed off raising her hands in a helpless shrug “Don’t you think she would be better off not knowing? I mean she’s old. She could keel over from the shock.”

They didn’t understand. I was raised by my grandmother and she was all the family I had. That’s it, no one else just her and me. You may think that would make us close, but you would be wrong. We never really bonded, but she was my blood and that had to mean something. Hiding this these last five years was giving me an ulcer. I really wanted… no that’s not right, I needed to bite the bullet, ride the bull, just spit it out already. Even if the thought of it made me want to climb inside of an oven–the Hansel and Gretel irony did not escape me.

They had all told their families in one way or another and with relative ease. Hell, it was two thousand and whatever it wasn’t a big deal. Wiccan had totally been trumped by Jedi. We had become a generation of pop-culture fanatics with a desperate need to individualize ourselves. My grandmother, on the other hand, was an entirely different breed… an old school, strict Catholic. Let’s just say, it was fairly certain she wouldn’t be throwing me a parade. I would be lucky to ever make it back into her house.

“Thou shall not suffer a witch to live,” popped miserably into my head.

“You guys suck.” I grumbled annoyed that they couldn’t be serious for five consecutive seconds.

“Dude, I told my family while we were still in college. I sat them down and said I joined a coven. My dad asked how much is that going to cost me, when I told him nothing they proceeded to tell me all about my cousin who was knocked up. Maybe you just think she will react badly. She might just take it in stride, you know, maybe she has more perspective then you are giving her credit for.” Jessica offered at least trying to be helpful. “Not to change the subject or anything, but where in the hell is Leslie?”

Perspective, that was rich. Oh, I know exactly what type of perspective my Gram had. This magic thing wasn’t exactly new. There were rules in the house– do not talk about, acknowledge, or use anything that that had to do with the “m” word. As far as anyone was concerned I was just a normal kid like everyone else. Except I wasn’t and am pretty sure no one was fooled. I wasn’t a total outcast or anything I just didn’t have many close friends. Luckily I was pretty or high school would have been hell. The guys were always nice to me, but the girls were another story all together. Bitches.

Always quiet and polite a bit more like a part of the wall than anything else I never stood up to bullies. I turned the other cheek and yet, somehow, I was largely despised for it. For years, I bit my tongue and held in tears not saying the words that wanted to spill out. Then came college and gone was the submissive shell I had built around myself in an effort to blend. With each mile of distance between us the worry and inhibitions melted into a distant memory safely shoved to the back of my mind.

The way I saw it was Gram was nice enough to take me in and raise me when my parents died the very least I could do is not cause her any trouble by appearing ungrateful. My freshman year of college I did everything, tried everything, and went to every party loving every minute of it. Gone was the quiet exterior and in its place was a girl who spoke her mind and didn’t mince her words. Gram would be horrified enough about that little nugget of information, let alone the witch thing. But if I was ever going to be free of the constraints she put on me I had to do this, regardless of the outcome. I had to stop fearing my grandmother.

“I need a drink,” I said collapsing into the chair, Jessica tossed me a beer.

“Leslie is at a powwow,” Devin told Jessica before looking back at me. “We’re witches. I don’t see what the big deal is. It isn’t like we are sacrificing animals in the bathroom, sticking pins in voodoo dolls, or blowing things up.” I rolled my eyes “Fine, how about this, your grandma is three hours away, let it be.” Devin suggested.

It wasn’t that Devin didn’t have a point, she did. In fact she was right. Those common misconceptions about witches that seemed to plague society were not in the least what we were. We were simply six women not too far out of college who happened to have some rather special interests. We were as different as the four elements we called on–Earth, Air, Fire, and Water–and that is what made our small coven strong. We didn’t advertise and we certainly didn’t recruit. No need for our extracurricular activities to get back to our day jobs, if you know what I mean.

The idea of being a witch attracted me because I wasn’t bogged down with rules about my behavior. I had enough of that in my life. The two main rules of the craft were to do whatever you want so long as it didn’t hurt anyone else and whatever you send out into the universe will come back to you threefold. I could deal with that, in fact, I hoped it was true. I spent so much of my life practicing the first rule without even the hope of being rewarded threefold. We had monthly coven meetings, but they were more like fun nights with the girls, less like casting spells and trying to take over the world. I saw being a witch as living a more natural life, paying homage to a time lost with technology and innovation.

“Besides people have been calling us all witches, or other rhyming words, for years, we might as well get the perks.” Katrina added an amused glint still in her eyes.

I twisted the cap off my beer and threw it at Kat hitting her squarely in the forehead. I love these girls more than anything. In college we found each other, a shared interest in the occult, and a bond that seemed unbreakable. Add in a few startling natural abilities… voila an easy bake coven. I didn’t want to think about grandma anymore tonight. “Whatever, let’s hit a bar.”

“That’s my girl.” Kristin said with enthusiasm as they all hopped up ready to go. I stood draining my beer and depositing the bottle in the recycling container on my way to my front door. Gram didn’t need to know, it was easier on both of us that way.

“Where are we going?” Jessica asked.

“Sky!” Devin said immediately. She was a bona fide karaoke junkie and Sky was her favorite hangout or as she explained “they know us there.”

Katrina groaned, Jessica laughed and I called dibs on Bon Jovi bumping fists with Kristin.

The five of us saddled up to the bar flagging down the bartender. “Ladies, nice to see you again. What can I get you?”

“Cosmo,” called out Kat.

“Miller light,” added Jess.

“Budweiser,” Kristin said over her shoulder.

“Ummm do you have something fruity? Like something that is sweet, but with no melon.” Devin asked indecisive as ever.

“A sweet tart?” he asked.

“Sure, that would be fine.”

Finally it was my turn “A vodka tonic and a round of jager bombs.” I replied to his raised eyebrow. He winked at me with a knowing smile. The bartender was sort of cute, how had I never noticed him before. I watched him as he made the drinks while the girls complained about my order.

“Oh my God, I hate jager.” Jess complained.

“I thought you have yoga in the morning?” Devin chimed

Kat smirked with me as the bartender lined up our shots, “Here's to being single...drinking doubles...and seeing triple!” she proclaimed.

We clinked our glasses, downed the shot and staked claim at a table. It was going to be a good night.


The 7:00am yoga class I taught came much too soon. It felt like I collapsed into bed only to have my alarm immediately start screeching at me. I crawled out of bed, downed some Advil, and made a green smoothie before heading for my studio, the Luna Lair.

The yoga studio started as a side business while I was in college. I advertised on campus and before I knew it had full rosters for every class and a waiting list. After graduation I continued on with the studio hiring three more instructors and expanded operations. My little business venture had paid off and thank God for that, I had no desire to get an eight to five sort of job.

Unlocking the door, I flipped on the lights in the store front where I sold yoga clothes and accessories, candles, teas, smoothies, and charms. The charms and the candles were my own creation. The new age people absolutely loved reading my signs about blue candles helping success and confidence, the red candles sexual passion and determination, the green candles wealth and luck and it was all true, just not quite as easy as burning a candle. However, no one really wanted to know that.

Everyone always wanted the easy road, the one with no sign of work. You can burn every green candle in the world, but if you aren’t willing to put the work in no money will come to you. Magic isn’t an easy fix, if anything it is dangerous in that it gives people an excuse to be lazy. It wasn’t common knowledge that I made the luck charms or love candles they bought, but they all swore by them and the little directional spell cards I handed out with each purchase. I may not be completely out as a witch, but I was profiting from it.

Once the candles were lit, the meditation playlist humming softly through the air, and I was sitting on the mat in full lotus my head stopped pulsing. I found my center like an old friend and began mediating. Clearing my mind completely of thought I was disappointed when I heard the faint sound of the door opening. I should have had at least 15 minutes of mediation before anyone arrived. My eyes opened to greet the first arrival, but in front of me stood a man I had never seen before. He was around six feet tall, a rangy build, carefully disheveled brown hair, and a couple days worth of stubble.

“Are you here for yoga?” I asked as I stood up though he was obviously not dressed for exercise in fashionably worn jeans, a collared shirt not tucked in underneath a sweater with the sleeves rolled up haphazardly to mid forearm.


“Yes, and you are?”

“Cheney” he reached towards me, but I took a step back. His hazel eyes searching mine for something rather intently. His odd overly familiar behavior made my skin crawl and my stomach tighten. I looked away as soon as was polite because I didn’t want to offend a potential customer just yet. I could wait to see how weird things got.

“Do you have a last name?” Something I can tell the cops if you attack me.

“What? Oh, um Hunt.”

“What may I help you with, Mr. Hunt?” I said a little more coolly then I had intended. My head started to throb again and I could feel energy collecting within me ready to lash out at the slightest provocation. Mr. Hunt had better tell me why he was here and soon.

The door opened and two of my regular students walked in smiling. I greeted them with a smile and some of the tension slipped away. I looked back to Mr. Hunt, who had a frown creasing his face, still staring at me.

“Do you need something, Mr. Hunt?” I prompted him.

“Now appears to not be a good time for you to speak. I'll be in touch.” He said before abruptly turning around and walking out of the studio with the long graceful strides of a dancer.

I stared at the door long after he had left hoping I never had to see Mr. Hunt again. Something wasn’t right about him.


Pamela Mason said...

Great Chapter 1! I see conflict all over the place. And pov...
teenytinytenitnsy word to fix: talking about Gramma miles away, she dropped her "inhibitions"; at least I think that's what you want here.
Is this the beginning of a series? May I make one more teensy suggestion? If you are thinking of a story with all 4 women, give the love story to the other 3 first... make the readers wait & really really want Selene's story.
You knew that already, didn't you? ;)
Loved it!
Now I'm late....

C.G. Powell said...

Love it! Good luck and happy editing, I can't wait to read the end product.

robsad79 said...

I like it!

Khloë Kamalis said...

I really like this. I think you have described the protagonist with the precise words that allow the reader in the first chapter to get an insight into her being and thinking. You've won me over from this rough draft read. Can't wait to read more!

V.K. Tremain said...

I agree with everyone above! Great start Liz, and I can't wait to see more!! I really want to know about Mr. Hunt... :)

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