Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crafty Dames: Famous Witches- Guest post by Random Magics author Sasha Sorenson

Todays guest post is from Sasha Soren, the lovely, charismatic author of Random Magic (which I'm desperately eager to start but am currently toiling my way through Tommyknockers which has the slowest beginning!):

In Random Magic, by Sasha Soren, we meet a very resourceful, orphaned witch, who uses her street smarts to survive, as much as she uses her magic.
She’s one of many witches throughout history, who were famous – or infamous – for their quick thinking and cleverness, as much as for their skill with bell, book and candle.
In honor of Halloween, here are some of the world’s most famous witches, both real and fictional, who’ve graced the pages of historical books and novels over the ages:

In Homer's The Odyssey, Odysseus' crew stumbles onto Circe's secret island, guarded by enchanted beasts.  She invites the sailors to a luscious dinner, but the delicious feast is peppered with one of her magical potions, which promptly turns the rowdy crew into a batch of pigs – presumably until she gets around to teaching them better table manners.

Marie Laveau

Marie Laveau was the most honored and feared practitioner of voodoo in 19th century New Orleans. Some say her all-seeing powers are explainable because she worked as a hairdresser among the gentry. Others say she had a network of informants that fed her the most salacious gossip.

No matter how Marie obtained her information, thousands sought her out to cook up a little magic to cure all ills; most popular were spells and trinkets to cure wayward lovers. Marie reportedly cured her own love troubles by making her first husband disappear, then took a common-law lover until his death in 1835.

After her death, people reported seeing Marie still ambling along the shadowy streets of New Orleans. Her final resting place is in dispute, but visitors to the Saint Louis Cemetery #1 cover her supposed tomb with three Xs (xxx) when they come to pay homage, in the hopes that the spirit of Marie Laveau will grant a few lucky visitors their heart’s desire.

Laurie Cabot
Part public spectacle and part high priestess, celebrity witch Laurie Cabot has practiced the craft in SalemMassachusetts as the ‘Official Witch of Salem’ since the 1970s.
Sometimes a controversial figure, she’s also credited with raising the profile of the craft in the U.S., and supporting the civil rights of witches who practice the craft as a religion.
She’s the founder of popular magic shop The Cat, The Crow and the Crown, which sells all manner of witchy things, from herbal potions to actual bells, books and candles.

Baba Yaga
A crafty, sometimes dangerous old lady, Baba Yaga is a much-loved (and much-feared) figure in Slavic tales of magic and mayhem.
Portrayed as a ferocious hag with iron teeth and a head filled with trickery, Baba Yaga lives in a chicken-leg hut, in a yard fenced off by human bones.
Usually feared by evil-doers, whom Baba Yaga punishes for their wicked ways, she has a soft spot for the pure of heart.
The fearsome Baba Yaga can and will - depending on her inclination - help anyone protected by the intense power of love, their own purity of spirit, or a mother's blessing. Those looking for a little assistance from this fearsome witch have to have one more unusual trait: The courage to ask her for her help, in the first place!
Baba Yaga makes an appearance in Random Magic, but of course, she’s never straightforward and it’s hard to tell if she’ll help our heroes (Winnie and Henry) or eat them. Our Random Magic Baba Yaga has a sweet tooth for good eats – and naughty people.

The cantankerous heroine of Random Magic, a young witch who depends on her wits to survive, as much as her magic!
In this excerpt from the book, Winnie has to reason her way through a tricky puzzle and save herself and Henry from a ghastly death. What’s more, her opponents are skilled in magic, too - but straightforward magic can’t help Winnie win the battle now, so she has to use her smarts…

Excerpt: Random Magic, by Sasha Soren

“Let me just get this straight. We can either take the left bridge, or the right bridge?”
 “And they’re both magic?”
   “And one -- exists…” she said carefully.
   “Temporarily,” the pair said together.
   “Right. We can walk across it.”
   “Just so.”
   “But the other one looks just fine, but…”
   “Halfway across, it will dissolve and you’ll fall to a horrific death.”
   Who’d said it? Winnie couldn’t tell. Seemed like they were finishing each other’s sentences.
   “Uh-huh,” Winnie said. “Maybe I’m wrong, but that doesn’t seem like a very logical way to go about collecting tolls.”
   “Ah,” he said. “No, it’s the lisp, you see. Souls.”
   He meant souls.
   “Euw. Well, Henry…”
   She turned around. Henry had turned a shade of pale that looked unnatural outside of London.
   “Can one play for two?” Winnie asked casually.
   The pair of riddle-asking gits looked at each other.
   Winnie sighed. “Look, we haven’t got all day. Double the stakes just means you’ll get your toll quicker -- two for the price of one, yeah?”
   “So -- let’s get on with it. That okay with you, Henry?”
   “Nnnh-hahhh,” he said, biting his lip to muffle the sound of his teeth chattering. “Nnhhh…”
   “I think that’s a yes. So…”
   Henry fainted.
   “Huh,” said Winnie. “What a time to take a nap.”

Find out more about Random Magic or Check out the trailer:

Random Magic:
Summary: When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes.
Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is.
Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Strüths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time.
And – here be yet more witches!: Famous witches


  1. You won an award! http://ocdaboutbooks.blogspot.com

  2. yay! sasha! ooo, yes, baba yaga is such a baddie. i loved Random Magic - fun book!

  3. I'm so excited to read it, so happy to hear you liked it. It sounds ridiculously fun.

    Thank you Karen, I'll take a look.

  4. It sounds like fun, but I wonder if it is for younger readers. The cover makes me think so too.
    I've been thinking a lot about covers lately, while making a new one for Lethal Inheritance. It's amazing what you can read into an image.

  5. I believe it's YA Tahlia. I agree, covers can really make or break a book, nothing is more appealing than a good cover.