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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Finding Magic in the Ordinary

Like any kid, I loved fairy tales, fables and legends. Their mystical magic became ingrained in my head, making the world seem full of possibilities invisible to the eye. But never to the imagination! I guess that’s why I love fantasies in real-world settings – at first, everything appears ordinary, then… surprise! Everything you thought to be plain and run-of-the-mill has a deeper underlying truth – or a secret. It makes you look twice at the world around you, and question reality. Is the woman who bought the inn just a lonely widow, or is she related to a goddess? Is the waitress at the diner just a poor girl in love with the wrong guy, or is she a demon?

Yes and yes. *grins* Another reason I love contemporary fantasies – real emotions and situations are layered within, so the characters are not only believable but you can relate to them.

In The Magic of Lavender, the heroine Jocelyn Gibson doesn’t become aware of her family ties to the realm of magic, or to the Goddess Iris, until she buys an old bed and breakfast. That single act, an everyday occurrence, breaks down the wall around she’s built up since childhood, shielding her memories about the fae. All she wants is a quiet life, preparing special dishes made with lavender, but before she can have it, she has to first deal with a few demons and goddesses. How could she know the inn sat atop powerful ley lines that would cause a battle to erupt between the forces of dark and light?

Even the secondary characters with roots in mythology can have very real feelings. For instance, the guardian of the gates of Tartarus, which is just outside Hades proper, is one of the three Harpies, the Erinye named Tisiphone. Terrible to look upon, and even more terrible to smell, lol, Tisiphone must make sure no one escapes the outer boundaries of Hell. It’s a lonely job patrolling the gate, but someone has to do it. Still, a girl has feelings. She likes to be invited out once in awhile, or at least keep up with the gossip from the outside world. Or world above, as the case may be. So when the hero is kidnapped and trapped in Tartarus, and runs into Tisiphone at the gate, he unwittingly hurts her feelings by filling her in on the latest news: there’s a war between demons and fae in his hometown. No one told Tisiphone. So if she happens to let the gate slip so Eric can slip through, well… who can blame her?

The research for this novel led me deeper and deeper into mythology. I loved learning about the Goddess Iris – messenger to the gods, and also Goddess of the Rainbow, the bridge between the worlds. The painting at right of the Goddess Iris led me to connect Iris to the world of the fae.

The Magic of Lavender is the first book in The Goddess Connection series, which  says: Every woman should embrace her inner goddess. What’s your connection?

I have several more novels in this series in mind to follow. In each, the heroine will be somehow connected to a goddess. Her lifelong quirks will become strengths once she finds her true place in the world, and accepts herself for who she really is. Something we should all do! Every woman should be treated like a goddess, don’t you think? ;)

Here’s an excerpt:
Feeling useless, he poked at the logs in the fireplace. The flames leapt higher, and he crouched to stare into the fire. He should be used to it by now—the fact that everyone had a family to share the holidays with. Everyone but him. And Joss. His awareness of her heightened to a sharp keenness. He tried to dredge up a memory of Karen, but the vivid image of Joss in the kitchen blotted it out. He shouldn’t just sit here. He should go home. But then Joss would be left to finish up all alone.
As if in a dream, he moved to the kitchen doorway. “Need any help?”
Dishes and food warmers crowded the counters. She glanced over and flashed a humorless smile. “No, I’m fine.”
Then why didn’t she sound fine? She sounded upset. He moved closer, needing to do something, anything, to erase whatever pained her.
She fumbled containers into the fridge. “Why don’t you go relax? You’re welcome to put on a new CD, maybe sit by the fire. Before you go home.”
He didn’t want to do any of those things. He stood dangerously close, fighting the urge to touch her hair, run his hands down her back.
With wide eyes, she averted her gaze, her body tense as she moved to the sink, picked up the towel and dried a glass. “It’s supposed to dip into the twenties tonight, so if you need to get going now, then—”
He slipped the towel from her hand. “I live three minutes from here.”
“Right.” She slid her gaze away, but turned toward him, opening to him. To the possibility of him. “But the snow…”
Only inches away, the heat from her body zapped the slate of his mind clean. He operated on impulse. On need.
In a breathless rush, she asked, “Did you enjoy your meal?”
“Mm hm.” Every course of the meal brought his taste buds to life as never before. His senses still vividly alive, he traced her collar bone with one finger.
“Eric…” She inclined her head toward his hand.
The motion, slight as it was, made his pulse race. Hearing her murmur his name ignited his senses. His heart revved in his chest like a race car engine ready to explode from the startling line. “Don’t send me away. Please.” He touched his lips to her forehead, then her nose.
Her breath smelled of coffee and cranberries, and something more enticing—herself. “You’re making it difficult to, but…”
His mouth hovered near hers, just out of reach. “Don’t say no,” he whispered.
The honey gold of her hair caught the light, and she appeared illuminated from within. Parting her lips enticingly, she searched his face.
It wasn’t a no. It was enough of a maybe that he closed the space between them. The feel of her soft lips and sweet-tasting tongue moving against his made him shudder with tantalizing release.

Have a magical weekend!

Multipublished, award-winning author Cate Masters loves stories with a dash of magic, mayhem and romance! Reviewers have described her stories as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” and “such romantic tales that really touch your soul.”

When not spending time with her family, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at, Facebook, Goodreads, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.


Mara said...

Hi, Cate:
I'm sure you hear from lots of people, so I don;t know if you remember me from a little while back. I won this book in a contest, but haven't gotten to it yet. I hadn't read any excerpts before this one and now your book is next up! I can't wait to stop fooling around on 'net and get reading. Hope all is well,
marajbrandon AT earthlink DOT net

Stacie said...

I studied several mythologies I'm college. I'm always fascinated when I read a story with strong elements of mythology in them.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Robin said...

I love mythology, and your series looks fantastic!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Na said...

Hi Cate! I recently won this book in a contest and I remember what intrigued me about it was the magic world in which the story revolves around. I have always been fascinated with mytholody and magic.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks Mara! I hope you enjoy reading it! :)

Stacie, I loved mythological stories since I was young, from Sinbad to Hercules. Finding Joseph Campbell was like a revelation!

Thanks Robin! I hope you check it out. :)

Hi Na - hope you enjoy it!

Have a great week!

JohnF said...

Mythology is great! Best of luck!