Friday, June 28, 2013

Michigan Author Spotlight With J.L. Hickey

Our Michigan Author Spotlight series is nearing a close here at the end of the week with J.L. Hickey.
J.L. It's great to have you here. Why don't we start this whole thing off by having you introduce yourself.
I began writing short stories back in first grade, terrible stick figures included. Writing has always been a part of my life. In high school I spent many days in my room writing for different websites for fun. After a few years of changing my major in college, I finally decided to follow my heart and graduate from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor’s in creative writing. During my college years I managed to get a short published in Delta’s literary magazine Fuzion. Beyond that, I never wrote for publication. It was all for fun, and I never really thought I would ever make money from it. Fast forward to now, two novels self published and a novella as well. My newest YA novel, Secret Seekers Society is receiving rave reviews all over the world.
And are these books available in print? In eBook?
My first novel the Deity Chronicles is available in print. As for the rest of my works, I find it at this stage in my career that the digital format is the most profitable and affordable for myself and my fans.
What genre do you write in?
My novels are YA fantasy/paranormal. Outside of my published works, I do dabble in literary fiction.

And are you originally from Michigan or just residing here now?

Born and raised in the mitten!
Me too :)
We know you are a Michigan Author but do you consider yourself a “Michigan Author”? Do your stories take place in Michigan generally?
Some do, some don’t. I often make references to Michigan, and unless you’re Pure MI, you may or may not pick up on them.
Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Since Secret Seekers Society’s release on 12/31/12, it is averaging a 4.6 out of a five star review system on goodreads as well as a solid five star review from
I was also able to raise over 1200$ for funding the books editing, formatting, and book cover through a successful kickstarter campaign. Gaining pledges from over three countries based off a first chapter sample. 
Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro follows the young protagonists Hunter Glenn, and Elly Ann through an adventure ripe with adversity, paranormal monsters, secret societies, and most haunting of all, a life without their parents.
The book follows both, the sibling’s emotional struggle from their parent’s sudden loss, as well as their physical journey into a new and strange “home”, an ancient and creepy mansion known only as the Belmonte Estate.
It is here where they first learn of their new guardian, an eccentric old man named Professor Clandestine and the rest of the mansion's caretakers. Tossed into their bedroom, and locked away under the pretense of “safety concerns” it does not take long for the children to hatch an escape plan.
Follow the children as they slowly unravel the secrets of their parent’s true identities, the origin of the strange Mansion, and their inheritance into an ancient secret society of monster hunters known as Seekers.
for more info on my book:
 Sounds great! I actually can't wait to get my hands on these.

Now back to our state - What is your favorite thing about Michigan? Summer nights up north in Petosky, Mi. Talk about a writer’s haven! There is something about northern Michigan that really gets my creative juices flowing. Staying up late by the lake with my lap top and a beer is what life is all about. Yeah that does sound pretty good.
Okay now some just for fun questions …

Salt Water Taffy or Mackinaw Island Fudge:  Fudge, duh. The Island or the city: City Trolls VS. Yoopers – your vote: Trolls for life! Your favorite Michigan Season: Fall Michigan or Michigan State: State, only because I am a huge fan of Jason Richardson. Football or Hockey: Hockey
Your favorite Michigan City: PetoskyYour favorite Michigan Lake: Crooked Lake. Your favorite Michigan Hideaway: Posniewaing, Mi Paradise or Hell: Paradise, who choses hell?Haha - you'd be surprised ;) What’s your favorite Michigan Highway: US 10??? Your favorite book that showcases Michigan: Michigan Ghost Stories, or something to that extent. That book gave me nightmares when I was a kid! The grass man!
And finally what’s next for you?
With the huge success of Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro, I am hard at work on book two of the series. With that being said, I am trying to balance time between writing, promoting, querying for agents, and all that falls in-between. Also, as I near closer to the finished version of the second book, I am slowing putting together a new Kickstarter campaign in order to fund everything that comes with the debut. Secret Seekers Society and Solomon’s Seal is set for a December 19th 2013 release date!
How can we keep up with you? Give us your social media stats ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by today J.L. Hickey and as always leave a comment or question and one of us will respond to it.

Oh! And for those of you who don't already know The Secret Seekers Society will be free to download tomorrow and Sunday! So I for one will certainly be taking advantage of that.
Thanks again J.L. Great to have you!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Michigan Author Spotlight With Bruce Jenvey

The Michigan Author Spotlight continues with EPIC award winner Bruce Jenvey!
Bruce why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in rural Michigan, then after college, I spent twenty years in advertising creative departments, then ten more years publishing a travel and history magazine for the Great Lakes region. But in recent years, I’ve slowed down and turned my writing time to fiction. That’s the hardest, but the most rewarding.

And obviously you’re published, correct?
Oh, everything that’s finished is now published! Angela’s Coven was published through MuseItUp Publishing and won the EPIC Award for best book of the year (Paranormal Category) just this past March. The paperback version was also released through them. The second book in that Series, The Great Northern Coven was released by MuseItUp just this past October but the print version, and all my other works so far have been published through Coven Books.

And you are available in both print and eBook?
All of my works (except one) are currently available as E-Books and in Paperback on both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites as well as through other retailers. The only one not in paperback is a Christmas short story I wrote Called Christmas Eve At Shorty’s about a special night in a pretty magical roadhouse. I published it for free on my website ( and made it available as an e-book on Amazon and B&N for just 99¢ (they wouldn’t let me make it always free). But the short answer is, YES, no matter HOW you like to read, you can find ME! J
Great! What kinds of books do you write?
I’m definitely a paranormal kind of guy… Make that resoundingly so!
J My first novel, Angela’s Coven, is the first in the Cabbottown Witch series and deals with modern-day witches working with olde world witchcraft in New York City and upstate New York. By ‘olde world’ I mean there are no pointy hats, no magic wands, no hocus pocus. It’s more chemistry and herbal as the midwives practiced it in the Dark Ages.
The second book in the series, The Great Northern Coven, takes us to the wilds of Alaska with bush pilots and Inuit Indians but again, it’s a very similar theme showing how much we are all connected. And yes, even though they take place worlds apart, they are connected so you’ll want to read that first one, first.
Now, that said, there are also individual themes in each story. Angela’s Coven (about a modern day witch who risks all to save a terminally ill rock star from his unfortunate deal with the devil), is full of themes about new beginnings and starting over. On the other hand, The Great Northern Coven (about a bush pilot who becomes lost in an ancient prophecy and the only one who can save them all has forgotten she was born a witch), is more about letting go, moving on, and taking that next step forward in our lives.
My current work in progress is the third book that will be called The Ragtime Coven and will be a prequel to the first book. It’s going to take place in the Roaring Twenties and will have rumrunners, gangsters and flappers… lots of fun.
My other two shorter works: Benny and Kevin, are also about the paranormal but not witchcraft. In Benny, an elderly man, alone and dying in a nursing home, still dreams of being a hero at night, a hero with super human powers. But are they just dreams?
In Kevin, a spoiled, unproductive teenager accidentally steps in front of a bus and is dismayed to find himself rejected by Heaven and seated in Hell. Unfortunately, Lucifer doesn’t think Kevin is his kind of people either, and sends the teen back to his life, as a ghost, to find proof that he’s good enough to get into Hell. But while on his dubious quest, Kevin comes across a great evil he never knew existed and is forced into a moral decision for the ages.
As in all my works, there is drama as well as there is humor. You’ll be laughing through your tears so keep the tissues handy! You can see all my works on Amazon, just search my name and they all come up.

They all sound very intriguing. I have a fetish, for lack of a better word, for Native American folk lore in modern day literature. So The Great Northern Coven sounds like it might be right up my alley.
But let’s talk Michigan. You're originally from here right and you're still residing here now?
Michigan born and raised. I can see you want some more details: I was born in Lansing and spent the first few years of my life in and around Vermontville, Michigan. Then, in the middle of grade school, my family moved north of Grand Rapids to a small town called Howard City where I really grew up and came of age. (Bear in mind, I use the term ‘grew up’ rather loosely!)  After four years at Michigan State, I moved the Metropolitan Detroit area where I have lived and worked for the last thirty-five years.
We know you are a Michigan Author but do you consider yourself a “Michigan Author”? Do your stories take place in Michigan, generally?
Well, not just Michigan. When I published Great Lakes Cruiser Magazine, I traveled all over the Great Lakes and yes, you tend to write what you know. I saw towns, harbors, historical sites and their people from Duluth to Upstate New York and well into Canada. I actually did a fair amount of traveling in New York State and Angela’s Coven was set there… although you will find some people, and a couple of places from my childhood magically transported there.
                For The Great Northern Coven, the setting is Haines, Alaska. But again, I transported people, even businesses from Howard City, Michigan into downtown Haines. Also, the main character refers to growing up in western Michigan on several occasions and in various flashbacks about his life, he revisits, the Vermontville Syrup Festival, Rockford’s Art in the Park, and other places like Baptist Lake, Little Whitefish Lake, The Air National Guard at Battle Creek and even the scenic side of Pentwater and the Sleeping Bear Dunes. My hero was Michigan born and raised before deciding to take to the road to hide from his past. (And in a later book… he’ll be coming home!)
Tell us a little more about your work.
OK, I’m going to take advantage of the chance to plug my books, but I’ll try not to abuse and bore everyone. You can go to my Webpage ( and see everything I have written and all the info/buy links. But here, let me tell you about my two favorites; Angela’s Coven and The Great Northern Coven.
 In Angela’s Coven, (2013 EPIC Award Winner), Reggie Sinclair is an aging British rock star living in New York City who has just found out he is terminally ill. He also has a very dark secret: When he was still an undiscovered teenager, he sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his great fame and success. As his life draws to an end, he prepares to face the inevitable until he stumbles upon a very enchanting, modern-day witch named Angela, and her untraditional coven.

Angela gradually introduces Reggie to her world of old school Witchcraft with its roots in alchemy and ‘natural chemistry’ dating to the Dark Ages. As their relationship grows, they devise a plan to break Reggie’s contract and save his soul.

This is a story of the struggle between good and evil with a cast of characters that ranges from guardian angels to young witches-in-training. Together, they have to come to terms with the uncertainties of love, loss, and life decisions to save Reggie from an unbearable eternity. Here is a plot filled with unexpected twists and surprises to the very last page that will also cast an entirely different light on anything you may have ever considered as faith!
Excerpt: Chapter Ten:
How fortunate they were to have yet another bright, warm autumn day, he thought to himself as he sat on the bench in Greenwich Village. Across the street, he could see the flow of customers come and go from Angela’s shop. Perhaps it was another good night’s sleep contributing to his take on the situation, but whatever the reason, he felt buoyant, eager, and filled with curiosity.
He was here to ask questions he hadn’t even yet formed in his mind. How do you ask someone if they were involved in the unexplainable?  Especially when they weren’t even there when it happened?  Maybe he didn’t really know why he was here. But here he was, in his hoodie and his sunglasses, sitting on the bench in the mid-afternoon light, anxiously waiting for the ‘Pointyhats and the Wannabes’ to thin out before he ventured across the street.
He must have lost track of those coming and going from the little shop among the other happenings and distractions on the street. He suddenly heard the shop bell ring and looked up to see her, standing in the open doorway with her hands on her hips. She stared directly at him as if to say, ‘are you coming in or not.’  Getting off the bench, he made his way across the street and followed her through the front door. Entering the shop he noticed they were alone, so he removed his hood and shoved his sunglasses into the sweatshirt pocket.
“See, I knew you’d be back,” she started as she took her place behind the counter.
“Well, I’m surprised to say you were right.”
“And you look well-rested, too.”
“Actually, I am. I’ve slept pretty well these past two nights.”
“The Dream Catcher hang in your window okay?”
“How do you know I hung it in my window?” he playfully challenged.
“Because you did. And because you’re well-rested.”
“Sure of that, are you?”
“Did the pounding wake you up?” The fact she knew about the pounding in the middle of the night suddenly unsettled him.
“Yes… But how do you know—”
“I said my customers were all Pointyhats and Wannabes… I never said I was…”
“Then, just what are you?” he asked with great interest.
“Me?  I’m the ‘real deal,’ as they say…”
“Now, come on. Do you really expect me to believe—”
“I don’t care what you believe, I’m just glad to see it all worked out for you…” And then she paused, as if lost in thought, and her expression changed to one of more concern. “Okay, back here.” She reached across the counter and lightly grabbed his sweatshirt. “Someone’s coming…” she said as she led him around the counter and back into the kitchen.
It was Reggie’s first opportunity to take in this behind-the-scenes glimpse into Angela’s life. Much as he had seen two days before, it was a very dated kitchen with aging appliances and fixtures, yet spotlessly clean. The twin stoves were still covered in various pots and pans all slowly simmering away on a low heat making the kitchen feel cozy, even on this warm, autumn day.
But to his left, along the wall, was a small breakfast table with two chairs completely out of sight from the shop floor. They were old, once painted white, but well-worn with decades of use. She guided him down into the far chair as it groaned slightly in protest under his weight. From here, he faced toward the shop, but he was concealed from view by the wall behind the counter and on his side, a refrigerator and a door he assumed led to a closet.
“I thought you didn’t care who found out I was here?” he asked with mild curiosity. “‘Good for business’ I think you said…”
“That doesn’t mean you want to be discovered. After all, you’re the one with the hood and the sunglasses. Besides, right now I want them buying things, not distracted by the great Reggie Sinclair. So, sit!”
“And what makes you think I’ll obey?” There was a good natured taunting in his voice. She looked at him with a great confidence.
“Because I’m going to give you a potion that immobilizes men,” she said as she reached into the refrigerator behind her and pulled out a long-necked bottle of beer. She twisted off the cap and set it in front of him. “It will also make you very susceptible to suggestion. Now, stay!”
“You are so full of it—” he said, starting to laugh. But she snatched up the bottle by its long neck, and with her thumb over the opening, she gave it a quick, single shake. As she set it back down, she released the pressure in his direction spraying him in the face. “Okay!” He instantly surrendered and picked up a dish towel off the table top, wiping the beer foam from his face.
“I’m sure they won’t be long, Reggie Sinclair,” she said with a smile as she hesitated in the doorway that led back to her counter.
“What do you say, we just make it… ‘Reggie’. I don’t go around calling you by your full name.”
“That’s because you don’t know it.”
“Even if I did…” he started, now realizing his disadvantage.
“Bradbury...” she interrupted. “Angela Bradbury, but Angela will be just fine… Reggie.” She smiled softly at him. And then, on cue, the bell over the shop door jangled as new customers entered. He could tell by their voices and footsteps on the wooden floor, there were at least three that had come in together. “There’s more potion in the fridge if that one starts to wear off…”
From where he sat, he could hear her greet her customers with the same ‘Welcome’ he’d received just the other day. And then after that, the women’s voices all started to mingle together, lost in words and phrases unfamiliar to him. But it gave him a chance to study his surroundings as he sipped on his beer.
The stoves intrigued him the most. They were old, a brand that probably hadn’t been produced since the 1950s. They were also electric, and there was just something that hit him odd about a self-proclaimed witch not cooking over an open fire… or at least with gas. But it even felt odder to think of her as a ‘witch’ for the very first time. A ‘witch…’  She was about as far as you could get from any preconceived notion he’d ever had of a ‘witch.’  But then, he’d never spent a great deal of time thinking about witches.
He tried to peer up from his seat into the pots on the stove to see what was simmering away, but being immobilized in his chair limited his view. From what he could see, it was all water, some with more foam and scum floating on top than others, and none smelled the least bit appetizing. His attention was suddenly drawn to the voices in the other room.
“Conjuring powder!” exclaimed one of the women. And then he recognized Angela’s voice responding.
“It’s something new I just got in from the Far East… still working with it myself.”
“Haven’t conjured up that perfect man yet?” teased a third voice.
“And who could be the ‘perfect’ man?” laughed another.
“Oh, I’d settle for a nice Wade Owens, quarterback-type[E1] ,” came the first voice again. “Or better yet, Steve Crosby. Love the way he sings!” And they all laughed.
“What about Reggie Sinclair?” came still another unfamiliar voice. “I always thought he was way cuter when I was a girl.” More giggling erupted.
“You know, I have all his records right back to the Spitfires,” came the first voice again. “And then I bought them all again on CD, too.”
“He still lives here in New York, you know… I get tweets from his fan club and he’s been seen a couple of times just this week!”
“Oh really?” he could hear Angela’s voice playing along.
“He was signing autographs in the Mid-Town FYE just the other day. That’s when he’s not running around in that sweatshirt and sunglasses pretending to be invisible!”
“You’re kidding, he really does that?” again, it was Angela’s voice playing along.
“Yes. In fact, he’s been seen several times lately right here in the Village. But the fan club says when he’s wearing the hoodie and the sunglasses he wants to be left alone, so we shouldn’t ask him for autographs then.” In the kitchen, Reggie pulled his sunglasses out of his sweatshirt pocket and looked at them with disappointment before tossing them into the wastebasket next to the stoves.
“But he’s still so hot. Even in that silly disguise. Anybody like that come in here, lately, Angela?  Or is that who you’ve been conjuring up with your new powder?”
“Why of course!” she said sarcastically. “What if I told you he was back in my kitchen right now, drinking a beer?” And they all hooted and giggled with the idea as Angela’s cash register began to ring.
When the shop fell quiet again, she stepped back through the doorway and smugly leaned against the fridge. From where she stood, she peered into the wastebasket at the discarded sunglasses.
“You sure Mr. Ed doesn’t want those back?”
“Ha! Ha!”
She reached into the fridge and grabbed two more beers, one for each of them, and then joined him at the table. She rested an elbow on the table top and cradled her chin on her palm as she looked into his face.
“So, tell me about the dream…”
Suddenly self conscious, Reggie looked away and put up his defenses. “Not much to tell, really… it’s gone anyway.”
“How did you know someone was sending you this dream?”
“You know, I never really bought into that whole idea—”
“You hung it in your window… you even heard the pounding… so what made you realize it wasn’t your own dream?”
He took a deep breath before answering. “The dream wasn’t right… I mean the memory is right, but that’s not exactly how it happened. It was… changed.”
“Bad memory?”
Very bad. But in the dream, it was different from what really happened… made me feel even worse—”
“More guilt…more regret?”
“A lot more…and it was the same God damned dream every night…exactly the same and exactly wrong the same exact way—”
“And seemed to wake you up at about the same time?”
“Every night.”
“That’s a ‘sent’ dream…classic signs…”
Reggie started to feel agitated by her prying, or was it just the pain of the memory opening the wound yet again. “Just what do you mean, sent?”
“People can send you a dream…good dream, bad dream, your dream, their dream… sometimes, they don’t even realize they’re doing it.”
“How can that be?”
“So a woman breaks up with her boyfriend…she goes through a period of vengeful thinking, wishing ill on him, reliving an important moment or two in the breakup…of course, her version of it…and probably altered to make her feel better, which of course, would make him feel worse. If she’s any kind of a psychic or a sensitive and knows it, she may deliberately wish these thoughts on to him. If she does that while he’s sleeping, it can manifest as a dream. Most people get over these vengeful feelings in a while, at least the worst of them, and that gives the other person’s dreams a rest. But if the person doesn’t even know they have an ounce of psychic power, they may not even realize they’re sending you this dream. I knew a man once who was plagued by the same bad dream about his ex-wife every night, at exactly the same time but on weeknights only, never on a weekend. Come to find out, after the divorce, she moved back to Europe to be with her family and every morning at the same time, she was getting on a train to go to work…which she hated. Of course, she blamed this on him and she would ride that train, every morning just steaming about their divorce. Of course, during her commute time, he’s trying to sleep back here in New York. So, bad dream, every night, same time, same place. It happens a lot more often than you think but people shrug it off. All it takes is some connection between those two people… and just a little bit of magical energy…that’s all.”
“Sounds like rubbish,” He tried to dismiss the whole idea.
“Said the man with the Dream Catcher hanging in his window.”
“Okay, but what can I do about it?”
“Well, you can sleep with the Dream Catcher until whoever gets over it all or gives up.”
“What if they don’t?”
“Either way, you could also send them a ‘Boomerang.”
“Boomerang?  What the hell is that?”
She took a deep swig off her beer before continuing. “It’s a reflector for negative energy. It’s a way of bouncing back to the sender the negative energy they’re giving off.”
“And that would work… how?”
“Well, the Boomerang would bounce the negative energy back to them and it could manifest itself in a bad dream of their own…something pulled from their own memories. If the dream is being deliberately sent to you, it’s kind of like punching the bully full in the nose…lets him know you’ll fight back if need be, and lets him know it’s going to hurt. If the sender doesn’t even realize they’re giving you a bad dream, one bad dream of their own is usually enough to distract them from thinking about you and more about themselves. Either way, you win. Think of it like the ‘star-6-9’ of the dream world.”
“And I’ll bet you have this Boomerang attachment to fit my Dream Catcher?”
“No, but I can easily make you one.” She got up from the table and stepped back into the other room. From there, he could hear her opening a draw or two, and the rattle of glass jars. When she returned, she had a small collection of interesting objects stacked on her clipboard. She set them on the table as she found her seat again. She started by opening a paper envelope and removing what looked like a small plant root, barely an inch long.
“What’s that?” he asked with keen interest.
“Oh, it’s got a lot of names, but I know it best as ‘St. Isaac’s Root.’  It’s just part of an herb plant.” She then opened the first of two jars, this one filled with a fine, gray powder, and began to rub the powder into the surface of the root, one pinch at a time.
“And what’s that?” he asked with even more anticipation. She paused a brief moment to look at him with a smile on her face.
“Patience, little boy.  It’s a mixture of other herbs, mixed, boiled down and then ground into a powder… I guess you’d call it a ‘concoction.’ There are more things like this simmering on the stove over there.”
“You mean, this didn’t come from the ‘Mysterious Far East?’”
“Some of it…part of it…but it’s what you do with it and how you combine it that makes it all work.”
“That’s what’s on the stove?”
“Among other things. It takes days, sometimes weeks, to make something like this. You have to simmer slowly, never boil. Sometimes, you have to simmer twice, down to nothing, and then grind what’s left into a powder you can combine with other powders. It’s all pretty complicated… really.”
“I was going to ask about the electric stove…”
“What?  You think I should be ‘bubbling, bubbling, toil and troubling’ in some big, black cauldron over an open fire someplace?  Well, this is New York City and they frown on open fires you know.” She was teasing him pretty hard as she continued to work the gray powder into the herb root. And as she did so, the root’s color slowly changed from off white to a bright yellow.
“It would fit the image…”
“You mean the stereotype. The misconception.”
“What would you call it?”
“Basically, it’s chemistry, that’s all.”
“And there’ll be no magic words or spells to cast?” He tried to hide behind his sarcasm and snicker.
“No,” she said casually as she closed the jar with the gray powder and opened the second jar filled with a nearly black powder. “When you go to your doctor for a flu shot, does he chant or dance around the room before he injects you?”
“No,” he said sheepishly.
“No magic words?”
“Other than ‘If you don’t cry, Reggie, I’ll give you one of the suckers I save for the children’?”
“Yes, other than those magic words.” She laughed.
“No, I guess not.”
“It’s all chemistry, and that’s what you’ll find here, too. Maybe a long forgotten chemistry, but simple chemistry just the same.” As she worked this powder into the root, it slowly changed its color again, this time, into a bright, emerald green.
“So, what’s in that jar?”
“Oh, you don’t want to know…really…and yes, I will be washing my hands before I do anything else.” And she laughed again. A really delightful laugh, too, thought Reggie.
When the root was sufficiently treated, she closed the jar and produced a small wire hook that was probably nothing more than one of those used to hang Christmas ornaments. She forced the small end through the root, much like baiting a fish hook, and then held up her finished work with a sense of pride.
“There you go. One Boomerang.” She gently dropped the root and its hook into a small plastic zipper bag and sealed it. “Just hang this in the center ring of your Dream Catcher between the Dream Catcher and the glass. That’s the important part, it has to be right next to the glass.”
“And what do I owe you?” asked the rock star, reaching for his wallet.
“Dinner!” she answered without hesitation. “Here, tomorrow night. I’ll cook.”
“Cook?” he said with reservation as he pointed to the stoves next to him. She laughed again.
“No…nothing from there. Upstairs. I live upstairs and I actually cook and eat real food, too. No roast Hansel, no grilled Gretel…I promise.”
“Well, that’s comforting…” he said with a genuine relief.
“Be here just before the shop closes at six, and you can tell me how this little thing worked as well,” she said, handing him the envelope.
 In The Great Northern Coven: J.R. is a bush pilot who drifts into small town, Haines, Alaska and signs on with the local flying service. He’s looking for a fresh start, a new beginning, and a place to hide from the painful past that literally haunts him day and night. What he doesn’t realize is the local Inuit Indians believe he is the missing piece in an ancient prophecy they have been waiting centuries to unfold. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that risks everything for everyone, right down to their very souls. It also brings forth a great evil and the only one who can save them all has to draw on her long-forgotten heritage of witchcraft.

This is the second book in the Cabbottown Witch Novels and is a story of the eternal struggle between good and evil with a wide range of characters from Lucifer and his minion, to pilots, barmaids and the ladies of the Tsonokwa Lodge… and of course, one very important Eagle-Man. But where Angela’s Coven centered on starting over and second chances, The Great Northern Coven is a story of letting go, moving on and taking that next step forward in our lives.

Excerpt: Chapter Six
As they climbed out of the Scout and walked across the street to the Kodiak, J.R. could see it was an aging building that had obviously stood here a very long time. A large, vertical marquis hung on the building’s corner and if all the neon lights had been working, they would have traced the fading, painted letters that spelled ‘Kodiak’ from top to bottom. At the sign’s top, was the picture of a large bear whose neon trace lights had long since gone dark. The building’s brick exterior had been painted over many times to where the details in the surface of the brick and the mortar joints were nearly smooth. The wooden door was showing its age as well, with black paint worn away to reveal bare, aging wood underneath. The threshold was much the same, but with a permanent dip in the center where decades of footsteps had worn it away. In the window, an animated Budweiser sign flashed and glittered as its team of Clydesdales marched endlessly across the glass.
Inside, the Kodiak Inn was much the same, with painted floor planks and a collection of wooden tables and booths. Exposed roofing beams held a haphazard collection of local relics, trophy fish and one stuffed moose head while the knotty pine walls displayed pictures of the town and its residents from decades long ago. There was also a bar. Not impressively long, but it showed signs of being a well-loved and well-used piece of woodwork. In the center, a collection of ornate taps spun and sparkled as a barmaid filled a tray of frosty mugs. The Kodiak was indeed a landmark and when he stepped through the door, J.R suddenly felt one step closer to home.
“Booth!” Ron pointed through the small crowd to the unoccupied corner booth just across from the bar. It was different from the others as it had one, large circular seat around the table instead of two facing benches. As soon as they were seated, the barmaid was at their table with her now empty tray. She was an attractive woman in her mid-thirties with dark hair, dark eyes and a wide, bright smile. Beneath her apron, JR could see she wore a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt over her blue jeans.
“Hey, Ron,” She greeted him though she was looking at J.R. “What can I get you guys?”
“Oh… how about a shot of bourbon and a draft to chase it?” Ron looked to J.R. who softly smiled and nodded. “Times two. That’ll get us started!”
“Shot and a beer times two it is, then,” she smiled and was gone to fill the order. No sooner had she left the open end of the table than the space was filled by a large man who also appeared to be in his mid-thirties with short curly hair and a goatee. He leaned right down close with one hand on their table and the other along the top of the bench seat before he spoke to Ron.
“How ya doin’ you dirty old goat?” Ron looked up at this newcomer in shock and confusion before breaking out in laughter.
“You’ve been talking to Joan!”
“Yeah, she called up here this afternoon and said you had some fresh meat for the man pool.”
“She did, did she?”
“Hell, why do you think Robyn got over here so fast to check things out?” Both Ron and J.R. glanced over to the bar to see the barmaid filling their beer mugs but smiling directly back in their direction. “Word travels fast.”
“I told you she’d have you advertised and auctioned off before dinner!” Ron said pointing a finger at J.R. “Didn’t I?” J.R. smiled and nodded. “Meet our guest of honor,” Ron continued. “This is John Roberts, goes by J.R. And this ugly mug bustin’ our table is Garret Kincaid, owner of the historic Kodiak Inn.” Again, Ron sounded as if he were quoting some travel brochure. The two men shook hands as Garret spoke.
“Actually, I like to think of myself as the current caretaker,” and he too, broke into travel brochure grandeur. “For the Kodiak truly belongs to the ages and the people of picturesque Haines, Alaska.” Ron slid over and made room in the booth for Garret to join them.
“Who writes that shit about us, anyway?” Ron asked.
“I think it’s that guy from the Chamber,” Garret offered.
“Short one with the glasses?”
“Crap like that is all over the town’s website… but we get tourists!” Just then, Robyn returned with her tray carrying drinks for three.
“Make way, Garret,” she said sliding the tray partially on to the tabletop.
“Oooh! Thank ya, darlin’,” said Garret noticing the extra set of drinks on the tray.
“I thought you’d want to join Ron and J.R.” She carefully set out small napkins for all three of them before serving the large frosty mugs of beer and the over-sized shot glasses brimming with dark whiskey. It was painfully obvious that she made every effort to serve J.R. first and then smiled coyly at only him as she picked up her tray. “Enjoy!” she said as she turned and slowly walked away.
“Well, that was service with a smile. And a floor show, too,” commented Ron, and then looking at J.R., “I’ll have to come here with you more often.”
“Joan was kinda burnin’ up the phone line today, so you might get that where ever you go,” Garret added. “Notice, she already knew your name.”
“Yeah, she did,” J.R. added shyly.
“Well,” Ron announced picking up his shot glass. “There’ll be no more flyin’ today. So… to the Tourists!”
“Picturesque Tourists!” Garret added as he picked up his shot glass. J.R. smiled and raised his glass as well. When the two men threw back their glasses and downed theirs in one swallow, he took a deep breath and followed suit. Before he had recovered from the sudden shock and shiver of the whiskey’s bite, Garret was holding up his empty glass to Robyn across the room who was already pouring a second round.
There was an ashtray on the table and for only the third time today, J.R. pulled his pack of Marlboros and his lighter from his jacket pocket and lit up, leaving them both on the table while he smoked. Garret picked up the lighter and rolled it over in his hands as he examined the engraving and the turquoise stones.
“Pretty fancy stuff, there,” he commented as he set it back down on the table.
“It’s a keepsake…” J.R. said elusively. Just then, Robyn arrived with her tray and she too, noticed the lighter as she set out the shot glasses and collected the empties.
“Oooh… Pretty.” She smiled at J.R. again but the engraved initials on the lighter sleeve let her sense the presence of another woman in his life. She hesitated as she looked to him as if waiting for some further comment.
“I’ve had it… a long time,” J.R. said and the simple explanation seemed to set her back at ease and her full smile returned.
“That’s nice. You guys hungry?”
“That’s what we’re here for.” Ron chimed in, implying he felt a little neglected with all the attention Robyn was giving to J.R.
“Me too,” Garret said. “I’ll call this supper, too.”
“What’ll it be? Need a menu?”
“Naw!” interrupted Ron. “We’ll take two Grizzly Burgers and fries, medium rare, all the fixin’s!”
“Make it three,” Garret added.
“That good by you, J.R.?” Robyn asked. She had barely taken her eyes off him when the other two men had ordered.
“Yeah, sure… sounds good.”
“OK, then! I’ll get your orders right in.” and she smiled even brighter if that was possible as she turned and slowly walked away.
“Jesus Christ, J.R.! This is getting’ embarrassin’!” Ron sputtered. He took a good, healthy sip off his beer to chase the first shot but before he could even set his mug down, a sharp, crackly voice split the air in the room and he cowered out of reflex.
“Ron Shawver!” It was a voice filled with demand, some anger and a decent amount of alcohol.
“Shit!” Ron said as he nearly choked on his beer. And then he looked to Garret. “I didn’t see her broom parked out front.” There was a degree of contempt as well as dread in his voice.
“She’s been here a good part of the afternoon,” Garret offered as an elderly woman with a cane tottered up to their table. She was a small woman, thin and wiry with a personality to match. The deep wrinkles in her face were accented by the smoke from the cigarette stuck in the corner of her mouth. It moved with her lips as she spoke.
“Give your Mama twenty bucks!”
“‘Cause I’m losing my ass at video poker! That’s why!”
“Now, Mom, you’ve had your allowance for the week,” Ron said firmly.
“Gimme the twenty bucks or I’ll tell everyone on that side of the room you wet the bed until you were twelve!”
“Now, Mom. You know that ain’t true! And they didn’t believe you the last time you told ‘em that, neither.”
“Fine. Then I’ll make it fourteen!” Ron shook his head and let out a sigh of resignation as he reached for his wallet. “Better make it twenty-five,” the old lady added. “I’ll want a couple of beers while I lose your money.” Ron looked at her in pained frustration but still handed her the cash. “Pleasure doin’ business with ya, sonny.” And then for the first time, she looked in J.R.’s direction and quickly added, “Pleasure to meet you, too, J.R.” Then, she elbowed her way past the other patrons and disappeared into the crowd on her way back to the far side of the room. J.R. looked a little stunned at the two men across the table from him.
Garret just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I told ya, word travels fast.”
“And yes, that really was my mother,” Ron explained. “My daddy died of a stroke in his sleep some years back leaving me to deal with her and her finances. It was only then I came to realize his death may have been some sort of sneaky suicide…” Ron took a sip from his shot glass and J.R. was relieved they wouldn’t be downing this one in a single stroke.
“Well, families are always interesting…” J.R. commented.
“You should meet his daughter,” Garret added, chuckling.
“Yup,” Ron continued, “she’s a real chip off her grandmother’s block… I lost my wife to cancer a good number of years ago and dear old grandma there help raise Janet to be just like herself. But don’t worry, she’s married. Her poor husband is the manager of our local ‘Alaska Emporium’ store.” J.R. was puzzled at this and looked to Garret for at least a definition.
“It’s a big store that handles about anything you need up here,” Garret explained. “Everything from lumber and building supplies, plumbing parts, on into camping and sporting goods… everything.
“And that puts him on par with God in these parts,” Ron added. “But he works a lot of hours, probably more than he needs to just to avoid the sharp tongue at home. And that’s rough because my grandson could use a little more parental balance in his life.” For whatever reason, this comment made Garret chuckle again.
“Not that you haven’t tried to be the fine example yourself, now,” he said, and his comment broke Ron’s mood and made him smile as well. “What’s Jason, now? Eight?”
“Yeah, eight.”
“So last Christmas, little Jason lands the role of a Sheppard in the pageant and he has to sing a solo verse in The First Noel, see.” Garret was laughing now and could hardly contain himself to tell the story to J.R. “So, Janet’s a busy mom helping to plan the rest of the pageant and making costumes and Jerry’s always at the store, so Grandpa here offers to help little Jason memorize his lines. Come the night of the pageant, and time for Jason’s solo, the spotlight hits him and rather than sing: ‘I-n fields, where they lay, kee-ping their sheep…’ Jason sings, ‘I-n fields whe-re they, keep laying their sheep…” Now Garret was laughing so hard he had trouble going on and Ron was fighting back the laughter himself. “The whole place—the whole place explodes in laughter—everyone except Janet, that is!”
“I always felt the Nativity Story needed a little comic relief…” Ron dryly interjected with a smirk. Just then, Robyn reappeared with her tray stacked with three large burger baskets and started to set them out on the table, J.R.’s first, of course.
“Don’t you listen to these delinquents, J.R.” she said, trying to hide her own smile. She had obviously heard enough of the conversation as she approached to know which story they were sharing with him. “They are a perverse and bad influence on the youth of our town,” she said teasing. “Next you guys will be telling him how you ruined the spelling bee this past spring!” She smiled at them all as she opened the door for the next outrageous story. J.R. listened intently as he sized up the meal before him. This was perhaps the largest cheeseburger he had ever seen and the rest of the basket was over-filled with the most perfectly golden French fries there ever were.
But the suggestion of the spelling bee story was too much for Ron and he was starting to laugh so hard, tears formed in his eyes. It was all Garret could do to continue his story telling in-between bites.
“So last spring is the elementary school spelling bee. And you gotta be able to not only spell the word, but use it in a sentence and come up with a few more that start with the same letter.” J.R. looked at them both a little puzzled by these strange rules. “It’s Miss Pinkerton’s rules, I don’t know… she’s been the elementary principal up there since Nixon or LBJ or some time… long time, anyway. But this is all personal to her, see and she conducts it herself. So it comes to Jason’s turn and she gives him ‘Q’ and the word ‘Queen.’ And the kid—” Garret had to pause he was laughing so hard. “The kid spells ‘Queen: Q-U-E-E-N!’ And Miss Pinkerton says, ‘Very good Jason, how many Q-words can you use in a sentence?’ And Jason—Jason says—” Now, Ron was laughing so hard too, he was choking on a French fry and had to fight to wash it down with his beer. Their laughter was contagious and J.R. was also enjoying the moment. Garret struggled to continue.
“So Jason says: ‘The Queen quickly ate quiche, in Quebec… with a Queer!’” All three broke into uncontrollable laughter. “Miss Pinkerton goes: ‘QUEER?’ and Jason—Jason says: ‘Queer, Q-U-E-E-R!” Garret had to pause to wipe the tears from his eyes, but soon found the breath to continue. “Now, Miss Pinkerton has to sit down ‘cause she’s got ‘the vapors’,” he raised his hands to mock the malady, “And Janet, Janet just goes ballistic.
“Boy, she ripped into me that night.” Ron took over the story. “She said, ‘What the hell are you teaching that boy? What you got to say for yourself?’ Without thinking, I told her: ‘Hell, I woulda ate that quiche quickly, too…’ and that was like gasoline on the fire.”
“We may be a small town,” continued Garret wiping the tears from his eyes, “but there’s never a dull moment around here.”
“Yeah…” said J.R. as he munched on a fry. Then he offered thoughtfully, “I think I’m gonna like it here.” As Garret bit into his Grizzly Burger, he raised the next question.
“So, where they got you stayin’?”
“Well, for right now, I’m sleepin’ out at the hangar.” This made Garret pause and he looked at Ron who only shrugged and nodded as he bit into his own burger.
“Listen, you could always move into my Dad’s old place… if you wanted.”
“Really? What kind of place are we talkin’ about?”
“Well, it’s a small place, sort of. It’s up the hill off Oslund Street and back into the woods a little. Great front deck with a view of the harbor.” Ron nodded in confirmation. “It’s got privacy but it’s like halfway between the airport and downtown, which would be great for you. It’s furnished… my sister and her husband have been living there, but he just took a job in Seattle so it’s sittin’ empty.”
“Why don’t you move in yourself, then?”
“Me? I live upstairs here above the ‘historic, Kodiak Inn.’ I’m like the only guy in Haines that can commute to work in my slippers!”
“Ah…” nodded J.R.
“No snow scrapin’ for me. But this place is like at the end of the road, and if it sits vacant too long, the local critters union will start to reclaim it, you know? I need someone up there bangin’ around and turnin’ on lights to keep ‘em in the woods.”
“How much?” J.R. asked. Garret looked at Ron again and they nodded.
“We’ll work out the rent, but right now you’d be doing me a favor just staying there for a few nights. Here…” he reached in his pocket and pulled out a keychain with a small number of keys dangling from the ring. “I was gonna go up there later this evening, but if you want to stay there, you can turn on the lights yourself.”
“You sure?”
“If Ron vouches for you, that’s good enough for me… There’s an old Ranger four-by-four in the garage you can use for trips around town. Just keep gas in it and pay the utilities when the bills come in. Especially the Cable TV bill. It’s a bitch to get it turned back on if they ever cut you off.” J.R. was stunned at this offer, but quickly picked the keys up off the table top.
“Thanks… I don’t know what to say…”
“Say, ‘welcome to Haines!’ and ‘the Stooges are on channel Thirty-Three up here.’ That’s all any guy needs, right?” J.R. laughed softly at the kindness. And then Ron looked directly at him.
“See? Been in town less than a full day and already you got yourself a job, a place to live… and some new friends to go with it.” and he smiled trustingly at J.R.
Then, the three men enjoyed what was perhaps the best cheeseburger J.R. had ever had including another round of beers before they called it an evening… in Haines.
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Wow! Where all can we find these books?
The easiest way to find everything in one place is on my Amazon page:
But Barnes and Noble has everything too. Books A Million carries my paperbacks on their webpage and we are working on the E-book distribution with them now.
What is your favorite thing about Michigan?
Michigan is home. It always has been, always will be. My younger cousin recently passed away and we (secretly) scattered a portion of his ashes along a small inland lake shore where we cousins all grew up like siblings. It made me think where would I want my ashes scattered (besides there) and I came up with a half dozen places where I would be pleased to become part of the ‘terra firma.’ And you know what? They were all in Michigan! From the west shore to the east shore, from the hometown and college town, to where my cousin now rests, Michigan, is home.

Okay now some just for fun questions …

Salt Water Taffy or Mackinaw Island Fudge:
The Fudge! Always the Fudge!
The Island or the city:
Both, actually.

Trolls VS. Yoopers – your vote:
Decidedly a Troll… Love to visit up there but I’ll always live under the bridge. Your favorite Michigan Season:
Autumn, how could it not be??? Michigan or Michigan State:
MSU Class of ’76! I’m from a whole family of Spartans. But that didn’t stop my Dad from singing the UofM fight song. However, being a State grad, he used an alternate set of lyrics…
Football or Hockey:
Football! The greatest game ever invented!
Your favorite Michigan City:
Another difficult interpretation here… while everyone else is thinking Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, etc. For my favorite city, I think I’ll go with Howard City.
Your favorite Michigan Lake:
I thought long and hard on this one too, having sailed most of the Great Lakes in my magazine days, but after long thought: Big Pine Island Lake (A little bit of Heaven on Earth… just ask my cousins!)
Your favorite Michigan Hideaway:
Harbor Beach, Michigan. If you have been there, you know!
Paradise or Hell:
Well, for me, all roads seem to lead to Hell. But I’ll pass through Climax on the way there if you don’t mind! J

What’s your favorite Michigan Highway:
Old 131 From Rockford through Big Rapids
Favorite Michigan tourist activity:
Watching the lake from a favorite lawn chair in the shade.
Now that sounds good! 
Your favorite book that showcases Michigan:
The History Of Ford. (I am and forever will be a car guy!)
And finally what’s next for you?
I mentioned this above, but I am deep into the workings of The Ragtime Coven, a prequel to Angela’s Coven that will cover the history of my Cabbottown Witches (and answer a LOT of questions raised in that first book) roughly from the time period from World War One, through the Roaring Twenties. There will be Gangsters and bootleggers and rumrunners with flappers and gun molls galore… oh, and a little bit of magic and a very interesting angel!
Sounds like fun! Can’t wait to read it, Bruce!

Thanks for coming out today, Bruce. It's been fun!
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