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Trick or Treat #B9 – OF BLOOD AND ROSES

Monday, 28 October 2013  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

witch hat and black cat

Category: NA
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 70,000


The city of Salem has come alive for Halloween, but for undergrad Maggie Carter, the magic is missing. So when she hears a voice on the radio that makes her bones melt, Maggie steals away to The Hall – a labyrinthine rock club in the heart of “Witch City” – to meet the young man who spins folksongs into rock ‘n’ roll perfection. But as her feelings for the singer deepen, Maggie is plunged into a world where words bind, music manipulates, and mortality hints at something more.

Question 1: In your MC’s voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why?

Love is a killing thing, fragile and flawed and often fleeting, and the old ballads recognize that there is beauty in heartache.  Tonight, I will be the girl in white from the ballad, Lady Margaret, scorned lover; let that serve as a warning to us all.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)?

During the month of October, the streets of Salem, Massachusetts, bloom with color, with scents, with sounds, and it was the perfect backdrop to enhance the elements of old magic and sacrifice that run deep through “Tam Lin,” the ballad on which OF BLOOD AND ROSES is based. Many authors focus on Salem’s history, but its present is what interests me, and its dark, whimsical, outrageous celebration of Halloween really breathed new life into my retelling of “Tam Lin.”

First 250 words:

My father forbade me to go to The Hall that night.

I listened to him calmly – he was being quite rational, a welcome change – and then I went anyway.

The copper beech beyond the glass shivered in the cool October air, and the glow from the streetlight gathered golden in the  leaves. Hoisting open my window, I hiked up my ridiculously impractical (but deliciously scarlet) ’50s-style dress, narrowly  avoided strangulation by my purse, and climbed down the tree’s  sprawling, silver-barked branches. Climbed is too generous a word for what actually transpired.  I slipped on the beech bark, which was smooth as polished stone, and, in an aerial display that I can only hope amused the lone squirrel watching, I landed in my father’s petunias.  After retrieving one of my black leather flats from the hedges, where it had flown seemingly of its own volition, I swore to myself that next time, if there was a next time, I would dress more sensibly.

I wasn’t quite bold enough to swipe my father’s keys, which meant that my mode of transportation for the night would be my faithfully rusted mountain bike.  I don’t think I have to point out the shame of a twenty-one-year-old stealing away on her fifth-grade bicycle, but it had silver handlebars curved like a bull’s horns, and I felt like a rapscallion when riding it, which was, I thought, worth all the hideousness.


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