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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Scotch Broom has arrived

Welcome Marva Dasef and the latest in her "Witches of Galdorheim" series. "Scotch Broom" takes place in Scotland and I can't wait to read it. I'm honoured to host Marva on this pre blog tour. Welcome Marva.

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
MuseItUp Buy Link: – Available beginning April 6th
Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble.  Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.
While dodging the goddess’s minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too.  Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Into the Woods
In Scotch Broom, I try to connect my version of witchcraft to some of the “common knowledge” about witches, but I feel it’s my duty to show that many of those prejudices are simply the mundane world’s fear of magic. Since way back in the middle ages, people have planted rowan trees by their front door because they’re supposedly a ward against witches. I’m not sure whether they worked, but I’d put good money against it. I think that a tree might stop a witch, but they more likely were polite enough to not cross a threshold where they are unwelcome. Here’s some additional information on rowan trees from There’s much more in the article if you’re interested in the subject.

“In the British Isles the rowan has a long and still popular history in folklore as a tree which protects against witchcraft and enchantment. The physical characteristics of the tree may have contributed to its protective reputation, including the tiny five pointed star or pentagram on each berry opposite its stalk (the pentagram being an ancient protective symbol). The colour red was deemed to be the best protection against enchantment, and so the rowan's vibrant display of berries in autumn may have further contributed to its protective abilities, as suggested in the old rhyme: "Rowan tree and red thread / make the witches tine (meaning 'to lose') their speed". The rowan was also denoted as a tree of the Goddess or a Faerie tree by virtue (like the hawthorn and elder) of its white flowers.”

Kat’s lost in the Otherworld and picks up some companions along the way. She’s with her first companion, Sianach the Stag, when they come upon a thick forest patch of rowan trees. This does slow down Kat’s progress while she tries to figure out how to get into the woods.
“Oh, great! You found the grove,” she yelled and sped up to catch him. At the edge of the rowan grove, she smacked face first into something invisible. “Ow!” Kat shrieked, holding her nose. She drew her hand away to check. “Dang it. I’ve got a bloody nose.” 
Sianach stood stock-still facing away from her, not answering or even seeming to hear her. Holding out her hand, she felt the barrier keeping her out of the rowans. 
“What the—?” Then she remembered rowans were wards against witches. She couldn’t go into the grove.
The stag turned and walked back out of the woods. “I’m sorry. I forgot you couldn’t come in.”
Kat dabbed the blood from her upper lip with her sleeve. “I noticed.” She looked left and right. “Maybe I could walk around.”
“No, the trees will not let you pass on either side.”
Kat put her hands on her hips and considered. “Isn’t there another way?”
“Maybe—” Kat sent her thoughts toward the nearest rowan tree. She figured it couldn’t hurt to try. The tree rewarded her with a soft brush that tickled her brain. “Hey, that’s cool.”
“What is cool?” Sianach asked.
“I think I can talk to the trees. Maybe ask them if I can go through.”
The stag snorted. “Talking to trees. I doubt you can do that.”
“My gift is talking to animals, no offense, so maybe—” Kat closed her eyes and imagined the tree with ears and a mouth. She whispered to them, asking them to listen. A trembling breeze passed between her own ears. She felt Sianach move from her side. Opening her eyes, she saw what might be the face she imagined. Just a bit of rough bark had shifted, giving the appearance of a craggy, ancient man on the tree’s trunk.
“What do you want?”
Kat smiled and turned to Sianach, who had moved back several paces. His own limbs trembled now. “I’ve not seen such magic before,” the stag whispered. “You are a strong witch.”
“Oh, not so strong. The rowans are obviously highly intelligent and evolved trees. After all, how could they keep witches at bay if they were mere wood?” Buttering up the tree couldn’t hurt.
She turned back to the tree. “If you would be so kind, will you allow me to pass? I mean you no harm.” She listened for a response and was on the verge of giving up when the tree answered.
“Why do you want to pass?”
“I’m looking for the Hall of King Connor.” She pointed her thumb over her shoulder at the stag. “Sianach said we have to go to the other side of your grove.” Another lengthy silence passed while Kat waited patiently. The trees might be intelligent, but they didn’t exactly rush things. Still, this ten minutes for each sentence was about to drive her batty.
“Pass by.”
“Thank you.” Kat walked into the grove with no trouble. Sianach shook his head and followed her. The pair made their way through the rowans
* * * *
About Marva:
Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several previously published books. Her latest pride and joy is the Witches of Galdorheim Series from her super duper publisher, MuseItUp.
Watch Marva’s Blog at  for announcements on giveaways throughout the Merry Month of May.
Where to find her:
MuseItUp Author Page: 
Twitter Handle: @Gurina


Marva Dasef said...

Thanks for having me, Sue. I hope you have fun on your mission to foreign lands.

Lorrie said...

Hi Ladies,

I didn't know that about Rowan trees. Nice facts.

If Scotch Broom is as much fun as the first two in the series, count me in as a reader.

I will also save them for my granddaughter. Soon, she will be at the age where I'm sure she'll love them as much as I did.

I hope there is a fourth in store for us.

Don't let your wonderful research and imagination, not to mention you great writing ability, for this particular series go to waste. I'm sure you have more Kat adventures up your sleeve.

Cheryl said...

Good info about rowans!

Sue Perkins said...

I'm late because I got confused about the time differences. Probably because I was up late reading Scotch Broom. Finished it in one sitting. Another brilliant book Marva. Love the way each book is fresh and novel but carries on the story. Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS Marva! Nice book cover.

J Q Rose said...

Interesting info about the rowan trees and cute excerpt. In the floral business, we used a green called Scotch broom, so I had to investigate to see if that is the same as the rowan tree. But no, it isn't. I did discover we paid plenty for Scotch broom from the floral wholesalers considered an invasive weed out West USA. Googling Scotch broom I found this info at was spread throughout that area during the gold rush era. "How many cases of Scotch whiskey made it to the Mother Lode no one can say. We do know that those precious bottles had to be packed in something. Cheap, springy and readily available, bundles of fresh cut broom were the bubble wrap of the 19th century. In every gold camp from Sonora to Sierra City, cases of imported whiskey were opened and the broom packing discarded. It is at these points that the broom invasion likely began." Now I must read the book to see why you chose the title, Scotch Broom.!! Best wishes.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Enjoyed the excerpt, Marva. I'm Scottish and have always lived here, and we have a rowan tree in our back garden, as do many people! Not for protection, although most of us know all about the myths - but they're pretty when the berries are out and a good source of food for birds.