Leigh Goff

Young Adult Author


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Maryland’s Royal Bloodlines Inspire YA Novel Set in Annapolis

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“Till so for ways of witchery,

And arts of darkness famed

In all the land, that he at last,

‘The Wizard Earl’ was named.”

The Wizard Earl-A Legend of Kilkea Castle

Anyone familiar with Maryland’s history will recognize the surnames Calvert and Arundel, after all numerous parks, historic sights, and streets bear the names, especially in Annapolis. However, not many people realize these historic Maryland families are connected to a centuries-old legacy of royalty, witchcraft, and alchemy.

The Greys

images-8In the 1400s, Henry de Grey, 4th Baron Grey of Codnor, and the fountainhead of the Grey family, was an avid alchemist, going so far as to garner the King’s permission to transmute mercury into precious metals. In 1478, the king appointed Henry de Grey as the Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was also a distant blood relation to Queen Jane Grey.

Elizabeth Woodville, an infamous witch whose first husband was John Grey of Groby, produced a son from that marriage–Thomas Grey, the 1st Marquess of Dorset and two daughters, one of whom was Lady Eleanor Grey who married Sir John Arundell. They are the royal ancestors to Maryland’s Arundel and Calvert families and the fictional ancestors to the enchanting trio, the Queen Js and the mysteriously scarred William Calvert in Bewitching Hannah.

Elizabeth Woodville went on to marry King Edward IV and became the Queen consort of England. The TV series, The White Queen, is based on her life. Their daughter, Elizabeth of York, became the Queen consort of England and the mother of King Henry VIII.

The Fitzgeralds

Unknown-3In 1530, Henry de Grey’s descendant, Lady Elizabeth Grey, the granddaughter of the witch Elizabeth Woodville, married the 9th Earl of Kildare, who was rumored to be a warlock. They produced a son, Gerald FitzGerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare, who is referenced in the poem above. He was commonly called the Wizard Earl for his fascination with alchemy, metallurgy, and ancient magic. He was also known to have magical powers, which allowed him to transform himself into a blackbird. The FitzGerald bloodline claims the magic from Áine, the Irish goddess of summer. She is associated with the Fitzgeralds through marriage to the 3rd Earl of Kildare[1]. The troubled heroine in Bewitching Hannah, Hannah Fitzgerald, is fictionally descended from this bloodline and the earl’s magic courses powerfully through her veins.

Family Tree

The magic and royal connections of Maryland’s Calvert and Arundel families have left lasting marks on the state’s history and inspired the creation of characters in Bewitching Hannah, which is set in present-day Annapolis. Attached is the family tree that shows the relationships of these historic figures to the book’s fictional main characters.

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More about Bewitching Hannah

51l+xEpRjJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a royal legacy of dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead.
Engaged in a deadly game and not knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she will survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, please click here.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Grey,_4th_(7th)_Baron_Grey_of_Codnor#cite_note-13


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A Bewitching Literary Tour of Annapolis

 

 

In my second novel, Bewitching Hannah, the reader can follow in my main character’s footsteps and relive her bewitching drama as it unfolds in present-day downtown Annapolis.

The first sight Hannah, a reluctant sixteen-year-old witch, encounters on her return to Annapolis is Witch’s Grave in Truxton Park. According to local lore, the crooked tree marks the burial site of three witches who were hung and buried there. She’s reminded that being a witch, even if she doesn’t want to be one, is a dangerous business with deadly outcomes–a lesson she learned from her parents’ fates.

The next stop is Main Street and McGarvey’s Saloon & Oyster Bar in downtown Annapolis. Hannah makes lots of stops along Main Street, including McGarvey’s, a dockside restaurant where she orders an Annapolis favorite–crab dip pretzel (click this link for the recipe).

great_hallHannah and her quirky aunt then attend a Chesapeake witches meeting at McDowell Hall on St. John’s College campus. The exquisitely restored interior of McDowell Hall resembles a colonial meetinghouse, which creates an enchanting atmosphere for a coven gathering, wouldn’t you agree?

Hannah’s best friend, Mateo, is a boy of tribal Indian descent who is in touch with nature. He invites Hannah to join him at Quiet Waters Park to search for his animal spirit guide. During their adventure, she happens to find her witch’s familiar, a white raven. Ravens are known as messengers and this one symbolizes the fulfillment of a prophecy. Fun fact–the cover art for the book depicts this scene.

Beautiful Brice House on East Street, built in 1766, is featured in the novel because the head of the coven, Mallory Blackstone, is the fictional president of Historic Annapolis and those offices are located at Brice House. Hannah makes a few stops here to deal with her nemesis and even peers into the gardens at Paca House.

If you’ve ever driven over the Severn River Bridge from Annapolis you may have noticed the cliffs on your right. The Severn River cliffs and Winchester Pond are the backdrops for a tribal endurance test and a ferocious wolf attack. *Spoiler Alert–Hannah mysteriously survives the wolf attack with help from a mysteriously scarred Calvert descendant, but this only leads to more questions about the dark secret he’s hiding.

Unknown-1There is one stop outside of Annapolis that is worthy of a shoutout in Bewitching HannahBaltimore House at Riverdale Park. The reason this place is special is not because of the house, but rather the grounds. Several Calvert descendants are interred in the cemetery there and a few fictional witches from Annapolis take it upon themselves to unearth a Calvert family secret during their fiendish field trip. Click here for visitor information.

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church is the setting for a scene where a mysterious clue leads Hannah to William Bladen’s sarcophagus in the cemetery. FYI-William Bladen was the Attorney General who oversaw the last Maryland witch trial in 1712. Let’s just say all kinds of magic ensues.

Every Annapolitan knows that Ego Alley is the harbor downtown where seagulls flock above visitors’ boats and tourists follow the scent of Old Bay seasoning in search of steamed blue crabs. It’s also the perfect spot for Hannah’s two love interests to face off.

Unknown-10Charles Carroll House, situated behind St. Mary’s Church off Spa Creek, is the setting for the final climactic scene that begins with a celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Annapolis Tea Party. (Has anyone seen the The Burning of the Peggy Stewart on display at the State House? Yup–that tea party.) The coven prophecy calls for one young witch’s death…will it be Hannah’s? Under a spectacular blood moon lunar eclipse, Hannah discovers who her true enemy is at Charles Carroll House. She has to summon all her inner strength and magic, but she isn’t sure that will be enough to save herself and the ones she loves from her nefarious rival.

51l+xEpRjJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_BUY LINK

If you’d like to follow in Hannah’s footsteps, please purchase a copy of Bewitching Hannah at Amazon.com and visit downtown Annapolis. For more information on the historic sights, click here.

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Good. Now, I need you to deliver that.” My aunt gestured toward a pretty, white gift bag on the main counter.

“Sure. Rusty’s in the back, right?” The moped wore a coat of red flaky dust, but was a ton of fun to ride.

“You can walk. It’s not that far.”

“Where to?” I grabbed a broom from the back and swept up bits of snipped greenery and fallen petals. She reached in the pocket of her bell-bottom pants and handed me the name and business address.

“Mallory Grey Blackstone, Historic Annapolis offices at Brice House on Forty-Two East Street,” I said, reading the information out loud. “Her daughter’s Emme, right?”

“You met her?”

“At school today.”

“Her mother heads the historic foundation, among other things.”

I guessed that was how she knew so much about everyone that mattered, although I still didn’t know how we ended up on her VIP list. “Wait. Her middle name is Grey?”

“Yes, it’s her maiden name. Why?” Her tone implied unnecessary suspicion.

“Doesn’t her family have something to do with the urban legend of the Arundell Curse Mom told me about when I was little?”

She hesitated. “It’s historic lore more than urban legend.”

My eyes widened. “So you know it?”

A spark of knowledge glimmered in her brown eyes. “Yes, I know it. The night of October nineteenth, seventeen seventy-four, the Peggy Stewart ship laden with British tea was docked in Annapolis Harbor and set ablaze. During the tea party, a local patriot was injured. His love—a beautiful Fitzgerald witch, who happened to be your seventh great aunt—attended him. The head of the coven foresaw the offense and quickly discovered the young witch and her forbidden mate. She had broken a serious coven rule so the Grey witch cast the Arundell Curse upon the forbidden ordinary. The curse ensured that if the two stayed together their progeny would forever bear the horrendous scars of her transgression. The irony is that the Grey witch didn’t realize that by imparting the spell with such blackness in her heart she also cursed her own descendants. You see, the Arundells born bearing the curse feel terrible pain when they’re near a Grey. The only way to quell that pain is to remove the source of it…permanently.”

I shuddered. “I still have strange dreams about that story.”

She tilted her head. “You do?” There was a hint of nervousness in her voice.

Just last night, I thought. “Yeah. I never understood why Mom liked that one so much.”

“Maybe it’s because stories like that impart valuable lessons.” She frowned in grim silence. “Speaking of the Peggy Stewart, did you know the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Annapolis Tea Party is in a few weeks?”


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The Royal History That Inspired Bewitching Hannah–Witch Queens, Wizard Earls, & Alchemist Barons

“Till so for ways of witchery,p9457007_b_v8_aa

And arts of darkness famed

In all the land, that he at last,

‘The Wizard Earl’ was named.”

The Wizard Earl-A Legend of Kilkea Castle

In Bewitching Hannah, Hannah Fitzgerald is a sixteen-year-old royal descendant who wants nothing to do with her magical heritage. Her frenemies, the Queen Js are nicknamed after their ancestor, Queen Jane Grey. Hannah’s scarred love interest, William Calvert, is a descendant from the royal Grey bloodline. Anyone familiar with Maryland’s history will recognize the surname Calvert along with Arundel, after all numerous parks, historic sights, and streets bear the names, especially in Annapolis, which is where the story is set. These families are all intertwined in a real legacy of royalty, witchcraft, and alchemy, which I incorporated into the story.

The Greys

images-21400s: Henry de Grey, 4th Baron Grey of Codnor and a distant blood relation to Queen Jane Grey is said to have been extremely interested in alchemy, going so far as to garner the King’s permission to transmute mercury into silver or gold. In 1478, concerned with the ruling power Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare held in Ireland, the King dismissed the earl as Lord Deputy and appointed Henry de Grey in his place.

Elizabeth Woodville, a well-known witch whose first husband was John Grey of Groby, produced a son from that marriage–Thomas Grey, the 1st Marquess of Dorset and two daughters, one of whom was Lady Eleanor Grey who married Sir John Arundel. They are the ancestors to Maryland’s Arundel and Calvert families.

Elizabeth Woodville went on to marry King Edward IV and became the Queen consort of England. The TV series, The White Queen, is based on her life. Their daughter, Elizabeth of York, became the Queen consort of England and the mother to King Henry VIII.

The Fitzgeralds

Unknown-3In 1530, Henry de Grey’s descendant, Lady Elizabeth Grey, the granddaughter of the witch Elizabeth Woodville, married the 9th Earl of Kildare, who was rumored to be a warlock. They produced a son, Gerald FitzGerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare, who was commonly known as the Wizard Earl for his fascination with alchemy, metallurgy, and ancient magic. He was known to have magical powers, which allowed him to transform himself into a blackbird. The FitzGerald bloodline claims the magic from Áine, the Irish goddess of summer. She is associated with the Fitzgeralds through marriage to the 3rd Earl of Kildare[1].

Family Tree

As a fiction writer, I enjoy weaving factual history into my fantasies. Attached is the family tree that shows the fictional relationships of the book’s main characters to the real historic figures that inspired Bewitching Hannah. This tree was not included in the book.

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[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Grey,_4th_(7th)_Baron_Grey_of_Codnor#cite_note-13

To purchase a copy of Bewitching Hannah, please click here.