In my upcoming novel, Bewitching Hannah, the reader will get to see historic Annapolis through the eyes of my main character, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald, a most reluctant Chesapeake witch.
The first sight Hannah 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, can be a dangerous business with a deadly outcome.
The next stop is Main Street and McGarvey’s Saloon & Oyster Bar in downtown Annapolis. Hannah makes lots of stops along Main Street, and off of Main is McGarvey’s, the perfect restaurant for my reluctant witch to order her favorite Annapolitan snack–a crab dip pretzel (click this link for the recipe).
Hannah and her 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 and is the perfect place for a gathering of the coven, don’t you agree?
Hannah’s best friend, Mateo, is a boy of Incan descent who is in touch with nature. He invites Hannah to join him at Quiet Waters Park to search for his animal spirit guide. The park contains three hundred and forty acres of woods, grassy areas, and beaches. 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 nemeses and even peers into the gardens of 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 an Incan endurance test and a ferocious wolf attack. *Spoiler Alert–Hannah mysteriously survives the wolf attack with help from William Calvert, but this only leads to more questions about the dark secret he’s hiding.
There is one stop outside of Annapolis that is worthy of a shoutout in Bewitching Hannah—Baltimore 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.
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.
Charles 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. (Anyone seen the painting, The Burning of the Peggy Stewart? 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.
“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?”
I’m a wife, a mother, and a young adult writer with type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in 2001. My first novel was published in 2015, and my second novel, Bewitching Hannah, is about to be released. I’m gearing up for a busy fall season full of author events that will challenge me to get out there and do my writer thing while keeping my blood sugar levels balanced and staying healthy.
On a daily basis, I’m home writing, which sounds easy, right? The challenge is that I get sucked into the writing zone and lose track of not only time, but also my type 1 routine. Fortunately, I have a dog that lets me know when she needs a walk, which is often—thank goodness! I also use a Medtronic insulin pump and a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor). The insulin pump has been a godsend, especially when I have to travel to faraway places for book events, and although I’m fairly new to the Dexcom CGM, it has already had a fabulous impact on my life and my blood sugar.
The bigger challenge as a writer with type 1 is when I attend these amazing book fairs or author events where I’m gleefully busy for hours at a time. I have to remind myself to check in on how I’m feeling, which is difficult when you’re gushing with fans over your favorite authors and books, right?! At events like this, if I start to feel low or my CGM alerts me, I’ll take a break for a few minutes to take care of myself. I usually bring bottled fruit juice with me just in case.
Often, I am asked about giving advice to teens with type 1 who are interested in becoming writers. Here it is–most importantly, take care of yourself because a healthy writer’s mind requires a healthy body. Exercise in between writing sessions, make healthy food choices (as much as you can!), count carbs, and utilize technology to stay fit. The world needs all types of authors, especially you! Dream big and start writing about what you love. Take classes to hone your writing. There are lots of free writing tutorials online that you can take advantage of if you can’t afford a writing class. And finally, join a community of teen writers. Local libraries are a great source for this or join/create a teen book club. Then you can read a book by an author with type 1 and invite them to Skype into your book club! By the way, reading is just as important to your writing as writing is.
The next big thing I have planned is completing my third young adult novel, and since I’ve only had the Dexcom CGM for a short time, I can’t wait to get my next A1C results! I also want to challenge myself to increase my level of exercise and continue to spend time volunteering with the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) chapter near me.
To learn more about me and my writing adventures, click here. For a peek into my new book, read on!
Bewitching Hannah by Leigh Goff
Bewitching Hannah, which releases September 17th, is a story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Hannah Fitzgerald who discovers an ancient prophecy that reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another. She soon 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 surrounds her in the historic town of Annapolis.
If you’re interested in ordering a copy of Bewitching Hannah, here’s the link.
Enjoy the exclusive excerpt…
A breeze swept through her cracked window, tousling runaway strands of chestnut brown hair across her prominent cheekbones.
“Yes, everything will be wonderful,” she said with certainty in her voice, but I wasn’t so absa-freaking-lutely sure.
Lightning flashed, followed by a rumble of thunder, jolting me alert. A tempest churned over the Chesapeake Bay and was rolling toward town. I stared at the clouds, ready to calculate how much time we had before the rain hit. Another bright flash of white-hot lightning forked across the purplish-black sky. One, two…twenty.
The storm was at least four miles away. I pressed a hand over my chest feeling the thumping slow.
I glanced at Aunt J, who was no longer bopping her head to the bad music. Instead, she blinked over and over, and rubbed her eyes with one hand.
“If you’re tired, I can drive.” Who needed a license when I’d already mastered a moped along with the Green Briar golf carts?
Her slender fingers searched for me as if I were a ghost she could only hear. She grasped my arm tightly.
“Hannah?” Panic drenched her voice.
My eyes widened. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t see. I mean, I see something, but it’s not the road. What’s wrong with me?”
I peered out the windshield. A distant telephone pole grew bigger as her foot stuck to the accelerator.
A frightening swell of adrenaline flooded my veins, sending my heart into a frenzy. “Stop!” I yelled, but she was frozen with fright. I grabbed the steering wheel and threw my leg over to jam on the brake pedal.
It was too late. Absolute silence fell over us in the grim second before we plowed into the pole. My lower body slammed into the dashboard while the seatbelt squeezed hard against my ribs. Metal groaned. White bubbles deployed. Glass shattered with a scream. Or maybe the scream was mine. The car groaned to a halt with a hiss and clank.
Stillness settled over us. My head was reeling as I checked myself for injuries. Bursts of pain sparked from my chest and leg.
“Hannah?” Aunt J’s quivering voice reached out.
I pried my eyes open. She had escaped her seatbelt. Her lips and hands were trembling, but I saw no blood or broken skin. Inwardly, I sighed with relief.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
I sucked in a shallow breath. “Me? Fine,” I managed, not wanting to stress her out, but I struggled to breathe and my left leg was wedged under the intruding dashboard.
She reached over, wiping her hands across my cheeks and forehead, dusting away crumbs of glass. She touched her trembling fingers to the seatbelt release and pressed on it, over and over. “Come on, dammit. Let go.”
I pushed her hand away, restraining a whimper. “It’s okay. Go get help.”
She nodded and with a hard push, shoved her door open. “I’ll be right back.”
A heavy silence fell over the car’s interior until a hiss sounded from the engine. Within seconds, the smell of burning oil seeped in through the vents.
One toxic breath went deeper than I meant it to. “Ow!” I coughed and writhed beneath the unyielding seatbelt like a five-year-old having a tantrum. Panic swept over me as I struggled for freedom.
Stress vibrated deep in my gut. Self-soothe, self-soothe, I reminded myself. The air grew thicker with burning oil and a starburst of pain wracked my body. I was going to die. Unless…
No. How could I even think it? There had to be another way because what if I couldn’t send it back? What if it took me to the same terrible place it had taken them?
I peered out the windows, searching. There was no one. I turned my focus on the glove box. Maybe Aunt J kept a knife in there or a pair of floral scissors. I pushed the button hard, again and again. Jammed. My heart raced.
A burst of smoke puffed into the car’s interior. I coughed and closed my eyes. The pressure on my leg intensified and the sickening fumes filled me with dread. Eff it. I balled my hands into fists.
I recalled the spell I’d overheard my dad utter once. I recited it in my head before casting, making sure I had it right.
My next enchanting novel, BEWITCHING HANNAH, is on its way from Mirror World Publishing! Mirror World has a reputation for publishing fantastic fiction, and I’m thrilled to be working with them again.
The young adult fantasy, set in present-day Annapolis, Maryland (lots of scenes are set at the historic sites in my hometown), focuses on Hannah Fitzgerald, a sixteen-year-old Chesapeake witch. And even if being a witch sounds super cool, it’s the last thing she wants.
Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was 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, a Calvert descendant, who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead.
Enemies will hurt her. Loved ones will make her vulnerable. And the impending prophecy that drives her to unleash her magic will cause her to unearth the sins of the past and doubt any promise of a future. Without knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.
The book is available now on Amazon. If you haven’t had a chance to read my first novel, DISENCHANTED, you can find it on Amazon, BN.com, and Mirror World Publishing.
The Chesapeake region is known for blue crabs, sailing, and the U.S. Naval Academy. However, Maryland’s past is cloaked in a dark secret–an intriguing and rarely mentioned history of witches.
In 1635, the state adopted the Witchcraft Act of 1604 that declared witchcraft a felony, punishable by death. Rebecca Fowler suffered the worst fate due to this law. She was accused by a fellow indentured servant of hexing him prior to an injury. She was arrested, tried by a jury, and hung at the gallows. Hannah Edwards faced similar charges, but luckily escaped the noose.
In 1665, Elizabeth Bennett (not that Elizabeth Bennet!) was caught making charms, casting enchantments, and delving into general sorcery. Philip Calvert, the fifth Governor of Maryland and the son of the first Lord Baltimore, charged her with witchcraft, but her neck was spared from the gallows by an acquittal. What’s ironic is that the Calverts were descended from the royal Grey bloodline (Queen Jane Grey’s family) who were known for delving into magic and alchemy. Also, another famous Maryland family, the Arundells (Anne Arundell married into the Calverts) were related to the Irish Wizard Earl, Gerald Fitzgerald, a famous magician and alchemist.
Around 1697, the Chesapeake witch, Moll Dyer of Leonardtown, was driven from her home when locals set it on fire. She raced into the winter’s night and died from exposure with her hand frozen to a boulder. According to witchlore, her handprint remains frozen in time and can be seen on the boulder as a reminder of darker days. The land where she lived is known to be cursed and reports of a woman’s ghost haunting the area abound.
In 1712, Virtue Violl starred in the very last state trial for practicing her craft. William Bladen, Maryland’s first Attorney General, oversaw the trial where she was charged with harming an elderly neighbor by striking her tongue lame, however, a lack of proof forced the jury to acquit her. Interesting fact–William Bladen is buried at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis on Church Circle. Sounds like a cool setting for a scene in a witch novel…hint, hint.
Ever heard of Witch’s Grave? Not many Annapolitans even know the place or the legend. A gnarled, slanted tree overhanging the bank of Spa Creek marks Witch’s Grave. At the base of the tree lies a crypt where three unnamed witches were buried. Local lore has it that two of them were hung and one was burned. Their tortured ghosts are known to haunt the area and anyone who summons them from their final resting place.
The Chesapeake area’s dark witch history inspires questions. Were these women deeply connected to nature or was there magic in their blood? Does Moll Dyer’s tortured spirit still search for the men who chased her out of her home? And is it possible the Chesapeake witches’ descendants quietly carry on the practice of their ancestors’ craft today, including the casting of spells and the breaking of curses? What I can tell you is this–I’m descended from a seventeenth century Chesapeake witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, and I love the idea of casting these kinds of powerful females into my enchanting ever-afters.
My upcoming novel, Bewitching Hannah (Fall 2017), is set in present-day Annapolis and will answer some of these unsettling questions.
Witch’s Grave, Annapolis, Maryland
Image of Annapolis from: http://www.tourist-destinations.com/2015/03/annapolis-md.html
Image of Witch Moll Dyer from: https://historywitch.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/moll3.jpg
Pictures of Witch’s Grave from: http://tobaccoland.blogspot.com/2011/03/witchs-grave-in-truxton-park-annapolis.html
Disenchanted is hitting the bookstore shelves!
My dream has always been to ‘one day’ walk into a major bookstore, like Chapters or Indigo, and find my book on a shelf. I didn’t know then just how much of an uphill battle that would be, but that dream set me on the path to finishing not only one novel, but several, and through the painstaking process of learning the publishing business and becoming an entrepreneur. And, today, that dream is finally within sight.
As you know, Forbidden by Matthew Freake launched May 17th, 2015, kicking off our Summer of New Releases. The above is a photo of a shelf in the Indigo closest to our office where you can walk in and purchase Forbidden. The best part is, Forbidden is the first Mirror World book to be held in the store, but it will not be the last, soon Disenchanted by Leigh Goff will join…
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For Immediate Release
June 1, 2015: The print release for Disenchanted, based on the Wethersfield Witches, is June 1, 2015.
A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice…Suspenseful, dark, romantic, and brimming with old magic, Disenchanted captures the intrigue of New England’s witchlore.
Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for—a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families’ wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch’s true love curse, but it will take much more than that.
Author Name: Leigh Goff
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
ISBNs: Print Book~ 978-0-9920490-9-6
Number of Pages: 264
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1FeknM1
Permission to Forward Granted
About the Author:
Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Annapolis, Maryland where she is inspired by the city’s great history.
She graduated from the University of Maryland, University College and is a member of the Severna Park YA Writers’ Group, Maryland Writers’ Association, and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council.
For review copies or to arrange an interview, blog visit, or event with the author please visit her website.