Title: Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones
Author: Sorchia DuBois
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Adventure
How many Scottish witches does it take to destroy one small-town fortune teller?
Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.
Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Not by a long shot.
Granny started it. I can lay the whole mess at the feet of that cantankerous old pelican. Funny, isn’t it, how a solid, normal life twists into something else? Makes you wonder if it was ever so solid or so normal in the first place.
Her snow-white hair spreads like a halo on the purple pillow. A dried apple of a woman, Granny’s hummingbird fingers tug knots into a brown jute cord. The frayed cord cascades across an amethyst quilt and down to the grey board floor. From beneath the bed, a cat’s soft black paws bat the dangling end.
Late afternoon sunshine flickers through the leaves of the giant oak outside the window. Shadows and sunbeams dance across the floor, across Granny’s bed, across the knotted cord growing in her hands. The familiar musty aroma of sandalwood incense wafts through the silent shack.
I survey the view of hazy Arkansas woodland from the window, but I watch her out of the corner of my eye. She looks as she has looked for the twenty-nine years of my life, yet ice crystals grow in my heart. The white light of her essence flickers and flutters like a moth’s wings against the window. What if she really is sick this time?
“Zoraida.” Granny’s voice snaps me to attention. “Stop gawking. I ‘spect you’re already plannin’ my funeral, ain’t you? More’n likely figuring out what you’ll do when I’m dead and you have all of this to yerself.”
I cast my gaze around the one room she calls home. The wood cook stove and sink on the east wall serve as a kitchen. Oak pollen lies in a fine, yellow-green dust, coating dried flowers, bottled herbs, and candles on the stained wooden table. Parchments and books cascade from two frayed wicker chairs onto the rough board floor. The corner of the window screen folds back, torn to allow easy access for cats. With each breeze, Arkansas black flies, freshly hatched and thirsty for blood, swarm in through the hole.
“Yes, Granny.” I swat a fly on my arm before it gnaws to the bone. “I’m living for the day when I can bask in all this luxury. It can’t come soon enough.”
“Now, don’t you be a smartass.” Her eyes glitter. Sarcasm is the only language the old bat understands. She’s up to something, that’s for certain. “Git over here and sit beside me. I have somethin’ to tell you.”
“If you’re expecting me to clean this place, you’ve got another think coming.” I push a grey cat out of the cane rocking chair and sit down.
Unimpressed, the cat flops on the floor. I shed my shoes and sink my toes into the soft fur on his tummy.
“I’m dying.” Granny whips the jute around her fingers and knots it into the pattern. Her shiny, black eyes match the beads she strings into the cord.
My breath stalls somewhere between my lungs and my throat, but I know better than to let it show. I grit my teeth and shake my head. “You’re at death’s door every other time I come out here. What’s wrong with you now?”
“I’m spent, Zoraida,” she whispers to the cord of jute. “The grey days of my life stretch behind, but when I look ahead, I see the void. This’ll be my last summer.”
“You need to get outside in the sunshine. You’ll feel better then.”
“Sunshine ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.” She squints at me, sizing me up. “But you can help. If you want to.”
I squint back at her. “I knew you wanted something. Why can’t you just ask straight out without pretending you’re about to die?”
She jerks a knot tight. “I ain’t foolin’ this time. If you want me to live to see another full moon, you’ll do what I tell you. Get me back my healing crystal. They stole it five-hundred years ago. It’s the only thing as can save me.”
“What healing crystal, you crazy old woman? Who stole it?” I feel her pulling me into her web. This is how she operates.
“You always was the brightest one in the litter, though they was all clever. Not counting your cousin Clyde. That boy didn’t have the brains God gave a head of lettuce. If you can’t steal my crystal, nobody can. You’ll have to sneak in at night when they ain’t expecting it.” She laughs a cackling laugh to herself. “They won’t never be expecting the likes of you, anyhow.”
“I may skate on the edge of the law, but I don’t lie any more than I have to and I certainly don’t steal.” Any twinge of conscience dissolves in righteous indignation that she, of all people, would ask me to commit a crime after all the lectures and punishments she dealt out as I grew up.
“You and that man of yours sell pot in your little store. Callin’ it ‘smoking supplies’ don’t change the facts.” She narrows her beady eyes at me and squinches up her face. Without her teeth, she looks like a shrunken head from the Amazon. “And you lie whenever the urge strikes you.”
“What I do is my own business, but you’re crazier than I thought you were if you expect me to run out and start stealing stuff just because you say so.”
“Don’t be sassy. You ain’t but thirty years old and don’t know much about nothin’ yit.”
“I won’t be thirty for three and a half more weeks.” I chew the inside of my lower lip, partly because Granny is driving me nuts and partly because I really do not need a reminder of my pending natal commemoration.
“I reckon I’ll have to tell you the whole nine yards, then.” Granny heaves a tortured sigh.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
My Zoraida Grey trilogy is a witchy adventure following Zoraida, a small-town fortune teller, from Arkansas to Scotland to the Caribbean and back again. If you crave haunted Scottish castles, ancient curses, smoking hot male witches, and plenty of magic, begin the adventure with Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. Of the series, one reviewer says, “Zoraida's inner narrative is a dazzling combination of humorous self-deprecation, sarcasm, and wit. It's like Practical Magic, Charmed, and The Craft had a baby and named it "Zoraida Grey."
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Sorchia Dubois is the pen name of a mysterious, retired English teacher who lives deep in the forest in a tall house with nine cats. Sorchia writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and small-town murder mysteries. She published her first book in 2018 at the ripe age of mumblety-seven and plans to publish at least ninety-nine more. Her latest accomplishment is to survive cancer, which was no fun, but served to broaden her perspective—that’s for sure. Currently, she’s working on All the Pretty Knives, the first in a new trilogy to be released 2021-22.
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Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/SorchiaDuBois/e/B00B60NOUQ/