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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Curses, Spells, and Love

by

Leigh Goff

The light of Protection, I carry it strong.

No ill wishes or trouble, can come along.

You cannot harm me, or weaken my soul.

My light is my weapon, and peace is my goal.

–Author Unknown

 

What is a witch, but a powerful woman? In my stories what makes her powerful is more than magic. It is the willingness to sacrifice herself for the ones she loves. It is the ability to face her fears with courage she didn’t know she had. It’s also having the heart to tap into her talents when needed, and if that includes spell casting and curse breaking at any cost, so be it.

Because of reader interest in the witches’ spells in my books, I compiled a few from Disenchanted and Bewitching Hannah to share. In my latest novel, KOUSH HOLLOW, the magic comes from the women of the bayou–it embodies the mysticism of the Deep South and is equally powerful.

DISENCHANTED

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Goodchild from the wickedly wonderful town of Wethersfield, Connecticut struggles with her magic as she finds forbidden love along with a centuries-old true love curse. Here are a few spells, some spoken in Latin, from Disenchanted.

“Ictus.” Sophie hopes for a windstorm when she encounters a boy who should be her family enemy, but she’s love struck and only flower petals rain down on her and Alexavier.

“Verum.” Sophie casts this spell on the boy she thinks she must hate, but instead of him speaking the truth, a heart shape appears in the bark of a mulberry tree trunk behind him. The tree is significant in this story as it is in Pyramus and Thisbe. They are the ill-fated couple, like Romeo and Juliet, and they planned to meet under a mulberry tree.

Semper memoriam tui delebo Diamond”- She commands Judge Mather to forget about the rare red diamond used as a blood charm that has caused so much trouble.

BEWITCHING HANNAH

When an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald realizes she can no longer repress the magic that has taken away so much. There’s also the Grey witch’s Arundell Curse plaguing Hannah and her mysterious love interest, W.

“By the power of fire, I do summon and churn, and call thee forth to blaze and burn.” Hannah casts this spell, needing heat from her hands to burn through a seatbelt when she’s trapped in a fiery wreck.

Her frenemy, Arora, demonstrates her dark magic when she captures an insect and kills it with this spell, “By my command and desire, your pesky little death I require.”

The nefarious Emme using magic to fight with Hannah says, “For the trouble you have inflicted on me, double shall I inflict on you.” She snaps Hannah’s icy doppleganger statue in half and Hannah doubles over in agony.

KOUSH HOLLOW

As Jenna Ashby, the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior, is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive New Orleans social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow. She’s also cursed with her cold, narcissistic mother, Rayna, who’s ambitions are limitless.

 

In the excerpt below, Jenna is drawn to Voodoo priestess, Mama Ismay. She watches her create a mystical potion using bayou magic, but then Jenna is left with more questions than answers when she sees what’s in the mysterious aquarium.

EXCERPT

Mama Ismay reached for another bottle. The blue-green liquid within shimmered. “From da horseshoe crab.” She dripped blood into the malevolent liquid. From a bowl, she scooped silver-colored flakes and tossed them into the flames followed by a fistful of fine blue crystals.

I had to know. “Copper chloride?”

Feu bleu. Blue fire.” Orange flames flashed to a cerulean blue and burned hot enough to heat my face from a distance. She sprinkled a fine pink powder onto a conch shell and held it over the fire for a few seconds while chanting.

“What are you saying?”

She raised the shell over her head. “I am summonin’ da magic of my ancestor spirits who came before me.” She dropped the whole shell into the pot and turned to me.

I lifted my eyebrows with surprise. Did she really believe she could summon magic from dead people?

“How did you find us?” A crease appeared between her brows. “I doubt our location was given readily.”

I stared, mesmerized by the mystical concoction, steam rising from its gurgling depths as it reduced over the crackling, blue fire. “I, um, did my research.”

“Dat’s what scientists do, no?”

I wasn’t sure about her so-called magic, but she was using quite a bit of science herself with that potion. Her expression left me wondering. “I know we don’t know each other that well, but you look like there’s something troubling you.”

“You shouldn’t have come here.” She covered the pot with a grassy cloth and headed to another room. I followed.

“Why not? I had a lot of questions and I felt you were the only one to answer them.”

Next to a chair covered in oyster shells was an antique aquarium with beautiful, brass seahorse legs and brass oyster-shaped lights that illuminated the water. Within the water delicate, glass spheres the size of golf balls in varied pastel hues floated up and down in a slow, rhythmic pattern, never reaching the surface. I stood over it for a better look. An unexpected wave of heat rose up and warmed my cheeks. “What is this?”

She snatched a dried, green strip from the table next to her and snapped off a mouthful. “Sea grass jerky. Want a piece?”

“No thanks.” My gaze returned to the mysterious floating balls. “I mean, why are there balls in a fish tank and what’s in them?”

“Da balls contain somethin’ more precious dan air.” She stepped closer and hovered her hands over the water and when she turned back to me, her cheeks were flushed with color.

Amazon Buy Links

Koush Hollow

Bewitching Hannah

Disenchanted


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Author Leigh Goff who shares with us about a witch’s supernatural spirit companion.

A witch’s familiar is her lucky charm. What is a familiar or a familiar spirit? A familiar is a witch’s mascot; her supernatural spirit companion that takes the form of an animal, but an animal with its own magical powers. This special creature is a guardian and protector, lending support to its witch when needed and, if she is young, guiding her as she comes into her powers.

In witch lore, the creature is usually represented by the oh-so-clever black cat, but the familiar takes a form that best represents the individual nature of the witch. Dogs, birds, and mice are also popular familiars. A familiar can be as small as a butterfly or as big as an elephant. Horses make excellent familiars, too. As an author who writes about witches, I am partial to ravens and crows. They are protective, intelligent birds known for being excellent messengers.

Famous familiars include…Thackery Binx cat of Hocus Pocus, Salem Saberhagen from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Perdu the magical raven in The Witches of New York. I feature Hannah’s beautiful white raven familiar on the cover of Bewitching Hannah. He is her brave messenger, Siris; a name that is a magical palindrome like Hannah.

Today, many witches and Wiccan practitioners have adopted the idea of having a supernatural servant spirit and guardian. Familiars serve as faithful protectors of a witch and her powers. Most importantly, they are loyal to the end.

Speaking of lucky charms, if you’re looking for a sweet treat to pair with one of my bewitching novels, I am including a super simple recipe from Delish.com below.

Enjoy!

Best Lucky Charms Treats

½ cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for pan

1 (12-oz.) bag mini marshmallows

½ tsp. kosher salt

6 cup Lucky Charms

Grease a 9″-x-9″ baking dish with butter. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows and salt and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in Lucky Charms.

Pour into pan and smooth top, being careful not to pack cereal too tightly into prepared dish. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Here is a little from my paranormal fantasy for your reading pleasure.

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.

EXCERPT
The imposing entrance segued into the main part of the old family chapel. Shadows flickered across the white walls as candlelight streamed down from an ornate iron chandelier cradling clear-colored hurricanes. Angelic sculptures hung between the arched windows and beneath the cloud-painted ceiling that Michelangelo himself would have envied, four wooden pews graced each side of the aisle.

I tiptoed farther in and spotted another black-lined white envelope on the altar. I was definitely in the right place.

My fingers trembled as I traced the letters that formed my name. This was way beyond ordinary, but why and—more importantly—who?

“W?”

A hint of the Shadow’s amber and woods scent mixed with the faint candle smoke of the chapel. “No. Way.” I spun around ready to stomp right out of there.

In that moment, a heavy gaze fell on me and the air felt charged with electricity. I searched right and left, seeing no one. “W? Whoever you are, show yourself.”

“This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.” His potent voice reverberated off the walls and seemed to come from everywhere, including the inside of my head.

I locked my wandering gaze on the loft above the entrance where I spotted his silhouette. “Was leaving me in a burning wreck the hardest thing you ever had to do? Was it?” I raised my volume. “Who are you? Why did you leave me for dead?”

His intake of breath was audible. “I would never. I mean. I didn’t want to do that. I don’t.”

“Oh, lucky me.” I stuck my hands on my hips and tapped an impatient foot on the floor. “If you don’t want to finish me off, then you lured me here to do what, exactly?”

“To help you. I want to help you.”

“Ha!” The sarcastic laugh burst out before I could stop it. “You’ve done a bang up job inspiring my confidence and trust in that department.”

He simmered in silence for a moment. “What do I have to do to inspire you to follow my directions?”

Following someone else’s directions was definitely not my strength. I grimaced, but curiosity got the better of me. “What do you want?”

“You read the note.”

His desire to remain in the shadows was increasingly irritating. “I consider myself a very smart girl, so when a guy who left me in a burning car tells me he wants to help me take on a different deadly problem, I have to wonder if he’s not setting me up to fend for myself again. What’s your motive?”

I dropped my eyes to the envelope, turning it to and fro.

“Emme Blackstone is a mutual enemy and means us both harm.” A tinge of anger laced his tone.

The anger, I understood. After all, we were talking about Emme, but there was also a hint of sadness that intrigued me further. “Why do you think Emme means you harm?”
“It’s inevitable—because of what I am.”

What was he besides completely contemptible?

“It’s in her blood and I believe it’s in her destiny to wreak havoc, especially against someone who can challenge her in talent like you can.”

I dropped my hands to my sides, still clasping the enveloping. “Whoa. Like me? You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. How could you? I’ve been gone for the last year.”

A chortle caught in his throat. “What’s a year when you come from a bloodline with hundreds of years of history? A history that’s written down and available to certain people with the right—pedigree.”

Confused, I creased my brow as I continued to stare at his silhouette. “Have you been cyber-stalking me on Ancestry.com or something?”

“Hardly.” There was disdain in his voice as if he considered cyber-stalking to be worse than leaving a girl to die.

“Look, whatever you think you know about my family, I’m not like them. I’m not talented, and I don’t want to challenge Emme. I just want to live a normal life. Normal.” My voice escalated. “Do you hear me all the way up there?”

He huffed. “Normal? You don’t get to pretend to be normal when you’re not. It doesn’t work like that. Not in Annapolis. Someone always knows. Someone always unravels your secrets.”

I thought of the Witch’s Grave. I pictured the women’s slender figures dangling from sturdy, gnarled branches. Their tragic endings proved what I already knew. Magic only brought suffering and death. “You make it sound like I don’t have a choice. I’m telling you I do, and I won’t be a part of this.” I stomped my foot hard on the floor.

He shifted from the shadows into a dim ray of light, seething. “You read the note and you know Emme won’t stop. You need my help.”

I glared, trying desperately to make out the details of his face. “I don’t need anything from you.”

“You don’t have to like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are a part of this. You know you are or you wouldn’t have come here. However, if that’s how you feel then you should leave.” The cold in his voice crystallized.

My pulse escalated. “Yup. That’s how I feel. And I’m only leaving because that’s what I want to do, not because you suggested it. Bye.” I marched to the door and wrapped my hand around the knob. I yanked it open. From the moment I’d first laid eyes on him, he’d been nothing but trouble. Horrible, awful trouble. However, as much as I hated to think it, he knew about me and the other witches in town. He was full of answers—answers I needed. I shut the door and turned back around. “How do you know all this about Emme and me?”

AMAZON BUY LINKS


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Leigh Goff who shares with us about her writing.

For the new release of the Koush Hollow audiobook, Leigh Goff provides insight into her writing process and about Koush Hollow, a mystical place where magic abounds and all that glitters…is deadly.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

For me, they must come together at the same time. I always outline the story first, so I need both of those elements fleshed out in the outline before I start to do the actual first draft. That being said, the characters are always a bit easier to develop than the plot.

What part of Koush Hollow was the most fun to write?

In Koush Hollow, the climactic end was absolutely the most fun to write. It’s actually the darkest thing I’ve ever written. I totally enjoyed visualizing those events and writing them down. Great fun and bit cathartic!

What would you say to an author who wanted to design their own cover?

I’ve never had to design my own cover and I’m not sure that’s my strength anyway, but I have had input into all of my covers. I’m appreciative that the publishers asked for that input and took my advice to tweak the art to make the cover design more pertinent to the story. No one knows the story better that the writer so it’s always nice to add those little touches.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

You know, I wish I had used a variation of my name. I thought about using L. A. Goff, rather than Leigh A. Goff when my first book, Disenchanted, was published in 2015. With Koush Hollow, which is my third, I requested that change in my name for the cover, but since I already had a following under Leigh A. Goff, the publisher wanted to stay with that. However, in the future, if I write in a different genre, I may push for L. A. Goff.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?

My favorite part is the excitement that comes with the offer letter. It means someone read the work and loved it. There’s nothing you want to do except pop a Champagne bottle and toast to the book’s future. Least favorite part—public speaking events to promote it. I’m absolutely terrified of public speaking, however, I love speaking with small groups or book clubs or doing book signings and meeting the readers. That’s pretty awesome.

How important was professional editing to your book’s development?

Oh my gosh—editors are critically important to finishing and polishing the final version. When a writer has been in a story for months, it is difficult to go back and see the trees (the trees being all the mistakes hahaha) for the forest. It’s not always fun to see those mistakes, but editors are a necessary part of a writing team. I am always so grateful for their insight and suggestions to make the work the best it can be.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Koush is a play on the French word, cauchemar, which means a terror that comes in the night. And there are legends in the South about witch-riding nightmares where people dream about a witch or demon sitting on their chests or backs trying to suffocate them. This strange phenomenon is called a cauchemar. And since there are mystical characters, strange waking dreams, and nefarious women in Koush Hollow, it seemed like an appropriate title.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

Ice cold lemon seltzer water in the warmer months/hot chocolate coffee in the colder months, my dog Summer next to me, a comfy chair, and my laptop. I need to be comfortable so I can just focus on writing and nothing else.

 

Here’s a bit more on Leigh’s latest release.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby dreads life with her wealthy mother in Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow. How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna ever expected.

BUY LINKS

Audible

Amazon

Apple

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
 

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Friday Features’

Guest interviews a character from

Koush Hollow

by

Leigh Goff

For the release of the Koush Hollow audiobook, Jenna Ashby provides insight into her character and life in a mystical town where magic abounds and all that glitters…is deadly.

Tell us about your name?

It’s Jenna Ashby. Rayna, my mother, calls me Jennifer, which I despise. My middle name, Crossland, comes from Rayna’s maiden name, however, I have so many strange dreams about where I come from that it makes me wonder if Crossland is what it’s really supposed to be.

Tell us about your childhood.

My parents divorced when I was a little kid. I moved with my dad from the bayous of Koush Hollow on the outskirts of New Orleans to Atlanta. My dad died in a terrible accident last year. I was fifteen and had to move back to live with Rayna in her creaky, old house. She’s career-driven, ambitious, and she pretty much has my whole life planned out for me. Don’t worry, though. Her plan is so not going to happen. I mean, she wants me to head her vapid social club one day, the Diamonds & Pearls. How could I even consider that? I’m an eco-warrior at heart and have no intention of hanging out with those materialistic, society women whose priorities are seriously mixed up. I’m also done attending balls and wearing pearls. Needless to say, life with Rayna is going to be a challenge—mostly for her.

Do you have any distinguishing physical features?

Besides my cool short, blonde spikes of hair, I have these interesting red marks on my hands. They’re crescent moon-shaped and Dad always told me they mark me as special, but Rayna hates them. She thinks they make me less than perfect. I don’t care. I’d rather be unique than perfect. What’s strange is that since I’ve returned to Koush Hollow, they’ve been acting up. I think it has something to do with being near the bayou, but I’m not sure why.

What is your greatest regret?

Not spending more time with my dad before he died. I’ve really struggled to deal with him being gone, too. Rayna is desperate for me to forget about him and focus on being Pearl perfect, but I’m not perfect. I’m a freaking mess. I’ve made bad choices. I keep making mistakes because of other traumatic events that keep sending me whirling. I regret some of my mistakes, but that’s what being sixteen is all about. No one’s perfect. We all have regrets.

Who is the most important person in your life?

From the beginning, my dad was and still is the most important, but since I’ve arrived in Koush Hollow, I’ve met someone who makes me question what’s going on in the world around me. His name is Hayden and he’s more like me than any of the wretched Diamonds or Pearls. He irritates me most of the time, but he’s smart and cares about Lake Pontchartrain and the bayous around us, which aren’t as healthy as they used to be. He blames Rayna and the nuclear power plant where she works, but she’s a former marine biologist. There’s no way she would do anything to hurt the environment, right?

Who are your friends?

I had the coolest best friends back in Atlanta who liked to cosplay. In Koush Hollow, I hang out with Pearls, Lauren and Abigail. They’re on Rayna’s approved list, but disregarding that horrible fact, they are starting to grow on me. They want me to become a Pearl, too, so I can meet the mysterious Marais sisters and have access to their secret beauty treatments. What they don’t know is that I’ve already met them. Lauren keeps hinting in a strangely weird way at the price I’ll have to pay to be a Pearl. She knows money isn’t an issue for Rayna, so it must be something else they want. We’ll see what happens.

What is your favorite food?

The one thing I love about being back in New Orleans is the food! It’s all freaking amazing. A perfect day would begin with sugar-dusted beignets for breakfast, a mouthwatering Muffuletta for lunch, shrimp and creamy grits for dinner, bread pudding with bourbon sauce for dessert, and Zapp’s Voodoo chips to snack on while I binge on my Netflix faves.

Speaking of Voodoo, word around Koush Hollow is that the Marais sisters are Voodoo priestesses. True or False?

What I can tell you is that they’ve got all kinds of mystical stuff going on at their place on the bayou. I’ve seen them painted as skeletons, dancing, chanting, and tossing dead fish into a bonfire. There’s Mama Ismay, she’s the oldest, although they all look so young, it’s hard to tell. Lisette is super sexy, Destine is into some strange, but healthy food choices, and they all look at me like I remind them of someone…

Here’s a brief intro to my new audiobook. Click the audible link below to hear more.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother. As the 16-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow: How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing? As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

BUY LINKS

Audible

Amazon

Apple

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
 

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Friday Features’

Guest shares

8 Reasons to Listen to Audiobooks

by

Leigh Goff

My publisher, Parliament House, encouraged me to turn my Southern Gothic Horror book Koush Hollow into an audiobook. Before I made that commitment, I decided to investigate the benefits of audiobooks. And was I surprised! Here are just some of the things I learned that you may find interesting:

  • Something new. Some people prefer listening rather than reading text and the increasing popularity of audiobooks proves that. According to Goodereader.com, audiobook sales increased by 16 percent in 2019 and generated over $1.2 billion in revenue. That same year, e-books only made $983 million.
  • You can listen to a book on your phone, iPad, computer, at the beach, or at a family get together you want to escape from. It’s easier than ever to download a book thanks to Audible, and it’s tough to lose one when it’s on your phone. Bonus, no more physical bookmarks or reading glasses needed! Just pick up where you left off listening.
  • Huge Variety. In 2020, more than 71 thousand audiobooks were published in the U.S. The number has increased 39 percent year over year since 2007. There are currently more than 25 audiobook publishers, and according to Forcreators.com, the most popular genres in audiobooks are autobiography/memoir, mystery, thriller, fantasy, and science fiction. Almost anything you want to read is ready for downloading.
  • Pro-Multitasking. According to Goodereader.com, over half of UK audiobook listeners say they don’t have time to sit and read a physical book. Audiobooks allow you to listen while you walk your dog, clean your room, get a load of laundry done, workout on the elliptical, or prep dinner.
  • Popular. One in three book buyers has listened to an audiobook in the past year and if you’re in a book club, you can have all of those book titles downloaded into one place to make it easier than ever to listen anytime, anywhere. They’re so popular, the big publishers like Audible and Harper Collins are investing in more studios and narrators to speed up production.
  • Mood Elevator. Listening to an audiobook before bed is similar to meditation because it keeps unnecessary thoughts from creeping into your mind. Studies show that it’s a more immersive and intimate experience that can also help you fall asleep.
  • Vocabulary Helper. When you listen to audiobooks, you learn how to pronounce difficult words and learn their meaning through the context of the dialogue. You may not be able to guess the spelling of the word, but your curiosity could lead you to investigate further.
  • Koush Hollow. Horror/Fantasy/Southern Gothic. This is a brand-new audiobook release from The Parliament House Press, and it offers an original story that’s a great choice for all readers. It’s a chilling, yet hopeful tale of one girl’s resistance to an elite world of wealth and class and her brave questioning of the strange happenings around her. The talented Erin Seidel gives voice to an eclectic cast of characters and her narration captures the youthful, idealistic character of Jenna as she is transformed from a disillusioned girl to one who honors her convictions and truths at all costs in a riveting story set in the mystical bayous of New Orleans. Available on Audible, Amazon, and iBooks.

For your listening pleasure, enjoy a sweet cocktail from New Orleans that pairs perfectly with the audio version of Koush Hollow.

BEST-EVER HURRICANE from Delish

2 oz. light rum

3 oz. dark rum

6 oz. passion fruit juice

6 oz. orange juice

2 tbsp. grenadine

Ice

2 Orange slices

2 maraschino cherries

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine rums, passion fruit juice, orange juice, and grenadine.

Pour over iced-filled glasses.

Garnish each glass with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Find the original recipe at Delish.

Here’s a brief intro to my new audiobook. Click the audible link below to hear more.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother. As the 16-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow: How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing? As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

BUY LINKS

Audible

Amazon

Apple

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Living with Type 1 Diabetes and The Cheesiest Spinach Casserole

by

Leight Goff

I am a young adult author with type 1 diabetes. Why is that little fact important? Maybe it isn’t, but it has shaped me as a writer, a mother, and a person, whether I wanted it to or not. I didn’t by the way. I have never shared this publicly as I am a very private person. However, this is important because I’m not the only person dealing with type 1. You see, my younger brother had been diagnosed at the age of fifteen with the same disease. I watched how it ravaged his body over a short period of time. I saw firsthand how it attacks—one tiny blood vessel at a time until there’s nothing you can do to reverse the damage. I also remember quite clearly my mother being afraid to help him. He was on his own and terrified.

Eight years after his passing, I was thirty-one, active, slender and continuing to lose weight even though my weekly running had slowed. I had developed an unquenchable, burning thirst, my fairly good vision was growing blurry, and my strong legs were cramping in the middle of the night. I knew in my heart what it was. I’d seen the symptoms in my brother a decade earlier. After three months of denial, I went to the hospital where I was diagnosed with what the doctors’ thought was type 2 diabetes. They explained I was too old to have type 1.

However, I was running twenty miles a week. I kept asking myself, “How could it be type 2?” My husband told me he could see how thin I’d gotten and was concerned the doctors were wrong. They insisted and put me on an oral medication that clearly wasn’t going to work. It didn’t. The antibody test came back positive and the fact was, my immune system had turned on me. The insulin producing cells in my pancreas were destroyed and would never return.

It was a death sentence as far as I knew. I, too, was terrified. I had a husband and two young children. I had a life I wanted to live for as long as I could. I knew the chronic disease would kill me, if I let it. If I let it. So, I committed to not let it destroy me like it had with my brother. I’m not kidding. I was scared to death, but the disease that had taken him wasn’t going to take me.

I went to my medical appointments, feeling so desperately alone. I also went to support meetings at my local hospital, which were actually the opposite of support. There I met with fellow type 1 patients who had refused to accept the disease and its mighty power and that scared the hell out of me. They hadn’t seen what the monster could do. After two meetings, I never went back. They seemed to be in denial and denial was not an option for me. If I encountered another type 1 at a social event, I latched onto them like they were a life raft, but none of them seemed to be on the same path as myself. I acknowledge that everyone with the disease has to come to terms with it on their own and figure out their own plan.

My plan was to respect the monster, and in return my diligence would keep the monster at bay so as to allow me to live as normally as possible. Day by day. Some days great. Some not so great. But good health was and continues to be my goal.

I started my healthcare regimen with old-fashioned syringes and vials, moved on to insulin pens, and finally graduated to wearing top-notch medical equipment in the form of an insulin pump and a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) in one of arms (I switch it to the other arm every ten days). After almost twenty years, the last ten with tubes and gadgets attached to me, I’m pleased to say I have no blood vessel damage to my eyes or kidneys. This is my life. For the rest of my life, but I’m thankful to have the technology to maintain my good health and I’m most thankful for the years my brother didn’t have.

Am I scared? Every single day I wake up summoning courage to face the day. Type 1 is truly a monster that never quits. I’ve dealt with other beasts in my life, some of them in my own family, but this monster is a killer waiting to snatch another victim. However, like in a fairytale the point of a monster is that it is meant to instill fear and test the hero. Will the hero face her fear and defeat the it? In my own story, I have faced my fear, my greatest fear, but until they find a cure for type 1 diabetes, I won’t be able to defeat it. In the meantime, I will continue to battle it every single day with strength and steadfastness.

As far as writing, I’d love to craft a story that features a character with type 1. In the meantime, I am inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates. Although I’m terrible at casting any magic of my own, I am descended from an accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky. That’s pretty cool, right?

I am currently taking a charcoal drawing class and golf lessons to bring some new experiences to my writing. We’ll see how that goes! I have three published young adult novels, I am a member of SCBWI, and I graduated from the University of Maryland.

At present, I am working on a manuscript about a teen witch, Abigail, fighting for her right to practice witchcraft in a conservative southern town with a history of burning witches. As she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of the Silver Moon Witch, trouble begins to find Abigail who’s discovering the witch’s story has dangerous parallels to her own life, especially when someone is watching, waiting to toss a match.

THE CHEESIEST SPINACH CASSEROLE

This is a healthy, low carb casserole that I enjoy making and it doesn’t raise my blood sugar levels!

20 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes

1½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

4 large eggs, beaten

¼ cup butter, melted

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

Spread mixture into an 8×8 baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is set.

Serve immediately.

Recipe from THAT LOW CARB LIFE

Here’s a little from my latest novel to peak your interest.

Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…
is deadly.
After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

EXCERPT

Hayden shook his head. “I shouldn’t expect someone like you to care.”

“Like me? I’m not so different from you.”

He cocked his hands on his hips and stared into my eyes. He concentrated, searching for something. “Jenna, what if that were true? How would that fly with your Pearl friends?”

“What are saying?”

“The night of the beach party—you stayed under the water for minutes. I thought you were drowning.” His gaze lowered to my mouth, sending a warm flutter of butterflies inside me. “Maybe you’re more like me than you ever thought possible.”

Surprised, I pressed a hand to my stomach. I glanced back at the yacht club. “I-I have to go.” I stumbled into a walk. My mind raced. What was that look he gave me?

He followed after and grabbed onto my hand. Lightning flickered from his touch and ignited my nerves. The shiver ran the length of my arm and down to my toes. My heart raced. I turned and looked at him. I wanted to feel his eyes on my mouth again.

He held me fixed in his gaze. “Promise me if you decide to become a pearl girl, you’ll do it as an informed person.” His tone was deadly serious.

Right there, I felt the weight of his concern. I dropped my gaze. “Hayden, I’m too smart to be a part of something that is ethically bankrupt and environmentally dangerous, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Don’t let them change you into one of them.”

I touched my hand to his cheek and traced the line of his jaw. “Do you think my mother and her friends are really part of a pollution conspiracy and a murder cover-up?” I asked referring to his childhood recollection. “Do you think I’d ever want to be a part of that?”

He considered my argument for a brief second. “This is bigger than you, Jenna. It will suck you in, if you let it.”

Mama appeared behind me, interrupting the discussion. “Everything okay here?”

“Fine.” I breathed in and out as quietly as I could, waiting for my racing heart to settle down. “Hayden, this is my mother, Dr. Crossland. Mama, this is Hayden Black. We’re classmates and we were discussing a history assignment.”

She dissected him with her eyes and everything about her expression told me she did not approve.

BUY LINKS

Parliament House Press

Amazon

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Leigh Goff shares with us her Top Five signs he’s the one! Plus a “Hope Chest” recipe for a Chicken Dinner.

How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna fall for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll try to explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you.

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing.

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you’re ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone.

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix.

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat.

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing.

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Here’s a little from my book to peak your interest.

Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…
is deadly.
After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

EXCERPT

Hayden shook his head. “I shouldn’t expect someone like you to care.”

“Like me? I’m not so different from you.”

He cocked his hands on his hips and stared into my eyes. He concentrated, searching for something. “Jenna, what if that were true? How would that fly with your Pearl friends?”

“What are saying?”

“The night of the beach party—you stayed under the water for minutes. I thought you were drowning.” His gaze lowered to my mouth, sending a warm flutter of butterflies inside me. “Maybe you’re more like me than you ever thought possible.”

Surprised, I pressed a hand to my stomach. I glanced back at the yacht club. “I-I have to go.” I stumbled into a walk. My mind raced. What was that look he gave me?

He followed after and grabbed onto my hand. Lightning flickered from his touch and ignited my nerves. The shiver ran the length of my arm and down to my toes. My heart raced. I turned and looked at him. I wanted to feel his eyes on my mouth again.

He held me fixed in his gaze. “Promise me if you decide to become a pearl girl, you’ll do it as an informed person.” His tone was deadly serious.

Right there, I felt the weight of his concern. I dropped my gaze. “Hayden, I’m too smart to be a part of something that is ethically bankrupt and environmentally dangerous, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Don’t let them change you into one of them.”

I touched my hand to his cheek and traced the line of his jaw. “Do you think my mother and her friends are really part of a pollution conspiracy and a murder cover-up?” I asked referring to his childhood recollection. “Do you think I’d ever want to be a part of that?”

He considered my argument for a brief second. “This is bigger than you, Jenna. It will suck you in, if you let it.”

Mama appeared behind me, interrupting the discussion. “Everything okay here?”

“Fine.” I breathed in and out as quietly as I could, waiting for my racing heart to settle down. “Hayden, this is my mother, Dr. Crossland. Mama, this is Hayden Black. We’re classmates and we were discussing a history assignment.”

She dissected him with her eyes and everything about her expression told me she did not approve.

BUY LINKS

Parliament House Press

Amazon

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

An Interview with Jenna Ashby from Koush Hollow by Leigh Goff.

Unknown-10

What is your full name?

Technically it’s Jennifer Ashby, but don’t call me Jennifer. I prefer Jenna (most of the time) and my middle name is Crossland, which is my mother’s maiden name, bleh, however, I have a feeling that’s not really what my middle name is…

Tell us about your parents.

Do I have to? They divorced when I was little and I moved with my dad from Koush Hollow outside of New Orleans to Atlanta. I was fifteen when my dad died tragically last year, and I had to move back to live with my mother, Rayna. She’s rich and ambitious and she pretty much has my whole life planned out for me, which is so not going to happen. One day she wants me to take over her exclusive social club, the Diamonds & Pearls, but I’m an eco-warrior at heart and have no intention of hanging out with those snobby women, attending balls, or wearing pearls. Needless to say, life with Rayna is going to be a challenge—mostly for her.

Do you have any distinguishing features?

Besides my cool short, blonde spikes of hair, I have these interesting red marks on my hands. They’re crescent moon-shaped and my dad always told me they mark me as special, but Rayna hates them. And ever since I’ve returned to Koush Hollow, they’ve been acting up. I think it has something to do with being near the bayou, but I’m not sure why.

diamonds-and-pearls-3-gina-sullivanWhat is your greatest regret?

Not spending more time with my dad before he died. I’ve really struggled to deal with him being gone, too. Rayna wants me to forget about him and focus on being perfect, but I’m not perfect. I’ve made bad choices. I keep making mistakes because of other traumatic events that keep sending me whirling. I regret the mistakes, but that’s what being a teenager is all about. Being sixteen means making mistakes. No one’s perfect. We all have regrets and maybe other kids can learn from my mistakes.

Unknown-9Who is the most important person in your life?

My dad was the most important, but since I’ve arrived in Koush Hollow, I’ve met someone who makes me question what’s going on in the world that Rayna wants to paint as perfect. His name is Hayden and he’s more like me than any of the Pearls. He irritates me most of the time, but he’s smart and cares about Lake Pontchartrain and the bayous around us, which aren’t as healthy as they used to be. He blames the nuclear power plant where Rayna works, but she’s a former marine biologist. There’s no way she would do anything to hurt the environment, right?

Who are your friends?

I had the coolest friends back in Atlanta. We would cosplay together and have the best times. I even had a long-distance boyfriend who I detest now. In Koush Hollow, I hang out with Lauren and Abigail. They’re Pearls and on Rayna’s approved list, but they are starting to grow on me. They want me to become a Pearl, too, so I can meet with the mysterious Marais sisters and have access to their stupid beauty treatments. What they don’t know is that I’ve already met them. Lauren keeps hinting at the price I’ll have to pay to be a Pearl. We’ll see what happens.

images-4What is your favorite food?

The one thing I love about being back in New Orleans is the food! It’s all freaking amazing. A perfect day would begin with beignets for breakfast, a Muffuletta for lunch, shrimp and grits for dinner, bread pudding with bourbon sauce for dessert, and Zapp’s Voodoo chips to snack on while I binge on Netflix shows.

Unknown-13Speaking of Voodoo, are the Marais sisters Voodoo priestesses?

Yes, and they’ve got all kinds of mystical stuff going on at their place on the bayou. I’ve seen them painted as skeletons, dancing, chanting, and tossing fish into a bonfire. There’s Mama Ismay, she’s the oldest, although they all look so young, it’s hard to tell. Lisette is sexy, Destine is into health food, and they all tell me I remind them of their late sister Chelsea. I don’t know how that’s possible, but they’re so beautiful beyond their appearance, I like the comparison.

Here’s a favorite appetizer or snack straight from the bayou. The unique flavor of Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips, which are made in Louisiana, features salt and vinegar with a smoky BBQ sweetness and spicy, jalapeno kick. These chips are so good, they’ll taste even better on an oven-fried pickle.

Voodoo Chip Fried Pickles
2 cups sliced dill pickles drained and patted dry
2 eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups crushed Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips

Cajun sauce for dipping
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon horseradish
4 teaspoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to broil on high. Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and then whisk in the flour.
  2. Place crushed Zapp’s Voodoo potato chips in a shallow dish. Dip each pickle slice in the egg mixture, then dredge in the crushed potato chips.
  3. Place coated pickles on a rack set above a baking sheet and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven. Broil for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  4. Serve right out of the oven with Cajun sauce.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky.

You can find more information at www.LeighGoff.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

unnamedBUY LINKS

Parliament House Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Witch-Riding Nightmares

by

Leigh Goff

My YA Southern Gothic novel, Koush Hollow, is set in a fictional town outside New Orleans. The title was inspired by the word cauchemar and its Southern meaning.

Koush is a derivative of cauche, which means a terror that comes in the night. The French translation is to press or trample. Mare comes from Old English and means an incubus or night-goblin. In southwest Louisiana cauchemar has another meaning. It refers to a witch-riding, a supernatural attack while one sleeps.

Various cultures in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas have different names for this phenomenon that has been experienced over the centuries. In seventeenth century North America, victims of accused Salem witches suffered from these witch-riding nightmares. The same kind of attacks are mentioned in present-day Southern folklore. The terrifying supernatural event occurs in the moments before waking up when one tries to move, but cannot. The paralysis is blamed on the supernatural and described as a feeling of pressure on one’s chest as if a demon were sitting on it or as if a witch were riding the person.

The Nightmare, 1781 Johann Heinrich Fusilli

Some believe the evil creature sucks the breath out of its victim while slowly killing them. During this sleep paralysis, victims claim to be choked or prodded with the creature’s claws, and they are filled with panic until the creature disappears into thin air. Others believe there is no meaning to the event while others believe it is a warning to seek forgiveness for one’s sins. The painting by Johann Heinrich Fusilli aptly titled The Nightmare depicts a cauchemar with a demonic creature posed on a woman’s chest while the horse in the background stares wide-eyed with fear on its face.

As Koush Hollow is set outside of New Orleans in a place where bayou magic abounds, dreams are frightening, and beauty masks the real monsters, it’s a well-suited title. Here’s a little to intrigue you.

Koush Hollow:
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

EXCERPT
This excerpt is from Chapter 1 of Koush Hollow. The sixteen-year-old main character, Jenna, seems to have a waking nightmare where an interesting creature appears, but only to her. Is it real or is it a dream?

Tap, tap.

My eyes flashed wide. A curvy, gray-haired lady tapped on my passenger side window. Jenna, snap out of it, I thought to myself. I breathed and remembered how to roll the window down.

“You okay, hon’?” She stared at my hands. “You’re shaking like you drank ten café lattes.”

“I’m j-just a little on edge. I mean, I thought I hit that…that woman.”

She jolted upright and looked around. “What are you talking about?”

My gaze flitted all around her. “She w-was r-right there—the painted woman,” I stuttered and pointed. “Where did she go?” My knees finally stopped knocking, allowing me to slide out of the car.

“You didn’t hit anyone. Are you on something?”

I stumbled to the front and bent over searching underneath the car. Nothing. No one. I stood up and scanned the sidewalks, but I didn’t see the mysterious woman anywhere.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be driving, hon’.”
Maybe I shouldn’t be.

“Is there someone I can call?” she asked.

I wiped my sopping wet forehead with the back of my hand. It had to be stress affecting me. It had been a tough few months and maybe it was catching up with me. I turned to the kind woman. “I’m only a few minutes from my mother’s house.” I’d get the Diet Cokes and vitamins later. “I’ll be fine. Thank you.”

We both returned to our cars. She waited for me to move. With trembling fingers, I managed to shift into drive. I pumped the brakes to see if they worked. They worked fine. The rattling sound in the engine was gone, too. I could hardly think straight. Was that Voodoo woman real or a figment of my imagination? I shoved aside the bad feeling, inhaled a calming breath, and decided to apply logic, which suggested the whole thing was a brain-glitch from stress. However, no matter how logical I tried to be, the uneasy feeling remained.

 

Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Leigh Goff who brings us her latest captivating novel paired with a southern recipe. Here’s Leigh!

My latest novel, Koush Hollow, is a Southern Gothic tale that deserves to be paired with Southern cuisine. This is one of those comfort dishes I seek out when I head farther south. It makes for a mouth-watering breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This recipe comes from the late chef Bill Neal who has influenced cooking across the South. This particular recipe was borrowed from Cook’s Corner on My Recipes.

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Shrimp & Grits
2 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
¾ cup half-and-half
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup regular grits
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. hot sauce
¼ tsp. white pepper
3 bacon slices
1-pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ tsp. black pepper
⅛ tsp. salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. hot sauce
Lemon wedges

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened. Add Cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients. Keep warm.

Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and salt; dredge in flour.

Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings in skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.

Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon; serve with lemon wedges.

How about a little more Southern charm while you enjoy your delicious meal?

Koush Hollow:
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters…is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

EXCERPT
This excerpt is from Chapter 1 of Koush Hollow. The sixteen-year-old main character, Jenna, seems to have a waking nightmare where an interesting creature appears, but only to her. Is it real or is it a dream?

Tap, tap.

My eyes flashed wide. A curvy, gray-haired lady tapped on my passenger side window. Jenna, snap out of it, I thought to myself. I breathed and remembered how to roll the window down.

“You okay, hon’?” She stared at my hands. “You’re shaking like you drank ten café lattes.”

“I’m j-just a little on edge. I mean, I thought I hit that…that woman.”

She jolted upright and looked around. “What are you talking about?”

My gaze flitted all around her. “She w-was r-right there—the painted woman,” I stuttered and pointed. “Where did she go?” My knees finally stopped knocking, allowing me to slide out of the car.

“You didn’t hit anyone. Are you on something?”

I stumbled to the front and bent over searching underneath the car. Nothing. No one. I stood up and scanned the sidewalks, but I didn’t see the mysterious woman anywhere.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be driving, hon’.”
Maybe I shouldn’t be.

“Is there someone I can call?” she asked.

I wiped my sopping wet forehead with the back of my hand. It had to be stress affecting me. It had been a tough few months and maybe it was catching up with me. I turned to the kind woman. “I’m only a few minutes from my mother’s house.” I’d get the Diet Cokes and vitamins later. “I’ll be fine. Thank you.”

We both returned to our cars. She waited for me to move. With trembling fingers, I managed to shift into drive. I pumped the brakes to see if they worked. They worked fine. The rattling sound in the engine was gone, too. I could hardly think straight. Was that Voodoo woman real or a figment of my imagination? I shoved aside the bad feeling, inhaled a calming breath, and decided to apply logic, which suggested the whole thing was a brain-glitch from stress. However, no matter how logical I tried to be, the uneasy feeling remained.

Leigh Goff writes young adult fiction. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Her third young adult novel, Koush Hollow, a Southern gothic set in New Orleans, will release on September 1, 2020 from The Parliament House.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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