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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Friday, July 8, 2016

coming soon: A Witch in Time saves Nine

Pre-publishing publicity here! This book will be out in a couple of weeks! I had a lot of fun researching the Salem witch trials and the Wampanoag Indians who lived in or near Salem in 1692.
Here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite:

I gathered my dark wool cloak around me and pulled the hood up before heading away from the gruesome scene. I didn’t want to take the chance of being noticed by those searching for others to execute. The town square was filled with gawkers, young and old, who had come to see Nettie hang.  I could hear them even now, their cries of ‘death to the witch!’ making me feel sick. According to the court’s findings, Nettie was doing the devil’s work.
She still hung suspended, her swan-like neck broken, long blonde hair in filthy tangles down her back from the time she spent in the dungeon, her body limp and swinging. I ran, only pausing before the bridge to catch my breath, wondering if my stomach would turn on me, but the feeling subsided.
If they wanted a real witch they should have picked me. If they knew I was able to travel through time I would have been burned or hung along with her. But I’d taken care to stay out of sight as much as I could.  As it was they had chosen the sweetest most innocent person I’d ever come across, a young woman who wouldn’t hurt a fly. If she hadn’t been associating with the likes of me this never would have come about. I swept away tears with my sleeve and started across the bridge, but when I was half way across a hand clamped down on my shoulder.
“Emeline Chase, why are you here?”
Over my shoulder I stared into the face of Nettie’s original accuser, now my neighbor, Jonas Hale. He was the one who’d reported her to the authorities and kept up with his accusations until she was tried and found guilty. Nettie had done nothing but show me how to turn herbs into oils, the pungent odor of these bringing Jonas running from his house a mile away. He was sure we were brewing up some kind of potions, his cry of “witch!” carrying on the wind and bringing others to our door. When Nettie was dragged away I begged and pleaded with the ones who took her, but their stares of hatred made my blood run cold.
His skin was florid as though he’d been running, probably to catch me. He was overweight and probably forty years of age, his fine waistcoat straining over his protruding stomach. I shook free and faced him. “You bear all the responsibility for killing an innocent young woman.”
He let out a low laugh. “I only took her to the court, nothing more. She had the mark of the devil on her cheek. We both know who the real culprit is though, do we not? I had hoped you would come forward to save her, but instead you decided to save yourself.”
“Why did you never accuse me, then?”
His piggy eyes narrowed even further. “I have told them of how you vanish as though taken by the wind and then return dressed in odd clothing, and yet they never come for you. Why is this, Emeline?”
I stared at him, surprised that he’d actually seen me disappear. I’d been sure my comings and goings from the twenty-first century were done in secret. This was not good. “I merely came here to see if there was a way to save an innocent woman. You hang the ones who never did a thing wrong. Look to your own kind if you want to find evil.  I hate you and all you stand for.”
“Remember, Emeline, it was Goody Putnam who gave Nettie away, not I. Hate me all you want, but I will eventually bring you to justice. You and the others.”
“What others?” When I shook my head my hood feel back, revealing my dark hair filled with red streaks. But that was not where his focus had gone. The breeze had come up, blowing the thick bangs off my forehead and revealing the tiny blue spiral tattoo.
Jonas’s eyes went wide and he crossed himself. “You bear the mark of the devil,” he hissed, backing away. “Be assured you will come to justice.”

I laughed and hurried across the bridge, leaving him to his religious nonsense.

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