Sunday, December 7, 2014

Magical Mystery Tour for Spell Booked

I'm thrilled to welcome Joyce and Jim Lavene and the Magical Mystery Tour for Spell Booked. The Giveaway for this tour is REALLY special and unique.

Kathy: You write several series set in different locations. How did you decide upon Wilmington, North Carolina as the setting for your Retired Witches Mystery series?

J&JL: Thanks for having us here today, Kathy! We LOVE Wilmington. When you walk by the Cape Fear River, the history of the place embraces you. And just the name – Cape Fear – who wouldn’t want to write a mystery set there? All the old houses that made it through pirate raids, the smugglers caves, and the cobblestones make it easy to imagine what it was like when Blackbeard spent time there.

Kathy: What made you decide to write about witches...and retiring witches, at that?

J&JL: Witches have gotten a bad rap through the years. We wanted to portray them as ordinary people who can sometimes do extraordinary things and have great respect for the earth and human nature. The part about retired witches was tongue-in-cheek. Just the idea that there could be witches of a certain age who could have some problems with their magic seemed humorous to us. The story is meant to be funny.

Kathy: Did you base the witches in Spell Booked on those who practice Wicca, or follow a similar path? Did you consult any witches or Wiccans as part of your research?

J&JL: Yes. Most of the story is based on Wiccan teachings. There are some aspects that are more magical than what you’d expect to find, but we tried to stay true to the witches we know. The witches we’ve let read the story thought it was funny and enjoyed the read.

Kathy: There are many famous literary and cinematic witches. Do you have any favorites?

J&JL: Not really, although we enjoyed the Witches of East End. We wanted our witches not to be as cute, pretty, or sexy. Just a few mothers, teachers, and lifelong friends.

Kathy: I absolutely adore the cover of Spell Booked! Can you tell us about your covers and cover art? Did you give any suggestions as to what the covers should be like? Did you have any say in the matter at all? Do you know your cover artist?

J&JL: The Berkley Prime Crime artists are exceptional, aren’t they? The cover art for Spell Booked was based on what we talked about with our editor, even down to the cats! Mary Ann Lasher did the artwork for the cover and the design was by Lesley Worrell. I should also mention the great interior designs by Laura K. Corless too. We love the steaming cauldron effect!

Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Molly and Elsie?

J&JL: We just finished writing the second book in the series, tentatively titled Looking for Mr. Goodwitch. Molly and Elsie will be further involved with training their new witch, Dorothy, with her mother, Olivia, looking on. They’ll have to keep looking for their missing spell book, and will be involved with the Grand Council of Witches – whether they want to be or not!

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

J&JL: In 2015, we’ll have the third Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery, In Hot Water, out in January along with the e-novella for the Biscuit Bowl series, Gator Bowl. In February, the second Biscuit Bowl Mystery, Fry Another Day, will be out. And in September, the next Retired Witches book will be out. Plus a few other surprises! Sweet Pepper and Biscuit Bowl are both written under a pseudonym, J. J. Cook., but all the books are from Berkley.



Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene
The First Retired Witches Mystery

The magical powers of Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are fading and they need to find witches to replace them so that they may pass down their spell book and retire to Boca Raton. They have their eye on recruiting Dorothy, a young librarian who doesn't even know she's a witch when tragedy hits. Olivia is murdered and their spell book stolen. Could another witch be killing witches to get their powers? Will Molly and Elsie be able to stop a powerful witch? Will they be able to retire to Boca with their family none the wiser of their magical abilities? Will they solve the murder of Olivia? Or die trying?

Life can be difficult if you're a witch, especially if you're a witch of a certain age. Friends for years, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia have never greatly explored their powers, using them mainly to help with household tasks. Cleanse the air. Fire rage. Now, their powers are fading, and worse, misfiring, so they're looking for new witches to train to take their place so that they can enjoy retirement in Boca.

Joyce and Jim Lavene take an interesting look  at witches in their new paranormal mystery series. What happens when witches with fading powers are forced to deal with a powerful witch; a witch with more power than the three combined even in their prime?! Forced to keep non-magical family members in the dark is difficult enough, it's even worse for Molly whose husband of 30 years is the homicide detective investigating the death of her good friend.

I enjoyed this take on the magical community; showing the down to earth, dare I say, mundane, world of witches, the bureaucracy of the Council, keeping secrets from loved ones. I also appreciate the fact that these women of a certain age continue to  look for romance and just plain sex.

Spell Booked kept me guessing. Who was good, who could be trusted, and who was the rogue witch? Joyce and James Lavene created a world where magic and mundane live together yet separate-even in the same households.

Now for the REALLY special giveaway. The prize is a handwritten grimoire (a book of spells), a print copy of Spell Booked, a willow wand, and a velvet bag to carry it in! Each blog on the tour has a set of words that are clues. When all the words are put together they make a Witch's Spell.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Not finding the magic words ��

    1. They're there. I didn't make it easy-but they are there. Make sure you read EVERYTHING.

  2. Pull the other one, I read every single word and couldn't find anything that resembled part of a spell.

    1. Other people have found it. But since this activity is supposed to be fun, I guess I'll make it more obvious.

  3. I'm guessing you have already made it more visible, cause I had no problem.

    I'm with you on the contest/giveaway. It's the most fun I've had one one this year, and certainly more interesting than the click here - follow these 500 people on every social media outlet out there. Not that there's anything wrong with following folks in a lot of places, but it makes some contests hard to get through. Not this one, though. :O)