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Yule Greetings!

No blog featuring content dealing in Wicca on any level would be complete without the obligatory Yule post. For those that don’t know, Yule is an old Germanic, Pagan tradition and while scholars have connected it to The Wild Hunt, I’m more focused on asking around for traditions you have for the holiday.  Or, as the celebration more or less lasts for about two months in some traditions, how do you enjoy it?

This bit of knowledge from Wikipedia I found interesting:

The Saga of Hákon the Good credits King Haakon I of Norway with the Christianisation of Norway as well as rescheduling the date of Yule to coincide with Christian celebrations held at the time. The saga states that when Haakon arrived in Norway he was confirmed a Christian, but since the land was still altogether heathen and the people retained their pagan practices, Haakon hid his Christianity to receive the help of the “great chieftains”. In time, Haakon had a law passed establishing that Yule celebrations were to take place at the same time as the Christians celebrated Christmas, “and at that time everyone was to have ale for the celebration with a measure of grain, or else pay fines, and had to keep the holiday while the ale lasted.”[9]

winter_seasonals_mainSo let me understand this.  I have to have ale and celebrate, else pay a fine?  Where do I sign up?

For that matter, I actually switch up my drinking hobby.  Throughout the year, I’m a die-hard wine drinker, but I enjoy IPA styles of beer. Not being very holiday oriented, so I never saw the joy in bothering with celebration.  In recent years, I’ve discovered Belgian style winter whits and ales to be enjoyable.  The spiced ones, having cardamom and traditional baking spices impart a nice flavor on the beers and the high alcohol content keeps me toasty.

I enjoy cinnamon candles more than any other time of the year.  Anything that spreads the concept of warmth to those who appear on my doorstep, I’m down with as my tradition.

I’ll ask again, what are yours?

You can bet Sonja and Derrick have their own traditions, but life wasn’t always this easy for the former spy and his lovely death metal vocalist. Buy their story now! 

Slow Burn – A Sexy Spy Thriller Reduced for Cyber-Monday!

Michael WestenlargeSlow Burn – A Sexy Spy Thriller, is being discounted on Cyber Monday only from $3.99 to $0.99 on Amazon.

Description:
Tempting secrets of an angel
Seductive mysteries of the beast

Derrick, a former spy, has been asked to protect the sultry Sonja, a death metal singer whose magical voice grabs him by the balls and won’t let go. He’ll protect her, all right…with every part of his body tight against hers.

Sonja uses her voice to purge her fans of their darkness, their hate and hopelessness. But evil forces want to use her magic for their own ends. All she wants, at this point, is safety for herself and her band.

When Derrick and Sonja team up, Sonja does her best to resist the lure of safety he represents, until a radical league that wants her dead propels her into his arms. Will his help be enough? Or will she lose her heart to him, only to be killed in the process of saving the world?

Remember, Monday only, Slow Burn will be available for only 0.99!  Grab a copy from Amazon today!

 

Witchcraft and Artwork

One of the things I’ve discovered in my years of researching Magick Bookwitchcraft and paganism is the artwork.  I’m not a huge fan of paintings honestly, I blame my poor eyesight.  But I can still appreciate not just the talent an artist puts into the work, but the magic itself.  Ever notice how different Tarot decks have different artwork to represent the symbolism in those tools of divinity?

With the myriad of different paths and belief systems in place spanning Wicca and Paganism, there is something to appeal to every taste.

JusticeI lean toward the more erotic pieces but some folks find beauty in nature.  It’s awesome to me when both come together in one piece.    Some folks find strength in the images of the Goddess, both old and new.    I tend to again go with the erotic, but my tastes lean more toward the sensual in these instances.  I’ve pictured the Goddess as this Rubenesque woman with long, flowing hair and curves, but that may just be my fantasy.

How about spirit animals?  Some of the art dedicated to our favorite furry creatures shows our penchant for feline or lupine.  I tend to lean toward the wolf here as I fancy him the creature of the night, just like me, the night writer.

What do you like in Wiccan/Pagan art?

Sonja has a taste for art in the form of music, in Slow Burn – A Sexy

A sexy spy thriller

A sexy spy thriller

Spy Thriller.  Out now from Ardent Books on Amazon.  Former spy Derrick falls for the sexy spitfire he’s bound to protect, even as terrorists scheme to take her from him – and destroy his way of life.  Get your copy today!

Slow Burn – A Sexy Spy Thriller

SlowBurnCoverEbookOn Thursday, July 9th I have a new release in the paranormal romance genre from Ardent Books.  It’ll be available via Amazon for .99 and features my Burn Notice inspired characters Derrick and Sonja.

I’ll be doing a huge promotion for this, starting with a blog tour and mentioning the book, plus the inexpensive price, for the entire week once I have the finals for copy and tagline.  There will be a handful of e-book ARCs going out for review, too.

This story was a lot of fun to write because it meant I could watch my favorite characters from Burn Notice and pick apart their motivations for doing what they do, acting why they did.  Often, a writer comes up with a chacater based loosely on something in reality, and then molds it to fit the story, or the story to work with the character.Michael Westenlarge

I’d been going into San Francisco one day, listening to Devildriver and wishing for something like Devildriver, but with clean, female vocals.  I think after watching Burn Notice that night with my ex, did I come up with the concept of a shapeshifter that retired, rather than was burned, but still hired to do a protection gig.  I paired him with a death metal lead singer who had power to manipulate her audiences through the use of her voice.

I’ll be posting the cover this week,so stay tuned!

This is the current rough draft of the tagline and blurb:

Former spy Derrick falls for the sexy spitfire he’s bound to protect, even as terrorists scheme to take her from him – and destroy his way of life.

Description:

Tempting secrets of an angel
Seductive mysteries of the beast

Derrick, a former spy, has been asked to protect the sultry Sonja, a death metal singer whose magical voice grabs him by the balls and won’t let go. He’ll protect her, all right…with every part of his body tight against hers.

Sonja uses her voice to purge her fans of their darkness, their hate and hopelessness. But evil forces want to use her magic for their own ends. All she wants, at this point, is safety for herself and her band.

cigar smokingWhen Derrick and Sonja team up, Sonja does her best to resist the lure of safety he represents, until a radical league that wants her dead propels her into his arms. Will his help be enough? Or will she lose her heart to him, only to be killed in the process of saving the world?

Perhaps for my Patreon supporters, I can throw up something that the public hasn’t seen yet, but I won’t know what’s what until after release day 😉

Smooth Cigars for Beginners

I’d recently been invited to give lessons on cigar smoking and talk about the basics, including taste, construction, care for and ultimately, enjoyment of, cigars.  We’re talking mostly to new smokers and the question usually comes up about the harshness of Cuban cigars.

I usually explain the flaws with Cubans, starting off with improper fermentation, lack of care for the soil, and too rapid production, and finish with how other countries produce cigars of similar or better quality than Cuba lately.

A favorite of mine back in the day was the Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 arturo-fuente-858-maduro-corona-gordaMaduro.  This 6X47 cigar delivers a smooth taste with light notes of cocoa and tobacco throughout the entire cigar.   Famous-smoke delivers A. Fuente Smokes Online

One of the staples in many cigar smokers opinions of quality, smoothness, and taste is the Oliva Cigar Company.  Yeah, they’ve had a huge hit lately with the Melanio and Melanio Maduro but for folks unfamiliar with Oliva, the standard is the Oliva Serie V.  A little more robust than OlivaGthe cigar I’m about to suggest, a good standby in any humidor.  The Serie G however features an Afraican Cameroon wrapper to add not only notes of cedar but a little kick in the flavor profile.   Pick this up in the robusto size for a short, flavorful smoke.  Also, the box press allows for more tobacco to be packed in for an even bigger flavor kick.  Get your hands on Oliva Cigars among other Premium Stogies Online

A newcomer to my rotation early on was something that required a few more dollars but was justified by intense flavors o f dry cocoa Patel90powder and a hint of spice as the cigar finishes.  The Rocky Patel Vintage 1990, particularly in the robusto size is a solid addition to the Patel line.  Definitely a favorite among those loyal to Patel.  Looking for Rocky Patel, Check out Famous Online

We’d covered these three cigars with the additional discussion of some of the larger boutique brands and while I’ve hyped some of my favorite here, there are plenty of other cigars the new cigar smoker could get into.  What are some of your favorites?

Former spy Derrick falls for the magical woman he’s hired to protect; terrorists want her gifts to destroy his own paranormal community; he’s not about to let that happen.  Slow Burn, coming soon from Ardent Books

Slow Burn – a novel about a former spy and a metal maven, coming soon from Ardent Books!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog.  Life sort of got in the way, and I’ve been working on projects in the cigar arena to help promote ACC Cigars, and attempt to have a life.whiskey

Well, the life bit didn’t really happen.  Mostly, I handled editing duties and began building a line at Ardent Books, while my editor took a crack at what was originally called Burning for Derrick.

We decided on a title change.  For one, Slow Burn conjures up images more associated to my existing brand in alcohol and tobacco.  Plus, it pushes forward the ideals we have in romance, about a steamy, sexy affair between two lovers, who end up together despite all the odds.

Derrick, a former spy who left the game to regain peace in his life, and Sonja, the empathic lead singer of an up and coming death metal band, are thrust together in a fast paced, action adventure romance.  We are nailing down the details, but chances are, if you’re here, you’re really more focused on the cigar aspect.

gerard_butler_05That’s right, there is a cigar aspect to this story.  Both my hero and my hero’s brother are ardent cigar smokers.  I’ve named the sticks they tend to fancy in the book, and when it comes out, there might be trivia relating to this for a copy of the e-book.  Who knows.

Rest assured, I’ve smoked plenty of fine cigars over the course of what…it’s been six months since my last update?  There was the viaje stuffed turkey, ACC S. E. 12 year, Propio Leon, think I even had something new from La Sirena.  Oh, right.  The Oceano.  It’s a solid maduro, if your’e curious.

Fans of bad boys will love Derrick’s easy going manner, but those who remember what men were like before the censors stepped in and tried to tell us how to live will definitely appreciate the cigar aspect of this novel.

What long ago past time are you longing for?

Look out for Slow Burn, coming soon from Ardent Books!  Former spy Derrick falls for the magical woman he was hired to protect from terrorists who want her gifts to destroy his paranormal community.