So many things have been cancelled or postponed this year, and it looks as if Halloween is the latest casualty of Covid 19. Not surprisingly, most people will not be opening their doors to any trick-or-treaters, and the usual Halloween parties and gatherings will be cancelled due to various lockdown measures and restrictions on numbers of people meeting up.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate Halloween in our own individual ways. Whether that means wearing costumes, decorating the house, having a horror movie marathon, or just pigging out on a tub of Halloween confectionery treats (oh, why not? We’ve suffered enough!) there are lots of ways to keep the occasion special. And reading witchy books is as good a way as any!
I thought I’d start an occasional blogging series for Throwback Thursdays, looking back at special moments in my writing life. Part of that will most definitely be my books, and since it’s Halloween this week, I thought I’d start with The Witches of Castle Clair.
Welcome to Castle Clair, where things are not exactly as they seem.
Meet the St Clair sisters, Sky, Star and Celeste. They’re normal young women, running businesses, falling in love, dealing with the usual family issues. Except, there may just be something different about these sisters. In a town where a magical legend is all-important – even after three hundred and fifty years – where the most popular business is a witchcraft supplies shop, and where the tourist hotspot is the Museum of Magic, these siblings fit right in. It’s almost as if they were born to it …
The series began in December 2018 with the publication of Belle, Book and Christmas Candle. Youngest St Clair sister Sky arrived back in her home town of Castle Clair, and she wasn’t happy about it…
Sky St Clair doesn’t, and growing up in Castle Clair, a small town renowned for its mystical past and magical legends, she never felt she belonged.
Sky got away from Castle Clair as soon as she could, but when a run of bad luck leaves her homeless and jobless, she has little choice but to accept her sister Star’s invitation to return home for the festive season.
When Star has an accident, Sky finds herself running the family’s magical supplies shop. Wands, crystals, pendulums … really? It’s a tough job when she doesn’t believe in the products she’s selling, but how can she? Magic isn’t real, no matter what her deluded siblings think.
Jethro Richmond doesn’t believe in magic either. In fact, he doesn’t believe in anything much anymore, which is proving to be a bit of a problem for a writer of fantasy novels. With a self-constructed wall around his heart as high as Clair Tower, and his dreams as ruined as the town’s ancient castle, he’s lost all hope of repairing his tattered career. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a family like the St Clairs, and no matter what a certain little black cat seems to want Jethro has no intention of spending any time with Sky or her unusual sisters.
But this is a strange little town and, as the residents prepare to celebrate Christmas, Sky and Jethro might just discover that in Castle Clair, anything is possible. Even magic.
A romantic comedy with a magical twist!
In April 2019 came the second book in the series – My Favourite Witch – which featured Sky’s older sister, the super cool Star.
The world is full of magic, if you know where to look.
It hasn’t been an easy time for Star St Clair. Her father has heaped disgrace on the family, and the man she loves rejected her when he discovered the truth about her powers. But the St Clair family’s magical heritage goes back centuries, and no one could be prouder of that than Star. Neither her father, nor Benedict Greenwood, will be forgiven.
Fate, however, has a shock in store for her. Not only is her errant father back in town, along with his new fiancée, but her ex has arrived home with a new girlfriend in tow. Maths teacher Elsie is everything Benedict seems to want – bright, steady, normal. How can Star possibly compete with her? Not that she intends to, of course. She is a St Clair, after all, and Benedict won’t get a second chance.
Benedict is an anxious man. Bad enough to discover your girlfriend is, in fact, a witch, but running out on her was probably a big mistake. Who knows what she’s plotting in revenge? Taking Elsie home to meet his grandmother is a test of nerve, and Star’s behaviour doesn’t exactly bring him peace of mind. Just what is she up to?
Star couldn’t be sweeter to Elsie, and even presents her with a bouquet of flowers to welcome her to Castle Clair, but Benedict isn’t fooled. Star is plotting something, and when Elsie suffers from a mysterious ailment, he is convinced that it’s all down to his ex-girlfriend. After all, everyone knows witches can’t be trusted.
But events are about to unfold that will challenge both Star and Benedict, and everything they believe to be true. In an attic room in North Yorkshire and a village hall in Ireland, unpalatable truths must be told, secrets must unfold, and life-changing decisions must be made.
Is forgiveness truly impossible? Are witches really that scary? And can a solution be reached before time, patience, and all the bourbon biscuits run out?
A story of pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of magic…
And finally, in April this year, the trilogy was completed with To Catch a Witch, when middle sister Celeste finally got her turn in the spotlight.
Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.
It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.
But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.
For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.
The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.
Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?
Or is this the end of the world as they know it?
The Witches of Castle Clair series was set in a fictionalised version of the Yorkshire town of Knaresborough. You can see more of that here.
The books are all available individually on Kindle, or bundled together in one boxset. They are also available in paperback. For buying links – including how to buy signed copies – click the cover images.
Want to win a signed copy of Belle, Book and Christmas Candle? Go to this page and click the contact button. Just type Belle Giveaway as your message and I’ll enter you in a prize draw, which will take place at the spookiest time – at 10pm on Halloween night, Saturday 31st October GMT. I know it should be midnight, but the chances of me still being awake then are pretty remote to be honest!
I’ll announce the winner here and on my social media pages on the 2nd November.
I think The Witches of Castle Clair should set you up nicely for Halloween, but if you’re looking for even more witchy books, why not check out the guest post that Alys West did on this blog back in June? She has some brilliant recommendations for books about witchcraft. She’s also written two amazing books herself – the first two in The Spellworker Chronicles – Beltane and Storm Witch, which you can find here.
And if you really want a good scare, I should tell you that my lovely Write Romantics friend, Helen Phifer, has a new book out tomorrow (the 30th October) called What Lies Below, and it’s guaranteed to scare the life out of you! Find it here.
Have a great week, and happy Halloween!