Posted by Amber Kallyn
Please welcome Sapphire to the blog today to celebrate The Witch and The Familiar. Read the yummies, and check out the giveaway at the end
The Witch And the Familiar Blog Tour Stop #7—Grace Sherwood
The witch, Tina Epson in my new release erotic urban fantasy, The Witch And the Familiar is fictional. But in real life, there have been people accused (both women and men) of witchcraft. In Europe, they were burned at the stake. In the New World, at least in Salem, Massachusetts, they were hung. In Virginia, except for one hung on ship in 1600s just before it landed colonists for Jamestown, most were not. That’s not to say they didn’t go on trial, were “ducked” to prove they were witches and jailed or made to pay, but not thanks to lawmakers, many did not go through a nightmare like Salem. One woman accused of witchcraft in Virginia was Grace Sherwood.
Born in 1660, Grace Sherwood was an only child. With no sons to help him, her father taught her how to work the land and how to irrigate it well. She knew how to make things grow, and from her mother, before she died when Grace was young, she learned how to be a midwife. She couldn’t read or write, but she could memorize well. Grace could swim well and in those days, the only people who could swim were sailors’ sons. A woman wasn’t supposed to be able to swim.
She married James Sherwood and they had three sons, James, John, and Richard. She grew cotton (for cottonseed oil, nothing more), rice, and tobacco. Unlike the other women of the day, who stayed indoors and did womanly things, she would go outside to work the land and even visited the Indians, learning about herbs from them, which she also grew on the plantation. This brought suspicion on her. It didn’t help that she was very attractive in a physical way, either. It had been said that the local magistrate had tried to seduce her and she had refused his attentions.
It also didn’t help that the neighbors accused her of blighting gardens, causing livestock to die, and influencing the weather. When a neighbor had blighted cotton and the Sherwoods did not, that was because of Grace’s knowledge of irrigation, but not witchcraft. It didn’t matter. Suddenly, people began to whisper things about her—that if someone saw a firefly at night, it was actually Grace dancing in the moonlight. After Grace was accused of bewitching a neighbor’s crop in 1698, allegations kept growing over time until the Princess Anne County government and her accusers decided she would be tested by ducking. When the sheriff searched Grace’s house (which no longer stands today), there was no evidence of a witch ball, which made her a possible witch all the more in her accusers’ eyes.
The reason witches were ducked was because water was considered pure and would not permit a witch to sink into its depths. Based on this theory, the accused was tied up and thrown into the water. If the person drowned, he was declared innocent of witchcraft; if he could stay afloat until he could free himself, he was declared a witch. In this case, innocent, damned, guilty, damned—you might die either way.
Grace was tried in the second Princess Anne County Courthouse, found guilty, and consented to the traditional trial by water.
One of the many tall tales that have been handed down from generation to generation has to do with the day of her ducking. On July 10th, 1706, at 10am, her accusers tied her thumbs to her big toes cross-bound and dropped her into the western branch of the Lynnhaven River near what is now known as Witchduck Point. When they led Grace Sherwood through the crowd that had turned out to see her put into the water, she told them, “All right, all of you po’ white trash, you’ve worn out your shoes traipsin’ here to see me ducked, but before you’ll get back home again you are goin’ to get the duckin’ of your life.” When they put Grace into the water the sky was as bright blue as a bird’s wing, but immediately afterward it grew pitch black, thunder rolled and the lightning flashed across the heavens. The terrified people bolted for home, only to be washed off the roads and into the ditches by a regular cloudburst. In reality, Grace couldn’t have walked, being tied as she was and when placed in the water, Grace did not drown but floated, which was considered a sign of guilt. Most likely the ties came undone so she could swim, which she could do well. She was imprisoned for seven years and ten months. Released in 1714, Grace paid the back taxes on her property and returned to her farm, where she worked the land until her death at eighty years of age in September, 1740.
Her story doesn’t end there, for on July 10, 2006, after Belinda Nash worked hard for seven years to get Grace pardoned, Governor Timothy M. Kaine fully cleared exonerated Grace. She is the only deceased person known to be cleared in Virginia. A statute was unveiled on Saturday, April 21, 2007, on the lawn of Bayside Hospital in Virginia Beach. It was placed near the corner of Independence Boulevard and North Witchduck Road, within two tenths of a mile of the old second Princess Anne Courthouse of 1706.
Dark heroes and heroines with bite…sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.
2010 Prism Winner
Mortal woman Tina discovers she is part of a prophesy that says she and Charun, her demon Familiar, must make love so she can become the witch she is fated to be. If she doesn’t do it and stop the demon army bringing Armageddon to the Mortal Realm on Halloween, she won’t stand a chance in Hell.
A year later, just when Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—another prophesy pops up. If Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it. This time they get help from an archangel, Jacokb, but with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina this time lose the battle and become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?
Excerpt (must be 18 and older to read):
The time had come.
About time too.
Not looking back, Charun rose from the bowels of Hell to the Mortal Realm, ending up just down the street from Cup of Tea and a Book bookstore. He shifted into the form of a handsome, naked man. His staff waved before him like a proud, hissing snake, spitting even as precum beaded at the slit. He shook his head. No, it was too soon for him to assume the man form. He frowned, thinking.
He would become a cat. That would do—for now. Just not a horny tom cat, as the pain of his arousal washed over him. He dodged into a nearby alley and worked his organ, biting his lips when he came.
Withdrawing his hand from his flaccid penis and using the other to prop himself against the building, he spoke in demon, “Denoch er nomonaty.”
A strange feeling slammed into him and he cried out as he dropped to his knees on the pavement. Thrusting out a hand against the ground so he wouldn’t topple over, he began to metamorphose, growing smaller and smaller as he did. Black fur sprouted all over his body and head. His ears sharpened into points and shot up over his head, while his hands and feet became paws edged with sharp claws. Whiskers pinged out of his cheeks and from his buttocks snaked a long tail. He hunched over and then fell over onto his ass. Within seconds, his metamorphose completed, he was a black cat. Resisting the peculiar urge to wash his face, Charun stretched and then rose onto all four paws. He padded over to a puddle of rain water to inspect the change.
He sat down and viewed his reflection. Not bad looking as far as cats went. Lifting a paw, he splashed his image. Then back on all four paws, he trotted to the street and paused to sniff the air. He sneezed as the full force of odors hit him. A multitude of different things, from the smell of blasted sunshine to the grime of city life. The sunshine revealed to him that it would not rain for days. He had arrived a day too late. The air revealed that it had thunder stormed yesterday.
He needed heavy rain to make his first appearance to his witch. Needed it as a reason for her to feel sorry for him and take him in. From what he remembered she would not leave any animal drowning in a torrential downpour. But from all the viewing he did of her growing up he knew she wasn’t an impulsive person either. He knew that she loved animals, but felt that she couldn’t afford one right now in her life. He might end up in an animal shelter or a place like that. This kind of operation needed the right things in place. Timing, too. Timing always mattered. He had learned that long ago as an Incubus. The wrong time could always mean the lover would wake up too soon. Find that their fantasy lover was real, and that the husband, wife, lover, concubine, whoever, wasn’t what really was taking them beyond the heights of lust. One Succubus found that out the hard way when her nobleman lover woke up not to find his wife mounted on his staff but a green-skinned fiend. He knocked her out before she could call her magic up and had a priest exorcised her. Exorcism was death for a demon. Instead of sending them back to Hell, it ended their existence.
So timing was important, even now. His witch’s survival was the true equation here. If she died before he made her a witch, he knew the fate for Earth if the demons took over. There was the matter of his lust for her too. Relieving it wouldn’t be bad, either.
He cocked his head and twitched his ears. He was a demon, with strong magic. Closing his eyes, he let his magic surround him with a shimmering golden light.
Lano’ste. Na la por lestano.
His fur stood on end, the ends crackling, and he widened his eyes as the magic burned within and outside with a violent heat close to atomic. He fell onto his side, dazed, and barely noted when it shot away from him, heading toward the blue skies. It dusted the few white clouds drifting along the blue sky and they became black ones, pregnant with rain.
Still unsteady, he rolled over onto his stomach and waited until the power quieted. Charun breathed in the rain odor and gave a Cheshire cat grin. He rose to his paws and padded off, as the sound of thunder vibrated in the air.
Fuck the weather forecasters and their predictions. With magic, he’d just turned their Doppler radar upside down.
About Sapphire Phelan:
Sapphire Phelan is an author of erotic and sweet paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction romance, along with a couple of erotic horror stories. She also writes as Pamela K. Kinney, for horror, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction ghost books.
She lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, Ripley and Bast.
She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house and husband sometimes suffers for it!
For more information, check out her website: http://www.SapphirePhelan.com .
I am doing a giveaway for the whole blog tour April 23rd through April 28th. Leave a comment here or at any of the blogs I make at. You can leave a comment (plus your email, so I can contact you) at each blog, to get more chances, but no more than one per blog, please. The giveaway is a signed copy of The Witch And The Familiar. This is only for USA commenters though (due to price of mailing outside of US). For those outside of US, I will give instead a gift cert for price of the book at Phaze Books, so that I can email you.