Friday, January 10, 2014

Guest Blog: Witch's Bounty by Ann Gimpel

UFI welcomes Ann Gimpel Author of Witch's Bounty. Thanks for Joining us!!

Musings on the Paranormal Genre
I believe in paranormal phenomena. I actually believe it’s a prerequisite for anyone writing fiction with paranormal elements.

Let me kick this off by sharing one of my experiences. About twenty years ago, I was living in Shingletown, California, a small community a few miles east of Redding.  I took a shortcut one morning on back mountain roads to drive to Burney where I was scheduled to do a radio broadcast. Coming down Highway 44, the steering wheel of my Volkswagen Rabbit ripped its way to the stops. My car spun a few times and slammed into a snow bank leaving me shaken. I looked at the clock: 7:58 A.M. I hadn’t been speeding. The pavement was bare and dry. I was worried I’d developed a mechanical problem in the steering mechanism, but when I fired up the car and drove the rest of the way to my destination, it didn’t misbehave. I found out later that day a very, very close friend of mine—basically the brother I never had—died at exactly 7:56 that morning. I figured Don was trying to take me with him.

I’ve had other experiences over the years that defy rational explanations. I’ve also had many, many patients over my long years as a therapist relate fantastic events. One of the reasons I was drawn to Jungian dream work is its emphasis on the paranormal. It’s not widely known, but Jung was a mystic. Before he’d accept a patient, he insisted they have their astrological chart done. He’d look at his chart next to theirs (synastry) and decide whether he could work with them.

Dreams speak to us in symbols. But it goes far deeper than that. Symbols have archetypal value; they’re also unique to the dreamer. So, for example, snakes in my dreams might mean something entirely different than snakes in yours. This is why “kitchen table” dream books that list symbols and their meanings are less than useless.

I had a bad climbing fall once. Fortunately, I wasn’t injured beyond contusions that started with my forehead, extended to a very black eye, and covered one arm and both legs. It took a couple of months for the bruising to totally resolve. At one point, I dreamed I was standing by myself in the middle of an empty plain. It was twilight. A phalanx of snakes slithered toward me from every direction. They crawled up my body and wound around me. In the morning, I felt like I’d turned a corner and was well on the way to having my body mend.  In my dream, snakes were a positive factor. In many of my clients’ dreams, they’ve been portents of disaster. That’s what I mean by symbolism in dreams being unique to the dreamer. Interestingly, when I told my own analyst the dream, he clucked at me, went to a closet, and drew out a painting. It was an almost exact depiction of my dream, except instead of snakes, it was sea serpents swimming toward the central figure. One of his other patients had painted it years before. That would be a good launching point for a discussion of the Collective Unconscious, but this blog post isn’t the place for that.

If you pay attention to your dreams, over time you learn the language unique to your psyche. Years ago, Marie Louise Von Franz and Fraser Boa made a movie called the Way of the Dream. It’s available on You Tube. If you’re truly interested in Jungian dream work, this is a must see. It’s clearly dated since it was made in 1995, but Von Franz was Jung’s primary disciple. She joined Jung an analysand when she was 18 and never left. Oh, she attended college and graduate school, but she lived all her life at Bollingen, Jung’s retreat in Switzerland.

This blog post is long enough. I usually like to cap them at 500 words. If you have any questions about Jung or dream analysis, I’d be glad to try to answer them. I’d also love to hear about your paranormal experiences. Really, I would.

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

Find Ann and her books

Witch's Bounty
The Witch Chronicles #1
A demon-stalking witch teams up with a Sidhe, but their combined power, never mind their love, may be too late to make a difference.

One of only three remaining demon-stalking witches, Colleen is almost the last of her kind. Along with her familiar, a changeling spirit, she was hoping for a few months of quiet, running a small magicians’ supply store in Fairbanks, Alaska. Peace isn’t in the cards, though. Demons are raising hell in Seattle. She’s on her way out the door to help, when a Sidhe shows up and demands she accompany him to northern England to quell a demon uprising there.

Duncan swallowed uneasy feelings when the Sidhe foisted demon containment off onto the witches two hundred years before. He’s annoyed when the Sidhe leader sends him to haul a witch across the Atlantic to bail them out. Until he sees the witch in question. Colleen is unquestionably the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Strong and gutsy, too. When she refuses to come with him, because she’s needed in Seattle, he immediately offers his assistance. Anything to remain in her presence.

Colleen can’t believe how gorgeous the Sidhe is, but she doesn’t have time for such nonsense. She, Jenna, and Roz are the only hedge Earth has against being overrun by Hell’s minions. Even with help from a powerful magic wielder like Duncan, the odds aren’t good and the demons know it. Sensing victory is within their grasp, they close in for the kill.


Review & Giveaway: Black Arts by Faith Hunter

Black Arts
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Roc
ISBN:   0451465245
ISBN13: 9780451465245
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Publisher 

Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker who always takes care of her own—no matter the cost...

When Evan Trueblood blows into town looking for his wife, Molly, he’s convinced that she came to see her best friend, Jane. But it seems like the witch made it to New Orleans and then disappeared without a trace.

Jane is ready to do whatever it takes to find her friend. Her desperate search leads her deep into a web of black magic and betrayal and into the dark history between vampires and witches. But the closer she draws to Molly, the closer she draws to a new enemy—one who is stranger and more powerful than any she has ever faced.
When you see a new Jane Yellowrock book you know that you will get a lot of action, plenty of drama, hot and difficult men and lots of fun along the way. BLACK ARTS brings us some of our favorite characters all in one book. When Evan Trueblood shows up looking for his wife, Jane immediately goes on the hunt. Little does she know that more will go missing, there will be an attempt on her life and change will happen along the way.

I think BLACK ARTS is one of my favorite installments in the series so far. There's no doubt that a lot has happened since book 1, new friends have come in and out of the picture, Jane has learned more about her self and the people around her and the power structure in New Orléans seems to be constantly in flux. Jane always manages to intrigue and entertain me. Beast is a constant companion that I couldn't imagine not being there. The relationship drama is KILLING me. I so just want her to have a GOOD man and I know she doesn't need one but she has so many yummy choices I just can't help it. There is a hard part for Jane in this book regarding Rick and I cant help but be thankful he might be out of the picture for good now. I know she loves him but I was getting a little sick of his in her life/ out of her life storyline.

I really enjoyed having Evan and the kids in the picture. I know Jane missed them like crazy and I love their soft to her hard. I know Jane and Evan have had a really rocky relationship but I cant help but think that will be forever changed after BLACK ARTS.

Faith Hunter has no problems with world building and keeping a story flowing. Each book seems to get better and better and having each book have its own main conflict really helps you feel satisfied bu the end. With Jane Yellowrock you can never know what you might get and I look forward to book 8. There should be some nice changes in store for us.

I gave it 5/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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