Once upon a time, I was chatting online with a group of authors. We affectionately refer to ourselves as the Writing Wenches – a small group, from all walks of life, all over the globe, and all different stages of our writing careers. Some write paranormal, some write contemporary, some write both (me!), some write erotica, some don’t really write romance, but they like to read it and incorporate love scenes into their otherwise entirely different genre books. One thing we all have in common: a love of writing.
So back to once upon a time, which was actually last spring. A handful of us wanted to do an anthology. Somebody threw out Halloween. Somebody else suggested paranormal. We talked timing, created a shared document, a private Facebook group, and an anthology prep group was born.
From paranormal, we focused on witches. From there, we decided they should all belong to the same coven. We discussed various places readers would recognize that were also connected to Halloween or witches or hauntings, and then we selected Savannah, Georgia. So the Savannah Coven was born.
Then we took it a step further, and decided the stories should all connect to one another. Not only would at least one of each of our main characters belong to the Savannah Coven, but they would show up in each other’s stories. Their happily ever afters would interconnect. We created a shared document, describing the tie-in. Here’s what we started with:
The afternoon of Halloween, around two, the Coven gets together in the back room of the Occult shop owned by Rose. The store is full of anything a witch or other paranormal might need. In the back is a private room used by the Coven.
(Note: as our stories came together, the coven room was modified, to be down a set of crooked stairs, below the shop, hidden by a blue curtain and a variety of spells. As you walk down the stairs, you pass hand-drawn pictures of the past Supreme Witches of the Savannah Coven.)
Everything inside the store feels a bit old, although exceptionally clean. All the shelves are made of wood. The floor is covered in runes. On the right side is the counter. Behind the old checkout counter are jars upon jars of different items; spices, specimens, herbs, etc. There is also a locked dark glass case. The case glows with an eerie light and occasionally you can see something inside scurry past or screech or shake. It is full of the darkest elements for magic and cannot be come by easily.
There are so many rows of books, occult items, scrolls, candles, etc. that you cannot see all the way to the back of the store. It is hard to say how far it goes since it seems to go on forever. On the left side of the shop is a round staircase that goes up to a second level of bookshelves. This area is off limits except to the coven as well as a few select clients. The books upstairs are thousands of years old and contain powerful magic incantations.
The Coven’s room is behind the counter area. To the left of the counter is a doorway with a deep blue curtain. The wooden floor is ancient and worn. The threshold of the back room has sage hanging from the sides and an inlay of dead sea salt and ash from the Salem Witch Trials on the floor which is replaced daily by Rose.
The inside of the room is a store room with shelves around the perimeter and a large wooden table with a pentagram in the middle. White candles sit in the center constantly burning but never getting smaller.
The chairs are each unique in appearance. Above the table hangs an ancient bronze chandelier with twelve black candles lighting the room.
(PS – We even created a Pinterest board so readers could check out our visual inspiration!)
The table and chairs sit on a rug. On the rug are various different runes that are constantly changing and morphing into new ones. From under the rug sometimes whispers can be heard, or a scream or a cry. No one but Rose knows what is really under the rug.
The meeting itself is just a check in to see what everyone has planned for Halloween night. To remind everyone to report any sightings of spirits or zombies immediately to the Supreme witch and to remind everyone to be careful with their magic.
A simple meeting to the point and a basic check in since it’s the most powerful day of the year.
The meeting needs to be mentioned in the story. You can go into detail about showing up and the store and who you see when you sit down, but I suggest that no one really go into detail about who said what at the meeting so we don’t have inconsistencies through the stories.
If people want to meet up and intertwine their characters. Please post in the database who you are either arriving with, sitting with or leaving with.
Rose, the shop keeper, will be in the store for the meeting but leaves at sundown every day. The Supreme Witch (Tami’s character, Adanna) will have a key for emergencies.
From this document, we each created our twelve individual stories. The shop owner, Rose, turned out to be besties with my character, Adanna, who is the (reluctant) Supreme Witch. Another main character, Micah, is Adanna’s brother, and covets the position of Supreme, even though it’s something you’re born into, and he, unfortunately, wasn’t. In Adanna’s story, she wishes she wasn’t the Supreme, while in Micah’s story, he takes steps to attempt to become the Supreme. Luckily, both end up with happily ever afters and an unbroken sibling relationship, too.
In both Adanna’s and Micah’s stories, another main character, Brior, is sitting in the tavern where many of the witches hang out. And Cook, the owner of the local tavern and bed & breakfast, shows up in at least half the stories.
Some of the stories are based in Savannah and pretty much stick around the area. Others start there and end up traveling to other places. One story heads off to Romania, another to Phoenix, another to a motel in the middle of nowhere. Besides witches, the anthology contains reapers, angels, shifters, zombies, and assorted other paranormal beings.
Sometimes it was hard keeping up with each other, constantly fact checking, adjusting storylines accordingly. But in truth, I loved the process. It was fun. I love the way it turned out. I especially love the fact that each and every story ties in with the others in the anthology. That is my favorite aspect of them all.
So, happy Halloween, and happy reading. Bewitching Desires is only 99 cents at the moment – a steal for twelve interspersed short stories. How about I make it even more of a steal? Comment below – tell me your fave Halloween book or movie – and I’ll randomly select one winner, who will receive an e-copy of Bewitching Desires – free!
The contest will stay open until Friday, October 30, 2015. Now, comment away (and be sure to include your email address, so I know how to get in touch with you)!
Tami Lund is an author. And a wine drinker. And a blogger. Really, all she cares about is figuring out how to give her characters a happily ever after. Okay, she wants to drink wine, too. Check out her work HERE.