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Review: Season Of The Witch By Natasha Mostert

seasonofthewitchOnce upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.”
―Edgar Allan Poe

[I am] the pen merely of [God] Whose Spirit, quickly writing these things through me, I wish and I hope to be. – John Dee, Monas Hieroglyphica (‘The Hieroglyphic Monad’)

 Who will live in this place between door and window? A mummer with a heavy heart and blind eyes turning, turning.

 I must meditate upon my name. – Season of the Witch, by Natasha Mostert

 

Doors. Doors upon Doors upon Doors. Doors into memory. Doors into dream. Doors into magic and mystery and heartbreak. Doors into eroticism – Doors into death.

I first found Ms. Mostert when I was offered The Midnight Side by the publisher back in February. As I said in that review, The Midnight Side is . . . a brooding, atmospheric tale of suspense and psychological thrill, full of the kinds of fear and gloomy atmosphere sure to lure in even the most jaded of readers. Mostert speaks to deep waters of the mind, dark corners of the soul, the ruin brought on by wounded and damaged souls.

 With my reading of Season of the Witch, winner of the 2009 Book To Talk About: World Book Day Award, I was again pulled into the deep waters of the mind, the dark corners of the soul. And once more, I was enthralled by Ms. Mostert’s grasp of language, her ability to paint a picture with words upon the page.

The book actually starts rather oddly for what I had expected from Mostert, as we meet Gabriel Blackstone, an accomplished cyber thief, as he practices his craft. Gabriel knows what he is – nothing more, or less, than a thief – but a masterful one; a savant of ones and zeroes, algorithms and cyphers, pulling cyber magic from the very air. But that is not all Gabriel is. Gabriel is a Remote Viewer. And now, his former girlfriend needs his help. For though she too is a RV, she has nowhere near the strength or skill of her once-beloved. For her new beloved, her dying husband, wishes to know the fate of his son, who has disappeared without a trace.

Though reluctant to return to this skill he has left behind, a happenstance pulls him back into this world of dreams and visions, of minds touching across space and time and realities one upon the other like the petals of a rose. And here, Mostert shows her amazing skill in crafting worlds of wonder and terror, of loss and mystery.

And as he slowly spiraled downwards, he wondered with a strange sense of detachment if he might not still be on a journey, still searching for the path that does not wander . . .

Many have spoken of the theme of the story, the happenings and characters. What I wish to address is her stunning vision of the occult, of witchcraft and psychology, seduction and passion, mysticism and the mind, all richly crafted into a world both heartrending and sublime.

A white horse neighed madly and tossed its blood-soaked mane.

None of Mostert’s characters are purely evil, none are purely good. Instead, she revels in creating characters of depth, both moral and immoral, sinner and chaste. Through talismanic images and mysterious sigils, fantastic signs and the infinite patterns of code, she drives Gabriel through the palaces of memory and the mind, wrapping the story into an atmospheric, poetic whole.

Natasha Mostert has permanent residence on my “Keepers” shelf, a place few Authors gain within my own Palace of the Mind.

I received my copy of Season of the Witch from the publisher. All thoughts are my own. Don’t fail to add all of Ms. Mostert’s books to your “Must Read” shelf if you love atmospheric, poetic writing.

Purchase Links:

Buy-Now-Button_Amazongoodreads_iconAmazon Canada
Purchase Books A Million
Buy at alibris
Buy at Powell'sAbeBooks
amazonUK

 

 

About the Author:

natmosWhen one of my publishers asked me to submit a 200 word biography for their authors’ website, I thought about dropping the usual bio platitudes and submitting the following:

“Natasha Mostert is a spectacularly brilliant, raven-haired psychic who saw her first ghost at the age of four. She likes to take midnight rides on horseback and practices levitation twice a day.”

However, upon reflection I didn’t think my editor would be too amused by this flight of fancy. So here it is, the official (and much less exciting) Natasha Mostert biography:

Natasha Mostert is a South African novelist and screenwriter, who specializes in contemporary psychological thrillers with mystical and paranormal themes. She grew up in Pretoria and Johannesburg but currently lives in London with her husband, Frederick. She still keeps an apartment in the university town of Stellenbosch in the Cape province.

Contact Natasha:

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Keeper of Light and Dust Season of the WitchWindwalker The Other Side of Silence The Midnight Side

 

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Busy Busy with nothing to show for it…..

if-you-think-reading-is-boringYes, I know… I haven’t posted in too long! Still dealing with CreateSpace issues for M. K. Clinton’s “The Returns” series, but actually?

I cleaned up my studio, rearranged all my fabrics, and am now obsessing over my quilting. Got the Hoffman Challenge on my mind. . .

OOOOOOOOH! Shiny!!!

Back soon! I have LOTS of books that I have promised reviews for, and I really, REALLY need to catch up!

 

I needed some stitch markers….

I needed some stitch marker for my knitting and I keep seeing all these beautiful ones on Etsy. But, I need them today, so I grabbed my old jewelery making things and started digging through the box. I found an old turquoise necklace, some pins and some split rings. Hum. Sounds like this will work!

These are my two first tries at making my own beaded stitch markers. The dangle is an oddity, I have no idea what it is, or where it came from. It was just in the box. The bigger bead is Fimo clay. Then there is the pink stone – no, no idea what it is, but it is pretty.

So, here are pictures!

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Fimo bead, turquoise and that oddball dangle I have no idea where it came from or what it is!
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The one on the left is the odd dangle, the other side of it. The one on the right is two pieces of turquoise and the pink is stone also.
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The mitts were knitted for a friend.

Review: Finish-Free Knits

finish
Check it out at your Local Knit Shop!

I have an admission. I only bought this book for one of the patterns, the “Divine Vest”. The rest of the patterns really don’t interest me. In my admittedly more artistic tastes the patterns range from frumpy (the Beauty Cardi) to outdated, 60’s reruns (Joy Lace Tunic). The Serenity Shrug does have possibilities, and I am considering spinning up some bulky for the short-sleeved Warmth.

You can see my start on The Divine Vest. Yes, it is kind of sitting there right now. Ooohh! Shiny!!!

The good things. Clear, beautifully written instructions, charts and schematics are clear and easily followed. I did have a problem figuring out the pocket layout on the Divine. Drove me nuts until I took it down to my local shop, The Recycled Lamb, and had her show me how silly I was being. I only had one pair of size seven tips, and I had pulled them and capped the cord, then forgot that I had done that! Silly me.

More good things. Some nice lace patterns. The fact that the items in the book are “finish free” which means very little sewing. The built-in pockets (that I finally figured out how to make!) and the beautiful back of the Serenity Shrug.

Overall, I would Google the different designs in the book, or look at it in your Local before making a decision. When I have made the Divine Vest, I will probably put it back on the market. Someone else is bound to think I am crazy and like all the patterns in the book – Tendyke is a wonderful designer. Four stars because it is so beautifully done and shouldn’t be punished because it doesn’t fit my particular tastes.

Review: Quilting Arts Workshop: Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork

art quilt design
Check out the Video here.

I spent today in an “Artistic Haze” watching Sara Ann Smith’s “Quilting Arts Workshop: Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork”. I purchased the download from The Interweave Store, a rather guilty pleasure of mine. They are one of the best online arts and crafts stores on the Interwebs. They have so much: quilting, crochet, knitting, beading, jewelry making, needlework, sewing and spinning and weaving, even mixed media is represented.

hoffman fabric
2014 Hoffman Challenge

For a few years I entered the Hoffman Challenge every year, and am very proud to say that my quilt actually got to travel with the International Show two years running! When I got cancer, I had a quilt nearly finished, and had a friend help me finish so I could enter the quilt. It wasn’t up to my regular skill level, of course, so it got sent back to me, but I was happy to be strong enough to at least enter.

2013 Hoffman Challenge
Click here to see the 2013 Winners

Last year, I liked the fabric quite a bit, but I just couldn’t’ get into the quilting part. {My workroom was a mess, to tell you the truth, but I was too lazy and too busy to go down there and clean it up . . . sigh.} Anyway . . .

This year’s fabric looks like it is going to be really cool. So, I decided to pull myself out of my “quilting slump” and get more interested again.

This is a great video. First, Sara Ann is a wonderful teacher. She is smart, well trained in colour theory and design. The pattern she chose (the one on the cover) is beautiful, and requires just enough work to keep it interesting without freaking you out. The colours are, of course, awesome. She takes the video step-by-step, from choosing the right fabrics, the right tools, and the extra little items that make the process fun instead of work. She does a quick discussion of using paints and pens for darkening or lightening fabrics, which I found quite useful. I have done that before, but her skill taught me quite a bit.

sarah ann smith tomato
This is the quilt that you learn to make in the class.

She gives you different methods of patterning, and a choice of being meticulous or “blobby” in your cutting of pattern pieces. Once she has the fabrics cut and ‘tacked down’ with a hot iron on the ironing sheet, she helps you decide on the background fabrics.

Once you have your fabrics fused down, she then gets into threads, both colours and types, as well as how to choose the correct bobbin threads.

threadwork unraveled
Check out the book here. It’s on Sale!

She spent a good amount of time on blending threads, which I have always had a problem with and was really thrilled that she took the time to both show and describe the quilting. I intend to purchase her book, “Thread Work Unraveled” to learn more. As a note, it is on sale for $20.16, originally $28.95, on the Interweavestore.com site.

If you are at all interested in art quilting and thread painting, I highly recommend this beautiful DVD. I purchased it for watching online, in standard format, but there is also HD format, or you can buy an actual DVD.

Highly Recommended!

A Sunday Update of This and That

There are a lot of things going on for me in the book world in the next couple of weeks. I am doing a re-edit for Erich Penhoff’s Savage Roads, the first book in the Savage Series. I have finished the edit on the second book in the series, A Savage Death and it will be published mid-month. Watch here for the publication announcement! Aren’t the cover’s great? They are by LLPIX Photography. If you like high action, unusual characters, and wonderfully drawn international locations, you are going to love these two books. The third, unnamed volume will be hitting my desk soon, and I can hardly wait!

savageroads A SAVAGE DEATH

Today I am hoping to finish the edit for Kelly Graham’s Eyes of the Many. It seems like all of the books I am working on these days have killer covers!  This one is awesome too, isn’t it?  I will add the name of the artist later. Currently, my list is being developed of different cover artists who have been recommended to me, or who I have found myself that I really like and who do a great job. Watch for it to show up soon.

eyes of the many

coconut-lemongrass-chai
Coconut Lemongrass Chai Tea

A few things of a more personal and “just for fun” nature!  I just made a big pot of Cucumber Mojito tea, after guzzling about a gallon of English Tea this morning. I finally took a minute to order more tea from Tea Guys (woo hoo!) so will be receiving more Pu-Erh (an aged black that my housemate is addicted to), Darjeeling (my favorite straight black) and smaller bag of Coconut Lemongrass Chai . It is very refreshing, and besides, who can’t love something that is this pretty when it comes out of the bag?

I also threw in small bags of Watermelon Lime Green Tea (hey, my two favorite flavours, gotta try it, right?)

morning-americano
Morning Americano Black Tea
watermelon-lime
Watermelon Lime Green Tea
coconut coffee
Gotta have my Dunkin’!

Along with these, I am also trying the Morning Americano which I am hoping will sort of make up for the fact that I have always been addicted to coffee, but really need to cut back (but I am NOT giving up my Dunkin’ Donuts Coconut Coffee!)

In other news, I am working on a cover for my 7-cup tea pot (isn’t it a hoot? It has a matching cup that goes with it…)

teapot
Fun Teapot!
grecian lovely
Grecian Lovely from Really Wild Tea Cosies

So, I am using the Really Wild Tea Cosies book by Loani Prior again. The pattern is Grecian Lovely. Of course, I have to do things differently, right? So my Grecian Lovely is a bit brighter than this one – the side I am working on looks all neat and tidy, huh? Well, of course, it doesn’t really look like that on the other side – LOL!!  Of course, it will be good to get a cosy made for it, seeing as how this one’s ‘skirt’ is a bit short!

Well, 4-pot covers aren’t really made for 7-cup pots, huh?

teapot cover
Teapot showing it’s bottom . . .
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Starting on one side. Flat knitting on each side.
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What a mess, huh?
new directions in lace
New Directions In Lace
lace yarn
Eggplant lace yarn from See Jayne Knit.

Oh, and I signed up for a class at Craftsy.com called New Directions in Lace.  I can take the class any time I want, in stages, so any time I get a moment to play with it, I can do it. Cool, huh? It is a really beautiful pattern, and I have this lace-weight yarn from See Jayne Knit.  It will be interesting to see if she can make me more of this, as there are 825-yards and I need about 1200-1300 yards!

Well, enough piddling around. Time to get to work on Eyes especially as I am really looking forward to it!

The Jester Tea Cozy!

Cozy? Cosy? Ah, shucks. It’s done, and that is what matters, right? LOL!

Drumroll please! For all of you out there (including myself) who believe whole-heartedly that I NEVER finish a knitting project (oooooo…. shiny!) I present to you . . .

The Jester Tea Cozy!

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Yes, yes, the pictures are terrible, but as you can tell, it is late at night and the sun isn’t out. Better photos next time! My teapot is larger than normally sized for in instructions, so I had to ‘fiddle’ with it to get it to fit, but not bad, huh?

I am going to make more – this is Noro wool, the next one is being made from leftovers of other yarns. Don’t know which cozy I will make next, but show and tell is coming!

.

I am neck deep in a huge editing/publishing project for a wonderful author (all very hush, hush right now, but just WAIT until the book comes out! It. Is. AWESOME!) So I won’t be writing much for a bit.

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Back to the bottom of the jacket. Starting the top over again. If I would occasionally pay attention, I wouldn’t have so many UFO’s lying around!

Just a couple of updates. I messed up the Baby Albert and had to take out a lot of stitching. Sigh. That is what I get for getting so involved in my book I wasn’t paying attention to my stitches!) Now I am back to this. Oh, well. I like my new idea for laying out the colour blocks for the top better anyway!

jester
Photo courtesy of Morgan at Morganised Chaos.

I was working away on the Jester Tea Cozy, but got to end of the ball of Noro Kureyon that I was working with (aren’t leftover bits-and-bobs wonderful?) and ran out of the 102 I had in my knitting basket.

art_kureyon274
I like the 274. It went into a purse I sold a year or so ago.
art_kureyon319
The 319 went into the same purse. It turned out beautifully and sold immediately. Need to make some more of those I guess. . .

I went looking through my “ends” box and couldn’t find my other 102 that I “know” I have somewhere, so I dug out what I do have. Hum… a bit of 274, several yards of 319. I also have nearly a whole skein of 185.

13909Large_3077
The 185. Ugg. WHAT was I thinking???
Well the purple and orange and rust bits
looked good – until I unwrapped it! UGG!

The problem is, I hated the 102. Still do. I should probably tear it apart and dye the pieces and re-spin it, or maybe just re-dye the whole wad of it, but I just have too much on my plate. Most of the Kureyon is beautiful, and the 102 I had purchased purposely for a purse that I was making. The thing is, when I started knitting with it, it turned out, (how can I say this nicely?) BORING. . . Noro does that sometimes. Mostly, their colour ranges are lovely, but sometimes, as with everyone I suppose, a particular colour goes flat. And 102?

Noro Kureyon 102. I actually hate this colour. Maybe if I over dye it?
Noro Kureyon 102. I actually hate this colour. Maybe if I over dye it?

Ugh. Here, take a look. I had thought the blues/peaches/lavenders/golds would make a good base colour for the Dream Coat that I fell in lust with from the book Dazzling Knits by Patricia Werner. I mean, Look at this coat! Stunning, isn’t it???

dazzling knits
The Dream Coat. Yep, it is a dream all right. . . a Dream I can’t seem to make come true!

I started it right before I started my cancer treatments, so it went into a drawer and got forgotten until just now. (Short attention span, anyone? Oooh! Shiny!)

Anyway, needless to say, I haven’t finished the coat. I do have several triangles made, and some of the stripes, but I had bought quite a bit of the 102 to balance things out, and instead it just washes everything out. So, this is what I have now . . . as well as some closeups.

The 102. It looks brighter and more cheerful in this photo . . .
The 102. It looks brighter and more cheerful in this photo . . .
It is actually dull as used dishwater
Leftovers. The 185 looks Much brighter in this pic than it really it. It. Is. DULL.
Leftovers. The 185 looks Much brighter in this pic than it really it. It. Is. DULL.
Gag me. The 102 is by the gray.
Gag me. The 102 is by the gray.
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These two skeins are actually a LOT duller than they look in the photo.
This is what comes at taking photos in the kitchen at 3:30 in the morning.
Artificial light. Yuck.
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You break the yarn into these little, teeny-tiny sections….
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Sigh. A lost of my work got pulled apart and used for other things. This is what is left. The stuff I thought was salvageable!
I actually like this piece quite a bit.
I actually like this piece quite a bit.

Anyway! If it sounds like I am goofing off? Yep. Just got up an hour ago (it’s 3:34 AM – yes, I sleep weird hours!) but it is time to get to work now, so here I go . . here I go. . . Yep. I am moving. Getting up. . . really…………….

 

coconut coffee
YUMMERS!!!

 

 

Yawn. Coffee! Yeah! That’s what I need! I just got a bag of COCONUT Coffee! I have been trying for ages to find a good quality Coconut flavouring to add to my coffee when I brew my beans. Dunkin’ Donuts ROCKS!!!

OK cold leftover Chinese food (fried rice, shrimp and peppers and some kind of chicken thing) and now, I am ready to work!

Another finished quilt!

I make quilts too, which you can see if you want to check out my Etsy account at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/leiahcooper

This isn’t a quilt that is for sale, it is already gone, however, I just finished this one. Enjoy the pictures! (By the by, this is before it was quilted, but it IS done! LOL)

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