blogspot counter

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Top Five Selling Items in Miss Sasha’s Magick Shoppe ~guest post by April Aasheim~ Contest & Review

Today, I'm especially pleased to bring you a wealth of info about a wonderful new paranormal release, The Witches of Dark Root, from author April Aasheim. She's sharing a fun guest post about the famed establishment in Dark Root--Miss Sasha's Magick Shoppe. I'm including my own review of the book. Also, be sure to enter April's contest at the bottom of this post.


When Sasha Shantay first opened Miss Sasha’s Magick Shoppe in 1973 it put the small town of Dark Root, Oregon on the map and gave rise to the town’s slogan: The Most Magical Town in the Pacific Northwest. The store was the heart of the community and people from miles around would come to see the general goods and strange oddities that Miss Sasha had collected on her extensive travels. Forty years later Miss Sasha’s daughters took over the shoppe and began the process of modernizing the store. But if you had been a tourist in Dark Root in 1973 you might have seen some of the following items in Miss Sasha’s Magick Shoppe.

Top Five Selling Items in Miss Sasha’s Magick Shoppe (1973)
5. Native American Fetishes-A wide assortment of small, animal carvings created from wood, bone, and semi-precious stones, and, according to Miss Sasha, have all been blessed by a Zuni Shaman. These hand-carved objects assist it’s owner in overcoming life’s problems. They are also helpful when used in religious rituals such as a spiritual awakening ceremony or communication with the supernatural.
Many of the fetishes are decorated with stones, shells, feathers and other objects. Each animal represents a different need, for instance, horses represent healing while turtles stand for longevity. It is suggested that fetishes be kept in special pots or pouches, which Miss Sasha also sells.
4. Parchment and Ink- Reading from a spell book is fun and functional, but eventually every good witch needs to write a spell or two of her own, and parchment - known for its durability - is the writing surface of choice for most witches. Of note, Miss Sasha’s is one of the first stores in Oregon to offer plant-based parchment, and, though not quite as durable, is still very effective in spell casting.
Of course, every new spell also requires the right ink and Miss Sasha carries a wide variety, her most popular being Dove’s Blood. Don’t worry though, no doves are injured in the ink creation process. Miss Sasha uses palm tree resin and adds in special oils to enrich the magical potency of the ink. She can’t vouch for what competing stores use in their ink, however. It’s probably best to just buy from her.
3. Rune Stones - Like tarot cards and I Ching coins, runes are used as a form of divination. Each stone contains an ancient alphabetic symbol, which, when read in conjunction with other stones, can be used to predict things such as love, money and health. These small stones are sold individually or in sets of 24 and are best used on a white cloth. In order to get the most of your rune stones you must be able to read them. Miss Sasha has many books that will assist you in this endeavor.
2. Everything Astrology - In the late 1960’s Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs hit the New York Times best seller list and the Broadway musical Hair let everyone know that the Age of Aquarius was upon us. Astrology has become mainstream.
To fill the need Miss Sasha’s Magick Shoppe stocks books, items used to create your own charts, and jewelry and coffee cups depicting all twelve astrological signs. Now, when someone at a bar identifies his sun sign, you’ll be able to differentiate between a ram and a goat.
1. Candles-No magick store is complete without a wide variety of candles, and Miss Sasha has the widest variety of all. Candles are used for relaxation, meditation, and in spell work. Each color represents a different desired effect. For instance, white is used for healing and protection while red and pink are suited for love. Candles are most effective when used with a catalyst herb and anointed with oils (both sold separately). Be warned, Miss Sasha does not stock black candles out front. They are available in the back room but only to her exclusive customers.

I hope you enjoyed your mini-tour through Miss Sasha’s Magick Shoppe. For further information on what was in her inventory in 1973 (and how it was revamped by her daughters in 2013) please check out my website and click The Witches of Dark Root tab.

The Witches of Dark Root
The Daughters of Dark Root Series

April Aasheim

Genre: Paranormal/Fiction

Publisher: Dark Root Press
Date of Publication: June, 2013 
ISBN-13: 978-0615819327
ISBN-10: 061581932X

Number of pages: 350
Word Count: approx. 112,000
Cover Artist: April Aasheim

Available at:

Book Description:

Deep in the forests of Central Oregon is a town called Dark Root, a place shrouded in secrets, mystery, and witchcraft.

But for Maggie Maddock, Dark Root is also a prison, a place where she is forced to spend her days working in her mother’s magick shop, forfeiting any dreams of her own. So when a mysterious stranger suddenly appears and offers to take her away from it all, Maggie jumps at the chance.

Now, seven years later, a strange phone call sends Maggie back to Dark Root and she is unprepared for what awaits her: a dying town, a sick mother, a renewed sibling rivalry, and a past she had hoped to forget.

Part Practical Magic, part Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Witches of Dark Root is a tale that seamlessly weaves the normal with the mystical, the mundane with the fantastic. Zipping in and out of time from Maggie’s childhood as an apprentice witch to current day, where Maggie struggles with her increasing powers, as well as family obligations, The Witches of Dark Root is a book rich in both fantasy and heart which will leave readers believing in magic.


       Harvest Home, Dark Root, Oregon
October, 1995

“Maggie, wake up.” Merry jostled her sister, rousing her from her nap on the couch.
Maggie sat up, rubbed her eyes, and looked around. For a moment she forgot that she was in the living room of Harvest Home.
“Already?” Maggie asked, pushing herself onto elbows.
A loud chime coming from the grandfather clock confirmed that that it was midnight, time for the ritual. Maggie felt the chill from the open door and looked around for her sweater.
“We aren’t supposed to wear anything other than our robes tonight,” Merry cautioned, but helped Maggie into the sweater, anyways.
“Where’s Eve?” Maggie asked. If she was going to have to wander the woods in the middle of the night for some crazy ritual, then Eve better be up, too. Maggie saw her standing by the door, jumping up and down, not tired at all.
Miss Sasha and six of her friends emerged from the dining room, talking excitedly and exchanging knowing glances.
“You girls ready?” Miss Sasha asked. This was to be their first grown up moon chant and Miss Sasha could hardly contain herself. She noticed the sweater Maggie wore over her long blue robe and frowned but didn’t mention it.
Merry, Maggie, Eve, and Ruth Anne followed their mother and her friends into the night.
It was cold and the sisters shivered as they wound their way along an old dirt road shrouded by trees to a circular clearing, a half-mile away. The girls had played in the clearing many times during the day, but this was the first time they had seen it beneath the light of a full moon. The grass looked dewy and lush as the soft light fell upon each blade, but the trees that surrounded the meadow looked foreboding and ominous, as if their long, twisted boughs were ready to snatch the girls, if given the chance.
“What are we doing here again?” Maggie asked, as they made their way towards the center of the circle. “...And how long do we have to stay out?”
The adults moved to a point in the very center of the clearing and the girls positioned themselves a few dozen feet behind them.
Ruth Anne surveyed the area and sat, cross-legged, on the moist grass. “We are rooting out the evil spirits that are trying to infest Dark Root.” Her voice was as flat and informational as an encyclopedia entry.
She reached into the pocket of her dress and pulled out a key-chain flashlight and a comic book and started reading.
“How do we do that?” Maggie asked, watching as the elders––five women and two men––linked raised hands towards the sky.
They began singing, a soft melodic chant that Maggie had heard before.
Merry answered, “Every fall, the Council of Seven places a protective spell around our town. It must be done before the second half of the year begins, on November 1st. It keeps out the dark energies and ensures that the circle is strong.”
Maggie hopped on one foot, and then the other, trying to find warmth in the chill of the night. “But why do we have to do it now?” she moaned. “When it’s so cold?”
Ruth Anne responded, never lifting her eyes from her book. “It’s the witching hour. According to legend, the hours between twelve and three AM are when all things magical, including witches, are at their most powerful.” She turned the page of her book and cracked a smile at one of the drawings. “...It’s too bad we can’t keep out the crazy.”
Maggie widened her eyes. “But if witches are the most powerful now, won’t the bad things be more powerful too?”
“I’m scared,” Eve said, jumping in place as the elders continued their chant. Eve liked magick, but only the lighter arts, and those that yielded her a reward.
Merry took Eve’s hand and kissed it, and Maggie latched onto Merry’s other hand.
“I’m scared, too,” Merry fibbed.
Merry wasn’t afraid of anything.
There was a long silence, followed by the heavy beat of a loud drum. Miss Sasha looked over her shoulder at her daughters, letting them know that it was almost their turn. They had been practicing the spell for weeks now, and Maggie hoped she wouldn’t forget the words.
Ruth Anne set down her comic book and the four girls clasped hands and waded towards the center of the circle.
Miss Sasha nodded and the girls began their incantation.

As the Witching Hour chimes
And the whole world sleeps and dreams
We join our hands in sisterhood
Staving back the darklings
The circle stands, its shape eternal
Though the darkness is still beckoning
Our light will ward back the infernal
And shield us from the doomsday reckoning

Maggie was still tired and stumbled on a few of the words, completely missing some of them; however, Merry spoke them as loud and clearly as she recited The Pledge of Allegiance at school. All the while, Eve played with her hair and hardly tried at all. For her part, Ruth Anne recited the words without emotion, anxious to get back to her comic book.
“Who wrote the spell?” Ruth Anne had asked their mother earlier that day while they were preparing. “It doesn’t sound right.”
“It doesn’t matter if it sounds right or not,” Miss Sasha had explained. “It’s the power of words––especially when spoken in numbers––that matters. When we stand together, no enemy would dare traverse the boundaries of Dark Root.”
Maggie caught a movement to her right. She thought she had seen a dark form take shape and then vanish. And then another. Were they coming or going? She couldn’t tell.

About the Author:

April Aasheim spent her childhood traveling the Southwestern portion of the United States with her fortune- telling mother and her get-rich-quick dreaming stepfather. During that time, April and her family toured with a carnival company, sold bug repellant door to door, and resided in an abandoned miner’s shack in The Superstitious Mountains of Arizona.  

When April became a teenager she went to live with her biological father in California. Her father saw April’s need to express herself and encouraged her to write her stories rather than tell them. By learning to write April was able to make sense of her family and the world she lived in. She continues to do that to this day.

April currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She is the mother of two incredible sons and the step-mother to a beautiful little girl. She is the author of numerious short stories, has contributed to several anthologies, and is the author of the well-received novel: The Universe is a Very Big Place.

The Witches of Dark Root is The first in the Daughters of Dark Root series and April looks forward to writing the second book in 2014.


Marsha's Review:
I must preface this with the fact that I so rarely do reviews, I'm sure my readers are shocked.  But this book caught my eye, and I'm definitely glad it did. It was a fantastic read.
The Witches of Dark Root was a compelling story about the growth of four sisters that used plenty of delightful, inventive magic to showcase their struggles and victories. I thoroughly enjoyed how the author used common problems to build three-dimensional characters. Flashbacks and present day lingering concerns showed how the sisters fought as teenagers for independence from their mother, the revered town witch. The girls desperately wanted to be normal, not young witches in training. As soon as possible, each left Dark Root and all it had meant to them growing up. 

Later as adults, the sisters fought again to negotiate their wills to maintain hard-won independence and accept new terms—the dependence of their aging mother and aunt. Personally, I stumbled a bit upon discovering that their elderly mother suffered from dementia, since I helped my own mother through her battle with that illness until she passed a year ago. The author used the issue effectively to illustrate how different personalities coped. Magical talents unique to each sister showcased the cycle of growth each experienced—truly wonderful. That was the real highlight of the book for me. The relationships of the women in the family twisted and turned as they learned to use their magic and to accept their problems of past and present.

The main character, Maggie, fought the most to grow into her own personality and witchcraft strengths. The plot followed her experiences, largely centered along a string of shaky romantic relationships before she developed confidence. And when she did, it was a compelling, quick read to follow her journey. However, the beginning one-third of the book lagged, showcasing Maggie’s weaknesses while she remained too long in a failing romantic relationship.  While that development did allow the reader to get to know the character and appreciate her amazing growth later, I think it could have been shortened. When Maggie finally took steps to leave that bad relationship, she returned to her family she hadn’t seen in seven years—that’s when the magic of this story shines. Maggie swallowed hard and plunged in, healing old wounds, opening a few she’d forgotten, and in the process, found herself.

Tour Wide Giveaway:
1 prize back featuring a mug, keychain, pen, signed book and a few assorted other goodies- open to US Shipping

5 Kindle Versions of the book gifted from Amazon

3 Signed paperbacks sent to winner- open to US Shipping
~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED, Book Three, LOST VOLUMES, and Book Four, STAUROLITE. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.