Southern Fried Wiccan
Author: S.P. Sipal
Release Date: March 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
Cilla Swaney is thrilled to return stateside, where she can hang up her military-brat boots for good. Finally, she’ll be free to explore her own interests—magick and Wicca. But when she arrives at her grandma’s farm, Cilla discovers that life in the South isn’t quite what she expected. At least while country hopping, she never had to drink G- ma’s crazy fermented concoctions, attend church youth group, make co-op deliveries...or share her locker with a snake-loving, fire-lighting, grimoire-stealing Goth girl…
…Who later invites her to a coven that Cilla’s not sure she has the guts to attend. But then Emilio, the dark-haired hottie from her charter school, shows up and awakens her inner goddess. Finally, Cilla starts believing in her ability to conjure magick. Until…
…All Hades breaks loose. A prank goes wrong during their high school production of Macbeth, and although it seems Emilio is to blame, Cilla and Goth pay the price. Will Cilla be able to keep the boy, her coven, and the trust of her family? Or will this Southern Wiccan get battered and fried?
My troubles all started the day my grandma discovered my grimoire in her armoire. I’d flung it in when she’d called up the stairs for me to “hightail it out to the barn” and feed the lambs.
Like I’m supposed to know what “hightail it” means. Me, Cilla Swaney, world-traveling military brat. Though I spoke four languages, I hadn’t yet mastered my native Southern.
Until three weeks and five days ago, I’d only visited I’m-So-Bored-I-Think-I’ll-Die-ville, North Carolina, on the few―and thank God brief―furloughs Dad got between posts. Now I was stuck here. Forever. Or at least until Mom closed on our new house in Chapel Hill, which seemed to be taking forever.
I’d finally cornered the littlest of Grandma’s late-born lambs, Lemon Balm, between the wood fence and the red barn wall, when up at the house the back screen door squeaked, and G-ma’s voice rang out loud and strident, “Priscilla Lou Swaney. You have some explaining to do!”
I jerked, and warm milk bathed the back of my hand as LB hungrily nuzzled the emptying bottle I still held to his mouth. All three names. Oh mein Gott, was I in for it.
My stomach did an odd jittery thing as I peeked around the side of the barn. G-ma’s brown and green tie-dye skirt swirled about her mucked-up barn boots as she crunched down the gravel path leading from the ancient white farmhouse. Her wire headset plugged into the cordless phone that was clipped in its permanent position at her waist flapped irritably with her movements.
That’s another thing. Why couldn’t I have a grandma like the other American kids I knew? You know, a normal one—a gray-haired old lady who would put on a red hat and go out to gossip with her retired friends. Or better yet, one who would buy me all the things my parents wouldn’t and let me veg out all day eating junk food. No, mine had to be some sort of leftover hippie who ran her own organic farm and forced me to drink all these vile fermented beverages she brewed up in her kitchen. Really.
“Let me call you back about the raw cheese, Hector. I’ve got to deal with a little problem first.”
Stopping right in front of me—the “little problem”—and not a bit out of breath, G-ma clicked off her phone and thrust the dog-eared pages of Teen Magick into my face. The book almost, but unfortunately not fully, covered the narrow-eyed look in her green eyes. Eyes the same color as mine; the only thing we had in common.
She shook the grimoire in my face. “What is this nonsense?”
Panic gagged me. My fingers itched to snatch my new spell book from her, but that would have been a dead giveaway.
She thumbed through the first few pages. “‘A Witch’s First Grimoire.’ ‘Pox your Pimples.’ ‘Divine Tomorrow’s Test.’ ‘Ritual for Samhain.’ What are you doing with this trash?”
I’d been so thrilled when I’d found the tiny Spirit Rising bookstore while shopping with Mom near UNC. This book had called to me from the window display. If only I’d bought it after Mom had closed on the house and we were no longer staying at G-ma’s.
“Uh.” I wracked my brain as I bent over the lamb, his soft head tickling where he rubbed against my bare legs below my cut-offs. “That…that’s a book I’m reading for research.”
“Research for what?” She waved at a buzzing fly, and I caught a whiff of the milk kefir she’d been fermenting earlier. “School doesn’t start for another week. And watch out! Lemon Balm is about to knock over the milk pail.”
I patted LB on his butt, sending him galloping off to the dry summer pasture while giving myself time to whip up a better explanation. “Well, see, before we left Dad in Izmir, he told me that one of his new airmen claimed to be a Wiccan and asked me to look into it, see if he had any reason to be concerned.”
It wasn’t a lie exactly. I mean, Dad had voiced concern over this eighteen-year-old private I’d been hanging with. Of course, Dad had been freaking about my “seeing” a guy three years older. He’d have really freaked if he’d known his airman was teaching me more about casting enchanted circles than giving heated glances. As if an older guy would notice a geek like me anyway.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Susan Sipal had to travel halfway across the world and return home to embrace her father and grandfather's penchant for telling a tall tale. After having lived with her husband in his homeland of Turkey for many years, she suddenly saw the world with new eyes and had to write about it.
Perhaps it was the emptiness of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus that cried out to be refilled, or the myths surrounding the ancient Temple of Artemis, but she's been writing stories filled with myth and mystery ever since. She can't wait to share Southern Fried Wiccan with readers in March 2015.
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