Margaret Frazer

Posts tagged ‘circle of witches’

Circle of Witches – Chapter 3

December 14th, 2012

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

Start with Chapter 1!


An outgrown pair of Kellan’s boots solved the problem of shoes, though it was three days before Damaris’ sore and swollen feet would fit into anything at all. The wrought iron bench in Aunt Elspeth’s garden was cushioned with pillows for her the first day, but then the weather turned rainy and she and her cousins spent the time in Uncle Russell’s study, building towns and fortresses and palaces with his books and the boys’ set of wooden blocks that Nevin and Kellan resurrected from an abandoned toy chest to amuse their cousin – and themselves, if they would have admitted it.

Nevin was a little too grown to lose himself in the game, though he was the best at structuring books into improbable towers; and twice he was called away to manor work with his father, a reminder that he was growing into other duties. But Kellan willingly let loose what dignity his fourteen years might have had.  When Damaris protested – because the edge of the study carpet was the shore, the bare stone floor the gray sea – “You can’t put a secret passage there. It’ll be under the harbor. They’ll drown,” Kellan easily answered, “They won’t. The tunnel is stone, beautifully mortared and sealed with magic against the sea coming in.”

“But you can’t build under the water.”

“They drained the harbor, built the secret passage, and let the water back in.”

“You can’t drain a harbor!  There’s a whole ocean outside of it!”

Kellan brooded over his creation briefly, then answered cheerfully, “They drain acres and acres of ocean out of Holland all the time. It was like that. Only here they let the water come back in. To hide the tunnel.”

He always had an answer that made sense, if she insisted on it, and their game went on, through the rise and fall of kingdoms and natural disasters – earthquakes were particularly satisfying, bringing all the book-built towers down in tumbled chaos – but on the fourth day after her first adventuring out beyond the safety of Thornoak’s walls, both the weather and Damaris’ feet were well, freeing her to go out into the plans her cousins had for her, and under the dark edge of her parents’ deaths, the summer turned to gold for her. Never once did Aunt Elspeth protest at her coming home torn or muddied or tired after hours of roaming with her cousins on foot and even more often on horseback, because Uncle Russell gave her a horse of her own, a pretty bay mare named Fansome, and gave her her first lessons in riding. (more…)

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

A Midwinter Blog Tour - The Authoress

Today the Midwinter Blog Tour returns to the Authoress (where the cover remake contest is still going strong!) so that I can sit down and have a proper, digital chat with Amelia. Our conversation starts with Rosemary Sutcliffe and Jane Austen, winds its way pleasantly through any number of literary topics, and then ends with Rudyard Kipling and… Jane Austen.

Somehow, as I stare out my window at the deep Christmas snows, that feels appropriate for Circle of Witches.

You can find the interview by clicking here.

– Margaret


Circle of Witches – Chapter 2

December 13th, 2012

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

Start with Chapter 1!


For Damaris the days after that were nightmare. Dressed in endless black, she moved through them in a hurting that blurred all else around her.

Everyone was kind to her. Her aunt and her uncle. The strangers who came and went so much through the days before the funeral. Agnes who had tended Damaris’ mother as a baby and known her grandmother and now saw to Damaris without questions or too many words at all. Sometimes it was Virna who would sit and talk to her when everyone else had other things to do. Having someone, anyone, talking to her helped fill the great emptiness in Damaris, who seemed to have very few words of her own left in her. But usually and best it was Aunt Elspeth or Uncle Russell who were with her through those days, explaining what things were happening and why and, at the last, who all the people were, all the strangers, come to the funeral in St. Cuthbert’s church in Gillingthwaite down the dale.

Through those days Damaris nodded to their voices, understanding what they were saying while they said it and doing what she was told; but when they were no longer talking to her or she had finished what they asked of her, almost all of what they had said and what she had done slid out of her mind again because nothing was very real to her just then except the pain around the emptiness where her parents should have been.

Her father’s Uncle Robert came to the funeral. Afterward, in the parlor at Thornoak, Damaris was introduced to him and was told he would be taking her parents to be buried in her father’s family church in Lancashire. She nodded, accepting that because it did not matter. He was not taking her parents, only their bodies. She had seen the bodies lying in their coffins and known those empty, motionless shapes were not her parents. Her parents were gone. They had left those bodies behind, and this stranger could take them if he wanted; it did not matter. But to his face she only nodded and let him shake her hand while he looked down his broad nose at her and said in deeply doubtful tones, “A pretty little thing. If she were a boy now, I’d be able to manage maybe. But a girl…”

Behind her, hands resting lightly on Damaris’ shoulders, Aunt Elspeth answered, “There’s no worry. She’s more than welcome here.” (more…)

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

A Midwinter Blog Tour - A Novel Toybox

A Novel Toybox is a fun, playful little corner of the web. If you pop over there today, you’ll find Lilian and I going for a delightful tour through a few of our favorite things.

(Those things being almost entirely books, of course.)

I always find myself at a loss for words whenever someone asks me about my favorite book or the best book I’ve read, but Lilian was very clever in wrestling the answers out of me.

Oh! And if you’re wondering what I’m working on next… Lilian has the answer.

– Margaret

Circle of Witches – Chapter 1

December 12th, 2012

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

As a bonus feature for the Midwinter Blog Tour, I’m going to serializing Part I of Circle of Witches. We’ll be posting a new chapter each day, with the shameless intent of getting you to try the whole thing. You’ll be able to find them here on the blog and on my Facebook page. (If you click on the RSS or Facebook buttons on the left, you’ll be able to subscribe or like and get notified each time a new chapter goes up!)


Spring had come early that year. The carriage-ride up the dale two days ago had been beautiful with greening fields and trees in young leaf and sunshine on the hills. But these were the Pennine hills, and today snow was swirling down the wind. Along the garden wall the betrayed daffodils bent under its weight, and Damaris, curled on the window seat with her nose nearly to the thick-glassed, small-paned windows, watched the far shadow-shapes of the hills come and go as the wind tore the snow apart or thickened it in gusts.

Here in her uncle’s study there was a fire on the hearth, but the warmth did not reach as far as the window. She was cold but unwilling to move, as if staying still would somehow change everything back to right. Behind her, in the house that she had never seen until the day before yesterday, she was aware of quick movements in the hall and on the stairs and of voices kept low, speaking hastily. There was an urgency where yesterday had only been her mother’s laughing pleasure at home-coming and the excitement of relatives Damaris had not known she had.

Now there was only strangeness. A strange house full of strangers and not even its sounds familiar. Damaris knew the sounds of home: Maid’s padded tread on the carpeted stairs, the third step from the bottom’s squeak, the solemn thud of the door from hall to kitchen, the iron clash of horses’ shoes on the cobbles under the front windows. Familiar sounds she had never thought about. But home was far away, beyond the hills and near the sea. Here nothing was the same or right – here where the hills rose to mountains beyond the moors and the houses were all made of stone with the walls so thick she could not even hear the wind except when it rasped the snow across the window glass or she was upstairs to hear it worry and moan along the eaves. She had come down here to be away from the wind as much as might be. And away from the other sounds upstairs.

No one had noticed she was gone and no one had come looking for her, but she was aware of everything she heard, and when she heard her father’s crisp, quick footsteps on the stone floor of the front hallway she gasped with relief and untangled her feet from her skirts, scrambled from the window seat, and ran to fling open the study door.

He was there in the hallway, grabbing his greatcoat from the rack beside the door, saying angrily to her Uncle Russell, “I’m going. She needs a doctor. I’m bringing her one.”


Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

A Midwinter Blog Tour - Let Them Read Books

Today the Midwinter Blog Tour is headed for Let Them Read Books for The Perils of Offering Your Agent a Book Different From Your Other.

The journey from an author’s mind, through her manuscript, and into the mind of the reader can be fraught with unexpected detours and delays. Circle of Witches proved to be more of a proof rather than an exception to the rule. If you’d like a guided tour, click on thru.

– Margaret

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

A Midwinter Blog Tour - The Authoress

Amelia at The Authoress is hosting an exclusive cover remake contest for Circle of Witches as part of the Midwinter Blog Tour!

I’m really excited about this!

For those of you who may not be familiar with cover remake contests, here are the basics: Take the cover for Circle of Witches

Circle of Witches - Margaret Frazer

–and remix it. You can take the existing elements of the cover and transform them into something new. Or design an entirely new cover from scratch. If you’ve read the book, it’s a chance to express what it meant to you and for me to share that with you. And even if you haven’t had a chance to finish it yet, this is still a great opportunity for you to express yourself artistically!

Head over to the Authoress for all the details you need on how to participate and the great prize package we’re offering to the winners! (Yup, you read that right: There are prizes!)

– Margaret

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

A Midwinter Blog Tour - The Ladykillers

The first day of the Midwinter Blog Tour for Circle of Witches rolls on: Priscilla Royal, whose delightful mysteries set in a medieval nunnery in the 1200s provide an apt contrast to my Dame Frevisse mysteries set in a medieval nunnery in the 1400s, sat down with me for a digital interview that provides a behind-the-scenes tour of the work which went into writing the book… and the even greater work that went into getting the book into your hands!

– Margaret

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

Patricia Stoltey's Blog

Earlier this year I celebrated my Double Twentieth Anniversary: Twenty years since my first novel was published; twenty years as an ongoing survivor of cancer. Recently I’ve been struggling through a resurgence of the cancer. My friend Patricia Stoltey has been going through some hardships of health in her life as well.

So we’re kicking off the blog tour with Cancer vs. the Author, which delves into the struggle of dealing with the final lap for Circle of Witches and the horrors of chemotherapy at the same time…

– Margaret

Circle of Witches - The Midwinter Blog Tour

Today we launch Circle of Witches: The Midwinter Blog Tour! It’s a celebration of the long-awaited release of Circle of Witches, and over the next 10 days I’ll be visiting some of the best websites around the web with interviews, essays, contests, and other fun stuff. All of it will be linked daily here from my home page, so if you subscribe to my feed, follow me on Facebook, or hook-up with me on Twitter you’ll be able to keep track of me during the tour as it happens!


Her mother had always been afraid. That’s what Damaris remembered. From the time she was a little girl until the day her mother died, she had seen the fear in her eyes.

But now she understood. Now she was afraid, too.

Young Damaris wanted more than anything to be happy at Thornoak, the ancient manor owned by her aunt and uncle. Adventuring through the wide, open beauty of the Dale in the company of her rambunctious cousins she rediscovered a joy she had thought lost with the death of her parents. And in the deep, storm-tossed eyes of Lauran Ashbrigg she was surprised to find an entirely new emotion.

But even under the warm and inviting sun, Damaris is chilled by the undeniable fact that the family which claims to welcome and love her is hiding truths from her: The truth of the Lady Stone. The truth of the Old Ways. The truth of moon and star and witchcraft.

The truth of her mother’s death.

Kindle Edition - Kindle UK - Nook Edition - Smashwords
Trade Paperback


The winter solstice has arrived and, with it, the end of the Midwinter Blog Tour! But before we bring things to a close, we do have one last special event planned to celebrate the release of Circle of Witches: The Great Midwinter Blog Tour Quiz.

Here’s how it’s going to work: At the link below, you’ll find a list of twelve questions. They can all be found within either the guest posts, interviews, or sample chapters of Circle of Witches which have been posted during the Midwinter Blog Tour. (And you can find links to all those posts on the blog tour’s home page.) Submit your answers and, if you’re right, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Circle of Witches and a free e-book of your choice!



December 10th: Cancer vs. the Author with Patricia Stoltey
December 10th: Behind-the-Scenes Interview at the LadyKillers
December 11th: Cover Remake Contest at the Authoress
December 12th: The Perils of Offering Your Agent a Book Different Than Your Others at Let Them Read Books
December 13th: A Few of My Favorite Things (Interview) at the Novel Toybox
December 14th: A Digital Chat (Interview) at the Authoress
December 15th: A Pit Stop at Addicted to Novels
December 16th: A Thoughtful Lingering (Interview) with Sharon Kay Penman
December 17th: Designing a Cover at the Alexandrian
December 18th: A Review at Tiffany’s Bookshelf
December 19th: A Guided Tour of the Yorkshire Dales (Interview) at the Hopeful Heroine


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6


If Circle of Witches is the first time we’ve become acquainted as author and reader, you might want to check the sidebar to your right to see some of my other novels.

“Exquisitely written, the novel offers a brilliantly realized vision… Suspenseful from start to surprising conclusion, this is another gem from an author who’s twice been nominated for an Edgar.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Love the passionate attention to detail in character, custom, and setting, and the sympathetic creation of believable people and events. Essential.” – Library Journal of New York

“A lovingly told story, rich with fascinating description. Ms. Frazer provides a real treat for lovers of all things.” – Toby Bromberg, Romantic Times

“The writing is seamless… Rich period detail, canny characterization, and a lively plot should endear her tales to anyone…” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Mystery… Suspense… Frazer executes with audacity and ingenuity.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Weaves a budding romance and a grand, unrequited passion with a bold and dangerous plot… Great fun for all!” – Alfred Hitchcock Magazine

“Frazer’s books will be among those I read as soon as I see them.” – Houston Facts

Twice nominated for the Minnesota Book Award.
Twice nominated for the Edgar Award.
A Romantic Times Top Pick.

– Margaret

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