Title: Little Red Gem
Author: D L Richardson
Publisher: D L Richardson
Number of pages: 196 eBook | 250 print
Cover artist: D L Richardson
Format: eBook – epub, mobi, pdf | Print
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Digital ISBN: 9781301976485
Print ISBN- 13: 9781492939924
Print ISBN-10: 1492939927
Love can make you do crazy things as Ruby Parker discovers when she dies and returns from the grave to unearth how much Leo Culver loved her. With the aid of bad advice from a ghost who is trapped by a curse, a little bit of magic courtesy of her unsuspecting half-sister, and a televised music talent show coming to town to hold auditions, Ruby Parker makes more of a mess in death than she ever did in life. Can she fix everything before it’s too late? Or will she spend eternity as a ghost, haunted by the unknown depths of love? Either way, one thing Ruby learns is that while love can make you do crazy things, it can make you do amazing things too. But at what cost?
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And now for a guest post by DL!
And now for a guest post by DL!
Thank you for having me on your blog today. Little Red Gem is, at its core, a story about a girl who returns from the dead to find out how much her boyfriend loved her only to discover she only needs to love herself. To achieve this she uses magic, manipulation, and music. As today is Halloween I thought I would share a “magical” excerpt with everyone. This is the magic spell that the main character, Ruby, casts when she changes places with her half-sister, Audrey, so she can win Leo’s affections. This spell is taken from an actual book of magic but as to whether it works or not, I will let those seeking love find out for themselves.
Excerpt from Little Red Gem
“Ah, young love,” Teri said smiling. “I keep forgetting how much of a hurry teenagers are when it comes to love. Now, before we do anything you need to prepare. I’ve already run the bath, scented with rose petals as per the spell book.”
I didn’t have time for a bath. I needed to cast this spell before every schoolgirl’s attempts to woo Leo succeeded. “Can we skip this part?”
She steered me toward the bathroom. “No. Before performing any magic you need to be ready, which means your mind needs to be calm so you can focus. Bathing washes away bad energy. Now, soak.”
Teri left me alone to undress, and I was grateful for the privacy. The idea of standing naked and vulnerable in front of her sent goose bumps everywhere, plus maybe she’d notice something odd – like Audrey’s tiny fists pummeling madly against my chest to be let out – and my game would be up.
I slid into the bath and couldn’t help but admit that the candlelight was charming and the aromatic perfume of rose petals was delicious.
I was surprised when Teri knocked on the door. I’d fallen asleep. The missing hours rushed at me. I didn’t know about cleansed, but I felt super relaxed. Dressing in the light cotton pants and top Teri had folded over the chair for me, I only had to shake Audrey’s short hair like a dog and it was practically dry. I walked barefoot into the dining room to find Teri seated at the table fiddling with the items. I noticed she’d kicked the rug away to expose the wooden floorboards underneath. There was a ring of rose petals wide enough for a person to sit inside.
She handed me a length of white cord. “Take this and make it into a circle around the rose petals.”
I did as instructed. “Now what?”
“Take the items off the dining table and bring them with you into the circle.”
“Can’t you bring them here?”
“No.” She tilted her head to the side. “I’m having second thoughts. I shouldn’t let you do this. You’re too young.”
I shrugged. “I’d do it anyway. Only I’d probably get the spell wrong so at least this way you’ll be here in case I unleash demons or something.”
“There will be no demon unleashing. Now, light a green candle in each direction.”
Over my shoulder I shot her a blank look. She pointed a finger in each of the four directions. “East. West. North. South.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Teri closed her eyes and stretched her arms high over her head. “You do this to invoke the four winds. Now start in the East.”
Teri nodded – her eyes still closed – toward the kitchen window.
“East. Got it.”
“Repeat the following words four times. ‘Hail to thee East Wind. I call for love and make this offering of light to you’.”
“Hail to thee East Wing. I call for love and make this offering of light to you.” I was used to memorizing lyrics and my pride swelled that I didn’t need much prompting from Teri. I repeated the chant verbatim three more times, each time gazing at the other cardinal directions. Finished, I rested my gaze at Teri. “What now?”
Teri opened her eyes and moved over the counter to consult the magic book. “Put the burner in the centre of the circle and place the charcoal inside. Light the charcoal. Then light the pink candle. Do the golden light breathing exercise until you feel full of energy.”
“The golden light breathing exercise?” I cried out, exasperated. “When are we going to make the love potion?”
“I’ve told you already, this is a love spell. There is no such thing as a love potion.”
“It’d be easier if there was,” I mumbled. In a clear voice, I said, “Okay, so what is the golden light breathing exercise?”
Teri threw her hands into the air. “I can’t believe you’re my daughter. ‘What is the golden light breathing exercise?’ I only practice it in the living room while you’re watching TV ten times a day. Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Rest your hands on your stomach and take a few deep breaths. Breathe slowly, not too deeply, and with concentration.”
Beneath the brimming anxiety that had squeezed at me since I’d died lay a bigger pool of anxiety, yet underneath her calming tutelage my insides became jelly-like and I relaxed.
“Breathe in through your nose and visualize drawing golden light into yourself. Hold the breath and imagine your heart opening. Breathe out through your mouth, letting the golden light circulate around your body.”
I understood now why Audrey wasn’t into magic. So much effort, and there was no guarantee this spell would work.
“Keep breathing this way until you are energized and wide awake.”
Wide awake? After the delicious bath I’d had, it’d have been easier falling into a slumber the likes of which evil queens in fairy tales were fond of casting upon fair maidens.
“Rest your hands on your heart for a few moments, letting your breathing gradually return to normal.”
The heart that beat inside my chest wasn’t mine. I ignored the shame.
“There,” said Teri. “Feel energized?”
“I could run a marathon,” I lied. The effort had drained every bit of juice I had at a time when I could least afford to lose it.
“Good. Now, you are calling for new beginnings, so face east.” Teri pointed to the kitchen window. “Put seven rose petals to one side, after which you rub a little bit of rose oil into the rest.”
Rose petals were not the easiest things to sort. They either got stuck to my fingers or they tore apart. Still, I peeled off seven petals and rubbed oil into the rest.
“Crush the cinnamon stick and place it in the burning charcoal with the scented rose petals. No, not those ones, the ones you placed the oil on. Okay, now focus your heart to take in love. A good way to focus is to stare into the flame.”
I looked intently into the flame and was overcome by memories of the last night Leo and I were together. The log cabin had a fireplace. I hadn’t set foot inside the cabin to see it, but the scent of burning wood had tickled my nostrils from outside. I remembered the vibrant laughter of the boys coming from inside the cabin and the stab of jealousy that had coursed through me. Had I asked Teri to cast the wrong spell when what I really wanted was to reverse time? If I could have gone back to that night, I’d have handled things differently. I wouldn’t have acted jealous or angry. I’d have done the golden light breathing exercise and had a strong cup of honeyed tea to calm me down. I certainly wouldn’t have blown up at Leo for lying about drinking. And I wouldn’t have demanded that he prove the depths of his love to me.
My reverie was broken by Teri recanting the spell. “Write the word ‘love’ in gold ink on the seven petals you put aside earlier.”
“Are you serious?” If carefully peeling seven rose petals between my fingers was bad enough, writing on them was next to impossible. “Are you sure there isn’t a magic potion?”
“I’m sure. Now, when you’re done, float the petals gently in the bowl of water.”
Don’t ask me how I managed, but I wrote the word ‘love’ on seven paper-thin petals and placed them in the bowl, half expecting something to happen, like smoldering smoke, flashes of lightning, fireworks, a frog turning into a prince, heck I’d have settled for a frog in the garden outside croaking. Absolutely nothing happened and I felt beyond cheated.
“Sit in the circle and breathe in the scent of rose and cinnamon,” Teri instructed. “Take time to centre yourself and build up charged energy. Open your hands, open your heart, and repeat your request seven times with genuine feeling. Repeat after me, ‘Oh Anael, Angel of Venus’.”
“Oh Anael, Angel of Venus.”
“I call upon you to fill me with love, that I may feel a joyous heart.”
“I call upon you to fill me with love, that I may feel a joyous heart.”
“I ask that I may share this love with another who will come to me of his free will.”
I sighed loudly, as loud as water gushing out of a burst seal of a dam wall might sound.
“Okay.” Reluctantly I repeated the chant, and I was genuinely surprised when an energy I could best describe as a warm glow traveled around inside my body.
“Together we shall know the beauty of a loving union. I ask this for the highest good of all.”
Teri coached me in repeating the spell and at the end of the seventh chant of “Together we shall know the beauty of a loving union. I ask this for the highest good of all”, she told me to say “thank you”. I did, and because she then told me blow out the candles I did that as well. After a brief further instruction from Teri, I closed the cord clockwise and took the water outside to pour into the earth of our little garden.
“We’re done,” Teri said when I reappeared in the kitchen.
“What now? I sit around and wait for this universe business to take effect?”
She smiled wistfully. “It will happen if it’s meant to.”
“It had freaking well better,” I grumbled to myself on my way up to my room.
Music first captured the creative interest of young adult author D L Richardson. From choir, to her first acoustic guitar at age ten, to singing with the school band and performed in main roles in two school musicals. When she left school she helped form her own rock band where she sang lead vocals, played bass guitar, and wrote all the lyrics. At age 26 she sold her equipment and focused on writing instead.
She lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she's not writing or reading she can be found playing her piano or guitars, renovating the house, or walking the dog.