In my Halloween story Like Magic, the hero ends up stranded in an old occult shop owned by the heroine on a cold, rainy Halloween night. Now, from that point on, things get pretty weird for him, since she not only claims she is a witch, descended from witches, but that the only reason he got lost, had his car stolen, and ended up at her door is because she summoned him.
So, that last bit never happened to me, but the rainy nights in weird shops have. And I loved it.
I used to live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That is my home, no matter how long I have lived away. I wrote my first romance in the cafes, bars and parks of that lovely old city, and wandered every inch of her in my time. Especially in the rain, which I have always loved and which was always plentiful in that citadel outpost by the sea.
Her used bookstores, antique markets, arcana and curio shops, these were my favourite places – spots where you could look at 17th century maps right next to Coke ads from the 1930s, and rusty old trykes, and globes with countries on them that no longer exist. Buttons and thimbles and quilts. Wax figurines and opal necklaces, and hardback century-old collections of faerie legends of Great Britain. A framed doctorate of theology someone’s great-grandfather earned in 1911, and a Gladstone bag from 1880. Painted shingles and antique spectacle frames. Bizarre candle holders and daggers, and ink wells, and tin can pin wheels. Wonderful things. Unique and mysterious.
In one shop, there was a stuffed owl watching everything in the store like a creepy antitheft device. This owl became the mascot of the shop in Like Magic – a tribute to my time in Halifax. Here’s what Ian finds in Raven’s shop:
Glancing at the walls, he saw shelf upon shelf of weird items ranging from the recognizable, albeit strange, such as the row of beeswax candles shaped like vulvas and phalluses, to odd metal instruments that looked like star charts in globe form. There was a very old stuffed owl stretched to take flight behind the counter. One corner of the shop was dedicated to shelves overflowing with books. The sign outside had said “Aowen’s Arcana” so he assumed it was a pagan-themed oddities shop that was fashionable when this part of town housed literati and neo-beatniks some thirty years ago. Now, he was slightly alarmed to find it wasn’t abandoned but was clearly run by a complete lunatic.
I will always miss Halifax, keenly, until I find a way to return. But, no matter how far away I am, she lives on in my memory. And in the little items on my desk and shelves I bought during those rainy day forages in all those strange little stores. The city, and her treasures, will always keep coming up in my writing. Little details no one else likely notices, but small scraps of memory and image that always make me smile.
An erotic-romance for Halloween,
Ian Hannigan was having the worst day of his life. A real estate prospect turned out to be a prank, his car has been stolen, and he’s stranded in the worst neighborhood he can imagine on Halloween night. If he believed in magic, he would swear he’d been cursed. Nothing could possibly make this day any worse or better… That is, nothing but Raven, a mysterious occult shop owner who not only claims to be a witch, but insists that she summoned him as the answer to her aching loneliness.
For more info please visit Anne Holly’s Seasonal Tales.
LIKE MAGIC is available as a single in ebook, and also in Anne’s new Rebel Ink Press anthology, ALL I WANT: THE ANNE HOLLY-DAY COLLECTION.
Anne Holly is a Canadian writer of romance and erotic-romance. She has been published by Wild Horse Press, Decadent Publishing, Rebel Ink Press, and Pink Petal Books. You may visit Anne at her blog or website, or find her on GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter (@anneholly2010). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.