Thursday, May 18, 2023

From Writer to Witch – #PaganRomance #WitchLit #AdirondackMountains #CancerSurvivor @janina_grey

Lost in Your Rhythm cover

By Janina Grey (Guest Blogger)

The first dream I ever remember having was a nightmare of my village burning. Dirt houses with grass roofs peppering a rolling field of green, surrounded by hills, all in flames. People running and screaming.

I was four years old and I’d lived in the Bronx, one of the five boroughs comprising New York City. You know, apartment buildings and wall to wall traffic. Grass was nearly non-existent. This was a reoccurring dream that had me screaming in the middle of the night for my father.


Combine that with incessantly demanding my mother ‘find my long dresses,’ because I wanted to wear them again. (This was the 60s, think Laugh-In and mini-skirts.) Yeah. I was constantly freaking my parents out. I tried often to explain that I had had lived “before.” They started to realize I was a bit different when we’d look at a new apartment or house and I’d tell them about people I’d see in the various rooms, even though we were alone but for the agent doing the showing. After a while, I’d only have to do a walk-through of the prospective dwelling while my parents waited for my findings before making the final decision.

I was obsessed with witches. I would watch Dark Shadows, and my favorite movie (that scared the poop out of me) was Crow Haven Farm. The Disney movies were just as frightening, because all the witches were mean. I thought I was a witch, but I knew I wasn’t mean.

At six years old I started writing spells, mostly for homework issues and to make mean girls like me (I didn’t know about freewill, what can I say?) But then for a writing assignment, I wrote a book report on the Salem witch trials.

Later that year, I told my mom I’d decided . . . “I want to be a nun.” I think the Disney movies and the Salem witch trials made me realize being a witch might cause me a bit of trouble. Or maybe my spells weren’t working. Who knows? I made my Holy Communion that year, and all dressed in white I was told I was marrying Jesus. I was going to be Jesus’ bride.

I spent my teen years struggling to be a good candidate for a nun. But as Robbie Burns said, things “aft gang agley.” I was a devout Catholic. I loved catechism classes and making my Sacraments, and going to Mass. Yes, I actually loved Mass. The ritual, the prayers, the fellowship, the sermons, the music. All of it. I loved it all.

On the other hand. . . by Sweet Sixteen I fell in love, started learning Tarot, and was doing astrology charts for a $1 a piece.

I had a foot in both worlds from my teens until I turned forty years old.

I began teaching religious classes at eighteen years old, which was unheard of at the time. I taught until I moved off Long Island, just before my fortieth birthday. Somewhere along the line I’d been told I was going to hell for all those ‘witchy’ things I did, but I insisted I was not a witch, and that I loved Jesus.

But then we moved upstate shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks where I joined a writer’s group, got a job in a school as an assistant, and attended a psychic party where I was told I’d lived at least two lives as a witch.

Wow. Talk about Mind Blown.

So I reached out to one of the vampire romance writers in my group and asked if she knew any witches who could help me out.

The rest is history.

Last week, at 60 years old, I gave ‘birth’ to my sixth and final coven. I’d been serving as founder and High Priestess of my tradition since I started holding Moon Circles in 2004. I officially retired as teacher and coven leader, but I will continue to serve in my role as a Pagan Minister, and do all I can to heal the name of Goddess and Witch.

It’s been a crazy life. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

One thing that’s bugged me about being a witch is the way Hollywood depicts us. We don’t have drug-induced orgies. We don’t worship Satan. We don’t sacrifice babies. We don’t shoot lightning bolts from our fingertips, or throw people across rooms with a wave of an arm.

We celebrate the seasons, life, nature. We honor the Gods and the Ancestors. We live by the rede Harm None.

And all of THAT is why I wrote the EARTH AND SKY SERIES, published by Soul Mate Publishing.

This week I am celebrating the release of LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM, Earth and Sky Series Book 3. This is the magical tale of two people who faced death, fought to live, then proceeded to hide away for years as they struggled to heal from their trauma.

Liza Purkypile is a fifth-generation resident of the Village of Purkyville, five-foot pool shark who can drink pint after pint of Guinness but can’t hold her whiskey very well.

Jack Issa is a former Broadway performer, the Apple of the Big Apple’s Eye, who has retreated to the Adirondack Mountains to heal his wounds and rediscover his worth after falling two stories during a dress rehearsal with his troupe, THUMP!

Jack and Liza sizzle from the first ‘how ya doin’?’ While learning how to live, love, and trust again, they soon realize the Universe may have had a hand in bringing them together.

Jack works magically with Runes, tapping into his deceased mother’s Celtic heritage, and Liza is an Empath, who received this ability after dying on the operating table in her early twenties. They soon learn they fit right in with the rest of the Earth and Sky crowd.

Readers are introduced to the magical, mystical world of Upstate New York in Book 1 of the Earth and Sky Series, LOVE IN THE FOREST. Here they meet Brooke Meadows, the camp photographer of the Earth and Sky healing retreat located in Demilune, NY, nestled in the Adirondack Mountains. In addition to her skills with a camera, Brooke is a practicing witch and affectionately known as the retreat’s deathwalker. That nickname came from her ability to communicate with the dead.

It's that ability that introduces her to Rosalie, the dead wife of’s CEO, Josh Quinn. Josh has been sent to Earth and Sky to figure out a way to end three years of grieving the loss of his wife and children, or face retirement, an ultimatum given by his board president and best friend.

Josh and Brooke soon learn that Rosalie has her own ideas about Josh’s path of healing.

In addition to meeting Josh and Brooke in LOVE IN THE FOREST, readers get a glimpse of the lovable and charming Barefoot Dan, a counselor at Earth and Sky.

His story is told in Book 2, LIFE IS FOR LIVING, when he runs into a one-night stand from four years earlier who left him high and dry before the sun rose following a Beltane festival. Dan and Jayde soon learn that some one-night stands are meant to last forever.

The reader gets to meet both Jack and Liza in Book 2, LIFE IS FOR LIVING, which moves right into Book 3, LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM, my May 17 release.

Here’s a peek at Jack and Liza from LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM:

* * *

I was going to suggest dessert at the café, or . . .” Jack’s eyes narrowed as he dipped his head closer with his open-ended statement, his voice husky with suggestion.

All tangled up in the heat of his gaze, Liza found herself in the heart of a wild, untamed forest. Found? More like lost, but unafraid, not worried a bit about being able to find her way home. “Or?” She raised an eyebrow hoping she matched his level of sexy, drawing nearer, so near to him their cheeks nearly touched. She inhaled his earthy scent that brought to mind a wooded patch of the Adirondacks she’d explore when she needed to ground. Did he smell like this all over? She wanted to lose herself forever in the haven of that forest.

You tell me, Liza.” His whisper rested in the hollow of her neck, sending shivers through her body as he punctuated his sentence with a caress of his lips on the tender spot near the base of her throat.

Well,” she leaned back, clearing her throat as she placed her hands on the table between them. “What are my options?” It had been so long since she’d warmed herself with flames this hot. Simmering or roaring, Jack was hot.

We can go back to my place.” His eyes flashed like heat lightning as she contemplated his offer.

Your place? And?” Her feminine furnace kicked into high as she tried to control her breath, her racing heart.

I dunno. Get to know one another better?” He raised a shoulder with a tilt of his head to one side.

Okay?” She was twenty-nine, for god’s sake. No curfew. Her mom wasn’t going to be waiting up for her. It’s not like she was a virgin or anything.

We’ll just talk. Maybe watch a movie. You know. First date stuff.” He scanned the crowd as she contemplated her options.

First date? “I didn’t realize this was a date, Drummer Boy.” His attention made her uncomfortably happy.

It feels like a first date, no? Either way, this is the day we’ll be telling our grandkids about.” He followed that with a lopsided grin that cut a dimple the size of the Grand Canyon in her heart. “Mark my words,” he added with a wink.

Whoa? Grandkids?You work fast.” She rumpled and unrumpled her napkin, focusing her attention on smoothing the crumpled paper with both hands. That was easier than looking at him trying to pretend she didn’t feel what he was alluding to, despite the fact they’d not even spent a collective twenty-four hours together. Yet.

Not normally. Just telling you what I know.” He cocked his head, catching her eyes. “Call me crazy.”

Liza wanted to look away, but she couldn’t. She wanted to run, but she didn’t. He had no clue what she could or couldn’t promise for her future. He had no idea what she could or couldn’t give him. Rather than cave into her fears by ending this right now, bracing herself, Liza held out her hands, motioning him to do the same. “Lemme see.”

Without hesitation, he obeyed, nesting his open palms in hers. Closing her cool, slender fingers around his, she allowed his energy to flow through her. Shielding her emotions behind lowered lids, Liza reveled in the storminess washing over her. It was like standing on a dock as a storm blew in across the lake. Passion and harmony, honesty and integrity, strength and determination swirled in the mist of emotions cascading through their connection. She could feel his blood coursing through his veins, feel his breathing sync with hers. His pulse was steady, his heartbeat strong . . . It was all she could do to keep from getting totally lost in his rhythm.

Finally, she opened her eyes in disbelief. It felt good to touch him. It didn’t hurt. “Not too sure about the grandkids. But yeah. First date. Maybe.” She giggled nervously, allowing fantasy to outshine her reality for a little while. “Yeah.”

He squeezed her hands lightly before letting go, then waved toward their server, signaling the meal was over.

Buy Links


LIFE IS FOR LIVING/ Earth and Sky Series Book 2




LOVE IN THE FOREST /Earth and Sky Series Book 1




Earth and Sky Series

About the Author

Janina Grey has been writing since she could hold a crayon, and there has been no stopping her since. Journaling, short stories, poetry, newsletters, news, feature, columns, Op/Eds, and press releases have kept her busy her whole life. But it was the sweet Harlequin romances she read in her downtime that stayed forever in her heart and gave her the inspiration to write her own contemporary romances now published with Soul Mate Publishing.

By day, Janina guides domestic and sexual assault survivors down their path of healing and empowerment. But in the wee hours of the morning, she hunkers down at her childhood writing desk with Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, or Led Zep streaming through her earbuds while she brings to life her characters as they face their real-life sorrows and successes, and best of all, their happily-ever-afters.

Growing up on Long Island and living periodically in Tennessee as a youth has given her the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experience many different lifestyles. After moving from Long Island to settle in the Mohawk Valley in Upstate New York with her family, she found the support needed to pursue her writing endeavors with Central New York Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When Janina is not writing, she may be marching for women’s rights, kayaking, camping, drumming, or dancing around the fire.

With the kids grown, she and her husband, David, share their 115-year-old Mohawk Valley farm house homestead with a few resident spirits and a very squawky murder of crows.



Instagram: @janinagreyauthor /
Twitter: @janina_grey /


Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you a free story about Barefoot Dan and Lilac Locks (LIFE IS FOR LIVING) You’ll also be entered into a raffle to win a Banned Books mug- just like JACK’S favorite mug in LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM.
Just follow this link below:

Good luck and thank you for getting to know me!

1 comment:

Lisabet Sarai said...

This is a fascinating post, Janina. I definitely have had experiences that make me suspect we might remember past lives.

I'm sure your books feel genuine because of your personal background.

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