Dec 162014

special guest blueTwo of my favorite authors on this planet are Joyce and Jim Lavene. I have loved their books and organized book tours for them and rarely ever steal a spot for myself. When their publicist offered me a chance at a guest post for this book I jumped at it. I am so excited to have Joyce drop by today!

joyce and jimWriting about witches
By Joyce Lavene

When my husband and I first thought about writing the Retired Witches Mysteries we considered what kind of witches we wanted our ladies to be. Obviously they each needed a distinct personality and lifestyle.

We knew they would be good witches, of course, but a big question was that of magic. What kind of magic would they have? Were we thinking Bewitched or something a little more realistic?

We decided we didn’t want nose-twitching or magic that appeared too stereotypically on TV and in movies. We wanted to stay within certain bounds of witches who took their power from the elements—earth, fire, air and water. Olivia, Elsie, Dorothy, and Molly get their abilities from a natural side of them. They know their magic comes from inside and is then expressed outwardly.

They don’t pop in and out of rooms or snap their fingers to create magic. There are some witches who can do that in these books, but not these ladies. Their spells come from their thoughts and emotions. Dorothy is a little on the emotional side and sometimes indulges in magic that gets out of hand. Elsie’s magic is spontaneous with sometimes laughable ineffectiveness.

Molly is our storyteller through the books. Her voice is the one you hear. She is down-to-earth, careful, and modest. Her magic is the same. She is a water witch in a small area nestled between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean so her magic is stronger than her friends’ magic. She is influenced by her family and her lifelong friends as well as by the water. The closer she is to water, the stronger she is.

It’s the same with Olivia, an air witch, Dorothy, an earth witch, and Elsie, a fire witch. Each is strongest in their element with the magic tool they possess. Molly’s magic tool is the cauldron. She wears a small replica of one around her neck and has a large cauldron in the basement of their shop, Smuggler’s Arcane.

Olivia’s tool is a runed staff. Elsie’s tool is a sword, and Dorothy’s is an emerald cull. Each tool represents the forces at work in them that they use for good in their lives.

Our witches have had some difficulty getting their magic to work in recent years. As they’ve aged, their magic has too. Sometimes they’re hesitant to use magic at all for fear of what will happen. They are women who lead normal lives with jobs and obligations to their community. They just have a little something extra that has always been there for them since they were born.

It was fun writing this series that begins with Spell Booked. We look forward to writing about our witches in the future!


About Joyce and Jim Lavene

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Fina Joyce and Jim around the internet:

sb_final.inddSpell Booked
(Retired Witches Mysteries)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 2, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Art by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425268254
E-Book File Size: 2640 KB


Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…  

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jim and Joyce Lavene have magnificent imaginations! They continue to surprise me. With those imaginations they bring us extraordinary characters and their words paint vivid images in my mind.

In this case the characters are a group of witches whose magic is waning and all they want to do is retire to Boca. Before they can do that the Grand Council of Witches tells them they need to find replacements and to pass along their spell book, since no one in their families has the gift of magic. They barely start their search and one of them is brutality killed and the spell book is stolen. So now  they are not only looking for replacement witches they are hunting down a murderer, a murderer than could be a very powerful witch.

We meet Molly, Elise and Olivia and their first recruit Dorothy, plus Molly’s husband, Joe, a police detective.  Joe has no idea Molly is a witch. We also meet 4 feline characters that are all extra special. These characters are all engaging and fascinating in their own ways. I don’t want to over share and spoil any of their enchanting ways for anyone.

The story takes place in North Carolina and the ladies run a shop, Smuggler’s Arcane, that sells supplies to other witches and those interested in witchcraft. It is quite an amazing place and has some secrets all its own. The town has another group of paranormal residents that I am usually not to fond of but the Lavene’s have written them in a fun and not too scary way that I didn’t mind their presence.

This cozy mystery has everything a good cozy requires and more. The plot really has a spark and I was totally caught off guard as to how the whole mystery played out. That final twist was a doozy!

Spell Booked will keep you Spellbound!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Joyce for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  36 Responses to “Special Guests Joyce and Jim Lavene – Authors of Spell Booked – Giveaway too!”

  1. Aged witches + AARP = Must read! I think this series is going to be a hoot.

  2. Love your books and this one sounds great too.

  3. thank you for the chance to win 🙂

  4. Thanks for hosting us here today, Lori! Happy holidays to you and yours!

  5. Sounds like the beginning to another wonderful series – love the touch of magic too!

  6. Spell Booked sounds like a fantastic start to the series! I’m adding it to my reading list.

  7. I’m looking forward to this new series. I’ve enjoyed all the others.

  8. I love ALL of your series and with this new one coming out, I’ve already have it on my ‘to read’ list. So excited! Know it will be a winner.

  9. Look forward to reading this book

  10. I just retired this year so this book REALLY interests me. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  11. I love the sound of this one…retired witches, this should be very interesting. Thanks for the chance to win.

  12. An intriguing and fascinating giveaway. Thanks.

  13. This sounds like it will be enjoyable.

  14. I am going to stalk the J’s all over the internet till I get lucky and win a copy of this book. Mwa Haa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  15. Thank you Joyce, Jim & Lori for a very nice intro and review for this debut of your newest series! I’m anxious to read this one! Happy Holidays!

  16. I have an e-copy I’m reading now but I have the paperback on my wishlist. It would be so awesome to win it. 🙂

  17. Sounds wonderful! Thanks for the great giveaway.

  18. I appreciate the thought you put into your characters.

  19. Love the premise of this new series! Thanks for the chance to win.

  20. Sounds like a fun book, I can’t wait to read this.

  21. Love their other series. This sounds like another great one.

  22. I really want to read this book. It sounds great.

  23. I have read so much about this new series, I have to read it! Sounds like fun, and just like the rest of us the witches have to deal with getting a bit older and considering retirement (which I love, by the way!)

  24. Spell Booked sounds amazing and enjoyable book. I am looking forward to reading it. Please enter me in the contest, please.


    I have Liked your facebook page (as JL Scott),
    Pin the giveaway at Pinterest ( ),
    Shared the giveaway via Facebook as JL Scott ( )

    Thank you 🙂

  25. Going off what Karen said in her comment – does that make it the AARPM (American Association for the Retired Practitioners of Magick)? :O)

  26. I think the premise of this plot so interesting…

  27. The premise for this book tickles me. I guess we all have to retire. I am looking forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing with us . I also followed you on Twitter and left a tweet.

  28. Left on Facebook and Google+. On goodreads. Thanks for the chance.

  29. Your never too old to do something witchy:) I like the idea of older witches. I bet there are some fun scenes in this one. And the title and cover are good and cozy:)

  30. Love their series! This sounds like it will be the start of another great series.

  31. Sounds like a great series

  32. Congrats & continued success to Joyce & Jim!!!
    Love your books!!!

  33. This sounds like great fun. Witches, animals, mysteries and mayhem! Always an unbeatable combination.

  34. I love books about witches.

  35. Retired witches. This sounds like so much fun! I’ve recently discovered your books and now I’m working my way through the various series. Having fun doing it. Thanks for all the fun reading.

  36. Looks like a fun read!

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