Category Archives: Books

Readers: How You Can Help Your Favorite Authors

Forwarded from an article by Penny C. Sansevieri, Editor (edited for appropriateness)
. . .  Often readers want to help, but aren’t really sure what to do. Also, there’s a bit of a mystique around authors. Many readers think, “Well, the book has been published, they probably don’t need my help.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Authors (especially those who are starting out) do need our help. Here are a few things you can do to help support your favorite author.
* Review the book: Readers are some of the best resources for reviews. I’m surprised that many readers don’t do this, it’s not because they’re lazy but because they wonder if their opinion matters. Guess what? It does! Like a book? Please review it. Even if you don’t like it review it, too. Most authors welcome feedback if it’s constructive. Always be positive.
* Photo sharing: A reader holding up my book, snapping a picture and posting it on social media! This is a fun, visual way to share your love for a book. Even better, snap a picture where you’re reading it. Taking a book on vacation? Why not show yourself enjoying the book (cover out!) reclining in a hammock or sitting somewhere sipping espresso (Paris?). If you don’t have any travel planned, take a picture anyway.
* Local bookstores: Though it may seem like every author who is published gets a shot at bookstore shelf space, the truth is that most don’t. If you’ve found a book you love and had to buy it on Amazon because your local store didn’t carry it, tell them. Bookstore managers have (said) if they get multiple requests for a book they will consider stocking it.
* Reading groups: Unlike The Pulpwood Queens which has a website and a strong online presence, most local book clubs don’t have that kind of exposure but their regional reach can be fantastic. If you know of a local book club let them know about this book and then put them in touch with the author. It’s a quick thing to do and I speak from experience when I say that any author would be very, very grateful to have this kind of a connection.
* Buy the book for a friend: This is pretty basic. If you love the book you just read, buy a copy for a friend. I do this almost every year for Christmas. If I love a book, I gift it. When you gift it, remind the person to review it.
* Social Media: Sharing has become part of our lives. We share good and bad news but when was the last time you shared what you are reading? Here’s where that great picture you just took of you reading a book can come in handy. Or even better, hop on over to Goodreads or Library Thing and share your love for this author to the millions listening there.
* Bookmarks: Most authors will get things printed up like bookmarks, postcards, etc. Bookmarks are especially fun because despite the eBook surge, many of us are still reading printed books. Email the author and see if he or she will send you a stack of them that you can share with your local library or bookstore. Leave them at the counter or pop them inside similar books. Sort of like Amazon’s “Other customers also bought” which pairs up similar titles. Again, this takes very little effort. Ask for the bookmarks and the next time you’re at a bookstore drop them off. Easy and the authors will really appreciate the local exposure.
* Authors on tour: It’s not often that authors tour anymore but if you have someone coming to your area why not offer to help them get the word out? Maybe drop off fliers, or if you are so inclined, call your local paper and let them know this author is coming to town and as a reader, you’d love for the paper to do a story on it. Getting a heads-up about an author coming to town from a reader can be ten times more effective than even a well-polished pitch. Why? Because the media is serving the local community and if a resident is sharing an idea, they’re bound to listen.
* Libraries: Authors can have a tough time getting into libraries so why not buy an extra book and donate it? Then let the author know that you did this so they can let readers know where they can check out the book at a local library. I know most authors would love to have a reader do this. It’s impossible to reach everyone and most authors don’t have the budget to do a library pitch on top of everything else. Many will submit their books to publications librarians read and hope for the best. Having a local connection is a fantastic way to get a book some local exposure.
When I’ve offered these tips in a session sometimes someone will pop up and say, “But big named authors don’t need this kind of help.” That’s possibly quite true, but if you’re only reading big names you’re missing out on a whole crop of wonderful new writers. And, candidly, most authors, no matter how big they are will appreciate the help. The publishing world isn’t just shrinking for the little guy, it’s shrinking for every author. As a reader, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference and help out an author who has poured his or her heart and soul into a book.


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Sneak Peek: Eat Dessert First

Summer is a-comin’ in – and with it, the need for ICE CREAM!

But if you don’t have an ice cream maker – can you still make your own?      Eat Dessert First


And here’s a couple of methods you could adopt for your next party – – –


Roly Poly Ice Cream

3/4 cup whole, sweet milk  – 1/3 cup granulated sugar – 1 cup cream, light or heavy, as you wish – ½ teaspoon vanilla extract – Flavoring of your choice: add chocolate syrup, strawberries, raspberries, etc., etc., etc. – crushed ice – 3/4 cup rock salt

Mix the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla and flavoring of your choice. You may omit the flavoring if you prefer vanilla ice cream. Place this mixture in a cleaned, 1-pound coffee can, and place the plastic lid on the can. I suggest you seal the lid to the can with a bit of duct tape. (Duct tape holds the whole world together!)
Place the filled coffee can into a clean 3-pound coffee can, and pack the crushed ice in layers with the rock salt around the smaller can. Put the plastic lid on the larger can. (You might want to grab the duct tape again.)
Find a friend, and sit, facing each other, with your legs stretched out into a narrow ‘v’. Roll the can back and forth between you for 10 minutes. Take the lids off, scrape the ice cream off the insides of the smaller can, using a table knife or a spatula, stir the ice cream together again, and seal the lid back on. Drain off any water in the larger can, and re-pack it with ice and rock salt. Roll the can back and forth for another 5 to 10 minutes. That should do it. Makes about a quart of ice cream, for 4 people

This recipe makes enough ice cream for one person; each person can make his own.

½ cup milk                                4 tablespoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon vanilla                2 quart-sized Zip-loc® bags
1 tablespoon sugar                 1 gallon-sized Zip-loc® freezer bag
4 cups crushed ice                 oven mitts or gloves for your hands

Mix the milk, vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart-sized bags. Seal tightly, allowing as little air to remain in the bag as possible. Place this bag inside the other quart size bag, again leaving as little air inside as possible and sealing well. Put the doubled bag inside the gallon-sized bag and fill it with ice, and sprinkle salt on top of the ice. Let all the air escape and seal the bag. Put your gloves on, and shake and/or massage the bag, making sure the ice surrounds the cream mixture. Five to eight minutes is enough time for the mixture to freeze into ice cream.

Are you licking your lips? Are you dreaming up new and exciting flavor combinations?

QUICK! Visit my storefront website at and get your copy of EAT DESSERT FIRST today!

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Filed under Books, Domestic, Food, Informational, j'eat yet, Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek – J’EAT?

J'eat Picklicious!

Pickling can be done with nearly any vegetable, not just cucumbers! For instance, green beans, cauliflower, beets, watermelon rind, and many other foods you already love, can be pickled easily. They add crunch and tang to your plate, salad, or sandwich. See how easy it is!

1.    Pickle juice makes a great marinade. Combine it with a little olive oil and chopped fresh herbs, or add it to your favorite bottled salad dressing.
2.    Most any barbecue sauce is better when doctored with a little pickle or sauerkraut juice. The improved version will have a tanginess not found in any bottled brand.
3.    Add cut-up raw carrots, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, onions, garlic cloves, mushrooms and red and green pepper strips directly to the jar of any type of leftover pickle juice. Be sure to keep them refrigerated. They’ll be great for snacking straight from the jar or as an addition to a crudité platter. You might even spice them up with a hot pepper!
4.    Pickle liquid mixed in with the mayo can give a new twist to your time-honored potato salad or even egg salad or tuna!
5.    Give gusto to a Bloody Mary . . . with pickle juice! Garnish with a pickle spear instead of the usual celery stick!
6.    Some drinkers like vodka mixed with pickle juice. And some take pickle juice as a chaser after shots of tequila!
7.    Some people drink pickle juice straight, as a tonic! Some athletes drink pickle juice as a way to replenish the salt after their workouts. And some folks swear by it as a cure for hiccups!
8.    Use pickle juice to make pickled eggs. The flavor will be different from the pickled eggs you might be used to. Hard-boiled eggs that have soaked in pickle juice are great to use for egg salad or to slice on salads.
9.    Bread-and-Butter pickle juice is especially good with sweet potatoes, or squash.
10.    Grapes pickle beautifully in dill pickle juice, for an entirely different treat!
11.    Blend some eggs into the pickle juice and add flour or cornmeal, to make a crust for meat.
12.    Use Bread-and-Butter pickle juice to bring out the flavor in pears, figs, sweet apples, oranges, pineapple, lemons or grapefruit. Cut the fruit into pickle-sized pieces and drop them into the jar of leftover pickle juice. Let them stew in the pickle juice for at least a day.
13.    Cut up fresh cucumbers into slices or wedges and place them in the pickle juice to make a new batch of pickles.
14.    Got a toothache? Simply place a dill pickle slice or two in your mouth, directly on the affected area. Leave it there for as long as it takes for the pain to diminish. Do this as often as needed throughout the day, until you can get to a dentist.
15.    Pickle pops! Freeze the juice in ice cube trays (which can go into a Bloody Mary) or popsicle molds.
16.    Nolan Ryan used to soak the fingers of his pitching hand in pickle juice to prevent blisters.
17.    Chik-Fil-A uses a brine (that’s what pickle juice is, after all) on their chicken, then they pressure fry it.
18.    Pickle juice is a traditional Russian remedy for hangover.
19.    Use it, strained, to clean jewelry or flatware.
20.    Use it, also strained, as a facial toner and exfoliator mixed with ground avocado pit.
21.    Add it to cream cheese (along with some diced pickles) to make a wonderful dip for potato chips.
22.    Soak a sponge in it, and use it to clean copper pans. You might have to add a little more salt to the wet pan, but it works very well.

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Filed under Books, Domestic, Food, Informational, j'eat yet

Eat Dessert First

Eat Dessert First – a companion book to J’eat? Playful Cookery                           Eat Dessert First

A collection of 28 categories of delightful dinner finales, snacks, accompaniments, condiments, and beverages to satisfy every guest at your table.

Browse through the categories with me – if you stand it. There’s Candy is Dandy. I know most cookbooks that contain candy recipes put them at the end of the book. But this book celebrates the sweet tooth, so they belong at the beginning.
Baby, It’s Cold in Here shivers with frozen delights, like sherbets, sorbets, ices and – oh, my!
Are You Pudding Me On? wallows in the puddings and gelatin desserts we all know as comfort foods.
How Fruituitous! offers exciting ways to prepare your favorite fruits that will complete any meal on a high note!
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles has cookies for the jar, for gifting, and even no-bake cookies for your taste buds.
Brownie Points counts only seven recipes, but they are the ones I’ve loved longest.
The Bar Exam includes several kinds of bar cookies which you can cut into as many or as few pieces as you like – to enjoy and to share.
Pie in the Sky is my collection of luscious pies I’ve made and served for many years.
I’m All Wrapped Up is an assortment of desserts wrapped in crusts to eat out-of-hand, or on a plate, as you desire.
Tarts with Hearts are more than tiny pies, deserving a place of their own on your table.
Inventing the Universe follows Carl Sagan’s advice, with recipes for basics like pastry, flavorings and the like.
Let Them Eat Cake is a veritable bakery in itself, with many kinds of moist, delicious cakes my family has oohed and aahed over.
Tea and Empathy comprises cakes and breads to adorn your tea cart, and enhance your afternoons.
Gimme Doughnuts speaks for itself, with regular, raised, and gluten-free doughnuts for your pleasure.
More Tea Breads continues where Tea and Empathy left off, since I found more of my favorites to pass along.
Scones and Crumpets has my own versions of these treats, moist and delicious, every one.
Dear Dairy . . . is my love/hate letter to the world of dairy (I’m lactose-intolerant), and shares my recipes for enjoying the foods I used to love, and want to keep eating.
Cheese Greater lists the cheeses I’ve loved and those I’ve learned to duplicate in non-dairy methodology.
Custard’s Last Stand is filled with the eggy-milky foods I love and hope you do, too.
Poof! Soufflé! contains a few of the simplest versions of this most-frightening (to some) dessert!
Cheesecake is self-explanatory. As any cheesecake lover knows.
I Can’t Take it Anymore! deals with those foods that some folks (like me, and maybe you) cannot tolerate in their diet, and what must be done to avoid them, yet continue to absorb their nutrients.
The Exquisite Lightness of Being has recipes that are low in calories, or low in carbohydrates, or low in sugars, or fats, or whatever else is too-too in your menu.
A Saucy Quench is a selection of sweet and spicy dessert sauces that can bring an ordinary dessert into the realm of fantastic, by virtue of its presence!
Bite Me is my category of snacks, both sweet and savory, but all meatless, for your between-meal pleasure.
How Sweet it Is! has a few of my favorite jellies, jams, preserves, conserves, butters and marmalades.
Wet Your Whistle with refreshing beverages to please every thirst!
Hmmm. I’ll Drink to That! leads you to the bar, where wines and other beverages are on tap, waiting for you to propose a toast!
Look for my new book, Eat Dessert First, at my online bookstore, ( – Today!
Eat Dessert First


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I’ve just completed my first cookbook! I’m thrilled to announce the publication of J’eat? It contains 399 pages of fun in the kitchen – recipes, information, meal-planning ideas, and humor. Here’s the cover!J'eat

I set up the book so it feeds you from the time you awake until the end of your day – whenever that may be. It includes recipes for breaking the fast, lunches, and dinners, along with information you might need regarding measurements, substitutions, condiments, herbs, etc., etc., etc.! I had a grand time putting my favorite recipes together for you in this rather tongue-in-cheek manner, and I know you’ll enjoy reading the cookbook.


Reading a cookbook? Does anyone actually read a cookbook? If you’ve never read one before, you will read this one – from cover to cover! Some of the recipes are more than a list of ingredients, followed by the usual directive information. You’ll be entertained by the recipes that jump out poetically from the page, the ones that beg to be read aloud, the playful and diverting instructions that entice you into the kitchen.

The only thing missing from this book is – desserts!

Desserts? Missing?

But that’s covered in the companion book – Eat Dessert First.

Eat Dessert First

A collection of 28 categories of delightful dinner finales, snacks, accompaniments, condiments, and beverages to satisfy every guest at your table – and that includes the little ones!

Jump over to my Lulu shop and pick up a copy of each of these new books today!

So, what’s for dinner?


Filed under Books, Domestic, Food, Informational

Prayer Book, per se

What do you need to find in a prayer book? Besides prayers, that is. Would you require instruction of a sort? Perhaps guidance for the use of the prayers included – or even bits of information about praying. Suppose the prayer book is a Goddess prayer book. NOW, what would you expect to find? Prayers to specific Goddesses, or for specific purposes? A calendar?

I remember prayer books of my youth – which included all sorts of extraneous information, relating to prayer and praying. Some were one sentence long, some were two pages long. Some were meant to be sung or intoned. Some were simply responses to a leader’s words. And there were lists of counsel, articles of behavioral guidance, and such.

Some worshipers would rather describe the wordings they murmur as charms (or something else) rather than prayers, and if that’s something you prefer, please leave me a comment here, and your preference will be considered.

I’m thinking of reworking my book, Devotions for the Witch. Some bits will be removed and offered  separately, in ebook format. And there will be other materials added. I’m also hoping to produce it with a coil binding, to make it lay open for easier use. I’d like to change the cover to make it more descriptive of the contents, and your ideas will help me there.

Devotions thumb
Some of the additions I’m considering include:

Ritual Bath meditations, as well as Spiritual Showering (waterless)
Charges of the Goddess
Gestures as well as postures of prayer, according to the many forms of neopaganism
Forms of offerings and sacrifices, and the difference between them
Setting up a home altar, and using it
The consecration of elements, objects and persons
Esbat prayers and procedures
Sabbat prayers and procedures
Circle prayers and procedures

You are invited to add your own list to the above. I promise to fully consider your suggestions in the new edition, which will be forthcoming in 2014.

  • What needs to be in YOUR prayer book?
  • What do you call the words you say in worship?
  • What would you like to see on the new cover?

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Filed under Books, EBooks, goddess, Information Gathering, Informational, pagan

Are we empathetic toward the suffering of others?

I know it’s easier to bypass things that bring tears or pain into our lives. But I think it’s important to bring those dark things into the light of our full understanding.  We each have difficult moments in our lives – some because we may not have grieved them sufficiently. Some moments return with all the pain of the original appearance, while others revisit with only a feeling of gloom. I believe each of those relates back to the original heartache or the dwindling of such sorrow. As such, these seem to be emotionally healthy responses to the miseries we witness – either personally, through study, or we otherwise discover.

Today I concern myself with any lack of sadness in me (or any of us) that accompanies a memory of extreme distress. Does that lack show that I’m “over it”? Perhaps it shows that we never really “got it” at all? Or is an apathetic approach a demonstration of human readiness to tolerate that much distress without feeling sad? What’s most frightening to me is the possibility that we as a race don’t invest our emotions in such memories unless they have some personal connection to us.

There are many historical moments of unimaginable brutality or terror, of which we are reminded by cinematic films, television documentaries, news reports, et cetera. Do any of us still grieve for the citizens of the ancient cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, suddenly and horribly killed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius?
Body casts of victims, courtesy of

But perhaps that is too far from us to hold persistent intensity. Or maybe the fact that it was a natural disaster allows us to believe there would have been nothing we might have done to prevent it – thus relieving any responsibility to grieve.

What of the man-made 1986 nuclear ‘accident’ at Chernobyl in the Ukraine? Still a wasteland, an area extending 19 miles in all directions from the plant is known as the “zone of alienation,” now largely reverted to forest. Even today, radiation levels are so high that the workers responsible for rebuilding the sarcophagus are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days of rest. Ukrainian officials estimate the area will not be safe for human life again for another 20,000 years.

Birth defects and cancer were the norm for many years following the Chernobyl disaster.  By the time  residents of Pripyat, a town located near the plant, were ordered to evacuate, about two days after the Chernobyl core meltdown had occurred, many had already been exposed to varying doses of radiation poisoning.

From Fire Earth,

Before the horrors of Chernobyl, how many of today’s citizens still shudder at the thought of what millions suffered in the death camps of Nazi Germany during World War II?

Certainly any survivors still living do, as do their descendants. But those of us who had no ancestors in the camps, or were born long after the last camps were closed, or those untouched by the bigotry that gave birth to the camps at all – are we repulsed when we come up against the fact? Or have we now ‘toughened’ so that this kind of disaster no longer outrages us? If we have, I fear an empathetic humanity is deteriorating at an alarming rate.


(Above: A cartload of corpses leaving Dachau. Courtesy of

I weep for these and others who have suffered at the hands of man, or catastrophes attributable to causes of nature. Descriptions evoke my tears and heartache as much as do images of such events. It is my fervent hope that the majority of humanity feels as I do – that such pain must be remembered by we who survive.

I’ve chosen to publish a memorial to some of those who suffered in my recent book, Never Again. Forever! The book gathers memorials from many poets, writers, and artists who join in my commemoration of all who have known punishment (even death) because others feared them, their beliefs, or their appearance during what we now refer to as “The Burning Times”. Not all were burned. Some were hung, others mutilated. Many died, some survived – barely. Their torment and sacrifice must mean something to those who believe in a basic freedom to believe, act, and live as they do.

(To determine the extent of heartfelt empathy still held by my fellow man, I have initiated a contest, based upon the subject matter of this latest book, to which you are invited to enter. First, know that you must be a registered member of in order to enter the contest. Once you’re fully registered and verified, visit the contest page at There you will find several pins (pictures) that attempt to illustrate some of the book’s chapters, notably Accusation, Examination, Incarceration, Interrogation, Tribulation, Adjudication, Elimination, and Signification. Choose any four of these eight phases of horror, and post at least three pictures that you feel best exemplify those stages, on a pinboard you’ve titled “Never Again. Forever!”. Each picture must bear a short description identifying which step it represents, preceded by a hashmark (#). From there, return to the contest page, and post a comment under the picture of the book’s cover, telling me that you have completed the task at hand.
Each entry will be judged by the creativity shown by the posts to identify your feelings about the event. Three winners (all first prizes) will win an autographed copy of the book.)

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Filed under Books, burning times, Contest, Informational, Instructional, witch craze, witch trials

Cooking a new book…

I’m working on a book I’ve wanted to write for many, many years — but since I’m not a chef — didn’t feel I had much to offer the cooking world. Now that I’m an old broad, I just don’t care about that kind of thing, so I’m giving it a go — and damn the torpedoes!

My hope is that each and every recipe in the book will offer amusement as well as taste and nutriment. It began with a collection of recipes handed down in my family, and has expanded — as does any bit of cookery — into a full-blown cookbook. I’m having great fun describing the recipes, and putting them in some semblance of order. The book will have a coil binding (I hope, because there is a page limit for that type of binding, and I tend to be long-winded), so it will lay flat for the user. Any good cookbook should lay flat, I’m thinking.

I’m also including a bit of magic in the book, telling you what the major ingredients can accomplish, if you do it correctly. But even if you don’t do it magically, you’ll still have a great dish. I’ve included mixes and feasts, snacks and breakfasts, so there’s something for everyone.

The book’s a ways off yet, and I’m thinking the toughest section will be the index. A cookbook NEEDS an index, yes?

If you have any preferences in cookbook types, I’d like to hear them, before I’m committed to any one concept. Oh, yes, the title and cover will be tough, too.


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Rolling toward the presses once more!

I’m about to complete my 8th book – or is it my 9th? I’ve lost count. Anyway, I’m editing the material I’ve collected for a book to be titled “Never Again. Forever!” This is to be a remembrance of all those who have suffered and perhaps died, having been accused of witchcraft. Many of them (women, men and children) were not witches at all, but they were made to suffer horrific tortures, in order to get them to confess. They were healers, midwives, elderly, poor, landholders, unfriendly, etc., and for one reason or another, their names were given as attendees of witch’s sabbats, or practitioners of the craft itself.

It is my firm belief that we need to keep their sacrifices in the forefront of our minds. If we allow ourselves to forget, or worse, to diminish their suffering, I’m certain we will find ourselves repeating that process. In today’s world, torture is looked upon as a necessary procedure, and is acceptable as long as the victim doesn’t die from it. That’s precisely the mindset that created what we call ‘the burning times’.

I want to digress from the subject matter of the book for just a moment, to talk about my printer/publisher. All of my books have been self-published, through The only books that have reached me in less-than-acceptable condition have been those I didn’t edit properly – so it was my own fault. ONE of the books that Lulu has created for me has become damaged – when the glue-binding didn’t hold. One, in all the books I’ve had done so far. As long as I carefully edit each and every manuscript before I send it electronically to Lulu, the book comes to me looking exactly like a book I’d bought at the store, from a traditional publisher. And it doesn’t cost me a penny, until I want to order a copy of the book.

Needless to say, I’m very satisfied with Lulu. The only drawback I’ve found is that I have to do all the marketing and advertising myself – but from what I hear in the trade, that’s pretty much how traditional publishers are approaching it now. I’ve had book signings (very successful, I must say) and wonderful reviews. I dreamed of being a published author for years, and didn’t have the courage to do anything about it. Then, one day a friend suggested Lulu to me. The pearly gates opened, and I was on the road! I was 70 years old, and a beginner.

I’ve learned quite a bit since then, and I’m still pouring out books. (And I really thought I had only one book in me!)

Back to the new book – it is my hope that everyone who reads this book will be deeply moved by the words in it, that those words touch hearts and minds, causing them to protest any similarities in our times to the pain described.


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Pagan Library in the South?

Several years ago, I’d thought of opening a small pagan shop in my little town. However, my little town is very anti-pagan, and I don’t want to start a religious war around me, so the idea had spluttered to a brief notion.

Lately, however, I’ve been concerned about the number of books I’d already collected to place in such a shop – both new and used. They are filling up needed spaces in my home. I love books, and it distresses me to see them simply crammed into boxes, where no one can touch them, read them, learn from them, etc.

So a new idea has born fruit in my head…

Why not begin collecting materials to be housed in a Pagan Library, for those who do not wish to own the book, but would dearly love to read it? The location of the library is yet to be imagined. When the time comes, that idea will also come forth.

My question to my readers is this:

What books do you think should be NECESSARY in a Pagan Library? I’m open to actual titles, authors, and even to donations, if you choose to go that route.


Filed under Books, Library, pagan