Magic under the peepal tree

Ken Wieland from Philadelphia, USA
Ken Wieland from Philadelphia, USA

India. The thought of it creates such vivid images of gods, curry, and poverty. To me, it’s been home every summer for the past twenty years. While I live in Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta), I have traveled a little through the country—the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, New Delhi, Darjeeling. This year my family and I went to Bodhgaya, the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment.

I sat with the monks under a peepal tree in the silence just yards away from the tree where the Buddha sat. Magic!

There is no other word for what I felt there. It was magic, pure and simple. Simple being the key word, of course, because it is through simplicity, through releasing everything that one is that the Buddha attained enlightenment. He tried so many different things—starvation, learning to control his body so that he needed to only breath once in five minutes or less. But in the end, he realized that it was the self that one had to give up.

And so under that tree, in the presence of my family, monks, tourists and a woman dressed all in white silently repeating a mantra over and over, I thought of nothing but the silence. I felt the magic.

It flowed all around me. It came from the people. From the place. From the heat of the day. It was a tangible sensation. I only needed to reach out and grab it. But of course, it’s a slippery thing, not easily grasped.

So many people have written about the magic of the Hindu gods. They are truly awe inspiring with the intense battle and equally intense loves. But the magic of silence. Of Nothing. Now that would be something to write about!Old Buddha

I imagine it would be like writing about the love between two people. That magic time that two people share when they are in love and want to do nothing but stare into each other’s eyes and lay in each other’s arms. But it’s a holy love and the ultimate in peace.

If a writer could capture that, it would be magic indeed. Perhaps someday I’ll try.

In the meantime, if you want to read more about Calcutta during the time of the Raj, my Regency romance, An Exotic Heir, takes you for a journey through that fascinating time and place. It has no magic in it other than that between a man and a woman, but you might enjoy it nonetheless.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and on Google Play.Heir Final SMALL

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

by Caryn Moya Block

Here we are, in the middle of summer, with hot muggy days in Virginia. But, the Hallmark Shop is releasing their new Christmas ornaments, and already the countdown has started to one of my favorite times of the year.

The current book I am working on is also taking place during months of snow and cold. So, to get us all in the mood, I decided to share with you a taste of Christmas “Lycan Style”.

SWC 300A Siberian Werewolf Christmas

Available now at all e-Retailers

Margaret Brady knows she must be out of her mind to go to Siberia for Christmas. But her intuition won’t let her turn down the invitation of her best friend, Violet Volkov. When she meets the good looking Vyacheslav Putyatinov, she knows just what she wants for Christmas.

Vyacheslav “Slava” Putyatinov thinks any human woman coming to the Siberian Lycan village will be trouble. But one unmated could be a disaster. When he is put in charge of the American siren he finds trouble can lead to desire.



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Also found on: Sony, Kobo, Diesal and others.


Highlands Games make Great Research Trips



After writing several novellas about Scottish dragons, I wanted to use my love of modern Scottish Highland Games to weave tales full of witches, time travel, and ancient Highlanders. Since my family volunteers annually at the New Hampshire Highland Games held each September in Lincoln, NH, I filled notebook after notebook with my interpretation of the sights, smells, sounds, and history of the games. I filled albums with great photos, too.

This in-person research added to my list of possible story ideas. I have since completed a three-book series called Highland Games Through Time and have recently published My Lady Highlander, the first book in the Kilted Athletes Through Time series.

MyHonorableHighlander-Large My_Banished_Highlander-SW My_Reluctant_Highlander_Kindle

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What do modern games have to do with a story of ancient Highlanders? Well, my present-day characters volunteer at the games. Somehow, each are swept back in time. This allows me to set my story in today’s modern times as well as in the historical Highlands of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Besides the costumes and weaponry people wear to these festivals, there are sports, food, craft displays, music, and vendors beneath tents, selling everything under the sun. The aroma of meat pies mingles with the tang of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Sheep, herded by Border Collies, run near tent-covered platforms where pretty girls dance a Highland fling. Bagpipers march while craftspeople spin wool or tell tales to kids.

The modern games are so much more than an athletic competition yet watching burly, kilt-wearing men tossing a tree called a ‘caber’ end-over-end is a favorite sight.

Historically, the games were a way to hone skills. Coming together once or twice a year gave a community a sense of camaraderie during a time of upheaval in Scotland. Skill, stamina, and determination easily kept young Highlanders ready for war, or any threat to their livestock and women. Foot races kept messengers ready should they need to spread the word of a battle. Using simple tools such as stones, hammers and the occasional sack of hay kept their back and leg muscles ready for hand-to-hand combat. All events sharpened a warrior’s body and kept him ready-and-able to answer the call to war.

Nowadays, people of Scottish descent gather all across America and in many Canadian provinces for a few days of fun and pride while wearing festive kilts and Highland gowns. Clan tents share a wealth of information, listing the many ‘septs’ included in each clan as well as books on tartans. Visiting several of these festivals each year continues to give me ideas that might show up in my next book.

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