Witch Hunt: Of the Blood - Excerpt

The Blog Tour for Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is going on now and I'm excited to share an excerpt from my story, The Banishing. Before I do that, I'd like to thank the bloggers who've graciously hosted us and helped spread the word!  I'll include all of the previous blog tour stops at the end of the excerpt if you'd like to check them out.

If you'd like the opportunity to ask questions or discuss the book with the authors--Devin O'Branagan, KL Schwengel, Krista Walsh, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, or myself--feel free to stop by Devin's writing forum to Chat With the Authors.

My story, The Banishing, focuses on Miranda Hunter, daughter of Brady and Belinda Hunter.  After completing her medical training, she begins her career in Philadelphia, facing the difficulties that come with being a young female physician in 1918.


Alice English. Fifty-five years old. No significant medical history. Miliary tuberculosis. Transferred from East Coast Sanatorium. Transferred from Crispin Sanatorium. Transferred from Hillcrest Sanatorium.

“My goodness,” Miranda muttered. “Four facilities in the last ten years? What is going on with you?”

She knocked on the door and peeked inside the room. “Hello?”

Most patients in the sanatorium shared rooms. Doctor English, however, had requested a private room for his mother and had taken steps to make it homey, setting up pictures beside the bed, flowers and replacing bland cotton drapes with lace curtains that brightened the room.

Tucking the chart beneath her arm, Miranda donned a mask from a table set against the wall and took cautious steps toward the bedside. The woman lying in the bed stared past her, eyes fixed, as if she’d been frozen in time.

“Mrs. English?”

No answer.

Miranda glanced toward the door then sat down on the bed next to the patient. Bones peeked through a layer of skin, thinned and wrinkled like parchment, as she glided her fingers down the woman’s temple, pushing the silvery gray hair behind her ears. She rested a hand on the woman’s slightly damp forehead.

Alice’s impervious gaze shifted in her direction and came to life. The irregularity of her pupils shrunk into normal rounded black beads, allowing her blue irises to sparkle through. Her mouth formed an ‘O’ as she struggled for words.

Miranda smiled at her. “It’s all right. Take your time.”

“Where?” A cough ripped through Alice’s chest, jerking the woman’s small frame into a spasm.

Keeping her hand to Alice’s forehead, Miranda leaned in and pulled away her mask. “You’re in the hospital. I’m your Doctor. My name is Miranda.”


Which one? “He’s…just fine.” Miranda patted her hand.

“My son is in good health?”

“Yes, of course. From what I hear”—Miranda shrugged her shoulders—“I’m afraid I’ve not yet met Doctor Conrad Jr.”

Alice’s expression softened into a smile. “Conrad is such a good boy. He visits me.” A deep rasp overpowered the delicate voice fighting beneath.

Miranda nodded. “Here at the hospital from time to time.”

Dullness clouded the bright blue in Alice’s eyes. “I’m dying.” Her dark and grim expression stared back, a contrast to the stark white linens that surrounded her. There was a fearlessness about her words, unshaken, as if she’d done nothing but contemplate her fate in those moments of staring off out the window.

Miranda dropped her head. “Yes.” She met Alice’s eyes again. “It’s spread.”

Alice looked away toward the window. “You’re not concerned about your mask. Are you a witch?”

Miranda’s heart caught in her throat.

How did ... Adrenaline moved through her body in waves. “I’m sorry,”—she swallowed the lump in her throat—“I don’t know what you mean.”

Alice smirked and cast a glance out of the corner of her eye.  “Call it a sixth sense.” Another cough sounded as if her lungs would burst through her ribs.

“If you’d prefer that I—” Miranda started to say.

“I feel cold sometimes. This … loneliness consumes me.” She turned to face Miranda. “Let’s suppose my sixth sense is correct.  I’m ready if you have the power to send me off.”

Though her heart knew what the woman was asking of her, Miranda’s mind refused to entertain such a thing. “Send you?”

“My only son will never gain anything more than pain from me.” Another cough shook Alice’s body and Miranda set a hand against her shoulder to still it. “I have nothing more to offer this world. I wish to go on to the next.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. English,” Miranda whispered. “I cannot do what you’re asking of me. I’m a healer. Not a murderer.”

Alice nodded and turned back toward the window. “I understand.” As if turned to stone, she lay motionless once more.


Five novellas based on Devin O’Branagan’s bestselling novel, Witch Hunt!
You’ve closed the cover on Witch Hunt, but the story isn’t over … yet! Devin O’Branagan has handpicked writers to take up her characters’ stories and explore what happens next.
The anthology begins with O’Branagan’s own novella about Hawthorne matriarch, Vivian. Vivian and her fellow British witches work together to prevent a Nazi invasion during World War II. Then there is Colonial maiden, Bridget, who struggles with the guilt of failing her family in Salem, 1692. Her younger sister, Prissy, mysteriously disappears and finds another magical world. Julia, torn by family loyalties, love, and her spiritual quest, pays a huge price to continue the bloodline. And Miranda uses her powers against the great influenza outbreak of 1918—but finds the ultimate foe is prejudice against her kind.
Discover what was left out of Witch Hunt and revisit your favorite characters with these exciting novellas. The story isn’t done until the battle’s lost and won.
This anthology contains novellas by Devin O'Branagan, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh.
Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is available in both print and eBook formats and may be found at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords. (Smashwords provides copies compatible with almost all types of eReaders including Sony, Apple, Kobo, etc.) It is also available internationally via Amazon worldwide!

Two of the stories in this anthology are bridges to the upcoming sequel, Witch Hunt: Resistance, which will be released in 2013.
The original Witch Hunt is an international bestseller first published by Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books. It has been translated into German and Turkish and is consistently on the bestseller lists. It is the story of 300+ years in the history of a family of witches, from the time of the Salem trials to a modern-day witch hunt. It begs the question: could it happen again?
Witch Hunt is available as both a paperback and an eBook. It is available at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords.

In case you missed it, here are the previous tour stops:

Llewellyn's Publishing

Sean Hayden

J.A. Campbell

Anne Michaud

Jen Wylie

Krista Walsh

Colin F. Barnes

Devin O'Branagan

K.L. Schwengel

Laura Diamond