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Novel Magic: Inside The Witch House with Judith Sterling

Judith Sterling is in Sorchia’s Universe this week to tell us about her YA fantasy series, Guardians of Erin. Book 1–The Cauldron Stirred–is available right now.  Enter our giveaway for a chance to win a free e-copy. Book 2–The Stone Awakened–will be released December 19. 

Inside the Witch House with Judith Sterling

Every October in Salem, Massachusetts, is interesting, but this past one stands out; especially where I work: The Witch House, the home of 17th-century witch trials judge Jonathan Corwin. I knew the place had paranormal activity even before I started working there. Nothing negative and not all the time, just someone (or many “ones”) making their presence known from time to time. I’d heard the stories from other employees, and once I spent a little time upstairs in the two bedrooms, I felt a quiet companionship with whomever popped in and out. Then at the beginning of October, things took an intriguing turn.

Each bedroom has a fireplace and a bed warmer hanging in front of it. They hang straight and still, no matter what happens around them. On the day in question, the bed warmer in the children’s bedroom began to move by itself in a circular motion, and continued to do so for about five minutes. Two days later, the bed warmer in the master chamber followed suit. That second time, I grabbed the handle, stopped it, and walked away, only to turn back and find it circling again. I checked with the other tour guides, and no one had ever seen that happen. I figured someone just wanted me to know he/she was there.

A couple of weeks later, my husband and I took our fourteen-year-old twin boys to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. We explored the galleries for hours, reveling in paintings and artifacts. Eventually, we grew tired and started to leave, but as we passed a sign for the Lower Ground level exhibits, I stopped short.

I had to go down there. I didn’t know why, but the urge was overwhelming.

We went downstairs and found 17th-century artifacts, including a room from the period which felt like “home” to all four of us. Then I turned and did a double take.

Before me hung two portraits from 1670: one of Robert Gibbs; the other of seven-year-old Margaret Gibbs. A thrill ran through me, for I see small copies of these portraits every day at The Witch House. (The children’s mother, a wealthy widow named Elizabeth, married Jonathan Corwin in 1675, and they moved into the Essex Street house in Salem. Soon afterward, twelve-year-old Margaret died.) When we went to the MFA that night, I had no idea the portraits were there. I was beyond grateful for the impulse which sent me down the stairs to find them.

A few nights later, I dreamt I was walking through The Witch House.  I sensed a young girl of the period (late 17th century) hovering in the corners of the rooms, then drifting beside me.

“I love this house,” I said aloud.

Invisible yet palpably present, she laid her hands on my shoulders and spoke in a soft, sweet voice. “And I love you.”

A rush of love, well-being, and “rightness” washed over me. When I woke, I knew I’d experienced more than a mere dream.

Two days later, an English tourist approached me in The House and asked if I’d experienced any paranormal activity there. I told her about the circling bed warmers. She revealed she was a psychic medium and had sensed heightened energy in the house. She’d communicated with the spirit of a little girl named Margaret who felt particularly drawn to me. She asked if I wanted to go upstairs so we could make contact together. Of course, I said yes!

Up in the children’s bedroom, we stood in front of the fireplace. The medium spoke. “Margaret, Judy’s here. Will you move the bed warmer again for her?”

Slowly but surely, the bed warmer moved.

The medium turned to me. “She says she likes you because you’re so kind. She’s not here all the time but comes and goes. She was happy here.”

Two things more I confirmed: (1) Margaret had encouraged me to find her portrait in the MFA; (2) she had visited me in my dream. Later in the day, I was back upstairs and felt drawn to the children’s bedroom. When I stepped inside, I knew I wasn’t alone. The bed warmer moved yet again, and it still does on occasion when I’m in that room.

It was an eventful month! I connected a few dots and felt embraced by history, welcomed by a past inhabitant of the home I adore.

 The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin, Book One

Enter Judith’s Giveaway below. Five–count ’em, 5–lucky winners will receive a free e-book version of The Cauldron Stirred.

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate.  For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason.  He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld.  Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland.  Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.


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The Stone Awakened (Guardians of Erin, Book Two

Get Ready for Book 2 in the series–December 19

Since moving to Ireland, Ashling Donoghue has tackled one challenge after another.  Now the mystery of her parents’ disappearance seems unsolvable.  Are they dead or only missing?  No one—not even the godlike Breasals—has a clue.  Hope and fear war inside her, but she’s determined to find answers and stay strong for her siblings.  Even as she hones newfound powers, her banshee-in-training sister Deirdre needs her support.

Ashling could use a little help herself.  She’s struggling to navigate her first romance, and while Aengus Breasal stirs her body, mind, and soul, his nemesis Lorcan does too.  Both men harbor secrets about her past life as Caer.  One has ties to Aoife, the scheming wind demon whose influence is on the rise.

As the Stone of Destiny awakens, so does the conflict within.


Who is Judith Sterling?

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes.  Her fiction series are Guardians of Erin (young adult paranormal fantasy) and The Novels of Ravenwood (medieval romance).  As Judith Marshall, she’s written two nonfiction books (metaphysical) which have been translated into multiple languages.


Connect with Judith

Judith Sterling’s Website

Judith Sterling on FaceBook

Judith Sterling in GoodReads

Judith Sterling’s Amazon Author Page

Judith Sterling’s page at The Wild Rose Press



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