Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"The Enchanted Garden Café" by Abigail Drake

The Enchanted Garden Café
(South Side Stories Book 1)
by Abigail Drake

The Enchanted Garden Café (South Side Stories Book 1) by Abigail Drake

The Enchanted Garden Café by Abigail Drake is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For her sixth birthday, Fiona Campbell’s mother, Claire, made her a peace sign piñata filled with wishes for a better planet instead of candy. When she got her period, her mother held a womanhood ceremony at their café and invited the neighborhood. On her sixteenth birthday, they celebrated with a drum circle.
Fiona grew up trying to keep the impulsive Claire in check, and their struggling café afloat. She plans to move out, but first must find a way to stop a big corporation from tearing down their business and destroying her mother’s livelihood.
Claire thinks karma will solve their financial and legal problems. Fiona prefers a spreadsheet and a solid business plan. The last thing she has time for is Matthew Monroe, a handsome complication who walks through their door with a guitar on his back and a naughty gleam in his eye. But when disaster strikes, and Fiona’s forced to turn to him for help, will she learn to open her heart and find she can believe in something magical after all?

Book Video

Chapter One
Falling in love is like baking.
Results may vary with experience.
~Aunt Francesca~
I opened the box and stepped back, tripping over a pile of Himalayan wind chimes I’d left lying behind me on the floor of the shop. They clanked in a discordant melody as I untangled them from my feet.
“What the heck?” I asked, ignoring the chimes and focusing on the parcel that had arrived in the mail earlier that morning. Tiny stone phalluses in various shades of gray filled the container to the brim. Checking the return address, I noticed the shipping cost and wanted to cry. Most of our inventory budget for the entire month had been used to mail this one small box halfway around the world.
“Mom, what exactly did you order from Inuyama, Japan?”
My mother popped her head around the corner, a bright smile on her face. “Did they finally arrive, Fiona? I’ve been waiting for ages.”
“For stone penises?”
Why was I even surprised? This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. My mother, Claire de Lune Campbell, had never been the master of impulse control, and she had a history of making very poor decisions. She’d been born Claire Campbell and added the “de Lune” in, what I can only guess, was a moment of pot-induced inspiration. The pot no longer played a part in her life, but the total inability to make common-sense decisions remained.
Mom picked up one of the stone penises, a happy twinkle in her eye. “Aren’t they lovely?”
On the outside, Mom and I looked alike. The same blonde hair, the same blue eyes, the same stubborn tilt to our chins, but there the resemblance ended. Mom was as happy and bright as a butterfly landing on a flower, and she had the same level of fiscal responsibility. I stressed about everything, especially money, but I had good cause.
My mom owned and operated the Enchanted Garden Café, where we served food, coffee, and specially blended teas and sold unusual items in our small gift shop. Nestled in the middle of the South Side, the funky hippie district of Pittsburgh, it was the perfect spot for my mom but a constant source of anxiety for me.
I wiped sweat from my face and brushed off my clothing. Dust covered my T-shirt and shorts, and some kind of stone powder had fallen out of the box from Inuyama onto my tennis shoes. Mom, glowing in a dress made from recycled saris, didn’t have a speck of dust on her, but she hadn’t handled the phalluses.
Kate, the girl who worked behind the counter, came over to us, her blue eyes alight with curiosity. “I want to see them,” she said. Mom handed her one, and she studied it closely, peering at it through the thick black frames of her retro hipster glasses. Her ebony hair was pulled off to the side in a low ponytail, and her colorful tattoos peeked through the crocheted black cardigan covering her pale skin. “At least they are anatomically correct. Look at those veins.”
My cheeks grew warm, and Mom smiled, putting a cool hand against my face. “Aww, Fiona is blushing.”
“No, I’m not. It’s hot in here.”
“Of course it is,” she said, making me feel twelve instead of twenty-five, but it was hot for early June, and the air-conditioning was broken. Again. Even with all the windows open, it still felt stuffy.
I ignored her and picked up a penis. “What are these things anyway?”
She beamed at me with pure, unfiltered happiness. “Fertility charms from a little shrine in the mountains of Japan. They have a big festival there every year. I went once.”
She sighed, most likely remembering happy times at the fertility festival, and went back to the kitchen. I looked at Kate and rolled my eyes, making her snicker, before getting back to work. The fertility charms came in all sizes and seemed handmade. I just wasn’t sure how to sell them or where to display them in our shop.
A Victorian eyesore, the café was painted on the outside in what once had been a mix of bright pink and various shades of green. The pink had faded to a dull rose, and the green looked like the color of old limes just before they rotted. It needed work and a fresh coat of paint, but instead of doing so, we spent our money on phalluses from Japan. That was how things worked with my mother. No planning. No rhyme or reason. No logic. No rational thought.
The bell above the door tinkled, and I turned, a penis in each hand, as a stranger walked into the shop. I couldn’t see his face at first because the sun was at his back, but he carried a guitar case. A sure sign of trouble.
“Hello,” he said as he came closer.
He had straight dark hair that brushed his shoulders, brown eyes, and a goatee. He reminded me of a sexy, naughty French pirate, and I knew his kind well. Close to my age, he was definitely one of the artsy, flighty types who always hung out around my mom. I could spot them a mile away.
“Holy guacamole, if he were any hotter, I’d need new underwear,” whispered Kate, taking off to the back of the shop and leaving me alone to greet the stranger.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I highly recommend this fun-loving novel. I know it will stick with me for a long time and as soon as the second book is released, I will be devouring it.” ~ TinaMDonnelly
“If you are looking for a feel good read to brighten your spirits and bring some sunshine into your days, I highly recommend The Enchanted Garden Cafe.” ~ catmom17
“You know how you can read a book and picture every scene as if you were magically transported in to that book? Well, that's what Abigail Drake's novel gifts you with! Not only do you get wonderfully diverse characters that you want to keep in your heart, a great plot with a touch of mystery and a happy dose of love but you also get a sprinkling of magic!” ~ CharCharK
“When you want to be friends with the characters you know you’ve found a great read! The Enchanted Garden Cafe drew me in immediately and I didn’t want it to end.” ~ ML Zuk
“Loved this book, even though Fiona could be frustrating! Made me feel good, loved the characters and the eccentric location. But what I loved the most was the feeling of family. Thank you for this wonderful story!” ~ Solfreedom

Guest Post by the Author
Are you a good witch, or a bad witch, or not a witch at all? The answer to this question is not as simple as you might think.
In my newest book, The Enchanted Garden Café, one of my characters, the lawyer, Eliza Dragonsong, is also a Wiccan. In one scene, Eliza hosts a summer solstice party in the garden of the cafe. I wanted to make sure I had all the details exactly right as I wrote this scene, so I went to the best source possible - my lovely friend, Malissa, who also happens to be a witch.
First of all, Malissa doesn't wear a pointy hat (well, unless it's Halloween and she's going to a rocking party). And I've never seen her on a broom. She's more comfortable in jeans and a hoodie, and I'm grateful to her for patiently answering my questions. I thought you might be interested in hearing what she has to say, so I'm sharing my interview with her here.
Is the correct term “witch” or “Wiccan”?
It depends on the tradition. Technically, I refer to myself as a witch. There are some differences of opinions among practitioners. Some see Wiccans as those that only work with white magic (aka “fluffy bunnies”!). Witches on the other hand will sometimes (out of necessity) utilize darker magic.
Are Wiccans considered pagans? Are all pagans Wiccans?
Wiccans would be pagans in the sense that they do not worship strictly a Christian God. Some Wiccans consider themselves “Christian Wiccans” and combine Christianity with the practices of Wicca. Others are purely pagan and have nothing to do with Wicca - specifically Dianics (who worship the goddess Diana) and Norse Pagans.
When did you become a witch?
Do you mean, “When did you come out of the broom closet?” Ask any witch and he or she will tell you that they’ve always been a witch. It’s who and what you are at your core. There’s no escaping it, no matter how much you try. In my teens I knew for sure that I was a witch. College solidified it.
Are male witches called warlocks?
Warlock is not really a thing. It’s actually a detrimental term. Male or female, you’re a witch.
I understand the Wicca religion as being about celebrating nature and being close to nature. Is that correct?
Correct. Wiccans believe more in the peace and beauty of nature and draw power from that. They believe nature is the ultimate expression of our creator's love and power and that we are not separate from it.
Why do people often confuse Wiccans with devil worshipers?
Witches have been confused with devil worshippers since the Middle Ages. How it started I can’t say for sure. But, essentially, that was not a time for women to display power, control, or even an opinion. So, I’m guessing that’s where it began - as a method of control to maintain the patriarchal society.
It makes you look at Glinda in a whole new light, doesn't it?

About the Author
Abigail Drake
Abigail Drake is the award-winning author of twelve novels, including three young adult books under the name Wende Dikec. She has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun.
Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
She is a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Mindful Writers, Women's Fiction Writers, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches writing to children, and her non-fiction article about the life of a child in Istanbul was published in Faces Magazine (an imprint of Cricket Magazine) in February 2016.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five autographed copies of The Enchanted Garden Café by Abigail Drake.