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The Witching Hour Is Here


Magic: The Spirit Never Dies

By Lynne Russell 

“I was born on the white November day the Baptismal font cracked. Big, and right down the middle. Not a good sign in the Italian immigrant stronghold of Ocean County, New Jersey. Six weeks later, the second they wrapped up the christening my Godfather - running late for a meeting at an unspecified location - gently kissed my forehead and signaled to the bouncer waiting at the door to ‘Git the friggin cah stahted.’ And that’s the good part.” - Annie

STREGA - Magic: The Spirit Never Dies is a rich novel from acclaimed storyteller Lynne Russell, set along the shores of modern day Massachusetts and in the Old Country of southern Italy, where the hereditary witchcraft of Benevento province is legendary. Indeed, Strega means witch in Italian. Steeped in history but with a sense of humor, this is a tale of Reincarnation, Family, Love, Hope. About the Joy we can pull out of suffering. About Feminine Sovereignty and Gifts passed down through the ages. And about a certain magical liquore enjoyed to this very day, and the importance of sharing it with your true other half.

Angela Scotti (Annie) is a third-year medical student very near to achieving her dream of becoming a healer. But destiny, Destino, has other plans for her. Tragedies in her short life refuse to give her peace. Worse, her fiancé, a successful New York divorce lawyer, gives no credence to the urgent whispers she has begun to hear in the night. They swirl around her and warn that the clock is ticking, that the time is near, but they never say what she should do. Even worse, in her hospital work her mentor has become her enemy, and she faces the fight alone.

This beautifully written, cinematic account of the women who preceded Annie moves smoothly through Italy of 1617 and 1899. Today, a prisoner of her unsettled present, Annie flees to the calming waves and fresh salt air of the coast of Massachusetts. Without warning she runs headlong into the frightening Past, a past that threatens to destroy her. Yet she finds hope, and love, and herself in the most unlikely places. Will she recognize it in time?​​​​​​​

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

(End of Prologue) “The Stakes”

     You get the idea about my family. I’ve worried over whether I should reveal more of it, the really serious stuff. Mere suggestions of our past have breathed damaging new life into secrets that would have been better left untouched. 

    But I’ll take the risk and let you be the judge. What you learn about feminine sovereignty and strength and self-discipline - whichever gender field you’re playing on - can change your life forever.     

     It all goes back to the Old Country… to a faerie tale that happens to be true.

Santa Maria del Sannio, 1617

     “The first witch was as beautiful as you. Men loved her and women hated her. She was all women.”     

     At some point in her earliest years, every little girl in my family turns a bewildered cheek into the softness of her pillow as she’s tucked in at night. She closes her wonder-filled eyes to unpuzzle this riddle, reassured by the gentle feminine voice beside her bed that it is the truth and that in time she will understand. Then this tender sleeping beauty is whispered to, as she sinks into slumber.

     “Remember this: the power and the knowledge that rest in your breast have been handed down from the ancient goddesses… the Lifegivers. They rule over Harmony and Fertility and Balance.

     “But men have sought to erase their influence from the world. They have  been violent. And almost successful.”      

     “Almost?” sleepy little voices ask.

     “The harder men have tried to write their own history, the better women have learned to play their own game. Sharing their truths from memory, and whispering among themselves about things that happened long before… and things that happened just yesterday.”

     “But what if the men found out?”

     “Their violence was no match for our passion and for the way Nature favors us. So what, if we were the ones minding the children and doing the cleaning? We love our babies. As for cleaning, you can do a lot more with a broom than sweep, you know.”

     My family has been keeping first-hand score of this historical tug-of-war for centuries. It hasn’t been dull.

     It has been dangerous.

     Imagine you’re in magnificent Southern Italy in very much simpler times. The year is 1617, in the impoverished village of Santa Maria del Sannio, in the fertile hills of the region of Campania, in the province of Benevento.

     Breathe deeply and smell the fresh earth. Take your time. Fill your lungs with the clean, clear air that bathes this land between the Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean to the west, and the Aegean Sea to the east. You are alone in the sun. You feel content and time is unimportant, as you watch filmy clouds drift across the sky.

     Among these same ancient olive groves and fragrant herb farms two hundred years later, this place will become famous as a name is given to one of its secret treasures: a fine golden liquore the color of the sun. It is an herbal liquid that warms you and transports you to another world where everything is possible.

     Even today it’s said that if a man and a woman drink this powerful love potion, they are united forever. It’s called Strega, which in Italian means sorceress, after the fabled witches of Benevento, so powerful was their magic.

     Family records show this also was the birthplace of my great, great, great-grandmother who was called Angela, which in Italian means angel. Unfortunately, not everybody thought so.

   Reprinted from STREGA - Magic:The Spirit Never Dies by Lynne Russell. Copyright©2021 Lynne Russell. All rights reserved. This excerpt or any parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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PJ3: LOVE HEELS! The TV news business can be murder


Well, that was one helluva COVID winter, wasn’t it? I hope you’re feeling better about things now. So much happened, yet we also can be thankful for so much.


While we were napping, PJ Santini was having adventures all over the place. They’re documented in the third book of the PJ Santini series, LOVE HEELS! The TV news business can be murder.


So much good stuff happens in this book, I was going to name it something else. Because amid the homicide investigations and human duplicity and suspicion and betrayal, love shows up in the most unlikely ways. Between us, I was going to call it LOVE HEALS! But PJ intervened:


“Are you nuts?” she said to me in between glasses of wine (hers and mine) one night when I was writing, hunkered down by the fireplace in a log house on the side of a mountain. “You can’t do that! People expect me to be kickass, not sentimental!”


“But you’re Italian,” I told her, “Sicilian, in fact, which is even more hardcore. Sentimentality is in your DNA.”


“Do you want me to tell readers about the time you blew the windshield out of a rental car?”


“You wouldn’t.”


“Try me,” she said, pulling at the thong panties I make her wear under a corset.


“But I created you. You’re a character in a book. I can do whatever I want.”


“Who gets more fan mail, me or you? You need me, skinny girl.”


“You have a point. But...” I had to know why she was so upset. “Is it because you can’t breathe in the corset and I’ve given you a big butt?”


“You also gave me 38DD’s. More than you’ve got. Capice?”


“Not true.” I could not lose this argument. “If you don’t watch your words, I’ll give you something you never wanted, a Meaningful Domestic Relationship.”


“And I’ll give you a pregnant heroine.”


Oh god, no. “Okay, you win. It’s Love Heels!


          Here’s where PJ3 picks up


PJ Santini, private investigator and TV news reporter, is dusting off her Louboutin stilettos after a 2 a.m. cemetery shootout in Buffalo, NY. Already, her tanned, toned PI boss’s new society divorce case is turning into a homicide investigation. It may kill her but it won’t get in the way of Chianti and pasta. Ma cooks. Pop, a retired cop, works Cold Cases in the basement between meals. Her Sicilian Nonna, whose specialty is revenge, is jilted by her lover and invents Bidet therapy. Her “connected” cousin, Sandro “The Eel” DiLeo, needs a favor.

             What could go wrong?










Good Times!
Thanks For Stopping By!

   What a great time over Labor Day Weekend at the huge AJC Decatur Book Festival  in Atlanta! 

   Thank you for lovin’ our gal PJ SANTINI and picking up your signed copies of the first two novels in the PJ Santini series,
Heels Of Fortune and Hell On Heels. 

   One dedicated reader even brought her copy of my first book,  How To Win Friends, Kick Ass and Influence People (1999 St. Martin’s Press), and  asked that I sign it! 

   A big thank you to my thoughtful husband, Chuck de Caro, for  his unwavering support and for showing up with a truckload of gold balloons and - not one but -TWO bigger-than-life size Lynne standup cutouts!  The other Me’s are even sporting thigh holsters. And Chuck provided bottles of chilled Prosecco  to keep the mood bubbly, over those two long, hot and muggy days of meeting readers, signing books, sharing a lot of laughing. As you can see by the happy expression on my author friend Debby Woods’s face, it worked! Bubbly R Us!

   Until the next one, remember we can stay in touch via this blog 
and through  

 Facebook:  Lynne Russell Books
 Twitter:        Lynne Russell Books
  Instagram:  Lynne Russell Books

Thanks again!

The DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL in ATLANTAthe largest independent US book festival! 

SAT Aug 31: 10AM-6PM 
SUN Sept 1:  Noon-6PM.

Outdoors, free admission!  It will be such fun on Labor Day weekend!


 “George Clooney was a shoe salesman, kneeling at my feet. In my fantasy...”
-PJ SANTINI, Hell On Heels, the new first book of my PJ Santini Series

Our girl  PJ Santini has lots of fantasies. Sometimes they keep her alive, when they reflect reality and she imagines how badly a private investigative job could turn out. That’s when they jump-start her brain into Fight-or-Flight, and she tries everything she can think of. Sometimes her fantasies collide with stressful reality, causing her to stop thinking of the present altogether and imagine herself down to a size 6 and light as a feather, with plenty of leeway to throw down a bowlful of macaroni and cheese soup followed by a good-size piece of New York cheesecake, just to keep up her strength.

Then there are the shoe dreams... and George Clooney, who is cradling her bare foot in his hot hands. He never really says anything, preferring to shoot her meaningful glances with his moony eyes. Her subconscious is beginning to reason that if he isn’t going to talk, his tongue won’t mind running some moisture along her instep....


What’s that? Women are too given to living in a fantasy world? PJ and I have one word for you: Playboy. At this point, I’m thinking of a fun piece I wrote for one of Jeff Cohen’s Playboy Newsstand Specials called Body Language. 

Have a good day.

The Safest Book Store In Town!

I would like to thank Tall Tales Books in Atlanta, an honest-to-goodness, 40-year-old book store dedicated to aficionados of the written word (and our  thanks to its camera shy owner Rebekah!) for hosting the book signing party for the first two PJ SANTINI SERIES novels, HELL ON HEELS and HEELS OF FORTUNE, yesterday! 

Surprise guests included my 1st Choi Kwang Do instructor, 8th degree Grandmaster Marshall Pereira, and 6th degree Master Susan Whitfield. I am happy to report that during that period of time not a single item was stolen from the store!

And CNN was there  - Classic CNN, as anchor Toria Tolley  pronounced when she blew in and saw director D’Antonio Dixon, who had brought his tripod/camera. (Does that count as three guests? Probably not, since the tripod didn’t eat any cookies.) 

We also were joined by brilliant photographer Claude Wegscheider; physician to the stars James Kinahan; and  the female whose combustible combination of creativity and shrewd business woman, Renate Stender Kinahan, established the original two Café Intermezzos In Atlanta. 

Thank you for coming, everyone! 

I’ll be on the road and posting more information as we go.

And of course there will be the largest independent book festival in the United States over Labor Day weekend:

The AJC Decatur Book Festival

Come for the Street Fair!

See you at BOOTH 411 !

Saturday August 31, 10am–6pm
Sunday September 1, 12pm–6pm.

Brazilians vs Nails.
Where to put your money.

“One spa waiting room said “Nails”, the other said “Brazilians”. Clients on the “Brazilians” side looked a lot happier. My guess is it’s because 99% of them were getting laid. Just a theory.”

-PJ SANTINI, #HeelsOfFortune, the new second book of the #PJSantiniSeries


In Atlanta This Weekend?

It’s a date! Lynne Russell will be at
Tall Tales Books
2 PM, Saturday July 20, 2019
for a PJ Santini Series book signing!

Tall Tales Books, in the Toco Hills Shopping Center, 2105 LaVista Rd NE, near Emory and the CDC
See you there!