by Madeline Iva
Who is the lovely Kerensa? A heroine of my next fantasy romance novel? No–but she should be.
I FREAKING LOVE THIS JOB! Yes, I admit I tend to walk around wearing romance spectacles, but even when I’m not trying I still manage to walk smack into a place that should be a setting in a book–and discover people who call out to become characters in that setting.
Last week I was getting some bread from a local bakery and noticed a tiny new shop with the words ‘apothecary’ in the window. Like a moth to flame, I went in and gasped at all the pretty pretty things.
Apothecary? you say. Yes, you can be an apothecary in the U.S. though you can only sell beauty products–not give out health advice or dispense medicines. So what we have here are candles, soaps, salves, lotions, essential oils–all mixed and blended by Kerensa. And by ‘pretty’ I mean no artificial dyes, no nasty chemicals, and no headache inducing stank as soon as you walk in. (I’m looking at you, Yankee Candle.)
KERENSA THE APOTHECARY: A WOMAN OF KNOWLEDGE
It’s not just that Kerensa’s shop is cool, or that her name is cool, or that being an apothecary is cool. For me, the best part is that Kerensa knows how we have historically used flowers, plants, and herbs for healing and soothing our bodies.
Madeline Iva: I’m a recent convert to nettle tea. What’s your favorite herb?
Kerensa: Lavender. In my garden I have lemon balm, oregano, thyme, sage, and cat mint and lavender–two kinds. They all end up in my kitchen, and some of them end up in product. I use organic cat nip in my bug lotions. I tell people they can come into the store and look up how to use herbs. And if there’s something they like, there are many ways to use it.
MARRIED TO A ROMANCE HERO
Brian was in the shop when I went in. He’s Kerensa’s husband, and has the perfect resume for being a romance hero, i.e.
- Served in the navy
- Shocking turquoise blue eyes
- Black hair
- Amazingly helpful
I asked Kerensa for the dirt on she met her HEA guy:
Kerensa: I was working in Virginia Beach over Labor Day weekend, where my sister was staying with friends at the time. She swears she wasn’t trying to hook me up. I ended up staying at the house as well, and there were these two guys who were also staying at the house as guests. I’d just gotten back from Italy, and one of them started flirting with me in Italian. We chatted for 20 minutes in Italian, and I had this thought: I could keep talking to him for the next fifty years.
WICCAN OR JUST WICCAN FRIENDLY?
*When I first talked to Kerensa, I got the impression that she was a practicing Wiccan. Kerensa however, describes herself as more “Wiccan friendly”.
Kerensa: Although my beliefs align with much of Wiccan thinking, I’m not one. I don’t have a coven.
Brian: You don’t have a coven. You just have a broom.
One thing that came out in our discussion was that in New England the Wiccans (of which there are many) tend to out themselves immediately. Not so, here in Virginia. In our more conservative climate, Kerensa has had to develop a certain amount of trust before folk finally confess they’re Wiccans. (It seems Virginia Wiccans pretty much keep it on the down low.) Am I wrong for thinking that’s even more cool?
LET’S TALK ABOUT ALL THE THINGS:
I saw a Dragon’s Blood candle and instantly decided that this was the place to get my gift items for the Wicked Lady Smut basket we’re giving away at the Washington Romance Writer’s Readers & Bloggers Luncheon on Oct. 8th.
Brian was in the store that day and helped me pick out some other items to go with the candle. Pictured below is the Dragon’s Blood candle, along with some Sea Witch soap, a stick of perfume (Yes–you rub it on your skin) and this glorious hemp hand towel. Perfect for Halloween, and perfect for the luncheon!
Check out Kerensa’s website. Since you readers have been SO GOOD this year, we’ll bring Kerensa back in October to do some fun give aways for Halloween. Dragon’s Blood candle, anyone?
Meanwhile, enjoy our witchay-woman ways here at Lady Smut. Technically we’re not a coven, but grab a mug of nettle tea and follow our blog. You should feel better instantly.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance. Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, is available for pre-order Oct 1st and releases November 1st.