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Here is The Book of Witches - my very first NaNoWriMo project from 2016.  I wrote the novel in a month, sending it first to my reader team as daily emails, typos and all. After that I had the story properly edited, a cover made and published it as both ebook and paperback.

This  was one of my wildest story ideas, I admit. I wanted to mix my love for ancient Egypt with a sci-fi dystopian setting, and add witchcraft into the mix. Nothing too gloomy, so the element of humour would need to be there too.

I decided the genre would be YA. (On hindsight, it appears quite a few of the readers have passed their young adult years some time ago already. ) 

And of course I could not resist the idea of the afterlife. After all - if you study ancient Egypt, you'll find stories of the afterlife everywhere. And so this book also starts with the idea of waking up dead. Just read the first chapter of the Book of Witches.

To give you the setting of the story of the Book of Witches:

People are living on plates rotating the sun after an asteroid hit the Earth and plunged it into permanent winter. Much to her surprise Nina wakes up dead one morning. Her death is not natural, and includes a cursed soul from ancient Egypt. Trying to get things back to normal with the help of dead teenagers, an angel and a demon, she stumbles into an ancient secret of witches - both good and bad - who haven't disappeared anywhere just because the Earth is no longer habitable. 

You can buy the book at Amazon. Click here or on the book cover on the right.


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Space witches 1
the book of witches

chapter 1: waking up dead

Dying was nothing like I had expected it to be.

A tunnel of light? Nope.

Angels around you? Ha!

Heavenly music? Ya right…

A feeling of bliss and a consciousness that expanded to understand all the secrets of the universe? Dream on, honey, dream on…

I just woke up in my room - at least, somewhere that I thought at first was exactly like my room - but when I turned my head to see what the weather was doing outside, the scenery beyond the window had utterly changed.

That was the first hint everything was not as it should be.

I got out of bed bed so fast my feet tangled in the covers and I fell on my face on the floor. For a while I stared at the carpet which I did not have – the second hint that something very odd had happened. At that point I just thought I had slept late and my mother had done some redecorating without waking me up. She is like that. She loves to change the curtains and carpets and reads blogs about decorating and all that stuff. And I usually slept like a log so a little of Mom's decorating would not have woken me up.

Swearing under my breath, I got up and opened the window to be sure my eyes were not deceiving me.

Mountains. Mountains? Mountains! But I lived in a town by an artificial lake. I did not even know there were mountains anywhere on the plates. How the heck had those mountains grown up during the night? Had I been transferred in my sleep to another plate? Who - and why? And especially - how? They would have to have slipped me a sleeping pill or something so I'd carry on snoring while the prank was carried out. 

I stared at the scenery for quite a while but it didn't change. And that was the third clue about the strangeness of things - it was summer outside. It had been winter on our plate when I went to bed. Winter had been turned on a month ago and there would be two more months of it, to keep nature functioning as it should.

Going to bed in winter and waking in summer...

Then I got it. I was dreaming. I looked around my room and wondered how I could make myself wake up again. Everything seemed so real that this had to be a really, really deep dream. Maybe this was what they called lucid dreaming?

Oh, yeah, I forgot one more cliché about dying. A guide to escort you to the afterlife.

Well, that was the first of my experiences of death. Sort of. And no, it was not some gentle spirit taking my hand and assuring me all was well before we floated up into eternal light. Instead there was an ordinary knock on the door.

“Come in!” I said over my shoulder, expecting it to be my mother. “You’ll never believe the view from the window!”

“And why wouldn’t I?” an unfamiliar girl’s voice asked. “I’ve seen it plenty of times before.”

I swirled around so fast I almost tripped over.

“Who the heck are you?” I blurted out. "And what are you doing here?"

“I’m supposed to guide you around.” She sounded almost bored, and I was immediately reminded of my first day at school, a small child looking up at the older student who had been told to show her the toilets and classroom, except this one wasn't as tall as I was. She carried on standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips, observing me, and then asked a question I didn’t understand: “OK, so how did you die then?”

“How did I do what?” I stared at her. Some crazy woman had made it into my bedroom somehow. 

“Die. Bite the dust. Go belly up. Kick the bucket. You know – give up the ghost.”

“Are you insane?” I spat out. “I’m very much alive thank you. And stuck in a nonsensical dream, it seems. Because you sure aren’t anyone I have ever met before.”

“Ah, right. You are one of them,” the girl sighed.

I wasn't sure I wanted to know what "them" meant. I looked at her. She was quite small, and had short black spiky hair and green eyes, a boyish figure and no makeup.

“You better follow me then.” She opened the door.

“I’m not dressed!” I looked down at my pyjamas.

“Hmm… I reckon you died in your sleep,” the girl cocked her head on one side, “as those are clearly pyjamas you’re wearing. People appear here in the clothes they were wearing at the time of their death. So that would explain why you are one of those who don’t realize they have died.”

I opened the wardrobe door and snatched out a familiar pair of jeans and a T-shirt, wondering how she could possibly come up with a good explanation for the fact that even though I was dead, I still had my own clothes in my wardrobe. 

The girl did not show any sign of leaving the room so I just turned my back on her and got dressed as fast as I could. I put on my socks and the slippers I always wore indoors and was ready.

“Right.” I decided to play along. “Take me to your leader!”

“Follow me,” the girl shrugged, still sounding bored and opened the door wider so that I could pass through.

I stormed past her, eager to see who was playing this stupid prank on me. I had rushed out onto what I thought was the upstairs landing and instead found myself in an unfamiliar dining room. All sorts of young people were sitting around the table, eating breakfast, which was being served by a man with horns on his head and an ancient looking angel with worn slippers on his feet.

Want to read on? You can do so on the preview on the right ->

Reviews of Space Witches 1:
the book of witches

Carmon Robinson

5.0 out of 5 starsOh, Wow !!!

October 10, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Loved the book.
Character's where well rounded and each new person had their own issues, needed help, every character was well placed tension gets moving with in the first chapter.
I personally loved the book as a pre - read for my Granddaughter. I just hope she likes it as much as I did.

of 5 starsBest book for ages

ByAmazon Customeron September 5, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

Finally, someone who writes something different,something exciting and imaginative.And with such knowledge of Egyptology.The story was easy to follow and it was easy to 'see' everything in the story, which in a book is important to me. I need to 'see' the characters, the world and all the action in order to be part of the story, to truly experience it. The story grabs you and pulls you in so that you just have to keep reading even if the dinner is burning on the stove. What amazing worlds await us in the future by this writer as soon as they with the characters are ready to come alive and leap into action on the next books' pages. While reading,I saw this story as a major film and can only hope this will happen at some point.

I can't wait for the next book in this series.

ByJacion August 23, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. There were some confusing and weird sections in this story, but overall very interesting. I realize the book needed time to develop the characters and story line, but I wish it wouldn't have ended on a big cliff hanger just as the story got going. Anyway, I did love the book even through the faults & I can't wait for the next book in this series. I just need to know what happens next. :)

TN in GA

4.0 out of 5 starsA delightful begining to Nina's story

August 22, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

Maria has created an interesting world where rather than colonizing other planets or solar systems, they have built earth-like platforms in the vicinity of earth which is recovering from an ecological disaster. Add in an eclectic mix of religious images, mostly from ancient Egypt, and you have a setting that invites intrigue as well as the obvious battle between good and evil. This is a delightful tale that sets up Nina for several adventures ahead. I look forward to the next installment.

Disclosure: A review copy of this book was sent to me by the author. All of the above opinions are my own.

Amanda S p

5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book!

May 9, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I really liked this book. It kept my attention and kept wanting to know what would happen next. I hope there is a second one soon!

5.0 out of 5 starsI love this author

ByRaghavi Reddyon August 23, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

I love this author. Although I felt some of the story line took a little longer to develop it was a very enjoyable read. I look forward to the next book.

4.0 out of 5 starsI enjoyed the book

ByJ Robertsonon August 27, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. So here it is! I enjoyed the book, it is a light entertaining read, Far less complex than the Nephilim Quest books (of which I am eagerly awaiting book 3). It had interesting ideas and references to Egyptology but no where as detailed as the NQ books. I liked the characters and was very impressed that it was written in a month. I didn't find it as immersive as the NQ books and found the ending a little abrupt, which is the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars. However I am looking forward to the next instalment and seeing how the plot evolves. If you enjoyed the NQ books and fancy a lighter read I can thoroughly recommend it.

4.0 out of 5 starsWitches and Space Can Mix! :)

October 25, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

"Not for the serious reader"--I agree. This is a light story that moves along quite well while developing the main characters and places including a different kind of 'halfway house' for departed souls. But, it is not a religious or spiritual story, either. The primary goal of this first book was to help a cursed soul be released from her curse. It did not need to take place in space, but by doing so, it opens up new living styles and probably better cooperation between most of the peoples of Earth, but it really doesn't stray into politics either, which was just fine by me. Most nations have their own 'bubble' to live in that are all in the same orbit as Earth, which would need some form of propulsion to keep them there, but the story doesn't get into the science, either. Thus, light fantasy, but interesting.

I agree with one reviewer that it ended rather quickly, but it did end at a good point IMO. The primary objective was met, the "I didn't know I was a witch" reveal was handled with training begun, the immediate crises were handled while leaving us knowing a lot more can follow this first book. I look forward to a book 2.


4.0 out of 5 starsReview

26 October 2018

Verified Purchase

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It is the first in a series of you books. I would be interested in reading the next book

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Back to Space Witches

Click on the Leenasbooks Newsletter headline above  to go to the newsletter blog's first page on Substack to see what it is about.

You can read the past posts there, and check if you are interested in listening to the audio chapters of my published books, or follow my stories as I write them.

Upon subscribing you will get the Prequel to Nephilim Quest: Angel.

Over two hundred years before Nephilim Quest 1 / Shadowhunter the roots of the story are planted.

A little girl missing her mother, in the palace of the mightiest of the dark Nephilim, hoping for an escape ...  

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