Posted in Book Blast, paranormal, Urban on June 5, 2013



Lorrie Duncan, an abstract painter working as a substitute teacher, dreams of making it big in the art world when she’s not busy looking for Mr. Right. She seems on the verge of getting what she wants, at least with respect to her career, because her current boyfriend Marty is a rising star in the L.A. art scene. But when a fortuneteller gives her a medallion with malevolent powers, her life and plans fall apart. Now to survive, she finds herself in a race to discover its secret, before it destroys everything she holds dear.

A Blue Moon is Vanessa A. Ryan’s first novel, a genre-bending literary urban fantasy.


Madam Grace leaned back in annoyance. “Give me your watch,” she said.

Finding this alarming, I hesitated, wondering if she was going to steal it. But I gave it to her.

She held it to her cheek and closed her eyes. She said, “You are in a state of––how you say?—dull, mediocre. But that will not last. You––”

The doorbell rang and she got up. “Excuse me,” she said. “I must get that. Make yourself comfortable until I return.” Seeing my dismay, she smiled. “Don’t worry. I won’t be long.”

After she left, I peered out the window. A young, sallow complexioned man with dark hair stood on the porch.

I heard Grace speak loudly to him in a language I didn’t recognize. He answered her in that same language. Something about their conversation—not to mention the heat in the room—and the fact that she still had my watch, made me uneasy. It wasn’t because I thought she was after my money or that he might be in on it. That was a given. No, it was something I couldn’t put my finger on. I knew I should have run out then, watch or not, but moments later the woman came back, and it was too late.

“I am sorry you have been waiting.”

“No problem.”

She sat down, closed her eyes, and again pressed my watch to her cheek. Then she opened her eyes and gave me back my watch. Taking a deep breath, she said, “I see that your boyfriend is crude––not civilized.”

“That’s him, all right.”

“He has strange habits. Why do you put up with him? Why don’t you find someone better?”

I sighed. “I don’t know. I’m lonely. I can’t seem to find anyone else. I guess I like having him around and he said he would help me with my career. I like him, though he’s not what you’d call a good catch in the normal sense. What else do you see? Will I marry him? Will he help me with my career?”

“I see that you don’t really know men. You let them treat you like dirt.” She looked down at the cards. “It is because you never knew your father.”

Maybe she was psychic. “That’s true. My father died when I was a kid.”

“Beware. I see danger around you. There is a plot against you. For another fifty dollars, I will pray for you at the church in the mountains. Only I can break this dangerous spell.”

I knew I should have known better. But I was determined to get my money’s worth. “Well, I have only the fifty for the reading. What about my career? I’m an artist. Is my boyfriend going to help me with my career? He has a lot of connections.”

She gave me an annoyed look. “Just keep painting, or whatever it is you do.”

Abruptly, she got up and went to the cardboard box. She took the lid off, reached in and pulled out a small blue velvet pouch. “I’m going to give you something to help you. It’s something I wouldn’t give to just anyone. It will bring you good luck. It is a medallion to wear around your neck.”

She took a necklace out of the box and held it up so I could see it. The medallion was large and irregular in shape. It looked cheap. Fake gold, most likely, and not worth more than a few dollars. The inscription on it was in some ancient language, probably Arabic. The chain, made of the same cheap gold, was much too long for it. It would probably hang down below my waist.

“Here, take it. Put it on.” She dangled it before me. Then she looked away as if she hated to part with it.

“Oh, I couldn’t take this,” I said. “It looks too expensive. I can’t afford to buy it from you either.”

“Please. I want you to have it. For your safety. There is a terrible plot against you.” She held the medallion close to my face. “But if you wear it,” she continued, “you will have nothing but good luck from now on.”

She pressed the medallion into my hand. “Tomorrow night is the blue moon. If you put this on now, your good luck will begin with the blue moon. Take it. It’s your only chance. Since you don’t have the money for me to pray to the church in the mountains, take it. For free. I am only trying to help you.”

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About the Author:

Vanessa Ryan author picture

Vanessa A. Ryan is an actress in Southern California. She was born in California and graduated from UCLA. When not writing or acting, she enjoys painting and nature walks. Her paintings and sculptures are collected worldwide. At one point she performed stand up comedy, so her writing often reflects her love of humor, even for serious subjects. She lives with her cat Frannie, and among feral cats she has rescued.

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Interview with Vanessa:

What inspired you to write this book?

I was recovering from an illness, and writing A Blue Moon was a way to make sense out of my situation.

What background gave you the experience to write this novel?

A Blue Moon takes place primarily in Venice, California, where lived for about nine years. I had read Ray Bradbury’s Death in a Lonely Business and it inspired me to use Venice as a setting for my novel. I am a painter and sculptor, so it was easy for me to use my experiences in the art world as a backdrop. At one time, I also worked as a substitute teacher.

Is this autobiographical?

Not really. The one thing that remotely relates to me is I was a long-term substitute teacher in art, and the school I worked for filled my position with a permanent teacher. Rather than lay me off, they switched me to the English department, though I didn’t have a credential in that subject. And because test scores were low, I suggested at a staff meeting that we teach grammar. Although everyone groaned, because grammar is boring to kids, the principal agreed to offer a mini-course in it, but only in summer school, and only for the smartest students.

 When did you start writing?

I started writing in the early 1990s.