Depth of Return: Home with M. Raiya – Post + Giveaway

September 13, 2016

Depth of Return- Home

Hi, I’m M. Raiya, and I want to thank the folks at DSP for hosting me on their blog today. This is the last stop on my Depth of Return blog tour. Depth of Return is an urban fantasy novel set in northern Vermont, where I live. It’s the second book in the Another Healing universe. The main characters of the first novel make an appearance, but Depth of Return’s characters are new and the novel stands alone. The two main characters, North and Alan, are a witch/demon pair, predestined before they were born to make magic together. I’m really excited to be here — this feels a bit like my home base. So I thought I’d talk about home today, since it’s really important to both main characters in Depth of Return.

North’s home is a cabin on an island in the middle of a pond in Vermont. It provides the safety and privacy he craves, as well as the seclusion his coven of witches and demons needs. North’s coven is one of several in the area, and each one has a specialty. One is made up of mostly healers (that’s the one James and Ambient from Another Healing have joined for obvious reasons.) There is another coven of people who call themselves “Enforcers.” They’re the ones who get called when a witch or demon has trouble with another witch or demon, which happens too frequently.

In this excerpt, North describes his coven to Alan, who is about to become part of it.


“What is your coven’s theme?”

“‘Our’ coven,” I corrected. “At least as long as you want it to be. We’re… I don’t know. It’s a little hard to explain. We all have strong academic backgrounds, especially in history. We’re a bit philosophical. Magical theorists, if that makes sense. We focus on the ‘whys’ just as much as the ‘hows.’ Practically speaking, what we do is what you saw us do tonight. We link to each other and to the stars, raise power, and then release it into the world to do what it will.”

Alan stopped slicing the tomato on his cutting board and stared at me.

I shrugged. “The other covens think we’re a little impractical and out there. I grant you that our coven was originally formed back in the sixties, and Arnold just lost his beard and long hair a little while ago. We don’t fix problems. We try to prevent them. Hence it’s a little difficult to prove that we accomplish anything at all. No one ever comments on a war that was prevented, because no one knows about it. Easier to sing songs about the heroes. And we’re fine with that.” I shrugged. “And maybe they’re right. Maybe we aren’t accomplishing anything.”

“No way.” Alan shook his head. “I might not know much yet, but I can feel shit, and you guys… we… sent up a trainload of power. I’ll bet if we stopped, those other covens would suddenly have their hands full with people who needed healing or had to be enforced. Without so much peace raining down on them, people would be even crazier.”

“Well, it’s what we do, for whatever it’s worth. They say we’re just throwing away our power. What they don’t understand is how much we get back from doing it. But covens pretty much keep to themselves, anyway. I couldn’t even tell you how many there are around the world. I guess it used to be a form of protection, not to know. Now it’s a habit.”


North describes the members of his coven as “A mismatched collection of misfits.” One of the DSP editors I worked with called them, “North’s quirky coven,” and I thought that was both perfect and very funny. They are quirky, for sure, and I had way too much fun writing about them.

Alan has never really had a home until he meets North. He fits right into the quirky coven. He was abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt until she got tired of it. He lived in a series of foster homes until high school, and then he couch surfed amongst his friends. Despite all that, Alan grows up to be a really nice, decent guy. But when he finds out he’s a demon, it all becomes too much and his past catches up to him. North’s island becomes a sanctuary.

Home is very important to me, too. I’m incredibly lucky to have two of them — the house my husband and I had built on a dirt road up in the mountains, and a camp on Lake Champlain that has been in my family for four generations. For the last three years, my husband and I pack up our cat and move in for the summer. Our camp is on the top of a thirty foot cliff overlooking three miles of open water with the Adirondack Mountains in the background. We live here from mid May to the first of October, weather allowing. Followers of my social media know that I spam people endlessly with photos of sunsets, but I can’t help it; they are absolutely magical here.

Since it’s August as I’m writing this, and I’m at camp, I just took a few photos of the space where I do my writing and the view over my shoulder. I love this place with all my heart — my father designed it and all the relatives worked together to built it, and it has so many windows that you feel like you’re outside even when you’re inside. And lots and lots of good memories. I can completely identify with North and Alan about how much they love their cabin on the island.

M. Raiya Writing Space

I would love to hear about special places for you in the comments below. Or feel free to ask me anything. Anyone who comments in the next 72 hours will be entered into a drawing for a free book from my backlist at Dreamspinner.

Thanks so much for reading!

Check out Depth of Return today!

Depth of Return

Dreamspinner Press


Betrayed and left for dead by his lover, North has retreated to a secluded island to nurture his coven of witches and their demon partners. His group uses the magic of starlight to bring as much peace to the world as they can. It’s enough. North has no desire to look for love again.

When an accident on a carpentry job reveals that he is a demon, Alan Holsen is sent to North for training. Alan possesses a rare healing ability—one he might be able to use to close the old wounds in North’s heart. While North teaches Alan magic, Alan teaches North to love again, and they both struggle with the leftover resonance of their haunted pasts.

Just when they dare to relax, North’s old enemy returns—and sets his sights on Alan. To save him, North must enlist the aid of neighboring covens, and he learns he isn’t as alone as he thought. But in the end, only North’s love for Alan and the power of the stars have any chance of saving them.


About M. Raiya:

M. Raiya knew she was a writer since second grade when her teacher kept her in for recess because “Somebody had better teach you about semicolons!” She started her first fantasy trilogy in fifth grade. She majored in writing in college, got her master’s degree in English, published some literary fiction, and fortunately emerged from all that with her imagination unscathed.

She is a native Vermonter and often needs four-wheel drive to reach her home on a dirt road in the mountains. Her other passions are birdwatching, nature photography, and swimming. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks with a big lens and a pair of binoculars, often standing motionless for hours waiting for the right lighting for the perfect shot, or climbing into places not meant to be climbed into for the right angle. Or she might be found in the nearby lake in the summer or a handy swimming pool in the winter, since she will turn into a mermaid if she doesn’t submerge at least once a day.

She is married and has two almost grown daughters, a cat who demands to lie between her and her computer whenever she dares to sit down, and a day job working with high school kids with special needs who frequently tell her that she is completely crazy, which she’s always known and definitely would not want to change.


16 Responses to “Depth of Return: Home with M. Raiya – Post + Giveaway”

  1. Ami says:

    I am such a homebody so special place for me will be my own house. Specifically my own bed where I do most of my reading :) .

  2. Jillian Too says:

    We used to spend every summer vacationing at the beach with my grandparents. I always return to that beach when I need to think about serious decisions.

  3. M. Raiya says:

    Ami, I’vs been trying ti get in touch with you! You’re my drawing winner on Love Bytes Reviews. Send me the name and email address you use at Dreamspinner, and we’ll get you a copy of your choice from my backlist. And I agree–bed is the beat place to read!

  4. M. Raiya says:

    Jullian, I agree there is something about water that helps with decisions. And what wonderful memories you must have of those times with your grandparents. Thanks for sharing.

  5. M. Raiya says:

    Jillian. Sorry. Didn’t have my glasses on and responding on my phone.

  6. Trix says:

    Such a cleverly designed space–even after reading the post, I still thought it was an outdoor setup briefly!

  7. Ami says:

    M. Raiya — hey thanks for letting me know!! I have emailed you separately :)

  8. M. Raiya says:

    Trix, thanks. It is a beautiful space, for sure. There is even a large screen porch at one end that really is outside, as well as an open kitchen and four upstairs bedrooms. The drawback is that went it gets cold and windy, it feels cold and windy inside too. No heater can compete with all the glass and high ceilings. Not complaining, though.

  9. M. Raiya says:

    Ami, I haven’t gotten your email yet. Could you try sending again?

  10. Ami says:

    Just re-sent. Apparently I miss the “dot” on your first name (DUH!)

  11. susana says:

    My very special place is the garden at my parents’ home. It’s a very quiet place where plenty of trees and shadowy places where you can spend a summer afternoon reading… I always feel happy there!

  12. M. Raiya says:

    Susana, that sounds like a lovely garden. The shadows of trees are the perfect place for reading.

  13. Lisa says:

    Your view looks lovely. My family camped a lot at a state park about 20 miles from home when I was a kid. I really missed camping the years I lived out of state. Now my brother & sister-in-law have a camper so we go several times a year to the same park we camped in when we were kids.

  14. M. Raiya says:

    Hi Lisa. Thanks. The view is really amazjng. Your family camping sounds lovely, made even better by traditions and memories, I’m sure. I’ve camped in many state parks as a kid and as an adult. Love it, even when it rains. Usually.

  15. M. Raiya says:

    Susana, you are my winner! Send me an email with the name and address you use at Dreamspinner Press, and we’ll get you the book of your choice from my backlist. Thanks!

  16. M. Raiya says:

    Susana, are you out there? You’re my winner! Send me an email

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