Good day, my fellow book lovers. Have you ever read a book and recognized a familiar or beloved establishment as the setting and thought, “those were the days?” Today’s guest, Connie di Marco, author of Serpent’s Doom is joining us today to discuss just that, memories of a beloved San Francisco store that became the fictional setting for the Zodiac Mysteries. I hope you’ll enjoy what Ms. di Marco has to share, add Serpent’s Doom to your TBR list, as well as follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author. Thank you, Ms. di Marco, for taking the time to stop by the blog once again. I look forward to hearing what you have to share with us today. The blog is now all yours.
Memories of the Mystic Eye
by Connie di Marco
When I started to write the first Zodiac Mystery (The Madness of Mercury), I never planned that the fictional Mystic Eye occult bookshop would become a recurring location. I should have realized that it would as the series went on. After all, my San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti, discovered her first astrology books there. Her best friend Gale runs the shop and then later, Cheryl takes a job to manage the bookshop and becomes a dear friend. On top of that, The Mystic Eye attracts a unique group of psychics, mediums, past life regression hypnotists who have become important secondary characters.
But back up a few decades. Many years ago, there was a real Mystic Eye Occult Bookshop in San Francisco. It was just down the street from the fictional one, on Broadway, and across Columbus Avenue. I remember it well. It was a one-of-a-kind (at the time) occult shop, selling books, talismans, gifts, candle burning supplies and all sorts of other unique items. I figured the real shop had been gone for so many years, it was safe to use the same name. Who would remember?
Guess again – lots of people remember the real Mystic Eye with fond memories and somehow they’ve stumbled upon my books or a blog post about the shop and they’ve written to me about their experiences. I was thrilled to hear from them!
Ron M. wrote to ask if the Mystic Eye (in the Zodiac Mysteries) had anything to do with the 1970’s San Francisco Mystic Eye Occult Bookshop, next to the Green Turtle Bus Company, owned by Aeryn who had a weekly radio broadcast.
Susa said it was such a wonderful shop, full of books on magic and mysticism, incense and figurines. She had a spontaneous mystical experience back in the late 1970’s, and being an Atheist, had no idea what had happened to her. In trying to research it, she ran across the Mystic Eye. She said, “I found more than books. I found a community of Witches and Pagans that changed the course of my life. I am forever grateful to that mysterious little shop and its staff, and still mourn its closing after all these years!”
Ron L. was a teenager when he discovered the Mystic Eye and would spend his hard-earned money on a book or a piece of jewelry. He loved the fountain by the window and the candle burning in the center. He made friends with one of the employees and later did a Tarot reading for her. He said it was an amazing experience.
Jem was only sixteen when she first discovered the Mystic Eye. She was intrigued by the pentagram on the floor and bought her first spell candle that day. Her path has been “many shades of magic” since then.
Robert L. used to work at the shop. He wondered what happened to the zodiac mosaic in the floor where he was initiated. He said, “If that circle could talk. . .”
Pam went to San Francisco on vacation. She fell in love with the shop and bought a crystal ball.
Mo said he had heard there were rumors that the Zodiac Killer worked at the Mystic Eye in the 70s and 80s.
Micah worked at the Mystic Eye and lived with Aeryn, the owner, from the time he was 14 until he went to college. He took care of her until her death in 2014. He said she was an amazing and knowledgeable woman, one of a kind.
Pamela had her cards read at the Mystic Eye in the late ’60s or very early ’70s. She said the scent of that storefront was so unique, as was the shop itself. Her husband made a pendant (an upside-down cross) for the infamous Anton LaVey. She said, “Yes those were the days!”
Blake remembered all the mirrors and cool stuff when he walked around North Beach, barefoot in a toga with dragons, tripping his brains out.
Nancy loved the shop and visited often. She purchased incense, body oils, little pouches of magic roots and herbs. She can still recall the aroma inside.
Scott loved the shop. He bought incense and had spells removed. He once bought a jar of incense that was labeled ‘5 plus cous-cous.’ He said, “How did we ever survive the Haight? Maybe the 5-plus cous-cous gave us eternal life.”
All these memories! I too remember the shop well. I bought candles and a book on candle-burning rituals. Who knew that so many people would remember the real Mystic Eye?
I only hope the fictional shop delivers as many good memories for readers! ♦
by Connie di Marco
May 23 – June 17, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
As San Francisco’s Chinatown prepares for the Lunar New Year festivities in the fogbound month of February, astrologer Julia Bonatti finds herself with three new clients, all in desperate straits who don’t seem to heed her advice. Tracy is the victim of a brutal husband with nowhere to run and Jeanette is worried sick about her son, whom she suspects has fallen in with a bad lot.
But most frightening of all to Julia is Frankie Chang’s dilemma. Frankie’s only eleven years old and he’s terrified. His mother is missing and no one will help him. Julia’s heart goes out to him but her hands are tied. Frankie won’t let her talk to the police and neither will his family.
Julia eventually discovers that the three worlds of her clients intertwine. Those lives inevitably collide exposing a dangerous smuggling cabal. Julia knows too much and becomes a victim of both a ruthless environmental group and criminals who will stop at nothing, including murder.
Kudos for Serpent’s Doom
“Connie di Marco’s twin loves of Astrology and the detective fiction genre are on full display in her latest installment of the Zodiac Mysteries: Serpent’s Doom. It makes perfect sense to fuse these two disciplines in which intelligence, intuition, and interpretation play such a key role. It’s also a delight to see Astrology driving the plot forward rather than employed as a mere gimmick. This adds dimension and suspense to how the mystery plays out and di Marco’s wonderfully cinematic prose keeps you turning the pages in increasing anticipation.”
-Christopher Renstrom, astrologer for the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate and Astrology Hub, author of The Cosmic Calendar and creator of rulingplanets.com
“Intriguing and riveting, Connie di Marco’s latest Zodiac Mystery, Serpent’s Doom, is a new year’s firecracker of an adventure. Told with heart and conscience, Serpent’s Doom features a superb cast and setting, with a plot right out of the headlines. The best yet in this highly original series.”
-James W. Ziskin, author of the award-winning Ellie Stone Mysteries
“Connie di Marco’s Zodiac Mysteries have it all: vibrant characters, sharp and suspenseful plots and comedic interludes. I love the added bonus of astrology and metaphysics and eagerly await the next installment.”
-Karen Christino, astrologer and author of Foreseeing the Future
“San Francisco Astrologer Julia Bonatti will need more than the stars when she tries to help a boy find his missing mother. di Marco takes us on a thrill ride from Chinatown to famed Bay City locales. An enticing mystery with compelling characters who pull you in. ‘Dear Zodia, is it in the stars that Connie di Marco will write more Zodiac Mysteries?’ I certainly hope so, because I’m hooked!”
-Laurie Stevens, author of the award-winning Gabriel McKay suspense novels
“Another page-turner with San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. I alternately wanted to shake her and cheer her on as she reluctantly becomes entangled with a boy who needs her help. A fascinating look into a different culture, where involving the police is a bad idea, prompting Julia to take matters into her own hands.”
-Sheila Lowe, best-selling author of the Forensic Handwriting Mysteries and the Beyond the Veil Mysteries suspense novels
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN10: 0578326566 (paperback)
ISBN13: 9780578326566 (paperback)
ASIN: B09TSKZJ1T (Kindle edition)
Series: A Zodiac Mystery, 4th (Each is a Stand-Alone Work)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring Julia Bonatti, a San Francisco astrologer who never thought murder would be part of her practice. Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries from Berkeley Prime Crime. Her recipes and excerpts can be found in The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook and The Cozy Cookbook. Connie is a member of the Crime Writers Association (UK), Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime.
Catch Up With Connie di Marco:
BookBub – @Connie_di_Marco
Instagram – @Connie_di_Marco
Twitter – @askzodia
Facebook – @zodiacmysteries
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