September 21, 2023

The Unofficial Wednesday Cookbook: Brownie Recipe

  • Recipes

The Unofficial Wednesday CookbookCalling all Wednesday Addams fans! We have the perfect treat to get you ready for spooky season. Get ready for the upcoming spooky season and grab your favorite knives, guillotines, and other torture devices and join Wednesday on a culinary journey inspired by the Netflix hit show.

We’re celebrating the release of The Unofficial Wednesday Cookbook by giving you an inside look into this brownie recipe from the cookbook. Some might say these are to kill for — er, we mean to die for. Have fun making these delicious brownies and get your copy of The Unofficial Wednesday Cookbook today!

* * * * * *

Black Cat Brownies—from The Unofficial Wednesday Cookbook

Poe’s “The Black Cat” as the mascot for a team? That sounds purr-fect! What better motivator than a cautionary tale of alcoholism, guilt, and murder? These delectable chocolate treats may not be strong enough to wall your latest victim in, but they are good enough to eat.

Yield: 12 brownies | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 25 to 30 minutes


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add the sugar and stir until well combined.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, espresso powder (if using), and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.

4. Add the melted butter and sugar mixture to the bowl with the egg mixture. Whisk until well combined.

5. Fold in the flour and dark chocolate chips until just combined.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it out evenly.

7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

8. Let the brownies cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Although you are the toughest of young crime solvers, we don’t want our brownies to be. Be sure not to overmix the batter or the brownies mav become tough.

If you recreate the recipe, make sure to post it online and tag us @ulyssespress!

Buy the Book!

The Unofficial Wednesday Cookbook

Grab your favorite knives, guillotines, and other torture devices and join Wednesday Addams on a culinary journey through Nevermore, Jericho, and beyond with 66 deliciously dark and twisted recipes inspired by the hit Netflix show. Welcome woeful readers to the wonderfully weird world of Wednesday. Beloved since her debut in 1938, Wednesday

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college freshmen tips
September 19, 2023

College Freshmen Tips: A Guide on Your First Year

  • Book Guide

college freshmen tips

So you’re about to start the next four years of your life at a new school…. First of all, congratulations! You got in and your efforts and passion have paid off. But, hard work isn’t over. College is an exciting part of early-adulthood. But, this can also be such a scary, anxiety ridden time for freshmen. From being in a new environment to wondering how to get to that one building on campus, college can be nerve-racking. We’re here to help lower anxiety for college freshmen with some tips.

Here’s a curated list of Ulysses Press titles to help guide you on your first year. Happy reading and good luck!

I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook

Tired of the soggy salads from the dining hall? Take the bus and get ingredients at your local Trader Joe’s and make these quick, easy, and tasty recipes for those late study nights.

Small Apartment Hacks


From the small twin-size mattress to the boxes of stuff under your bed, we know there’s limited space. Get the most of your dorm and maybe eventual off-campus apartment with these clever hacks!

Here to Make Friends


Maybe your roommate turned out to be the worst person you’ve ever met and you feel your social life is nonexistent. Don’t worry, use these tips and you might find your forever people in that random astronomy class you had to take.

Goodnight Dorm Room"</h2

This book answers the most pressing questions that college-bound high school graduates probably never think to ask. Like: Why should I get to my dorm room early on Day 1? Or is it really a bad idea if I major in archaeology? And how does one use a “washing machine”?

The Self- Love Workbook

College life not meshing well with you? Take some time to reflect between those classes and study breaks to boost self-esteem and find back your happiness.

The Self-Love Planner

Self-Love Planner Cover

Use the customizable planner as your guide to embrace a healthy mindset and find self-love in each and every day.

Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates

Bad Dates Cover

You’re going to meet a lot of people in college, and maybe you find that one person cute and end up going on a date with them…..and it turns out to be the worst date of your college life. Alexandra can relate.

Oh, the Places You’ll Eff Up!


You’re a freshman, embrace it! Because, soon you’ll find that life gets scarier and a whole lot more complicated. This fun parody book pokes fun and exposes the not-always-awesome realities of starting out in the adult world after college.

SO! Get out there, hit the library, go to classes, and good luck. Here’s to all the college freshmen looking for tips and wondering what they’re doing in life.

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Catan cookbook
September 12, 2023

CATAN®&#8211;The Official Cookbook Reveal: Lamb Bolognese

  • Book Sample /
  • Cooking

Catan The Official CookbookWelcome, adventurers! Get ready to upgrade game-night with the first-ever official CATAN® cookbook. This cookbook gives longtime and beginning players the chance to bring their favorite game to life through food. From game (k)night snacks to celebratory drinks, this cookbook has the recipe for you!

To celebrate the launch of the book, we’re giving you a first look at one of the recipes. Enjoy this delicious Lamb Bolognese recipe to get you ready for your adventure!

Lamb Bolognese from CATAN® – The Official Cookbook

A savory pasta dish with rustic vibes, this Lamb Bolognese is the perfect meal to set the mood for a cozy night. It’s fairly easy to prepare, loaded with lamb, veggies, and cheese, and the active work time is just 15 minutes. And for that intriguing flavor touch, it uses freshly ground nutmeg to really send your taste buds into new worlds.

Serves: 4 to 6 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 2½ to 3½ hours


2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1½ pounds ground lamb
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups whole milk
1 whole nutmeg clove, or a pinch of ground nutmeg
1½ cups dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, with their juices, hand crushed
pasta, for serving
1 (4-ounce) block Pecorino Romano
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, for serving
sea salt, to taste

Catan Cookbook Lamb Bolognese


1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Cook the onion, celery, and carrot for 2 to 3 minutes, until beginning to soften.

2. Add the ground lamb and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the milk and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until it has cooked down almost completely.

4. Use a Microplane grater to add a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. Or, if using pre-ground nutmeg, add just a pinch.

5. Add the white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Again, cook for about 5 minutes or until the wine has all but cooked down completely. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer for 2 to 3 hours, adding a splash of water here and there as needed to keep the sauce from drying out.

6. Toss with cooked pasta and top with shavings of Pecorino Romano and fresh parsley.


Gather your friends, family, and other players and get ready to cook and eat your way through the CATAN®– The Official Cookbook.



Embark on a culinary adventure with the first-ever official CATAN® cookbook–the perfect companion to your next game night. Welcome, adventurers! The hexes of CATAN lie before you. The promise of abundant resources, development cards, and victory points are close at hand. But all good Catanians need a good meal before they can build

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September 6, 2023

Red, White, and Royal Blue: Ulysses Press Book Guide

  • Book Guide

It’s been three weeks since the release of Red, White, and Royal Blue and we just can’t get over Alex and Henry’s story. From battling societal pressures from their respected roles as the president’s son and successor to the throne, their love story has certainly helped them cope. Alex and Henry have such different personalities, but that’s what makes them work!

Wonder what Ulysses Press titles the other would read? Don’t worry we got you! Enjoy this curated list of Ulysses Press titles based on Alex and Henry from Red, White, and Royal Blue. 


Alex is proud to celebrate his Texan roots. There’s no doubt he wouldn’t love some Texas BBQ right now.

And what’s Henry’s favorite midnight snack..? ICE CREAM! Whenever his Royal Highness can’t get a good night’s sleep, he heads downstairs to get a sweet treat.



Alex’s mom, Ellen Claremont, is the 45th president of the United States of America and the first ever woman president. Who’s her real-life parallel? The first-ever woman to win a presidential nomination by a major U.S. political party.

In the world of email and texts, nothing offers a more personal touch than a beautifully handwritten letter, invitation, or thank you note. Henry is sure to have this skill as a royal.

Trivia & Activities

Alex might be living in the White House, but he doesn’t know everything that’s happened! This book is a celebration of all the things that make America wacky and great.


From Queen Elizabeth II to Prince George, there’s a lot of news to keep up with regarding the royal family. Prince Henry knows about making history, but there could be more he didn’t know about “his” royal family.



Vulnerability WorkbookBeing the president’s son, going to college, and secretly dating a royal prince must be hard to juggle. Alex is sure of some help to keep track of everything.

The word “vulnerability” is scary. But vulnerability, when approached in a safe way and anchored in self-trust, can be the key to healthy, long-lasting relationships. We hope Henry can trust himself.






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scams and cons
September 5, 2023

Meet the Author Interview: Madison Salters

  • Meet the Author

In our latest installment of our Meet the Author series, we talked to Madison Salters, author of our newest crime book Scams and Cons: A True Crime Collection. This book includes the most salacious cases as well as lesser-known ones, with each chapter delving deep into the facts of the case and chronicling first-hand accounts from journalists and police

We spoke to Madison about the book, her writing process, and some books that have caused impact in her life and career!

Introduce yourself!

Hey! My name is Madison Salters. I’m a writer, editor, translator, and journalist living in a big city (NYC) with two very small dogs (mini doxies!).

Describe your book in one sentence.

Investigative true crime with enough twists to knock your socks off– the grittiest scams and the most unbelievable cons in eight refreshed cases that will keep you reading, from the 9/11 scammer to a murderer in our midst.
Scams and Cons

Why did you want to write this book? What is the most important message you hope people take from your book?

I wanted to write this book because too often we see true crime that glorifies villainy, without attempting to understand what makes a “villain”. I wanted this book to center the voices and stories of victims, detectives, and bystanders. Rather than shaking hands with the con artists in this book, the book delves into psychology and investigative journalism to ask: what made someone do this, what made the people around them believe in their lies, and what makes people like this so enticing to read about, watch, and listen to?

What was your biggest challenge with writing the book?

The biggest challenge was not pulling at too many threads!! The more I investigated, the more incredible side stories I found– a possible killer lurking on a misty mountain, an everyday hero with a heart of gold whose story had a thick layer of dust atop it, a cannibal whose past transgressions were lost in translation. The more I dug, the more there was. Centering so many personal tales, so many unique people, and each of their diverging and intersecting timelines into eight cohesive tales truly did feel like more of a challenge than writing fiction. It was like trying to take a roller coaster and turn it into a boardwalk!

What is your writing process like? What is the most difficult part of the writing process? What part is your favorite?

My writing process is very frenetic: do all of your research, get everything down, every little bit and piece no matter how small. Look everything over, all the interviews, all the facts, and see what’s missing: where are the gaps, what was left unsaid, what contradicts? Research again, using broader resources. Write down more. Then break what you know into sections and go at it with 8 pastel-colored highlighters until you have what you can now see is the story’s timeline, as it should be presented to a reader. Then write it all on MS Word. Just– word vomit it all out. Then edit back. Get it neat, tidy. Structural edits. Then copy edits. Let my poor editor have a go on it. Trim the fat more. Then go back in– and add that fat back on!! Bulk it back up with elements that got lost, or fell wayside on the scrap room floor. Insert that humanism back into it. Get tone back into it. Rinse. Repeat. Proofread. Gosh, a book takes forever. It’s your baby. It’s so much work.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

It’s okay to drink 8 cups of coffee or tea a day. Just not every day. Do try to sleep. Not sitting up in your writing chair!

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?

Only when writing fiction, because you’re so responsible for a cohesive, interesting story that flows. With non-fiction, it’s almost the opposite. It’s a writing deluge! You’re presented with a ton of mysteries, and you have to pick at them and unravel them and work on them, until the plot reveals itself to you. When it finally cracks, you’re so excited, it just pours out– you have to share what you’ve learned, it’s unbelievable but real!!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I love to cook big, elaborate dinners, go on walks in the surrounding parks near my home (yes, in NYC!! little-known gems!), and photograph everything. I loved photos since the time of disposables and polaroids, and even develop my own film and fix old cameras myself!

Who is your favorite author?

My favourite author is Charles Dickens. He’s long-winded, yes, but he had this marvelous way of telling you something was funny without making a joke of it. Instead of saying ‘the man was clearly ridiculous’, he’d say something like ‘the man was full of importance, and thus, couldn’t be bothered with mortal things like saying please and thank you or picking up after himself.’ I love that. It really gives you the feel and you can totally see the people he wrote about in today’s society too, for good and ill!

What is a book that has had a profound impact on you?

Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. It was the first time I’d read a book where someone with a cleft scar was not only a good guy (how many films show us the opposite?) but a *profoundly* good human. It made me cry buckets, and I learned so much from it.

What’s something you’d like your audience to know about you?

I absolutely loved learning Japanese growing up, but French was a misery to learn. I’m happy I did both, though– they both came in handy for translating news articles and case matters for this book! Phew!!

* * *

Thanks for answering our questions, Madison! For more true crime books similar to Scams and Cons, see below.

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famous grifters
September 5, 2023

Famous Grifters: Your Guide to Scam Stories

  • Book Sample

Scams and Cons

If you’re still in your true crime era but are looking for something a little less, let’s say, murder-y, then turn your morbid fascination to scammers and con artists. There is no shortage of famous grifters who steal, lie, and cheat to get what they want. In Scams & Cons, Madison Salters covers the most scandalous stories surrounding criminals who charmed and conned their way into infamy. These truly shocking stories might even teach you a lesson or two on how you can lower your risk of becoming a victim of deception and fraud.

Featuring eight cases (including Simon Leviev, Jon Edward Robinson, and Elizabeth Holmes!), Scams & Cons will prove to you that grifters, scammers, and con artists are as important to the true crime community as unsolved mysteries and serial killers. Check out a brief excerpt below, and don’t forget to grab a copy of Madison’s book for more scandalous stories!

The Connection Between Scammers

I was unprepared for how many random and outrageous side-stories would be uncovered throughout this book’s fact-finding.

In almost every scammer’s saga, I was bound to find more like them—the same pots of honey attracted the same flies: wealth and power, fine schools, high fashion, romantic trysts, and online anonymity. Again and again as I went through the list of cases for this book, I was astounded by a kindred cast of characters materializing from the fog as I pried open each individual’s timeline.

What I came to accept is that con artists are like a photo negative: all dynamism, no contrasting thoughts allowed. They often aggrandize themselves with such intensity that they leave the people they meet with the shadowy impression that everything they said was true. The main shapes in their story may be tangible, but upon inspection, they’re off-color; the quality is eerily unreal. They’ll lighten up the darkest bits. So investigating them meant finding the original film, so to speak, and attempting to extract the reality. That often meant not asking “what happened?” but “is this possible, and if so, how?”

“They were so nice,” was a line I heard a lot, in interviews.

famous grifters

What Do All Famous Grifters Have In Common?


Fraudsters are masters of social engineering. They know how to position themselves in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a situation. They don’t necessarily have to be clever, talented, or even particularly adept—they just have to catch you at a moment when you are not adept. 

For anyone who has had a mobile phone or credit card number stolen and kicked themselves afterward, it’s not a difficult concept to swallow. For anyone who was an “A” student in one class, but dreaded being called upon in another, it’s again this common category in which we are not our best selves all the time.


Swindlers also tend to cast a wide net—the most successful ones often have multiple scams running. Something always sticks, sooner or later. “Bulk scams” are the norm. Think of the Nigerian “prince’s” email asking for a wire transfer; the text message you get from a bank you’re not a customer of; the prerecorded phone call from a computer that wants to talk about your car’s limited warranty; or catfishing over social media.


Scam artists create rags-to-riches stories that tempt our imaginations. They highlight the inaccessibility in society; you almost root for them when they sneak into spaces meant only for elites. And they’re almost always in control of their own narratives—that part is important.

But what was most common of all, I think, was the inherent narcissism across these personalities—both sides of narcissism, the aggressive and the childlike. The side that puts one at the center of their own universe to the exclusion of all other’s wants, needs, and feelings and the self that in so doing feels extremely isolated there. They need a human supply to heap praise upon them, their glittering egos sustained on the backs of others’ companionship and work.

famous grifters

What Makes Them So Fascinating?

Unlike their marks, con artists haven’t been victimized. They can take a situation where they were the villain, smooth out its edges, and lob it back at reporters, juries, and audiences as a well-written, well-spoken, flawlessly rehearsed retelling—all from the angle they would like you to consider it from, please and thank you. They come across as self-possessed; they make eye contact, smile, laugh, joke. Their fictions are presented irrevocably as fact. They charismatically lure people into the gravity of their unique voices, tones, and mannerisms, dominating accounts.

For police, it’s difficult to stop them. They can’t retroactively give victims back their time, money, jobs, homes, or reputations; they can only “stop the bleeding.”

To be a scammer is to be afraid of living with that true self, to be afraid of letting anyone get close enough, but while also wanting, desperately, to be known. To be admired, but on false pretenses. To be unable to share how clever they are. It is to victimize others in the near-futile attempt to grasp at something that feels like it is enough.


Purchase a copy of Scams & Cons to dive deep into the the wild world of scammers, con artists and swindlers.

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The Summer i Turned pretty
August 31, 2023

The Summer I Turned Pretty: What Ulysses Press Books Would They Read?

  • Book Guide

Due to the addicting new season of The Summer I Turned Pretty, the whole world has been in the dilemma of the summer: #teamconrad or #teamjeremiah ? At Ulysses Press, the team is also divided, but we decided to play for both teams just this once. Summer is not over until we say it’s over, and why not make it last a little longer with a heartfelt reading list based on our favorite summer boys.

What Would Conrad Read?

Our sad boy has a special place in our hearts. The Summer I Turned Pretty finale left us all a little heartbroken, but we curated this list in the hopes of getting him out of his funk and getting his act together in Season 3.

Catan The Official Cookbook

We know one of the main joys of the Cousins Beachhouse was the fun game nights. Catan: The Official Cookbook would be the perfect addition to their repertoire, allowing them to also get some cooking done. The recipes are also easy to make, so they won’t need any help from the adults they surely don’t want around.

Conrad dealing with panic attacks was not easy to watch. The Panic Attacks Workbook is an incredible resource for everyone who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. As we could see in TSITP, panic attacks interfered with Conrad’s day to day as they do for many people. The educated author of this book can help you in understanding where the anxiety is coming from and how to manage it.

Whether he is in Brown or Stanford, the I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook is the perfect companion. The cookbook includes easy to make and campus friendly food options with recipes from the world’s best grocery story.

The Little Book of Weed Games

The Little Book of Weed Games is perfect for college nights, nights at Cousins Beach or days where Conrad might need a little relaxing from all the studying.

As overwhelmed as Conrad got in Season 2, he was always at peace tying knots and learning how to sail in the first season. We know that Prepper’s Guide to Knots would have helped him learn techniques to create better knots and in a faster manner.

What Would Jeremiah Read?

I think we all fell in love with Jeremiah in this season of TSITP and even Conrad girlies have been second guessing themselves (not all of us though, okay?) However, we can all agree that he was dealing with grief in a healthier way, and all those scenes with Susannah were incredibly bittersweet.

Ultimate Dirty Joke Book Cover Photo

No matter how much Jere matured in Season 2, he is still the jokester of the group. We 100% think The Ultimate Dirty Joke Book would be the next Christmas gift Belly would give him.

The jokester and the healthy one, Jere really is a well balanced guy. This recipe book shows step by step instructions to make delicious and healthy green, and fruity smoothies.

Boy Mom Prayer Journal

Jeremiah’s love for his mother and his constant support for her throughout the cancer treatments was heartbreaking. Yet this beautiful Mother and Son Prayer Journal would have been a great addition to the things they could have done together.

Make the Pool Your Gym 2nd Edition

Some of our favorites scenes from The Summer I Turned Pretty include Jere working as a life guard while they were spending summers at Cousins. Make the Pool Your Gym would have helped Jere become fit while keeping everyone safe during the hot days.

These break the ice cards are so Jeremiah… Whether he is giving them to his latest conquest, or to Belly, we know he would have a blast handing them out and keeping some for himself!


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shutterstock_2190313673 [Converted]
August 23, 2023

Back to School Books for Teachers

  • Book Sample

It’s back-to-school season! Here at Ulysses Press, we can’t wait for what the new school year has to bring for upcoming students and teachers. Whether you’re preparing or already in session, we have the books to make the year a breeze! Check out some of these curated by us to help you along the way.

Teach Reading with Orton-Gillingham offers research-based suggestions and instructions to make reading multisensory and engaging. Whether it’s using sand or shaving cream, there are tons of fun, proven ideas and strategies to help your students better understand key concepts like letter-sound relationships.

Designed as a supplemental text to Teach Reading with Orton-Gillingham but easy to use with any robust phonics program, this book includes tons of activities for your students to overcome their difficulties with reading. It consists of five units that include decoding and encoding practice using the major tenets of Orton-Gillingham: explicit, systematic, individualized phonics practice with multisensory practice and delivery.

Make reading fun for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders with these write-it-yourself stories. Designed to be torn-out, folded, and stapled together (with the help of a parent or teacher), these projects let kids create their own customizable mini-books that build all the skills they need.

Clear communication between students and teachers is crucial for effective learning. When students understand the why and how of learning (aka “teacher clarity”), it’s so much easier for them to fully comprehend and engage with the material.  But it can be hard to ensure good communication while also juggling curriculums, state standards, grading, and the other elements of teaching in an elementary school classroom.

Student-centered learning, or the concept of giving students a more active role in their own learning, is taking the education world by storm. This resource book is filled with student-centered learning classroom activities to help you teach any subject in a fun and engaging way. Educators will learn to expand upon basic worksheets and lectures and shift the focus from teacher to student with small group discussions, experiments, case studies, presentations, and other interactive lessons.


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August 22, 2023

Spell Jar Guide: Primary Steps and a Recipe to Manifest Self Confidence

  • Book Sample /
  • Hobbies
  • Mind, Body, Spirit
  • Wellness

Spell Jars for the Modern WitchDive into the magickal world of spellcrafting with fifty unique and customizable spell jar recipes, using everything from crystals and candles to tarot cards and herbs to heal, protect, and manifest your desires with Spell Jars for the Modern Witch by Minerva Siegel.

Spell Jars for the Modern Witch will guide you through the entire process of jar spellcrafting—creating spells inside sealed containers—from setting your intentions, to cleansing your ritual space, to building and activating your spells. This blog post will briefly walk you through the six steps of creating a spell jar and highlight a spell jar recipe to help you manifest self confidence. Get ready to start your spellcrafting journey!

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

The Six Steps to Creating a Spell Jar

There are six primary steps to creating a successful spell jar: set your intent, gather the ingredients and tools you’ll need for your spell jar, prepare your spellcrafting space, assemble the spell jar, activate the spell, and seal it. Let’s take a closer look at each step individually.

Step One: Set Your Intent

In order for your spell jar to be effective, you have to begin with a very clear goal. Are you looking to create a spell jar to stop nightmares? Attract new friendships into your life? Boost your creativity and focus so you can nail a major presentation at work? This isn’t the time for generalizations or ambiguity.

For example, saying you want to build a spell jar to attract love isn’t quite specific enough. The crystals, flora, and other ingredients and tools you should use change based on what type of love you’re looking to invite into your life. Do you want to find long-lasting, romantic love? Are you hoping to strengthen familial bonds and connections? Attract new best friends and platonic soul-connections? Visualize a very clear image of what this spell jar’s success looks like to guide and inform the whole creation process.

Step Two: Gather Ingredients and Tools

Once your intent is set and you’ve chosen the exact goal you want to accomplish with your spell jar, it’s time to select a jar and begin deciding which ingredients, tools, and other implements you may want to include in your spellcrafting session.

I encourage you to put a good amount of thought into this, and be thorough. Make sure you have everything you need when beginning your spell to avoid breaking your concentration to fetch something in the middle of it. This would be disruptive and could affect the spell’s viability.

Step Three: Prepare the Spellcrafting Space

Most spellcrafters agree that it’s important to energetically and spiritually cleanse the immediate space where you’ll be performing spellwork. This ensures that no unwanted energies will interfere with or muddle your spell. Essentially, energy cleansing is basic spiritual hygiene. There are several different methods that can be used to accomplish this, and I encourage you to experiment with them! Try out different methods, or combinations of methods, to figure out which ones feel best to you. You don’t have to stick to any one method, either. Feel free to change it up depending on your mood or the intent of the spell jar. Four different methods you can use to spiritually prepare your ritual space are sound cleansing, smoke cleansing, space cleansing with visualization, and space cleansing with crystals.

Step Four: Assemble the Spell Jar

It’s time to build your spell jar. I often start by adding the written intentions to spell jars (if applicable), because that helps to set a solid tone for the rest of the spell jar’s creation. After that, the ingredients are usually added from heaviest or bulkiest to lightest, but that’s not an absolute must-do. If I’m creating a spell jar that uses dirt, I usually add the dirt first to create a base for the other ingredients. When making spell jars that use Moon Water, I usually add that ingredient last to submerge all the contents of the spell jar fully. There are no hard-and-fast rules to the assembly of spell jars, so please feel free to assemble yours in the ways that feel most appropriate to you, and in alignment with your own intuition.

Step Five: Activate the Spell Jar

After your spell jar has been assembled, and is full of magickal ingredients and intent, it’s time to give it a concentrated boost of magickal energy to activate it and set its power into action. There are several ways of doing this: through visualization; by using athames, wands, or clear quartz points; by simply shaking the jar; or by adding essential oils to the spell jar. Sunlight and moonlight can also be used to activate spells. Sometimes, activation can be performed after the jar is sealed. For example, if the activation method involves shaking the jar and its contents, it’s best to do this after the jar is sealed. However, sometimes spell jars can be activated by adding essential oils to the contents, so you’d have to make sealing your spell jar the final step in that instance.

Step Six: Seal the Spell Jar

There are a few different ways to seal your finished spell jar. Outer and inner wax sealing, sealing with tape, cloth sealing, and using sigils to seal the spell jar spiritually are the most commonly used methods, but copper electroforming is another great option that’s best used on spell jars you know you’ll want sealed permanently.

Photo by Cat Crawford on Unsplash

Spell Jar Recipes:

Now that you have the very basic steps to creating a spell jar, it’s time to dive into the creation of spell jars! You’ll see a lack of listed quantities in this spell. That’s because the quantities of ingredients are up to you! You’ll have to consider the amounts you have on hand, along with the size of your selected jar. The beauty of spellwork is that it’s so customizable. Use these spells as a guide, but remember that you’re allowed to deviate from them in any way your intuition guides you.

A Spell Jar to Manifest Self Confidence

Have you been feeling insecure lately? Self-critical? We all go through periods of self-doubt and doldrums. If you’ve lost a bit of your self-confidence, this spell jar will help you hold your head high again and bring back your confident strut. It will remind you of your best qualities and show you what a powerful, strong, capable person you really are.


  • Orange candle
  • Your preferred lighting tool, such as matches or a lighter
  • Paper, pink, red, and/or orange preferred
  • Writing tool, pink, red, and/or orange preferred
  • Mirror
  • Crystals that promote inner strength, power, and fortitude, such as amber, bloodstone, carnelian, garnet, and red jasper
  • Ginseng
  • Peach pit
  • Dried lemon slices, lemon zest, or lemon oil
  • Valerian


  • Light the candle.
  • Write powerful self-confidence affirmations on one side of the paper. Make them personal, and tailor them to any issues that may be blocking you from achieving confidence. For example, if the words and opinions of others have negatively affected your self-perception, you could write something like, “I am strong, powerful, and deserving. I don’t need everyone to love me because I love and respect myself.”
  • Look into the mirror and read your affirmations aloud to your reflection. Repeat them until they really start to resonate with you.
  • On the other side of the paper, list your favorite things about yourself. Are you compassionate? Great at a hobby or skill? What’s your favorite physical feature? Write it all down!
  • Read your list aloud to your reflection.
  • Add the amber, bloodstone, carnelian, garnet, and red jasper, or your crystals of choice, to the jar.
  • Add your written affirmation and list to the jar.
  • Add the ginseng, peach pit, lemon ingredient, and valerian to the jar.
  • Seal this spell jar using your preferred method.
  • Activate the spell by placing in the sunlight for an hour.

Keep this spell jar somewhere you’ll see it every morning, such as at a vanity, on a bathroom counter, or at the beverage station where you prepare your morning coffee or tea.

Want to learn more about spell jars including but not limited to magickal color, crystal, number, and astrological properties; how to best time the creation of your spell; the power meaning of certain herbs, flowers, and other natural ingredients? Buy Spell Jars for the Modern Witch by Minerva Siegel for more spell jar fundamentals and amazing spell jar recipes to try like a protection from nightmares spell, a financial abundance spell, or a successful job hunting spell!

This article was adapted from the book Spell Jars for the Modern Witch by Minerva Siegel
Ulysses Press has affiliate partnerships and links found on our website may be affiliate links. If you buy something by clicking through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Siegel_Minerva - Minerva Siegel

Featured Author

Minerva Siegel

Minerva Siegel is a disabled author and writer who haunts a spooky Victorian house in Milwaukee, WI, with her husband and their beloved rescue dogs. She practices many different forms of divination, collects crystals, and can often be found curled up on the sofa with a nice cup of tea, watching romantic period dramas. You can find her on Instagram @SpookyFatBabe.

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August 22, 2023

Copperplate Calligraphy Practice Book: Meet the Author!

  • Meet the Author

Welcome to our latest author interview with the person behind the Copperplate Calligraphy Practice BookThis book will help you practice and perfect copperplate handwriting with its perforated, easy-to-use beginner-friendly collection of exercises and drills for the modern calligrapher! Let’s learn more about the author, Christen Alloco Turney, and the inspiration behind this book!

Christen Allocco Turney: Author of Copperplate Calligraphy Practice Book

Introduce Yourself!

I love all things letters. After graduating from college, I wanted to find a way to stay connected to my creative network and challenge myself to make more art. Along with my college pals, I worked on one visual art project a week for a year and used this time as a way to discover my own creative passions. I tried everything from cake decorating, to photography, to hand lettering.

About halfway through the year, I pulled out a calligraphy book and picked up a pen and ink. The marks on the paper were far from perfect, but I was smitten. I immediately connected with the methodical and creative rhythm of dipping a pen and ink. I loved watching the stroke change from thick to thin with the manipulation of the nib. From there, almost all of my remaining projects were in calligraphy, and it’s a craft I have been honing ever since. I’ve studied many scripts over the years, but Copperplate is my very favorite and it’s true joy to be able to share it with you. Learning calligraphy is a journey, and my hope is that my book will help you get your start.

A little more about me – I run a calligraphy business, Allocco Design, in southeastern Virginia and am a member of the Washington Calligrapher’s Guild. I’m on the executive board of the International Association for Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH). Along with my “calligra-bestie” Ajab, I co-host The Calligraphy Podcast as a way to cultivate calligraphy community.

Copperplate Calligraphy Practice Book Cover

Why did you want to write a book about Calligraphy?

I love to teach calligraphy and wanted to write a book to share the art and make Copperplate calligraphy more accessible to more people. A lot of books have fantastic instructions, but leave the reader without next steps (I learned the letter H, but now what?) I wanted to make it easy for readers to put pen to paper – we can spend so much time getting the guidelines just right, or thinking through what to write or study, that we end up wasting quality practice time. The book has a few exemplars that can also be torn out, perfect for pinning to a cork board or taping to a wall near your desk – a great way to keep inspiration close!

My hope is that when you pick up this book, it will feel like back to school season. You’ll have a fresh book and new supplies (I love a good number 2 pencil and squeaky clean eraser!), but as you work through the book, you’ll have documentation of all the hard work you’ve put in towards learning something new. It’s so important to keep practice pages to show where you started and how far you’ve come. This book does just that. I also think back to my very first strokes and how I felt laying ink on the page. I had an immediate connection to the art and it’s a true joy and honor for me to share calligraphy with you.

What was your biggest challenge with writing the Calligraphy Practice book?

Most books require the author to write one main text, the manuscript. This book was double duty–I wrote the manuscript in a computer document, then wrote many, many letters by hand with pen and ink. Of course, the latter is arguably the most fun! I wrote pages and pages of letters, making sure to show you the very best examples to study from!Sample book page from Copperplate Calligraphy Practice Book

What is your writing process like?

I sat in a lot of coffee shops to write this book. I love the mood of a bustling shop, it always helps the creative juices flow. Since I teach calligraphy classes, I used my existing teaching materials to guide the content in the book. With the teaching outline as a starting point, I fleshed out the book outline first, then wrote the manuscript.

One of my favorite sections to write was the section of what not to do. It can be hard to notice that an oval looks like a lemon until someone points it out. I touch on the idiosyncrasies of each letter– the hairlines at the tops and bottoms of a capital W, the precise point at which an oval and a descending stroke kiss to form a letter g, the placement of a shade in the lower two-thirds of an oval shape. Studying these details will help improve your script and I felt it was important to include this in the book.

What is the most difficult part of the writing process?

The most difficult part of the process was the proofreading stage. I kept my editor on her toes as I followed up with “just one more thing to add!” I wanted to make sure I included as much detail as possible, so I took time to think back to my early days of writing and the challenges that many beginners face, I wanted to address any possible hurdles in the book so that you can easily overcome any setbacks.

A great example is I talk about how calligraphy nibs have a shelf life. I didn’t know this when I started, and if I had, I would have saved myself a lot of frustration! I’m happy to pass this knowledge on to you! A special shout out to my calligraphy friends, Meagan and Amy who reviewed the book through a technical calligraphy lens. Meagan reviewed the whole book to make sure my instruction was clear and would make sense to readers who are picking up a pen for the first time. Amy is a left handed calligrapher who took a look at the section for lefties.

Sample book page from Copperplate Calligraphy Practice BookWhat advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

My biggest advice for some one writing a book is to just say yes and don’t doubt yourself! Imposter syndrome can set it in and tell you that you are not the person to write this book. I’m here to tell you that you are! You have a unique view on your topic that is valuable and worth reading. Also, embed your personality in the pages. Sure, readers want to learn about a topic, but it’s extra special to get to know the author at the same time.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently on an Office authors spree. I’m reading Rainn Wilson’s Soul Boom and The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. I also love a good cookbook and just finished Alison Roman’s Sweet Enough (and immediately baked her chocolate tart).

We can’t thank Christen Alloco Turney enough for this wonderful interview! Make sure to grab her book, Copperplate Calligraphy Practice Bookand check out her website for more calligraphy content.

Ulysses Press has affiliate partnerships and links found on our website may be affiliate links. If you buy something by clicking through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Christen Allocco Turney

Featured Author

Christen Allocco Turney

From the moment the tines of her pointed pen nib split, Christen Allocco Turney was hooked on calligraphy and has not looked back. She is a member of the Washington Calligraphers Guild and the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting. Christen is the co-host of The Calligraphy Podcast and teaches students all across the globe. She works in both broad edge and pointed pen calligraphy, but has a particular love for Copperplate and its variations.

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