Whatever your plans are tonight — have fun! We are doing the usual: handing out candy to the little people and adult beverages to the big people. Hope the rain stays away or it’s gonna be a muddy one. Below, pics from our carving fest last night. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: Halloween
Sapphire Phelan is my next guest with a timely look at the history of witchcraft. Three days until the big day! We’re carving pumpkins tomorrow. Anyone else? In the meantime, enjoy the season. Welcome, Sapphire!
I wrote a couple of short novels about a woman who becomes a witch through making love with her demon familiar and has to save the world twice from demons. Both were added to a print book, titled The Witch And The Familiar. Of course, all of the mythology of Tina’s and Charun’s world is made up. But with Halloween fast approaching, this might be a good time to blog about the long line of history concerning witchcraft in our own world that is not made up. Though there are legends and myths concerning even those. The word ‘Witchcraft’ has been derived from the word ‘Wicca’ meaning ‘the wise one’. Witchcraft has been seen as a magical phenomenon, a pagan worship or religion, sorcery, and others, at different periods in our world history.
Thousands of years ago, people lived much more primitive lives than we have in our technological society today. Without the luxury of modern medicine and treatments, when a person was sick, ill or in pain there was little that could be done about it. Becoming ill was much more dangerous in those ancient days, and the ramifications of any sickness were frequently much more serious. But some women and even men learned the value of healing herbs, and other types of homeopathic treatments. These people were actually very wise when it came to their knowledge of herbal remedies. These astute women, skilled in the art of natural medicine, also sometimes functioned as midwives and assisted in the delivery of babies, using various plant-based medicines to ease the pain and suffering experienced during childbirth.
The earliest records of the concept and practice of witchcraft can be traced to the early days of humankind when witchcraft was seen as magical a phenomenon that was invoked for magical rites which ensured good luck, protection against diseases, and other reasons.
However, it was not until 1000 AD that the practice of Witchcraft and witches invoked the wrath of priests, Christianity, and members of the society. Witchcraft, seen as a religion of the ancient and traditional pagan religion which worships the feminine, earthly, and masculine aspects of God, was considered as anti-Christian and a heresy.
Held to be against the declarations and beliefs of the Church, witches were considered as evil, making pacts and connections with the Devil. It was even believed that witches engaged in practices such as flying, invisibility, killing, taming black wolves and cats to spy on people, and others. The belief in the existence of witches was strengthened particularly after Pope Innocent VIII issued a declaration in the 1498 confirming their existence in society, and inquisition increased, although in 1200, killing of witches had already become authorized by Pope Gregory IX. The Inquisition thus began after 1200 on orders of the Church to discover the witches or heretics who were believed to be evil and against the Church. Full-fledged killing of witches was, however, recorded in the 1500s and 1600s. The first crusade against witches was held in 1022 AD when a witch was burned to death.
In Salem in 1692, 150 people were tried as suspects of practicing witchcraft. Unlike Europe, where those tried and convicted of witchcraft (those that survived being piled on with the increasing weight of stones or dunked in a river to see if they swam or sank), in Salem, those convicted of witchcraft and executed, were done so by hanging.
People suspected as witches were usually burned at stakes, and those pleading their innocence were either stoned to death or even sometimes thrown in water to prove their innocence. Witches usually faced severe and painful deaths or punishments.
Unlike the cases in Salem, Massachusetts, where women had been accused unjustly and declared guilty, then hung, another commonwealth, Virginia handled the witchcraft thing much better. To curb runaway charges of witchcraft like in New England, the Virginia General Assembly passed in 1662, “An Act for Punishment of Scandalous Persons.” It stated that women who acted peculiar and scandalous and caused their husbands to bring suits against those accusing their wives of witchcraft, after judgment had been passed, the woman would be punished by ducking. If the slander was enormous, the damages were adjusted at a greater amount then five hundred pounds of tobacco.
So except for Witches are as much a part of Virginia’s history and folklore as anywhere else. There were homes in Virginia that have witch doors—crosses carved on the paneled doors to keep the witches away—and people made witch bottles to protect them against witches—though the bottles were used mainly in the Tidewater area. An Indian idol, “Okee,” was considered to be a “devil-witch” by John Smith himself after the colonists landed at Jamestown and settled it. In 1654, according to author and historian Richard Beale Davis, there was a conviction of witchcraft in Virginia that resulted in an execution on a ship bound for Jamestown. This would have been long before the witchcraft trials at Salem. At that time, witches were believed to conjure up storms at sea, along with causing widespread illness among the passengers. When a severe storm happened and threatened the vessel commanded by Captain Bennett, he ordered the death of a woman named Catherine Grady, all because she was a “witch at sea.”
Today, no one is hung or burned at the stake for witchcraft. In the United States people can do whatever religion they want to believe in, long as they don’t do harm to others. We’ve came a long way from our tribal ancestors who sat around a campfire or a bonfire and huddled in fears of evil spirits, demons and witches.
More about Sapphire
Sapphire Phelan has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with a couple of erotic horror stories. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist. The sequel to it is A Familiar Tangle With Hell, released June 2011 from Phaze Books, Both eBooks were combined into one print book, The Witch and the Familiar, and released April 24, 2012. Her male/male paranormal romance novella, Dark Leopard Magic, second book in the Beast Magic series was just released as an audio book.
She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!
Dark heroes and heroines with bite…sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.
Thank you for guest blogging today, Sapphire!
Boone Brux is today’s guest. She has a fun and hilarious “What’s Your Reaper Name?” Quiz (Come on, you know you wanna know what your reaper name is. The list is full of scary stuff! ;-)) She’s also here to share a bit about her October release, To Catch Her Death. Welcome, Boone!
Hi everyone! I’m so thrilled to be here today to talk about my new book, To Catch Her Death.
The story focuses on Lisa Carron, mother of three and widow. When caught in a minimart robbery, Lisa inadvertently activates her reaper powers. After much ado, she finally decides to accept the role as one of Alaska’s Angels of Death, only to find out her clients will be people who have died in stupid ways. Yeah, she’s not thrilled about that.
I started thinking about what kind of reaper I’d make. Which quickly led me to ask, what would my reaper name be? Maybe I have too much time on my hands, but I came up with this fun chart so we can all have our very own reaper name.
Use the first letter of your first name and the first letter of your second name to find out. I, for example, am The Nefarious Reaper of Diets. Wow, that’s fitting. The only other one more fitting might be The Luscious Reaper of Frostbite since I live in Alaska and am definitely luscious.
I’d love to see what everybody comes up with. Post your reaper so we can all have a good laugh. And don’t forget to check out To Catch Her Death if you want a fun read.
More About To Catch Her Death
What do you get when you cross a hockey mom with the grim reaper? Me, Lisa Carron.
If being a depressed, frumpy, widowed mother of three wasn’t bad enough, I just discovered I’m a grim reaper. I know what you’re thinking. Wow, that’s kind of sexy and full of awesomeness. Hardly. Oh, and my clients? Stupid people. Like I don’t get enough of that from the living.
Since Alaska is big and angels of death are few, I’ve been partnered with reaper extraordinaire, Nate Cramer. He’s strong, silent, and way too good looking for my recently widowed state. Oh, and he reaps violent criminals, so that should be interesting.
Forget the danger and the hours of self-analysis it will take for me to find my reaper mojo. My biggest problem? Hiding it all from my overly attentive family and nosy neighbors. Now that’s going to take a miracle.
“You’re not welcome here.” He took a step forward and I slapped my hand against the wall, blocking his path with my arm. If he was a grim reaper then maybe he couldn’t enter my house until he was invited—like vampires. “Be gone.”
He smirked. “I’m not a vampire.”
“I know you’re not. There’s no such thing.” I rolled my eyes, trying to give the impression I hadn’t totally been thinking that. “What do you want?”
“Give me ten minutes. Then I’ll leave and never bother you again.”
It sounded too good to be true. “Never ever?”
He didn’t do any kind of scout’s honor hand gesture, so I didn’t know if I could completely trust him. “Ten minutes.”
In that amount of time, he could have me sliced up and vacuum sealed, but what choice did I have. I spun and walked into my kitchen. The idea of he being a grim reaper was the lesser of two evils made me want to laugh. Not in a haha, ironic isn’t it way. But a deeply disturbed things keep getting weirder and weirder way.
His footsteps followed. I cursed myself. He’d probably leave big, stupid dirt marks all over my sparkling floor. I scooped up my glass and turned to face him. My upbringing forced me to offer him a drink. “Would you like a glass of wine?”
He held up a hand and shook his head. “No, thank you.”
Hmm, very polite—for a killer. I pulled out the chair and sat, indicating he should do the same. I sipped slowly, wishing it was something stronger. “Okay, speak.”
He lowered himself into the chair and propped his elbows on the table, leveling a stare at me. “You are a grim reaper.”
“So you’ve said.” I took another drink and set down my glass. “Are we done?”
“Hardly.” He eased back and sized me up, his gaze narrowing. “All right then, you explain what happened at the Holiday station this morning.”
I considered giving him Vella’s explanation, but those reasons sounded even more ridiculous than reaping a soul. I decided to change tactics. “Let me ask you this. Why do you think I’m a reaper?”
“We recently lost one of our own and you came on our radar as the next reaper in line.”
“Lost one of your own?” I didn’t like the sound of that at all. “You mean one of your reapers died?”
He shifted in his chair. “Yes.”
“That’s a bit ironic isn’t it? The angel of death dying.”
He shrugged. “We’re mortal, tools for the greater good of mankind.”
I refrained from telling him how much of a tool I thought he was. “Isn’t the grim reaper immortal?”
“You watch too many movies.”
That was true but I didn’t confirm his statement.
More About Boone
As a bestselling author, Boone Brux’s books range from high fantasy to humorous paranormal.
A former nanny, Boone has lived all over the world, finally settling in the icy region of Alaska, where she writes full time. Always looking for the next adventure, it’s not unusual to find her traversing the remotest parts of the Alaskan bush. No person or escapade is off limits when it comes to weaving real life experiences into her books or blogs.
Boone can be found online here:
Ha! My reaper name is “The Demented Reaper of Menstrual Cramps.” Look out!
So, everyone, what’s yours?
Thank you for guest blogging today, Boone!
UF author Kathleen Collins is touring with Bewitching Book Tours to promote her October 28, 2013 release, REALM WALKER. In connection with her tour, she’s giving away a Halloween themed prize pack and eight e-copies of REALM WALKER. Welcome, Kathleen!
So I’m one of those people that never has a shortage of ideas. In fact, my idea file on my computer is pushing two hundred ideas. Some of those are just a line or two of something that occurred to me. Others are several pages of notes. Those ideas cover historicals, sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, contemporaries and on and on it goes. Obviously most of those ideas will never get used simply because I don’t think I could ever write that many books and I’m constantly getting new ideas. The ones I keep returning to are the ones that take place in fantasy worlds.
There are multiple reasons for this, but perhaps the biggest one is I get to create. I’m not talking about writing the book itself here, I’m talking about creating a world. I get to make the rules, bend the rules and throw them completely out the window if need be. If I want everyone in my world to have purple skin, I can do that. If I want my vampires to have babies I can do that, too. It’s my world and whatever I say goes.
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have to keep track of the rules of my world. I can’t have purple skin in chapter one and green skin in chapter three unless there is a darn good reason for it. Readers of these genres are generally willing to suspend disbelief but that only goes so far. What it does mean is that I am in control. Realm Walker for example takes place in a world very much like ours, but different in major ways. And these differences affect everything else in the world, from politics to entertainment. It’s the molding and shaping of the worlds that I love.
Sometimes I’ll find myself writing something and I’ll think, ‘oh, I can’t do that’. Then I’ll look at it again and think, why not? It’s my world, my creation, and no one can argue that I’m doing it wrong unless I cease to follow my own rules. And a lot of what I create may never be seen by the reader. For example, in my world leprechauns can take on the appearance of any humanoid creature. That means they can be two feet tall or six feet tall, with red hair or blond, and their appearance can change in a second. Why do you think they’re so hard to catch?
I’m not ruling out writing in a genre where the rules of the world are firm. In fact, I have a contemporary idea that’s been bugging me for months. I’m just not sure I’ll have as much fun playing in worlds where I don’t get to make all the rules.
More about Realm Walker
An estranged mate, a mangled body and a powerful demon who calls her by name…
As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That’s only the first of her secrets.
Most people don’t know Juliana became the mate of master vampire Thomas Kendrick before he abandoned her seven years ago. Most people don’t know the horrors she endured at the hands of the vampire he left in command. Most people don’t know her true parentage, or why a demon on a world-threatening rampage has taken a personal interest in her…
Even as Juliana pursues the demon, it goes after all she holds dear—including Thomas, who is back to claim her for his own. But if she can’t reconcile her past and learn to trust herself again, she will lose him forever.
Realm Walker can be pre-ordered here:
More about Kathleen
Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about monsters and the people who play with them.
The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband.
She is currently hard at work on her next book.
FIND KATHLEEN ONLINE HERE:
And don’t forget to click here to enter to win Kathleen’s Halloween themed prize pack (US only) and/or 8 e-copies of REALM WALKER!
So, speaking of Halloween themed prize packs… now that it’s October, who’s excited for Halloween?! Are you dressing up this year? If so, as what? If not, why not? Are you buying candy? Will you be watching horror films all month? Which ones? I want the details, people! :-D
Thank you for guest blogging today, Kathleen! Good luck and best wishes for REALM WALKER’s release!
In search of… Writers!
I’m putting together a new guest blog series for this fall. In the past, I’ve done guest blog series that focus on a particular type of story: romance, new adult, “dark stories” (UF, mystery, horror), but this time I’d love to do a guest blog series that unpublished writers could participate in too. I already have a handful of writers lined up with some great topics (interesting, different, and creative ones — love it!) but I’d like to find a few more, if possible.
Here are examples of the type of content I’m looking for in these future guest posts:
- Writing craft / Writing process
- Writing life
- Speculative fiction/PNR book review (honest and fair, but generally positive)
- SF/F movie review (especially ones that are adaptations from novels)
- Product review (product needs to be related to writing or reading)
- Spotlight your favorite Bookstore or Coffee Shop
- Neat post about your day job (especially if it’s in an interesting career and/or something someone might base a character on)
- Travel post related to books in some way – either a research trip you took or a trip to a place that was a setting in a book you read
- Seasonal post related to Halloween: books, decorations, costumes, food, history, etc.
I’m NOT looking for posts about your WIP, current project, or published work but published authors can include their published work in their bio and I can share links to websites, blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. I’m hoping that some of you will think this idea is as fun as I do. I like blogging and am excited to see the posts for a guest blog series like this.
If you’re interested in participating, please e-mail me (archer at jillarcher dot com) and include the information below:
- Title for the post
- Description of what you want to talk about
- Online contact info
- Anything else you think is relevant
Please forward this post to anyone you think might be interested. Thanks, everyone!
Tomorrow, I’ll be at NYCC but I’ll also be over at Book Lovers Hideaway for their Halloween Spooktacular. Because I’ve missed doing my movie reviews lately (and maybe you have too), I put together a Top Ten List of “Romantic” Halloween Movies. Plan a movie marathon for this weekend or just pick one to watch after handing out all the candy on 10/31! Stop by and tell me which one is your favorite – or add your own suggestions. You know how much I love movie recommendations!
I was excited to find out that they added a new panel at NYCC for Saturday on genre-bending novels, which includes Dark Light of Day:
GENRE-BENDERS: Out-of-the-box Science-Fiction and Fantasy Novels that blur the lines of fantasy, SF, horror, romance, steampunk, you name it! Join authors in a discussion about stories that can’t be bound by the constraints of any genre. Whether mixing elements of romance with horror, or fantasy with thrillers, these authors show that a good tale can be spun from multiple traditions. Saturday, October 13th, 2:45–3:45 PM, 1A01
Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be posting again on Tuesday!
I’m excited to have Susannah Sandlin guest blogging today because it’s the RELEASE DAY for ABSOLUTION! To celebrate, Susannah prepared a very sweet post for us. ;-) Enjoy!!
The Care and Feeding of a Vampire
Pity the poor vampires, consigned to a permanent low-carb diet, rich in protein and iron, with a taste he enjoys but, really—it’s blood. Night after night after night.
This situation doesn’t sit well with Glory Cummings. She’s an unvaccinated human, but she wants to do something special for Mirren, the vampire who recently saved her from a really dire situation. Problem is, Glory doesn’t have much to offer because what she’s really good at is something Mirren can’t use: she’s a great cook with aspirations of owning her own restaurant.
But Glory’s stubborn, so she comes up with a solution: An hour before Mirren rises, she eats something rich that he can taste in her blood. And Mirren, she learns, has quite a sweet tooth, er, fang.
So in honor of Mirren and Glory’s story, which comes out today as Absolution is released upon the world, is Mirren’s favorite food. (Um, did I mention Glory’s on a diet after a month of this?)
GLORY’S VAMP-FRIENDLY BREAD PUDDING
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13-inch pan.
Cube three cups of day-old French bread and spread in the pan.
Mix: 2 cups sugar, 5 large eggs, 2 cups whole milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for ten minutes.
In another bowl, mix: ½ cup light brown sugar, ½ stick softened butter (1/4 cup), 1 cup chopped pecans, and 1 cup of golden raisins (optional). Sprinkle over the bread mixture.
Bake 45 minutes or until set.
Mix and stir over medium heat until sugar is melted: 1 cup sugar, 1 stick butter (melted), 1 egg (beaten).
Add 1/3 cup bourbon (Mirren likes Black Jack or Four Roses), stirring well.
Pour over bread pudding and serve warm one hour before vampire rises.
More about Absolution
With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal. When the descendant of a powerful shaman is sent to bring Penton’s second-in-command back under Tribunal control, will Glory Cummings help Mirren Kincaid find absolution for his ruthless past, or will she turn him back into the Tribunal’s killing machine?
It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and the power of one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.
Absolution is available here:
More about Susannah
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
You can connect with Susannah here:
So, readers, what do you think? Are you gonna try Glory’s vamp-friendly bread pudding recipe? Do you like bread pudding? (I do!) If you make it, you’ll have to stop back by and let us know how it went! Thank you for guest blogging today, Susannah! :-D
Dog metaphors, double spacing & Dark Light of Day
Angelique Armae is going to be guest blogging here tomorrow so I wanted to let you all know I will be here and at The Qwillery. Sally interviewed me and I discuss a writing quirk of mine I never even knew I had until my editor pointed it out. :-D I also talk about some of the research I did for Dark Light of Day, who the toughest characters were to write and my favorite scenes. Hope you’ll join us at both places! Have a great night!