Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BATS in Myth and Legend

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
National Bat Appreciation Day is upon us!

Image: Bigstock.com
April 17th is an annual opportunity to wonder anew at this amazing and mysterious creature. Humans have always been fascinated by bats – and maybe a bit envious too. After all, these little mammals can fly – not leap or glide, but truly FLY. Bats traverse the darkness easily, and sail fearlessly into the blackness of caves without hesitation. The echo-location and sonar capabilities that we can now create with sophisticated technology, have always been possessed naturally by bats.

It’s no wonder that throughout history we’ve attributed both good luck and evil to them, told stories about them, and even deified them. 

Here are just a few examples:

As a rule, bats haven’t enjoyed a great reputation in Western Culture. As a creature of the night, they were easily associated with evil, death, and the underworld. Superstitions abounded that claimed the bat was a messenger between witches and the devil, that bats could steal souls, or spread disease and misfortune. (And this was centuries before Bram Stoker penned his famous novel,“Dracula”!)

Old Scottish superstitions claimed that if a bat flew toward you, it was a sign that someone was trying to place a curse on you. It might also indicate that you will soon be betrayed by someone. If a bat is seen to rise quickly and then swiftly descend to the ground, you knew that the Hour of Witches had arrived. This meant that unless you had protected yourself against them (such as by keeping flint arrowheads in your pocket or wearing amulets fashioned from rowan wood), all witches had great power over everyone during that time.

Old illustration of Vampire Bats
Image: Bigstock.com
The bat might also be a faery in disguise. In Celtic folklore, the Pooka (also Puca or Pwca, according to which UK country you’re in) was a trickster fae who could transform into any creature it pleased. Although it seemed to favor the forms of horses, goats, and rabbits, stories exist where the Pooka shapeshifted into a bat. The wise took care not to go outside at night, for fear of meeting the Pooka. It could be merely mischievous – or it could be deadly.

While some people in the UK and Europe believed that harming a bat was bad luck, most did not. In fact, a bat flying into the house was often thought to signify that a death would soon occur in the family. This could only be averted by killing the unfortunate bat! Similar superstitions are also found throughout North America. One claims that simply dreaming about bats means the death of a dear friend.

It was a widespread belief throughout Europe that bats were used as familiars by witches. This sadly led to the wrongful conviction of many people. In 14th century France, for instance, a noblewoman was burned at the stake simply because bats were seen to fly around her home!

So, are there any positive superstitions about the poor bat? Thankfully, YES!

In many eastern countries, bats are appreciated. A common belief is that a bat flying into your house is considered a sign of good things coming your way. And the more bats, the better!

Intricately carved facade of Goa Lawah Bat Cave Temple.
Image: Bigstock.com
An 11th century Hindu temple was deliberately built around a cave housing a colony of thousands of bats in Bali, Indonesia. The images of bats were incorporated into the stone façade of the temple itself. To this day the worshippers co-exist with the animals, and it’s now become a tourist attraction largely due to the bats’ presence.

In Chinese Feng Shui, bats are associated with happiness and wealth. Symbols and images of bats (sometimes shown with coins in their mouths) are deliberately placed on the door of a house, on the front of a business, or on a pendant around the neck in order to attract positive “chi” (energy). The Chinese word “”, when spoken, means “bat”. It also sounds exactly like “good fortune”, so the character for good fortune is often included on any images of bats.

Chinese pendant showing lucky 5 bats
surrounding the word for good fortune

Necklace owned by Dani Harper
In the Qing Dynasty, pictures of bats were embroidered onto royal robes and painted on walls and ceilings. They were carved into furniture and thrones, and adorn the doorways of many buildings. Even in the Forbidden City in Beijing, you can find many examples of stylized bats.

The number of bats incorporated into a symbol is very important too. For instance, a pair of bats doubles the luck they attract. Five is the most desired number of bats because they represent the five most important blessings: prosperity, virtue, health, long life, and a peaceful natural death. This might be why a bat symbol is sometimes hung on a window to ward off illness.

The ancient Mayans of South America counted Camazotz among their deities. First mentioned around 100 AD by the Zapotec tribe, this bat-god possessed the body of a man and the head of a leaf-nosed bat, plus bat wings. He lived in the underworld, and was mostly associated with night, with sacrifice, and with death. Although he looks terrifying, Camazotz is credited with negotiating with another god so that mortals could have the gift of fire. And thus the bat-god is also known as the god of fire!



THE GRIM SERIES by Dani Harper

The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim. Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.

Note: Every book in this series is designed to stand alone.
It's fun to read them in order, but you won't get lost if you don't!

See ALL Dani's novels on her Amazon Author Page 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Here Be News

Posted by: Linda Mooney
New Release

Now Available as an Audio Book!

Book 2 of The Battle Lord Saga
Sci-Fi/Futuristic/Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Word Count:  90K
e / $15.99 p / $24.95 a

Narrated by Daniela Acitelli
Length: 10 hours

Besieged by Bloods and placed on a hunger watch, the citizens of the mutant compound of Wallis turn to the one person they pray will help, the Battle Lord of Alta Novis.  Despite the fact that they took away the woman the man risked his life to love, they hope he will show mercy and lend aid.  They never expected to find Atrilan Ferran alive and thriving as the wife of Yulen D'Jacques.   

Yulen sees this as the perfect opportunity to show the citizens of Atty's home compound the power and status his wife wields.  But first he, Atty, and his soldiers have to risk the journey against the oncoming horde of blood-thirsty crazies to get there. 

Atty is eager to return to Wallis, but one small detail stands in the way of her and Yulen's happiness.  He desires an heir, and she is terrified at the thought of becoming pregnant.  Worse, the dangerous trek has increased his ardor, and she is running out of excuses why they can't make love.

Warning:  Contains a near massacre, renewed friendships, shocking revelations, birth control 300 years in the future, a trip down memory lane, and a deepest desire finally fulfilled.

Excerpt and Buy Links

Friday, April 13, 2018

Excerpt: Scifi Version of Titanic, Set in Space WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Saturday the 14th will mark 106 years since the ill-fated Titanic struck an iceberg and sank shortly after midnight.

I was always fascinated by the story of Titanic, since I was a child. For more about why I wrote my award winning, best selling scifi romance novel Wreck of the Nebula Dream, which was loosely inspired by the real life tragedy, you can read my post here.

For today I thought I'd share some snippets from the novel that I've done for various word prompt memes on twitter. (The idea of the memes is to share quick excerpts from a work in progress or a published book.)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Baby Love

Posted by: PG Forte

So I'm a little late with my post today. And I know, I should have expected it. I should have prepared for that possibility, because for the past two-and-a-half weeks  most of my brain has been hijacked by my adorable grandson.  See, I can put up all the little post-it notes I like around my desk with little messages to myself saying things like, "Write blogpost NOW!" but then my DS or DDIL will text me a new picture, or post a new story on Instagram and my brain turns to mush again.

Of course, I could just turn off my phone and/or refrain from hanging out on Instagram waiting for new pics and videos to appear, but...nah. Let's be realistic: I can't stay away. He's just so CUTE!

So this post, which was originally going to be about tracking my progress as I use yoga, swimming and a leaner, greener diet in an attempt to counteract the effects of years of a sedentary lifestyle (thanks, writing!) has devolved into baby pictures. Quelle surprise.

Although, to be fair, since he was a big part of the reason I decided that it was past time to put serious thought and effort into improving my health in the first place, I guess it kind of fits. Sort of.

Yes, it's a rationalization. I'll take it anyway.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Read a Road Map Day

Posted by: Ruth A Casie
Road trip! I still enjoy getting into the car, putting on my favorite music, and driving someplace. Road trips for our family were impromptu adventures. We all could be sitting around reading or watching television and he’d tell us all to get in the car. There were the thirty minute rides to Coney Island for hot dogs or shrimp boats or the longer treks from Brooklyn into Manhattan to visit family friends.
I remember the time we were all in pajamas and getting ready for bed when Dad said to get dressed in fancy clothes we were going to a supper club in Manhattan. He wanted to listen to the music.
In the summer, we went to longer trips. The car’s glove box was filled with maps and notes. Mom made sure we had maps. Dad, on the other hand was more adventurous—point the car where you want to go and find your way. I think he did it to drive Mom crazy. She’d get out the map and the ‘discussion’ would start. It usually wound up with Mom stuffing the map back into the glove box and turning up the radio.
The paper maps were Mom’s responsibility. On the longer road trips she’d share them with my sister, brother and me to track our progress. We’d announce the upcoming town, gas station and motel.
Mom got tour books from AAA (American Automobile Association) that noted places of interest and Trip Tik Travel Planners that outlined your route.  
Those were great trips. There is something about struggling with a paper map, pulling off at a rest stop and spreading the map on the car hood to confirm (or find) where you’re going. We’d get a snack, stretch our legs, and pile back into the car sure of our next weigh station.
As you can see, I loved the trips. To be honest, they weren’t all terrific. We cursed outdated maps, restaurants we left because there was no way we would eat in them and motels, well some Dad just drove by without stopping.
Today’s road trips are different. With our son living in Boston (we live in New Jersey) road trips are not unusual. Now we program our GPS (or Google Maps or Ways) and take to the highway. Electronic maps come with their own pitfalls.
I’ve learned to review the itinerary before we leave just in case the GPS loses its signal. Yes, that’s happened to me. Sometime I get aggravated with the system when the instructions are not clear and I’ve made a wrong turn. Extreme Maxine keeps telling me she’s recalculating our route. Then there are times when the route is wrong.
After a delicious dinner at a remote restaurant, our daughter and son-in-law found themselves in the Pennsylvania hills. It was after ten at night and they were eager to get back to their hotel. Low on gas, they used their GPS to find a gas station. They drove for quite a while with fuel the warning light flashing. They finally pulled up to the address the GPS gave them. It was a private house. No gas station in sight. Their GPS somehow directed them to the owner of the gas station’s home. Thank goodness he had a can of gas in his garage.
Fun fact… Did you know the Turin Papyrus is thought to be the oldest recorded road map? Believed to be created in 1160 BC
What can you tell me about your road trips

Monday, April 9, 2018

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:

1000 OF YOU
Fantasy, Time Travel Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 40.7K
$3.99 e

She was traded to him for a weapon.

Traded, as if she was no better than a piece of property. Gova Dov doesn’t know what to expect, but it can’t be as bad as the abuse she’d received at the hands of her last master. Gova has never known kindness like Muam. She soon learns she can trust him, but can he trust someone like her? He’s told her she’s free to leave, but does she want to go? Does he even want her to stay?

Muam Kai works hard to earn his living, and payment in flesh won’t exactly buy his next meal, but he can’t turn the abused girl away. However, he’s no slave owner.

When Gova’s past comes back for her, Muam vows that no matter what happens to them, they will always have each other. Always find each other. In this life or the next.

It's a dying promise that would prove to be a curse on them both.

Warning! Contains fake gold, sorcery, death and destruction, wild dogs, and two people who have no choice but to try to survive a thousand lifetimes for the sake of their love.


Other News:


Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Veronica Scott shares a few photos from her visit to the King Tut exhibit and an excerpt from her novel Ghost of the Nile.


Sales & Promos:


Newest release, STORM CROSSED, is just $1.99!
Add Storm Warrior, Storm Bound, and Storm Warned for $2 each!

Check it out on Dani's Amazon Author Page


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Bring It Back(list) - Ghost of the Nile

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Photos are all Author's Own
I've always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, especially after reading Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw as a kid.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time at the current King Tut exhibit at the California Science Center, admiring golden, glorious objects from 3000+ years ago and it really put me in the mood to write another ancient Egyptian paranormal romance. I've shared a few of my photos from yesterday here for you, to pair with my Bring It Back(list) book, Ghost of the Nile.

The blurb: 1550 BCE
Betrayed, murdered, and buried without proper ceremony, Egyptian warrior Periseneb is doomed to roam the gray deserts of the dead as a ghost for all eternity.
But then the goddess of truth offers him a bargain: return to the world of the living as her champion for 30 days. If he completes his mission, he’ll be guaranteed entry into Paradise. Periseneb agrees to the bargain but, when he returns to the living world, two hundred years have passed and nothing is quite as he expected.
Neithamun is a woman fighting to hang onto her family’s estate against an unscrupulous nobleman who desires the land as well as the lady. All seems lost until a mysterious yet appealing ex-soldier, Periseneb, appears out of nowhere to help her fight off the noble’s repeated attacks.
Meanwhile, Periseneb’s thirty days are rushing by, and he’s powerless against the growing attraction between himself and Neithamun. But their love can never be. For his Fate is to return to the Afterlife, and Death cannot wed with Life…
The excerpt: 
Periseneb had no idea how many years he’d been wandering in the gray lands of the Afterlife. Time had no meaning here. For time unending he’d done battle with monsters and demons, experiencing neither pain nor emotion, despite the horrific combat, until a startling moment when he felt pavement underfoot, not shifting gray sand. Raising his head with a rare flicker of curiosity, Periseneb found himself in a tunnel, walking toward an illuminated room. Radiance and warmth from a golden light beckoned him onward. He slowed and then stopped, fighting the tug of the summons bringing him here. Whatever was about to happen, he wouldn’t go as a supplicant.
                I was a warrior.
He straightened his shoulders.
One of Pharaoh’s own guards. 
He tightened the leather straps of his breastplate and drew his sword, intent on facing this new challenge as he’d lived, with pride.
                Jaw set, eyes focused on the light ahead, Periseneb marched forward resolutely, braced by the discipline he’d learned in his life as a soldier.
                He crossed the threshold into the chamber, his steps faltering at the sight of the deity waiting for him. But then, who had he expected? He was too lowly a shade for Isis or Osiris to bother with. Standing at attention, he saluted. “Lady Ma’at.”
                Calm smile on her face, the Great One, goddess of truth, nodded to him. Taller than he, dressed in a finely pleated red sheath, the goddess was imposing. Her expertly painted face was accented by the towering red ostrich feather in her hair, and her expression could only be deemed welcoming. Eyebrows raised, eyes gleaming, she inspected him from head to toe as a commanding officer might.
                He assessed the room with a glance, hope dying as quickly as it had sprung. Ma’at was alone. Neither of the other two judges, Anubis and Thoth, was present. Their chairs sat empty. The most dreaded occupant of the judging chamber was, thankfully, not paying any attention to him. As grotesque as the depictions of her hinted, the beast Ammit, Destroyer of Souls, slept snoring in a corner. Claws curled possessively, one hideous cheetah forepaw was draped over a gleaming human thigh bone. She snuffled, long pink tongue scraping the sharp crocodile teeth in her jaws, while her hippopotamus hind legs kicked in some dream. Repressing a shudder, Periseneb averted his eyes.
                “I’m not here for my heart to be judged at long last, am I?” His voice sounded rusty to his ears.
                “No indeed, Periseneb. The laws of the Afterlife haven’t changed—you can’t receive judgment, since none did you honor at the time of your death. No one performed even the tiniest ritual from the Book of the Dead on your behalf. You’ve no tomb, although your bones do lie in the soil of the Black Lands.” Ma’at’s voice was soft, her eyes misty with tears, apparently for him. “A paltry blessing, I know. I’m sorry.”
                He knew she was sincere. Truth was the only utterance Ma’at could make. He rammed his sword into its sheath and rolled his shoulders. “Why then am I here? I didn’t seek this place out; I swear to you.” Pride stiffened his spine. He wouldn’t beg favors, not even when unexpectedly drawn into the presence of a gatekeeper, someone who could free his ka from ceaseless wandering…sentenced to defending the green serenity of the blessed duat, never to set foot there himself, banned for lack of proper ceremonies. The rule was harsh but just. No one deserved eternal life in the duat without proper judgment from the gods.

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