Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fear and Hope on All Hallows' Eve

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz


I've been thinking about how Halloween brings our fears and hopes to the surface. We literally wear them as costumes. Costumes, or masks, allow us to play with our fears. We can name them and address them because if it all becomes too challenging, we can take the mask off.

Halloween is about death, which is pretty much our biggest fear and our greatest hope. Our lives are haunted by the unanswerable question of whether there is life after death.

Is a ghost something to fear or a reason to hope? It's an important question because it captures the tension of Halloween: how fear and hope intertwine and sometimes conceal each other.

Take zombies. In popular culture, zombies are shambling things without self-control, a self-chosen purpose, or any enjoyment of life. You can see how they embody modern fears. We fear that our lives are on a treadmill of meaninglessness. Are we alive or merely existing?

Yet, is that mindlessness so threatening? There's a reason zombies are imagined in hordes. Obviously, the horde increases the threat and horror for effect in a book or movie, but it also serves to raise a subtle, fascinating point. If zombies operate as mindless individuals but having meaning and impact as a horde, then maybe our own intermittent anxieties as to the pointlessness of our lives can be soothed by the fact that as part of a community, our lives have purpose even when we don't see it.

Halloween lets us explore our fears and discover the hope that resides, sometimes curled up and hidden away, inside them.

I hadn't considered the tension of fear and hope before, and now that I have, I can see that it will influence my writing. It's a different means of viewing how conflict plays out in a novel. The dance between fear and tension drives the protagonist through the story. Without hope, why move forward? Without fear, why struggle? Only apathy kills a story. While there is fear and hope, we have a reason to act.

***
For a story about the power of second chances and never surrendering hope, read Phoenix Blood, my paranormal romance in Kindle Unlimited. You can discover more about me and my books at my website, http://authorjennyschwartz.com/

Phoenix Blood - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M0DLOKL


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The 12 Days of Samhain

Posted by: Linda Mooney

The 12 Days of Samhain
(Words by me!)

On the 1st day of Samhain, my true love gave to me
A zombie that’s shuffling after me!

On the 2nd day of Samhain, my true love gave to me
2 rolling skulls
And a zombie that’s shuffling after me!


On the 3rd day of Samhain, my true love gave to me
3 tombstones
2 rolling skulls
And a zombie that’s shuffling after me!

On the 4th day of Samhain, my true love gave to me
4 vampire bats
3 tombstones
2 rolling skulls
And a zombie that’s shuffling after me!

On the 5th day of Samhain, my true love gave to me
5 pints of blood!
4 vampire bats
3 tombstones
2 rolling skulls
And a zombie that’s shuffling after me!

Here’s the rest of it:

12 wailing banshees
11 haunted houses
10 snarling werewolves
9 corpses rotting
8 monsters moaning
7 stalking psychos
6 ghosts a-shrieking
5 pints of blood!
4 vampire bats
3 tombstones
2 rolling skulls
And a zombie that’s shuffling after me!

* * *
GISELLE
Contemporary Fantasy Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 18.5K
$2.99 e / $6.99 p
#futuristic #apocalyptic #postapocalyptic


Sick of the same day in, day out, soul-sucking job, Giles Noft decides it's time for a change. Starting a new career as a voice actor with Voce Audio, he realizes it’s also the perfect opportunity to narrate his own published book after hours.

Renting studio space in the evenings, Giles plans to have his book finished in a couple weeks. What he didn’t expect was to find a companion while in the recording studio, or for that companion to completely turn his world and his future upside down.

A chance and seemingly impossible encounter with Giselle Renard changes his entire life. Armed with new information, Giles starts planning for a tomorrow no one knows is coming. Their fast friendship leads to more, but “The End” is closing in. And although neither want their time in the studio to be over, they know there is no way they can avoid the cold, hard reality of what has been, and what is to be.

Warning! Contains an old footlocker, a friend in trouble, a remote location, and a loving promise that's kept fifty-four years later.


Excerpt and Buy Links

Monday, October 29, 2018

HERE BE NEWS for October 29, 2018

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
All the latest 
from the authors at 
Here Be Magic
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In Case You Missed It:

Monday, October 22 - 

"HERE BE NEWS" - The latest from our authors includes Halloween-themed blogs, a multi-author giveaway, sales on ebooks and more! Don't miss the fun!

Tuesday, October 23 - 

"WHEN I'M NOT WRITING..." - Research for a story turns into a beloved hobby for author Shona Husk.

Wednesday, October 24 - 
"OH, THE (GOTHIC) HORROR!" - Author Shawna Reppert explores this old classic genre plus a recent movie that incorporates its most delicious elements!

Thursday, October 25 - 
"HAPPY HALLO-DAYS!" -  It's one big joyous holiday season from now until the end of the year - and author Cindy Spencer Pape is enjoying every minute of it!   

Saturday, October 27 - 
This week's Bring It Back(list) feature is "BLOOD TENDERLY" by Linda Mooney writing as Gail Smith. See all the details below.

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Bring It Back(list) Feature:


Horror Romance?
Yes, it's a thing!

BLOOD TENDERLY
A Paranormal Horror Romance
by Linda Mooney 
writing as Gail Smith
Word Count:  11K
$1.99 e / $6.99 p / $6.95 a


With the cold weather quickly setting in, Lark is trying to ensure she has what she needs to make it through another bone-chilling winter in the cabin in the woods, but something has decided to pay her a visit. The question is, who? Or better yet, what?

There is a human invading his sanctuary, and he is determined to get rid of her. Humans in the past have left of their own accord, but not without a threat from him. However, this one is proving difficult. But she’ll go. One way or another, he will make her.

Narrated by Linda Mooney
Length: 1 hr, 22 min
The thing is demanding that Lark leave, but she has nowhere to go. No one who cares.  So she's determined to stand her ground. 

After all, what does she have to lose, besides her life?

And it's now available as an audio book!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sales, Contests and Events:


With a blog name like Here Be Magic, it's certain that our gang loves fantasy -- and all the creatures that go with it. This month is the perfect opportunity to talk about our favorite monsters and magical characters, whether villainous, friendly, or downright romantic. 

And we want to know YOUR favorite creature or character too! Be sure to enter our HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY and you might win a treat!

https://herebemagic.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-favorite-monster-multi-author.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Start reading THE GRIM SERIES today!

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.


STORM WARRIOR
Book 1 of the Grim Series
SALE on Kindle eBook: $1.99


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B4EJA48

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Bring It Back(list) - BLOOD TENDERLY, a Paranormal Horror Romance by Linda Mooney Writing as Gail Smith

Posted by: Linda Mooney
Horror Romance?
Yes, it's a thing!


BLOOD TENDERLY
A Paranormal Horror Romance

by Linda Mooney
writing as Gail Smith
Word Count:  11K
$1.99 e / $6.99 p / $6.95 a



With the cold weather quickly setting in, Lark is trying to ensure she has what she needs to make it through another bone-chilling winter in the cabin in the woods, but something has decided to pay her a visit. The question is, who? Or better yet, what?

There is a human invading his sanctuary, and he is determined to get rid of her. Humans in the past have left of their own accord, but not without a threat from him. However, this one is proving difficult. But she’ll go. One way or another, he will make her.

The thing is demanding that Lark leave, but she has nowhere to go. No one who cares.  So she's determined to stand her ground.

After all, what does she have to lose, besides her life?

And it's now available as an audio book!


Narrated by Linda Mooney
Length: 1 hr, 22 min


Excerpt and Buy Links

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Happy Hallo-days!

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
Art and text by Charles Addams
I am currently in a snit at one of my local big-box DIY stores. I went in the other day for some curtain rods and they were TAKING DOWN the giant inflatable purple dragon that had anchored the Halloween display. I covet that dragon! I wants, it, my precious. And yet over ten days before Halloween, they took it down to make room for Christmas trees. SO WRONG!

Okay, here's the deal. I love Christmas. I am a giant five-year-old when it comes to shiny things and pretty packages. I want all the prezzies and to give all the prezzies and eat all the cookies. Ahem. But the season is called holi-DAYS, emphasis on the plural for a reason. Almost every major religion has harvest and solstice celebrations, for reasons. Like its part of how society became society and how humans adapted to community living. I adore Christmas, but I hate the concept of skipping over some of the other bestest days of the year.

Halloween rocks. You really can't write paranormal romance and not be a little bit of a Halloween geek. It''s the one time of year when no one questions the gargoyle (his name is Spot) who lives in your parlor, or your raven and skull throw pillows. Okay, my dragon collection is even big for Halloween, but it blends in a little better in October than, say, February. The very first erotic romance I wrote was for a Halloween anthology and I had so much fun, I honestly wrote it in a single weekend, mostly while giggling like a lunatic. He's a dragon and she's a pixie, if the cover didn't give that away. It's a short story, but only 99 cents on Amazon.

Image result for turkey platterThanksgiving is arguably my country's second most important national holiday, after Independence day on July 4th. Happening some Thursday toward the end of November, it's a little late for harvest in most of the US, but it still symbolizes the concept of gathering together and sharing what you have with your loved ones. Yes, it has racially insensitive roots. Yes, it's been taken over by parades and football. Yes, a lot of people see it as nothing more than the last day to prep for the Black Friday sales marathon. All I can say is, "Not in my house." Oh, I'm fine if someone wants to turn on a game or parade, but when it comes down to it, this is the holiday that is for sharing and people. I don't do a lot of decor, but I do use the good china. (And, yes, I have my mom's turkey platter.) Everyone is welcome at my table unless you're going to be a jerk to others. Then go home. I don't care what religion you practice or when or where you were born, if you need somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, hit me up. You might want to do it a day or two in advance, so the spouse cooks enough. My table. His kitchen. Trust me, it's better that way.

Image result for black friday memeNow, other than hiding behind closed curtains on Black Friday and usually having something to do for Small Business Saturday, since the spouse works for a village, once Thanksgiving is past, I'm free to think of Christmas. I usually kick it off with a movie or two on Netflix and start having the men-children bring boxes of decorations up from the basement. We're usually set up by the first weekend in December, but then we have a break. This year there will be two.

Image result for birthday cake imagesYou see in our house, we also have birthdays, like many folks, and a bunch of them happen to fall between October and December. We don't want those to go unmarked, so even if there's a Christmas tree in the parlor, there will still be birthday cake and candles on the table. In fact, I'd go so far to say as the holiday season in our house really begins on Oct. 19, my #1 offspring's birthday. My brother's is on Halloween. Offspring #2 was born the day Bill Clinton was elected, on Nov. 2, I had to do a surprize absentee ballot. My other brother was born on Nov. 8, but we haven't celebrates since his passing over a decade ago. My nephew in California's birthday is in there somewhere, but I usually just hit him up on FB.
Image result for veterans day poppy
And don't forget Veteran's Day. Not when you grew up in a neighborhood where all the homes were sold via GI bill to WWII vets. You got your poppy from Mr. Hare next door and wore it for the rest of the week! Then we're into December, the carols are playing annnnnnnd.... Last December 14, my second grandspawn was born. You can bet there's going to be one heck of a party for that this year! And she missed sharing a birthday with her mom, the kid-in-law, by just one day. She'll get her own treats on the 15th. THEN it's really Christmas time.

And then I remember. My life is filled with MEN. Grinches one and all. But now I have grandkids. Ain't no one messes with Grandmas at Christmas. (Cue evil grin.) That'll carry me all the way into a happy new year!

May your Halloween be happy and fun and safe! If you celebrate holidays I don't know about, fill me in! I love learning new stuff. I'll be back again right around Thanksgiving!

www.cindyspencerpape.com



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Oh, the (Gothic) Horror!

Posted by: Shawna Reppert

I have always loved Halloween.  When I was a kid I started planning my Halloween costume sometime in July. I drove my parents crazy begging to be allowed to have Halloween parties. I had a perhaps unhealthy obsession with skeletons and the headless horseman (Hey, he had a cool black horse!) I loved scary stories, even though my vivid imagination meant that I ended up sleeping with the hall light on and the bedroom door cracked open just the right amount. If my mom didn’t leave a radio playing softly to mask the sounds of the house settling or the wind in the trees, I would jump in terror at every noise in the night.
Not for me modern horror movies with buckets of blood and screaming teenagers, a chainsaw or machete waiting around every corner. Give me ominous castles and old, abandoned houses dripping with cobwebs, give me wolves howling in the distance and bats silhouetted against the moon. Give me pale, elegant villains who charm rather than chase. Give me, in other words, good, old-fashioned Gothic horror.
What, you ask, is Gothic horror? Think about all the trappings of Halloween before Hollywood got hold of it and turned it into murder porn.  While, of course, a book or movie doesn’t have to have all elements to be Gothic horror, here are some of the common themes:
An isolated castle or mansion. Bonus points if it is an ancestral home and/or falling into disrepair.
Setting usually falls sometime in Regency through Victorian eras.
A pure maiden lured to the above dwelling under false pretenses. Some possibilities: a job as a governess; a promise of marriage, arranged or otherwise; distant kin or a forgotten associate turning up to generously rescue our heroine (or, less commonly, our hero) from poverty.
A locked room that our hero or heroine is forbidden to enter.
A dark and mysterious nobleman.
Our hero/heroine receives an ambiguous warning to stay away from the dwelling or nobleman mentioned above.
Strange sounds in the night.
A ghost and/or rumors of a ghost.
A madwoman in an attic.
Incest.
Mysterious deaths in story-past.
Often, but not always, the heroine/hero escapes, traumatized but wiser for the experience.
Arguably the golden age of gothic horror ended sometime in the Victorian Era (Exact dates vary. Argue among yourselves if it truly matters to you.) You will see gothic elements everywhere from Halloween decorations to popular culture, everything from the better (IMHO) vampire books and movies to certain episodes of Doctor Who. And occasionally, we get a truly masterful, classically gothic work that polishes up the old tropes and makes them fresh again.
Halloween is just around the corner, and I, for one, intend to celebrate by re-watching the 2015 movie Crimson Peak, and not just because it has Tom Hiddleston in period dress dancing the waltz (though, really, that would be enough reason on its own.) Crimson Peak resonates with all the elements of Gothic horror in a way that is truly delicious for fans of that genre. We have a handsome baronet trying to restore his family’s rotting old mansion. He brings his beautiful, young, and not-so-incidentally rich young bride to Crimson Peak, an ocean away from any source of support.  The red clay of the soil bleeds through the snow on the grounds, making it appear like a massacre has occurred. . .super creepy. Although societal rules of the day would dictate that our heroine becomes mistress of the house, the baronet’s sinister sister keeps the house keys on a ring at her waist, and warns our heroine never to try to enter any locked room ‘for her own safety.’ The sister waits just a beat before explaining that the house is so poorly maintained that some areas are structurally unsafe.
If that’s not enough to get viewers biting their nails, there’s plenty of other indications that something is Very Wrong. The handsome baronet fails to consummate the marriage. (In view of the fact that we’re talking Tom Hiddleston, that’s almost enough to make the film a tragedy.) Our heroine sees/hears ghastly things that are there and gone again, making her question both her safety and her sanity. The baronet is pouring more and more of her inherited money into elaborate new mining equipment that he hopes will make the family’s mines profitable once more. (and gives us a beautiful, steampunk-y scene of Hiddleston as mad inventor, working on the huge, metal beast. <sigh>)
Toward the climax of the movie, our heroine gathers her nerves and goes down to find out What’s In the Basement. Without spoiling anything, the movie ends with a surprise twist to two of the tropes, giving the tale an original and yet satisfying end. In another alteration to the standard tropes, our heroine contributes to her own salvation through her bravery and cleverness (she is a writer, and therefore skilled at looking for plots within plots.) This departure fixes one of the flaws that a modern audience finds with the gothic genre. . .the sense that the heroine survives through her innocence and purity,  qualities too often used by the larger society to judge and control women.
So, your turn now.  What are some of your favorite Gothic horror moments?



Shawna Reppert is an award-winning author of fantasy and steampunk who keeps her readers up all night and makes them miss work deadlines.  Her fiction asks questions for which there are no easy answers while taking readers on a fine adventure that grips them heart and soul.  You can find her work on Amazon and follow her blog on her website (www.Shawna-Reppert.com).  You can friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, where she posts an amazing array of geekery.  Shawna has on occasion been found in medieval garb on a caparisoned horse, throwing javelins into innocent hay bales that never did anything to her.
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