October 30, 2015

Guest Promo(CXIII) E Ayers on Halloween

I am delighted to welcome today E  Ayers with a guest post on Halloween and a book that perfectly fits the topic.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. It’s October and I always think of it as the death month. Morbid? Maybe. But it’s sort of the natural cycle of life. Just as so many annual plants have succumbed to a frosty death, and the leaves fallen from the trees, that cycle is repeated with humans. Over the years, many friends have buried their aged parents in the month of October, and my own parents and in-laws, many years apart, were buried in October.

Is it something leftover from when we first walked the Earth? Before the winter cold struck and froze the ground to the point when burial was impossible? I’ve asked a few doctors about it. They get that deer-in-the-headlamps stare as they ponder the question. Most have responded with an affirmative about death striking the elderly more frequently in September, October, and November. Then others give that politically correct answer that there is no such thing, and it’s an old wives tale.

So here’s my question to those in the southern hemisphere, do you have more deaths of the elderly in your autumn months?

Somewhere back in time, my ancestors celebrated All Hallows’ Eve, and before that, Samhain. (Commonly pronounced sow-win or sah-when depending on dialect - I've detected a dozen pronunciations of the time frame but none are pronounced sam-hane, which is what is commonly heard today.) Samhain marked the end of harvest. Only two seasons were recognized back then, summer and winter. People believed that the spirits were active after the harvest, possibly concerned that their families had enough to survive the winter. It was also believed that the spirits created a little mischief for those who didn't measure up. A chair was brought to the table for those past relatives as a way of showing off the bountiful harvest, hoping to appease the spirits of those who once lived. No one wanted to be harassed by the spirits of the past.

Over the years, the tradition evolved. Samhain was replaced with All Hallows’ Eve, which Christianity pushed to the side, and the evening became the Eve of All Saints’ Day and a time to pray for past relatives, martyrs, saints, etc. (Was that a surprise?)

Come forward to modern times and we have Halloween and it has become a holiday for children, no matter how young or old! Here in the United States, some families go all out to decorate their porches and yards. Children Trick or Treat or go to Halloween parties. Dressed as their favorite princess, TV or movie star, cartoon character, or superhero, the children roam their neighborhood looking for houses giving out candy and catching up with their friends.

Even the idea of dressing in costume for Trick or Treating has its roots in pagan times. During Samhain, they called it guising or mumming. And the people who did it went door to door reciting poems and asking for food while they carried a turnip that was hallowed out and made into a lantern. Slowly that tradition moved to the English Boxing Day when people were visiting with family and neighbors.

Early American immigrants brought the traditions with them. It didn’t take long for the good-natured fun to spread from small pockets in the cities to the outlying areas, small towns, etc.

It was in the late 1700's and early 1800’s that the mumming in the USA got a little rowdy with lots of gunshots, etc. There were several attempts to outlaw it. A compromise was finally struck, and the adults who embraced mumming were forced to become organized groups with permits to “parade.” That’s really when Halloween became a child’s holiday.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the adults who carried on the tradition of mumming became known as "Mummers" and paraded on New Year’s Day, known as the Philadelphia Mummers Parade. It is a joyful event filled with music and dance. Those mummers spend an entire year creating costumes and practicing while playing instruments or dancing in those elaborate costumes that often weigh several hundred pounds.

It's been hundreds of years from the pagan harvest festivals to today’s Halloween and the Mummer’s Parade; things have evolved but not that much. We just don't worry about appeasing our ancestors. But the cycles in nature have remained. We decorate our homes with fall harvests of pumpkins, squash, apples, and the colorful leaves of the season. Our children dress in disguises and go door-to-door looking for treats. The culmination of autumn and harvest is celebrated with Thanksgiving. And we refer to our elderly as being in the autumn of their lives.

When my time comes to leave this world, I hope it is in the autumn. I don't want to go in the cold, bleak winter, or during the spring, which is always filled with hope of a new season. Nor do I want to go with fireworks in the blasted heat of summer. Let me go surrounded with nature's last hurrah of my favorite colors, as we settle down to face the winter. Let the Mother Nature's natural cycle be mine.

I love the autumn months, and they are filled with personal highs and lows. A few years back, I jumped at the chance to write a fall romance. And considering I met my husband in October and married him in November, I happen to think autumn is a very romantic time. A Skeleton at Her Door is that fall romance. It's filled with some Halloween fun, a dash of sexy, some serious moments, the joy of family for Thanksgiving, and a whole lot of love!

Buy link  Amazon
About the author
 E. Ayers is a multi-published and Amazon best-selling author of western and contemporary romances. Her books are never too sweet or too hot. She writes down the middle. She is proud to be part of the Authors of Main Street, an elite group of award-winning and best-selling contemporary authors.
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October 29, 2015

Guest Promo (CXII) Paranormal Romance Thursday Daisy Banks

Please welcome my guest and cyber friend Daisy Banks and her paranormal romance, 

                               Serving the Serpent

Reading about Daisy, I discovered something we had in common other than our love of romance–

interest in Tarot!

In Wales, Ceridwyn takes up her inherited duty to care for the dragons in the mountains. Awed by them and the huge book about them, she is determined to prove her worth.
Far away in Norway, Leif has growing concerns for his sick dragon. He discovers only one cure will stop his dragon’s suffering. The mighty Herensuge must journey to find his bonded mate.
When they meet, Ceri and Leif make combined efforts to aid the dragons and discover an astonishing surprise. The great lore book each of them protects tells they have a responsibility to the future. At this rare and magical time, not only the dragon pairing must occur.
Join Ceri and Leif as they work to keep the sworn silence and keep the dragons safe. Friendship is growing between them, but will it be enough? Can love blossom between two chosen to serve the serpent?
Buy link: is not available yet

Ceri said a swift, silent prayer and ducked into the cave mouth. Here, she undid the belt at her hips so her robes hung smooth as they should, and she slid off her Wellington boots. From this entrance, she’d tread barefoot over the chilly surface of the compacted pale clay and raw quartz pebbles of the path. Along and down, she searched with her fingers over the cold and damp rock wall, feeling her way down. She descended deeper into the gloom and passed the low-hanging lump of granite Mam always called Lizzie’s Pap. The darkness now complete, her stomach rolling and her breathing rapid, she heard the echo of Mam’s instructions in her mind as she stepped for the first time onto the gravel-edged shore where the dark waters of the Jet Llyn joined her world to that of her new charges. She counted four paces forward. Blind for now, she stretched out her right arm and felt about in the darkness until she found the thick branch of wood holding the torch she needed to light.
Tiny pebbles stuck under her toes. The nip in the air sent a shiver over her as she set her willow wand down, and with her fingers a bit shaky, she struck the match to light the moss wound around the top of the pole wedged into the gravel. The torch flared. The dry stalks, which must be replaced each visit here, took easily and burned up bright. She breathed out in a rush of relief. So far, everything was as it should be. A fresh rash of trembles raised gooseflesh all down her arms and not because of the chill in the cavern.
Ceri picked up her wand and lifted the lit torch. She carried the light in front of her in her left hand until she reached the scrap of gritty beach with its short rock causeway that projected forward like a finger reaching out toward the middle of the deep water. Here, she held the torch shoulder high so the light glittered and reflected as in a mirror off the depths of the Jet Llyn. In her other hand, she held the quartz-crystal-tipped rod, and pointing it, she positioned the clear stone on her wand so it hovered over the still dark surface.
She swallowed, gave a little quiver, forced down her apprehension, and sucked in a breath.
Beneath the quartz point of her rod, illuminated by the bright torchlight, a single fat bubble rose. The water rippled. Stronger circular movements followed until small waves lapped at the shore inches from where she curled her toes so they gripped into the stones. An itch tickled in her palm, but she kept the rod steady.
Just as Mam said, they were coming for her.
The dragons were coming.

Find Daisy banks here:

October 28, 2015

Wednesday Writing Wisdom (31) Neil Gaiman

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”

Neil Gaiman
10 November 1960 
Curious facts about:

 When he was a kid, he alphabetized all the books on his bookshelf.

When he was 16, he started a magazine called Metro with three friends.

He began The Ocean at the End of the Lane as a short story, to explain himself to his new wife, musician Amanda Palmer, who was away recording an album. But as he wrote, the story took on a life of its own.

As a journalist, Neil interviewed the likes of Divine from Pink Flamingos, British comedian Rik Mayall, Monty Python star Terry Jones, and Richard O'Brien from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And he wasn't just a faceless journalist for hire: Neil even turned up in the pictures.