Monday, October 31, 2011

A Blessed Samhain and a Happy Halloween!

Hello! Callie Lynn here:) I had a wonderfully informative post on the meanings of our ghoulish holidays, however, Google had other ideas. After primping, saving, and more primping my post went Poof! So with that said, I thought I'd just give a brief post on how I celebrate this wonderfully wicked time of year. Of course, Halloween and Samhain are on top of my list of favorite holidays. I do, in fact, go all out with the decorations much like Christmas/Yule.

Halloween has been special to me all my life. How can you celebrate this day without
watching the infamous "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" and to dole out treats to all those adorable tricksters. But that is only a part of this holiday. Keeping Samhain is very special to me because I have a chance to remember all those that I have lost, those who have passed. Pets included. Some believe that pets do not have souls! I beg to differ. They are full of love and brightness. You can see their souls in the depth of their warm, loving eyes. But then, that is a different story.

Anyway, every Blessed Samhain, I light tealights for everyone that has passed from my life and honor their memory. Seems to grow in number the older I get but the sweetness of their memories warm my heart.

Now I'm off to prepare for all the ghouls, ghosts, and goblins that will be passing through this Hallow's Eve. May your eve be hauntingly ghoulish and your Samhain be blessed.

Callie Lynn
SE Black Rose Line

Spiral Dance

Dear Black Rose Readers,

I've been Wiccan since 1968 and had the wonderful opportunity to attend Starhawk's Spiral Dance a few years ago. Samhain is a special time for Wiccans as it is the time when the divide between the visible world and the invisible worlds is thinnest. It is a great time to honor the ancestors, for if it were not for them, we would not be here. Their messages are written in our DNA and there to read if we open ourselves to it.

Starhawk's Samhain celebration was held at Fort Mason in San Francisco the year I attended. Fort Mason is right on the Bay, so all the elements were there: earth in the hills around the Fort, water in the fog and the Bay, air in our breath and fire in the candles on the altars around the perimeter of the building. These altars had pictures of people who had passed on that year and art honoring them. Through incantation, reading the names of all the dead who had passed that year, and of course, the Dance, the dead were honored and called.

Have a happy and safe Samhain!


Some my Favourite Vampires

Aidan Turner as Mitchell, in the BBC's Being Human
James Marsters as Spike, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Alexander Skarsgard as Eric Northman in True Blood

Halloween . . . mmmm . . . one of my favourite times of the year. The clocks have gone back and the evenings are darker – with many more shadows – perfect for the creatures of the night. My favourite dark creature is, of course, the vampire. No question. And my favourite vampire is . . . Count Dracula.

Dracula . . . there’s a very good reason why Bram Stoker’s book has never been out of print since it was first published in 1897. Its dark atmospheric pages literally pull the reader in, never letting them go. I first read the book at school and it definitely instigated my love for the paranormal. Beautifully written – once you get used to the Victorian way of speaking of course – with such cleverly observed characters. In an era where women couldn’t vote and were very much dominated by men, Stoker introduced Wilhelmena Murray, a feisty intelligent woman far ahead of her time.

In my humble opinion no-one has, as yet, ever produced a Dracula film which is loyal to Stoker’s book. All have been glamourised and the story changed beyond all recognition. Coppola’s Dracula had the temerity to be titled, ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ which it wasn’t. The first appearance of Gary Oldman’s Count has him dressed in scarlet robes with a white wig which looked uncannily like Princess Leia, when the book clearly states he was ‘clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.’ Bit like me really! The Hammer Draculas were a little over the top, even ‘hammy’ but I just love them! My favourite being Dracula Prince of Darkness, it’s so gothic and creepy. The film’s one fault is not allowing Dracula to speak in the film, reducing the character to snarls and hisses. Although I still think Sir Christopher Lee is the best cinematic Dracula to date, with (ironically) a marvellous voice.

I think the BBC’s 1977 version of Dracula still remains the best version of the book itself. Starring Louis Jordan in the main role with Frank Finlay as Abraham Van Helsing and Bosco Hogan as Jonathan Harker. Judi Bowker plays Mina, a role which I saw her play again in a theatre production of Dracula last year. Strangely she doesn’t seem to have aged at all, which made me wonder if she is, perhaps a vampire?

But what of other vampires? They’re back in vogue again – hooray – thanks to the emergence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997. (Thank you Joss Whedon!) Which brings me to another of my favourite screen vampires, albeit on the small screen. No it’s not Angel, but the totally delectable Spike, or William the Bloody, played so brilliantly by James Marsters. All sculpted cheekbones, leather jacket and a voice to die for. Definitely one of the sexiest vampires to grace any screen. I have to admit to being impressed by his carefully studied South London accent – apart from the usual mistakes of words like ‘chance, dance, patronise etc’ which still sounded Californian. But I can forgive Spike anything.

True Blood has its own collection of hunks too. Our own Stephen Moyer, the Brit who plays Bill Compton, and the delicious Alexander Skarsgard who plays Eric Northman. Eric is a brilliant character too, he’s just so evil, although he still manages to be charming. Another fave of mine is Mitchell, the vamp from the UK series of Being Human. Angst-ridden and desperately trying to stay off human blood, Mitchell makes Angel look like – in Spike’s words – ‘as interesting as a table lamp.’ Aidan Turner starred as Mitchell in the first three seasons, but then sadly for the show, got offered a part in The Hobbit.

I’ve only just touched on a few of my favourite vampires here, but I can’t stop writing without mentioning my own vampire. William James Austen, a three-hundred-year old vampire. Ex Duke, millionaire, property owner and Elder of London, he just happens to be tall, dark, charming, and utterly gorgeous too. What more do you want from a vampire? Check him out in Fledgling published in Black Rose of course – and yes that’s an unashamed plug!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FOREVER FREED is NJRW Golden Leaf Best Paranormal of 2011!

I am so, so thrilled to announce that my vampire romance, FOREVER FREED, won the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award for the Best Paranormal of 2011!

If that wasn't exciting enough, the book was also a finalist in this contest for Best First Book of 2011!

It was such a thrilling, surreal moment. My legs went numb and I got all choked up! Only because of a friend's death grip on my hand did I manage not to lose it altogether!!! LOL

A truly special part of this particular contest's awards ceremony is that one of their members reads an excerpt from the winning book before they actually announce which one it was. So, the only people in the room who know the winner while she's reading are the author and anyone who happens to have read the book. It was incredible hearing my excerpt out loud. And here's the one she read:

She searched my eyes for a long moment. Forever came and went while I waited for her to speak.
Finally she smiled. A warmth so healing rushed through me I had to close my eyes at the goodness of it. “All that I am, Lucien, all that I have…it’s yours. And it feels like it always has been.”
My eyes flew open. I sucked in a breath. That was all I’d needed to hear. I pulled her into my arms and pressed kisses onto her hair and face, then leaned back so I could look into her eyes.
      “Thank you, Sam, thank God. Your acceptance of me…it eases the burden I have carried for the sin of what I am. Your love has helped me forgive myself. And that is a gift, Samantha, a priceless gift, this feeling of absolution. I have been searching for it my whole life.”

Every once in a while you experience something and know you'll remember it forever, and this was one of those times for me!

Thanks for letting me share!
Laura Kaye


A multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance, Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura is the author of the bestselling contemporary romance and award-nominated HEARTS IN DARKNESS and the bestselling and award-winning paranormal romance FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), as well as an erotic romance novella, JUST GOTTA SAY. Her fourth book, contemporary fantasy romance NORTH OF NEED, is the first in the 4-book Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The connection between fear and sex

I'm Barbara Edwads and I collect weird facts.
Psychologists claim there is a direct correlation between fear and the need to reproduce. That fact doesn’t sound romantic to me. It reminds me of teenage boys taking girls to see a slasher movie so she’ll cuddle close for protection. Did you come from a small town where the boys coaxed the girls to go into a cemetery at midnight? Guess what they hoped would be the result?

So as the author of romances, I take the cold fact and twist the feelings into a close encounter of the intimate kind.

In Ancient Blood, Lily and Cole develop a relationship before Cole reveals he is a werewolf. Scary yes, but also sexy and passionate. Lily already trusts him. Love is a short leap away.

Steve and Mel face an immortal danger in Ancient Awakening. Fear drives them together. It’s a wonderful chain made of linking incidents.

The idea is to take the reader along with the hero and heroine as they experience the danger, the fear and the closeness of escape to safety. There are a thousand different trails to that romantic ending. It’s even fun to stop them at the last minute so they are left panting for more.

Do you have a favorite story with these elements?

Ancient Awakening, Book One: Finding Rhodes End Series by Barbara Edwards


Police Officer Melanie Petersen is the only one who believes a suspicious death is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her. Her neighbor Stephan Zoriak is a prime suspect. While working for a major pharmaceutical company, he is exposed to a dangerous organism that changed him. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help Mel find the truth when the deaths continue. In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find more death and continued distrust that make them wonder if love can defy death.


“Don’t touch me, Mel, not unless you’re willing to do a lot more,” he warned as her hazel eyes flared golden.

“Don’t threaten me, Steve. You’re…”

He pulled her into his arms despite the alarm bells clanging in his head.

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Her widened eyes met his. Mel’s hands were trapped against his chest, but she didn’t push him away. Instead, her fingers curled into his shirt.

Her mistake. His mistake was to crush her mouth under his.

Mel’s soft lips parted. Need exploded. The taste of black coffee didn’t hide her sweet flavor. As her tongue tangled with his, her arms slid around his neck and her fingers burrowed through his hair.

Steve hungered to peel the starched shirt off her soft shoulders, lay her on the thick turf and ease his desire. He tasted her brows, her cheek, along her throat, seeking the source of her call. Her pulse whipped under his mouth, awakening another need.

His teeth gently closed on the vulnerable vein.

He wanted, wanted, wanted…

Cold alarm chilled his pounding blood.

Steve gasped for air. He’d forgotten his own ironclad rule. Mel’s eyelids flittered open to reveal the molten glow of desire but he forced himself free.

He had no right to touch any woman. Not until he knew he hadn’t become what he had set out to destroy.

Ancient Blood

Ancient Blood Buy link


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All I Want For Halloween is a Vampire! + Giveaway!

That's right. My idea of the sweetest, hottest, naughtiest Halloween treat would be the bad boys of the supernatural world. Fanged. Furious. And desperate for a little red-blooded treat of their own.

Oh yeah.

And I like 'em every way they come...

Big, tattooed, leathered-up vampire warriors? Check! Nothing would make a better treat in my Halloween basket than the Warden's Black Dagger Brotherhood. Unf, Zsadist.

Old school, lace-sleeved, gothic renaissance vamps? These were the ones I cut my teeth on. Lestat de Lioncourt anyone? MmmMmm.

Uber powerful, good-hearted, were-vamp hybrids? I'm new to Underworld, and boy am I hooked on Michael Corvin. Scott Speedman reminded me why I love Canada!

Angsty, sparkly teenage heartthrobs? Come on. Admit it. You're a Cullen, too! Oh, Edward, you may be a bit stalkerish, but you sure are hot doing it!

Oh, Mick, my Mick. What could be better than Alex O'Loughlin playing a freaking vampire? Come on, now, people! You know it's true! 'Nuff said.

And, speaking of Alex-as-vamp, I have to mention my love for a tormented, brooding, good-hearted vampire by the name of Lucien Demarco. That's right--my very own vampire hero from my paranormal romance, Forever Freed. Alex O'Loughlin was the image in my head as I wrote Lucien, and The Wild Rose Press's cover artist did such a good job capturing his physicality on the cover!

So, who'd I miss? Who are your favorite vampires? And which one would you most like to find in YOUR Halloween basket this year?

One commenter will win an ecopy of FOREVER FREED! Must leave e-mail address! Open to international! Contest closes at midnight EST on October 20 - FF's 5-month book birthday! WOOT!

About Forever Freed:
A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.

I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation--talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can...

Cool Forever Freed Facts:
  • Has 32 Amazon Reviews -- 25 are 5-stars!
  • Finalist for 2011 Best First Book in the NJRW Golden Leaf Contest!
  • Finalist for 2011 Best Paranormal Romance in the NJRW Golden Leaf Contest!
  • 64 Ratings on Goodreads with an average of 4.11 Stars!
Thanks for reading! And good luck!
Laura Kaye

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Romance

To someone interested in the paranormal, this is the best time of year for romance. What girl doesn’t want to fall in love with a vampire or a werewolf? For an author who specializes in paranormal romance, you’d think I’d have any number of romantic Halloween moments I could share with my readers. Sadly, I don’t. My husband’s idea of romance never included goblins or ghouls, unless it involved going to see a horror flick at the theater for our movie night. And thinking back to the many holidays we spent together, I discover that almost every Halloween I spent working. As the Assistant Manager of a bookstore, I worked most holidays to allow the other booksellers who had children time off to spend with their families. After all, kids love Halloween candy, don’t they? And I didn’t have any children of my own at the time. But, I always had fun handing out the candy for Trick or Treat Night at the mall. I loved to see the kids all dressed up in their Halloween costumes! So many creative ideas for costumes! It was so much fun!

 One Halloween night my husband and I spent together was during one of his concerts. My husband’s a singer and bass player in a band called Mystagen. They played out that night and everyone who attended dressed up in costumes. Oh, I love dressing up! And listening to my husband’s sexy deep voice croon out the lyrics to one of my favorite blues tunes he’d written always appeals to the romantic in me. I can always loose myself in his music. And, what a great way to close your eyes and imagine new romance stories while listening!

Honestly, my favorite romantic Halloween memories are deceptively simple. It didn’t even occur to me until I really started thinking about it. Every year the month of October is filled up with ghost programs on television. From haunted mansions, haunted history, haunted celebrities, haunted objects, you name it and it’ll probably air sometime in October. There is nothing I like better on television than watching something to do with ghosts. Syfy’s Ghost Hunters is a favorite with both my husband and me (lucky for us that show is on for more months than just October!). For the last few years, they film a Live Show on Halloween night. To some, this might seem boring, but I absolutely love it! I curl up with my husband and we watch into the wee hours in the morning, searching for any signs of ghosts that Jason, Grant and the rest of the crew may stumble across. This is Halloween romance to me. Watching ghost shows with the one I love!

Tell me, what are some of your most romantic memories of Halloween?

~Tricia Schneider worked at a bookstore for 12 years, 6 of those years as Assistant Manager. Now she writes full-time while raising her three young children. For more information visit her website, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads or visit The Wild Rose Press to purchase her books.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Inspiration Time

My inspiration comes from a variety of places: books, movies, songs, t.v. shows, etc. However, one of the most visceral sources is the weather. And, one of the best times of year is October, when autumn breezes carry the promise of cooler weather and the scent of freshly fallen leaves. Combine this with my love of history--and the possibility of dressing in period costume--and my enjoyment of horror and my fingers twitch with the need to be behind a computer screen writing. It seems only natural I'd also combine my interests and write a paranormal, period piece.

Donovan, the hero of His Hope, Her Salvation,  is a vampire, but not the blood-sucking kind. I've been in love with vampires since I was a small child, but the thought of drinking blood always turned my stomach. When I found out about psychic vampires--people who feed off of other's emotions--it seemed the perfect fit. 

People shed emotions without thinking about it. Happiness, sadness,'s all out there for others to devour. Few people can effectively hide their emotions. So, there's plenty of food for a psychic vampire.

What's scary about psychic vampires though isn't their ability to passively feed, but that talented ones can manipulate people, conjure the emotions that provide them the most energy.

In the world of the Guardians--a people devoted to protection--a psychic vampire, or Hunter, would never intentionally cause harm to innocents. The solution? Find a mate who can provide them with the emotions necessary to keep them fed.

His Hope, Her Salvation
Promised in marriage to an abusive oaf, Judith resolves to find out if there can be passion without love. Snatches of conversation overheard at the local inn lead her to a mysterious American merchant who might be able to satisfy her carnal curiosity and capture her heart.

Donovan, a Guardian Hunter, is on the trail of a rogue Elysian in Georgian England. As the son of the First Hunter, he long ago gave up hope of finding his heart's mate. When Judith appears in his study, his inner beast and his heart demand he answer her plea for help.

Will their passion answer their hearts' pleas, or will it wither under the threat of reality?

The voices in the taproom of the Horse and Hound deafened us as we entered. A large group of men stood packed together in the center of the room. A roar ripped through the crowd as it surged inward.
I shoved my way through the mass of sweaty bodies with Eallair following in my wake. I stopped when confronted with the scene that held the crowd enthralled.
A large, older, well-dressed gentleman gripped my mysterious guest from earlier by an elbow. He shook her and yelled, “You little whore!” He raised a hand and slapped her across the face with his open palm.
The crowd cheered as she collapsed to her knees, her shoulder wrenched as the hand on her elbow restrained her from crumbling into a heap on the floor.
The dead look in her eyes and the lack of any outward emotion testified to the regularity of similar scenes she must have suffered. With a bellow of rage, I swooped forward and scooped her to her feet just as the old man raised his hand to strike her again. Placing my body between them, I snarled, “Release her.”

Available from The Wild Rose Press 

Also at Amazon

Monday, October 10, 2011

Putting the Romance in Halloween

Okay, I have a confession. I have no romantic Halloween memories. Sure, I have plenty of memories of haunted houses and grabbing onto the arm of the nearest guy, but I wouldn't call that romantic. More like self-preservation to stick my male friend between me and the crazy chainsaw carrying guy. One of my first dates with the Hubster was to visit a haunted house, but I can't remember it ended in a romantic way. Since I'm fresh out of Halloween romantic memories, I came up with a list of things to do to put some romance in Halloween.

First, take those candles sitting in the jack-o-lanterns and put them around your bath or in your bedroom. Please don't leave the candles unattended! Once you get the candles in the bed/bathroom, pop a romantic CD in, pour in some bubble bath and add the nearest guy (hopefully your hubby or significant other and not some stranger on the street). Stir well and enjoy. :)

After Halloween there is always extra candy. Save your child from hyperactivity and potential cavities and feed some of that chocolate to your significant other and let him reciprocate by feeding some to you. You know what they say about chocolate. :) Yummy!

What are your suggestions for leftover Halloween decorations?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Romantic Halloween?

Our theme this month here on the Black Rose Blog is about warm and fuzzy memories of Halloweens past. But I have to tell you... I don't remember a single Halloween with a romantic twist to it. So when I sat back and thought about what I should write on this page today, I did remember all the scary movies I'd watched in the past. Often times I'd watch these movies with a special someone by my side... protecting me from the big scary monster in the closet on the screen. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized the boys asked girls out to scary movies for the soul purpose of scaring the crap out of us. I know it didn't take much for me to jump and scream and imagine headlights following us home from the movies.

There is something psychological that happens in every one of us after we've been scared. The sympathetic nervous system, or fight and flight response of our body, is how we often respond to being scared. The parasympathetic nervous system, or feed and breed, is how we respond when we're relaxed and not in fear for our life.

So, note to guys taking girls out on a date this Halloween...
Scary movies = Girls running away and getting out of the mood for any Samhain nookie
Chic Flicks = Girls getting all those warm an fuzzy feelings that might increase you chances of some Samhain nookie. 

This is life according to Catherine, which has no scientific data to back it up and should be seen only as her whacked out way of looking at life.

Then again, I just might have something here.

Catherine Bybee, Author of Soul Mate.  Fictionwise, ARe, and Amazon Bestseller in Anthology's

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Halloween Punk

As a child, I always loved Halloween almost as much as Christmas. Besides picking out a costume weeks before the big day, there was almost always a party or hay ride or something fun. As I grew older, those fun events grew fewer and farther between.

Then in 1980, I got married. My husband had been laid off for almost two months before the wedding and had only recently landed a job as a route salesman. I was still in college. We lived in an old house that had been divided into four apartments. Ours was on the ground floor and only had three rooms. Money was tight. But that first Halloween my husband and I went to see this movie. A first of it's kind called a slasher movie. (Or as we called it back then, a teen sex and die movie.)

Friday the 13th had been released on the West Coast in May of that year. It may have made it to the East Coast prior to October 1980, but my husband and I went to see it with friends our first Halloween.

I don't really remember how it happened, but we somehow ended up coming home in separate vehicles. I think my husband was late getting home from work and met us there. He'd parked in a different parking lot or something  and I think I left my purse in my friend's car. So, I told my husband I'd ride home with them and meet him back at the apartment.

There was limited parking behind the apartment and any visitors had to park on the street. But when our friends bought me home, the street was packed. I told them to drop me off and I'd walk. It was less than a block.

But I'd just seen Friday the 13th. And I was alone. Still, I was trying to prove I wasn't a wuss. I was a married adult woman. I was twenty. lol!

I remember walking down the sidewalk beneath a street light that had blown. It was a mild October night. A cool breeze made it feel chillier than it probably was. The half-moon did little to illuminate the dimly lit sidewalk. My heels clicked against the cement. Orange and brown leaves swirled around my feet.

Chills shivered up my spine as I thought of a particularly gruesome scene from the movie. This hot guy--played by Kevin Bacon--who later became one of my favorite actors, was a new face at the time. In the movie, he was stabbed from underneath his bed.

As a child, I was terrified of the underside of my bed. No limb ever hung off the mattress. Yep, I knew I was going to have nightmares that night. I walked faster.

As I entered the front hall of the old house and struggled with my keys, my hand shook. As I came through the front door, I heard something at the backdoor. My heart nearly stopped beating. Knees knocking, I peaked around the corner as my husband stepped through the door. I screamed. He laughed. I slapped his shoulder.

My heart was still pounding. But he was laughing. Yep, I had to get even.

Halloween 1980 fell on a Friday and because my husband had rushed home to make the movie in time, he didn't take a shower. So, before going to bed that night, he got in the shower. This was my opportunity!

I thought about the way he'd scared me. I thought about all the times he turned on the hot water in the sink while I was in the shower so the water in the shower would turn ice cold. He thought that was funny. I thought it was time for some payback. And boy, was he going to pay!

Yes, I had evil on my mind. I thought about the movie, smiled, and got a bottle of ketchup out of the fridge.

The tub in that old apartment was an antique clawfoot with a thick shower curtain that wrapped all the way around. I slipped into the bathroom. Steam rolled across the floor.  He never saw me coming.

As quiet as Mrs. Vorhees before she drilled the spear through Kevin Bacon's throat, I stood on the toilet and looked down at the top of my husband's head as he washed his hair. I raised my arm and...

Poured the whole bottle of ice cold ketchup over his head.

He screamed like a girl and I never laughed so hard in my life. From that moment on, we started "punking" each other. And I've loved every minute of it. So, October 31, 1980 stands out as one of the best Halloweens ever.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Halloween and A Blessed Samhain to all!

A very spooky Halloween to you all. Beware the goblins and ghouls this haunted holiday. Watch for those who deceive with charismatic conversation and surreal magnetism. Be expecially care of those hunky shifters and weres. They can glamour the coldest, heartless witch this night! And have her trembling in her pointy little witchy boots...

Hello, my name is Callie Lynn, Senior Managing Editor of the Black Rose Line. I picked this special day because it is one of my personal favorite times of the year. I celebrate both Halloween and Samhain.

I thought it might be a good day to explore the meaning of each holiday.

Origin of name
The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556. (ref. wikipedia)

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)", derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning "summer's end." Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish calendar and, falling on the last day of Autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things would be most apt to happen. To ward off these spirits, the Irish built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.

Snap-Apple Night (1832) by Daniel Maclise Depicts apple bobbing and divination games at a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland.

Halloween is also thought to have been heavily influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints' Day (also known as Hallowmas, All Hallows, Hallowtide) and All Souls' Day. Falling on November 1st and 2nd, collectively they were a time for honoring the Saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach heaven. By the end of the 12th century they had become days of holy obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in Purgatory and "souling," the custom of baking bread or soul cakes for "all crysten [christened] souls."

In Britain the rituals of Hallowtide and Halloween came under attack during the Reformation as protestants denounced Purgatory as a "popish" doctrine incompatible with the notion of predestination. In addition the increasing popularity of Guy Fawkes Night from 1605 on saw Halloween become eclipsed in Britain with the notable exception of Scotland.

North American almanacs of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century give no indication that Halloween was recognized as a holiday. The Puritans of New England maintained strong opposition to the holiday and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that the holiday was introduced to the continent in earnest. Initially confined to the immigrant communities during the mid-nineteenth century, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the first decade of the twentieth century it was being celebrated coast to coast by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds. (ref. Wikipedia)

There you have the formal history of Halloween. Today, the day represents a time where we can dress up and be anyone we want to be. Ghouls, vamps, ghosts, jack-o-laterns, wolfmen, Freddy or Michael have been joined by Sponge Bob, Princess Diana, President Bush, clowns, Raggety Anne/Andy, present TV/Movie characters or anyone/anything your little heart desires. Trick or Treaters are seen wondering on the streets, homes are decked out in yellow, orange, and black in the true spirit of the season much as we do for the Christmas/Winter Holidays. Along with this, I am sure to practice the more spirtual Samhain. In our house, we light tealights for all who have passed including pets! This is very important to me. Each tealight represents a specific person or pet.

So amongst the tricker treaters, the festive and ghoulish decor there is a deep spiritual meaning behind the holiday. Please take a moment and remember the lost ones. May their souls be blessed and move on.

Thank you for joining me today.

Blessed be,

Callie Lynn Wolfe
Senior Editor, Black Rose