Monday, October 31, 2011
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.
SE Black Rose Line
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!
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!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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...
- 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!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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, anger...it'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.
Available from The Wild Rose Press
Monday, October 10, 2011
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
Catherine Bybee, Author of Soul Mate. Fictionwise, ARe, and Amazon Bestseller in Anthology's
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
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.)
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.
Monday, October 3, 2011
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.
Callie Lynn Wolfe
Senior Editor, Black Rose