Cursed Love

25 10 2009

Misty Overgrown CemetarySandra loves Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!

For me, Halloween means costumes and horror movies, popcorn and creepy decorations. But what I love best are the stories that come out of the woodworks during this time of year: Gothic romances.

Whether it’s Wuthering Heights or Tim Burton movies I’ve seen a hundred times, I adore spending time in haunted castles and listening to the wind howling on the moors.

Wales, the setting for Wish for the Moon, is home to many Gothic stories, probably because it has more castles than any other region of the UK. Many of our Halloween traditions originated with the Welsh, and ghost stories abound.
One such tragic tale of romance and superstition is the story of Nant Gwrtheyrn. Nant Gwrtheyrn is a valley in North Wales near the sea. As legend has it, three monks from a nearby monastery were driven out of the village by stones, and they cursed the valley with three curses: no two lovers from there would ever marry, not one of the inhabitants would be buried in consecrated ground, and the village itself would die. Eventually, a couple named Rhys and Meinir became engaged. On their wedding day Meinir, the bride-to-be, followed an old custom by pretending reluctance and going off to hide; Rhys and the other young men couldn’t find her though they searched all day, and Rhys stayed searching all night and the next day, wandering up and down the valley calling out her name. And he continued to do so all his life until one day when he was an old man. A Welsh rain forced him to take shelter under an old oak tree; at the height of the storm the tree was struck by lightening and split open, and the skeleton of his beloved Meinir fell out before him, still in her wedding dress. Rhys died soon afterwards of a broken heart, and the two lovers were placed in the same coffin, but even there they were not to rest in peace. As the cart carrying the coffin was climbing the hill out of the valley, it hit a rock and the coffin was shaken off and tumbled down the cliff to sink into the sea, doomed by the second curse. As for the third curse, the demand for the local quarry ceased and the village was abandoned as predicted.

So what are your favorite tales of cursed love? Share and you’ll be entered in this month’s contest!

Sandra

–author of Wish for the Moon, available now from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon

www.sandrajonesromance.com





Scary Places

19 10 2009

Mutter‘Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.
~William Shakespeare

This week I caught part of a television show on the Travel Channel about the Top Ten World’s Creepiest Destinations. I noticed lots of specials on creepy and haunted places while I was channel flipping, and I’m sure they were all in anticipation of Halloween.
Mutter 2I have to confess something. I’m a bit of a Halloween Scrooge. I live in the sticks with no close neighbors. I don’t get trick-or-treaters. If I did any creepy decorating, no one would see it but me…so I can’t get too enthused. But I did get pretty excited about something I saw on that Creepy Destinations show…but then, I have always had a fascination with the morbid (which is why I love Mary Roach’s book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers so much).
I did not know this place existed: The Mutter Museum of Medical History. But now I’d like to go. They even have a Day of the Dead Festival there on Halloween, and I don’t think they have to decorate for the holiday.
You can find more information about the museum at the following websites.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia: The Mutter Museum

Scary Happenings
Mutter 3Where there is no imagination there is no horror. ~Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.
Comment away for a chance to win this month’s contest. Do you share my fascination with the morbid and grotesque?





Halloween Costumes Gone Amok!

17 10 2009

I just love Halloween. Don’t you? Come on…what other time of year can you pretend to be someone else and not have people stare at you like you just escaped from the nearest sanitarium? Wait…did I just reveal something I shouldn’t have about myself? 🙂  Yes, I’m 30, and I still love dressing up! It’s even more fun for me now because I get to dress up my kids, too. This year, the kiddos are going as animals. My youngest daughter’s going as a spider (an absolutely CUTE spider, btw) and my oldest girl is going as a pink flamingo. They’re going to fit right in at ‘Boo at the Zoo’! I can’t wait, but I still haven’t figured out what my hubby and I are going to go as…

I’ve scoured the internet for ideas (instead of writing, shh!), and let me tell you, I’ve found some…doozies. so, in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share my top five “favorites” with you guys…

trouser snake charmer

trouser snake charmer

twister costume

twister costume

hammered costume

hammered costume

plug & socket couple

plug & socket couple

Wet T-Shirt Winner

Wet T-Shirt Winner-the obviously fake boobs just crack me up!

Hmm…does anyone else notice a theme here…? Most of these are sexual in nature. Wonder what that says about me? Better yet…I probably shouldn’t ponder that question, should I, LOL? 🙂

Anyway, don’t forget to comment on any of our October posts to be entered in October’s contests! Good luck & Happy Halloween!

Jordyn James





Samhain Song

5 10 2009

samhain1Bet you didn’t know that if you celebrate Halloween, you are part of a history that goes back at least 6000 years. Archeologists have made many discoveries of different celebrations around the Halloween time of year.

Around 4000 B.C.E., prehistoric tribes divided their year into two parts. In what we call spring, somewhere near around the beginning of May, the sun was warm and bright and the earth came alive with greenery. During this light half of the year, domestic animals were turned out to graze and food was plentiful. In the fall, around the time of our Halloween, days were short and the earth died. In the dark half of the year, the animals and food were gathered up and protected against the dangers of darkness with special fire ceremonies to appease the earth spirit so she would return and to ward off troubsome spirits who loved the dark.

samhain2Moving forward, the Early Celts populated the European continent. Around 350 B.C.E. they brought their skill at animal husbandry and their culture and religion to Ireland and Britain. They celebrated four fire festivals, Candlemas, Beltainne, Lughnasad, and Samhain(pronounced sav-en in Scot Gaelic orsow-een in Welsh Gaelic). The Samhain festival marks the passing of the light, but more importantly it is the end of the Celtic year. The cycle of time in the Celtic belief system allowed for two times during the year when the veil between the living and the dead was lifted. Beltainne was one and Samhain was the other. The Celts did not fear their dead and so welcomed the time when those who had passed to Tir na n’Og (the Celtic afterlife), might return.  They left food for their ghostly visitors as a welcoming gesture. This is believed to have lead to the practice of giving out treats on Halloween night. The hope was that those who returned would provide information about the past or the future. By doing this deed for the living, the dead could earn “brownie points” towards moving up the reincarnation cycle. So Samhain was a time of thanks and blessings.

Green-Fairy-absinthe-430052_400_487But what about all the scary stuff associated with Samhain? While the Celtic mythos did not include demons and devils as such, they did believe in the Faery Folk.  Elves weren’t evil, but were best left alone. Fairies, who lived in underground mounds called sidhe (pronounced shee) were thought to feel resentment toward the humans that forced them to inhabit the underground. On the days when these afterlife inhabitants could overcome the veil separating the worlds, faeries were thought to roam the countryside making mischief and even kidnapping a human or two, just for fun. Yet there are a few records of humans that never returned.

The festival lasted for three days. One night and day to honor and thank the Earth for her bounty, one night and day to rekindle the flame and night and day to honor the dead.

So whether you celebrate, Samhain, Halloween, All Saints Day, or Day of the Dead, you are part of a long rich history of late autumn celebrations.

In honor of this Samhain, I’m giving away a copy of my debut GotWolf_w4352_300novel, Widow’s Peak and a copy of the new anthology from the Wild Rose Press Got Wolf, featuring novellas by Helen Hardt and Ria Ellis. To enter just leave a comment on any of the weekly posts throughout the month of October. We’ll draw a winner at 11:59pm on Samhain Eve.





Another Month, Another Contest…

1 10 2009

Another month has come to a close. October’s chilling fall winds are just around the corner, and we know what that means. Time to break out the windbreakers as we prepare to attend those fall festivals, fairs, hay rides, and let’s not forget one of my personal chocolate-overdosing activities, trick-or-treating.

Halloween, All Hollow’s Eve, Day of the Dead, All Soul’s Day, All Saints Day…. Whatever you personally call it, it’s a holiday celebrated by many countries around the world, by different cultures, in different ways, and for slightly different reasons. Throughout the month, we’ll be discussing some of these traditions and their origins, starting with Hanna’s post next Monday on Samhain—not the publisher!—because our October theme is everything Halloween. Nothing is off limits this month! (Okay, maybe not nothing, lol.)

100_1220

My daughter's (Autumn) 2nd Halloween. She was a "bundle" bee.

Not only will we be sharing a little bit about the origins of the holiday, we want to know what Halloween means to YOU and your family. What traditions do you have? Favorite memories? Costumes you or your kids wore? We’d love to know! As always, we’ve got great prizes to give away this month, including a copy of Hanna’s newly released book and an indulgent chocolate gift basket! Check back soon for more details and more prizes!

In the meantime, start posting those Halloween stories. To get us started, here’s a couple interesting Halloween traditions from around the world! (Courteously of http://www.novareinna.com/festive/world.html)

Germany: people hid their knives because they didn’t want to harm the returning spirits.

Ireland: Children like to play lots of tricks on their neighbors, one of which is called “knock-a-dolly.” Children knock on neighbor’s doors then haul ass.

Sweden: the Friday prior to All Saints Day is a shortened work day and kids get a school-free day! (Wouldn’t we all love that.)

Your turn…

~Staci