Tag Archive | Halloween

It’s That Time of Year by Charlene Roberts

From Christina: I loved reading Charlene’s thoughts about the Christmas season. I, too, miss some of the “old-fashioned” celebrations. Maybe we can bring them back!

 

It’s That Time of Year

by Charlene Roberts

Oh, it’s that time of year!  Festivities, friends, family and fun!

Charlene 1

I have to admit, as much as I don’t like the over-zealous Christmas commercialization (I mean really; Christmas songs and advertisements right after Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween? In October?), I do feel that extra bit of excitement when the first snowflakes are flying through the air.

I wish sometimes that Christmas was celebrated the old-fashioned way—visiting neighbors, buying gifts that meant something and treating it as the cherished holiday that it is. Call me old, I don’t care—I miss the friendliness of strangers yelling “Merry Christmas!” as they scurried hither and yon, looking for that perfect gift. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to.

I also like to spend the holidays reflecting on what has happened in the past year and what I can do to make the next year better, for myself and for others. I also use the time to think of goals; I don’t wait until the New Year (I’m sort of like Santa; making a list and checking it twice). Besides life goals (weight loss, work already!), I also like to work on my writing goals; I’m a slow writer, so having a rough outline of what I would like to accomplish for the next year helps to keep me on track.Charlene 2

But Christmas should be fun time! Whether it’s watching television shows (Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol), going out to admire the Christmas decorations, or attending church) or honoring the season in your own special way, please enjoy yourself (hey, if you’re one of the lucky ones like me, that’s five days off work—whoo hoo!!) 🙂

Charlene Roberts is an active member of the Romance Writers of America. She lives in Toronto, Canada.  She’s been a model, and has also worked in the film, consulting, and insurance agencies.

Charlene says she likes for her heroes to be a little unpredictable, and she loves when plans come together. Be sure to check out her latest release, Festive Persuasion, a Christmas novella available from Ellora’s Cave.

 

 

Forked Eyeballs by Tricia Andersen

From Christina: What would Halloween be without a few gruesome goodies to munch on or serve to little goblins? Today, author Tricia Andersen takes time out from writing to share a delightful little treat with us.

Forked Eyeballs

by Tricia Andersen

I love to try to make creepy food for the holiday.  I think I get into baking more for Halloween than Christmas!  This is a recipe I saw a year or two ago.  It’s sort of a spin off of cake balls but with doughnut holes instead of cake.

Forked Eyeballs (from “Spoonful” courtesy of Disney)

Forked Eyeballs Photo from Family Fun Magazine

2 (11 ounce) bags of white chocolate chips

12 doughnut holes

Semisweet chocolate chips

Tube of red decorator frosting

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To coat a dozen doughnut holes, melt the white chocolate chips with the oil over low heat (and keep the chocolate warm while you work).  With a fork, spear each doughnut hole and submerge it in the melted chocolate to coat it, then gently tap off the excess.

Stick a semisweet chocolate chip with its point cut off onto each doughnut hole, cut end first.  Place the forks (handle side down) in a mug and allow the chocolate coating to harden.

Use a tube of red decorator frosting to add squiggly veins radiating out from the pupils.

Happy haunting!

Tricia Andersen is the author of the popular “Black Irish” books.  Books 1 and 2 (“Black Irish” and “Heartland”) are available now. The 3rd book in the series, “The Troubles” comes out in November.  She lives in Iowa with her husband and three children. In addition to writing and baking spooky treats, Tricia coaches and participates in track and field, does kickboxing, reads, sews, and is involved in many of her children’s activities.

You can find Tricia online at the following sites:

Tricia Andersen – Sinfully Sweet Romance

Facebook – Tricia Andersen

Twitter @triciaanderson

Pinterest: Tricia Anderson

 

 

Halloween Memories by Charlene Roberts

From Christina: I didn’t have room to include Charlene’s entire title…LOL.  But I’ve listed it below…Mwahahahaha!!!

Halloween Memories – the SCARY ones! Mwahahaha!!

 by Charlene Roberts

Ahh, Halloween. One of my favourite times of the year. To be scared to death!

My friends think I’m nuts, and as such I have no one to keep me company for Halloween events. I enjoy them, but I’m not going by myself, are you kidding?

I have fond memories; does anyone remember a television show called “Night Stalker”? Man, that was the best scary show on TV. Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to sleep at night!

I also enjoy “Supernatural” – sure it helps that there are some cute guys on the show (hello, Sam!), but the earliest episodes were great. Hunting down the truth behind mythical and horror stories, and fighting ghosts. There was one episode with a scarecrow and sacrifices that still gives me the creeps!

So what is it about Halloween and its faithful following? All Hallows’ Eve represents the end of the harvest season and to stock up before winter sets in. it also involved lighting bonfires and rituals.

But I digress – I’m supposed to talk about why I love such a scary time of year! I think it has to do with adding a bit of scariness to an otherwise everyday life. And as October 31 represents the time when the door to the Underworld opened just enough to allow the spirits to roam the Earth, it adds another level of spookiness to an already spooky night.

So without further ado, some of my favourite Halloween memories!

 Haunted houses

Screemers in Toronto, Canada

Pic 1

This is one of the best haunted houses I’ve had the pleasure of screaming in. 6 spooky attractions, each one better than the last.

I went with a group of friends (3 girls, 4 guys)

I won’t tell you about all of them, but I’ll tell you the best:

1.   Corn field labyrinth – try running away from a psycho scarecrow!

2.   Medieval execution – warriors walk through the crowd, choosing those unlucky enough to go to the front to have their head chopped off. When the guillotine falls, the crowd is “splattered” with something, and it wasn’t water – I checked!

3.   Haunted house – we had to wait for awhile in line, but watching the girls run screaming out at the exit had my heart pumping before we went inside. There were closets with hands that reached out to grab you; a demon that followed you. A living room with a huge fireplace, and too quiet. The girls and I decided it was okay until the zombie got up from the top of the fireplace (we couldn’t see him as it was just high enough). The best was the huge room at the end. There was nothing in it except the demon, waiting for us. However he was the distraction from the cage buried in the floor filled with ghouls that shook the gate we stood on and grabbed your ankles. I have never ran so fast nor screamed so loud! But in the end, it was HUGE fun.

 Movies

I have always watched scary movies. Unfortunately, my friends think I’m crazy and won’t go with me, so I either have to find a guy friend or wait for the movie to debut on television. No way am I going to a theatre on my own!

Salem’s Lot

Picture 2

I’ve seen my share of vampire movies, but this one? It had everything;

David Soul (of the original Starsky & Hutch TV series) plays a writer who returns to his hometown to find that it is infested with vampires and with the help of several residents, systematically starts destroying them. The story sounds simple enough, but it is usually the simple things that have the greatest impact. The movie was based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, the numero uno author of horror stories. With a dark, creepy atmosphere, mysterious disappearances, spooky music and actors who played great vampires, it had it all.

I was already creeped out when the little boy who got bitten was floating in front of his brother’s bedroom window.Picture 4

But when the face of the vampire finally “popped up” onto the large TV screen it scared me so badly that I hid in the bathroom and refused to come out.  The movie was made in the late 70’s, and to this day, I can still see that vampire’s face. Picture 3

Imagine this ugly mug magnified a few times and you’ll understand why I had nightmares!

An American Werewolf in London

Picture 5

Man, what on earth possessed me to go to the theatre to see this one? Oh yeah, my friend Faith. She is the one exception to my girlfriends, and enjoys horror movies more than me. This is a woman who watched Night of the Living Dead without flinching.

Two friends are on a backpacking holiday in England. After a tense meeting with village locals, the boys take off across the moors…at night. They’re attacked by a werewolf, which leaves one friend dead and the other in hospital, who finds out the hard way that he’ll change at the next full moon. Picture 6

The transformation scenes were awesome; I managed to watch some of it through my hands that covered my face. The ruthless attacks were terrifying, and my over-active imagination had me sleeping with the lights on for the next two nights.

Imagine looking over your shoulder and seeing this little lovely coming for you.

Picture 7

There have been remakes and a sequel, but they don’t equal to the original, if I say so myself.

Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe Rocky Horror Picture Show - Logo #2

And now for something completely different….

When I had first heard about this movie, I had no interest in it. I mean, come on; a musical horror movie?

But every year, my friends would get excited about this show to the point where I had to investigate; I mean my girlfriends watched this show and told me it wasn’t scary. What’s up with that?

Picture 9

So when it finally showed on TV during Halloween I checked it out. I have never laughed so hard! The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with its dance scenes, singing and the transsexual Dr. Frank N. Furter was beyond what I had initially thought. Picture 10

I haven’t been to a theatre when this airs every year in Toronto, but the “toast” scene (throwing pieces of toast at the screen) is supposed to be a scream! (Pardon the pun)

Books

I have to admit there not many books that scare me. The best horror stories I’ve enjoyed are Stephen King’s and I find his collection of short stories are more frightening than the full length novels. I think it has to do with the idea of using ordinary little towns as backdrops and offering a “taste” of what can happen.

Picture 11

The best one I’ve read was “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” – I don’t know what it was about that book (I think it was the vampire), but short stories give just enough of a taste of a story that allows me to use my imagination to think “what else could have happened?” And then I freak myself out! lol

And there you have it – some of my fondest Halloween memories. I’ve noticed that in terms of the scare factor, the more realistic it is, the scarier it is for me.

What’s your favourite Halloween memory?

Charlene’s latest release celebrates another holiday. Festive Persuasion, a sweet Regency romance,  is now available from Ellora’s Cave. 

Harvesting Your Thoughts by Deryn Pittar

From Christina: When I first spoke to other authors about sharing a few autumn thoughts, Deryn Pittar brought up an interesting point. Not everyone is celebrating autumn. She’s a “down-under” author, so instead of chill winds and frosty nights, she’s getting ready for the warmth and renewal of spring. I invited her to share her thoughts on her own, unique “other-side-of-the-world” perspective of this time of year.

 

Harvesting Your Thoughts

by Deryn Pittar

 

In the Northern Hemisphere you’re all thinking about harvesting and battening down for the coming winter.  You have Halloween, with pumpkins hollowed out with cut faces and candles lit inside them. I believe you put these on your door steps. You’re enjoying the color of autumn, the brisk winds spreading their colorful leaves over the ground and you’re making the most of every hot sunny day that sneaks its way into autumn’s progress, lulling you with memories of summer.

When your winter storms hit we hear about them on our news, in the midst of our summer days while we sit around in the long evenings, enjoying barbeques,  and the benefits of daylight saving – except for the children who refuse to go to bed while the sun is up.

 

 

The View from Down Under

 

September and October in the Southern Hemisphere are a time of hope and growth. We hope for a nice wet spring, warm enough to make the trees blossom and the grass grow. Our palates are blessed with the crunch of freshly picked asparagus, lightly steamed, then drizzled with melted butter and garlic.

We don’t enjoy the equinox winds that sometimes blow from September till December, drying the ground, bending the trees and blasting the residents with its sharp edges, because winter is inclined to lash it tail down here, Down Under.

While you are snuggling down to write this autumn, preparing to put into words all your ideas and themes that summer activities have stopped you from doing – think of us. September October is when we dash out into the garden, plant and nurture, dreaming of a bountiful harvest.

Halloween is not very exciting down under.  An American custom, it’s still catching on. Children dress in costumes and knock on the door for treats.  Don’t ask them for a trick, they have no idea what you mean.  It’s like a begging trail. No pumpkins, but lots of witches and fearsome masks. Noses are turned up at homemade cookies, shop-bought sweets are the preferred treats. There is considerable parental resistance to this pseudo holiday.

Finding time to write in spring becomes a search for elusive minutes. Where have they gone? They’ve migrated north, to you. This is your opportunity to finish that novel, complete that poem, solve that plot hole and submit the romance you’ve rewritten three times. Grab the chance while your fellow authors, Down Under, are in the tight grasp of spring on the energy carousel.

I hope you enjoy your autumn and winter. I envy you, tucked up tight, snug inside, perhaps snowbound even, with all our spare minutes piled up in the hallway for you to use – until come April/May they wing their way south once more, for me to snaffle and devour.

Grab them, cherish them, use them well. I’ll be waiting for the leftovers!

Deryn Pittar describes herself as “a lady of advancing age, greying at the temples, and enjoying the benefits of retirement.” She enjoys words and has developed a love of Haiku, Tanka, Fibonacci and other forms of short poetry.  In addition to her poetry, she has published short fiction, two Sci Fi Romance novellas and is now working on a third. You can visit her at A Writer’s Ramblings.

Halloween by Gemma Juliana

Author Gemma Juliana poses an interesting question today. How do you like your Halloween? 

Halloween

by Gemma Juliana

How do you like your Halloween – mild or spicy? I’ve noticed two things about Halloween in recent years. It has grown in the past few years in popularity to rival other major holidays. Also, it has become more extreme – as in gruesome. The Halloween costume and decoration market is exploding with prosperity. This holiday is now as popular with adults – if not more so – as with children.

Taking a walk down memory lane, I have warm memories of mild Halloweens that would probably be considered boring nowadays.

Mild means running from door to door trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes, throwing a party with spooky music, placing orange, purple and black lights at your door or in your windows, putting a blow-up ghost in your front garden, baking treats like spider-shaped cupcakes… and don’t forget the candy!

Trick or Treat?

Spicy means dressing up very risqué, or downright gruesome. You might be a corpse that just clawed its way back into the realm of the so-called living, or a zombie with a blood-splattered head and an axe hanging from it. Just looking at it makes you flinch… then you pay for a haunted house experience that will literally make you die of fright. This is not for the weak of heart, or those who hid behind their hands while watching Rosemary’s Baby (me)…

As more adults jump on the Halloween bandwagon, the dark element associated with this holiday has grown. In ancient times, All Hallows Eve was the end of the year and beginning of a new year. It was a sacred time of communion between the living and the dead.

More recently, Halloween was for children. They dressed up as ghosts with white sheets over their heads or in a nurse, princess, doctor, or police officer costume. The most gruesome costumes were witches or devils, and they weren’t gruesome at all.

Many people enjoy the scary dark side of Halloween, but speaking for myself, I miss the fun, innocent days when Halloween was exciting. It was about dressing up, collecting candy with friends and running from door to door saying, trick or treat!

GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son, and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity. Her latest novella, Autumn Masquerade, is about a career woman with psychic gifts and the ability to speak to ghosts. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and Apple.

Connect with Gemma

GemmaJuliana.com | Twitter | facebook

 

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Welcome to Rhodes End by Barbara Edwards

Come along with author Barbara Edwards to Rhodes End to celebrate that spookiest time of year.  There’s a cool wind blowing…and do I hear bones rattling in the distance?

 

Welcome to Rhodes End

by Barbara Edwards

 

Welcome to Rhodes End where All Hallows’ Eve is celebrated on the Town Green.

Darkness falls as the two churches bracketing the wide swath of grass like book-ends dispense orange and black decorated candy bags. The scents of cinnamon, burning candles and scorched pumpkin drift on the breeze. An owl hoots from a hollow tree in the ancient cemetery behind the church. The nearby streets are dark and empty in stark contrast to the noisy party-goers. No-one goes from house to house yelling Trick-or-Treat since an incident in 1943 that no one claims to remember.

A huge bonfire lights the night where excited children toast marshmallows donated by Nelson’s grocery store and parents drink heated apple cider from Styrofoam cups. Peter’s Pluckers’, a local blue-grass band is stomping out ‘Turkey in the Straw’ to loud clapping at the gazebo strung with bobbing skeletons and ghost lights. Johnson’s Orchard donates huge tubs of shiny green Granny Smith apples for bobbing. The dripping faced kids hardly wait to be dried before running off to another game. Colorfully attired townsfolk escort laughing, excited children from event to event. Everyone wants to keep the little ones safe tonight.

Costumed or painted to reflect their own personality, every child is present except Mickey Burton. He has the measles. A few giddy teenagers who dared each other to climb the flat-topped boulder on Witch’s Rock Road, run onto the green shrieking. One shouts she saw a shape fly across the face of the rising full moon. Parents nod wisely and laugh. Kids!

The full moon rises as the evening wanes and the younger children are taken home, protesting through wide yawns. Parents cast uneasy glances into the shadows. Older children drift to the games and food offered inside the church halls. More and more are encouraged to return to the safety of home as the hour grows late.

The costumed crowd oddly thickens. The patrolling police cruiser stops to allow two witches, a werewolf and a ghoul to cross the street. Headlights pick out gleaming red eyes. A casual wave is exchanged.

Under the huge silver moon, the townsfolk circle the bonfire as midnight approaches. Thankfully, a full moon doesn’t occur every All Hallows’ Eve. The churches shoo the remaining families home, shut off the lights and lock their doors.

A few brave souls linger, nervously glancing over their shoulders. The air is electric with nerves, fear tickles. A dozen witches gather to one side. Shadows conceal details, but a gleaming fang or claw occasionally reflects the flames. Hair, hide and patchy skin conceal the wearers. Too many red eyes reflect the light.

A thick-set man wearing a knit cap feeds wood onto the fire and flames leap voraciously skyward. The crowd pulled back then surges closer. It’s almost midnight, the witching hour. The heavy wood-smoke mingles with a coppery smell of fresh blood and rotting flesh. Circles within the circle join hands and murmur. Not all are willing, but they must protect their secrets.

The Congregational church clock bongs, once, twice, and the flames explode up in a column of sparks. Three, four, five…chanting echoes across the Green. Six, seven, eight, nine… skeletal figures twist and turn, stretch clutching fingers from the seething flames, almost breaking free. Demons howl. Ghouls curse. Ten, eleven… the chants strengthen until they drown the unearthly noise. The threatening figures shudders with rage. Tonight is their night to walk free!

Twelve…

With a weary sigh, the fire shapes disappear. The fire dies. Only embers remain.

The crowd silently melts into the night leaving a few shivering adults to wonder what they just saw.

Barbara loves to hear from readers. You can find her at her website, Barbara Edwards, her blog, Barbara Edwards Comments, on Facebook, and on Twitter. For information on her books, please visit her author page at Amazon, find her on Goodreads, or check her out at Shelfari. She’d be pleased to have you follow, friend, or like…she loves to hear from her readers.

 

Supernatural Cravings by Flossie Benton Rogers

As we near the end of October, we come to that spookiest time of year, the time when things really do go bump in the night, when chill winds blow, and ghostly tales capture our imaginations. Today, author Flossie Benton Rogers shares a few thoughts of her own about the supernatural.  Please welcome her to Time for Love.

Supernatural Cravings

by Flossie Benton Rogers

In the 1996 film, Tin Cup, golfer Roy McAvoy says: “I hit it again because that shot was a defining moment, and when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment…or the moment defines you.”

One of my most vivid defining moments came in 10th grade history, when Mr. McGill posited to our class, “What if 2 + 2 is not 4? What if it is really 5 but a little invisible green man tricks us each time to make us think it’s 4?” A chill shot up my spine. His point resonated with me. In a nutshell it clarified my view of life, which up to that moment had been intense in feeling but nebulous in understanding.

Yellow Moon

Flashes of memory:

A hug from a huge yellow moon.

One grandmother reading me fairy tales. Another grandmother scaring me with yarns of the Yam Potato Man.

My sister telling me ghost stories about the dead man’s shoes that walked.

Costumes, candied apples, and trick or treating at Halloween.

Sprites chattering atop my special hideaway, a fragrant orange tree.

A book where children traveled to the faraway mountains of Norway.

Fairy tale comic books, especially Snow White and Rose Red, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Snow Queen.

 I grew up knowing that life is magical. Shakespeare put it this way: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Is it any wonder that I have a passion for writing about imaginative worlds? How could I not explore whether 2 + 2 is really 5?

Now is the Halloween season when the veils between dimensions are thin. If you have a yen for spicy love stories and action-packed adventure, delve with me into the mysterious realms. Be prepared to catch a glimpse of a little invisible green man.

Flossie Benton Rogers writes paranormal dark fantasy romance with faeries, witches, demons, angels, goddesses, ghosts, and dark guardians. She is the author of WytchFae Runes and  Guardian of the Deep. Secret Cravings Publishing will be releasing her third title, Mind Your Goddess, in December. Four additional books are planned as part of the “Wytchfae” series.

Visit Flossie at her website, Conjuring the Magic, or find her on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also follow her on Twitter.