Friday, October 26, 2012

Trick or Treating in a Haunted Garden Halloween Blog Party

Welcome to my dark corner of the Haunted Garden! 

If you're new to my blog; I'm a paranormal and gothic romance author. I have two stories currently published with the Black Rose line of The Wild Rose Press. Black Rose books are steamy romances filled with mystical creatures like vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters and demons. Mine have witches, too!

October is the perfect time of year to curl up with a mug of hot apple cider and a steamy paranormal romance novel that will curl your toes and leave you gasping! But, with Halloween around the corner, the ghosts and goblins will soon be out to play. Do you have treats ready to hand out to those who knock on your door on the night of the 31st? You don't want any nasty tricks to spoil your evening of reading pleasure!  

I've been doing some research about Halloween traditions. You know the kind....trick or treating, dressing in costumes, carving pumpkins. Just where did all of these traditions come from, and how did they become a part of Halloween?

With too many to name here, I'll just pick a few of my favorites to share.

Trick or Treating
As children, what was more exciting than getting candy simply handed to you by everyone in the neighborhood? All with the simple magic words of ''Trick or Treat!" Turns out handing out treats on the night of All Hallow's Eve has a long history beginning with the religious practice of 'souling'. 'Souling' or 'guising' was an old custom originating in the British Isles where the poor would dress in masks and costumes to hide their identities and were allowed to beg for food called soul cakes (oatcakes or bread containing currants) or other handouts such as apples, nuts, or coins. After the 'soulers' received their gifts, they would offer prayers for the family's deceased relatives. If they were refused their 'treats', then they would retaliate with a prank or 'trick'. 

Carving the Pumpkin
This custom is over 2000 years old! Yes, you read it right! This started in Ireland where hollowed-out turnips were carved with faces to be used as lanterns. They were used to scare away evil ghosts and spirits while lighting the road for travelers on Halloween night. Eventually the pumpkin became the popular choice for these lanterns.

Bobbing for Apples
Dating from ancient Roman times, it was believed that the first young, unmarried person to take a bite out of an apple floating in water or hanging from a string would be the next to marry. Apples have other uses on Halloween, as well. An apple buried under the ground on the last day of October will attract unicorns, and if you eat an apple before going to bed on Halloween night you won't suffer any illnesses during the next 12 months. 

Haunted Hayrides/Houses/Corn Mazes
These forms of entertainment take place in many locations and contain monstrous creatures and special lighting and effects that are used to scare, shock and amuse the customer. The history for these haunted attractions is unclear, but the earliest record dates back to 1915. During the 1960's and 1970's haunted attractions were run by organizations and became quickly popular. The experience of being frightened draws people to these events every October.

What is Your Favorite Halloween Tradition?
To celebrate Halloween with my readers this year, I'm offering a chance to win a copy of my e-book, THE WITCH AND THE WOLF. Just leave your email address and a comment telling me about your favorite Halloween tradition. This contest runs from October 26-31. A winner will be randomly selected and notified on November 1.

Lord Jeremy North's curse is to become a werewolf during every full moon, turning into a bloodthirsty monster that kills with no remorse. When he finds a woman nearly frozen upon his doorstep, his sense of honor compels him to help her, even at the risk he might kill her himself.

Lillian Merriweather hadn't planned to get caught in a blizzard while traveling the English countryside. Nor had she planned on finding refuge in a house full of secrets. But Lillian has secrets of her own. And what she's running from is not far behind...

For other chances to win The Witch and the Wolf be sure to check out

To read an excerpt or purchase my books, please visit The Wild Rose Press. To learn more about my books, check out my website, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter

Don't forget to stop by the other blogs participating in this Haunted Garden Hop for chances to win cool Prizes!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Where have All the Old-Time Vampires Gone? Guest Author: Tony-Paul de Vissage

As much as I enjoy reading them, I’ve now gotten tired of those paranormal romances in which the vampire-hero anguishes over his Undead state.  No matter how he got that way, whether through his own machinations or otherwise, he now decides he wishes to be human again because he’s—gasp! Yes!—finally fallen into true love.  From that point on, the story revolves on how many times he can maneuver the heroine into bed rather than going about his Undead business.  Don’t get me wrong, love is all right—and give me plenty of it, please!—at this point I feel like shouting, “For crying out loud!  Man up and stop the whining!  You’re a vampire, act like one!”  Let’s have more flashing of fangs and rending of throats and flapping of great, black wings in the night…and less supernal angst. 

After all, that’s how vampires should be.  Right?

Following my own advice, I decided to write a novel which portrayed the vampire as he used to be…unrepentant, Undead, and loving every century of it.  And thus, The Night Man Cometh was born.  For a while now, Damian La Croix has walked alone.  Then, Alixandra Pavlovna, of Blood will Freeze, joined him.  And now, this month…things will begin to be a bit crowded…

On October 15, he’ll be joined by a third traveler in darkness.  Like the Night Man, this vampire still retains a few human characteristics.  Enough to allow him entry into the finer restaurants in a certain Southern city, as a matter of fact.  He’s rolled with the punches and is in tune with the times, but he never sways from his purpose—in this case, freeing his fellow nosferatu from their leader’s tyranny—though he does stop off at a Taco Bell on the way.

Meet Vlad Chemare, a blast from the past who isn’t to be denied. He’s up-to-date, traveling by jet, and seeking revenge against the master who buried him alive in punishment for daring to lead a revolt back in the 15th century.  Armed with a Chase Sapphire and a Kevlar vest, Vlad’s out for blood—specifically Baslo Rigla’s—and he isn’t about to let his feelings for mortal Meredith Swanson stand in his way.  After all, a woman’s just a woman, but revenge is a dish best served cold, and six hundred years makes for some pretty chilly morsels.

And thus the South is once more invaded…this time by vampires, but it isn’t Louisiana, nor New Orleans.  Instead, Savannah, Georgia, comes under the nosferatu spell.  The Big Easy’s overflowing with supernaturals, and Rigla’s chosen some place a little less crowded, and with a much lower paranormal profile.

Being relatively young (he’s only six hundred and fifty) Vlad has some new ideas about how to fight, also.  Rallying the vampires of Savannah around him, he relies on their American defiance of tyranny and that Southern love of a good brawl to make himself a new army. While his lieutenants enlist a Society of Creative Anachronisms blacksmith to fashion their armor, the local werewolf population volunteers to become his K-9 Corps.

It’s only when Vlad learns that Meredith wants to make him a father that his rush toward vengeance falters…but only for a moment.  If he can survive being buried under six feet of frozen earth, Vlad figures he can handle killing Rigla, and fatherhood, too.  And then the fight begins…with the city of Savannah as the battleground, and the rest of the world as the prize…after Vlad and Meredith leave Taco Bell, that is.

Naturally that last paragraph may raise some protests from the purists in the reader audience.  A vampire siring a child?  How can this be?  Everyone knows vampires are sterile as mules.  (We won’t go into the dhampir myth here. Nor bring up the birth of Blue Moon the mule and several other equine-donkey anomalies.) After all, immortality in and of itself makes producing offspring unnecessary.  Let’s just say that, on this point, I haven’t strayed from the Undead mythos while enabling Vlad to achieve success in this endeavor.  How?  I’m not telling.  Wait for the book and find out for yourself.


She was standing on the balcony, looking out over the park across the street. I could see cigarette smoke wafting upward, a pale mist between her and the darkness.
“Damn,” I said. “And I was going to be so suave and flick out my Bic and light that for you.”
The way she turned to face me had to have been rehearsed. It was perfect; silent, dramatic, just enough movement to make the folds of her dress ripple and her hair flow over her shoulders. Like one of those slow-motion effects cinematographers have so fallen in love with. If there had been violins singing in the background, it would’ve been a cinematic moment.
She was even more beautiful up close and personal.
“You’ve already lit my fire, baby.” She dropped the cigarette, crushing it with the toe of her strappy little shoe. Her eyes did the fastest inventory imaginable. They were green, the translucence of jade, and they paused for the briefest glance at my fly. Cool eyes, hot gaze. I could feel my cock heating up. “Nice Bic. But if there’s going to be any flicking, I’ll do it.” She held out her hand. “Valerie.”
“Vlad.” I took it in mine.
Then we were in each other’s arms, mouths crushed together, not even a molecule of air, cigarette smoke, or anything else between us. She pulled away first.
“Your place or mine?”
“Mine. It’s closer.”
“You don’t even know where I live.”
“I don’t care. We’re going to my place.”
And that was that.

The Last Vampire Standing is scheduled for an October 15th release (just in time for Halloween!) from Class Act Books,