Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Eternal life isn't a have to steal it. #TheHeartbeatThief on sale #99c

Dec. 14-18

Only 99c
as low as it goes!

Grab it today at any of these distributors:

And...because one sale isn't enough for a hungry reader...

urban fantasy trilogy

Kindle Countdown sale starts Wednesday, Dec. 14!

on Kindle for only 99c 

But don't delay...
the faster you get there, the better the price!

And don't forget...
Click here to join us!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Wassail...Drink Hale!

No matter which holiday you observe at year's end, they all share something in common: traditions. I grew up in the four seasons of northeast Pennsylvania, where Decembers were snowy and cheer-filled. We wore skiddoos and went sleigh-riding and came in the door pink-nose and snow-crusted.

On Thanksgiving night, the borough would light the holiday street decorations for the first time. We'd sit at the front windows, cheeks against the glass, straining to see down the block to the main street, waiting for the moment the bells and candy canes would light up. Those lights meant one thing:  Christmas was almost here!

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Some of my fondest memories are from our family Christmases, which were brimming full of special traditions. Many of them came from my Polish grandparents, involving the crèche and the special Christmas Eve dinner. I think that I will forever see Christmas through the lens of my dad's old 8mm camera, sounds of laughter and singing replaced by the whir of the projection reels and the occasional comment about our early-seventies fashion sense.

Holidays have always held sentimental value, a sense of community and family and simple togetherness—not just for my Pennsylvania family in the plaid-stricken seventies, but for so many people and places, across the span of centuries.

In my voracious research of the Victorian era (while writing my historical fantasy THE HEARTBEAT THIEF), I encountered an entirely new world of Yuletide traditions. Some are still widely celebrated (thanks to Doctor Who Christmas specials, my kids adopted a love for crackers) while some have largely fallen out of practice (such as a parlour game called Snapdragon, which seems like a good way to get a burned finger! Talk about dangerous drinking games…)

One Victorian tradition that has always appealed to me is Wassail. A verb, to wassail means to go singing door to door, after which one is invited to drink punch from the family's Wassail bowl. A noun, wassail is the punch itself—and every family had their own recipe (kind of like Boilo recipes here in northeast PA). The punch was served in a wassailing bowl. A greeting, "wassail" was a wish for good health to those we cherish. Everyone would drink the hot spiced cider together, fostering a lovely sense of community and togetherness, which is the truest spirit of the holidays.

Since immersing myself in the culture and traditions of THE HEARTBEAT THIEF, I wanted to find a recipe for my own family and promptly found about six million different versions (thanks, Google). They all seem to have a few elements in common, though: apples, spices, and warmth. Some contain ale or wine while others are more kid-friendly; some involve baking whole apples and placing them in the punch bowl; some even contain a whipped egg mixture (like this one from Alton Brown. Considering he is the Einstein of food, I would NEVER refute his wisdom.)

wassail photo Depositphotos_59479031_original_zpsguvb9yxm.jpg
I like this one the best, though—the tanginess of orange juice and the lemony zing of fresh ginger make my mouth water just thinking of it. Plus, the convenience of a slow cooker is a must with my crazy schedule…not to mention that it's like potpourri you can drink while warming your hands! All wonderful things, especially when the weather turns chilly and grown-ups are stuck in the house, too old to go sleigh-riding or playing outside in the snow.

(Recipe from A Spicy Perspective)

• 1 gallon Musselman's Apple Cider
• 4 cups orange juice
• 4 hibiscus tea bags
• 10 cinnamon sticks
• 1 tsp. whole cloves
• 1 Tb. juniper berries
• 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into slices
• 1 apple, sliced into rounds
• 1 orange, sliced into rounds

1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cover.
2. Turn the slow cooker on high heat and cook for 3-4 hours, until the color has darkened and the fruit is soft. Remove the tea bags and serve hot.

Maybe when my kids are older, I'll adjust the recipe to a more adult version. For now, I'd like to make something the whole family can enjoy. It's tradition, after all, and where's the fun in a tradition that excludes some of us?

Happy holidays, everyone. Be sure to raise a glass to your loved ones!

Wassail...Drink Hale!

My Victorian fantasy THE HEARTBEAT THIEF follows the journey of the Forever Girl, Senza Fyne. Terrified of death, of growing old, of being forced into an arranged marriage, she makes a deal with the mysterious Mr. Knell and learns the secret of eternal youth and beauty…
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I can picture Senza at a Christmas ball, in high London society, her hair upswept in a pile of curls the color of winter fire, her forever 18-year old figure trimmed out in a luscious gown of emerald silk and taffeta. She'd be the girl with whom every gentleman must dance, the one with whom everyone sought introduction. If you were lucky enough to speak with her, she might treat you a glimpse of her wit and wisdom, far beyond her years…to the sound of her charming laugh…and perhaps she'd touch your hand in a personal gesture.

One touch, and your heart might skip a beat. An entire dance and you just may be left reeling, your senses spinning. Senza Fyne tends to have that effect on a person…

Soon it would be time to gather around the wassail bowl, the spicy sweet scents of apple warming the air, reminding us all of the bounty of harvest and fortune, the cheer of friends gathered for Yuletide. You might be tempted to raise a glass to her in particular…but your wish for good health would be better spent on someone else. Senza Fyne had no need for wishes, not when her immortal youth, beauty, and perfection were secured by the strongest of magicks.

But you wouldn't know that because it's a secret she'd never tell. If she did, the heartbeat thief would be caught.

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Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.

In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her. But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.

So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…

When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.

It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allan Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…

How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Bewitching Holiday Extravaganza!

Bewitching Book Tours has put together another fantastic holiday event.

This will be a multi-genre blog tour: A Very Scary Christmas (Horror), Fangs for the Holidays (PNR and UF), Hot for the Holidays (erotica), and Christmas Kisses (Romance). You'll be sure to find exactly the books you want in your stocking this year!

We'll also be hosting a three day Facebook party December 14 to 16. (I'm the first host up, from 10am to 12 noon on Wed, December 14!) 

CLICK HERE to RSVP...Facebook will send you a remainder closer to the day.

I also want to give a huge holiday shout-out to all the book blogs that are participating in the event. If you have a few moments, be sure to stop by and check out their sites. Thank you, book bloggers, for sharing THE HEARTBEAT THIEF with your readers!

(Don't forget...scroll down to the Rafflecopter to enter an easy giveaway.)

November 22
Literary Musings

November 28
Whiskey With My Book

November 29
Books, Dreams, Life

November 30
Leigh Anderson

December 1
Fang-tastic Books

December 6
Books N Pearls

December 7
T's Stuff

December 12

December 15
5 star review!
All in One Place

December 19

December 19
5 Sheep (Star) review!
I Smell Sheep (review)

December 23
Share My Destiny

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Happy Holidays Giveaway...romance is in the air!

It’s the holiday season!

We’d like to bring some joy and share the love.

How? you ask...Well, how about by offering a chance to win $2200 in Amazon Gift Cards?
You'll also have the opportunity to hear from over 100 romance authors. Your next love story may be a simple entry away!

One simple entry will subscribe you to 109 Romance Author Newsletters.
Unsubscribe any time, but please don't label us as spam. Better still, stick around and get to know us. We may be holding the key to your heart...with a new, exciting love story.

Each of us authors thanks you for your continued support. We love our readers *hearts*

Participating Authors:

Abbie Roads | Abbie Zanders | AJ Norris | Aleya Michelle | Alyson Reynolds | Amy L Gale | Amy Olle| Andie M. Long | Ani Gonzalez | Anna Bloom | Anne Stone | Annie Anderson | Ara Grigorian | Ash Krafton | Ashley Bostock | Author Scarlett Avery | Author Shaniel Watson | Belinda Boring | Bethany Lopez | Bethany Shaw | Blair Babylon | Brandy Dorsch | Brenda Margriet | C.C. Cartwright | C.E. Black | C.E. Wilson | C.J. Pinard | Candace Clark | Chantel Rhondeau| Christa Simpson | Danielle Annett | Debbie White | Demelza Carlton | Eileen Cruz Coleman | Elianne Adams | Elisabeth Grace | Ella Jade | Emma Nichols | Erin Bedford | Eva Winters | Evie Harper | Genevieve Jordan | Heather C. Myers | Holly Cortelyou | Jeanne St. James | Jennifer Hilt | Jerusha Moors | Jessica Linden | Joanna Mazurkiewicz | Joanna Shupe | Jordan Ford | Josie Bordeaux | Kaiden Klein | Katie French | Kelly Collins | Kelly Moore | Khardine Gray | Kimi Flores/K.A. Hunter | Kristine Cayne | L A Cotton | Lacey Silks | Laura Trentham | Lisa Swallow | Liz Gavin | Lexi James | LV Lewis | Mari Brown | Marissa Dobson | Marnee Blake | Mary Abshire | Mary E Thompson | Megan Ryder | Michelle Lynn | Miranda Liaison |Monica Corwin | N.W. Moors | Natalie Rios | Olivia Arran | Olivia Rigal | Piper Rayne | Quinn | Ramona Flightner | Ramona Flightner | Rebecca Norinne | Rissa Blakeley | RK Close | S.M. Schmitz | Sabrina York | Scarlett Metal | Selena Laurence | Sharon Coady | Sheila Kell | Shelique | Skye Jordan | Sophie Mann | Stella Blue | Susanne Bellamy | Sydney Aaliyah Michelle | Taige Crenshaw | Taylor Anne | Tee Smith | Terra Kelly | Tracey Pedersen | Tracie Podger | Tracy Ellen | Valerie Twombly | Victoria Pinder | Violet Sparks | Wendy Knight

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Pirate’s Lady by Tricia Schneider: Excerpt and Giveaway!

One of my favorite things to do is spotlight other authors when they have new work to share. In this case, I am doubly blessed...not only is Tricia Schneider my fellow Wild Rose Press author, she's also a beloved friend. She has been one of the biggest sources of inspiration to me along my writer's road. I'm thrilled to share her newest achievement with you!

Tricia Schneider captured my heart with her Merriweather Witches a long time ago... Recently, she has released a new historical romance. Gorgeous cover, gorgeous story. *hearts* I hope you enjoy the excerpt! (And make sure you enter the giveaway down at the end...)

The Pirate’s Lady by Tricia Schneider

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Publication Date: November 11, 2016

Cover Artist: RJ Morris

ISBN: 978-1-5092-1065-7


Rating: Spicy

Number of pages: 70

Word Count: 16,330

About the Book

Captain Marco Dante was captured and sentenced to hang two years ago, but he escaped before his punishment was carried out. Now he's come back to the woman whose memory kept him alive those long months in prison. Arianne had been his grand passion, but he failed to see how much she meant to him until it was too late. Can he recapture her heart? Or has he lost her forever?

Arianne never imagined she’d see her notorious pirate lover again. Though her heart sings with joy at his return, she knows he hasn't come back for her but for the treasure he left behind. She agrees to help him find it, but can her heart withstand one more adventure with him?


“I have a life here now.”

“There’s nothing for you here. Your place is by my side. In your heart, you know ’tis true.”

She looked away, turning her gaze to the ocean’s waves pounding the beach with hypnotic rhythm. A few moments ago, she sat here, mulling over her life’s misfortunes and attempting to reach a decision about her future.

Her fate.

Arianne shook her head. “I no longer travel your path. You sail without me, my friend.”

She pushed her bare toes into the grainy sand and stood, brushing the remaining sand that clung to her petticoats. In the silence of the crashing waves, she turned and walked away.

Inside, her heart bled. Yet, she deserved no better. Her life led to this heartache. That she walked away from this man now, after all this time only confirmed it.

“Arianne, you’re coming with me.”

His serious tone warned her of his intentions. She spun to face him, unsheathing her sword in time to block his attack. The sound of metal striking metal pierced the moonlit darkness. Her ears rang with the sound.

They stood, neither moving. She stared into his eyes. “You would take me by force?”

“Never by force,” his voice lowered to a growl. “You will come willingly.” And he smiled, that knowing one she hated.

She let out a howl of outrage and swung her sword. He easily blocked. They stepped a deadly dance of striking blades, until again they were trapped by heated gazes.

Her breathing was heavy, labored, filled with excitement. She looked at his lips, wanting to taste them but knowing she dared not. Her will was never strong around him. With one touch she might lose herself and want him again for forever. But that dream would never be achievable with Marco.

With him, she’d always be alone.

“Come with me, Arianne.”


She pushed away and again they danced. Her feet moved lightly as she sprang, her petticoats swirling with each movement though she hoped they would not entangle her legs. Her arm swung with lithe movements as she fought. She equaled him with skill and grace. Each time their swords clashed, the noise pierced her soul. That she fought him was a testament to her determination to escape his tyranny over her heart. She could not succumb to him again.

As they battled, a sheen of sweat appeared upon his brow. The exposed skin of his chest glistened in the moonlight. His arms flexed as he swung his sword. His grace, his power, his energy seduced her.

Her heart pounded. Her skin ached to touch his. The heat in her lower regions grew to a fiery inferno.

She trembled.

Again, they locked blades.

They stood a moment, staring. His gaze burned into her soul. She licked the salty sweat from her upper lip, and his eyes followed the movement with utter fascination.

He pushed their swords away. With his free hand, he grabbed her shoulder, pulling her tight against his chest. Arianne tilted her head to look into his eyes. The blue depths called to her, like the ocean’s waves licking at her feet. The yearning to go to him was too great. She hadn’t the will to fight.

About the Author:

Tricia Schneider is an author of historical, paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked for several years as Assistant Manager and bookseller at Waldenbooks. After the store closed, she turned to writing fiction full-time. She has written both short stories and full-length novels published by The Wild Rose Press, including her newest book, The Pirate's Lady, and her historical paranormal romance series, The Merriweather Witches. Tricia is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives in the Pennsylvania coal region with her musician husband, their 4 young children and 3 rescued cats.

Tour Giveaway!

Enter for a Chance to Win a

$20.00 Amazon eGift Card


a Pirate Treasure Chest Trinket Box

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Demimonde series: Re-vamped and Ready for Action! #blogtour

Re-vamped and Ready for Action!

Celebrating the re-release of a beloved looks inside and out!
Who's your team?
...or maybe you haven't met your next book boyfriend?

Join us for a glorious blog tour!
We'll be visiting old friends and new as we introduce readers to
Sophie Galen, an advice columnist who is saving the world...
One damned person at a time.

And...don't miss the tour giveaway!
$25 Amazon gift card and copy of Bleeding Hearts (Demimonde #1) in winner's choice of format (Kindle, Paperback, or Audiobook)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


October 24 Spotlight 

October 25 Spotlight

October 26 Spotlight

October 27 Guest blog

October 28 Interview

October 31 Spotlight

November 1 Spotlight

November 2 Spotlight

November 3 Spotlight and review

November 4 Spotlight

November 7 Spotlight

November 8 Spotlight

November 9 Spotlight

November 10 Spotlight

November 11 Spotlight

November 14 Spotlight

November 15 Guest Blog

November 15 Spotlight

November 16 Guest Blog

November 17 Interview

November 17 Spotlight
November 18 Guest Blog

November 18 Interview

November 21 Spotlight

November 21 Spotlight

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Magickal Samhain: Wands at the Ready!

The Magickal Samhain Reader Event will be held October 27 to 31. You can join us on Facebook at for author hosted events…pop in anytime! My spot will be on Thursday October 27th from 10:30am to 12 noon, EST. I hope you'll stop by for some book-filled holiday fun…

While we count down the days waiting for the spirits gather, I thought I'd get us into the mood with a post of a magickal nature…

I have a wand collection.

Not surprising, since I'm a collector by nature. I started with stamps when I was nine. Moved on to stickers in the 80s because, hello? Lisa Frank!
Then it was books…then boots…coins…skulls and ravens…then wands, pretty much in that order.

I hadn't been seeking a new treasure to hoard when I started stockpiling wands. It just sort of happened. I had one wand, a black-and-white prop wand left over from my son's first magic kit. Kept it on my desk just in case. I wasn't obsessed, or anything.

But then, Harry Potter. Need I say more?

Suddenly, everyone had a wand. Kids everywhere were swishing and flicking their wands through the air like they just didn't care. Wands became common place, everyday things.

That was when I started collecting. That first trip to Universal Orlando did me in—we visited Hogsmeade and, during a show at Olivander's shop, y son was selected to play the part of a first year wizard. I think he blew up a flower pot and when he turned to look back at me, holding that wand in his hands, I knew it was coming home with us.

So did three others because my daughter, the hub, and I all had to get our own wands. On the trip back home, I knew—I knew—that all of them would be mine, mine, mine.

But it didn't stop there, with art replicas. I found wands everywhere I went. At the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. At the new age shop in downtown Gettysburg. On South Street in Philly. And, God bless it, all over the Internet. Every size and shape, color and design. It got to the point where, for the sake of space and sanity, I had to proceed to virtual collecting. (Check out my Pinterest page, btw…)

(Stuttgart, Germany)

While my wands are mainly for admiration and creative inspiration, wands have been in use for millennia by countless cultures. The ancient Egyptians included them in burial goods. The Greek God Hermes carried a wand called a caduceus. Nordic shamans used them.

They were symbols of leadership and power: a queen's scepter. They were a mode of communication and command: the orchestra conductor's baton. They are an element of worship for practitioners of several religions, such as Wicca and Neopaganism.

They were also used by those who practiced ritual magic, by historically famous Magi such as Aleister Crowley or Dr. John Dee. Because of them, wand became widely known as conduits of magical power, and their fantastical uses found their way into legend and lore, onto page and screen.

In CHARM CITY, exorcist mage Simon Alliant has a lot of tricks up his sleeve—and one of them is his wand.

He's definitely not a swish-and-flick kind of guy. He's more about getting the job done because there's no room for flashy acts when you're trying to send a demon back to Hell. Magic is his juice, his power, his addiction. Hard not to get hooked on the stuff that lights you up…

Several years ago, Simon apprenticed with an English mage, a scholarly old gent who'd once had to put up with the ghost of Aleister Crowley (yep, that one.) Professor Kent was well-versed in the art of ritual magic and had introduced Simon to the wand.

No swishing and flicking, though. Unlike stage magicians or high priests, Kent took a very utilitarian approach to wand craft. He devised a unique charm, tailor-made for our boy Simon.

The wand was used to activate Simon's strongest amulet, which was inked into the skin on the bend of his left elbow: his runic tattoo.

And when Simon took a wand hit, it was like mainlining the purest of magic. Oh, the trouble he could get into when he hits the juice…

CHARM CITY on sale October 27-31 only 99 cents!

You can find out more about Simon and the demons he faces in CHARM CITY: The Demon Whisperer #1. (It will be on sale for only 99 cents October 27-31 but you can grab it FREE anytime on Kindle Unlimited!)

I really enjoy exploring wand lore (and fantasy) when I'm writing this series. So, if you ever stop by and find me fooling around with one of my wands, at least you'll know why. Definitely not floating feathers :) Just wondering where Simon's wand will take him next.

Stop by the Magickal Samhain Facebook page to RSVP...that way, you'll get a reminder when the event is about to start...and you won't miss a blessed thing.

AND DON'T FORGET! The October Giveaway page is loaded with goodies...check it out HERE!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Holy History of Halloween (I laugh just writing it)

Hi! Welcome to another stop on the Haunted Halloween Spooktacular blog hop!

I'm Ash Krafton and I'm a writer of all things speculative fiction. I especially enjoy writing novel-length urban fantasy…and recently I celebrated the release of the first book in a new series. CHARM CITY is about an exorcist mage living in Baltimore. Simon Alliant sees it all—angels, demons, and those who may be a little bit of both. On top of everything else, he gets to play with magic. Now, if only it didn't feel like a drug to him…

The story can be a little bit dark at times, but it's not horrific or hopeless. I like the dark. I like the shadows. Why wouldn't I? I'm the girl who thinks the ideal fictional boyfriend is Jack Skellington. (Makes trips to Disney fun for the whole family ;^) )

And it's all because I adore Halloween.

My enthusiasm for Halloween is long-established and well-known (just check my Instagram). I'm the neighbor who keeps Halloween decorations up year 'round, has a life-sized toy skeleton (named Napoleon) who accompanies me on long car rides, and who lives every day like it's Edgar Allan Poe's birthday. Halloween isn't a one-day celebration (or, in the case of someone who works in retail, a six-week event.) It's a philosophy, an attitude, a way of life.

 photo desk_zpsfidwzi7s.jpgI love scary movies and love being scared silly. I know 90% of it is in my head but I'm in my forties and STILL can't look in a mirror in a darkened room. (You know why. Her first name is Bloody and her other name is NO I WON'T SAY IT) My desk has, among other things, a skull in a jar on it (with pretty LED lights. It's festive) and I own more than one Tarot set.

But not a Ouija Board. Nuh, uh. That's bad juju.

I suppose my guests are a little confused by my office décor (and the Grim Reaper mannequin in the basement) especially since there is another theme prevalent in my home: Catholicism. I'm an Irish-Polish Catholic and for every macabre knick-knack there's a Crucifix or a saint statue or other blessed item.

I'm pretty sure it aggravates my mother, who has learned to choose carefully where to look when she visits and tends to stay in the kitchen. (No skulls in there. Not good kitchen aesthetic.) But she knows me. She knows how my brain works and knows that when I call and say "I have a new book coming out!" odds are it's going to be something she doesn't think a good Catholic girl should be reading. But she accepts it, in that way moms love even the goofiest of their children. I love Halloween. She loves me. It's just the way it is.

I've dealt with anti-Halloween prejudice all my life. In high school, I owned a vampire cape, and I'm talking in the pre-Lost Boys eighties. Nobody got it. In college, I discovered Anne Rice and assumed a safe place for people like me existed, after all, since the Humanities Dept. pretty much sanctioned vampires, right? Wrong again.

By the time my kids were old enough to attend the local parochial elementary school, I had just decided I was going to let my vampire flag fly. Too bad for the kids on Halloween. They could Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle all they wanted but the lady who ran the PTO Halloween party dressed like a vampire and wouldn't make them feel better by insisting it was a just costume. (I also had cultivated a rich throaty Mu-hahahahaha laugh that made first graders scurry out of the room real fast. It still makes me laugh all these years later. Mu-haha.) In fact, I still say they were lucky I limited it to Halloween. I could have dressed like that every Monday when I ran the school bookstore.

The teachers gave me a lot of side eye and probably thought, Oh well, she's a volunteer. Buy cheap, get cheap.

But that was their anti-Halloween prejudice talking. If only they knew just how Catholic Halloween really was.

Halloween's Nativity
Many people associate Halloween with pagan practices, but that's really not where it all started. In fact, the connection people make between Samhain and Halloween is actually an historically recent development.)

Halloween began way back before the ninth century as an association to All Saint's Day, which Catholics observe on November 1. It is a Holy Day of Obligation which remembers all those who have been blessed in Heaven.

Way back then, they used the word hallow for saint. November 1 was, accordingly, referred to as All Hallows. That made the evening before, October 31, All Hallows Even… or, you guessed it…hallowe'en, for short.

November 2 was celebrated as All Souls Day, a day to remember those in purgatory (a time-out for those souls who hadn't behaved enough to go directly to Heaven.) But what about those not in Heaven or Purgatory? If there is to be a Day of the Damned, it needs to find a different spot on the calendar because one thing's for sure: it's not Halloween.

Oooh, Spooky
What about all the occult aspects of the holiday?

The idea of the occult is Catholic, too, as it's based on our belief in the afterlife. During Hallowtide (October 31-November 2) it's thought that the boundary between the living and the dead was thinned, and ghosts or other communications from the "other side" were more likely to occur. Whether we want to admit it or not, we Catholics are a massively superstitious bunch. Those beliefs may have led to the practice of dressing up like ghoulies on Halloween.

Culture may have grown to associate Halloween with scary, dark, or even evil things but it's really just a way to observe and recognize our own mortality. Consider the Danse Macabre: an ages-old artistic rendering of the truth that beggars and Kings, and all between are united by Death. Danse art decorated cemeteries and churches, and was performed in verse and in dramatic performances. Writings from the fifteenth century proclaimed:

Wer war der Tor, wer der Weise,
Wer der Bettler oder Kaiser?
Ob arm, ob reich, im Tode gleich.

Whether foolish or wise, beggar or king, rich or poor, all are equal in death.

Perhaps modern man lives too lush and comfortable a life to believe we are conquerable by Death. Maybe we all believe we're a little bit immortal. Reminders of the inevitable end are considered an interruption to our lifestyles, a thing to be abhorred.

But let's face it: there is a skeleton walking around inside each and every single one of us. Where is the evil in that? It's just life.

So, to all the holy Hallow-haters, I say: relax. Halloween is an expression of my Catholic faith. I don't need a novena to save me from the dark side, even if I do wish every day was Halloween.

My stories are a reflection of my beliefs. Yes, I write about vampires and demons and the fight between Light and Dark, good and evil. I believe that fight is real, and is present in each of our lives to some degree. But I also explore the element of faith and the hope of redemption. Art imitates life, right?

And, while I may not wear my cape much these days (thanks, pharmacy day job, you party pooper, you) the sweet shadows and macabre poetics will always fill the corners of my heart.

Don't be afraid to let them fill yours, too.

Ash Krafton (@ashkrafton) is an author of speculative fiction. She's an unrepentant Ultimate Sinner who once guest-hosted a radio show on Sirius XM Radio channel Ozzy's Boneyard (and proclaimed Alice Cooper to be "dead sexy.") She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, stories that seek to find redemption for her characters. Vampires, demons, reincarnation…you name it, she writes it. Currently, she's celebrating the release of the first in a new series of magic and mayhem: CHARM CITY (The Demon Whisperer #1) is available on Kindle Unlimited now.

I'm giving away three print proofs of CHARM CITY (The Demon Whisperer #1), each with a unique handmade charmed bookblade. (She loves the shiny things!) Want to try your luck? Enter now!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bewitching Haunted Halloween Spooktacular! Oct 19-20

Welcome to the Bewitching Book Tours Haunted Halloween Spooktacular! Tomorrow our Facebook Party kicks off at 10 AM EST...with you-know-who!

(Okay, not You-Know-Who...Voldemort's been destroyed. Duh. I mean me.)

Join us for Halloween fun and games. Enter to win tons of prizes.

Be prepared to show off your Halloween and cosplay costumes for the costume contest.

We have over 20 authors participating, they'll be here to discuss their love of Halloween, talk about their books and offer fun and games to all who drop by.

You have to participate to win, so come by often.

There's also a special giveaway make sure you go all the way to the end of the post.

Here's the author schedule, times are listed in EST...
Wednesday October 19th

10-11am Ash Krafton1am-12pm Sam Baltrusis
12-1pm Natalie Nicole Bates
1-2pm Catherine Winters
2-3pm Jill Archer
3-4pm Rayna Noire
4-5pm Laura Diamond
5-6pm Jennifer Windrow
6-7pm Kelex
7-8pm BA Tortuga
8-9pm Constance Burris
9-10pm Jamie K. Schmidt
10-11pm Lexxie Couper
11pm-12am Vanta Black

Thursday October 20th

10-11am Erzabet Bishop
11am-12pm Sam Crescent
12-1pm Roxanne Rhoads
1-2pm Lily Harlem
2-3pm Marcella Burnard
3-4pm Traci Douglass
4-5pm Catherine Stine
5-6pm Krista Carlson
6-7pm ND Jones
7-8pm Kirsten Weiss
8-9pm Marsha A. Moore
9-10pm Julia Talbot
10-11pm Angelique Voisen
11pm-12am JC Andrijeski

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 16, 2016

#OctoberFrights Blog Hop 2016 Wrap-up!

Well, we survived another year's #OctoberFrights blog hop. Well done, everyone!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by this week...which was absolutely crazy. Several of the participating authors--myself included--celebrated book releases so GOOD LUCK! Break a leg, kids (and a spine or two. Yes, I'm one of those people...)

And we have winners to announce so...without further ado:

The Rafflecopter winners...!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AF Stewart's new book release contest winners...Debbie Christiana and Michelle Wilms!

The Scariest Thing winner...Wendy Howard!

Rafflecopter allowed me to email the first winners straight away but Debbie, Michelle, and Wendy...hit me up :) Find me on Facebook or use my contact form at

The Halloween fun doesn't end here, either. The Haunted Halloween Spooktacular Facebook Party kicks off Wed at 10 am. I'll be up first to start things off so I really hope you'll stop by! Lots of book stuff and prizes so...

Later this month I'll be one of the hosts of A Magickal Samhain. Check out the link to see how you can join in the celebration.

Til then, stay spooky...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

#OctoberFrights: The Scariest Thing an Author Will Do

Welcome to Day Four of the the annual October Frights Blog Hop, organized by Clarissa Johal.

Each year, all styles of dark writers get together to rattle their cages and talk about what makes them howl. It's October, after all. This is the time of year we can get away with it...

It's a chance to talk about the scary things. So far on this tour, I've visited many of the other blogs and found witches, zombies, lurchers (sounds scary but dang it, if they ain't loveable!) and every dark chunk of human nature you can imagine.

I adore monsters. They don't scare me. They make me grin and say things like, "Aw, that's sweet. Look at those fangs!" It's not my fault. It's probably a psychological defense mechanism.

In fact, if anything scare me, it's psychological horror. The idea that something very real and very scary exists. It worms its way into my head and digs and digs and digs--  

Oooh. That was an actual shiver.

I did something very scary today, something that any author no matter their genre would agree is the scariest part of our life. I hit the "publish" button.

Doesn't sound like a big deal to a lot of people, I know. But it's the build up to the button that makes it a breath-holding moment.

It all started with an email...

Earlier this year, I completed the contract on the third book in one of my trilogies and I asked for my rights back on my series. That was a little scary in itself--this was my first publisher, my first contract. I've been with this press longer than anyone else, and they've been wonderful. However, my ideas and plans for this trilogy were far more complex than a backlist status could muster. I decided to take the reins. Big, scary moment.
The Publishing Feels

The last three months were full of cover designs, formatting for print and ebooks, and the edits--lots of tension when Photoshop or Word decided not to cooperate. As the closer I got to the circled date on my calendar, the more tense and scary things got.

I think I tweaked those files more times in the last 48 hours than I have in 48 days. And when I woke up this morning, and saw that I had no more days to X off on my calendar...

I could almost hear the shrieking violins and the dun-it-dun-it-dun-it and that "Publish Now" button just seemed to pulse under my hovering finger.

What if I made a mistake? What if Kindle doofs up my files and my reviews don't transfer? What if the new covers aren't as great as people assured me they were (and I asked everyone. Even complete strangers. A/B testing should never be reserved for only the nearest and dearest.)


I ask that question all the time. I'm a spec fic writer so it's kind of an occupational hazard. So, I did the logical thing. I put myself out of misery. I hit the LAUNCH button.

Hmm. That wasn't so bad, I thought, and went to pour a fresh cup of tea, waiting for my pulse to return to normal...

But it's only until the next scene in this psychological thriller...The Reviewers! *shrieking violins*

Tell me, folks...what is the scariest real life thing you do, the thing that leaves you clutching your chest, gasping for breath, amazed you survived?
Leave a comment and one of you will win something grand.

But for now, it's time to get back to work on my Amazon files. I've got book listings to write! Wish us both luck...

If this is your first time joining us, catch up with this list of the links for the week...
Day One: Intro
Day Two: Author Spotlight and Review, AF Stewart
Day Three: Putting the Ick in Magick

Enter my October Frights giveaway here:

See who else is playing in the dark...
click on the link below to get hopping!

And don't miss the other giveaways you'll find when you click on the October Giveaways tab up above or click here for a handy shortcut :)