Monday, October 31, 2011

November Eve (Guest post from Bookish Ardour).

In the late 1800s Oscar Wilde's mother, Jane Francesca Agnes Wilde or Lady Wilde, supposedly learnt the Irish language in order to collate fables and myths shared by the Irish peasantry surrounding her home. This collection ended up being published in 1887 titled Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, with November Eve being one of the tales:     

November Eve by Lady Wilde

It is esteemed a very wrong thing amongst the islanders to be about on November Eve, minding any business, for the fairies have their flitting then, and do not like to be seen or watched; and all the spirits come to meet them and help them. But mortal people should keep at home, or they will suffer for it; for the souls of the dead have power over all things on that one night of the year; and they hold a festival with the fairies, and drink red wine from the fairy cups, and dance to fairy music till the moon goes down.

There was a man of the village who stayed out late one November Eve fishing, and never thought of the fairies until he saw a great number of dancing lights, and a crowd of people hurrying past with baskets and bags, and all laughing and singing and making merry as they went along.
"You are a merry set," he said, "where are ye all going to?"

"We are going to the fair," said a little old man with a cocked hat and a gold band round it. "Come with us, Hugh King, and you will have the finest food and the finest drink you ever set eyes upon."

"And just carry this basket for me," said a little red-haired woman.

So Hugh took it, and went with them till they came to the fair, which was filled with a crowd of people he had never seen on the island in all his days. And they danced and laughed and drank red wine from little cups. And there were pipers, and harpers, and little cobblers mending shoes, and all the most beautiful things in the world to eat and drink, just as if they were in a king's palace. But the basket was very heavy, and Hugh longed to drop it, that he might go and dance with a little beauty with long yellow hair, that was laughing up close to his face.

"Well, here put down the basket," said the red-haired woman, "for you are quite tired, I see;" and she took it and opened the cover, and out came a little old man, the ugliest, most misshapen little imp that could be imagined.
"Ah, thank you, Hugh," said the imp, quite politely; "you have carried me nicely; for I am weak on the limbs—indeed I have nothing to speak of in the way of legs: but I'll pay you well, my fine fellow; hold out your two hands," and the little imp poured down gold and gold and gold into them, bright golden guineas. "Now go," said he, "and drink my health, and make yourself quite pleasant, and don't be afraid of anything you see and hear."
So they all left him, except the man with the cocked hat and the red sash round his waist.

"Wait here now a bit," says he, "for Finvarra, the king, is coming, and his wife, to see the fair."

As he spoke, the sound of a horn was heard, and up drove a coach and four white horses, and out of it stepped a grand, grave gentleman all in black and a beautiful lady with a silver veil over her face.
"Here is Finvarra himself and the queen," said the little old man; but Hugh was ready to die of fright when Finvarra asked—
"What brought this man here?"
And the king frowned and looked so black that Hugh nearly fell to the ground with fear. Then they all laughed, and laughed so loud that everything seemed shaking and tumbling down from the laughter. And the dancers came up, and they all danced round Hugh, and tried to take his hands to make him dance with them.

"Do you know who these people are; and the men and women who are dancing round you?" asked the old man. "Look well, have you ever seen them before?"

And when Hugh looked he saw a girl that had died the year before, then another and another of his friends that he knew had died long ago; and then he saw that all the dancers, men, women, and girls, were the dead in their long, white shrouds. And he tried to escape from them, but could not, for they coiled round him, and danced and laughed and seized his arms, and tried to draw him into the dance, and their laugh seemed to pierce through his brain and kill him. And he fell down before them there, like one faint from sleep, and knew no more till he found himself next morning lying within the old stone circle by the fairy rath on the hill. Still it was all true that he had been with the fairies; no one could deny it, for his arms were all black with the touch of the hands of the dead, the time they had tried to draw him into the dance; but not one bit of all the red gold, which the little imp had given him, could he find in his pocket. Not one single golden piece; it was all gone for evermore.

And Hugh went sadly to his home, for now he knew that the spirits had mocked him and punished him, because he troubled their revels on November Eve—that one night of all the year when the dead can leave their graves and dance in the moonlight on the hill, and mortals should stay at home and never dare to look on them.

Bonnie Sparks is the admin, editor, and a reviewer at Bookish Ardour in between being a struggling writer working on her first novel. You can find Bonnie on Twitter (@Bonnie_Sparks), her personal/writing blog, GoodReads, and Facebook.

November Eve is public domain and was found on Library The site is a wonderful resource for Irish culture, folklore and history.

Contest winner announcements! 10/31/11

~Book from The Book Depository valued up to $15 from Jen D. of Not Now...I'm Reading, winner:
Missie from The Unread Reader.

~Vampire and Coffin Jewelry Set winner:

~Jonathan Kruk giveaway-
Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley book winner:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow cd winner:
Karen from For What It's Worth.

~Skull Bracelet winner:

~Witch bracelet winner:
Kate from Midnight Book Girl.

~Skull bracelet #2 winner:
Judy C.
My post got messed up with blogger, but here is the Rafflecopter code.

~Vampire Academy book set winner:
Michelle R.

Congratulations everyone!  Please stay tuned for more contests!

Halloween Haiku #5

Stiring the cauldron
Once, twice, thrice
Tonight witches fly!

Halloween Haikus penned by vile poetess, Deborah.

Deborah lives near the glittering waters of Michi Gama in the City of Wind. She is a rabid Halloween and haunt devotee.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Costume Procrastination (Guest post by author Sara Trimble).

Halloween is near and I stare in shock at the calender. This month has flown by and the holiday has caught me unprepared. I guess I've been so focused on getting married that I blocked everything else out. Now that the wedding's out of the way, I find myself booked with Halloween events. A costume party, cookout and trick-or-treating, and even another adult costume party at a bar where a friend of ours DJ's. I love October and Halloween yet the idea that it's one week away terrifies me! I have three children. Zero costumes. What will I do?!?

Deep breaths. I'm a procrastinator, always have been, always will be. My husband repeatedly tells me I'll be late for my own funeral. That wouldn't surprise me none. I seem to thrive on deadlines. There's something about the intense pressure that always makes me perform much better. As I wrote a blog post for a Halloween blog hop I am participating in, I had a great idea. Since I am a writer and I love to read, I always want to be different than most people. I have a five year old daughter, and a sixteen month old son. Little Miss Muffet and the Spider! I think they would look so cute.

Of course my six year old son thinks he's too old to let his mom pick his costume so he wants to be a Transformer, though he did briefly mention being Little Georgie Porgie. I found this hilarious since he hate girls and wouldn’t be caught dead kissing one.

Now, I'm left to figure out what I might be. Usually, I go with something different. So maybe I'll lean towards my love of mythology this year and be Medusa. Lord knows my hair would cooperate just fine! I just hope I don't scare the beegeezes outta my children. Then again, they seem to be tougher than me when it comes to scary stuff. I see a clown and I run for cover. They see a man wielding a chainsaw covered in blood and think it's the coolest thing ever! Should I be afraid? Nah, it is Halloween. We're supposed to enjoy the frightening, thrive on the scares. Ha. Someone hold me!

Sara Trimble

Thank you so much for participating in Halloween Hootenanny Sara!  I usually have several costumes in my closet for just such uncertain moments.  Whatever you decide to be, I hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What I got in the Spooky Swap!

I signed up for the Halloween Spooky Swap earlier this month, hosted by Julie from A Tale of Many Reviews.  

This has been such a crazy week, I didn't know why I got a package in the mail.  I didn't think I'd won anything.  I didn't order anything.  Then I saw the return address and realized that this was my Halloween swap package!

Thanks so much to Jacqueline Page from All Things Paranormal for putting a smile on my face!

Hmmm, what's in the bag?

Why it's a tote with All Things Paranormal logo, The Dying Game by Beverly Barton, Exorcist: The Beginning DVD and a witch puppet!  But wait! There's more!

Can I tell you how much I love Halloween socks?  I have tons of them and wear them all the time.  


Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (October 28 - 31, 2011)

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Crazy-For-Books. Please click the button above to check out the complete rules or click HERE.

This week's question: What is your favorite Halloween costume?  Even if you don't celebrate, what kinds of costumes do you like?

Answer: I love all costumes.  As long as you are celebrating Halloween, expressing yourself or having fun.  I especially love classic costumes; witches, vampires, ghosts...anything that delivers those nostalgic feelings that represent Halloween.

Sleepy Hollow Memories. (Guest Post from The Serpentine Library)

Sleepy Hollow Memories
by Maria, The Serpentine Library

Halloween has never been high on my list of favorite holidays. If I were to make a pro/con list for Halloween, the candy and getting to pick out costumes go in the pro column, but beyond that it would be a series of checks in the cons column: that’s how it would have gone, until fifth grade.

Fifth grade was the year we started going on field trips to Historic Hudson Valley sites, like Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, and our teacher read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to the class. It was a toned down version to be heard by our “young” ears of course, but it struck a chord, especially hearing so many familiar town names in the story and because the reading came in the weeks leading up to Halloween, in my mind the two became synonymous with each other.

Based on a German folktale, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was set in post-Revolutionary War New York, no too far from New York City. Ichabod Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow to take over the post of town schoolmaster. Katrina Van Tassel is one of his students and Mr. Crane finds himself taken in by her flirtatious nature. After meeting her father and seeing how wealthy the Van Tassel’s were, Mr. Crane tries to woo Katrina, despite the fact that several other suitors have tried and failed. Mr. Crane also becomes fascinated by the tale of the Headless Horseman, a Hessian soldier who lost his head during the Revolutionary War; he is often seen riding past the old church where, it is said, he is looking for his head.

Coming home from a party at the Van Tassel’s, Mr. Crane sees a large figure on a black horse on the path ahead and realizes that it does not have a head. The rider starts following Mr. Crane, who wants nothing to do with him. Mr. Crane and the rider end up by the church, with Mr. Crane trying to get over the bridge, where the horseman will disappear. Looking back to see if the horseman disappear, Mr. Crane sees that the horseman has thrown his detached head directly at him. Mr. Crane is thrown off his horse. The next morning the horse returns to the house with no sign of Mr. Crane. A search party finds hoof prints and Mr. Crane’s hat, with a smashed pumpkin next to it. Mr. Crane is never heard from again.

Well, after hearing all of that, the fifth graders could be found playing “headless horseman” and other games related to the story. But, then came the best part (in my opinion); we actually got to watch The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The Disney version of course, but still scary, at least to a fifth grader.

In high school, I was very much into reading short stories, so I read a collection of Washington Irving’s collected short stories that included The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I wasn’t disappointed; I actually liked the original even better than what I remembered from fifth grade. And even though I don’t really like reading things that are scary, it had just enough of that creepy, but not too scary feeling that had me hooked. So, since then it has become a yearly tradition to read some Washington Irving and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow right before Halloween.

Sleepy Hollow is also the perfect book to movie (or “reels and reads”) selection, because there are so many different choices to go with on the movie end. My favorite movie is Tim Burton’s Sleep Hollow.

Even though Burton was very liberal and loose in his retelling, he changed Ichabod Crane from a schoolmaster into a police constable sent to investigate 3 murders in Sleepy Hollow, I really liked the feel of this movie. It is just creepy and mysterious enough that you can overlook some of the plot changes, and who can resist Johnny Depp?

Want something a little more contemporary? The Hollow trilogy by Jessica Verday (The Hollow, The Haunted, and The Hidden) was inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, you’ll find traces of the story woven into the trilogy. And while it’s not a retelling, the way Verday uses Sleepy Hollow, the town, the cemetery and the story, was very interesting.

Of course, if I need a Sleepy Hollow fix at any other time during the year, a trip to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to visit Washington Irving’s grave will do the trick.

Thank you for participating in Halloween Hootenanny Maria!  I think that this classic story holds a place in many people's hearts but maybe more so for those of lucky residents of the Hudson Valley area!

If you aren't a follower on Maria's blog, The Serpentine Library, what are you waiting for?  Maria brings all sorts of books to my attention that I would not have heard of otherwise.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Favorite Werewolf Novels (Guest post from M.T. Murphy)

My Favorite Werewolf Novels
By M.T. Murphy

In the 1990s, werewolves were vastly underrepresented in popular entertainment. Vampire books and films, however, were almost as popular then as they are now. Bram Stoker's Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Interview With A Vampire, From Dusk Till Dawn, and the Blade film series all hit screens in that decade. Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles ruled the 90s in supernatural fiction. Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels also hit the scene with vampires playing large roles in the first books.

Werewolves popped up here and there, but they were always playing second fiddle--and sometimes tambourine. As an author whose subjects are usually of the angry and furry variety, this is most distressing.

In honor of Midnyte Reader's Halloween Hootenanny, here are some of my favorite werewolf books that you might not have even heard of.

Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar - Kalix is a young werewolf who should be living in the castle in Scotland with the rest of the werewolf royalty. Instead, she lives her days brooding in the shadows of decadent London after gravely injuring her father, the king, in battle. When she's not brooding or knocking back Laudanum (the werewolf equivalent of catnip), she's avoiding assassins, werewolf hunters, and other werewolves. Millar weaves this highly enjoyable tale of political intrigue, sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, and unlikely friendship over the course of several hundred very short chapters. If you read only one werewolf book in your lifetime (other than one of mine), read this one.

Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand - The story follows two inexplicably pleasant organized crime enforcers as they try, and fail, to transport a werewolf across Florida. Ivan, the werewolf, is one of the most sadistic and evil characters ever written. Wolf Hunt is heart-pumping horror from start to finish as the enforcers try to keep Ivan from killing everyone. Yes. Everyone.

Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton - Before it became cool to bash the Anita Blake series, LKH released this book which focuses on the St. Louis Ulfric (head werewolf) Richard. What I love about this story is that werewolves are the central theme. Vampires play a big role, but it is the interaction between a small town werewolf pack, Anita and her vampire/werewolf posse, and Richard's werewolf enforcers that makes up the majority of the book.

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny - My favorite novel of all time. It is told in thirty-one chapters, each representing a separate night in the month of October in the 1800s. The reason it is on the werewolf list is the inclusion of a very conspicuously named character: Larry Talbot. Yes fans of 1941 classic The Wolf Man, that Larry Talbot. The story has some very strong Lovecraftian themes woven amongst a cast of vampires, great detectives, mad monks, witches, and killers, each either vying to open or close a portal to uncle Cthulhu's basement. Did I mention the story is narrated in first person by Jack the Ripper's dog? Go. Find. Read.

As a special treat for those of you who made it through to the end of this post, I am giving away three digital copies of my newest werewolf novel, Lesser, to random individuals who comment on this post.

To double your chances to win, post a link to this blog article on your Twitter or Facebook feed and invite your friends to read it. Just be sure to send me an @reply on Twitter to let me know about it (

If you want to discuss my books, vampires, werewolves, or anything in between, contact me here:


Lesser by M.T. Murphy

Robyn has found the tomb of the most powerful vampire in the world. Now, different forces in the underworld either want to steal her secret or make sure it dies with her.

Two things stand in their way:

The vampiress Lucifera and her werewolf companion.

Whoever survives will find that the lesser of two evils is not always the right choice.

Thank you MT for joining Halloween Hootenanny!  Personally, my favorite werewolf book is Wolf's Hour by Robert McCammon.

~MT is giving away three (3) digital copies of his book Lesser.
~If more than Ten (10) people enter this contest, MT is increasing the amount of e-books he will give away.  He will give away one (1) book for every five (5) additional people who leave comments.  (So if 15 people leave a comment, he will give away an additional book.  If 20 people leave a comment, he will give away two additional books.)

To Enter:
~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Extra entries are optional.  
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY!  If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry.

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international!
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on November 2, at 12:01am.
~Author will e-mail winners.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Funny Costumes! (Guest post from Julianna of The Reviews News.)

First of all, big thanks to Midnyte Reader for letting me to do a guest post! You=awesomeness.

So, Halloween's almost here! Do you have a costume? Did you see some costumes of, say, characters from books, that were just plain hilarious? Or strange? I've got a collection of some interesting costumes of book characters, and here they are*:


BAAAABY!!!!! Enough said.

Yay. Batman. But he's got NOTHING on BABY SUPERMAN!


 Nope. Not a competitive family at all.
McCall's Costumes

Did someone check her credentials? She doesn't seem to enjoy this job very much. I'm worried about the kids, that's all.

Whoa, whoa, CRAZY eyes there!!!


I can see it now: "Tinker Bell and her flight to evil", coming 12/21/2012
The resemblance is shocking.


If I may say so, Hagrid, your beard is quite posh!


May zee fos bee weh you.

You... knew this was coming, didn't you?

HA! Betcha didn't see THAT one coming. I think he's saying, "I AAMMM EEEEDWAAARDDD."

Okay, just because I'm not evil enough to leave you with that terrifying picture, here-



*All commentary are solely of my opinion, and are not issued or meant in a negative/offensive manner. Also, I own none of these pictures, which is why the link of where I found them is stated beneath or on each picture unless the picture is used multiple times, in which I only included the link once.

Thank you Julianna for joining Halloween Hootenanny and sharing those costumes.  I really like Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Please visit Julianna at The Reviews and News!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tick Tock.

Title/Author: Tick Tock by Dean Koontz.

Read by: Paul Michael.

Genre: Horror/Thriller.

Publisher: Random House Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Mrs. Phan.

All in all:  I thought it was okay, my husband loved it.

Synopsis: Tommy Phan is a 30-year-old Vietnamese-American detective and novelist living in Southern California, and a chaser of the American Dream. He drives home his brand-new Corvette one day to discover a strange doll on his doorstep. It's  a rag doll made entirely of white cloth, with no face or hair or clothes. Where the eyes should be, there are two crossed stitches of black thread. Five sets of crossed black stitches mark the mouth, and another pair form an X over the heart. He brings it into the house. That night, he hears an odd little popping sound and looks up to see the crossed stitches over the doll's heart breaking apart. When he picks up the doll, he feels something pulsing in its chest. Another thread unravels to reveal a reptilian green eye --and not a doll's eye, because it blinks.Tommy Phan pursues the thing as it scrambles away into his house -- and then is pursued by it as it evolves from a terrifying and vicious minikin into a hulking and formidable opponent bent on killing him.

My Thoughts: Except for the long exposition about the main character Tommy Phan and his background, I thought this started out pretty well.  Tommy finds a creepy little doll on his porch.  Then things get scary.  The little voodoo doll comes alive and tries to kill him.  How cool is that? The action is good and the evil little creature is frightening and menacing.

However, a major reason this story didn't work for me was that I couldn't suspend my disbelief regarding the main female protagonist Deliverance Payne (yes, that’s her name).  She is a kooky woman that Tommy meets while trying to escape the creature that is after him. She is mysterious, beautiful and seems to know about everything. She is a sharpshooter, a driver worthy of race car status and always keeps her cool.  And that’s just the start of it.  I just didn't connect to her or the enigmatic way she would answer Tommy’s questions with either another question or existential sayings. This was the way most of their dialogue went.  Tommy would repeat everything she asked and instead of just answering the question he would ask questions of his own.

There is also a lot of exposition and explanations that I feel could have been delivered in a different way besides “telling.”

The end was cute, but again, a lot of the events and many of the explanations for Del's secrets didn't resonate with me.  I did like the mystery behind the doll, which I felt was believable and the resolution as well. 

The narrator was good, but I didn't connect with the way Del’s voice was depicted.  I thought Paul Michael did a great job with Tommy's mother, Mrs. Phan.  She is actually my favorite character.  She is from Vietnam and constantly chastises Tommy for forgetting the old ways and being too American. She is very stubborn and funny.

In Koontz’s defense, in his afterward, he said his intent was to make Tick Tock a “screwball comedy.” One of the ingredients of a screwball comedy is to have the two characters have conversations that seem at odds. Maybe if I read it instead of listening to it, it would have been more successful.  Maybe I was expecting more of a straight horror/thriller with no room for jokes. 

However, don't take my word for it, check out what my husband thought of it below.

J's counterpoint:  Contains Spoilers!  I thought this was an awesome idea!  I love anything with monsters so this was very cool.  The voodoo doll was a neat concept and I liked what it became.  The action is nonstop and there are no lulls.  Once it started it kept going.  

I didn't think Del was annoying or over the top at all.  I thought she was great and I liked their banter back and forth.  I usually don't like romance, but I'm glad they got together. I also thought the alien plot twist was cool and I loved that Scooty, the dog, turned out to be an alien.  I also really liked Tommy's conflict with his family and his Vietnamese culture.  It was like he wanted to be someone like John Wayne, yet he had to go back to his culture in order to solve this mystery.  

And, I really liked that they got the cars right.  That helped a lot.  I listened to it twice.  

Other editions:


Childhood Thrills - October 2011.

Childhood Thrills is a feature that recalls books I read in my childhood or adolescence that were special to me or "haunt" me in some way. I don't intend to re-read & review them, just simply share my memories and the feelings they evoke.

Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett.

This is another book that my teacher, Miss McConnell,read to our class. Here is what I remembered about it throughout the years:

  • A little girl lived in a witch's house.
  • The little girl fantasized that the witch wasn't her real mother.
  • Somehow the little girl sees a pretty woman in her mirror and when she tells the woman she loves her, a spell is broken, the woman *is* her real mother.
I searched on Amazon, on Google, I researched and read any description I could find on children's books about witches.  No dice.  Then I came across a site called Loganberry Books: Stump the Bookseller.  They have an amazing database for figuring these things out. I did a search, but my criteria was so limited and vague, it wasn't helpful. It nagged at me. I printed out the form, tried to articulate what I remembered and sent my check in. I checked the site a few weeks later and voila!  Now I had a title and an author! I searched Amazon and read the synopsis and more of the story came flooding back. 

I can't tell you how happy I am that I finally know what the book is that has been plaguing me to remember it for all these years. 

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