Friday, October 29, 2010

The history of Trick or Treating

WHO doesn't love Trick or Treating? As a child, it was so exciting to go shopping with mom to find the perfect outfit. I remember one year being Wonder Woman. I remember the plastic outfit I would wear and the face with the elastic band to hold it in place. Trying to find your way around looking through the tiny eye slots. How my voice sounded talking through the mask. How about the smell of the plastic. I still love that smell and when it hits me, I automatically think of the costume.

Sometimes we would make our own costume. Those were just as fun! Now that I am the mom, Halloween is just as fun. I went today to the store to buy my son the items needed to turn him into Frankenstein. My older two, along with their father, participate every year in the local Haunted House, so it is just he and I going around town.

This got me to wondering though, how did Trick or Treating come about?

This event dates back a long time ago to Britain on All Souls Day, which was Nov. 1. The beggars would "go a souling" or begging door to door. Housewives would give them special treats called "soul cakes" and the "soulers" would promise to say a prayer for the dead. The term "Trick or Treating" is an American tradition and can be found in print for the first time after 1939.

Scotland and Ireland also do this on All Souls day and they call this guising as the children are in disguises. The children in these two countries perform, whether it be singing, reciting a poem, or a card trick. Then the household will give them their treat. In Ireland, as an old custom, they do this in preparation of the festival of St. Columbkill.

So, we have the fun part of it down, but why do we do this on Oct. 31? Well, the Celts believed that the night before their New Year blurred the boundaries between the living and the dead. The Celts believed that the spirits came to Earth to cause mischief and make animals sick. The Celts would also use the presence of the spirits to foretell the future.

Samhain, pronounced saw-win, means summers end. This was what the Celts called their New Year's Eve. During this festival the Celts would dress themselves up in the heads and skin of the recent animals they had killed. They took the weak and the old from their herd on order for the stronger to survive. The made huge bonfires and sacrifices of crops and animals. Then they would take embers from the bonfire and light the fires within their home before extinguishing the huge bonfire. They believed this would offer protection through the winter months.

Imagine this.

You are walking down the dark street in your neighborhood. You are almost home. Your feet hurt and but your child's bag is filled to the rim with his treasures he has collected. Every other corner has a street light on, but the one on the end flickers, shutting off for just the briefest of moments, before turning back on. In those few seconds of total darkness, an owl hoots in the distance and the wind blows, caressing your cheek ever so gently. Goose bumps decorate your flesh. A twig snaps off to your left and you turn quickly to see who or what it is. You feel slightly embarrassed for being so jumpy, but yet, you just can't seem to help yourself. You take two more steps and you hear the sound again. What is the sound you wonder? Your mind plays tricks on you and starts to imagine all sorts of things. And I ask you, could it be the spirits of the dead, come to wander the earth? I'll Let you decide!! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today at Casablanca Authors!

Do you have a book that you would love to pitch? Maybe you have a question about the industry? Today is your lucky day! Editorial Manager at Sourcebooks Casablanca, DEB WERKSMAN, is taking questions and pitches on her blog,

I posted my pitch for Highland Dreams. She will give you feed back right there on the blog and I have seen her request full manuscripts also. So, if you feel you are ready, head on over and check it out! GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My interview with Author, Sandra Cox!

Today I’m interviewing Sandra Cox. Her book, SUNDIAL is a time travel romance and was released on October 15, 2010.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Sarah Miles is a successful garden painter. When painting a garden she finds an ancient sundial with the words, ‘fate cannot be altered’. When she touches it, it transports her back to the battle of San Jacinto. There she meets Jesse Adams, Sam Houston’s right hand man, the man she unknowingly went back in time to find.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is this the only genre you write in?
SUNDIAL is a time travel romance.
I’m a genre hopper. I write YA fantasy, crossover YA, paranormal romance, historical romance, time travel romance, and nonfiction metaphysical.

When did you start writing toward publication?
I started writing a long time ago. I got published about four years ago.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
I had a couple manuscripts written before I sold. I had an agent for awhile. But I actually sold after I went out on my own.

What is your writing routine like?
It varies. In the winter, I often write in the ‘mole hole’ (our basement). And in the summer I write in the screened in porch that overlooks my gardens and bird feeders.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
I would absolutely love to have a publicist, but currently I do my own. I blog and run contests and do a little twittering.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
Keep sending your work out, get or stay in a critique group. If something doesn’t sell move on to the next project. You can always go back and pick up your first.
Don’t give up. It will happen.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on the third book in my Hunter Series. The Series is based around Zoe Tempest, a vampire hunter and her cousin Jolene Sayre, a werewolf hunter.

As Sarah Miles drives down Eighteenth Street a stranger materializes in front of her car. She throws on her brakes, braces for impact and….drives straight through him. For a brief moment, his voice filled with quiet despair echoes in her head. “Saura. Saura.” Then he is gone. Later that day, Sarah discovers the SUNDIAL and her incredible journey through time begins.
A little bit about the author
Multi-published author Sandra Cox lives with her husband, five cats, a dog and an occasional foster cat in sunny North Carolina. You can see the menagerie at

The stallion reared. Sarah clung to Jesse, dangling off the ground.

Jesse brought the horse under control. A flush of irritation reddened the hard planes of his face. “Let go dammit.”

She slid to the ground, stumbled and landed on her rump in the soggy marsh grass.

Jesse looked down at her as he gathered his reins. “Next time, throw your leg all the way over and don’t kick the poor beast to death. I wish I could say it’s been a pleasure. What I can say, with certainty, is it’s been damn peculiar.”

He tightened his knees. The stallion reared, making her scoot backwards on her bottom.
He gave her an elegant half-bow. “Ma’am.”

“You always were an arrogant bastard.” Sarah could feel her eyes flash sparks of anger even while she thought how would I know that?

“And you were always an imp of Satan,” he shot back. The words were no sooner out than a look of bewilderment settled over his handsome features.

For one frozen moment his eyes met hers. Time fell away. Recognition passed between them.
She felt her heart jump and her breath quicken.

Then Jesse made a violent motion with his hand, rejection clearly written on his face. Wheeling his horse, he raced away.


SUNDIAL can be purchased in e or paper at

For a chance to win an autographed copy of SUNDIAL, a ‘seeing’ pendant, and a gift card to Starbucks just go to and leave a comment mentioning Sarah and SUNDIAL.

How can my readers buy your book?
Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at
You can find more information about Sandra Cox and and her book SUNDIAL by visiting or

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My apologies!

I wanted to apologize for not having the rest of my posts up about the holidays and gatherings. I am having issues with my computer. I will get back to them as soon as I can.

On Oct. 26, I will have author, Sandra Cox on here for an interview. Please stay posted.

Thank you for understanding!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A week of holidays and gatherings! Day 3

Scotland has a tradition that I have fallen in love with every since I read about it in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. It is called First Footing.

First Footing is exactly as it sounds. As the bells ring in the New Year shortly after midnight, the first person to step over a homes threshold will determine the homeowners luck of the year.

Ideally, the person should be a man and of dark complexion. (I have heard that if the visitor is twins, then the luck is doubled, but I could not prove this.) This dates back to the 8th century when the Vikings attacked Scotland. A blond visitor is a bad omen. The visitor should bear gifts which include whisky, coal, salt, a coin, and black buns (a spice cake).

Apparently, there is a lot of celebrating going on, for in Scotland, January 2nd is also considered a holiday! Sounds good to me!

I think that this tradition is so exciting. To be the person going around spreading cheer and love in the hopes that crossing someone's door step will bring them good luck. Or to be the person, who opens their door to find the dark stranger bearing gifts. This is a tradition I would like to see happen all around the world.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A week of holidays and gatherings! Day 2

We call it New Year's Eve. The people of Scotland call it HOGMANAY and they have a long and rich tradition with this holiday.

Many people have their ideas of where the word "Hogmanay" may have derived from. The Scandanavians use "Hoggo-nott" to describe the feast that proceeded Yule. The Flemish used "hoog min dag" meaning "great love day." Also, the Anglo-Saxons used Haleg monath, or Holy month. "Oge maidne" is Gaelic meaning new morning. But the most likely source is from the French. "Homme est né" or "man is born."

Did you know that for 400 years, Christmas was not celebrated and virtually banned in Scotland from the 17th century to the 1950's? This came from the Protestant Reformation when the Kirk believed Christmas to be a Catholic feast. Many Scots worked on Christmas, therefore they would gather their family and friends together at New Year's Eve and exchange gifts.

One tradition is to clean house before midnight including the ashes from the fireplace.

A big part of the Hogmanay celebration is to welcome friends and family with a warm welcome and a 'kiss' to wish everyone a Giude New Year. The belief is to clear out old feelings and bring in the New Year with a clean slate. Don't forget about singing "Auld Lang Syne" by Robert Burns, who is Scottish.

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne."

Check out tomorrow to find out what happens on January 1st.!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A week of holidays and gatherings!

As we all know, Halloween is fast approaching. This got me to thinking about holidays. So I am going to set off a week of holidays and gatherings here at my blog.

The first one I would like to write about is called Braemar Gathering. This takes place on the first Saturday in September. Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. About 58 miles west of Aberdeen in the Highlands, sitting near the River Dee. The Gaelic, Bràigh Mhàrr, literally means upper Marr.

The origin of this major Highland Games is said to go back to the 11th century when King Malcom the third, "Canmore", came to the village with his first Queen and held a gathering at the original settlement of Doldencha. He gave a prize to the winner of a race to the top of Craig Choinnich.

In 1746, the Act of Proscription ended all clan gatherings. It was repealled in 1782, and all enthusiasm for such events returned. In 1826, the Braemar Highland Society was created and the first modern day games took place in 1832. On September 14, 1844, Queen Victoria attended the gathering. In 1866, Royal was added to Braemar Highland Society. In 1906, the Duke of Fife presented 12 acres of Mar Estate to the Society in which The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park, the current home of the gathering, was created. Since Queen Victoria's time, the reigning Monarch has been the Patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Society.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Words and their meanings

As with any country, there are certain words that we say that are only known to us. Over time, some words have stuck around and some have faded. Have you ever read a romance novel and seen a word; not quite sure of what it's meaning is? We all have. It is hard to read a book and try to get the message, only to be thrown a little off by using a word you have never seen. You try to decipher it yourself or stop reading to look it up. Especially if it is in a different language.

I thought I would list a few words here and give you their meaning.

Fortnight- 2 weeks, this word is still used today.

Stone- this is a weight of measurement. One stone is equal to 14 lbs. This term is not used as much anymore. They use kilos now to measure weight.

Snog- this means heavy petting or making out. It is a term you would see not only in Scotland but England and Britain as well.

A Scot's Mile- this is 1973 and 1/3 yards or 320 foot falls of 18 Scotsman. It is a little longer then the English Mile which is 1970 yards. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh is closer to the Scot's Mile in length.

Kine- cattle

Ken- thought or think (EX: I kent you would be here.)

Loch- lake

Plaid- (played). Blanket- like garment worn over the shoulder. It is a wool tartan that has two pieces sewn together. It is about 12-18 feet long and about 5 feet wide.

Tartan- is the material that makes the kilt. Each clan will have a different tartan.

Arisaid- Woman's long shaw.

Kilt- (breacan feile- the Gaelic name for a kilt.) contains about 6 yards of material and is the traditional clothing of Scotland.

Ceildh- (kay-lee) A party

Sgian Dubh- (skee-doo) Small knife often worn in the top of the sock. Translates from Gaelic as "black knife" (Dubh means black) Most likely refers to it's intended use rather than it's color.

If you have other words you have seen and do not know the answer for or you do know the answer for, please, list them here. I hope this helps!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Buy books to support boobs!

From my friend and Author, Kerri Nelson-

My October effort to raise money to help breast cancer research continues every day with more books listed. Some new, some used, and some collectibles (autographed). Get in on the and help spread the word!

NEW items listed daily, here's today's set of books (a dozen books for only .99):

The Day #5 Auction Book Lot closes tomorrow & no bidders! :-( Get 9 books for .99 & help breast cancer research!

Women, Authors, Readers Unite for a Cure!

Here are all the details and daily updates:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A great blog!

For those of you who are writers or those of you who just enjoy a great blog, I hope you will head over to New Kid on the Writer's Block at Join me and a bunch of wonderful ladies as we discover the world of writing. The are funny posts, informative posts, and many links to other sources.

My new post on immortality will be up on Saturday, Oct. 11. I post there every other Saturday. NKOTWB has just hit a milestone and got it's 101st follower! WTG laddies on creating a blog that people love!

Let me introduce you to the ladies who blog there and I will post a link as to where else you can find them.

Rebecca Lynn at

Deb Sanders at

Jennieke Cohen at

Lynn Cahoon at Facebook

Debby Lee

Kristal Lee at

Renee Lynn Scott at

Julie Shumway at

Camryn Rhys at

Tamara D. Hanson

Monday, October 4, 2010

My interview with Author Nancy Lennea

Today I am interviewing Nancy Lennea. Her book, DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN, is a romantic suspense and was released on September 30th.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN is a romantic suspense, with a hint of gothic mystery, that uses scenery as a backdrop for both sexual attraction and intrigue. I placed my heroine, Destiny Blake, in a beautiful college town that happens to lie beside a lovely river and breathtakingly beautiful mountains. In fact, her cabin is on the side of the big mountain—Destiny’s mountain. When Jacob Oliver comes along, things go from bad to worse…to erotic. I weave in a couple of guys—stalkers, I’d call them—amidst a young woman’s search for love and an older man’s cynical views.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

I finished five manuscripts over three years before I got ‘the call’. Actually, it was an e-mail from Wendi Felter, the owner of Red Rose Publishing. That was for my 3rd manuscript, SECRET LOVE MATCH which was released June 25th of this year. DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN was my first ever manuscript. Yep, and it was rejected left and right. I sent it out to agents on my own. When those rejections came in, I sent it to Harlequin, who requested the full. Nope. They decided it wasn’t for them. I put it away, and kept writing. I took it out and looked it over years later with a fresh eye. I immediately cut out the first seventy-seven pages, used all I had learned at workshops and on-line courses, and polished it into an action-packed love-story filled with stalking, murder, incorrect assumptions, sexual tension, mountain rescue, ghostly voices, and love. THEN I sent it to Red Rose Publishing.

What is your writing routine like?

I am fortunate in that I retired from my job as a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher for the state of New Hampshire when my husband and I moved to North Carolina. My writing day is figured around my marvelous hubby. Sometimes he leaves for work at 9 a.m, and sometimes not until 2 p.m. so I vary what I do. Sometimes I go to bed early, sometimes late. It all depends. Sometimes I go pick up my sister’s dog because I babysit. Normally, I check e-mails first and respond to anything timely or important. I check my calendar to make sure I am aware of any interviews or blogposts coming up. If my plate is clear, I plug a flashdrive into either the desktop or laptop computer (depending on what room I wish to write in that day) and write. Must have backup! Very important.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

An e-book sale is so much different from a print sale to a large, New York publisher. My publishers send the book out to review sites. They make the books available on other bookseller sites such as Amazon and Fictionwise. They post my book, blurb, and an excerpt on their own website. Me? I do the rest. I have two websites and two blogs because I write in different genres under two different names. When I wanted a book trailer for SECRET LOVE MATCH, I went to the very talented Kerri Nelson at When I wanted bookmarks, I was lucky to find Florina Craven at She and I choose a suitable size and she used my covers to make lovely bookmarks. Check out her website and see them for yourself. She is making me a book trailer for DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN. I also contacted different blog owners—blogs I read and who post interesting subjects—and scheduled an interview with them or wrote an article for them. I am on Facebook and various romance-related Yahoo groups and I keep busy by spreading the news.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and have they helped?

The first thing I did once we signed a contract to sell our New Hampshire home was to join Romance Writers of America and the local chapter in my new home town. The Heart of Carolina Romance writers are a wonderful mix of new writers, newly published writers, and ‘old hats’. Everyone helps you whenever you have a question and our monthly meetings are full of valuable craft and industry insight. Check out the calendar at
The point I’m making is that no one should do this alone. Writing is a very solitary profession. Can’t make meetings or there isn’t a chapter close by? There are dozens of on-line chapters as well. Just do it!

What’s next for you?

I just sold a short story to Whispers Publishing called UNWRAPPING CHRIS. It is a contemporary romance and takes place mostly on an army base then at a Christmas wedding. It will be released this holiday season. I also just sold what I would loosely call the sequel to DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN. I found that my secondary characters were so engaging that they needed a story of their own. Since they are both paramedic-firefighters, I used my history as a volunteer EMT and firefighter in my local community as inspiration. LOVE TO THE RESCUE is also a romantic suspense and Red Rose Publishing will release it in 2011.


In a quirky college town surrounded by the mountains of New Hampshire, new art history professor Jacob Oliver hikes a trail on a crisp September morning. He contemplates his life. Divorced, and forced out of his job with the Boston Police due to a horrific accident, he spots a naked woman beneath a majestic waterfall. Escaping, he falls and re-injures his knee.
Destiny Blake heard a noise. Someone is on her mountain. She finds a handsome man sitting in the mud. Love blooms and lust consumes them after she helps him to the safety of her cabin. Soon assumptions tear them apart, leaving her vulnerable to the unwanted attentions of other men.
When Jacob decides he cannot live without her, he must save her from a madman who chases her up her mountain through the cold, snowy darkness of a November night. Ghostly voices push Jacob onward, while another spirit’s voice urges Destiny to fight back. Pain, hypothermia, and death threaten as the sun rises. Can Destiny and Jacob make it off Destiny’s Mountain…alive?


She turned to leave. She had to leave. An injured man deserved privacy, not a drooling voyeur.
A large hand landed on her arm and stopped her cold. His tendons trembled under his skin as he curled his long fingers around her bicep. She glanced down at his hand, amazed at the light dusting of golden-brown hairs that trailed across his wrist, then up a muscular forearm.
“Wait,” he pleaded. His words sounded forced, as if his lungs struggled for air.
Destiny returned her attention to his eyes. She couldn’t read him. Did this signify lust or more? A brief memory featuring Marcus Benton and Pete Thayer crossed her mind, hindering her from acting on her first impulse.
“Do you need help showering?” An innocent question. So, why had a smile broken out across his full, luscious lips? With a jolt, she realized what she’d said and how it sounded.
“I wouldn’t want you to fall, of course,” she explained.
Deep brown eyes stared right through her. Was the man laughing because she’d said something inappropriate? Or was his smile an invitation?
“It seems a sin to waste all this hot water when there’s plenty of room for two.”
Was the man daft? Her shower was small. Really small. His voice sounded steady. He certainly didn’t look steady. She, herself, suddenly wavered. If he fell inside her shower, she’d be in a pickle.
“I promise I won’t look or touch unless you want me to.” He held her widening gaze half a minute more, then opened the shower door and hopped inside.
Panic bubbled up inside Destiny. Standing stock still, she watched as the water cascaded over his head and down to his toes. Her eyes must have spelled out her sudden shock at his words, because he closed the shower door with a definite click…and broke the spell.


Nancy grew up on New York’s Long Island then attended college in the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire. She worked during college in their dining hall while earning a degree in art education. After meeting her husband there, they raised her family in a small, nearby town. She volunteered as an EMT/firefighter on their small fire department then worked for the State of New Hampshire as a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher. Retired from public service, Nancy now writes full time, lives in North Carolina, and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, and Sisters-in-Crime. She also writes paranormal romance, such as her recent release, DRAGON’S CURSE, as Nancy Lee Badger, at

How can my readers buy your book?

DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN is available for download from Red Rose Publishing.
The buy link is:
Visit my website at:
Visit my blog at: