Guest Post: Halloween Memories by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

This is the last post at this web address.  Tomorrow you will redirected to http://www.lizzylessard.com, the new blog address for Lizzy’s Dark Fiction.  But don’t worry, all posts and comments will be transferred.  A big thank you to Livia of Butterfly Meter Designs who made my dark vision come to life on the new site.  

Happy Halloween everyone!


Halloween Memories

Treat or Treat, Robots and Candy Corn

Guest Post by author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

I believe I’m lucky. I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Halloween was so different back then. Simpler. More innocent. Exciting. A true holiday for children. And I have memories I’ll cherish my whole life.

My family was large. I had six siblings, three sisters and three brothers, and we never had much money. My dad was a salesman and my mother, like a lot of women during that time, didn’t work outside the home…she was busy enough raising seven children. We were the poor family down the street with too many kids living in the shabby two-story spooky looking house. Our neighbors shunned us or felt sorry for us. But I didn’t care, I had my family to love me. I had Grandmother Fehrt, my mother’s mother, to fill our bellies with food when the table was a little too bare. I had my ambitions and dreams, science fiction and scary library books to read and pictures to draw (I wanted to be an artist from the age of nine). I frolicked in the empty fields riddled with deep gullies beside our house with my brothers and sisters or ran the dark streets and woods playing hide-and-go-seek. Sang to the moon on our rusty swing set in the backyard with my brother, Jim. Or, on a black and white TV set, watched Zorro, the Twilight Zone or The Lone Ranger on swelteringly hot nights in a house with no air-conditioning. Sweet days and nights. Poignant memories now that many of my family are gone.

Halloween was my favorite holiday, next to Christmas. I remember one, when I was about ten or so, vividly. It was cold and raining, but nothing stopped us four older children (the rest were too young that year) from going out into the neighborhood and collecting big brown bags of free candy. No, not when candy was so rare for us. My parents could hardly keep enough food in the house, much less buy us sweets. So Halloween meant a windfall of treats. Nothing kept us home on that night. We’d quickly eat the bowls of chili Mom would insist we eat as the sun went down. Another tradition. So we had some real food in our stomachs before the glut of candy came.

Copyright @ 2011 by Monkywing

My mother, money being sparse as always, dressed us two girls up as gypsies, using her old costume jewelry and tying bright scarfs around our heads and waists. My younger brother Jon, wore an old sheet with cut out eye slots. A ghost. My other brother, Jim, had outdone himself that year and, out of two cardboard boxes and paint, had fashioned himself a robot. Wasn’t bad for an eight year old, either. Made it hard for him to walk, though. He stumbled a lot.

That night we traipsed through the wet woods, a short cut, to the rich subdivision down the road that – oh, my – gave out those huge candy bars at each door, huge homemade popcorn balls or bags of candy corn, my favorite. My grandmother had taught Jim and I a catchy song…G-i-n-g-a, G-i-n-g-a, G-i-n-g-a…Ginga was his name. Never understood that song but I think it was about a pet dog or something. Jim and I got so much good feedback, so many treats for belting it out, though, that at Christmas we were performing The Little Drummer Boy for anyone we could corner and sing to. The beginning of our later singing folk duo (so big in the 60’s) and then my short (my brother kept singing out as I began writing my novels) singing career, no doubt.

We had a great haul that night. Cold and rainy as it was. Frozen as our faces and fingers became. Maybe got even more goodies because it was so inclement. We went to all the houses, collected our booty, and esthetic at our bulging bags, at the end of the night, ran through the trees toward home. Trying to beat the rain, which had become a deluge, worst of the night. With noisy thunder, and spectacular lightning. It was sooo spooky. In the spirit of the night, we were sure something bad was following us. We ran faster. Our paper bags getting soaked as we cradled them against our shivering bodies.

Then, clumsy in his robot disguise (he kept bumping into trees because he couldn’t see) Jim fell over a tree limb and spilled his candy everywhere. As he cried, we scurried around trying to salvage what we could. Didn’t do much good. Too dark. The rain was too heavy. So the three of us promised to share our catch with him and we led him home.

As we were drying off and warming up, Mom and Dad smiled at our stories of singing for our candy and all the strange ghouls and monsters we’d met on the way; laughed over Jim’s mishap and gave us hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows to drink.

Then there was a knock at the front door and when we looked, there was Grandma Fehrt, dressed as a wicked witch, complete with tall black hat and long dress, cackling at us. Trying to fool us. But we all knew it was her. She dressed up every year and knocked at our door. Always a witch.

We kids hugged her and laughed, then sat at the table counting out (and oohing and aahing with glee) over our candy haul. We shared it with Jim, of course.

To this day I remember that Halloween with a wistful smile. Such good times from so long ago. I see my brothers and sisters young faces through the mists of time, remember the thrill of singing with my brother for the first time and the delight of the people giving us the candy in exchange for the song. I remember my parents and the love in that drafty old house we scampered back to. I remember my grandmother with her smiling witch eyes and painted face. Remember going to bed with a stomach ache because I’d eaten too much candy. Heck, I always did. And I remember those no longer with us. My father, my mother, one of my brothers and all of my grandparents.

My childhood, when I think of nights like that, is just a moment away. The dead are with me again. Ah, I’d give anything to go back in time and be with all of them once more. The way we were. Young and hopeful and with our lives ahead of us. Enjoying each other’s company…and all that good candy.

Anything.

About Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had sixteen (nine romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel and two murder mysteries) previous novels and eight short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-four years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

Check out these 4 short stories on sale for $.99.

Ghost Brother  |  The Banshee and the Witch  |  Too Close to the Edge  |  Running with the Train

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com.

Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:

  • Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, 2012)
  • The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010) Buy
  • Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)
  • Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)  Buy
  • Damnation Books Buy Link:
  • The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010) Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)  Buy
  • The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011) Buy
  • The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)  Buy
  • Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003…soon to be an Amazon Kindle Direct ebook)
  • All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006…soon an Amazon Kindle Direct ebook)
  • Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011) Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella & bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out; Eternal Press 2012)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Woman in Crimson (Damnation Books 2010)  :  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)
  • Dinosaur Lake (from Amazon Kindle Direct 2012)

My Space  |  Facebook  |  Author’s Den  |  Goodreads  |  Email    |  Bebo  |  Jacketflap  |  Shoutlife  |  Romantic Writer & Reader |  Romance Book Junction

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Tour Guest Post/Giveaway: Broken Aro by Jen Wylie

Candied Memories

Guest Post by Jen Wylie

There is something about Halloween and memories. My memory is pretty crappy, but I do remember a lot of Halloweens. I remember running up and down village streets and getting excited over whatever got dropped into my pillowcase. (Pillowcases are the way to go- not those silly, tiny store bought baskets) I remember my mom’s smiles as we’d show her our loot and beg to be driven to the next village or group of houses. Yes, we lived in the country. “Oh poor child,” you think. Not so! Though cities you hit a lot more places in a shorter amount of time, in the country you GET more. I’m talking 10 houses will half fill a pillowcase more. You can get brown lunch bags of candy with your name on it. You’ll have houses dump their whole bowls in your bag because they don’t think anyone else will be coming.  Country Trick or Treating is awesome.

Back then we had fun with our costumes too. I never had one fully purchased at a store, though sometimes accessories were. When I was very little Mom hand made a clown costume and a witch another year. My sister and I wore those until we grew out of them. Then we were punk rockers a few years, full of spiked, glitter filled hair and too much makeup. Once I dressed up as Zorro- I think I just wanted the sword. Sadly, I also remember the growing up… of going out with friends, and even dressing up, but not going door to door for candy. Instead came parties and pretending to stay out of trouble.

Now I have kids of my own. Sometimes I think I have more fun than they do when we go out. Since my sewing skills suck, I never made them costumes. The last few years they have been wanting to make their own sometimes. No matter how silly, I’m all for that. I did it too, it’s a learning experience. I have good kids and am glad they aren’t to the partying age yet. As long as they’re still trick or treating, I can still steal their candy… except the candy corn… how can people eat that?


Broken Aro (The Broken Ones #1) by Jen Wylie

Publisher:  Untold PressGenre: YA epic fantasyBroken Aro released September 2012.  You can purchase it on Amazon for US or UK.

Book Description:  Open your eyes to darkness. What do you see? Does the darkness frighten you? Now imagine the darkness being the cargo hold of a slave ship. Your city has fallen. Your family is most likely dead. You don’t know anyone around you, and some of them aren’t even human. Giving up would be so easy to do, but not for Arowyn Mason. Not after being raised in a military family with seven brothers. Every great story should begin with a plan. Aro’s was to escape and to survive.

Escape comes, but at a price. As they reach the shore, Aro and the other survivors learn that freedom doesn’t mean safety. The slavers want their property back and will do anything to get it. The party uses every ounce of their brute strength, a hearty helping of cunning, and even ancient magics to keep themselves alive. Sickness, danger, and even love surprise them at every turn. Dealing with danger becomes their way of life, but none of them ever considered that nothing can be quite as dangerous as a prophecy. Running turns into another race altogether as her world falls to pieces again and again.

About the Author:

Jen Wylie resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her  two boys, Australian shepherd and a disagreeable amount of wildlife. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.

Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.

Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories.

Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter  | Goodreads  | Facebook  |  Amazon

Giveaway:

The author is giving away one ebook copy of Broken Aro.  To enter, leave a comment with your favorite Halloween memory or favorite Halloween candy.  This giveaway is opened internationally.  One lucky person will be chosen and emailed November 2nd!  The winner will be selected by random and have 48 hours to respond by email or another person will be chosen.

Please check out the other stops on the tour:

Guest Post: A Ghost Story by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Seasoned author Kathryn Meyer Griffith is visiting Lizzy’s Dark Fiction today with a true life ghost story.  Stay tuned for another guest post from her next week.  I’ll be reviewing two of her books, Dinosaur Lake (Sci-Fi/Horror) and Evil Stalks the Night (Horror), in December or so, so keep an eye out for them.  When I was first contacted by Kathryn Meyer Griffith, I thought her name looked familiar.  Turns out that I read one of her novels Witches, many years ago.  I’m so excited to check out more of her work.


A Ghost Story

Guest Post by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Because most of us are terrified of dying and death, of losing all we know so well in this mortal plane, we want to know: is there life after death? Do ghosts walk the earth? Vengeful or benevolent spirits? Immortals such as vampires and werewolves? Does good always win against evil? As human beings we’d love the answers to these questions and if we can’t find them, prove them, well, then we’ll invent, create, worlds where we can.

Now I must say that I can’t be considered a true skeptic when it comes to the supernatural because at the tender age of sixteen I saw a ghost, or what I believed was a ghost. My great Aunt Mary had died two days before. Not unexpectedly. She was old, had been in a nursing home for months, and we knew it was coming. Before the nursing home, though, she’d lived ten years with my maternal grandmother, whose name was also Mary, and had been happy there. The night before the funeral I’d been sleeping in my bed and something – to this day I don’t know what it was – woke me and I wandered down the dim hallway to use the bathroom.

Copyright © 2011, Shain Erin

And there was my dead Great Aunt Mary standing at the end of the hall in an eerie pulsating ball of light. She looked so real, as if I could reach out and touch her and my fingers would feel flesh. She was gesturing excitedly to me and rattling off a string of words that had to be German because I couldn’t understand a word of it. The old woman had been an immigrant who’d never learned our language, which is one of the reasons she’d been so content living with my grandmother; they’d both spoken German. The only word I could understand was Mary as she kept repeating the word over and over. I assumed my aunt was calling for my grandmother, as if my aunt were lost, and looking for her favorite niece. It’s the only explanation I have for the visitation.

Why she appeared to me, I’ll never know, but she did. I remember thinking: It’s Aunt Mary. Oh my God! But she’s dead. Dead. When it finally hit me, I was so frightened I turned and scurried back to my bedroom and dived beneath my bed covers. To this day, my mind swears I didn’t see what I thought I saw…Aunt Mary’s spirit…but my heart and my senses chide me and say, yes, you did. You saw a ghost. A real ghost. So there.

Since that day I’ve never been able to laugh at the possibility of the paranormal existing. The thing is, because I consider myself a down-to-earth realistic person (even though I’m considered basically a horror writer even with the other genres I write) , if someone asks me if I believe in ghosts and such I often as not hesitate before I admit that I might have seen one. Might. No one wants to be thought of as unbalanced. Seeing spirits is only one step above seeing little green men or pink elephants.

I want to be taken seriously. I mean, I’m a writer, not a nutcase.

All toll I’ve been a writer of paranormal fiction for forty years and proud of it. I’ve written about spirits, benevolent and malevolent; ghosts; angels; demons and all manner of vampires and unexplained creatures; and even, once, a possessed gun, and a woods haunted by an entity that was an eternal killer. Can’t get more spooky than that, can you?

Happy Halloween!

***

Check out these 4 short stories on sale for $.99.

Ghost Brother  |  The Banshee and the Witch  |  Too Close to the Edge  |  Running with the Train

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com.

Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:

  • Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, 2012)
  • The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010) Buy
  • Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)
  • Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)  Buy
  • Damnation Books Buy Link:
  • The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010) Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)  Buy
  • The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011) Buy
  • The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)  Buy
  • Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003…soon to be an Amazon Kindle Direct ebook)
  • All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006…soon an Amazon Kindle Direct ebook)
  • Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011) Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella & bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out; Eternal Press 2012)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010)  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Woman in Crimson (Damnation Books 2010)  :  Buy  |  Book Trailer
  • The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)
  • Dinosaur Lake (from Amazon Kindle Direct 2012)

My Space  |  Facebook  |  Author’s Den  |  Goodreads  |  Email    |  Bebo  |  Jacketflap  |  Shoutlife  |  Romantic Writer & Reader |  Romance Book Junction

Book Review/Giveaway: Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Publisher:  Eternal Press

Genre:  Dark Paranormal

You can purchase Halo of the Damned on ebook or paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.  There is a separate giveaway for a paperback version of this book on Goodreads that you can enter from Oct 1-31st.  You can read my reviews of other books by Dina Rae:  Be Paranoid Be Prepared and Bad Juju.

Giveaway:

Click HERE to enter the giveaway for an ebook version of Halo of the Damned as well as a $10 gift card to Amazon.com.  Giveaway is opened internationally.  There will be one winner.

Review:

Overview:  Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing.  It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last.  The dialogue and writing feel over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye.  I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller.  I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes.  It’s dirty, but not gory.  A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare.

Characters:  Like in her other novels, there is a huge cast of characters with distinct personalities.  With such a large amount, there isn’t much character development for many of the characters, but they will leave you guessing from scene to scene.  Joanne is the star of the novel and she is both a recovering drug addict and an ex-con.  I like how her view of the world was more jaded than the typical heroine and how she didn’t fall madly in love instantly with the first male who showed interest in her.  There is a little bit of a love triangle, but honestly, one of the men was way out of his league in trying to get her.  The romance is very underplayed and the plot definitely hog most of the spotlight.  One person I couldn’t stand was Marie – as she in no way resembled a 6-year-old in her mannerisms  behaviors, or vocals.  I think her character would have been more convincing if she was at least 12 or 13.

Plot:  It could be viewed as a good or bad thing, but many of the scenes are revisited by different characters.  Scene A might be told in Joanne’s POV and end in a cliffhanger.  A chapter or two later, Marcus will pick up the same scene either explaining the events leading up to Scene A or the events that happened because of Scene A.  Halo of the Damned is definitely a non-linear story, but surprisingly the pacing of the novel is strong even when the information in the book is familiar to the reader.

Ending:  Thankfully this was not a cliffhanger.  I could see the potential for a series involving many of the characters, but even as a stand alone this book has a satisfying ending.  There’s a few twists that happen during the path of the book and I had a general idea of what would happen at the end – but there was no predictability to the actions of most of the characters.  Overall though, it was a good read.  A “light” read for those who like “dark” books.

Grade:  B+

This is great book for those who wants something different in the paranormal genre.

Book Description:

A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

About the Author:

Dina Rae is a new author here to stay.  As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work.  Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots.  Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character.  Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago.  She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories.  She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs.  When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned Halo of the Damned |

Spooktacular Giveaway: Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Check out this guest Post by author Dina Rae and then enter the giveaway to win a copy of Halo of the Damned and a $10 giftcard to Amazon.com.  The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm.  You can check out a full list of the participating blogs (OVER 400!!!)  by clicking HERE.  Giveaway is open internationally and winner has 48 hours to respond by email or a new one will be chosen.  You can read my full review of Halo of the Damned, which I rated a B+, or scroll down to the bottom of this post to read a mini review.

Click to enter the giveaway

ebook + giftcard = ONE LUCKY PERSON!


Halo of the Damned

Guest Post by Dina Rae

In my recent novel, Halo of the Damned, I used research about the ancient Yezidi religion (spellings vary).  The Yezidis originated from northern Iraq.  The religion spread throughout the Kurdish community, eventually making its way into Europe.

Yezidis worship angels, especially Malak Tawas (spellings vary).  The peacock symbolizes this angel who many believe to be Satan.  Malak’s story in the Koran matches the same stories in the Bible and Old Testament about a rebellious angel who wages war with a third of all of God’s angels against God and the remainder of angels in Heaven.  Once defeated, God sends all of them to Hell.  Yezidis believe God created Malak first, before all other angels, in His image, therefore he is also God.  They also believe the world was first created as a pearl.  Their holy books are Black Book and Book of Revelation.  Their afterlife ideas are vague, but lean towards reincarnation.  I found the religion fascinating and used it as part of the plot.

Book Description:  A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship… Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan’s work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother’s fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother’s secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.

Quick Review:  Halo of the Damned is the third book I’ve read from Dina Rae and she sure does have a very signature way to her writing.  It’s raw, extremely unpredictable, and compelling from the first page to the last.  The dialogue and writing feels over-dramatic at times, and the way her books are written feels like Dan Brown or Tim LaHaye.  I like how each of her books tackle a different genre – this one is a dark thriller.  I like how this book is about a devil religion unique to this book – which means Catholics are spared from the corrupt priest stereotypes.  It’s dirty, but not gory.  A great Halloween read for those who like their “evil” without too much scare.  (B+ rating)

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned Halo of the Damned |

Tour Giveaway/Guest Post: Swamp Monster Massacre by Hunter Shea

 

For the Swamp Monster Massacre  tour, we have a guest post by author hunter Shea, an awesome giveaway, and my opinions on this monster horror novel.  Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more interviews, reviews, and guest posts.  The full list of stops can be found HERE.  You can read my review HERE.  I gave it 4/5 stars.

Halloween : A How-To Guide

By Hunter Shea

It stands to reason that by virtue of being a horror writer, I’m a huge Halloween fan. Forget Christmas and presents. I want monsters and scares. I look forward to the month of October the way little kids run around excited about their birthdays.  I’ve actually given the month a new name: Terrortober! Cue the sinister organ music.

So, what can you do to make the most of the Terrortober season? Here’s how we do it in the Shea mausoleum.

  1. Watch a horror movie a day from October 1st until Halloween. Take it like your multi vitamin. There are plenty of places to get movies, from TV to on-demand, new movie releases, Netflix, even the library. Immerse yourself. Watch the classics as well as the new stuff.
  2. Read only horror themed books. I collect books throughout the year that I save just for October. The scarier the premise, the better. My Terrortober pile is staring me in the face as I write.
  3. Dress up. If you have kids, put on a costume when you take them trick-or-treating. If you don’t have kids, see if you can borrow someone else’s for the night. Or, throw a costume party for the adults.
  4. Decorate. I’ve seen some people go a little overboard with twinkle lights and giant blow up figures in the yard. You don’t have to break the bank to show everyone you’re the king or queen of Halloween. Put some fake spider webs around the house, a foam tombstone or two, maybe a skull on the coffee table. Have fun with it.
  5. Candy. I’m not big into sweets, but even I can appreciate a candy corn in October. Plus you’ll need some on hand for the little ghosts and witches that drop in.
  6. Go to a haunted house or hayride. Some of these places are too scary for kids, so hire a babysitter, grab some friends and get the pants scared off you. Then head to a bar to relax and laugh your heads off.
  7. Take a paranormal tour. Thanks to the explosion of paranormal TV shows, it seems every city and town has a paranormal walking tour. They’ll take you to historical haunted houses, restaurants and if you’re really lucky, cemeteries.

If you can manage to do at least 6 of the 7 tips above, you will have taken Halloween by the devil horns. Make Halloween night a real party. Be with friends and family and celebrate until the witching hour, or when the sugar high wears off on the kids.

Happy haunting!

Click HERE to enter a giveaway to win a $5 Gift card to Samhain Publishing.

Tour/Guest Post: The Serpent’s Ring by H.B. Bolton

On this tour stop, we have an awesome guest post about the brand new Harry Potter theme park and a giveaway.  Please check out my review of this special MG fantasy book HERE.  Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on the tour for more guest posts, reviews, interviews, and chances to win a copy of The Serpent’s Ring!  You can see the full tour schedule at CBB Book Promotions.

Gateway to the Magical World of Harry Potter

Guest Post by H.B. Bolton

I remember the first time I held my paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Not only did J.K. Rowling spin magic between those pages, she brought to life a world full of mystery, enchantment and delight. She wrapped the world of Harry Potter into a charming little package called a book.  But it didn’t end there: Next came the films, capturing the essence of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest, thus bringing these treasures to a wider audience. And then came more books and more movies. It was like eating chocolate frogs; although I savored every morsel, I wanted more … and that’s just what I got.

On the morning of June 18, 2010, the first guests were officially welcomed into Universal Orlando’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I was not one of them, and I waited a bit before heading into the park — crowds and all.

Finally, on one brisk morning in December 2010, I walked along the cobblestone streets of Hogsmeade. Muggles were bustling about, buying butterbeer and pumpkin juice. Thrill seekers charged onto the Dragon Challenge roller-coaster ride. A queue wrapped around the outside of Ollivanders wand shop, each person waiting his turn to choose his wand … or have the wand choose him. Either way, I left Ollivanders with a wand very similar to Dumbledore’s.

And the first time I walked through the doors of Hogwarts, I was breathless. Portraits were talking to one another; as I entered Dumbledore’s office, he bid me welcome; Harry, Hermione and Ron gave instructions that I was supposed to meet them in the Room of Requirement; candles floated above my head; and then I sat on my broomstick (a seat for the ride).

I flew with Harry Potter, raced away from a dragon, dodged between Dementors, and barely escaped spitting spiders. I managed all of this while closing my eyes — well some of the time, anyway. This ride might be one of the most amazing rides I’ve ever encountered, but it made me feel slightly nauseated. I suppose I won’t be trying out for the Quidditch team any time soon.

Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter not only met my expectations, it might have even exceeded them. Since I live in Orlando, I’m fortunate in that I’ve been many times, and when I wander past Zonko’s joke shop, Honeydukes and Hog’s Head pub, and gaze through the many storefront windows that line the street, I still marvel at the innovation and attention to detail that is all things Harry Potter.

If you are a fan of Harry Potter and would like more information about Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit this ingenious site:  Harry Potter at Universal Studio

Click HERE to enter the giveaway.

The author is giving away a paperback copy of The Serpent’s Ring, a Rune Treasure box, and a signed bookmark for one lucky person.  This giveaway is opened internationally.

Book Review: The Serpent’s Ring by H.B. Bolton

The Serpent’s Ring (Relics of Mysticus #1) by H.B. Bolton

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre: MG Fantasy

You can buy it on ebook  or paperback on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.

Overall:  I know that it might seem cruel to rate this mediocre when I liked the story so much.  The Serpent’s Ring hit a few pet peeves and if you aren’t bothered by these things, then this could be a 5 star book for you.  I let my 9 year old *nephew* read the first few chapters and he adored the characters and the action.  Now that I’m done reading, he can’t wait to finish.

Firstly, the beginning is slow and it feels like every other fantasy novel.  There’s a couple of kids who get an epic quest, some magical powers, and have to finish it before the world ends.  Another things is that there isn’t much “he said, she said” in this book.  There are quite a few “exclaimed, grunted, yelled, shouted, declared” and so forth.  Besides that, the book is very well written.

Characters:  What I really appreciated about this book was the fact that Evan and Claire had personality and attitude.  A lot of main characters in this age group are timid and follow adults without question, but not these two.  Evan is sarcastic and definitely thinks that he knows what is best for himself – just like a fourteen year old teenager does.  He does hold his tongue on a few occasions in this book, but only when an outburst might be lethal.  He’s blunt but not stupid.  It’s hard to say which sibling acts more mature.  Claire is better at keeping a calm head in stressful situations but she can be such a GIRL! at times.  I like how the two didn’t always get along, yet they knew the other sibling would always be there when needed.

Plot:  Though horribly predictable at first, I liked the twist and pacing after Evan enters the underwater world.  The first few chapters are bogged down with explanations about this magical world and Dr. Irving’s disappearance and connection to the serpent’s ring.  Once the world was established, then this book shined.  I just wish that the beginning was less dialogue and introduction.  The later chapters managed to create a believable and visual world underwater effortlessly.

Ending:  I kind of expected The Serpent’s Ring to end on a cliffhanger and it didn’t.  The plot was wrapped up nicely and there’s little teasers for what to expect in book two.  I was kind of surprised how long the children remained in the world after the plot wrapped up.  Typically in this genre, the honeymoon is over quickly and the kids are shipped back home in the next paragraph.  Not here.  Definitely a different sort of ending then I’m used to and I liked that.

Book Description:

Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum … that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

Rating:  C

Kids and teenagers will love this MG fantasy.

I received a copy of this book from CBB Book Promotions as part of a tour in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

(Picture and information borrowed from Goodreads.)

Currently, Barbara Brooke resides in sunny Florida with her supportive husband, two adorable children, gorgeous greyhounds, and scruffy mutt. She is actively creating new worlds and interesting characters for the next book in one of her series. Shhhh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write spellbinding, heart-pounding women’s fiction, she also writes books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young adult fantasy story. These particular books are written under the name H.B. Bolton, but that is another story altogether.

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