Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Steampunk Halloween’

As a Hollywood makeup artist who worked on the film Titanic and owns of one of the most popular makeup lines used along with Steampunk and Halloween costumes, as well as creator of the Bloody Mary comic books, I picked  Bobbie Weiner as the perfect person to blog about for my Halloween post on Steamed. I met Bobbie Weiner recently at Sparkle and Hustle in HoustonTexas.

Bobbie Weiner & Maeve Alpin

Bobbie Weiner & Maeve Alpin

Bobbie’ Weiner is the heroine of her own life. Her book, I Can Do This, describes her remarkable journey from a doctor’s wife and the country club life to a to a successful, independent business woman. She clearly has a Steampunk sprit, full of spunk and spit fire.

Bloody Mary’s story begins when her husband rode off on his Harley into the California sunset after telling her he wanted a new life, his  new life included an incredibly young wife already lined up for him. In her mid forties, for her first step in reinventing her life, Bobbie (Bloody Mary) enrolled in the Joe Blasco Makeup School for the television and film industry. Three days after she graduated she worked on a low budget horror film, Pumkinhead II. There the production assistant led her into an old barn where she painted a doll house replica of the set with blood and gore, to prepare it to be blown up. Her work on the doll house impressed the cast so much they nicknamed her Bloody Mary.

After Pumkinhead II, she worked as a makeup artist on a lot of short films and B-list horror movies. Then she got a  call for the TV show Renegae, staring Lorenzo Lamas. On that set she met and became friends with an English makeup intern, Josie. Bobbie’s big break came when Josie recommended her for the film Titanic, they needed her special effect makeup skills for the frozen, floating corpses.

During the Titanic shoot, on her day off, one of Leonardo Dicaprio’s stunt doubles asked her for blue and gold makeup to paint his face for the San Diego Chargers game. The next day he told her they were on TV and everyone wanted to know where they got the makeup. When she asked him what he usually used, he said markers and sharpies. That gave her the idea to start a sports makeup line. She attended a college trade show and left the convention with 46 orders for face paint kits.

About a year before Titanic came out she appeared on the morning show, Sun Up San Diego. The manger of the base super store for Marines and their families at Camp Pendleton heard her say her makeup never washed off, even as the actors lay in the water up to five hours at a time. He wanted her to make camouflage face paint for the marines. At that time the US military used a formula from 1918 full of castor oil. The men hated it so much they wouldn’t use it. At the advice of her father, Bobbie trademarked Sports Fan Face Paint, her name, Bobbie Weiner, and Bobbie Weiner’s Camouflage Face Paint. She was soon flooded with orders from the military. In 1999, she received the first of two gold medals from the U. S. Department of Defense, she was awarded the second one in 2002. These were Automated Best Value System medals, awarded to government contractors whose products meet stringent quality, price and delivery requirements.  Every U. S. solider who went to Afghanistan or Iraq had one of her camouflage makeup kits with them. By the early 2000’s Bobbie no  longer worked as a makeup artist for films, instead she supplied the film industry with her makeup. Anytime you watch a modern military movie in which camouflage is used, you can safely guess the makeup came from Bobbie Weiner.

The owner of Troma Entertainment asked her to speak and give a presentation at Comic-Con in San Diego. There she met the branding manger of Diamond Comics. When she told him she was creating a comic book, he asked her to send it to him when she was done.

When her mother became ill, She went to Florida to care for her. That’s how she met her comic book artist. She dropped in a local printing company to order business cards and asked the clerk if she knew any good animation artist. The lady recommended the artist who worked there, Tommy. Bobbie set up an interview and he presented eight black and white pages that were exactly what she was looking for. She sent the first prototype of Tales of Bloody Mary to Diamond Industries and they loved it. She printed 100 copies for a Horror Convention and sold every one. She also sold out at Comic Con 2003. In 2007 she licensed the name Bloody Mary and her 5th comic book theme to Six Flgs over Texas in Arlington, Texas and “Bloody Mary’s Circus of Fear” haunted attraction was born. She gives all proceeds from it to the Boy Scouts. She also licensed the name Bloody Mary to Universal Studios Orlando for their Halloween Horror Nights haunted house.

At a huge Halloween trade show in Chicago, Bobbie did a Titanic-style dead-person demo on stage. There, a writer from a horror magazine interviewed her and asked what was the best Halloween makeup. She told him hers was the best, Bloody Mary’s. She began making death makeup and blood. Her blood is the best , it doesn’t contain any sugars, so it’s not sticky and washes off with just soap and water.

Bobbie gave the key note address on opening day for the 7-Eleven International Convention. She brought people up on stage and transformed them into frozen, dead zombies. She began selling her makeup kits in all the 7-Elleven stores.

In 2002 a funeral director approached her about providing funeral makeup and she reformatted her makeup line, The Other Makeup, to make women look younger, into an additional line, Bloody Mary’s The Final Touch for funeral homes. She also sells jaundice powder and embalming filler for filling in wounds, surgery scars and bullet holes. People also started buying those products to look like real corpses in haunted houses.

Her line of products even includes Bloody Mary’s Bloody Mary Mix and Bloody Mary Hot Sauce. Every year she develops new products from spray blood to tattoo cover kits to living statue makeup kits as seen in the video above.

Her makeup is thought of as essential in creating certain Steampunk personas. Her metallic makeup foundation perfects the popular metallic Steampunk robot look. Her bullet hole, gash, and bite prosthetics are often used, as well as her fairy ears and fairy makeup kit. With the choices she offers, you are sure to find a product of hers to enhance your Steampunk look. or your Halloween costume for tonight.

But the  most important thing to remember about Bobbie Weiner is her advice, “Never let your age be an obstacle. I don’t care how old you are.”

Happy Halloween,

Maeve Alpin

Read Full Post »

Happy Halloween! Today is the very last day of the Halloween Author Invasion. I hope everyone had a good time and thank you for helping to make the event a success. A few contests are still open.

To end our festivities we welcome Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein, author of the Anna Strong bounty hunter vampire series. She’ll be giving away two books to a lucky poster, a copy of her latest book Chosen and a copy of Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker.

Jeanne Stein is the bestselling author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Anna Strong Chronicles. She lives in Denver where she is active in the writing community, belonging to Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. In 2008 she was named RMFW’s Writer of the Year and last year, her character, Anna Strong, received a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist. The sixth in the Anna Strong series, Chosen, will be released in August 2010. She has numerous short story credits, as well. The most recent, The Ghost of Leadville, is included in the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, Vol. II. (Running Press Books) and Elizabeth and Anna’s Big Adventure included in A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters (DAW Books). She is also one of the editor’s of RMFW’s award-winning anthology, Broken Links, Mended Lives.

Happy Halloween
by Jeanne Stein

Thanks to the Lolitas of Steamed for inviting me though I find it odd to be posting on Halloween on a steam punk blog!! For two reasons, actually. I don’t write steampunk though I love the ideas and love to read it. The second reason is that I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween.

Oh, when I was a kid, we did the costumes and trick or treat thing. And in high school there were the parties. In college, I was much too “serious” a student to join a sorority. I was engaged to a military man so campus life for me consisted of attending classes and the occasional civil rights demonstration (this was the sixties, after all).

Then it was onto life on various military posts. Again, there were parties, but I can’t ever remember wearing a costume to one. When I had my daughter, we did fun things with her. But in the way of the world, she grew up and wanted to do her own Halloween things with her own friends.

So it was back to ignoring the holiday.

Then I started writing vampire stories. In formulating one story line, I discovered that Halloween had an interesting history rich in plot possibilities. What was that history?

1. Present day Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic Day of the Dead.

2. Wearing costumes and giving out food were protection from, and an offering to, the souls of the dead, believed to be out and about on that day. Dressing like fairies, witches and demons and performing antics in exchange for food is the genesis of trick or treating.

3. The customs of bobbing for apples and carving pumpkins go back even further to the holiday of Samhain (pronounced sah-ween), a celebration of the harvest.

4. Samhain was the biggest and most important holiday of the Celtic year. It was the day the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People sacrificed animals, fruits and vegetables and lit bonfires to aid the dead on their journey and keep them away from the living.

5. Christian missionaries were responsible for changing the practices of the Celtic people. In 601 AD, they assigned November 1st as All Saints Day, a substitute for Samhain, to replace the Celtic’s own holiday. But Samhain never died out completely. The evening before was (and is) still celebrated as the day of the traveling dead.

Of course, I’ve simplified and abbreviated the history. There’s a wealth of information on line if you want to learn more. The point is on October 31st, the dead are thought to be able to walk the earth. I used it as the chance for a witch to call up a demon. There are countless other possibilities.

Halloween takes on a much more exotic and dangerous element if you look at it as an ancient people once did. Maybe that’s why I’ve never liked the holiday. The little kiddies in the cute witch or devil costumes look harmless. But what about the adult in that Jason mask? Or that spooky figure dressed up like a demon? This is the one night of the year that you can’t always trust your eyes.

So, how about you? Do you love Halloween? Do you dress up and set those inhibitions free? What costume have you worn that was (or is) your absolute favorite? Or are you like me, sulking in the dark on Halloween, lights out, waiting for the night to be over? Send a comment and you might win a prize (treat, not trick). I’m offering a signed copy of Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker (because this is a steampunk blog, after all) and to tempt you to the dark side, a copy of Chosen, my newest vampire novel.

~Jeanne Stein
http://www.jeannestein.com/

Read Full Post »

Two more days left of the Steamed! Halloween Author Invasion. Tomorrow we have Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein. Thank you so much for helping to make this a success. Have you checked to see if you’ve won? If you haven’t, you still have a few more days to win!

Today we welcome Debut YA Author Ednah Walters. Her book Awakened is available now. One lucky poster will win a signed copy of Awakened and bookmark, and a set of Halloween nailpolish–some glow in the dark (US only please).

Most teens turn sixteen and get the license to drive, Lil Falcon gets the license to kill demons, but someone forgot to tell her not to fall in love with one.

Orphaned as a child and raised by her grandfather, Lil Falcon is concerned with navigating her new high school and is unaware she’s a descendant of the Nephilim, a race of beings with super powers tasked with protecting humanity from the demons who threaten it. But when she meets Bran, his psi energy unlocks her latent abilities and opens her eyes to what she is, a Guardian.

But Bran has a secret and befriending him sends Lil down a dangerous path that will either destroy her or make her stronger

 

Guardians and demons, their origin and how to get rid of a Lazarus/smoke demon.

By Ednah Walters

Nephilim, children of the Fallen Angels

You may know them as the Fallen Angels, the Watchers or Gregori, depending on your book of choice (Holy Bible—Genesis 6:2; The Book of Enoch and Jubilees—other editions of the Bible), but we know that these heavenly beings fell in love with “the daughters of men” and gave rise to a new breed of beings called the Nephilim.  The Fallen Angels passed on their amazing powers and vast knowledge to their children, from the ability to control minds to shape-shifting, distort perception of things and teleport to foretell the future and time-travel.  Some could even manipulate the elements—fire, water, wind and earth

Beings with godlike powers, or part human and part god, are found in many ancient worlds.  Titans and demigods, Pharaohs and Rakshasa in Hindus and Buddhist mythology.  Some were good and some were evil.

According to the Holy Bible, God decided to destroy the Nephilim strain that had entered the human gene pool by sending the floods.  Noah’s family was spared because they were pure and untainted.  Gen. 6:4 says that: “There were Nephilim in the earth in those days (in the days of Noah); and also after that.  In other words, some remained after the flood.  And so the story of the Nephilim continues with the Guardians.

The Guardians

The Guardians are the good descendants of the Nephilim.  The Neterus subgroup look like you and me, the were-nephils are shape-shifters who can sprout wings and fly or take a form that’s part-human and part-animal, the Nosferatu are the fanged ones and only hunt at night.   But they all carry on the tradition their forefathers, the Watchers/Grigori/Fallen-Angels, were sent on earth to do.  They watch over humans by killing demons that want to destroy humanity.

 

Since the demons they fight have similar powers and abilities like them (and physically look like them), the Cardinal Guardians train in martial arts and weaponry.  They are faster and more organized.  They have a system in place that works, from the teens attending your local high school and learning how to interact and speak like human teens, but secretly train after school and in the summer, to the Civilian Guardians who supply them with funds, information and cover.  The Civilians can be anybody, your doctor, the lawyer down the street, a cop, your teacher or even your local librarian.  Their existence is the best-kept secret in the cosmos.

 

Human Guardians?

The Guardians live among us, they look like us, fall in love, get married and have children.  Some fall in love with humans and sacrifice a lot to marry them.  Children from their union can either have more human traits or more Nephil traits.  You’ll know if one of your parents is a Guardian when you turn 16 and start to hear voices or teleport across town in your pjs and think you were sleep-walking.  If that happens, tell your parents.  If they rush you to the nearest shrink, honey, you were adopted!!!!  Put a help-ad in the local newspaper with a sketch of the Guardian amulet—a six-sided star inside a circle and a green stone at the core of the star.  A Guardian will come and take you to their enclave.

Halloween and Demons

Halloween is fast approaching and it is impossible to differentiate between a demon and a human wearing a costume.  If you’re giving out candies at the door, remember, they can’t come inside unless you invite them.  Watch out for their trickery though.  They will find a way to manipulate you.  If you’re out trick-o-treating, beware of two distinct demon scents.  The sulphur smell associated with the Lazari or smoke demons.  The sickly sweet scent of the nature-benders, you know the ones behind natural disasters.  I’d advise you to carry plenty of salt this year.  Since the death of a certain demoness, the Lazari population has tripled on earth.  The purity of salt crystals will repel them, but a direct spill of salt into the eyes of a Lazarus demon in human form can send her or him straight to Tartarus.  If in smoke form, whip that salt shaker like a feather duster and get the heck out of there.  The Lazari travel in packs and some ignore the rules.

~Ednah
http://www.ednahwalters.com

To learn more about Ednah’s Guardians and Demons check out Awakened.

What would you do if you met a demon?

One lucky poster will win a signed copy of Awakened and bookmark, and a set of Halloween nailpolish–some glow in the dark (US only please).

Read Full Post »

We posted more winners — is it you?

It’s Day #6 of the Halloween Author Invasion. We’re still going strong with great authors blogging through Halloween and giving out prizes every day.

October 29 — Paranormal Romance Author Maggie Shayne
October 30 — Young Adult Author Ednah Walters
October 31 — Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein

Today we have Paranormal Romance Author Maggie Shayne–and she has three amazing prizes to give away!

New York Times Bestselling author Maggie Shayne will be releasing her 50th full length novel, KILL ME AGAIN, this summer. Her stories span the genre, from westerns, to romantic suspense, to tales of the spiritual and paranormal, and just about everything in between. She’s a recipient of the RITA Award, the romance fiction industry’s most prestigious prize, and has won countless others. Maggie’s “Twilight” series of vampire novels, officially known as Wings in the Night, began in 1993 with a TWILIGHT PHANTASIES from Silhouette Shadows. She’s still penning novels in this series with two new stories due out next year. In addition, her new romantic suspense trilogy, “The Secrets of Shadow Falls” was just released in July, August and September.

Maggie Shayne’s Halloween

I think Halloween is my favorite holiday, and not just because I’m a card carrying modern-day Witch (although that certainly enters into it.) But it’s also because it comes during my favorite season, Autumn, and while All Hallows arrives long after the glorious foliage has passed its peak in my neck of the woods, I still associate it with that breathtaking beauty.

But it’s also everything else the holiday represents that makes me love it, not the least of which is the chocolate. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Halloween descends from the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced “SOW-en.”) Samhain was the final of the three harvest festivals, and it marked the end of the planting, growing, and reaping seasons. The final harvest didn’t just include fruits and veggies. It included meat, and so it was a time associated with slaughtering the animals raised for that purpose, which is part of where it gets its association with death. In fact, the full moon of October is most often known as the Blood Moon (also the Hunter’s moon.) The more widely known Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox, and the Blood Moon is the one that follows.)

The other source of Halloween’s link to death is that it’s one of the two times during the year when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is perceived to be at its thinnest. (The other is May 1, or Bealtainne. In spring, however, the veil is seen to be more the one between the world of humans and the land of the Fay, of nature spirits and the like.) Communication and even travel between the worlds is said to be easiest at these times.

In days of old, families would hold a Dumb-Supper, a feast with places set for the beloved dead who had passed during the previous year. The meal was eaten in silence as the living communed with and listened for messages from those ghostly guests.

I hasten to add, the actual date of Samhain is the day that falls precisely halfway between the Autumnal Equinox, and the Winter Solstice. It’s never on October 31st, but usually the first week in November. This year it’s November 7th, in the USA.

We all know the stories of how trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns originated. Offerings were usually left outside the door for any spirits that might be wandering the world on Samhain night, the idea being that the treats would placate them so they wouldn’t play any tricks on the residents, or try to get inside. If the treats failed, the Jack-o-lantern, carved into a turnip, not a pumpkin, would surely frighten the spirits off. And if nothing else worked, why wearing a mask would surely do the trick. Make the spirits think you’re one of them. Then they surely won’t haunt you!

But how do modern day witches celebrate Samhain?

Well, I’ll tell you a few of the ways I do.
First, if there are any herbs, fruits or vegetables still out in the fields, I spend the weeks prior to Samhain getting them in. Old lore says anything left out on Samhain night is likely to be tainted by gremlins. So I gather my mint and rosemary and sage, apples from the trees on my lawn, and any wild weeds I want to store for winter use, before Samhain.

I will most likely hold a solitary, quiet ritual in my temple room, during which I’ll sit in quiet meditation, speaking to, and listening carefully for messages from my own beloved dead.

I’ll spend a lot of time making lists of the blessings I’ve received during the past year, and spending time in blissful appreciation of each of them. And during my Samhain ritual, I’ll give thanks more formally. Samhain was a time of feasting on the recent harvest, and probably the pre-curser to our modern day Thanksgiving. Although the Autumnal Equinox is also a day for giving thanks among Pagans. So I’ll be spending lots of time giving thanks and taking stock of all I’ve gained during the year that has just passed.

I’ll spend a great deal of time on divination, because the powers that fuel such efforts are at their peak during Autumn, and at Samhain in particular. Tarot readings tend to be my forte, though I have a crystal ball I’ve been wanting to spend more time with. So I’ll be doing many readings during the days leading up to Samhain and on the day itself. I’ll be asking many questions about the future, and the nature of being, and carefully recording the answers I receive.

Shamanic journeying too, ought to be most potent during these thin-veil nights. So I’ll be putting in some time on that, as well, and making notes and filling journals will all the insights I bring back from the Otherworlds with me.

During the Month of October everything has deeper meaning to me. The dreams I have at night, the shapes I see in the clouds, the animals that appear on my walks outside, the odd thoughts that pop into my mind out of nowhere, the ideas I get for stories. The veil is thin. The curtain is parting. The illusion that is our world becomes so transparent that we get brief, tantalizing glimpses of what’s really true. The stuff that’s coming through is not to be ignored.

To fully appreciate the energies of Samhain, you might want to create your own little holiday ritual. Here are the simple ritual steps most working Witches use.

1. Cleanse and Consecrate the ritual area.
This is done by walking in a clockwise circle around the ritual area with some cleansing incense burning, such as sage or rosemary. Wave the smoke with your hands and imagine it purifying the space of any negative vibe, leaving only peaceful, pure positive energy behind.

2. Cast the circle.
Again, move clockwise around your ritual area, holding your hand out to project an invisible beam of energy, forming a circle. Move around the circle for a second time, imaging that ring rising up above and below, forming a bubble around the area, surrounding you. Move around a third time, adding substance to that bubble, your mind focused on it being sacred space, where nothing bad can enter, and where the energy you raise is contained until you’re ready to release it.

3. Honor the four directions, give thanks, and leave offerings.
This is yet another part of the rite that is observed by Shamans of every ilk. Move to the north, imagine its energy. It is snow, ice, cold, hard. It is rock and the planet earth. It is the depth of winter and midnight, and the rest of death itself. Open your arms and honor the North. Thank it for its gifts stability, of rest and repose, of the abundance of the Earth. Leave an offering of gift for the North, blow it a kiss, and move on.
Move to the East. It is springtime, and youth and newborn life, and the air we breathe. It is new growth, sprouts and twigs and breezes and yellows and birds. It is rebirth. Open your arms and honor the East. Thank it for its gifts of intellect, muses, the written word, language, inspiration, and travel. For the freshness of rebirth, and all gifts of air. Leave it an offering, blow it a kiss, and move on.
Move to the South. It is summer and fire and passion and energy, red and orange and vitality and life and sex and richness. Open your arms and honor the South. Thank it for the gifts of passion in your live, for your energy, your strength, your creative fire. Leave it a gift and move on.
Move to the West. It is autumn, and harvest, and the ocean. It is age and wisdom and transformation. It is emotion and love and all things watery. Open your arms and honor the West. Thank it for the harvest, for the abundance in your life, and for your heart and your love. Leave it an offering and move on.
Move to the center. It is the the place of spirit, and it is the Tree of life. Above is the abode of the Gods, and Below, the land of the dead, and the ancestors. It is the place of magick. Open your arms and honor the center. Thank it for your connection to your higher self (above) and your subconscious (below), and your ancestors and your own inner magick. Leave an offering, and then move on.

Sit quietly, and perform any divinations you may feel moved to do, or just meditate and see if any information comes to you. Speak to those who’ve passed if you wish. Listen to what they say.

When you feel ready, open your eyes, ground yourself back in the physical world. Rise and thank the center, say goodbye. Move to the west, and do the same. Then to the South, and then the East, and then finally the North. You’ll note you move counter clockwise this time.

Walk once more, counterclockwise around your circle, hand extended, taking back the energy with which you created your bubble, returning the room to being just a room. And then kneel and press your palms to the floor to let the energy you’ve gathered “ground” there.

Be sure to get something to eat immediately after. And don’t go in swimming for at least an hour. 😉

For more information on Halloween traditions, I strongly recommend HALLOWEEN by Silver Ravenwolf.

And from me this season, look for re-prints of my vamps:

TWILIGHT HUNGER- October

EDGE OF TWILIGHT- November

BLUE TWILIGHT- December

All in preparation for my three NEW vampire titles in 2011.

Tune in at www.maggieshayne.com for the premier of my new vampire video on October 31st!

Happy Halloween!

Maggie
www.maggieshayne.com

How are you going to celebrate Halloween? Three lucky commenters are going to win a tarot card reading via email with Maggie!

Read Full Post »

Welcome back for day #5 of the Steamed! Author Invasion. We hope you’re having a good time with all the great Halloween posts and prizes. Keep coming back every day through Halloween for more great stuff.

October 28 — Young Adult Author Simone Elkeles
October 29 — Paranormal Romance Author Maggie Shayne
October 30 — Young Adult Author Ednah Walters
October 31 — Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein

Today we welcome YA Author Simone Elkeles, who’s written seven books for teens including How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, Leaving Paradise, and Perfect Chemistry. She’ll be giving away a copy of one of her books to one lucky poster–your choice!

Simone Elkeles is the NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of over seven teen romance novels. She has won various awards and recognition for her books, including the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry and being named Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Simone writes about teens because she was a teen in the 80’s (when spiked hair and blue eye shadow were “rad”) and she loves writing about those exciting teen relationships and romances.

The Scary House
by Simone Elkeles

Halloween is fun for kids, but do you remember “the scary house?” You know, the one you and your friends were afraid to go ring the doorbell because they might actually make you close your eyes and reach into a bowl of “eyeballs” in order to get your “treat?”

We had one of those houses in my neighborhood where I grew up. I can’t say I ever had the nerve to actually ring the doorbell. I just stood by the sidewalk all bug-eyed hearing the nervous chatter and fear coming from the kids who were brave enough to venture to the door and say “trick or treat” without knowing what was to come next.

I like my candy to come easy. Go to door, say, “Trick or treat!”, reach inside a huge bowl and pick my favorite choice. Then say, “Thank you!” and I’m on to the next house. It’s the no-hassle, no-fear Halloween for me.

Now that I’m a mom myself, I take my kids trick-or-treating in my neighborhood every year. Lo and behold, we have “the scary house” in my neighborhood, too. (it’s even dubbed “the scary house” all year long by every kid in school). But my neighbors (who I don’t know personally) have taken scary to the next level. The adults recruit their friends and they all dress up in scary costumes. They stand or lay down scattered on the lawn…one is laying inside an open casket (you don’t know he’s alive until you get close and he suddenly reaches out for you and freaks you out)…one is dressed as the Grim Reaper with a very real-looking weapon…one with fake blood dripping down his face with a real chainsaw buzzing.

I laugh when the young kids clutch their parents on the sidewalk. Most trick-or-treaters actually cross the street to avoid “the scary house”. Then you get “the brave trick-or treaters” – the older kids who puff up their chest and mock these dressed-up adults. They say these parents can’t scare them with a ten foot pole no matter how scary they look…well, until The Grim Reaper and Chainsaw Guy slowly start following them to the next house, and the next…those “fearless” kids run like heck away, screaming and laughing because they truly are scared…and they know next year they’ll try again.

If you’re brave enough to reach the front door (after passing yet another “corpse” who reaches out at you or witch who says you’re the perfect specimen for her next stew – they do have a big black pot of boiling water with smoke coming out of it), they have a plethora of great candy in a bowl to choose from since few people actually reach the front door.

I never went up to the scary house in my neighborhood when I was a kid. Now I’m older and know better. Nobody is going to hurt me. Nobody is going to hurt my kids. I laugh at the other scared trick-or-treaters…of course I do it at a very safe distance on the other side of the street.

Do you have “the scary house” in your neighborhood? Are you living in “the scary house?” Got any pictures to share?

~Simone Elkeles
www.simoneelkeles.net

One lucky commenter will win their choice of one of Simone’s books!

Read Full Post »

Welcome back for day #4 of the Author Invasion. Come back every day this week for another great author and a chance to win.

October 27 — Paranormal Romance Author Jacquelyn Frank
October 28 — Young Adult Author Simone Elkeles
October 29 — Paranormal Romance Author Maggie Shayne
October 30 — Young Adult Author Ednah Walters
October 31 — Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein

Are you a winner? We put up the winners of Zoe Archer’s SCOUNDREL, Tera Lynn Child’s FORGIVE MY FINS and the $10 Amazon GC from Charlene Sands.

Today we welcome Paranormal Romance Author Jacquelyn Frank. Her latest release DRINK OF ME came out yesterday! She’s the NYT bestselling author of several paranormal romance series including The Nightwalkers, the Shadowellers, and The Gathers.

I’m all STEAMED! up!
by Jacquelyn Frank

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you this is my ultimate favorite holiday of the year. Not just because I am a Wiccan. I was a Halloween phreak long before I was a legitimate witch.  (BTW I brought my altar out into the public areas of the house and it really looks cool…albeit far cleaner than it normally looks when it is more privately located in my bedroom. I’ll bet my housekeeper never thought she’d have a job dusting a crystal ball…) This is me in costume this year! Guess who I am? Elizabeth Bennet! Of course! This was taken at the Authors After Dark convention this year in New Jersey. I know, EB doesn’t wear glasses…but otherwise I was all authentic!

So it makes me very happy to have a ‘Halloween’ release. DRINK OF ME comes out October 26th and I am really excited about this story.

It’s set in an alternate world, something very like steampunk but without the steam and less Victorian more Edwardian. The Sánge (SAHN-jeh) people have limited electricity and rudimentary gadgets, sort of pre-industrial…perhaps right on the cusp. They are more concerned with survival than they are making things easier on themselves, and after all that is what any sort of industrialization is all about. The story’s main focus is about the ruler of the Sánge people who must make his way in a world where his people are reviled and shunned for what they consider barbaric practices…oh, you know…little things…like the drinking of blood…muhhahahaha!

The story is actually very sweet and sexy, about two unlikely people crossing paths in unlikely ways…and somehow it all makes sense in the end. But it puts me in mind of the way so many things in this world that people do are not tolerated…or weren’t at one time, but now they are. That includes my Wiccan religion…or any religion if you think about it. After all, those Christians did get fed to those lions. Tolerance is a word we hear a lot of, throw about trying to make ourselves sound wise, or are trying to get ourselves elected to office (eye roll). But how many of us can say we truly practice tolerance in all areas of our lives? The Sánge are reviled…oh, except when other cultures want to buy that grain they grow so well…or want to sell them things. Money forces acceptance in their case, but as we see the world from the Sánge perspective, we find they are in some ways far better than we are when it comes to loyalty, family, and honorable behavior.

Anyway, thanks Suzanne for letting me visit here at STEAMED! Come visit me over at my website. Feel free to write. Meanwhile, I’ll give a free copy of DRINK OF ME to someone who comments on this blog post today 🙂 Suz gets to pick!

~Jacki
http://www.jacquelynfrank.com

Read Full Post »

Welcome back to day two of the Steamed! Halloween Author Invasion. Don’t forget to come back each day for a new Halloween-themed post and a chance to win another great treat.

October 25 — Contemporary Romance Author Charlene Sands
October 26 — Young Adult Author Inara Scott
October 27 — Paranormal Romance Author Jacquelyn Frank
October 28 — Young Adult Author Simone Elkeles
October 29 — Paranormal Romance Author Maggie Shayne
October 30 — Young Adult Author Ednah Walters
October 31 — Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein

Today we welcome Charlene Sands who’s talking about ghosts and giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! Her newest release is the novella “Wearing the Rancher’s Ring” in the Christmas anthology Western Winter Wedding Bells out now from Harlequin Historicals.

Cooper Garnett is shot and left for dead near Double J Ranch when widow Rachel Bodine comes to his aid. Could his unexpected arrival be the best Christmas gift ever— a second-chance family for Rachel and her little son?

Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and historical romances. She the recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award and double recipient of the Booksellers’ Best Award. She’s a member of the Orange County Chapter and the Los Angeles Chapter of RWA. You can visit her website and enter her Western Winter Wedding Bells Contest at www.charlenesands.com

Ghoulish Legends of the Old West or How to Get Rid of a Ghost!
By Charlene Sands

The Legends

William Bodey discovered gold in a place that’s now called Bodie’s Bluff, just east of the Sierra Nevada slopes close to where my story takes place in Wearing the Rancher’s Ring, from the anthology Western Winter Wedding Bells. It is said that an illiterate sign painter changed the name to Bodie by mistake, but others contend it was merely changed for easier pronunciation.

By 1879, Bodie’s population grew to 10,000, with 65 saloons, 2,000 buildings and many brothels and opium dens. Crime prevailed in this city of lawlessness and killings were an every day occurrence. By the 1940’s Bodie became a Ghost Town when the mine played out and many ghostly legends abounded.

The Bodie Curse states that if anyone takes anything even as small as a pebble from the grounds, that person is “cursed” and bad luck and misfortune will follow them. Apparently the ghosts of Bodie protect this historic site as Park Rangers have filled logbooks of returned items.

The town also reports many restless spirits. The J.S Cain House on the corner of Park and Green seems to be haunted by a Chinese maid, who doesn’t like adults, but loves children. Adults have woken up at night to find a heavyset woman crushing their chest. One woman fought so hard against this unseen weight that she fell off the bed.

The Gregory House is haunted by an old woman. Many guests and staff have witnessed her knitting an afghan or have seen a chair rocking by itself.

The Mendocini House is reported to be haunted by friendly ghosts. Mrs. Mendocini loved cooking and Rangers have reported flavorful Italian aromas coming from the house. Others have heard children’s laughter emanating from the room next door.

Apparently, these Bodie visitors didn’t know these rules…

How To Get Rid of a Ghost:

• The easiest way to get rid of a ghost is to simply ask it to leave. Use a firm voice and tell the ghost exactly what you want and why. You might say something like this: “This is my house and it bothers me when you are around all the time. Would you please leave?” Remember, the physical world is your domain and ghosts rarely have any power in the physical world.

• Ghosts don’t always know that they are dead. You may have to explain to them that they are dead, that they no longer belong in the physical world and will be better off if they move toward the light.
• Sometimes you may have to ask what the spirit wants. This is often the case with someone who has recently passed over who may be attempting to communicate to you about something. Afterwards, they are happy to leave.

• Use your imagination to “see” loved ones, angels, or guides coming to
take them to the light.

Do Not:

• When telling the ghost to “go away”, do not yell or sound angry.

• Do not give the spirit recognition by talking about it in your home, or maybe avoid talking about it all together. This provides the spirit with energy, making it more powerful.

• Try not to show fear. It is your home and the spirit can generally do you no harm. Fear can also provide the spirit with energy.

• DO NOT use Ouija boards, Tarot cards, séances, or witchcraft when dealing with anything that is supernatural. These items may actually increase spiritual activity and/or “open doors” that invite demonic and other unwanted spirits.

Have you ever had any ghostly encounters? No? Have your visited a ghost town or any place that is considered haunted? How about a favorite book or movie about ghosts and ghouls? In the spirit of Halloween treat giving, one lucky commenter today will receive a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card. So, tell us your tales …

~Charlene Sands
www.charlenesands.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: