Celebration, Superstition and Ghosts

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Halloween originated with Samhain, the ancient Celtic festival of bonfires and costumes meant to ward off roaming ghosts. It was the time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead lifted so spirits could walk on Earth. (Celts appeased them with treats.) Later in Ireland and Britain, on All Hallows Eve, Christians prayed for protection from evil in the world.

November 1 is All Saints Day, meant to remind us how we’re supposed to live. On November 2 , All Souls Day, people pray for the dead trapped between heaven and hell.

Throughout the Middle Ages, this three-day period was celebrated. The Pagan tradition of appeasing the spirits of the dead remained, including the practice of lighting candles for  souls waiting to go to heaven.

To remember the departed, many cultures prepare meals for the souls of the dead, light candles or leave flowers on relatives’ graves. Each celebration touches on cultural beliefs about the spirit world, honoring the dead.

Day of the Dead in Mexico combines the ancient Aztec custom of celebrating ancestors with All Souls’ Day. Celebrated on November 1 and 2, Day of the Dead is joyful inthat  it helps people remember the deceased with candlelit altars so spirits can find their way back to their relatives. The altars are set with the deceased’s favorite foods — in case they’re hungry — and personal items they favored. Papier-mâché skeletons and small plastic or clay skeletons represent Day of the Dead.

Halloween and Christmas have always been my favorite holidays, and creating the series RETURN TO JENKINS COVE with Rebecca York and Ann Voss Peterson added some fun Halloween scare via ghosts into the Christmas season. By why is Jenkins Cove haunted? Why can’t the ghosts move on …

Christmas… Ghosts… Mystery… Romance…
Something evil lurks in the charming town of Jenkins Cove. When Sophie Caldwell devotes a room in her B&B to communicate with spirits, dangerous secrets rise to the surface, and the lives of three couples will never be the same.

But why is Jenkins Cove haunted? Why do the ghosts remain behind? What justice must be served before they can move on?

Christmas Delivery (Return to Jenkins Cove Book 3)
Haunted by ghosts, Jenkins Cove will now have to deal with Simon Shea who has “returned from the dead” seeking revenge…only to reconnect with Lexie Thornton, the girl he loved, and the daughter they conceived thirteen years ago.

Excerpt from Christmas Delivery:

The fog was lighter here, the chill greater, and once past the fence’s wooden gate, which had been left open, Simon realized where he was. The cemetery. Why had the spirit brought him here?

Following the curving redbrick path lined by boxwood on both sides, Simon kept track of the mop of pale hair, which appeared on the other side of the hedge, then lost him altogether. When he came to the open area dotted with gravestones and markers, Simon only half hoped he would actually find him again. He gazed around, past a couple of large willow oaks and a magnolia tree in the center of the graveyard, then spotted the ghostly figure at a far gravesite, touching the stone that identified its occupant.

Again, he looked up with hollow eyes and gestured that he should come.

Reluctantly, Simon did. Not wanting to cross anyone’s grave — he’d had enough of that in his former life — he stayed on the brick path, keeping his gaze locked on the figure still summoning him.

One minute the fog seemed to circle the kid, the next he seemed to fade away into the mists. “Wait! Don’t go!” But the demand came too late. He was already gone. And Simon was moving to the headstone he’d touched, had obviously wanted Simon to see.

A deep, arctic cold suddenly surrounded Simon and then the breath was knocked out of him as he stopped in the spot where the wraith had disappeared. Looking down, Simon understood why Lexie believed he was dead and buried. The headstone bore his name and the dates of his birth and of his supposed death on Christmas Eve thirteen years before.

Not a man who easily believed in what he couldn’t see, Simon had no doubts about who had led him here. Or who was buried in his grave. He was certain the kid he’d seen shot had taken his place. Thirteen years ago and his ghost still wandered, unable to rest, Simon thought. How many ghosts inhabited this area? How many souls were denied eternal rest?

Of one thing he was certain. The boy he’d seen shot had been buried in his stead. How had they pulled that one off? They looked nothing alike. A closed coffin, then? How had he supposedly died so that no one would have raised the alarm? Who had been in on his supposed death? More questions that needed answering. Another reason for him to stay undercover awhile.

Did ghosts seek retribution? he wondered. Considering the evil that had stalked the town unchecked, probably not.

But now the town had to deal with him.

99c each through November 7

Christmas Spirit by Rebecca York
Christmas Awakening by Ann Voss Peterson
Christmas Delivery by Patricia Rosemoor

 

Christmas Spirit …Christmas Awakening …Christmas Delivery
Each of these stories are complete novels, but only the full series will get to the bottom of all the ghostly happenings in Jenkins Cove.

 

Patricia Rosemoor

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rosemoor has had 99 novels, 8 publishers and more than 7 million books in print. Patricia writes dangerous love, romantic suspense or paranormal romantic thrillers. Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she taught Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

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Halloween by Mona Risk

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Did you know that one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween?  Yes, October is the cruelest month for our molar teeth. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

 

It is hard to imagine that 100 years ago, Halloween looked quite different from the candy debauch of today.

Halloween origin: Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

 

History of Halloween: At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

The seemingly timeless custom of trick-or-treating is actually a quite recent American invention. The ritual of costumes, doorbell-ringing, and expectation of booty appeared for the first time in different locations throughout the country in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

It wasn’t until the late 1940s that trick-or-treating became widespread on a national scale. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow.

Decorating the house inside and out is part of what makes this holiday so much fun with gargoyles, demons, and zombies; or spiders and bats, or anything that can make your visitors scream.

My grandchildren are turning their beautiful front-yard into a scary graveyard with skulls, skeletons, insects and rodents that give their grandmother–poor me–the fright of my life. Of course, the louder I scream, the harder these scamps laugh. Planning and designing the Halloween costumes start at the beginning of October.

 

 

Next Friday happens to be a Friday the Thirteen. My grandchildren will wear their costumes and invite their friends for a carving and painting of pumpkins.

 

 

 

May I ask you to click on this link and follow me on BookBub?

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mona-risk

Have a spooky and fun —>>

Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
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Halloween Apples – the older version of Trick or Treat!

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I remember when I was a child in Winnipeg, Halloween was the day us kids would hurry home from school in a panic to get our costumes organized. In those ancient times…..giggle, my mom used to get a bunch of old clothes out from the closet in readiness. My sister and I would fight and scramble to get the pieces that would best fit our vision of whatever witch or old man our mom had dictated as our choices for that year.

The money was never there to buy costumes. Folks today think of it as a necessity but, my goodness, we never had the wherewithal for such foolishness. Not when there were pieces of cardboard, old clothes and paint to make up something that would ensure us our ultimate goal – that of getting as much candy as possible.

As daylight waned, we’d watch out the window, prancing from foot to foot, praying that the streetlights would come on soon. It was our sign that the time had come. Mom would give us each a pillow-slip and some gloves (Winnipeg right??) and off we’d go to join hordes of other goblins all racing to and fro to get their anticipated cache.

Up and down the streets, childish voice yelled Halloween Apples! It would be a few years before the bellow of trick or treat would be used. Little ones in the care of older brothers and sisters were dragged along, forced to keep up because there were only so many houses in the neighborhood that would give away candy apples as reimbursement for singing a song. And everyone on our street had practiced their song knowing that the reward far outstripped the effort.

Soon, we’d have to drop the first load off at the house because the pillowcases, half full of apples, would be heavier than we could manage. And, mom would have warned us that she would be running out and would need reinforcements from our precious supply before the night was over. At first, we always begrudged this necessity, but after stuffing our faces with as much junk as we could force down, it didn’t seem to be so painful to let her pass some of it back out again.

Finally by the end of the evening—we’d stick it out as long as there were lights on in front doors and our frozen fingers and toes could stand the cold—we’d head home to peruse our stash and gloat about the goodies we’d stuffed into our pockets, hoping that sharp motherly eyes wouldn’t see the bulges.

Because we so seldom had candy, parents in those days knew that the best way to handle this bounty was to pass out daily treats in order to make it last. Funny thing is, by the end of the week, we’d run out. Always wondered how that could happen. Of course, today I know exactly where those precious sweets went.

Darn sneaky parents!!

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Soon to be released – Mimi’s newest novella – Please Keep Me!

 This is Book #1 in her Holiday Heartwarmers Trilogy.

PleaseKeepMe_CVR_MED

A single mom of a very intelligent four-year-old daughter, Belinda Page is at her wits end trying to keep up with the munchkin. When the child throws herself into a lake to rescue a puppy, Belinda is frantic. Turning to the man who saves both babies, she seeks support – until she finds out he’s one of those hated Carltons. After all, it was at their home where she’d gone to a party, been drugged, raped and left to deal with the consequences of that distressingly blank time.

Dr. Reed Carlton, an introvert who feels uncomfortable around most people, can’t believe his luck. He’s finally found Lindy; a girl from his past, a fond memory that has haunted him for over four years. Except that this Lindy hates him on sight. What was that all about? At least her daughter and the puppy were on his side. But would that be enough for him to be a part of her life.

 

Mimi Barbour

Mimi is a New York Times, USA Today & Award-winning Best-selling author who’s sold over 500,000 copies of her books world-wide. Her five romance series include: The Vicarage Bench/ time travel at it’s best, Angels with Attitudes / angels love romance, Vegas / fast-paced plotting, Elvis / make a song a book and her newest – Undercover FBI / with sizzling conflicts and lots of humor.

Mimi’s an author who’s been heard to say: “I’m a story-teller who loves to write uplifting stories about romance and adventure. Add in some time travel, maybe an angel, or even a little romantic suspense and it makes the story more fascinating because of the incredible possibilities.”

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Food Allergies and Halloween

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HalloweencatpumpkinIt’s Halloween and all around you children and adults alike are worrying about what they’ll be and what they’ll do on Halloween.

For many Halloween is the favorite holiday of the year. The chance to create an alter ego and project a persona different than what you normally have, is something we all like to do at times. Frozen remains a firm favorite for Halloween, along with Marvel Superheroes such as Batman and Iron man. Fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and the Little Mermaid remain popular.

For children with food allergies or medical conditions trick or treating can be a minefield. It’s hard enough for adults to realize they need to curb their diet due to medical reasons. It’s even more difficult for children. Yet the candy handed out on Halloween can send a normal child into sugar shock, never mind a diabetic.

How as a parent, family member or friend do you negotiate your way through this minefield while allowing your children to enjoy Halloween? Having faced this situation with my own son when he was younger I know it’s not easy. I also know even children with no underlying health issues are being gently lured into giving up their Halloween candy.

Many parents are ‘buying back’ the Halloween candy in exchange for a toy at the toy store of their choice. Your child has still been able to participate freely but he’s able to trade his candy for a toy of his choice. If this is your child or a family friend you can also make sure there’s a special Halloween treat which may or may not have candy in it for him.

Not being able to participate in Halloween or a special event the same way other children can is hard. But focusing more on what your child can have or do, rather than what they can’t is key. That worked best when my son had gluten allergies and will hopefully make for a fun filled Halloween for you and your children.

 

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Halloween: history and reality

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  I looked up the history of Halloween 1)  to let my granddaughters know how it started 2) to find out a few of the lesser known facts and 3) for a blog post. What I found was old stuff for some, but maybe something new to you. Note: Most of this is based on this site: http://bit.ly/1LiHWJT {Hey, I found it on the internet–and on an established, respected site (History.com)–so it must be true. Right?} 1) Halloween (according to some) started out as Samhain, a Celtic celebration where folks dressed up in costumes, lit bonfires to scare off roaming ghosts, told fortunes, and did other auld time fun stuff. 2) Others say that it was the dark side’s response to All Saints Day, a holy day set aside by Catholics to honor saints, martyrs and other special folk. If All Saints Day was November 1st, the evil spirits wanted to strut their stuff and cause havoc the night before, on October 31st (All Hallows Eve). Or so I was told as a child (a long, long, very long time ago). And of course, the Romans. They influenced so much… 3) Halloween (could have) started as the combination of two Continue Reading →

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