Oct 29, 2014

Of Power Outages and Superstitions . . .

This post is brought to you by the good people at Tim Horton's, who have provided me with a much need cup of tea and free wi-fi in my time of need. :-)

On my way home from the gym this morning, I suddenly realized I'd forgotten to schedule a post for today. Don't ask me why, but my days are all mixed up this week so I plumb forgot. So as I was driving I figured, no big deal, it's so close to Halloween I can just recycle one of my old All Hallows Eve posts and get it up there ASAP.

Only the light I'd left on when I left (because it's that grey out this morning) was off. So were the lights on the DVD play, the stove, and the microwave. Remember those hydro poles I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? Apparently they're switching the wires over today, which means no power until early afternoon. Good thing my lap top was charged up so I could get this post written before I hit the coffee shop so all I needed to do was post it.

The lengths I go to for my loyal followers. You're welcome! LOL

The following post was originally written in 2010, and contains a few Halloween facts as well as superstitions.

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Each year, hoards of crazed children dressed in costumes, converge on innocent neighborhoods, knocking on doors to get free candy or other goodies before going on to the next door to repeat the process. So just how did this tradition get started?

This tradition can be traced back more than 2,000 years to the Celtic belief that the spirits of the dead still remained present on our plane of existence, and required food and drink to be placated. Failing to leave out an offering was sure to invite the disgruntled spirits to cause mischief and ill fortune in retaliation. Later, people began dressing up as the spirits in order to receive these offerings of food, and playing practical jokes on those who did not furnish them.

In Ireland, there was a practice among the peasants of going door to door to collect money or food in preparation for the festival of St. Columbus Kill.

In England, the poor would go around to different households on All Souls Day (November 1) begging for food. They would be given "soul cakes" in exchange for the promise to pray for the family's dead relatives. This practice was known as "going a-souling".

In Scotland children, or guisers, would have to impress the occupants of the houses they visit with a song, trick, joke or dance in order to earn their treats.

Not too surprisingly, there are a lot of superstitions concerning Halloween:
- When you ring a bell on Halloween, it will cause evil spirits to fly away.
- The old Celtic custom was to light great bonfires on Halloween, and after these had burned out to make a circle of the ashes of each fire. Within this circle, and near the circumference, each member of the various families that had helped to make a fire would place a pebble. If, on the next day, any stone was displaced, or had been damaged, it was considered to be an indication that the one to whom the stone belonged would die within twelve months.
- If a bat flies into your house, beware! You may have some ghosts or spirits visiting.
- On Halloween night, if you see a bat flitting around early in the evening, then you'll have good weather the next day.
- If bats fly around your house on Halloween night 3 times, death is inevitable.
- If you hear footsteps trailing close behind you on Halloween night, do not to turn around to see who it is, for it may be Death himself. To look Death in the eye, according to ancient folklore, is a sure way to hasten your own demise.
- To cast a headless shadow or no shadow at all is still believed by many to be an omen of death in the course of the next year.
- A person born on Halloween can both see and talk to spirits.
- If you happen to see a spider on Halloween then the spirit of a loved one is watching over you.
- It was once believed that on Halloween, owls would dive down and eat the souls of anyone dying that night.
- People at one time believed that Satan was a nut-gatherer, so, on Halloween night, nuts were used as magic charms.

Candles:
- A burning candle inside a jack-o-lantern keeps evil spirits and demons at bay.
- If a candle suddenly goes out by itself on Halloween, as though by breath or wind, it is believed that a ghost has come to call.
- Always burn new candles on Halloween to ensure the best of luck. It is not a good idea to burn Halloween candles at any other time of the year. It may bring bad luck or strange things will happen to you, over which you will have no control.
- Gazing into a flame of a candle on Halloween night will enable you to peer into the future.
- If a person lights a new orange colored candle at midnight on Halloween and lets it burn until sunrise, he or she will be the recipient of good luck.
- Girls who carry a lamp to a spring of water on this night can see their future husband in the reflection.

Oct 27, 2014

Mycology Monday

mycology ~ study of funguses

I'm tired. And furthermore, I'm tired of being tired. Especially since there's no good reason for being so tired. My blood sugar is mostly under control again, and I got some more B12 (that I was out of) and started taking it. I'm getting enough sleep, but my eyes just don't want to stay open.

Perhaps it's just the change in the weather, as one season moves to the next. Weather-wise last week was a strange mix of sunny, gloomy, windy, and rainy. Mostly windy. Maybe it was the wind making me tired. :-)

Other than writing, I can't recall getting much done last week. And even the writing was a bit of a struggle at times. But ironically, despite the excessive tiredness I was clear-headed and able to focus, and I give most of the credit to the omega 3 supplement I started taking. It actually helps with a lot of things, health wise. You should totally check it out.

I'm over the 100,000 word mark in Lucky Dog, the sequel to Magical Misfire. I'm sure once I'm done editing it'll be much less than that, but before I can start editing I have to finish it. I'm close, so close, but no cigar yet.

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, starts on Saturday. Are you ready? While it can be grueling, trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days, it can also be a lot of fun. If you haven't done it before, you should seriously give it a try this year.

I'm taking a chance this year. I've decided to try and recycle an idea I had several years ago, one I began and then abandoned because I had no idea what direction it should take. So in other words, instead of a brand new idea, I'm using one that is a confirmed failure.

And just to spice things up a bit, I'm also going to try and get a little pre-planning in, to see if it takes some of the pressure off. I probably should have started a little sooner than this week, but I've been pretty focused lately on getting at least one, maybe even both of my current drafts finished before NaNo.

Something else I'd like to try and get done this week is dusting off my Current Projects blog. I think the last post I made in there was in the spring. Poor little neglected blog. You deserve better than that. ;-)

If nothing else, I can use it to do my NaNo progress reports. I doubt I'll update it on a daily basis, but I can post excerpts there without having to clutter up my main blog here. I'll just have to remember to post links to this page for those of you who subscribe by email.

I have two bags of Halloween themed decorations for my nook, so even if I don't get the rest of my office cleaned up, I need to at least spiff up the nook enough to finally do my post about it. My gargoyle's head is up above the door, so I can consider the nook finished.

I might, if the spirit moves me, even get some outdoor decorating done. I used to have a couple of skeletons for outdoors, and a ghost for the tree in our front yard, and I'd put a CD player in the window of my office to play one of those spooky soundtracks, but we get so few kids it doesn't seem worth the effort. This year, with Halloween being on a Friday, I'm hoping for a better turnout.

After all, I'm just getting my blood sugar under control again, I don't need a lot of leftover candy. ;-)

What are you going to dress up as?

Oct 24, 2014

What I'm Reading




Yes, I know. I totally missed last week's post. But did you really need to see another post about how little I'm reading? You deserve better than that. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. :-)

I did get a little reading in last week, but only a little. It's not that I don't want to, it's more like when can I fit it in? Now that most of my prime time shows are starting their new seasons (as lame as an excuse as that is) if I'm going to do anything while watching TV it's going to be knitting or crocheting. And the rest of the time I've been focused on my writing. I have two drafts to finish before NaNo starts, and that's only a week away!

Electronic Books

Believe it or not, I actually did fire up George while I was waiting for my son-in-law to get off work one day. I don't know if it's because of the number of books I have stored on him, or because he's mad that I've been neglecting him lately, but he was a little slow waking up. And of course by the time I had a book all queued up and ready to read, I had to turn him off again. Maybe I'll make more of an effort with him this week. :-)

Tree Books

A little bit of progress on The Anthology of Love and Romance, edited by Kate Alexander. I read one whole story that seemed kind of straight-forward at the time - boy meets girl on a train, boy falls in love with girl - but then it got a little weird and a lot confusing. But the end I was really confused. Did she dump him? Did they live happily ever after in their little house? Was this all just his imagination brought about by the poem he read in the beginning? I'm thinking it was way too deep for my poor intellect.

Re-Reads

I finished Swords Against Darkness V, edited by Andrew Offutt, and I'm a little sad that I did. No one seems to write heroic fantasy like that anymore, it's all about these big, long multi-volume epics.

Of course that's why I have so many books. When I can find something I like in the stores I just come home and find it on my shelves. And that's the beauty of reading so much. Often there'll be so much time passing since I read a book that I'll forget a lot of the details of it so it's kind of like reading it for the first time. And re-reading books is like re-watching a movie you enjoyed. There's always something to discover that you missed the first (or second or third) time you watched.

While I'd like to say I'll do better in the week ahead, I think we all know better than that. But I will make an honest effort to get my nook finished this weekend so that I can finally do my post about it. And it's been such a project I think I'll do an extended version of the post on its own page as well.

So . . . what about you? What have you been reading lately?

Oct 23, 2014

Earth - Chapter Forty-five


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~



Something was tickling Zephryn's nose. He frowned, eyes still closed, and swatted at it.

There was a soft giggle, and the tickling sensation returned. His eyes snapped open. He must have been more tired than he realized, to have slept so soundly. Chloe was leaning over him, tickling his noise with her hair. She was straddling him as he lay on his back . . . and she was naked.

"What's going on?" he croaked.

"What do you think's going on?" she asked with a mischievous smile.

"I think I'm dreaming a most wonderful dream. Either that or you've decided to kill me in the most pleasurable way possible."

She leaned down further to kiss him, the fine silk of her hair sliding across his face. By this time he was fully awake, but when he reached for her she sat back up out of his reach.

"No," she said, shaking her head.

"No? But--"

Laughing at his expression, she gave him another quick kiss and started on the fastenings to his shirt. "What I mean is, you're not allowed to touch. This is all about me, so I'm going to do all the work. Keep your hands to yourself."

"If it's all about you, shouldn't I be the one doing all the work?" he asked hopefully.

"The work is half the fun," she said, scooting down just enough for him to sit up so she could remove his shirt.

He smothered a groan as she moved down further to start to work on his pants, his fists clenching the blanket beneath him to keep from reaching for her.

"You're taking an unconscionably long time about this. Are you sure you don't want my help?"

She stopped what she was doing, a patently fake look of concern on her face. "If you'd rather we didn't . . ."

"No! I mean, don't stop. I mean--" His breath left him in a whoosh as she ran a finger from the base of his throat down the center of his chest. Zephryn's eyes narrowed. She wanted to play, did she?

The breeze was so subtle that at first she didn't notice it. It swept over her skin, a ghostly touch, just cool enough to make her nipples pucker. It moved in a serpentine pattern, across her belly, up and around each breast in turn. Chloe shivered and looked down at Zephryn accusingly.

"What are you doing?"

"Me?" He strove for an innocent expression. "I'm keeping my hands to myself, just as you requested."

"Zephryn, you--" Her accusation ended in an outrush of breath as invisible hands began caressing her most intimate places. Chloe moaned in pleasure as she arched her back, forgetting she was supposed to be the one in charge.

Zephryn's wind seemed to be everywhere at once, cooling her heated flesh and at the same time making her burn with desire. Pleasure coiled deep in her belly, winding tighter and tighter like a spring until all at once it broke, and she shuddered to a climax, calling out his name.

She was still shuddering with the aftershocks when she collapsed on his chest.

"You cheated," she accused, gasping for breath.

"Yes, I did," he admitted.

While she was still weak from the after effects he deftly rolled them over so she was underneath him and quickly finished divesting himself of his clothing.

"That was . . . amazing."

"I know." He grinned down at her, then slowly lowered his head to kiss her - a lingering kiss on the lips and then a trail of kisses along her jaw and down her throat. He could feel her pulse in the side of her neck beating rapidly still, and continued down the slope of her breast, drawing one taut peak into his mouth.

Chloe moaned, threading her hands through his hair as he lavished attention on first one breast, then the other. Her back arched as he bite her lightly.

"Zephryn!" His name came out as a gasp.

"You have the most perfect breasts . . ." He raised his head to look at her; she'd never looked more beautiful, her face flushed with desire, her hair tousled, her eyes ever so slightly glazed.

"I can't wait. Please," she begged.

One last kiss to the tip of each breast and he moved upwards again. His head dipped down to kiss her lips once more, swallowing her gasp as he slid home. She wrapped her legs around his waist as he stroked in and out, but he kept his pace unhurried, drawing out the pleasure for both of them.

She trembled beneath him, covered in a fine sheen of sweat. He made love to her as if it was the last time they'd be together - for all they knew it might be. But as much as he tried to make it last, their being together was still too new. All too soon his pace quickened, his strokes harder and faster.

"Yes," she gasped.

Somehow he managed to hang on until she tightened around him, crying out his name, and then he let the pleasure wash over him as well. Zephryn slowed, then stopped. Wrapping his arms around her, he shifted so that he wasn't crushing her while they caught their breath.

"I still say you cheated," Chloe said, when she could speak again.

Her head rested on his chest as his laughter rumbled under her ear.

Oct 22, 2014

On My Weirdo Cats . . .



I don't know if it was the weather, which took a turn for the colder and gloomier last week or what, but my cats have been acting really weird lately. Not that they're exactly normal at the best of times, but lately they've been really strange. And it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the cycle of the moon either - the full moon was around the 8th and they were perfectly normal that week. And the new moon isn't until later this week.



Look at them laying there, all innocent looking . . . actually, two of them look kind of dead. But step too close to the spot I keep the treat jar and watch them spring to life.

Here they are doing their zombie impressions:



That picture was taken an hour before feeding time and they were making sure I didn't try and sneak off before they were fed. Normally they start gathering about an hour early, but last week they started lobbying for food an hour and half to two hours before it was time.

So let's take them one by one. We'll start with this guy:



His name is Julius, aka Sunny Bunny. He's the hubby's cat, although he'll purr for anyone, especially if they have treats. He's been spending a lot of time lately wandering around the house, meowing. As far as I can tell he's not meowing for any particular reason, he just seems to like the sound of his own voice. And he's taken to meowing before he goes up or down stairs, like he's announcing himself.

This guy is Dante:



Lately Dante likes to play with invisible toys. He'll be bouncing around like he's found a live mouse, only there's nothing there. He's always been the most aloof of my cats, but last week, especially right after supper (mine, not his), he's been demanding cuddles. On my lap, no less.

You have to understand, these cats are not cuddly cats. They never have been. I blame their mother, Panda (aka Pantaloons).



She was nuts. Totally crazy. She used to chase the boys around the house and tackle them, holding them down while she washed them furiously. And because she was there to raise her kittens, none of them really bonded with the humans of the house, so when she died at five, they were kind of cast adrift. It's only been the last couple of years that Dante has been letting me close enough to pat him, so him curling up on my lap is unheard of.

Now Taz, the boys' father, has always liked the occasional cuddle.



You'd think he'd have taken over after Panda crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but no, she had him too well trained. He was never allowed to have anything to do with his sons - no disciplining them or playing with them - nothing. Now he finds them rather intimidating and they seem to know it. While they don't pick on him or anything like that, they do like to follow him around and try and steal his favourite sleeping places. Good thing he has so many of them.

Lately he's been making a pest of himself. I can't eat at the table anymore because he'll be right in my face, demanding his share. And it's not like he really wants whatever it is I'm eating, it seems to be more the principle of the thing. And he's been pretty demanding when it comes to cuddle time too. We cuddle when he says so, even to the point of getting between me and my lap top. Since he never stays long, it's easier to just give in. Besides, that way I can keep the drool off my lap top. Yes, that's right. He drools when he wants pats. I've never had another cat that does that.

And finally, there's Romi:



Even though the boys are from the same litter, I always think of Julius as the youngest, Dante as the middle child, and Romi as the oldest. He was also Panda's favourite, so he was really at a loss when she died. The other two had formed tentative bonds with the humans of the house, but he never did. And having a lunatic for a mother makes it hard to relate to others. For instance, there are times when Romi will come to me, wanting pats. But Panda would show him affection and then suddenly bite him, so he grew up thinking this is normal. I will start to pat him, and even though he asked for the pats, he'll do his best to bite me.

And there you have them. My weirdo cats. All that's left is The End.

Oct 20, 2014

Macrural Monday

macrural ~ having a long tail

Another Monday. And a dreary one at that. I don't know about you, but for a short week last week it felt extremely long. I'll spare you the brutal details (you're welcome!) but suffice it to say I didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I'd hoped to.

And although I didn't get much writing done on the weekend, I did get a crap load of editing done, which was bad for the two books I want to get finished before NaNo but good for the author who received her book back last night.

Man, oh, man it was a good story! I can't wait until I'm able to announce its availability, which *knock wood* should be in time for Halloween. It starts with a woman on a date and ends with a . . .

C'mon, you didn't really think I was going to make it that easy for you, did you? It's full of suspense and drama and it makes you wonder what you'd do when pushed to the limits of your endurance and then one step beyond.

It's written by my buddy Alex Westhaven, and if you want to learn a little more about it, go HERE.

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So . . . originally the rest of this post was about my cats and how weird they've been lately. But it kept getting longer and longer, and when you added in pictures it was way too long for a Monday post. So I guess I have my Wildcard post written for Wednesday. :-)

I was really tired last night, and fighting what was bidding to be a bad headache, when I started this post. So I ended up going to bed before it was finished and took a couple of extra strength Advil. Surprisingly, it worked and I'm feeling much better this morning. And, so far the only thing I've kept from my original post is the title. LOL

I actually sat down and made myself a list this morning. Not like my old lists where I'd pad it with all the little things I have to do - I don't know who I was trying to impress - but a list of things that I'd like to get done today. Like finishing this week's scene for Earth early, and cleaning up my office.

One step at a time. First, I have to change out of my workout clothes and have a shower. I'm freezing! Maybe a cup of tea might be in order too. :-)

Let's hope this is a more productive week for us all!

Oct 16, 2014

Earth - Chapter Forty-four


This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~



It was still morning. Had nothing happened during Chloe's shift at the mine she would have been home for supper the day before, but she'd been trapped by the mine cave-in for hours and dawn had just been pinking the sky when they were released.

Zephryn looked up from the note in his hand, taking in her slumped shoulders and the lines of fatigue on her face.

"Look," he said. "This dinner is hours away. Why don't you get cleaned up while I fix us something to eat, then you should have a rest for a while."

"I would like to get cleaned up," she admitted. "But I don't think I could eat anything." There was a gurgling noise from her mid-section and she flushed. "Well, maybe just a bite or two."

He chuckled, though he felt anything but light hearted, and hugged her to him, then gave her a gentle push towards the bathroom. Catching sight of himself in the mirror above her dresser, he grimaced at the dust and dirt left on him from the wind and cleaned up as best he could in the kitchen sink. It would have to do.

By the time Chloe reappeared, he had a light salad cobbled together from vegetables that Granny had brought from her garden, and a piece of fish he'd found in the ice box simmering in a creamy sauce. Her eyes lit up when she saw the food.

"It looks good enough to eat," she told him.

"That's the idea."

After a few bites she hummed with pleasure. "You're spoiling me - I could get used to this."

"Good," he said. "I think you need a little spoiling."

"Zephryn, I--"

"No," he shook his head. "No serious talk. Serious can come later. Let's just enjoy our meal and then you get some rest."

"But--"

"We'll talk, I promise. But later."

"Fine," she said with a sigh, then deliberately changed the subject. "Tell me about Ardraci."

"I wasn't there long, you understand, but what I saw of it was beautiful. It was . . . " He looked away as he thought about it for a moment. "If you took a colony of artists and let them design a world, I don't think they'd be able to come up with anything more breath-taking. The buildings are tall spires or rounded domes, which shouldn't work well together but somehow do. There are gardens everywhere, with waterfalls and fountains. There's little industry so the air is fresh and pure."

"It sounds like a paradise."

"It is," he said, looking back at her with a self-depreciating grin. "Which is why it was so hard for those of us raised in the compound to adapt easily to it. Our world was grey and sterile and suddenly there's this explosion of colour and space."

"It must have presented quite the challenge."

His grin broadened. "The earth elementals are the ones who adapted the easiest."

She laughed. "But of course!" Shaking her head, she said. "I must confess I find it difficult to think of myself as an elemental," she stumbled over the word. "I'm still just a miner, albeit a miner with an unusual gift." Her statement was punctuated with a yawn.

"A tired miner with an unusual gift," he said, laughing along with her. "Go get some rest. I'll clean this up."

Nodding, Chloe rose from the table. She took two steps towards her bedroom and then turned.

"Zephryn?"

He looked up from the act of gathering up the plates.

"Could you come with me?" She looked almost embarrassed as she added, "I . . . I don't want to be alone."

"Of course! Now that I've eaten, I think I could use a rest too."

Leaving the dishes, he was by her side in two strides and took her hand. Kissing her knuckles he took charge, leading her to the bedroom. There was just barely enough room for them both on her bed. He lay with his back to the wall and held her back to his front, one arm across her waist to hold her in place.

"This is nice," she said sleepily.

"I could get used to this," he whispered, kissing the top of her head.

There was no reply as her breathing evened out and she slept. Zephryn thought nothing had ever felt so right as he held her in his arms, and at last he, too, slept.