Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Today is of course Hallowe'en.

The modern festival of Hallowe'en developed from the two closely linked Christian Festivals of All Saints (1st November) and All Souls (2nd November) both of which were concerned with the dead.

The Festival of All Saints, known in English as All-Hallows or Hallowmas (Hallow from the Old English word for holy man or saint) commemorated all the Christian saints and martyrs.  The Feast of All Souls was added later to commemorate the faithful departed.  In particular, the early Church believed that souls who had died without proper preparation or who died without final rites could be helped towards Heaven and their sufferings relieved by the actions of the living.   All Souls was therefore an important feast at which special masses were held and pious acts were encouraged.  One of the most tangible methods of assisting souls was in the ringing of church bells and this went on for hours at All Souls.  The idea of Purgatory and the living interceding on behalf of the dead was rejected during the Reformation and All Souls was excluded from the English Religious Calendar.

Thereafter Hallowe'en became generally known as the time when spirits and the spirit world were close to the living.   Old texts often describe the games and love divinations (a popular pastime at any time of the year, it seems! :D) that were carried out.  This description is from 1825...

The virgil of All Saints' Day on which it is customary for young people in the North of England to dive for apples, or catch at them upon one end of a kind of hanging beam, at the other extremity of which is fixed a lighted candle and that with their mouths only, their hands being tied behind their backs.

 And this one from the early 20th century...

It was also the custom on All Hallowe'en to peel apples, then whirl the peel three times around the head and then throw it over the left shoulder to the floor.  The letter formed on the floor by the apple peel would be the intitial of the future husband or wife.  Mrs. H assured me that her apple peel always formed the letter J, and she eventually married a man called Jack.

Two nuts could also be chosen to represent two potential lovers and placed side by side on the fire shovel over the flames of a fire.  The future for the couple could be gauged by whether the heated nuts jumped apart or together!

Another tradition was if you brushed your hair in front of the mirror at midnight, it was said the face of your future spouse would appear over your shoulder.

In some areas, Hallowe'en was also known as Mischief Night when misbehaviour and trickery was encouraged and allowed.  Perhaps the origins of trick or treat!

Whatever you're doing this Hallowe'en, stay safe and have fun!

 PS  the Kindle edition of my debut Regency novel The Paradise Will is now only £3.35 on Amazon UK or $5.40 on - great to relax with after all that trick or treating;0)

And hurry...for a limited time only I think Ice Angel is available for just 99p on Amazon UK and  $1.59 on !!

Jack O'Lantern image by Toby Ord, from Wikimedia Commons
Snap-Apple Night (1832) by Daniel Maclise, from Wikimedia Commons
Early 20th Century Hallowe'en card, from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, 29 October 2012

A warm welcome to Lisa L Greer

I'm delighted to welcome author Lisa L. Greer to my blog today!  Lisa writes gothic romance and she's here to tell us more about her new venture, the Sorrowmoor Kickstarter project.  Over to you, Lisa!


Thanks for having me as your guest today, Elizabeth!

It's the spooky time of year, autumn, and I think it's a perfect time for me to work on a set of shiver worthy stories...

This coming year, Im doing something differenta Kickstarter project. I really enjoy writing serials, and I like rolling them out as serials were meant to be done: in quick succession. These are mini-stories with cliffhangers at the end. They compose a larger talein this case, a spooky one set in the mid-1800s that follows the inhabitants of the Sorrowmoor estate. I love to include all kinds of gothic romance tropes in my work like secret chambers, diaries, curses, ghosts, spooky graveyards, family secrets, heroines in distress, Byronic heroes, and more. If that's your speed, I think you'll enjoy these serials.

The goal Ive set for funding for the project is where it needs to be to cover the rewards, cover art, editing, formatting and other expenses. And it is pretty reasonable for a Kickstarter project goal from what I can tell. I want to have enough money to complete the project in a way Im happy with and in a timely manner, and most importantly, to give value to readers.

That isnt always possible unless as an author, I have control over the publishing process. Thats where my project, Sorrowmoor, comes in. Im planning at least twenty historical gothic romance serials over the course of 2013. My motto is under-promise and over-deliver in terms of what Ive outlined for the serials. So, its likely Ill have more than twenty serials or that theyll be lengthier than the minimum of 2000 words each. These will land in backersinboxes (unless backers dont want them in that format), and Ill also put the serials in a combined e-book edition with a fabulous cover and a print edition that looks equally great. Im planning lots of other cool stuff, too!

So, how can you get some good reads and back the project? If you have a dollar, thats a start. There are all sorts of levels to back Sorrowmoor, so please take a look. If you dont like gothic romance (which is romantic suspense, just with paranormal elements), you can support the project and gift your rewards to a friend who will enjoy these serials. Its like a year-round Christmas gift. :o)
I appreciate the backing I have so far, and Im really excited about this project! Check it out if you have a minute, and tell a friend who might enjoy reading these stories. You can see the video about Sorrowmoor and learn more here:

Thank you all for reading and supporting my endeavors as a working writer! :0)


Thank you, Lisa - the project sounds fabulous, very best of luck with it!

You can find out more about Lisa, her writing and the Sorrowmoor project at Lisa's website: