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Superstitions Connected with Hair

Superstition insists that hair has a mythical link with the body even after it is cut off. This connection gives it great potential in folk magic. There are numerous associated taboos and traditions connected with hair.



Let's begin with hair color:

1. A red-haired person is widely held to have an irascible temper. This is in reference to the red-haired Judas Iscariot or the Norse invaders of Britain. Though he or she may also be courageous and it is considered lucky to run your fingers through someone's red hair.

2. Fair hair is a sign of a weak nature.

3. Black hair suggests great strength and virility and is also lucky.

Whatever the hair color, however, it remains unwise to pluck out any odd gray hairs that appear because ten more will grow in its place.



Now, let's look into the hair style:

1. People with straight hair are said to be cunning.

2. Those with curly hair are good tempered.

3. Those with a cowlick curl are said to be naturally lucky.

4. Any woman who suddenly develops curls at the temples where her hair was previously straight is warned to look to her husband's health because it's a sign that he doesn't have long to live.

5. Those who would like curly hair, meanwhile, are advised to eat crusts of newly baked bread.

6. Girls with exceptionally long hair were once warned that "with hair below the knee never a bride to be."

7. Having bushy hair suggests that the person is dim-witted because the hair is diverting nourishment that should go to the brain.



As for the matter of a child with two crowns:

1. The Welsh believe the child with be lucky in money matters.

2. The Scottish believe the child will never drown.

3. The English believe it means the infant will live in more that one country.

A woman whose hair grows into a point on the forehead is said to have a "widow's peak," an ill omen which indicates that she is destined to become a widow. The same conclusion may be drawn from a parting that suddenly appears in a girl's hair where there was previously none.



For the guys, listen up:

1. A hairy chest or luxurious facial hair is widely held to be a sign of strength and is therefore lucky. This is why in ancient times victorious soldiers sometimes hacked the beards off their enemies.

2. Those with a lot of hair on the arms and on the backs of the hands are destined to enjoy considerable wealth.

3. Hair on the palms of the hand is a sign of madness.

Looking after hair involves the observance of different taboos:

1. The Scottish say that women must never comb their hair after dark if she has friends and family at sea because this will bring them into terrible danger.

2. In America, it is considered vital that hats should not be too tight because this will cause hair to thin.

Hair that is trimmed when the moon is waxing will grow back quickly, but hair that is cut when the moon is on the wane will stay short and may lose its shine.



When thinking about cutting your hair, remember this old English rhyme:

Best never enjoyed if Sunday shorn,
And likewise leave out Monday.
Cut Thursday and you'll never grow rich,
Likewise on a Saturday.
But live long if shorn on a Tuesday
And best of all is Friday.

Although, this rhyme doesn't account for the superstition that says never cut your hair on a Good Friday. And cutting one's own hair is unlucky, while seafarers believe that cutting their hair at sea will bring about a storm.

Disposal of cut hair is just as important because a small amount may be used by a witch to obtain control over the person from whom the hair came from. Simply boiling a strand of hair will oblige the owner to come to the witch or sorcerer, whether he or she wants to or not. By burning the hair in a ritual ceremony, a witch might cause excruciating pain on the person.



One variant involves including a few strands of hair in a wax image representing the person from whom the hair has come, and then, holding the figure in a flame to inflict intense burning pain and even cause death. A defense against such a threat is to cut off some hair, or more drastically, part of a finger as a sacrifice to ward off further harm. Witches themselves were sometimes shorn of all their body hair in accordance with a superstition that this would rob them of their supernatural powers.

The safest method to dispose of cut hair is to bury it. This is better than burning it because the soul of the person the hair belongs to is still needed on Judgement Day. Perhaps because of the threat of witchcraft, no person should keep a lock of his or her own hair or that of their children, for this promises them a premature death.

If a bird obtains so much as a single human hair to help make a nest, the person who owns the hair will be afflicted with a severe headache. If the bird is a magpie, according to the folklore of Devon, that person will die within a year.

Some people claim that a single strand plucked from the head may be used for divination. The procedure is to draw hair tight between the nails of the forefinger and thumb and then to release it. If the hair curls up, this is proof of pride or the prophecy that the person concerned will enjoy considerable riches.



Alternatively, two girls may secretly meet in complete silence between the hours of midnight and one o'clock in the morning and pluck out a hair for each year they have so far lived. These hairs are then burned on the fire one by one while the girls speak the words:

I offer this my sacrifice to him most precious in my eyes,
I charge thee now come forth to me that I this minute may see thee.

It is said that an apparition of the girl's future husband will materialize.

Observing how the strand of hair burns when thrown into the fire will also reveal how long a person has to live. If the hair burns quickly and brightly, then the person concerned has many years left to go. If the hair refuses to burn, this may be taken as a sign that the owner is fated to die by drowning.

Okay, that was a long one! Pardon the pun. Didn't think there would be that many superstitions about hair. You know what, dear reader, I'm having fun. I think I will start a Superstition Saturday for this blog. Stay tuned for more updates on superstitions. :-)

Superstitions Connected to Ravens

Like other black birds, the raven (an attendant to the gods of both ancient Greece and Scandinavia) is widely considered a creature of ill omen. It is feared for its apparent ability to foresee death.

A raven is particularity disliked around the sick because their cries sound like "corpse, corpse." It is believed that a raven around someone sick is an omen that the patient will not recover. Scientists suggest that the association with death has to do with a raven's strong sense of smell, which draws it to decaying flesh.

In the olden days, the raven is said to be the favorite disguise of the devil. And eleventh century Norman invaders used ravens as their emblem, which made the bird a harbinger of war.






But according to Welsh tradition, if a blind person shows kindness to a raven, it will help that person regain his or her sight. They also welcome the sight of a raven on the roof of the house because it is said to bring luck to everyone within.






In the West Country, ravens are saluted by the raising of the hat, and anyone who robs a raven's nest is said to be punished by the death of a baby in his or her home village. Similarly, the Cornish warn against harming a raven, explaining that the bird may be the reincarnation of King Arthur.






The royal connection is expanded in London, where it is said that the British monarchy and the United Kingdom itself will last only so long as there are ravens at the Tower of London. This well-known superstition is thought to have evolved from the story of Bran the Blessed, a mythical figure whose head is said to be buried on Tower Hill facing France to ward off any invasion of England. The name Bran means raven. And anyone kills of the ravens that live in the Tower will soon die too.

A relatively obscure tradition allows a person to get information about the future by counting ravens. If one raven is seen, sadness is in store. If two are spotted, happy days lie ahead. If three ravens are counted, there will be a marriage. And if four ravens appear, there will be a birth. A variation, however, claims that it is only lucky if one raven is seen, and unfortunate to see any more.

In the business of weather prediction, ravens flying towards the sun are a sign of fine weather. If they are preening themselves on the wing, it means there will be rain. Should they fly recklessly into one another, it means war is coming.

Superstitions on Love

Countless superstitions, spells, and proverbs cater to the lovelorn. The bulk of them are designed either to help identify the one "true love" whom everyone is presumed to seek, or else to persuade a reluctant partner of someone's desirability.






If you want to see who you will love in the future you can:


1. Throw an apple peel over your shoulder and look at the letter that it forms when it lands on the floor.


2. Sleep with a mirror or pieces of wedding cake under your pillow.


(personally, I would go for the mirror.)






And one you have that certain loved one, you have to avoid:


1. Having your picture taken together before the wedding. (Apparently a reckless act that can bring about estrangement)


2. Kissing when one partner is seated.


3. exchanging gifts of shoes. (This encourages one of you to walk out of the relationship)


4. And in the case of women, taking the last piece of bread and butter from the plate unless it is offered. (This I am not sure why)






I'm not making these things up. They come from the Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions. Hilarious if you ask me. More to come in the next posts.

The Superstition Game



Dear Readers,


As we all know, Halloween is tomorrow, and I'd like to celebrate with you. I just got a dictionary of superstitions, yes, there is such a thing. Wonderful, wonderful book. Now, I would like to share it with you.






According to Wikipedia, superstition is a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to folk beliefs deemed irrational, which is appropriate since irrational means "not based on reason". This leads to some superstitions being called "old wives' tales". It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the irrational belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events.


The etymology is from the classical Latin superstitio, literally "a standing over [in amazement]", but other interpretations include an over-scrupulousness in religion or a "hold-over" from older beliefs . The word is attested in the 1st century BC, notably in Livy and Ovid, in the meaning of an unreasonable or excessive belief in fear or magic, especially foreign or fantastical ideas. Cicero, however, derives the term from the "superstitiosi" ("survivors"): parents indulging in excessive prayer and sacrifice hoping that their children would survive them to perform their necessary funeral rituals. By the 1st century AD, it came to refer to "religious awe, sanctity; a religious rite" more generally.






Seriously, almost everything has a superstition associated with it. I totally didn't know that even Taxi drivers have their own superstitions.


So, let's play a game.


Give me a common everyday word in the comments section and I'll post the superstition associated with it.


Sincerely,
Kate

Blogger Interview: For a Rainy Day

About the Blogger:

Hi! I'm Emily, I'm a 22 yr old English/ journalism major who loves reading. I've had a passion for books for as long as I can remember! Probably even before I could read. I also love to write and hope to someday to have my own stories published. I just need to finish one first!





About the Blog:





My book blog started out as a log for myself about the books I've read so I could remember them, and remember how i felt and what i enjoyed about them. Soon it turned into a full on book blog. Now my blog is all about books I have, want or need to read. I have reviews, new books coming out, events, and much more.





Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

I started blogging about 2 years ago off and on, on my personal blog. But I started by book blog back in June, so only about 4 months.

Why did you decide to blog?

I started book blogging to keep a log of the books i've read and what I thought about them. I hated being like, 'Oh ya i've read that book, but i can't remember it very well, and the things i liked and didn't like about it' It started out more as a journal and then I began getting followers and then it turned into a full on book blog.

What books do you blog about and why?

I mostly blog about the books I enjoy reading, fantasies, thrillers, mysteries, young adult books and the occasional memoir.

What memes can be found on your blog?

I don't usually have too many memes. My book blog is still new so I'm still figuring those things out.

What is your review style like?

Mostly my opinion. I try not to be to be kind to the author and mostly I enjoy the books I read, so a lot of the reviews are good ones. Its never too flowery, I try not to give away too much of the book either.

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Simple, its got a nice and clean and simple layout, I try to keep things organized looking on my blog, also I haven't got too much going on yet since its still new.

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Its fun, you've got to enjoy it. Its not just about followers (although its nice to know people like to read your blog), And try and promote it as best you can. But mainly you've get to enjoy writing it, because then other people will enjoy reading it.

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

I haven't done too many promotional things, i've recently joined a few book sites such as Goodreads.com and others. But thats about it.

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

To get a good opinion on a potential book they might want to read. I really want people to trust my opinion and take a chance to read some of the books I am able to review.

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

They can look forward to more and more great book reviews. Also going to be trying to update it a bit, make it a little more exciting for people to come and read!

Blogger Remarks:

Thank you so much Emily for taking the time to answer my questions. I really enjoy reading your reviews, and hopefully, through this interview, my fellow readers with discover your blog as well. Click on the picture of Emily's blog to visit her site. Next week, I'll be interviewing Chriz from All the Days Of.

Iron Fey Giveaway!

Contest Thursdays are always awesome days! And for Julie Kagawa fans out there, the bloggers at Bewitched Bookworms are having what they call the Iron Fey Giveaway. Here are a few details on the contest courtesy of their site:

Who hasn't read the books yet but totally want to?

And exactly for you people we have this awesome giveaway!

Thanks to my visit at the Frankfurt Book Fair we can give away 3 sets of "The Iron King" and "The Iron Daughter"



Isn't this exciting?

And of course I want to thank the wondrful and incredibly lovely ladies from Harlequin who I met at the Book Fair and were so super generous to give me so many books for this giveaway!

So!

What are you waiting for?

Go and enter!

...and of course this contest is open internationally!

This contest runs two weeks and the winner will be announced on Friday 5th of November!

So, for those who want to enter the giveaway, you can click on their blog button below. Good luck, dear readers!


Bewitched Bookworms

Author Interview: Dawn Dyson


When novelist Sienna Emory receives a desperate call from an old college friend, she feels compelled to try and help her. The Cheney she remembers was a free-spirited song writer with an amazing ability to translate all of life's pain and joy into her work, but drugs and alcohol have made her a shell of her former self.

When Sienna arrives at Cheney's house, she finds Cheney passed out in the driveway; what she doesn't expect to find is Jonathan Driscoll, a handsome single father living nearby, who has obviously been there before.

Never able to have children of her own, Sienna is delighted to get to know Jonathan and his daughter Bella. However, Bella is not a typical five-year-old girl. She tells stories that she couldn't possibly know, and when she prays, she seems to communicate on a direct line to God.

As Sienna and Jonathan's love grows, while dealing with their friend Cheney's issues, Sienna discovers more about God's plans for them. Will their faith be strong enough to protect them against evil?

Author Info:

Dawn Dyson lives with her husband on a farm in Nebraska and has degrees in both Animal Science and Education. She currently serves as the farm's office manager, but writing is her primary passion. She describes her writing as a God-given gift and strives to incorporate Christian themes throughout each of her works. She encourages others to find their passion in life, link it with God's and then share it with the world.

Interview:

1. When did you decide to start writing?

I decided to start writing during a major time of change in my life. I had no intention of making writing a profession, I was just going through a lot of personal and career changes at the time and I was re-evaluating my life as a whole. The writing, or I should say the characters, just showed up in my head. The only way to get my mind off of them and the formulating story was to get it into the computer. I'm so glad I didn't ignore it. It was such a release and a teacher at the same time. In essence, the urge to write seemed to come to me, not the other way around.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

My genre is Christian Fiction, Romance/Suspense. Again, the characters and their story just came to me and it was almost effortless on my part. I became a saved Christian around the same time I began to write (chapter eleven of Mercy Sky, to be exact). When that sort of experience happens to you, it is hard to leave it out of your writing - therefore, whatever I write, no matter how edgy, it will always have elements of spiritual growth and my perceptions of Christ in it. In my personal opinion, for me, there is no point to leave Him out because what would be left over wouldn't be good at all.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

Word count? I wasn't worried about it at all. The story is completed on its own terms, not mine.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

My writing quirk is to have absolute quiet. I don't know what time it is, what day it is, or what is going on with my family when I'm on a roll and they are so understanding and supportive - it's great. I also look at writer's block as a gift, a little reminder from my Creator that it is time to live real life, not my parallel version of it. And it's not so much a "block" as the creativity has just started to slow and needs to be refreshed. So at that point, I reenter the real world and gather inspiration from God, nature, music, fresh air, really good movies,
ordinary tasks, etc. I completely forget about my story until it comes back to me again. It's a process - why fight with it? Just let go and enjoy it.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

Beautiful. Why? You'll have to read it :)

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

The title is Bella Maura. I name all of my books (thus far) after children. Mercy Sky, though it may not initially sound like it, is actually a little girl's name.

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

I hope my readers will become inspired in their own lives in some way after reading Bella Maura. Inspiration can motivate us to change things for the better, within ourselves, or for others. While I was writing the book, I personally became lighter and happier, unburdened somehow. With this storyline, I just felt a sense of ease come into my soul and it hasn't gone away. Maybe my readers will get a little of that, too.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

Mercy Sky was self-published through iUniverse, Inc. in 2005. Creation House picked up Bella Maura in 2010 and is proposing to do the sequel in 2011. I think the road to publication is in a transitional phase right now. More and more authors are taking the publicity and marketing aspects on themselves, but it is very difficult.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

I'm still an aspiring author so I don't know what advice I'd give to anyone except to pray. God's always got your best interest at heart.

Blogger Remarks:

Thank you so much, Dawn, for granting this interview and sharing your thoughts about writing Bella Maura. To know more about the novel featured here and its author, you can visit: http://www.dawndyson.com/

Sharing the News

Dearest Reader,

First of all, thank you for keeping me company these past few months. Thank you for your comments and encouragement. This blog wouldn't be what it is today without you.



I wanted to take this time to share some news with you. As you know, I've committed myself to taking my writing seriously at the beginning of this year. I've said as much in this section of Reads, Reviews, Recommends and on other sections of this website that I started last year.

As with many aspiring writers out there, I was excited with the prospect of a career in writing. I wanted nothing more than to share my stories with the world. But, even with all the excitement, I still had my doubts. There are so many horror stories out there of writers getting scammed or agents that aren't really agents. I can go on and on, and if you're an aspiring writer, I'm sure you've either heard or read of something that could make you want to give up writing for a more reliable job.



Despite my doubts, I kept on writing, receiving rejection after rejection. I reached a point where the rejections became a process of elimination. I realized that I wanted to find the right home for my novels. Months and months passed, until one day, I received an email that changed my life. Actually, they were a series of emails and a phone call.

Dearest reader, I want to share the news that I have found a home for my novels at McIntosh & Otis. I have an agent. And we're all working hard to make Lunar Heat the best that it can be. The dream is coming true. The goal of getting an agent before the end of the year as been achieved.



To believe is such a powerful thing. Sometimes, it felt like nothing was happening, but really, the belief of getting published got me through. The idea that I can do this. That I will make it. And that people share the same belief in the work that I do. For those at the end of their rope, don't let go. Keep believing. Can you really see yourself doing something else? I sure couldn't.

I just wanted to share my happiness with you, dearest reader.



To read the first chapter of Lunar Heat, click HERE. Please hit the follow button in the Stream of Subconsciousness section on your way out. Much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Kate Evangelista

Blogger Interview: Have Sippy Will Travel


Have Sippy Will Travel


About the Blogger:

My name is Samantha, I am a late-20-something mommy and teacher. I love my job (usually!) and my kids, and of course my very patient dear husband. I am a recent grad student, lover of books, travel, yoga, pilates, camping, animals, children, food/cooking, and fun. I am always on the lookout for adventure. I have traveled the world as a volunteer and a student, and have seen some amazing places, and met some wonderful people.

I love to read, and am a history buff (and some would say nerd). My kids mean the world to me, and I love that as a mom and a teacher, I get to help shape and enrich young minds.

About the Blog:





My blog is.....a hodgepodge :) It is definitely geared towards mothers. I love sharing information, and learning. Lord knows I don't know it all! LOL. So, when I started happening upon blogs I really liked, and seeing new products, and leaning new things to try, and books to read, and "meeting" people who are "like me"....I got excited and wanted to be a part of it! There were great products I have never heard of, cool websites I didn't know about, great recipes, fantastic books- stuff I never would have seen or tried. Plus, it is a whole community of people out there who you'd never get to "meet" otherwise. So, basically that is why I started blogging. Have Sippy Will Travel is a work in progress, but there are some really sweet bloggers who have given me great advice, and I am learning as I go!


Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

For about 4 years, but this is my first public blog

Why did you decide to blog?

I wanted to do this blog to meet new people, and talk about stuff that interests me, and to learn about things that interest me. Look at this, I'm an egomaniac! :)

What books do you blog about and why?

Anything I like. I LOVE books. I do health books, historical fiction, travel, fiction, non fiction, childrens, YA, really- anything that strikes my fancy! I'm a mom and a teacher, so the kids books are a part of my daily life.

What memes can be found on your blog?

LOL, I have A LOT

What is your review style like?

I am a pretty happy person, so my reviews are pretty upbeat.
If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why? Cheery

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Just do what makes you happy. It's a release.

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

I'm not great at that yet- maybe you can get your readers to follow me! Come on, guys, I'm FAB-u-LAHS! lol

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

I hope that it makes them feel happy and calm, and that they find out about some cool stuff that they may not have heard about before then.

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

More reviews! (Oh, and more pictures of my Little Man....sorry!)

Blogger Remarks:

It's the name that drew me to this blog. Then I charming content made me stay. Thank you so much Sam for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing me to feature your blog. If you want to visit Have Sippy Will Travel, just click on the blog button featured at the top of this page. Next week, it's all about Emily from For a Rainy Day. Stay tuned!

Two Giveaways, Two Different Blogs

Since I'm crazy busy all of a sudden, I will let the giveaways speak for themselves today. I present you with two. Just click on the blog buttons featured in this post to visit the blog that is giving away the books mentioned.

First: Fragments of Life

Giveaway

Thanks to Jackie, there are FOUR signed posters of Hunger up for grabs.
The poster looks exactly like the cover art of Hunger.

Contest Rules:
1. Be a follower.
2. Comment with your email address.

Extra Entries: (if you want)
1. Tweet and leave link.
2. Sidebar and leave link.

Open Internationally!
Ends on November 2!




Second: Sparkling Reviews

The giveaway is for one book by H.P. Mallory.


There will be 2 winners chosen. The first winner can chose whether he/she would like Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble or To Kill a Warlock. The second winner will get which ever book winner number one doesn't chose. These are for digital copies of the books and you will be emailed the copy when you win. You can read the description for both books below! Giveaway ends on Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:59pm


Sparkling Reviews


Good luck, dear readers. Now, I am off to edit. Just got an agent! ;-)

Author Interview: Mason Cranswick



Scott is facing bankruptcy amid the turmoil that grips the financial markets of 2008. He is saved when money is transferred to his account from an unexpected source. We flash back to war-torn 1970's Rhodesia where Scott is growing up as a privileged white boy alongside his best friend, Simba, a black boy, on his parents' farm ... A sweeping tale of naivety, treachery, war and genocide, of love and friendship... and ultimately of hope and regeneration.





Author Info:

Mason Cranswick was born and raised in Zimbabwe. He received an MBA from Cambridge University (Magdalene College) in 1995. Prior to that he qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the UK, after obtaining a degree in commerce from Rhodes University, South Africa. A career in investment banking has taken him around the world - from London, Tokyo and New York to Singapore during the Asian currency crisis of the late '90s. A keen sportsman, he played international rugby for Zimbabwe Schools in 1984 and, as an amateur boxer, was a Cambridge University Blue and captain in 1994/95. He now lives in Cape Town.

Interview:

1. When did you decide to start writing?

I have always wanted and aimed to write since I was a little boy... so after getting some financial security behind me, I took the risky jump of actually becoming a writer. I booked myself onto a writing holiday to Greece in 2008 and whilst there, I got the idea for Blood Lily, and pretty much wrote it as soon as I got home.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

I like action-packed fiction that moves at a fast pace and I think it is best to write what you enjoy reading.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

Yes – as the book got longer, the editing became harder – when you are faced with an 85 000 word manuscript that is quite an intimidating piece of work to edit. I eventually managed to get the word count down to a pacey 75 000.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

When I am writing, I do little else. I write, eat, write, sleep. I am usually up in the middle of the night getting ideas down – I find it hard to do anything else when I am in the middle of a project. Sometimes, I just shut myself away for days and all I do is write.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

Enduring. The novel is set amid the Rhodesian war and the subsequent waste and decay of Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe...but they are all transient...only the land is forever.


6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

I agonised over the title and eventually settled on Blood Lily, which is a striking Zimbabwean plant. Growing up as a child in Zimbabwe, I remember their crimson puff-ball blooms bursting into colour in the summer months. They symbolise regeneration throughout the book, which ties in with the theme of the enduring quality of land.


7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

I have had such a terrific response to Blood Lily. So many people have contacted me because they have been so emotionally involved with the story. Zimbabweans/Rhodesians, particularly, from all over the world – both English and African – have responded to this narrative in a way I had not anticipated. It has evoked nostalgia, questions, rage, disbelief and sorrow so, my hope is that the book continues to challenge the reader in this way - not just answering questions, but asking them too.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

Lots of new writers have been in contact with me since the publication of Blood Lily and I don’t like to tell them that after the years of work they may have put in to writing their novel, this is where the hard work begins. The road to publication is a challenging one, but well worth the effort.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

If you are really serious, then keep writing. It may take years to find the right idea, but you will never know if you give up too soon.

Blogger Remarks:

First, I would like to thank Helen McCusker, UK publicist for Smith
Publicity, for setting up the interview with Mason. Second, I would like to thank Mason for taking the time to answer my questions. I truly appreciate getting into the mind of a fellow author.

Blogger Interview: You're Killing Me


About the Blogger(s):

Our names are Kayla and Cyna, and we're two 22-year-old bookworms from Arizona. Kayla's a wife and mother of two, who likes to pass the time that the kids are passed out with books. She's read casually all her life, but got really into it (and paranormal romance) a couple of years ago when she got Twilight for Christmas. Her favorite books are the Vampire Academy Series, the Sookie Stackhouse Series, the House of Night series, the Kiesha'Ra series, and the Sweep series. And she still has a bit of a soft spot for Twilight.

Cyna is your average everyday nerd who has no idea what she wants to do with her life (yet) except that it must involve books. She's been a bookworm forever and an amateur author off and on, when she isn't being distracted by something equally nerdy like anime, manga, comic book-based cartoons, video games, the internet, zombies, or a shiny set of keys. Her reading interests vary, but right now, obviously, she's into paranormal romance. Her favorite books are Pride and Prejudice, Howl's Moving Castle, (almost) anything by LJ Smith, the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and the Sally Lockhart Mysteries. She does have any soft spot whatsoever for Twilight.

About the Blog:





You're Killing Me is our review blog for paranormal romance books (and other stuff that falls in the same-ish category, like urban fantasy), both YA and adult. We do our best to give very complete (translation: long) and snark-filled reviews, because, let's face it, a lot of PR and UF books have it coming.



Interview:


1. How long have you been blogging?
About five months now. Our start day was April 27.

2. Why did you decide to blog?

Because we have very boring lives, lol. We enjoyed bitching about books we read to each other, and thought it might be fun to bitch with other people. Also, we were very angry with Patricia Briggs >:(  Really though, we'd been talking about writing something together for months, and we couldn't really work out how to do that with fiction, so we thought we'd try our hand at blogging.

3. What books do you blog about and why?

We specialize in paranormal romance, both YA and adult, plus some urban fantasy every now and then. Basically, if it has vampires, weres, fairies, shifters, or witches, we're there. We blog about PR because it's what we love. We both got into reading through paranormal romance series, and it's what we want to write about someday. Somehow. Eventually. When we figure it out.

4. What memes can be found on your blog?

Uh, just Top Ten Tuesday at the moment. It's harder for us to get together on a specific day every week due to work schedules, so we're taking it slow with those, lol. Plus, we don't want our blog to get clogged up with them.

5. What is your review style like?

Our reviews are kinda bitchy. And sarcastic. And long. We like to go into detail about why we do/don't like a book, because we think a review should give you a good reason to seek out/avoid a book, So yeah...we tend to rant a lot. But we also get excited about the ones we like! It isn't all negative.

6. If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Oh, that's easy: bitchy. When we talk about books together we usually complain about the things that bugged us (or who we're in love with), and with paranormal romance nowadays, there's not exactly a shortage of those. So that's usually what our reviews focus on, too.

7. What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Haha, we're not sure we're exactly qualified to give advice, since we're new to this too, but if we were gonna say anything, it'd be this: be descriptive. Don't be afraid to tell people what you thought about a book and why. Also, memes and networks are by far the best way to get your blog and opinion out there, so don't forget to participate in them!

8. What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

We relentlessly pimp at every available opportunity! Seriously. We've got it all over our Facebook accounts, Myspace, Twitter, and other blogs. We also comment on other book blogs, especially when we come across reviews of books we've also read. But we got most of our followers from the Ning Book Bloggers network (where we also relentlessly pimp reviews), and through participating in the Top Ten Tuesday meme.

9. If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

Well, obviously that we have good judgment and they should come back, lol. But maybe a slightly different perspective on paranormal romance, as well? Not to get all serious face, but there are a lot of horrible, unhealthy tropes and portrayals of both men, women, and relationships in paranormal romance and urban fantasy these days, and if we can make readers think about that a little, we'd be thrilled.

10. What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?
More bitching about Patricia Briggs! We have the first book in the Alpha and Omega series, and will probably read it eventually. Also, there will probably be other, non-Briggs related reviews sometime in the future. Maybe even some *gasp* GOOD BOOKS. We just stumbled onto the Wicked Lovely series, and we actually like that one. We're also working on a new feature, where we compare first vs new impressions of older books that are being re-published (like Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series).


Blogger Remarks:

I always love reading reviews from Kayla and Cyna because they can be brutally honest. They give me a different perspective when looking at a novel. So, I would like to thank the both of you for your blog and your reviews, and thank you for granting this interview. To visit their blog, you can click on the blog name at the top of this post. Next week, you'll have the chance to read about Sam from Have Sippy Will Travel.

Kindle Giveaway


It's contest day once again and I think I've stumbled upon one of the most awesome giveaways out there short of the lottery. How would you like to win a Kindle? Stop laughing, I'm serious. Mary at Sparkling Reviews is giving away a Kindle. Still don't believe me? Then read about it in her own words:



I have a fantastic giveaway going on! There is a catch though... Before I will be giving anything away we have to reach 500 followers. When we reach 500 followers I will giveaway one Amazon Kindle in the color of your choice... either white or the graphite. If we reach 1000 followers I will give away the One Kindle but as a bonus it will include a 50.00 gift card to Amazon... so you can get some great books. Also I will give a second winner a gift card for 150.00 to The Book Depository .
  • If you are international. I will have the Kindle sent to me first and then I will send it to you, wherever you are in the world, that way I can keep this giveaway internationally friendly!
  • So the guidelines are below broken down to make sense!

  • 500 followers = 1 Kindle to 1 lucky winner - This is International!
  • 1000 Follower = 1 Kindle to 1 lucky winner and a 50.00 gift card, plus there will be a second winner which will receive a 150.00 gift card to The Book Depository (Now That's  A LOT of Books!)
  • The end date will depend on when we reach 500 followers... the end date will be two weeks from whenever we obtain that goal!
  • There are lots of extra entries that you can earn!
  • YOU CAN ENTER ONCE DAILY!
  • GOOD LUCK!

To join, click on her blog button below:

Sparkling Reviews


What are we waiting for?

Author Interview: Jack Everett


Imagine New Year celebrations ending in Jihad - destruction and death so far beyond 9/11 and 7/7 as to be incomprehensible.

Fatalities in the tens of thousands shakes a population hardened to modern violence from its apathy; a change in government, a transformation of society - A divided Fortress Britain of lynchings, beatings and no-go enclaves ruled by fundamentalist law. Human rights legislation is repealed and Britains own version of Guantanamo Bay, is started where undesirables are forcibly
repatriated.

Fuelled by global warming, a huge natural disaster calls for everyone to pull together. Despite religious differences, diversity of skin colour and conflicting cultures, can human beings seize this final opportunity?

Still at large years later, the New Year Jihadist has a nuclear bomb and a private agenda - the Prime Minister becomes his target of choice.




Author Info:

Jack Everett writes in partnership with David Coles who has been his friend for many years. They write in several different genres from Young Adult to Sci-Fi through Historicals to Thrillers and even Medieval Mysteries. In his spare time Jack grows vegetables listens to Trad Jazz, some Country, Blues singers and reads a wide range of subjects. For many years David worked in computers whilst Jack worked as a Training Adviser. David is a member of the Historical Society and Jack is both a member of the Society of Authors and the International Thriller Writers Association. They both live in Yorkshire, England though Jack is a frequent visitor stateside. All of their books can be bought from www.archimedespresse.co.uk or the authors website www.jackleverett.me.uk whilst some can be bought from any good on-line bookstore and others from Acclaimed Books.

Interview:

1. When did you decide to start writing?

At the time I was in a job in construction which required me to work on demand and many times there was no demand. One day I was about to bin a receipt book- lots of never to be used 3rd copy yellow pages when I had an idea for a story which I just had to write down. That early start gave me a hobby which at times has become a compulsion. It has given me laughs and occasional tears but at no time since have I ever considered not doing it.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

I write in several genres- not wishing to get labeled as that man that writes Romances or Westerns or Biographies; about the only three I haven’t written in- and have no favorites. I try to make each story an adventure that anyone can slip into whether in the past, present or future.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

I have never worried about quantity but my first published work was returned and I was asked to get it down from 84,000 to 60,000 which I hated but had to do for the sake of seeing my first book in print. I have since been asked to remove thousands of words from a manuscript only to say no which resulted in my removing it from that publisher to another. That was my latest novel 1/1 :Jihad-Britain.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

I still write with a soft feel ball pen and only write from crack of dawn to lunch. I can’t type fast enough to get the words down and afternoons are family and chore times.

5. If you can describe your latest novel in one word, what would it be and why?

Engrossing: on so many levels as it imagines what would happen if insurgents bombed the UK killing tens of thousands. It follows the lives of the Prime Minister, the new government that rises from the ruins of the event and many people that have been touched by it. The mood of the public is examined and decisions-not always popular- are made.

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

1/1 is the date it occurs passing midnight on a New Years Eve, the insurgents claim any war on the west is a Holy War hence Jihad and it was taking place in Britain. Many alternatives were considered and an author can never be sure that he has made the right choice but in this case as we state on the cover, ‘after 9/11 and 7/7 what comes next,’ the publishers decided to run with it.

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

A little of the feeling that it could have happened to us and perhaps we would have reacted like that or like one of the characters in the story.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

It was a rocky one with many rejections and comments like not at this time as our lists are full. I feel that anyone who gets accepted straight away is either very lucky or knows someone but if it is your dream never give up.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

My last answer really answers this question but never expect to get rich or even make a living from writing, if you are doing that you are on the road to disappointment. If it happens embrace it but consider yourself lucky because it happens to less than one in a thousand. I write because that is what I am a writer I would still write even if a book I had written failed to sell. So if that is what you want to be go for it but only accept what comes along, don’t expect.

Blogger Remarks:

Thank you very much Jack for taking the time to share with us your experiences on the road to publication and your advice to many aspiring writers out there. It's always interesting to peek into the mind of a fellow wordsmith.

TO MASH OR NOT TO MASH by Porter Grand

With the craziness that I went through last week, I didn't have the time to finish I Am Number Four, no matter how good a read it's turning out to be. Hence, I don't have a review yet for you today, dear read. Instead, Porter Grand, author of Little Women and Werewolves, who coincidentally was the author featured in my Author Interview series last week, sent over this great post on mash-ups. They've been really popular lately, so I turn over today's post to her.



TO MASH OR NOT TO MASH

When my agent first suggested I try writing a mash-up, being a librarian, I gasped aloud and said I wouldn’t do such a thing to a book or an author. While amused at the idea when I heard about the first mash-ups, and feeling this was a great way to awaken young people's interest in literature, I didn't want to be the one to rework a timeless classic. My agent asked I just continue to think about it, and I found that the idea, now planted, was holding firm. I realized I was mired in the quandary 'to mash or not to mash', so did the only thing a reference librarian could do in such a situation -- I began to research classic books and their authors. I found myself drifting back to Louisa May Alcott again and again, and the thought flashed through my mind that it was a shame someone had already written LITTLE WOMEN AND WEREWOLVES because I had just finished writing a werewolf novel, and was still in full werewolf mode. But when I searched the Internet to take a look at the book, it didn't exist --hmmm! This felt as if I had somehow received cosmic permission for the project. Staying focused on Alcott led to the discovery that she had a taste for more “lurid” writing, did not want to write a sweet book for young girls, and only penned LITTLE WOMEN upon the suggestion of an editor. She did not particularly like the book, and neither did the editor, but his young niece loved it, and the rest of the story is literary history.

It had been a long time since I had read LITTLE WOMEN, so I was reading it through fresh eyes, and found myself greatly impressed at how much Alcott had to say about the sorry situation of women and the lower classes in her era. Being ahead of her time and open to darker literature, I felt Louisa May Alcott would not only mind, but would fully enjoy seeing werewolves added to her novel, especially since one theme in this work is that just because someone is a werewolf, it doesn't mean they're bad. The more I wrote LITTLE WOMEN AND WEREWOLVES, the more I felt guided by Alcott. I have never before had such an exciting and strange writing experience. In return for her inspiration, I kept the integrity of the book intact and remained true to her plot, her characters, and, most importantly, her themes.

The book was finished and in the editing process when Harriet Reisen’s fascinating biography, LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, THE WOMAN BEHIND LITTLE WOMEN, came out. As I read the book, parallels between Alcott's life and my own kept jumping out at me: I am now the age at which Louisa May Alcott died, we both had our Little Women books accepted before they were finished and while submitting other works for publication, both of our mothers grew to be “angry every day” about their marriages and situations, we were both locked in incessant power struggles with our fathers, we were both born with a “gift for ornamentation”, our quick tongues often got us in trouble, we both held a taste for the lurid, and we both “experimented to be independent” in Boston.

One fact in Reisen’s book struck me with particular force. Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father, was a staunch vegetarian who forbade his family to eat meat and preached that “without a flesh diet, there would be no blood-shedding war,” and that a vegetable diet provided sweet dreams, and a meat diet, nightmares. The family obliged Bronson in this, as they did in all things, but once Louisa May’s writing put her in a position of financial comfort, she ate a great deal of meat. It is quite fitting, then, that carnivorous werewolves have been added to the very novel which had put her in the situation to eat all the meat she craved.

I have not read any other mash-ups beyond scanning them, and did not use any as guides or examples to write this book; instead, I wrote it the way I thought Alcott might have if she had included werewolves in her story, and the amputees were added as a tribute to her service as a Civil War nurse. My work on this novel was done with the utmost care and deep respect for both Louisa May Alcott and LITTLE WOMEN, a book which delights and inspires today every bit as much as it did in 1868 -- and all the many years in between.

Vampires vs. Vampires

It's October, and that usually means all manner of creeptacular things for me. For this special post, I wanted to get your take on vampires, dear reader. Of all the monsters, Vampires always have this certain mystic about them. So, with that in mind, I have taken four videos by four different authors with very different takes on vampires. Watch the videos and let me know what you think. What's your ideal vampire?

Guillermo Del Toro




Stephenie Meyer




Anne Rice




Christopher Moore


Blogger Interview: The Book Girl



About the Blogger:

Hey all! I'm Naiche (although I also go by Lizzie or, of course, the book girl). I'm a fifteen-year-old New Yorker, aspiring writer, avid reader, and diagnosed bookaholic. What more can I say?







About the Blog:





The Book Girl Reads is a book review blog that is exclusive to YA fiction and teen reads. Covering all genres and topics, I write to all readers with one thing in common: a love of YA novels. I give all of my books letter grades and write my own synopses for them. Most importantly, I write my reviews because I love books. And that's all the motivation I need.



Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging for about a month now. I never expected to get such a quick and amazing turnout! Getting 59 followers in one month is awesome.

Why did you decide to blog?

I guess I desperately needed to channel my book obsession. I’d contemplated the idea of writing book reviews before (I even have them in some old notebooks), but I never knew where to start. When I discovered that the world of book blogging existed, I was super excited. I love being part of a community where other people love to read just as much as I do.

What books do you blog about and why?

I usually review young adult (YA) novels. The reasoning behind that is pretty much that those are the books I relate to most. It’s hard to like a book about an adult if you’re a teen. Aside from that, I’ll review any genre. Fantasy, romance, drama…you name it, I review it. I’ve never been picky about the genres I read, and I like to be open-minded about books. I’ll pick up a book about a yodeling ballet dancer who plays the trumpet as long as it looks good.

What memes can be found on your blog?

The two weekly features on my blog are my top lists and polls. I do lists of (in my opinion) the best characters, book quotes, and other things like that. I also have a weekly poll on a book I’ve recently reviewed. I’m also a part of the Contemps challenge, where I agreed to read 18 contemporary YA novels over the course of one year. I do have three blog-related projects that I’m working on and that will hopefully start up in about two weeks: UP Sundays (a small feature that puts a spotlight on unpublished writers on websites like inkpop.com and webook.com), The Book Nerds (a weekly book discussion panel), and the Fourteen Favorites Reader Challenge.

What is your review style like?

My review layout is a simple one with a Book Girl twist. I put up the book’s cover, and write my own synopsis for it. I tell the reader who the author and publisher are and how long the book is. My review is under a header called “The Skinny”, which is another phrase for my opinion or the 411. At the end of each review, I give the book a letter grade ranging from A (I absolutely loved this book) to D (this was horrible). I never give a book an F because I do think that’s very harsh.

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Fun. I love to actually talk to the reader while I’m reviewing the book, making side comments and little jokes here and there. I’m constantly changing my blog to make it reader-friendly. I want my readers to feel like they’re a part of the site, and I want them to really enjoy reading my reviews.

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

I’d say…Don’t give up. I know that’s a very cliché piece of advice, but it’s so true. Just because you don’t get 100 followers on your first week of blogging, it doesn’t mean your blog will be a fail. Make sure you’re blogging because it’s something YOU want to do, not because you want a lot of followers or want to compete against other bloggers. Take your time, network, and talk to other bloggers. You never know who will offer help. Like I said before, blogging is a hobby. You do it because you love it.

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

Hm. I do most of my promotion online. I post my link up on writing and reading communities like Inkpop and Book Blogs. I’ve submitted my work to Teen Ink and other magazines. I’ve joined a lot of blogger forums where I talk to others about how to improve my blog. I email other bloggers and authors, and just make myself as close to the book blogging community as I can. Most importantly, I get great support from my family and friends!

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

I just hope that after reading a good review, my readers will want to go out and read that book. I love when people comment and say: Hey, I saw that at the bookstore, I think I’ll read it now.

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

Well, I’m hoping that the three features I mentioned before will be up and running in a couple of weeks. I have tons of great books on my list to review and lots of author interviews I’m thinking about. I just posted a 50 member giveaway, and I hope to do many, many more. (I’m also thinking of doing some fun Book Girl themed cards and bookmarks). So stay tuned!

Blogger Remarks:

I met Liz through Book Blogs. If you haven't joined yet, click on the badge at my sidebar. It's a great place to hangout. Anyway, thank you so much Liz for answering some of my questions. I truly appreciate your time. To visit Liz's blog, you can click on her blog name featured at the top of this post. Next week, I'll be interviewing Cyna + Kayla from You're Killing Me.
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