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Halloween Superstitions

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

By Glenys O'Connell

                          So, it’s that time of  the year, when the ghosts and goblins come knocking at your door for treats, the stores are festooned with jack-o’lantern shapes, black cat cutouts, big hairy spiders and tape recordings of maniacal laughter. And candy, oh, yes, let’s not forget the candy…….uhmmmmmm

Where was I? Oh, yes – all this commercialism has drowned out some of the ancient superstitions and meanings of the All Hallows Eve, a time when the veil between the living and the dead is at its most thin. Don’t worry, I’m not going to delve into all the white and black magick associations; the claims of Satanism, White Wicca, and numerous other subjects too deep and complicated for a mere blog.

But I do want to talk a little about Halloween superstitions. Did you know the festival is believed to date back more than 2000 years? Celtic peoples in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and northern France celebrated the virgil of Samhain to honor the Lord of the Dead.

As time went by, accretions of ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies, demons and all the things we associate with Halloween began to attach themselves to the festival. The Celts believed that evil spirits lurked around and as the sun god grew weaker towards the end of the year, these spirits grew stronger. To keep safe from these, the ancient peoples lit great bonfires, to prevent those who rose from the dead haunting the living. Druids held rites with human sacrifices, usually criminals, prisoners of war, or some other undesirables. At least, that’s the claim.

Just in case the bonfires and sacrifices didn’t work, people put on grotesque and frightening costumes and strode around the countryside. The idea was that if you looked scary enough, the evil spirits would think you were one of them and leave you alone.

Giving treats stemmed from the belief that if you did not pacify the evil spirits with some good stuff, they’d trick you. Apples were a favourite treat, and led to many of the Halloween games we play today. In Snap Apple, an apple was tied to the end of a stick and young boys would jump up and try to bite it. The first to be successful would be the first to marry.

Girls would try to peel an apple with the peel all in one piece. She would then wave the peel three times around her head and throw it over her left shoulder. The shape of the peel when it landed, providing it was unbroken, was the initial of the man she would marry.

On All Souls Day in England, the poor would go from house to house, promising to pray for the souls of the occupants if they were given food in return. This was called going-a-souling. As the tradition grew, treats became more elaborate and included the ‘soul cake’ – a square bun decorated with currants.Remember the rhyme we used to sing? Often associated with Christmas, this was also a song for going a-souling:

Soul, soul! For a soul cake!

I pray good mistress for a soul cake!

An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,

Any good thing to make us all merry!

One for Peter, two for Paul,

Three for Him who made us all.

Up with the kettle and dwn with the pan,

Give us good alms and we’ll all be gone.

Glenys O'Connell is staying home tonight, clutching a bowl of treats and casting spells to stop little kids taking all the chocolate.........

 

No Frills Writing Is Free - Get It While You Can!

Posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 Yes, the rumours are true! I'm giving away copies of Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book! for FREE today (Saturday) Sunday and Monday, on Kindle.

This is the book based on the creative writing course I taught in third level classes and online for years. And all that info is yours for the asking - just for three days!

It's on Amazon.com Amazon.ca Amazon.co.uk

and all the other Amazons as well - folks in Germany, Spain and other places have already snagged their copies. :)

You can also read the first chapter on the First Chapters page - see the tab at the top of this blog.

Enjoy!

My Review of Autographs, Abductions and A-List Authors, by J.L. Wilson

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

 4.5 Stars!

I must confess I’ve never been to a writers’ conference – time and circumstances always seem to get in the way. However, now that I’ve read Autographs, Abductions, and A-List Authors by J.L. Wilson, I think I’m going to have to get myself to one just for the experience!

Of course, I’m sure that the murder, mayhem, jealousy, ambition and just plain fun that Ms. Wilson portrays so well in her book are not on the schedule at most conferences (except perhaps for the fun). Even so, the book is a witty and engrossing read with characters verging from the insane and paranoid to the plain weird and downright sexy. The plot is engaging and even plausible, offering a smorgasbord of methods to murder your competition.

And, most intriguing of all to myself as a seasoned murder mystery reader, I didn’t guess who the villain was until the very end. Mind you, I’d have been happy to hang out with fictional author Bea Emerson and the very attractive Detective L.J. Remarchik as they raced to solve the puzzle before a murderer sent Bea to that Great Publishing House in the Sky….

Here’s the Blurb from Amazon:

Bea Emerson's first MrWAR Conference (Mystery/Romance Writers And Readers) is almost her last. When a best-selling author dies while autographing a book for Bea, it puts her under suspicion of murder and under investigation by Abilene homicide detective L.J. Remarchik.

However, Bea isn't too disturbed by that since L.J. is a handsome older guy. Then another famous mystery writer is murdered and Bea almost dies with him. That convinces L.J. she might need some special protection. He decides to undertake that task personally and the sparks between them fly.

It isn't until the famous Silver Stylus award ceremony in which Bea is a contestant that the true killer is unmasked, almost costing Bea her life and her award for Best First Novel. While L.J. is able to save Bea from a killer, he can't help breaking her heart — or can he?

Go check it out yourself on Amazon by clicking the cover above, or the following link: http://tinyurl.com/kbfo8dd

Glenys O'Connell: www.glenysoconnell.com

Twitter: @GlenysOConnell

 

 

Unhappiness Can Be A Trigger for Better Things...

Posted on June 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

          I'm back blogging on my Talking About Depression site, with a new post pondering the differences between simple human unhappiness and real depression - and how unhappiness can be a spur to action for change. You can read it here.

Stalking - It's Not Love

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (2)

Stalking.

The very word strikes most of us with a variety of negative emotions, most of them dominated by fear. All too often stalking incidents evolve into violence and even the death of the victim. There have been far too many examples of this, including some very famous people who had become the apple of some psychopath's eye.

But stalking isn't just something that happens to celebrities or people in the public eye, and it doesn't necessarily involve only strangers or psychopaths who take it into their heads to stalk someone for whatever twisted reasons may make sense to them alone.

Stalking isn't just a 'sport' for men - there have been many instances of women stalking men, or other women, too. It's been the theme of many books and movies.

Over the years attitudes have changed - stalking is no longer seen as something done by a besotted would-be suitor or lover - yes, once was considered almost flattering to have a stalker - at least, onlookers may have thought that. No-one who has ever been a victim of stalking would see it as in the least bit romantic or flattering.

Once upon a time, a woman complaining to the police about being stalked would have had a hard time getting them to take her seriously - a little like the victims of rape who also suffered from the macho attitudes prevalent.

I remember a case some years ago in a small town near to where I lived. A woman who was trying to get away from an abusive husband had gone so far as the get a restraining order preventing him from approaching her. He broke that order many times and the police seemed to be filing her increasingly panicked complaints in the round file. At least, they appeared to do very little to protect her.

And then one day, in broad daylight, he walked up to her in the street and stabbed her to death.

Proof that attitudes are changing is in a report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, titled: Stalking - It's Not Love. This report talks about what stalking really is, the dangers, and what a person can do to stay safe. It refers to stalking as criminal harrassment, which it most certainly is!

There's another report available through the same RCMP site that is also useful - it's called family and relationship violence and the link is here.

Now you may be wondering why, in a blog that is mostly dedicated to writing and in particular, to writing romance, I should suddenly go off on a rant about stalking?

Well, the truth is that my most recent release, Saving Maggie (Crimson Romance) involves a woman trying to escape from a stalker. Maggie Kendall's stalker kills people he believes have hurt her, making her terrified of forming any close relationships (it's not unusual for stalkers to threaten those close to their victim). In this case, there's also a terrifying psychic link, forged by an experience in her teen years, between Maggie and her stalker. But Maggie and the killer both know that he will eventually kill Maggie herself if he's not stopped.

And, while the story idea came out of the blue - or so I thought - I suddenly remembered the young man who stalked me when I was seventeen. I was too young and naive to understand the dangers that can erupt from such a situation, but I found it frightening and embarrassing that this guy would follow me down dark country roads, turn up everywhere I went, and on one aweful occasion, went so far as to attack another boy who asked me for a date.

Looking back, I realise that this was luckily probably a mild form of stalking and the problem was sorted out after my older brothers took him  aisde for a quiet 'chat'.

But obviously this event had a greater impact than I had thought, because years later it sprang to mind in the form of a story idea! Here's a link to a blurb about Saving Maggie, here, and to a blog I wrote for Crimson Romance on the same topic, here.

If you have an opinion on stalking, or have undergone this kind of terrifyng experience, do leave a comment either here on on the Crimson Romance blog, and check out the RCMP site's information. I do believe that we can support each other and learn from each other's experiences, and by talking, we can perhaps help prevent another woman from becoming a stalker's victim.

Now that I've got this out of my system, I want to wish you all a very wonderful New Year - especially to the almost 16000 readers who were sweet enough to download a copy of The No Sex Clause, my Christmas romance, when I offered it for free a few days ago! Thank you!

Celebrate With Me!

Posted on December 30, 2012 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm celebrating the long awaited release of Saving Maggie,my latest romantic suspense from Crimson Romance, by giving away free copies of The No Sex Clause on Kindle! Drop by and get your copy of this warm Christmas romance for free, and enjoy an excerpt of Saving Maggie, too!

Okay, yes, I am so excited by this new release! Saving Maggie is out on Monday, December 31st - what a way to close out the old year and ring in the new!

Here's a link to The No Sex Clause - http://tinyurl.com/b8pbhn4 and if I've piqued your interest, you can see more about Saving Maggie here

Happy New Year!

I'm Doing It Again - Naked Writing Is Going Free!

Posted on October 13, 2012 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (1)

By Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell

I'm very proud of Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book. It's my very first Indie publishing attempt, and has done pretty well on Amazon in its niche as a book on writing.

Writing itself is a solitary kind of occupation, and to prevent myself becoming a total recluse, I got involved some years ago in teaching creative writing. I did it in the classroom at third level with some wonderful adult students, then moved on to teach the course online. The payback went far beyond the cash (which is always nice!) because I not only met some terrific people from all over the world; I also learned a great deal about the craft as I taught these new and enthusiastic - and talented - writers. Quite a few have gone on to be published; some just wanted to write for themselves or for their children; others wrote fascinating family histories using the techniques of creative writing.

I know that some of these books, while they may never go public, will be treasured family heirlooms for years to come.

I also get a kick out of seeing the names of former students appearing on book lists!

Naked Writing is a compilation of all I learned in the nine years I worked this course, from everything I learned as I built my own writing career, and the insights I garnered from my writing students.

It's a lovely feeling, helping someone to fulfill their dream.

So, once again, Naked Writing is going free! Check Amazon in your area on Sunday & Monday, Oct 14/15, and pick up the ebook, totally free, with my compliments.

And if it helps you fulfill your writing dreams, do let me know and I'll celebrate with you!

You Can See Naked Writing here on Amazon.com or here for Amazon.co.uk. It's also available on other Amazon sites, including Germany, France, Italy, and India!

Labels: Amazon, creative writing, dreams, free books, Glenys O'Connell, Naked Writing, writers, Writing Book, writing classes, writing skills

 

THE GENTLE ART OF CRITIQUING

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (2)

By Glenys O'Connell

Critiquing is a skill and done well can provide the person whose work is being critiqued with some very valuable feedback. Critiquing can smooth out the glitches, help with story and plot points, make characters more believable, spot errors and generally polish up someone’s work. It can renew the writer’s enthusiasm and confidence. Or it can destroy them. Depending on how it is done.

Professional critiquing always looks to the positive – even busy editors rarely advise a writer submitting work to them to take a job, any job, except writing – although best selling author David Gemmell was once told by an editor to stay with his job as a trucker’s mate! Usually they will wish the writer luck in placing the work elsewhere, perhaps advise them to consider taking a creative writing class, etc.., even if the work submitted seems beyond redemption. The point being, the writer and their future work are not beyond redemption, and do not deserve to be terminally put down because of one piece that does not hit the spot.

The Rules

The first rule of critiquing is to consider .......

Read full article here

Monday Mashable - This Week's Books & Web Places By Glenys O'Connell

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Okay, I confess. I do a fair amount of wandering around the web when I should be writing. Bad, bad me.

So, in order to claim I’m making use of my time instead of idly surfing, I thought I’d share some of my Web finds with you as well as a couple of books I’m reading that I’m sure you will want to look up.

 I intend the Monday Mashable (#MondayMashable) to be a regular feature, but as the road to Hell is supposed to be paved with good intentions, I’m making no promises. If you’ve found a fun or interesting website, blog, or book that you’d like to share (including your own – don’t be shy!) please put it in a comment below and I’ll add it to the next Monday Mashable list!

Web Places I visited this week – You might like them, too!

Lovely friendly writing blog/website by author Starla Criser. Bit slow to load, but well worth the wait. http://www.rubbishtopublish.com/

Almost Free Ebook Covers - How to Make an Ebook Cover that Sells Itself! http://www.squidoo.com/free-ebook-cover

A Whole Bunch of do-it-yourself (mostly) ebook cover design sites. Haven’t investigated them all but thought you’d like to take a look. http://www.ebook-cover-maker.winsite.com/

“Kristine Cayne is fascinated by the mysteries of human psychology—twisted secrets, deep-seated beliefs, out-of-control desires.” Obviously, a writer after my own heart! http://kristinecayne.blogspot.ca/

Looks like we humans have sunk to new depths of cruel behaviour: These folk aren’t animal lovers, for sure. Don’t read if you’re squeamish. http://news.petpardons.com/animal-crush-video-couple-arrested-in-texas/

A compendium of interesting stories from the web. Especially as my name is in there! http:///paper.li/Quinonostante/determined-folks

Some interesting tips & thoughts on self-publishing by Alex-Carrick of Carrick Publishing. http:///fridayflash.org/press/2012/08/23/whats-hard-and-not-hard-about-self-publishing-part-2/#comments

Books I’m reading (or read) this week:

   Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer by the incomparable Kristen Lamb http:///www.amazon.com/Are-You-There-Blog-Writer/dp/1935712489/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346077886&sr=1-1&keywords=Are+You+There%2C+Blog%3F+It%27s+Me%2C+Writer

A Game of Proof by Tim Vicary. Brit crime novel at its best, with realistic, sympathetic protaganists. http:///www.amazon.com/Proof-trials-Sarah-Newby-ebook/dp/B005ALGIFK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346078000&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Game+of+Proof

Don't forget - if you've found a website, blog, or book worth sharing, leave a comment and I'll include it in the next MondayMashable!

What Are Your Favorite Writing Books? (Win A Book)

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (2)

           *Don't Miss the Contest Info below!!*

Many people who read writers' blogs also write, or dream of writing. I know that, even though I've been published a number of times, I still enjoy - and learn from - the writing of other authors.

I also read books other writers produce about writing, and blogs, too. In this profession you never stop learning! I want to include a rundown of some of my favorites over the next few blogs - they may turn out to be your favorites, too!

My all-time favorites are two books that were published some time ago. Both are by authors who are my writing heroes!.

 The first is by Phylis Whitney. Entitled: Guide To Writing Fiction this book was published back in 1983 and contains lots of sound advice written in Ms. Whitney's warm and accessible style.

The second is, of course, the well-loved memoir style book on writing by Stephen King: On Writing. Any writer can learn much from this book, whether you like King's edge-of-the-seat pageturner genre or prefer something a little gentler.

*Just leave me a comment about your own writing, or favorite writing books or blogs, and get entered into a draw for an ebook copy of Naked Writing, The No Frills Way to Write Your Book!