Friday, October 31, 2014

The Origins of Halloween

Happy Halloween, lovelies!

This is probably my favorite holiday of the entire year, but likely not for the reasons you think. I love the history of the holiday. Many of the traditions we still keep were started as a way to honor the dead, and I think there's something incredibly beautiful in that. Even if we've forgotten why we do the things we do this one day of the year, it makes me happy to know how many of the old traditions we still cling to.

Halloween isn't a new holiday by any means, but instead can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-een). For the Celts (and many modern day Pagans), Samhain marked the end of the harvest season. It was the Celtic New Year. Samhain was a time to reflect on what had passed, and to plan for the year ahead. Samhain festivals often included both seriousness and prayer, games and revelry.

During this time, the veil between worlds was thin, allowing for those on the other side to slip through. People left out offerings to appease the Aos Si (spirits or fae). In many areas, the offerings left to appease the spirits included turnips which were often intricately carved. That tradition, of course, continues in our use of carved pumpkins

In addition to the more mischievous or naughty spirits returning, people believed that dead relatives were able to visit on this one night. The brief return of these relatives was very much welcomed, and people made a point to ensure they knew it by setting places for them at their tables. Prayers for the dead were an important part of Samhain.

In some areas, people would dress in costumes and go door to door, collecting gifts of food along the way. Sound familiar? The story on why this custom started depends on who you ask. According to some, dressing up in costume was a way to hide from the more mischievous spirits who returned to Earth on Samhain. According to others, the custom started with Christianity, in which the poor and young children would go door to door, saying prayers for the dead in exchange for what was known as soul cakes.

As people began to realize costumes helped hide them from other people as well as from the Aos Si, they'd play tricks on one another, another tradition which continues to this day.

Pretty cool history for something we consider to be a silly holiday, huh?

Be safe tonight, lovelies. 

And don't forget: at midnight, you can grab a copy of All Falls Down! 50% of sales on 11/1 will go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline! Join us tomorrow from 10am to 10pm CT on Facebook for the online release party! 

xoxo,

FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Tour: Strings by G. Miki Hayden


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 10: Strings by G. Miki Hayden


Robert, an ordinary boy, finds himself in a newly chaotic world. Buildings move when and where they please, and time jumps around according to no known laws of physics. For Robert, getting to his regular school in the morning is next to impossible. As for getting home...

But then, Holden—a boy he and his friend, Nila, meet in a cave—offers them a string. No, not twine, but a string of the kind that forms the universe. Teeny and tiny, and invisible to the naked eye, this string will take Robert and Mila to their homes and way, way beyond...

Accompanied by a memorable cast of characters, Robert and his friends follow the string on a journey across time, space, and dimensions to discover the answer to a mystery: Who has caused the world to fall apart?

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble
Or add it on Goodreads


EXCERPT: 

Holden stood up, suddenly excited. “Yes, strings, Robert, strings. String theory says we live in a universe of multiple dimensions. Something is happening to the strings that form our everyday world, and now the universes are bleeding over into one another—merging. I have to figure out how to stop it, to separate the worlds again.”

“And we have to figure out how to get home,” Nila cried out. “What a mess everything is.”

The smoke from the small fire had made Robert’s eyes tear.

ABOUT G. MIKI HAYDEN


The author, G. Miki Hayden, strongly believes in alternate universes and has written about them in her adult novels Pacific Empire (which won a New York Times rave) and New Pacific.

“Nothing in time-space is fixed,” Miki says, a distant look in her eyes. 

Miki won an Edgar for an historical crime story and has a couple of writing books in print. 

At the moment, she generally lives with millions of other people in New York City in a three-dimensional, temporal world but is exploring other realms.

Find G. Miki Hayden online: http://gmikihayden.tumblr.com/


Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

xoxo,
FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Writerly Bucket List by @MaraValderran #blogtour #giveaway


GUEST POST: MY WRITERLY BUCKET LIST
BY MARA VALDERRAN

Plenty of people have bucket lists, right? I had one in my early twenties, but I never called it a bucket list (that was before the movie made the term much more popular). Instead of creating one new list that meshes better with my adult self, I've started thinking of separate lists. There are different aspects of my life, and they all deserve their fair share of attention, right? =) So this is my writerly bucket list: The list of things I hope to experience or achieve one day as a writer. I'll elaborate on them as we go, and I'm sure the list will continue to grow beyond this post.


  1. Go to a coffee shop in New York City and spend the day writing and over-caffeinating. Because sometimes stereotypical can be fun. 
  2. Finish writing a series. I hope to finish writing every series I start, but it's still a goal. In reality, I'll probably finish writing the Shifted Realities series next year since it is a three book series, as compared to the five book Heirs of War series. 
  3. Write all the stories in my head. Right now I have one contemporary that might turn into a thriller, a sci-fi series, a superhero serial, and an urban fantasy series all battling for attention in my head. The voices! They multiply. =D
  4. Write a romance novel. Why? Because I don't read romance. Because that means stretching very far outside of my comfort zone and challenging myself as a writer to do something I think I might not be good at.
  5. Write about my grandfather's WWII experiences. I'm not a non-fiction writer by any stretch of the imagination and am terrified to do this one. It's in another country from my comfort zone. But it also means a lot to him, and that makes it important to me. Now to just find the time to research. Did I mention I'm not a history buff either? ;)
  6. Meet Terry Goodkind. I love him as a writer. The Sword of Truth series is such an amazing work of fantasy, and Kahlan is one of the best female characters I've ever read. I think he blended humor, romance, intrigue, war, violence, action, and magic together wonderfully, and I look forward to rereading the series. Just being able to shake his hand would be a dream come true. Getting to sit down and have a conversation with him would be so mind-blowing, I don't even think I can dream about it.
  7. Get 100 reviews on each book I publish. It doesn't sound like much, but reviews are so hard to come by. I've given away over 100 copies of Heirs of War and have a hand full of reviews to show for it. It can get frustrating. So 100 is probably a pretty lofty goal. 
  8. Have a signing. This is actually about to come true at the Vegas Valley Book Festival, so I'll elaborate with:
  9. Have a signing in NYC. This is a big one, I know. But I love New York. The energy of that city is contagious, so getting to sign in the city would be beyond my wildest hopes and dreams as a writer. That's the moment where I might start thinking I've had some success. Or if I ever get interview by Craig Ferguson (love him!).
  10. Have someone write fanfiction for one of my complete series. I've already had someone ask to write fanfiction for Heirs of War (I had to say no since the series isn't finished yet. Booo!), so I am soclose! But I love fanfiction and I am a huge fangirl, so I love the idea of someone sharing the passion I've had for other series with my series. Mind blowing!
  11. Get to meet the members of my street team. I have an amazing street team. I really do. They are some of the most enthusiastic, patient, supportive, and passionate readers I've ever come across. To have them in my corner is amazing, and I'd love to be able to give each of them a hug for all they've done for me. 
  12. Participate in a panel at a book festival or convention. I don't care how big it is. This would be awesome. I could talk about writing and fictional characters all day long. =)
  13. Never quit writing. It might sound simple, but it really isn't. Choosing to be an author is a tough gig. There's a lot of give, and not a lot of return. I recently joked with a friend that I felt like the most underpaid employee ever, because I don't even make a penny per hour at the rate I'm going. I work at this probably 10-16 hours a day. It might be marketing, it might be writing, editing, blogging, etc. But the work to be done is always there, looming. And sometimes that one terrible review can be enough to make you want to crack and give up. So persevering, continuing to write even though things get tough, that's my biggest bucket list item. My late uncle's motto was "Never give up" and that's something I try to keep in mind with this career. 
  14. Once I complete every item on this bucket list, create a new one. Why? Because I never want to stop dreaming. =)
<3 Mara


ABOUT HEIRS OF WAR:

The NA fantasy series Heirs of War has taken Wattpad by storm with over one million reads, and the second installment has arrived. Catch up on Heirs of War (#1) for just 99 cents now!

Heirs of War #1:


When seventeen year-old Zelene finds herself thrust into a world of magic and prophecy, she discovers fighting destiny might not be the toughest battle she has to face. Now she must join with three other girls, complete strangers linked only by blood relation, to fight a war they know nothing of and rescue the twin sister she's never met.


Add it to Goodreads





The adventure continues with Heirs of War, Crown of Flames...


Heirs of War, Crown of Flames
Heirs of War #2
Mara Valderran
Cover Art by Gretchen Byers

Weeks have passed since Ariana and Alec escaped from Kellen's dungeon, but danger isn't far behind them. The guilt of his past weighs heavily on Alec’s shoulders, and his secrets only push Ariana further away. As they travel through unknown lands and encounter multiple threats, their biggest challenge might be trusting one another.

The world appears to be going on regardless of the risks Ariana faces. The Duillaine insist that they are doing everything they can to find Ariana, but their actions betray that claim. Despite the danger and the war closing in around them, all of Anscombe seems to be more interested in the upcoming Imbolc festival and Terrena’s betrothal than rescuing Ariana.

Well…not everyone.

Tired of waiting for the Duillaine to help her twin, Zelene starts plotting on her own and finds a surprising ally in Rhaya, even as the Cynewards prepare to make a move of their own. But Zelene’s plans go awry when she finds herself with a new ability, a mysterious new friend, and more enemies within the walls of Anscombe than she thought.

Add it to Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

Find Mara Online: 
Sign up for Mara's newsletter so you don't miss news on new releases and fun contests!


Want to follow this blog tour? Check out the calendar below!


Monday 10/13
Krystal WadeMargo Bond CollinsHere is What I Read Book Blog
Vicki TraskJessa RussoLorraine Harvey
Priya KanapartiNerd Girl OfficialTerry's Book Addiction
Ali DeanShooting Star Book Reviews
Tuesday 10/14Wednesday 10/15Thursday 10/16
Ali Dean (Review)Jan Farnworth (Review)James Wymore (Guest Post)
Terry's Book Addiction (Review)Jamie Ayres (Promo)
Friday 10/17Saturday 10/19Monday 10/20
Emma Adams (Interview)Laveda Kasch (Excerpt #1)Eliza Tilton (Excerpt #2)
Elsie Elmore (Interview)Jessa Russo (Excerpt #3)
Cait Spivey (Guest Post)Shooting Star Book Reviews (Excerpt #4)
Here is What I Read (Interview)
Tuesday 10/21Wednesday 10/22Thursday 10/23
Michael Panush (Review)Book Lover Blog (Review)Ayden Morgen (Guest Post)
Friday 10/24Monday 10/27Tuesday 10/28
K. L. Schwengel (Guest Post)Katie Teller (Interview)Priya Kanaparti (Guest Post)
Charity Bradford (Excerpt #5)Sharon Bayliss (Review)
Vicki Trask (Review)
Sarah Anderson (Interview)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Stricken (The War Scrolls) #paranormal #romance

Hi lovelies,

Since I posted a teaser of All Falls Down last week, I thought I'd share a little bit of Stricken with you this week. I hope you enjoy it.

And don't forget! Only 11 days until All Falls Down! :)

Aubrey had no idea what Dom and Abriel were playing, but it looked like some sort of war game. People were running all over the place, weapons strapped to their bodies. Smoke drifted up from various places. Mangled bodies littered the field where one of their characters was running, a grenade in his hand.
She shivered and turned away only to find Killian watching her again.
"Do you want them to turn it off?" he asked.
"No, that's fine," she said. "I just… Do you guys really enjoy this kind of stuff?"
"What stuff?"
"War."
"I don't think anyone enjoys war."
"So why play?"
"It keeps us sharp." Killian shrugged.
"Oh."
"Does it bother you?"
"What? War? Or war games?" she asked.
"The games."
She thought about it a moment. "Not really. I guess I just don't see the point. Isn't the world violent enough already? There's so much death and destruction. Why add to it unless you have to?"
"I think it makes humans feel safe," Killian said.
Aubrey's eyes widened.
"As you said, there's so much death and destruction." He turned his body toward her, leaning in. "Feeling like you have some measure of control over that, that you can control it, makes it seem a little less overwhelming to most humans. And since your people can't control what happens outside of their homes, they bring it inside and try to figure it out the best way they can."
"I guess." Aubrey shrugged. "I still don't get it though."
He watched her for a long moment, his expression changing. Emotion danced through his eyes, so quickly she couldn't catch them. But they warmed her, and made her ache. As if she craved something from him she didn't quite understand. That same vast, bright thing that had called to her in the elevator so many days ago.
"That's not necessarily a bad thing," he murmured, his gaze locking with hers.
Her stomach fluttered at the look in his eye. It was predatory and beautiful at once.
She felt herself leaning in, caught by that look. Captivated.
Killian leaned in, too.
Aubrey's heart raced.
"Dammit!" Dom yelled.
Aubrey jumped, whipping her head in his direction.

xoxo,

FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Tour: Salvation by @JamesWymore


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 9: Salvation by James Wymore


 A man wakes on a frozen battlefield when a scavenging couple finds him among the dead. As they nurse him back to health, he is struck with the horrible realization he can’t remember who he is or anything about his past. Taken in by the kind pair, he begins helping with their farm. She even takes him to meet her family, especially her single sister. The ideal life offered in the high mountains of Winigh is shattered when he sees a transport bringing enemy monsters to the shores below. Cut off by high snow on the pass, their fate will soon be the same as the town his company failed to protect in the last battle, if this estranged soldier cannot help them fight off the next wave of invaders. Even worse, the people of the town don’t trust this Selene soldier. He has a strange resistance to their folk magic which some say make him as dangerous as the enemies preparing to destroy them.

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Kobo
Or add it to Goodreads







ABOUT JAMES WYMORE
On a lifelong search for fantastic worlds hiding just out of sight, James Wymore writes to explore. With three books and six short stories in print after just one year, he continues to push the boundaries of imagination. Journey with him at http://jameswymore.wordpress.com

Find James online: 


Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


xoxo,
FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.