With Halloween is nearly here and I am in the mood for some spooky words.
But is there anything romantic about the famously terrifying tales we know – the ones that haunt our memories and feed our fascination with all things dark and dire? While we prepare for ghosts and goblins, can there be found, anything morbidly lovely or chillingly sensual in the stories that have set the scene for so many of the characters we will be dressing up as for this ghoulish holiday?
Well, I did some investigating and put together a few quotes from some of the most well loved spooky novels in the world of literature and found out that, yes, there have most definitely been a few lines written that give those who reside in the spirit realm some love and here they are:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
“All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many specters in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins and the whole race of witches put together, and that was – a woman.”
“There was a deliberate voluptuousness that was both thrilling and repulsive. And as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal till I could see in the moonlight the moisture.
Then lapped the white, sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited.
“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
“Then I give you life eternal. Everlasting love. The power of the storm and the beasts of the earth. Walk with me to be my loving wife, forever.”
The Phantom of the Opera
“Know that it is a corpse who loves you and adores you and will never, never leave you!...Look, I am not laughing now, crying, crying for you, Christine, who have torn off my mask and who can never leave me again!...Oh, mad Christine, who wanted to see me!”
There you have it, some dark romance from literature.
I was looking through my stacks and stacks of books, trying to come up with a feasible way to store them all. Tons of them are romance novels, of course, and I just inherited a few bags of old bodice rippers. These will, henceforth, be referred to as “the classics” here and, let’s just say that I have read more than…uh…two.
A lot of the ones in the bags I've already read or read then re-read and some of them are new to me. My e -readers are filled with books of all different genres and I love that I can store a multitude of them on one slim device but there’s just something nostalgic and special about all these older paperbacks, especially the really old ones and I feel like they deserve a place of honor because, looking through all their covers reminds me of a time I kind of tend to think of as a rite of passage.
I’ll never forget the day that my mom pulled back the curtain on her own coveted romance collection and handed me my first “big girl” book. I’m not kidding, there was a curtain. I don’t know if this was in defense of my Dad’s delicate sensibilities (lol) or just because she was crafty like that but it added to the air of mystique and I was always wont to peek behind it at the embossed paperback covers with the sometimes rugged, sometimes dashing heroes and the women with their long flowing hair flung back in the wind (there was always wind). They wore yards and yards of gown that was scrunched up to show enough cleavage and thigh to be especially intriguing. I mean, classic, right?
We were readers at our house and I had my own book shelf filled with childhood favorites that, at a certain point, gave way to all the pre-teen “Sweet Valleys” and what have yous. I don’t think we really had the YA’s, NA’s, or Not Quite An A’s back then but I do remember hitting a certain age and being overly interested in those books that Mom had always been so engrossed in. She’d be sitting there reading while we played and we’d hear her laugh out loud sometimes or see her shed a tear at others and I always felt like I just had to know what was happening in those stories.
She read historical a lot and she’d share anecdotes about something humorous that the heroine had done or even some little bit of history she’d learn from reading those books because, yes, the amount of research the authors do is extensive.
Anyway, I think a lot of what was so special was the time and the conversation but I’ll never forget that one time when I asked to read one and Mom stood there perusing the shelves for a long time for a book that was “safe” and handed me “Wishes” by Jude Devereaux. I think I read it all in a day. It was light and sweet and funny and sassy and just enough of all things entertaining that I really thought I had been given a look into the world that I had wondered about for so long and, from that day on, I was hooked on romance.
What’s funny is that, nowadays, we all still share bits and pieces about what we are reading and my Mom, my sister and I trade books back and forth enough to be our own private book lending institution.
That’s the story of how I got hooked on reading romance. What’s the first romance novel you ever read?
Just a quick little excerpt today.
I’ve had some ideas running around in my head about a new little series of stories I’d like to delve into. As some of you who know me know, I spent a lot of my life in the ballet world as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. I think that background is probably the reason I’m drawn to stories of romance, magic and the supernatural. My favorite ballets are the ones based on old obscure versions of fairytales and I thought it would be fun to do some research and writing based on myths and tales that few in the general public have been introduced to but that have been dancing around in my memory for quite some time.
I started working on a shorter story inspired by both the Russian fairytale about the Snow Maiden and the snow scene from the Nutcracker ballet and would really love to have it done in time for the holidays. We’ll seeJ .
Here is a very rough, very short beginning I wrote that sets the scene for this winter story.
It was long ago that in a land of winter’s tales, beyond the forest and the world we know as ordinary, a maiden lived with hair of gold and snowy white, eyes of shining blue and lips to shame the reddest rose. The daughter of a powerful sorceress and a mortal man, she was her mother’s heart after her father went the way all mortal men do into eternal sleep. The girl, being just half mortal, only grew to be a maiden and it was the sorceress’s wish that she never leave and never know about the human world.
And so a winter land of wonder’s beauty was created by the mother to delight her child and keep her content. But as all girls do, the maid became curious about what was outside of her beautiful home and wished to see beyond the glitter of the diamond snow.
She snuck away one night from under her mother’s watchful eye, away from her enchanted forest. It was wonderful to her, the world and the people and, being a beautiful created thing, she soon caught the eye of a handsome young man and fell in love with him. When this occurred, her fragile heart, being made of magic and cold, began to melt.
Before the sorceress could do anything to save her fair daughter, the girl was gone.
Heartbroken, the sorceress cursed the land that had tempted and then taken her only child. No game were ever seen in that place again and the kingdom was always at war. Even still more harrowing, no fair-haired children were ever born there again.
It became legend also then that no one should wander to close to the sorceress’s frozen+ forest or she would send forth a blizzard, causing them to lose their way and be caught in the land of ice and snow for all time.
That’s all for now, just a little myth to open things up before the hero and heroine come on the scene and the magic begins.
A friend gave me this Barbie doll a long time ago because they said it reminded them of me. As in "Barbie me." This makes me laugh every time I look at it (and I’m sure causes Medieval Princess Doll here to look at me askance and flip her long radiant plastic hair when I’m not looking) but I’ve kept it for years because I always thought it was pretty special that someone was reminded of me by looking at an inanimate object. That’s just, I don’t know, nice :) Anyway, I started thinking about all those games out there, you know the ones – “Which Barbie Are You?” “Which Super Hero “Which Oreo….bottle of wine…bag of chips…hemorrhoid cream…wait…what? You get the picture.
But what really got the little pea upstairs rolling around was when I started thinking about books – romance novels in particular of course – and the characters therein.
I was wondering if any of you out there enjoyed reading books where the hero or heroine looked like you in that they have the same hair/ eye color or any other physical attributes. Sometimes when I read an author, I wonder if some of their character description is autobiographical in some way and if I might be getting a voyeuristic peek into their lives. Then I got to thinking that, so far, none of my heroines look like me. No redheaded medieval Barbies yet.(hahaha) Anyway, have you ever read or written a character just because they looked like you? If you were the hero/heroine from a book, which book and which character?
Aaaand since it’s that time of year…
Have you ever dressed up like a favorite book character for Halloween?
The plague came to our house last week. Okay, it was just the flu and it wasn't two houses, don't worry, just one house - mine. So, needless to say, I did not get a whole lot of writing done last week but I do have a few things in the works that I'm pretty excited about and, today, I thought I'd post a little bit about a free story I have available on my website. It goes along with the whole Tides of Atlantis world and will also be part of a series of shorter books that will take place at different times in the ancient world of Atlantis titled Kingdoms of Atlantis.
The Tides books have a modern day setting but I had so much fun writing the scenes of the Kings in the ancient world that I wanted to do some stories there. Here's a little description, if you'd like to read the full novella it's free with my newsletter. All you have to do is sign up for it.
Happy Monday everyone and happy reading!
Gadeiros of Atlantis, son of Poseidon and a seasoned warrior - his only concerns are for his pursuits in battle and winning more land and riches for his kingdom. He has no interest in marriage whatsoever but, when his father god, Poseidon, arranges a bride for him, his world is turned upside down. Infuriated, he whisks his would be bride away from the temple, intent on showing the gods and the known world that he is king in Gades and no one will dictate his future.
Aureliaura is a princess of Emania, shining and golden and with a strong control over the moon and the tides. She seems the perfect pawn in Poseidon's game of power but when the princess manages to capture the king of Gades' heart the instant he sets eyes on her the question of who holds the most power is up in the air.
Can Gadeiros thwart Poseidon and, in fact, all the gods in their bid for power by winning the maiden's love?
Happy Friday the Thirteenth in - hello- October! Pretty spooky. Not very romantic really, for a romance writer, but I guess some couples like watching scary movies together just for the, "Oh, I'm scared, hold me," factor. That works.
Since I'm writing about legends and demons and supernatural stuff, I got to wondering about some of these common superstitions that we know and love so well. Do any of you put any stock into things like this? Do you avoid black cats, ladders and broken mirrors?
Let's take a look at some of these things and see hoe they fit into the modern world.
The Black Cat -
Poor black kitty, you get such a bad rap. I this comes from the fact that a lot of ancient religions thought cats were gods or spirit beings of some sort. And, I mean, come on, the running motor sound they make is creepy as hell. But they're still pretty cute, even when you do catch them somewhere as unobvious as the top of the refrigerator, staring down at you with their glowing yellow eyes, still as a statue like they're trying to see into your brain or steal your soul or something. Or maybe they're just trying to will you to open the fridge and poor them some damn milk already, M-n-Fer (that's cat talk).
Okay, okay, we know, don't walk under a ladder. I would think this would one would be obvious and I always adhere to this simple rule. Why? Because, usually, ladders are used to do some type of work or handy person type job and, at the top of them there's, most likely, something you do not want to have fall on your head! Like a hammer or a can of paint - just sayin. Avoid, avoid, danger, danger!
Again, pretty plain. I don't know about the seven years thing but who wants to clean up broken shards of glass? And didn't mirrors used to have mercury in them? Not very lucky. Careful with the mirrors dummy (this is what I tell myself.)
Don't Spill the Salt-
This one's just annoying. Almost as annoying as every friend who will walk up to you in a hockey mask between now and the 31st of this month because they're going to "scare the bejeezus out of you" and that's just so - ahee- funny. Like you won't notice the rest of their all too familiar dork body behind the stupid mask.
But I digress.
The salt thing just seems wasteful. You spill something so then, what? Spill more of it?! If I ever get hit in the eye by someone hucking salt over their shoulder, they really will have bad luck but it won't be from the universe.
Those are my thoughts on this oooh spooky day.
Happy Friday the Thirteenth everyone :)
Do any of you have superstitions you observe (or find ridiculous)?
So I'm researching cocktails at the moment... for my books. Ahem.
I know, my job is so hard (places back of hand to forehead.)
Anyway, I came across an article about the manliest drinks when I was trying to figure out what to have my protagonist schlepping down at a bar and I wondered - Do any of you look askance when your man orders anything froofier than a beer or whiskey neat?
Hubby tells me the other night that, sometimes, he orders a Cranberry Vodka at dinner meetings to which I said, "Oh, a Cosmopoliton," to which he said, "No, a Cranberry Vodka..."
To which I said, "Oh, right, a Cranberry Vodka" - my mistake, riiight.
Has anyone else come across this manning up of a girlie cocktail?
I mean, first skinny jeans and now this! What is going on in the world?
If Adam Atlas (from TOA) had to poor some dude a Cosmo, he might just twist a nut or suffer head implosion. We can't do that to Adam - he's way too hot. He does manage to create Marley a peach champagne cocktail on the fly in King of Kings (third book in the Tides of Atlantis series and my current WIP) but only because she tells him he can't so - manliness preserved. Boom.
Just wondered if anyone else out there had any thoughts on the matter. Cosmo or Cranberry Vodka?
To either, the correct answer is "Yes, please."
Another excerpt from Moontide.
Spoiler alert - this is a "kissing book" (for you Princess Bride fans out there). Here is the first kiss between Cindy and Ronan. Enjoy!
“What was that back there?”
Cindy tumbled out the doors of the lighthouse behind Ronan until he finally halted on the sidewalk.
“I don’t understand what just happened, one minute you looked like you were ready to pass out and the next you were fine,” she wagged a finger at him. “You have some ‘splaining to do Lucy.”
He eyeballed her finger then brushed it aside
“I don’t always understand your way of speaking,” he said, looking truly puzzled by her.
“You don’t know ‘I love Lucy’? Sheez! What planet are you from? I’ll admit, my ‘Ricky’ is a little lame but, seriously, have you been living on a deserted island or something?”
Ronan inhaled sharply, she’d hit closer to the truth than she knew. What was even more disconcerting was the effect she was having on him. What powers did she possess that she could still Thema’s curse with her touch?
“You have no idea, woman. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you”
She stood in front of him with one hand placed on her cocked hip and a determined look in her eyes. He imagined she would give even the great Poseidon a run for his money. That thought made him smile.
She narrowed her eyes and pressed her lips together in a thin line.
Then she pulled her hand from his and stomped around to stand with her back to him and crossed her arms but didn’t move away any further. Still, the loss of physical contact knifed through him and his strength began to leach away.
Her shoulders rose and fell when she heaved an exasperated breath. Her cropped mass of golden curls shimmered in the bright sun and reflected the light, taunting him to touch them. He reached out for her like a life line even as he felt himself start to sink into the dark waters of Thema’s curse. His throat and mouth went dry to the point of choking and, when he looked at his hand, he could see it was turning ashen and parchment like. The exertion of holding his own arm up was suddenly too much and, a breath away from reaching salvation, it fell down to his side, a dead weight. Each time he lost contact with the woman, the curse took him harder and faster than the time before. He was aging by the second; slipping towards death.
Just as his knees started to give, she turned back around to face him. Eyes wide with alarm, she lunged forward and grasped both of his arms, instantly, sending a surge of power through him. He knew what she was seeing in his face even as he watched his hands and arms grow strong and smooth again, his vitality returned. He grasped her elbows and met her gray-blue eyes head on. What he saw there nearly killed him all over again ─ disbelief, alarm and, worst of all, fear swept over her features and she took a step back. Ronan clasped both of her hands in his before she could slip away from him.
“No! I’m not going anywhere with you until you tell me who you are and what the heck is going on here!”
The play of emotions on her face changed from fearful to demanding with a spark of fire. Good. Angry, from this woman, he could handle but her fear would be his undoing. Her eyebrows came together in the most adorable scowl and, before he could think better of it, he gave her a brief nod ─ a gentleman’s acceptance of the gloves off fight she looked ready to engage in.
This set her off again and she stamped her foot.
“Look, I’m really not used to being hunted down by strange men, and just because you’ve been decent company for the day doesn’t mean I can ignore the overall weirdness of this whole situation. If you’re some craz-o escaped from the loony bin or psycho killer or…or alien body snatcher looking for a host…”
She kept speaking, teetering at the edge of hysterics. He had to do something quick but what? He scanned the beach trying to think. What did the men of this time do when a woman went apoplectic? Did women still faint anymore? Dear gods!
He lost her words for a moment but was conscious of her cadence picking up speed.
“… are you even listening to me?”
He focused back on her and her wild blonde curls and frantic blue eyes decided the matter. He stepped into her with determination even as she started off at a rattle again.
“Something happened back there in that lighthouse and I want an explana…”
He pulled her to him and brought his mouth down on hers with the silencing finality he was looking to achieve. She gave a small yelp of surprise against his lips but he swallowed the sound and took full advantage, plunging into her mouth with his tongue. Her body tightened, at first, but then she started to yield and he gentled his hold on her shoulders and wound his arms around her into something more like an embrace.
This time, Cindy was the one with the weak knees. She melted under the intensity of his kiss but he held her close and supported her with one hand at the small of her back and the other cupping the back of her head. She gave him her weight and pressed the front of her body to his. His hard chest rubbed against her breasts and an electric charge surged through her body that awakened all her most feminine places. He dipped into her mouth gently and forcefully all at the same time. The contradiction made her ache for him, wanting him to fill that empty place inside of her.
2017 is really flying by super fast for me and I'm sure for all of you as well. I can't believe we're already into October. This is my favorite time of year. I love the colors, as you can tell by the pictures from around my neck of the woods. The change of wardrobe with cooler weather is a nice change from the over worn tank tops and flip flops of late summer and I just find that I get kind of energized this time of year. I mean, who doesn't find a pumpkin spice latte energizing?
Fall always has kind of a crackly, fantastical kind of feel to it. Like something unexpected and exciting just might happen. I think that's probably why I started the Tides of Atlantis series off at around this time of year. There's also the whole mystique about anything that happens between the equinox and Halloween. That's not any kind of a spoiler. Just sayin :)
Anyway, with that in mind, and because we're also heading into the proverbial curl up under a blanket by the fire with a good book time of year, here's an excerpt from Moontide for your reading pleasure:
“What are you up to cará?”
“Quit with the ‘cará’ business. My name is Cindy,” she bit out.
All this earned her was a quirked eyebrow.
She drew in a deep breath and blew it out, resigned.
“I’m looking for some information here,” she didn’t know why he felt he was entitled to an explanation but he had an old world air of authority about him that had her scrambling to give him one, “about a friend of mine,” she finished, or thought she had. When he just continued to stare at her, waiting, she was compelled to add, “who’s gone missing.”
He straightened to his full imposing height then and held a hand out for her picture of Karina.
Cindy huffed but handed it over. He studied it for a moment then gave it back.
“I’m sensing that you are meddling where you shouldn’t be, miss,” he stressed the last word, “if your friend has been kidnapped, her retrieval would best be left to the males in her own family or the proper authorities, certainly not a blonde waif such as yourself, all on her own.”
His eyes widened as though something had just dawned on him and he glanced all around in disbelief. “How is it that, each time we meet, you are wandering the streets without escort? Isn’t anyone responsible for you?”
Cindy’s jaw went slack and she stared back at him, wide stormy eyes blazing.
“Huh,” was all she could manage and, even she couldn’t decipher whether the inflection she’d placed on the syllable was interrogatory or plain bewildered outrage.
“R-responsible for me?” she blurted out, “That would be me. I’m responsible for me. 21st century buddy…” her voice had started to ride the swell of a crescendo until his snort cut her off and she felt herself being tugged from her spot. A quick look over her shoulder told her that Head Docent Eve was getting an eye and ear-full, craning, as she was, over her desk. Ronan pulled Cindy along until they stood against the wall and out of the older woman’s line of vision.
“That may be the case under ordinary circumstances but,” and here he pinned her to the wall with his intense sapphire stare, “until you have returned my property, you are mine to look after.”
The grip on her arm softened and changed into just a two fingered touch holding her in place.
“For the remainder of our time together, you’re not to put yourself at risk in any way that could hinder my objective and you will not leave my presence.”
In contrast to her bluster, his words had lowered in volume at the end of his speech but were maddeningly more effective, somehow, at getting his point across. She started feeling unsure of herself like she was doing something wrong. Damn him, all she was trying to do was help her friend! She stiffened and started to tell him what he could do with his demands when her eyes caught on the grouping of framed photos fixed to the wall behind his head. They were of the museum staff and Head Docent Eve smiled garishly at her from behind an enormous pair of gold rimmed glasses. The little brass plate beneath her picture read out Eve Stroper. Of course it did!
Cindy heaved a big sigh and rolled her eyes the likes of which teenage girls everywhere would have been proud and gritted out, “all right, fine.”
He relaxed and those heavenly lips of his softened into the barest hint of a smile then he graced her with that imperious nod that denoted his superior approval and set her blood boiling all over again.
“But,” she whipped out a pointy finger and angled it at his chin, “I’m here to do a job and I will get the information I’m looking for,” she looked quickly back toward the entryway and lowered her voice to a harsh whisper, “whether you like it or not, mister high and mighty.”
He enclosed her finger, along with the rest of her outstretched hand in his much larger one and brought it down between them slowly…so slowly. Then he leaned into her personal space so that it felt as though he had displaced all the air around them and she had to drop her head back to meet his narrowed eyes.
“Indeed, mistress,” he said, “I shall merely accompany you on your…expedition. You won’t even know I am here.”
Funny how ironic words said in monotone can sound. Especially when spoken in his unyieldingly domineering baritone.
Cindy, about at the end of her rope, flung a stray curl out of her eye and moved past him to lead the way. A firm pump to her hand assured her that, no matter what he said, he wasn’t letting her out of his sight…or his grip.
More to come later. See you in the Tides!
About the Author
Amanda V Shane is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance and is currently working on her Tides of Atlantis series about the super hot lost kings of Atlantis as well as her Enchanted Lands Romances.