Happy Halloween: How to have a kooky, spooky Samhain

Acres of Ink

jack-o-lanternSamhain, (pronounced saa-win or saa-ween) falls on 31st October. Although it’s more commonly celebrated as Halloween, I’ll be focusing on the older traditions of the festival as this blog is part of my Celtic Wheel of the Year series. Gather around the cauldron, folks, and let’s get started!


WHAT IS SAMHAIN?


Samhain, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, is the celebration of the last Harvest of the year. There are three Harvests in a Celtic year – the first being Lammas, the second being Mabon. Due to the importance of agriculture in the past, the third and final Harvest is seen by many as the end of the old year/start of the new.

bonfireSamhain was originally celebrated in Europe as a Celtic Fire festival and, although many think of Samhain as being on the 31st October, some celebrate it over several days and nights. These celebrations can last until November 6th (which is…

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A little update for August

OK, so the only thing I’ve successfully and continually achieved over the last three months is an expert level of procrastination. Call myself a writer? I haven’t put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard in a horrifyingly long time. I signed up for NaNoWriMo… twice… and barely competed. I can’t even say I was blogging instead because, well, look at my blog. The spiderwebs and tumbleweeds speak for themselves.

No, I have to face it, I have done sweet FA lately and it’s time for that to stop. So here’s me, shaking myself out of my self-induced funk, and giving you all an update.


What I should have been doing:

Beta’ing Harli V. Park’s novel: I haven’t forgotten you, I swear. You’re on my list!

coverdimensionsThe Elder Throne: First novel in the Equinox Series is complete, thrice-edited but unrevised. I’d say about 60% of it has been changed – all for the better, I hope, but 40% of it still needs pushing over the line before I can attempt a second wave of queries. I feel really good about the direction this new revision is heading in, I just need to find my motivation to complete it.

The Winter Court: I have actually written more of this! (A minimal amount, but something’s better than nothing, right?)

My blog: Ha ha, ha ha, ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. So evidently I’ve written nothing: no book reviews, no fun-fact-asides, no updates on my life and not even the easiest of all posts – answering my 52 Week Blog Challenge. What I’ve decided to do about this is gather together interesting information, prep it all to make it interesting, and start up again in October with a regular schedule I won’t be killing myself to stick to. In the meantime, I will be resuming my 52 Week Blog Challenge but only answering the interesting questions because life’s too short.


What I’ve actually been doing:

DIY and home improvement: I’ve practically lived in IKEA and on Etsy lately and my house now resembles a lovely, quirky geek den. However, I still don’t have any bedroom curtains. I’m working on that.

Taking mental health time: I’m struggling a bit lately. Mental self-care is not something I usually think I require, but it’s become apparent lately that I need a bit of a boost, or some downtime to process the myriad of unpleasant things that are making my daily grind a little worse. I’m working on it – and I have a holiday soon, so I’m clawing my way back towards being on top of it all!

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Writing future books, blowing off fictional steam and developing characters: My mind has been jumping all over the place lately and this has manifested in exploring two separate alternative timelines, writing an entire novella’s worth of backstory and writing snippets from books that have no business being written until I finish my current project. I have successfully ‘blown off steam’ though, and the benefits of all this creative procrastination is that it has now given me a stronger hold on my characters and on things I need to include in my current work for continuity reasons.


What someone has actually done for me:

Brett Arts Illustrations (via Fiverr)

Brett has been working very hard to deliver some excellent character illustrations. By the time all of these characters are complete, I will have a decent manuscript to pair with them for my Beta Readers, at which time I will put up a page with descriptions in the hope you might want to know more. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of a few favourites.

 

Wish me luck getting back on track!

Top 15 Friday | The Best of British (Authors)

fish_and_chips


Today is National Fish and Chips Day, which is all about celebrating this iconic British dish, as well as everyone who works hard to get it from the sea to the table. Fish and chips is a staple takeaway food in my house (I’ll certainly be having it tonight!) and I started thinking of what other British greats make my life as enjoyable as my delicious battered cod. As always, my thoughts turn to books. This post was initially going to be my Top 5 British authors but I simply couldn’t whittle it down to that small number. So, here are my Top 15 British Authors instead…
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Top 5 Friday | Favourite Fantasy Trilogies

They say bad things come in threes, but some novels are proof that very good things can as well. Book trilogies are quite commonplace these days, especially in fantasy. It seems like a three-book arc is simply what’s needed to cover the scope of world-building and character development. Yet, this is not always the case… sometimes they can suffer from ‘Middle Book Syndrome’, which means the second book has no real story of its own and merely serves as a link between the first book and the last.

Well, here are my top 5, which I believe are solid gold the whole way through…
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Assassin’s Fate is out! | Meeting Robin Hobb

hobb signingLast night, I headed over to Shaftesbury Avenue for a Robin Hobb book signing. It was pouring with rain but trivial things like terrible weather have never stopped me celebrating my geekdom. Robin Hobb, for me, is the Holy Grail of fiction writers and apparently I’m not alone in thinking that. When I got there, the queue was very long. Fortunately my friend Maria had arrived in plenty of time to save a space for us. S.E. Berrow rocked up a short while later, bringing clear skies with her, and the door to Forbidden Planet opened.  Continue reading

Top 10 Tuesday: Children’s stand-alone novels

Last Sunday was International Children’s Book Day, so this week’s Top 10 Tuesday is, of course, about children’s books. There are lots of excellent series out there for children but sometimes stand-alone novels get left in the dust. Several publishers and editors have commented on the difficulty of selling a stand-alone novel due to lack of ‘shelf-presence’, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less worthwhile.

Here are ten of my stand-alone recommendations for children: Continue reading