Cunning folk have been around a long time.They were respected, wise, intelligent and the villagers would turn to them for protection against unseen dangers. They would provide charms and medicines, and early books of medicinal potions are accredited to them–often termed grimoires. But Cunning Folk is a modern term from the middle ages. Their true origins may go back to much earlier times, to when very different creatures haunted the dark damp places of the world. Knowledge of how to deal with these denizens were passed down through families. They were like recipes for how to make the most delicious cherry bakewells or a poultice for the Ague. The Merryweathers are one such family, and Sam Jones granny Merryweather is an expert who needs to get Sam on to a crash course, because something bad has come back to haunt her. You can follow his steep learning curve in their story which is now free on Smashwords. Curl up with some pumpkin juice, a nice piece of pie and a good book this Halloween. Check out the five star reviews on Amazon and be sure to keep one eye out for The Dreables.
Archives for October 2011
Fancy a little spine-tingler for Halloween? I’ve teamed up again with those nice people at Lucky Bat books to offer a free download (or as free as Amazon allows) of this 30,000 word novel about, well Dreables. That’s because I’m really quie a nice person and I just love the thought of you all cowering in your boots. You’ve never heard of Dreables right? Maybe that’s not a bad thing, because if you had you’d know that you ought to be afraid. Very afraid. At least that’s what Dreables hope you’ll be once you meet one, since that’s what they do–scary-fy people. Check out the cool cover from Teri Rose.
Maybe I can sum up the book in a simple verse:
Coming soon–so don’t forget to leave the light on!!! If you’d like to be kept informed about release dates–just email me.
Halloween. Witches and broomsticks. Pumpkins and vampires. Dressing up, throwing eggs, eating loads of sweets. That’s what it means these days. But what does it really mean? Let’s pretend we’re listening in on year 7 of Seabourne County School, Room 33: Miss Arkwright, 1C’s form tutor is addressing the class where Oz Chambers and his friends are discussing Halloween….
“Now some of you I’m sure will have celebrated Halloween. But I wonder how many of you know its real meaning?”
“All Hallow’s eve, miss?” volunteered Marcus Skyrme whose arm seemed to be permanently held up in the air whenever a teacher asked a question.
“Yes indeed, Marcus.” Miss Arkwright wrote the word Samhain on the board and pointed at it with her felt tipped pen. “Our Celtic ancestors celebrated Sow-ein–and please make note of the pronunciation–their New Year’s Eve, on October 31, which was then tidied up into All Hallows’ Eve by the Christian church in the 11th century–”
Jenks’ voice piped up from the back. “Do you believe in ghosts miss?”
Miss Arkwright frowned. Jenks sidetracking tactics were well known to all the teachers and were usually trodden on unceremoniously, but on this occasion she clearly decided that it was a fair question.
“I believe that there are more things in the world than can be explained by our common understanding, if that’s what you mean, Lee”
“Yeah, but what about actual ghosts,” Jenks said and then added theatrically, “you know, woooooooo.”
Half the class laughed. For one horrible moment, Oz wondered if Jenks knew about what had happened in the orphanage and he glanced over at Ellie who was looking puzzled too. But then Oz saw Jenks’ mock innocent expression and knew he was simply winding Miss Arkwright up. She cleared her throat to ensure silence before continuing. “Well, literature gives us different interpretations. Some great writers believe that ghosts are the spirits of dead people yet to pass, spirits who are unaware of their deaths. Then there are those who favour the “herald” theory which suggests that ghosts most often bring messages of comfort to their loved ones to say that they are well and happy, and not to grieve for them. They visit with the express purpose of helping the living cope with their loss. “
“So they’re not always nasty miss?” asked Tracy Roper.
“Not always. Unless they’re poltergeists of course. And they can be very nasty, able to move furniture and even harm the living. Because of that poltergeists are considered by some to be demonic in nature.”
The class had gone very quiet.
Wouldn’t it be nice, after the Trick or Treating, to curl up with a scary book and escape….
The Obsidian Pebble will soon be available in paperback….come back and find out when. Or just email me. Go on, you know you want to.
The nice people at O.W.L (Outrageously Wonderful Literature from the Middle Grades) did an interview and giveaway yesterday for The Obsidian Pebble.
This was great fun to do and it’s a great website for the age group I’m writing for.
Since Owl’s appear at night, when people are helpless and blind, they were linked with the unknown. Their eerie calls filled people with foreboding and apprehension. With superstitions dying out in the twentieth century – in the West at least – the Owl has returned to its position as a symbol of wisdom.
And on that cheerful note, I’ll say:
“What do you call an owl with a low voice?”